Cigarette

Cigarette: (n) a thin cylinder of finely cut tobacco rolled in paper for smoking.

If you live long enough you will see nearly everything in your life go through the natural Earth cycle.

It begins with “interesting.”

Then it becomes “cool.”

It passes through a phase of being “plagued with some difficulty.”

Following that comes “seems dangerous.”

And of course, the final step is “lethal.”

It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about. Why don’t we take something that would seem unlikely to apply to this category–like politics?

When the idea of starting a democracy in the New World was tossed on the table for discussion, it was deemed very interesting–so much so that we wrote several documents and put together a club.

After the club got together for a few meetings over some “brews and snuff,” we were enamored with the possibility–just jazzed with its coolness.

So we started political parties. The consensus was there should be at least two so there could be discussion. But immediately each party desired to be the predominant one, which led to some nasty exchanges, false accusations, and the introduction of cheating. Election after election began to prove out that winning was more important than truth, justice and the American Way. Difficulty arrived like a “plague of congress.”

So laws had to be passed because we were in danger of losing the freedom we had hoped to achieve because we allowed the politics to steer policy.

And then, all at once, with one cracky voice, the people proclaimed, “Politics is damn lethal.”

I bring this up because the same thing happened in my lifetime–and yours–with cigarettes.

At first they were interesting. Then cool. Next, plagued with some difficulty, proclaimed dangerous, and now seen as a nasty piece of our social sappiness, murdering people with tar and nicotine.

I often wonder if it’s possible to stop, while musing over something being interesting–and jump ahead to find out if it’s deadly.

 

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Choice

Choice: (n) selected as one’s favorite or the best.

Webster seems to believe that choice is expressing a preference. Perhaps that is the universal concept.

But the problem with that particular interpretation is that it opens the door to decisions being made that are harmful to others, but can be
justified based upon “the freedom of…”

Does freedom give us choice, or does freedom demand responsibility? And what is the blending of freedom and choice?

Do I have the right, simply because I live, breathe and exist, to move about the Earth at my whim?

Of course not. No one believes that. What we disagree on are the specifics of the restrictions. The debate is about where your choice ends and my freedom begins, and where my responsibility kicks in and your choice begins.

I think the definition of choice needs an addendum.

If we’re going to continue to exist as a human family, cooperating with one another, choice must become a preference without harm.

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Chinese

Chinese: (adj) relating to China or its language, culture, or people.

My daughter-in-law is from China.

She is the wife of my godson. They have two beautiful children. I don’t see them much because they live in China.

My first encounters with this dear lady were enlightening. We struck up an immediate friendship, and I was deeply impressed by her work
ethic, her respect and her honoring of those who have more age then herself.

But she is Chinese. She was raised under an absolute totalitarian form of government, which discourages people from being inventive. Now, the Chinese diplomats would probably take issue with that, but the danger of trying to make everyone the same is that they take you up on it. And once sameness has been achieved, the desire to excel, be different or discover an original path seems pointless.

In our capitalistic system, discouragement comes from a different arena. We are constantly pumped full of the helium of hope–that anyone can be wealthy and successful, while simultaneously closing doors of finance and opportunity on ideas coming from ingenious folks who weren’t born with any spoon in their mouth.

I suppose the controversy rages over which system hampers the human spirit the most. Is it more vindictive to quell creativity, or much more punishing to be creative and unable to find the means to your end?

I suppose my daughter-in-law and I could talk about this for hours. But the real issue is free will. Although many religionists and politicians would persist in trying to steal it from the human condition, God is intensely committed to free will.

So where the Spirit of God exists, there is liberty.

I have the choice to be lazy, productive, genuine, fake, kind or mean. Then I also have the responsibility to rise and fall on my choice.

It would be amazing if the Chinese people, with their great traditions and immense passion for excellence, could be unleashed with creativity and complete freedom, to choose their own path. Would they maintain the quality of their passion, or become complainers like many capitalists?

I don’t know.

True spirituality is feeling responsible without being confined, and being creative without insisting you’re entitled.

 

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Chauvinism

Chauvinism: (n) prejudiced loyalty or support for one’s own cause, group, or gender.

Chauvinism is an actual condition when the insecurity of one group of people forces them to usurp their authority by using domination.

It is not a “safe word” that women can use when they’ve lost an argument and want to change the subject to make it seem that they are being
attacked by some sort of Neanderthal.

