Winning and Losing: a Mindset

Turning on the television, a great play prevented a pick-six.  For those who don’t watch a lot of football, Russell Wilson threw what looked like a sure touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks, but he floated the ball.  A Cardinal defender intercepted the ball, from the end zone, on a dead run, which means touchdown going the other way like 95% of the time.  However, Metcalf, a Seahawks receiver, saw the pick, and without even thinking about it, closed the distance from a stopped position and ran down the interceptor, closing the 15 yards separation, and tackled him on the eight yard line.  Well, what looked like a touchdown going the other way ended up netting the Cardinals exactly zero points.

            What Metcalf did, by running down the interceptor, was inspire his team mates, so from the eight yard line, they never allowed the Cardinals into the end zone.   

            And that’s the difference between winning teams and those coming close.  That’s the difference between winning individuals and those who come close.  That’s the difference between Super Bowl contenders and those watching the big game on television at home.  Two teams may be excellent, but the difference between the winner and second place is guys like Metcalf.  Just like Michael Jordan and Karl Malone in basketball.  Michael wins six championships and Karl none.  Both are amazing players but one wants it more.  In some players, one thinks they’re amazing and should win big, the other works endlessly to win every game, seeing the big moments that make all the difference. 

            And we believe, this is why Belichik (He has a total 8 Super Bowl wins, two with the Giants as an assistant.) and Brady, with an amazing cast, went to nine Super Bowls, winning six, with most games (perhaps all) decided by a touchdown or less.  They did everything they could to win, never believing otherwise.  And we see Brady, today, with Bruce Arian, turning Tampa Bay into a post-season headed team, an amazing defense doing great things.  They wanted to win, and with Tom, they see the possibilities, but continue working incredibly hard for the goal.  And Tom makes others around him believe. 

            In New England, we see Cam Newton, a great quarterback, throwing interceptions.  In a sense, Brady is football’s idea of Michael Jordan and Cam Newton is akin to Karl Malone.  One does everything to win.  The other can win big but doesn’t see each moment and each game.  It’s the difference of careers.  And Belichik understands this, but time will tell when next year, they’ll search for a new quarterback, one who has the desire to win big, doing the hard work in all the little things. 

            And some people love to see the Patriots, after the past two decades of winning big, of having consistent 10+ winning seasons, usually 12 or more, now having a losing season to start.  Most of those people are the media of the world, the Joe Bidens of the world, the socialists of the world.  They “hate” or greatly dislike the Patriots because they want it all, will do all they can to win, and never look back.  But they will also see Belichik making positive changes this year, and next year, back to winning form.  It’s in Belichik’s DNA. 

            It’s also why the media hated, or disliked the Patriots.  Why?  Because they believed in themselves and each other.  They believed they would win, did everything to win, and didn’t care what anyone else thought.  Belichik didn’t even want to talk to the media, answering as little as possible, and his players, knowing what Belichik wanted, didn’t say much to the media.  The media doesn’t like individual success stories, doesn’t like the winning attitude, doesn’t like freedom of thought, doesn’t like when people don’t “cow-tow” to them, and they do everything to tear down individuality.  They don’t like people that don’t “sell out”, don’t fear opinion, that just go about doing their best and winning big. 

            That’s also why the media hates, or dislikes, probably hates, President Donald Trump.  He’s not a politician.  He’s an extremely successful business man who’s always done it his way, even wrote books about the way of success, and never looked back.  He’s a very successful pragmatist.  Where people and the media are against him, he just goes on without looking back.  As president, he saw the problems, fixed many of the problems, used common sense, then turned the economy around.  He also engendered a belief in the individual, in the country, in America as the best country ever, then set about bringing the idea of success, individuality, and freedom through strength to other democracies.  He’s a winner, promoting a winning attitude, to nations all around.  He’s unflappable.  He even seems to be getting younger.  And in a sense, he’s even having an effect on undemocratic countries:  for the better.   What we’re seeing, with President Trump in office, is a resurgence of a winning attitude all around. 

            And they hate, or extremely dislike, probably hate him for this.  Which means they hate those who voted for him.  You and me.  Why?  Because they can’t control him.  He’s demonstrating what all of us should appreciate:  being yourself and being successful in being yourself.  And the media doesn’t know what that means because most of them sell-out their individualism for a “we” attitude, which means, none of them, or almost none of them, is willing to follow the rabbit of reason and think for themselves.  To them, group think, is easier.  In college, they probably spoke the ways of their propagandist/ progressive professors, fitting in with their propagandist/ progressive peers.  Do and report what everyone else says and does and you’ll have a career.  But no one will ever remember them for anything of real significance. 

            And that’s Joe Biden.  Even if he, somehow, were to become president someday, no one will ever remember him as one who was an individual.  Notice, most people are already forgetting the previous administration.  His voters like Joe because he won’t stand on principle.  They want him because he sells out to special interests and they, his voters, hope to gain some scraps from the government.  In other words, most of his supporters don’t believe in themselves, have stopped believing in freedom with responsibility, and are waiting around the dinner table for their ideals. 

            It’s also why “they” fear Justice Amy Barrett.  Why?  Because she can’t be controlled.  She won’t sell out.  She’s a success by being true to her principles.  She cannot be run by any special interests.  Even President Donald Trump knows Mrs. Amy Barrett won’t support him where justice is concerned.  And that’s why he nominated her.  He knew only a strong, hard-working, person of an impeccable nature, one who puts the U.S. Constitution and America first would be good for America.

            You see, President Donald Trump and Metcalf (regarding football) have an inner constitution determined to win, and both will be amazing, one for the country, the other for his team.  Both don’t wait for consensus, but to lead and create consensus.  Both make the people around them better.  And our president reminds us of what has been forgotten since President Ronald Reagan led the nation.  And because we know he never needed the job of president, that he could have been making a ton of money in the private sector, but that he became president because he saw the incredible damage done and coming, we know we can trust him. 

            Joe Biden looked at government and found a way to fit in.  He learned how to gain supporters by saying what he thought they wanted to hear.  He learned to work within his party, say the “right” things behind closed doors, because he does not believe in himself.  He does not believe in the U.S. Constitution.  He does not believe in real America.  He does not believe he can rise to incredible heights on his own, by his own true values (if he even has any anymore), and by his own ability to lead.  In other words, he’s a leader only by being a follower first, to the puppet masters.  And he does not fight/work for working America.  He says one thing to one crowd, another thing to another.  He goes with the political wind, but he won’t stand where he should because he owes so much to the puppet masters.  So, as such, we know we can’t trust him. 

Words Have Meaning

            A friend of a friend asked why it’s so difficult to get people to understand the seriousness of today’s issues.  I must admit that I have wondered the same thing.  But I think I have an answer, which has the benefit of patience.  Part of the answer has to do with our experiences, the information we have thus far, but also how that information came to us and how we processed.  Who we surround ourselves with will also have bearing, and our emotions play into how we perceive and rank importance of subject matters.

            For instance, if I’ve never been in the oil industry, have not the education that oil is pretty much used in a tremendous amount of products like Styrofoam and plastics, not to mention tires and so many other things we use daily, but I’ve seen both inner city smog and hear the problems of pollution, then my natural inclination would be that we need to get rid of oil, end fracking, and move towards clean energy, more so if I don’t know that creating electric cars creates a whole other energy process that pollutes the environment.  Perhaps, I don’t know that the environment is the cleanest in many, many years.

            Recently, we heard that CO2 is the cleanest in many, many years.  So, with the laptop nearby, we looked it up.  Apparently, this is very true.  So, I would think there would be celebrations in the streets, scientists extremely happy. 

            I laughed when I saw the articles.   Many articles explained that though CO2 emissions are way down, it won’t help.  Well, rather than reacting with emotions over the fate of the world, I reasoned.  Why, I thought, if “they” have been wanting a decrease in CO2 emissions, and they have decreased significantly, would they continue the doomer-gloomer scenario?  For if a significant drop doesn’t give hope, then there is no reason to reduce pollutions, for the answer doesn’t lie there, if we go by their articles.  However, if they really believe CO2 emissions must be reduced, and they reduce, then there must be another motivation, probably political, but also probably disinformation and someone is making money by our efforts.  There’s an old saying.  Follow the money trail.  For when companies pay for penalties, where is that money going?  When regulations are being enforced, creating great difficulties for companies, who are the workers making money by enforcing those regulations.  And what about carbon credits?  And another thing, who do these new companies, the ones that are energy efficient, giving part of their income to, whether in payouts or stock options? 

