Bask

Bask: (v) to revel in and make the most of something pleasing.Dictionary B

Intimidation enforced for the purpose of demanding imitation:

In other words, if a flag held by a soldier in uniform comes streaming by, there is a certain protocol that is supposed to be enacted by me–and preferably some emotion to go along with those well-rehearsed actions.

  • Take your hat off
  • Bow your head
  • Sprout some tears
  • Put your hand on your heart
  • Mumble a prayer

Only then will you be convinced that I am are a true patriot.

If you pray for peace or work to keep our soldiers out of harm’s way so they can return to their families after their due diligence, you just might be considered anti-American.

I love to bask–but I find it difficult to bask in the glories of the past.

There is so much beauty available. We don’t need to worship a history book, a symbol, a Bible or a creed which can be cold and leave us chilly.

Why can’t we develop a faith that births new blessings every day, and fills our hearts with such hope that removing a hat, bowing a head and speaking a prayer is spontaneous?

Bask in the glory.

I don’t want to bask anymore in the glory of what America once was, but join with my fellow citizens to keep it glorious, so that the memories of our freedom are fresh instead of arranged in the pages of the history books.

I want to bask in the glory of a God who loves me and have that sensation sweep over my soul instead of listening to how some apostle 2000 years ago was impressed enough by his mission to become a martyr.

Yes, it is the responsibility of those who are living to keep beauty vibrant, so it is not a memory that we have to conjure and thrust into prominence, but instead becomes the showers of blessing and the sunshine of our reality. 

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Baron

Baron: (n) a member of the lowest order of the British nobility.Dictionary B

In America we call it “middle management.”

It’s a big clump of human laborers who have been promoted to a salaried position with no real power to make executive decisions. They are a little higher than the ground forces, but not worthy to take the boots off the general.

They are also usually very obnoxious.

Because privately, these middle management “barons” are aware that they are powerless and somewhat insignificant, so they choose to usurp great authority over the ones they consider to be “lesser.”

You can always identify them because they tout their status:

  • Assistant Manager
  • Junior Vice President
  • Floor Director
  • Second in Command
  • Project Manager
  • Chief Inspector
  • Shift Representative
  • Deputy Director

They have titles which have no real definition–only letters which fill space.

Because they no longer want to be common laborers but do not have the passion to be uncommon laborers and ascend to true management, they establish turf which they are willing to guard with their very life blood.

They are barons.

And they are barren of thought, they are barren of authority and often they are barren … of any future in the company.

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Barnstorming

Barnstorming: (v) to make a rapid tour of an area, typically as part of a political campaign.Dictionary B

Many years ago, I was in the process of purchasing a house. I remember arriving at one prospective residence, stepping in the door, and immediately having my nostrils attacked by a ferocious amount of stinky.

I immediately knew there was a dead rat in the house. (Maybe it wasn’t actually a rat; maybe it was a cat or dog. But somewhere in that home was a dead creature that was decaying.)

I turned to the real estate agent and asked him if he smelled it, and fearing that he was about to lose a sale, he pretended to be oblivious to the nasal assault.

I just laughed at him.

I feel the same way when I tune into America today during our political season. Even though the barnstorming of rallies is filled with music, cheers, banners and funny-looking hats, I smell a rat.

It stinks.

I turn to people around me to see if they notice the same repellent odor and most of them are wearing the banners, hats and reciting the slogans, so they feel compelled to ignore the putrification.

I have no such loyalty.

I sniff rotting ideas being passed off as acceptable.

I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat or Independent–you can barnstorm away but I will be sniffing for the smell. Here are the four things that stink up American democracy:

1. “We have got to get rid of them because…”

If we’re a democracy, we can’t get rid of anybody. We can try to channel, adjust, expand, get creative with approaches or admit that we’re ignorant of what to do, but freedom is freedom.

2. “What they’re doing overseas is so bad that we…”

I don’t know why we’re in such a hurry to pick a fight. I guess it’s because we spent so much money on military toys that we feel like we should at least play with them.

Here’s a clue: the more we stay out of wars, the less people will die. Just a thought.

3. “It’s against the Law of God…”

Well, since God is not here to be His own attorney, we’re relying on your interpretation of His statutes. It’s called “hearsay.” That interpretation needs to be mingled with an understanding of Constitutional American law.

Yes, there is a Caesar we answer to and there is a God we answer to, and you can’t take what was meant for liberty and Caesar and question it by citing God.

4. “That Party doesn’t do anything right, but we…”

In my lifetime I have watched Republicans do stupid things and good things. Likewise, the Democrats have had their share, going both ways.

The difference between complete fiasco and partial fiasco is how cool-headed, practical and willing our leaders are.

  • A reactionary Republican or Democrat always do equal damage.
  • A peace-making Republican or Democrat are a glory to all of us.

Let the barnstorming begin.

I will be sniffing for rats.

When I smell them, I will tell you–and you can either pretend they don’t exist because they’re part of your house … or admit that you smell them, too.

 

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Ballot

Ballot: (n) a process of voting, in writing and typically in secret.Dictionary B

It’s not important unless it’s honored.

Simply believing something is valuable does not grant it worth unless it has proven itself to have integrity and brings progress to humanity.

So even though many people consider the ballot to be the symbol of our freedom, the true symbol of our individuality is the liberty to speak out.

