Always is Easier than Sometimes

My wife is an avid gym-class-taker.

She has an app on her phone where she can view the schedule of classes and manage her attendance.

Obviously going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week is a great thing but the constant internal debate seems exhausting.

She is forever battling herself about the timing, the energy, the weather, child care, house responsibilities, work responsibilities. Should all those things line up she clicks “attend”. Should they not, she doesn’t and feels guilty.

The effort is in the deciding.

Now lets flip the script.

I run every day.

After work I come home, kiss my family, put on my running shoes and head out for 3 miles.

There is zero internal dialogue/debate leading up to the activity. I am going, period.

Staying active now requires zero mental energy [and zero guilt should I miss a day].

Which got me thinking…

Can this paradigm be implemented in other areas of life?

Like eating healthy: Instead of battling day in and day out, meal in and meal out, what if we said to ourselves, “at every meal I am going to eat healthy, period”. We’ve just eliminated many of our internal daily struggles.

Or being honest: Instead of having to continually conjure up historical context, maybe just say, “in every conversation I am going to be honest”. Mark Twain put it best — “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Or work relationships: Instead of constantly being on the watch, what if we entered every situation as being helpful, thus eliminating the need for calculations [**caution: may be hazardous to near-term career prospects].

Embracing “always” frees up a ton of mental bandwidth that gets clogged with “sometimes”.

 

Two Guys Walk Into a Police Station

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

On Feb 5, with Brandon Vreeland videotaping, James Baker walked into a Dearborn, MI Police station wearing a ski mask, flak jacket and two visible guns.

They were angry that they were pulled over earlier in the day and wanted to “file a complaint”.

They believed they were being smart and just exercising their second amendment rights, which as far as I can tell, they were.

But the part of this story that gets lost is not the actions of these two “patriots”, but the completely sane [by being insane] reaction of the police.

You could argue the cops were so hyped because of the ski mask, but I’ll bet it had more to do with the loaded weapon of destruction slung across Baker’s chest and the loaded Glock 19 holstered on his hip.

Those two devices took the situation from a 1 or 2, instantly up to an 11.

But since Mo Guns, Mo Safety wouldn’t bringing two more firearms into the mix make the Police station a safer, more secure place to be?

That’s almost as silly as the guns regulations in Michigan.

America, The Meme

American is a just a set of ideas.

230 years ago a group of intelligent, white guys assembled in Philadelphia and debated the definition of “America”.

This led to our initial Constitution; Our core tenants.

But the U.S. Constitution was, and is only a piece of paper. A rectangle of parchment.

And the words written, while most certainly well thought-through are nothing but a jumble of letters and punctuation.

We sometimes act as if three equal branches of government, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are obvious. Truths so unalienable we might just take them for granted.

Throughout history there are very few examples of countries who’s “memes” would ever speak such things. Say nothing of actually protecting them.

Both prescient and malleable, the Constitution has no power of its own.

It is a contract we follow to be earn the title “American”.

If we allow that contract to be broken without paying a political penalty we now have a different meme.

We have a diminished “America”.

Dancing in The Darkness

By definition, leaders have a following.

Whether in our churches, our businesses or in our White House, they have risen to warrant some power.

But, however they’ve acquired said power, leaders must then guide “their flock” in some direction [no direction would itself be a direction].

They can either wield their energies to lift people up, to help. Or they can use them to knock people down and to frighten.

They can lead towards the light, or they can sow the darkness.

What is the point of the latter?

For the ones who have worked their entire lives to get where they are, when they finally arrive, Why would they use their power to injure? To divide? To destroy?

“Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” — Steve Bannon 11/18/2016

“I’ll seek the light. Barak Obama. Luke Skywalker. God. That’s power.” – Eric Gatz 1/30/2017

The 2nd Amendment Must Be Defended

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Amendment II: United States Constitution Ratified December 15, 1791

The 2nd Amendment is obviously a very heated topic.

But there are a bunch of actual facts [vs. alternative ones] we can hopefully agree on that could help provide a framework:

  • The founders [mostly James Madison] were extremely deliberate in writing the Bill of Rights. [A total of 462 words]
  • The 2nd Amendment is wholly about the right to keep [own] and bear [carry] arms [guns].
  • The founders believed arms warranted their own Amendment.
  • The founders chose to make it the 2nd Amendment. [Right behind freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly  and freedom of the press.]
  • The founders were insanely discerning about every. single. word. written into the 2nd Amendment. [27 words]
  • The founders used a precious two of those words on “well”, and “regulated”.
  • The word “regulated” [or any of it’s derivatives] appears no where else in the Bill of Rights.
  • The words “well regulated” are found no where else in any Amendment to the Constitution.
  • The word “Militia” is restrictive. [However broadly interpreted, it most certainly cannot mean “everyone”. “Militia” describes a sub-group of the whole. Otherwise it would prove superfluous.]

The immortal 27-word sentence is bordering on nonsensical, but I do think it’s fair to conclude two general principles:

One, the founders of the United States intended for guns to be legal.

And two, the founders of the United States intended for guns to be regulated. well.

“I am Hopeful…

…Should I be Hopeful?” – The Decemberists

Right now, America is split into two factions.

The “For”. And the “Against”.

The Against has more of the people. This past election 73,648,823 [53.9%] voted that way.

Numbers aside though they also have more of the money, the education, the lawyers, the technologists, the athletes, the musicians, the cities, the marketers, the educators, the doctors, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, New York, Washington DC, the main stream media, the Obamas, the Clintons, the social media, the CEOs, the diversity, the worldliness, the worlds population, the food, the respect, the kindness, the women, the gays, the young people and the Elite.

The reason this did not turn into an election day route is not because these things no longer matter, but because Against’s energies were sprayed in all different directions.

Enter the Presidency of Trump.

Two encouraging ideas for Team Against.

First, this election proved you can be “extreme” in your positions and win [also think Bernie Sanders].

Instead of putting forth an Obamacare 2.0, Against is no longer constrained by the “working within reality” mentality. The next healthcare proposal must be single-payer.

And second and more importantly, it focused the energies of the sane.

As long as Against continues to frame the issues as “human rights”, future elections could prove quite fruitful.

Don is going to do his part each and every day to help organize.

Trump, the Uniter.

Who woulda thunk it?!?

This One’s on U.S.

Since November 8th there has been a flood of ink written about what “went wrong”?

  • The Russians
  • James “Fucking” Comey!
  • Gary “Fucking” Johnson!
  • Main stream media
  • Hillary stunk
  • Her campaign stunk
  • Her party stunk
  • Social Media
  • Fake News
  • Email Servers
  • Wikileaks

Most of these have merit and should definitely be analyzed further.

But none of them were responsible for the election of Donald Trump.

This one’s on U.S.

Every American, whomever you voted for.

At the individual level, it’s hard to believe that people who voted Trump did so because they lacked enough accurate information about him. That they were somehow duped.

This was an unambiguous vote “for” or “against” Donald Trump. The lines were crystal clear.

As a grateful citizen and beneficiary of the greatest country to ever grace planet Earth, I believe I have a duty to make sure it stays that way.

If prior to the election every one of the 73,648,823 voters who voted “against” stood up to their family, friends and colleagues, vociferously extolling “This is not Ok”, the outcome would have been different.

I most certainly did not do enough.

I take responsibility for the election of Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States of America. 

I take responsibility today. And you can be sure I am taking responsibility throughout the next 4 years.