            What I’m saying is the difference between real information and beliefs.  But also ulterior motives.  So, I shared with this fellow two things:  1) The people we think can’t seem to understand what we know have information that is also valid, but based upon the incomplete information they currently have, and 2) Though we know some things, even our information is incomplete.  We base our decisions upon the information we have.  Yes, we have good information.  But we can still learn more which might affect our decisions.  Then there’s #3:  the disinformation sources that make money from our ignorance or unawareness.

            Yes, I am critical when I hear points of view that I know are wrongly motivated and results in terrible conclusions.  Less so with the youth, because they haven’t the experience and gathered information in order to make better conclusions.  For them, I know the responsibility lies with their elders who have the responsibility of thinking for themselves and correcting error when they are known, but also to get them thinking for themselves.  But I encourage them to continue their reasoning, gather information, and listen carefully as they grow up.  I encourage them, even when they think they know, to not stop there.  For I question people I trust, and in that way, we check each other.  However, once someone is an adult of several years, especially if they are in the position of educating young people, then I believe a certain mental laziness exists with many, unchecked opinions, and perhaps a certain self-importance resulting in ridiculous conclusions.  Perhaps they even have an agenda, and that opens up an entire set of questions.  And as I see it, that can do harm to the next generation and our country.  When I was young, that type of thinking would have garnered me harsh words, for my elders would have wanted to encourage real thinking and not haphazard opinions.  And if I were wrongly motivated, I would have garnered even harsher words. 

            However, the other day, on CSPAN, I was listening to varying opinions.  What I heard, even with those I disagree with are many decent people sharing their views.  A couple of people shared well-reasoned arguments.  And in my youth, I would have agreed with them.  However, I also have something that doesn’t allow information to remain unchecked.  It’s kind of like something stuck in my craw that won’t let me go.  Something wouldn’t have sat with me as right, which eventually would need resolution, even if years later.  There would have been a pondering, which maybe many years later, would have caused more pondering and research.  But they are decent people and have points, and they care.  But then, there were others that don’t seem they could ever fight their way out of wet paper bags.  No clarity.  Emotional.  Thoughts racing in every direction.  People who don’t follow the rabbit down the trail of reason, but other rabbits that can’t follow any trail for any length of time, except in worry and fear.  And the above explains how people can make decisions that we understand works against them and the nation.

            For instance, when I was young, I loved that minimum wages was increasing because it meant more money in my pocket.  But for some reason, though no one ever explained how the economy works to any great degree, I remember a pause in me.  I realized I was happy for making money I hadn’t earned.  For some reason, though I liked making more money, I was uncomfortable with the idea of wages artificially increasing.  You mean, I thought, I’m making more money because of a new regulation and not because I’m doing a better job?  In business, the only way people make more money (except for artificial increases and company decisions as when a fast food chain gives bi-yearly raises for showing up) is if the company makes more money.  But in many businesses, workers make more money only if they produce more money for the company.  Which completely makes sense. 

            You see, I didn’t like the idea I was getting a raise for no increase in production.  I didn’t like the idea that I was making more for just being there.  And as a teacher, I didn’t like the idea of raises if I didn’t better prepare the students, improving their chances of future success.  So, we (my teacher friends and I) worked hard, researched, understood the curriculum, and supplemented with lessons and creative projects.  Yes, of course, I accepted the money, for who wouldn’t.  But I wanted to improve, to provide better lessons and projects, and as such, provide a better education for those I was responsible in teaching.

            But I understand why many like the idea of raising the minimum wages.  If they don’t have an awareness inside that causes them to ponder, don’t understand how a true economy works, and have been propagandized to believe companies have plenty of money to give away, then it’s easy to see that they would love their unearned raises.  But they would also see coworkers losing their jobs, product prices rising, and more work required of them.  And if that doesn’t start pondering, then they might start complaining, perhaps listening to other uninformed coworkers who say the company is greedy and expects too much.  I remember in many odd jobs prior to a career, people complaining about management’s greed.  But that also caused a pause.  I didn’t understand where they were coming from.  Were management greedy, or was that propaganda, I wondered?

            But later, I also thought, well, if you want more money, why not get experience, obtain skills, and learn things so you’re in more demand.  In other words, put yourself in a position in which companies and organizations will want you.  Then, while you have a good paying job, you can still be putting out resumes and applications, then move to a better paying job or career when called into interviews.  And while in a job/career, keep learning, keep improving, and rise up the ladder of opportunity.  You might even, as you learn more, decide to own your own business.  And this should be taught to kids while they’re young, for they can be learning trades early, in their own time, perhaps supported by the parents.

            Instead of the young waiting for others to give them more, instill in them the idea that, in a sense, they’re on their own, that the only way they’ll earn more is by their own efforts.  But that puts the opportunity in their pockets.  I remember a relative telling his/her teenaged child that no one will ever help her/him.   Of course, the parents provided, took care of their children, and were always there.  What the relative meant was don’t look for others to do what you should be doing yourself.  And don’t wait for the world to give you everything.  Earn what you have.  But also, do the job(s) in such a fashion that you’re not only helping yourself, but benefitting others.  That results in a more positive and can-do attitude.  And that’s self-motivating.

            Here’s what we’re saying.  Patience.  People have views based upon their experiences and information, or the lack thereof, and we continue to learn from others.  The best we can do is to continue observing, listening, learning, and talking, then be in position to educate others without self-importance.  Like a friend explained, we want to encourage others with what others encouraged us when we knew little.  We want to encourage.  And in this way, we are working together. 

Words Mean Things

            A friend of a friend asked why it’s so difficult to get people to understand the seriousness of today’s issues.  I must admit that I have wondered the same thing.  But I think I have an answer, which has the benefit of patience.  Part of the answer has to do with our experiences, the information we have thus far, but also how that information came to us and how we processed.  Who we surround ourselves with will also have bearing, and our emotions play into how we perceive and rank importance of subject matters.

            For instance, if I’ve never been in the oil industry, have not the education that oil is pretty much used in a tremendous amount of products like Styrofoam and plastics, not to mention tires and so many other things we use daily, but I’ve seen both inner city smog and hear the problems of pollution, then my natural inclination would be that we need to get rid of oil, end fracking, and move towards clean energy, more so if I don’t know that creating electric cars creates a whole other energy process that pollutes the environment.  Perhaps, I don’t know that the environment is the cleanest in many, many years.

            Recently, we heard that CO2 is the cleanest in many, many years.  So, with the laptop nearby, we looked it up.  Apparently, this is very true.  So, I would think there would be celebrations in the streets, scientists extremely happy. 

            I laughed when I saw the articles.   Many articles explained that though CO2 emissions are way down, it won’t help.  Well, rather than reacting with emotions over the fate of the world, I reasoned.  Why, I thought, if “they” have been wanting a decrease in CO2 emissions, and they have decreased significantly, would they continue the doomer-gloomer scenario?  For if a significant drop doesn’t give hope, then there is no reason to reduce pollutions, for the answer doesn’t lie there, if we go by their articles.  However, if they really believe CO2 emissions must be reduced, and they reduce, then there must be another motivation, probably political, but also probably disinformation and someone is making money by our efforts.  There’s an old saying.  Follow the money trail.  For when companies pay for penalties, where is that money going?  When regulations are being enforced, creating great difficulties for companies, who are the workers making money by enforcing those regulations.  And another thing, who do these new companies, the ones that are energy efficient, giving part of their income to, whether in payouts or stock options? 

            What I’m saying is the difference between real information and beliefs.  But also ulterior motives.  So, I shared with this fellow two things:  1) The people we think can’t seem to understand what we know have information that is also valid, but based upon the incomplete information they currently have, and 2) Though we know some things, even our information is incomplete.  We base our decisions upon the information we have.  Yes, we have good information.  But we can still learn more which might affect our decisions.  Then there’s #3:  the disinformation sources that make money from our ignorance or unawareness.

