JimWes Thinks

September 12, 2019

The Hardest Day of My Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 2:30 pm

It was a bright Spring morning in Atlanta in 1967. I left home a little later than usual that morning. Upon arriving at the Georgia State Capitol Plaza, I parked my car in the reserved area to which my official “SS 37” auto tag entitled me. I crossed the plaza to the Capitol Building and took the elevator to the governor’s office. His staff was expecting me and immediately showed me into the office of Governor Lester Maddox. He was sitting at his desk but immediately stood up. We  greeted and I  handed him a single sheet of paper, a letter,  written on my official stationary, the last one I ever wrote. On it was the following:

“I hereby submit my resignation as Georgia State Senator from the 37th District, Fulton County.  This is been the greatest privilege of my life.

              Yours truly,  James P. Wesberry, Jr.”

 Lester Maddox, who became governor after hotly contested Democratic primaries and an inconclusive general election that ended up with a special Constitutionally established joint legislative gubernatorial election session had been my worst political enemy during the entire time I served as Senator. He was the epitome of the term “segregationist” in Georgia at that time. I was then known as the most “liberal” State Senator due to my Atlanta constituency and my views on racial equality. Though I had been a lifelong Democrat, when my name was called I had shouted out my vote for his Republican opponent in the joint legislative session that elected him by an extremely wide margin.

 But Lester Maddox was a gentleman and he spoke kindly accompanying me all the way to the door of his outer office. I’ll never forget the last words he spoke to me. “Where was it you said you were going Jim?” “Peru,” I answered. “Boy! you must have a good job there,” he replied.

I went back to my car and drove to the Atlanta airport with tears streaming down my face all the way.  I had thus ended the greatest dream of my life.

My father has prepared me for public service. As a boy I had served as a Page on the floor of the US House of Representatives for three years. I had studied business and public administration, become a CPA and specialized in governmental financial management, accounting and auditing. I had audited many local governments, had served as a criminal investigator of corruption in state government, had been hyper active in civic and community affairs, had been elected three times to the Senate, chaired its largest delegation and was expected to run for higher office. I was 32 years of age.

At the airport my parents met me with my luggage and took my automobile back to sell it for me.  I boarded an airplane headed for Lima Peru.

So began a vastly different, but excitingly interesting phase of my life.

[For more see Why I Quit the Georgia Senate at http://jimwes.com/id14.html ]

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September 11, 2019

Never Forget….Forgotten

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 3:56 pm

I had been in a Mexico City hotel for several days prior to the 9/11/01 attacks preparing to launch a new USAID-financed anti-corruption project in collaboration with the new Fox government. We anticipated much emphasis upon Mexico due to President Bush’s interest due to having been governor of neighboring Texas. The two presidents were to meet quite soon. Suddenly everything changed and the US President pretty well forgot about Mexico due to the pressing world crisis.

I was overwhelmed doubly with sorrow as we tried to salvage our anti-corruption plans amid little interest from Washington but I really had little contact with what was going on in the US until I returned many months later.

When I did return to the US I was absolutely stunned to see waves of patriotism everywhere. Flags, automobile stickers, patriotic symbols and acts abounded. I was immediately happily reminded of the similarity to the US I grew up in during and after World War II. Gone were the negative references to Vietnam, the criticisms of partisan politics and the undercurrent of anti-Americanism that had been prevalent especially since the Nixon administration.

It was truly delightful to see Americans young and old praising their country and participating in patriotic activities.

I returned to Mexico recharged with my own love of the US expecting a great change in the outlook of the citizenry.  Sadly that did not happen. By the time of my next trip home all the patriotic fervor had disappeared. Political hatred had resumed its growth and since then has gotten far, far worse than ever.

We did forget!

And as I see the numerous “one day” remembrances today on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, I am even more saddened than ever because our memory has faded and we have practically forgotten what we pledged to remember and only have cognizance of it once a year.

December 1, 2018

Supporting a Grief Stricken Friend

Filed under: Love — jimwes @ 6:08 pm

Today a friend posted a video on Facebook that brought back a very old memory of one of the most troubling episodes of my entire life. Through it I learned one of life’s most important lessons.

It occurred in the early 1970’s when I was working in Peru. It was the most uncomfortable day of my life in many ways. As background my father was a very prominent Baptist minister in Atlanta, Georgia. He had many God-given talents, but the greatest of all, that I saw demonstrated many times as I accompanied him while a boy, was the ability to share grief and comfort those of his church and community in their times of utmost grief.  His comforting presence and words during times of sickness, difficult times and death made him extremely beloved to all who knew him.  Folks he comforted at such times became his everlasting friends and admirers.

Unfortunately for me, among the very many talents of my father that I did not inherit or possess was that ability to comfort others. It seemed to me that I was almost the opposite of my beloved father in that respect. I was embarrassed, tongue-tied, frustrated, and practically speechless at any time I was confronted with the grief of a friend, and especially where there had been loss of life. I tried to avoid contact in such cases, skipped funerals I should have attended, and if I had to speak garbled some pitiful (at least to me) words of sympathy.

Finally in Peru when I was about half my present age I confronted the greatest challenge I could have imagined. A very close friend telephoned me at six o’clock one morning to tell me that his expectant wife had died while giving birth to their first child. The baby had survived and her mother was with him caring for it.  I have no memory of how I replied to him but was horribly embarrassed that I had not found words I believed could help.

