For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Even the Present Isn’t the Future – Religion and Politics

I’ve said it before, but cannot say it often enough. Each lesson in life is a challenge to us. It is put in place for us to deal with, so that we may learn, and aspire to things greater than those the which we have previously come to understand, and with which we can hope to make a better, more complete future.

Here I am saying it again, this time about a lesson that I have been learning for the majority of my days on Planet Earth.

As is so often the case, the “gelling of” this lesson was born out of a simple statement, made about something that seems to have little bearing on the nugget of wisdom in question.

The essence of the statement considered is, “Because folks don’t seem to be concerned about children outside the womb, it seems amazing to me that they care about those not yet born.”

To begin with, this statement is errant in that, most of the folks I know, who worry themselves about the unborn, have every bit as much concern about those already born as they do about those in the womb. The difference between them, is that those in the womb are being killed—not dying, mind you, being killed—at an ever more ridiculous pace. On top of this, they have, if it can be imagined, even less ability to defend their existence than even the youngest of those outside the womb, much less those who are older.

That’s not to say that there aren’t children outside the womb both being killed, and dying. There are a good many so, and they are around the World, as well as here at home. The funny thing is, as a rule, there is little killing in the United States (none sanctioned by sensible humans) and comparative to the rest of the planet, very few dying. And of those dying, work is being done every day to limit their number—to keep them from being memories of grief to their parents other family, and caretakers.

In this, I digress. The thing I wanted to be clear upon, is that even those whose lives appear at present, to be horribly bad, have a chance at futures that cannot presently be imagined.

Clearly, it is possible for things to become better or worse for pretty much any and every body.

You can be quite sure, prior to his diagnosis, that the former captain of industry, Steve Jobs thought he had a good many more years left to him. Sadly for him, those he loved, and the folks who loved him, it was not to be the case.

On the other side of that same coin though, a quick look at that individual’s life should make it clear that things can go in just the opposite direction. Mr Jobs spent a good deal of time “on top of the World.” To be fair, even prior to his apparently untimely demise, and even the diagnosis that portended it, he also had some times that were not nearly so wonderful.

And the former head of Starbucks, Howard Schultz can be said to have had a “rough start.” Up to this point though, that doesn’t seem to indicate his “end.” Imagine coming from “the projects” and considering a run for the United States presidency! Like him or not, you have to admit the story is more than a little inspirational.

Though your highs may not have been nearly so high as for either man—and frankly, so many others, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Sowell, and Clarence Thomas, come to mind as examples—to this point, equally, your lows may or may not have been as low. Even so, you have—it is pretty well assured—had both highs and lows. I know this is the case for me.

About this point, it should be pretty obvious what I’m getting at here. The simple point is that, no matter what your past, no matter even your present, your future is “up for grabs.” You have the right, even the authority, to “steer your own destiny.”

For the unborn though, they have no such authority; or more correctly, that honor has been afforded their “carrier.” I use the term, not at all as one of derision or scorn, or any other evil of mean-spirited intent. It was used for the sole purpose of making it clear that the child temporarily relies on the mother for his or her (or their) health, happiness and wellbeing.

The argument can be made that an unwanted or in some wise “damaged or incomplete” child can count on a life of misery. My point is, that’s by no means a “foregone conclusion.” In fact, once born, there’s no telling what might happen to the child in question. Further, there’s no telling what “gifts” that child or those children may bestow upon the World, or some small or large part of it.

If you don’t believe this, perhaps you should consider the children “in miserable circumstances” spoken of by those making the statement at the beginning of this text.

How many such children started life in far from perfect circumstances, only to have their lives changed in ways totally unexpected?

Maybe the outcome they received was not what they would have liked. Perhaps they didn’t have an end that was wonderful or extraordinary. Even so, many of them had lives they would never have dreamed of having in their earlier, less fortunate days.

