Coercion, not freedom

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Hold up!

I think we have started moving the “free to choose” idea into the Soviet establishment of Communism. Lenin and Stalin used to like giving people the feeling like they had the ability to choose…only to find themselves in front of a firing squad or shipped off to a gulag in eastern Siberia. “Sure, you have a choice…my way or the highway…”

Here’s another historical example for you – the Nazis used to ask for “papers” at checkpoints to prove you were or weren’t a Jew. In modern terms, you are now going to have “checkpoints” to determine your eligibility to enter based on your vaccination papers. “Your papers, please…vaccinated to the right, unvaccinated to the left…”

If this whole topic doesn’t scare you as an American citizen, then I am not sure what it will take to wake you up. If this is acceptable now, then where does the line get drawn? Moreover, what other lines will be drawn and socially acceptable as time goes on?

The news about allowing for “vaccinated only” sections is sanctioned discrimination, it is also coercion, which is not the same as “freedom.” Essentially you are telling people that if they want to participate in activities they did before the pandemic that they are going to have to be forced to get the vaccine.

Let’s think about this from this point of view?

  • Have we ever asked if someone has gotten the flu shot before allowing them to enter any facility or venue?
  • Have we ever asked for vaccination proof for measles, mumps, rubella? Diphtheria? Polio?
  • Have we ever verified that someone doesn’t have hepatitis before they are employed or attend a sporting event?
  • Have we essentially banned people with HIV/AIDS from participating in regular societal activities?

No?

Then why would this be any more acceptable? *HINT: It’s not.”

Medical decisions should be between you and your physician, or others you specifically designate. It shouldn’t be subject to “passports,” or proof, to participate fully in society. Anything that allows for someone other than those you designate to decide whether you participate in regular society would be medical discrimination.

Anything other than totally opened and accessible to all citizens, regardless of vaccination status, is just another brick in the road towards a social system that resembles precisely what America was designed not to become.

Inappropriate display

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Is it appropriate for a teacher to display a “Black Lives Matter” poster on their wall or wear a t-shirt with the same message? Is it appropriate for a teacher to leave a Bible or other religious text sitting on their desk? Is it appropriate for a teacher to promote one political party over another? Is it appropriate for any of these things to be done while with students and on school time?

I was doing a training the other day with a school district and one of the teachers participating in the Zoom meeting had a poster on the back wall, in plain view of the camera, that essentially was advocating for a political viewpoint. Obviously this teacher was demonstrating they were an “activist” of sorts and wanted whomever was seeing them on camera to see that they felt a certain way about certain issues currently on the forefront of conversations for society as a whole.

I found the poster to be inappropriate for a teacher to be displaying – especially if this was a background that would be seen by students. I didn’t find it inappropriate because I disagreed with the subject matter. I found it in appropriate because I see it as a violation of professional standards.

Now, before I continue, I want to reiterate that I am all for free speech and allowing people to express their views. If you have spent time on this blog over the years you would know this. I don’t have many instances where expression of one’s views should be limited because I believe that the expression of one’s self is that important.

However, having been a high school teacher and an American Government teacher and knowing enough about freedoms within the school and limitations of those freedoms, there would seem to be a double standards – again.

Professional standards say that, as people who have a position of power over students, our personal views should be kept to ourselves. In the past this has generally been applied to things like politics and religion. The reasoning behind this is that students are moldable and if given undue influence, they might take on the beliefs or thoughts of their teacher. Makes sense, and as a teacher I tried to keep the students guessing when it came to these two topics – not my job to instill these things in students, that’s their parents’ job and eventually they should develop these views and opinions on their own with their own reasoning.

However, over the last 20 years, it has been more acceptable for teachers to express their political views but not their religious views. When I was teaching I heard my own colleagues express their political views in the classroom with students. I have had my daughter relate to me that one of her teachers was actually passing out bumper stickers for one particular presidential candidate. Conversely, I have seen and heard of school employees and teachers being punished for expressing their religious views or even practicing their religion while on school grounds.