            Yes, I am critical when I hear points of view that I know are wrongly motivated and results in terrible conclusions.  Less so with the youth, because they haven’t the experience and gathered information in order to make better conclusions.  For them, I know the responsibility lies with their elders who have the responsibility of thinking for themselves and correcting error when they are known, but also to get them thinking for themselves.  But I encourage them to continue their reasoning, gather information, and listen carefully as they grow up.  I encourage them, even when they think they know, to not stop there.  For I question people I trust, and in that way, we check each other.  However, once someone is an adult of several years, especially if they are in the position of educating young people, then I believe a certain mental laziness, unchecked opinions, and perhaps a certain self-importance results in ridiculous conclusions.  Perhaps they even have an agenda, and that opens up an entire set of questions.  And as I see it, that can do harm to the next generation and our country.  That type of thinking would have garnered me harsh words, for my elders would have wanted to encourage real thinking and not haphazard opinions.  And if I were wrongly motivated, I would have garnered even harsher words. 

            However, the other day, on CSPAN, I was listening to varying opinions.  What I heard, even with those I disagree with are many decent people’s views.  A couple of people shared well-reasoned arguments.  And in my youth, I would have agreed with them.  However, I also have something that doesn’t allow information to remain unchecked.  It’s kind of like something stuck in my craw that won’t let me go.  Something wouldn’t have sat with me as right, which eventually would need resolution, even if years later.  There would have been a pondering, which maybe many years later, would have caused more pondering and research.  But they are decent people and have points, and they care.  But then, there were others that don’t seem they could ever fight their way out of wet paper bags.  No clarity.  Emotional.  Thoughts racing in every direction.  People who don’t follow the rabbit down the trail of reason, but other rabbits that can’t follow any trail for any length of time. Or, they stop short of following all the way to the touchdown of understanding fully.  And the above explains how people can make decisions that we understand works against them and the nation.

            For instance, when I was young, I loved that minimum wages was increasing because it meant more money in my pocket.  But for some reason, though no one ever explained how the economy works to any great degree, I remember a pause in me.  I realized I was happy for making money I hadn’t earned.  For some reason, though I liked making more money, I was uncomfortable with the idea of wages artificially increasing.  You mean, I thought, I’m making more money because of a new regulation and not because I’m doing a better job?  In business, the only way people make more money (except for artificial increases and company decisions as when a fast food chain gives bi-yearly raises for showing up) is if the company makes more money.  But in many businesses, workers make more money if they produce more money.  Which completely makes sense. 

            You see, I didn’t like the idea I was getting a raise for no increase in production.  I didn’t like the idea that I was making more for just being there.  I wanted to be a reason for my own raises. And as a teacher, I didn’t like the idea of raises if I didn’t better prepare the students, improving their chances of future success.  Yes, of course, I accepted the money, for who wouldn’t.  But I wanted to improve, to provide better lessons and projects, and as such, provide a better education for those I was responsible in teaching.

            But I understand why many like the idea of raising the minimum wages.  If they don’t have an awareness inside that causes them to ponder, don’t understand how a true economy works, and have been propagandized to believe companies have plenty of money to give away, then it’s easy to see that they would love their unearned raises.  But they would also see coworkers losing their jobs, product prices rising, and more work required of them.  And if that doesn’t start pondering, then they might start complaining, perhaps listening to other uninformed coworkers who say the company is greedy and expects too much.  I remember in man odd jobs prior to a career, people complaining about management’s greed.  But that also caused a pause.  I didn’t understand where they were coming from. 

            But later, I also thought, well, if you want more money, why not get experience, obtain skills, and learn things so you’re in more demand.  In other words, put yourself in a position in which companies and organizations will want you.  Then, while you have a good paying job, you can still be putting out resumes and applications, then move to a better paying job or career when called into interviews.  And while in a job/career, keep learning, keep improving, and rise up the ladder of opportunity.  You might even, as you learn more, decide to own your own business.  And this should be taught to kids while they’re young, for they can be learning trades early, in their own time, perhaps supported by the parents.

            Instead of the young waiting for others to give them more, instill in them the idea that, in a sense, they’re on their own, that the only way they’ll earn more is by their own efforts.  I remember a relative telling his/her teenaged child that no one will ever help her/him.   Of course, the parents provided, took care of their children, and were always there.  What the relative meant was don’t look for others to do what you should be doing yourself.  And don’t wait for the world to give you everything.  Earn what you have.  But also, do the job(s) in such a fashion that you’re not only helping yourself, but benefitting others.  That results in a more positive and can-do attitude.  And that’s self-motivating.

            Here’s what we’re saying.  Patience.  People have views based upon their experiences and information, or the lack thereof, and we continue to learn from others.  The best we can do is to continue observing, listening, learning, and talking, then be in position to educate others without self-importance.  Like a friend explained, we want to encourage others with what others encouraged us when we knew little.  We want to encourage.  And in this way, we are working together. 

Real Conversation: A Lost Art

As with discussions with friends and colleagues, I enjoy learning as much as I talk.  Sometimes, if two of my friends are discussing, debating, or pondering, I’ll just sit by, listening.  Don’t have to say anything as I appreciate their perspectives, both in agreement and disagreement with my own.  Like sometimes as a teacher, I might tell the students, “Okay.  I’m done hearing myself.  What are your views on the subject?”  I always enjoyed hearing the views of my students, even if I disagreed, because sometimes they taught me something I hadn’t considered.  And that’s the benefit of talking with friends and colleagues, debating, and hearing words of wisdom based on different experiences.  Which makes one think.

            Yes, I know, my articles can be long-winded.  The difficulty is giving a more complete writing on topics that need a fuller explanation.  And I suppose, writing longer articles can give the impression that the blogger is just sharing, not really seeking other points of view.  But I certainly appreciate reading others’ views.  Which is also why I read others’ blogs:  to get their views and perspectives.  Sometimes commenting on their sites which I find many appreciate.  And sometimes, blogging is a way of responding to the plethora of articles found.

            Blogging can be a great avenue of bringing back quality discussions.  And those reading might appreciate others discussing.  Kind of like watching from the sidelines.  So, my hopes are to engender comments.  Even if the comments respectfully disagree with my perspectives.  Because as I shared in the last article, opposing views, supplemental views, or the bringing of insights benefits readers also following the rabbit down the trail of reason.  With time, we then get more blogs of insightful, life learned, and/or different perspectives.  And this benefits the next generation, for while we contemplate and learn, they can learn from our experiences.

            I think discussions and debates are a lost art.  More recently, I went fishing with a neighbor.  We had given each other things, talked at length, and knew the same neighbors.  Well, while fishing, somehow the topics of the debates came up.  We discovered we were for different candidates.   So, I said, it’s good to talk and agree to disagree, that we both have good reasons for our beliefs.  Well, I have to say, other than when I came by to give some fishing magazines, we hadn’t talked since.  I noticed a different look in their eyes. 

            Now whether it’s what I think or something else, they were in the process of moving and never said goodbye.  We had known each other for nearly a year, talked multiple times, helped each other, and shared interests.  I have seen this before as readers might attest in their own experiences, which I think is why many people avoid saying anything regarding politics, lest they find themselves on opposing sides.

            But that’s what happens when people forgot, or never knew, how to converse, that the sharing of ideas is a way to challenge one’s own thinking, but also to bring about a better understanding.  It used to be, when I was growing up, that the adults discussed history and current events.  And they didn’t always agree.  But they talked, remaining family and friends afterward.  And that’s the possibility of blogging:  to encourage ideas, alternate opinions, and discussions in written form.  Perhaps, in this, more will then be better ready to “talk” with family and friends about viewpoints.  Without getting angry, too angry, or shutting each other out.  Leave that type of behavior to the politicians, many who are like over-grown children still crying “he took my pencil” or “it was her fault.”

It’s What They Don’t Say

            While watching a couple debates in the past, a couple decades ago (One had Geraldine Heraro, I believe, debating with another candidate.), we noticed a particularly noticeable “tactic” we also saw in the more recent discussions:  the unanswered questions.  Now, we also know, some questions are “loaded”, meaning “set up” questions in which there is no right answer, for where the media is concerned, any answer results in barbs and darts.  And in this case, we can understand why some politicians answer in a way that seems like avoidance, but we see a real answer coming that answers.  However, in other cases, it’s just pure avoidance.  They’re speaking in a way to support their supporters, but they’re also attempting to be all things to all people, which means their votes on bills can be bought by the highest and most supportive bidder. Their words are framed to avoid voters rejecting them, but keeps the supporters happy, also understanding the game of avoidance.

            In some families, there is one that is different from the rest.   We used to call them the black sheep of the family.  I think it was a saying that came from the bible.  You know.  The one sheep that strayed, so the owner left his other sheep to find the one lost sheep.  It’s a story demonstrating the importance of all the sheep.  Perhaps, some readers can relate.  Perhaps, they see things the rest of the family doesn’t understand them.   While growing up, I pondered why my views often seemed unheard, or not taken seriously.  We didn’t “debate” the ideas, just never talked about them.  I understand that now. 

