leadership

Many in America are in a state of denial.  They refuse to believe that the most powerful country on earth has been brought to its knees by a virus, something unseen that can lurk within, undetected until it lashes out with deadly consequences upon its unfortunate victims.

For some of them, a popular conspiracy theory is more acceptable – the Chinese have done it for economic control, the medical community is inflating numbers to make covid-19 appear more dire than it actually is thus receiving more federal aid, and the Democrats have conspired to use the bug for political advantage in November.  Damn those Dems anyhow.  I had no idea we were that powerful.😁

What cannot be denied is that a divided nation has become even more divided pitting those who mask against those who don’t mask, those who practice social distancing against those who freely interact, and those who prefer to be safe until a vaccine is developed against those who call the lockdown a politically motivated drama.

Political leadership is the key element in this division.  We do not enjoy the leadership of a uniting force in government.  From the Tao Te Ching we learn the following wisdom:

The best of leaders,
his people hardly know that he exists.
Next is the leader his people love and praise.
Next comes the one they fear.
Next comes the one they shame.

Nonchalant and reticent.
When work is done,
His people say, ‘We did it all but naturally!’

–  Lao Tzu

 

amendment 4 – a bright spot in today’s dismal political news

In the 2018 elections Florida’s voters passed overwhelmingly Amendment 4 which stated that people with past felony convictions who had completed their sentences could not be locked out of the democratic process in future elections.

Governor Ron DeSantis and a majority of Florida’s lawmakers countered with SB 7066 which required people with past felony  convictions to pay fines, fees and restitution before they were allowed to vote.  Essentially, they would be forced to pay for the right to vote.  The state government, led by DeSantis, undermined the voices of millions of Florida voters.

“In a landmark decision yesterday, a federal court affirmed the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of Floridians and ruled that a pay-to-vote system is unconstitutional.

This victory with our partners means that Floridians with past felony convictions cannot be banned from voting if they are unable to pay fines, fees or restitution.”

SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER

the American way

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“Turn your ear to me, rescue me quickly.  Be a rock of refuge for me, a stronghold for my deliverance.” PSALM 31:3 TL

Worldwide, these are difficult times for all of us.  It is interesting to observe what or whom people turn to in times of adversity.  The following is my response submitted to ‘letters to the editor’ to this morning’s local newspaper headline.

Yippee ki-yay, buckeroos. Citrus County residents must be planning for a range war that would make the wild, wild West of yesteryear look like a cake walk at the local church picnic. Today’s Chronicle headline reads, “Local gun store sales soar.”

Surprising? Not at all. This is the American way – solve insecurities, fears, and differences with a gun. I remember an old western movie in which the hero manned 5 guns at one time thus eliminating the band of bad boys who were threatening him. Maybe that’s what fellow Citrus residents envision? Or perhaps they foresee a government intent on confiscating their weapons? Now fellows, I am not the brightest light bulb in the package, but if your government wants your guns, then it will swoop into your neighborhood with more firepower than y’all ever dreamed in your worst nightmares. And guess who is going to be dead? Probably you and I plus a multitude of peaceful neighbors caught up in your cowardly shenanigans.

One of the most obscene bumper stickers which I have seen reads, “God, guns and guts.” Is this the mindset of a nation which boasts a heritage based on teachings of a man advocating peace and compassion for all humanity? We have become myopic, extremely short-sighted regarding diverse cultures and faith walks promoting peaceful co-existence with the world. An outside observer could rightfully believe that many Christian Americans have chosen violence and guns as their God.

The Dalai Lama once said that there are no Muslim terrorists, no Buddhist terrorists, no Christian terrorists. One cannot be a man of violence if one truthfully and faithfully professes to be a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Christian; conversely, one cannot truly be a Muslim, Buddhist or Christian if one promotes violence as the answer to adversity.

Two quotes, from men much wiser than I, have greatly influenced my life’s philosophy:

1) “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”  GILBERT K. CHESTERTON,

2) “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  MOHANDAS GANDHI

God, guns and guts. Really? Will this be America’s legacy? We are all facing severe insecurities regarding food supplies and other available resources. We face financial hardships unknown since the Great Depression. Will your answer be a gun or will it be faith in goodness and mercy?

Do I expect that my words will stop a neighbor from buying a gun, or from using that gun on a desperate man in need of food, or keeping that gun loaded by his bedside, or mistakenly pointing that gun at me?  Hell no!  But, I know that guns do not kill people; therefore, I am not afraid of guns.  Rather, it is angry, insecure, unpredictable people brandishing guns who kill people.  For today’s times I choose to entrust my life 🙏 to a universal force of goodness and mercy that comforts and consoles in all circumstances.  Sorry, 2nd Amendment people, guns do not translate into security and safety in my world.

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Chinese ingenuity ?

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

A right-wing sanctioned, Limbaugh-inspired, home-spun supported, neighborhood-disseminated theory of the origins of covid-19 is that the Chinese government somehow is using this virus to gain control of financial markets and put the rest of the consuminglaughing emoji3 world under their control.  Thus, we suffering Americans are experiencing toilet paper shortages at our local stores.

Hurrah for the Chinese.  They are thumping us where it hurts.  Best way to win the trade wars is to force the world to use corn cobs in the loo.  I can just imagine those tiny hands and smiling faces in Peking factories singing, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh what a relief it is.”

What’s that you say?  “Larry, you’ve gone bonkers with all this social isolation, that’s the Alka Seltzer song.”  Hmmmm, think about it for a moment – plop, plop, splash, splash, oh what a relief….