Is it another double standard? Is it another practice of “it’s ok for me, but not for you” when it comes to politics and religion?

Look, it should be all of one, or all of the other. Either keep all politics and religion out of the classroom or allow all politics and religion in the classroom.

But, what do you think? Is there a fine line between what is appropriate and what isn’t? Is one more acceptable than the other?

Medical discrimination

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The conspiracy theorists don’t have to say “I told you so”…because that theory isn’t a theory any longer. The requirement for a “vaccine passport” or at least proof of vaccination is here. The idea that you have sovereignty over your body, at least in some situations, apparently doesn’t apply these days. You are going to be told that you can’t live in or participate in society if you don’t comply.

I have heard of some employers actually requiring it too, but I don’t have the support on that yet (So far mine has said it won’t be a requirement…).

But, I think it is safe to say that discrimination based upon your medical/vaccination status is now truly going to be a thing. Thus, a theory becomes fact.

Yet again, higher education has found another way to discriminate against people being able to get an education.

The growing list of colleges who are going require vaccination of students is proof positive that those who said it wasn’t going to be necessary, were freaking lying to you. This was likely the plan all along, as far as vaccinations go.

Weird how colleges and universities are leading this in a very public way.

Vaccination is required; discrimination ensues; rejection for those who don’t comply and admission for those who do; and for those who do comply they will now be subjected further and already epic levels of indoctrination.

It used to be thought that higher education would be the “great equalizer”, but now it seems it will be the great discriminator and limiter.

What do you think? Do you disagree that this is discrimination based on a medical or vaccination status?

Finger pointing

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There is a whole lot of finger pointing going on these days. “You did this,” or “You did that,” or “You failed to do…” is a common refrain heard across the land. It seems no one wants to be responsible for their own actions any longer. It is always someone else’s fault. It is always because of someone else’s failure. It is because of someone else’s attitude. It is because of someone else’s wealth or lack thereof.

Someone else is always to blame.

Or at least that seems to be what a majority of people believe and are trying to convince others of.

Newton’s Third Law says, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In general, Newton was actually talking about physical items. Some, however, would argue that it doesn’t really apply to “life” and shouldn’t be misused that way.

I say those people are idiots.

I would posit they are saying that because they are one of those people who don’t believe in ownership of their own actions.

How about coming at it from a different angle – Every action, inaction, attitude, reaction, has a consequence. Perhaps this would be more influential coming from someone else:

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. — Sivananda

So, how does this apply to the topic at hand?

EVERYTHING we do or say has consequences. Those consequences are in direct correlation (almost always) to how we navigate through life. Our actions in our environment, our interactions with others in our environment will always have consequences – sometimes positive and sometimes negative. There is never not a time when this isn’t true. Sure, the result might not have immediate consequence but make no mistake, there will eventually be a consequence.

I can’t help but take a look at the news and wonder how life would be different for lots of people had they made different choices in any given situation, whether a long time ago or in the immediate time and space.

Situations?

  • Law enforcement interactions: How you react in the situation will determine how they are going to react to you. Resistance, evasion, force, weapons, or suspicious activity will generate various levels of reaction. Do you always deserve the type of reaction you are going to get? Nope. But, you have to remember that your actions likely triggered the interaction in the first place. As such, your actions will also determine how the interaction progresses and ends. I can’t help but think there are a lot of situations as of late that ended terribly for lots of people (on both side of the law) because they weren’t following the law.
  • Cheating (whether in minor things or big things): You make the choice to be dishonest or to hide something from someone. You are creating a situation that will have a consequence. Will you experience that consequence right away? Maybe, maybe not.
  • Financial decisions: Spend wisely, reap positive consequences (most typically). Spend poorly, reap negative consequences (almost always). Either choice will likely result in habits that become a cycle. The cycle, as cycles go, repeats itself over and over. If you stop pointing fingers at others on why the cycle keeps perpetuating itself and change your behavior, because really no one else is to blame, then you will get different results. Thus, an action still has a reaction – just you get to decide if it is positive or negative.
  • Weight or health management: Admittedly, there are some genetics involved here, but for the most part you are still responsible for what you do or don’t put in your body. Make good choices, reap good benefits and a healthier body. Make poor choices, reap poor health and continually cascading issues. It all starts with a choice.
  • Work ethic: Your outcomes at work are directly related to how you approach work. If you are diligent, dedicated, conscientious, motivated, and energetic then you will likely have a good work experience. If you are lazy, apathetic, unmotivated, and have attitude issues then you will likely have a hard time keeping a job.

