December 13, 2019

It Made me Angry

As promised, this is the first post under the broader heading of Satisfying Retirement. As noted in To Everything There Is a Season, after nine plus years of writing about regular retirement topics, I felt the need to make a course correction. I began to feel that writing only about typical retirement concerns was no longer being honest with my feelings and deepest concerns. Plus, it was becoming kind of boring.

Retirement is a unique stage of life. We have the time and freedom to become more involved in the world around us. The status of our investments, relationships, where to travel, and how to maneuver through the maze of Medicare and Social Security are important. They come with the territory.

But, is that enough? There is a much bigger world beyond our personal retirement concerns and lifestyle. There are forces at work that are changing how all of us live. There are problems that we can only ignore at our own peril. There are powers at work that will impact us whether we want them to or not.

I want to address them, too.

Then there are parts of our lives that are worth exploring. Spirituality, mortality, being more mindful of each passing day come to mind. So do thoughts on a more spartan lifestyle, a health approach or diet that seems to work. How about keeping a long term marriage interesting and vibrant? What movies are we seeing or books are we reading that leave a lasting impression? All sorts of possibilities are possible topics.

I realize this comes with risks. I appreciate that some regular readers of this blog may be dismayed by this more diverse direction and decide to go elsewhere. If that is you, know you go with my blessing and support. There are several more traditional retirement blogs listed on the right sidebar I invite you to visit and make them your new home.

I am hoping that many of you will stay. You are encouraged to leave comments and express your feelings on subjects that may be important to you. It would be satisfying if new readers find this blog and discover a place to learn, think, challenge, and grow. I will do my best to welcome a diversity of opinion. I will not simply express my views on a particular subject and ask you agree with all that I write. That would be boring, for you and me, and not help contribute to the conversations we must have.

OK, so with all that said, what "Made Me Angry" enough to be the first post under the wider scope of  Satisfying Retirement?


Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
It was a movie I saw recently with my wife and one of my daughters. Harriet is the powerful, gut-wrenching, anger-inducing, tear generating story of Harriet Tubman. Born in 1822 in Maryland, this rather diminutive woman was a powerful giant in forcing a society's attitude toward slavery and human rights to begin to change.

Her story is one of courage, love of family, and placing personal safety behind the need to help right a wrong. She was responsible for the escape to freedom of hundreds of slaves through the work of the Anti Slavery society in Philadelphia and as part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. She worked tirelessly to help change the American mindset that slavery was either necessary or could be tolerated to maintain economic and social stability.

This isn't the place to go through Ms. Tubman's full story. The movie is worth your time, or the library and Internet can give you glimpses into her amazing life. What I want to address is my strong reaction to this story: Anger....anger at the treatment of human beings as animals and property based simply on skin color and history.

The idea that one class or race can own another goes back thousands of years. But, to fully appreciate that a country founded on freedom from religious and political oppression could allow, no, encourage human slavery, is almost too hard to process. It is a dark, evil part of our our collective past. There is no way to paint it as something other than what it was. 

Getting (and staying) angry at something historical is important, but there is a bigger takeaway. While slavery may not exist legally anymore, one must be willfully blind to not see racial discrimination is still a powerful, daily part of American society. Do even a minimal amount of Google research on shootings and police mistreatment of blacks, or racial profiling in real estate, education, and employment and my point will be made.

Look at the immigration debate and border situation, see through some of the political posturing, and you must see racism, coupled with fear of "the other," as part of the problem. Yes, illegal border crossings are a huge problem that must be corrected. It is an issue that doesn't lend itself to slogans or simple solutions. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, less than 200 miles from the porous border with Mexico, so I live close to the center of the problem.

But, to stigmatize those desperate for a better life as criminals and rapists is not that different from the fear used to control and maintain slavery over 170 years ago. Just like in slavery times, to tear families apart as a tool of control and power is just as cruel and useless. Migration issues are for another post, so I will stop here except to emphasize that the damage done by hate and racism is ongoing. Slavery comes in many different forms.

I hope that the disappointment, and anger I felt after seeing Harriet doesn't simply fade from my consciousness over time. When presented with the opportunity to confront racism or racial profiling in all its various forms, I pray I will have the fortitude to speak up. I dream of a time when this subject is a foul part of our history, not part of our present and future.

