Toeing the Line

Watching the mist rising from the ground.
Waiting in line watching men become found.
Wreaking of alcohol they toe the line.
Talking frankly of women they did find.

The First Sergeant calls them to attention.
All are accounted for in this instance.
To begin the morning run in cadence.
All voices marching along in patience.

The sun comes up as the battalion sings.
This moment I wish to experience again.
To be a part of a finely oiled machine.
Death dealing our motto if God does not intervene.

A right of passage some would say.
But I dream of the civilian world being done this way.
We would make formation in the morning to be.
One with the ground under our feet.

One with the sky above our heads.
One with the blood pumping through our chests.
The point of living is to be alive.
To toe the line each day as if you have just arrived.

Comments

  • i googled signal battalion running in formation when writing this and what did i find but a photo of my old bunk mate running in formation on the beach. this wouldn’t have been that odd if it wasn’t for this young man being found making out with a male transvestite prostitue on leave one weekend.

    i suppose after Don’t ask Don’t Tell is dropped this won’t have too big of a stigma attached to it minus the prostitution part of it. funny part is not too many folks were concerned with the prostitution part. it was the transvestite part that bothered everyone in my platoon.

  • Greg

    As someone from the military I am not sure that stigma is ever going to rest Globa. Sorry, they can drop the policy but too many are still very much in the mentality of old values. I don’t foresee this being really reconsiled for another 20-30 years at least. You can change the law, it is a lot harder to change culture and preception.

  • Why do you think that Greg? Why are other countries more tolerant than the U.S. on this issue? Do you think it is a generational thing as many have suggested as it seems the policy makers are old school.

    Would having openly gay soldiers have separate showering facilities be a solution?

    To be kind to my old bunkmate he didn’t know it was a man and another soldier also made the same mistake. No one believed either one of them though. It’s kind of cool to see him jogging on the beach archived on google in a formation run. Seems the prostitution part of it was never proven.

    Also he was a real stand up guy. Young and wet behind the ears but who isn’t at 18 years of age.

  • Greg

    I honestly can’t give you a good answer Globa. One thing I do know is that for the most part this country still leans conservatively on most values and the gay topic seems to be a particulary sensitive one. You lived in Jax, being gay here is damn near impossible.

    Other regions in the country it is not as bad. Let me say I am not saying that I agree but I understand. It brings up a lot of questions, should homosexual males be made to shower separately? Should females? There are a lot of issues, it is like telling the military it is okay all of the sudden to have co-ed basic training and everything is shared. The boundaries of discipline in the environment of the military do not need this distraction I believe. It just opens too many doors for bad things to happen.

    I put this in the same place of someone wanting special religgious considerations when entering the military. When you join you volunteerly surrender most of your individuality in favor of becoming a member of a unit. The entire focus of determiningrs who is gay and the paranoia that would come with that would cause the focus to be diverted from training on how to stay alive. Well that is my take.

    Why in this country are we hung up on it? Because we are a primary Christian nation and many generations here are not comfortable with the concept of being gay. It is what it is.

  • the discussion arises from a perverse starting point..that murder ought to be turned into a career…because of this perverse starting point, it is inevitable that other complications will be impossible to resolve, because the institution does not favor humanity, it favors discipline and power alone…

    we all crave discipline, and there are some gay people too who long to be told everything about themselves so they do not have to face the difficulty of jungian individuation…we used to have communities to help us with this, but not now…now we have corporations and the militaries that protect them…and if you want to belong you must deny yourself, who you are, and what you want, to serve the institution, and if you do, you can stop worrying and learn to love the bomb…

  • Akbar, your argument does not hold water when you compare the U.S. military to all the other countries who allow gays in the military and have for decades now. Also, believe it or not the U.S. military is one of the most open minded cultures of alternate lifestyles. For example, mixed race marriages are far more accepted within the military than they are in the civilian world.

  • Greg

    True that Globa, I agree in the area of race they are quite open, I don’t know so much about the sexual orientation aspect. Seems that is still very much in line with Christian conservative values…typically

  • i was attempting to make the point that one’s attachment to this issue can be problematic, because one must first assume that ‘belonging’ to the military is an acceptable part of culture, and therefore that right ought to extend to everybody..but what if that institution is itself perverse, how ought we judge it when it judges others…

    for instance, if we found out that NAMBLA had an exclusive all-white policy would we fight for equal rights for NAMBLA membership, or would we continue to focus on its perversion of values…

  • Point taken Akbar. It still makes me question why the world’s most powerful military can not adjust according to policies the majority of other countries on this planet are already living with.

    Which also makes me again question why we can’t have universal health care in the U.S. as well.

    So i suppose my question is larger than just the U.S. military but about the United States (in general) lack of ability to adapt as the times change.

