I just read about a young man who stepped up to cover grocery costs for a young mother who suddenly realized, after waiting in line, that her debit card was on security hold and her credit card was maxed out. While she nervously struggled with a fussy infant, he volunteered to pay the tab.
Then he quietly disappeared.
When the woman made an effort a day later to track him down and give him the 'Thanks' he deserved, she contacted his employer. Tragically, she was told, he had been killed in a freak automobile accident just hours after her encounter.
The young Mother later learned from his family, what a gracious, loving and engaged person he was. How he often stopped to help, to offer support or food to those in need. He just had an innate drive to 'pay it forward,' so their hearts were broken.
What makes this story so compelling is not that the young Mother wasn't able to say Thanks, it is that the act of Giving is so shocking and unusual. The fact that what the young man did stands out as an anomaly, a freak occurrence. A baffling act of generosity that is hard for us to fathom.
If Random Ccts of Kindness occurred regularly, the young man's sudden and tragic death would in no way be any less shocking, but the energy and sense of humanity that he so generously spread would be pulsing through the veins of our culture like oxygen. Actions such as his are often infectious. The whole cycle of Giving tends to grow exponentially.
What a great way to be remembered….his short life made our Planet a better place.
On this day of offering Thanks to God, to Family and Friends, to Good Health and Happiness, to World Peace and Prosperity, make time for a Random Act of Introspection. This story of a simple humanitarian gesture has exposed a need for our increasingly coarse pop culture to step back, look in the mirror and ask ourselves 'who are we and is this the best we can be?'
As we sit down together on this Thanksgiving Day, maybe it's time to double down on the 'Giving' part.
As the 2016 Presidential election approaches and we watch all of the candidates battle for attention and adulation, sometimes we forget, the President of the United States is just a job. A very important, symbolic, demanding, unrewarding job, but just a job in the end.
Watching Barbara Walters ABC 20/20 interview with Donald Trump was enlightening. When she asked The Donald, for a man who seemingly has everything, what is the one thing he still wants? He paused, then said," I want to be President. Not just for my ego, I just know I would do a really good job!"
It made me think, when interviewing for a job, most employers will end the interview with the question, "Why should I hire you?"
Oddly enough, very few people will say, "Because I know I will do a really good job!"
Most will babble about what a good team player they are, how creative and 'out of the box' they think. Most will tell the boss what they think they want to hear.
Trump's answer was indicative of how he operates. The Donald just doesn't beat around the bush. He cuts to the chase. He doesn't have time for double talk and obfuscation. His incredibly high polling numbers are telling us that those are precisely the traits Americans are looking for.
Americans are totally fed up with political tap dancing. For the past several decades, we have been subjected to one double cross after another.
"Read my lips, no new taxes!"
"I did not have sex with that girl!"
"I voted for that bill before I voted against it!"
"We just need to pass the bill before we know what's in it."
"You can keep your doctor if you want to!"
"At this point, what possible difference does it make?"
As much as we are all waiting for the Trumpster to implode, haven't we been waiting for that to happen for decades? The man has the life we view as surreal, unbelievable and we can't believe the guy seems to be so 'normal.' His former wives all love the guy. His kids aren't spoiled brats. His over inflated self image ain't bragging if you can back it up, and would anybody really suggest he can't back it up? The Trump name is the most valuable moniker in the world of branding.
Trump not only has it all, Trump Says It All.
Would some enterprising young journalist ask a very simple question of our President?
"If you are so confident, as you have indicated in past interviews that you believe your policies 'have ISIS contained,' that America should not be fearful of a domestic attack like what happened in Paris, if you are so confident, would you announce right here, right now, that should such an attack occur during the remainder of your term, that you would at such time resign as President?"
If not, why not? Isn't it fair to ask the Leader of the Free World to take some personal accountability for his pronouncements, his assurances, his policies and the overall safety of the citizens of the United States? Isn't that the very essence of his job description?
When will the voters demand our elected leaders own their decisions? It is far too easy to make profound announcements about how excellent the administration is handling world affairs and domestic security, but it is entirely different to actually take direct responsibility for Obama's actions, or lack there of...
An excerpt from Canadian human rights activist and author Mark Steyn's piece on the political followup to the massacre in Paris...
'...This is what we're going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.'
...When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world's leaders will fly in to "solve" a "problem" that doesn't exist rather than to address the one that does. But don't worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there'll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?
