A Nation Without a Bridge

There are, fundamentally, two realities operating simultaneously in the U.S.

bridge

The first is comprised of people who see division, feel anger and believe they have been subject to victimization by corrupt politicians. The second is comprised of people who see opportunity, feel optimistic and believe they are living through a period of abundant opportunity.

I understand both realities. Each perceives the facts through a particular lens.

One is predicated upon the past and takes little to no responsibility for how the present came to be. The other is focused upon the future with an understanding that we create our own reality by the effort and focus we are willing to commit to reaching our goals and manifesting our desires.

Generally, when I post, my goal is to bridge those two realities. I have always tried to acknowledge the former while providing examples or references as ways to move one’s thinking from victimization to autonomy. I’m pretty good at building those bridges if I do say so myself. I began this approach over 15 years ago with a radio show I hosted in Pennsylvania called “Higher Ground.” I continued in that style through subsequent radio shows and my writings because I saw the need for bridge building and believed such efforts had merit.

I think that time has passed. We have become a nation divided.

What I hear from those people who are still living a consciousness of victimization, also called lack of personal responsibility, is entrenched anger. They want vengeance. They want someone to pay for the state in which they find themselves. They want a king.

History is very clear on this issue. The biblical model teaches that every time the people asked for a king it ended with “Be careful what you ask for…you’re liable to get it.” Moving from religion to politics, rule by Divine Right, or force, ends no better.  In fact, it was a king from which the Founders of this nation fled.

There is no good way to shirk personal responsibility whether that is in our personal lives, our business lives or the life of a nation. When we give up power there is always someone waiting in the wings, so to speak, eager to assume that which we abdicate.

When I talk with people moving through the second reality, the one full of personal responsibility and pregnant with opportunity, I find joy and hopefulness for the nation’s future. I meet people who feel empowered, through either their faith or their principles, with a certainty that they create their lives by the choices they make and even if times are challenging, there is always the choice to either submit or push on.

I think the divide between these two realities has finally widened to the point where bridging is no longer an option.

The victims can no longer hear the voice of optimism. They are comfortable in their victimization and prefer to await a knight or a king to the rescue.  Well, the cavalry isn’t coming.

It’s time we reclaim the power of the individual. This can only be done by each of us, in our own time and by our own effort. Waiting for a political savior is living in illusion and denial. I much prefer to wait with those who are merely resting… before they get back to the business of responsibility for creating their lives.

If those who tire of blaming others for their plight awaken in search of their own misplaced power, I hope there is a bridge in sight. I’ll be long gone. I’m giving up bridge building for awhile.  At the moment, there are none left except those who want to cross without paying a toll.

I hope to see you on the empowered side of the divide.

Carole

A Guy Named Omeleto Has The Answer

Want to watch a five minute video that will change your life? I just did.

Purpose

I can’t say what it will do for you… but I can tell you what it’s done for me.  It’s given me renewed hope that enough people are waking up to the power of the individual that I can remember to ignore the naysayers, the politicians, the fear-mongers, the cowards and the herd mentality that is so deliberately marketed and maintained by the media.

The reason I find the video so profound and inspirational is that I lived most of my life not following my own heart. Not that I was ever lacking in passion; but passion misdirected can be an obstacle at best or a force for self-destruction, at worst.

The passion that creates for the good is that which is born from the uniqueness within each of us. This is the message of Omeleto’s video. (click and wait a few seconds).  This is the message I now live and teach others, through my work, every opportunity I am given. We are born to be unique. We are born to “sing our own song”…much like the bird that sits on the branch and sings its song without regard for how it is received. The songbird sings unrestrained from the sheer joy of existence.

From the moment we are born, we are taught “No.”  We are taught what the rules are. We are taught how to conform. We are taught what to believe. We are taught to comply. We are taught that non-conformity has undesirable consequences. We are taught to hold or tongue. But a tongue withheld cannot speak the truth and a heart devoid of nourishment cannot find the strength to emit its own song.

So my interpretation of Omeleto’s message is, above all, find the joy in you and allow it to guide you to your life’s purpose. If you’re having difficulty doing that it’s because you’re not listening within, or because you’re carrying with you that which was…and is no more.

