Thursday, December 30, 2021

Now I know why we are self-destructing.





Epictetus was a Greek stoic philosopher. He was born into slavery in what is now Turkey AD -50. He lived in Rome as a slave and was given permission to study philosophy. Being banished from Rome by Emperor Domitian he went to Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses and Enchiridion. Epictetus taught that philosophy is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Epictetus gave European scholars of the Enlightenment an example of a system of ethics that was secular, based not on God's law but on reason and observation of the natural world. Epictetus meant that whatever the other person did is on them. Whatever your reaction is to their remark or action, that’s on you. No one can make you angry, only you have that power. Someone can certainly say something stupid or mean but no one can make you upset – that’s your choice. It is worth remembering that you should never give away your power over yourself. You should not let others bait you. You should not allow yourself to be provoked. Most of all, you can’t blame others if that happens. You control yourself and nobody else. 

Stoicism is no longer a part of our society. Stoicism is a philosophy of our ancestors, Grandfathers, and Great Grandfathers that no longer exists. This absence of philosophy coupled with our belief in the almighty creator of the universe is the direct cause of civil unrest, and the underbelly destruction of our society as our elders created. This destruction should be evident to all and now I know why. It should be obvious to all. How many times do we read something on social media and become angry? How many times do we see something on television and become distraught with anger? We no longer receive the news of the day; we receive another person’s opinion, and we react with malice. The writer, news anchor, or social media influence distracts us from living a better life. We know not how to handle this opposition because Stoicism is no longer taught. Stoicism is an education, a knowledge few possess today and without it, our society crumbles. That is not to say we should become complacent. 

There are politicians who mean to change our society to their vision. There are those in higher education who mean to use indoctrination to change our society. The local college President is paid well over 600k to indoctrinate our youth with hate for America is my observation. There are those who control our media with opinions meant to change our minds or provide propaganda for a cause. 

We write our Senators, and local academia asking for clarification and all we get back are form letters that do not answer our questions. We write our local opinion editors, and some do not respond. This of course is not the case with our most excellent editor, Shana Gray. These changes some seek to our society, and the methods used as described, have devastated our society, and not helped anyone move forward. There seems to be a lack of civil discourse, an apathy if you will. An apathy invoked from those we elect and those who use media to form our opinions, using apathy to garner a reaction is evil. We see this in the “last word” every week. 

We need not lower ourselves any longer to the level of our politicians, writers cloaked in darkness and media hype. We vote politicians in; we vote politicians out until we find those who can serve without malice and are willing to genuinely care to converse the issues of the day and are not agenda-driven. At the same time, we the people need to be reminded of Epictetus. We to need to show restraint, and respect for others and not allow politicians and the media to control us using hate and anger. Once we get angry the politician hides and will only speak to those they agree with because that is the easy way out. In this respect, Politicians can be cowards. We expect our politicians to be better than us, to be leaders. I say it is us who need to be better than them if we seek a good life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Nelson Mandela: A Stoic whose governance should be remembered.




"Know thyself, nothing to excess and surety brings ruin" Quoting Nelson Mandela, "Learn to know yourself… to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings." Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, statesman, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election." I believe Nelson Mandela represented the very best of leadership. 

When Americans are confronted with American politicians whose greed dictates their reason, America ends divided. In part, we are divided because the individual American no longer takes the time to know thyself. Americans today allow politicians, the media, and others to tell us how we feel, who we are and why. In my last column, an attempt was made to reflect upon my own feelings and processes. I am not so sure American generations have ever given much thought to "know thyself." Past generations have focused on knowing God. In 1940 seventy-three percent of all Americans belonged to a church. Today 47% of Americans belong to a church. While church attendance declines, division in our nation through political bias has increased, so what happened? Does the lack of understanding "know thyself,” combined with a decline in church attendance, affect societies' interaction with each other? 

 Sigmond Freud had said, civilization is constantly being created anew, and everyone being born must work their way up to being civilized beings. 

