Tuesday, August 27, 2013

“A Few of Life’s Regrets”

As I begin writing yet another epistle, I am not entirely certain as to where this is taking me.  However, as I always do, I will give it a shot and hope for the best.  As I enter a new year, however, it seems like a good time to embark on a few personal reflections.

When I started writing this blog just over two years ago, I did so because I had a lot of free time on my hands and a great many unsettled feelings about a variety of issues.  I sought neither fame nor fortune but, rather, to see what if any gems might be buried within the vast labyrinths of that gradually calcifying cranial tissue residing within the limited space allocated to it within my skull.  I was writing for myself but thought there was no harm to be done by sending it out to the far reaches of cyberspace, leaving the merits of my efforts to be determined by the wisdom of others.  I found I touched the lives of some, pissed off some and inspired a surprising number of others along the way.  So, it was not altogether in vain.  I filed the beginning of this and a few random thoughts away and, frankly, forgot about them.  For some strange reason, I just happened upon these words on, of all days, Thanksgiving.  Perhaps there is something prophetic about that.  

The prose and ideas may not flow with the fluidity of professional writing, but that is one of the attendant hazards of this type of writing, particularly when one treads on those aspects of his being that may not be terribly easy to face nor to articulate.  Is it just a personal catharsis or does it serve a greater purpose?  I really don’t know. 

I have developed a passionate interest in politics and government in the United States over the past several years.  Young though I might have been, I was inspired by the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt when he declared war on Japan, reassured by the steadfast determination and uncompromising honesty of Harry S. Truman, the inherent dignity and wisdom of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the sheer inspiration engendered by John F. Kennedy.  Each had his own unique brand of greatness in my view.  Real leadership seemed to have died with those few, only to be followed by the golden age of the slick politician as each pursued his own avaricious agenda at the expense of the common good. 

Then along came Barack Obama in whom I saw a new ray of hope for us all.  Perhaps, I thought, the flagrant wrongs of the past could be righted and we could enter a new age of statesmanship that would appeal to the finer aspects of our nature.  I soon realized that all we got was just another politician.  To be sure, although very charismatic and mesmerizing, in reality simply another opportunistic patsy for the special interests that have a stranglehold on this fragile republic aka democracy.  I have concluded there is, essentially, no difference between the two major political parties.  They just serve the same interests in different ways.  Our vote every four years, at best, is tantamount to little more than changing the draperies at the White House.  The life blood and decency of the American people are sapped from their very being by Wall Street, Corporate America, special interests and a military/industrial complex that is completely out of control. 
None of them share a common bond with those they exploit at will.
I have come to the conclusion, because of the excesses of avarice and greed by the exploiters, compounded by the enabling complacency and self-imposed ignorance of the exploited, there simply is no hope.  We are on a downhill trajectory, moving at meteoric speed, towards our own demise and, indeed, that of the world.  When we have passed the point of no return, we will predictably rise up in desperation, demanding instant solutions to very complex problems in order to turn the ship of human existence away from the iceberg looming on the horizon, only to realize we procrastinated much too long.  There is no turning back.  Our common date with destiny is no longer a possibility, but a certainty.  Our human proclivity to pursue pleasure and “things” has finally caught up with us.  We slept while Rome burned and greed played the fiddle.  No one paid any attention to the alarm bells that have been sounding for decades.

Given that rather ominous and bleak outlook for the future, I reflect on my own life and often ask, “What are my biggest regrets?”  That is a fitting question for a man in the twilight years of his life, but not one that is easy to answer. 

I regret the crippling effects of an ingrained fear of being poor again.  It caused me to constantly doubt my abilities and myself.  It led me to compromise my principles for the sake of survival.  It caused me to be overly cautious about human relationships, holding back trust and rarely, if ever, revealing the person I really am.  I lost a lot of life because of the stranglehold of fear that gripped my every waking moment.  The price that I exacted from myself and imposed on others is incalculable; a treasure, the value of which I realized much too late in life.  It caused me to be overly concerned about safety and certainty when risk would have yielded ever so much more of real value.   

