Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
This is the sign that is over the front door of Aileen's and my house, our home, going OUT. Meaning that when someone leaves our house they are going into the ACTUAL Mental Ward.

I've always felt that way. When it is considered how much ugliness and killing and hatred there is in the world today, it actually makes perfect sense that this sign is over the door going out of the house.

Because that's where the real mental ward is.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

America’s Fascination With Blowing Things Up

When I was a little boy, away at summer camp, The Fourth Of July, was, I guess, something special. The fireworks were always really neat to look at. But I was away from the explosions. So the explosions sounded like rather loud pops. But that was all.

But, over the years, while Aileen was alive, we pretty much dreaded The Fourth of July. For one thing, is was, and I guess, still is, an excuse, in our neighborhood, for macho guys to take out their guns during the night, shooting them in the air, or at targets in the backyard. But also, in our neighborhood, it’s like one section of the neighborhood is in competition with the other, for the loudest fireworks. So, all night, or at least until about 2am. Aileen and I would barricade ourselves inside our home. We’d go under the headphones. And pretty much keep the place as dark as possible. Just wanting to stay out of the way.

Then, of course, she got sick with Cancer. That last 4th of July was sort of special for her. It was her last. So we went outside to see the fireworks. And it was good for her. She got to see some of the neighbors.They got to see her. And all around, it did her a world of good. But, our ears were ringing for about 2 days. Still it did her a lot of good.

 

So, the first year after Aileen died, I pretty much went back to the way things had been. I turned out the lights and basically barricaded myself inside the house while the neighborhood went nuts with America’s fascination of blowing things up.

Well, the first year, after Aileen was, at best, a kind of daily nightmare. So it’s sort of expected that I just didn’t want to be around anyone.

So, last year, I decided to try and come out of my shell a bit. It was okay. Except for one thing. The neighborhood explosions were so loud that I almost lost my hearing. In fact the hearing in my left ear is still diminished due to the loudness of the explosions. So diminished in fact, that I can’t go outside this year. If I do, I’ll lose my hearing permanently. And that’s not going to happen.

I’m patriotic. I am as patriotic as the any other patriotic American. I’m just a pacifist. Meaning that I do not support the harming, or killing of any human being under any circumstances, with the exception being that I do not believe that any human being has the right to arbitrate the condition of a woman’s body, when she is with child, or pregnant, as she attempts to arbitrate her condition with the, or her, creator. This is explained in detail in my journal article “Second Gear “.

So, growing up in America, I pretty much thought fighting was not only dumb. But that when two people fight, nobody wins. At least that’s how I always saw it. That, and because I was so short, made me an easy target for the other kids to beat up on. Which happened about once a week, when I was a kid. I learned, pretty quickly, how to be tough. Tough, meaning that I would  not fight back. But tough. Meaning, that I’d take just about whatever came at me, and then, just keep on going. And to this day, in 62 years, I have never risen my hands in anger at anyone, and I have never struck  single person in my life.

Now, a lot of folks might call me stupid, or a coward. But I never thought of myself that way. When I was growing up, my heroes were never the guys with the biggest guns, or the ones who could beat the hell out of anyone on the block. My heroes were the ones, like Cool Hand Luke, who could have the crap kicked out of them, and then, just stand up, and keep going forward.

Those were the guys who I thought were cool. They stood there. Took blow after blow. And just kept getting up, no matter what. Determined to not be put down. Determined to not give in. Determined to not give up.  No matter what.

And that’s pretty much me. When I say I’m patriotic. I mean just that. I’m ready to lay down my life at any given second, in defense of the Constitution and any of my fellow Americans, whether I agree with, or like them, or not. Because, as an American, it see that as my sworn duty. To always be ready to die in defense of this country, the Constitution, and my fellow Americans. I mean, it’s part of the oath, as Americans, that we all take.  I just do it, by not striking back. But being willing to put my body and my life, between any threat or danger to this country, or my fellow Americans. And doing that means I’ll die. Okay. That’s just what will happen.

So no. I don’t go out looking every day to find situations where I can test that dedication in me. But yes. I am always prepared, if I see someone in  trouble, to lend a hand, and do anything I can to help. But that’s just me.

In all the years that I have lived. Going to all the amazing museums that I have been to. One thing that sticks in my mind. Time after time, we humans, have destroyed entire nations. Ruined historical sites. Destroyed holy places. Killed millions of people. Murdered women and children. Destroyed lives. And for what? Just so one party could be right? Or prove that they are right?

In Some cases, like when a world dictator is threatening to dominate the world, and is murdering millions of people. Naturally, it sort of makes sense that most humans, not me, but most, would want to do all they could to stop such a maniac from doing more damage and killing more people. So that makes sense.

