But first a little History
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -- John Adams
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. -- Mark Twain
4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. --Winston Churchill
5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. -- George Bernard Shaw
6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy
7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. --James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.-- Douglas Case, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University.
9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. -- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian
10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -- Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)
11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.--Ronald Reagan (1986)
12. I don't make jokes.I just watch the government and report the facts. -- Will Rogers
13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free! -- P. J. O'Rourke
14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. --Voltaire (1764)
15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you! -- Pericles (430 B.C.)
16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.-- Mark Twain (1866)
17. Talk is cheap, except when Congress does it. -- Anonymous
18. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.-- Ronald Reagan
19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. --Winston Churchill
20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. --Mark Twain
21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
22. There is no distinctly Native American criminal class, save Congress. -- Mark Twain
23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians --Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -- Thomas Jefferson
25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. -- Aesop
FIVE BEST SENTENCES
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5.. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!
A Conversation with the Adults in the Room
What exactly is a check and balance system? It is not just that You do something and I verify whether what you have done is in all our best interests. It is that but it is also that I have the power to temper what you are doing or what you have done. My behavior can be delegated authority or authority I have assumed because of my interest. Politically this is obvious. The House of Representatives creates law, The Department of Justice processes violations of the Law, the Senate approves or disapproves of the Law, and the Executive Branch faithfully executes the law. Each of these entities can invoke their delegated authority (Our Constitution) to obstruct, change, or veto each law (legislation) created. Relationships in this ECO System are very important. There is a lot of give and take (compromise). And, there is a lot of arm twisting. spite, get even or just bullying to accomplish what one or more feels needs to be done. Sometimes this part of the check and balance system goes too far. This of course creates a whole new set of issues that may need correcting. For the most part this ECO System works in our best interest. Sometimes it take time to realize a particular law or laws is flawed. Momentum for agreement on the flawed nature of what was enacted takes time, dialogue and commitment to correct the flaw.
These ECO Systems exist in every part of our society. Families, Businesses, Churches and Religions, Agencies of Government, Friendships. Their foundation is in relationships and these relationships are balanced internally by everyone of us. Friendships continue to thrive through Approval, appreciation and acceptance. In other words, I like you, I like what you have to offer, and for all the areas that matter to me I appreciate and approve of you as a person. Interference is minimal, and our instinct is to create a climate where our friends can thrive. It is a little tougher in families because emotion and ego are higher up the ladder. So internally we need a better grip on who and what we are. The three A's (Approval, Appreciation, Acceptance) are very important as is our efforts at creating an environment that allows everyone to grow and thrive in their own skin as they were meant to.
Whether we realize it or not we gather people around us that help us grow. Not always smoothly, sometimes in a herky jerky way, sometimes painfully. But if we were honest with ourselves we would acknowledge their contribution to our growth.
Our biggest challenge however is to become aware, deeply aware, of our internal stuff and how we behave when that stuff appears in our conscious awareness. To know not just that we are angry and acting out but to be aware of the unconscious trigger or event that summoned all this anger we feel. Trying to control our anger (or any strong emotion) is admirable but not so nearly effective as understanding the source. This is where we bridge our unconscious and our conscious levels of awareness. This is where we choose our behavior. We can see what is right in front of us, what we are about to do, and imagine the outcome, or, we can blindly go ahead with our impulse and feel the consequences, probably both now and later when we have had time to calm down.
Is the Bridge a Real Part of us
Absolutely. But it is a skill, it is a learned skill, and it is a skill that requires attention and practice. At the same time I can say that it is easy to learn but not so easy to apply in the beginning. In the Texas Holdem world "You learn the rules and strategies in an hour but it takes a lifetime to master". As in any skill we try to master there are levels of mastery, although I dislike the use of the world mastery. So lets say that to understand, sense and feel the awareness of the bridge and then to instantaneously choose the path that is right for the moment is a skill that is developed at deeper and deeper levels over time.
Are there guides that help us understand other than what is here and throughout this web site? Yes. But there are so many that I cannot do justice to them all. "The Bible, Jesus Teachings", "The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer", "The Tao Te Ching", "The Power of Now, The New Earth, Eckhart Tolle", Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, "The Journey of the Universe, Brian Swimme", and dozens of others. All of these both current and those passed into history have understood the puzzle of humanity (becoming fully human) at greater and greater depth with different world and cosmic views. Their insights into who we are, what we are here for and what we can be doing for ourselves and our planet are something worth listening to, digesting, and integrating into each of our lives.
The bridge is most available to us when we are quiet and at peace. For some this is already a tall order. But learning to be still is the first step and a necessary one. When we are beginning to practice this the three A's (Acceptance, Appreciation, Approval) come in quite handy. We all have a lot of noise in our heads. We have thoughts, beliefs, regrets, feelings, ideas, history, fear and lots of other stuff that vies for our conscious attention. Our job is not to control this noise but to learn to allow our mind to empty itself. The three A's help us by providing a sense of "okness". It is ok to feel, to think, to have thoughts, stories, fears occupying our mind. But when we are practicing being still we accept what is, let it be for a moment, and let it go. Sometimes it helps to focus on something and filling our emptying mind with whatever we are focusing on (a stone, a spot on the wall, a glass of water, or nothing at all) until there is this moment when nothing is there to confuse or distract from what we are, where we are, and what is happening NOW.
This is a precious moment when what you were is gone and what you are reveals itself.
What were you? A mother, a father, smart, skilled, creative, problem solver, scared or anxious, angry, insulted, humble, not so humble, religious, a believer, an atheist, strong, athletic, proud, mean, loving, friendly,.............
None of these descriptions of what we believe at any given moment are truly us, none of them, define who we are but they do describe what we feel and act like at any given moment, situation or experience. They describe us and our behavior but they do not identify us or define us, when we let go of them. The operative phrase is "when we let go of them". Why should we and what is the point of this "Letting go"? Freedom. It is our development process from birth on that traps us into this EGO and Identity thing. But there comes a time in all of our lives when our identity and Ego no longer serves our best interest. There comes a time when it is time to move on. For we have a greater gift. A greater gift than all those that we have depended on for so long. It is the gift of experiencing the moment as it is, and not as we wish it was or was not. It is the gift of being a part of rather than separate from. It is the gift of letting go of what and who we thought we were and following the transformative path of the fully human being.
We are given gifts. We develop some of them, and leave others to wither away. Throughout our life we define ourselves with these descriptions, we become identified with them. So much so that if someone pokes at one or the other we feel injured, our ego gets scratched, we hurt. Our immediate response is to defend and maybe lash out. At a minimum we feel bad. Because everything we identify with, is us. It is our image of who and what we are. We own it and its value and importance to our psyche cannot be measured. Our walk around primary ego, our daily self, is who we are to ourselves and to all others we interact with. But this self is separate and that separateness divides the world up into objects. This separate self views those objects as useable. What for? For anything my self justifies. And if I decide that any of those objects are bad for me I protect my self interest in any way that feels right to who and what I think I am. Look at the vast range of human behavior and you can imagine our capacity for self protection.
Feel like you are defending (and rightly so) something important, something really important to you? Are you right? Of course you are. I am not being condesending. Of course you are right. But so is everyone else. So is everyone else. So, are we communicating with each other, or, are we just announcing our position and not really communicating? Are we listening as separate egos or we we listening beyond the difference of opinion to the core of the person in front of us? Who cares anyway? Actually you do, and very intensely.
God, No God. Evolution, Creationism. Marriage(man and a woman), marriage (any gender). Small Government, Large Government. Debt, no debt (or as little as possible). Killing, no killing. Drugs (M), no drugs (m). Honor (commitment, keep your word, do what you say), No honor(lie, confuse, say what they want too hear, do something different).
We have so many differences (opinion, beliefs,behavior) that finding common ground is many times impossible, often just a bad joke. Until we let go of our cherished beliefs and knowledge (what we know for sure). Until we discover the human behind the face, behind the words, behind the belief. Who is right? we all are. Who is definitely wrong? We all are. We are all in the process of learning. We are learning how to be an authentic human being. And, when we recognize, maybe for the first time, that everyone wants the same things, then, we can begin to let go of what we are promoting, what we know, what we believe, and approach each other differently.