The Shrew View: Home of the Brave

Fear is being allowed to fester in America…The type of fear that can only be fostered by the media and improved upon by the liberal academics because they are the prime manipulators of emotion.  Is this fear linked to the polarizing politics of today?  Perhaps it is simply the natural human instinct of preserving life at all cost?  Either way, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look as only a Shrew would…

When President Roosevelt said in 1933 that ‘The only thing to fear is fear itself…’, he was not far from the mark.  During that time we were at the peak of the Great Depression.  He went on saying, ‘…fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance…’   Fear as an emotion is ephemeral unless a person is consumed by it nonstop.

In my booklet, Archetypes of the Human Spirit, I picture a large fish with many sharp teeth as a symbol of the fear that consumes all efforts to improve not unlike the Bible story of Jonah and the whale.

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This all consuming fear is that which comes when you are not sure that your choices are leading you in the best direction.  Fortunately we have the ability to look back on past choices to determine the best path forward…This is why learning factual history is so important!  In your own life your history is all of those past choices, and the outcome of those choices are what you have to learn by.  Your anxiety ridden, uncomfortable present or future is an illusion of fear until you reconcile those past choices with what you learned after making them…And if you succeed in applying this model, you gain wisdom.

In America there is a certain effort underway to rewrite our history.  This is an unfortunate circumstance because the “new” history focuses on victimhood and is consuming humanity’s efforts to improve.  Learning everything we can about why we had slavery, The Trail of Tears, women’s suffrage, Jim Crow and gay rights in our “free” society is good, but only if we are brave enough to see the true context as whole and proper.  It is only then that we can make progress as a nation that values Liberty for all rather than equality as an outcome for all.

 

 

The Shrew View on Progress vs Progressivism

I am not a big fan of what is currently called “identity politics” which seems to be infiltrating many discussions (political or not) these days. I think the focus on marginalized people only adds to the struggle our country has to free itself from the scourge of “ism’s” that should not define people. I’ve heard it argued that it is because of our whiteness in the United States that people of color have little success in our culture. In this case the “whiteness” means that white people who hold all the privileges unconsciously exclude people of color (POC) in hiring practices and/or promotion choices and if they consciously exclude POC then this practice is biased and racist, and that without exception white people are all racist as well as the U.S. culture itself including its science and curricula.

I have also heard it said that it takes three generations to get past a traumatic experience…This makes some sense. As Erich Fromm puts it, “…something life defining and deeply intimate is over.” The child recognizes how the former generation as shaped their own experiences and how they have been charged through the stories and experiences to carry the trauma into the future. One helps to heal future generations by rising above the remnants of these past injuries. This is the very definition of the word progress. AND I believe this progress works within cultural traumas as well.

Our most recent example of a cultural trauma is 9/11. My generation bore witness to a tragic man made event which killed thousands of people on American soil on September 11, 2001. My children are growing up with the stories about the event which include stories that affected my family who were traveling by plane from Boston on that morning. Now, every time my children travel they must listen to my admonition to be safe and stay aware of their surroundings, look for exits and never let down their guard. They were in elementary school at the time of 9/11 so these stories have been transferred to them in ways that I might not totally comprehend, yet they live their lives with less attachment to this event as will their children who will hopefully not even need to experience the left-over wars against terrorism that still exist today. My grandchildren will live with the televised memorial ceremonies, but they will be far removed from the actual trauma. This progress toward healing is culturally significant and forever part of U.S. history because we must never forget in order to not repeat these actions. Experience is felt on an individual basis…My experience isn’t the same as your experience.

With identity politics the marginalized groups will never experience the progress of healing if their stories are not allowed to have generational closure. When no closure occurs, then Progressivism is allowed to rear its ugly head. Progressivism advocates social reform with goals that are politically motivated. It demands radical change in current cultural systems in order to “improve” society. The people who push for progressive methods care little for historical context. Instead, the leap forward must be made based on current thought, expert advise and/or empathetic emotion.

If we take a look at the historical context of the Emancipation Proclamation, we can learn a lot about progress vs Progressivism:

The Civil War started in 1861 because the Confederate southern slave states did not want to be part of the United States if they could not keep slavery in tact. It wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that the slaves were finally freed…Many of these freed slaves fought in the Civil War against the Confederacy, and the addition of these men to the Union effort helped to win the Civil War against the Confederacy. There were many proud acts of heroism by Negro soldiers during that time.