To know thyself is not knowledge you are given at birth. If we are born into nontraditional families, if we are born into poverty, if we are born into predilections, if we are born into a society where low moral values dictate our reason, if we are born into a society whereby our faith in God waivers, we as a society will not obtain the education or indoctrination as to the health and well-being, of our divided society. Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was young. Baptized a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of "Nelson." Nelson was a man of great faith. He hid his Christian faith to continue his work of unifying South Africa. Many ministers who preyed with Nelson regularly knew of his faith while in prison and throughout his life. "He was a profoundly religious man: he believed sincerely in the existence of the almighty. Nelson also understood the importance to "know thyself." 

When we reflect upon our lives, we should ask this one question. Do I know what I take myself to know? Knowing ourselves, understanding our weaknesses, and our strengths are paramount. Knowing oneself is easy when deciding what I like. Example: I like ice cream. Yet, we seem to be gullible when it comes to politics, history, science, or religion. We believe what other people say, and the individual believes without due examination. We are like a flock of sheep, ignoring our Shepard, following another off the edge of a cliff without thinking or reflecting what the lead sheep feels or knows to be true. Americans today tend to say, I think, without even considering another point of view when we disagree, we disagree with malice. This malice towards others has been taught in colleges all across America and for decades. Knowing you live an imperfect life, learning, and acknowledging your limitations is but one key to introspection. A great leader will know thyself and God. 

Nelson Mandela, a great leader, was such a man, as was Martin Luther King. They were great leaders because of their faith and not a lack thereof. In America today, we lack faith and reflective thought when selecting our leaders, and subsequently, why our leadership is so poor. We know not what good leadership looks like today; we know not better. We Americans are not blind to this truth; we are blind because we do not take the time to understand ourselves and God first. Take some time to write about yourself, your beliefs, and what you want out of life. Being honest with yourself will be the hardest part. Once you have this idea of self, like what I wrote about myself, your path is clearer. A person who knows themselves well knows how to spot characteristic ways in which others spin or otherwise distort positive and negative information. We can remove ourselves from harsh reactions towards one another; we stop believing everything we see in the media, every word spoken, every page of the internet. We begin to see the positive qualities we want and expect in our leaders. We can push our limitations and poor qualities into closets where they reside like skeletons. Knowing these skeletons may come out to dance, we have a place to put them back and try again. Believe in yourself, aim high, be forgiving, seek high moral counsel from those who are not agenda motivated. Maybe, we can start to respect each other again. The Lord knows I am trying how about you?

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Generational differences

Generational differences This past week I had the pleasure of having my company truck inspected. That hour we all spend wondering how much the mechanic might find wrong. Sometimes it is an all-day affair, "just drop off your car, and I will get to it sometime today." Another customer who sat with me was mulling around for a cup of coffee. The gentleman being even older than I, looked to need some help. I got up from my seat to help him and found the coffee was cold. I am 61, my counterpart was 80+, and in my generation, we respect our elders. I went to the customer care team employee and made the mistake of calling him, Terry. I thought his name was Terry. Looking with disgust, the customer care team member barks, my name is not Terry. Apologizing, I asked, what is your name? I am not going to tell you was the answer. The customer care team member picks up the phone and calls another person to make some coffee. A lovely young lady comes to greet us; her name is Spring and makes the gentlemen a cup of coffee. 

On this day, my inspection went relatively fast and downhill at the same time. A second customer care team member comes to me and says, we failed your truck; the windshield has a crack in it. I looked at him for a moment and suggested that he go and get the regulations. I wanted him to point out where this crack was a reason for failure as written in the regulations. The customer care team member goes off in a huff, returns with a printed version of the windshield regulations. I asked him to point out in the regulations where it says my windshield should be failed. With bewilderment or the lack of the ability to interpret regulations, the customer care team member turns to walk away. I started to read the regulations out loud, he returned. I point to each regulation and ask again, where does it say this windshield should be a reason to fail the inspection? I commented that I should call the state police. He says, and I quote: "We are not going to argue with you; call the state police if you want." I called the state police. An officer from the Toano area met me at the dealership the next day. He inspected the windshield and remarked that they should not have failed this windshield. He said, best you let me handle this, and it was a good thing that you called the state police. I think he was worried an altercation might rear its ugly head. I looked at him and thought, being a Master Mason, that is not going to happen. I assured him I am a peaceful man. 

