It’s funny how life works out, from slamming into rock bottom to standing on your tippy toes attempting to reach and grasp that golden rung that you’ve been working so hard to achieve for so long. Everything in between can seem awful or delightful, depending on your outlook at the time. The passersby and the people that either help us or need our help along the way. If your open enough, perhaps those people will help you along your journey. Networking as it is often referred to implies the old saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”. This more often than not is true, we only mumble it to ourselves when it doesn’t work out in our favor. Like I stated prior, this more often than not is true, but there are plenty of other times that others go out of their way to help us, even when we do not realize it. You never know who you will meet tomorrow, all you must do is smile and offer the proper greeting (depending on the time of day). The more you go out and treat others as you would want to be treated, the easier your life becomes.

From asking your neighbor if they know any reputable electricians, or mentioning at the hair salon, that you really like the design of the facility. The more you compliment, the more apt people are to provide free advertisement for the people that do that sort of thing. The network of the community has for generations provided the life support to its inhabitants for fixing problems, from leaky roofs, to babysitting, tree removal, general grounds keeping and everything in between. The laws and bean counting legislators (whom are owned by the corporations) that prohibit children from learning a strong work ethic and the value of a dollar only strive to destroy our small communities that dot our nation.

It’s high time we begin to commune within our communities, meet our neighbors at church the hardware store and the local tavern. All of these small establishments are rally points in our communities and they provide a gathering place to discuss the topics of the day and ask for help when needed. There once was a time, when communities all over our country were for the most part self-sufficient, our communities were self-sufficient and we were self-sufficient as well.

The more we look to each other for help when we cannot figure it out ourselves, the more independent we all become. Everyone does something better than most others, if we support them, they will support us.

Speak Freely

Speak, speak, speak, the more that people speak freely and speak their mind on a daily basis the better off we all will be. The more people that speak up and the more that speak out freely the more we all will know. The more we know, the easier and easier our choices become. Why wouldn’t you want to hear what the people around you truly think and feel? Racism, sexism, xenophobia, abortion, illegal immigrants, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Why are we so afraid of the opinions and thoughts of others? Again, another celebrity put their foot in their mouth, and now the “news” cycle is endless with opinion pieces and “experts” providing their diagnosis of the now foul celebrity. Why aren’t we happy that they finally exposed themselves for who they are, I say thank you for speaking your mind.

Silencing or suppressing anyone’s voice always has disastrous results. The freer we are to speak, the more we will get to know each other and everyone’s true personalities. If that frightens you, then perhaps you should keep your mouth shut, just don’t expect anyone to follow your example. At the same time, if you expect to be heard, then you should silence no one. It’s pathetic enough that the “anchors” are demanding once again that we choose sides, whether we are with them or we are against them.

I only wish more would express themselves and speak up openly. Maybe then less would suffer from depression, anxiety or low self-esteem. If you knew what the people around you were thinking, because they were speaking their mind, then perhaps you wouldn’t feel pressured to try and “read minds” or body language. There is a chance that if more people communicated freely, more couples would find love together, in a more honest and upfront approach. “If you cannot say anything nice, do not say anything at all”. This adage only promotes a passive aggressive nature, encourages gossip and emboldens hate and disgust, since you are forbidden from speaking.

Salutations and disagreements, if we desire true companionship and friendship, then why must we agree on anything?

In Memoriam

Thank you to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, for us. Thank you to the families that lost their loved ones, you are stronger than all of us and for that, thank you. Thank you to everyone who ever served and is currently serving, you make it possible for the rest of us to live our lives day in and day out. On this Memorial Day 2018, I salute the sacrifices that were made for America and her people.

Decoration Day was first observed in the years following the Civil War. The Civil War claimed more American lives than any other war in our history. It was observed on Saturday 30 May 1868 and continued until 1917. The graves of comrades were decorated with flowers and other adornments, a way to heal and remember. Decoration Day was unofficially observed at the local level, until 1917 when it was made a federal holiday following World War 1, it was decreed Memorial Day.

Everyone remembers and celebrates in different ways, some drink with friends, others pray, few go to the cemetery and mostly people spend time with their family on Memorial Day. No matter what you do on Memorial Day, just remember that it has been happening for 150 years this year. For over 150 years people of all walks of life and all backgrounds have fought and died for all of our freedoms.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone who placed themselves in harm’s way for all of us. We all remember in our own way and in our own time.

Sexual Harassment and Racism

Accusing anyone of either sexual harassment or racism is very unique in the fact that the reception is the only allowed, encouraged and accepted aspect when deciding guilt. Accusations of either can be absolutely devastating regardless of accuracy or intent. The other aspect of both, is that it would appear that only “minorities” and a majority of women are exposed to these sleights and “attacks”. However; whenever a shirtless physically correct or symmetrical male is on display, comments and actions are not only allowed, but they are often strongly encouraged. The opposite can be said concerning the labels: white, male, straight and Christian.  These are all fair game if you subscribe to the ideology of victimhood and unfairness. The arbiters of these lopsided morals seem to be heavily tilted to the left. Just as California is attempting to succeed from the United Sates or be torn apart into separate states, this population cannot subside off of its own volition or inaction. These voluntary statuses are only and currently slung against us and everyone else that is deemed an acceptable loss.