  • Greg

    Perhaps because we have seen the results of that change. It is not something the majority of the populace wishes to embrace. That would be my reasoning. I also completely agree on some points of change. I don’t believe for change for the sake of everyone else doing it. The entire planet might decide it wants to be left handed but there is no reason the people of this country should follow that if they choose not to.
    I get bothered by this thinking because to go down this path eventually removes the uniqueness that is the US and all we have accomplished. While I will say we have many shortcomings we as a country have achieved amazing things within our short 200 year existance.

    I personally do not agree with the gays in the military open policy. I treat it like I would anything else, I do not discuss it at work and thus it is not something that should be discussed in the military. It is private, what you do in your bedroom and closed doors is your business as long as it is not against the law.

    The other point I believe is overlooked is that as a country the gay issue is still very inflammatory, with that being said, being openly gay could cause potential security risks for the person in the area of blackmail and other security concerns. I can see this from that point of view.

  • I’m left handed so I don’t see that being a problem. I don’t believe in American exceptionalism either. There is nothing that should make us treat our people differently just because we are America?

    I mean if you had an argument of some sort for it I would listen but there doesn’t seem to be an argument Greg other than we are America and that’s just the way it is. It reminds me of Bush saying you’re either with us or against us.

    I don’t believe being gay is a inflammatory issue anymore than being a different race used to be. I’m not sure what type of work environment you have but I’m sure you have a policy at work that doesn’t allow for discrimination of openly gay folks at work. My new job even gives health benefits to same sex partnerships.

    Also for the don’t ask don’t tell thing, the first part of this poem talks about how men openly talk of their sexual relationships with women. That type of talk is the norm and you know it. If what you say is to be upheld men would have to quit the gym talk about women they do so often in the military and we know that isn’t going to happen.

  • yeah greg, you are being evasive…you are saying you think it should be private, unless its against the law…well, it is against the law as written…

    so, do you think homosexuality should be against the law? let’s get this out of the closet, so to speak….

  • Greg

    First, please don’t pigeon hole me or attempt to manuever me into a position. Alright? You guys know there is a double standard in this country, it is the reality and I am not to blame. It is the same double standard that allows guys that sleep around with women to be considered cool or macho but females doing the like behavior would be considered sluts. It is what it is. Being gay is more acceptable in the PRIVATE sector but that is not what we are talking about. I am talking about the military. The reality is currently it is still male dominated environment and the rules of the military are not the same as the private sector.

    Do I think that being gay should be illegal? No, do I think the considerations of a minor percentage of the populace should take precident over the remaining majority. That is what I see happening for the majority of Americans are feeling that we are being forced to make consilations to the agenda of people that are gay. This is causing considerable push back and resentment on their part.

    If you doubt this, look at most places where gay marriage has been put to a public vote only to be defeated by over whelming numbers.

    To the subject of America and being exceptional, our country is different than the rest of the world. Sorry but that is true. I am not here to pass judgement on the correctness of it. I am here only to say I was I see. I believe America is exceptional and I know it is not what you believe, but that is okay. We can agree to disagree.

  • Maybe you could start by telling me why you feel America is exceptional.

    Also, one of the reasons we have a government is to protect the rights of the minority. The mob is not always correct. We have many American historical examples where it has always been proven that the rights of the minority are as equal as the rights of the majority. A woman’s right to vote, etc. etc.

    Why should the military, which at its core is based on honor and integrity, tell gays to not have honor or integrity in order to serve? To lie about who they are and disguise it to others. To not allow their life partners to have the health care benefits that any other spouse of a service member would have?

  • Greg

    America is exceptional to me because we are the first free democracy on the planet, in 200 years our country has achieved more quality of life and technology breakthroughs than any other the country in modern times. We have allowed our populace unprecidented freedoms and thus seen an environment where entrepueralship has flourished and allowed for people to grow beyond their beginnings.

    From the lunar landings to the creation of the world’s leading software platform all these advances have seen because of America and what we represent. From what I have seen you chose to the failures and shortcomings of America and that is your opinion. I see the promise and opportunity it allows. I have seen other countries, the poverty caused by oppressive regeimes and know that if I had a place to live I would chose America.

    In the subject of gays in the military, the minorities in this country have always been heard and yes we have tried to be equal in their treatment. Somewhere you have to draw a line though. When do you stop making accomdiations for the minority?

    On my point of the education, we accomidiated the minorities to the fucking point that our education system now SUCKS compared to the rest of the world, primarily because we acknowledged minorities who all cried it was racist and too tough. So tell me, when do stop catering to minorities and say we have made enough considerations. Next NAMBLA will be wanting validation as a minority and then they will want equal rights.

    Military service is a unique situation and not the norm. It is the same as trying to support having handicap or wheelchair bound people to serve, you sometimes just can’t support every minority consideration.