I regret that I was too rigid during the early years of my adult life, which cost me dearly in terms of friendships offered and never accepted, in kindness and understanding that were never seized upon.  I consigned myself to being a loner when that was, in reality, the last thing in the world I really wanted. 

I regret that my own imperfections caused me to insist on standards of perfection from others that were out of reach from our common human nature.  I hurt people who only asked to be respected and trusted.  That is a terribly egregious thing to have done to any  human being.  Sadly, the key players in this tragedy are now gone from this world.  When I am alone I often wish I could have one more brief bit of time with each of them.  I would tell them how sorry I am for what I did, how much I lost because I never had the courage to be open, vulnerable and authentic, and how I robbed us both by not telling each one how much they had enriched my life.   

Two of the greatest regrets of my life are not pursuing a career because of its compatibility with my natural talents, interests and ability, as opposed to gaining success as quickly as possible for the sake of staving off another epoch of poverty in life.  In the end, all I really accomplished was squandering the few valuable human attributes that might have brought me years of pleasure, satisfaction and, probably, the security that comes from pursuing that which is a burning passion of the heart and an ambition in the belly.  The greatest cost of all was my early transformation into a consummate professional huckster who was oh so willing to sell what I had to offer to the highest bidder.  In virtually all of those instances, I set myself up for failure, but it can be said that is the one thing I seem to have done rather well.          

There are a whole host of other regrets, minor and major, that are too numerous to belabor here.  However, each of them robbed me of so much of the finer side of whom
and what I am and never was.  In the end, they add up to quite a chunk of life wasted that mattered little.   

Why does so much of the world revere characteristics of the human condition that only detract from the finer facets of our human nature?  What does competitive obsession do for the world?  Why do we manifest disdain for the more noble attributes of our human nature?  What is wrong with being gentle, kind, caring and generous with our fellow human beings?  Would we not be infinitely better off if we didn’t have to win every contest and just naturally accepted defeat as, at times, the best outcome with the most valuable lesson?  After all, more often than not, it isn’t the contest that really matters but, rather, as Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers so poignantly said, “It isn’t whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.“       

I think fathers should seize every opportunity to hug their sons and really let them know how much they are loved and cherished.  Shaking hands may be the “manly” thing to do, but it sure is a poor substitute for the warmth and reassurance that only comes with the real deal.  Personally, I believe men are the more fragile and lonely because of that mistaken notion of what it stereotypically means to be a real man.  A goodly number carry the emptiness and pain of a lost relationship with their Dads that so many secretly yearned for but never had.  Not every boy is destined to be a football player so his Father can vicariously re-live the days of his youth and glory at the expense of what might have been a rare and gifted talent that the world may never know.  That may well be one of the root causes of the aggression and competitiveness manifest in the masculine mystique as one reaches and lives out maturity.  When the head and hormones overrule the heart, I think we need to pause and ask ourselves if we are giving enough time to the finer aspects of our human nature.     

When I was just a boy, I vividly recall my Dad saying to me, “Never forget what I am about to say.  The saddest thing any man can ever say is, “If I only had it to do over again.”  How true.

Looking back over more years than I care to acknowledge, there are four aspects of our  nature that, I believe, should be manifest in our person and remain inviolate pillars of our character throughout our lives; (1) unconditional acceptance, (2) unconditional love, (3) unconditional understanding, and (4) the most important of all, unconditional forgiveness.  With those as the cornerstones of our earthly journey, I just don’t see how we could possibly go wrong.
In the final analysis, the most sobering realization is, when a person reaches that later stage of life, the reality sets in that you can never really go home again.  What is done is done, and we can only hope there really is yet one more phase in the life process, and it is there that redemption awaits us for every regret we ever carried in our hearts. 

Have a good year. 

Cowboy Bob

January 16, 2010      

Monday, August 12, 2013

“They Don’t Own Us; We Own Them”

All of us who spend anytime on the Internet to speak of receive circulated materials that ask us to support a cause or an idea, from time to time.  Some are impressive and warrant our attention.  Unfortunately, most of them don’t fall in that category. 

I received the following the other day that is, ostensibly, authored by Warren Buffet.  In my opinion he is one of a very few men who has managed to define his money, rather than allow his money to define him.  He seems to have his feet firmly on the ground and is focused on how to best handle the vast wealth he has accumulated.  I cannot verify that this is the work of Warren Buffet, but its simplicity and wisdom would not be out of character for the man, insofar as I am concerned. 

Were this to become a viable option for the people to regain some control of a government that is totally out of control, it would require some very principled and courageous individuals with the means, determination and will to make it happen.  That seems like a tall order in today’s world but, as the old adage says, “You never know until you try.”  I hope there are some or a few who might just have what it takes to breathe life into these ideas.

Congressional Reform Act of 2013

1.                  No Tenure/No Pension:  A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2.                  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security:  All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security System immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress participates with the American people.  It may not be used for any other purpose.

3.                  Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4.                  Congress will no longer vote them selves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5.                  Congress loses their current health system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. 

6.                  Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. 

7.                  All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 2/31/13.  The American people did not make this contract with Congressman/women.  Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves.  Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If Herbert Norquist can intimidate members of Congress into signing on to his “no new taxes pledge,” it seems a few influential citizens could require no less from their legislators by signing on to this one.  The names of all those who did sign on should be published far and wide, along with all of those who refused.

It was, after all, Abraham Lincoln who admonished us that this “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”  I would say it is time to give new meaning and life to this bit of wisdom.  After all, compared to Abraham Lincoln, in the grand scheme of things, I would say Herbert Norquist is clearly a light weight.  If he can intimidate the powerful and influential in Washington, surely we can do no less.

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher

August 12, 2013    

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“Is It Not Time To Just Get Back To Basics?”

As the aging process claims ever so much more of the life force remaining within all of us, I am, in particular, extremely grateful for every human contact I have had in the course of my journey.  I think of the knowledge, wisdom and insights I have gained from workmates, the casual conversations in the departure lounges of airports, the interactions with seatmates on long, international flights, and the numerous brief encounters with people of all sorts in the course of my everyday life.  There isn’t one who hasn’t made me a better person in some perhaps small, but significant, way.  For all of that, I am most grateful.

My treasure trove of lifetime memories with real people is far more important and valuable than what I see with a current generation totally fixated on electronic devices that enables them to tune out everyone around them and engage in some sort of perverted communication with another humanoid who shares their aversion to the life blood, soul and storehouse of life’s experiences with someone who has lived.  Little do they know they are much the poorer for it?  One of my rules for daily living is that I forbid the use of those devices in my company and I will leave the room if anyone fails to respect me and who violates that precondition.  Does it bother me?  Not one bit. 

I have written a lot about my concerns regarding all that is happening to our country, those in public office sworn to serve us, the people, and the ever-increasing exploitation of the human condition and the most vulnerable among us.  Given what I see, I take no reassurance that much of what I have written has probably fallen on blind eyes.  We have finally reached the pinnacle of corruption on a grand scale, from every institution of government, the entire financial empire and the corporate capitalists whose only goal in life is to pillage and plunder as much as possible of what they no longer need, but simply covet from a pathological and out-of-control need for money and power. 

People seem to have reached the point where they are willing to gamble on what the future holds for all of us, so long as they get all they can as quickly as possible, the rest of humanity be damned.  They rationalize their own greed with abandon.  They demonize those who are having a tough time just making ends meet.   But, so long as I have more than I need, who really cares?  What difference does it make?  Globalization, global warming, environmental pollution, disparity in wealth and the basic necessities of life, human dignity and worth, governments that steal with much more skill than they govern, etc.  Who cares?  They seem to simply ignore the mountains of scientific knowledge that is shouting to the rooftops – “What is coming down on us is a one-way street.  It cannot be reversed.  It will, eventually, bite us all in the backside.  Get real!”  The answer is dead silence.  Live for the moment.  Have fun and be happy – in all its self-indulgent and perverted forms.  We are quickly becoming economically, politically and socially bankrupt. 

The fact that virtually every facet of our government and the hoards of parasites that bleed it for all they can get are self-evident.  Secrecy and discretion long ago gave way to blatant disregard for any form of public morality or standards of honest conduct.  Go for broke, the bottom-feeders living on the edge be damned! 

Every sullied and tarnished form of private and public commerce is regarded as fair game.  Nothing is off limits.  Just look at our paralyzed government comfortably ensconced in our nation’s capitol and the surrounding environs of all those hoping the established hierarchy will throw them a crumb once in a while.  But, the average person seems to be hell-bent on giving them all a free pass.  Is it because they cannot fathom the seriousness of what they are doing to us, or is it because they are simply too passive and complacent to expend the time and energy to even try?   

The nomenclature for the standards governing ethical, moral and honest behavior is really quite simple and easily understood.  The following definitions are courtesy of Merriam-Webster.  Permit me:

·        Common:  of or relating to a community at large.
·        Common sense:  sound and prudent judgment based on a single perception of the situation or facts.
·        Conflict of interest:  a conflict between the private interests and the official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust.
·        Credible: offering reasonable grounds for being believed.
·        Integrity:  firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values
·        Simplicity:  the state of being simple, uncomplicated or uncompounded; freedom from pretense or guile; directness of expression; restraint in ornamentation.
·        Transparency:  the quality or state of being transparent.
·        Trust:  assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed.

The above list is, by no means, exhaustive but it does show that the indicators for being genuine, honest and forthright are not complicated but, rather, quite simple.  Why do those in public service seem to have such an aversion to adopting them?

I recall an English professor I had in college.  She was a middle aged woman, rather buxom, with flaming red hair and very animated.  She had done her doctoral thesis by living among the “Alaskan Sourdoughs.”  On the first day of class she made it abundantly clear that she most treasured the art and grace of simplicity.  As she said, “I am not the least bit interested in your attempts to impress me with your ability to manipulate the English language.  So, when you are inclined to convey to me your ability to perambulate down the boulevard, will you kindly just walk down the gawd damned street?”  I have tried to remain true to the spirit of that bit of wisdom.   

At some point, it seems to me that the average person has to become so saturated with being exploited and patronized by a ruling elite that they will say, “enough is enough,” and start to move this country in the right direction. 

Honesty and all its manifestations are not difficult to understand nor apply with a certain facility.  Those who would continue to deceive us, the populace, need to reflect on that fundamental tenet and assess who they are and where they are in the grand scheme of things before it all comes back to bite them in the ass, as it surely will.
Have you noticed that the so-called political parties operating on the fringe and that are vociferous during the campaigns for national political office, fall silent the minute the polls are closed and the votes are counted?  Where are they now and what are is their game plan?  Don’t they have a thought in their heads that just might help to raise questions about and put in place the means to change the complexion of this country, and become active change agents for all they profess and want us to be?

Where are the Green Party, Rocky Anderson and the Justice Party, and Buddy Roemer and the Freedom Party, with all of their prominent spokespeople?  Can’t they see what is happening to this country?  Why do they, and we, have to wait for the next election cycle?  Time has not stood still, as far as I can see.  Surely they still have a definitive role to play on myriad issues constantly before the people of this country.  If nothing else they can help to keep us informed, educated and sufficiently agitated to want to do something meaningful about what is going on.  

Did their ideas for a few new and, hopefully better political parties simply vanish when the polls closed?  Did they become devoid of any original thought when the votes were counted, only to wait another four years before they raised their heads in protest once again?  Are they more interested in public office than public service?  If so, we should rethink what they are all about and look for better alternatives.  It is an inescapable fact of life that this country must have some courageous, committed and determined political parties to seriously challenge the alliance of Republicanism and Democrats that have
a strangle-hold on the nation, its people and all we cherish.   

This country has the finest collection of universities, colleges and think tanks imaginable.  Therein lays one of our greatest resources that never seem to be called upon to commit to the service of this country and its people.  Their knowledge, alone, would vaporize the massive corruption and obscene wealth that keeps most of us in a constant state of living on the edge, with each passing day more of us falling into the abyss of abject poverty and despair.  Surely some force, or collection of forces, can mobilize them into getting us to move toward a better future.

What is preventing us from calling on the rank and file citizens of this country to serve on purpose-built commissions to study issues, and refine and revitalize the means for making it all happen?  When the purpose(s) have been resolved, they pack up their bags and go back to the lives they lived before.  Squatters rights on any government service, with the speed and skill they use to corrupt the system and lace their pockets with the money, perquisites and all of the under-the-table favors they incur never stop engaging in patently illegal and self-serving practices.  Most of that could and should be stopped forthwith and without further adieu! 

Just imagine how refreshing it would be to silence all of those orators who bore us with their deceptive practices that they have mastered so well, and serve up to us every day of our lives?  Just having a respite from Diane Feinstein’s political drawl would be a welcome relief.  Taking God from the Tea Party and putting their genie back in the bottle would be like a breath of fresh air blowing over the parched lands of the Western United States.

The political establishment has made “compromise” a dirty word.  It is a euphemism for lacing their pockets at the expense of the taxpayers.  They have been accorded far too much deference, secrecy, money and power for that not to have happened. 

All of those of you who have risen to the pinnacle of your professions and vocations, and who have this country at heart, have a moral obligation to get off your duffs, enlist agents of change and turn this sad state of affairs around.  To do less is an indictment of you and all that you represent.  A first step, and a crucial step, would be to publicly call out the crooks on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C., and reintroduce them to all the virtues subsumed under accountability, public service and public trust; how to recognize them, how to acquire them and how to practice them.  You certainly have the law on your side.   

At the end of the day, “Absolute freedom, if not nurtured, will become the barbaric state.”  That is a dimple fact of life and, sadly, I fear we are perilously close to having arrived at that point, or we already have given up and are prepared to let the chips fall where they may. 

This country and its entire people are made of good stuff.  The spirit of ’76 still courses through our veins.  It is time to revisit that fact, breath new life into it and put it back into service for everyone.

Virtue will always be found in simplicity and basic human decency, the spin doctors not withstanding. 

Cowboy Bob
The Sagebrush Philosopher
August 7, 2013  



Friday, August 2, 2013

“How Much Longer Can We Ignore the Storm Clouds?” 

This was originally intended to be a tribute to Michael Hastings, the young investigative reporter who was recently taken from his family by one or more unnamed assailants who did not like his skill as a reporter and a truth teller.  Am I suggesting some sinister force?  I don’t rule that out.  When our Commander-in-Chief can order the assassination of nameless and faceless individuals through the use of unmanned drones, then I most assuredly don’t regard it as a stretch that Michael could have been a marked man by the same dark forces who stood to be called out by him, as well.  He was one of a kind, which is further underscored by coverage in the main stream media that completely ignored his passing.  But, what can you expect from paragons of independence and integrity such as the bill of fare we get from the “schmooze” merchants, all of which are subsumed under the label of news organizations that exist more to advocate for adversaries of the people than to serve the need to be the informed and active citizens our democracy demands.  They all hold themselves out as legitimate news organizations.  The substitute we, the public, got from most of them was repeated coverage of the recent loss of James Gandolfini who wowed us with his acting prowess in “The Sopranos.”  Hardly a valid comparison to Michael Hastings, if you ask me. 