When you get into your car, and program the GPS to where you want to go, it only needs two set points: where you are and where you want to go. It does not care, and cannot use, information about where you’ve been. No matter what your life has been up until this moment, you have the Free Will, and can summon the courage, to identify where you are and where it is you want to go.  That’s pretty much what it takes, along with a commitment to stay on the road and not turn back to your starting point because it’s taking too long to arrive at your destination. When you deviate from the GPS, it advises you to “turn around”….you’re off your route.

Your heart does the same thing.

When you’re not living your Purpose, when you’re plodding along, stressed and unfulfilled, you feel sad, tired, frustrated, angry, empty…any or all of the aforementioned. That is your heart telling you you’re not living your truth and not singing your song. You’re lip syncing someone else’s.

Whenever I feel less than joyful in my life I think about that. I think about the inauthenticity of singing someone else’s song. I think about how empty that feels. And I quickly shift my thoughts and my actions to something that enlivens rather than deadens me.

It’s clearly learned behavior and, like any other habit, takes practice. But I’ve come to know with certainty that, as Omeleto so brilliantly conveys in the video, I have no intention of my last thoughts being about what I didn’t do in my lifetime or how I allowed the uniqueness that is me to rank so low on my list of things worth discovering.

Carole

Britain Is On The Cutting Edge

Brexit is a lone voice in the darkness calling out “This way!

Brexit

I have often heard disaster experts teaching preparedness for an emergency say, “Whichever way the government tells you to go…head in the opposite direction!”  This sage advice was never more apparent than during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  While many people heeded governmental guidance, as well as taking advantage of busing provided by city and state heading for the Superdome, it was upon reaching that destination that some of the most egregious behaviors, from theft to assault to rape occurred.

Overall, the powers that be failed the people of New Orleans. As a result 1800 people died with untold numbers more the victims of crime.  Government agencies failed to be proactive in preparing for the storm and were, at best, confused as to their specific responsibilities and duties. Command and control had a complete breakdown of communications and the amounts of emergency supplies were woefully inadequate or ill positioned to reach the needy.

Yet, those people who followed their own guidance, and headed west toward Texas, found refuge with fellow citizens and charitable organizations all too willing and ready to assist and house them. Yes, when disaster strikes, head in the opposite direction of where the government advises or commands you to go.

I think this is exactly what awakened and enlightened British voters just did in deciding to leave the EU.  And they did it just days before disaster was about to strike. For while Britain successfully rallied to regain its autonomy and independence from the bureaucratic-tax-heavy entity known as the EU, its most powerful member, Germany, was about to disclose a secret plan that calls for only one centralized army for all EU members with joint military planning. The plan would also negatively impact the member states ability to control their own borders and, therefore, immigration.

Both abroad and here at home in the U.S., there are those individuals seeking to create world dominance. We spend a great deal of time talking about radical Islamic extremism and its intent to set up a global caliphate governed by Sharia Law but little time considering the parallels with our own Western elite who also seek global domination, albeit of a different variety. Form over substance….since enslavement is enslavement regardless of who is the master. Both radical Islam and Progressive/Marxist ideologues believe they have the right to control and enslave the masses and force us to submit to the will of the few at the expense of the many.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist and spend virtually no time following such chatter. But this morning a friend texted me about a segment he was watching on “The Doctors” about a “cortex mind simulator” wherein it is possible to amp up someone’s energy, or diminish it, by means of frequency control.  So, in broad scale application, this is mind control. And guess where this “programming” will start? When you’re put on hold on a phone call!

We are dangerously close to losing not only our freedoms but also our minds or, at least, the free exercise thereof. And if all of that sounds way to sci-fi for you…well, then you aren’t old enough to remember when there was subliminal advertising on television successfully inducing people to buy products they didn’t need or want. With our unprecedented leaps in technological development since the 1950’s and those early and rudimentary subliminal ads, it’s no giant leap to anticipate someone regulating (read as: “controlling”) your mind via the technology.

I have written at least two prior posts on the need for us to see that we have more than two choices come November 2016. I hear people talking everywhere I go that 1) they cannot vote for Clinton or 2) they cannot vote for Trump or 3) they cannot vote for Clinton and so are rationalizing why they have to vote for Trump.  But what if all of us who decline both options came together with a single write in? Of course it’s improbable…but not impossible.  Its only impossible when we acquiesce to the masters…whoever and wherever they may be…and voluntarily cooperate in our continued enslavement by believing in the power of the limitations they attempt to impose upon us.  Its only impossible if we become like cattle and behave like a herd.

