I’m On The Outside Looking In

My education isn’t that of a scholar, as a matter of fact I never attended college officially. All of my knowledge stems from common sense and experiences. I have personally lived through the unbelievable traumas that most people only hear about. I can not recall a time in my life where it hasn’t been touched in some way by diseases; abuse of all natures; grief; depression; euphoric moments; absolute joy; and/or sadness enhanced by profound hurt.

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, none of that seems to matter without being accompanied by a lettered degree. So whenever I venture outside my comfort zone of silence and give an opinion or an observation it holds no weight. It dies where I placed it. Words are often not given the exalted praise of actions and yet, words are also assigned the title of culprits if others get hurt by them. I have always believed that words were powerful and the actions they start were solely reliant upon the interpretation of their associations. I love writing because it gives me the outlet I personally require to still the thoughts that race through my mind on a daily basis. Writing is my solace. Sharing my writing is the one way I hope will make a difference in this world, giving others an opportunity to see another way of looking at any subject that there is disagreement about. Perhaps I have never stopped being an idealist with pragmatic tendencies. Perhaps I take life too seriously or perhaps not seriously at all. My compulsion to write is unstoppable, I have constrained this impulse many times during my lifetime, however that time always surfaces to force my fingers to write what is heavily upon my thoughts. This again, is one of those times.

Many of my friends and family are different in their thinking. Many are college educated and still many are experience educated. I respect and admire both. Growing up in a blue collar family and working in both white collar jobs and academic jobs has opened my mind to all the infinite possibilities that exist in one’s life. Change is very possible if one truly wants that change before them. That is when it becomes one’s choice, provided their is no mental or physical obstacle that would affect their free choice. I am very grateful, regardless of my life’s traumas, that I chose to develop an open mind. I pride myself on my empathetic abilities and appreciate the wisdom that ability affords me to possess.

Many, who are institutionally educated, mock me, laugh at me, or hold no regard for my observations or opinions because they have a pre-conceived notion that because I hold no degree nor title I cannot possibly understand the mechanics of the way the world works. They actually have shooed me away as inconsequential on many different occasions. I do not let that penetrate the core of why I exist. Sometimes, like every other human being, I am dead wrong. Sometimes, like all others, I am right. I have found that counting the wrongs and the rights in life actually count for nothing in the end. What counts is intention. What counts is compromise. What counts is coming from a place of caring and concern. What matters is the realization that all human beings, regardless of education or not, are basically at their core, identical. That realization is hardly ever acknowledged due to millions of factors that interfere in believing that fact. I am one of the few that have been blessed with being able to see that realization and live my life hoping to give others the opportunity to see that fact as well.

Exposing myself to the probable possibility of more ridicule is a chance I often take knowing full well the consequence of my choice. However, not doing it, for me is worse internally. Many people think I am trying to persuade others to thinking as I do, but they would be wrong. My only intention is to share the way I see things so that perhaps one or two people might decide there is another way to look at things and in doing that change becomes very real for them if not for others. The way the world has developed through the open exchange of information has not only been beneficial, it has also been detrimental. You might ask yourselves, how could I say such a thing, or better yet who do I think I am saying such a thing? I believe in humanity, I also believe humanity is influenced greatly by circumstances, experiences and luck,hence their possibility to choose to do good or choose to do what most consider evil, is a reality that cannot be denied. Interpreting good and evil is once again subjective and relies heavily on the things aforementioned. My point in explaining my view is that judging another human being has no value unless every circumstance and every intention is so proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that a true conclusion can be drawn to force a judgement upon that human being. I have found that some judgements are arrived at too hastily, while others are proven accurate in every sense. I believe the free will we are endowed with at birth gives us the tools we may need later on in life to form such judgements, however their interpretations depend solely on life experiences, common sense and circumstances.