Thanks for reading.


Note: I was sad (and disappointed) to learn of a series of harassing verbal assaults, written racial slogans and graffiti against Asian and African-American students on the walls of various buildings at my alumnus, Syracuse University, in late November. It had gotten so bad that all social functions at all Greek Fraternities were banned for the last few weeks of the fall semester.

I am sure this kind of stuff happened when I was a student and fraternity member there in the late 60's and early 70's, though it seemed we spent our energy demonstrating against the Vietnam War and that dreaded Industrial-Military complex.

Syracuse has had a reputation of being a liberal, progressive, welcoming school. Obviously, the type of hatred and intolerance that Harriet portrays and we read about every day, has infected every corner of our world.

It makes me angry.



61 comments:

  1. Well said, Bob, and an excellent post for your first foray beyond the land of all things retirement. Our family has viewed racism, discrimination and bigotry through the lense of our 20 year old daughter's chosen profession. She is a licensed Master Barber, and you wouldn't believe the number of men who have refused to sit in her chair for a haircut due to the fact the she is young, white or female - and many have expressed their views right to her face which is extremely hurtful. She actually left the first shop she was working at because she was unable to build a clientele. Thankfully, the clients at her current shop are much more open-minded, and she's doing well. The clients who leave her chair thrilled with their haircut, commenting that it's the best cut they ever had, help to ease the sting of other's rejection and restore her faith in society. As a country, we should be ashamed of ourselves. As individuals, we would do well to remember and follow the Golden Rule and treat others - all others - with kindness and respect. It sounds like the movie did an excellent job with this divisive topic - thanks for putting it on my radar.

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    1. I guess I shouldn't be surprised about your daughter's problems, but that is just so stupid. Was it because they were uncomfortable around a young woman or simply unable to break with tradition? I can't even imagine what their reaction would be to a female doctor.

      You would find the movie fascinating, disturbing, and hopeful. One person can make a huge difference.

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  2. When we elected Obama I naively thought we'd turned a corner on racism, but instead the election brought racism to the surface in the form of exposing and growing the White Nationalists. The fact that such a well educated, smart, moral and polite person could be subjected to such racist name-calling on political sites and elsewhere on the web was/is disgusting.

    Then came Trump with his racism and intolerance. I have a relative who works at a child protection agency that were sent six of those too-young-to-talk kids that were separated from their parents at the boarder. No documentation came with them to help them ever get reunited with their parents and that is a disgrace to country! That happened all over the country.

    I still want to believe that we will get past this ugly chapter. At least people like you and others are speaking up, people of all colors are resisting, movies are being made like 'Harriet' and hopefully minds are being changed. I just hope it enough. Yet I run into people every day who don't see anything wrong with things that I find appalling and that's scary.

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    1. The pictures I see of some of the people at a Trump rally, spewing hate and ignorance, terrify me. Looking at rallies in Germany in the late 1930's, the reactions appear quite similar. Why do humans have this need to be led, to follow blindly? Weren't we given free will and a brain by God? Aren't we supposed to use it?

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  3. I applaud your new direction. You have helped me a lot over the years. I will continue to follow you. As for your anger, I recognize that your forum to express your anger may motivate others to change their opinions or behavior. As for me, I also read "The Daily Stoic" blog, which teaches me to control what I can control and to let go of what I can't control.

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    1. I was a little slow in posting this comment because I became engrossed in "The Daily Stoic." Thank you for that suggestion! Don't be surprised if it appears on the list of blogs I read on the right sidebar. What I have read so far makes tremendous sense.

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  4. Great start Bob. I need to take my 85 yr old mom who watches Fox news to see Harriet for a bit of counter brainwashing : )

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    1. Good luck with that! Seriously, anything to pull her away from the closed loop of "information" she is receiving would be a good thing. Our minds actually crave new stimulation and new perspectives; getting us to admit that is the tough part.

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  5. It might be because my own blog has the variety you talk about but I think your change will be great. Think of it as evolution rather than change. Regardless, I know your posts will continue to be very well thought out and provide information that’s valuable in stretching our minds. I look forward to being a part of the journey.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. The current plan is to alternate between retirement-oriented material with things from a wider perspective. I have been retired for over 19 years. I simply want to reflect some of the areas of interest and concern that I have in the hope that others might relater as well.

