White men lost in the matrix of hate.

What is it about some white men that leads them to the worst kind of hate: hating another human being for the way she or he was born?  I do believe that if one could, by means of some super sleuth device that’s part time machine and part AI God, trace the origins of racism in white men in America, one would find they have been caught up in a matrix of naivety, ignorance and confusion that manifested a few hundred years ago, and has been a force that has lurked in the recesses of twisted minds since.

I have come to believe that racism in large part, is a form of mental illness afflicting a particular demography of white males within every generation in our country.  (Note: of course what I say applies to many white females, but thankfully they do not often express themselves by being creators of carnage.) I don’t think one can challenge an argument that America has many historical and cultural attributes, at the intersection of which is a mental “black hole” like those in deep space, that literally sucks in susceptible white men’s minds.  Once in the pull of the black hole, they cannot escape after passing a certain point.  Their mental and moral decay at that juncture radiates an anger that is entirely destructive, in fact, is evil itself.

Now racism is a form of hate based on an invalid Zeitgeist that has traveled through time, morphing along the way, generation by generation.  In the mid-Twentieth Century it was manifested profoundly in Germany, infecting a large part of the population, even though it had already taken hold here in AmeriKKKa long before.  Really this country has been built on hate, when one takes a serious look at our history.  Every immigrant group that has come to theses shores has hated the other group, with those arriving more recently receiving the brunt of the hate of those already here; and, then there is the matter of the genocide of First Peoples.  But the racism of white men hating people of color is a unique brand of such hate, giving them the “justification” to commit atrocities like at Wounded Knee, and the now countless mass murders over the last three years.

Here is one article asking if racism should not be considered a mental illness, or at least explored as such.  I agree with most of the article, as it lays out what to me is obvious, that one way to begin to “cure” racists is by exposing white racists to those persons of color in a way that can lead to person to person transaction.  I don’t know where one might begin to practice such an experiment at large, but within our prison industry might be a good starting point.  It is a fact that if two people of different “persuasions”  are forced to confront one another in a situation that depends on their mutual cooperation, they tend to begin to see the other as “human” and not a mere object to receive their hate.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pacific-heart/201708/after-charlottesville-is-racism-mental-illness

I think this approach should be seriously looked into.  Of course, we can not use pleas of insanity by domestic terrorists or other racists that have harmed innocent people; but, we can attempt to root out the mental/spiritual cancer of racists and try to “fix them.”

Another “approach” to preventing or curing racism, I believe wholeheartedly could and should began in secondary education.  In previous posts I have suggested that a reason for so much of our problems as a country is the inability to critically analyze problems, or “problems.”  Using the  Socratic method of discussion, showing young people how to analyze and unravel the threads of a problem or condition, so they can separate the real threads from the perceived fallacious threads, would without a doubt contribute to youth who carry that ability to seek truth into adulthood.  Racism will not flourish where there is truth.

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The fascinating subject of human communication.

I am fascinated with how our means and modes of communication have evolved even within my Boomer lifetime.  “Kilroy was here” predated the Smiley face by roughly ten years, but literally spread around the world during WW2 and afterward.  There is a story behind “Kilroy,” but rather than get into that, I just want to use it as an example of the human need to express one’s individuality with some form of symbols, including “mere” writing.  I am a prime example of this, writing this blog that is my mental salvation.  I can say what I want to – since I live in the USA – since my father and the rest of the “Greatest Generation” saved civilization.  And, I truly miss those days when people actually wrote letters and put them in the mail.  There was nothing like getting a sweet, perfume-scented letter from my distant girlfriend when I was in the military.  Today, with “Skype” and all, I suppose that is “better,” but it’s like the difference between reading a book and seeing the movie of the book’s story.  Really.

Over my childhood, I carved my name into a number of trees, usually in the soft bark of persimmon trees.  Also during my boyhood I saw carvings in large rocks done by someone else a generation before me; and, then decades later I saw carvings done by First Peoples in rocks in New Mexico.  Similar impressions as we know are to be found all over the world, expressions of the human condition from distant human beginnings.