 Once inside, the state trooper draws attention. The two customer care team members won't even look at me. Never said hello or how may we help you. Another customer care team member was able to call for the mechanic who had failed the inspection. A crowd gathers in the showroom, primarily salespeople and my friend who has sold me cars in the past. His name is Stu Young. I really like Stu, and he is a good man and an honest salesman. The state police officer and the mechanic talk privately. I am asked for my keys to get the inspection done.

 All was not lost. We got to look at the new Ford Bronco in the showroom, and as men go, we were all envious. With my inspection done, I left. I thanked the state trooper for his assistance and thanked the mechanic for his work. I do not think for a minute the mechanic was trying to pull a fast one. I think he did what he thought was right. It was a learning opportunity to understand the regulations a bit better. I do not believe the service team in general or the mechanics have anything but the best intentions. I plan to continue my relationship with this business if they will have me. If you are going to be in sales, know your customer. 

Not one of them knew I was a master mechanic three careers ago. I had called and asked for the dealership owner to contact me, and he never did. Therefore, I am writing this op-ed to inform you. I wanted to tell the owner that the customer care team needed more training. On this day, moral decisions did not rise to the level of my generation's ethics, which resulted in poor customer service. You never know when you will run into someone whose knowledge exceeds your own, Mr. Dealership Owner. That is a life lesson in any business. Take the time to listen, be good to one another, live now in peace, and finally, memento mori.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Well Being of Gossip

An incident concerning gossip reared its ugly head during a family vacation. We had Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Sisters, Brothers, Uncles, Aunts, and siblings all in one place. I awoke one morning, looking out over the beach, sun shining, the smell of coffee brewing; I thought what a wonderful day. Walking into the kitchen - breakfast area, I am gathering my wits, pouring a cup of coffee, sharing a hello, a smile with the eldest leader of our group. The facial expression I witnessed in return was that of a scowl. An angry bad-tempered face, I was wondering, oh lord, whose Wheaties have I soiled? My 59-year-old half-sister had expressed her displeasure with my 20-year-old daughter. I got an ear full of someone saying something, and my daughter repeated this tittle-tattle to the target of the gossip. Yep, an aunt had gossiped about a niece's fiancĂ©. This discontent between other family members was now my daughter's fault, and she needed to apologize. Gossip had gone a full circle. Upon taking my berating, I was reminded of a pirate’s tee-shirt, "all beatings will continue until morale improves." Calmly, I asked a few questions. "Where did my daughter hear this gossip?" Her grandmother was the reply. Where did grandmother hear this gossip, "the half-sister who had expressed her displeasure," he said. I suggested those who start gossip should reconsider the mean things they say about others in the family. I asked if there was an issue, why did the stepsister not come to me, if this was such a big deal? Gossiping, according to Mark Leary, Ph.D. neuroscientist with Duke University, explains this way: "Gossiping is a fundamental human instinct because our lives are deeply rooted in tribalism." Gossiping, it seems, is older than the mountains and as deep as the ocean. One can learn about others by the way they gossip, and we understand their beliefs and mannerisms. There can be some significant benefits to talking about others. Gossip can be used to ostracize the untrustworthy, and once excluded, they might improve their behavior. However, where there is good, there is evil. Sometimes ostracizing family members or members of a group creates pain and suffering. I believe those who inflict pain and suffering through gossip carry a narcissist, almost psychopathic trait that is detrimental to the group. How can we elude the drama and discontent? 

 Let it Go – "Whoever would foster love covers an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates friends." Proverbs 17:9 

 1. Matthew 7:1 'Do not judge, or you will be judged.' Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? If you know those who make big deals out of minor problems, you will forever drown in drama every time there is a minor disagreement. 

 2. Don't recruit a gang. – Mathew 18:15 If your brother sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. My stepsister did not choose the path of just talking to my daughter, and she decided to pour fuel on the fire, riling up her father, my mother; she chose to blame my daughter, taking no blame upon herself. The offended were now involved, aunts, nieces, nephews, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers, all blaming a 20-year-old with a third of life's experiences. 

 3. Stop pouring gasoline on the fire – Proverbs 26:30-21 Without wood, a fire dies out. Without gossip, a quarrel dies down. As charcoal embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.

