Davis, Jefferson

Davis, Jefferson: (n) man who served as president of the Confederacy throughout its existence.

I’m not brave.

I am not a warrior for the truth.

I am not the kind to run up, state my opinion and stand my ground.

I prefer to appear from behind with a squirt gun, spray everyone and scamper away.

But there are certain things that elevate my consciousness, stimulate my “god-image” and demand that I build a fortress.

I spent most of my adult life living in the American South.

On one occasion, I overheard a gentleman talking about hosting a “minstrel show” in the community. I immediately assumed I misunderstood what he said, but when he sounded it out for me slowly, I realized that he intended on producing a program that was begun in the Confederacy after the Civil War, which allowed white people to dress up in blackface and make fun of the Negroes.

I was confused.

I thought minstrel shows had been outlawed years ago.

Now, here was the word, flying through the air as if it had wings.

For a moment I was emblazoned with a ready hostility—but still, tepidly opined, “Aren’t those illegal?”

The man became indignant and explained that minstrel shows were part of the heritage of the South and gave the people in that region a sense of pride over what had been pursued attempted by President Jefferson Davis and all the Rebels.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Freedom,” he replied.

Even if I were to buy in to the idea that Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis were just trying to “protect their way of life,” I would still be left with a stark anomaly.

If the Civil War was all about “state’s rights,” standing up to Washington, D. C., and not being pushed around anymore, why not just free the slaves and change the dynamic?

If it really wasn’t a malicious adventure to keep four million kidnapped human beings in chains and forced labor, why not just take the higher ground and convince the entire world that you were merely out to sanctify your choices instead of imprison human flesh?

Jefferson Davis was not a nice man.

I suppose if you sat down and had a drink with him and shared some boiled crawdads, you might find him amiable.

But on the inside was a greedy, corrupt man who insisted that black humans were mongrels and needed white people to help them reason.

And he did all of this standing in front of a church, holding a Bible in his hand.

Dachau

Dachau: (n) a city in SE Germany, near Munich, the site of Nazi concentration camp.

We forget how dangerous populists can be—because they always say such popular things.

It would be difficult to be critical of a man proclaiming the delicious virtues of chocolate until you realized he was advocating only the consumption of chocolate—to the exclusion of everything else—thus leaving his followers to many dangerous acquired conditions.

Adolph Hitler was a populist.

Long before he was a dictator—perhaps even before he became maniacal—he was a public speaker touting the exceptional nature of the German people.

He explained to them how they had been mistreated among the Europeans after World War I and that it was necessary, for the good of their heritage, to rise up and be counted.

That’s how he started.

It was difficult to disagree with him. Germany had been devastated by the First World War. There was a need for some sort of pep rally, to inspire a renovation.

But as I said, long before populists become dictators, they seem to be prophets of possibility and messengers for magnification.

When does it change?

When do populists–who seem harmless–need to be recognized for their vicious natures and set to the side or pushed out of our lives, so we don’t elevate them to positions of authority, where all of their overwrought ideas can be manifested?

That’s easy.

When the populist starts making a group—a nationality, a gender, a lifestyle or a race—the source of all difficulty and preaches that the situation could be greatly alleviated by targeting these offending individuals.

For Hitler, it was the Jews.

Candidly, he would never have gotten away with killing Jews if the German people didn’t secretly harbor a deep-rooted prejudice against them. Going back to the music of Wagner and the lesser works of Martin Luther, there was an abiding notion in the Germanic tribe that the Jews were responsible for most evil things.

For you see, no populist could have brought about such a dastardly genocide of an innocent people without feeding off the nervous apprehension of those who came to hear.

The end result is Dachau—a prison camp organized for one purpose: to find unique and efficient ways to torture and annihilate the Jewish race.

Perhaps we should do ourselves a favor in this election season.

We should acknowledge that there are populists who desire to rule our country. Their messages may seem innocuous at this point. Matter of fact, it may appear that they are merely extolling the value of American purity or standing up for the poor and disenfranchised.

But listen carefully.

Are they whispering words of disdain, or even hatred, in the direction of a particular group of people?

What is it they are saying about humans with brown skin?

What is it they’re intimating about citizens with a lot of money?

What is their stand on gender equality?

What do they think about those brothers and sisters around them who are different?

I never listen to a populist—no matter how humorous or inspiring the message might seem.

For a populist who honors fat people will eventually do so by portraying that skinny people are evil.

And a populist who regales the beauty of being thin and healthy will eventually encourage you to hate the obese.

We can prevent Dachau.

We can remove the fuel from the ovens that killed millions of souls.

Stop feeling the need to constantly be encouraged, or eventually you will steal someone else’s dignity to supplement your own.