Then, let’s not forget the tags of those who spread graffiti (often done by youth   succumbing to that very basic human need to, as I stated above, “express one’s individuality,” to assert one’s very existence.

And, then came emojis.  And they just keep coming and coming.  I use them often, slap my face!  I am told “kids” even can communicate with just emojis……well, I guess.

But what really is amazing to me, is how social media has just taken over.  The ability to express ourselves instantly around the world, with a few words, art, symbols and photographs, real-time video, “facetime” and all, has given those who have access to the internet unlimited potential of individual expression.  With this unlimited potential comes the relentless motivation of so many of us, especially the younger generations, to fill that potential with constant injections of their “individuality.”  It’s like every young person with a smart phone wants to constantly be on their own soap box, shouting “whatever” to the whole world.  If aliens are monitoring all our electronic signals, certainly they have to be scratching their heads (with their long skinny, fifteen fingers!). Maybe our youth need to practice periods of abstinence from their phones?? In some cultures long periods of silence between one person speaking and another “answering” is perfectly normal.  But in our Western society it seems we must constantly be chattering.

Do we need to declare one hour each year to be an hour of silence?  I think so.  To reflect on our individuality, and how we might best conserve and apply that person who is “self.”

The Intergenerational Tipping Point.

As I see our American society today we are at the tipping point, the fulcrum being the foundation of what America will look like the next 100 years.  On one side of the lever are those who “want to make America great again,” and on the other end of the board is a conglomerate of Millennials and Gen Z, of all colors and persuasions, who have little knowledge of the “before,” but are grounded in what they daily see around them.

It is clear that the advantage is with the newer generations.  They will win.  The only question is how much damage, direct and collateral, to our society and our environment during this civil war.  It appears those now in control continue accelerating their “rape and pillage” mentality, rolling back environmental laws put in place over the last 100 years by those who understood at least some of the values needed to preserve our natural resources, and attempting to change laws protecting women, infants, poor and elderly people, all in the name of their “God.”

So the next few years will tell the final tale, as some factors such as global warming may go beyond any retrievable dynamic, setting the conditions for Earth’s ultimate demise as a habitable, heavenly creation.  Moreover, if certain measures being implemented by the current “old school” reach full criticality, such as rolling back Roe vs. Wade, killing Medicaid and reducing Medicare, messing with Social Security, inflicting untold misery on those seeking asylum at the foot of Lady Liberty, and continuing to start wars that they themselves never personally have to fight, then the next 100 years of potential will be sucked into cleaning up the muck they are spreading.

I remain positive however, and know the energy of the younger generation to effect the needed changes is limitless.  They are “woke,” and “overstand” clearly what they must do.

 

Where is “The Village”?

An African proverb informs that it takes a village to raise a child.  Long ago we in the United States lost the meaning and the practice of this by in large.

The photo above, for those who may not know, is an incubator in some NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).  Some years ago I was rewarded to be the lead electrical engineer in the design of a NICU expansion at a major hospital in San Antonio, Texas.  It was technically challenging for a number of reasons, but resulted in a very functional, modern space for the NICU nurses and parents to nurture and care for tiny, tiny babies.  This project did not compare in size or dollars to many other large jobs I did in my career, but it truly was rewarding.  I had done many hospital projects before and after, but none compared to the sense of purpose in this project.  I did not actually go into a “live NICU” during our design and construction phases, as NICU’s are very guarded of course, but I sat in many meetings with the head NICU nurse and other staff, and I realized then just how committed they are to assuring those little guys and girls go home when the time is right.  Caring for a child that will fit into your hand and seeing that human being go home as a functioning baby must be an extraordinary experience indeed.

What concerns me, however, is the blatant dichotomy between the reasons why many babies start their lives in a NICU versus the resources, means and methods made legally available to girls and women of child-bearing age, before and after pregnancy, and certainly after the baby is taken home (where ever home may physically be, which many times is not in a good space or location).

There are those who would overturn and effectively wipe out the Roe versus Wade decision, in their collective mindset, to save human lives from “the A-word.”  These same factions also have for years up to right now, done their best to shut down women’s clinics that offer so much more than abortion, giving young girls and women without means or wanting privacy, the information and treatments to care for their bodies and to avoid pregnancy.

