Archive for the ‘anger’ Tag

American Civil War 2?   Leave a comment

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyI’m writing an apocalyptic series. When I first started, I didn’t really think the US would be headed toward a civil war before my son’s beard completely grew in, but the last year has me rethinking that feeling … at times.

I want to believe that the fears of civil war are mostly overblown, but …. I want such scenarios to stay inside my books, but ….

The Good News?

I see some hard leftists and some hard rightists will to kill each other, but I don’t see even my heavily-armed neighbors shooting at one another or even at the people in neighbors within my city. Politics makes people irrational, but average people don’t shoot each other over political disagreements.

The Bad News?

Some observers disagree with me. They don’t live in Alaska, where politics is an indoor participation sport, and they think there’s a rational argument for why civil war can happen.

 

Jonathan Logan makes a thoughtful, informed argument for the plausibility of civil war:

  • For young people to be susceptible to war (the young fight while the old stay home and direct), they must not be too settled, invested, or satisfied with the status quo and they can’t be living stable lives. They require some motive, be it “making a name for themselves” or “fighting evil” or whatever.
  • Few young people in the West are willing to fight a foreign enemy for their country. (Polls find approximately 12% in Germany and 20% in the US). But when you ask if they would participate in riots against an unjust political order, the numbers shoot up. In Germany, it’s 66%; in the US, it’s about 60%.
  • For a civil war (which is really just a big riot against what is perceived to be an unjust political order) to break out, enough people must perceive the current situation as unbearable and be willing to use violence.
  • The police must be unable or unwilling to keep the two sides apart.

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyJonathan Logan’s theory goes like this:

  • There’s a growing inability of “cultural progressives” and “cultural conservatives” to engage in reasonable dialogue. Civility long ago hit the fan and was shredded by the blades.
  • For a long time the “cultural progressives” had success after success. That led to the internal perception that they were not just right but also absolutely right if only those stupid hicks (deplorables) would get out of their way. This was really the general lay of the American political landscape from the late-1960s through to the 2016 election with a couple of moderate setbacks when Reagan restructured taxes in 1986 and when Congress did the Contract with America in 1994.
  • Meanwhile, with limited and sporadic access to the reins of governmental power, “cultural conservatives” grew dissatisfied. They were pushed by progressives on a whole variety of issues to the point where they had a hard time tolerating some of the cultural changes that were forced on them.
  • Before Brexit and Trump, progressives were absolutely convinced that they were right, that they would win, and that the future would be bright. This wasn’t just an assumption. They were convinced of this as surely as they were convinced the sun will rise tomorrow morning. The election of 2016 came as a crushing surprise to them. They didn’t just lose an election. The results of that election destroyed their world perception. OMG, progressive liberals are NOT the center of the universe. The sky IS FALLING!
  • The result is widespread post-traumatic stress disorder. The progressives didn’t just lose; they were traumatized. They now experience anything or anyone that doesn’t go 100% according to their ideology as being violent, hurtful, and triggering. Their coping mechanism is to push harder, become more radical, accept less compromise. They feel that everyone else is actually trying to kill them.
  • At the same time the cultural conservatives experienced something new: victory. They’d just spent a decade in one losing battle after another. First, Bush 2 had reneged on his promises to them and then Obama had told them to sit down, shut up and let their betters lead because they were never getting into power again. Although they won the election of 2016, they are intently aware that there’s a huge mess to clean up. When they see progressives pushing back, they remember all the times conservative values were shelved, denigrated and ignored. They remember what it was like to be backed into a corner. Many of them haven’t actually left the corner yet.
  • So, we have two groups backed into corners with a huge no-man’s land between them. Both groups are deeply polarized and have virtually no shared values on which to find common ground.
  • A defining characteristic of my children’s generation (Millennials) is that they know they can expect nothing from the status quo. Add to that they lack tools for conflict resolution. Their generation is split between progressives and conservatives. Yeah, really, there are many conservative Millennials. Currently they are not the largest generation in existence and they lack influence because they are young. They, therefore, have no way to implement anything that matters to them.
  • So, the Millennials on the progressive side feel they must radicalize because it is imperative to destroy the “evil” other side. Antifa, BLM, RevCom, those groups at the center of the protests and riots, are desperate, hurting, hating, and they feel righteous in their anger.
  • Meanwhile, conservatives are starting to feel fear. Conservatives reject radicalism and the disorder that comes with it. They look at the progressive side and they see agitation, violence and hateful rhetoric. Their natural reaction is to defend themselves.
  • We’re already seeing the more radical of Millennial conservatives and progressives pull out clubs. That’s what happened in Charlottesville and Oakland. That’s a growing trend that doesn’t show signs of stopping. In fact, the progressives have planned a whole series of color-revolution-type protest/riots for November.
  • At the same time, the police are choosing to stand down in these conflicts. More often than not, they agree with the progressive sentiments, but occasionally a conservative administration will not step in the middle of a clash until someone has died.
  • And their refusal to decisively take sides is what allows the ingredients of civil war to ignite. –

I kind of agree with Logan that people are currently so polarized that the ingredients are there for civil war, but I’m going to keep hoping that people will listen to their better angels and just stay home. That’s unlikely with the media stirring the pot in the pursuit of ratings. If a civil war does happen, Judy Woodruff and Sean Hannity will be culpable for causing it.

Notice, I’m not blaming this on President Trump. Why not? Because I don’t think the president is that important. I also don’t think he is seeking to tear the country apart. He is seeking to fulfill his campaign promises and, regardless of whether he does fulfillment well, he’s answerable to the people who put him in office. Let him have his turn. He’ll be out of office in three years if he doesn’t do a good job or seven years if he does and then you’ll get another shot at tyrannizing the country … or not. Maybe by that time, you polarized advocates for coercing “the other guy” will have figured out that politics is poison and that we’d all be better off if we paid less attention to it.

 

 

This is Love   Leave a comment

When Jesus was asked to love the world composed of individuals, He carried His own cross the Calvary. For those of you who think God is a cosmic meanie who delights in abusing mere mortals, just take a pause and consider that for a moment. Jesus was God Incarnate – God in the flesh — and He chose to go to the cross for your sake, even if you hate Him.

In 1945 Roddie Edmonds, a 26-year-old US Army Master Sergeant, was the highest-ranking soldier among the 1292 American POWs in the camp. Circumstances had made him their commander, responsible for their well-being. He’d been in the camp for a month when the German commandant ordered all Jewish American soldiers to line up outside the barracks the next morning.

Edmonds told his men “We’re not doing that. We’re all falling out.”

Image result for image of grocery checkout hellThe commandant knew all 1300 men could not be Jews. He knew there were about 200. When he ordered Edmonds to identify them, Edmonds, an evangelical Christian, insisted they were all Jews. The commandant put a pistol to his head and again demanded that he identify the Jews.

 

Somehow, when most men couldn’t think, Edmonds rattled off his name, rank and serial number. He then reminded the commandant that if he shot Edmonds, he’d have to shoot the entire 1300 and that would assure that the commandant would be tried for war crimes since everybody knew it is was just a matter of time before the Americans won the war. The commandant walked away. Months later, Edmons and his men were rescued.

We’d all like to think we would show the same resolve as Edmonds did in similar circumstances. I suspect I’d wet my pants. Would I have started identifying the Jews? I don’t know. Survival is a pretty high ideal of mine. With a gun to my head, I’m not sure if I could have thought so clearly.

Pastor Chris Edmonds, who only recently learned of his father’s bravery, points out that none of the men under Edmonds’ command pointed out the Jews. “They all stood together.” Chris Edmonds adds that his father’s story “is a clarion call to love one another regardless of our choices or faith. He stood against oppression. He stood for decency. He stood for humanity. This thing we call life – it’s about all of us, not one of us.”

Jesus gave up His human life for all of us, though we still come to Him as individuals. In the Western world, we think of love as a personal relationship with another person, but that “love” appears dependent upon what the other person does for us. The Greeks had a whole vocabulary for “love” that included mere lust, friendship love and agape love, which is the big expansive love for our fellow human beings that can express itself as caring for the well-being of another group of people without thought for our own well-being. It’s more than a personal love. Edmonds showed that love in practice.

That day in 1945, Edmonds’ decision was to love the men under his command with his own life. He didn’t choose to be an individual that day, but to live or die as a member of his troop. Maybe the commandant was actually bluffing that day, but I suspect the authority of agape love somehow overwhelmed his own authority. He couldn’t pull the trigger because he too recognized the love that Edmonds was representing.

Agape love doesn’t just happen on the battlefield. Christians are called to express it in every circumstance. Yeah, the world is full of jerks, but that doesn’t mean we have to become jerks ourselves. Brad absolutely hates to go through the checkout line at the market because there’s always someone there doing something stupid. They can’t figure out how to scan one item or they are in the “less than 15” line with 30 items or they can’t find their POS card. He gets himself all worked up inside his head and he carries that anger with him after he leaves the store. He tends not to say anything aloud. That would be me, but I’m irritated far less often … not that it makes a bit of difference to our relationship with Jesus, our fellow shoppers or with ourselves. The thing about sin is that it occurs within us before it leaks out to the surface. It’s our thoughts and actions that cast a shadow on our day, not the actions of the other shopper. Oh, yeah, we justify our irritation. We were right and they were wrong.

And yet, as we drive away, we may be tense and fuming, causing damage to our own bodies. We blame the world for not yielding up the perfect set of circumstances. We comfort ourselves that the other shopper was at fault, not our weakness of character. We tell ourselves that people like Roddie Edmonds are special and that the range of human choices is different for us than for them.

People like Edmonds will seem rare until more of us honor our mutual interdependence as we encounter the small things in life. When faced with a big challenge our self-serving behavior may kick in because our muscles to practice agape are flabby. There’s no reason to hate ourselves for that. We just need to learn to see the world through Jesus’ eyes. When we give into the anger that the world seems to bring about, then we only hurt ourselves and our witness as Christians.

Take a moment. Take a deep breath. Resolve to do better next time. Remember, we’re all in this world together … and God no doubt had a reason for doing it that way.

Posted January 15, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Examined living

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Getting Specific on Feminism   Leave a comment

An ongoing, but limited (140 characters, yo) conversation on Twitter made me decide to revisit the topic of 3rd wave feminism.

Image result for image of 3rd wave feminismI believe in equal rights for women. I’ve enjoyed equal rights as a woman for most of my adult life. I do not, however, believe in complete equality between man and woman.

We’re not the same. Whether because God made us that way or because evolution just worked out that way, scientifically speaking, there is simply never going to be equality between a man and a woman. Our genetic makeup is so inherently different that it fundamentally affects the way we think and behave.This should never hinder a woman from having a successful career or attaining a top-grade education, but feminists simply have no grounds to claim that men and women are indistinguishable and should be treated as if there are no differences. Without going too deep into it, anyone can realize that there would be no reason for the distinction between the two sexes if that were the case, but let’s be honest – when men and women compete physically men have the advantage in strength, height, weight and speed. You can look at Olympic times and see that is the truth. Pretending it is otherwise is pure folly.

Image result for image of 3rd wave feminismI am often puzzled by the animosity over gender roles. Feminists cry foul at people who attempt to “impose” gender roles and stereotypes on young girls, saying they should be given the freedom to decide if they want to be “girly” or as masculine as they want. Really? So we shouldn’t learn any skills in life until after we’ve reached adulthood? Often, this animosity extends to the mothers of girls who want to teach their daughters cooking or sewing. We live in an era when parents cannot buy a “cooking set” or Barbie doll toy for their daughters without a horde of feminists catching the scent of their unforgivable crime against the female gender. Definitely, if a girl is uncomfortable with assuming the typical gender role, any reasonable parent would not “force” her to be girly. But this whole “what if she doesn’t want to be girly” issue has been blown way out of proportion by feminists. Leave parenting to the parents. If the girl doesn’t like it, I’m sure parents will cater to their individual child’s needs. No need for feminists to be the Parenting Police.

Image result for image of 3rd wave feminismI have no doubt there are many women in the world still living in oppression. It’s a problem that needs to be solved. I think the greater issue is that people in general live in oppression. I seek equality of rights of all whether male or female, regardless of race, language, or religion. Feminism was a beautiful ideal meant to give women the space to express opinions, make decisions, and receive fair treatment in all aspects of life. It was not meant to be an avenue for hate-speech against men or exalting women to a godlike status whereby anyone who has any criticism of a member of the female gender is automatically condemned to an eternal doom. Yeah, there are men who are creeps, but feminism should be the fight for equal rights for male and female, not the fight against all things male.

A while back, I read something about an actor who declared himself a feminist. “Good,” I thought. But then there were comments on the article where women were sarcastically proclaiming that we shouldn’t be applauding this man because he should have already been a part of the movement a long time ago. And, I thought “That is why so many men want nothing to do with you or your movement and probably why so many women hesitate to be associated.”

Anger is an effective tool when employed discreetly. It can communicate severity of issues and garner support from unlikely areas. When exercised carelessly, the approach appears belligerent, which can lead to backlash and potential opposition based on distaste alone. Unfortunately, many of today’s combative third-wave feminists do not recognize that systematic accusations, insults, and belittling of others for their experiences and views typically produce this type of rebuff.

Calling out men or male-friendly females is not unlike reprimanding an employee in front of the entire staff. It’s the sort of behavior we are striving to eradicate, but we see it far too often from the ranks of 3rd wave feminism … as if they are somehow exempt from the standards the rest of us must live under.

Then there is the practice of attempting to limit others’ speech. American society as held the right of every to think and say what they wish, whether it is moral and just, or not. Many feminists have a tendency to condemn anything that affects their feminist sensibilities in a negative fashion. The usual approach is some endeavor to stop these things from existing, for fear of influencing others to think in such a manner. Not only do I think that silencing misogyny is a waste of time, I think silencing free speech is morally reprehensible. People accept and reject all types of narratives all the time. Trying to shout down those narratives just makes us look like we’re defending something that is too weak to speak for itself. We should strive to represent ourselves as people of depth and ability who deserve the right and opportunity to use those abilities.
Part of equality is behaving as equals, and if we continually place all blame on men for our problems, we will do ourselves no service. We need to stop being insulted and start acting like adults. Within feminism, like other social and political movements, there are differing perspectives, a range of very particular goals, and many approaches to reaching these varying and specific objectives. We are all joined by the major tenets, but because of our differences, feminism serves as an umbrella term for anything relating to the equality of women to men.

We each have a distinctive and unique ideal for the world. Some wish to create a utopia where no one is ever hurt or offended. Mine is for people to live, and love, and hurt, and make autonomous choices while acknowledging and respecting the autonomy of other people. There is no direct highway to this goal, but without a doubt, taking individual action to better our lives, combined with objective thinking, respect, and compassion is the route I’ve seen most effectively change minds in our favor.

I am not suggesting anyone sugarcoat views through apology. I am only encouraging certain feminists to stop conflating healthy discussion with aggression, or as my Twitter friend put it “anti-feminism”.. At best, it is driving positive attention away from the ideals of feminism, and at worst, turning people against women in general.

Posted October 13, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide, Uncategorized

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Civility not too much to ask: Comments a forum for discussion of issues, not abuse and threats – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials   Leave a comment

There you go. Pretty much what needs to be said.

Civility not too much to ask: Comments a forum for discussion of issues, not abuse and threats – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials.

Debate does not need to become a hate-filled shouting match. I will continue to post controversial ideas until such time as I am imprisoned or dead, because I believe people ought to THINK and entertain ideas contrary to the societal zeitgeist. You want to debate it? Good. If you want to use it as a forum to abuse others — you pretty much are making my points for me.

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