This never ends. By Dave R. Otey

This will never end. The hate based on color, on entitlement, on size and shape, height, weight, clothing styles, hair styles, choice of spiritual faith, mental capabilities and more.  Someone somewhere is chosen to be a scapegoat for the lacks and/ or failures of others. There seems to be a world wide need to have some group to point to and say, “You are the reason my life is in the pits. You are the fault of the pains and terrors I face. You are the cause holding me back from the life of perfection and life of purity in wealth, joy and happiness I must have.”

Slowly, in different places and at different times there are laws made to control the hate, to push back the line, to make freedoms increase for all. But it will never go away. Hate will always find a place to go, always find some weak willed minds and greedy hearts to infect. That is a reality forever existing, and all I need to do is be aware that I stay in tune with my own feelings and my own ”moments” when I might want to blame someone else for any reason for something that is MY responsibility.

I do not worry about the world falling apart. Every puzzle has cracks. None of the pieces are one hundred percent fitting. Challenges happen every day, big or small. Challenges mean changes and we DO have some control over the changes in our lives by how we respond to the challenges we face. Understanding where the challenges come from is a necessary beginning to knowing which steps to take for separating from a  painful situation or how to change the conditions and circumstances that make up the situation.  In my training as a volunteer for CASA–Court Appointed Special Advocate for children– we learned 5 Conflict Resolution Strategies that I say as part of a personal growth drill every day. Avoid, Compete, Harmonize, Compromise, Collaborate. This is the list from weakest strategy to strongest. Sometimes none of them work, and in that case the best action is to MOVE away from the person or place where all the pain is pooling.

I know and understand prejudice, bias, whatever other names label this divisive mindset.  I understand it is wise of me to be careful, if I have to drive through certain places or if I get lost and find myself in an OBVIOUS environment I don’t instantly fit in with. I am wise enough to know how to walk and talk and how to make a peaceful physical presence. I am friendly with everyone but sometimes and in some places it is best to just stay quiet and do whatever business you have to do and leave. In some places, if locals notice you definitely are not from around their area, you might be approached by a helpful person or by someone targeting you for money or a game.

I am sixty years old. I thought and believed naively for a long time that my generation got to see the end of the serious physical attacks of prejudice. Sure, life has become better with more open doors for unity and harmony and climbing up a social and economic and political ladder for personal and community success. But I see now that history changes not so much in ”final” points reached. It changes more in ”steps” slowly walked in  a state of extreme caution, making certain the step is solid and cannot slip back before going on to the next step.  Some places will not allow advanced steps beyond a certain point so the people who want the advanced steps must move to the places that do allow it.  Crazy, nutty world.

The most peacefully integrated arena in the whole world–still not 100% perfect within itself either but higher than anywhere else–is the arena of creative arts. The arts exist for all humankind. There one can express the thoughts, feelings, dreams, horrors, tragedies, pains, pleasures; every human experience and plea, and know there is an audience who gains comfort and understanding and sometimes courage and empowerment from what is seen, felt and hear and tasted in the arena of art. It also has its dangers to watch out for, if someone is offended. But life still goes on.

The greatest power each of us possess is to make sure the hatred ends within each of our own spirits and souls, ends within our own homes, our own neighborhoods, our own towns, our own family reunions, anyplace and everyplace we stand to talk and act.  Be the peaceful and understanding person where we are.   End.

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Balance for Peace By David Reid Otey– September 2014

I recently wrote a piece titled The Oil Man; A down to earth perspective. I have taken it off after I read that traders/ buyers and sellers are the people who REALLY determine the prices of gas and other needs. Although the oil companies are definitely in that batch of people. BUT the question still remains: HOW does a trader/seller determine the price rise and fall?  I guess that enough subjective reasons set in place can become an objective standard ?  I know they give all the reasons of war, weather tragedy, etc. But WHY ?  It seems to show a belief that when times are troubled people need to be gouged and taken deeper down into despair. Really ?  Or is it that profit gain must never go below 500% ?