Now, more than ever in recorded history, we must ignore the “deliberately projected and media reinforced fear-based reality” and go within ourselves to find the truth. Having done that, we must have the courage to follow that inner guidance and seek out like-minded and similarly courageous others with whom we have more in common than we have with a Clinton, Trump, Soros, Merkel, Putin or any other elitists who are desperately racing to hold on to the positions of power that they believe are theirs by “divine right.”

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, as Europe cowered in the face of evil, only the British had the courage and the will to stand for freedom, autonomy and individual liberty. Britain had its Winston Churchill and we, the U.S., were latecomers to that stand.

It is the British who are leading that charge once again. That’s what Brexit is really about. Now they have their Nigel Farage. Who do we have? Where will we in the U.S. find ourselves this time? Late arrivals yet again?

Or no-shows?

Carole

Go Away Dave Chappelle

“We want you to go away.”

davechapelle

This was  Senator Barack Obama’s response to Dave Chappelle in 2007,  when asked how he could help his campaign. How do I know this?  Chappelle told me…and about 5,000 other people at a concert series he had a few years back in Austin.

I had heard rumblings through a variety of internet sites about Dave Chapelle being banished to the wastelands by Barack Obama, but I wanted to hear it for myself.  When I did, I was blown away by what Chappelle said.

First, a bit of history. Dave Chappelle had his own cable show, The Dave Chappelle Show on Comedy Central. The show was a mixture of stand up and skits that made fun of everybody.  The humor was over the top and, unlike other comedians, no topic or person was sacred…Blacks included.  Some of his most memorable skits were on the problems within the Black community.

At his stand up show, he let the audience know that, over the years, he had gotten numerous complaints from different ethnic groups. Blacks, Asians, Whites etc…the complaints never stopped. But he didn’t care because he felt his jokes were fair. As he put it, his parents were of mixed race and he was married to an Asian so he identified with many races. This gave him more comedic freedom in poking fun at various ethnic groups. As he saw it, nobody was off limits.

I think Barack Obama saw the fearlessness of Dave Chappelle and it scared him.

Barack Obama was an astute student of Saul Alinsky, the first original community organizer. Obama knew that Alinsky believed that satire and ridicule are the organizer’s greatest weapon. There is no doubt in my mind that Senator Obama saw the devastating effect of Tina Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin (the Republican Vice Presidential candidate) on Saturday Night Live and how quickly Palin went from media darling to punch line on the national stage. There was no way Obama could let a comedian of Dave Chappelle’s stature and scope go unchecked lest he lose the election. In fact, Dave Chappelle actually had a skit where he parodies what it would be like having a Black man as President.

Because of Obama’s phone call, Dave Chappelle walked away from a multi-million dollar contract with Comedy Central and  disappeared from the national stage.  As he put it, his appearance in Austin was only because Barack had been re-elected to his second term and he, Chappelle, was no longer a threat to the President.

Chappelle said the media had portrayed him as someone who had gone mad and could not handle the fame.  In reality, he had walked away for reasons directly related to his, and his family’s, safety.  As Chappelle said, “I might be crazy but not crazy enough to walk away from a multi-million dollar contract.”

He had been exiled.

After seeing the show and hearing what he said, I thought his performance would have been all over the news; but, there was nothing. A complete blackout. Once the comedians saw one of their own taken out, Barack Obama was never really targeted by the comedic class.

Given that George Bush was relentlessly mocked by Saturday Night Live for the prior eight years , I would have thought  Barack Obama would, at least, have been the brunt of the show’s writers; but, that was not to be. Once Dave Chappelle was forced to disappear, Saturday Night Live got the message and fell in line.

One of the the first skits Saturday Night Live ever did on Obama was… get this… a skit showing how “cool” Obama was. It was really one of the most pathetic skits, and examples of cowardice, I have ever seen. Fred Armisan, the actor who played the President,  played Obama as an iconic media figure in the image of James Dean.  This was meant to be a skit on satire and comedy. It was anything but. It was, in fact, a marketing tribute!

When Saturday Night Live started receiving  criticism for the fawning portrayal of Obama during subsequent skits, the writers responded that the hard part in mocking Barack Obama was that he had no distinguishing traits or tendencies that they felt were funny. Like the skit, he was too cool to be made fun of. Really? Barack Obama can barely speak without the use of a teleprompter and has a noticeable stutter, or brain freeze, when off prompter; yet, Saturday Night Live did not find that to be funny?