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  6. Bravo ... I’m going to enjoy your new direction.
    This quote is from Nikki Sanchez who spoke on TEDx Talk.

    “This history is not your fault.
    But it’s your responsibility.”

    Change is within...constant work in progress of speaking less, listenIng more and education!

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    1. Your last line reminds me of a quote I just read in the Daily Stoic blog Rick mentioned.

      We can't change history, but to ignore or deny it simply means we will repeat it over and over and over again.

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  7. Bob, I think those on the left of the political spectrum have to do some pretty fancy wordsmithing to conclude that Donald Trump is either a racist or sexist. For him to use, as part of his reasoning for tightening the borders, that SOME, not ALLLLLL, are murderers and rapists, is 100% accurate. Since making that ONE statement he has said COUNTLESS TIMES that he loves Hispanic people, respects them, wants them legally in this country, wants to create jobs and economic opportunities for the legal immigrants, BUT for you or anyone else to call him a racist is absolutely unfounded political lefty speak.

    So because you have said this, along with others of your following here, I'm done with your blog, not because I don't think you have "some" really valid things to say, but because your hate speech is soooo incredibly off from what is true about our President, I will vote with my blog choices and I choose to not in any way support anyone who says such untrue things about our President.

    If you favor any kind of a loosening border then I think you are a direct contributor to the economic demise, crime increasing problem, and ripoff taxpayers mentality that is hurting our country. I love the idea of being a Sanctuary for those who are in true political danger in their countries. I want our country to continue to find better ways to vet those coming in dire need of deliverance from physical threats in their homelands, but it MUST be done legally, in a measured way, and supported by the American people.

    Don't caste me among those who think our President can do no wrong. I'm not among them. I don't like his divisive speech, his hate filled rhetoric, his constant jabbing and name calling of his political opponents, but that is a far cry from him being a racist or a sexist. I believe he is neither. I love what he is doing for our economy, our military, our borders, the choice of conservative judges, etc. He is an awesome President. Perfect? Nope. Near perfect? Nope. But he is a truly great President and I don't anticipate another as great as him in my lifetime. Enjoy the increases in your stock portfolio...you can thank Trump for those. Enjoy your Veteran benefits improvements...you can thank Trump for those. Enjoy the extra money you have in your pocket at the end of the year because he lowered taxes...you can thank Trump for those. On and on and on...I'm amazed at what a good job he has done!

    So, as you contribute to the destruction of our country by furthering this insane narrative I move on to other bloggers on the subject of Retirement, and will miss your many excellent insights. I simply will not support someone who speaks about our President as you have here...

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    1. Thank you, Tom, for your comment. While I disagree completely with virtually everything you say about him, you have every right to do so, and should take your business elsewhere.

      I do have one question, though. You say he has "hate-filled rhetoric, name calling and divisive speech." How hate-filled rhetoric doesn't qualify as being racist or sexist I am not sure, but your words do raise the ultimate question of why a president engages in such activity at all. It demeans and weakens the office and our country.

      Oh, and just to use real facts, I don't get Veterans benefits though I did serve 6 years in the U.S. Army Reserves, I believe in strong (not punitive) border laws, and his tax cuts helped people a lot richer than me.

      Thanks, again, for airing a point of view that should be expressed.

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    2. You handled that beautifully, Bob. I have zero patience for the 'rally fools'. He pays for extras at the rallies more often than not. It concerns me that anyone, other than him, can believe he is a 'stable genius'. I've lived through more than a few presidents that I felt were so far from my views I mostly ignored them. But, they weren't dangerous, as I believe this orange fool is. I'm praying that the Senate will come to their senses when the impeachment comes around to them but, it's really doubtful. We simply have to stand our ground and keep the faith!

