THIS IS THE ISSUE!
The Death of Voice Mail – I Proclaim “I knew all along”
Pork is Good for Your Health – The clarity and confusion of hypocrisy
The Trouble with Direct Democracy – Is that it’s not what the United States was supposed to be
The Death of Voice Mail: This is a personal one for me. For at least 3 years, probably more like 5 or 6 I have been anti-voice mail, anti “leave a message at the beep”. The best thing about voice mail or message machines have been recording the message that people hear before they leave their message. “The Wild” was my favorite message ever, it was created by four bored roommates one rainy day in Burlington, VT and consisted of us each mimicking the animal that we mimicked best (of course all boys know what animal they mimic best) at full volume, at the same time. The resulting message had people calling us who didn’t even know us, just to hear it. Needless to say the fun was in the making and had nothing to do with the purpose of voice mail in the first place.
I have known, for some time, that voicemail didn’t work for me but it was hard to explain. Most people looked at me like I was sick or woefully ignorant of the way things should be, when I told them that “No” I didn’t have voicemail and “Yes” it was intentional. I have had many conversations in which the person who had been trying to leave me a voice mail or phone message tried, incredulously to understand why I didn’t have the message option and it was like the people themselves were turned into children, unable to accept that this pillar of communication that they so relied upon in their life, wasn’t such for someone else. There were the few, kindred spirits, who after realizing that I wasn’t kidding, that I did not check voicemail or listen to phone messages, that, at some points in my life I didn’t have the ability to do either, nor did I want it, paused, thought and then exclaimed, in mostly a defeated way, how wonderful that must be. The defeat came in, I suppose, because they realized how much they relied upon voice mail, they realized the imprisoning nature of it but, alas, they were already imprisoned so they could only fantasize from the inside of their self imposed cells about the blue skies of freedom and the inconsequentiality of what they had created.
When I saw the article, “The Death of Voice Mail” in today’s Boston Globe. I didn’t have to read it, didn’t need to. I understood and now maybe I won’t have to explain quite as much. But the best thing about it, the best thing about the death of voice mail is that it’s the natural human progression of seeking efficiency and value. Simply put, voicemail doesn’t return a good value, I mean who has time? and people are beginning to wake up to it and that’s cool. This whole voicemail thing can be used as a metaphor for anything…like, say, the process of human thought in general! How many times will we all swear that we have found the answers, how many times will we all swear we cannot live without this or that. How many times will we all swear that this thing or that thing is irreplaceable? Just to be proven wrong, just to continue to believe the same thing about the thing that proved us wrong in the first place.
The theory of voice mail, from its uses to its values, is no different than the theory of welfare, the theory of The Stimulus, the theory of the health care crises, the theory of Iraq. We humans love to see things as immediate and vital to our lives, we love to see things as “we can’t live without” or we “must” or we “mustn’t”. Funny people. We run and we run and we run and we run and we proclaim, ohh how we proclaim and really, when it comes down to it, we don’t need much. Just think right now, this minute, what do you need? You are breathing, you are conscious, this minute…what do you need?
Pork is Good for Your Health: The latest health care bill that is being debated in the hollow halls of our Nation’s Capital is a staggering piece of legislation…meaning…it’s really, really big and really complex, estimates are that the bill itself is around 1000 pages! For those that are readers, Les Miserable, the epic Victor Hugo novel is around 1200 pages (I have been reading it for more than 6 months). 1000 pages is HUGE and when you consider what it is that needs to be read the bill might as well be a million pages. The Stimulus bill was 1,132 pages and the energy (Cap and Trade) bill that just passed was 1,200 pages. There is no question that our legislator are NOT reading these bills, it has been said publicly and even if it hadn’t been said, reason dictates that it would be next to impossible to read the more than 2,000 pages necessary in the passage of Climate and Health Care…to say nothing of understanding what is read! I want the reader to understand that it is all but impossible for our “lawmakers” to read let alone UNDERSTAND the complexities of what they are selling (voting on), yet they continue to sell (vote). Used car salesmen and financial traders do this too! It makes me say, “huh?”.
Ok so back to pork and hypocrisy and health, the article today was talking about certain portions of the health care bill that contained directives to build parks and allocated money for certain public works projects. Wait a minute, someone IS reading these things…or at least looking at the chapters. The argument by opponents say that a health care bill is no place for construction projects. The backers of the bill say that these are very specific construction projects based on the desire to have a healthier nation. Projects like public parks and bike paths. It all sounds good, right? I mean who can argue with public parks and bike paths? I can. And here’s why. It’s not about public works, parks, jungle gyms, farmers markets or bike paths (all the things that have “money” allocated in the health care bill). This bill, as are all the bills you see coming out of Washington, is about control. It’s about the few having control over the many. And it’s all packaged, all of it, to seem like it’s the other way around. Like it’s the many that will benefit over the few. The irony is, and this can help when you are fishing around the recesses of your mind to make sense of it all, the irony is that it’s the FEW that are making these rules, not the MANY.
