Jennifer Stewart

23 Cool Things To Do. Or Not.

In stepping out of history on December 19, 2014 at 8:23 am

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1. Use your head and listen to your heart.

2.  Aim for being imperfect. You’ll probably succeed. And success is good for you.

3. Make rules and then use your head, listen to your heart and if your rules don’t apply any more, toss them. When you’re making new ones, use your head, listen to your heart.

4. If you’re going to speculate on the future, make sure your speculations make you happy and optimistic about life and you and everything. If they don’t, find something else to do other than speculating. (Hint, see 7, 11, 12…)

5. Avoid smugly spiritual people. In fact, avoid smugly anything people.

6. People who believe they’re better than you usually have a tremendous skill you don’t have – bullshitting themselves.

7. Snuggle up as often as you can to a furry animal that loves you and wants to be snuggled up to.

8. The word anal sounds horrible because it is horrible. When you see it disguising itself as a human, run as fast and as far as you can.

9. Do something new for God’s sake. And yours.

10. Bored is angry.

11. Let yourself fall in love once in a while. And have sex. Sex is good for you. At least I think that’s what somebody said to me once.

12. Eat dark chocolate more than once in a while. Especially if the sex thing isn’t happening. Mind you, if that’s the case, there’s always the other option… Have the chocolate afterwards. Or before. Or during.

13. If you want a face lift, to hell with all the smugs who say you should learn to love yourself for who you are.

14. If you want something you can’t afford, find a way. Try to stop short of robbing a bank but if you must, then be Hollywood about it and don’t get caught. Hey, you can even write the book or the screenplay and sell it to George Clooney. If you don’t know how to write, here’s my number…

15. Get the heck out of whatever one horse town you inhabit in some part of you. Jump on that one horse before somebody else does and ride on out of town.

16. This whole business of worshipping at the altar of balance is getting out of hand. Go on, take a risk; get unbalanced now and then.

17. Which would you rather have on your tombstone: “she was always soooo nice to everybody” or “damn bitch drove me crazy sometimes”.

18. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself find a way to change it. If you don’t want to be bothered… Oh. I got nothing for you then.

19. If somebody bullies you, clock them.

20. Too much insurance = not enough living. It’s a proven mathematical formula discovered in the tombful depths of some Egyptian queen or other. Or was it Euclid? Darwin? Well, whether they said it or not, I just did.

21. If you’re feeling blue be kind to yourself. Whatever you do, lecturing yourself into a false state of blissful happiness is neither listening to your heart nor using your head. Blue is blue. Better to cry and have somebody hold you or snuggle up to a furry animal that likes it and loves you. Pretty soon you won’t be feeling blue any more.

22. Take up the hula hoop.

23. It’s much more fun to be sassy than overly well-mannered. On the note of fun, have some. Have a lot. Throw balance right out of the window on this one.

The Poor Wealthy

In Barack Obama, Bullies, Entitlement, Fear, stepping out of history, Success and Achievement, US Elections 2012, US Middle Class, Where Dreams Come True on November 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm

It’s always distressing to see people who either have all the outward show of being intelligent and well-educated or who are in positions of power behaving like the village idiot, clearly incapable of stepping back from themselves enough to look in the mirror. Granted, it’s a difficult thing to do, but one of the drawbacks of having power is that you have to use it wisely and to do that you have to examine your motives.

This is not about morality, it’s about practicality. Wield your power irresponsibly and mindlessly and you’ll reign supreme for a while, but ultimately whoever you’re trampling on will rise up against you with a force that your power can’t overwhelm. I’m not just talking about despots either, although they illustrate this beautifully. There’s almost a formula for how events play out.

They gain power undemocratically, or even democratically. Then it goes to their head and they begin to bleed their subjects dry. They surround themselves with sycophants, and convince themselves that they’re acting in the country’s best interests. Eventually they’re fit only for the lunatic asylum. One day their subjects begin to say we’ve had enough. They protest. They’re ignored. Their protests get louder and more physical.

Protesters get brutalized, arrested, violated. They get angrier and more violent. Further suppression follows, bloody and violent. Surprisingly no doubt to the despot, their power isn’t so effective any more. They go into denial. Their sycophants start deserting them. The world either intervenes or doesn’t but severely criticizes them and they become outcasts. They insist they are doing nothing wrong.

They refuse to leave. They say they will die in the country that they were born in. The sycophants that are left beat their chests with bravado as they nervously look around them and calculate the odds. The rebellion doesn’t stop, no matter how much and how bloodily the subjects are violated, no matter how more sophisticated the despot’s weapons of suppression.

The despot goes down still protesting. It never happens any other way, unless the despot has some capacity to step outside of themselves to look at the consequences of their actions and get out sooner. As in Egypt. In countries where the democratic process is more sophisticated, the violence is mostly absent, but the process is the same.