            Just today, I was talking to one younger relative.  I asked him if he had voted, but also I explained the importance of voting for the candidate I know will support the U.S. Constitution, which means our freedoms with responsibility.  Actually, I texted.  The response came back that he hadn’t yet decided, was still not seeing how “my candidate” would address the needs of this nation.  **I wondered to myself, if he had just listened to some of the debates, some of the talks, read the bills being voted on in the past, read some, and followed the rabbit of reason, he would have that information. 

            That response:  “I don’t yet see how the candidate will address important issues,” and “I haven’t yet decided,” are all too familiar responses.  It’s an avoidance.  It’s learned.  It’s something that we hear in society over and over.  In many, if not most discussions, the one saying “I don’t yet see how the candidate will address the important issues” means they’re not voting for that candidate, have or will be voting for the other, but also can’t explain why they’re not voting for one, but the other.  If I say to that person, well I can share why I like that candidate, and they decide to walk away, then I know they’re either uncomfortable with real discussions, don’t want to follow the rabbit of reason, or they don’t want their ideas challenged to be spoken.  It’s also an avoidance of supporting one’s reasons to one who does know the issues.  *But, I must admit, it also might just be that the person really hasn’t thought about it, does care as much as we do, perhaps because they haven’t lived long enough to connect the dots from political positions and the effect on our society.   

            I ended up texting back, explaining what my candidate has done and will do, supporting the U.S. Constitution, but also what the other candidate will do, including raising our taxes, creating endless regulations, and removing our constitutional rights.  But I also asked him to look up the candidates and their running mates, checking their voting records and political stances.  I hope he does.  He’s a great person, but he grew up and lived in an environment that is very much one-sided.  I only hope, as he has done in many other areas, that he thinks for himself.  It doesn’t matter to me who he votes for, but just that he does the hard work, researches, follows the rabbit down the trail of reason.  For if he votes wrong this time, with the passing years, he’ll eventually vote for the best candidates for this country, by his own reasoning. 

            There are certain phrases that tells us where a person is coming from.  Those who have reasoned, watched, listened, read, researched, followed the rabbit down the trail of reason, making that a positive habit, and are honest with themselves and others, state exactly what they believe, why they believe, and show the cause and effect relationships without getting angry, so long as the listener is truly listening.  Otherwise, what’s the point?  I wouldn’t answer a person who pretends to listen to me, but is just waiting to argue, hearing their own voice.   But in my case, I’m really listening.  And that’s difficult for some people. 

            If someone says things like:  1) I feel this person really understands me and the needs of this country, 2) There are serious needs and I think this candidate can lead us into the twenty-first century, 3) He/she is against some people, and some such things, I know I’m listening to a person who has not followed the rabbit down the trail of reason, has been emotionalized by their peers and others, and has learned not to speak frankly.  Because in repeating some such phrases, they’re really saying nothing.  They have learned the technique of avoidance, saying what their peers like, without ever taking a hard stance.  They’ve learned to be vague, because vagueness signals to others that they don’t take hard, firm stances, preferring not to engage in debates.  But they also tell me that they’re conditioned and will vote for the candidate who speaks flowery words, but isn’t firm on what they really mean.  Perhaps, they can’t see that they’re avoiding.  And there’s nothing I, or anyone else, can do to explain the condition they’re in, because it’s a learned behavior that has been reinforced over and over.  For instance, say a young man has learned to “fit in” wherever he is, but is surrounded by people like the above, who say things without ever cementing their ideas.  He learns to like that environment because words are flowery, feelings come first, and as long as he doesn’t take strong stances, he can be “liked” by everyone.  So, he finds a core set of friends, a girlfriend who really likes him, and as such, is in that environment most of the time.  And he finds them in his work.  He’s accepted because he behaves in a way that the others approve.  As such, he can never truly think for himself, follow the rabbit down the trail of reason, because if he does so, “they’ll” start to see something “different” about him.  And “they” don’t like it.  Eventually, like the black sheep of the family, they won’t share their ideas with him, he’ll feel like he’s no longer “in”, perhaps even talked about when he’s not there or in quiet whispers out of his hearing range, and he’ll want to change his views where he’s loved and accepted, back in the “in crowd.”  Being in the “in crowd” feels like love.  It feels like acceptance.  It feels like forever.  It isn’t.

            I know he’s already experienced some of this.  He had a great job, most everyone liked him, but he also thought for himself.  One of his coworkers explained to him that he might need to look for another job, even though all of his reviews were positive.  Why?  Because though he was a great worker, he thinks for himself, meaning he’ll do the job to the best of his ability.  But the environment he was in was more concerned with all workers being of the same mind and he was the “black sheep.”  Even though he followed all regulations.  **I wonder if he’ll continue to be himself, but I think so.  He found a higher paying job.  

            So, with my young relative, I don’t press the point.  We talk from time to time, but I encourage him to think for himself, on his own.  That’s the best I can do.  For that’s what I, and many of my friends, did.  None of us could be “talked into” any beliefs or stances.  We learned by the lessons of life.  And we paid attention.  And this, in these blogs, is what we’re encouraging in readers, knowing the “real” rabbit of reason will bring the right answers.

How We Miss Real Football

Watching Tulsa versus South Florida, there was a moment when a defender tackled the runner.  Because the runner was smaller and leaning down, the defender had no choice but to lower himself for the tackle (Can’t tackle with your legs.).  In football, such decisions are instantaneous.  The runner wants the first down, more yards, and to reach the end zone.  The tackler wants stop him.  He goes low, you go down low.

            For anyone who’s ever played football, they know nothing is absolutely predictable.  In going for a tackle, the tackle is dependent on multiple factors.  So, in this situation, as the tackler lowered himself to a smaller runner, he had to go as low, which when he hit the runner with his shoulder pads, the helmets clicked.  But there’s no way, in split-second moves, that either player knows where the helmets will be.  In watching the replay, we saw no indications of malicious intent, not even the lowering of the helmet in spear position.  In fact, it was the ball carrier that was in more the spear position.  The tackler was going in with his shoulder pads.  But by going down for the tackle, the helmet had to come down.  Their helmets clicked, not collided, hitting each other on the sides, no whiplash helmet movement of the runner/ball carrier.

            The result was the referee called a penalty and the defender was ejected from the game for a personal file, the indication was a helmet to helmet hit by the defender.  But I wonder, if the runner lowers himself, including his helmet, how in the world is the defender to make the tackle unless he lowers himself?  And that’s the gist of this article.

            The commentator made a thoughtful comment.  Perhaps, referees, when observing replay in full speed and slow replay from different angles, they should also consider “intent.”  No.  Of course you can’t know what’s in the player’s mind.  But body language can indicate purpose.  In this case, the runner lowered first, the tackler meeting the move to tackle, going in with shoulder pads first, the helmets happening to be there.

            People are amazed at how quarterbacks these days can throw four hundred yard games with consistency.  That was unheard of in our younger days.  But when the quarterback can’t be touched the moment the football leaves his hand, can’t be hit much below the hips, and can’t be touched above the neck, even in a regular tackle, of course the quarterback is going to throw more yards, more so if the receiver can’t be touched as well until he has the ball in his hands.  Or the defender has to be careful how he hits and from which direction. 

            And of course quarterbacks will have great days when the ball carrier is overly protected, such that, had that tackler not tackled because the way he tackled was the only way, runner get more after catch yardage.  No wonder.  They can’t tackle him for fear of a helmet collision. 

            Football is becoming a strange game, a boring game, and in a sense, not a game at all.  Regulations galore.  In the past, if the quarterback didn’t want to get hit, he threw it earlier, ran, or both.  If the tackler was close when the quarterback released the ball (say one foot away), he tackled, no fear of a penalty, for no lineman or line-backer can halt his movement one foot or yard away.  So what is happening is if the quarterback’s arm is moving forward, the lineman or linebacker must stop himself, and then the quarterback might hang onto the ball and run away when he should again have been tackled.  Again, more yardage for the quarterback and we’re getting closer to flag football.  If the receiver, coming across the middle of the field, didn’t want to get hit while trying to catch the ball, knowing the defender was going to inflict a harsh tackle, he lowered his hands and didn’t catch the ball.  Which is why, when we were growing up, two hundred passing yards was the norm, not three or four hundred.  We didn’t need constant instant replays on every call.  That takes the game out of the game.