No matter what the reason, a fact–in my objective experiences list– remains that history shows business rules all nations and empires. Government is business. Government creates boundaries for various reasons. Government taxes citizens. Government makes laws to protect both objectively and subjectively. Leaders create changes for those they rule over. The changes come from the way the leaders handle their responsibilities to the public versus their personal desires.  Sometimes a huge change is made at one swoop, and sometimes a major change is the ”seemingly sudden” result of tiny connected changes not foreseen by enough people to redirect it.The public, the citizens, all have an affecting power base, too, but not enough to stop a major shift whether that shift be an act of God or a direction of mass mindset on both sides of the power arena.

One thing for certain. The shifts happen. But if the balance of safety and happiness become extremely uneven for those who have less and less, revolts rise up. The common people who work their bodies and minds to the max, to make life better for them and their families against all sorts of odds. These people can handle only so much frustration from being shoved back down through the many tricks and excuses the leaders present. Exceed that frustration point and you have those people asking the next smart question, “Now what can I do to change the leaders minds, since they have taken down all the ladders for me to climb?” It’s happened many times before. It will happen again. Somewhere.

Circumstances create situations which become events. Events change the lay of the land. Some fall and some stay standing. Leaders are not the only ones who can create circumstances. Leaders need their foundation of the common people supporters. That foundation is the greater yet often silent power that holds up the walls and ceiling of the leaders’ security and comfort. The foundation of common people cannot be forced to maintain the loyalty and devotion leaders need to accomplish their wishes. Notice the  recent story of Arthur T. Demoulas, who was reinstated as the Market Basket leader  due to the power of the common people,: the employees and the customers. Those common people were pushed and they shoved back. Emotions were affected deeply. The common people did win. It’s an incredible story to show the truth of how power must be balanced between leaders and the people they serve. Neither side can control nor operate and manage the entire system of needs and services by themselves.

Politicians are business men and business women. Serving the needs of goods and services in their areas is their jobs. Philosophies and ideologies are great, if they are tied to the needs. But bandwagon mindset at the expense of  common people’s livelihood and well being is an act of imbalance. It doesn’t work to try building a utopian dreamland of everyone being forced to think alike. But those groups are always out there pushing against each other. Most of the time they’ve been on the streets of their communities, spending their free time expressing their views both peacefully and violently. Sometimes national protests have taken place, still with the common public planning and enabling and attending to be involved. But now there seems to me to be this type of mass group thinking among the leaders. They are spending their time protesting each other, blocking each other, and doing this all in the capitol regions and buildings.

Whatever happens in any house depends upon the condition of the leaders of that home. In my occupation as teacher, I see kids from all kinds of homes. They show the results of the leadership in their homes. It doesn’t take much to know who has the caring and loving parents  and who comes from careless, self-centered parents. On a grand scale our national leaders have become much more careless and self-centered.  DCFS is called for the homes in communities to help retrain and straighten out messed up families. Who do you call to straighten out a messed up government ? Only the public. Only the foundational power core. Lots of changes have taken place since I’ve been born. Now, at age sixty, I see the already sown seeds of the coming changes. Historically inevitable. It’s just sort of weird though, to me, because these changes are not so obvious until they break out in power. Negative power is how they usually break out, too.  It doesn’t have to be that way, or, maybe it does. The rules of relationships apply no matter how small or large or how many people are involved, even if they are total strangers.

How I adapt myself to this is: I pay attention to my home and my family and my job and my community. They are the people who will support me for what I need and when I need it, and I for them. One for a bunch and a bunch for one. 🙂 That balance begins to set up the healing process for what will eventually take place in many places.      The End

Historical Nostalgia By David Reid Otey

Nostalgia: The old shows, the old comedy, staying up late for a trip to the past, to remember what was funny then and see if it is today, when it really doesn’t matter.  That’s what I thought, at first. But when talking about it with a friend I realized it does matter in the ways of ”seeing” history being made. Being able to watch the process and progress of thoughts and issues portrayed in simulated comedies and dramas.  We watch how ”the ways of the past” built up and progressed to become our ”ways of the present” which will someday join the box of ‘ways of the past’. An endless cycle because the types of thoughts, philosophies, beliefs and patterns used to create establishments, governments, businesses and cultural standards never cease to exist. They ”take turns”, having generations of people and  time to exist within.

