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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We must remember history's villains as well as its heroes

    Some day people will no longer remember General Robert E. Lee.   As politicians jump on the "Erase the Civil War History bandwagon" names of the Confederacy leaders are being erased faster than you can say "Forrest Gump".    Statues are being removed, flags pulled down, parks schools and hospitals are being given new names all in the name of helping us feel good about ourselves. 

    But erasing the villains does not change history or what was done.   These symbolic gestures do not change who we are or what happened but only seek to cover it up.   Like a crime scene being wiped down with a a clean rag to erase all the evidence and fingerprints we lose important information for future generations to comb through and learn from.   What happened to the villains is as important as what happened to the heroes in any story.   Who they were and what they believed give us a point of reference to compare and contrast.   Like using an object in a photograph in the fore-ground helps give dimension to the objects in the background that you want to highlight.   So also, these men and battles provide us with a sense of immenseness to what the northern union had to overcome in order to win freedom for the slaves. 

    Also, we have become very one dimensional in our thinking and view of the world.  Hollywood in its movies quite often presents us with simplistic villains that have no redeeming qualities.   They are bad asses and that is all.   No more.. no less.  But the real world isn't so one dimensional.   Yes people can have some bad ideas on race and slavery.   But that doesn't mean they did not have any good qualities to admire.   General E. Lee for example was the lead of the Confederate Army for the entire war and nearly defeated the Union early on despite the Union's unmatched factories and population to draw from.   Compared to the Union, Lincoln had to replace his top general on several occasions before giving the job to Gen. Grant.   Lee was able to inspire his men in many victories against the north and his knowledge of military fighting was clearly and advantage for the south.   Do we erase all of that because he espoused slavery?    Would we erase the history of Lincoln because as a lawyer he represented a slave owner and argued for the slave to be returned to his home state?  I hope you would say "Of course not!".   But that is what you are requesting when you erase the history of people like Lee.   And what happened to Lee after the war?   Was he imprisoned by Lincoln and hung for crimes against humanity?   No.  He retired quietly and never again tried to rally troops to break from the Union again.   He showed honor and grace in losing and brought peace to the South during the restoration.   Are there lessons we can learn from him today?   Can our future politicians learn how to handle defeat and how to put their country and their people ahead of their own egos?

I think we can.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The benefits of shame


   How do those words make you feel?  Angy?  Upset?  Embarrassed?    Parents for eons have used those words directed at their children when they feel their children have stepped out of line.  They may have lied, cheated, stolen, hit someone, skipped school, saw a dirty movie or magazine or a thousand other ways kids get in trouble. 

    Shame has long been used as a societies way of fixing small problems before they become larger ones.  A child may steal a candy bar at a store and the parent marches them back to confront the store manager with what they have done and promise they will never do it again.  My daughter when she was in junior high got caught up in the wrong group of girls who liked to take things from the store.   They got caught the first time she was with them and I had to go into to get her because mom was visiting relatives back home.  My daughter was embarrassed to say the least and was required to sign a paper stating they would not frequent that store anymore.  Shame did its work and she stopped hanging with those girls from then on and she had learned her lesson.  A little shame now for those other girls hopefully would prevent a future larger crime requiring a larger penalty to be used such as jail.   Speaking of jail, there have been other cases where judges have used shame to correct a persons behavior.  It usually was a minor offense but the penalty was one they would not forget.  In many of these cases the person was required to hold a large sign on a busy road telling all the world what they had done and why they were stupid to have done it. 

     But shame in modern society has been utilized less and less and therefore our children will reap less of its benefits.   Yes.  You read that right.   I said BENEFITS.
     Take for example, Bruce Jenner.   He (I refuse to say "she" as 100% of his chromosomes will
always say XY and therefore from a scientific perspective Bruce Jenner will always be MALE) has benefited from shaming in his life.  Ask yourself this.  What caused him to hide his desire to wear women's clothes for so long?  Shame of course.  He internally new it was not normal for boys to want to wear women's clothes and so he hid it out of shame.   That "shame" allowed Bruce Jenner to go on and become the World's Greatest Athlete by breaking (and still holding) the record of the Olympic Decathlon.   That "shame" allowed him to make millions of dollars in TV and magazine  endorsements and appearances.  That "shame" allowed him to become a broadcast journalist for ABC during future Olympics and sporting events.  That "shame" allowed him to become the famous person he is and without it, he would have just been another transvestite walking around with fake boobs and wearing women's clothes and makeup.   No Olympic medal. No endorsements.  No fame.  No "Life with the Kardashians".   Nothing.   You can also assume as well that without all that money he would not have the necessary funds to pay for the expensive surgery and procedures to do his transformation process and Catlyn would just be another dream unfulfilled.

    So what about future Bruce/Catlyn Jenner's that are out there?  How many other boys who are unsure about their masculinity will choose to assume a different persona instead of hold their inner demons at bay and strive to make something of who they are as men?    We've already seen so called parents who are willing to let little Joey dress up like sister Jamey.  They don't want to "shame" their son into behaving as he should.   To them, there are no social boundaries that should be adhered to.  It's easier for them to demand that the "world change" and not their son or daughter.   They abdicate their responsibilities as parents for fear of being labeled bigots or intolerant.  They let so called psychological "experts" determine their actions as parents and so leave their children to the vices of the world.

    We will never understand all the mental illnesses that inflict people of our society.  That is how I see Bruce Jenner.  I don't see him as a hero.  I see him as a poor mentally ill person who in his aging years has decided to stop fighting his illness and give into it.   He has decided to put aside his children and family who now must come to grips about their "father".   Their feelings are inconsequential to him now.   He may shed tears of sorrow for them, but those are just alligator tears and nothing more.  His actions say "SCREW THEM! ITS MY NEEDS!".  They must be dragged into this whole circus and be paraded around like a bunch of trained elephants for all to see and question.  Their needs have been weighed in the balance and "Catlyn's" needs must come first and foremost.  After all, in our current societies view it's no longer considered to be an illness.   It's now viewed to be a great triumph for mankind.  One small step for Catlyn... one giant leap for all things strange and perverted.  Our children no longer have heroes to look up to like Neal Armstrong,  Jacky Robinson,  John Wayne or Hank Aaron.  Now in our politically correct world it's a parade of mentally ill people who grace our magazine covers.   Break a 100 year record?  Who cares!  Find a cure for cancer?  Big deal!  Stop a terrorist from killing hundreds of people?  So what!  But break some social convention and make people grimace as they contemplate your decision to come out of yet-another-closet.... HE'S A HERO!  LET'S CELEBRATE!!

    There's an old saying that says "If you promote something you will get more of it".  If this is true, I guess we will be seeing a lot more "Catlyn's" in our future. 

    So all I can is "Pass the barf bag".