The obvious point here, is that life can change for the better or the worse, in a moment. And since it’s true that things can move in either direction, even a child, or an adult for that matter, who is in the most unfortunate of circumstances, can experience a shift at any time, that puts them into at the very least, better, if not fantastic and entirely unexpected circumstances. True that this can work in the “opposite direction,” lest you assume I am saying otherwise.

This fact is no different for people “riding high” than those in a “pit of despair.”

The point then, is that one ought not assume current circumstances, are final circumstances in the “earthly sense” unless, the person in question passes from this mortal coil. As such forfeiting the life of another human—yet born or not—is something one ought not do without extremely good reason, and even then great care should be used in deciding to do so. This is in direct contradiction with the current mindset on this matter by most.

Okay, I’ve overshot my limits yet again. May your time be good, and thanks yet again for reading.

Business For LinkedIn Philosophy Politics Religion, Politics and Philosophy

This is How Memories Die – Religion and Politics

I well understand that the very title of this article makes it seem the article is not one folks would like to read. Where I see this as being true, I also see a need to write this, in order to potentially give folks an understanding of some basic truths of life as I see things.

Having thus introduced this piece, I should take the time to explain just a little about myself. To begin with, I don’t see myself as an overly sentimental individual. In fact, it takes a certain type of occurrence or event—witnessed or lived—to cause me to experience even a little emotion of any kind. Most of my time is spent in quiet contentment, being happy but nothing like elated.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. In fact, it’s mostly simple things that matter most, they being the more common things one sees and deals with on a day-to-day basis. Even large things tend not to excite me too greatly, as I’ve learned there are up and down sides to just about everything that occurs in one’s life.

None of this is to say that I run around, either disappointed, or expecting to be disappointed. Though there are times I have come to realize that I will be disappointed if I expect even the least of things out of people and places. For the most part, my my tendency is to lower my expectations of those people and places, and to learn to be happy with who and what they are. That may seem cynical, but in truth, it just means that I’m “cutting breaks” in my sometimes overly high standards.

Put another way, it’s mostly more that what I want is more than what I should expect.

Here I must pause and say something I probably say a little too often. You may be wondering at this point, how the things said to this moment matter to the title of the article. Let me see if I can “pull the threads together.”

Let me begin by relating a recent (very recent) experience.

I walked into a local restaurant I have been frequenting for at least the last ten years (probably closer to fifteen), upon which “renovations” had occurred. I had already been “soured by” the fact that I went out of my way to visit the establishment in question a couple of days earlier on the supposed day of their grand opening, only to find that the dining area was not open and that they appeared to only be doing “take out.”

I almost let that be the “last chance,” for the eatery in question (i.e., that they were not actually open on the morning of their supposed grand opening, even thought they serve breakfast), but I chose to “cut them a break” based on our long “history.”

I have to acknowledge that I’m not always the most personable of individuals, though I think I’ve gotten somewhat better about that over the course of time. The result is, when I can find a place where people can tolerate me—much less generally get along with me (even when we substantially disagree on many things)—it makes it that much more pleasant to be there if the “ambiance” is good.

Therein lies the “rub.” One of the things that attracted me to this particular location (of a large restaurant chain) was the ambiance, the look, feel and “air” of the place.

They had open spaces, closed booths, relatively comfortable seating. They didn’t seek to be “bright and airy” but they weren’t dark, dank or dismal either.

To top things off, I had developed relationships with many of the folks who worked there! This, for me, is no small thing!

So I came in, placed my order, and “took in” the new look and feel of the place as I did so.

I’m pleased to report that, after not having many of the folks working inside the restaurant for the period of “renewal,” most of those people have returned, having been given positions in other locations in the meantime.

I’m not, however, so pleased with what has become of the facility.

To begin with, I should say that the company in general, has moved to a “kiosk approach” in one of the standard aims of “fast food” companies to reduce cost. For the most part, that’s not a problem for me, though I know it costs at least hours, if not jobs when this happens. It is the way of business to attempt to reduce cost, and as is well known, people are often one of the most expensive “resources” in almost every business.

