Yup, That’s Been Me Lately….

Head in Sand

Head in the sand, blissfully unaware as the world goes by.  Here’s why.

For days now it’s been unusually hot in my little neck of paradise here in coastal San Diego. It’s been humid too and the air stagnant, which means my normally breezy and comfortable little beach house becomes a sweltering tinderbox starting at about 2pm daily.  Seriously, I could probably make good money renting it out as a sauna.

The heat frying my brains, on top of a busy work schedule and a nasty bout of food poisoning has left my motivation for blogging just dying on the vine.  Instead of scouring the daily news and picking off any one its multiple absurdities for a meaty blog post, I’ve chosen to ignore it all together and pretend all is good with the world.

And can I tell ya something?  It’s been pretty nice.  I’ve been way more relaxed and my mornings have been fabulously stress free as I forgo catching the latest headlines to pray more,  read Oprah like self-improvement stuff, or just get a jump start on work.

I know I can’t stay this way forever and  I’ll be back at it again soon enough.  Just not quite yet.  I’m enjoying my blissful ignorance and plus it’s rather cool here beneath the wet sand.

 

 

Posted in Humour, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 26 Comments

The Myth of Toxic Masculinity

Man-Woman

As a girl raised by a strong father, I really enjoyed this article, “Masculine Dads Raise Confident Daughters” by Abigail Shrier.  It’s a heaping dose of refreshing common sense actually, that dares to question the prevailing cultural view on the evils of “toxic masculinity”.

From the piece:

“Masculinity, like femininity, is neither inherently good nor bad. Enormous damage can be inflicted by the sorts of malice we associate with girls: spreading rumors, convincing someone’s friends to turn against her, refusing to acknowledge someone purportedly beneath notice. Femininity and masculinity are manners of comportment and modi operandi; they are not codes of conduct. Men have used masculinity for acts of heroism and decency. That they have also applied it to despicable behavior says nothing of masculinity itself.”

Now in case you actually have better things to do than keep up with the latest in feminist orthodoxy on this topic (and please tell me that you do), here it is in a nutshell.

Because society assigns young boys with gender specific traits like being physically strong, stoic and assertive, it conditions them to think they are superior to girls and that it’s ok to dominate and control them.  These boys in turn grow up to be knuckle dragging misogynists, heavily influenced by a toxic masculinity that “harms all genders. It promotes sexism, misogyny, violence, and rape culture, while enforcing dangerous stereotypes of masculinity and femininity.”

Phrases like “man up” and “don’t be a girl” apparently enhance this and if you say this to your child you are part of the problem.  Even teaching your son good old fashioned chivalry is dangerous according to psychologist and sex stereotype expert Peter Glick from this  New York Times column:

“One thing you want to be careful of,” he said, “is teaching boys to be chivalrous. We need to stop socializing boys to see women as needing protection.”

 “……the idea that women should be cherished and put on pedestals fosters what’s known as benevolent sexism, which subtly demeans women as fragile and less competent. It reinforces a sexual script in which a man takes charge while a woman remains passive.”

I’m thinking Peter Glick probably spends a lot Saturday nights alone. I rather enjoy being put on a pedestal and would bet my last dollar a majority of other women do too.  Feeling protected and cherished in a relationship, not only makes us feel physically safe, but emotionally too, as it fosters trust and motivates letting our guards down and being authentic. This isn’t demeaning to women, it’s empowering and strengthens relationships.

Back to Ms. Shrier:

“So many seem to believe that if we can remake boys as feminists—by which they seem to mean boys who check their male privilege, are unafraid to cry, and are politically progressive—we will have largely solved the problem of sexual harassment. A glance at the public figures felled in the #MeToo purges—not to mention Bill Clinton —should cure us of the idea that progressive politics incline men to better treatment of women.”

Exactly! We’d all like to see sexual assault and harassment eliminated, but focusing on the bogeyman of masculinity will only make things worse.  Squelching the natural male instinct to be masculine doesn’t make it go away, more likely it will erupt elsewhere in the form of increased violence and brutish behavior.  A young boy told enough times that his desire to be strong and heroic is not only wrong, but must be repressed will undoubtedly have negative effects later on.

On the flip side, those who are told these feelings are normal and encouraged to express them through positive endeavors like sports or “playing war” with good role models leading the way (i.e. masculine dads, coaches, etc…), will have a better sense of themselves and what it means to be a man and how to properly treat other people.  Note though the role of a “good” mentor is key, bad ones of course will do more harm than good.