But these days, that question isn’t as simple as it used to be. These days, the conflicts that the world gets into are more about racism, prejudice, hatred, and bigotry,  than they are about stopping some maniac from murdering millions of people. Most of the conflicts these days are more about differences in politics, or religion, than they are about stopping some lunatic from dominating the world. There are exceptions of course.

So, most of the conflicts that happen today are more about how we, as humans, think or perceive the world differently, as opposed to fighting against some monster who is murdering millions of people, like in World War II, or World War I, or the Korean War. The Vietnam war was one of the most politicized and manufactured wars I have ever seen. And from talking to perhaps hundred of brave Vietnam veterans over the years, the gist of what I got  from talking to them was that we, the United States, fought the Vietnam war, to one extent or another, in order to prove to Communist South East Asia, that we, the United States, were committed to allowing more of our soldiers die, than it was believed the Communists of South East Asia were.

Granted, that’s probably an over simplification. But the horror stories I have heard, over the years, by so many amazing brave veterans of the Vietnam War has convinced me that the fighting we, as a world, now engage in, are more manufactured, than based on eliminating some maniac, who’s out to dominate the world. More based on our racism, prejudice, and bigotry. More on the basis of our religious hatred, or political hatred for each other, than on really making the world free.

Freedom in the world is not really a truism anymore. For where there is freedom. There are also a lot of limits on that freedom. Limits and rules that take away a lot of the perceived freedom. Leaving a much smaller, or limited freedom, than what is largely perceived.

Now I have always supported the American veterans. Always, no matter what. I have been, and remain, always prepared to stand, shoulder to shoulder with anyone in the military, on any battle line, and to give my life to defend freedom and this country. The only difference is that I will not pick up a gun. I will not cause harm to, or kill another human being. But that does not mean that I’m not prepared to die for this country, or for freedom. Because  I am.

And it’s not because I am a martyr. Not by any means. I’m just a pacifist. And as such. I will not cause harm to, or kill any human being. So if I have to die in order to protect this country, or defend freedom. I have always looked at that as part of my duty to this country and the Constitution.

Like I said, I don’t go looking for fights or trouble. And I’m not small anymore. I’m actually sort of a big guy. 5’11” tall. 175 pounds. I’m physically fit. And I have decent amount of strength. At least for someone my age. I can hold my own if I have to. Meaning, that I can take a few blows and still keep going. I’m just a pacifist.

So, I have always placed a lot of value on, and admiration for, anyone in uniform, who protects this country, all of us, the Constitution and defends freedom. I just don’t really respect or support the violence. But I respect the choice that people make, as individuals to stand and take proactive action in defense of freedom, the Constitution and all of us. The choice.

All that being said. Humanity has pretty much trashed a lot of the world. And it continues everyday. More and more bombs. More and more killing. More sophisticated technology, designed to kill more people and blow more stuff up. And I keep thinking about the amazing museums that I have been to. And how much art has been lost. How many historic sites ruined. How many holy places damaged and trashed. All because, we, as human beings are so filled with hatred, racism, prejudice and bigotry, that we would rather fight and kill each other, and destroy stuff. Rather than try and get along.

And I don’t see this kind of stuff changing anytime soon. At least not in my lifetime. So perhaps that point is academic at best.

Here in America, the level of hatred between people has gotten so out of control, that we have Americans basically hating other Americans purely on the basis of skin color, sex, gender, religion, politics, money, and just about anything else that we seem to find easy to fight about. With the end result being, more people die. More lives are ruined. Hatred expands and grows. And we, as a nation, become more and more divided, and contentious to a point where, it’s practically impossible for any two people to talk to each other without coming to blows. Even our sports events are turning into free for all fights. With Soccer moms and dads being arrested for poor sportsmanship or for acting out and trying to beat the hell out of some other parent. All because of a difference of opinion or a point of view.

And this is the world we’re giving to our kids. Everyone these days seems to have the attitude of “my way or the highway”.

Now, I’m a pretty independent type of guy. But I’m really two different people. Here, in the world of words, on the screen, or paper. I’m a pretty tough guy. I stand my ground and I generally don’t give in if I know, by the facts, that I’m right. And often times, I end up feeling like I’m talking to a wall. Because most people tend to look at people like me and either feel we are know-it-alls. Or that they just don’t think it’s worth their time to be around us. No problem. So I don’t frequent a lot of social networks. And I stay pretty much to myself, here in my journal.

Now publically, I’m quite different. I say hello to every single person I walk by or pass on the street. Often stopping to ask how their day is going. And always offering any kind of help if I find they need help. And I always tell everyone, that if they need anything that they can just knock on my door and I’ll always do what I can. If I am in a discussion with someone. And I know, by the facts that I’m right. But the other person is insistent that they are right no matter what. I usually just shut up. And let them think what they want. And while being a writer, I am definitely a talker. Over the years I’ve gotten to a point, when around other talkers, to pretty much take a back seat and let the others talk. Unless someone asks me a question.