    I have no ideas what the correct thing is. I know there are serious challenges with having the military intergrate gays. I don’t claim to have answers, I just claim to have experience.

  • calm down folks!

    firstly, i am against gays in the military, how bout that! i am also against women, blacks, oh yeah and straight whites too! I am against everybody being in the military…

    but putting that aside, equality is a pretty fucking simple principle, as is discrimination..

    sex, regardless of its object is in every workplace in the world, all people are expected to be able to moderate their sexual lives…using sexual orientation to protect a government subsidized sub-culture is illegal, according to the spirit of the law…

    whether or not the american people accept homosexuality…it is important to point out that homosexuality inflicts no harm…and therefore is protected by all notions of liberty, that we are free to do anything we wish as long as it inflicts no harm on others…

    and greg, your notions about integration, as far as tying it to the degradation of education is bigoted, and lacks historical depth. it is well known that at the same time as integration, that we began to lessen more and more of the tax burden of the wealthy, and slowly began the transition from governmental education to corporatized life, leaving our education system to writhe around with less and less funds…

  • Akbar is right about the relaxed tax burdens on the wealthy corresponding to the period of integration. so, Greg, seriously, i’d watch the (possibly unconscious) assumptions you are making about the history of current social problems.

    i’d like to comment on the notion of American exceptionalism, and i’d like to link it to a larger point that I think Akbar is making. first, Greg’s notion that “America is exceptional to me because we are the first free democracy on the planet,” although stated in the form of an opinion, is severely misguided. “We” are not at all a “free democracy.” This, like the rest of the first paragraph of his previous comment, is little more than pap drawn from generations of reading the same kind of standard textbook history: the kind of history that is approved by big corporations and their buddies in state legislatures, who publish the books, approve or disapprove curricula, and tell us what to think every waking moment of our lives. i don’t doubt that Greg sincerely believes his statement about ‘free democracy,’ but that is the insidious element of this problem i’d like to examine–because it is a widespread problem. most folks are so misguided, in fact, that they have little sense of the contradictions that lie at the foundation of their thoughts. for example, Greg’s belief that ‘we’ are a ‘free deomcracy’–though i still don’t know what exactly that is supposed to mean–seems to conflict with his other notion that somehow “minorities” (another undefined term) have too many rights or else get too many privileges.

    since i don’t know how Greg is using these terms, i’m going to keep this at a more playful and theoretical level. i’m going to argue that minority rights are the very essence of this form of government we recognize today as American democracy. and the minority who are most privileged–far above any ethnic, racial, religious, or other identity group–are the wealthy. period. read the debates about the ratification of the constitution. it’s all right there: the wealthy needed to be assured that their position would not be usurped by the dirty mob. but the historical documents don’t stop there. the entire history of this country is one of conflict, struggle, inequality and the rights of the wealthy to dictate how the rest think and live.

    so this is where i take exception (ha) with Greg’s notion of exceptionalism. because the substantive historical debate–the debate that takes place between historians–about whether or not America is “exceptional” has to do with the question as to why there was never a socialist revolution–i.e., major working-class strife in America on the order of what they had in Europe, say, in the mid-19th century. in other words, why has there been relative harmony in the u.s.–or at least the illusion of continuity and progress and harmony. but the answer, simply, is that exceptionalism is a dirty myth. there HAVE been very violent, deadly, destructive eruptions along class lines in the U.S.–to the point that the government has been remade more than once in order to protect the wealthy and give the rest small, incremental tokens of progress. take the gilded age during the last quarter of the 19th century and the incredibly volatile worker demonstrations of the 1930s. we don’t read very much about this stuff because most textbook corporations simply glaze over it in favor of the “yay, we’re a free democracy” rhetoric that is far too common and that stunts our thinking about our current situation. so the point is that America is not exceptional–in the historical use of the term–because there has always been a wealthy elite in charge of money, commerce, laws, and ideas and there has always been a vast working class that has adopted the various identities peddled by the wealthy.

    this is far too complex to try and work out in a comment box, but to take just one example of how this has worked: why do people of similar, low, economic status not rise up against the man and overthrow the system? well, a lot of it has to do with racism, which divides the poor against one another on the basis of a false identity. racism did not spring primarily from the interactions of say black and white people living near one another, trying to get along. way before emancipation, free blacks and whites organized along lines of shared economic interests–take Bacon’s Rebellion for example. and after emancipation–some farmers organizations in the late 19th century and industrial workers during the 1930s, say–did similar things. but from the beginning, and in each case, the notion of race and racial solidarity was cultivated by white elites and sold to poor whites as a status symbol, what WEB DuBois called ‘the wages of whiteness’: a psychological wage that made part of the working class feel just a little superior to the other part. and every time, the voice of the poor was drowned out with legalese and propaganda poured out by the educated classes. this is standard operating procedure across all powerful nations in history (though in other countries race has been somewhat less of an issue, the technique of keeping the masses in check has worked pretty consistently). so, in my view, America is anything but exceptional, in the areas where that word really counts.

