Crusade

Crusade: (n) any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea or cause

During one December vacation from traveling on the road, I focused in on a seven-word slogan which I planned to use for the following year’s touring.

“No one is better than anyone else.”

I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

I couldn’t think of a better crusade to embark upon, to bring people together, point out our similarities and to hearken one and all to the commonality of humankind.

When it came time to go and do the production, to emphasize this beautiful seven-word crusade for human peace, I met resistance.

People didn’t like it as much as I thought they would.

To some, it seemed to be definitive and absent the possibility for discussion. (Yes—it is absolutely true. There are people on this Earth who feel the concept of love requires a debate.)

I was offended. I was defensive.

I found myself hoping that someone would question the beauty and integrity of “no one is better than anyone else,” so that I could argue with them—knowing, of course, that my stance was pure and holy and theirs most certainly had to be riddled with prejudice.

So rather than becoming a “repairer of the breach,” I succeeded in just making a more intelligent and merciful breach.

It upset people—to be common with others.

I was ready to do battle, like the knights of old—to climb onto my stallion and go into the Holy of Holies and establish the dominance of my particular edict.

Finally, one night I just sat down and came to two conclusions:

If you find yourself fighting, you’re not loving.

And whatever is written will eventually have to be rewritten.

 

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Beat-up

Beat-up: (adj) a thing worn out by overuse; in a state of disrepair.Dictionary B

I found myself sharing a message that didn’t match my lifestyle.

I was moved to proclaim the idea “Life With Style” while I, myself, was somewhat impoverished.

It introduced the possibility of hypocrisy.

In an attempt to advertise my slogan, “Life With Style,” I had purchased magnetic signs, which I placed on the side of my old, beat-up car, towing a trailer which short months earlier had been rotting in a corn field.

It was what I could legitimately afford, and I did my best to bolster it with repair and frequent cleanings, but to the average onlooker who saw my vehicle and trailer pass by, the advertisement, “Life With Style,” was an enigma, if not a farce.

I became convicted that I was misrepresenting my own cause with my beat-up situation, bannered by such a positive, exuberant concept.

Because let’s be honest–we’re human.We can’t envision a life with style without a decent paint job. Life doesn’t have style unless we are visually passable.

So I learned that you can call people hypocritical, judgmental or mean-spirited for the conclusions they draw upon eyeballing your circumstance, or you can realize that since they are susceptible to hypocrisy, judgmentalism and a mean-spirited nature, it might be a good idea to give them as little evidence as possible … for a case against you.

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Anti-establishment

dictionary with letter A

 

Anti-establishment (adj): against the establishment or established authority.

There is no good idea that wasn’t once anti-establishment.

Why?

Because it’s just too easy to establish something.

All you have to do is get enough people to agree with you, fund it, develop a slogan, and set up a network of cantankerous and often contradictory committees.

We have to realize that the United States is not an established idea. Actually, it’s a rather rag-tag collection of opinions which are still being ironed out because there are so many wrinkles from the initial roll-out.

We are a mess–and damn proud of it, by the way.

So it becomes quite comical to me when anyone suggests that anything in this country is anti-establishment. For after all, everything in this country is actually anti-establishment, struggling to get the nod of the 51%.

Democracy is such a dog show it’s no wonder we occasionally end up with a dog.

So before we become self-righteous about some cause, or believe that the entire heavens have inhabited our earthly philosophy to be distributed to the masses, let us realize that our country has fought every nationality that has ever tried to emigrate here, has imprisoned and enslaved several colors, and continues to fearfully try to protect principles which have already screamed for some touch-up and repair.

Therefore, how can you be on the safe end of all the ruckus going on as we jockey for position and stump for votes?

Always remember three things. It will help you to determine where to stand:

  1. God gave people free will and He won’t let you take it away.
  2. Anything that helps people find themselves at least opens the door to them becoming better.
  3. No one is better than anyone else. In other words, we’re all more alike than different.

Yes, if you add your fourth part to that trio that sings the song of freedom, forming your own quartet, you will find that most of the time you won’t need to sing off-key.

 

 

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America

dictionary with letter A

America: ( n) a landmass in the Western Hemisphere that consists of the continents of North and South America joined by the Isthmus of Panama.

