Tolerance

What America Needs Today: Another Mr. Rogers To Promote Love, Compassion, Empathy, And Tolerance

Last night, this blogger and author had the privilege to attend the documentary–“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”–about the life and career of Fred Rogers, known as Mr. Rogers on PBS for over thirty years, on his show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”.

Fred Rogers was a beautiful human being, who promoted good self image among children, emphasizing how each of us is unique and special.

He promoted love, compassion, empathy, and tolerance on issues of race, religion, sexuality, gender, and disabilities.

He made the lives of innumerable children, now adults, far better than they might have been without his show on PBS.

He helped children through the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968; the Challenger Astronaut Disaster of 1986; and the evil of September 11.

He promoted people accepting each other as they are, and looking for the good in people.

His show, through puppets and supporting cast, made children and their parents happier and more secure than they would have been otherwise.

In a time as now, in 2018, we so desperately need a Mr. Rogers to overcome the horrible sins of hatred, greed, selfishness, racism, nativism, misogyny, Islamophobia, antisemitism, prejudice against the disabled, and the poor of all backgrounds, represented by the total evil of Donald Trump and his supporting cast and base.

We need a political leader who will come to the forefront and overcome the cancer and absolute evil of Donald Trump, and take us in a different direction.

It was hard to watch this documentary and not have tears and despair, but there are other Fred Rogers out there, maybe not yet showing up in government, but playing their smaller roles as teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, and others dedicated to making life better for all of us, not just the elite wealthy who could not give a damn about anyone but themselves!

Tom Hanks will portray Fred Rogers in a film to come out in 2019, entitled “You Are My Friend”.

The Muslim Ban Decision Of The Supreme Court (Trump V Hawaii) Will Go Down As One Of Worst Decisions In 229 Years Of Our National History!

The Supreme Court has just made one of the worst decisions in its 229 year history, and has besmirched its own reputation in the process.

It will match such decisions as the Dred Scott Case of 1857; Plessy V Ferguson 1896; and Korematsu V US 1944—all racist decisions justifying slavery, racial segregation, and the internment of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

All have been roundly condemned, as violations of basic human rights and civil liberties, and now, once again, the Supreme Court has proved how it has allowed itself to promote discrimination and racial prejudice, all in the name of “national security”.

Instead of labeling African Americans or Japanese Americans, now the whole Islamic religion has been judged as a threat to national security, based on the hysteria and racism of Donald Trump.

We have, therefore, allowed an authoritarian who threatens our whole system of government to win a case based purely on bias and religious hatred.

This is a slippery slope that can lead to victimization in the future of people from other nations and other religions.

Jews who were refused entrance in the late 1930s, and now people from Central America who want to escape similar violence and bloodshed and are being held in detention away from their children, are just further examples of how religious prejudice and racism are winning out.

The John Roberts Court has undermined its own reputation in the process, and will be condemned in history.

And the fact that Merrick Garland, appointed by President Obama, was denied a hearing for the Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, led to Neil Gorsuch, who predictably now and in the future will advocate an extreme right wing agenda, harming our constitutional liberties for the next thirty years.

The fact that three members of the Court would not be there if the popular vote had won out in 2000 and 2016 just adds to the tragedy, as George W. Bush would not have been able to appoint John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and Donald Trump would not have been able to appoint Neil Gorsuch.

Sonia Sotomayor registered her vehement dissent, along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the opposition of Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. But it was all for naught!

America’s reputation has been permanently damaged, and we are no safer against those Muslims who are extremists, who are now emboldened to do harm more than ever, and at the same time, those Muslims in America who have served in our armed forces honorably, and those who have done good work in other fields, have been slapped in the face.

Our most ugly side as a nation has been displayed for all to see, and anyone who believes in justice and fair play is weeping today, and will for the long term of our history as a nation, as tolerance and open mindedness have been denied!

The 4th Of July In The Trump Era: America Has Lost Its Way!

Today is the 241st anniversary of Independence Day, declared in 1776.

America was a great experiment in being a republic, and over the nearly two and a half centuries since, America ended slavery; opened its arms to scores of immigrants from all over the world; expanded the right to vote to all citizens over time, no matter what race, religion, nationality, or gender they were; promoted a social safety net; and expanded public education to all.

The Constitution was expanded to face modern realities; and both major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, contributed to the advancement of tolerance and justice and equal opportunity; and the Supreme Court became a body that dealt with expansion of civil liberties and civil rights.

There were many detours along the road to today, but overall, progress was made, and a sense of optimism reigned.

And then, September 11 occurred, and the nation’s politics veered from one viewpoint to another and then to what is now present, a dark view of our nation, its people, and the world.

We live in the Trump era, which is in process of delaying, deleting, and destroying so much progress that has been accomplished in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

We are seeing race, religion, ethnicity and gender being used in an abusive manner to take away basic civil liberties, civil rights, common decency, and a sense of civility.

We are seeing the wealthy becoming the most stratified group in American history, and the middle class, created in the 20th century, destroyed, and the poor being treated in a shabby fashion.