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    3. Thank you Tom for finally speaking up AND getting the bigoted, biased, leftist POS Bob Lowry to get your ideas across. I'm sure he'll delete my comment as he does all my other ones. Lowry doesn't even give a person the chance to speak, he just jumps to his pre-disposed biased conclusions and obliterates you. Once Trump is re-elected (and it has been founded he will qualify to run for a 3rd time in 2024) Bigots and hate mongers, such as Bob Lowry and most of his commentators will have no more place in America.
      Ask yourself why there has been so much of an increase in hatred and racism and bigotry in this country, the likes we have never seen since the election of Obama? This new movie, Harriet, is just another force of propaganda spreading through our country and creating hatred that never existed before. My ancestors were put to death by the Romans but you won't find any more hatred spewed toward them, do you? That's how preposterous people like Bob Lowry and his ilk are.
      Good for you, Tom.
      And good for the internet, this misdirected, hate-monger bozo, Bob Lowry will be gone!

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    4. Sadly Bob, I fear this is the kind of nonsense you're going to be plagued by. Once you criticize The Orange One, the crazies come out in force.

      Derek

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    5. I'm just curious Cindi. Do you really think we dont know who you are? Even when you pretend to be anon? Thst we know you are the same Cindi who refers to Bob's blog when it suits you to make a point about retirement. At least posrs like this show who you really are as opposed to who you pretend to be on your blog.

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    6. Cindi has been attacking me and other bloggers for years, so that is nothing new. I was tempted to delete her comment, not because she called me names, but because she isn't advancing the discussion of an important issue.

      She does make my point though I'm sure not on purpose. Hate and blindly lashing out have become too common in what used to be a public discourse on the issues. Now, it is just trying to see who can be the meanest kid on the block.

      Anyway, don't worry about me. Worry about folks filled with this much hate and fear.

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    7. I have to add that Cindi is a first generation American. Her mother passed when she was young. She has endured domestic abuse, tough family ties and financial ruin. For some reason the lesson of "not keeping up with the Jones" has not passed to her, yet. I am glad she is still reading. She needs to see her journey is not alone, and it was not the worst. That is my take. I wish she could put a filter on it...I wish lots of people could filter themselves.

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    8. Tom: To your point about the increase in my stock portfolio--yes it huge! Trump borrowed 2 trillion dollars to cut taxes on corporations which in turn raised earnings per share of corporations, which increased my stock values immensely. I appreciate that, but I don't think making me richer for sitting on my ass in retirement is exactly prudent use of your taxpayer money (or your children's or grandchildren's taxpayer money, as the case will be). However the tax decrease you speak about: We in California are paying 12 billion dollars more in federal tax due to the loss of our state tax deductions. On that one, I'm happy to help bail out the red states where Trump has decimated the farming communities with his tariffs. You're welcome.

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  8. We all need to stay angry! And, speak up and do something about it.

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    1. I hope (against hope) that "angry" is replaced with action and righting a wrong.

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  9. Of course there are racists amongst us. There probably always were and always will be. But racism is no longer the reason for disparate outcomes amongst various groups. Culture is the reason. A culture of single parent families without fathers, dysfunctional families, generational welfare dependency, not valuing education, etc. Racism is also not the reason for opposition to our border insecurity. I take offense at the assumption that those of us against what is happening are racist. I think that thinking is irresponsible. In my opinion, we should have measured and legal immigration. I don’t understand the thinking that breaking our laws is okay. If that is the case they aren’t laws, they are suggestions. Lack of following immigration law leads to chaos – which is what we have.

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    1. I am for firm, clear, and fair immigration laws. What we are getting are children in cages and people dying for lack of medical care. That is not OK.

      To a degree there are elements of racism involved. More importantly, there is a lack of a path forward that recognizes the dignity of every human being and finding a solution that doesn't scar people for life.

      The problem at the border has been going on for decades. The current approach is not helping with a solution.

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    2. The problem at the border has been going on for decades because we have not enforced our laws. If "fair" means open borders, common sense tells us that this will never work. As for "clear", these immigrants know full well that that are breaking our laws. As for "firm", too many in this country are unwilling to have our laws enforced. Many go out of their way to aid those who are circumventing our laws. Immigrants come in waves of thousands because they know they will overwhelm law enforcement and our ability to accommodate them. Unfortunately their children pay the price. We are a compassionate people but at what point does compassion become destructive. Yet...if I were in their situation, I wonder if I would do the same thing? I don't have the answer, but I hope someone does.

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  10. Wow, some of these comments! I would love to know, but be scared of the reasoning, how trump qualifies for a third term.
    I read you religiously but barely comment as after many years of writing and/or blogging—I burnt out. I’m on a ten day cruise to the Panama Canal, pure fun. It’s my first real vacation in years—and I will remedy that!
    Thais for your blog
    Pia
    Http://courting destiny.com

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    1. Enjoy your cruise, Pia. I envy your experience.

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  11. Yikes, Bob, your lovely post about Harriet Tubman certainly generated some... ummm... interesting comments. I don't like that so many feel that they have to stay in their own little opinion loop and choose to leave the discussion as soon as others voice a different opinion. Gone are the days when we can respectfully disagree with each other (although I think you are doing a great job keeping things civil). So many feel they need to resort to name calling. I truly fear for our democracy.

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    1. If I am just "singing to the choir" what is the point? I am not too old to remember when people of different political parties and opinions on issues would exchange ideas while realizing that they may learn something or even be wrong. Today, it seems as though everyone, regardless of the issue, is convinced they are 100% right and any different opinion comes from the devil and has pure evil at its heart.

      The last time humans were that correct was before the apple in the Garden of Eden!

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  12. Wow! What a great way to broaden your scope Bob. What an interesting ride this will be, and how great to hear what people are thinking from their own perspective. You are providing a needed platform for conversations that need to happen. Thank heaven your negotiating skills were honed over all those years in radio business! Looks like your civility will come in handy. Don't quit using your voice for good.

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    1. Thanks, Helen. As I get older a few things are changing. My patience and tolerance are improving, and the belief that my answers are always right was left behind in my youth.

      We will see how all that works!

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  13. I am not as discouraged as you about race relations in this country. I grew up in the very segregated South and came back to retire. I live in a suburb of a large, majority Black city. Honestly, people of all races seem to get along pretty well here. We work together, play together, live together, marry, go to school together with very few problems. Oh I am sure some racism still exists and also some claims of racism are not valid. I really don't think there is a lot of racial profiling. What is often said to be racial profiling in real estate is just that banks are not in the business of making bad loans. You are certainly not denied admission to a college because you are a minority.. if anything it is a advantage. And all things considered, our law enforcement people do a really good job. If there is a problem involving a Black person you hear about it nationally. But for the most part police seem to handle problems fairly. There are some areas of the city with poor housing and inferior schools and few job opportunities. But I don't think this is due to racism but to other factors. Although we have a large Black middle class here now, it has not been easy for people to overcome years of living in a segregated world with few opportunities. Some were left behind and have not formed the habits and acquired the skills to change their situation. This is passed down through generations. I wish we had a plan to change that. So slavery was certainly horrible, but I am not angry at this point. Those people are long dead. I am happy that we got past it and on to better things.

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    1. Judy while I dont know you and live wmost likely in a different place, I would suggest you are missing the point. I have many friends of color with whom I work and play. However, my experience-when I go to the store, drive in a car, jogg through a nice neighborhood is not that of my friends. I have never been stopped walking a night through my own neighborhood because people thought I did not belong there. I have never had the exprience of being ignored in an upscale store because someone thought automatically that I could not afford what was there just because of the color of my skin. I have a son who is now thirty whose friends were all of varying races growing up. He has bee in in stores, on buses and in cars when said friends were stopped for doing whatever they were doing while black or hispanic. Racism is not what happens on the surface, it is what happens underneath and what we think about. I live in Denver and I can promise you there is racial profiling here in what one would consider a nice, middle class city, It certainly existed in Dallas, as well as in washington DC.

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    2. I welcome the exchange from Judy and Barb. One thing is true: we bring to this issue our backgrounds and our own perspectives. From Judy's, she sees things as better in her community. In Denver, Barb does not. I will add, in Phoenix, there is a lot of racial tension that happens below the surface. We have a large Hispanic population that is struggling for fairness in a very conservative state where power remain in white hands.

      Are things better than 100 years ago? Yes. Are they to the point where skin color doesn't matter? Absolutely not. But, by discussing things openly and with civility, maybe we can agree that this is not a problem to be ignored.

