Balance of Power

Balance of power: (n) the proposed equality among the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches of the U.S. government.Dictionary B

Even though it is the job of a writer to question common thinking or even common sense if it has lost its prudence, it can still be a frightening proposal–to draft an objection.

There are some things we call sacred.

For instance, family.

Even though we know our scope should be larger than our own nuclear conglomeration of people, to propose such a concept to a single-minded community of households can be quite hazardous.

The same thing is true with the balance of power proposed among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the U. S. government.

I find the whole concept to be fallacious.

There is no true balance of power–just as there is no such thing as complete equality in marriage. There are just times when people are smarter, sharper, more informed, better prepared or suited for a specific task–and if we are intelligent, we allow that individual or group to step forward without interference.

The forefathers were deeply concerned to make sure that no one ever got the same authority over them that King George III usurped. So in an over-reaction, they tried to split the responsibilities among three different branches of government, which almost immediately generated the equality of dropping the ball.

  • Is abortion really a Supreme Court decision?
  • Is gay marriage?
  • Should gun control really be up to the legislature?
  • Should treaties be drafted by the Executive Branch?

It’s all rather erroneous–and seems to be a made-up solution for what may not even be a problem.

But like the Electoral College, we are madly in love with the idea of the “balance of power,” when even in our marriages, we know that we switch back and forth between playing the role of dependent and genius.

After all, a man never feels more helpless than when watching his wife birth their child, and many women have still not learned how to negotiate the opening of a jar of pickles. 

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Atavistic

Atavistic: (adj) relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral.dictionary with letter A

So there’s a word for it.

I have described this condition many times, but never realized that the word “atavistic” existed. How blessed I am to have stumbled onto this idea of pontificating on dictionary words!

Because I certainly know that our society suffers from atavistic attitudes.

As I have tried to discern my ways and negotiate my path in this journey of life, I have found that every time I draw a line in the sand and say that everything behind it is holy, and everything in front of it is acceptable or up for discussion, I have repeatedly found myself redrawing the line in the sand–back a bit further each time.

  • It’s made me grumpy.
  • It’s made me wonder if I’m a sellout.
  • It’s made me curious if anything sacred actually exists.

But then one day I realized that my problem in life was that my own experience was not matching up with my proclaimed convictions. In other words, I was pursuing an atavistic lifestyle, which was often honoring the traditions of my parents or forefathers instead of what I discovered for myself.

I will go so far as to say that I don’t care what the Apostle Paul had to say about God. I am happy that he had an experience he decided to write down, but unless I have a fresh encounter of my own, I will have a tendency to defend his opinions instead of uncovering the truth for myself.

So when I realized that I was hearkening to former eras (which I discovered today was “atavistic”), I cleared my head and came up with three things I know to be true:

  1. I can’t share a vision, but need to have one of my own.

Even if my goals do not agree with everyone else, they must be borne out in my own soul, and believed in my own heart–without doubt.

  1. I don’t have the right to tell anybody else what to do.

That would include expressing disapproval. If I am a mature person, I will understand that it all plays out. Foolishness never ends up wearing the king’s cap. In the long run, it is deemed foolish.

  1. Being merciful is the only way I can obtain mercy.

Since I require mercy from time to time, I should probably be making deposits in case there would be a need for a sudden withdrawal.

Now, I will tell you–these three ideas were not common sense to my family and ancestors.

They are my experience.

They keep me from being out of step with my own conscience.

They keep me from being a hypocrite.

 

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Anti-government

dictionary with letter A

Antigovernment (adj): opposition to a government or the administration in office.

Of the people, by the people and for the people…

 

I think that’s the right order.

What is a government of the people?

It is an organization which is sensitive to the feelings, standards, morals and faith of any given group. Even though the United States would love to believe that the whole world should be democratic, there are countries which have lived with kings and emperors for centuries, and would not be comfortable with a democracy.

What does it mean: by the people?

It means that a secular government is a fluid idea based upon the changing goals of the people it is meant to serve. So even though our forefathers would arrive on the scene, look at the United States with some concern, and maybe even criticism, we cannot put together a contemporary institution based on the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

They had their time.

Government must be secular–tends to upset religious folks. But it must be an amalgamation of the sentiments of the populace, even if those assertions will soon be amended by better reasoning.

And finally, for the people.

Are we making our citizens more enriched, intelligent, enlightened and aware? If government is causing us to be ignorant, then government is not for the people.

So in the areas where we have legislation which isn’t of, by and for the people, it is necessary for someone to stand up and be anti-government in order to challenge the abnormality.

And what are the enemies of progress?

Religion and corporations.

Religion tends to cement ideas in stone and corporations function by staring at the bottom line. Neither approach affords the flexibility and breathing room for great government.

The “declarers of independence” were revolutionaries who were anti-government of King George.

They took a chance.

Undoubtedly, we will need to do the same in the future, but it can’t be to promote a corporation or a religion.

It has to be to improve the general welfare of all our countrymen.

 

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Amish

dictionary with letter A

Amish: (n) the members of a strict Mennonite sect that established major settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere in North America from 1720 onward.

I grew up around the Amish.

Which in turn, means they also grew up around me. But you see, there’s the problem. They really didn’t.

They came into town to buy groceries. They were civil. They were kind. They were gentle.

It didn’t bother me that they dressed differently or that they all wore beards. (I guess the women didn’t…)

I wasn’t particularly upset about them living without electricity or the comforts of the modern world. After all, I went to a church camp or two where such restrictions were levied for a week to get us all mindful of things non-electronic.

