Category Archives: Miscellaneous

What is wrong with me?

I mean, I am not a beach person. I like the mountains. Scratch that, I love the mountains. There are two kinds of people in the world, mountain people and beach people. I am definitely of the mountain variety.

Yet, in a couple weeks my family will drive down the mountain — the side of the mountain that in notorious for making people sick — en route to the beach. For two weeks. And I am EXCITED!

I will sit on a beach in Goa — a beautiful and popular state on the west coast of India. I will write, read, and drink beer all day. Okay, I did that 18 years ago when I had no kids. I most likely will be doing some of that, but all day? NOT.

We will then come back home for about a week, back up the mountain, and then go back down again to another beach for ten days. And I am still EXCITED!

The last time I went to Goa the beach was infested with western tourists, including some topless sunbathers, but there were also cows, boars and stray dogs wandering around. What beach in America has that?

I wrote a poem about one dog in particular that we named Mama. A blank verse sonnet. I have been thinking about the dog recently, most likely because I am returning to Goa VERY SOON.

Here is a link to the poem, in case you want to read it.

Fair versus equal

I spent the last many years of my life working for an organization that promoted and fought for state regulation for a particular profession. In my previous post about relationship versus right, I mentioned that from an ideological standpoint, I believe regulation is not a good thing; however, I am also aware that realistically some regulation is required. I was very sympathetic to the mission behind the organization I worked for, but more importantly, to the people — mostly the volunteers that were affected most. I never was 100% sure I agreed with the mission, but I could go in and fight for it 100% because I understood it, knew why the fight was there, and could completely see the argument for it.  I wasn’t being right about my belief that regulation is bad, I was being in relationship with the people who believed that it was good. Ultimately there were things about it that just made sense.

I learned a lot in that job, but if there was nothing else I learned, the biggest life-changing lesson I got out of it was the difference between “fair” and “equal.” The examination required by the profession had to be fair for all test takers — it didn’t have to be equal. The pregnant woman gets to eat a granola bar because she is eating for two — that doesn’t mean everyone should be able to eat a snack. It IS fair, it just is NOT equal.

My younger son wants the same amount of food as my teenager because it otherwise it not fair — no, it IS fair that the teenager gets more, it just is NOT equal. And when I serve both of them the same breakfast — two eggs and one piece of toast — I am being equal, but not necessarily fair.

As a father of two very stubborn boys, I hear it all the time. “THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!” But the trap we fall into is we say “life isn’t always fair” as our response, rather than “this situation is fair, it just isn’t equal.” I believe the response we give is what becomes problematic later on when the child becomes an adult — the adult then misguidedly fights for fair rights and is unhappy because s/he is getting the short end of the stick or believes others are — whereas the response we should give — and the response I have given ever since I learned it at my previous job — would in the end make a positive difference in the future adult’s life, as well as a difference in the whole culture.

We can’t always make things equal, but we can generally make things fair.

Right versus relationship

Pop quiz: what’s my favorite color? (or if you are in India, what’s my favourite colour?)

Here are a few hints. I grew up and have spent the vast majority of my life in the geographic area of Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland. The college I went to is known as “the hippie school” because there are a lot of modern-day hippies that attend, and it recycles 100% (or close to it) of its trash. My parents were both peace-loving hippies of the late ’60s/early ’70s. I am a fan of FDR, Truman and Clinton, and I was glad to see Obama won (not only at all, but) a second term in office. I believe the arts is vital to a good healthy person and culture, and of course I am a poet. I believe gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states and that women have the right to choose.

Okay, so what’s the answer? If you said blue, you’re wrong.

Hm. Okay, here are a few more hints. I believe big government is bad, and regulation as a rule suppresses rather than protects. I believe Obamacare could be the straw that ultimately breaks this country’s back, and that we should be weary of federal programs in general. I am a fan of Lincoln, TR and Reagan, and when I was in high school I was a member of a group called TARS (Teen-Age RepublicanS). I believe capitalism is the best option for a strong economy, and that a “fair deal” is a disastrous deal. I am a fan of Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Photo c. 1913 and courtesy Bain News Service and US Library of Congress.
If Theodore Roosevelt were President today he would most likely be a donkey Democrat.

Okay, try again. Red? Sorry, wrong again.

Seems like I am living in a gray area, doesn’t it. Perhaps that’s the reason behind my name. I’m not so black and white, or should I say blue and red.

I am disheartened by the people I know getting so caught up in right and wrong. Their political identity is not based on individual beliefs but party affiliations. Republicans are evil. Democrats are idiots. Democrats say rich people have no moral obligation and Republicans say poor people have no drive. I am guilty of it too. I complain about liberals with my conservative friends and complain about conservatives with my liberal friends. But also, I don’t usually complain.

The Bubonic Plague is back. It has taken the form of a moral virus called righteousness. How dare they think that? We are right! It is ruining an entire nation, killing off the need for relationship. I heard someone say once, “would you rather be right, or be in relationship?” I have taken that and drilled it into my children every day. Sometimes we need to let 2+2=5.

Robert Bros Circus at Welshpool,
 or “Making Fun of the Republicans”

I live in India now, in a school that acts as a community. Its entire mission is based on the premise of tolerance and relationship. It isn’t always successful, and lately seems to be in somewhat of an identity crisis, but all people and organizations go through this. I would rather feel compassion for its current struggles than make the school wrong for it. I would rather sympathize than point fingers.

I wish American politics could do the same. the bickering that goes on in Congress is repulsive. Compromise can be ugly, I get that, but at least it is action.  I can’t express enough how many friends I have who I disagree with politically. But being in relationship is more important than being right.

I am not as happy about Obama winning a second term as I wanted to be. He has not turned out to be the President I had wanted to see. He is imperfect. But what President isn’t? It may be unfair for the Republican Party to be known as the “NO!” party, because the Democratic Party has had its turn in the past — but then invent a new identity.

Keeping the Democrats on a short leash

And if Romney had won, that doesn’t mean the country would have been blanketed with a Morman agenda, it doesn’t mean  Pro-Life advocates would have overturned Roe V Wade, it doesn’t mean women would have been “kept in a binder,” and it doesn’t mean birth control methods would have been made illegal.

And even if all those things were put into motion, which I seriously doubt, that’s what checks and balances is for. That’s why it is a three-branch system. “Wrong” agendas can always be made right, and “right” agendas can always turn south. I love my country, I love my friends — I do not “unfriend” them on FB because we disagree, I just agree to disagree. I do not hate. I do not get angry at the opposition because to me there is no opposition. I see and get and understand both sides of the aisle. I am a mix of both.

That may be why my favorite color is and has always been purple. Maybe it’s the new gray!