Oddly enough, the main highlight of the two hour comedy movie, Anchorman, played by ex-SNL alumnus Will Ferrel, is the downfall of Ron Burgundy’s reporting career due to his inability to ad lib any time the telepromter failed. This SNL alumnus was able to make a two hour, comedy mocking the foibles of not being able to use a teleprompter but Saturday Night Live was unable to do so for ten minutes!

Many believe Dave Chappelle wasn’t the only victim of Obama’s wrath.  Jay Leno left the Tonight Show even though he had the number one rated show at the time and was replaced by Jimmy Fallon.  Jimmy Fallon was not able to replicate Leno’s ratings. However, looking deeper into the story, I’d speculate why Leno was replaced.  Jay Leno was a constant critic of President Obama and he was replaced by the sycophant Jimmy Fallon…who does nothing but praise the President.

This is the environment we live in. Its become a nation where all the media is scrubbed and cleaned, by and for our masters, lest the truth be told.  Anything and everything, no matter how immoral or unethical, is fair game in the Alinsky-founded Progressive movement to keep the people from seeing that the emperor has no clothes.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

#Robot Lives Matter

If “Black Lives Matter and “All Lives Matter” then it’s apparently a stone’s throw to arrive at “Robot Lives Matter.”

Robot

Oops! We’re already there.

In Europe, which in my opinion is already off the rails with its open borders debacle, they are now proposing draft legislation that will make their robotic workforce “electronic persons” in the legal sense requiring that their employers pay social security on their behalf.  Ask yourself why? Will those robots ever collect Social Security? Will they ever need Social Security? If the answer to those two questions is an unqualified “no!” then what can be the purpose of those mandated payments?

Taxation.

Yes, whether it’s the EU or the U.S., centralized governments never tire of 1) growing and 2) collecting your money so they can spend it any irresponsible way they choose and 3) make certain the political class gets its unearned share along the way.

The other disconcerting issue regarding this emerging robotic workforce is its potential for, if you’ll forgive the pun, “out-manning” and overpowering we humans. There are already instances of robots “escaping” or “leaving” their location and taking off on their own.

Promobot, a robot in Russia designed for customer relations work, walked straight out of the lab, exiting through an accidentally open perimeter gate, and ended up on the busy road outside, confounding traffic.  Twice.  Yet, after its designer altered its AI system, twice, Promobot left of its own accord after both alternations. So, they are now talking about dismantling/destroying it and working on a third generation AI to be launched in the Fall 2016.

One can only imagine what thoughts and actions the third generation will choose to partake of.

While it may be a stretch to call unanticipated or unintended actions made by AI “Free Will,” it is none-the-less a serious concern of many in the AI field that robots may, in the not too distant future, begin to “think” for themselves in ways that are antagonistic, hostile and even life-threatening to the well-being of humans.

Many of our myths are founded in fact, but passed down in ways that are story-like in order to simplify or clarify their basic moral or message.  Such is the case in the metaphysical, or psi communities. There has long been talk in those communities that the “lost continent of Atlantis” was, in fact, a highly developed technological culture that at some point lost control of its AI and self-destructed.

True or false, the “myth” can be instructive.

It is becoming increasingly evident that our rapid, technological trajectory has far outpaced out social and cultural advancements. In fact, it could be argued that these have an inverse relationship: the faster we advance technologically the more constrained our social and cultural progress. Such is the primary basis for not only the stress under which we find ourselves – -but also the chaos.

Add to this the EU’s proposed draft legislation to give legal standing of “electronic persons” to robots and we have the making for our own real-time, non-mythical Atlantis.

This is not to say that we should never make scientific inquiry or progress. It is, however, to say that when aspects of an organism are as out of balance and disproportionately relational as is our current reality, there exists fertile ground for self-destruction.

We followed the EU and have opened our borders to un-vetted and potentially hostile persons. Let’s not continue to follow the irresponsible choices made by those who think that being on the cutting edge of lunacy is a good idea whose time has come.

Carole

Do Millennials Want To Overturn The Tables?