            So, some of my friends wondered why I now watch more soccer and less football.  That’s because soccer is fluid.  The game happens on the field.  There’s no electronic communication between coach and players.  And there’s no instant replay, except on a few situations which used to not exist.  Calls are made by the one referee with the assistance of two side judges, and the game passes by far more quickly.  Like rugby, the game moves and moves.

            Football used to be football.  It used to be quarterbacks called their own plays, prepared in practice during the week.  Coaches talked with their players, when they were out of the game on the sidelines, and they used sign language from the sidelines, and the game moved.  And calls weren’t reviewed, no instant replays, otherwise, why have referees? 

            Yeah.  We still watch football.  We like college better.  At least, in college these days, players are playing, no money changing hands, and some hoping to make the NFL.  But there’s no guarantee of anything.   For most, college will be their last day of playing organized football.  So, more so, they’re playing because they enjoy the game.  College football coaches is another matter.  

The Birds

Watched “The Birds” today.  Interesting movie.  Great story line with several subplots. Seen it probably a dozen times.  There’s so much in it.  But the thing I noticed most was how the director focused on emotions, mostly fear.  As in other thrillers, like Psycho, they did a great job of focusing on emotions.   They brought the sense of fear right into the theatre, or if watched on the television, into the living room.  That seemed to be the growing theme in 1950’s – 1960’s movies:  fear.   *I used to wonder why some people liked to watch horror flicks.

            While watching a newer movie with color, modern cinematography, and all the nuances, we thought about how movies from the 50’s, even black and white films, were more frightening then what we see today.  So, we rented one.  While watching one of those older films, I was like, Wow!  Without modern technology, they utilized lighting, camera techniques like close-ups and tilted views, and great acting to bring stark fear to the screen.  Even the black and white aspect of those films created an atmosphere that color can’t.  These film-makers back then really understood how to engender fear, putting you right in the movie.  And that made sense why, as a child, we were more fearful of those movies, the more modern ones funny in comparison.  *Except, we’re seeing more using newer techniques, and I tend not to watch them after a few minutes.  Just not interested.

            Well, some of the best movies use reality as a basis.  In this case, human behaviors.  I suppose that’s how story writers get the audience to relate.  But here’s the thing I noticed, and it’s also true in everyday life.  In the fear state, trauma enhanced, the characters’ thinking changes.  Suddenly, their choices change.  They seemed to be becoming “programmed” by the events.  Perhaps, this is why one therapist on the radio explained that if a person is mugged or attacked, and a beautiful red sports car is in the scene, then from that day forward, beautiful red sports cars will affect him or her, along with other “things” in the scene.  I think it also explains why some people become obsessed with negativity, constantly ruminating about fearful things, because like watching horror flicks, they’re programmed to watch and think about, even though they’re scared. 

            That got us talking.  We see the news media constantly putting articles that may fill people with worry.  For instance, an asteroid that may be coming too close to the Earth (We did the research and the asteroid approached thousands of miles away.  And the scientists knew it was not a danger by charting its path.  Yet the media kept reporting it as a great concern.), constant commercials about one health need or many others, with some quick talk about serious side-effects, violence in the neighborhoods, how climate change may bring the end of civilizations, and more.  One woman I met was having panic attacks because of an earthquake in her home town.  She admitted she was listening to the news and reading articles on her Smart Phone all the time.  About the end of the world.  I suggested she turn everything off.  She agreed.  But it took me to say it for her to affirm what she had already suspected.  I explained earthquakes are common, that the Earth is incredibly adaptable, and that the Earth will be there, supporting all kinds of life long after we’re gone.

            Fear, or the pressure of fear, causes emotional reactions, but also trains us to behave a certain way.  More so if it’s constant, repetitive, keeping you off your game, and affecting your thinking on a day to day basis.  And for some reason, viewers keep going back to the negativity, worries, and fear mongering tactics.  And when we make decisions out of fear, because those decisions aren’t made while calm and clear-thinking, inevitably our decisions will be wrong or have some elements of wrong.  And we’re learning to make decisions while in a state of fear or trauma.  Like when a football team is down 10 points so they change their entire game plan, then lose by 40.   They probably were not as good a team, but by reacting, they lose by more points.  In other words, had they remained calm, just executed their plan as they planned, making some adjustments, they probably would have losed by only 20 points, but also, they might have been in position to win had the other team made mistakes instead of them.  Or in boxing matches, opponents try to elicit a reaction from the other.  They know if they can get their opponent emotionally off their game they’ll have a much better chance of winning.  It’s called getting into their heads.  But it’s more.  People are programmed by their hates and fears.  And we think this is why people can’t turn of the news media, keep watching horror movies, and more.   

            Bullies do this even if they don’t fully understand what they’re doing.  Probably most don’t even know why they’re doing it.  Many were bullied in their youth, perhaps by an older brother or bullies in the streets, and the only way they could get the monkey of their backs was to do it to someone else.  But they had to rationalize in their brains that is was funny, the other guy is a dork, or they like the adulation from friends for making others afraid.  Then, their victims are just like them, eventually having to compensate in one fashion or another, even if they think they’re being nice to compensate.  That’s partly why I don’t always trust “nice” people if I sense they’re compensating for fear and anger.  

            The point is all the negativity the media and politicians use, and perhaps why they don’t like one very positive, self-assured, politician who was a very successful business man (and still is) prior to taking office, is a method of emotionalizing us.  They constantly use negative ads, negative publicity, then point their fingers at a “scapegoat,” getting you, programming you, to believe in their rhetoric and propaganda.  It’s quite an amazing tactic on people unfamiliar with the methods.  I only know some.  But in watching them, more comes to light.

            Okay.  One more thing and we’re out of here.  Trying to keep this shorter.  In general, in communist countries, the powers that be create all kinds of problems for their own people, use rhetoric and propaganda, control the media outlets, and get rid of books except for their own.  And they cannot allow one free thinking individual, certainly not one in higher positions of influence, to exist.  They have to get rid of hopeful individuals who encourage you to think for yourself and believe in a better tomorrow:  on your own efforts.  This is called a fear state.  And in this state, many, perhaps most, perhaps close to all, believe what the propagandists tell them through the media, magazines, newspapers, books, and in places of information.  In those countries, it includes very young.  And any free thinkers are very careful not to speak their minds less they, and their families, are thrown into jail on made-up charges.  They cannot allow the youth to believe in anything else.  They have to control what the young learn, often through those in charge.  Then, because the people are angry and afraid, an outlet is given.  The finger is pointed at scapegoats, often America, as the reason for their problems.  The Jewish people, were seriously targeted, and whole countries believed in the lies.  And the effect of this was so strong we still see anti-semitism today. 

            How many people actually believe the wealthy are the problem?  How many people actually believe President Trump is attempting to take your rights away?  How many people actually think he’s a threat to them? Why, do you think, would they object to a person encouraging us to make America great again?   How many believe that conservatives are the enemy, which was reiterated over and over in the judicial confirmation hearings?  Ask yourself, why, is one person’s entire campaign is to get rid of the other?  Why pure negativity.  Could it be because one strong real person, who truly understands the U.S. Constitution and the foundations of real freedom with responsibility might wake up the entire country to embrace the U.S. Constitution and real freedoms with responsibility.  I read the other guy’s website, the one who constantly runs on negative campaigning.  At least 90% is negative campaigning solely focused on getting rid of another who helped improve the economy.   Wouldn’t a campaign be better if positive, telling you what they’ll do if elected, forgetting the other candidate?  For I have to believe the best campaign is built on what we, the people, truly want.  What we, without endless regulations and through the roof taxation, can do given the freedom to pursue our own dreams.  Supporting the U.S. Constitution which people never learn or read while growing up.   

            Okay.  Done.

What You Say Tells Everything: Well…, a Lot

A friend of a friend asked why it’s so difficult to get people to understand the seriousness of today’s issues.  I must admit that I have wondered the same thing.  But I think I have an answer, which has the benefit of patience.  Part of the answer has to do with our experiences, the information we have thus far, but also how that information came to us and how we processed.  Who we surround ourselves with will also have bearing, and our emotions play into how we perceive and rank importance of subject matters.