Until we reach a time when everybody in America over the age of eighteen is able to vote in whatever framework is comfortable to them, the elections can be manipulated and twisted to the advantage of the most devious candidate.

We also cannot insist that the ballot has great power when electing a President comes down to the electoral votes of a half-dozen states. When a vote in Rhode Island has the same weight as a vote in California, then we will truly have unleashed the power of the ballot.

Until then, we’re allowing pernicious, well-educated pundits to find evil ways to limit the authority of one group while promoting the predominance of another.

I think voting is a beautiful idea–if it is allowed to be purely a head count.

But when we divide it into districts, states, and then place restrictions on citizens, we are lying to ourselves and the world around us.

Let the ballot be the ballot.

Then count the votes, and from that tally … derive a leader.

 

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Back-slapping

Back-slapping: (n) the action of effusively congratulating or encouraging someone, typically by slapping a person’s back.

What is praise-worthy?Dictionary B

I must be honest with you and tell you that I’m often disturbed by what we consider to be acceptable, and also what is granted accolade.

There’s a lot of back-slapping going on in America–mutual appreciation for matters that are certainly not advancing the cause of humanity.

Merely showing the reality of street violence, and using it as a premise for making numerous movies, is not cause for parading down red carpets and receiving cast-in-gold trophies.

Lying to the press, thinking you’re going to get away with some egregious error and then, for some reason or another, escaping the social guillotine, is not admirable.

And merely making decisions to disrupt your own life and demand that others accept your decision as completely normal without question is certainly an American right, but should not afford you a parade.

The only deeds that demand back-slapping happen when human beings step out of the jungle and attempt, through intellect, art, spirituality or hard work, to place our human family back into the Garden of Eden.

Perhaps that is too idealistic for some folks, or they feel that exposing the underbelly of the human creature is essential, but I am interested in the heart.

It is located just East of our soul.

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Baby Boom

Baby boom: (n) a temporary marked increase in the birth rate, especially the one following World War II.

I am a baby boomer.Dictionary B

As with many other titles that have been thrust upon me, I have no idea in hell what that means.

I will say this–I often smile when people say the young people today are growing up in “much more perilous, dangerous and tempting times.” Honestly, there was no place crazier than the United States of America circa 1959 through 1972.

We were killing off leaders like we were part of a drug cartel from Columbia, and drugs were surfacing everywhere, which people experimented with in order to do their part in assisting the FDA.

We were also periodically threatened with atomic bomb annihilation, just to make sure we didn’t get too comfortable in our new hush puppies.

The music was turbulent. If you were a young man you were constantly threatened with being drafted and sent over to bleed in a rice paddy, and the sexual revolution, which was on the drawing boards, required a rotation of guinea pigs.

We were angry, frustrated, disconsolate, overjoyed and unrepresented.

I spent my teen years in that period, and even though I was a church-going boy and not a member of the SDS, when I look back on it, my life was surrounded by dying principles which were tumbling down around me like the walls of Jericho.

I remember one day, my father was in the middle of a speech about personal responsibility and how I needed to take more of it, when suddenly he stopped speaking, stared off in the distance and never continued. I don’t know what crossed his mind–but I think that even though he was an old guy, he realized that everything he was sharing was being disemboweled in his lifetime, and he did not yet understand what the New Order would require.

The travesty of the baby boomers is that they remained babies.

  • So we never got the boom.
  • We never got the sense of accomplishment.
  • We all just eventually learned to sign on the dotted line, and started attending financial conferences on better mortgage rates.

But I am an oddball.

I have maintained a spark of revival, revolution and rejuvenation.

It causes me to be adequately dissatisfied … while on my way to find some moments of satisfaction.

 

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Aura

Aura: (n) the distinctive atmosphere that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place.

I once had an acquaintance who believed she could perceive “auras” around the people she met.dictionary with letter A

As our friendship grew, I realized that most of these colorations she “divined” were usually determined by whether she liked the person.

So much like humans.

Yet I must tell you, about 6 months ago I became very concerned that the aura around the American people seemed to be dark, dingy and depleted of any of the “red, white and blue” that makes us strong and valuable.

It worried me.

I didn’t want to be “mystical” or strange-minded, but I wanted to say something, do something or be something that would reawaken our gentle side and our willingness to believe in one another.

After all, politics seems to have drug us down to a complete halt and religion is a cantankerous debate among misfits.

A couple of months ago I sat down and wrote a book. You probably haven’t heard about it since neither CNN nor Fox News decided to cover its release.

I entitled the work “Within”–because I deeply believe that what stews around our innards eventually emanates in our actions.

What did I want the book to say? Many things, but three major themes:

  1. We have more in common than difference.
  2. Rather than being complex, we humans are delightfully predictable.
  3. And doing better is actually easier than continuing to falter.

Writing the book was an eye-opening, emotionally fulfilling experience.

I kept it short–matter of fact, the whole book can be read in less than an hour. And even though I don’t have the Madison Avenue publicity machine to make the public aware of this offering, I will continue to share it on as many different avenues as cross my path.

It would be my joy to reach the end of my life and know that I had an effect on the aura of the American people.

Yes. how wonderful to encourage us, building up our spirits again…to flower some color in our cheeks.

 

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