When the Civil War ended in 1865, Congress enacted the Freedman’s Bureau and passed the Civil Rights Bill in 1866 after Lincoln’s death because the southern states which were majority Democrat began to pass their own “black codes” to hinder the progress of Negroes in their states. Congress at that time was majority Republican. Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s Vice President and now President after Lincoln’s assassination) did not want to force reconstruction of the south because he was determined to respect states’ rights, however the Congress over-rode his veto of The Reconstruction Act of 1867 and both the 14th and 15th Amendments. For ten years Negroes enjoyed the freedoms of all free male citizens and held many state and Congressional leadership roles. During this time the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) targeted many Republicans, whites and blacks who were sympathetic to the reconstruction.

Even though great strides were being made toward civil freedoms at this time, uncontrollable events happened to cause an economic depression during 1874. The financial panic of 1873 was a result of over-expansion in industry and railroads, a drop in European demand for American farm products, and a drop off of European investment. To compound matters, the U.S. Congress (which had long held its Republican majority) was pushed to pass the Compromise of 1876 which resulted in the U.S. federal government pulling the last troops out of the South ending the Reconstruction era. After this happened the southern states reverted many Negro owned lands back to whites, enacted segregation laws and worked to disenfranchise the negro. These regressive conditions would remain in place for a century until the 1965 Civil Rights Movement.

What can we learn from these historical events? Here are my thoughts:

1) The country was divided philosophically. There were slave states where slavery was legal and “free” states where slavery was illegal. Abolition of slavery was being thought about since about 1830, one generation before the Civil War.

2) “Rights” were understood as property rights and state’s rights, therefore the Confederacy of southern states saw Lincoln’s actions as tyrannical. We should keep in mind that at this time “civil rights” were not a concept, for instance during this time women could only own inherited property and their rights were limited to state enacted laws.

3) Slaves were “property”. The Civil War happened because the southern slave states wanted their autonomy as slave states, but Lincoln and the Republican controlled Congress did not want a “divided” country.

4) The Emancipation Proclamation was finally given almost two years after the war started because the Confederacy’s strength needed to be crippled. Freed slaves signed up for the fight against the Confederacy even though they had no guarantee of a sure outcome. Their heroism needs to be recognized in our history books and with more statues since these stories and their context in history help future generations heal from the trauma of slavery.

5) The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was the first federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law without regard to race, color, or previous condition. We must remember that a law does not necessarily change hearts and minds…The southern states still had the autonomy to pass laws to curb the conduct of Negroes therefore Congress passed the 14th amendment (no state shall enact laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizens) and 15th amendment (the right of citizens to vote can not be abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude). Also, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act to enforce compliance by the southern states after the Civil War.

6) The Republican Congress at that time was in a struggle with President Andrew Johnson over Presidential powers…Johnson wanted to be more lenient with Reconstruction. What does his impeachment teach us about the balance of power during that time?

7) Reconstruction enforcement remained for only ten years…Economic uncertainty and politics unfortunately did not allow for the new conditions under military enforcement to remain for longer because if they had remained for at least ten more years, I believe the next generation would have been closer to healing the trauma of slavery. Instead, southern Democrat leaders began to implement “progressive” laws to deal with “improving” society in their states, and the KKK was allowed to run rampant.

8) The actions from 1830 to 1876 were progress for the anti-slavery movement and the future “civil rights” that we think of today…REMEMBER that only white men with property could vote during much of this time AND reason prevailed. “Whiteness” could not necessarily be equated to being “Racist”.

The Preamble ratified June 21, 1788:

WE THE PEOPLE of the United States of America, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...This Preamble sets the tone for progress!

My next blog will focus on the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement and the progress that was made during that time toward civil justice.

Shrew View…Love Binds People of Good Will

Love binds people of goodwill…A repost from a year ago.

Today is a day to reflect on the message of Martin Luther King, JR.  His is a message of love and freedom; a freedom guaranteed by God and reflected in the U.S. Constitution:

“…in order to form a more perfect Union…secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”

In the early 1960’s there was no better person to secure these Blessings for people of color.  Our lawmakers failed to be responsible leaders entrusted to uphold the Constitution.  One might suggest that this failed responsibility dates all the way back to our founding as a nation, but I think that would be taking the easy route, condemning every step toward the progress of achieving a message of freedom.

“Humans have been literally torturing each other for centuries as they grope toward this Chalis of fulfillment.”     – The Shrew

Our U.S. Constitution is the tool enabling wholeness in our country.  No other country puts the responsibility of freedom in the hands of each individual.  It is law makers who abuse this insight by putting limits on ideas instead of on their lawmaking capabilities.  Martin Luther King, JR knew instinctively that the idea of a black person sitting where a sign indicated that they were not allowed by law to sit would challenge the lawmaker’s unconstitutional limitations on God’s creation.  King gave power back to the people – all people, because injustice is never visible in God’s kingdom which is where the human soul finds strength to conquer the perceived injustice in the world of mankind.