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  14. There is a very clear reason to denigrate & marginalize the Hispanic illegal immigrants. Once they are considered less than us anything done to them is justified. Hitler used this same process to great success on the Jews. It works. How many true Trumpers are ready to have the military man the borders and shoot the illegals. More than we might like. Why not, Trump has already talked about it.
    Trump is one of the primary causes of the significant surge in illegal immigration. Just two short years ago illegal crossings on the southern border were down to the lowest levels seen since the 1970's. What happened? Trump kept whipping his cult into a frenzy about a problem that was substantially smaller than he claimed. Word gets out to everyone south of the border that there is going to be a shutdown of illegal crossings and everyone tries to get in before it is too late. They were probably afraid of that wall that the Republicans could not even start when they had complete power for two years. While we do have a problem this is just political manipulation by a master conman.
    If you want to see a real problem with our southern border imagine what would happen if multiple countries in central and south America all fall at the same time. Their economies go down the toilet and people start starving. There would be so many folks at our border you could not possibly stop them, except with the guns Trump is already talking about. It might be a good time to practice some diplomacy and strategic foreign aid aimed at economic development. Oh I forgot, we don't do that anymore. Never mind.

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    1. Your point about the economic situation south of our border is an important one. People try to get into America when things at home are intolerable. They are desperate to protect their family. Money spent to help the economies of struggling Central and South American countries would be much more effective than a 19th century solution: a wall.

      Try to place yourself in their shoes for just a moment: our economy goes in the toilet, electricity becomes scarce, gangs and criminals roam free.....how many of us would head for the border with Canada? How would they react to millions of Americans trying to cross into their country? That may not be a perfect analogy, but it is important to try to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before deciding how to treat them.

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  15. Bob, good for you. While I left a couple comments, I will respond more to this kind of thing after i return from my daughter's. It is worth noting though, that the first two post that had differing views were of the "im picking up my marbles and going home" and of the personal attack variety. If in fact you've been reading this blog for along time, one would think as an intelligent adult that one could simply disagree with this particular post and move on. Never mind the fact that I simply do not understand the "I can't just stop readign this blog because I don't like the perspective, I need to announce to the world that I'm leaving and make a large and noisy exit as I do so".

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    1. Well said, Barbara. Name calling and personal attacks are not very effective in swaying opinion. So, I assume it is more a case of one last blast of anger and frustration before slinking off into the dark.

      The infamous Cindi is an interesting case. She has castigated me for all sorts of personal failings over the years and rants on about how wrong I am. Yet, obviously she reads the blog, otherwise why do her attacks pop up every now and then? I think she is a very unhappy and unsatisfied person who uses the freedom of the Internet to vent some of that personal steam. If I am performing a mental health function for her, then I am happy to do so.

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    2. I imagine her as someone with very few, if any, real friends (toxicity is pretty offputting), an estranged family (again, toxicity is contagious), and an inadequately funded retirement, the exact opposite of where you are, Bob. So, yes, I think you are a lightning rod for her misery, and, ironically, may be performing a compassionate public service for an individual much in need.

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    3. You have had some of your own experiences with her, Tamara. Keeping our cool and living a full life is the best response.

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  16. Bob I thought I might share some personal thoughts. I'm just about finished my second book on retirement and that will be my last book as I've said everything that needs to be said so why write more? I like you feel the need to take my retirement to a higher level and try to find ways to make this world a better place before I leave. Maybe Maslow was right about this self actualization thing that at some point in our lives some of us will feel this need to give back and help others. I'm scared for my kids and grand kids they are going to have it much rougher than we did so we need to find a way to connect and work together and find ways to fix things before it is too late. Bob thanks for having the courage to start. It's not going to be easy but it's worth it. Keep making a ruckus!

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    1. Thanks, Mike.

      As I noted in the last post, to everything there is a season. Purely retirement-centered posts just won't do anymore. The interesting thing for me will be to a) find a good balance between retirement and non-retirement subjects and b) write about issues and happenings that are important to me, and hopefully some others. So far, I have posts scheduled about spiritual issues, a planned day of silence and mindfulness, and the importance of truth to our future.

      Ruckus-making? On occasion, absolutely.