And of course I was not always that way. I mean, I’m 62. When I was 20, I had a reputation for being the one who never shuts up. But things change. They always do. And so did I.

So, on paper, or the screen, here in the world of words. I’m different. I’m the guy that takes a stand and just keeps standing there, no matter what, if I feel and know, by the facts, that I’m right. In person. I’m the guy who says hi to everyone. And is pretty much always concerned about how I can help. Or what I can do for them, if I see that they might need a hand.

But that’s writing. Okay. That’s how a lot of writers end up becoming over the years.

But as I come back to the present. To our world. I wonder. I wonder a lot. And probably most people do the same. What are we giving to our kids?

Are we giving them a world that they can build on? Or are we giving them a world that they are going to have to repair and to fix?

So this 4th of July, I’ll either have to wear earplugs, which I might do. Because I really do like the people in my neighborhood. A lot. Or, I’ll just have to watch the fireworks from inside the house. I’ll probably wear earplugs. Because, like I said. I really do like my neighbors a lot.

But really. What are we doing to each other? What are we doing to ourselves? What are we doing to our children. Teaching them to be so steadfast, in person, that no one hardly says hello to each other. That we end up fighting with each other all the time. And where we have kids trying to kill others? Is this really the future that we want to give to our kids?

My daughter, Leah, wrote me a fantastic Father’s day card that I got yesterday. Already it’s on the wall here in my den. It’s amazing. She said we are alike in more ways than one. And how thankful she is for our relationship. And of course that she loves me.

Needless to say I am honored by that. I am truly honored that my daughter is thankful for our relationship. As a father that makes me incredibly proud of her. And really thankful as well, that’s she part of my life.

So, I wonder. Is all the hatred and the fighting and the racism, and the prejudice and the bigotry and the other junk really worth it? I mean. Are these really the choices that we want to make? Do we really want to give our children a world that has to be repaired, or fixed. Instead of world that can be built on? And improved?

In the scheme of things, like I always say. My opinion probably doesn’t matter that much. And that’s okay. Some people will read this journal and get what I am trying to say. Others won’t.

I just really hope, which probably will never happen. That we as human beings could learn how to talk to each other. Instead of spending so much time, money and energy trying to kill each other, and beat each other up. But then, that’s me. I’m a pacifist.

Thanks so much for reading…

See Also:

The mind is like a book. Opened and much is learned. Closed and nothing is learned. (N. Maschke – 1994)

    For the record, I am pro-life . I do not support violence against, or the killing of any human being under any circumstances! In the entire 62 years of my life I have never raised my hands in anger at, or struck a single human being. And the only way that I ever deviate from that stand is that I do not believe that God has ever given any human the right to dictate to any woman how she is to arbitrate her life with the Almighty, and/or God . Therefore, I believe that all women deserve the right to choose for themselves the fate of their own bodies, pursuant to their relationship with the Almighty, and/or God . My position regarding this statement is more fully explained in my article entitled: Second Gear.

     

    My Statement On Religion

    For the record, I do not now, nor have I ever hated any human being on earth. I do not hate, regarding my spirituality, and spiritual beliefs, anything that the energy that is beyond this world that so many of us call, God, did make. Meaning that I do not hate the “humanity” that exists within any human being. However, God did not make the personal choices that humans make, regarding how they behave, and/or present themselves, to the world. So if a human being chooses, of their own free will to demonstrate their behavior with racism, bigotry, prejudice, and hatred for other humans, on the basis of their own free will choice as to how they define their spirituality within themselves, that is their own choice. So I do not hate any human being for being that which God did make. I hate only the choices and the manner in which humans have decided to demonstrate their behavior to one another. Whereby, as a result of those choices, war and mass murder have all too often been the primary result. I do not hate religion. However, I will never give my support to “any” religion, that has ever caused harm to, or killed, a single human being, in any way, as a result of the religion demonstrating, or manifesting it’s presence in the world. If any religion has ever harmed or killed a single human being, I respect the right of all humans to believe what they want in life. And subsequently, to follow whatever religion they choose. however, I, personally, will under no circumstances give my support for, or to, any religion, or theological belief, that has ever harmed or killed even a single human being. This is what I have dedicated my life to as a spiritualist and a pacifist here on earth. So any attempt by anyone to portray me as hating anyone is a lie. Because that is not so, as the foregoing clearly explains. 

     

    The mind is like a book. Opened and much is learned. Closed and nothing is learned. (N. Maschke – 1994)