An interesting paradox to all this is that the more we single out “the patriarchy” and male dominance as the cause of all our gender woes, the more we weaken women by reducing the incentive to reflect on their own faults and the negative effects they bring to the table.

As Ms. Shrier states,

“There is something regrettable in the way our exclusive focus on boys and men lets young women off the hook. As if women bear no responsibility for their own behavior. As if they are too weak, too emotional, too foolish ever to take care of themselves.

And that is the greatest disappointment of the #MeToo movement, that it has so spectacularly refused to insist that a woman not allow any man to treat her badly. Failed to insist that young women have an individual responsibility to demand better. That they should all agree no job is worth more than their dignity.”

Indeed.  This is not to say that a woman is at fault for being sexually assaulted/harassed, that is never the case.  I’ve heard too many times though of instances where years of abuse were tolerated before something finally gives way. There can be many reasons for this, but one big one unfortunately involves feelings of self hate and of deserving to be treated so poorly.

There is nothing more empowering for a woman than to understand and believe in her own value and self worth.  The masculine men in her life can help nurture this.

Note: If you find yourself stuck behind a pay wall forAbigail Shrier’s article, try googling the Wall Street Journal plus the title and it may get you behind it.

 

 

 

Posted in gender issues, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment | Tagged , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Comfort From Above

Moon and Venus

I caught this shot the other night of Venus and the moon and it reminded me not only of the celestial glory God provides for our entertainment, but of the many ways He leaves big flashing dots for us to connect.

Luke 1:37 tell us, “For no word from God will ever fail”.   Of course not.  He gave us light, separated day from night, made days, years and calendars  and created signs in the sky to help us navigate and mark the different seasons.

Those signs, among many other things,  all point to Him and His unyielding, uncompromising and never-ending love for us.  Sometimes all we need to do is look up to be reminded of this.

And so He made the stars also…..

Indeed.

Posted in Spiritual, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

The Birth of Liberty-Day 4

founding-fathers                      Photo Credit: Library of Congress, painting by J. Trumbell

It’s the 4thof July and so today we celebrate America’s separation from British rule, formally ratified through the Declaration of Independence.

It’s important to remember just how revolutionary this document was; both in laying out the ideals and principles of our young nation’s new government and in justifying breaking off from the oppression of Great Britain. It was the philosophical basis of a government that exercised power only by consent of the governed, which was truly a radical concept for this time!

Most of human history to that point consisted of government ruling over its people with power always ceding to the wealthy and politically connected.  The Declaration of Independence and its inspired creation, the Constitution, flipped this on its head and outlined the conditions of a free people whose rights and liberty are derived from God, not man.

Liberty was of course high on the minds of its authors, the Founding Fathers, who understood that for people to truly live well, the oppression of government must be tamed so the dignity and freedom of the human spirit can thrive.

So enjoy today’s festivities with your loved ones; the BBQ’s, the fireworks, the games, the fellowship.  Just don’t forget to share a toast (perhaps with a Sam Adams Boston Lager?) in celebration of the freedoms we enjoy today because of the foresight and extreme sacrifices from those that came before us.

Cheers and Happy Independence Day!

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.-Patrick Henry

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”Thomas Paine

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”-Benjamin Franklin

“The security of a free Constitution,” depends on “teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; . . . to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness,” and to unite “a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect for the laws.”  –George Washington

“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”-Thomas Jefferson

“Be it remembered, however, that liberty must at all hazards be supported . . . cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people . . . And the preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks, is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.”-John Adams

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security” –Benjamin Franklin

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”-Thomas Jefferson

Previous posts on this series of quotes from our Founding Fathers can be found, here, here and here.

 

 

 

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The Birth of Liberty-Day 3

Did you know that nobody really knows exactly how many federal criminal laws/regulations there are on the books? And that each day the average person is breaking at least 3 of them without even knowing it?  And that every year Congress continues to criminalize a new crime each week?

James_Madison

Photo Credit: oll.libertyfund.org/quote/177

This surely was not the case when Founding Father James Madison was alive, but he certainly could have predicted it.  Madison helped write the U.S. Constitution and Federalist Papers and eventually became president himself in 1808.  He was very keen to this type of danger saying:

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow.”