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  17. The two nasty trolls just show the lack of character and integrity Trump followers have. Expect more, but don’t let it bother you. It says far more about them and they will always make your case.

    Keep it up and thanks.

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    1. I receieved some of the same stuff well before Mr. Trump. The Internet can bring out the worst in people, and, as the majority of comments on this blog have proven, the best, also.

      I will be just fine, Mary. Thanks for your concern.

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  18. Just to be clear ... the above Tom is not Tom of Sightings Over Sixty, as some people have concluded. While I occasionally address social issues on my blog Sightings Over Sixty, and perhaps in comments too, I stay out of politics, for all the obvious reasons. I simply go by the watch-phrase: "Hate has no home here."

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    1. Knowing you, I assumed it was another fellow. Thanks for verifying and I hope you didn't receive flames at your excellent site.

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    2. The other Tom: I knew right away that Tom wasn't you . . .

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  19. Here in the United Kingdom we now have many different races and cultures. Racism exists here too with people fearful of not having enough, be it jobs or housing or waiting times for health care. It is easy to blame those who look different but people forget or don't know our British Empire history. I think that we have to see each other as brothers and sisters pushing ourselves to be one family even when it doesn't come easily. The white community holds most of the power and human beings don't give up their power without a struggle, usually it has to be taken from them. How much better to share our resources and our lives with each other willingly.

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    1. The UK is going through some tough times at the moment. Brexit, a new PM, terrorist attacks on occasion, fear of being overrun with immigrants....really not much different from some of the hot button problems here.

      How we all face up to what needs to be done will be fascinating reading for some history students in another 40 or 50 years.

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  20. Being angry is good. The question is what can you do about it?
    Retirees have lots of power and talent. Action, not talk, will change things. Scapegoating does nothing at all.
    IMHO the best way to help the future is to acknowledge the past and work for a better future together. In our country that is mostly through education and entrepreneurship. US has come a LONG way- longer then most current countries . It has a long way to go. Blacks, Natives, Hispanics, among others, all endured slavery and maltreatment.
    It is amazing that we are FINALLY having this national discussion. I have worked with the poor and disenfranchised my entire life. It is good to finally see people stepping up to recognize their place in this. It is ALL of us.
    IMHO those who point to Trump and “his people” as “the” racists, are missing that they were, most likely, a part of what we see today. Did they work to empower minority entrepreneurs in small and large cities? Did they mentor the wronged at University or even give up their prestigious slot to a minority? Did they make sure that their children attended racially mixed schools and push for all children to succeed? Did they support that ALL farmhands be paid a fair wage buy purchasing fair wage US items or hire “day“ workers for a full wage for their lawns/childcare? Did they work for treatment instead of imprisonment of crack users – while using drugs to play?
    “But When did I see you Lord….” Is not the answer for my Christian formation but a cry to look out for others.

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    1. Trump is not the cause of what we are going through at the moment. He and his most ardent supporters are simply reflecting some of what has been festering in the background forever. As a culture we have taken some major steps toward a fairer society, but stopped when it became too difficult.

      Janette, you are 100% on the money. To point fingers and assign blame doesn't solve anything, and it denies the part every single one of us plays in this drama. I really appreciate your summary of the situation.

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  21. Good start to various topics, Bob. Not surprised to see a couple of intense responses from the Trump gang. It never ceases to amaze me what they are able to ignore and explain away. That said, it's one thing to disagree and another to attack the writer. But, as you said, that the game now. Hit hard and hit dirty - the lesson coming from the top sadly. And of course, it's Cindi. :insert eyeroll:

    I haven't seen Harriet, but it's on my movie list. A lot of good movies come out at once over the holidays, a time when I'm usually too busy to catch many of them. But I do want to see it on the big screen if possible, so appreciate the review.

    I grew up in a small town located on an Indian reservation. When I was young, that didn't mean much for the Native Americans, but over time the tribal laws and treaties got more attention, gambling casinos brought in more money (good/bad effects) and now tribal money has turned out to be the thing that keeps that little school system afloat, pays the salaries of a lot of people in that area, and generally contributes a lot of the culture. The Native American kids in our school were kind of looked down on in the '50's and '60's by many (not me, I hope) unless they had athletic ability (huge in a small Midwest town) or were particularly smart or good looking. That sounds awful, but it's the way I remember it and I felt it was wrong as a child. Now, everyone in that town has Native American relatives as everyone has intermarried more and more as time goes on. Additionally, many of them work for the tribe and the businesses they've created. Really, that's the country writ large IMO. More and more people of every color are Americans, and there are just some people who can't handle it.

    I can't imagine living as a person of color in this country right now, but I can see there is still systemic racism. And I'm always amazed there are those who don't see it. The border situation is completely out of control, but I think it's significant that crossings were down under Obama and are now up with the inflamed rhetoric coming from this administration. They lost me when they started separating children from their parents with no plan to reunite them. I have no words. History will not look kindly on us.

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    1. Declaring that the story of Harriet Tubman is propaganda and probably from the "Deep State" is a new low of silliness,. even for Cindi.

      I have been doing some reading about our country's treatment of Native Americans while we were taking land for many of our National Parks....it was not one of our better moments.

      You are right about the problem of continuing racism. Those who don't see it are willfully blind or pushing an alternate set of facts. At some point within the next 30 or 40 years, whites will be a minority in this country. I hope by then we have learned that skin color is so totally irrelevant.

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    2. I'm white and I live in flushing,ny. Whites are less than 10% of the population. It is mostly an Asian neighborhood and if they didn't move in I think it would have been a slum. Now business is booming and it's an active vibrant neighborhood. It is crowded because a lot of people want to live here. A lot of my doctors are Asian and I am very happy with the care I receive. I'm grateful my neighbors were allowed to immigrate here. And it doesn't bother me to be in the minority.

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    3. Thank you, Donna, for your perspective. I wouldn't have thought that Flushing would be predominately Asian, but clearly the influx has been quite a positive. If we could all realize that adding different types of people, different views, and different cultures can add so much freshness and dimension to our lives, how much richer our lives could be.

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  22. After three days of comments, I must say I am so happy with the response to this somewhat different post. Excluding a couple of comments, the discussion and exchange of ideas and concerns have been exactly what I hoped would happen from the fabulous folks who visit and leave their thoughts here.

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  23. Bob, To understand the dark side of our country's history, I think we have to query the assumption that it is "a country founded on freedom from religious and political oppression." I am in the process of reading (for the second time) Nancy Isenberg's What Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (Viking 2016), a carefully documented history that challenges many of our most cherished myths about who we are as a nation and helps to illuminate the roots of 21st century populism. In the Introduction, she notes that "Historical mythmaking is made possible only by forgetting." (p. 5) The cherished myth that this country was founded on freedom from religious and political depression has depended on a lot of very selective remembering of our colonial history.

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    1. You make an important point. We have been taught a certain version of our country's founding and history, one that tends to avoid the nasty bits. The extermination and relocation of natives, slavery, Jim Crow, women's fight to become treated as equals, our triggering of several wars in the 1800 and 1900,s to gain territorial advantage, help explain who we are and how we find ourselves where we are now. Maybe that's why it comes as such a shock when we learn about the parts that were covered up.

      No country has had a "clean" history. To pretend all was well is hot helpful as we attempt to move forward.

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  24. I read about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad when I was about 12 or 13 (50 years ago!), and I remember my response; I was outraged about slavery and I admired Harriet Tubman’s bravery and persistence in working for a better world. Of course, it is much easier to recognize and deplore racism and bigotry perpetrated by others far away or in the past, and much harder to acknowledge one’s own complicity in racist practices close to home. Where I grew up in northern Canada, the Indigenous people were treated very badly. Their land and livelihoods were taken, their children were forcibly placed in residential schools mostly run by churches, and we now know that many of the children were physically and sexually abused. A few years ago, a Truth and Reconciliation report was published by a nationwide Royal Commission that studied this shameful part of Canada’s colonial history. The list of recommendations identifies steps to take to acknowledge the harm that was done and begin to redress some of the wrongs. In my career, I had an opportunity to work with a number of First Nations to improve access to education and increase awareness of Indigenous ways of knowing, yet I remain deeply ashamed of this history as well as ongoing inequities in my country.

    Jude

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