Love binds people of goodwill.  In a nation of diverse ideas, those people of goodwill come together to solve the issues at hand.  There is no us vs. them.  There is only…

“We the People…”

Shrew View…Masculinity Under Attack

Remember, traits and behaviors are not indications of gender, they are expressions of human nature…

A few months ago I received an email from someone representing MPR (Maine Public Radio).  They were taking a survey that asked three questions.  I did not respond to the survey thinking that possibly something nefarious was afoot, but I did attempt to answer the questions anyway for myself because I found them very good.  Here are the questions with my answers; I assumed that these questions related to U.S.A trends of the topic:

1) What constitutes masculinity?

Anyone can have masculine traits.  Men display these traits when they use their integrity and dignity to protect their family and country, earn an income to secure their self and family, and organize within their community to create economies of scale that contribute to the balance of need.  A unique masculine trait is sarcasm…this can be applied to situations for emotional relief toward intense scrutiny.  Aggressive behavior is typically a way to attract attention when all else fails, however when aggressiveness is applied to friendly competition such as in sports it can be a positive outlet.

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2) Who are public figures who embody masculinity?

– President Trump

– President Obama

– Ashton Kutcher

– Martin Luther King JR.

– Mohamed Ali

3) Is Masculinity under attack? Explain.

YES!

No one should have to compromise their authentic self to fit in with what is popular.  This does not condone specific behaviors that go against laws or other’s belief systems.  A society that attempts to ignore how masculinity benefits the balance of human nature is doomed to have this energy of “order” and “aggressiveness” be exerted in ways that are unleashed negatively on that society.

A Shrew will never humiliate or degrade male energy because to do so would  disregard the importance of this balance with female energy.  Remember, traits and behaviors are not indications of gender, they are expressions of human nature…This is why we are a nation of laws and not a dictatorship.

The Shrew View: Origins

I attended a workshop this past weekend put on by an organization known as Maine-Wananaki REACH.  This group focuses on decolonization and restoration of Maine for Wabanaki people who are the Indiginous tribes with original ties to the state we know as Maine.

The workshop began with introductions as we sat in a circle. The two moderators have been working with this program for several years, going to many churches, civic groups and private places of learning.  I believe one moderator said that she was part Native American.  As we went around the circle we spoke about the place where we were born and whether we knew the name of the tribe associated with our birth place.  Most folks had some idea of the tribe name, others were curious to know now that they had been asked and a couple folks shared that they had some Native American blood in their geniology.  I shared that growing up in Dorchester, Massachusetts I knew that there were many tribes that shared the land there, but was curious to know why tribes aligned themselves as a Confederacy.  The term confederacy describes a loose coalition of tribes having a shared government of power which is not highly organized as is the U.S. Constitution.  A Native American Confederacy is made up of many tribes in a region, many of which acquired their names from the “colonizers” based upon the location of their habitat.

Colonizer is the term given to those people who came to tribal lands and controlled the lands on behalf of a European King or Queen.  Curiously, in Ecology this term also refers to a plant or animal that establishes itself in an area.  As we know, ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings…The word “colonizer” does not hold a negative connotation for me because I tend to understand the term as a processional step toward new cultural systems theory.  More about that in a moment…
The workshop had all participants stand as representatives of the native Americans on a beautifully painted cloth map of the state of Maine.  Depictions of plants, animals and symbols Indiginous to the state were on various puzzle pieces lying connected together.  As the moderators narrated the story of colonization, pieces were removed and people were told to leave based upon conditions of disease, war, dis-honored treaties and child abduction with the native Americans until only less than 1% of the land and even less percent of the native Americans were left to see.  By the end of the exercise several of the participants were moved to tears.

After we gathered back in our circle, we related how the exercise effected us individually.  Many were astonished that they did not know any of the history that was related through the story telling.  Others thought that it was important to keep the information centered in the context of the times.  Many wanted to know how our state was making reparations if at all.  One of the moderators told us that the U.S. Government had done too much in the wrong way to “help” the Native Americans and that the Native Americans really wanted the Government to simply stop imposing on them.  I think this makes so much sense!