 4. Best advice – Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what helps build up others, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 

 Drama can eat you alive, so best to just "Let it go." It took me about ten months to let it go. I let this nonsense consume me. Forgiveness is just about the most challenging behavior a human being can make actionable. I felt I had to do all the forgiveness work and saw no actionable attempt from my stepsister. I tried to talk to her, which ended in an argument. I found this most disappointing for both of us. That said, I am thankful I could finally let it go, my forgiveness complete. My daughter learned a valuable lesson. Recognize hurtful gossip, be polite, change the subject or tell your loved one you are not interested in gossip. 

Note: The art of well-being as it pertains to gossiping does not apply to toxic relationships. These relationships deserve an escape to safety. We are talking about how to stop minor issues from turning into family divides.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Senator Mark Warner a slaveholder?

A letter was written to Mark Warner the Senior Senator of Virginia representing me in Washington.  Dated, 9-10-2021. I asked for a response to recent events and policies affecting millions of Americans. Like other letters written to express displeasure, a response will not come, or if a response does come, it will be months from now. This is what Mark Warner thinks about his constituents. Not much I think. If however, I receive a response I will be sure to add to this blog the response for our review. 

 I am writing today to express my displeasure with Mark Warner. My concern relates to the enforcement of federal law and taxation through power and control. All federal laws should be enforced and not the wish to enforce what you want based on political bias. Example: Merrick Garland and your constituents have chosen to sue Texas concerning state rights to regulate abortion. While abortion is a tough subject, I believe a ban on abortion at 6-weeks is well-founded in protecting the unborn. Basically, you are saying a baby does not have constitutional rights under the law. To me, that is just wrong. The Supreme Court let stand the basic protection of life afforded Texans and now Joe Biden, and you have completely disregarded that premise to meet your political agenda and nothing more. 

What concerns me most is the lack of federal law enforcement: Here, we have a group of lawmakers who want to overturn a state's law on abortion yet allow state laws to overturn federal laws when it comes to federally mandated laws governing illegal drugs and illegal immigration. Again, the Supreme Court has decided to let stand the law/regulations to whit, all illegal immigrants must wait in Mexico to be vetted before crossing our border. Yet you and your political bias party, have again ignored the Supreme Court, an equal branch of government to push an illegal agenda on Americans. I am confounded by the fact that our federal government looks away as drug overdoses kill thousands a year, and do nothing, yet have now mandated shots for a flu-like virus. I have chosen free will to take the shots; I still got Covid and lived through it for 7 days with flu-like symptoms. Wearing a mask, getting shots, the 6-ft separation mandate did nothing to stop this virus except the harm done to our freedoms and free will to choose for ourselves. For this, I am very disappointed in you. Hypocrisy at its best choosing federal laws to ignore and to enforce, disregarding science when it suits you, is worrisome. 

Taxes: I saw Mark Warner in the news the other day telling Virginians that he is working on raising our taxes. Joe Biden made a clear campaign promise not to raise taxes on the middle class, yet you fail to define what is middle class. I get no vote as to these proposed tax hikes. You want to take from me what is mine, you want to take my achievements and give a portion to those to whom have not achieved. You do this without my permission. This is a form of slavery. I submit to you Mark Warner you are a slaveholder of the middle class if ever defined. You are a slaveholder of the individual who has achieved, by taking from him or them, their property without their permission. In the end, you are no better, than a King or Tyrant. "Power without control is corruption." "Control without power is futile" You are the corrupted and I am made to feel my achievements are futile.

I look forward to your canned response in which you will not address these issues. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

So you want to live a happy life?

So, you want to live a happy life? In Plato's Republic, Plato writes about the idea of happiness. Plato contends that one who is moral is the only one who can be truly happy. To be satisfied is but one of many parts of the perfect life, but I think it is essential. A person's life experiences dictate a person's reality of life. No two lives lived the same. What is true is dictated by a life’s reality based on life’s experiences. While others may judge your life, it is your life that you can make perfect for you. To worry what others, think, we live a life of pure disappointment. As an avid reader of the bible and Greek philosophy, I find it remarkable how much Greek philosophy is found in the bible. When Plato wrote about the cardinal virtues, we find the same virtues in the bible. Plato brought four cardinal virtues to us through Aristotle: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. God gave us three cardinal virtues. 

