11-8-20 Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the presidential election, and yes, this is a big deal. A potential turning point to begin the process of healing this bitterly divided, battered nation. I’m an Independent politically. In some ways, I’m very liberal while in other ways I’m moderately liberal and moderate. Like many people in this country, I’m a mixture. We’ve all seen how viciously divided this nation has become. While Donald Trump’s outrageous rhetoric has seriously inflamed this state of affairs, others on all sides of the political spectrum have contributed to it. Many people have gotten to the point where they see almost anyone who doesn’t agree with them enough as a mortal enemy. Instead of calmly discussing issues, learning about (and from) one another, people often lash out. They frequently refuse to listen to the other side or even consider different points of view. Another trend contributing to this problem is how many people only surround themselves with others who agree with them and exclusively seek out information from sites that tell them what they want to hear. Thing is folks, this is not healthy, and it’s hurting our nation. Like it or not, this country is made up of people with a whole plethora of views, ideas, and outlooks. We are not going to agree on everything, yet we still have to live together. We need to find ways to talk and listen to each other. Learn from one another. Find ways to work together. I think most people in this country are sick of the vicious divide that has been tearing things apart. It’s time for change. We need to do better. We should be able to have healthy, rational, calm discussions with people who hold different views. We ought to be learning from one another and seeking out ways to work together. Frankly, people (whatever their political views) need to get out of their comfort zones and seek to open their minds. Get information from a variety of different sources and hear what others have to say. Try to find ways to educate, learn, listen, and work together. And yes, sometimes this will mean making some compromises, and I’m talking to everyone here. Liberal, conservative, in between, whomever you are. I truly hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris start bridging some of the serious divides plaguing our country and get people talking again. Strive to get some bipartisanship back in government. But they can’t do it alone. Let’s all start working at the process of healing this battered, divided nation.
Why is there still so much prejudice against the LGBTQ Community? Why? LGBTQ people have been around for the entire history of humanity. LGBTQ behavior is also seen in other animal species. So where did all this prejudice and hate come from? The answer isn’t simple. Numerous factors are involved in creating intolerance and prejudice because I don’t think people are born that way. Lack of understanding is a big one. Many people don’t understand what it means to be LGBTQ. They don’t know the challenges and pain many LGBTQs face on a regular basis. They don’t seem to grasp that being LGBTQ is part of who a person is and cannot just be switched off (and shouldn’t be switched off). There is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ. Being LGBTQ can and should be a wonderful thing. Now, add on influences from people, organizations, schools, churches, leaders, family, and friends. If many of those surrounding influences are prejudiced themselves, that can affect a person, especially if the individual already has a lack of understanding about the LGBTQ Community. Often, intolerance and prejudice can be insidious with individuals frequently not recognizing they are prejudiced themselves. Others know they are but have so much hate that they don’t care. Either way, they are hurting innocent people. Such hurt can manifest in many ways. It can occur when people make fun of someone just because that person is LGBTQ. Or when an organization refuses to help because those in need are LGBTQ. Another example is how many people categorically refuse to date someone they would be interested in otherwise just because that person is LGBTQ (Bisexual+, Non-binary, and Transgender individuals are frequently the victims of this). In early 2020, Tennessee signed into law new regulations that allow religious based adoption agencies to automatically reject prospective parents just because they are LGBTQ. This is legalized discrimination. All this prejudice against the LGBTQ Community needs to change. Everyone should take a good hard look at themselves, their views, and the factors driving those views. All should educate themselves to better understand other people, including those who are different. It’s the 21st Century! Time for people to open their minds and let go of the intolerance and prejudice pervading society these days. It’s time…
Seems to me that most of the population still has a lot to learn about Bisexuality+! Yep, sure do. One reason I know this is because so many Bi+ individuals feel they have to live in the closet due to the prejudices encountered from members of the Straight and Gay/Lesbian Communities. So, it’s way past time for everyone to open their minds and educate themselves! Firstly, people need to realize that Bi+ individuals can be totally faithful and monogamous. Yes, it’s true. Now, like any community, there is a wide range of Bi+ folks from all walks of life with a plethora of feelings and outlooks. Most are looking for, or are in, monogamous relationships while there are others in ethically open or polyamorous relationships. Different terms are used as well such as Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid and so on. Bi+ is an umbrella term encompassing anyone who can be attracted to more than one gender, whatever label(s) they prefer. Everyone needs to recognize that the vast majority of Bi+ people are decent human beings hoping to find someone special. Searching for love, romance, companionship, chemistry, and connection. Sound familiar? And sure, like all communities, there are a few jerks. But they are the exceptions, not the rule. One of the big problems facing Bi+ today is how so many people believe or go along with unfair, preconceived stereotypes which are not true the majority of the time. Bi+ are not a bunch of confused, lying cheaters, yet way too much of society go along with these ridiculous notions. This is why so much of the Bi+ Community suffers in the closet, afraid of what will happen if their secret is discovered. And Bi+ individuals who are out frequently face intolerance and prejudice from members of the Straight and Gay/Lesbian Communities, often finding dating brutally difficult since so many categorically refuse to go out on even one date with a Bi+ person. Newsflash folks: if you like someone, you’re interested in them in many ways, you both want a monogamous relationship (for example), and so on, but you automatically refuse to go out with them once you realize they can be attracted to more than one gender, that is a form of prejudice! This needs to change. People need to educate themselves and open their minds. They should not be intolerant, jumping to unfair conclusions, just because someone is Bi+. They need to remember that Bi+ are people too and deserve a chance. Remember: Love Is Love!