            For instance, if I’ve never been in the oil industry, have not the education that oil is pretty much used in a tremendous amount of products like Styrofoam and plastics, not to mention tires and so many other things we use daily, but I’ve seen both inner city smog and hear the problems of pollution, then my natural inclination would be that we need to get rid of oil, end fracking, and move towards clean energy, more so if I don’t know that creating electric cars creates a whole other energy process that pollutes the environment.  Perhaps, I don’t know that the environment is the cleanest in many, many years.

            Recently, we heard that CO2 is the cleanest in many, many years.  So, with the laptop nearby, we looked it up.  Apparently, this is very true.  So, I would think there would be celebrations in the streets, scientists extremely happy. 

            I laughed when I saw the articles.   Many articles explained that though CO2 emissions are way down, it won’t help.  Well, rather than reacting with emotions over the fate of the world, I reasoned.  Why, I thought, if “they” have been wanting a decrease in CO2 emissions, and they have decreased significantly, would they continue the doomer-gloomer scenario?  For if a significant drop doesn’t give hope, then there is no reason to reduce pollutions, for the answer doesn’t lie there, if we go by their articles.  However, if they really believe CO2 emissions must be reduced, and they reduce, then there must be another motivation, probably political, but also probably disinformation and someone is making money by our efforts.  There’s an old saying.  Follow the money trail.  For when companies pay for penalties, where is that money going?  When regulations are being enforced, creating great difficulties for companies, who are the workers making money by enforcing those regulations.  And another thing, who do these new companies, the ones that are energy efficient, giving part of their income to, whether in payouts or stock options? 

            What I’m saying is the difference between real information and beliefs.  But also ulterior motives.  So, I shared with this fellow two things:  1) The people we think can’t seem to understand what we know have information that is also valid, but based upon the incomplete information they currently have, and 2) Though we know some things, even our information is incomplete.  We base our decisions upon the information we have.  Yes, we have good information.  But we can still learn more which might affect our decisions.  Then there’s #3:  the disinformation sources that make money from our ignorance or unawareness.

            Yes, I am critical when I hear points of view that I know are wrongly motivated and results in terrible conclusions.  Less so with the youth, because they haven’t the experience and gathered information in order to make better conclusions.  For them, I know the responsibility lies with their elders who have the responsibility of thinking for themselves and correcting error when they are known, but also to get them thinking for themselves.  But I encourage them to continue their reasoning, gather information, and listen carefully as they grow up.  I encourage them, even when they think they know, to not stop there.  For I question people I trust, and in that way, we check each other.  However, once someone is an adult of several years, especially if they are in the position of educating young people, then I believe a certain mental laziness, unchecked opinions, and perhaps a certain self-importance results in ridiculous conclusions.  Perhaps they even have an agenda, and that opens up an entire set of questions.  And as I see it, that can do harm to the next generation and our country.  That type of thinking would have garnered me harsh words, for my elders would have wanted to encourage real thinking and not haphazard opinions.  And if I were wrongly motivated, I would have garnered even harsher words. 

            However, the other day, on CSPAN, I was listening to varying opinions.  What I heard, even with those I disagree with are many decent people’s views.  A couple of people shared well-reasoned arguments.  And in my youth, I would have agreed with them.  However, I also have something that doesn’t allow information to remain unchecked.  It’s kind of like something stuck in my craw that won’t let me go.  Something wouldn’t have sat with me as right, which eventually would need resolution, even if years later.  There would have been a pondering, which maybe many years later, would have caused more pondering and research.  But they are decent people and have points, and they care.  But then, there were others that don’t seem they could ever fight their way out of wet paper bags.  No clarity.  Emotional.  Thoughts racing in every direction.  People who don’t follow the rabbit down the trail of reason, but other rabbits that can’t follow any trail for any length of time.  And the above explains how people can make decisions that we understand works against them and the nation.

            For instance, when I was young, I loved that minimum wages was increasing because it meant more money in my pocket.  But for some reason, though no one ever explained how the economy works to any great degree, I remember a pause in me.  I realized I was happy for making money I hadn’t earned.  For some reason, though I liked making more money, I was uncomfortable with the idea of wages artificially increasing.  You mean, I thought, I’m making more money because of a new regulation and not because I’m doing a better job?  In business, the only way people make more money (except for artificial increases and company decisions as when a fast food chain gives bi-yearly raises for showing up) is if the company makes more money.  But in many businesses, workers make more money if they produce more money.  Which completely makes sense. 

            You see, I didn’t like the idea I was getting a raise for no increase in production.  I didn’t like the idea that I was making more for just being there.  And as a teacher, I didn’t like the idea of raises if I didn’t better prepare the students, improving their chances of future success.  Yes, of course, I accepted the money, for who wouldn’t.  But I wanted to improve, to provide better lessons and projects, and as such, provide a better education for those I was responsible in teaching.

            But I understand why many like the idea of raising the minimum wages.  If they don’t have an awareness inside that causes them to ponder, don’t understand how a true economy works, and have been propagandized to believe companies have plenty of money to give away, then it’s easy to see that they would love their unearned raises.  But they would also see coworkers losing their jobs, product prices rising, and more work required of them.  And if that doesn’t start pondering, then they might start complaining, perhaps listening to other uninformed coworkers who say the company is greedy and expects too much.  I remember in man odd jobs prior to a career, people complaining about management’s greed.  But that also caused a pause.  I didn’t understand where they were coming from. 

            But later, I also thought, well, if you want more money, why not get experience, obtain skills, and learn things so you’re in more demand.  In other words, put yourself in a position in which companies and organizations will want you.  Then, while you have a good paying job, you can still be putting out resumes and applications, then move to a better paying job or career when called into interviews.  And while in a job/career, keep learning, keep improving, and rise up the ladder of opportunity.  You might even, as you learn more, decide to own your own business.  And this should be taught to kids while they’re young, for they can be learning trades early, in their own time, perhaps supported by the parents.

            Instead of the young waiting for others to give them more, instill in them the idea that, in a sense, they’re on their own, that the only way they’ll earn more is by their own efforts.  I remember a relative telling his/her teenaged child that no one will ever help her/him.   Of course, the parents provided, took care of their children, and were always there.  What the relative meant was don’t look for others to do what you should be doing yourself.  And don’t wait for the world to give you everything.  Earn what you have.  But also, do the job(s) in such a fashion that you’re not only helping yourself, but benefitting others.  That results in a more positive and can-do attitude.  And that’s self-motivating.

            Here’s what we’re saying.  Patience.  People have views based upon their experiences and information, or the lack thereof, and we continue to learn from others.  The best we can do is to continue observing, listening, learning, and talking, then be in position to educate others without self-importance.  Like a friend explained, we want to encourage others with what others encouraged us when we knew little.  We want to encourage.  And in this way, we are working together. 

Understanding the Debates

            Though I support the president because I love America and the U.S. constitution, it’s important to understand that is the reason we support and vote.  It’s difficult for many to comprehend that we put the country first.  Not ourselves.  In other words, I support President Trump because he supports America, the U.S. Constitution, and the American people.  I must add, when the 2016 elections were coming, we first supported Ted Cruz, liking his voting record, beliefs, and love of America.  At that time, we only knew Mr. Donald Trump through his business experience and television show, though did like some of his political positions, though we were uncertain of his constitutional views.  But since Mr. Trump became president, we have seen his record, but we have also seen more consistency in Mr. Ted Cruz, and we believe he may be ready to become the next president with time in the Senate. 

            However, when we saw the debates, we realized Ted Cruz was not yet seasoned, not ready to meet the growing corruption, needing more time, and perhaps an example of undaunted strength, which with President Donald Trump demonstrated.  Ted Cruz has now seen the benefit of complete confidence in American and Constitutional principles.  His support of Amy Barrett, his views and arguments, indicate an increasing preparedness to fight for the American people and America.  But at that time, Mr. Donald Trump was the only one that could stand up to an increasingly corrupt media and many government representatives.  The conservatives needed someone, as President Ronald Reagan was very good for the country, raising pride in this nation, that could lead the nation, working with the American people, and only Mr. Donald Trump was prepared to lead.  It took a very strong, very successful, very confident person, who could and would say it like it is, standing up to disinformation and lies, to do the job of the last four years. 

            I want to reiterate.  We didn’t vote for the man.  We voted for the country.  And with time, we saw that our president is in line with the U.S. Constitution and America.  Now, we will vote for President Donald Trump because he supports America and the U.S. Constitution.