President Trump has been under scrutiny for the past three years. He is not an easy man to understand nor to like. His ways are not accepted by many, many people. Yet he was elected to be the leader of our country and our representative to the world. What he has proven to me is that, no matter what past mistakes he may have or has not made, the last three years he has lived up to the promises he made to the American people and he did so with compromises and above disagreements from the other government representatives. He has shown me over and over again, that despite his ego, he loves this country and appreciates the opportunities this country provided to him and his parents. He sees the same America I do, the American ideals that have shaped me, has also shaped him. Our life paths may be completely different, but our country binds us. The younger people of today have lived through a completely different experience than we have and have a very different set of ideals about America. The sadness I feel is for them. Many cannot see past America’s acknowledged mistakes. Many mock the religions for their atrocities and mistakes, that are in reality often ignored. Many believe capitalism is the evil and socialism is the hope. My worry is that they will never change their minds especially when they are encouraged by the hypocrites that feed their misconceptions about this country. I say this because I can see it and feel it. The very worse thing that could happen is if Americans both young and old continue to be unforgiving of their own country’s errors, America will no longer exist and the world will suffer from its’ demise. I do not need a degree to know this, nor are my eyes closed to the ideals of those who have that educational background. If they think, which of course I do not truly know, that America needs punishment for the involvement and errors that were made, I say we have been already in so many ways. We have had Civil Wars, have been attacked twice, have lost capitalism during the Great Depression, have lost countless men and women in our Military, and suffer everyday in some part of this country with poverty, starvation, homelessness. If we keep giving away what we need to survive to illegal immigrants just to appease our conscious, or continue to ignore Americans in our own country who are suffering in the ways I mentioned. If we continue to let elementary and high schools go without the means to succeed, if we disregard veterans and their families in order to praise those across the globe who are also suffering, we will lose our footing and our ability to help anyone anywhere. For to be truly able to care for others, we must first care for ourselves and that equates to caring for, protecting and respecting America no matter who represents it. President Trump, whether he shows it to all or not, knows this as well as I do. He, in my careful judgement, is doing all he is capable of to ensure that we take care of us so that we can take care of others. I owe him respect for that. I must support him for having these ideals no matter how imperfect he may appear to be. Yes, I am aware of how others judge him and blame him solely for the things they have judged him to have done. I watched, I listened, I read, and while I do not fully agree with his manner at times, I am able to see past the ego, and instead see that he truly believes this country offers everyone who really wants to be here, the opportunity to live in it, work in it, and become part of its citizen population. I also see, that like myself, he cannot bring himself to agree with those who come here to take advantage of the opportunities provided by America, just to continuously remind it of its past errors, hold it solely responsible for all the bad things across the globe, and benefit the country they fled from in the first place. I am not talking about customs and religions that are brought along with people to our shores, but of vile intentions that they wish to spread in the hope of displacing America’s idealism in the world. Especially because in reality America is one of a few nations that still offer its citizens unalienable rights and the pursuit of happiness.

So, yes that is who I am. I am not dumb, I am not blind, I am not a deplorable human being. All of those are facts about me. I like to write, I like to learn new things. I like people. I like animals. I love my family and my friends. I love and respect my country. I stand out of respect for the flag, the symbol of my country. I believe in freedom of choice, speech and expression, and religion. I believe we all need to believe there is something more powerful than ourselves such as God or the Universe, a mechanism for the human trait to be able to hold onto some type of hope when things are at their worse. I welcome compromise, understanding, and mutual admiration for what each of us has to offer the other. I am kind, loving and optimistically inclined. I am glad President Trump was acquitted and exonerated not only because of this call but because I know his intentions are good and his love of America is real.

And That’s the Way I See It, here in Jackson.

K

Experience Influences Everyone

I have to laugh or cry in today’s world of information. I never was so involved with my own political side until my disability forced me into early retirement eight years ago. Watching a lot of television, reading a lot of books and articles and engaging in social media taught me more about the state of our world than I ever really wanted to know.

Through all of it the free exchange of ideas seems to have turned into a domestic battle field of who is right and who is wrong. True objectivity has vanished from existence. It occurred to me today that everyone journalists, commentators, reporters, producers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. every single person expresses their facts, thoughts, ideas, opinions, conversations, et al, with one single foundational beginning….experience. Myself included. The way we think, the way we write, the way we study, the way we research, the way we hold a simple conversation all of it comes from what we were taught to do from what we were exposed to in life. That is experience.

Therefore, what we think about the political climate today is greatly influenced by our experiences. It is difficult to be objective in the face of adversity to our own thought process. We all want to convince the other person that they are wrong and we are right.  How truly unfair that is in terms of human nature. Most professionals, in particular teachers and journalists believe facts are facts.  How they arrive at that conclusion is by being influenced by their own experiences to take a cited article or author at absolute faith.  To be convinced it is actual reality because it is backed by statistics and formal data.  It gets pushed under the rug when those very same facts that were taught for generations as truths are all of a sudden disproven because some other entity has decided that all the facts that were known to be true when taught were all conspiracy theories to brainwash all children to believe in them. I ask you does that make any more sense than the idea that we now must believe in the “new” facts because someone changed the “old” ones based on their experiences when they did the same research that was previously done?  All of a sudden did new information come to light?  If it did it was based on the experience of the current person or people now presenting the “new” facts.  How you might ask does a fact now change because someone said it is now a different fact? The way people interpret those very facts are the way they will be presented to the world. So in logic are they actually “facts” because someone wrote them down eons ago? Or are they “facts interpreted by people with experiences that influenced their rational for labeling them facts?