With his usual killer comedy timing, the "leader of the free world" told George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning, America" this very morning that he'd "contained" ISIS and that they're not "gaining strength". A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.
Visiting the Bataclan, M Hollande declared that "nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable": We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless.
Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and Cameron and Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.
Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight's events as "an attack not just on Paris, it's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share".
But that's not true, is it? He's right that it's an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world - an attack on one portion of "humanity" by those who claim to speak for another portion of "humanity". And these are not "universal values" but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta "universal" when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those "universal values" are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don't want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live - modern, pluralist, western societies and those "universal values" of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who's been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.
And all Chancellor Merkel and the EU want to do is make that large comfort zone even larger by letting millions more "Syrian" "refugees" walk into the Continent and settle wherever they want.
I would like to ask Mr Cameron and Miss Thorning-Schmidt what's their happy ending here? What's their roadmap for fewer "acts of violence" in the years ahead? Or are they riding on a wing and a prayer that they can manage the situation and hold it down to what cynical British civil servants used to call during the Irish "Troubles" "an acceptable level of violence"? In Pakistan and Nigeria, the citizenry are expected to live with the reality that every so often Boko Haram will kick open the door of the schoolhouse and kidnap your daughters for sex-slavery or the Taliban will gun down your kids and behead their teacher in front of the class. And it's all entirely "random", as President Obama would say, so you just have to put up with it once in a while, and it's tough if it's your kid, but that's just the way it is. If we're being honest here, isn't that all Mr Cameron and Miss Thorning-Schmidt are offering their citizens? Spasms of violence as a routine feature of life, but don't worry, we'll do our best to contain it - and you can help mitigate it by not going to "controversial" art events, or synagogues, or gay bars, or...
...or soccer matches, or concerts, or restaurants...
To repeat what I said a few days ago, I'm Islamed out. I'm tired of Islam 24/7, at Colorado colleges, Marseilles synagogues, Sydney coffee shops, day after day after day. The west cannot win this thing with a schizophrenic strategy of targeting things and people but not targeting the ideology, of intervening ineffectually overseas and not intervening at all when it comes to the remorseless Islamization and self-segregation of large segments of their own countries.
So I say again: What's the happy ending here? Because if M Hollande isn't prepared to end mass Muslim immigration to France and Europe, then his "pitiless war" isn't serious. And, if they're still willing to tolerate Mutti Merkel's mad plan to reverse Germany's demographic death spiral through fast-track Islamization, then Europeans aren't serious. In the end, the decadence of Merkel, Hollande, Cameron and the rest of the fin de civilisation western leadership will cost you your world and everything you love.
So screw the candlelight vigil.
Why is it so hard for people to see the Elephant in the Room?
As a culture we doggedly focus on the wrong symptoms. No wonder why we misdiagnose all of our cultural illnesses. If you have a headache, looking at your feet isn't going to help figure out how to reduce your pain. In trying to understand the recent spate of mass murders, we are looking in all the wrong places...
The issue of mass murders committed by young, disenchanted men, using high power firearms is the subject of much speculation: What causes these people to take such inhumane actions to gain notoriety to cover their anger and pain for being 'different?'
Is it poverty and class envy? Is it the effects of bullying or sexual identity conflict? Is it despair over the loss of control or social dominance?
Is it the easy accessibility of cheap handguns, the nefarious influence of the NRA, or just the right wing emphasis on ignoring the plight of the underclass?
The problem with that reasoning is that all of these conditions exist for millions and millions of people who never commit heinous human executions! But they are not.
The Elephant in the Room is the killers, on the surface, appear to be uniquely normal young men.
They have friends, they attend school or at least have recently been involved in regular public activities. Yes they are often loners, but they seldom have a history of arrests or violence. They are typically products of broken homes, with a history of bizarre and self-centered abusive behaviour, and who are almost always spoiled/abused by single or separated parents who have no idea of how to temper selfish actions that show no concern for others, for norms or authority, and who substitute their friendship and coddling, or conversely their anger and psychological abuse, for parental nurturing and discipline.
Add into the petri dish our cultural devaluation of marriage and the formation of the nuclear family as an iconic and imperative tradition of child-rearing. Throw in socially accepted disrespect for unborn children, the institutionalization of abortion and 'new normal' acceptance of abandonment by career seeking mothers and overtly ambitious father's. Then toss in widespread abuse of drugs and alcohol and the substitution of human care by television, nannies, and digital diversions.