            **I have to add.  On occasion, we hear people say things like, “Oh, you’re a Trumper.”  All that tells me is the other people don’t think for themselves, have listened to rhetoric and propaganda, and so I politely say we can agree to disagree and let’s shake hands that we both want what’s best for the country.  I only wish they become willing to really understand.

            When we watch the debates, we aren’t chanting “Trump.”  As we understand the foundations of this country, understand the U.S. Constitution, understand the principles of freedom, understand the deplorable principles of socialism, communism, and the radical left, we’re very clear on what is best for this country.  For us, whoever is on stage, I have to look at their views, their voting record, their experiences in the real world, and their outlook.  I don’t look at personalities.  [I think, if I met Joe Biden in person, talking about football, I would like the man.  But I would be completely opposed to his political views.].  I don’t listen to rhetoric or propaganda.  I don’t allow candidates to work on my emotions or engender fear.  I only look at principles.  And we understand cause and effect.  We understand what the former Vice President principles are, that his strings are being pulled by anti-American and radical left policies.  And we see President Trump, seeing his principles, that they lead to more opportunities, protections from anti-American countries, but also that democracies abroad are being protected by America under President Trump’s leadership.  And being successful in business, he completely understand economics.

            Let me share one example of principle differences one side understands but the other doesn’t.  The belief that the Green New Deal will result in a better economy.  Estimates of costs go up to one hundred trillion dollars ($100,000,000,000,000).  I ask people to run the numbers, dividing that number by just the annual GDP, even as politicians continue to increase the debt, a debt that will be increase by that one hundred trillion dollars if the democrats gain the White House.  It can never be paid back.  Our taxes will skyrocket far past the roof, too far for us to see.  And some estimates require our taxes to increase by over 80%.  Which means, to pay for the Green New Deal and other new jobs, our dollar value will decrease by over 80%.  In other words, to create more government jobs, the car we can afford today will increase by 80% overall, including other products. 

            Let’s explain it this way.  Government jobs do not benefit the economy, at least, not in the way we’re led to believe.  People believe Green New Deal jobs will help.  They can’t.  This is because giving money to workers that don’t produce marketable jobs and products don’t improve as they would have us believe.  Let’s explain it this way:  If a person is given $50,000 a year for studying birds and how they interact, nothing is produced.  That person is getting money the tax payers give to the government.  There are no market gains.  Now, if a private company produces furniture people want, then the people benefit, the company benefits, the economy benefits, and jobs are created that causes more money to be created. 

            Here’s another reality.  If we artificially raise the minimum wages with no increase in demand, then companies have to fire workers and create other systems, but they’ll also have to increase prices for their products to keep those workers and changing systems.  As such, the cost of living increases negates those raises.  It sounds good.  It isn’t.  Artificial means don’t help the economy.

            Now, we pay for the police, the fire department, the military, and other public departments, but we pay for those necessities out of the people’s taxes.  The goal of any good government is to keep public departments as small as possible but to be as efficient as possible.  So, we need a huge military to protect us from dangerous countries, to stop them from even thinking about attacking us, but to help other democracies, but we can also make better deals to lower costs.  We need more police to protect the people.  This is a necessity.  But we don’t need to create infinite number of government departments and programs which continue to increase taxes and our national debt.  We need to support businesses, support families and the individual, support a growing real economy, lessen red tape regulations which puts money in government employees’ hands when they could be working in the market place and help improve the economy, and we can reduce controls and allow the creativity of the American people to improve the economy.

            I’ve explained the above concept to many people.  I’ve explained the difference between private and public sector jobs.  I’ve explained that as a teacher, which I worked for over two decades, that the only way I can be worth my salary is if I do a great job of educating, teaching quality lessons and projects, and encourage the youth and others to think and reason for themselves, such that they can lead their own lives by their own motivations.  If I do my job well, and as a result, the students go onto getting jobs, perhaps getting time in the university, trade schools, or other trainings included, get careers that creates money, and as such, the economy improves, then I have done well.  I am, with my tax payer salary, using it wisely, preparing the next generation.  However, if I can’t or don’t do my job to the best of my abilities, if far too many regulations reduce our productivity, such that, the students do not become the next generation of workers, helping the economy, and dreamers of wonderful futures, then I no longer am earning my tax payer salary.  I am taking money that isn’t benefitting America.  Which is why I explained to a friend that the only way I will ever return to teaching is if I can do the job to the best of my ability.  Having worked in the private sector for many years prior to entering this profession, like many, we had a clear understanding of how the market works.  And I shared with students the myriad opportunities that exist, encouraging them to dream big dreams.  When I had one student dream of a great business opportunity, I researched her goal, then, when sharing my findings, I discovered that she was already doing the research, the hard work, and preparing for opportunities.  And as such, I stopped researching, preferring her to do the hard work, because her own motivation is far more educational.  I didn’t want to steal her motivation.  So I told her she will do well on her own.  She liked that.  And she was only in the fifth grade.  But I also explained to the class that there are twelve-year-olds running businesses, many quite well.  I also explained to them, that if they all become self-motivated, gained skills through hobbies and other opportunities, by the time they’re my age, they will have done far better economically, because I didn’t hear these ideas in my youth, my own teachers not discussing the opportunities out there.   What I wanted to do was what wasn’t done for me.  But that’s how we all should be.  What we didn’t have we encourage in the next generation.  Parents want better for their children.  But, of course, if they become millionaires, I won’t mind if one day I find a new sports car in front of my house with a thank you note.  Hah. 

            To round this out.  For this election, I will vote what is best for this country, for America, supporting the U.S. Constitution and the individual, but also support freedom with responsibility.  I will support a representative democracy.  I won’t support socialism, communism, dictatorships, or the radical left.  And that leads the decision making.

Individual Freedoms vs. Choiceless Choices.

Sitting in the waiting room for an appointment, ever count how many people are on their Smart Phones?  How many people, if they misplace their Smart Phones, or the Wi-Fi isn’t available, panic?  How many people, if they had the opportunity to vacation from all electronics, even at a tropical paradise where everything is hands-on, would turn it down?  When we were growing up, before computers were in everyone’s home, there were uncomfortable experiences when the power went out.  That meant no television or radio, even record/tape players unless they ran on batteries, which some went scrambling to find.  Quite an amazing thing to consider.  Back then, it was just television and music/radio.  Telephones were land lines:  talking only.  But today, electronics are becoming everything, even in the car you drive:  computer chips, voice controls, and even programs to stop the car before you know of a danger.  I know people who weigh their foods on electronic scales.  One even has a solar lamp to lighten up your mood in the morning.  A friend was given the option to have a defibrillator placed in his chest should he need a jump with information going to the hospital 24/7.  We will even have mechanical microbes injected into our veins one day, so these tiny bots can mend tissues, maybe send back information, controlled from outside if it hasn’t been done already.  I mean, every thought becomes a product, many of which are electronic, many which are socially connected.   

            I wonder how many people understand that we, as people, don’t need electronics for our everyday life.  Yes, today, we need them to run businesses, for work, and communications as the dynamics have changed.  But in talking with some people, some will admit that about 90% of their online activities is quite unnecessary, but they can’t live without their electronics.  It just has become their entire lives.  And many seem happy about it.  I wonder how they would handle life if somehow, they were stranded on a dessert island, an EMT shorted out all electronics, or if they went to a log cabin for camping and the Wi-Fi  was out of range and their car stopped working, no way to contact civilization.  Getting back to civilization at least two days walk. 

            We see this with all people, young or older.  Like maybe, if evolution were true, one day people will be born with a smart phone growing out of their hand or inserted in their brain.  Perhaps, one day, people will have technology inserted in their brains, like the microbes above, or chips that give instant communication with hospitals, work, family and friends, so they can be in constant contact with information and the social.  Their might even be mental health patients with chips in their brains so constant psychological guidance can be provided 24/7.  We’re already seeing a movement in this direction with CDs people sleep to, for many are having difficulty sleeping with their own real thoughts.   I don’t think, in many places, we’re that far from that reality.  I have to believe, with all the technology here already, talking with amazing robots in companies, that experimentation is far ahead of what we see in the marketplace. 