Damn scammers! Yes, you heard me right. Damn those scammers. These days, it seems like dating sites, many Facebook groups, and other online social sites are riddled with fake profiles run by scamming operations. It’s infuriating and very hurtful. It also costs society a lot of money. The US Federal Trade Commission says it logged reports of 21,000 romance scams costing an estimated 143 million dollars in 2018. Think about that. $143 million in one year, and that’s just romance scams. There are many other types of scams going on these days. Plus, consider how many more victims were too embarrassed to admit that they had been duped by a scammer. In addition to monetary losses, scammers take a heavy toll on people emotionally and psychologically. It interferes with our ability to find new friends or real romance by affecting our trust in online social sites and people in general. How many individuals have given up on even trying to improve their social situation because they seem to keep running into scammers? As a terribly lonely person myself, I can attest to how infuriating and hurtful it is to keep running into scammers when I’m just trying to find a friend. So, be careful when online. Don’t reveal important information to individuals online you don’t truly know with 100% certainty whether they are real or not. And even if they are real, hackers can steal data. While many scammers are pretty easy to identify, some are very clever. Plus, when you are lonely, it’s easy to ignore the red flags that you are dealing with a scammer because you want to believe it’s real. Dating sites, social sites, and other online groups can be quite helpful. But be careful and protect yourself from scammers too.
It can be really sobering when you look around and realize how few, if any, genuine friends you have. Some people have numerous good friends, but others of us don’t. A lot of people have friends with whom both parties initiate contact to say hello, have conversations, and support one another. But some of us don’t. For some of us, there are no real friends who initiate contact, and when we try to initiate an online conversation for example, people often don’t even bother to respond. Loneliness is tough. It can be painful, exhausting, heartbreaking, and potentially devastating, especially when we let it consume us. At times, it can feel hopeless and almost overwhelming. Loneliness also has the potential to increase risks of mental and physical health problems. I know all about loneliness because I’ve been living with it for decades. I understand the pain and challenges that come with it. Seeing other people have numerous close friends while I can’t seem to find even one. Anyone is susceptible. Individuals with lots of people around them or others who are physically alone and isolated. All ages, genders, sexualities, races… No one is immune. Kinda scary I know. Thing is, while loneliness can be terribly challenging to deal with, we shouldn’t let it consume us. We must learn to control it, not let it control us. Believe in yourself, even at the most difficult moments. Remember that you can rely on yourself no matter what. I know, it can be brutal at times, but never give up on you. Stay open to the possibility of connecting with someone because after being hurt so much and so often, it can be easy to automatically shut people out to try to protect ourselves from further disappointments, letdowns, rejections, and crushed hopes. The problem with shutting people out is that it can also isolate us even more and prevent us from establishing contact and potential relationships with others. So be open to meeting people. Don’t automatically rule out letting them in. If they hurt you, don’t let it bring you down. I know it can be frustrating and terribly painful, especially when you don’t have any close friends and attempts to find one seem to keep failing. Still, metaphorically speaking: Get back up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward. Another thing is to try to find happiness in yourself. There is truth to the idea of love and have faith in yourself. Believe in you! Doing so will help make life more enjoyable and also increase the possibility of perhaps connecting with others. And if you don’t find someone to connect with anytime soon, you’ll still have you! Do things you enjoy, even if you are doing them on your own. Use your imagination because there, you can experience, explore, and do whatever you want. And don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There is absolutely no shame in doing so, and it may help you cope with your circumstances a whole lot better. And please, never give up! Remember that you can always rely on yourself!