Are there exceptions to these things? Of course! Even Newton had exceptions to his 3rd law.

BUT, you can’t make a life out of pointing fingers and always blaming someone else.

You can’t be finding or relying on the exceptions for everything. If you are always looking for the exception, you probably really are looking for excuses. And those excuses? Those are the things holding you back and keeping you from making the right decisions at the right time, because you’ve trained yourself to point fingers and not take responsibility.

I’ll end with this, and I know it is cheesy, but the whole “Don’t forget if you point a finger at someone, you still have three pointed back at you.”

It’s true. Before you blame someone else for something, you better look at the choices and decisions you made along the way that got you to where you are at that moment in time.

Exasperation

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I wonder…do you feel like me? Do you look at the world around you and just feel exhausted, exasperated even, at all the stuff doing on and the the people you see or encounter on a daily basis?

Do you throw your hands in the air because you simply don’t know what to do?

Do you shake your head in frustration, disgust, or irritation?

Do you find yourself muttering under your breath about this, that or the other thing?

Do you often mouth “W.T.F?” quietly to yourself as you ponder WTF just happened?

Do you type in your email/text/social media accounts things you want to say but then delete because it just isn’t worth the trouble?

Do you find scenarios running through your head about what you would do if you were allowed to do so (kind of like those tv/movie vignettes)?

Do you hang up the phone and then tell the person what you really want to tell them?

All of the above?

I know, this sounds like there is going to be one of those infomercial solutions…”Then you need *fill in the blank*…”

It’s not.

I just wanna know if you’re out there. If you’re out there doing the same thing I am doing.

It must sound like I am an uptight jerk. I’m not.

I just don’t tolerate stupidity well. Maybe I am allergic to it. I don’t have many allergies, but I know for sure I am allergic to this.

It’s tiring.

So, are you out there? Tell the the last thing that exasperated you. Let’s compare notes!

Virtue signals?

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You have probably noticed a weird trend on social media these days. Weird, or is it just empty virtue signaling? There is a lot of virtue signaling going on these days for quite a lot of various subjects. What do you think about people doing things or saying things just so they can appear to be better than you or others? Are you down with that? Are you doing it?

The trend of which I speak has to do with the virtue signaling of posting pictures or videos of getting the COVID vaccination. Surprisingly, people I didn’t expect to see this from are actually doing it too.

Is it that you think by letting people know you have the vaccine that they will somehow think more of you? That you are meeting with their approval? That you are better than me or someone else because you have complied with social demands to do so? Have you succumb to peer pressure and in turn now become the peer pressurer?

Do you post about when you get the flu shot?

Do you post your taking your blood pressure meds?

Do you post about your hepatitis treatments?

Do you post that you were vaccinated against the chicken pox, mumps, measles, diphtheria, rubella, or other childhood vaccinations?

Do you post about other medical issues?

Yes, getting the COVID vaccine is a personal choice, but does that mean we broadcast those medical personal choices to everyone? If not, then why are you doing so with this?

Perhaps you should check your motivations.

What virtue, exactly, are you signaling? By broadcasting it, are you signaling that you actually support the “vaccine passport” that would supposedly allow you to get into public events, other countries, and the like? Isn’t that a sort of medical discrimination? Do you support that too?

