Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Is there a United States of America?

I'm heading to Gettysburg today to play some good old fashioned old time base ball, with no mitts, no batting helmets, weird rules, and a cow pasture for a field.  Great times!

I've been to Gettysburg several times, and love being able to appreciate the battles fought there and the sacrifices made by so many to ensure the unity of these states.

I know the confederate flag is a hot topic right now, or at least will be for another week or so until something else comes along, so I thought I'd weigh in on my opinion as to why a piece of cloth with stars and lines and colors is such a big deal.

To me, it's not about racism, it's not about state's rights, it's about history.  So that's where I'm going to focus.

To sum up, this is such a big deal because in my humble opinion, the war isn't over.  Not by a generation.

Oh sure, treaties were signed and slaves were set free and we've continued the march towards equality (especially in light of the gay marriage ruling), but that doesn't mean the hearts and minds of the captured have been transformed.  Remember, the civil war ended just over 150 yeras ago.  That's two generations.  Someone who's alive today had a great-great grandfather fight in the civil war.  That's not a lot of time.

And why is it not over?  Because we won't let it be.  We're terrified to face the truth about the civil war, which is this:

1)  It wasn't about slavery.  Oh sure, there's slavery written into the constitutions of the states, and slavery was the main source of income generation in the south, and all signs point to it being about slavery.  But if it truly was, and the north one, and slavery was abolished, why does the divide continue to this day?  Why do four states still celebrate a separate confederate memorial day?  Is it because they're so proud of their ancestors fighting to keep slaves?   Are they proud of their bigotry?  Some are, perhaps, yes.  There are no shortages of white supremacists in the country.  But they're an aberration, statistically speaking.  A blip on the radar.  The states still continuing to fly the confederate flag, holding confederate day ceremonies, in my opinion, still desperately WANT to be the CSA.

Texas has mentioned it before, and has the option in its constitution.  Mississippi took 148 years to think about the thirteenth amendment before making it official.  South Carolina just took down the confederate flag flying over the capital as I'm sure you all know.

You see a pattern?  We're not done with this war thing.

The second big thing we're afraid to face?  We're letting another foreign country celebrate their killing of Americans on American soil with monuments and consecration of grounds that we would never allow another foreign country to do.

2)  The CSA was, in its mind, a foreign country.  We refuse to recognize that objective.

And that may be intentional.  We may never want to forget the fact that the CSA was before 1861 the United States.  But I question whether we should or whether that recognition is propagating the secessionist ideal.

Here's another way to look at it.  Many of us have relatives that fought in the civil war.  Many of us have relatives that fought in the Revolutionary War.  FOR THE BRITISH.  Why, then, aren't there Union Jacks flying around as part of our "heritage"?   Why, at Revolutionary War battle sites, are there no monuments to the Queen's Rangers or such?

Because we recognize them as the enemy, and the USA as the victors, and treat the battlefields as such.  But in civil war battle sites, while there is a victor or loser (or in the case of Antietam, neither) we don't recognize the CSA as a separate country.

Should we?  My position is that each soldier carrying a weapon against the Union Army was no longer an American.  They died Confederate Soldiers, not as Americans.  Now it is a logical argument to make that since the US government didn't recognize the CSA (as did no one else in the world except maybe Britain), that they never really left the USA.  But here's where my point comes in:  in their mind, they did.  They renounced their citizenship when they took up arms against the government.

At best that makes them traitors, at worst foreign invaders (in the case of Gettysburg).  So to keep monuments up to the Confederate soldiers is to say "This monument is in memorial to those soldiers who gave their lives in an attempt to break away from the US and create a new country, one founded on state's rights, etc. etc."  Sound familiar?  A little like our own revolutionary war?

Except the CSA lost.  The CSA is a ghost, relegated to history as should all of its warriors, battle flags and achievements.  Instead, we celebrate it.

To me, this is like letting Japan put up monuments to their fallen kamikaze pilots around Pearl Harbor.  If we did that, wouldn't we continue to brew hatred with the Japanese?  If some continued to fly the Union Jack and held beliefs that America should be part of the British Empire, wouldn't we continue to harbor hatred towards England?

So we continue to bring forth the CSA and keep it forefront of our mind, and thus we continue the civil war.  Will this ever change?  I don't think so.  And because it won't, we will continue to fight a vicious civil war.  Not with guns and ammo, but with words and laws and politics.  And that's even more dangerous.

My hope is that we forget the CSA.  Keep it in the history books where it belongs as a failed idea and a pointless endeavor.  My hope is that we focus on the future and unite the states once and for all, not through force or coercion, but because it's who we are.  As Americans.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Change is coming!

I can see it now.  You've all clicked here to see what change I'm talking about.  How big is it?  How will it affect me?  Will it be minor, major or unnoticeable?

Image result for caitlyn jenner
Or really really noticeable

I don't actually know.

Sorry, I hope that wasn't too great a letdown.  But here's my point.  Change is always coming.  It's inevitable, even when you look outside your window.  But that's cliche and boring and everyone knows the only constant is change.  My point is more having to do with how we react.

Did your curiosity lead you to this page based on fear?  Or was it based on excitement?  See, I think there's two types of people in the world, those that embrace change and those that fight against it with all their might.  And everyone else who falls in between.  Ok, there are 7 billion types of people in the world but that's beside the point.

Let's call it a scale.  And where you are on the change acceptance scale usually tells us if you're going to be a jerk about change, or you're going to be laid back and Jeff Bridges "The Dude" like about change.  
Image result for old and grumpy
Wanna guess where he falls on the spectrum?