            Now, a bit of what will seem a detour or aside.  It seems like a different track, but it isn’t.  It regards negativity, stress, and a need to find outlets.  It regards the difficulties of life, much of which comes through the television, our politicians, and the media, including the increasing regulations over every aspect of our lives, then all the societal issues constantly in our faces, much designed to create effects in us.  It regards what happens when people are used to seeking distractions and instant gratifications, the effect they have on people’s minds.  That all the distractions and instant gratifications don’t actually help but sets people us for more problems.  And that is part is due to people relying less on themselves then electronics and instant information.  **I have to believe, that relying on one’s self also encourages positive chemicals in the brain, which are retarded when we constantly seek out electronics to avoid being alone with our own thoughts.  Which means, we would increasingly find difficult living with our own thoughts, then dealing with life on life’s terms.

            I remembered something said way back when, then did a few minutes of research to review, and sure enough, chemicals are released in the brain and body when people are online for a while (People can look that up.).  It explains, as I see it, the addiction.  Many are just so used to having instant access to electronics, certainly their Smart Phones.  We’ve even, out of curiosity, watched people, say, in the doctor’s waiting room, just sort of looking up from time to time while we were talking or reading a magazine.  It seems like, any moment of boredom, period of waiting, short or longer, or any discomfort, and out comes the Smart Phone.  I suppose, like video games were for us in our college days, being wrapped up in something that completely occupies your attention feels wonderful, until it’s gone.  We could literally play video games for hours, even through the night, and time didn’t even seem to exist.  Until it was over.  Like we were becoming addicted to distraction.  Which is also why some of us gave up the video games and only used computers for college or work.  But for many of the above, being used to distractions at your fingertips seems to have the effect of displacing people such that they no longer know how to live in reality.  They don’t know how to ponder, wonder, observe, have meaningful conversations, or just chit chat. 

            But consider life before the electronic age.  Some of my relatives grew up without television, some didn’t even have the radio turned on during the day.  Ever see children who grow up in the country, without electronics?  They seem well-adjusted, often very social with family and friends, and often have no sense of either boredom or looking for something to “entertain” them.  Even some who are quiet, not very outgoing, are happy with their own company.  And no electronics!  I remember a conversation between a radio commentator and a young lady calling in.  He asked how she was dealing with the boredom due to the then Covid lockdowns.  There was empty space on the radio program.  She had no idea what he was talking about.  She was living a life of constant reality without thinking it so.  Just living real life.  And happy.  Family, friends, and her own interests.   And that’s how we grew up, mostly, before the age of computers.  We just lived.  Life was its own reality.  And we didn’t think about boredom.  It wasn’t even a concept.  Never even thought about dead time.  If someone, early in my life, had asked what we did when bored or unoccupied, I would have looked at them as odd.  Wouldn’t know what they were talking about.

            Now for the title.  Red versus Blue Pill.  Came from “The Matrix” movie.  In that movie, the computer systems had taken over the world, but because the Sun had been hidden, they needed another source of power.  So, the computer system used people, keeping them in a dream world, so they could be “plugged” into the computer system for power.  Our bodies produce energy which the computer system used. 

            Also, in the story, which was very interesting, there was one character (Not the main character, but the traitor) who had been unplugged, joining the real world, but dearly wanted to return to the Matrix.  He had become so addicted to the artificial world, hating reality, because reality was too boring and difficult for him.  He wanted to be unconscious of reality and filled with distractions.  So he made a deal with the computer programming to be reinserted into the mainframe, even if it meant turning his back on his friends who were working on awakening everyone.  But he wouldn’t have to live with the conflicts of his betrayal because the computer programming promised to erase his memory so he could live a lie in happiness, unconscious of any problems.

            That’s where the blue pill/red pill comes in.  We all make that decision every day.  Life has its ups and downs.  Life is good.  But in a world of billions of people, there are going to be differences, difficulties, and problems.  And for those who live in reality, they learn how to deal with life.  They learn how to deal with those difficulties, and by really living, are truly themselves.  Some of the happiest, warmest, kindest, people I’ve ever met are older people.  They’ve lived through it all:  all the ups and downs.  But they lived it.  They love their families and friends.  And they took the hardships, remembered the good, and are smiling in their later years.  The rewards of truly living is happiness, even in the face of difficulties.  Without thinking about it, they’ve always chosen the red pill, remaining in the real world.

            But how many people can’t cope with the real world, or, because of always living with distractions, can’t live without their electronics, alcohol, television, computer and such?  If people don’t believe “The Matrix” could never happen, they don’t realize, in a sense, it already has.  There are people who can’t exist without their iPod, music flowing into their ears constantly, people who fall asleep with the television on, people who work constantly on computers, people who live their entire lives with electronics, that if they were dropped in a cabin in the woods, with no electronics, they would freak out within a few short days if not minutes.  We already have, as a result of the Covid lockdowns, many people buying CDs to sleep by, for they can’t even sleep with their own thoughts.  But if these people were stuck in the woods, out of accidents, having to live in the real world, work with their hands, they would have difficulties.  But I think, in the long run, they would be made better for it, for with time, some would return to the land of the living.  They might get comfortable with real conversations, working with their hands, and not every thought being answered by a Smart Phone.  You’re curious about a topic?  Go talk with someone who knows.  Think about it.  Ponder.  Keep working and doing whatever it is you do, whether hobbies or work. 

            We read that there’s a reason people are addicted to cigarettes, drugs, computers, and other electronics, even negativity.  One is chemicals given off in the brain and body in these activities.  The other is a sense of identity.  That reading, whether true or not, was very interesting.  In other words, perhaps people “find themselves”, having a sense of self, in those activities, whether positive or negative.  Like people who can’t get positive attention seek negative attention.  Any attention.  Even if it drives them down a path of eventual destruction.  Like gambling the family’s resources away.  The excitement.  The rush.  Like cycling or running the marathon though those are real world activities.

            Electronics can be a rush from world of real life.  Real life happens in real time.  It’s spontaneous with periods of little activity, when people are comfortable in their own skin.  In the real world, people don’t have to be constantly distracted.  They don’t need instant information.  They don’t need to text the moment a thought enters their minds.  They’re okay with being alone for they’re not lonely.  They can actually be happy in a cabin in the woods, a fire place, a kitchen, and the beautiful forest outside. 

            So, yes, if one thinks about it, we have people in the world, that if they could, would volunteer to be inserted into a computer mainframe if the programming met their social and entertainment needs, or perceived needs.  They would love to have all their likes, be thought important, and be constantly engaged in activity, never to have to face boredom or discomfort.  And we believe, if the Matrix did exist today, many would line up to be plugged in.  Yes, if a company existed that offered the ability to be “hooked” mentally into a computer program that mimicked life, but they could control what the program was, like going on a surfing competition, being in an adventure, or saving the world from destruction, perhaps having a ton of online friends, they would rush with their credit cards.  In other words, so many of us have been trained to need instant distractions that we are programmable.  To a great degree, we already are.  And if companies could create Matrixes, tons of people would sell everything to get into those programs.  They couldn’t help themselves.  They’ve become so very guilty by not living in the real world.

            The greater danger is that by people being this way, it becomes harder for them to resist the wrong influences, even if it’s their votes.  And that’s another conversation I leave to the reader to consider.  What you’re addicted to owns you.  And the people controlling the addiction (like the pusher and the addict) control the addicts.  And if people don’t think subliminal information are not in some of these programmings they are sorely misinformed.  They begin to fear so many things because they’ve been trained to think this way.  To the point that if you fear losing your retirement plan, your health plan, your electronics, you’ll do anything, vote anyway they want, just so you don’t lose what you thought you needed.  And that carries a heavy guilt from which requires constant escape, pointing fingers at others who you deem worse, and on and on….  It’s not hard to see.  And we hope more and more people discover that real life, with all of its ups and down, with all the high moments with long durations of nothing, which really isn’t nothing but everything, is much better.  Like reading a paperback book.  Sitting and watching a sunset.  Experiencing life with friends and family, not always having to be occupied.  Even just being.  And when inner conflicts exist, not running away, not looking for quick fixes, and moving forward.  We have read of WWII veterans, because of the terrible things the saw and experiences, many in POW camps, living with terrible memories, but through faith, found a way back to happiness.  They’ve “relearned” how to be themselves so they aren’t addicted to anything, but living life one day at a time.

 The thing is to live like when we were young, before electronics became everything.  And without thinking about what you’re doing.  It just happens like when we and our parents were young.  Life.  No Matrix.  The Red Pill of reality.  No blue pill.  Camping.  Fishing.  Cleaning the house or mowing the lawn.  Playing with siblings and friends.  Having real interests.  Not constant distractions.  Happy in our own skins.   Hmmm…