Some would refer to it as “lost in translation”, like the telephone game and differing tastes or preferences, imposing your definition on these “words and phrases” seems easier and easier, since there are monetary gains to be made if you “feel” attacked. I acknowledge that lewd behavior and comments can be unsettling, and highly unprofessional, but whatever happened to “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I have never heard of words physically hurting anyone, if that was the case, there would be no need for firearms, blades, bats or pepper spray. Unfortunately, in an attempt to control us from every single aspect, criminal charges are now being doled out in an effort towards suppressive conformity.

Diversity as we have seen is only sought after for the shades of optics. The lengths that people will go to, to simply avoid conflict can at times seem cowardly. If you cannot speak for yourself, and you are afraid to address unwanted comments in the moment, then perhaps you should simply let it go? Maybe and maybe not, I think of every encounter as singular in value and on a case by case basis. The passive aggressive nature of these accusations continues to prove over and over again, that they hold practically zero merit, since they are often made after the “perceived attack”, once a group decides on the meaning without consulting their “attacker”.

The memory of these accusers must be ironclad since their recollection of the encounter is the only valued aspect and insight into the mind of the accused. The longer we prosecute both legally and publicly, the sooner the rest of us will be swept up in the pop culture phenomenon of guilty before proven innocent. Like every other attempt at people control, eventually we all will be fodder in the machine that only sees us through the filter of current and approved popular opinion.

Salutations and disagreements, if we cannot speak freely, then how and when will we know when anyone is being genuine? If all we desire are Facebook friends, then snapshots and sound bites is all we will ever get. The more real our relationships are the more we should expect conflict and honest conversation. Like every other barrier to overcome as individuals and children growing up, the same can be said, “it builds character”. The further we move away from character, the less freedom we all will have. Character is everything, without it we are nothing.

Flirting both attempted and successfully carried out is quickly moving towards a felony. Sexual harassment has been outlawed for decades, yet for some reason it is still carried out everyday. Like the war on drugs and the war on poverty, all of these tax-funded initiatives do nothing but encourage more to become offenders.

Just remember, if no one saw it and there is no real proof, then it probably never truly happened. Hurt feelings and personal offenses only translate and are simply attributed to weak individuals. If people are kept from expressing themselves as they see fit, we will never know who the people around us are. The more they talk, the more they expose themselves to us. I want to know with whom I am speaking. Why wouldn’t you want the same?

Harden Target

The label says it all, it is a target. How many of us remember high school? You either loved your high school years or hated them. I think this whole school shooting topic is not being discussed honestly. I am in no way absolving the cowards that shoot, kill and maim innocent people. Now, most places of employment ban firearms to be carried legally by their employees, if your found with a firearm on company property whether on your person or hidden and secured in your vehicle, you will probably be fired on the spot. The difference between work and school is most times people want to be at work, not because they enjoy it, but because it’s how they make their living. But school is a totally different animal all together, you have to go to school whether you want to or not. With the rising cost of living in our country, most times both parents work, so school has been transformed from an institution of learning to a pseudo daycare/holding facility, so then parents can go off to work, to pay for everything they have and need.

I understand the need to have a high school diploma, but outside of that piece of paper, there is almost no incentive to going to school. These kids are locked up all day, the teachers refuse to get involved with any conflict between students, since they could be held liable if anyone gets hurt. So, the kids form groups, or cliques, your either in or out, if you’re out it’s a hard day, every day to deal with the constant putdowns and assaults. Don’t be fooled, there are bullies on every front in school, teachers, staff, and students of every walk of life are bullying somebody.

I don’t have an answer to quell this atmosphere, but it is the truth. The longer our children go unsupervised, they will develop and implement their own chain of command and say what you want, but when you’re a kid up against that, it can seem unrelenting and never-ending at times. Now you throw smart phones, tablets and social media into the mix, they cannot escape it when they get home. I know there are great teachers out there who are not getting paid what they deserve, but they know that they will win in all of these strikes. The parents have to get back to work before they lose their house, so of course they will give in and pay the horde more.

It’s a multifaceted dilemma, choices will have to be made, some will choose to pull their kids out and home school them, but the majority will continue to take their chances. Sometimes you just need to slow down and give up a few creature comforts. None of these kids deserve to die, but they did and they will continue to die. Human behavior cannot be legislated, history has proven that no matter the odds or stakes, criminals will commit crime. Its far easier to remove our children from school than it is expecting everyone else to give up their guns. Do what you feel is right.