Yes, I know deep thought stuff. However deep thought seems to be the only tool left to us that can form any type of common sense out into the open. To base our facts upon theory or hypothetical illusions is nonsense. To take to heart every fact that ever was and yet has been changed through the ages is also nonsense. However, gathering whatever information is out there deciphering it, dissecting it and filtering it through our common sense and experiences is where we will find our truths to live by. Where our own innate understanding will rise to our intellectual capability and allow us to follow a path that in the end will be our “facts”, tempered by our instincts, and emboldened by our experiences, only then will we believe half of what we read and all of what we see. Only then will facts actually become facts because we will have lived them.

And that is how I See It here in Jackson!

K

45th & Perception

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I cannot turn on Social Media or the Television without finding a negative expose about our 45th President of the United States of America.  My first thought about those statements about him from the Democrats, Liberals, Some Women and Some Young Men is wow they are saying “Pay back is a Bitch”. Only in the very next moment, I think, these poor people have no idea how much harm they are creating in the country that has given them everything they could ever truly want.

All of their protests, name calling, bashing, disrespect, hating won’t really change the world or even so much as make a dent in the corruption of politics nowadays.  All it is doing is causing a rift between the people in America who believe in America surviving or America dying.  Okay a bit dramatic there, but let me put it another way, America dying the way their parents and grandparents view their country.

I truly feel sorry for all of us.  America was not built to be a socialist country no matter how many arguments are out there about Social Security or some other earned credit program.    Many times people use that argument, but Social Security is not an entitlement it is saved earnings in every legal citizen’s paycheck.  Welfare, food stamps, SSI, medicare, medicaid they are entitlements or benefits if you prefer that word. But, I digress.  As I was saying, America was built through the ugliest word in the country today, Capitalism.  It is MONEY.  Money has driven us from the get go.  Whether we didn’t have any, or we had too much.  Money in today’s world is a dirty word because not very many people have enough money to live with the rising costs of everything.  People have forgotten that values are more important on your death bed.  If those you love will miss you is important.  America cannot survive without some kind of respect for money.  It will not flourish, it will decay and it will become a third world because there is not any idea out there that will take care of all the people that need money and care.

Our 45th President represents “money” and so the hate begins there. Some think he is somewhat “crude” in his speeches.  Some think he is getting down to join them.  Some think he is brilliant in his idea of being straight forward and not holding back any of the punches to the people he thinks may need them.  Some believe he is a racist.  (If anyone had the guts to admit it, there isn’t one person in all of the USA who isn’t racist, they are just too afraid to say it to themselves.  Most would never act upon that feeling, but everyone feels it and it has been inside of all of us for generations). Some believe he is an ego-maniac out only to benefit himself and his family and friends.  Some say he thrives on the power.  Some say, no, its the craving for popularity.  Some think he hates women.  Some think he hates anyone who isn’t a white male.  In the whole scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks because he is sitting in the White House as the 45th President of the United States of America.  (It doesn’t but, that sentence alone should make all citizens stand up and take notice).  He is a leader in World Powers.  What he does affects the country and the world.  So far, I would say he hasn’t done anything at all to hurt this country or the World for that matter.  He is in office less than 100 days and yet, he has been given no chance whatsoever to show that he is worthy of the responsibility that three million or so Americans gave to him.

Now, I would say what about my fellow Americans? If you don’t want to accept the President and give him the chance he needs and has earned, then what about your neighbor who does, don’t you give a crap about them?  What about the Americans who still hold onto the vision of a majestic, beautiful America, don’t they have a right to appreciate their vision of America?  What about the Americans who would never harm another soul, but are angry at being harmed by people who come here, hate it, hurt it, or our friends and families, would you rather we condone and give right to terrorists from any country even those indoctrinated Americans?   If you are great socialists of the world who hate our President, why are you not caring enough as a “socialist” that you are making enemies of those who don’t hate our President? Do you ever think to give the President a chance to prove what you are claiming is actually true?  Maybe he will do all the awful things you claim in your social media posts and television spots.  Maybe he will be the worst President ever, (though I doubt that).  If he isn’t given a chance to show us exactly the vision and direction he has for America by getting legislation passed and America thriving again, you will have no one but yourselves to blame.  It won’t be his fault that you made his legacy by disrupting everything that he attempts to get done.  It won’t  be his fault if the country dies, it will be yours.

