A hierarchy of creeds

Some philosophies are better than others. Some creeds provide the higher good for the greatest number. Not all things are equal or even equivalent. And this is not a zero-sum life. Some people are givers, others takers. Or maybe it could be said that some are all about I and others We. Some people have an open heart, others are more closed. I remember when I was little, if I fell, my dad would say something like, ‘ Don’t cry. Get up. It’s nothing’. My mom would scoop me up with a hug and dry my tears and tell me I would be alright.

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As I sat through both conventions and tried to understand why anyone with a good heart would find any difficulty making the right choice for November, I struggled to figure out how to define the qualities that have prompted me to be a progressive (although I dislike labels, that is essentially who and what I am and have always been) all my life. In every way, it is irresponsible to make the wrong choice because the impact will be on billions of people around the world, not just our country. Ponder the thought of these candidates holding the Football and the Biscuit, and that call in the middle of the night. Think of the advisors with whom they surround themselves, or perhaps they do not have advisors, but follow their own counsel and impulse. And maybe those advisors give them false information, as happened with the Iraq war. We need to be sober in reminding ourselves of the gravity of this decision.

To my mind, some people grow into a set of loving principles early. My mother is one of those people. From the time she graduated from college (at 20!) through every day of her amazing career of service to others, she has embodied the soul of goodness, kindness, caring, understanding and acceptance. Both she and I are Democrats because we have only two choices and the Democratic party embraces the spirit if not the precise letter of our beliefs and convictions. My mother echoed the sentiments of Elijah Cummings who recently said, “we have been blessed so we can bless others”. We measure success by the improvements we make in other people’s lives, says Tim Kaine. To do right, not to be right. And we do it better together, than alone. That is what human beings are: social creatures, not isolationists, we work, live, progress in groups. Study your anthropology and you will see this has always been so, for five million or more years.

You need only have watched those two conventions to understand the stark difference in world views between the two platforms that represent our binary choice. I wish we had a parliamentary system, as that would enable each of us here to find the exact niche into which we fit most comfortably, or to create one and give it a voice in national decision-making. But we are not given any viable alternative options. This year, in my opinion, the choice is democracy or authoritarianism, Americanism or Trumpism.

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If we had that more nuanced and robust system, I would likely be a Green party member. As it is right now, they always propose flakes. Ms. Stein is nothing more than a spoiler idealist who is seizing on the naivete of the millennials. She knows this full well and for this I view her as I do Ralph Nader: self-serving. Stein is not thinking of 330 million people. She is thinking of 13 million or fewer. Not too smart. Not practical. And worst of all, not good.

Have you no sense of decency

I am able to separate the lies that have been told about Clinton from the person I know her to be, because I have paid close attention to the real facts, from primary sources, for the past 30 years. I read! And not silly, hateful, biased opinion sites. On my news aggregator I have the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Le Monde, Figaro, London Times, Der Spiegel, etc. I watch CSPAN.  At our house we read books and papers and journals by credible and vetted experts. Most of all, I listen. I heed the words issuing from people’s mouths. If you pay attention to Mr. Trump — a spectacularly failed and corrupt businessman — you will hear a petty, selfish, immature, nasty, insecure little man whose insatiable need for attention (and other people’s money) has been the primary feature of his entire life, from the time he was limousined to elementary school, protected and isolated from ordinary people like you and me, to today. He keeps his papier maché house-of-cards Madoff-style ponzi empire afloat by bilking poor and trusting and vulnerable people, and promoting bigotry, fear and hate. Having inherited 200 million dollars and continually squandering it and investing in bad deals, he now needs this publicity so he can collect more money from the fatuous, largely now from Russia, Asia and Eastern Europe to keep it all going. He is an exploiter and a liar. He never wanted to be President. He entered the race to raise cash. But, he has tapped into the bewilderment of the white Boomers who see their dreams slipping away from them and is now stuck in a job he is unqualified for and too lazy to do properly. I feel so sorry for the people who believe him. I consider him a narcissist, borderline sociopath with no sense of decency.