  • Is it an idea?
  • Is it a connecting tissue of continents?
  • Is it a clumping of exceptional people culled from the available humanity on Earth?
  • Is it a democratic form of government?
  • Is it a slogan?
  • Is it a political rallying cry?
  • Is it divinely inspired?
  • Is it a passing fancy?
  • Is it a big bully to the rest of the world?
  • Is it a savior to the oppressed souls of the planet?
  • Is it an emerging reality, lacking complete definition?
  • Is it a dream?
  • Is it a nightmare?
  • Is it a reason for God to continue to have hope in His heart?
  • Is it united?
  • Is it just states?
  • Is it a purposeful action?
  • Is it a location for capitalism to flourish?
  • Is it still welcoming the teeming poor?
  • Is it symbolic?
  • Is it literal?
  • Is it full of itself or is it full of promise?
  • Is it blessed by God or is it cursed by Allah?

America.

It is a land where I am allowed to ask these questions, post them on the Internet without fear of having my door broken down, being hauled off to jail and questioned in a steamy room by men with cigar-and-liquor breath.

Wow.

God bless America.

 

Ambiguity

dictionary with letter A

Ambiguity: (n) uncertainty or inexactness of meaning in language

Shouldn’t that be the United States of Ambiguity?

It is now a national pastime–maybe better phrased, our universal slogan. In the pursuit of finding safe language that is not offensive to anyone, we have come up with sentences filled with nouns, but absent verbs.

Politicians stand in front of audiences and list all the types of people they want to appeal to, but never come up with an action word to describe what they intend to do for these hordes of admirers.

Churches have fallen back on becoming more traditional and symbolic in their presentation of spirituality, for fear of offending those who want to have religion minus personal intervention.

And entertainment is always consulting focus groups to ensure that the material provided will garner the widest appeal to sell tickets, t-shirts and DVDs.

It’s all very interesting. And it’s all the process of taking political correctness to a new position: emotional stall.

We’re just stalled. We don’t know what to do, so we attempt to accept everything in part, without signing on the dotted line.

So in a world that prides itself on caution, the next heroes and victors will be daredevils.

The genius of the future will be the explorer who is not afraid to have an opinion and see it through to some sort of conclusion.

Ambiguity is ambiguous.

I know that’s not very articulate, but it says it very well, don’t you think? And it is absent the ambiguity of trying to find a way to describe ambiguity without offending anyone, while possibly causing the hearer to express some interest.

Here are three thoughts I share without reservation–or ambiguity:

  1. America is not exceptional in the eyes of God, but has an exceptional opportunity to do something in this day and hour which could ring true for a thousand years to come.
  2. People are not born any specific way–otherwise, God would have favorites and free will would be a joke.
  3. There is no replacement for hard work and taking personal responsibility for your own life.

You can see, these are thoughts that have both nouns and verbs. They contain very little ambiguity, and therefore open the door to discussion, debate … and hopefully some progress.

Acid

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acid (n): a chemical substance that neutralizes alkalis, dissolves some metals and turns litmus red, typically, a corrosive of sour-tasting liquid: e.g. the rainwater is a very weak acid.

It burns. It disfigures. It’s pungent.

None of those words are particularly pleasing. I know there’s a purpose for acid. I also know it should not be thrown in somebody’s face nor drip too much into your gut.

When I was a kid, there was a saying: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Somewhere along the line, that slogan has been ridiculed to the extent that we now feel that saying nice things is stupid or pansy and that having an “acid tongue” is what’s necessary to communicate honesty.

I was watching a show yesterday when some unqualified individuals who certainly were beyond their scope in both understanding and righteousness were criticizing Kanye and Kim for naming their baby “North,” giving the young child the entire signature of “North West.”

These pseudo philosophers were distressed that the young parents had placed an undue burden on a child in a season when bullying is common–that they were certainly cursing their offspring to a life of perpetual ridicule. As the audience applauded these intrusive comments, each one of the “interferers” gained intensity and acidity with their observations. By the end, one would have thought that Kanye and Kim had murdered their small baby, throwing her into a duffel bag and dumping her into the East River.

Honestly, folks, I don’t know what the value of acid is. I am sure somebody could enlighten me, but in my understanding, it burns, it disfigures and it’s pungent.

I really don’t need any one of those three things. It may be a little optimistic to think that we can only say good things when observing some nastiness around us. But to purposefully wear the cap of cynicism for entertainment, or worse yet, in order to feel superior, is a curse on our society and will be viewed by future generations as a little piece of insanity that we fortunately escaped.

I do not favor acid. I don’t like it when it comes out of a beaker or slips off a tongue.

And maybe I’m weird–I think having a name like North West gives you a chance to start a conversation in a world that at times ping-pongs between acidity … and mute.