The entity in question has adopted a “hybrid model,” wherein you may use the automated ordering system, but may also walk up to a counter. The result is, when and if you cannot, or do not wish to order from the kiosk, you’re not stuck in a position where you have no choice.

The problem is, the remodel was not—in my view—particularly well thought out. You see, a larger percentage of their client base was older folks, many of them (and in some measure, I include myself in this) who could be considered to be “set in their ways.” As we get older, we tend to realize that there are certain things we like, and still others that are not in the least exciting to us.

In this case, the dining area went from the one I described, to one that looks garish (that’s probably the least of my concerns, by the way), looks cheap (only a concern because I worry what will happen if things start to break down), is all open (no real “booths”) and frankly, has uncomfortable seating. As I write this, I am feeling pains in places where previously I would not have done when sitting in this place.

Here’s my “conclusion.” Though the food is the same (a product of a franchise environment in which the individual locations must buy from a corporate entity), and the people every bit as nice, the changes to the look and feel of the restaurant may well serve to drive “formerly regular patrons” away.

Tying this back to the title, I have made memories here, I have made friends here—both employees and customers. I have enjoyed my time coming here when I was able so to do. I may change my mind, but at present, it appears though, this is where the “dream dies.”

Maybe my title is a little misleading since, for as long as I have the mental acuity to retain them, the memories will continue to exist. That being said, I know neither I, nor the folks I know who used to frequent the place, nor the company can really ever go back. The “memories” for this place, likely end here.

So if you’re the owner of a business, just remember, “grand dreams” on your part, may have unexpected effect on others and as a result, on you. It’s in your best interest to really think about the changes you’re making and the likely results of those changes. Maybe the owners wanted what I think it likely they’re going to get, but want it or not, I’m pretty sure they will receive it.

Okay, getting “wordy” here. I wish you the best of times and thank you profusely for having read my “rant.”

Autism Related Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Foundations, Charities and Donations – Autism

Much of what I write is a direct result of things that are said on the Internet. That’s less true for things related to Autism, where non-Internet “real life” tends to “trump” things I see and hear online. This post is no exception.

I write this particular piece as a result of a conversation I had with what I assume was the parent of an Autistic boy at a “local hangout” my son and I frequent (The Wonder Place, by name).

We were coming to “closing time” for the facility in question, and I was performing my normal task of “calling time” for my son. There were a couple of parents around me, and one of them made the offhand comment that—essentially—“We’re all dreading those minutes’ expiration.” I commented back that Garrett was Autistic, and that it was very possible there would be a “full-on screaming and crying session” when the time arises because of his Autism.

The person making the original comment looked at me, unclear exactly how she ought to respond (not that there is a “stock response” that’s either desired or expected, mind you), but looking almost like, “poor you.”

The other person said something I have heard more and more over the course of time, “My charge (don’t recall whether she said ‘son’ or not) is Autistic as well.” As is often true in such circumstances, we talked a bit about Autism, its diagnosis and what it was like dealing with the specific individual with whom we each had to deal. As is pretty usually the case, we had some things in common, but probably as much not so as so.

Her charge had begun reading at a very early age, my son has yet to really begin to get letter recognition down (and was the same age or older). They both were prone to “meltdowns” when not given “fair” advanced warning on things that would be expected of them (and sometimes, even then). Both were not great socially, neither terrible, as far as I could tell. I would have guessed both to be somewhere in the “moderately Autistic” range, Garrett (my son) probably closer to severe (though probably on the “low side” of moderate, I.e., closer to mild than to severe).

The end of our conversation was a polite, “Have a good day, and good luck,” sort of thing.

As the place was closing though, she came up to me again and gave me a post card sized “advertisement” for an “Autism walk” of some sort. You know, one of those things to “raise awareness.” I politely informed her that I really don’t support such things—and the less where Autism is concerned than for many other purposes. She was polite, and didn’t take me for saying anything I wasn’t as far as I’m able to tell.