One political party, the Republicans, has become the party of negativism, hatred, prejudice, and pure nastiness, and we have seen the shift of the Supreme Court toward a hard right conservatism that brings back memories of the Gilded Age Supreme Court.

It is as if we are in a time warp, and have reverted to 140 years ago!

So while we celebrate our national holiday, we have a lot to mourn, and it MUST make all of us determined to fight and resist with all our abilities combined, to resolve this crisis in a constitutional manner, with the removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency, as a tyrant and authoritarian figure who has met his match with our Constitutional remedy!

Rural, Blue Collar, Poorly Educated Vs Urban, Suburban, White Collar, Well Educated: The 19th Century Vs. The 21st Century

After the British vote to leave the European Union, and the support that Donald Trump has gained in the United States, one thing is very clear!

We are in the midst of a revolt of the rural, blue collar, poorly educated against the urban, suburban, white collar, well educated who promote modernization and tolerance on the issue of immigration and race.

It was urban Londoners against the rural parts of England who voted to exit Europe, as it is the major urban centers and surrounding suburbs of America against the hinterland of Appalachia, the rural South, the Great Plains and the Mountain West, who love Donald Trump.

It is really nostalgia for the 19th century against the modernization of the 21st century, and a desire to isolate oneself from outside influences and nations.

The effort must be made to prevent the narrow mindedness of what happened in the United Kingdom from spreading, like a disease, to the United States in this year’s election.

All progressives must unite around Hillary Clinton and help to shape her progressive agenda, assuredly more than under her husband, Bill Clinton, in the 1990s!

Xenophobia, Misogyny, Racism, Nativism, Homophobia Must Be Fought In Favor Of Inclusion, Tolerance, And Diversity!

What has made America a great nation is the inclusion of all kinds of ethnic, national, and religious groups in American life, the promotion of diversity and tolerance!

But we also have always had an ugly strain of xenophobia, misognyn, racism. nativism, and homophobia which has permeated America!

Donald Trump is bringing out the worst elements in America, and he has stained the Presidential campaign with his promotion of fear and demagoguery!

The man is NOT a conservative; he is NOT a Republican; he is NOT a liberal; he is NOT a Democrat—he is truly a “Trumpite”, who has hijacked the Republican Party and the conservative movement and is, effectively, destroying both the party and the movement, as the situation, which is presently existing, insures a complete disruption of the political ideologies and political parties that have been part of the tradition of American history.

Donald Trump is a ‘loose cannon”, a demagogue who is arousing the worst elements of American life, and even without winning, he is undermining the possibility of dealing with the major issues this nation faces!

Trump knows nothing of foreign or military policy!  Trump knows nothing about everyday life for most Americans! Trump has no developed ideas to deal with terrorism, the economy, or climate change!  Trump is a “Know Nothing” in the worst way one can describe that term!

Donald Trump is a reckless and uncouth “wild card” who will help to transform American politics in a negative fashion, undermining the long term future of America!  Bigotry, bluster, bullying, and insulting undermines the whole concept of being the leader of the “free world”, and is unacceptable as a new trend in American politics and history!

The Purposes Of Higher Education

Why should one pursue higher education, and gain one or more college degrees?

Higher Education promotes appreciation of the world around us, and makes us better able to understand who we are and where we are in the universe.

Higher Education makes us able to communicate our thoughts and ideas in oral speech and in writing on a much higher level.

Higher Education opens us up to new areas of knowledge, even those we may think we have no interest in, but often return to later in life.

Higher Education assists in making each of us better conversationalists when with others in any social setting.

Higher Education helps to assist in overcoming prejudices, stereotyping, and judging people without forethought.

Higher Education teaches us to question and challenge and to work against propaganda and dogma of any kind.

Higher Education makes one willing to be skeptical about organized religion, wanting documentation, rather than simply accepting doctrine as reality.

Higher Education opens up our eyes to exposure to the brilliance of men and women who have made major contributions of all kinds to human endeavor.

Higher Education makes one a better partner in marriage, and a better parent.

Higher Education promotes tolerance, open mindedness, empathy, compassion, and appreciation of others who are different from us.

Higher Education enriches us for a lifetime of thought, besides providing a career in an occupation, so that we can provide for ourselves and our families.

Higher Education is attacked, sadly, by those who tell us that it is a bad investment, when there is no better investment for a lifetime. Even when it creates a financial burden for many years, it is so urgent, and since it does so much not only for oneself but also for society as a whole, it is urgent that a plan to cut college loan costs be instituted. By doing so, it will encourage more students to see the value of higher education for the long term.

So when any politician, particularly those on the conservative and Republican side of the political system work to undermine higher education, realize that it is a ploy to keep people ignorant and under one’s control. Higher education must continue to be a goal for more people, rather than an effort to promote ignorance and narrow mindedness!

College Education And The Presidency In 21st Century America: Is It Necessary? YES!

Today, in 2015, approximately 31 percent of adults over 25 have at least a four year college degree as part of their credentials. This is an all time high.