As a Jew I’ve always been interested in the story of Jesus, a Jew, overturning the money changing tables on the Temple Mount. He was clearly repulsed and angered that the Pharisees were violating both the spirit and the letter of the Law. In so doing, he declared that it was written, “’My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” He was painfully aware of the hypocrisy of those who were espousing and teaching one set of values and rules while living another.

Jesus overturning

It makes me wonder if that isn’t what has driven the millennials in such large numbers to Bernie Sanders in particular – – and socialism in general.

If I were between the ages of 16 and 36, which is the general age range of millennials, I’d be looking around at adults (both in and out of positions of power) and thinking that regardless of what they tell me, these people are living lives of not-so quiet-desperation. I’d see adults trapped in debt from college loans, credit cards, automobiles, and mortgages to name just a few…working as hard and as fast as they are able to just keep their heads above water…so to speak. Debt they will likely never fully discharge, suffering from stress related illnesses; over-medicated and under-insured; divorced or divorcing. I’d see a society trapped in materialism without an anchor in either God or the Constitution. I’d say to myself, “I think what I’ll try is the opposite of that.”

On the surface, the opposite of a deteriorated culture lost in crony capitalism is socialism. Not because it’s an actual solution to the current state of affairs but because it rightfully identifies the current state of affairs. But the naming of a problem is but half the battle and it’s the easiest half. Coming up with a viable and constructive solution is the tougher half.

What millennials are missing, and it’s not their fault as they have been deliberately mis-educated by the Progressive agenda, is that Socialism has been tried repeatedly throughout history and it fails every time. Even our most faithful ally in the Middle East, Israel, began as a socialist society but quickly learned that in order to 1) protect the rights of the individual, including private ownership and 2) to innovate, it was necessary to move away from a political system where the encroachment upon personal liberties leads to fascism, where innovation is nearly impossible due to centralized governmental control, and, where a select class of people are economically privileged and granted political access denied the general population.

Millennials want to rent not own. The smaller the better. They want to take Uber not own a car. They want to live more simply and with less stress. The look to Bernie Sanders…at all the Bernie Sanders hawking socialism and they see a panacea. Well, they think they see a panacea. There is no cure-all for all that ails us. There is no one answer that will right all wrongs. There is no one solution to all life’s problems. To think that socialism is that panacea is to naively march down the road of disillusionment only to find you have arrived at a place of enslavement.

The millennial perspective of what they are seeing is pretty spot on. We are a nation (politically) and a people (culturally) adrift. We are seduced by our technology and owned by our possessions.

We have no anchor and this is the greatest danger.

This is why our choices in November are Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson or the write-in of our choice. It’s because we arrived at this moment having jettisoned, actually devalued, time-tested principles that matter. Principles that keep us anchored in the values to which we humans need to be oft reminded.

For thousands of years those principles were found in the Judeo-Christian heritage. They were also valued. For hundreds of years, other principles were founded in the Constitution of the United States. They too were valued. But in the mid-to late twentieth century, the Progressive movement took God out of our culture, starting with our schools.  About the same time, they began to diminish the importance of the Constitution to where we are now – – hearing daily attack after attack upon its relevance.

I do not believe that humankind in meant to stand still or live in outdated conditions or under irrelevant precepts. But removing the structural underpinnings without being able to replace them with something better is naïve at best and self-destructive at worst. It’s always easier to tear down than to build up.

The solution? I have only part of it.

We, the adults, have to stop living a lie. We have to walk the talk. We have to disengage from the “more is never enough” addiction and the belief that living a life entrapped in acquiring more money and more things is why we were born. We have to be able to put down the competition that has become a way of life (for us and for our children) and be open to admitting how wrong we were to think that more physical stuff is the answer to finding love, peace or happiness.

We, adults, are in the unique position of having lived through a world that preceded most of the technology we take for granted today. We are the “bridges.” If we are willing to be brave and honest we can testify to what values matter, which are necessary to construct personal and cultural foundations, and which are illusions that seduce us into complacency and apathy.

We, the adults, can give the millennials the anchors they are in search of – – for all extremes are dangerous. It will be just as destructive for them to follow the empty Pied Piper of non-ownership through socialism as it has been for us to follow the Pied Piper of materialism through crony capitalism.

We, the adults, can give the millennials something real and lasting by which they can shape better lives and a better world than we have brought them. We can give them the truth by our words and through our corresponding actions.

And we can give them back the fundamental principles that made this country the greatest living experiment in individual freedom that has ever graced this planet.

 

Carole

 

 

 

Catch-22 and Freedom

When I told him I didn’t like Obama’s policies he replied, “Well Bush was a terrible president!”… to which I agreed. He looked at me dumbfounded.  It seems I had taken the wind out of his sails. You see, it is much easier to attack somebody’s candidate than actually defend your party’s own positions.

fight

Political discussions are always fascinating because, in a two party system, people naturally assume that if you are against a certain politician then you are for the other side.  Instead of defending Obama’s policies, my friend decided to attack “my candidate”. The fact is I did vote for Bush, but I have no allegiance to him.  He was a public servant and it was his job to serve the public’s needs. I that regard I believe he failed. Just because I voted for him does not mean I am forever obliged to defend his policies.

People on both sides of the political spectrum are always trying to figure out who’s on their “friends and enemies” list so they know who is owed when payment is due. My political friends and enemies list is entirely based on who gives me more freedom. Joseph Hellers famous satirical book Catch-22, which centers around American aviators during World War II. The pilots come to the conclusion that anybody who shoots at them is the enemy.  Since their superiors send them out on missions to get shot at, their Commanding Officers should be treated as the enemy as well. Hence, the aviators always feel that they are surrounded by enemies.

I have the same attitude towards politicians. Anybody who restricts my freedoms is an enemy regardless of political affiliation. The sad fact is that both political parties have morphed into one general party, Progressives, with each infringing more and more upon our individual freedoms.

Republicans tend to have better policies for business. However, over the years that has morphed into the party that promotes corporate welfare. Corporate welfare tends to empower large companies and hurt small business owners.  On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have policies that tend to favor workers but these polices add undue costs to business owners and, ironically, end up hurting job seekers.

I now find myself like a character in Catch-22 where both parties have become my enemy!

New advances in technology have reshaped the discussion over governance. Changes have come so rapidly that it has left both parties perplexed as to how they are to position themselves. Technology has reshaped the debate about the future of freedom. Ironically, many techies align themselves with the political Left but are starting companies that are disrupting industries beholden to the Left’s principals.

In Austin TX where I live, the two ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft left the city after city council imposed new restrictions on them. In a nutshell, regulators wanted to add new regulations upon their drivers that both companies felt were too onerous. Once passed, both companies summarily closed their doors and ceased operations within the city.

The beneficiaries of these new regulations were the existing taxi companies and the unionized workforce. The taxi companies in Austin pay the city $400 a year per taxi. The companies then lease the permits to the drivers for $250 to $295 a week. For Yellow Cab, which controls more than 60 percent of the market, that works out to nearly $6.8 million a year in revenue from permits alone. By having Uber and Lyft leave, the city guaranteed the future cash flow of these medallions (taxi licenses) and guaranteed the current profitability of these three companies. The other beneficiaries were the unionized taxi drivers who no longer have to compete with the part-time Uber and Lyft drivers

With Uber and Lyft now gone from Austin, Austinites have less options for getting around town. Uber and Lyft created thousand of jobs for workers, increased the tax base for the city and provided safer driving conditions for all concerned. In addition, ride sharing in Austin decreased DUI’s by 23%!

Upon reflection,  I could see why the measure to keep Uber and Lyft operating in Austin failed. Uber and Lyft represent freedom for the individual which, as a voting block, is not well organized. The taxi companies had a natural ally in the Republican party defending their rights, while the unionized drivers had a natural ally on the Democratic side of the aisle. It is through this process, and the abilities of both political parties to get their people out to vote, that doomed Uber and Lyft. Individualist and Libertarians, by nature, do not coalesce around groups and get out to vote as a block. Because of this, those companies are no longer here.

Until we truly get a party that represents freedom, expect more and more of it to be taken away.

Steve

sleeclark@gmail.com

NOTE: Steve and I write our posts separately and rarely discuss them until they are done. So, the irony of this post followed by mine below should not be lost on anyone! Steve’s reason for why Uber and Lyft lost out in Austin, “Individualist and Libertarians, by nature, do not coalesce around groups and get out to vote as a block”  is exactly what I conclude we need to do in 2016 to get choices other than Clinton or Trump.  Please read both posts…Steve’s them mine below.