You see, I believe folks should be able to support such things just as much as not, so I have no problem with the idea that she was in support of such a thing. As for me, I have a different approach, which for the most part says I must do everything in my power to prepare Garrett for the World he will face, and as little as possible to insulate him from it. It is further my contention, that Autism is not some sort of “disease” to be cured, but a difference or set thereof that is or are to be dealt with. By this, I don’t mean that the person is to be “changed” in terms of who they are by nature.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they should “stay the same” for ever and ever, but I don’t think desired changes should be a matter of the child’s Autism, so much as the expectations that society will place on that one as a person.

The difference may seem subtle, but the point is, the Autism itself is, in my humble opinion, not a “problem.” The resultant behaviors may be problematic, but not the Autism itself.

This, to me, shifts my perspective from one where folks are trying to “cure” the person, to one where they are working to help the individual to act in ways that allow him or her to be looked as as “in conformance with” society at large.

You may argue that, particularly among folks with severe Autism (or moderate Autism that is closer to severe), the parents or guardians can use “help,” and I don’t inherently disagree. In my mind though, that’s not something that should be “handled by” some entity that deals strictly with Autism.

I can make an argument for the idea that “specialists” in dealing with Autism could be of aid to those dealing with Autistic family members or other charges, but for the most part, I don’t believe that’s as necessary as a lot of folks seem to assume.

When it all comes down to brass tacks, I don’t see the need for “raising Autism awareness” being such a critical thing. Nor mostly, do I see most people not dealing with Autism, being interested in “having their awareness raised.” The result is that it’s hard for me to support, “walks for Autism” and things of that sort.

I have a niece who had a “micro-preemie.” The cost and medical treatments associated with such a thing appear to be gigantic, particularly if the care given is good (not what happens in some facilities, as I get it). For such a thing, I can see support being far more necessary.

I’m one of those folks who feels that people are unrealistic, in that they expect that premature birth will ever cease to exist. But the fact that I feel pretty well assured that it won’t go away, is more reason to think it reasonable to raise awareness and continue to work on improvements to the way we deal with premature births. That’s not the case for Autism in my opinion. Not because it won’t go away mind you, so much as that it’s not some sort of defect of problem in my view.

Those of us dealing with it, need to learn to do so better, and more importantly, we need to help Autistic folks with it, to achieve as normal a set of interactions as is possible. Maybe training will help some folks with that, as for me, I don’t see it. As such, I’m not generally in support of events to “raise awareness” or to “help prevent or treat” Autism. That doesn’t mean I hold it against others who do support such things, just that I’m not “in that group” as a rule. Hope this helps to clarify.

So here I am again, out of “time and space.” As usual, allow me to wish you the best of times, and thank you for reading.

Philosophy Politics Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Are Republics Inherently Good? – Religion and Poltics

In a relatively recent article, I wrote about Socialism. At least one person who read that article, took me to be saying—as far as I am able to tell—“Socialism is never a good thing.” My actual intent was to say that, “Government is Socialist by nature. All government activities should be limited to more or less needed things. Government should exercise its power at the lowest possible level.”

Part of the point of this set of statements, is to indicate that to some degree, Socialism cannot be avoided unless you support anarchy, which—as I see it—never works, but that is a topic for another article.

That means that Republican, Totalitarian, Monarchical, Oligarchical and pretty much all other forms of true government share one thing in common. To some degree or other, they are all Socialist. The question being the degree.

That being said then, it should be obvious that, unless I am willing to argue for anarchy (of which I count true Communism to be a part), I cannot argue for the total obliteration of Socialism.

Based on this concept, I would argue that technically Socialism is not a form of government at all. Rather, it is a necessity of implementation for any form of government that expects to exert any control.

I wanted to put that out there as a precursor to the discussion of one of the forms of government that embraces Socialism—Republicanism.

By Republicanism, I mean essentially, “A government that works based primarily on a set of laws as opposed to one that works on an entirely democratic basis.” The difference being that in Republics, laws come first. In “true democracy,” the “will of the majority” trumps the law. In fact, if true democracy could be established or accomplished, there would essentially be little or no need for laws at all (virtually everything would be “up for a vote”—a referendum, as it were).