Chauvinism is an actual predicament.

It is not a return to the past, but instead, a maintaining of the worst. For after all, there are many things from the past that we’ve abandoned just to make sure we don’t die.

For instance, it used to be avant garde to smoke cigarettes, and now it’s limited to Hollywood bad guys and white trash.

We do have the common sense to reject certain things of the past, like smallpox, measles and even the flu, which used to kill off thousands.

So the contention that we want to return to the “good old days” means that we want to go back to days that were not that good and nobody was really allowed to get old.

So what is chauvinism?

It is anyone who believes he or she is exceptional for any reason whatsoever. If you happen to be exceptional in some field, just do your work and let other people proclaim your excellence.

If you find yourself tooting your own horn, be prepared for folks to find you brassy.

There’s a danger even when referring to America as an “exceptional nation”–for the things that make us exceptional have absolutely nothing to do with the populace. They are the freedoms we purposely grant to those who are not always exceptional.

I must come back to my standard mantra: no one is better than anyone else.

You don’t achieve much by trying to contradict it, and the pursuit of believing it grants you the purity of heart to actually see God in the world around you.

 

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Chanukkah

Chanukkah: (n) a lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days

America is apparently doped up, and the drug of choice is freedom. Yes, it is possible to have so much freedom that there is no restraint.

We need to learn the difference between giving respect and giving attention.

For instance, anyone who is struggling with gender identification should be given the respect and space to make that journey. But when such
a group of people is less than one percent of our country, giving them too much attention is flat-out ridiculous.

The same thing is true with Christmas and Chanukkah. At last count, there were eight million Jews in the world. God bless them. (Or Jehovah bless them, depending on which one is more appropriate.) They have a celebration which falls near Christmas. It should be given respect.

But it cannot be given equal attention to Christmas.

It is absolutely ludicrous. You do not make things fair by making everything equally as important. Chanukkah is a holiday for fewer than eight million people. Christmas, on the other hand, is celebrated by three-and-a-half billion.

Numbers do make a difference. Otherwise, we don’t have Democracy. The more votes a candidate gets, the better chance they have of being elected.

So in my opinion, it’s “Merry Christmas to one and all,” and to our Jewish friends, “Happy Chanukkah.” It is NOT “Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukkah.”

They are not equivalent and it is an irrational idea to presume that both should be given equal attention.

I’m glad I live in a country that gives respect to all participants, but I do not want to live in a comical environment, where we attempt to achieve equal attention.

 

 

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Censure

Censure: (n) the expression of formal disapproval.

Why is it not illegal to be an asshole?

I’m not speaking about capital punishment or even hard jail time. But certainly a stiff fine would be in order for being such a damn stiff.

We censure everything else. We raise our eyebrows in disapproval over a myriad of common human behaviors. Why is the asshole able to flee the jurisdiction of decency?

Wait. I see your problem. You would like me to define what an asshole is:

  1. An asshole is someone who tries to steal freedoms from other people simply because those folks don’t measure up to the favored code.
  2. An asshole is a person who hurts someone’s feelings and then pretends that it was nothing personal.
  3. An asshole is an individual who blows his or her horn in traffic instead of slowing up just a little bit, to let someone enter.
  4. An asshole is a Bible-thumper who quotes scriptures in a buffet line.
  5. An asshole is a jerk who posts articles on Facebook about other assholes

Honestly, I could go on and on, but then I would be in danger of becoming an asshole myself.

It is time to use the intimidation of censure to achieve some goodness in our society instead of thinking that goodness is achieved by censuring any fresh, new idea.

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Caustic

Caustic (adj) sarcastic in a scathing and bitter way.

Being negative to another human being when positive energy could be beneficial is a great offense.

But equally as caustic is to piously tell folks they can do things that they can’t. It is cruel, mean-spirited and to a large degree, self-righteous
–simply because we want to be known for giving flowers instead of stopping and working with people’s soil, and teaching them how to get something to grow.

Life is not about me. Rather, it’s about me learning to be honest with myself, and then gradually sharing with the world around me.

Yet I will tell you–it is sarcastic, bitter, childish and ridiculous to take humans who have chosen mediocrity and insist that they are just as valuable as those who are laying their lives down to discover greater purpose.

If the truth makes us free, then anything short of that freedom is bondage.

For after all, you can tie people up with fuzzy bows just as easily as you can with barbed wire.

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