On the other hand, if schools competed for students, and created an atmosphere that all students wanted to be included in, well maybe then every student would feel incentivized to not simply attend but excel. If we rewarded hard work and excellence, then maybe more would try out for it, until then mediocrity will still be championed. Mediocrity, I guess they will have to look and act like everyone else if they are to survive. Perhaps diversity is a mere sham.

Stern Disapproval

From school shootings, to opioid addiction, public discord and general disagreements. We are always lectured on what is currently right and what is now wrong. Halloween costumes and lewd comments. Child abuse and child protective services. Experts and professionals. The wagging fingers and the dirty looks that are received from simple disagreements. The idea that we are all individuals is now being trampled by unions, groups and “rights” foundations. Used to be there were groups such as “The Little Sisters of the Poor”, who would perform charity as their service to God. However; with the delegitimization of both the church and religion, charity has been propelled because of its “Not-For-Profit” tax exclusion and the falsehood that a verbal attack on any individual is an automatic assault on us all. Charity is being stolen from us, with the excuse that people are hurting, charity is now demanded, instead of appreciated, for its selfless acts.

All we get in disagreements lately is stern disapproval for not going with the flow, our rights are not honored, we are boycotted and labeled as hate individuals or groups. They contact our places of employment, to get us fired, they notify our neighbors and our community at large, the beginnings of the secret police, to force us into compliance and silence. Common sense and reasonable, but only by their parameters. The line between adult and child is becoming more and more undefinable. They claim the label of adult only when it suits them, the rest of the time they are simply reverting to their childish instincts. Where do all of these people find the time to organize and demonstrate, how are their bills being paid for all of the time off that they need to “resist”?

The “moral” arbiters of current events and group think, are working overtime in an attempt to convince us that we are wrong and no number of platitudes will forsake your obvious slight against the “marginalized” group. Whether its gun ownership, political affiliation, garb or simply speaking your mind, if you go against the grain, they will shriek that you have not only offended them, but that now you could potentially be inciting violence, whether or not you are. Context and respect is what is missing. Context for what is meant and respect for the rights of all Americans. The furtherance of “charity” insured by our tax laws and code might be the end of simply doing good deeds. The government giveth and the government taketh away, it is only a matter of time. If we continue to look to our government to care for OUR sick and wounded, then the government will be the final word in who lives and who dies.

Giving power to the most corrupt power in our country will ensure that we all toe their line. If we continue to give into whatever they decide is moral, reasonable, common sense and charitable, then only the most prominent and the perceived and advantageous for their chosen popular choice will always be made, whether we support it or not. Our tax dollars pay their salaries, however; they are not beholden to us. Cable is out and the internet is in, the level of communication that is happening today is the only reason we are still holding on. The minute our voices are stripped of us, we will be in a downward spiral that will have us crashing to our death as the last free society in existence.

Use your voice and your actions daily to be the good person of your own volition. The French Revolution notoriously used the guillotine to sever the heads of those disagreed or those who would not give into their demands. Our country is very polarized right now. We are on the precipice and our individual actions will be the deciding factor in whether or not all Americans have rights, or only what is currently popular. If you live by the guillotine, you will die by the guillotine. The same revolutionaries that put the guillotine into practice were eventually put under that same guillotine. History repeats itself if we don’t pay attention and exercise respect for our fellow citizens daily, regardless of their stance. Instead of demanding that everyone else give into your demands, practice what you preach on a daily basis and be the example. Who knows,  you might convince the rest of us after we witness your example.

1CD, 2BCT, 1-5CAV, A1-3; M, M, B, G, H, V, C II; 19 May 2007, Amiriyah, Baghdad, Iraq

Catastrophe, death and mayhem. In the moment, it is impossible to look farther than what is happening right in front of you. Witnessing the direct action which causes the death of loved ones, is unforgettable and practically unforgivable. Looking back, it seems incredible that time continued to pass. That’s exactly what does happen, the world continues to turn, time stops for no one. Tragedy affects everyone, some lash out, others internalize while the remaining attempt to assemble everyone, only to continue their push forward. That’s all anyone has to do is continue to put one foot in front of the other. If you keep on moving forward, you will eventually find yourself past the event that caused so much pain and anguish for the loss of your friends and family. No one ever forgets, but the importance of moving out of the “kill zone” both literally and figuratively is imperative if anyone ever expects to continue on with their life.

I guess that’s how you honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, do whatever you can to honor them by living your life to the fullest. Talk and socialize with your battle buddies, check on them and allow them to check on you. We all care, we all show it in different ways. To those we have lost, I salute you. To those who remain, I will be there for you as you are there for me. Our shared experience has made us family, regardless of blood. I owe and will continue to owe those who sacrificed their lives as well as the ones that are still here, my life.

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers

We Will Never Forget