Michael was in a league shared by few like him.  But he could boast of being part of an elite club of some of the finest minds, clearest consciences and most professionally honest to rightfully claim a special place in the ranks of journalistic excellence in today’s world.  There are others who deserve no less recognition, but I will leave that to others to make that determination for themselves.   

Then we have the ceremonial washing of hands by the military court that prepared for the crucifixion of Bradley Manning, to be followed by Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald if they can round up enough kangaroos to fill a couple of court rooms.  Don’t laugh.  This may be more prophetic than poetic.  Only time will tell.

I have reached the point where any pretense of deference to those we have elected or appointed to public office would be a sham.  They are simply no longer credible, and their blatant disregard for the will of the people only grows by the day.  The admirers of President Obama continue to give him a free pass on everything.  In just the last few days he has “surprised” us with an announcement about proposing a reduction in the corporate tax rate in order to “stimulate job growth.”  That was preceded by his announcement that he was going to appoint Larry Summers to head the Federal Reserve; one of the most notorious and shady operators to ever reside in Barack Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s previous administrations, not to mention a stint within the hallowed halls of Harvard University.  As the old adage goes, it isn’t what you know; it is who you know and how much you are willing to cough up.  I further predict, when the evil deed becomes reality, the American people will simply shrug their shoulders and give him another pass.  That is pretty much the standard for the attention span that reels around our heads on a routine basis.  The malaise endemic in the population staggers the human mind.  I am persuaded that the populace simply no longer cares about the plight of others so long as they get what they want, the common and collective good be damned.

History usually reflects a trend of civilizations progressing from a lower state of being to a higher state through the process of evolution.  Sadly, I don’t see much evidence of that these days.  There is no shame in what we do and what we tolerate from some of the most skilled and tarnished hucksters this country has ever seen.  There isn’t one branch of government, elected or appointed, that is not firmly in the hip pockets of vast wealth and corporate capitalists.  They are blatant about their loyalties, simply ignoring the will of the people in exchange for the going rate for their services to those who have captured, and now hold hostage, virtually every aspect of what is left of our democracy.  Lying has been elevated to a new art form. 

Despite their persistent efforts to convince us otherwise, the corporate and establishment spin doctors will never relent in their efforts to convince us that the “free enterprise” economic model is actually what it is.  It is the device that those who feed on the flesh of the population use to rationalize the continued pillage and plunder of the resources of this country.  They will persist in their efforts to wrench from the hands of the “true believers” any other claims to ownership by the average citizens of this country.  The “free enterprise” model is the best tool the oligarchs, plutocrats and corporate capitalists have at their disposal in order to discredit any other superior model for equitably distributing the wealth of this nation.  It is not and never will be accepted as the sole tool they will continue to use in order to feed the gluttonous appetites and the insatiable greed of those who want us to believe the nations’ wealth rightfully belongs to them based on no other rationale than their station in life.  Pure, unmitigated hogwash if you ask me.      

·        The Executive Branch of our government is owned completely by those to whom they are beholden because of all they have commandeered and for all they have taken for their loyalty and services.  Their actions are simply no longer consistent with their words.  No one is more skilled at that slight of hand than the President.  What is he?  Is he the water boy for the rich and powerful?  Is he a Democrat or a Republican?  One need only catch a glimpse of those whose company he keeps and the answer becomes self-evident.

·        The Legislative Branch doesn’t even try to be subtle about the extent to which they have been bought by vested interests whose actions are diametrically opposed to the will of the people who elected them to office.  Where can you go to find a motlier bunch that is as skilled at peddling a bunch of religious nonsense in an attempt to convince the electorate that they have “God” on their side?  What rational mind would even remotely consider that any of them have the slightest connection to the Deity?  What do they do vs. what they say they are going to do?  And for whom?  Nobody has elevated the art and science of deception and self-serving practices to the pinnacle of personal gain more than those who lay claim to the honor of “serving the people.”   

