What’s Really Important? (Hint: It’s Love)

Why do we celebrate the mean, the self-centered, the selfish, the win-at-all-costs, those who lack empathy , compassion and concern of others?  Is it the false power?  Is it the lack of self-esteem?  Is their self-esteem dependent on self-centeredness and on being or on the appearance of being wealthy and powerful?  This article does not answer these questions directly.  It just puts forth thoughts that may shed light on why we admire and allow destructive greed in our country.

True strength is stepping outside yourself and recognizing the struggle of others.  Guess what?  It is much tougher to help others than to blindly help yourself all the time.  You are missing out on what is really important.  It is important, as a country, to provide opportunity for all based on their ability.

From my perspective, I don’t see the need for a bigger house or a fancier car, or a fancier address or fancy clothes and fancy things.  I am very content with my 1000 square foot 1950s rancher located in a proud working class neighborhood and the sub-compact Chevy sitting in the driveway.  My self-esteem is not attached to conspicuous consumption.

All things get old and decrease in value.  The only thing that remains or grows is love.  Love even transcends death.  The love I’ve experienced by those who have gone before me sustains me and fills me.  This love cannot be bought or acquired by force.  It becomes manifest through sharing life together.  Legislation that takes the country’s wealth and gives most to the top portion of the population lacks in love.

When someone makes hundred’s of millions of dollars, they may feel that it’s unfair that they have to pay millions of dollars in taxes.  They forget that average Americans are part of the infrastructure that provides the opportunity for someone to make that much money.  We are in this together and each must pay their share.  As an average American, the amount of money I pay in federal income taxes, if I were able to keep it, would enable me to buy a house two to three times bigger than I have now and to buy an expensive luxury car, but I am proud to pay my share based on a percentage of my income.  I would consider doing otherwise as highly selfish.

I imagine that it must be really hard for those American’s who strive to be super wealthy to see oligarchs in authoritarian countries walking away with their country,s wealth while their average citizens suffer.  This should not occur in a democracy… greed steals from all.  Greedy people like to believe that they have worked harder than everyone else and are deserving.  They fail to acknowledge their blessings and how their greed hurts others.  In the long run super wealth is not worth it.  When you’re willing to sell your country down the road so you can be like heartless Russian oligarchs you are engaging in selfish, un-American behavior.  It is shameful that our President is one of these “wannabe’s” and he’s willing to lie, cheat and steal our democracy to achieve it.  It is sad that some people’s sense of self-worth is seemingly based on how much they can acquire rather than how much they can help and love others.

One would think that the older a person got, they would realize how little value excess money has in life compared to the love of fellow human beings.

Unbridled Machismo: Dangerous to Democracy?

Yea, you bet.  I’ve read that some support Trump because of his machismo, but unbridled machismo is destructive.  Machismo is exaggerated masculinity and power often associated with disregard for consequences and responsibility.  To be truly effective, machismo must be balanced with the feminine.  Everyone, regardless of biological gender, has a feminine and a masculine side.

Masculine attributes include courage, independence, violence and assertiveness.  Feminine attributes include empathy, caring, compassion, tolerance and nurturing.  When examined, it is clear that these attributes are not mutually exclusive.  What good is  courage when it is not used for a good purpose?  And what good is caring without the expectation of self-responsibility?  As you can see, balance between the feminine and masculine is necessary for positive outcomes.

Most boys in our culture are subjected to “the boy code” which rejects all signs of feminine qualities.  They are expected to keep their emotions in check.  They innately know that violence is an acceptable response to emotional upsets and that self-esteem relies on power.  Boys are expected to keep a stiff upper lip, to not show feelings, to act real tough, to not act too nice and to be cool.  They are discouraged from expressing feelings, dependence, warmth and empathy.  Sadly, blind adherence to the boy code can prevent men from having emotionally rich relationships. (Source:  “Real Boys:  Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood”, by Dr. William Pollock)

This blog entry was inspired by the utterly dispassionate separation of young children from their mothers and fathers by the United States Government as these families sought asylum from pervasive gang and drug cartel violence in their communities.  These parents feared for their lives and the lives of their children.  They feared their boys would be forced into gangs and that their daughters would have been raped or sold into sex-trafficking rings.  I agree that immigration needs to be regulated, but there are tough, yet compassionate ways to enforce it.

This travesty of separating young children, including toddlers, babies and nursing infants, went on for more than six weeks before the feminine spirit of our nation spoke up through the words of the First Lady, Melanie Trump and First Daughter, Ivanka.  Sadly, the feminine counter balance was not provided earlier by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley or Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who all supported this unthinkable violence to the emotional health of these families.

Our democratic country needs balance between the feminine and  masculine.  We need compassionate law.  The most important thing in life is not wealth, power and prestige.  It is love… love for fellow human beings.  Love is learned through family and community.  If the family of origin fails, the human family must step in.  We are all part of the human family.

I don’t see Trump as a tough, machismo, smart leader.  I see the false machismo of a sad, juvenile, insecure, school-yard bully who is uninformed, impulsive and self-involved.  He needs to be balanced with the strong feminine that will bring empathy, caring, compassion, tolerance and nurturing back to the greatest democracy that ever existed.

U.S. Government Ordained by God?

Quoting Romans 13, Jeff Sessions inferred that our democratic government is made up of elected officials that are ordained by God and that justifies following man-made laws that hurt children.  As a Christian, a member of a democracy and as a human being, this makes me sick.  Using the Bible as permission to engage in abhorrent acts is an affront to, not just all Christians, but to all of humanity.