The impact of change on our lives normally influence our response to the change.  A small change to our morning routine may tick us off a bit, but a large change to government policy may make us lose our mind and do something stupid like watch Fox News.  Things we're used to doing every day are easier for us than things we have to learn about every day.  Things we've always believed are truer than things someone just told us for the first time.  These are given.

But what keeps us from staying more towards The Dude end of the spectrum?  Why can I handle change of a boyfriend (cuz he was a moron anyway) but I can't handle a change in the casting of Batman?
Image result for adam west batman
I'll never forgive them

I have a theory.  It's an economic theory mixed in with a psychological theory with just a dab of evolutionary theory on top just for kicks.

We talked about the impact to our lives.  We'll call that "the impact to our lives".  Now add to that our rock solid, deep, core inner faith in something, which we'll call "trust", and you can see where you fall on the scale.  If the impact is huge (Iranians will now have the capability to destroy the entire USA with nuclear bombs sent down from space stations orbiting the moon) and your faith in something is low (Obama is only slightly more intelligent than liquid soap), you're liable to be freaking the heck out.

Image result for examples of mass hysteria
America learns about Ben Affleck as Batman

So how do you change your spot on the spectrum?  Focus on one of those two things, and then CHANGE them (see how I did that?)  This provides two benefits:  one, YOU control the change to your own thought processes, and two you'll feel better about the change coming your way.

So in the above example, you could a) research the impact (will they really rain hellfire from above with the whole world watching their every move?)  or b) raise your level of faith (usually requiring disparate views of the topic, by, let's say, not watching Fox and looking at non-biased sources).

Image result for dumbest people
Don't be this guy

A third option is to avoid the change entirely.  Now, that's not really an option in the scenario above, unless you wanna take on the US Government, but if it's a change coming your way that you can avoid, you have that power.  You can act.  Even if it's writing a letter, or campaigning against DA MAN, or finding a new job instead, you do have the power to take matters into your own hands.  Usually, however, you'll find that takes faith again, either in yourself, or in the people you need to help you avoid that change.

In any case, hopefully you'll see that the change isn't as bad as you thought.  Sometimes the leap of faith is huge (Especially when dealing with anything related to the government), and sometimes the impact may be greater than you think.  Sometimes avoiding the change may be more work than you anticipated.  But never give up.  Change is coming.  And you CAN control your response to it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Some personal opinions...

Ok, I know the purpose of my blog is to help you follow the creation process, but seeing as how I'm in the midst of revisions to The Timepiece Chronicles, I can only tell you to check your spelling so many times before it becomes just like any other blog in the world.  So to differentiate this blog from the others, I have to put myself into it.

After all, it is MY blog. 

So there

My first topic is one I stumbled upon today and that I can't believe is still an issue in an educated society:  breastfeeding in public.  I joined in the debate on this hot topic (no pun intended) and found it appalling that people are still "offended" by this natural display of human growth and survival.

Offended?  By what, exactly?

See, the offense part is what gets me.   I'm not going to get into the whole dehumanization of the female figure in our society, or the role that religion has played in making us disgusted by natural acts of sex, reproduction, or whatever--

--oh who am I kidding, of course I am!

Of course....mwahahaha
If you're a religious sort, breastfeeding in public should be a joyful revelation in the wonderment of your god.  God created woman TO SUSTAIN LIFE ON HER OWN!  Holy crap, that's amazing!  And by amazing, I mean truly FULL OF AMAZE.  Have you ever thought about it?  The fuel necessary to grow a baby into a child is contained in the very person that grew that baby from a fetus?  It's incredible!

Ah, but there's the scary side of religion.  The part that has forever worked its butt off to make women a lesser species.  All Abrahamic religions do this:  Eve bit the apple, and every woman since can bite God's ass.  They need to be subservient, cover themselves up, and STOP TEMPTING MEN GODDAMIT.  

That means YOU Ms. White!

Pardon my French, dear fans, but I say Bullshit.  Lies told by men to stop people worshiping the goddess called Mother Earth.  It made sense at the time, right?  Mother earth gives birth to crops and all other animals give birth and women give birth, so women and the earth must be the same and thus women must be totally kick ass and awesome.

But noooooooo, guys have to come along and screw things up and make up some shit about a MALE God gettin' all pissed off about women because they ate from the tree of knowledge (catch that?  The Tree of Knowledge?  Meaning the original sin was to try and know more.  Think about that).

Religion's Preferred Audience

Fast forward 4000 years, and women can't even feed their children in public.  And that's all this is:  feeding her child.  Breasts are offensive?  Please.  The thoughts YOU put behind the breasts are offensive.  Yes, they play a part in the act of sexual intercourse, but really, she's not having a twenty-three year old man at her breast, it's a baby.  And if you're offended that means you're looking more at the breast, and not at the baby and the beauty of the process.  And if you're doing that, you're having some wicked thoughts that you probably should go to church to purge yourself of.  So get over it, change your thoughts, and raise a glass to that kid drinking away.  Who knows, he may raise a breast to you in return!

DAMN it feels good to get that out!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Optimism is NOT Hope

I may have written this before, but so be it.  Apologies for repetition, but if I had, this bears repeating.

Optimism abounds in all of us, but don't confuse that with hope.  Hope is a good thing, but it is a wishful thing.  It is a thought that we have that things will fall in our favor.  It's not a bad thing, but it's not the very best of things.

Because it eliminates our role in the outcome.

Optimism, however, is the belief that we have the same chance as others.  That we can make things happen.  Andy Dufrane in The Shawshank Redemption said "...hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."  But Andy made his own escape, it didn't just happen.  When you "hope" for something you wait for it to happen.

I'm tired of "hoping" my book sells.  Starting today, I'm going to be optimistic that I can make it sell.

Are you optimistic about your ability to complete your story, publish it, have it sell?  Or are you just "hoping"?  

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