Sorry, folks.  Rational thinking, truth and intelligence cannot counter the bull crap cropped-laughing-emoji2.pngfloating around my neighborhood (sorry, there I go again with this insane train of thought).  Seriously, there is no relief to the stupidity to which some Americans will stoop to promote their conspiracy du-jour.

 

I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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what’s the cost ?

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

My neighbor and I are finally back on speaking terms after the 2016 elections.  Both of us were probably too adamant in our political stance, too certain that our candidate was the right one.  Harsh words led to over-the-fence glares and avoidance at the mail box.  The god bless americacost of being right was a wounded friendship.  Today, with November elections approaching, what price am I willing to pay to be outspoken and will I again stir up neighborhood animosity with placards in my front yard?  Is it worth it?  Will I risk physical harm by sporting signs on my pickup truck?

Hell yes, I’ll do it again.  If friendships and relationships can’t survive differences of opinion, then perhaps there wasn’t much to work with anyway.  If I can’t drive to the market or the library or the post office safely, then perhaps we have already lost the battle.  I marvel (and would love to be a mouse in the corner at dinner time) at the marriage of Kellyanne Conway and George.  Good Lord, what conversations they must have over lobster and steak.

We cannot afford not to exercise our rights to political opinion.  If neighbors, family, friends, and others who have a differing viewpoint can’t deal with my opinion, that’s their problem and they need a refresher course in democracy and civics.  GO BLUE!

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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follow the leader?

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

broken hearted

Follow the leader.  Just a child’s game?  How about Simon says?  For us they were playtime activity intended to teach interaction with other children.  But, have you ever considered the ramifications of a 5 or 6 year-old being taught to follow a designated leader wherever that person leads or to do explicitly what Simon instructs?  Of course not, they were just games for children.

What about adults?  Life is not a game.  Do you and I have enough self-confidence, enough courage to walk away from the herd trailing after a proclaimed leader when we know that person is dishonest and corrupt? Whether that person is speaking from the pulpit of a church or from a governmental office, do we have the cojones to say, “No, I will not follow you nor do as you say?”

Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr, Gandhi, Desmond Tutu were such men.  They viewed their country’s status quo as unacceptable.  Violence was not the answer; however, passive disobedience created movements which fueled social action that could not be ignored by national leaders with their trailing herds and toadying sycophants nor preachers with their ‘amen & hallelujah’ congregations.

It was called civil disobedience.  In the months leading up to November 3rd, we should, each of us, consider what it is we are willing to do to press forward on a path which honors the validity of all citizens whether white, black, brown, religious or non-religious,Picture6 gay or straight, wealthy or poor, Muslim or Christian.  When our elected leaders ignore us, when our spiritual mentors speak untruths, our options as a nation dwindle.  However, a greater power within each of us commands us to disobey government and religious leaders when that obedience would be illegal, unlawful and unjust.

The days of child’s play are past.  A new era in American history is upon us and its future will be determined by whom we choose to follow and whom we choose to obey.

These words from CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE by Henry David Thoreau are well-advised in today’s political turmoil:

The government, according to Thoreau, is not just a little corrupt or unjust in the course of doing its otherwise-important work, but in fact the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice. Because of this, it is “not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize”. WIKIPEDIA

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I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

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Mayor Pete – Bill Maher

copyright unshackled 3I refuse to carry QUEST into political tit for tat, but I sure as hell will endorse a candidate who is intelligent, of sound mind, a patriot ( did not claim bone spurs), a veteran, a man of vision, under the age of 70, well-spoken, educated, honest and witty.

When asked by Bill Maher if he had considered the possibility that Trump will claim a rigged election and refuse to leave the White House, what would he do?

Mayor Pete responded smilingly, “Well, it will be kind of awkward when Chasten and I move in.”

 

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DC shenanigans

ratLiving on planet earth makes it difficult to avoid the continual stream of bull crap coming out of that humming nest of discontent called Washington, D.C.  It stinks up our air waves, phone screens, civic meetings, and neighborhood chit-chats.  It presents itself as material of utmost importance even though most of it is nothing more than glorified, recycled, regurgitated, repurposed manure fit only for its final repose on the compost pile.  Unfortunately, even the worms and maggots (read between the lines and use whichever news services you find offensive) find difficulty digesting what is being presented as newsworthy and consequential.  And yet, we gorge on it like pigs at a feeding trough.  Yeah, me too.  Guilty as charged.

We, you and I, need to grow a pair.  You heard me right.  We (women included) need to show our cojones and refuse to allow this chapter of historical malcontent so much space in our brains.  It is, after all, just a brief blip on the radar screen in the history of mankind, just a grain of sand on the beach of humanity, just a fleeting moment in the nefarious schemes of world governments.  Is it worth the sleepless nights, the headaches, the heartburn, the ulcers, the broken relationships and the emotional anguish?  Is it?

I don’t know about you, but my time is more valuable.  I know what my political philosophy is, I know my priorities in relation to fellow man, I know whom I will vote for in our upcoming primary election and I definitely know whom I will not vote for in the 2020 general election in November.  It’s a settled, done deal.  Can’t get any easier than that.  There is no need to spend endless hours analyzing the talking heads on TV or wasting precious moments arguing with neighbors and friends who think my brand of politics is lunacy.

For me it’s all about time and how I choose to use it.  It’s about mental space and whether I choose to abuse it.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed and I will be seriously pissed off if I have spent my last day on earth fussing and fuming about a bunch of nincompoops sitting in the halls of government with their heads up their nether regions.  I am worthy of a more substantial, fulfilling day than that.  How about you?

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one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

Different generation, different side of the continent, more sophisticated weapons…but folks, it’s the same old bullshit.  Sending young men and women off to fight the war that lines the pockets of corporate greed and political corruption.  We have learned nothing, not a damned thing.