  • Greg

    Alright so what I am hearing is that there is NO connection to the ACLU, NAACP, and all the other organizations consistant and repeated motions to lower standards in the school system to allow more minorities to pass, there is no connection with this and our declining school system expectations? The mentality of everyone is a winner being implemented in the school system because litigation was brought so many times by those whose children failed to meet to goals set by boards it was easier and cheaper to lower the standard than face more lawsuits? This is not a corporate conspiracy for pete’s sake. There is no massive corporate movement to control our schools, there is however a significant amount of uninvolved, detached and unaware parents out there who honestly could not tell you what subjects their kids are even taking. Now you can contribute this to them working, busier lives, or what the hell ever, but the fact is kids are our responsibility to raise and by far in America we have abdicated that to the government out of ease.

    Minorities and attempting to accomidate the lower common denominator theory has been significant to the declination of the school systems.
    It is not racism, it is fact. Instead of lower standard, raise them and demand the parents to get off their ass and raise their kids. Hold accountable those who don’t.

    History is what history is Logo, I don’t subscribe to your controlling the masses theory by the wealthy. Jesus Christ. Explain then Logo how it is so many people go out and work hard, come up with an innovation, idea or something else and become wealthy? Is there is club? Maybe and application you fill out? Really, WTF? Seriously? Dave Thomas, started off with a fourth grade education, built and sold one of the largest burger franchises in the US. He came from a dirt poor family. Was he rich and did not know it? You argument would lend itself to think there is some massive conspiracy and if you want to believe that in order to abdicate your power and choices go ahead. There are too many examples otherwise though. Sorry. It’s bullshit. I know people I work with that came off living in cars sometime in their life to making 6 figures now.

    Oh and lets remember something, only in this country, our poorest live better than 90% of the rest of the world. So tell me again how bad America has it please. The poor here still own 32 inch LCD tvs and drive a car. Please don’t tell me the poor are all suffering because the man makes them suffer. I don’t buy it.

  • Greg

    Sorry for the typos and grammer above. I am still working and have no time to spell check everything.

    You know if you don’t think America is exceptional then how about everyone on the site tell me two things.

    1. What country in the past or current day is the best one in your opinion?

    2. What is it about America you think that makes it unexceptional?

  • yo greg,

    this is a response to both of your recent comments here and on the other post…

    although you often paint yourself as an optimist, i detect a good bit of resentment about others…

    the resentment most of the contributors here is aimed at the rich, and you are choosing to aim yours at the poor…can we agree on that…it doesn’t make either one of us right…right?

    however, we all know that the truth is a combination of everything we have talked about…there are gangsters and banksters, there are hard working poor kids and charitable trust fund kids….

    and there are all those in the middle trying to figure it all out…

    point is, i have known many people who have lived in poor areas…and people i’ve known who’ve worked in prisons…it has a tendency to corrupt the compassion…and compassion is necessary, regardless of whether or not the people are choosing to be lazy, or if they are victims of oppression…your own arguments show a preference for upward mobility, so either way compassion wins…compassion…for others, and most importantly greg, ourselves….

    if everything gets turned upside down greg, if everything in your life goes wrong, isn’t it better to have other people to count on, instead of only counting on ourselves…we are all in this together…

    there are a-holes in every group of people…and part of knowing a diverse set of cultures greg is learning this…..

  • Greg

    Akbar I am all about a hand up in life, God knows I can say I have had my share of people that have helped me in times of need. About a year ago I was taking my daughter to a specialist medical appointment in St. Louis, She has to see the guy and he is only one of a few in his field in the US. They paid for the trip since she is a part of a trial, on the flight there we were riding the hotel shuttle. My daughter and I began talking to this nice couple on their honeymoon to Chicago. During the conversation I explained our trip and that it was unfortunate that we did not have the money to go see Sears tower or Zoo and that time was limited anyway. The lady of the couple walked over as we were getting out at our hotel and handed me a $100 bill. I looked in shock and asked what was this for. She told me to do something nice with my daughter. Small miracles like that happen everyday and so yes I am a huge supporter of compassion.

    My optimism is challenged greatly by many experiences I have had and learned the hard way about having good intentions taken advantage of. So yeah I have gotten a bit jaded in my older years but I really work at keeping the faith because in the end that is all we have.

    I subscribe to the belief that if you want to make yourself a success in this country you can, you have to be willing to work hard and do what is necessary to earn it but anyone can achieve. I am not down on the rich or the wealthy, I am not sure why the overall opinion on this site prevails against them but that viewpoint is obvious.