It’s just that I have grown weary of all human attempts of separation, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who would like to hold on to a nice big slice of the popular culture, so as not to abandon existing relationships with friends who have reserved a lane on the broad path. I just don’t understand how we expect to co-exist–(Oh my dear Lord, forget that. Survive!) if we continue to build smaller and smaller boxes wherein to place those we consider to be more valuable–from our strain of DNA.

I, for one, am tired of the word “culture.” Has anyone noticed that the root of the word is cult? Normally we look down on cults. We consider them to be limiting, segregating and self-righteous. But I guess if you put a u-r-e on the end it’s ok, because it denotes some kind of honor of your ancestors.

I watched a show on PBS about the Cambodian community. Many of the young transplants from Cambodia have begun to hold weekly barbeques, eating only the food of their former land. It makes for a rather bizarre bit of recipes and diet, including cow intestines, bugs and various broths. The young people are very proud of it.

But here’s what I thought: there’s a bunch of people in their graves who would like to tell these youthful adherents that they would gladly have eaten hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, but could only afford cow intestines. They would like to encourage their offspring to upgrade.

Much of what we call culture were merely survival practices of our forefathers and mothers, who struggled to get us where we are–so we wouldn’t have to partake of their pain.

So be careful.

If you want to live on a farm somewhere, turn off the lights, grow a beard and wear plain clothes, it is America and you are free to do so. But when you include the name of God in it, who claims to be no respecter of persons, and insist that there is some special holiness in doing without, I have to shake my head.

It won’t keep me from buying your food products, though. They’re really quite good.

 

Amendment

dictionary with letter A

Amendment: (n) 1. a change or addition to a legal or statutory document: an amendment to the existing bail laws. 2. an article added to the U.S. Constitution: e.g. the First Amendment.

Perhaps the most appealing part of the American story–from the birthing of a nation to the present-day collision of government–is the notion that even though we were greatly inspired to begin a country, with forefathers who have been touted as geniuses and revolutionary thinkers, we did understand that there would be a need, as time pressed on, to amend our original convictions by the sheer beauty and majesty of revealed wisdom.

If not, we would have those running for Congress who would still insist that because the original document claimed that black slaves were less than a whole human being, that we shouldn’t veer from that course and change our approach.

There is nothing written by man, whether inspired or not, that doesn’t require some sort of editing and tuning up as the clock ticks away.

This is true whether it’s the Constitution of the United States, which began with an agrarian society encompassed by slavery with no comprehension whatsoever about how much land mass would eventually be involved within its borders, to the Good Book, which started off with two people in a Garden and ends somewhere far away in the Universe, in an Eternity of Eternities.

I don’t believe that amendments are contradictions, but rather, necessary stipulations absorbed, to remind us of the original spirit of the text and the need to be inclusive instead of destructive.

Yes, the Good Book has many amendments in it, which some fundamentalist preachers and congregations fail to recognize because they give the same weight to a chapter in Deuteronomy that they do to the red-letter truth in the Gospel of John.

Here’s what we know for sure:

  • Life is moving towards life.
  • Freedom is moving towards freedom.
  • Liberty is also packed up and on its way to liberty.

Anything that comes along to deter the journey of this trio will be recalculated and rebooted in a different direction.

I want to be part of the amendments which make everything we believe more human, more accessible and more powerful, to create better people … instead of just maintaining strong control.

ADD

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

ADD: (abbr.) attention deficit disorder

Ironically, I was thinking about writing an essay on how Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Declaration of Independence, was considered by many of his cohorts–those gentlemen we call “the forefathers”–to be a rather obnoxious sort because he was always bouncing from one idea to another, proposing several different drafts and considering every paragraph and line in his document, like some sort of nervous kid on a sugar high.

Oops. There he is again.

The fly.

He got let into the room yesterday. I HATE a fly in my room. Do you know why? They lie in some corner, dormant, until, in some fit of gregarious insect joviality, they join you for dinner, watching TV or sipping your coffee.

I want to kill the fly. Is that wrong?

Speaking of Thomas Jefferson, he had a tendency to question the silliest little words, wondering if they would be understandable to future generations, and what that generation would consider to be freedom and their concept of the Revolution.

Do you like that song by the Beatles? I’m talking about the song, Revolution.

Do you know what I once did? I was doing a television show and wanted to include the song, but every time I tried to edit the song in, it was distorted. So I bought myself a mixer to try to remove the distortion, and then someone pointed out to me that the first part of the song commences with a distorted guitar.

Which brings me back to Thomas Jefferson. I think he finally realized there’s no such thing as a perfect document, and the Declaration of Independence would have to be interpreted by future generations based upon our evolution in democracy.

Do you really think we came from monkeys? I was thinking about evolution. We’ve never really found the missing link, have we? I have met some folks worthy of study, but even they would not be conclusive to such a claim.

It’s not that I would mind being a monkey, it’s just that cooking with only bananas would get very old–let’s say, lose its “a-peel.”

Even though I suppose you could use plantains. Do you like them? Plantains? Do I really want a non-sweet banana? Do I need a potato substitute? Have potatoes failed me?

I like Mr. Potato Head. I was one of those weird kids who used to put the ear in the nose and the nose on the mouth…and then I would present it to people, thinking it was funny, and they just thought it was weird.

Yes, it was weird that Thomas Jefferson fussed so much about the Declaration of Independence.

Do you think maybe he had ADD?