Discovery of the “New World” was bound to happen at some point in history. The fact that Europeans were industrious, curious and greedy was the product of centuries of colonization in that region and gave mankind endless possibilities of renewal within monstrous periods of distruction. This doesn’t make the power grabbers right, it actually points out that it is natural to our human condition. We are at a period now that allows us to put into perspective the wrongs of the past and endeavor to live in right relationship, but do we force that relationship to happen or do we understand the system and theory that brought us to this place in time so that we unite in a slow progression of wellness with each other? I believe that latter to be true! And which form of government allows the latter to happen? It is definitely a constitutional republic which honors the individual as the actuator of self determination under civil liberties and common law.

Watch out for the power grabbers. They will claim to have the moral upper hand when in actuality we know that morality is not rooted in power, morality is rooted and guided by principles which acknowledge the faults and aspirations of human nature. Watch how this is currently playing out in our political parties and much of our media…Are their actions forcing compliance or open to compromise? Are the foundational principles of our country honored or being ignored? Are you willing to go along to get along simply because it benefits your own situation? Or do you have the perspective and knowledge necessary to understand your role to ensure Liberty? You be the judge…

Shrew View: Common Sense Greenology

The much talked about Green New Deal is a farce.  Just the time taken from the people’s business to create this document should be concerning.  And, much like the “hate crimes” that have materialized as unfortunate fraudulent claims, the list of pie in the sky goals to be achieved in ten years time in this deal will likely cause a cascade of despair and misery when actions do not meet their objectives.


To live in harmony with our planet Earth we should very much want to strive for a cleaner environment, but this should not be at the expense of lowering our standard of living.  Opportunities abound as we work together to solve problems with clean energy, abundant water sources with efficient sewer systems, telecommunication networks in all regions and more dependence on local food sourcing.  As a life long student of engineering principles with a knack for research and development in my professional life I will now attempt to give my list of goals to help our society become the epitome of environmental consciousness or what I call the science of Greenology…

  1. Improve the internet infrastructure to include access for those living in our most rural areas.
  2. Increase methods and opportunities for telecommuting.
  3. Encourage co-working spaces near community centers with shared technology and internet connectivity that is secure.
  4. Allow K – 12 public schools to advance entrepreneurial thought and skills.
  5. Encourage innovation of new green technologies by allowing philanthropy to work through 501c environments.
  6. Science is never “settled”.  Always push for advances in research and development by remaining curious and always asking what next.
  7. Encourage a new wave of farming technology that produces locally sourced ingredients for regional markets.

This is just the start!  What could you add to this list?  Remember, we are not getting rid of anything that would naturally fade away anyway because of supply and demand…That’s good capitalism working with sound progress.

Shrew View: The Duty of Privilege

To perceive or assume privilege on another necessitates blame and thus removes the obligation for the “accuser” to see their own power to positively change themselves for the betterment of community.

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The Shrew View: A Bad Dream For The Caravan.

My heart goes out to all the migrants from Honduras who have made the torturously long journey for better lives.  Traveling as a caravan would certainly bring more protections for those members who are most vulnerable to physical harm and manipulation by undesirable players, but aren’t there even greater risks to these people if the coordination of the caravans were done through deceitful means?

The ends are clear to me at this point.  The USA is to be viewed in the wider setting as a cruel nation, from its birth right to the present.  But let us not take our focus away from where the migrants of today have come…Honduras is a failing country and the examination of this fact will make it clear to all that an evil energy is working to create the same fate for the USA (Spoiler alert, it is not climate change!!).

I am not a “doomsdayer”.  I am a realist.  In fact I believe there is no Utopia in this world beyond my ability to live my life on my terms which is what we know as the “American Dream”.  You may think me foolish, but I believe that in this country there are criminals, homeless persons, and loners who are themselves actually living in their own Utopia…constructing a way of life that makes them happy on their own terms.  Others might look as these folks with pity and say that they must be helped, but we cannot construct a Utopian way of life for them because it would be our idea and not theirs.

This brings me back to the caravan.  In Honduras their is no “Honduran Dream” even though the government is a Democratic Republic.  The military coup of ten years ago set the stage for a constitutional crisis because, simply put, the beaurocratic effort to rewrite their constitution had no rules…no one could agree on how to begin the process!  The people of the country were not consulted because their rights are considered too limited!  And their Attourney General was not able to reconcile a civil rights process.  THIS IS WHY OUR FOUNDERS WERE SO INGENIOUS WITH THEIR PROCESS FOR THE US CONSTITUTION!!  Our Founders had the educated study of human history over thousands of years as their baseline.  We in this day and age refuse to take this into account because we want to only live in the present.  Learning from our past means to not repeat our mistakes and our Constitution allows for this practice.