·        The Judicial Branch has found it much more interesting and rewarding to legislate than to adjudicate.  Ah, the intoxicating influence of power in all its sullied forms!  They are a disgrace to all they pretend to be.  Subtlety and finesse, obviously, isn’t a part of their armamentaria.       

·        Then there is the massive urban sprawl over the vast countryside of Virginia, Maryland and suburban Washington.  They are the ones who dutifully and loyally serve those elected to office in their efforts to seize just a modicum of the power they covet, as well.  It is from this vast reservoir of righteousness that they ply their trade in entrapping and crucifying those who dare to tell us, the people who pretend to own this country, the truth of what they, and their mentors, are really doing in the name of our “national interest.”  And, if that isn’t a healthy shovel-full of pure bull puckey, I don’t know what is.  In the meantime, our real heroes suffer the agonies of the damned for simply being honest and transparent, virtues their persecutors profess but can’t even begin to comprehend.     
The underpinnings of what we are today were spawned by a “cowboy” mentality from the earliest stages of the evolution of what this country has become.  The caricature of the frontiersmen, with gun in hand, subduing the natives is the personification of what we seem to revere to this very day.  Where, I ask you, are the merits of allowing those who covet great wealth and power to completely exploit the human condition and reduce the people of this country to the subsistence level, all for the sake of ever more and more of what this country has to offer and what they have deemed belongs to them?  Has human life and dignity become just another expendable resource for the engines of greed and avarice that we simply accept without protest? 

The “frontier” vanished a long time ago.  What we have today belongs to all the citizens of this country.  No one, mind you, has the right to lay claim to one scintilla of what this nation has to offer, by virtue of inherited wealth, personal investment or family pedigree.  Those who labor under this notion need to pause, for just a moment, and realize that what this country is all about is not “yours” but “ours.”  It is under common ownership by us all.  This country is community property and it is high time those who delude themselves into believing otherwise need to come to terms with this inescapable fact of life. 

It is time to stop expecting other rational human beings to simply accept that you are the rightful custodians.  You are what you are, and I rather suspect that “God” in all his manifestations would be hard-pressed to claim any of those who think they are privileged and rightfully entitled to the lion’s share of all this country has to offer.  Stop using virtue for your own greedy pursuits.  Start revering your Creator and His message of “What you do for the least of my brethren, you also do for Me.”  That message is there for all of us, not locked away somewhere on Wall Street, Constitution Avenue and the other environs of those who still believe they are the “chosen ones.” 

The frontier mentality died with the Frontier.  Get used to it.  Today belongs to all of us.  The time is upon us to accept the principles of social democracy; that whatever the public depends on must, by definition, be owned by the public it serves, not private investors.  The Bank of North Dakota has given us an excellent example to follow.  It works for the people of that state and, frankly, I see no reason why it shouldn’t work for all of us.  Given where we are today, I don’t see how that could be anything but a quantum leap forward.   

Let’s shut down the bull puckey machine and return to the virtues of truth, honesty and a belief in the inherent decency and wisdom in the collective will of the people.  Then, let us set ourselves to the task of building a society that will respect and deliver on the goods --- for all of us. 

It is time to take hold of the rudder on this Ship of State, turn it around and make it work for all of us.  We have the power and the will to make it happen.  If we succeed we may realize that there are better ways for all of us.  If we fail because of our complacency, we have only ourselves to thank for the disastrous consequences that are coming at us, at meteoric speed.  The Founders of this country gave us the means to be a great nation and a great people.  Let’s use those means, not only for our sake, but for the sake of generations yet to come.  Money is not the means for getting there.  Rather, it is the decency inherent in the very fiber of what we are as a people.  I think the time has come to revisit some of those principles, don’t you?

Cowboy Bob
aka The Sagebrush Philosopher
August 2, 2013