Most Americans believe in America or at least take advantage of all the good that is offered by America.  That is a good thing.  It is a patriotic attitude. Do you also believe that we live by the laws of America?  Because we do, the law and the Constitution show us what is right and just.  The laws rule us more than any one man or collection of men and women who represent us, the people.  No laws have been broken by the 45th President of the United States nor proven to have been.  No laws have been proposed to change anything that each American has rightfully gained through our struggles.  We always have a say, if we want one.  We write and/or call our representatives and we tell them, “no don’t pass that law, or no, that proposal is not good, please vote it down”.  We all have a voice that way.  We can do it without bashing each other because we have different feelings about a man.  We can all do it without disrupting our streets with meaningless protests.  We can all look deep, deep down into our hearts and give the 45th President a chance without using our own perception of what life is supposed to be, but rather how possibly it could be under the leadership of a person, who up to now has never waivered from his love of America.  Irregardless of anything he has personally done, he has never, ever said a hateful thing about the United States and since we all share this country and live as neighbors to one another, shouldn’t we at least give him a chance?  I know I will and until he proves me wrong, or my perception of him wrong, I will keep that promise to myself because I, too, love my country and would never choose its’ well-being and the well-being of its’ citizens over any other country on earth.

And that is The Way I See It, here in Brooklyn.

K

©Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Fourth of July

 

It’s amazing how quickly the time flies. A half a year has already gone by and the Fourth of July is upon us once again. Funny, it never seemed to go as quickly when I was younger. I can recall waiting for the holidays and it seemed to take forever before they materialized. I suppose the first holiday of the year that I enjoyed the most was the fourth of July. Not because there were firecrackers and noise, I still can’t stand that part, but I always liked getting to hold the sparklers in the evening outside our tenement. It was the one time I remember my parents being “outside” with me. There we would be standing outside the tenement on seventh avenue in Park Slope, all our neighbors joining in. Some would light the firecrackers in the “gutter” while most of us got to twirl those sparklers as our parents lit them. I can recall making sure to get the “punks” earlier in the day at the neighborhood candy store. The punks (something along the line of incense) would keep the light from one match and light up our sparklers best of all. The only part I didn’t enjoy was when the sparks from the sparklers would throw out the sparks that would land on my hands and arms and cause me to feel a tiny little burning sensation.  It was really nothing and never left a mark, but I would fuss because secretly they scared me somewhat.  My favorite part was the fourth of July food.  We always managed to have hot dogs and corn on the cob and watermelon and italian ices from our local pizza place.  All among my favorites as a child.

There was one incident I remember as a very small child where I did something so horrific that when I think about it today, I cringe.  After the fourth of July ended, I had to be around seven years old at the time, I found a hidden stash of sparklers in our apartment.  So I decided to light one inside the house.  I snuck into my brother’s room which was the tiniest room in the apartment and lit a sparkler with my mother’s matchbook.  Well it was stinging my hand a lot so I got really frightened and decided to throw the sparkler out the window, thinking to myself that by the time it got to the ground it would die out.  You see we lived on the top floor of a tenement above a store on seventh avenue at the time, so it had a long way to fall and blow out.  The only problem was that the window in the bedroom was connected by an “airshaft” meaning it was the portion of the tenement where the row of tenements were connected and down below there were papers and other paraphernalia which had been blown there.  Well that sparkler did not burn out, instead it caught fire to the papers that were at the bottom of the air shaft. Luckily for me the janitor in the building saw the smoke right away and doused the fire from the sparkler.  My Guardian Angel or the Universe or something had to be watching out for me that day because a  tragedy was avoided.  I did however, get severely punished and rightfully so, when the janitor came banging on our door wanting to know who threw the lit sparkler from the window.  I tried to deny it, but I never could keep my face from showing the truth and was found out.  From that day till this I have never touched nor lit a sparkler or any firework.  As a matter of fact, I truly don’t enjoy any type of fireworks anymore.  It just reminds me of a war zone.

As a matter of fact, it does amuse me when I see how excited children and adults get when they see the lights in the sky.  I often wonder what the beauty is in them.  I have tried to keep an open mind and enjoy the sight, but deep down it just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.  Perhaps my distaste stems from my associated punishment or from those tiny burning sensations, but whatever the reason, I will just keep “oohing and aching” with the rest of the world at the Fourth of July fireworks and be grateful that I am alive to see another year and another holiday pass by so quickly.  Most of all, I will keep looking forward to the current day celebration where there will be hot dogs, watermelon, corn on the cob and maybe even Italian ices to enjoy!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

 

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And that is the “Way I See It” here in Brooklyn.

K