Loneliness, it’s tough. It can be painful, exhausting, heartbreaking, and potentially devastating, especially when we let it consume us. At times, it can feel almost overwhelming. Loneliness also has the potential to increase the risks of mental and physical health problems. I know all about loneliness because I’ve been living with it for decades. I understand the pain and challenges that come with it. Seeing other people have numerous close friends while I can’t seem to find even one. Anyone is susceptible. Individuals with lots of people around them or others who are physically alone and isolated. All ages, genders, sexualities, races… No one is immune. Kinda scary I know. Thing is, while loneliness can be terribly challenging to deal with, we shouldn’t let it consume us. We must learn to control it, not let it control us. Believe in yourself, even at the most difficult moments. Remember that you can rely on yourself no matter what. I know, it can be brutal at times, but never give up on you. Stay open to the possibility of connecting with someone because after being hurt so much, it can be easy to automatically shut people out to try to protect ourselves from more disappointments, letdowns, and rejections. The problem with shutting people out is that it can also isolate us even more and prevent us from establishing contact and potential relationships with others. So be open to meeting other people. Don’t automatically rule out letting them in. If they hurt you, don’t let it bring you down. I know it can be frustrating and terribly painful, especially when you don’t appear to have any close friends and attempts to find one seem to keep failing. Still, metaphorically speaking: Get back up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward. Another thing is to try to find happiness in yourself. There is truth to the idea of love and have faith in yourself. Believe in you! Doing so will help make life more enjoyable and also increase the possibility of perhaps connecting with others. Do things you enjoy, even if you are doing them on your own. Use your imagination because there, you can experience, explore, and do whatever you want. And don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There is absolutely no shame in doing so, and it may help you cope with your circumstances a whole lot better. And please, never give up! Remember that you can always rely on yourself!
7-27-20 I support peaceful protest. This society needs positive change, and the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful. But recently, some protests in Portland and Seattle have been turning violent, and frankly, I suspect both sides have contributed to this state of affairs. Trump’s sending federal agents to these cities against local authorities’ wishes in addition to questionable and inappropriate actions by some of these agents have clearly increased tensions. Trump’s calling protesters “terrorists” despite the fact that the vast majority are peaceful and following their Constitutional right to free speech is outrageously and sickeningly out of line. Part of why he is saying these types of things may be because of getting worried about the potential of losing the upcoming reelection, so he is preying on his followers’ fears, insecurities, anxieties, and prejudices to try to unite his base behind him. Trump could also be using the situation as an excuse to attempt to increase his own power if he can get away with it. By far, the majority of protesters are peaceful wanting badly needed change, but a small number of agitators have been doing things like throwing flaming garbage and lit fireworks at authorities and official buildings. No matter what the authorities may or may not do, these agitators must stop because violence is wrong. It turns off potential allies who are desperately needed to create change. This behavior also falls right into what Trump wants to see because he can use it as an excuse to send more federal agents, attempt to expand his own authority, and to instill more fear and insecurity into the minds of his followers. Studies have shown that well organized, nonviolent campaigns are much more effective than violent ones. Peaceful campaigns can gain sympathy and support from a significantly larger portion of the population, and this is what is needed to create and maintain long term positive change. So it’s vitally important for all protesters to stay peaceful and nonviolent, no matter what happens. People who want positive change must demand peaceful methods and speak out against violence, including when caused by agitators on the protest side. Defending the agitators enables their bad behavior and thus hurts the cause. On the protest side, the quest for positive change must be peaceful and nonviolent at all times, and while this may not always seem easy, it is best way and the right way.