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Back to me. I am not rolling in money, despite the wealth both our families accumulated. On my own, as a middle class, educated, Caucasian female, from a nice family and a wonderful part of the world, having had every advantage, including an Ivy League education, a PhD, and talents and abilities, I do not make a fortune. The work I do is frequently given to people with a fraction of my training, experience and expertise, from fourth-world countries. Here in the US, few can afford a behavioral therapist any more. Asian and South American nurses and vocational trainers do that work now, for a sliver of the cost just ten years ago. I get it. I chose a profession instead of a trade. Maybe if I had had the attributes suited to software development instead of human analysis and understanding, I would be making bigger bucks. No lawmaker did this to me or to us or to the workers of this country. Global technological, informational and industrial macro-evolution did it!

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I don’t whine or complain about it. We choose our vocations when we are 18, not 48. Thirty years of hindsight still informs me that the choice was probably the only one that interested me, anyway. I planned to be a professor and started out that way. But one thing led to another, and each choice led me here. Will we inherit money to make up for it? Maybe. But, who wants to capitalize on the work or death of someone else? Not me. So, I simply accept and make the most of the work I do, the place my life has led me and do not blame it on anyone else, least of all our leaders.

Would I have liked Al Gore instead of George Bush? Yes, regardless of whether I liked either of them as men. Why? I am not too fond of starting expensive, immoral, ineffective wars simply so some people can make a killing in profits — pun intended. We were led into that war in Iraq on gross lies. Would I like to see more of a Denmark-style economy where everyone lives a good, healthy, productive, happy, cheerful even, modest life. Yes! I don’t need a mansion, a luxury car, a yacht, diamonds, and three homes to make me happy. I find happiness in my garden, knitting gifts, eating fresh and healthy foods, sharing ideas with my husband and friends, including the ones I have made here, exploring new hobbies like photography and blogging, or old ones like singing, keeping myself fit, looking and feeling and being and doing as well as I can. Those are the things that make me thankful, grateful, celebratory. Not “stuff” and certainly not while others are doing without the basics. While there are people living under bridges here and anywhere else, I cannot be greedy for more than I have. While women are being enslaved to sex traffickers, I cannot ignore the importance of women’s rights worldwide. While animals are being tortured slowly in hidden concentration camps to produce “food” for ignorant people, I cannot turn my back on them.  And, I cannot ignore the perversion of religions, whether that means Islam or Christianity. I am 100% certain that Christ would not condone any of these things, nor the selfishness that is being invoked, incredibly, in His name.

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It is hard to describe why I am a progressive. I have tried to do that over the course of the blog, which is beginning its fourth year. It’s almost like explaining why water is wet. I know science works and embrace it as the best method we have for exploring, understanding, demonstrating and predicting in our physical world; I believe in education for training robust minds to gather real facts from primary sources and analyze them dispassionately and without prejudice so the truth emerges from that process; I have lived in a fourth world country with two classes and seen the results of a tiny group of exploiters reveling in a lavish existence at the expense of their downtrodden populace — neither group thrives, there is ingrained and rampant suspicion, hatred and fear in both classes and I want no part of that for America; I have known strong, intelligent, hard-working, caring women, my grandmothers, my mother, leaders that I admire like Eleanor Roosevelt or Clara Barton or Florence Nightingale or Hillary Clinton, and even me, who is by no means in their league. I believe that the two genders are equivalent in ability and responsibility. I don’t need anyone, man or otherwise, to do my work or my thinking or my decision-making for me.

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For me, the United States works best when the majority of the people are in the middle class and that middle class has useful work, a good roof over its head, healthy food to eat that is not based on torturing any creature, safe air and water, a protective order force that is color-, gender- and creed-blind, and a beautiful, flourishing, temperate cherished planet, shielded from exploitation and abuse by benighted greedy people, along with a health promotion and care system attentive to everyone so that needless expense and worry does not sap resources better applied to more uplifting and group-enhancing activities. And most of all, I fiercely condemn bigotry, racism, sexism, ageism, religionism, handicapism (just another echo of Nazism) and any of the divisive, evilisms to which some people cling in fear and anger. Read my post on Ashleepism to see what is really at work at these low levels of unconsciousness.

One group subscribes to this and the other does not. I could write a book on all the ways to illustrate this, but I don’t think you need that. It is obvious: good people take care of themselves and then with whatever is left over, take care of others. Mrs. Clinton said it best: America is great because America is good. Simple as that. One group is driven by talk radio shock-jock ratings-spawned venom, going low and lower, as Joy Reid recently observed. I am with Mrs. Obama, when they go low, I want to go high. Some people only spread their cloak of comfort and love to themselves or their families, others of us throw it wide to embrace and shelter all of humanity and living creatures, all over the earth.  When we do that our hearts and capacities for love grow exponentially.