The thing to keep in mind though, is that every republic must have some “base tenets” upon which subsequent laws stand—even if that means looking at the earlier laws—a thing typically referred to as “considering precedent.”

That’s an important realization!

Put simply, it’s possible to create a republic on the most ridiculous base tenets, as well as the very best of ideas and ideals.

Don’t believe me? Consider this, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (known to most as North Korea), the Republic of Cuba (most call it just plain “Cuba”), the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China (yep, what you probably just call, “China”), the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (so here, Vietnam is called a “socialist republic”), and so very many other countries, consider the concept of republicanism to be so important that most ensconce it in their “official name.”

Still not convinced? It’s hard to find a single country in the world that does not count itself republican in nature, name aside.

Many reading this article, likely consider one such country’s “style of republic,” to be superior to all others—whether that of their home country, of that of another.

Equally, many reading, will consider the republics of many other countries, to be wanting or seriously lacking.

The reason for this should not only be obvious, but expected.

As earlier stated, it is possible for a republic to be based on a great number of either very strong or solid ideas, or not so strong or even weak ones.

The conclusion is obvious, if so many entities can count themselves republican, and can do so reasonably—and to be fair some can, and others cannot—even though republicanism is a single thing in form, its implementation can vary wildly from place to place.

That being said, the question that strikes me as significant, is not so much whether republics are a “good form of government,” as whether a a particular republic was founded on solid principles and ideas.

To be fair, the foundational ideals for a given government regardless its form only matter if people continue to follow those ideals. This is one of the problems the United States faces as I write this. As a nation, the U.S. has strayed far from the concepts and ideals upon which it was founded. But I digress, the intent of this article was to discuss the merit of the republic as a form of government.

The only reason the success of failure of the republic of the United States is of consequence, is that it—like any other government—can be “corrupted.”

Having said that though, the first and important realization must be that, just because a country is born out of the concept of, or chooses at some point after it comes into existence to take on, the concept of republicanism, does not mean it will either be successful, or that the resulting government will be a good one.

One of the things stressed by the Founders of the United States was that an “uninformed electorate” would very likely result in a questionable government.

The unfortunate reality is, most of the U.S. electorate is uninformed—and this has only gotten worse over the course of time. Be fully aware that I am not saying this is a problem that the United States alone faces. As time goes on, more and more people everywhere seem to know less and less about the foundation of their respective countries. Perhaps some are better than others, but this seems to be a pretty “common thread” in society at large and the world over.

It used to be an accepted and expected thing, that government and its workings—both for the country in which the teaching was occurring, and for other governments—would be taught in school, and at comparatively “low levels” (so starting in elementary education and generally carried through to at least something akin to high school). This required that teachers have a solid understanding of such things—a thing that seems to be presently largely lacking even among those who are supposed to be doing such teaching.

Yet again, I have “stumbled off” my intended course. The point is, if you’ve come to the conclusion that “republics solve all ills” where government is concerned, I urge you to obtain a better understanding. The base tenets of the republic matter every bit as much as the “governmental form.”

Okay, another post more or less complete. As usual, may your time be good and thanks for reading.

Business For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

What am I Owed and by Whom – Religion and Politics

I can’t remember when the seemingly trite expression became real to me. I think it was probably in the last ten years, but it may’ve been longer ago than that. The essence of the expression is, “Life is one gigantic lesson—or a litany thereof—to be learned.”

The point here, is it that all other things aside, it appears that none of life is accidental and that we can all learn from each moment.

The truth being told though, we don’t learn from each moment of life, regardless what is possible.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at things), it appears the each lesson is repeated until it is either learned or it, or something else, extinguishes one’s existence.

In the end though, we either learn the lesson, or repeat it as far as I’m able to tell.

Perhaps at some point, someone “out there,” chooses to give up—either permanently or temporarily—where particular lessons are concerned. As a Christian, I would say that God would be the “Final Authority” on that.