I got dressed and went to work but on the way my conscience was tortured by my own grief for my friend. At the office I went straight to the executive, who was the Comptroller General of Peru, and told him the situation asking for the day off. He readily agreed and I drove to my friend’s home to find him.

Again I have no memory of what I may have said to him or his mother-in-law but I knew it was pitifully inadequate. He told me that he had much to do that day including getting the death certificate and many other papers, arranging the funeral (in Latin American countries burial is almost immediate after death), and paying hospital bills, etc.  In practically my only lucid moment I said “I’ll go with you.”

Though I offered mine, he insisted upon driving his own car so I sat at his side throughout the full day. I was totally speechless. I tried to say something comforting but simply could not get anything out of my own mouth. I waited in the car while he ran many errands and handled all his urgent tasks. While he was driving he did all the talking. He told me the story of his love, marriage and hopes, including many personal feelings about his own upbringing, his family and his experiences. I was relieved that he became so loquacious because I was basically stricken dumb by the shame of not having anything comforting to say.

Finally we parted at the end of the day and I shamefully went home to confess that I had been a complete failure in helping my friend in his time of grief.

The next day at the funeral I could not believe the overwhelming words of thankfulness that my friend expressed to me. He said “You were with me all the time. You listened to me. You comforted me more than I can say.”  Again I was speechless. And for the rest of his life whenever we met he profusely thanked me for comforting him. I had done absolutely nothing but listen all day long. Amazingly to me, that evidently was the thing he needed most on the day of his greatest grief.

So I learned a great lesson of life:

In times of severe grief a person needs the quiet support of a listening friend much more than any words that can be expressed.

That is why this video that I saw today reminded me to express my thankfulness to the Lord for helping me be just a tiny little bit like my father.  And that is why I want to share this video with you:  https://youtu.be/zW0-aT7B1XM

November 23, 2018

A 21st Century Declaration of Independence

Filed under: Honor, politics — Tags: , , , — jimwes @ 3:57 pm

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the informational bands which have connected him with the present Current Media and to obtain from among the powers of the earth, a separate and equal source of knowledge to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle him, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created intelligent, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Truthful Information and the pursuit of Honest Knowledge. — That to secure these rights, Instruments of Truthful Unbiased Media are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Readers/Viewers, — That whenever any Form of Media becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to avoid or to ignore it, and to institute new means of obtaining news, data and information, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such a form, as to him shall seem most likely to affect his Integrity, Safety and Happiness. The history of the present Current News and Information Media is a history of repeated lies, distortions, injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the receipt of Truthful News, Data, and Information. To prove this let Facts be submitted to a candid world:

The Current Media has ignored its own time honored principles and practices of Ethics and Honest Reporting.

The Current Media has often published Fake News, Distorted News, Biased News, and Wholly or Partially Untrue News.

The Current Media has ignored and not published, or conveniently and carefully obscured news with which it disagrees.

The Current Media has Viciously Attacked those with whom it disagrees.

The Current Media has spun the news and manipulated data to the benefit of ends that it supports.

The Current Media has united to form a Monopoly of Untruthful and Exaggerated Accusations.

The Current Media has persecuted unmercifully those with which it disagrees and/or hates.

The Current Media has Lied Over and Over relying upon such False Repetition to eventually be accepted as Truth.

The Current Media has lost its credibility by betraying the faith once trustingly placed upon it by myself and others.

I therefore, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of my own human rights, solemnly publish and declare, That my sources of information and news ought to be Free and Independent, that I am hereby Absolved from using all currently biased political and informational media sources and all political and informational use of printed, visual and digital Current Media Sourced Data, News and Information.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to the public that I will avoid and ignore all Vengeful, Distorted and Untrue Media, upon my own Life, my Fortunes, and my sacred Honor.

     James Pickett Wesberry, Jr.

Citizen of the United States of America

 

November 5, 2018

USA IMMIGRANTS IN MY FAMILY HISTORY

Filed under: Immigration — jimwes @ 9:26 pm

At this time of great interest in the issue of immigration I happened to accidentally find out a bit about my own family’s immigrants of the 18th Century.

John Wolfe (1686-1759) and Ziblilla Witgens (1683-1759) were my great grandparents five generations removed on my mother’s side of the family. They immigrated to the United States from their native country, Switzerland, at the price of becoming bond servants having to work for three years as such in order to pay their passage since they were “too poor to pay passage-money.” They travelled from their home in Berne, Switzerland to a German seaport and endured a long and very trying sea voyage to their new home in America. Once free they were awarded land upon which to settle and farm in what is now Orangeburg County, South Carolina. It is estimated that as many as two-thirds of the people who came to the colonies between the 1630s and the American Revolution did so as indentured servants.

Emigrants from Europe like my 5th generation great grandparents were called “redemptioners,” a term that stems from the practice of an apprentice fulfilling his obligation to his master and therefore being “redeemed.”  Similarly, the practice of indenture, bonding, or redemptioners all stem from the much-accepted practice of apprenticeship, where a young man would learn a trade and in return serve a certain number of years in unpaid labor for the master.  The practice was common in England and in Germany.

The following extract indicates that my 5th generation grandparents were sold and located in Saxe-Gotha, Germany to fulfil their servitude and after their legal discharge they obtained the king’s bounty and a tract of land, the same as other settlers,

“Journal of Council, vol. xi, p. 486: ‘Petition of John Wolfe and wife, natives of Berne, Switzerland, too poor to pay passage-money, entered into the service of Anthony Stack, of Saxe-Gotha, Germany for three years, being now discharged from service, prays for his quota of land and bounty-money. Granted, on evidence of his written legal discharge.’ ”[i]

These forebears of mine were erroneously called “redemptionersbecause they could have been “redeemed” by payments made by other relatives who were already in the country, but in actuality they and very few others had such relatives, thus they were obliged to serve basically almost as white slaves, but only for a specified time period. Redemptioners were European immigrants, generally in the 18th or early 19th century, who gained passage to American Colonies by selling themselves into indentured servitude to pay back the shipping company which had advanced the cost of the transatlantic voyage. Most paid for their emigration with their own toil, tears, and sometimes their life. In America their labor was considered a good to be lawfully bought and sold until their indentures matured. The big differences between redemptioners and African slaves, were that redemptioners came of their own accord (even if misinformed) and that they had some legal rights and an “out of indentures” date to look forward to.

Unlike my more fortunate forebears, typical redemptioners were at a disadvantage because they were usually forced to negotiate their indentures with their future master at the worst possible time, before they were allowed to leave a stinking, vermin-infested ship at the end of a long voyage with no prospect to return to their homelands. Fortunately my 5th generation grandparents performed their contracted labor in Germany before their voyage. Abuse of redemptioners on board ship is well documented. If a person died after half way across the Atlantic, the surviving family members had to pay the deceased’s fare as well as their own. Their baggage was often pilfered by the crew. Many travelers started their journey with sufficient funds to pay their way but were overcharged so that they arrived with a debt to settle and they also had to be redeemed or work off their debts. If the ship needed to sail before some of the passengers’ indentures had been sold, an agent in the American port kept them confined until a buyer presented himself. In such cases they could be auctioned off just like slaves. The redemptioners who became indentured servants in the US ended up working as farm laborers, household help, in workshops, and even as store clerks. Involuntary servitude, along with slavery in the United States, was finally banned as a part of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865.

Here is a description of the reasons for and conditions of this kind of servitude:

Dr. Bernheim, on p. 131 of his history, writing of the settlement of Redemptioners, says: “Some of our best and most useful settlers in the South were persons, who, too poor to pay their passage-money across the ocean, were sold by the captains of the vessels, that brought them to America, to any one of the settlers who felt inclined to secure their labor. The price for which they were sold in Carolina was usually from five to six pounds, sterling money, and both men and women were thus alike sold to service; and then, by hard labor, which extended over a period of from three to five years, they eventually redeemed themselves from this species of servitude.

“The advantages of such an arrangement to them and to their adopted colony were, upon the whole, important and salutary.

“1. Our infant colonies stood in need of a useful population which would prove a defence [sic] to the country in case of the execution of the continued threatenings [sic] of a Spanish invasion, and the sudden attack of hostile Indians.

“2. Besides, labor was greatly needed for the cultivation of the virgin soil, and these poor Germans-many of them excellent farmers, some of them useful artisans, and all of them hard-working people-furnished this labor, and at very cheap rates.

“3. The country also needed permanent settlers who would become habituated to the soil and climate, who would learn to love their adopted country, by being compelled to remain until they had fully tested all the advantages of the same; these the Redemptioners abundantly supplied in their own persons.

“4. Nor were the advantages to them of slight importance. They had nothing to risk in the shape of property, as they possessed nothing of this world’s goods, and thus they never became a prey to those landsharks which often despoil the less sagacious immigrants of much of the possessions which they brought with them to America.

“5. Besides, they were the poorer class of people at home in Europe, and would always have remained in this condition, had such an arrangement not existed: but now they enjoyed the flattering prospect of receiving competency and wealth at some future day.

“6. Then again, their servitude became their apprenticeship in America; in the meantime they learned the English language, they became acquainted with the laws and customs of the ‘new country, they discovered by silent observation what would in future be to their advantage, and thus in every way did they become qualified by sagacity, industry, and economy, for their new and independent sphere of life.

“Yet it must be confessed that they had to endure many hardships: often were they rigously [sic] treated by their ship captains: ill and insufficiently fed on their voyage across the ocean, and on shore before they were purchased for their services: exposed publicly for sale as the African slave: often treated harshly by their masters who purchased them, and compelled to labor in the broiling sun of a southern climate, and many, by disease and death, frequently closed their short earthly career.

“However, when our country had become sufficiently populated, the government interposed and put an end to this kind of servitude, on account of the severity of the lot of these unfortunate laborers, and thus abandoned this source of colonization.[ii]

[i] The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina From Its First Settlement to the Close of the Revolutionary Warby A. S. Salley, Jr., 1998  http://www.genealogytrails.com/scar/orangeburg/history1.html#sec2
[ii] Ibid.

 

September 22, 2016

Thoughts at 82

Filed under: Opportunity, Optimism, Uncategorized, Wisdom — jimwes @ 12:27 pm

Today I am 82 years of age. That gives me a lot to think about.

