Day 135 – part 2

So what is today but another yesterday in the making?  Or perhaps, to quote the learned Axl Rose, “Yesterday there was so many things I was never told
Now that I’m startin’ to learn I feel I’m growing old”.

My father said something similar though he was surely no GNR fan.  Facing the frustrations of being sick with cancer and staring at a life cut short, he said, “Just when you’re starting to figure things out, you’re too old, too out of time.”

Mind you, I’m not feeling morbid, morose, ill or out of time, but I think it would be remiss of me to not learn from the very painful lessons of those who have come before me.  Carpe Diem was a popular saying thanks to Robin Williams, but I think it is apropos, too.  There are many, many miles to go before I sleep.  I hope.

So, today.  Fur Elise, The Firefly theme, and I heard an acoustical version of CCR’s Fortunate Son that I’d like to try.  I also need to find an amplifier since mine is broken.  Other than that, today is about sales calls, emails and maybe, exercise and coffee with my sons. Maybe a spot of tea, too.

What will you do with your day?  What mountain will you climb, lips will you kiss, flower will you smell?  Contribute that verse…

O Me! O Life!

Walt Whitman, 18191892

O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;   
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;   
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who  more faithless?)   
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;   
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;          
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;   
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?   
   
                                                        Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;   
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

To each their own…decision.

I happened to be reading this article when my oldest son looked over my shoulder and started reading along with me.  This lead to a conversation of sorts with him, which I rather enjoyed.

At first my son was actively against the shop owners.  He said he would have sued the owners, too.  Not because of any particular leaning so much as he views all discrimination as wrong.  I explored his thinking on that for a bit and I was satisfied with where he was coming from, but then I told him how things might have been different in Montana.  I shared with him how, in lot of states, the right to refuse service to anyone is available to business owners.  I also shared with him how customers have the same right not to go to a particular business.  They can complain to others about it, too, which usually works out better that just suing somebody.  It was fun to discuss the various alternatives.

We spoke on a lot of different topics related to the situation and the fun thing for me was watching him consider other viewpoints than his own.  He didn’t dismiss things out of hand, he spent time thinking about where the shop owners were coming from and why.  He considered other ways to handle the conflict and what some of the results were.  At the end of the day he held to his own opinion, for his own reasons, but he thought about things!  It was a great father/son moment, but it also made me laugh and think about how often I can’t have that kind of conversation with an adult…

The New Economy by Emma Lazarus

Yesterday I got to thinking about the influence of a bad mustache on modern foreign policy.  The effect is dramatic, I think.  Today, I want to offer up an alternative to a good mustache gone bad.  It’s time for a little competition and some good marketing.

Emma Lazarus wrote a poem containing this very famous line,

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Of course, many people know that this sits at the base of the Statue of Liberty as she greets all those who wish to enter our country via Ellis Island.  The United States has long been a country populated by those who, for various and storied reasons, left their former country of origin behind.  This land was, and still is, a nation of resources that these people tapped into to create a life, a country and a destination…

A destination you say?  Why yes, yes I did say.  Now stop interrupting me.  We call it the American Dream.  The idea that anyone can move to the United States and make of themselves what they will was, and is, a powerful aphrodisiac to all those people in other countries that were not satisfied with their lot.  More importantly, it was our single greatest marketing fete of the last three centuries.  Offer a person the hope of a better future, or, in some cases, a future at all, and they will suffer much to make that future come true.  More importantly, they’ll move…

A nation’s greatest resource is its people, for they are the ones that create new ways to utilize and exploit all other resources.  Take away a nation’s people and you have effectively crippled them, and made yourself stronger in the process.  Along the way, many nations, including ours, have forgotten this truth and the reasons for why we should be competing like no other for such a valuable resource.  This is where our marketing engine and our policies should combine to combat the likes of countries like Syria, China, Korea, etc.  Don’t like the oppressive policies of your homeland?  Tired of facing war, famine, torture, murder and worse at the hands of your government and fellow citizens?  Well, we have a deal for you.  We have schools, universities, health care and jobs that need people who want to work.  Commit to an education and a career and we can use somebody like you.  Need help leaving your country?  No problem, we can put you in touch with several organizations that can assist you in your travels to your new country.  And if you accidentally happen to pack some important information about your government in your sock, which is in your shoe, that is hidden in an uncomfortable and anatomically unlikely location?  No problem, we know just the people to had that off to.  Welcome to America!

 

*These ideas, and my expression of them, are a work in progress.  I have communicated, albeit poorly, the general idea of what I mean.  Now I need to work on fleshing it out.

 

Agree to disagree- No, just don’t be an ass

I don’t care if you agree with me, I welcome all dissent and criticism.  I don’t even have to like you as you tell me I’m wrong- in fact, I might think you’re the biggest damn idiot on the planet.  And if you give me lip about how everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I might just tell you that, “No, in fact, not everyone is entitled to an opinion- but it sure does seem like everyone has one.”

And that’s O.K.

What I won’t do, and I think this is an important point, is degrade you, call you stupid, condescend you or otherwise treat you as subhuman.  I don’t need to, to win my argument- or lose it, if I’m actually wrong.  It turns out that, wrong or right, being an asshole is completely an optional package when it comes to debate; even serious debate within politics, religion or beer.

*Below is kind of an internal monologue I had with myself that led to the above post*

I am a registered Republican.  This might be news to some of my friends, and I am sure it is to the whole Obama campaign, who, when they found out I was voting for him, vigorously tried to get me to go out and get more Democrats to vote.  I’m not a registered Democrat because I align more closely with a lot of the stated aims of the Republican party.  I’m not a Libertarian or Tea Party person because I’m not crazy, just more conservative than a Democrat.  I bring this up because as we went through the last couple years of campaign hell, I witnessed a lot of back and forth among the various factions.  Conservatives liked to yell a lot.  Boisterous, vociferous intimidation was the main tactic of their communication.  Liberals liked to condescend a lot. There was always the implied, “You’re stupid and can’t understand me,” tone to their rhetoric.  Their arguments weren’t anymore intelligent, usually, but damn if they didn’t try to act like it.  The Independents, of which I am primarily talking about your Tea Party and Libertarian variety seemed to utilize the worst of both sides.  Theirs was the true truth which only a select few were smart enough to understand. You could tell one of their arguments as it usually started with, “Well, it’s quite clear to anyone who understands the finer point of ( insert gold standard, Consitutional Law, economic theory)”  What I didn’t see was a lot of actual debate where people put forth actual ideas for the purpose of talking about them.  It was mostly about who was the biggest Alpha in the room, as if that had any bearing on intelligent discourse…

Hmmm….