I doubt many people actually care whether you have your shot or not. It’s your choice to get it, or not. I don’t care. I don’t care about this one and I don’t care about any of the others.

Keep it to yourself. No one actually has a need to know.

I swear…

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Ever heard someone else utter those words? Ever heard yourself utter those words? Have you “had it” to the level that you begin muttering under your breath and out comes those words, followed by a definitive statement that you have no intention of following through with?

I have heard that phrase from others in the past. I can distinctly remember my mother saying that phrase several times. The multiple occasions probably probably involved my brother and I (or maybe my sisters). I can’t remember exactly, but I do remember that we all knew it was time to be on our best behavior or something was going to happen that involved the “tanning of our backsides.”

Anyway, I have reached my level.

Only it isn’t with children (though I am sure I have uttered this about them too).

It’s the pets today.

The cat won’t shut up. Meow. Meow. Meow meow meow…seriously! What the heck! I have let him outta the house three times already today. In and out. In and out.

The dog is even worse. Whine and whine and whine….and then there is the whole in and out, in and out, thing with her too. The dog has gone out to the back yard 8 times already. 8! Sure it’s a nice day outside, but heck if I know what the hell she wants.

So, I swear…if I gotta let them outta the house one more time…

Working from home is great, but this is admittedly a downside. The interruptions are incessant.

I swear…

Emotional blindness

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Let’s just start this whole thing by saying I am not talking about Alexithymia. I am not talking about the inability to express one’s emotions and I am not talking about a person who is “cold” and has no emotion towards something or someone. I am not talking about indifference or a lack of empathy.

I am talking about people who get so caught up in their emotions that it keeps them from rationally thinking about something or someone. I am talking about people who let their emotions dictate their response to almost everything. I am talking about people who refuse to set their emotions aside, causing them to be blind to the way they are thinking and acting. I am talking about people who are controlled nearly completely by their emotions instead of using their head.

I am sure you know what I mean.

Take a look around. Watch the news. Look at either political side. Take any controversial subject.

There are far too many people who have emotional blindness. They simply have allowed their emotions to control them and they refuse to look at the issues in a rational, logical way. They refuse to get to the root of the issue and instead allow the emotions to taint any true thought.

It’s sad. It’s irritating. It’s frustrating.

It’s the state of our world, our country, our time.

Registered?

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Lots of companies want you to register the product you purchased. Probably so they can track you or something, but hopefully it is because they want to provide you with excellent customer support when the product breaks or malfunctions or something.

Why then, if they want you to do this, does it have to be so difficult?

I went to the Ryobi website to register a product and to make sure the warranty was going to be there if needed. I signed into my account and the very first thing I noticed was that EVERY page I went to the “live chat” box popped up, even after closing it. Annoying…

When I finally got to the product registration page and inputted the model number, the correct product doesn’t come up. WTH? I searched through everything that was suggested and they were the right type of tool, but not even close to the correct model.

So, I had to use the “live chat” after all…only to have to agree to have them send me an email so they could get all the pertinent product details and then they would register the product for me and confirm via email that it was done.

I am still waiting for that email.

Again, this is a large tool company. It’s their website.

Think it should work correctly? Think it is good customer service to have the customer go to your website and then they can’t do the thing they were directed to do on the website in the first place?

Not even remotely.

I hope I get a satisfaction survey…

Partied out

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It was a long weekend that started on Thursday night.

It was a weekend filled with food, celebration, and family.

Too much family.

Too much planning.

Too much to do to actually enjoy it.

Anyway, three birthday parties in two days…one on Saturday and two on Sunday.

All at my house.

It was a good time, but it was exhausting.

What’s worse is that there is always some family members that are there that you just rather wouldn’t be there. That’s harsh to say, I know, and I love them and all but they just make anything and everything more work.

Everyone had a good time. At least I think so.

I did and I didn’t.

At least it is over. I am partied out. I could care less if there are any more this year.