7-21-20 There is way too much hate permeating society these days. Way too much. It seems to be coming from all around, like it’s oozing from everywhere. Unfortunately, hate is nothing new. It has been a part of human existence for as long as humans have been around. The reasons why a person hates can actually be quite complex and is often due to a combination of factors. Fear of people or things that are different or that an individual doesn’t understand is a common one. Lashing out and projecting against others because of insecurities about oneself is another. Influences from surrounding people, family, leaders, and organizations often play roles as well in encouraging and exacerbating hate. Also, hate frequently leads to more hate. Person A hates person B. Person B commonly responds back with their own version of hate. Sometimes, it seems almost contagious, and these days, we are seeing populist political leaders using and encouraging hate to increase their power and hold over followers. This sadly is nothing new as historical figures like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini used such tactics quite effectively in their rise to power and then desperate quests to keep that power. But it doesn’t have to be this way. People need to routinely take a good, hard look at themselves examining who they are, how they feel about things, and why. All should strive to recognize hate, or the stirrings of it, and then find ways to let it go. Yes, let it go. Imagine the world if more people opened their minds educating themselves, seeking out different points of view, and then learning to let go of their hate. Imagine. And you know what? It’s got to start somewhere. And yep, that means with you!
5-13-20 When times are tough, whatever the cause, you need to hang in there, believe in yourself, and stay strong. It’s not always easy. I get that. Really, I do because I’m dealing with challenging things right now as I write this. I’ve had terrible slander spread about me and experienced repeatedly how people, whom I had thought I could count on, abandoned me when I needed support. It’s like everything is hitting the fan and you are left to face it alone. It can be heartbreaking and devastating, leaving you feeling so isolated and lonely at a time when you could really use people in your corner. When difficult situations occur, a person may discover that many people whom they thought were friends, really weren’t, making one feel even more alone. Seeing how when the going gets tough, so many get the hell out of Dodge, it’s easy to become eaten up with feelings of bitterness, anger, hurt, and pain. While having these emotions is quite normal, don’t let them consume you. That’s not healthy either. Learn to manage such feelings. Don’t let them run your life. Even though it may be hard to believe, there are decent, good individuals in the world. Don’t give up on all humanity. Instead, try to be wiser in dealing with it. Be strong. Have courage. Believe in your ability to handle whatever you need to deal with! Don’t give up on the human race , but also remember that you can rely on yourself and be your own best friend. You will get through this!
William Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia in 1840. His father, William Sr, escaped North via the Underground Railroad and after working hard, was able to buy freedom for the rest of his family. They settled in Massachusetts where young William learned to read and write, planning on becoming a minister. However, in 1863, 23 year old William Carney joined the 54th Massachusetts Black Regiment instead. He was now a soldier in the American Civil War. In July of that year, the 54th and other Union forces were gathered outside Charleston, South Carolina preparing to take part in the assault on Fort Wagner, one of the installations guarding Charleston Harbor. On the 18th, the 54th was taking cover behind sand dunes about 1000 yards from the fort. When nightfall arrived, the order was given. Advance. The 54th was leading the attack on Fort Wagner. After dressing their lines, the regiment moved across open ground under withering cannon and musket fire. Seeing the color bearer start to fall, Carney quickly dropped his gun and grabbed the flag moving to the front of the line. He and the 54th continued forward through a storm of bullets, cannonballs, and canister. Soldiers fell all around with terrible bloody wounds, but the regiment kept going with Carney at the front holding the American flag aloft. He crossed a ditch and clambered up the fort’s earthen wall. When Carney arrived at the top and looked around, he found himself surrounded by dead and wounded members of his battered, bloodied regiment. At that moment, William Carney realized that in his area, he was the only one still standing. Seeing Confederate forces advancing towards him, Carney worked his way back down the wall through the carnage and made it to the ditch that was now waist deep in water. Pausing there, he thought about his next course of action. As he rose up to get a better look around, William Carney was shot. A second bullet struck him shortly after. While Carney was painfully pushing his way towards friendly lines, he came upon a soldier from the 100th New York who asked if he was wounded. As Carney responded, a third bullet grazed his arm. The soldier came over to help him, offering to take the flag, but Carney wouldn’t let it go. Together the two men, one black and one white, struggled towards Union lines during which a fourth bullet grazed Carney’s head. When they made it back, he refused to give up the flag to anyone except another member of his regiment. Once they reached other survivors of the 54th, Carney said, “Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.” In 1900, William Carney was finally awarded The Medal of Honor.