Perhaps some lessons are so difficult for some (or all) of us, that they must either be taught either over and over, or in bits and pieces.

Some lessons can be learned “out of context,” which may be yet another reason that care is taken in their teaching and presentation.

One thing that I believe we must all learn is, for me at least, particularly difficult to internalize; and I suspect I am far from alone in this.

The essence of this lesson is that, we are “owed” nothing, neither by fate, nor by our fellow man. What makes this lesson so difficult to grapple with, is that it is such a harsh thing to realize. Don’t get me wrong, we can do or say things, that make others beholden to us—at least for a time. Past that though, nobody owes us anything.

Various arguments can be made for what one person owes another. For example, it can be argued that when people bring children into the World, they “owe” them any future at all. The truth is though, if you believe that, you need to remember that there are those mothers who die on the birth of their children and those fathers who die before their children are even born. As mercenary as such a statement may seem, it certainly leads directly to the idea that parents actually owe their children nothing.

You may think the expressed idea(s) to be horrible, but the thing of importance is not to realize that we can and should not do things for those about us. Rather, it is to make it clear that none of the things we do for others, or others do for us are owed.

Let’s face a simple fact. Past a certain time in life, most people can learn to live entirely without the help of others. How wonderful, magical, or even average such a life would be without the help of those others, is another matter entirely though.

When one considers all the amazing inventions and even mundane acts and products involved in one’s life, it quickly becomes obvious that there is a great deal for which one must thank one’s fellow man.

Forgetting a single person’s ability to both invent and create so many things that are used in that person’s life on a day to day basis, that person would by necessity come to the conclusion that time alone would be enough of a restraining factor to make it impossible for him or her to live the life he or she now does without the help and benefit of the actions and ideas of others.

The point then, is others may have no requirement to help you, but the benefit of members of society doing things for others is entirely obvious.

This concept is a “double-edged sword.” For at the same time that we are owed nothing, we owe nothing, as I have said. Where the recognition of this fact is liberating on the one hand, on the other, it means we must decide for whom we will do what, and why; and so it is for others around us as well.

So the basis for our actions towards others is not a matter of our being beholden to others, nor are their actions so us-ward.

Then “end” of this, if you will, is that folks have a need to make decisions upon what they will act and upon what they will not. Obviously, most folks have a “sphere of influence”—though their influence may be felt far outside that space. For most folks, this somewhat simplifies the “question.”

Most people, by way of example, assume—except for doing things like, donating to causes outside of their families and friends—that the majority of their time and effort not spent on themselves will be spent on their family and friends. And before you assume something to the contrary, in general I’m not trying to say that is some horribly bad thing.

Many will take up causes for various reasons. For example Autism is something that has become near to my heart and life, because of my Autistic son.

In the end though, we must make decisions in what we will involve ourselves.

For a lot of individuals, that mostly means “tit-for-tat behavior.” Someone does something for me, I act in reciprocal fashion.

Some come to “step out” of this behavioral mode, to help those with whom they would otherwise have no  relationship. At times, they do this to their own peril, or the peril of those who love them and who they love.

Obviously, your decisions surrounding who you will “help” and with whom you will associate matter a great deal. Your choices will almost certainly affect the lives of multiple others; and still others will be affected by the actions and statements of those upon whom you exert some sort of difference.

In the end though, it’s important to remember that all you do, believe and accept it or not, is a matter of your choices. Likewise for others. The only advice I can give is, “Act accordingly.”

Okay, about at the end of time and words yet again. As such, here’s hoping your time is good, and as usual, thanks for reading.

Business For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

The Past Belongs There – Religion and Politics

Sometimes you can just hear the complaints coming! You do your best to “nip them in the bud,” but people will invariably take what you’re trying to say the wrong way. The result is, I end up adding “disclaimers” of one sort or another to just about everything I write. This little piece will be no exception.

Though I’m advocating for judging the actions and words of another on that person’s current perspective, attitudes and actions, the less “proof of change” that exists, the less I see it possible for people to do this. Simply put, I can say I believe one thing today, but just yesterday, my words or deeds may make it clear that at least yesterday, I did not believe that thing.