It’s always the middle class that starts out naive and believing, willing to work like dogs for the sake of God and country. Proud of their democracy, proud that change happens peacefully and that they can have a hand in it. Not always able to grasp the extent to which their good-heartedness and commitment get exploited. Not always that able to step outside of themselves either and see that they’re letting themselves be doormats.

But democracy has an inherent flaw. It’s supposed to be the best system for the exercise of freedom. It would work well in a country where there’s no greed, where leaders and all politicians genuinely work for the better of the individual and the country as a whole. But failing that perfect scenario, gradually greed and power takes less and less responsibility (pays less and less tax) and exploits the good qualities of the middle class who pay more tax and get lower salaries until their morale and their lives are eroded beyond endurance.

The erosion has only one possible ending. People start to protest! A new leader emerges who sees that the danger isn’t just imminent, it’s upon the country, and something has to be done to restore the middle class, because it’s always the engine of any society. The leader wants the middle class to get its just rewards, and for the wealthy to pay fair tax. The powerful class clings panic-stricken to its position, terrified of giving an inch. Which nicely reveals exactly how powerful they really are.

What’s mind-boggling is the childish transparency of their excuses. Namely if you raise taxes for the wealthy they will leave the country, you will discourage investors (the implication being that they only invest in the US because they can exploit and not contribute their fair share). The best one is that you will be taxing all the small businesses who will fold and job creation will cease. Enter John Boehner, with that sulky look on his face, moaning about the poor wealthy.

It’s mindless. Pity the seemingly civilized, educated, sophisticated individual who appears to not have much better of an understanding of what makes society run smoothly than a Middle Eastern despot.

Obama Wins Florida After All

In Barack Obama, stepping out of history, Success and Achievement, US Elections 2012, US Middle Class on November 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

So all the swing states, including Florida, went to Obama after all, as I thought they would. How did CNN, the New York Times, and to a lesser extent the Huffpost, get it wrong, and how did I get it right? Luck of the draw? I don’t think so. Absent in polling is an understanding that giving your opinion is one thing, the reality of voting is another. Opinion has no consequence and in the case of those so-called undecided voters, it was often driven by powerful emotion.

Their lives had been difficult for a long time, they were afraid of things getting worse. They had a lot of ‘information’ thrown at them by the Romney campaign, very little of it truthful, much of it fear-mongering, but how were they to know that? Fear diminishes your capacity for rational thought. It happens to all of us.

But, the problem was that nobody really liked Romney. When you’re not a fanatic, it’s very hard to place your trust in somebody who either doesn’t know how to reach you and connect with you, or doesn’t think it’s important. Plus, he’s not a trustworthy politician. He’ll say what he thinks people want to hear. This is not the first time he changed his policies mid-way. He did it when he ran against Ted Kennedy.

He started both campaigns as a conservative, didn’t make enough headway, so became more moderate. People who want to get rid of a politician because he threatens their status quo or because he’s the wrong color, won’t care about this absence of backbone and deep-rooted conviction and they have no investment in rational thought. They’ll blind themselves to something we all instinctively know if we let ourselves admit it, that a man who betrays once will betray again. And who he betrays isn’t of much concern to him.

But even those Romney supporters didn’t really like him and their reasons for voting were not that he had great leadership qualities. He doesn’t have them. It’s ironic that all the impassioned rhetoric about rescuing the American economy and society from the claws of a socialist came from people who were willing to leave things in the hands of a patent liar. Romney did now and then irrevocably and openly expose the truth of who he is, mind you, when he said 47% of Americans were irresponsible victims and they weren’t his concern.

He consolidated that with another bit of truth about himself when he added, in his clumsy and not particularly intelligent attempt to patch things up, that in a campaign you tell your electorate what they want to hear. That must have really reassured his wealthy supporters. But they didn’t care. Now that kind of stupidity is what causes the demise of all civilizations.

I watched this circus and became pretty sure that the ‘undecided voters’ were obviously not  fanatics, and had no agenda in voting Obama out. I was sure they wouldn’t be able to blind themselves to Romney’s weaknesses or to how much he lied when it suited him, or to how much Obama connected with them at a humane level. They don’t like Romney but they do like Obama, not because he’s a con artist but because he’s a good man with powerful leadership qualities and a profound humanity.

He might not have turned the economy around sufficiently to completely alleviate their fear and discomfort, but he had succeeded enough against massive odds and despite great Congressional resistance, for them to see that he was a safer bet than Romney. That moment of voting is when the reality of consequence stares you in the face, when you realize that your choice could be the one that shapes your future. If you have an ounce of sense you cast your fears aside enough to think rationally, and you pick the safer bet.

I predicted that Obama would get all the swing states because I believed that the majority of Americans have that capacity. It’s easy to say you support somebody you don’t trust and don’t like. It’s very difficult to actually vote for them. People are so cynical about politics in the US, but I think they illustrate the degree to which its society has advanced in its capacity to make healthy choices that are truly about the improvement of their world, even if that improvement involves discomfort and challenge. And nothing could be more important than that.

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