Well today there are over 5,000 federal criminal laws and somewhere between 300,000-500,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. Even if just a misdemeanor or an arrest that doesn’t result in a conviction, the end result can still be disastrous in terms of lost money, time and reputation.

A large and powerful government enforcing Increasingly complex and incoherent laws that its citizens may or may not know they are breaking, takes us far, far away from the concept of individual liberty so cherished by our Founders. In fact it is a form of tyranny that’s leading us down a bad path that someday will be impossible to get off of.

Will we wise up before it’s too late?

This is part of a multi day series of quotes from our Founding Fathers. Here are links to days 1, and 2 respectively.

Posted in Political, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Birth of Liberty-Day 2

As we move on from Day 1 in this series of quotes from our Founding Fathers, we come to Samuel Adams, second cousin to John Adams and a major architect of the American Revolution and in helping to shape the political culture of the young country.

Samuel Adams

Photo Credit: wikipedia.com

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

This quote holds particular significance for us today, as so many seem not just fine with the ever increasing amount of government interference in our lives, but eagerly demanding it.

Government is force of the most powerful kind. It has complete authority to legally threaten and initiate violence against its own citizens, with a vast army of officers empowered to use various methods of enforcement, up to and including the lethal type.

Nobody believes we don’t need government, it’s a necessary evil that exists to protect our rights and enforce laws that allow a free people to prosper and thrive.  We should be very wary however of the powers we grant to it.

This brings to mind another quote by Gerald Ford, often wrongly attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but still no less true.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.

Or more simply, be careful what you ask for….

Posted in Free speech, Political, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Birth of Liberty-Day 1

 

declaration                                Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress of the 13 U.S. Colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was the official statement ratifying their vote 2 days prior to permanently break from Great Britain’s rule.  Each July 4th from that day forward, people throughout the country and from all walks of life, come together to celebrate the birth of America’s Independence.

We do this in many ways; with gatherings of friends and family, backyard grilling and lots and lots of food/drink, and of course with fireworks.  It’s a highly patriotic time, yet sometimes the essence of what what’s actually being celebrated can get lost in the hoopla.  Indeed, the profoundness of this official declaration of freedom was unlike anything the world had ever seen, the blood, sweat and sacrifices from the men that construed it, immense.

In honor of them and the spirit of those revolutionary times, I’m going to post a Founding Father quote each day through July 4th.  We owe them a great debt, the least we can do is reflect on their thoughts and ponder the importance they hold for us as Americans to be able to live in such free, peaceful and prosperous times.

The first is from John Adams, our first Vice President and second President of the United Sates.  Actually I’m throwing in two because they fit well together.

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

“You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve YOUR freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it.”- John Adams

Yes, we will never truly know how much that generation sacrificed for us. That in itself is such a tremendous blessing.

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On Grief

San Dollar

I wasn’t in the best of places last Father’s Day. Having lost my own dad the year before, the thought of suffering through a day of watching others celebrate something I know longer had was almost unbearable. Staying off social media and grumbling to myself about stupid, made up Hallmark holidays was about the best I could do.

This year is different. It’s not that I miss my father any less, or that the pain is gone, but my grief has shifted. It’s a symbiotic relationship really that one has with grief; as it changes so do you and as you change, so does your grief. Continue reading

Posted in Personal growth, Spiritual, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

The Party of Bloat

Say, which political party is it that believes in limited government again? Couldn’t be the GOP now, could it? I think perhaps a long time ago this was so, but today they are just an embarrassing bureaucracy blob that shifts wherever the donor winds tell them too, completely unchained from any principle except self benefit.

This was made abundantly clear after 21 House Republicans  threw a hissy fit over President Trump’s recently signed executive orders  that make it easier to fire poorly performing federal workers and saves taxpayer dollars from going to union related activities. Continue reading

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A class Act

Two things recently caught my eye.  The first was syndicated columnist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer’s heartbreaking announcement that his life will soon be coming to an end due to an aggressive cancer.

Charles’s unique blend of high intellect and precision writing skills made for brilliant columns and commentary that average Joe’s like myself could understand and appreciate, even if I didn’t always agree with his conclusions, which was rare.  He’ll be remembered best for this, but what’s always impressed me most was his persistence in creating a life of purpose and meaning after a diving accident in college left him a quadriplegic with severe depression.  He is such an inspiration. Continue reading

Posted in Political, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments