On Passion and Obsession
Thanksgiving 2014

Being Thankful

So, I don't do the whole 30 days of being Thankful on Facebook.  

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So, as I sit here baking a cake with cranberries boiling.  I'm thankful for a lot of things. I don't always express what I'm thankful for, because I know I am.  

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So as I sit and watch imagery of disgruntled Americans burning the flag and the symbolism that it represents, I wonder why are these people so unhappy with our nation.  I can see problems in an inherently flawed system; but any political system is inherently flawed.  Any institution run by man is inherently flawed.  A war on drugs, a war on individuals, a war on the addicted, a war on the mentally ill for their addictions. No wonder there is discontent.  

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I had a dream this morning, that I was in prison.  It was unusual, I've never had dreams like that.  But, I imagine going to prison is an incredibly humiliating and humbling experience to know you aren't any better than an animal to be caged in the eyes of the state you live in.   So, I woke up with the thought that these mass protests are not necessarily to do with one case, but there is an element of distrust of a society which says it is the land of the free - yet incarcerates per capita more individuals than most nations in the world.  In a state that allows warrantless visits by a system that systematically removes children from the homes of poor parents.   A state where illicit drug use can cause longer incarcerations for non-violent offenders than individuals who assault women and children.   There is a problem.   The problem is not going to be solved by rioting, but emotion always trumps reason in emotional situations.  

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We also live in a state where massive corporations are treated as "individuals" for tax purposes and can give freely to politicians.  We live in a state where politicians can make being in office their lifetime career.  Where there are no term limits.   We live in a nation that glorifies the American dream.  We live in a nation where our educated are riddled with student debt by the time they leave their institutions of learning.  We live in a nation where if you're down on your luck there is help, there is food assistance, medicaid and programs to support the disabled.  Yet, we have a portion who is squeezed by taxes and are forced to live paycheck to paycheck even though the bottom line says they should be making enough.   We live in a nation where there is NEVER ENOUGH for anyone.   

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Yet, here we sit and tomorrow we are told to be thankful.   Tomorrow we will feast.   Tomorrow we eat and tomorrow we enjoy the company of our loved ones.   

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We are a nation of materialistic, hedonistic, germophobes who are tied to our smartphones.  I am amazed when I go to photograph an event now and see how people don't look up from their phones when they are with the people they talk to online.  It is incredible that we are so addicted to our internet (I'm just as guilty) that we can't put it down.   We are a "must be seen" generation heading out to be a part of an event.  I believe that there were many who participated in the riots or demonstrations in their desire for social justice just to say that they were there.  

But the topic of privilege which seems to be continually thrust in our faces is bothersome, because although it holds validity it is not a topic that unites people but divides them. It creates this caste system of "us vs. them."  I by any definition am probably privileged.   But, you can't tell the kid who was bullied as a child who was not affluent and was of mixed race heritage that they are privileged.  It just doesn't fit our perceptions of self.  But I'm well educated, from a home that was never broken and in a family who are land and home owners.  So, I know that by any standard I am fortunate.  

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Yet, how can we in a nation change or have any say over the narrative when we live in a society whose viewpoints aren't supported by the mainstream media.  When six corporations own 90% of the media.  I have always felt there is a uniting argument between the Occupy movements and the Tea Party movements.  I felt that the middle ground could not be found in a nation of polarizing media.  The middle ground is we are in a country where a large segment is unhappy with our Government.   The anger is at the Government, the anger is at the giant corporations who are funding our leaders so they are acting as if it is an oligarchy.  The anger is at an over-regulated society, where every man is a criminal.   The middle ground won't be found because the media is using it's verbiage to divide the right from the left and the small libertarian segment is viewed as "crazy"- by many.   The question I like to ask people is "What role should government play in your life."  --- if the answer is more Government then we will never agree.   The answer isn't more massive corporations either.  The "little man" needs to find some sense of empowerment again.  

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I am a strong believer in regionalism.  I think we need more power in the state even if I disagree with it.  I can go elsewhere.  I think a nation-state was a wise experiment, but when the nation is disconnected from the state and the citizens it will cause unrest.   When we have so many regulations, regulators and laws that everyone and anyone is a criminal it is time for a change.  

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But what about "justice"  

mid-12c., "the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment;" also "quality of being fair and just," from Old French justice "justice, legal rights, jurisdiction" (11c.), from Latin iustitia "righteousness, equity," from iustus "upright, just" (see just (adj.)). The Old French word had widespread senses, including "uprightness, equity, vindication of right, court of justice, judge." The word began to be used in English c.1200 as a title for a judicial officer. Meaning "right order, equity" is late 14c. Justice of the peace first attested early 14c. In the Mercian hymns, Latin iustitia is glossed by Old English rehtwisnisse. To do justice to (someone or something) "render fully and fairly showing due appreciation" is from 1670s.
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How can anyone find "justice" when they are judged and condemned by the court of the internet?  An angry mob demanding the outcome they desire is not "justice" - that is the vigilante law our system was put into place to protect people from.  
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“There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” ~Ayn Rand 

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I have been watching this week, with somewhat disinterest in the situation in Missouri, because I don't get emotionally invested in the news and I don't have the cable television that spoon-feeds me the stories they want me to feel emotions for.   I was reading the hashtag # shut it down....  and my response to all of us is not that we need to shut society down, but we need to spend more time in nature, we need to spend more time ignoring the media that is pushed down our throats.   We need to just... 

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#TURNITOFF.  Turn it off.  Turn off the news, if you're upset by the news TURN IT OFF. You have that power. It does not control you. Don't click those links.  Those links mean heartache for one group of people and money for another.  TURN IT OFF.   Turn off the negativity in your life.  Be aware but be a positive force in YOUR community -  turn it off.   That's what we need to do Friday for every advertiser you see during the coverage of the looting, the violence, the strife,  we need to turn it off.    
So I am thankful to have this format to put my views across.  I am also needing sleep so I can get up and bake a turkey tomorrow.  Goodnight internet people.  I appreciate you for reading this.  

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