So what happens if these people win and their is no legal access to abortion in many states, mostly the poorer states?  Well, yes, many may choose to have the baby then give it up for adoption.  I cannot take issue with this if this were a choice made by the mother not under duress.  Of course, many such babies of color will wind up never being adopted and living lives shuttled from one foster home to another, never feeling like they belong; others may be adopted of course, but often by white families of means, and this opens up another whole can of “stuff.”  Abortion will continue, as those who can somehow raise the money will travel to other states to have it done, but for those who have no financial means to do so, they will do as done in our past dark history, going to back-alley abortionists who will do anything for the money.  As a result, many of these poorer girls and women risk dying, risk major medical complications the rest of their days, and very well may not be able to conceive again or carry a fetus to term.

Let me now say I have very personal experience with the “old days,” for when in college my girlfriend (and future wife) became pregnant by me, and we at the time saw no way out that would not turn both our own budding young adult lives upside down, so she had an abortion in a non-medical “place.”  We got pregnant again in college, and she miscarried.  If there is blame, it is mine, and believe me I have lived with it all my life, as a man, but in no way able to feel what my wife felt.  We never were able to conceive after our college years, so were left childless. 

America spends so much money and resources to care for these NICU infants (one reason is that the healthcare system is an industry with lots of money), but what do we do for them after they go home, if they live in dire circumstances?  Very little, and it is getting worse under the present politics.  Many of these fresh little ones will be raised up in situations that are in many ways, 2nd or 3rd world, quite frankly.  Some will be caught up in family situations where the parents are young, ill prepared, and totally without the resources to be proper parents.  As these children grow, and are subjected to very poor parenting, and likely witness or experience neglect and abuse of all kinds, they soon began to act out, and what you wind up with in a few more years are trauma rooms full of gunshot victims as we hear about daily.  (Oh, is it maybe more revenue for the “system”?)

So where is the village?  Save a tiny baby only to cast the sweet bundle to the wolves?

America, we truly are a backward society.

 

 

 

You are under our control.

I wonder how many of us…as in the USA (and maybe in most developed nations)…have the question pop into our minds, say once a month, “What became of __________?”  Fill in the blank with a news story that you were following with interest or just concern, that was on the billboard of cable news just a few weeks ago, or even last week, that seems to have suddenly fallen off the earth?

Cable news and its ability to deliver instantaneous “reports,” governed by the commercial money god, hits us with the “latest” developments…..”BREAKING NEWS,” as one major network says several times an hour….in its race to be the first to “tell us” and capture our fragile and very, very, very short memory cells for that moment, to listen with rapt attention, and then they bet, we will also listen to their commercial sponsors messages.

Now, sure, I am guilty as hell of falling for this presentation, but I do try to turn off or walk away at the commercial breaks, just out of spite if for no other good reason.

But what bothers me is how we, the great populaces, allow cable news to tell us what is on the “news marquee” for today and this week.  What I want to know, is why they are no longer reporting for example, and a good one, on the suicide rate of American military members and our veterans.  Tell me when you last heard about this in the news, unless perhaps on a PBS story.  Or, what about the on the ground war details in Syria?  Many months ago this was the daily story, so what happened? Did it just become so gruesome to our senses that “they,” who control the news marquee, just decided to not punish our sense of guilt any longer?  Is that for them to decide?  No, but I think it really had to do with that being “old news,” babies dying by the hundreds became old news.  I could go on and on, stories I was following that now I have to go search for “current” information, and good luck with that.  Another example, “caravans of rapists, drug dealers, and very bad people” coming from the south…..oh my, where did they go, did they stop? Are they now “here” and stalking our streets while we sleep?  Oh, bullshit.  But I am concerned about the families being torn apart, children ripped from their mothers and “disappeared.”  Why did this story suddenly become non-news? We know why.

Every week, as I am sure you have noticed, the Marquis de Marquee pushes a few buttons and we are now in another world, where all past news stories have been deleted…oh sure, we can recover them of course, ha, ha…and informs us that NOW we will have senses inundated with the stories on the big sign the Marquis has selected for us.