The Choice Beyond Clinton or Trump

A few years ago my daughter and I were shopping for her prom dress.  At our first stop she tried on a dress that was, as the saying goes, “made for her.” It was one-of-a-kind that very few people could pull off… but she could. It was also way over budget for what I was prepared to spend and her disappointment was palpable when I told her so. We kept on shopping and eventually found another dress that was beautiful, elegant and within budget. She had it altered and was due to pick it up a week later.

Surpise

Her disappointment stayed with me for days. I finally decided that having recently been through her parent’s divorce and a change of schools in 10th grade, followed by pulling straight A’s through it all, she deserved something special. So, unbeknown to her, I went back and bought the first dress. On the day that we were scheduled to pick up the second choice, I stopped by the first store on the way. When we went inside she asked “Why are we stopping here?” as the saleswoman brought out the first dress wrapped and ready to go. My daughter was beyond joyful as we picked up both dresses.

Two nights later, at dinner, she looked deep in thought and a little troubled. When I asked what was on her mind, she said, “I’m so torn. The dresses are totally different but each one is pretty and I don’t know which one to wear. To which I replied, “Why don’t you wear both of them.”

She looked at me as if surely I must be joking, but I wasn’t. It was a teachable moment and I never miss a teachable moment. So I told her about Aristotle and Nagarjuna.

In the West, we get our perception of challenges and our decision making process from Aristotle. He saw a logical world of duality. Black or white. Up or down. Yes or no. This or that. In fact, the word “dilemma” connotes how we deal with decision making. Di meaning two and lemma meaning argument or proposition. When a western educated mind seeks to solve a problem it approaches it as a dilemma, a choice between two alternative propositions.

In the East, problem solving comes from Nagarjuna, a Hindu turned Buddhist philosopher who lived about 500 years after Aristotle. Nagarjuna approached problem solving with the Indian system of logic utilizing a tetralemma.

A tetralemma teaches that for any problem, there are four possible solutions:

X……………………………….(affirmation)

Not X………………………..(negation)

X and Not X………………(both)

Neither X nor Not X….(neither)

I asked my daughter, applying Nagarjuna’s approach, “If the first dress is “X” and the second dress is “Not X” what if you choose both? She thought for a moment and asked me how that could happen without her looking insane…wearing two dresses at the same time? I said she had to get past the limited way she was looking at her problem.

Since she had a pre-prom, couples picture taking event at her high school with hor d’oeuvres being served, I suggested she wear the first dress to that event and, before leaving that locale for where the dinner dance was being held, she change into the other dress. Since parents would be attending the former, I told her I could bring the second dress in my car and give it to her to change into before she left for the dinner dance. As unorthodox and unusual as it sounded at first, it’s exactly what she did! She had the courage to step outside of pre-programmed, limited thinking and, as a result, had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Who says it has to be Clinton or Trump! Aristotle? The RNC? The DNC? MSNBC? FOX?  Let’s choose Nagarjuna’s fourth option. Neither X nor Not X.

Neither Clinton nor Trump.

There is no doubt in my mind that if enough Americans, instead of fighting each others’ party affiliations, simply stand up and say, “No! Neither of these people is acceptable. I will not be told I must vote for either a lying criminal or a vain egotistical, real estate mogul. We can do better and we demand better. Give us other options” we could, as my daughter did, create what was a formerly unforeseen solution.

My daughter had to open her mind, rethink how she viewed the situation and then have the courage to pull it off. What is required of us is no different.  I realize she seemed to have much less at stake than we do now. But that too, is a false belief.

When you’re 17 years old everything rides on conformity and not deviating, in any direction, from what the mainstream of your peers thinks is acceptable (cool!) behavior. Going against that is everything. She put it all on the table in an attempt to be true to what it was she really wanted, risked what that might look like to others and walked headfirst into the unknown with faith.

If my then 17-year-old could do it…how can we not? She had a once in a lifetime experience that forever changed how she sees problem solving. Perhaps we can have a once-in-a-nation experience that will save the Republic as it was intended to be. Aristotle or Nagarjuna? Dilemma or tetralemma?

Put down the illusion that there are only two choices. Refuse to perpetuate the mass illusion that our differences are greater than our commonalities. A game-changing amount of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents are beyond frustrated that we are down to these two choices. Imagine if we all stood together on that common ground!

Demand “Neither X nor Not X!” and let’s see what else is possible.

 

Carole