In American history, all but eleven Presidents have had at least a four year college degree, much of the time when only a sliver of Americans had such a degree.

A college education does NOT guarantee success; does NOT guarantee excellence in one’s occupational pursuits; does NOT make any person automatically “better” than those without a college education!

What does a college education do that is beneficial?

It promotes the growth of critical thinking skills; it promotes empathy and compassion for those less fortunate; it promotes ability to analyze and evaluate materials; it promotes intellectual inquiry and curiosity, which is a good thing; it promotes ability to interpret events and happenings with a background of knowledge; it promotes tolerance and open mindedness!

Should not one, therefore, expect that a President of the United States have, at the least, a four year degree that has promoted these values?

Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln did not have a college education, but that was 225 and 150 years ago, in a much less complex world than we have now!

Yes, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Harry Truman did not have a college education, but they all were highly motivated to learn, to read books, to have intellectual curiosity.

Would not Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, all military figures, have gained a more tolerant attitude if they had had more education, and maybe not killed as many Native Americans?

Would not Andrew Johnson have learned to work better with people and been more tolerant toward African Americans if he had had some more education?

Would not Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore have gained, also, by some more education? Ironically, despite lack of education, Fillmore founded the State University of NY Buffalo institution, which at least demonstrated his understanding of the value of higher education!

So with this background on Presidents and education, should it matter that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, in his senior year, and never finished his college degree, all for a job opportunity?

The answer is YES, as just because one takes on a job, does not mean one cannot finish a college degree, as many millions of others have done!

It is an issue of steadfastness, of dedication, of the old adage: “Finish what you start!” The extra effort required to finish is always worth it, as finishing a degree is a major accomplishment! If a politician wishes to be President, therefore, it should be expected that he shows persistence and commitment to follow through on any commitment he makes in life! He is not just one of us, where two thirds have not gone to or finished college. He is supposed to be the “best among us”, a figure we can look up to, and our children can see as a model!

Under those parameters, Scott Walker should not become President, without even mentioning his innumerable shortcomings, otherwise! He has failed a basic test of Presidential leadership!

A Four Year College Education Is Worth $1 Million in Lifetime Income!

It is clear that college debt is a massive problem, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is promoting a plan to make interest rates manageable, as if college graduates and students cannot buy homes, cars, have children, etc, then the future American economy, as well as their own futures, is gloomy.

However, despite this reality, new studies demonstrate that a four year college degree leads to a difference, in financial terms, of $1 million over a lifetime, so assuming a 40 year career, that is $25,000 more per year over a lifetime!

That is not taking into account when one has a professional or graduate training, where the difference in income is massive!

The point is that those who say forget a college education, are making a great mistake, not thinking in the long run, and also forgetting that education in itself opens up one’s mind; improves one’s life; makes for a more literate, educated society; and promotes tolerance and open mindedness!

So the goal should still be for any citizen to get the most education he or she is capable of, even if that education is not utilized directly at their work. The quality of life itself is enough reason for more education, not less!

“Tight” Vs. “Loose” States: Strongly Enforced Social Rules Vs. Greater Tolerance

Two Psychology professors at the University of Maryland have studied the issue of strongly enforced social rules in many states, as against greater, more open minded tolerance in other states.

It is indeed true that America is a complex nation in which social attitudes and influences differ dramatically.

Among the issues utilized are corporal punishment in schools; executions in the state prisons; attitude toward alcohol accessibility; and the legality of same sex marriage and unions.

Predictably, the Southern states are the “tightest”; the Midwest is in the middle; and the Northeast and Pacific Coast are the “loosest” in social mores.

It shows up in political terms, as for instance, Barack Obama was able to win only 40.3 percent of the vote in the “tightest” states, and yet won 58.8 percent of the vote in the “loosest’ states!

A Third Party In The Offing: Not Likely!

With the disgust over the disaster of the 113th Congress, and the GOP inspired government shutdown, the public opinion support for a third party has risen to its highest point in a decade, with 60 percent stating such a belief, in a Gallup Poll.

The frustration is understandable, but the American system of government has never moved toward a three party system, which would create the need for coalitions, and prevent passage of legislation, making it more difficult than the split Congress has demonstrated.

Third party history has been one of protest, and having an effect on who wins the Presidency, and promoting new ideas that often are later accepted by one or the other major political parties.

What is much more likely than a third party competing with the two major parties is a political realignment, with the Democrats likely to benefit by the civil war in the Republican Party.

And the Tea Party Movement is doomed, as the American people are catching on as to how destructive and negative that movement has been in the past four years.

The Republican Party has had a history of some great leaders and accomplishments, but their ability to compete is doomed, until and when they recognize that moving to the Far Right is a disaster, and that they must appeal to the voting groups that they have antagonized, including minorities, the young, woman, labor, and the struggling middle class.

And they must repudiate the hold of religion over their party, and emphasize tolerance, open mindedness, and a belief in the power of science, or else they will never be competing, and might be replaced by a new party!