The ”old stuff” really isn’t old. It is still current in showing us how we shape and how we change beliefs, thoughts and life patterns.  Our own personal histories  go through the same process, from something  simple and immediate ( like dropping a coin into a gumball machine, twisting the handle and collecting the gum ball ) to complex and consistent ( like crocheting a baby blanket ).  In the realms of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, change is the results of ideas worked in real life situations.

The issues of the past are still the issues of today, although they might have shifted from the top of the news list to a lower placement. The themes remain the same; love, life, death, joy, trials, community, etc.

High school plays are 90% nostalgia plays :classics from three or four generations past.  There is a series of birthday cards where you can buy one for the year you were born and see the list of the top songs, tv shows, inventions, news events, etc. Nostalgia is ‘recurring style’ in clothes fashions, music, building designs.  Recently I read that current country music is a “ripoff” of the 1970’s rock music. “Ripoff” should simply be called ‘recurring’ because the essence of an era cannot be copyrighted. Newness of anything is  limited because ”there is nothing new under the sun”, especially when you consider the length of time humans and ideas have existed so far.

More often throughout the past thirty or more years you will see a mixture of themes and styles from multi-eras borrowed and blended to appear like a new perspective, similar to the blend of peanut butter and grape jelly you can find in stores (as simplistic as that comparison might seem). This is good in a way because such combinations create enhanced perspective of each era through complimentary comparative connection, if that can be considered a reasonable, realistic or even possible term for style. Yet there is also a  danger that combining eras can also distort the ”real meaning” of an era’s phase in the history of what and how thoughts, beliefs and ideas came out of each other. Sometimes combinations would trivialize serious, meaningful lessons learned from very intense moments in history such as the Holocaust that impacted world cultures.

The past is always part of the foundation that current systems stand upon. The past should always be known and understood as much as possible, to prevent giving up any specific freedoms we may take for granted such as marrying whoever we want to from any culture or race, to prevent falling into a trap of agreeing to give up a standing of respect or opportunity that was fought for and earned by the lives of our ancestors such as civil rights. The past strengthens our lives, adding solidarity from other’s experiences that created wisdom we can add to our own lives. We can dream more, believe more and become more by complementing the past with our personal growth and with our supplemental contributions in life to reinforce the structure that bonds the progressions made so far.

There used to be an image of wisdom represented by a bearded wise man in a robe who lives on top of the highest mountain. Seekers of truth would climb that mountain to learn the truth of what they should do, should be, and which path they should follow in their lives. Wisdom is not one truth alone. Wisdom is combined truths because all knowledge is interrelated. There was a time in the past when many women could not vote, could not own their own properties, could not be leaders in government. In fact, the government made laws to prevent women from progressing. So the passion of freedoms ignited a long and very effective fight resulting in great changes for all future generations of women who will hopefully know and understand this part of history. There was a time in the past when slavery of one race was condoned, accepted and practiced, where one race of humankind was considered property to be bought or sold at will, to be treated however the owners wanted to treat them without that race having any protections under the laws of the land. In fact there were laws made against them, to keep them bound, enslaved and extremely limited in their lives. So, again, the passion of freedoms ignited a long and very effective fight resulting in great changes for all future generations of one race who will hopefully know and understand this part of history. The past is the place for reference to receive encouragement, wisdom, ideas and aid in supporting your own life dreams.

Let the past be strength for your progress instead of an escape from changes. Let the past be the voice of cheering you on to keep making life better for yourself and others, to become involved in the communities, instead of retiring into a bubble of “my times way back when” in seclusion of the life around you that came from those past moments. Let the past teach you rather than imprison you, empower you instead of coddle you. Honor your past by continuing the process of constant recreation by seeking or becoming a cause for someone or something. let your present become a memorable past for someone else to be empowered from. Create your life to a favored piece of nostalgia for your family and for your community, for your spirit and soul.   The End.