What makes this worse is that people—particularly “political animals”—will speak one way and act in entirely another. Don’t get me wrong, politicians are far from alone in this. In fact, quite frankly, to the degree that any individual is suffering from “cognitive dissonance,” he or she will likely be prone to such behavior.

For those that are unaware, cognitive dissonance can be defined as, “having beliefs that are in contradiction one with another.” Believe it or not, this is probably a great deal more common than one might initially suspect. I have cited examples in time past, but if I want to get to the “meat of” this article, I haven’t time or space to do so here.

The point is, probably the majority of humans on Planet Earth have issues with cognitive dissonance to some degree or other. I haven’t proof of this statement, only my experience with others to speak from.

But the main point of what I was intending to write about here, is not related to cognitive dissonance. I wanted, rather, to speak to something I have seen becoming more and more prevalent, then to discuss my problems with it.

I shan’t detail examples, though I expect you have seen them if you pay any attention to “the news”—from whichever “direction or directions” you experience it.

The issue can be succinctly expressed as “digging up bones.”

In the recent past, I have watched as people’s characters have been assassinated. This is particularly true for “public figures.” So politicians, “news reporters,” actors, comedians and others of similar ilk have been targeted. And it would be one thing if this was something that happened to folks of one political leaning or other, but it’s not.

There are those that argue people on “one side of the political aisle” or other have been more targeted than others, and maybe it’s even the case. That being said, I would still argue that it’s inappropriate regardless to whom it is done.

Speaking from personal experience, the one “small mercy” of my life, is that most of the stupid things I’ve done in the course of my time on the planet, have not either been recorded anywhere, or left visible signs of having occurred. I have a feeling that almost everybody can make at least this statement.

If a person is a public figure however, it’s more likely than not that his or her actions have been “recorded” in some fashion for much of his or her life. Obviously, the younger a person, the more their life has likely been “entangled with” the Internet. As such, younger folks are less likely to be able to say this.

There are two major—and probably a great many more minor—issues with this.

The first is that things can be taken out of context. I have, for example, seen multiple examples where someone was quoting another individual, only to have something said as a citation attributed to them as “original.”

One way or another though, taking a “sound bite” of someone can result in it appearing that the individual in question said or even did something that he or she didn’t say or do.

What makes this worse is that in the modern day, such attributions make their way around the World in virtually no time at all. This leaves the individual dealing with them to suffer the slings and arrows of the “court of public opinion.”

At times, the end result is the absolute ruin of the individual in question. Keep in mind, this is for a person who is at least questionably  in any way incorrect in what they have done or said.

More and more, I have become a person who will say less about others. Even when I do choose to say things, I tend to be very careful in how I do so. Even so, I’m sure I sometimes “get it wrong.”

The next consideration is that people change. The assumption that folks are the same as they were two weeks ago, much less a month, a year, and ten or more years ago, is far from a good one. The older I get, the clearer this is.

The reality is, people who do not change, very likely have horrible existences to show for it.

I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you that, as a younger man—much less as a child—my behavior and the understanding that underlaid it was far from what I would have desired it to be looking back in history. Of course, the expression, “hindsight is 20/20,” comes to mind here. It’s easy to look back on the past, and wish you had done things differently!

Part of the reason it’s possible for me to look back on my past with chagrin or disdain, is that I have changed. Am I alone? I certainly should hope not—in reality, I well know I’m not.

Final thoughts? Words are not actions. Put another way, because someone says something, doesn’t mean they believe or do what it is they have said.

The past actions of a person are not by necessity (in fact, probably not at all), a perfect reflection of who that person is today. People change, both in bad and good ways. Because this is so, the further back a given statement, and more importantly a given action, the greater the chance that they are not representative of the individual you currently meet.

Okay, out of words (in terms of how many I choose to write), and time. As usual, if you have read this, thanks for doing so, and one way or another, may your time be good.