 1. Prudence: "right reason applied to practice." Prudence is a virtue that allows us to judge correctly what is right and what is wrong. When we mistake hate for disappointment, we are showing our lack of prudence. 

 2. Justice: "the constant and permeant determination to give everyone his or her rightful due." Injustice occurs when we as individuals or by law deprive someone of the right to be innocent until proven guilty. I believe legal rights can never outweigh natural rights. 

 3. Fortitude: We all face obstacles as we gather our life's experiences for evaluation under prudence and justice. Fortitude applied correctly is reasoned and reasonable in our quest to overcome fear. 

 4. Temperance: Restraint or the idea of seeking virtue in all that we do. There is passion, there is vice, and there is the middle road we call virtue. We should want to strive for the mean in all our desires. 

 There are three theological virtues. Corinthians 13:13: "And now abide faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love." In original Greek, the word "agape" is used. This word is translated into English as charity. I consider the highest form of love to be charity. 

 1. Without faith, virtue is unattainable. God has allowed you to live your life as to what is true to you. As a follower of Jesus, put your faith in Jesus and follow his teachings, your quest for Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, and Prudence can be obtainable. 

 2. Without hope, we can live our lives like an unbeliever in God. I tell you not how to believe, as God has allowed you to live your life as to what is true to you. We hope for union with God when our days on this earth are over, and we will be delivered into heaven as we practice faith, hope, temperance, fortitude, justice, and prudence. 

 3. The most important of all virtues is love. Without love, our time on earth will be spent lonely and afraid. Our attention to love starts with family. As parents, we should have a positive impact on our children's lives, we sacrifice so that our children may succeed, we sacrifice unselfishly. Be kind to one another, compassionate, caring, thoughtful, and render acts of kindness. When we practice this love, charity will be evident outside the home. We will be delivered into heaven if we practice love with faith, hope, temperance, fortitude, justice, prudence, and follow the ten commandments. 

 I am not a perfect man. Life is lived by risk and reward decisions every day. I have practiced justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence in assessing the risk and reward decisions I make every day and in my interactions with others. It is the 10-commandments that bind our virtues and dictate a way to live ideally. My ideal of faith may be different than yours. Yet, it goes without saying, "I am a Christian, that is to say, a follower of Christ." Christ never asked us to worship him, that was man’s idea. 

 I am blessed to be in love with my life partner. My wife is God's gift to me, as without her, I would have floundered in eternal failure. Our family has been blessed, but not without the fortitude to practice the seven virtues and the 10-commandments. I say practice because we are not perfect in our practice; that is why we need God's forgiveness. I have overcome many obstacles in life, I am sure there will be more yet, when all is done, I can say that being a part of this family has pretty much been a perfect life. I can only hope that each of you is a part of a family that loves you. When each family member lives by this guide; odds are great that you will live an ideal life within your reality. God gave you this life to live, and you are the sum of your experiences, good and bad. You can lead as perfect of a life as your reality dictates when you are mindful of the seven virtues and the 10-commandments.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The lack of Knowing thyself, compulsive excesses, and surety brings ruin in American politics today.

"Know thyself, nothing to excess and surety brings ruin"

"According to Plato, in his Allegory of the Cave, most people are like prisoners living their entire lives staring at the wall of a cave, mistaking dimly lit shadows for reality." In America today, I see the allegory ever-present in our lives and the existence of these shadows, are represented by a bias media, greedy politicians, and America's citizens whose gullibility leads us to the desired hate and division which has been perpetrated by our leaders. If we do not stop looking at the shadows on the wall, we will continue this self-destructive way of life and America will fall like so many empires before her. One could say this fall is inevitable, After all, there is not one empire that has survived, and each empire that has failed in the past; falls for the same humanistic reasons. Empires rise and fall, yet I believe empires will cycle from great to poor to great again and sometimes over 1000's of years. For this to happen, internal country conflict must be quelled. The Chinese have done this through communism but at the expense of freedom. America, choosing freedom and God early in the empire, is now threatened by those who seek to rule unjustly, by squelching freedom. The African continent could rise to be a mighty empire but only after they stop killing each other. African continent wars, 1000's of years old, in some cases, will never allow Africa to be great again. Europe has gone the way of China, creating a union block resembling socialism,  whereby its leaders have stifled freedom, free enterprise, and god-given rights. South America has gone by the rule of dictators whose greed, stifles freedom, whose socialist governance, has pitted man against man and created a human condition whereby the existence of the many takes every waking hour to survive. Muslim Nations, at war with each other for 1000's of years, at war with the Jewish Nation of Isreal, stifling freedom, free enterprise, and freedom of religion,  will never find themselves in a position of power or empire. America will fall, if we do not start electing leaders of high moral value, and to be honest and upon reflection, I have not met a politician of high moral values in a long time. 


