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America: Welcome to the Third World

We left America at the end of the Reagan years to work in Ecuador. When we came back to the States in 2000, we were shocked at how different everything was. Nothing, however, prepared us for the continual decline we’ve experienced in the last 16 years as “the land of the free” has grown more and more like a third world country.

What do I mean America is like a third world country? Yes, we still have numerous “freedoms” sadly lacking in most Third World nations; however, there are several eerie similarities that clearly shows the changing nature of our country:

  • Darker city streets and highways
  • Lack of variety in stores
  • Empty store shelves
  • “political correctness” eroding freedom of speech
  • loss of jobs for talking against the government or government edicts
  • government insurance and taxes taking half of one’s salary
  • health care that requires longer wait time for less services
  • too many rules and regulations hindering the ability to start up a new business or keeping an existing one going
  • no middle class

The list goes on. The point is we have nearly reached critical mass, where the consumers have outnumbered the producers and the producers bear the brunt of keeping things going. There are several reasons for this downward decline, but one glaring reason is the number of politicians running our country. The founding fathers never meant for politicians to rule. They meant for people to rule. Folks who understood the pinch of making ends meet, of eating beans and rice for dinner, of dreaming of a better future for their children.

Tuesday is election day. A chance for change. So instead of voting for a party, or voting for a politician, or the lesser of two evils, vote your conscience. You aren’t “losing your vote.” If you vote for the same old same old or to keep the other guy out, you’ve already lost your vote and a chance at turning things around.

This country was built on risk takers.

Be a risk taker. Vote your conscience.

 

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The magic art of ….getting your life back

Whether it’s the in-laws coming or a special occasion or meeting the future son-in-law, cleaning house for company is guaranteed to send modern 21st century women into a tailspin of anxiety and depression.

It reminds me of those Internet memes….This is what I think I do, this is what  my friends think I do, this is what… You get the picture.  Maintaining a clean or even an orderly house with technology or help is definitely a challenge in the 21st century. And thanks to the feminist movement and its “enforcers” most women are left without help amidst the guilt of trying to be both homemaker and career woman.

So what’s a girl to do?

Several months back while search the Kindle book store I ran across a little book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

It definitely is life changing. I’ve spent my entire life (half a century) under the burden and guilt of trying to maintain an orderly house when I’m NOT an orderly or organized person. Let’s face it…housework is mind-numbingly boring, not to mention backbreaking hard. It’s also mundane and repetitive, NOT the way I want to spend my days or weekends.

So imagine the sheer delight of finding a way to have my cake and eat it, too. This little book changes the way women think about cleaning and organizing, dismissing all the so-called “rules” as unworkable myths and moving on to give an easy, workable solution to the age old problem of juggling life and housework.

What ‘s also remarkable is the “extra” time I’ve found as I work through the process which has become noticeable to all my friends. Not how clean my house is, but how free the rest of my life is.  Now they’re reading the book. My daughters-in-law and I enjoy (yes, I said enjoy) sharing with each other what we’ve done. Imagine showing off closets and drawers that have stayed neat for months with little or no effort!

I know…I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me this time last year I would be an “organized homemaker and proud of it.”  But I am and if I can do it, so can you.

The best thing about this life style change? It’s super easy. Let me give you a small example.

We had company coming – the kind where you wish you could afford to hire a maid because you really want everything sparking—and I was in a panic trying to get everything cleaned while still teaching school during Homecoming week. Then I remembered: what is the purpose of my home? To be squeaky clean? No! The purpose of my home is a refuge, a place where people could relax and escape the pressures of the world.

Instantly, all the things I felt “needed” to be cleaned melted away, along with the stress and guilt. I focused on making the place a refuge, finished cleaning without becoming exhausted, and we had a wonderful weekend and no one noticed the baseboards or cobwebs. (smirk)

 

July 4th

After spending 10 years overseas, I’m a little more aware of July 4th and its significance than I ever was growing up in the USA with all the parades, fireworks, picnics, etc. Being overseas made me appreciate things I often took for granted and some days have to make a concerted effort to remember:

*running water

*electricity on demand

*free public education for everyone

*respect and dignity for the handicapped

*respect and dignity for women

*freedom to worship

*freedom to speak a dissenting opinion

Looking in from the outside, I can see the erosion of our personal liberties and freedoms, but what is most alarming is the apathy of our citizens. Because we have not fought and struggled for our liberty, because we have not suffered under oppression, because we have not seen life outside our own borders, we do not value freedom and liberty and we do not understand the terrible prices that were paid, even though we study about them in school.

So today I give a heartfelt thank you to all our service men and women for their sacrifices to keep our borders safe and our liberty unchecked. I thank their families for their sacrifices in missed birthdays and Little League games while Mom or Dad are gone, the struggles of the parent at home to hold the fort and keep the home fires burning.

America hasn’t always done the right thing or made the right choices, especially in the past few years as politics and peer pressure dictateslifestyles, but I am still proud to be an American. In spite of the internal problems, America is still the place of choice for immigrants; it is still a beacon of hope to the oppressed, the downtrodden, the tired and weary, and those seeking a better future.

 

Blue Paper

Once upon a time there was blue toilet paper…and toilet paper with pretty flowers…and scented toilet paper. In other words, there once was a country where choices were as plentiful as the stars. Well, maybe not, but you get the general idea.

I’m not one of these old fogeys who thinks everything was better “in the old days,” but I am an observer of history. I like technology and “new and improved,” but some of the items that have vanished into the mists of time have done so for disturbing reasons: what I call the “one size fits all” mentality. It can also be referred to as the “if everyone can’t do it/have it, then no one can” philosophy.

The only problem with this type of limiting mentality is that it’s the preferred philosophy of dictators and totalitarian regimes. We often see it in science fiction shows where the so-called “utopia” is a bland landscape of blacks and greys and anyone found wearing a smidgeon of color is banished as a mental aberrant.

In science fiction, the hero usually upsets the equilibrium, rescues the damsel in distress, and frees the oppressed people.

But in reality, who will free us from the food and product PC police who have determined that only unscented white toilet paper can be sold, that junk food must be banned for everyone, that education can be stamped out with a cookie cutter, or that commercial competition is a bad thing. If a town wants to start up their own cable company, why can’t they? If a restaurant desires to serve fat, greasy, fried foods, why not? Those who want to eat there can, those who don’t can find somewhere else to eat.

I guess the worst example of this fading lifestyle is laundry soap. I know all the reasons why companies are turning liquid laundry soap and fabric softener into something that smells like it came out of a week old refrigerator, but please; I like the smell of fragranced clothes. Yes, I have allergies and I often find myself sneezing down that particular aisle of the store. However, I do not like my clothes reeking when they come out of the washing machine. Is it too much to ask that fragrances be returned to the soap? Put a warning label on them if you like, but give us a choice.

As American companies turn more and more to PC products to please an invisible, unspecific, and undetermined clientele, I will find foreign products that haven’t yet succumbed. Viva la freedom of choice!

 

 

 

Why Governments Don’t Work

Anywhere you find people, you will find some form of government; something designed to maintain order, protect the citizenry, and build wealth. However, governments by their very nature don’t work.

The problem is all forms of government are created from a flawed idea: the idea that there are inherently good people who have the best interests of others at heart and are willing to work to that end. The reality is that humans are fallible and government officials are human. It’s also why political television series are so popular and the public loves a good scandal. And while this makes for interesting television, it makes for bad reality.

Most politically oriented television series proceed from a faulty premise: that good is weaker than evil and principles aren’t powerful. Again, this makes for good television, but bad government.

America’s founding fathers seemed to understand this; which is why they framed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from a position of rationality rather than emotion. They chose to limit lawmaking and governmental power because they understood that in spite of best intentions, those laws would eventually be used by people who had personal agendas or axes to grind or just worked from a position of sheer greed.

I believe in government. It is something we must have to survive, but it doesn’t always work. In spite of this, life goes on as usual for common folk no matter what country they live in. And flaws and problems not withstanding, America’s form of government is still the best there is.

It is the best simply because the founding fathers created a form of government which despite the machinations of poor leaders or inefficient officials still could move the country forward and sustain a measure of liberty and freedom, while protecting its citizens. It is a system of government that manages to protect people under flawed, selfish leaders and to elevate people under leaders of integrity.

As long as there is a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence, there will be an America; there will be a place of hope for generations to come.

What’s in a Name?

Lately, the news media seems full of crazy people throwing fits over names. The most recent being some college/high school group changing their mascots from “cougars” in order not to “offend” women.

Excuse me, but I’m already offended. When did we lose sight of common sense? When did we become such a thin-skinned culture so afraid of “political correctness” that we lost sight of rationality? Isn’t imitation supposed to be the highest form of flattery? So where do we get off thinking certain groups are offending by certain names. Even when those certain groups fight to maintain a trademark name, special interest groups come along and force changes. It makes me wonder who those special interest groups really represent.

Personally, I think it’s a severe form of reverse discrimination, or maybe a disguised version of racism. After all, if I truly believe some person or group is “less human” than myself, wouldn’t I do everything to erase all mention of those groups, even if I have to do it under the disguise of “protecting” them?

An ancient case in point: Speedy Gonzales, a feisty little mouse that always got the best of the big, dumb gringo cats. The cartoon, immensely popular when I was a kid, fell out of favor with white liberals and was pulled from networks as being “racist”. Racist to whom? Not to Hispanics, who cheered Speedy and loved the series. Or take Little Black Sambo; finding a copy is virtually impossible now that the PC police got their hands on it and blazoned the “racist” button everywhere. Again, a small black boy creatively outwits the big, dumb “white” tigers and provides food for his family.

We don’t have to look far today to see the same idiocy mirrored in football teams forced to change their names and mascots in order to pander to some crazy white liberal nonsense.

The race button is too easy to push, and overused too often. Isn’t it time we stopped being afraid of words and feared mob mentality more? Isn’t it time we stood up for freedom of speech and the ability to think for ourselves before we find ourselves in a country where we have lost that privilege and others are doing our thinking for us?

 

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