I guess what bothers me about all this, is that it is not that the stories we follow with concern are not able to be found with some digging, but that the Marquis de Marquee is controlling the attention of most of us, and we aren’t even conscious of it, and do little or nothing to protest!  So, each week – really now each day with Trump – there is a new set of news stories, and for the time being, Trump is the Marquis (“de Sade”), toying with the public and the world every new day, as if it is all his little basement play room.

The bright side is that from what I observe, the younger generation has pretty well tuned out cable news.  In fact within a few years cable news may just perish, an ignoble death, for it could have done so much better had it had a conscience.  I can’t wait.

 

Golden years.

So I went looking for a photo to best illustrate today’s topic, typed in “golden years” and got lots of photos of cute golden retrievers and the Golden Gate bridge.  Apparently “golden years” are quite illusive.  My message to the younger generations (I am a retired Boomer) today is just that, if you have any vestige notion remaining, of working toward the “golden years” in the latter years of your lives, after you have already experienced a bit of today’s reality, please sit and reconsider.

My advice is to find your internal “holy man” and listen to his advice (or, if you prefer, holy woman…..I think I prefer).  Likely he will inform you, perhaps told as a parable, that the “golden years” are right now, son or daughter.

Like the American Dream – the neat house with green lawn and white fence – Golden Years in the traditional sense should no longer even be a faint aspiration.  The odds of you attaining sufficient private wealth to live in an upscale lifestyle are very small indeed. Of course many will, those who have by selected the right field of endeavor that reflects the spending power of mass consumption and who have managed their finances “wisely” and often selfishly, may live in modest or resplendent luxury one day, but that’s just a small fraction of your generations.

Your holy man probably will advise, “live your best life today, right now.”  Only you can decide what is your personalized “best life,” but I will second the holy guy’s advice.  There are absolutely no guarantees about “work hard and you will succeed.”  Not in today’s world.  So, to counter these odds, you merely have to live each day enjoying all the small things that are in your life, whether it is a smile from a boss,  a hug from your child, or the light in the eyes of your lover.  Sure, have your goals and work hard, but working toward something must not gloss over what you already have to enjoy right here and now.  Let you golden years be like golden butter mixed with honey, spread over all the slices of your life.

If you are making huge sacrifices right now to get to something “better,” I would urge you to rethink that:  all this does is set up a condition for the next big sacrifice for that which is even larger, and before long your life is a litany of sacrifices for those far off golden years, during which you may have many regrets about what you “could have done” if you had just slowed your thinking and recalibrated your wish list.

So, at least give what I say a little thought today, ok?

I also would say that it is better to share what you have, not just collect.  The returns on such investments in others’ joy will stock your pantry of blessings and help them along through their golden years of their lives.

Peace.

Cars I have owned.

Did I mention somewhere along the byway of my blog that I no longer possess a car?  I do have access to my friend’s car for important errands, but generally nowadays I just stay put in my neighborhood, as I little reason to be “running around” anymore.  But it was less than a year ago that I gave up my 2014 Ford Taurus SEL (one shown in the lead photo), and occasionally I find myself having pangs of longing and desire, even “lust” for that car.  Oh my, how I loved it.  But everything must change, so I let it go.

I must say though that it was one of the last “almost muscle” cars sold in America.  It was an automatic, but had a passing gear that was marvelous for getting on freeways or passing 18-wheelers slowly coming into my lane!  And, so comfortable indeed.  A great car, but Ford changed, like all the American (or “world economy”) manufacturers have done.  I think in China this car or a similar one is still available, which makes me ask, “What tha f^&%$!”

Over my long adult working life I have had more than my share of cars, mostly brand new, or one or two slightly used.  I admit, I was a car-holic, always feeling the need to drive something I felt was commensurate with my “status” in life, as an engineer growing in his career.

Before the Taurus, actually I also owned Ford’s Focus and Fiesta models, but did not keep these but a short time before settling on the Bull.  (Taurus is my zodiac, so you see how I might be attracted to it.)  All of these cars were fantasic, fast, surprisingly comfy to my 6′-2″ frame.

ford focus 2013

Before I settled into Ford’s products, I had driven the wheels off a couple of models of the Saturn VUE.  Remember Saturn?  Most will not.  Another “deep six” product of America trying to compete in the world economy.