    I am also not against the poor, I am against those who do not contribute and can. I have held this opinion my entire life, I have worked since I was 15 and never stopped. I am against those who make excuses or blame their station or status in life on intangible circumstances. “Blame it on the white man keeping me down, Some black woman took my job because she is worth points.” I have heard them all. And everyone of them was focused on the reason someone ELSE was to be responsible for their troubles except them. Someone ELSE made them take that mortgage they knew they would not be able to afford if the mortgage rate went up. So you couldn’t instead get a fixed rate that you would pay a little more and know how much you were paying?

    Everyone in this country is in the blame game. Everything is everyone elses fault. Sorry, not interested. I am not a victim or a victimizer.

    I have no ill will for the rich, what is point? Should I hate them for being wealthy? Is it really make sense to envy them and resent that they have money that I would like to have? Like with the poor, why would I bother to spend energy scorning or disliking them. If they are criminal and thugish and would mean to do me harm, well hell yes I am not stupid. But I have no ill will because I ANYONE station, position, or economic status.

    All I am about being real about what is going help us survive, that is what this is about, sur viv al. Simple as that. None of us are getting out of here alive anyway. I am not sure what burr I put in everyone’s ass but stop hating on me for speaking the truth as I see it. As many comedians have said, I am just speaking what everyone is thinking. Well that is where I come from a lot of times. I am just saying what most are thinking.

    One final note before bed, Akbar, I don’t resent others, I find a certain intolerance of fellow people sometimes because of man’s unfailing decent into mediocrity and stupidity. I tested in the 150s for my IQ and unfortunately have what doctor’s diagnosed as hyper reactive thought process, I am not even sure that is a real thing but that it what doctors said about me in school. I always process things faster than anyone in the room and it really pisses off my wife. It has through time began to make me annoyed at others who can’t keep the same pace. It is not arrogance it is just the speed at which my brain works. It’s like running Windows 98 on one of today’s CPUs, it would go toooo fast. SO my intolerance has become in the realm of simply stupid people and people that do not rely on logic, intellectual reason and analysis for determining a situation. Unfortunately too many use emotion to justify and motivate their lives and way of thinking. Maybe that is part of the dynamic between G and I as he is a very emotional personality where I am the opposite and come from a very logic and intellectual base. Not to say G is stupid or intellectually lacking, we just come at things from different angles. As a good friend of mine, really my surrogate mother for all intensive purposes, told me that I speak in pictures and black/white. My wife is a shades of gray communicator, my step-daughter is shades of gray with a good deal of pictures so she translates between us well.

    I tried to find the link to it but I can’t, either way, I am tired and I still have work to do. Night all

  • re: Greg’s comment beginning “Alright so what I am hearing. . .”: i’m just going to say it. the first point he fumbles with is so poorly written that i have to stretch my imagination to see what he is getting at. Where are these “consistant [sic] and repeated motions to lower standards in the school system to allow more minorities to pass”? By what process does he believe this has happened? Where is even the slightest evidence for the motivation he seems to ascribe to these organizations? Notice that I’m not talking about someone’s beliefs about the ACLU, etc., but about evidence for the motivation ascribed to such a group. Then he states as fact “our declining school system expectations.” I was under the impression that No Child Left Behind was implemented to raise standards and expectations. Trust me when I say that NCLB has been implemented and has changed the way schools operate across the country. So here we are again, wrapped in hyperbole and vaguely-developed ideas that don’t quite match reality. I see that Greg takes the line most often taken by racist “conservatives” regarding the poor and their education, but how about a substantive discussion that is carefully researched, thought out, then undertaken as a responsible, rational person? When I read things like his aforementioned comment, I become more convinced of the power of propaganda to erode our ability to think and engage one another responsibly.

    As for his widely-discredited Horatio Alger theory, please see Globatron’s latest comment on “holy spaces”: http://www.globatron.org/choken-word/holy-spaces/comment-page-1#comment-8208. And I’d advise anyone who is not yet convinced that the bootstraps theory is overwhelmingly mythological to take an introductory sociology course. Please.

    RE: “You argument would lend itself to think there is some massive conspiracy and if you want to believe that in order to abdicate your power and choices go ahead.” Aside from being nearly unreadable, this sentence is full of assumptions about my thinking. First, I don’t base my statements on belief, so I hope that Greg isn’t trying to get into a debate about beliefs. Determining the content of textbooks that tens of millions of people read (or else are somewhat influenced by) each year is not at all a casual affair for corporations and the school boards that work with them, and this is a demonstrable fact. As for his reference to “some massive conspiracy,” I can only say that his glibness about the term “conspiracy”–his obvious lack of thinking about what a conspiracy is–reflects the massive amount of propaganda that has been invested to achieve just such a result on a mass scale. The terms “conspiracy” and “conspiracy theorist” are used as tools of deterrence. Often, they are used to deter people from irrational thinking. But more often, I think, they are used to turn away anyone who is not wealthy and has begun to gain class consciousness. They are yet other means of turning people against their natural allies.

    Then I turn back to the first sentence of Greg’s comment. Isn’t he a conspiracy theorist who has his sights turned the other way around: at the poor and their defenders? Look at his statements about the NAACP and the ACLU. And he is going to imply that I am a dirty “conspiracy theorist”?

  • Greg

    Logo, I am so glad you got unplugged from the Matrix, it really is awesome. My post last night written while working and I was having to type fast, never question my intelligence or ability to think again Logo. My mind works fine and just because I do not chose to subscribe to your mass conspiracy theory of corporations altering the text books and social engineering to the classes does not mean I am fucking drone. So stop the third person narrative and condesending tone. I don’t appreciate it. The real truth about the textbooks is the majority of it comes from Texas, that is where 85% of the textbooks used in this country are published, created and printed.
    The material is controlled by the federal government first and foremost and then the state governments. Recently there was a motion put in to have the entire civil war rewritten into a version that emphasised the conflict as being about racism.

    The people responsible for the text books and what is taught is that. Not corporations.

    Alright on the area of declination of the education standards in this country, it is declining, overwhelming data supports this. The majority of kids who do graduate can’t read or write at a 9th grade level. Whether this is based on the effects of minorities in our schools or the decreasing emphasis of parental involvement is a moot point. The issue is being caused by multiple sources and the end result is the same. The environment of “everyone is a winner” is the primary cause because instead of educating the children we are more concerned about making them happy and feel great about themselves.

    Lombardi said “The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall. ” How can we expect our youth to learn how to deal with the adversity of life if we never let them fall?

    You know Logo I have a job and unfortunately it does not allow me ample time to grammer check and spell check every post. You wanna disagree with my positions fine, don’t insult me or my intelligence. Just because I don’t see the Matrix as broken as you do Neo, doesn’t mean I am wrong.

  • i am not insulting your intelligence, Greg, but i do often find it difficult to understand what you are trying to communicate.

    Please stop telling me what to do and how to think, okay, Greg? that inclination is symptomatic of the very kind of authoritarian mentality that turns people into drones. but to correct your mischaracterization of my comment, i did not call you a drone, okay? if i thought you were a drone, i would avoid you altogether because i would have no hope for a rational discussion of ideas. why i still hope in your case, i sometimes wonder. but it’s there nonetheless.

    Being “concerned about making [children] happy and feel great about themselves” is the root cause of problems in public education. right. that just sums it up, Greg. nice reasoning. way to stick to your guns.

    thanks for the football coach quote. deeply inspiring as always.

    i sense that i have hurt your feelings and brought up some of your insecurities about your intelligence and education. that really wasn’t my intention. but i do value clear and thoughtful communication. the fact that you have to work and don’t have a lot of time is understandable. but it isn’t an excuse for hammering out shallow repetitions of what you read in the newspaper or watch on *** News and calling the result ‘thinking’ or ‘intelligence.’

  • greg, you have become defensive again, and in that position you have also responded with commentary that is slightly aggressive.

    this has happened before and i think we got past that…

    but i would like to make a few points…

    1. greg, you are the one living in a slum, or whatever you want to call the crime infested area you live in…so the question is, why not take responsibility for that and move somewhere more amenable to your cultural tastes? most psychologically minded people (i am one of those) would read your comments as projections of your own desires and feelings about your own current situation…

    2. this relates to the idea of logic and emotion…in the last 20 years or so psychologists have begun to realize that emotional wisdom is perhaps more important than I.Q., as most people who are successful are more often emotionally intelligent, than they are logically.

    my life has given me access to many people who have an over-reliance on their mind, and through spiritual and/or therapeutic processes have learned to understand their emotional sides…and as a result were able to feel more integrated…

    you can say all you want that you have no resentment, or disdain for other groups of people…but frankly, it is obvious…it is absolutely obvious that you do…i am not judging that…but we cannot behave as if your arguments are logical, when they obviously spring from personal, perhaps unconscious internal conflicts…

    the irony is that of the 4 of us, the most emotion is coming from your perspective…and even more ironic that you are the one least able to understand this…

    you said in one of your comments that “I am against those who do not contribute and can.”…so i would assume this judgment also applies to the rich, right? and aren’t the rich MORE able to contribute, and therefore isn’t there, at least, some logic to seeing there a moral imperative…owing to your own statement?

    your own desires for riches and freedom from the slum within which you live cannot be ignored as a backdrop for your current perspectives…

    i have often found that until i find peace in my immediate environment i cannot move on…in other words, until i find emotional clarity within a conflict zone of my life, i will not develop beyond it…

    you can work hard all your life greg, but if you do not love as hard, i fear you will fail…

  • Greg

    I am sorry about getting on the defensive, I know I was and my apologies. I live in a pretty decent neighboorhood which is one the reasons I am shocked about what is happening. My goal is to move to a better place eventually but with the housing market being what is that will be a challenge in the immediate future.