 

Benchmark

Benchmark: (n) a standard against which things may be compared or assessed

Dictionary B

At the risk of barking out some dogmatic standards, I shall attempt to offer some concerns.

As I view the climate of politics, religion and entertainment, which are meant to be foundations in our American society, I realize that the benchmark for each one of these offerings has shifted over the years, unconsciously accepted by the masses.

Religion should have only one function: to teach us to love each other.

Anything else ranges from superfluous to dangerous. Nowadays we ask religion to afford us a heritage, a style, a uniqueness, or even a guarantee of eternal life.

The benchmark we have set for religion is careless.

On the other hand, the only benchmark for politics is honesty.

Without it, we fail to recognize what the true problems are, and therefore we end up working on the insignificant and overlooking the necessary.

Nowadays, politics is the symbol of deception, dissension, gridlock and even a certain amount of ridicule.

We’ve lost our benchmark on politics.

And finally, entertainment should have the benchmark of entertaining us, but also enlightening us.

Without these stipulations, entertainment starts to be sensationalistic, desiring a plumper and plumper bottom line.

When we lose our benchmarks, we start to stray, which makes us appear lost ... even as we insist we are following the cultural GPS.

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

Anti-Semitism

dictionary with letter AAnti-Semitism (n): a hostility toward or prejudice against Jews.

It is the duty of those who have suffered to make sure that they are not the perpetrators of suffering on the lives of others.

This is why the United States still struggles with the issue of race–because of our horrible history of slavery. It is our responsibility to make sure that we never allow such idiocy to reign supreme in our populace again.

And it is why the people of Germany have made it illegal to propagate any form of Nazi doctrine within its borders–because of the atrocities they committed against the Jews.

There are undoubtedly groups of people, even among Christians in our world, who have a hatred for the Jewish nation. There certainly is a conflict among the Arabs and Jews concerning rights to Mesopotamia.

Balancing this situation out in our society creates hypocrisy rather than understanding. Some people are so strongly against the Jews that they have no perspective on Hebrew rights and feelings. Others are so pro-Israel that they place no responsibility on the children of Abraham to show mercy on the other children of Abraham.

What is anti-Semitic, and what is merely challenging a group of people to be fair-minded?

It’s learning how to delineate between truth and opinion.

Here’s the truth:

The Jewish Council were the ones who brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate for crucifixion.

Here is also a truth:

The Jewish community, over the years, has been instrumental in discoveries, intelligent progress and humane endeavors.

Here’s a truth:

The Jews were granted the land of Israel after WWII by the English so they could have a homeland.

Here’s another truth:

The Palestinians are human beings and need to be given consideration for their rights and purposes.

It is not anti-Semitic to ask our Jewish brothers and sisters to accept an equality which welcomes peace on Earth. But it certainly is anti-Semitic to blame the Jews for things that have nothing to do with their journey or actions.

It is a political nightmare, a spiritual quagmire and the makings of a social faux pas.

But I love my Jewish friends enough to believe that they have the intellect to live up to the quality of humanity which has marked their fairness, their pursuits and their heritage.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix

Angry

dictionary with letter A

Angry: (adj) having a strong feeling or showing annoyance, displeasure or hostility; full of anger.

I’m sure many books have been written on this subject, but for the life of me I can’t think of one right off the top of my head.

The subject of which I speak is fighting dirty.

We all do it.

We have all decided what aspects of human behavior are distasteful and we attribute them to the people we’re fighting with, in order to make them appear out of control or mean-spirited.

For instance, I’ve been in counseling sessions when one of the individuals accused the other of “being angry.” Honestly, I didn’t think the other party was angry at all–maybe a little intense as they made their point, or perhaps energetic in their honesty. But as soon as they were accused of being angry, the immediate response was to become angry.

Thus the other person achieved the goal of portraying them as irrational simply by accusing them ahead of time of being in that condition.

I like to believe that people are not angry with me unless they finally speak aloud: “I am angry.”

In the process of refusing to be offended simply because someone is bluntly sharing opinions, I have on occasion heard truths which ended up being a great input to my soul.

But if I think everybody in the world is angry simply because they’re displeased with me, I am warning the surrounding community of human beings that they should be careful not to say anything in my direction which is not sweet or affirming.

If you want to know when people are angry, look for this simple sign: angry people can’t stay on the subject, but revert to the past.

Anyone who does not bring up your past, but stays on the subject, is not angry. Actually, they are making sure their opinions can be heard instead of rejected. But the minute they bring up the past in an argument, they are angry.

So here’s my conclusion:

I will listen to anyone share feelings about what I am presently doing, as long as they don’t travel back to my childhood, my personal choices in the past or my heritage.

At that point they’re just angry, and as a human being I find it difficult to discover a place to push off toward repentance when all I’m hearing  … is hopeless chatter.

 

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix