I read an opinion article about Post-Truth today on my phone. It’s titled “Truth isn’t the problem, we are”. It’s theme was that truth is in the eye of the political beholder and we, as a society, will not accept any truth that doesn’t fit into our political cubbyhole. It’s as if, on one of those baby toys with the pegs and holes, you had a square “Truth” peg in your hand and tried to fit it into your round “political narrative” hole. If it doesn’t fit, it must not be true.
But one thing that was mentioned was political “Allegiance”. Allegiance isn’t a word that we use on a day to day basis. But it’s something that we practice more and more. Unfortunately, it’s just a word without much meaning when we say the “Pledge of Allegiance”. But more and more we’re giving our allegiance to politicians. We’re either in total allegiance of Trump or we’re in total sedition. This is not just with Trump. The same thing existed with Obama, there’s little left/right difference in this phenomena.
I fall quite a bit into the right as it comes to politics. I believe in small government. But I will be damned if I will be “Allegiant” to any politician. There are things that I like that Trump has done and there’s a few things that I like that Obama did. But they are all fallible and they are all human (despite some evidence to the contrary).
We need to get back to the place where we negotiated things that fell more toward the center. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill were bitter political enemies, but my understanding is that they realized that to do the public's work, they had to negotiate and compromise. We are no longer doing this and we’re worse off because of it.
Why can’t we compromise anymore? I’m thinking that what passes as “News” will not dare to let it happen. If any Republican wandered into the Gun Control issue, they would be lambasted by Fox News. If any Democrat wandered into the immigration issue, CNN and MSNBC would lambast them (as would the major networks, but I’m not taking sides in this post). So they stay, not only on their side of the fence, but they stay just as far away from the fence as possible.
I leave you with the first portion of the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. Check out the whole thing here. The rest of it is rather dark, but I think this portion is apt.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Folks, keep your “News” consumption to a minimum. The center is not holding.
So, I spoke to a customer / colleague this past week and asked how he’d like to have a representative in the Chicago area. This particular customer has his office in the Houston area, but they are definitely have a national presence. He sounded pretty interested.
I have once again become pretty psyched about striking out on my own. And as if there were signs from the internet gods, I ran into a couple of different blog posts that were inspirational. The first was from MMM called “Money and Confidence are Interchangeable”. As an MMM fan for a long time, I know that per his parameters, I could probably early retire now. This post clearly insinuates that I lack confidence. There’s probably a lot of truth in that. But I also think that there’s some safety in being conservative. But then again, safety is often an illusion (must have read that somewhere).
The second post that I saw as a sign was by “Waffles on Wednesday”. This is a blog that I run into occasionally that I really like too. They recently put together a series called “Small Businesses on the Path to FI”. Though this was more tactical than inspirational, but that fits a real need too. Not knowing how to set up a business is as daunting as walking away from a paycheck.
So, do I have the confidence? I’m thinking that I’m gettin closer...
I just returned from a few days of vacation in Florida. I went fishing with a few family members down in Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Lake Okeechobee is a huge lake and is famous for great largemouth bass fishing. And it was really great. We had several 5-6 lb fish.
But here’s the thing, we had a guide. The guide baits the hooks (yes, we used live bait...apparently that’s the way it’s done there), casts the rod and hands it to you. Then, when you get a bite, you fight the fish. The guide nets the fish and hands it to you and then he’ll take a photo if you like and then you release the fish.
Let me first say, the guides were great guys and were really good at what they do. I in no way wish to disparage them. But the process left me feeling a bit...like a cheater. This is more than luxury, it’s an extravagance. It’s an indulgence.
In general, I like to think I’m a minimalist. I don’t like to indulge. I track my gas usage. I track my electricity. I cut coupons. I enjoyed the result, but I just didn’t enjoy the process. I couldn’t help but feel like a rich bastard.
And past that, I had all my decisions made for me. I didn’t even get to decide where the line was cast. So where am I going with this? I guess that in one way, I’m saying the obvious, we’re getting very lazy in this country.
But on the flip side of that, I think there is a glimmer of hope. If a person wanted to make a living providing a service, what service is there out there that we wouldn’t pay for? Is this a sign that we are are flush with money in this country? I certainly realize that I am very fortunate that I can afford such luxury. I just feel a little hinky consuming it.
The title of this post is obviously misleading. If I had the solution, I’d be a very rich or powerful man. But in the wake of the shooting at the school in Parkland that left seventeen people dead, I think it deserves some discussion.
As I have said before, I tend to fall on the conservative side of the fence on more things than not. On the issue of guns, I’m about 80% with the conservatives. I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. But I think that generally, conservatives tend to squash any discussion or proposal as “they’re coming to take away my guns”. I think that we all need to have a real debate.
I wouldn’t claim to have full understanding of how government works. But I tend to think that Congress needs to openly debate the issue. Democrats, bring in a proposal and make your argument. Republicans, make your argument for or against it. Bring it out in the open. Today, the Republicans have control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. But there was a time not too long ago when the Democrats had the same advantage and there was no significant gun control legislation. Makes you wonder.
With that said, it is our responsibility to protect our kids. While these shootings are statistically insignificant, they are terribly significant if they affect you directly. To borrow a phase, the only way to get rid of all guns is with the US-sized super magnet. Even if this were desirable, it’s not practical. Should we ban the sale of Assault Rifles? Assault Rifles are simply rifles that look cool. Sometimes they have higher capacity clips that hold more bullets, but past that, they’re just rifles. I have no issue with the discussion of placing a limit on the number of bullets a clip can contain.
Should we make it a harder process to buy a gun? I think that’s worthy of discussion. Should people with mental issues be restricted from buying a gun? Common sense tells me yes, and I think there laws on the books that accomplish this. If there are changes that need to be made to strengthen these restrictions, let’s do it.
In listening to all of the talking head noise on this topic this week, I think that the idea that makes the most sense to me is a higher level of physical security. And yes, armed security. Will the kids be traumatized by a security guard carrying a weapon? They’ll get used to it. It’s much less traumatizing than watching your friends get killed.
I’m from Georgia originally. The Heart of Dixie. Did I grow up having some racial insensitivities? You bet I did. It was the norm for pretty much everybody. Were we stupid? No. Were we being stupid? Yes. We were uninformed and to try to come up with an excuse today couldn’t be adequate for anyone’s standards. But you grow.
Was I ever insensitive towards other groups? Yes, again. I have, in my past, said some awful things about gay people. It was pretty normal being a red blooded American male. We weren’t nice when it came to people who were different.
I remember our only exposure to gay people was always negative. Even today, there’s plenty of negativity towards the gay population. The gay pride parades with guys dressed in drag seem to me to be very negative still. That “throw it in your face” attitude still bothers me.
Back in the 90’s Ellen Degeneres had a sitcom. I think it was generally acknowledged that she was very funny (good comedian) from the start. We all, in the general public I think, figured she was gay, but hoped she wasn’t. We just wanted to like her. When the show came out where she came out, I was disappointed. I so wanted to like her, but I just couldn’t. Her sexual orientation offended me.
Fast forward to today. My wife sometimes has Ellen’s daytime show on. I find her very likeable. I mean to the point that I’ll pause and watch (I watch little to no daytime TV). And she hosts a game show in the evenings. And again, she’s so darn likeable that I would love to sit and talk with her.
Switching back over to race. Any time I see Steve Harvey while I’m flipping around the dial, I am also apt to stop. Again, he is so very likeable. I would think sitting down and talking to him would be awesome too. I don’t think he tries to act “white” (whatever that means), he’s just a good guy.
I think at our core, we are ignorant of people we don’t know much about. We think they are so different from each other. But we can be more alike than different and we’d be better off if we’d try to be somebody that most people would like.
As I type this, I heard about Shani Davis tweeting that he’d been discriminated against because he wasn’t chosen to be the flag bearer for the US Olympic team. The flag bearer was chosen by the rest of the US delegates and apparently it was a tie and he lost the coin toss. You were chosen by a large portion of your teammates, you lost a coin toss and you think you’ve been discriminated against. Stop using discrimination as an excuse. Discrimination certainly exists. We all have felt it to some extent and we have all dished it out as well. When you use it trivially, I automatically don’t like you and will tune you out. Be a good guy and a good teammate.
The only way discrimination can be minimized to the maximum extent (it will never be totally eliminated, we’re humans and imperfect) is through the efforts of individuals of all types. Government cannot solve this. When I get a finger waved at me (by the government, by the media, by social warrior groups) telling me who I should like or respect I will...tune out. I will be nice to you as long as you’ll reciprocate.