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So, to sum this up: what do I as a Progressive want for my life and others? What kind of leadership  I do I think will help us achieve that life?

  • To be free to realize my potential, within the bounds of our laws and norms and standards, and only as my realization of that potential does not unduly or unfairly abridge the rights of any other organism;
  • For all people of any race, gender, or religion to be treated equally and fairly under these laws, norms, and standards and have no one group think they have the right to be more equal than any other group;
  • For science and scientific research, properly conducted and peer-reviewed to dictate our treatment of the earth, our health and well being, and the management of our precious resources;
  • That all living entities be dealt with sensitively, kindly, and humanely, no matter how lowly we assume them to be, or how insignificant they appear to us with our limited 21st century understanding and vision;
  • To extend a reasonable amount of protection, care, safety, and nourishment to the earth’s entire population and not have one group thriving at the expense of any other, largely due to accidental circumstances or the ability to trick others into giving up what is rightfully theirs in a civilized, enlightened world;
  • To mete out justice in a fair and benign manner by a properly trained and equipped peace force whose primary aim is to serve, not to dominate in a quasi military way or to intimidate by the use of extreme force;
  • For us to elect sane, balanced, educated, self-controlled, disciplined and thoughtful people who have the emotional health to handle adversity in as prudent and wise a manner as possible, especially when it comes to that ultimate power entrusted to them via the nuclear triad. They will make mistakes because they are only human, but they will not do so lightly or irresponsibly, and they will have the maturity and generosity of spirit to admit it when they are wrong, seeking to learn from their errors and improve their own and others’ lives in so doing.

That’s progress, that’s the future. If you look back five hundred years, that was not where humanity was. It is today. It is inevitable. Change that is progress is not bad, it may not be easy, but it is good and unavoidable. We can either get with it and help it improve and accelerate, taking all with us, or we can resist and impede it, slowing down advancement and grinding people under instead of propelling them forward.  Each of us has that choice.  And I made mine thirty years ago.

Images: Chez BeBe assets: the Sage fire/Stevenson Ranch California, July 2016

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/praise/

19 Comments on “A hierarchy of creeds

    • It was challenging taking these because of all the smoke, but I felt it was important to capture it. We have had a series of wildfires in Santa Clarita — luckily none close to me. Thank you Jim!

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  1. I admire the passion of the story, but have differences of opinion which is ok. I noticed quite a bit of passive sentences in the story. Nothing wrong with a few passive sentences, but active sentences put the subject or talking point in front of the sentence. This helps the reader to quickly read the article. That being said, writing styles differ and I appreciate your contribution.

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    • It is good of you to read and comment, Josh.

      You have an interesting interpretation of this piece and I appreciate your differing perspective, whatever that is.

      That said, I don’t think about any of that, as this is not a newspaper article. It is an opinion piece and the first person is implicit in a blog post of this sort. I rarely see anyone who can write a coherent sentence, so I don’t trouble myself with the rules of journalism, such as they are in this time and day.

      My training is as a behavioral scientist and my life experience is as an educated American observing our political drama. So, irrespective of voices and declensions, the message of this post was to explain progressivism from a personal point of view.

      By the way, scientists are taught to be deferential and passive voice contributes to that tone.

      🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is wonderful. All of it. Thank you for reinforcing the values we need to embrace as we ignore the inflammatory and self-serving sound bytes of those who seek power for insidious, banal and/or irresponsible reasons. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cole for reinforcing me. We are usually not the most vocal side, so we end up being out-shouted. I think this man is deliberately trying to lose, because he knows it will be an unsexy, hard job. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • As usual, our thoughts run along the same trajectory. I’m not one for conspiracy theories (at all), but I can’t help, lately, leaning in the direction of those who claim that he is only running to ensure Hillary’s win. Unfortunately, whether or not he actually wants the job, there are a whole lot of people who have bought the lies and hatred that he’s selling. I’m more than a little nervous, watching it all unfold. And I don’t even have a real stake in the whole debacle! We will all be affected by what you, as a nation, decide, though. Sincerely hoping that progressiveness prevails. xo

        Liked by 1 person

        • It think it will. The press has relentlessly attacked Clinton for the slightest gaff, while allowing Trump to lie blatantly, over and over again. So, it gives the impression that the race is even. But it isn’t. Intelligent Republicans know he would be a disaster from which the party would never recover. They will silently support Clinton and she will win.