    When I say contribute, I am speaking in the terms of positive contribution to society, the rich pay taxes and thus are contributing. When you simply do not work but yet take money from the government then you are not contributing you are taking. That is what I mean. Everyone should contribute if possible. The rich do their part by default because they have the means to pay taxes. Most of the people who are rich are not that way because they are not working in some form. Most people that I have known that are wealthy work harder than I ever have.

    Anyway I am back to work, I have little time to debate further on the schools and what not but I have put three kids through the system so I believe I have a very good base from which to form opinions and observations about the school system. If you want to debate that let me know.

  • no one doubts that you work hard, Greg. no one doubts your commitment as a parent. my primary point in getting involved in this is to suggest and test the idea that the world may be very different from the ways we have learned to interpret it.

  • good luck greg, i hope you make your millions and are able to be an example of personal responsibility…

    as for my part, i will never give myself to disdain for those living in dependence…for i am lucky to have my sense of initiative, i did not make it up, i was born with it…and i cannot claim pride for that which comes from a mysterious place…

    as far as the rich go…our country was made prosperous as a result of putting wealthy taxation to work…and our country is now broke because we have stopped that practice…

    the only reason i personally wish for wealth is so that i can be more effective in helping others…that is what life is about…not helping myself….i have had my share…

  • sing it, brother.

  • Are there really only two sides to this argument? This seems like a broken record. Not only on this site but in our media as well.

    How do we rise above this conversation?

    What types of dialogues are happening in other countries?

    Is this the root of all social arguments.

    The haves vs. the have nots?

    It seems so primordial that we have not evolved past this by now.

  • it does seem a bit backward, doesn’t it? but it is this sense of being stuck way in the past that motivates me to talk about the myth of genuine progress in ‘the West.’ your ‘broken record’ is the perfect analog for this discussion. i see this problem of haves, have-nots, and propaganda as a long cycle of wiping out, every generation or so, the prospect that new adults entering the system for the first time, or youths who learned contempt for it early on, will organize their thoughts and destabilize the palace the elites have built for themselves.

  • Greg

    Is that really all this comes down to? Is the have versus the have-nots? That really seems too simply of an analogy to put it in. If you examine our standard of living compared to the rest of the world our entire country is population of haves. It is a shame that people fail to understand this. I am not looking to make millions, I would like to make enough to be comfortable, help my kids and hopefully grandkids someday and enjoy my life. I have no illusion of the need to be excessively wealthy.

    I am glad you found your calling in being a life of charity Akbar, it is truly noble you do that. I give back what I can when I can.

    Since I hear lots of people claiming these lives of charity and self sacrifice I would appreciate hearing what you are actively doing towards that vain. I personally volunteer at my wife’s elderly home as a companion. I am interested for others to share what they are doing that is giving back.

  • Yes Greg, it’s as simple as that. What makes it difficult is that people who don’t have like yourself and me don’t realize that it’s that simple. The right has programmed their core to believe that the dirty lazy minorities are taking money away from them and that the free market should always rule with no regulation whatsoever. Even after the largest recession since the depression they oppose regulation.

    I claim no life of charity. I never have. I have empathy for all minorities and at my core I believe in civil and human rights for all. That alone is a charitable act when compared to those who don’t.

  • Greg, to clarify it is that simple but it is also extremely complicated. At the core it is the haves versus the have nots. It always has been. For a more of an explanation or description of the situation than I could ever give in a million lifetimes watch the HBO series The Wire, if you have not already.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wire

    It nails the issue on so many levels.
    The Five Season Topics:
    1. Illegal Drug Trade.
    2. Port System
    3. City government and bureaucracy
    3. School system
    5. Print news media

    And of course they could go on but it was the strongest case for this very simple ongoing issue in America and around the world that I’ve every seen.

  • IT’S A CLOSED SYSTEM…

    HAVING MORE REQUIRES THAT OTHERS HAVE LESS…

    EQUALITY IS OUR RIGHT AS HUMAN BEINGS…

  • Greg

    Akbar, I am not sure I understand your statement.
    What part of equality are you speaking of? Are you speaking of materialist, that is the jist of the comment given the second line I feel. If so I can’t see how having something that someone else possesses and earned themselves is a right. Maybe I misunderstand what you are saying. Can you clarify?

    Taking something from someone by force without cause is called stealing according to what I was taught. Noone had a right to take my property without my consent.