Quoting Nelson Mandela, "Learn to know yourself… to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings." Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, statesman, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election." I believe Nelson Mandela represented the very best of leadership. When Americans are confronted with American politicians whose greed dictates their reason, America ends divided. In part, we are divided because the individual American no longer takes the time to know thyself. Americans today allow politicians, the media, and others to tell us how we feel, who we are and why. 

In a recent blog, an attempt was made to reflect upon my own feelings and processes. I am not so sure American generations have ever given much thought to "know thyself." Past generations have focused on knowing God. In 1940 seventy-three percent of all Americans belonged to a church. Today 47% of Americans belong to a church. While church attendance declines, division in our nation through political bias has increased, so what happened? 

 Does the lack of understanding "know thyself" to some degree, combined with a decline in church attendance and a belief in a God, affect societies' interaction with each other? 

Sigmond Freud had said, civilization is constantly being created anew, and everyone being born must work their way up to being civilized beings. To know thyself is not knowledge you are given at birth. If we are born into nontraditional families, if we are born into poverty, if we are born into predilections, if we are born into a society where low moral values dictate our reason, if we are born into a society whereby our faith in God waivers, we as a society will not obtain the education or indoctrination as to the health and well-being the good sense to know thyself and God. 

Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was young. Baptized a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of "Nelson." Nelson was a man of great faith. He hid his Christian faith to continue his work of unifying South Africa. Many ministers who preyed with Nelson regularly knew of his faith while in prison and throughout his life. "He was a profoundly religious man: he believed sincerely in the existence of the almighty. Nelson also understood the importance to "know thyself." When we reflect upon our lives, we should ask this one question. Do I know what I take myself to know?

Knowing ourselves, understanding our weaknesses, and our strengths are paramount. Knowing oneself is easy when deciding what I want and what I like. Yet, we seem to be gullible when it comes to politics, history, science, or religion. We believe what other people say, and the individual believes without due examination. We are like a flock of sheep, following one off the edge of a cliff without thinking or reflecting what the individual feels or knows to be true. Americans today tend to say, I think, without even considering another point of view. 

Knowing God is a reflection of one's own life. God is great, forgiveness divine, where humans will fail to forgive. Knowing you live an imperfect life, learning, and acknowledging your limitations is but one key to introspection. A great leader will know thyself and God. Nelson Mandela, a great leader, was such a man, as was Martin Luther King. They were great leaders because of their faith and not a lack thereof. In America today, we lack faith and reflective thought when selecting our leaders, and subsequently, why our leadership is so poor. We know not what good leadership looks like today; we know not better. We Americans are not blind to see this truth; we are blind because we do not take the time to understand ourselves and God first.

Take some time to write about yourself, your beliefs, and what you want out of life. Being honest with yourself will be the hardest part. Once you have this idea of self, like what I wrote about myself, you can find the right people you want to be around, I hope you find God, but that is for you to decide. Find your way forward. I believe a person who knows themselves well knows how to spot characteristic ways in which one spins or otherwise distorts positive and negative information. Only then can we remove ourselves from harsh reactions towards one another; we stop believing everything we see in the media, every word spoken, every page of the internet. We begin to recognize positive qualities in our leaders and ourselves, rather than believing everything we hear. We push our limitations and poor qualities into closets where they reside like skeletons. We, the people, can make America a place all can live without hate for one another. If we do not we fall. 

The war on poverty and how to climb out of this hole created.

  Ms. Tingley, a retired school superintendent and college professor, wrote a rebuttal to the war on poverty in the Williamsburg Gazette on ...