I never planned to get this far in years as few in my family have lived so long. But here I am so I must make the best of it.

At this stage of my life:

  • Every day is Thanksgiving Day

  • Every breath is a new opportunity

  • Every sunrise is a new miracle

  • Every smile is a new sunrise

  • Every friend is a valued treasure

  • Every grandchild is a kingly jewel & every great grandchild a crown of gold

  • Every family contact is an unmeasureable blessing, and 

  • Every new task is a life transfusion

    Mother Theresa is credited with the following observation about life:

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

The “extra” days allotted to those who live longer than most provide a renewed opportunity that we should take advantage of.

Here is my theme for the rest of my time:

Look to the future, not the past,
Look forward, not back, 
Look up, not down,

and DO GOOD

February 21, 2016

OBAMA EXPOSED AT LAST

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 2:16 pm

I could never understand how as an Illinois State Senator Barack Obama voted “present” over one hundred times avoiding taking a stand on many issues.

Some years earlier I was a Georgia State Senator for about the same length of time as he. I never voted “present” one single time. I never even considered voting “present.” I do not remember any other Senators (including Jimmy Carter who was in that same Senate) voting present. I was at that time the undisputed “most liberal” Georgia State Senator. I was hated, despised, threatened and vilified because I supported civil rights in, at that time a very “white supremacist” state.

Horrified when the racist Lester Maddox was elected governor of Georgia I resigned and joined the Alliance for Progress in Latin America.

The only explanation I have for what I now consider the greatest electoral error in the history of democracy, the election of Barack Obama, is that he appeared on the scene at the very time when the American electorate, repentant and saddened over the tragedies first of slavery followed by white supremacy, chose to elect a young black whom we now know was adroitly pushed forward by dark sources that that fooled America by making him appear to be outstanding.

I considered voting for him myself, especially had he selected former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn as his running mate. He did not so I did not. After Obama’s election I was mortified at what I considered the “weird” charges against him, defended him in conversations with friends and hoped that he would be a good president and do more to heal race relations. With a broken heart I have watched him fail miserably and betray the United States of America.

I read the following 2012 article when it was first published and felt that it was too strong. Now I have reconsidered in light of the past four years and consider it exactly right and now extremely timely.

Here are the main points made in the article about the man whom I now consider to have been the worst US president in history:

  • unremarkable grades and test scores
  • a non-job as a “community organizer
  • a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement
  • an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate
  • no academic legacy in academia
  • authored no signature legislation as a legislator
  • a white-hating, America-loathing pastor who for decades served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor”
  • a terrorist who served as Obama’s colleague and early political sponsor
  • no evidence that he ever sat for the Illinois bar
  • held to a lower standard because of the color of his skin
  • thinks and speaks in the hoariest of cliches when he has Teleprompters; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all.
  • All his life, every step of the way, was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.
  • Not one original idea ever issued from his mouth — it’s all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.
  • constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles
  • willing to advertise his own powerless-ness
  • comfortable with his own incompetence
  • a small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job

But the greatest tragedy of this tragic president is that he has prepared the way for a Marxist follower, Bernie Sanders, who as an unemployed belligerent hippie, never earning a true salary in his life except by ruminating at the public trough, going to Cuba trying to meet Fidel Castro and to Nicaragua to also support it’s communist revolution, now comes to openly bring communism to an America whose gullible young people have no memory, not knowledge of its bloody and horrible history.

Here is the full article from Newsweek’s final issue by Matt Patterson:      NEWSWEEK CLOSED ITS DOORS WITH A BANG!

January 25, 2016

21st Century Men and Women “Without a Country”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 11:49 pm

Just over 150 years ago the prominent American author, Edward Everett Hale, grandson of the Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, published a short story in The Atlantic titled “Man without a Country.”  It is about a young army officer at the turn of the Century 200 years ago who in a fit of political disgust strongly renounces the USA while being tried by a military court for treason. He is sentenced by the court to never have contact with, or even news about, the country for the rest of his life. Under this sentence he is transferred from one navy ship to another, never being able to go ashore in any country until he is near death when a Navy officer is shown his stateroom filled with homemade memorabilia about the USA. An ultra-repentant homeless and sad old man begs for information about the major events that have happened to the U.S. since his sentence was imposed and at last is reconciled to his country by receiving from the naval officer a verbal historical summary covering the over 50 years of exile while he was literally a 19th Century man without a country.

Hale’s story became his masterpiece. Written during the Civil War it was intended to foster patriotism among its readers. In this it succeeded magnificently. It was taught in American schools for a century and became an American classic. It resulted in numerous reprintings, radio plays, several movies and even an opera. According to an essay by Alexander Zaitchick celebrating its sesquicentennial, “it was a cornerstone of America’s national religion, straddling literature, civic education, and popular culture.” He goes on the state that, “It’s not easy to imagine today a piece of short fiction occupying the perch long enjoyed by The Man without a Country.”[1] Like many other schoolchildren in the USA, I read it as a child and was greatly moved, especially because at that time World War II was going on.

What motivated this particular account is an article by Chris Jackson titled “The rise of Neo-Nativism[3] that discusses the results of a recent Ipsos poll on “nativist” sentiments and the 2016 election, but I do not expect to get into politics in this message. I expect to get into something far more important: morality…and the 21st Century “Man without a Country.” 

 The dictionary defines “nativism” as “a policy of favoring native habitants as opposed to immigrants.” The article sees “neo-nativism” as “The policy of protecting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants.” Jackson’s article and the poll are obviously motivated by the now overwhelming 2016 election issue of illegal immigration and the consequent need for a functioning immigration policy. But here are the poll results that magnetically attracted my attention:

 1.   More than half (58%) of Americans don’t identify with what America has become. 

 2.   A majority (53%) feel like a “stranger in their own country”.

 3.   A significant plurality of the electorate holds “nativist” attitudes.

 Here are two excerpts from the article setting out the conclusions derived from the poll:

 There is “a deep, visceral fear among many that America’s best days are behind it. That the land of freedom, baseball and apple pie is no longer recognizable; and that ‘the other’—sometimes the immigrant, sometimes the Non-American , and almost always the  nonwhite—is to blame for these circumstances.”

 On the one hand, many people are scared about their economic future and that of their children as the rate of economic displacement increases with the globalization of cheap labor and technological innovation. The America Dream for many is a distant, foreign concept. On the other hand, many people no longer recognize the America of their grandparents—an increasingly nonwhite and correspondingly more liberal country. This is scary for many Americans. These concomitant trends are driving an increased sense of economic and cultural displacement among a large chunk of voters…”

 Now here’s my take on all of this. I believe the points made above regarding “nativism” and immigration are well taken, but there is more…much, much more, to the story.

 The poll exposes the current tragic situation…the 21st Century “Man (and Woman) without a Country,” and these persons who are now very numerous have many more reasons than those mentioned to “fail to identify with what America has become” and feel like a “stranger in their own country”.

 The country that most Americans living today grew up in was greatly different from America 2016 in which the 21 cultural principles enumerated below have been, or are being disavowed:

 ·        Shame, when appropriate, was recognized as a desirable, though painful social emotion resultant from comparison of the self’s actions with its own and the community’s standards that were inculcated from birth and throughout life. To be unashamed, to avoid accountability, to be proud of improper actions, to flaunt the violation of personal and community standards was neither acceptable not popular.

·        There was no question about the acceptance of the heritage of Judeo-Christian Values.

·        Bible reading and prayer in public schools, meetings and all type events was common and religious conduct was taught and respected.

·        Profanity was limited mainly to masculine gatherings and work and no gentleman used it before a woman, nor did books, periodicals, movies and other media use it.

·        Young women were carefully protected and all women were expected to be chaste, pleasant and good examples to their families.

·        Clothing, even though worn by hard work was clean, serious, proper and prudent.

·        Other than alcohol, all drugs were prohibited by law or by custom and little used by anyone.

·        Divorce was rare, frowned upon and considered something to be ashamed of as was “single parenthood.”

·        Abortion was a crime. Sex was considered an act of love and procreation among married adults.

·        Patriotism was honorable and unpatriotism unthinkable.

·        The country’s Founding Fathers and other national heroes were never criticized or ridiculed.

·        Young persons were expected to be obedient and respectful of their elders, their teachers and all others.

·        Sexual promiscuousness and perversion of sexual relationships and acts of any kind were abhorred and most were illegal.

·        Sexual activity other than between a married male and female was considered improper and often illegal and same sex marriage as well as other then considered abnormal sexual activity or conduct was totally unthinkable and unmentionable.

·        The arts, including music, painting, and entertainment were morally clean, pleasant and educational.

·        Celebrities in cine, music, sports and other areas were expected to be good examples and most were.

·        Government was rigidly confined to Constitutional actions and expected to be prudent and wisely protective of the populace.

·        Children, young people and adults were educated in the home, school and church to feel ashamed of any conduct or action that reflected upon the good name of their family or their community.

·        Socialism, and its close relative communism, having failed over the centuries, was considered unacceptable in political life.

·        The “four cardinal virtues” – justice, wisdom (prudence), courage (fortitude) and moderation (self control / temperance) were taught, respected and expected of all citizens and their governments.

·        Immigration, while occasionally opposed, was largely welcomed as a means of populating the country and stimulating its growth and immigrants and their descendants often made excellent citizens and community and state leaders. Immigrants rapidly assimilated and being an American became more important to them than their prior allegiances. Most immigrants were fleeing oppression or poverty and seeking freedom of opportunity. They filled a need for new workers in a growing country.

 America 2016 has, is abandoning, or already has abandoned all of the above 21 cultural traditions. This combination of dramatic and often very unpopular cultural changes is much more problematic than mere  “nativism” and most of the items enumerated above have nothing whatsoever to do with immigration. Yet the abandonment of these basic cultural items jointly and severally comprises drastic and dramatic changes in the culture of the United States that have occurred over a very few decades.

 Had there been only one or two such cultural changes, or had all 21 been spread over a greater number of decades, perhaps the culture shock would not have been so great. But the extremely rapid and unusually numerous changes in themselves have shocked the sensitivity of those citizens who grew up in a completely different culture. This is paradoxical at a time when in other areas sensitiveness to hurt feeling and avoidance of speech or action making people uncomfortable appears to be quite fashionable. It is also sad because those persons whose sensitivities are being ignored are the older generations of citizens. It is not too much to say that the accelerated cultural revolution has resulted in outright discrimination against those born in the 20th Century as well as those whose religious or other principles are in conflict with the changes imposed. This leads one to question: Are the civil rights or middle aged and elderly citizens, people of faith and persons with differing cultural principles being violated?

 An even greater paradox is posed by the fact that very many of the immigrants to the USA come from countries that still adhere to the all or many of the 21 disappearing US cultural principles.

 It is really the rapid acceptance of drastic cultural change that causes many Americans to feel that they are losing or have already lost their country. Thus it is not only the increased immigration from other lands, but also the departure from the above cultural traditions that give us situations such as reported in the Ipsos poll results that 58% “fail to identify with what America has become” and 53% feel like a “stranger in their own country”. These folks are, or soon will be, 21st Century Men and Women without a Country.”

 The Ipsos poll, though very interesting, failed to ask “why” of those persons who felt they were “a stranger” or “failed” to identify with their own country.

 At the possible risk of perceived redundancies let us look at the new culture of America 2016:

 ·        Shame is obsolete. No one is expected to feel shame about any act. Legal or cultural deviations all have some psychologically explainable cause resultant from parental of other mistreatment in earlier years. It is fashionable to express pride in having carried out or adhering to any outlandish or even illegal act. Disgusting acts are proudly and publicly performed to gain attention or support questionable causes.

·        Judeo-Christian Values are considered outmoded and often ridiculed. Frequently other values are praised and inculcated through the educational system.

·        Bible reading and prayer in public schools, meetings and all type events is illegal. Christian faith is shunned and ridiculed.

·        Profanity is prolific on the part of women as well as men in daily conversation, books, periodicals, movies and all other media.

·        Young women are free to do, act, dress and divert themselves in any manner that gives them pleasure.

·        Clothing has no standards and the more revealing or outlandish it may be, the more popular it becomes.

·        Drugs of almost any kind are popular and legal (or illegally accepted socially) to enhance entertainment, sexual pleasure and escape from the realities of life.

·        Divorce is commonplace, often repetitive, and “single parenthood” is fashionable and to some desirable.

·        Abortion is encouraged as a means of birth control. Those who oppose it are ridiculed and discriminated against. Sex has become the nation’s favorite recreation.

·        Unpatriotism is fashionable. Criticism of the USA is hailed as appropriate and educational. Textbooks are “cleansed” of patriotic acts and events once held up as good examples.

·        The country’s Founding Fathers and other national heroes are criticized and ridiculed for practices that were common in their time. Statues and historical monuments are removed. History is rewritten to support political causes..

·        Young persons are disobedient and disrespectful of their elders, their teachers and others in general.

·        Sexual promiscuousness and perversion of sexual relationships and acts of any kind are popular, highlighted in the media and considered normal.

·        Sexual activity is glamorized and considered a right of self satisfaction or recreation no matter whom or how many participate. Sexual activity, no matter how unusual is widely publicized and considered exemplar. Marriage does not restrict the right to sex with anyone else.

·        The arts, including music, painting, and entertainment are morally filthy, distorted, ugly, and provide despicable examples for youth.

·        Celebrities in cinema, music, sports and other areas are bad examples of every type vice.

·        Government subverts and distorts the Constitution, dictates its statutes without Constitutional authority, creates unpayable debt and does not protect the populace.

·        Children, young people and adults are no longer educated or inculcated with any kinds of values or morality in the home or school.  Churches are dying out. Whatever feels good is acceptable. Reputations are obsolete and never considered.

·        Socialism is becoming fashionable.

·        The “four cardinal virtues” – justice, wisdom (prudence), courage (fortitude) and moderation (self control temperance) are ridiculed and forgotten.

·        Immigration, legal or illegal, is extremely controversial and vigorously opposed by many because current immigrants are not considered to be seeking to become good citizens, but often violating the law, resisting assimilation by maintaining their original cultures and allegiances and taking jobs away from American citizens. Immigration is seen as being encouraged by supporters in the guise of benevolence but really supported in order to provide more votes assuring electoral victories.

In addition to the above, the American nation has changed in many other ways. “Three in four Americans now say that the ‘American Dream’ — broadly, the notion that through hard work and determination every American can have a successful life — is suffering…69% say the obstacles to realizing the dream are “more severe today than ever” — and note that a decline in work ethic is the primary hurdle to Dream achievement.”[4]

Top barriers to more people achieving the American Dream

Decline in work ethic

22%

Decline in values/moral standards

20%

Personal debt

20%

Rules favoring the wealthy

19%

Lack of economic opportunity

18%

Economic inequality

17%

Big government

17%

Decline of the middle class

17%

Cost of healthcare

15%

High government spending

14%

Source: 7th Annual American Values Survey[5]

 Most startling is that half the younger folks are the most pessimistic about the American Dream. “When Harvard’s Institute of Politics asked 18- to 29-year-olds if they considered the American dream to be alive or dead, the result was an even split. About half said they considered the American dream alive and well for them personally. About half said it was dead as a doornail.”[6]

 Corruption is rampant as evidenced by the numerous cases reported daily, some prosecuted, others ignored. A recent Gallup poll found that “three in four Americans (75%)…perceived corruption as widespread in the country’s government.”[7]

 According to an opinion article by Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO at Gallup, “This sense of corruption probably contributes to much of the extreme anxiety and unrest we see today — including protests, lower voter turnout and increased interest in guns…The perception that there’s widespread corruption in the national government could be a symptom of citizen disengagement and anger. Or it could be a cause — we don’t know. But it’s very possible this is a big, dark cloud that hangs over this country’s progress.”[8]

 The scale of unpunished or lightly punished narcotics importation, distribution, sale and use in the USA is clearly out of control and gives much credence to the unavoidable conclusion that there are many, many corrupt police, prosecutors and judges. This has not existed since prohibition and it appears that the ultimate solution will be the same…legalization.

 Political corruption is also out of control bringing back memories of the late 19th Century when democracy was previously imperiled by unscrupulous political bosses.

 Those persons, who were born in the first two-thirds of the 20th Century together with all persons of faith and strong ethical Judeo-Christian principles, are naturally prone to feel that their land has been swept away from beneath their feet. It is not surprising that they feel like asking: “Who stole America?”

 It is extremely ironic that at a time when colleges and their students are vastly concerned with the problem of language “hurting the feelings” of others, no one is concerned with the hurt feeling of the great segment of the population that is left feeling they are “without a country.”[9]

 It is no wonder the USA’s traditional political processes are being overturned and once unacceptable political declarations and personalities are gaining acceptance among much of the voting public.

 It is no wonder that there are many, many 21st Century Men and Women who feel they are “Without a Country” but who are willing to make one last desperate effort to regain it.

 That is why we are witnessing the astounding change in attitude of many American voters in this year’s presidential election.

__________

Notes

[1]   Alexander Zaitchick No Land’s Man: Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man Without A Country Turns 150,” Los Angeles Review of Books, https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/no-lands-man-edward-everett-hales-the-man-without-a-country-turns-150

[2] https://youtu.be/24-_-73dVFU

[3] http://spotlight.ipsos-na.com/index.php/news/the-rise-of-neo-nativism-putting-trump-into-proper-context/

[4] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/white-people-think-the-american-dream-is-least-achievable-2015-07-02

[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/10/48-percent-of-millennials-think-the-american-dream-is-dead-heres-why/ttp://www.slideshare.net/BMGlobalNews/the-american-dream-summary-report-complete/1

[6] http://www.slideshare.net/BMGlobalNews/the-american-dream-summary-report-complete/1

 [7] http://www.gallup.com/poll/185759/widespread-government-corruption.aspx?g_source=corruption&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles

[8] http://www.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/188000/explaining-trump-widespread-government-corruption.aspx?g_source=corruption&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles

[9] http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/25845/

November 18, 2015

Get the Parties Over

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 11:32 pm

 

Political parties undermine and corrupt democracy

George Washington detested political parties.

This is his warning to the nation from his Farewell Address of September 17, 1796:

“In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection…

 All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…

 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty…

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

 Recently a new research study from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve systems of democracy and justice has concluded that “targeted measures to strengthen political parties, including public financing and a relaxing of certain campaign finance regulations, could help produce a more inclusive and transparent politics.” This paper is primarily and rightfully concerned with one of the Achilles heels of democratic governance – the financing of political campaigns. Such financing is usually done directly or indirectly through established and recognized political parties and organizations (“pacts”, non-profits, etc.), that function in parallel to the parties. The Brennan Center paper is just one of hundreds of papers, articles and suggestions advocating strengthening of political parties to help in uplifting democracies from their current precipitous decline.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is the only hope of saving the collapsing democracies across the world is to abolish political parties.

Historically every political party that has ever achieved power on Earth has become corrupted, notwithstanding that many were originally founded with good intentions. Strengthening political parties as frequently suggested would strengthen political corruption. Political parties are creatures without morals. There is no way any political party can resist the temptation to achieve and retain power.

The politically correct misconception harbored by almost everyone (as indicated by the first sentence of the paper cited) is that “Political parties are a core ingredient of representative democracy.” This is a total falsehood. They are the worst enemy of representative democracy!

Not only Washington, but many of the founders of the USA feared that political parties, if created, would destroy the “democracy within a republic” that they were creating.

John Adams said: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson said: “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” 

The Founders apparently intentionally did not mention political parties in the Constitution. Notwithstanding they used many mechanisms to hopefully avert the creation of political parties knowing they would become corrupt and thus corrupt the nation.

The country’s second President John Adams, signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts, making it a federal crime to criticize the president or his administration’s policies, an apparent attempt, among other things, to avoid the creation of an opposition party. This was not an appropriate way to solve the problem of political parties but it demonstrates the fear of them by the Founders.

These mechanisms worked only for a very short time. Political parties reared their ugly heads almost as soon as the first US elections were held and they have been corrupting the USA ever since.

The only solution to the problem raised is the complete and irrevocable prohibition constitutional and legal of the disastrous monstrosity known as “political parties!”

The “Father of the US Constitution” James Madison, in The Federalist No. 10, defined a faction as a number of citizens, whether a majority or minority, who were united and activated “by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” He and the “Federalists” believed in a single political structure – a one party or no party system.  But Madison soon changed his mind and abandoned the Federalists to become Thomas Jefferson’s most active lieutenant in organizing, in opposition to the Washington/Hamilton Federalists, a new Democratic-Republican Party, which was strongly Anti-Federalist and took power after 1800. Since then the USA has been cursed with political parties…and the word “adverse” from Madison’s definition understates their relationship from then until now.

While many tend to feel that the adversities of the parties are now worse than ever, a close reading of US history shows that the raging conflicts between the parties (usually two, but occasionally more) have existed from the 19th Century into the 21st. Notwithstanding their incessant turmoil and inherent corruption political parties have been, are, and probably will continue to be considered foundational to politics and democracy in the USA and across the world because no one so far has come up with an antidote to their poison..

In his outstanding book, The End of Power, Moises Naim very optimistically advocates the expansion and adaptation of parties to a more “networked world” with “relatively flat, less hierarchical structures” in imitation of NGO’s, gaining trust by making their members feel successful and even indispensable in making and impact. As a result he suggests that members will then see party leaders as “accountable, transparent and not beholden to dark or unknown interests.”  And, like almost all who write of the subject he insists that increased political participation will improve and strengthen democratic processes. With all due respect to a person I have long admired, Moises Naim is far too optimistic.

Here is how political parties corrupt their own. A young enthusiastic man full of good intentions, but not wealthy, is active in civic and community affairs and becomes interested in government and politics and seeks to become active. He joins a party and after proving himself a hard worker seeks public office eventually getting elected. At first all is well bit sooner or later a question will arise where his own sincere beliefs differ from the position of the party. What does he do?

If his beliefs are strong he will vote contrary to his party’s wishes. He may be able to do this on relatively minor issues but along will come an issue of grave importance to him and his party in which he strongly differs from the party line. His party advises him that should he break “party discipline, he will be punished by losing internal posts, losing financial support, being ostracized and if very serious being denied the future opportunities to seek office through the party or even expelled from it. Now he must choose between his conscience and his party.  The wrong choice may mean the end of his hopes to serve in office.

Most young politicians choose the party. Thus they become corrupted for the first time, perhaps on an issue where they feel less strongly. New issues arise, new choices between conscience and party. Each time the aspiring politician chooses party over conscience he becomes more corrupted within himself. But each time it becomes easier. He rises within the party and within the government. Issues become even more important but now he has lost the guiding compass of conscience and automatically follows the party line no matter where it leads knowing he has no alternative.

Further complicating this trajectory into corruption is today’s geometrically progressive increase in the costs of running for office. The party is first corrupted, then it members. They desperately need financial support to meet the high costs of publicity, polling and at higher levels paid staff. As more money is accepted first from legitimate and friendly sources, all is well. But the needs become incessant even at lower levels and insurmountable at higher levels without accepting financing from more and more questionable sources. Finally the young politician is led by his party into accepting money from just about any source foolishly believing that there are no strings attached. Once successful, the strings turn into ropes and the ropes into chains and the party and its candidates become trapped in every possible form of corrupt activity. Even when the party stoops so low as to steal elections covertly or openly, its candidates must go along and having already been corrupted, they do.

From this sad path into the depths of political corruption we derive two undeniable conclusions:

1.  The longer a political party exists and the more often it is successful, the more corrupt it becomes.

2.  The longer a politician serves in office and the higher he rises, the more corrupt he becomes.

There have been innumerable efforts, laws and mechanisms hoping to counteract the above. None has ever succeeded. Term limits, contribution limits, codes of ethics, public financing, anti-corruption laws have inevitably failed.

The only honest political party is the brand new one that has not yet begun to enter the political thicket.

The only honest politician is the brand new candidate that is seeking his first elective office.

Almost everything that can be conceived by the human mind has been tried to clean up corruption in politics. Nothing has ever succeeded for more than a very short time.

One thing, the abolishment of political parties, has never been tried nationally, though some municipalities successfully hold “nonpartisan” elections.

Gallup says that 43% of people now consider themselves Independent, compared to Democrat (30%) or Republican (26%). Maybe when independents become the clear majority something can be done to get these corrupt parties over and done with.

Somehow, some way, some place some on must find an effective way to kill political parties permanently assuring they do not arise once more if government by the people is to survive.

__________________

NOTE: Here are some references to the pros and cons of this issue:

http://www.consciousnessandculture.com/george-washington-political-parties/

https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/stronger-parties-stronger-democracy-rethinking-reforming

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/02/06/how-to-fix-our-polarized-politics-strengthen-political-parties/

http://ivn.us/2013/11/26/why-political-parties-control-elections-and-how-to-end-partisanship/

http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-political-parties-be-abolished

https://newrepublic.com/article/119305/simone-weils-abolition-political-parties-nyrb-edition

http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~hehner/Parties.pdf

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/review-on-the-abolition-of-all-political-parties-by-simone-weil-1.2145931

October 17, 2015

⚡Presentation ‘Confucio Sabiduría para los Siglos de los Siglos.’

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 2:30 pm

Confucio Sabiduría para los Siglos de los Siglos.

Source: Presentation ‘Confucio Sabiduría para los Siglos de los Siglos.’

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