02-05_Saturn_Vue

The VUE was a really good car, and I was sorry to see it fall off car-earth.  When I moved into owning a couple of the VUE’s (I loved them!),  I had done so only because I had driven the best car I ever had to the point of the transmission likely needing replacing.  The WONDERFUL 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora!

1996-Oldsmobile-Aurora

This car was like NCC-1701 on wheels to me.  Fabulous in every way.  The V-8 engine was the bad-ass thing out of Detroit at the time, so bad the engine block was used in some Indy cars! 250HP and a top speed of 135mph, and believe me it would do that.  In fact the engine was governed (limited) to that, as it would do more.  With this car the driver could set the cruise control on 125mph and just drive and drive and feel like you were going 65.  Perfect ride.  At 90 you could punch it and almost get whiplash! No joke.

All of the cars I have owned I chose to satisfy my sense of engineering design and beauty, and also for uniqueness.  I liked to drive something nice that was “not your average car.”  So before the Aurora I had burned miles in probably the very first Nissan Maxima sedan to hit the streets of Dallas.  It was a cool car, with what then were very novel features including recorded voice warnings (“Lights are On”) and information announcements by a sweet female voice.  The ONE thing that caused me grief more than once was the automatic should harness.  At that time, before air bags, some manufacturers were offering a novel design where the connection point of the should harness rode a track in the top of the door frame.  So the front passenger would get in, fasten the lap belt portion, and close the door, then when the ignition key was turned to ON, the should harness would move from the forward to rear driving position, firmly crossing the passenger with the shoulder harness.  Now, let me tell you, that was a problem for someone not really thinking about the position of their right arm.  More than once I started the engine to hear the scream and cursing of my wife who was arrested and almost strangled by the device.  Of course it was all my fault guys!

Maxima

When I bought the Maxima, I traded my Sterling 825.  I had bought it and drove it hard around New Mexico where I was living and working, and then long commutes back to Dallas.  A great car also, well engineered, but although my own car never had one problem, many did, and being manufactured in GB, it could not compete with its sister called Acura.  Built on the same drive train and chassis, the Sterling quality of production just could not compete with the Japanese version.  Americans literally taught the Japanese how to do quality assurance…..looks like we should have also taught our friends across the pond as well!

Before the Sterling I enjoyed the Datsun 810, both owning a two-door coupe version, then a station wagon version.  Great cars both, and I burned the miles on both.

datsun_810

opel gt

Before getting into Datsun, my pride and joy as a young Air Force officer was a car just like the one above, a 1970 Opel GT.  It was like a mini-Vette, and was giving competition to the Z cars of that period.  Powered by a simple in-line 4-cylinder engine (and incredibly accessible to maintain), manual shift, manual levered headlight rotation mechanism (note in the photo, the headlights are turned inward), it was sleek and fast and a road hugging little monster! I ran the wheels off it and loved every second I was behind the wheel.

My father set me up in an Opel Kadette, the actual car shown below.  It was so cool, and racy, and my future bride and I had lots of fun in it!

my first car

My father seemed to know how to pick neat cars, as he bought me a very used 1958 Chevy Impala, like that pictured below.  No, it wasn’t a plastic kit like in the photo! Unfortunately I blew the engine on it, and with me being in college, our family could not afford repairs so it sat at home until Dad found a buyer.

chevy

I learned to drive when I was about 9, on our ranch, on ranch roads, then progressing to driving on the highway with my mother next to me.  What I learned to drive in was a jeep similar to this one.  Daddy acquired it somehow, I think in a raffle where he worked, like he also acquired a motorcycle he never used.  Ours was painted white, and had a cool bullet hole in the back.  The stories I could tell about driving this jeep around our ranch would make most parents pucker up.  Never give a 9 year old boy a jeep and let him roam free!

And so I have come to the end of my “car life” story.  I enjoyed all these rides, but now enjoy walking even more.  Enjoy your rides, but walk as often as you can!2018-Jeep-History-1950s-Vehicle-Lineup-Jeep-M38A1_jpg_image_1440