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DON’T WAIT FOR CHANGE, ACT NOW – POLITICS, LIFE, AND LOVE

Are you caught up in political insanity? Is the news bringing you down? Stop lashing out at people and show a little love and kindness. It is never wrong to do the right thing.

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Our World Is Retarded!

Growing up with an intellectually disabled brother taught me a lot about patience, honesty, and reality. Although it is no longer politically correct to use the term mentally retarded, (which merely means intellectually slow) that was still the common name applied during my childhood. Sadly, the word retarded has now been adopted as a derogatory put down for someone who does something really stupid.

It is difficult to not be disturbed by the horrific shooting of the newscasters in Virginia, or to ignore concerns about the current political struggle between the red and blue clowns, vying for our votes. How can we pretend that racism and intolerance are dead when they rear their ugly heads daily on the news and clog our social media feeds? We have made our planet a gloomy place to live. It seems I can’t help but be drawn into the hatred and criticism of everyone who is not like me. The atheist, religious person, and bigot might be pleasantly surprised to find out that life is so much more enjoyable without the added tension we willingly add into our own lives.

Today, for lunch, I went across the street from my office (over to Centennial Park). It was difficult to not notice the loud disco music blaring from the pavilion. Initially, I was annoyed because I needed some peace and quiet to get some writing done. But then something magical happened. As I focused on the people under the covering, it became apparent, they had no social inhibitions. In fact they showed no embarrassment at all to wiggle, dance, and sing without regard to anyone around them. It soon became apparent to me that it was a party with a dozen or more special needs adults, and their caregivers. I looked at the peanut butter and jelly smudged smiles and knew they had found a moment of happiness in this dark world.

It was simple. They could not change anything about their circumstances, they just played the hand life had given them. Part of me was actually jealous, part of me wanted to walk into the middle of the group and join them raising my hands up in the air motioning along signing the letters to YMCA, by the Village People. They weren’t worried about skin color, orientation, or religious affiliation; they just knew they were spending quality time with other humans. They were being friendly, and showing genuine love to one another.

After watching these folks today, I have a stronger resolve to simplify my life. To be more kind to the ones I love, show new respect to those I don’t agree with, and give a chance to people I am unsure of, and hopefully, I can achieve the same gleam in my eyes that I witnessed today in the faces of these special people. I was just returning to work when they broke out into a new wave of laughter and dancing as the Cupid Shuffle boomed through the sound system. Suddenly, I realized, maybe it is us, (the ones with anxiety, stress, depression, war, hatred, and all the ugly things we create) in society who are actually mentally retarded.

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One Nation Indivisible With Liberty And Justice For All

1940s Justice Society of America Comic

1940s Justice Society of America Comic

Many times I hear the Americanized phrase, “never talk about politics or religion in polite company.” I am sure this concept is intended to keep the peace, and in truth, if people are unable to be kind, considerate and thoughtful, maybe they should keep quiet. However, it seems to me, as a result of our screwed up media system combined with our infatuation for stereotypes, many of us (American’s) do not really understand what we believe, or why we believe it. If verbalizing these thoughts makes someone uncomfortable, embarrassed, or feel threatened it may be easier just to avoid conflict, and I respect that. But if the rest of us cannot politely talk about a controversial topic, how can we ever expect to bring about a positive change to our world?

For a number of reasons, one of my personal American Hero’s is Roger Williams. Even though he was instrumental in founding the Baptist Church in the United States, he was often labeled a heretic and a seeker (both of which I can intimately identify with). One of his signature positions was, if we do not create a high wall between church and state, the church will corrupt the government and the government will corrupt the church.

Whether a person is aware of it or not, we all develop forms of psychological conditioning. Statistically, this is a huge influence on an individual’s position on religion, politics, philosophy and just about every area of life. My parents were not über active politically during my childhood. I remember a few muted conversations about Nixon, Ford, and Carter, but it was not until Reagan got into office that I started paying attention to my surroundings. My father really liked Reagan, but thought he had too much Hollywood left in his system. Although I didn’t understand much about it, the topic was already important to me in 1988, when I participated in voting for the first time as an adult. In the primary I voted for George H. W. Bush because someone had told me not to vote for the other candidate (Pat Robertson) because he would not be able to separate church and state decisions. I am pretty sure I would still vote against any religious leader entering into office.

Why was separation of church and state so important to our founding fathers? If there was a clear precedent established to remove Christianity (or any other religion) from our formative documents, why should this be different today?