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Archive for December, 2011

Extreme divisions in ideology, which have increased in the past 20+ years in the United States, have reached critical mass.

They have stopped Congress in its tracks this year. Worse, the differences have bred hatred, contempt, and intolerance for those not sharing the same beliefs among Americans in general.

Moreover, it seems as if the splits will be permanent. There is no one strong enough, persuasive enough, or universally trusted and liked to bridge the deepening chasm and bring various viewpoints to agreement.

What then is our future to be? We have no shared dreams or goals. We are buffeted from every side by politics, money, greed, inequality, poverty, bad economics — and the list goes on. We are split in so many areas: emotionally, intellectually, politically, religiously, morally, and financially.

Maybe it will become clear in time that we need to physically split — as in a divorce. Maybe there will be two halves of America: the Atlantic United States and the Pacific United States. Or perhaps four parts, or more, to encompass various ideologies.

Maybe we will finally achieve cohesiveness within the smaller portions. Maybe there will be shared effort at long last. And, peaceful coexistence. If we cannot live as one in one land, we may be better off living in separate lands.

Alternatively, if a physical split becomes inevitable, maybe our country will be ripped apart by a civil war. And, very possibly,  it will signal the end of America in any form.

This is a looming problem.  An answer will not be that long in coming if this country continues to move in different directions and on different tracks.

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People we have elected to represent us get sucked into a corruptible political system once they are elected. The promises they made and the character they showed to get there fade fast. The newly-elected now must please not only their constituents, but their party and lobbyists. (Not in that order.)

They learn the taste of authority and influence, and to expect the perks that their positions bring to them.  It’s heady. It’s stressful. It’s addictive. It requires walking fine lines and calculation: How much resistance to show the other party? How much support to lend to the other party? Can I fudge on my expenses just this once? Can I take that all-expense paid trip the lobbyist is offering without anyone finding out about it? How much will the voters forget by the next election?

Moves are calculated for the most advantage to the politician, the party, and lobbyists. And it becomes a never-ending cycle of calculation and gearing up for the next election.

What once seemed like a “calling,” is now a business venture. No moves are made spontaneously or from a passion to do what is right or needed.

The public hopes that the decisions the politician makes will have their best interests in mind. As time goes on and few decisions are in their favor, people become angry and frustrated. But, they remain hopeful that the next bill or policy will be favorable to them and will be fair and reasonable.

When more time passes without that happening, people are still somewhat hopeful, but become skeptical that the government and their representative is working on their behalf. As even more time goes by, hope dies and people become resigned, or even apathetic, to the scant attention to their needs and desires.

We’ve seen it happen over and over.  We don’t have to worry about taxation without representation. We have to be concerned about representation that is calculating and self-serving.

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I still laugh with embarrassment when I recall once writing a headline for our college newspaper. Our instructor asked me if I was sure that was what I wanted to say.

Geez. I mean geez. Of course, I wanted to say that “Vandals wreck havoc on the campus”!

Unremembered now, is the moment I discovered my 30 point all caps front page mistake in print. The correct word should have been “wreak” not “wreck.” But, I learned something. And, the instructor taught me without explaining.

So, it is with varying amounts of sympathy and understanding that I see frequent misuses of words or phrases in today’s news stories. I’ve started writing them down. When I get hundreds of them, I’m going to…what? Write a book about them? Or, maybe file them away to chuckle over someday when they are rediscovered in a yellowed folder?

Anyway, the small handful I have now include: Double walk when double talk was meant; defined the odds instead of despite the odds; glances over instead of glosses over; easy amble instead of easy gamble; and pull something over instead of put something over.

Here’s an update from a friend:  “…young illegal immigrants clamber for work permits.” The national news service really meant to say clamor.

And, perhaps the best one so far, is when the writer had an unpleasant task and had to be the bear of bad news.  (Wouldn’t that make him a Bad News Bear?)

These all occurred in English-speaking newspapers, magazines, and online news services. Otherwise I could overlook the mishandled terms, as I did when an Indian friend told me he was just going to stand on his own foot.

(Please feel free to post more of these in your comments so everyone can savor them.)

 

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Buddy & Rocky always find a shady spot to watch Mom & Dad lab… on Twitpic.

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Just this once I’m going to try this. Blogging on an iPhone. It’s like cooking a banquet in a kitchenette.

Since there is a WordPress app, I was pretty sure that using a smartphone to blog was widely done.

On the other hand, just because eggplants are in the produce section, doesn’t mean everyone is eating them.

No. This is difficult to do. Difficult to think and do. The app is for reading blogs. Not writing them. But I tried. Just this once.

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Recently a 7-year old was investigated and charged with sexual harassment. He was being choked by another child his age and he kicked the choker in the balls. Hence, the sexual harassment claim by the school. http://b.globe.com/rOmBNJ

Another child, 9-years old, was suspended from school recently because he told another student that he thought a certain teacher was cute. You got it. Sexual harassment. http://bit.ly/toH0DA

I remember an early memory when the little neighbor boy I played with and I were in a backyard tent. I offered to “show you mine, if you show me yours.” I can’t remember the outcome. I do remember that I had a feeling of doing something “bad” and going home. But, there were no cops, no arrests, no threats of litigation, because two little kids were doing what little kids sometimes do.

When we take “big people” thoughts and crimes and place them on the heads of children, we have crossed the boundaries of common sense. Children are not big people. They are innocents and blank slates. The only thing we teach children when we judge them as adults is that they should be afraid of rules and thoughts they never knew about.

We also teach them that adults cannot be counted on to use common sense.

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