Senator Kennedy said about this health care bill “These are not public work grants; they are community transformation grants”. This was in response to the opponents saying that politicians were behaving as they always behave, by inserting money for things that have nothing to do with the nature of the intended bill. This is not a new thing, not new at all. This is the “Pork” that we all hear about. But the beauty of it is that the public is becoming more aware, the internet is allowing more access than ever before behind the curtain and it’s NOT pretty. Kennedy and others now must justify their thinking. This is becoming a wonderfully amusing and terrifying thing as we begin to actually hear the rational of our elected “officials”. I will write it again…Kennedy said “…they are community transformation grants”! Community transformation? Transformation to what? Transformation to WHAT?! I will come back to this.
A spokesman for Kennedy, Anthony Coley took it a step further when he said “If improving the lighting in a playground or clearing a walking path or a bike path or restoring a park are determined as needed by a community to create more opportunities for physical activity, we should not prohibit this from happening”. Ohh the fertile field of a politicians mind! I quote these people to demonstrate their thinking, these people that have control of making laws for the rest of us to follow. First, if ANYTHING is determined as “needed by a community” for any reason what does the federal government have to do with it? This guy, this guy Coley is the spokesperson for one of the guys who makes the rules. When you read that quote does it strike you as paternalistic, authoritarian, condescending? What does he mean when he says “…we should not prohibit this from happening.”? Why would the federal government be involved in prohibiting a city or town from opening a park or a bike path?
Look at how insidiously the government has inserted itself into our life. Our community would somehow be “prohibited” from doing something if it weren’t for the government. And that’s not the worst. What’s worse is the fact that maybe today, more than ever, need doesn’t accurately reflect ability. I am not saying that people and communities don’t “need” things (although we don’t need as much as we think…just look at voice mail…) I am saying that just because people or community “need” things doesn’t mean that they can get those things in reality. This is the essence of the dilemma and the essence of the conflict in the minds of many. Those that have given up the fight to resolve the conflict are the ones who proclaim that just because we “need” something means we are to have it, they proclaim that just because we “need” we get.
Remember, we don’t have any money. It’s being printed to make more, printed on paper. Yes the government is transforming communities and yes this bill if passed will transform communities, just like Kennedy says…but with the type of thinking that is so prevalent in government the question is WHAT will the transformation look like? What do you think? What does it look like when a person is given something they think they need, just because they say they need it, again and again and again. What does it look like when that way of thinking becomes common place and even celebrated? Does it look like health care to you? Does it look like the path to a healthier nation?
The Trouble with Direct Democracy: Is that the United States was never supposed to be one. Yes, it’s true. We are not supposed to be, nor do we want to be a Direct Democracy or any type of Democracy. If this pisses you off or you don’t understand it I encourage you to do 5 minutes of research on the phrase “Direct Democracy” and then “Constitutional Republic” and find out for yourself that you have been deceived since middle school. It’s not pretty but it’s true.
The theory that we are or should be, in any form, a Democracy is a belief so firmly rooted in our psyches and in our common language that it’s difficult to refute. But as with everything today, just because we don’t accept it, just because it’s difficult to refute does not make it so. It is well documented for those that want to find out that the people who wrote our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the ones that actually put their lives and fortunes on the lines, the ones that faced bullets, not bullshit never intended for Democracy. Never. In fact they knew that Democracy would eventually lead to the “tyranny of the majority”, sound familiar? Although this thought goes deeper and in fact we have something that is not Democracy either because it is not the Majority that is benefiting here…so not only are we incorrect in assuming America should be a Democracy, we don’t even have a Democracy. Ok, hold on for a minute, lets take a step back…
Back to what John Adams defined as a Constitutional Republic, “a government of laws, and not of men”. A Constitutional Republic is one where the government is governed by a Constitution, not by the will of a majority. The fact that a paper like the Boston Globe and it’s Editorial Board actually promote the misinformation that we are a Democracy as if it was what we were meant to be is an indication of the depth of the problem that faces us today. If the Globe can’t get it right, the Globe that is owned by the New York Times, how can WE the people be expected to get it right? Well that’s why I am writing. That’s why I do this. Because it’s not right and it’s not opinion. It’s fact that we, AMERICA, are supposed to be a Constitutional Republic. That is what our founding fathers fought for, that is what they died for. Not for Democracy and certainly not for whatever it is we have now.
Look it up would you, please. Five minutes on the difference and history of both a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic will change 20 years of your understanding. It’s ok, it’s not your fault that you were taught this, you didn’t know, very few people knew. But now, now, as an adult, as a person with an independent mind and consciousness if you choose comfort over truth, if you choose status quo over truth, it is your fault. It is your responsibility now. Things are not ok here in our fair country and it’s not because of the economy or the health care crises or the war or energy or poverty…these things are all effects of not understanding who we are are and where we have come from. These things are the effects of our choice not to better understand, not to question, not to speak out when we know that things are not right. The information is available out there. It’s available but it won’t come to you unless you take a step to it. If you are reading this, you’ve taken a step…take another.