  • define earn…..

    how does one earn something?

    break it down, and i think you will find it to be problematic…

    profit is also a very hard to thing to define once one thinks very deeply about it…

  • Greg

    earn –verb (used with object) –
    1. to gain or get in return for one’s labor or service: to earn one’s living.
    2. to merit as compensation, as for service; deserve: to receive more than one has earned.
    3. to acquire through merit: to earn a reputation for honesty.
    4. to gain as due return or profit: Savings accounts earn interest.
    5. to bring about or cause deservedly

    Pick one. You know it is really hard to have a conversation when we seem to go off on these existentialism tangents. I am talking base reality here which you and I both live in Akbar. You have a job I am sure, you make a paycheck for that job because you contribute your time, efforts, talents, and work towards that goal. You EARN the paycheck for your contribution.

    As much as you can spout and articulate these fantistic notions about utopia and non-materialism, when we come back to Earth, now and our current situational reality we have materialistic needs that require us to obtain certain things. Now while I will grant you the base upon which we define the baseline for what we really NEED has become obscenely skewed and distorted through our culture and society, the need however is there.

    Profit is not hard at all a concept to define, it the difference between what is put in, cost, sacrificed, paid or removed from a certain resource, in relation to what is received or gained from the same efforts before mentioned. It is usually considered a positive result as a negative result is not considered a profit. It is not problematic at all. If you want to make it so it can be. This is that logic side I warned you about. It seems that making things into abstract concepts is what is being tried here and there is non really. In the context of our culture these concepts are very simple.

    This comes off like the same non-sense that they tried with Clinton in asking “Can you please define the meaning of the word IS?” Too me personally this leans itself towards diversion from the core topic and subject when the answer is becoming too clear.

    Sometimes things are simple, water is wet. No not ice, not steam, WATER is wet. Always. There is not debate or other interpretation of this. Ok…..I was weed eating and mowing the lawn so my heart rate was up there, sorry. So now that we have sliced, diced, and juilianned through the bullshit. What did you mean on your previous comments? I would like to understand completely.

    I personally would have a hard time explaining to my daughters that “Hey you can work and strive and put all the effort forth in your life but remember the fruits of your efforts are all going to be taken by someone else and you will reap no benefit from them at all. ”

    We actually had this discussion once. They asked about grades and I explained that if they worked for an A really hard and at the end of the year they gave their A to another kid because he needed it but did not earn it how would they feel. They got the concept real quick that having what you earned taking from you for no valid reason because someone else wants/needs it is not a good feeling. That however is my humble opinion which I believe a lot of people share.

    Happy Fourth to you all.

  • it seems you are arguing for consistency of values…and i would concur with that…

    so, the question arises, how does one explain the ‘earning’ power of a garbage man, an admittedly difficult job…where lots of effort is put forth which makes peoples lives more livable…and the ‘earned’ result…the grade, if you will…and a basketball player who ‘earns’ enough to live for a whole year on one game…an admittedly unnecessary leisure activity…or if we want to avoid any cultural dimensions here, a C.E.O. who works the same hours as the garbage man, yet earns his whole paycheck in a single hour…

    this is the more nuanced exploration of earning i had in mind…i am quite aware of its common understanding…

    in the past, the scale of difference between wealth and poverty has dramatically increased…and it is the extremity i am interested in, not so much the idea that effort ought not be rewarded…i do believe that effort is rewarded quite naturally…it is the unnatural application of politicized forms of reward that i am questioning…and i think again, you are looking at the other side of this argument, the minority grading incentives…which are most likely a means, and i am not defending them, of counter-balancing the extreme imbalance in the reward of effort….

  • Greg

    In simple response it comes back to basic economics of supply, demand and market bearing value of commodities. What will the market pay you for what services/goods you offer and how much are they worth.

    Kinda like the rare pennies you hear about that literally speaking are worth 1 cent, yet because they are rare collectors are willing to pay $50,000 for one penny. What is the penny really worth, depends on who you ask.

    Is the system fair for pay to job ratio, I have no idea, there are assholes in government who do nothing and still get 6 digit salaries. who knows what is fair. But I do not begrudge any one for getting as much as they can for what they can.

    Let me put it this way Akbar, would you go to your boss and ask for a decrease in salary because you thought you were paid too much? Probably not.

  • fairness is exactly the interest of social critics greg, and it is exactly the realm that interests people of compassion, because fairness, equality and justice are reinforcing values…

    and in fact, in a manner of looking at it, i have consistently decreased my income in order to remain committed to my ideals…you might not believe that, but my friends will vouch for this…

    i have always eschewed my responsibilities to the machine, in favor of my spiritual ones…and my life has only become more secure…it is this paradox that assures me that there is a god, and that he honors self-sacrifice…

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