Hondurans at our border have been sold a bad dream that they are now living as reality.  Who are the manipulators of this bad dream?  This must be the focus of discussion.  God help them…

The Shrew View – We Are At A Tipping Point!

RA house divided against itself cannot stand – Abraham Lincoln

Who are we kidding?  Neither the liberal left nor the conservative right have all the answers to our country’s problems at this point in time.  Have they ever?  Let’s be honest…The best answers come in the form of a small community working together in a non partisan manner.  And, if someone is not connected to and working against the community then we should consider that it may be by choice.   Families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, Rotaries and even sports offer opportunities to connect in a variety of healthy ways.  The only skill you need at first is curiosity.  Defined as a strong desire to know or learn something, curiosity can open doors to a stronger sense of belonging.  The best part about this is that you can belong to many different circles of community thereby finding your niche to make a positive impact.

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I have a feeling that anyone who picks up a weapon to inflict harm on a community really knows down deep that they are not solving anything.  Like being totally on the left or totally on the right the answer to their problem leaves a literal hole that oozes pain, guilt, horror and disgust, all of which are the antithesis of curiousity and clearly the mask of evil.

Isn’t this evil what the extreme left wing Democrats see in President Trump?  And by the same measure isn’t this evil what the extreme right wing Republicans see in the extreme left wing Democrates?  When did Congress stop being a community for the people? Elected leaders must have the skill of curiosity to belong to their peer community no matter which side of the isle they are on.  The President is putting forward his ideas, but it seems as though Congress has no strong desire to learn or know how to debate and offer a compromise on the ideas.  And what is worse,  Congress has been modeling this behavior for far longer than I can remember.  Unfortunately our leaders of the next generation are not witnessing the intended function of Congress.

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I think we have reached a tipping point in this country.  Evil is showing its ugly face in unimaginable ways.  We must acknowledge its ability to reside amoung us and be curious enough to ask why it exists.  Only then can we learn together the path of the humble messenger that we all can become.  God help us…

The Shrew View: Could Civility Be A Political Platform for Moderates?

 

Those of us in the politically moderate sphere are throwing up our hands and asking,”Where did civility go?”

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The freedoms we cherish are unwittingly being used against us in the uncivil political climate of today. A strong allegiance to Party platforms is like the religiosity that gave rise to atheism. Those of us in the politically moderate sphere are throwing up our hands and asking,”Where did civility go?” Media pundits may enjoy their extremist version of facts, but by removing a balanced analysis weighed against historical context , those of us who want to find truths that complete the facts wind up turning our attention instead to what matters more in our lives like family, friends, work and community and possibly rejecting politics altogether like an Athiest to religious dogma.

As news media and educational curricula conform to revisionist trends of tribal loyalty, “United We Stand” will not be about “one nation under all”.  Today’s political Parties are not like our major religions and should never be committed to with the same fervor.  Government enforced ideologies such as sanctuary for illegal immigrants or marriage only between a man and a woman compete with our God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because government systems try to control people and are not responsible for lifting the heart and mind as religious doctrine does.  The best that a secular governing system can do with regards to morality is to promote civility to one another when attempting to communicate opposing ideas toward favorable results.  It is our individual actions of good will that allow for a deeper understanding of our differences to arrive at a level of fairness within a governance system.

For example, why does the government need to be involved with the act of marriage at all?  We can agree that marriage has certain legal benefits and we can agree that these legal benefits are based upon laws derived by the state.  But what about the separation of church and state?  If we consider that performing and partaking in a marriage ceremony is a religious act then we must give this act relevance to religion and not to the state…this then removes the mandate for a city employee with a conflicting religious principle to sign a document granting the “marriage” certificate to a same sex couple.  Instead, couldn’t these legal rights that are state recognized currently by a marriage be issued in a state approved “certificate of union” no matter the two sexes?  The ceremony is then performed only by a religious or ceremonial entity that “believes” in the couple’s God given right of marriage in accordance with the specific religious doctrine.  We might be surprised to find that more people will belong to a church because of this change, and hearts and minds will be strengthened when the various churches are given back their relevance.

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I am not affiliated with any political party and do my best to vote my conscience  by educating myself on the issues of the day.  I cannot declare myself a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green Independent or Democrat Socialist.  I let the die  hard  Party affiliates  hash out  their  candidates of choice because, as a moderate, civil discourse and  reasoned, educated arguments factor into my vote.  Could  there be a Moderate Party?  Perhaps one  day, but  as of now we moderates hold the cards and  we  are not bluffing like the stronghold  Party affiliates  😉