The message these admittedly ill young men get is, 'who cares about you and your problems? You are just an obstacle to our pleasure! We gave birth to you, what else do you want from us?'
Stitch this all together, and you get a Young Frankenkiller!
The 'new normal' pattern of early abandonment by career ambitious parents, further eroded by angry, disparaging left-wing academia, has insidiously pulled the floor out from under many mentally discouraged and or impaired boys who are going through the evolution from adolescence to manhood, historically a difficult and unpredictable life changing period. In our youth oriented culture, manhood is elusive and ill defined, and then popularly trashed as a convention of male misogyny. Unstable boys are left to navigate a dark and threatening landscape of unknown performance expectations, loneliness and disillusionment. In some cases, they are given psychoactive mood altering drugs that can have devastating side effects including hallucinations and suicidal tendencies.
No wonder these confused-boy killers are psychopathic!
Mass murder by young men is only one of many subjects our media completely misrepresent. Either through ignorance, apathy, or in most cases due to a cultural practice of historical miseducation and purposeful twisting of the facts to push a social agenda, and to deflect blame. These journalists come from the same generation of leaders in 'modern' child development and educational egalitarianism.
Today's so-called 'enlightened' journalists and educators educated in the halls of our hijacked advanced educational system, have been convinced they are destined to reinvent and culturally advance a generation that has been moribund by their outdated conservatism and Judeo-Christian hegemony. It is in their purview to promote and justify asymmetrical lifestyles, single and helicopter parenting, recreational drug use, sexual multiplicity, humanism, and all kinds of self centered activities that have historically been viewed as irresponsible, and, well, Ungodly...
We parents rationalize that we gave them everything, that we loved them unconditionally, and that we are proud of their achievements! Just look at all the awards posted on their facebook pages! Sorry if we have little time to play, but we have to make a living!
Everything would be OK, we think, if we had more gun control, free access to drugs, healthcare, food, housing, education, computers and cellphones, and less 'prehistoric' judgmentalism of modern concepts of gender, family and religion. If our capitalist society was more tolerant, generous and less focused on materialism, maybe these loner-killers could fit in better...
Why are we unwilling to admit our child rearing inventions have backfired? The now well established curriculum of pushing high self esteem, noncompetitive collaboration and non judgmentalism has produced a generation of narcissistic kids who can't deal with adversity or workplace competition, or accept authority. They are insecure about their sexuality, their reason for being and their ability to relate to human love. They act as though they are at the end of their tether....and for the worst cases that end up in tragedy, they have been for years.
Every time we witness another school-place massacre, we bump into that Elephant again...
I am annoyed and nobody gives a rat's ass. Which is good, because we have way too many really annoyed people. And that annoys me...
People are too easily annoyed nowadays. It seems if I open my mouth at a party, my wife will pull me aside and say, "lower your voice, your annoying people!" OK, I do have a loud voice, but in a room full of people like a restaurant or a large party, I have to be loud to hear myself think!
But what is worse is when a small group of friends are talking current events, the news, politics, controversy, I have to be super sensitive about what I say.
For some reason, I am always the one my wife thinks is "getting too political," or "making people uncomfortable," because I often point out stuff I have just read or seen in the news about government employees outrageous pensions, how some public agency just spent $43M to build a bridge over a pothole, or how the news constantly treats conservatives like they are flesh eating zombies. For me, these are just juicy topics of discussion. I am a conversation provocateur, so I throw a few bombs, so what? It gets people involved!
I don't want to be ostracized for sure, but I will be damned if I am going to spend my evenings talking about the latest Starbucks coffee creation!
Why are people so afraid to dig into our culture, to bounce their passions off of each other, to bring their mental electrons into collisions to generate some social electricity?
This is what living is all about!
My best friends dad used to challenge us as teenagers, "Use your think-thing you knuckleheads!" I took his advice about a lot of things and one of them was if "you are not thinking, your not living!"
Of course times have changed....the most popular TV show is 'The Walking Dead,' so maybe I am barking up the wrong tree.
I get the feeling that what bothers my wife is not how loud I am, or how my politics might offend someone, but that I am going upstream by suggesting that we actually use some energy to exercise our minds.
Which reminds me, another thing that really bugs me is people at the gym who sit on exercise machines and play video games for hours! That annoys me on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin the conversation!