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Changes for the good that have occurred because a great number of people online have lent their support for them have been too long in coming.

This year, we have seen the power of many like-minded people. Ordinarily, most of us would not have spoken out or supported these issues.

It’s interesting that all who supported StopSopa, OWS, Planned Parenthood through social networking, did so without direct coordination. As long as people do what they do from the standpoint of goodness and in harmony with others, there is no down side that I can see.

It’s when hate, intolerance, and destruction of people and ideas are forcibly projected by a few vociferous people or groups when the power becomes a hammer and its consequences are feared.

I was thinking about this this morning. There is an “anti” segment of society and a “pro” segment. It’s interesting that more conservative-thinking people are generally against things: ideas, words, change. Liberal-thinking people have more of a “live and let live” behavior. Neither side will ever convert the other. We have to learn to accept and respect each other.  Somehow we have to be willing to meet in the middle if America is to survive as a democracy.

Until then, it is important that we know this type of power exists and how it can be used, because we may be called on for something far more important. We have to be ready to give our whole-hearted support and to sustain that support.

I have in mind an American Taliban-like movement. We are seeing its effects right now in smaller areas. This is not about religion or conservatives. This is about radical beliefs that relentlessly strive for the subjugation of women in society and financial/economic oppression of the masses. How like the middle east much of this thinking and these actions are.

Possibly, I’m beginning to sound more like a zealot. But, my actions are caused by anger because of inequalities that, up to this time, have not been acted upon and improved or removed.

And, I’m finding that there are many people who share my desire for independence and compassion and who oppose anything that restricts freedom of thought and limits our rights and abilities. This is a tipping point. We have discovered “we” and the power to change things.

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After years of touting itself as a champion of free expression on the Internet, Twitter Inc. on Friday touched off a torrent of criticism after it announced it can now remove messages from the online service within specific countries if asked to do so. via Twitter’s Censors Provoke Backlash – WSJ.com.

With the world becoming one in communication, this shouldn’t be surprising that some countries already controlling its populace would want to control their social networking as well.

Maybe to its credit, Twitter will point out when and where it has exercised its censorship, so that users will be informed of it.

I’ve also read that there are easy workarounds that would reveal the contents of the parts that are censored. It’s difficult to say if these loopholes will be plugged or will provide Twitter with a facesaving means of providing uncensored information to users while at the same time using censorship procedures as required by different countries.

Finally, thoughts turn to users here in the United States. Is there a chance that the government or big businesses in the United States may put pressure on Twitter to censor information that they believe should not be shared publicly? As it happens to others, so it may also happen to us.  All it takes is for people to accept one small change, then another, and another.  In retrospect, you can see how sweeping changes can take place with almost no opposition. Keep that in mind.

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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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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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Some stories I’ve read seem right on target. This election was not a referendum against Obama. It was not a go-ahead signal to the Republicans to do what they want to do. It was a strong voice for the government to get to work and do something productive.

I believe we all want to have both sides come together and work as one for the betterment of the United States and its people. This hasn’t been the case for many years.

Why does this have to be such a struggle? Why does it have to be Them and Us every year? It’s discouraging that our elected officials in government cannot work together in compromise and for what is best for the nation.

The mean attacks. Misinformation. Inability to communicate in a meaningful way with other people of different beliefs. Arrogance. Cluelessness. Greed. Desire for power. Death threats and murder to anyone who thinks in a different way. And, more — are manifested everyday by our government officials and citizens. All of this diminishes us as a country, and has diminished us as a society.

Why can we get so excited and enraged about half truths, yet the bigger truth behind it all is that we are a country divided and fighting itself barely registers and causes concern?

Interestingly, we do see cycles. We have seen the beginning and end of terrible things done to innocent people. We are in another cycle. But this one is not so clearly outlined. Damage is being inflicted that could be lasting. When the cycle ends, I wonder if we will still be standing as a nation? As a society?

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