If Sessions can use the Bible to separate parents and children seeking asylum, why don’t we separate children from parents who engage in tax evasion by using offshore accounts because Romans 13 also says you should pay your taxes.

Paul wrote Romans 13 when Christians were powerless against the ruthless Roman Empire.  Following Roman Law was necessary for simple survival.  But we live in a democracy of government by the people for the people.  We have the power to change unjust, inhumane laws.  Using the Bible as an excuse is disgusting and immoral.

More importantly, Romans 13 says “Love your neighbor as yourself.  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is fulfilling of the law.”

Love does not separate children from their parents.

The Cost of Addiction… Democracy

Addiction cost everyone.  Addicts lie, mislead, manipulate, shift the blame, are self-centered, selfish and lack empathy, and can become abusive and engage in criminal activities to feed their addictions.  In my opinion, the most dangerous and costly addiction in America today is the addiction to wealth.  Those who are addicted to wealth steal from all Americans.

In the New York Times (1/18/14) op-ed article titled ‘For The Love of Money,’ Sam Polk writes that “Wealth addicts are, more than anybody, specifically responsible for the ever-widening rift that is tearing apart our once great country.  Wealth addicts are responsible for the vast and toxic disparity between the rich and the poor and the annihilation of the middle class.”

In Psychology Today (2/8/14) in an article titled ‘Addicted to Wealth – A National Trait?’, Stanton Peele, Ph.D. suggests that we have become a society that sacrifices values, community and a meaningful life for money, wealth and possessions.  He writes that “…wealth addiction describes a society where all meaning and social status are derived from the accumulation of wealth.”

In Wealth Addiction by Philip Slator (1980), the author believes that not only are the rich addicted to wealth but that “closet addicts” secretly desire “…to have all the money, possessions, and perks of the wealthy.”  He continues that “…the Republican Party constantly harkens back…” to the “…hope all Americans harbour that they can strike it rich.”  As these not-quite rich individuals strive for wealth, they also become single-focused addicts who lack concern for others joining their wealthy wealth addicts.

Wealth addicts see the needy only as an obstacle to their pursuit of unlimited wealth and the working and middle class as a source of wealth by cutting wages and benefits, raiding pension funds and eliminating collective bargaining.  Their single focus is the accumulation of wealth just as the drug addict is focused on their next fix with no concern for the common good.

Both drug and wealth addicts give up their self-respect, integrity and human compassion to feed their addictions. They are so focused on grasping that they forget to live.  They lay waste to the working and middle class communities to increase their personal treasury.

People are accumulating wealth they do not even need at the expense of others by stealing their opportunity.  Then when these “others” struggle to make ends meet or fail to make ends meet, the wealthy or the wealthy want-to-be’s blame the victims of their heartless greed.

Sadly, we admire the super rich and denigrate the drug addict even though both may engage in illegal behavior to achieve their goals and the former is doing far more damage to our democracy than the latter.  What is the difference between being addicted to opioids or to wealth?  When you’ll do anything to feed your addiction, you’ll manipulate or skirt the law, engage in illegal behavior and hoard your drug whether its opioids or money.

Currently and sadly, our country is being led by a shameless wealth addict who hires other shameless wealth addicts like Scott Pruitt and Paul Manafort.  This is despicable and very dangerous for all.  Ordinary, American people only want opportunity for success through hard work.


Wealth addiction has been with our country for a long time.  Even in the 1800s, Gustave de Beaumont wrote that Americans are “…devoured by hunger for wealth that brings many far from honorable passions along with it, such as greed, fraud and bad faith.”  Even though it has been with us for a long time, we live in a democracy in which ordinary people have a say in how we live.  Support legislation and regulation that stops greed.  Our country cannot survive a system where only a few control the wealth of the nation.



Culture War Politics… What?

I don’t understand what is happening to our collective values; our concern for our fellow human beings and our planet, and our pursuit for truth.  It seems that our values are being replaced with a distasteful self-interest with complete disregard for anyone who is different and a lack of interest in any real truth that might require complex thought.

Right-wing Republicans seem to have a single focus which is to hate anything that liberals love such as social justice, ethnic and gender equality, economic fairness, environmental protection and protection of federal lands, even if this stand is harmful to themselves.

Only a minority of Americans hold these views.  The majority of Americans do not hold these views, but many of these people do not vote or do not vote regularly.

The minority of Americans who are active right-wing Republicans tend to be young white men who while finding their way are swayed by white supremacy, middle-America older white men who have lost their livelihood to technology and globalization that tend to blame minorities and women for their job loss and Evangelical Christians.  However, I am perplexed by the established suburbanites with good jobs or comfortable pensions who buy into this simplistic hate of anything liberal.

Our country has been multi-cultural from the very beginning.  Native Americans, Spaniards, Africans and Anglo Saxons to name a few were here hundreds and even thousands of years before 1776.  And over the last nearly 250 years, people from many cultures have become Americans.  We live in a well-established multi-cultural nation.  That is a fact.  Additionally, gender differences are innate and not choices.  Climate change is real.  Not being open to reason and limiting your source of news will not make America great again.  Our democracy depends on a well-informed electorate!

Trying to understand the term “culture war politics” has helped me understand what is happening to our values.  Personally, I will continue to support social justice, ethnic and gender equality, economic fairness, environmental protection and protection of federal lands.  I will continue to make every effort to be a well-informed American citizen.