Monday, December 17, 2018

A Critical Question


 


How does one intend to leave this world, to throw the mortal coil aside, as they say?

As an infirm man, having difficulties caring for oneself?  Utterly broken down and bereft of much value as a functioning human entity?

Or as a man still up to the manifold challenges with the arduous tasks of living?  With plenty of value and usefulness as a human being.  A productive and contributing member of society, rather than a burden. With still a storehouse of value to offer, and still able to do good.

When one trades a temporal thing for another, do we bring a completely rundown thing with the earnest hope of getting something with incomparable value in return?  Or do we present something that is still essentially valuable and desirable?  And thus be somewhat worthy of the trade.

I do believe we like to bring to the table something of value in exchange.  A still serviceable human life in exchange for eternity. 

Not an almost moribund being  with only a slight glimmer of life left, breathing hard and grudgingly desiring release from the onerous vicissitudes of simply living.  Where nothing much else is left to live for.  Where continued living itself has become the burden.

Thus, taking the role of a smart and logical negotiator of our destiny, we ask ourselves this question when we consider our demise.

I say let us bring before the Lord a life still filled with promises and hope, and workable usefulness, in exchange for the incomparable life of eternity.  In other words, value for value.  Temporal value for eternal value.

The value of human life is derived mainly in its sense of integrity and purpose.  And yes, in its capacity to partake of temporal pleasures and worldly enjoyment. All human life is assigned similar value, differentiated and categorized only by the purposes for which it is lived.

If the human life is simply a hollow shell of what it was before, then it has very greatly diminished temporal value.

While all this may seem logical and understandable, others could opine that the analysis is not tenable.

The human life that is being traded for eternity is not the physical entity one sees, one that has been ravaged by time and elements.  It is what that shell of a life represents.  The spiritual treasures it has accumulated and stored during the sojourn we call life.

While the life may be spent, the treasures gathered endure and hold value.  And that is what will be measured in the momentous barter exchange to be made, in the journey from time to eternity.

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Why the World Hates Donald Trump


 
In one Superman movie, sweetheart reporter Lois Lane pens a Pulitzer-winning piece entitled,   Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.  And we learned later that this curt dismissal stems deeper than her reporter’s ken.  Superman had left her emotionally hanging without a good-bye, but laden heavy with child.  But the movie ends with Superman back to his crime-fighting ways with the world back to his side.  Up, up and away!

Now it seems the world has already penned its own poison piece against this outlier of a president, Donald J. Trump.
 
Every time I read or hear criticism about Donald Trump, a panoply of emotions rush to try and take control of me.  At times it is the uneasy feeling of amusement especially if coming from people I truly believe ought to know better.  At times it is simply irritation, maybe because of the shrouded pettiness of the charge.  At times frustration that not much earnest effort had been expended to know and understand underlying intent on statements or actions coming from Trump.  In these chaotic times, it is a big challenge trying to discern the truth from fiction, especially because the revered institutions that people had relied for so long appear to have abandoned their impartiality and fairness. And at times, nonchalance or disinterest, maybe because really, the loathsomeness against the man appears consumptive and contagious.  And maybe, there are more latent emotions rushing to find expression.

Anyway, I thought maybe I ought to find out why so many loathe the guy, almost like every other person on earth is expressing similar feelings. So here is my list of the reasons why Trump is so hated.

Almost to the man or woman, from top to bottom all members of the Democratic Party show their disdain at most anything and everything Trump does.  Especially true to the real ideologues in the party of which there are many and in control.  They could not imagine in their wildest dreams that this annoying parody of an accomplished and strait-laced politician or statesman could win against what they perceived as a very accomplished and seasoned candidate, though admittedly with a very checkered past, but a woman at that.  But lost they did, and in a manner decorated with so much drama and aplomb. And so the hate fest begun.

Trump was never a politician, and never even pretended to be one and thus never even tried to exhibit the nuances expected from one.  He was simply an unrefined and hardened businessman nurtured in a very brutal place like New York.  And I believe because he won being himself, he found no extenuating reasons to materially change his personality in his new role as president.  And thus many including those within his own party do not find this acceptable or commendable.  And thus in this great number, Trump finds many detractors, some vocal while others are silent.

In many respects, Trump the outlier candidate still has not awakened to the fact that he is now the President of the strongest and most influential country in the world, and with it, as Spiderman declared, comes great responsibility.  Thus in many ways Trump the President continues in his merry wayward ways like he still is the reality TV guy, forever aiming for higher ratings and feasting on the global attention, which many will say all feed into his outsized ego.  And many polite and erudite members of the establishment elites of all sectors cannot forgive him for this blatant shortcoming.  And they have not been sparing in their lashing at him at every turn.  Trump is only lonely man at the top!

And most of all, many loathe Trump because of his bad manners and at times the glaring absence of politeness or reservation.  Many in politics or other high places also exhibit bad manners, but nobody is President like Trump. The hate is aggravated thus when they see him displaying bad manners as President which office is supposed to symbolize everything virtuous about the country.  This is regardless of whether those we criticize him truly believe in all these and practice them in their lives and roles.  They just hate him more.  And Trump for his part is almost completely oblivious of this, and will not even make token efforts at redemption or reparation.  He is just Trump being Trump.  The hate fest continues, grows, and engulfs a good part of the globe.

And oh, they hate him because of his “collusion with Russia” on the election.  At this point everything is still perceived and hearsay because after over a year, nothing to bolster the claim has been revealed or leaked by the special counsel.  Save for some indictments, only vaguely related to the charge.  And in the meantime, several high-ranking heads in the DOJ and FBI have come out of the chopping block, pointing unerringly  to the ugly presence of what many call the Deep State.

Meanwhile, what has his presidency done to the country, which is what he was mandated to do in the first place with his historic election?   The electorate after all was not looking for a saint, but somebody to put the country back on track given how much it has strayed from its committed goals.

All the good stuff listed below are necessarily put alongside the performances of not only the immediately preceding administration, but even beyond because some of his numbers are staggering.  And where does one begin?

Unemployment at historic lows, from all sectors of the populace, for all minorities.  Overall labor participation soaring.

The once anemic economy is moving at a fast clip.  In GDP increases, markets, etc.  Very significant tax cuts had immediate unexpected effects on the economy

 
Regulations that were emasculating many sectors of the economy were reversed or eased up to allow them to grow. An industry or two dismissed as on the extinction path have been revived.

No. Korea and other traditional adversaries or competitors are suddenly amenable  to come to the negotiating table.  And to enact fairer provisions and concessions.  Etc.

The Supreme Court now poised to strictly interpret the Constitution, rather than having it legislate from the bench in an activist fashion.  Just what the majority of the electorate would be comfortable with.

And there are more, some more discernible, others stealthily moving in our midst.

Overall, Trump has delivered on the promises he made to the electorate.  And though very sharp divisions exist within its rank, still that is how things move in a democracy.

The bane of Obamacare that festered almost since it was passed was somehow defanged when no palatable replacement could be proposed by the ruling party.   The democrats had even used it as a viable platform issue during the last election.  And by and large it has moved to the plus column for them given the results of the election.
 
And yes, everybody including past presidents was for the wall and border security, until Trump decided that he too wanted to get along.  Now, he is the racist and isolationist.

But how will this nightmarish milieu end?  Who knows!

 

 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hypocrisy Dressed as Charity?



Like a fly on the wall, I travel extensively in my vast virtual world, whether invited or not, and assiduously observe fellow humans reveal their innermost feelings whether subtly or not, whether intended or not, within the loose confines of this huge alternate reality.

 Social media in particular is just such an alluring and hypnotizing medium, it can insidiously push one into some trance-like state of cluelessness, or maybe just mindlessness, as to blurt out items too personal or intimate that one would under normal social setting be inhibited from publicly revealing.  But such is the current reality in social media if one focuses or pauses enough to discern it.

Thus, these are observations culled and collated from such virtual travels

 When we speak of our own family, many of us are at times beside ourselves extolling and exalting the endearing qualities of members of the family and admittedly, at times to the point of excess or ennui.  And throw in there, how we may be ecstatic about our children and dear ones as paragons of beauty and grace, and maybe at some unguarded moments, we become quite liberal with superlatives. 

Many confess to not possessing sufficient fluency in providing verse to describe members of the family; and additionally, we earnestly infer that we would do everything in our power to protect and safeguard these beloved family members from any intrusive peril and danger.  Even proffering our lives in sacrifice, all for the welfare of loved ones.   We cannot imagine anything bad or dearth associated with them. At least that is what we are understanding from our declarations.

We no doubt are exhilarated and inspired by such noble protestations and who would not be.  Natural affection comes naturally to those we love and cherish. Except that there typically is a dark side to this.

Because out of these same numbers would come out the same persons who will exhibit the following with nary any hesitance or reservation.

To those who disagree with them in political or religious ideology, or for whatever reasons, they throw caution to the winds for they will extract their “pound of flesh” by any means possible.

Thus, be damned to Judge Kavanaugh, his family, his friends, or his reputation or everything good he stands for, because the end justifies the means, however morally reprehensible and unacceptable they may be.

And this holds true not only to the detractors who are directly involved, but all those who validate and are amused by such tactics, and declaim so in their own spaces.

Our righteousness then applies only to those near and dear to us and those who share our beliefs and ideology.  And we could care less for the others and their families, reputation, etc., whether such hurt is justified or not.

Would that not be a clear sign of hypocrisy?

And everybody loathes and cringes at being accused of such.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Pride and Humility


 
 
These are two very distinct and opposing emotions that exert so much drag and pull on our every action and feeling.

So constraining that at times one is hard pressed to realize which one creates more power and influence on human behavior.

To be Christ-like one has to learn how to handle both in any situation.  Whether one is in the right or in the wrong.

When one is wrong and realizes it, it is comparatively easy to bring out the virtue of humility.  It will flow quite easily if one is truly penitent and remorseful.

However, when one is in the right, the emotion of pride is just as demanding.  It is also comparatively easy for one to exhibit rightful indignation and fury or passion against those who have wronged us.  In a way, to fight fire with fire, or to stoop to the same levels that we the rightful party has been dragged.  It would be easy to feel justified doing just that.  It is almost innate in our nature to respond that way.

But over and over, as we consistently and deeply study the life of Christ, He commands us to take the more commendable though difficult path.  Taking the high road, even when doing so is not easy and exhausting.  The proverbial turning of the other cheek, when buffeted on the other.

We declare yourselves in many instances how we model our lives to that of Christ, but how truly do we mold our lives like unto His?

 

Friday, August 03, 2018

Parenting


The issue of parenting is both apropos and relevant for young parents.

There are how-to or self-help books on parenting, maybe to a point that there may be too much information about the subject. And many times, these different sources take divergent analyses or opinions on the same subject(s), maybe to a point that can confuse earnest parents.

But one thing we learn from experience is that each child is uniquely different, thus how to properly parent a child will depend largely on a parent's intimate and personal knowledge and understanding of each child.

There is an almost inherent bias for parents to assume that if they believe they were raised properly, what worked for them will work for their children too. After all, many of us know and believe that a child is composed of 50% of one spouse, and the other 50% of the other spouse, so it would be easy to assume that at that default stage we already know enough of our children to tailor the kind of parenting we believe will work.

But nothing I believe is farther from reality. Each child is still uniquely different from both parents to a point that we cannot safely say that the child is like either one of the parents, or maybe likened to other ancestors. That is just one facet of the mystery and awesomeness of life.

Additionally, as parents we tend to treat our children as fragile and easily traumatized individuals. Many facts point to a somewhat accepted reality that children are typically stronger, more malleable, and able to adapt to varying degrees of conditions and situations than we think they can. There is more than enough knowledge to show that children born and raised in very challenging situations have been able to lift themselves with their own bootstraps to become functioning and exemplary members of our society.

Does it make parenting more difficult? I believe so, since we now collectively possess more knowledge than the previous generations, the responsibilities become exponentially greater. Add to that the fact that life itself has become more and more complicated for the coming generations. Remember the cliché, with great powers come greater responsibilities.