          Then the public will find out how much she was slandered, because she will work her heart out for the American people and the world.

          xo

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth, I too watched both conventions. As you said, the differences were glaringly apparent. I did think at first Trump wanted the Presidency; now, however, I believe he is beginning to understand he is out of his depth. He will not, of course, ever admit that, but you can see he is positioning himself for the loss of the election (ie, “the election is rigged”).

    I think he will continue to ignore wise advisors in order to gain more and more publicity which, in his narcissistic and borderline personality disordered mind, will boost his wealth and business ventures while at the same time lose himself votes and ruin the Republican party. I believe he is doing this not to give Hillary votes, but to ruin the people in the GOP who did not blindly support him. Because he is not at heart a supportive man, but a vindictive one.

    My belief is that, in the end, Hillary will win because many Republicans will secretly vote for her – ones who are too afraid to take a stand and publicly rebuke Trump and his wackadoodle speech and direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and I are on the same exact wavelength here, along with Cole.

      Trump is over his head. He has never really had to get along with others or defer to others. From childhood, he was always the bully, had to have the upper hand.

      I think his behavior is the mark of deep insecurity and neediness. My guess is he didn’t get enough love. Some children seem to need validation from their parents more than others do. In his case, he will spend a lifetime focused on himself trying to fill the hole that it is too late to fill in that way.

      His erratic behavior is further evidence that he needs help — but he will never seek. Classic narcissism, deeply ill but completely in denial.

      I cannot wait to be rid of him and to have the pain and disappointment that his followers clearly feel, channeled in a more productive and positive direction.

      I know Hillary feels for them and will not turn her back on them, except for the truly vicious bigots and racists. That is something no government can fix.

      Sigh!!!!

      Thank you Susan. xo

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      • The sad part for him is that apparently now, his views are negatively, rather than positively affecting his business. One would think based on his apparent savvy as a businessman, he would understand that those who stay at his hotels, use his golf courses, purchase his clothing line have been upper class and well educated. Those are the same people voting for Hillary and who will, after this campaign, will no longer avail themselves of his products or services based on his views.

        Liked by 1 person

        • To be honest with you, Susan, I think this is just desserts. He has been cheating contractors, employees, customers for decades, just to keep up his lavish lifestyle. He is struggling to hang on the the same $200 million Fred Trump left him — he is not a billionaire at all and deeply leveraged. Finally, he may have to live within his means, just like the rest of us and stop all this pretense of success and luxury. It is gilt not gold.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, that’s your problem! You haven’t watched Fox News, or listened regularly to Rush Limbaugh. If you had you’d understand Trumpomania better. You wouldn’t be so concerned about facts, you’d deny climate change, Darwinism, and you would be more angry and paranoid. Despite your preoccupation with logic and ethics, you wrote a fine article Beth. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephen, thank you, first of all. Your comments are always so droll and incisive.

      Yeah, I used to force myself to watch both and then literally decided it was a bad idea for my health, literally, for my blood pressure.

      I don’t know how people can deliberately lie for money, but that is what Fox and Limbaugh, Hannity, — not sure O’Reilly is smart enough/may really believe his own BS — and Drudge do and it is despicable.

      It also reminds me that some people want to be lied to. It baffles me as to why, unless we return to the idea that being mired in fear and anger is easier than waking up and being reasonable.

      Look at this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/08/04/the-u-s-coast-is-in-an-unprecedented-hurricane-drought-why-this-is-terrifying/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

      While Nero is fiddling, Rome is burning.

      xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • The pattern for hurricanes has been changing. East coast florida has been lucky. and perhaps this change can last for a while. As for understanding the precise weather changes to expect, I think that’s too difficult t0 predict. But to deny the dangers of global warming with emotional, angry rants a la Hannity, that requires true lying as you say.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s not so much that the hurricane patterns are strongly indicative or probative of the warming, but more that these aberrations exacerbate existing problems that are clearly linked to climate disruption.

          I am no climatologist, but I trust the experts who are. Why half this country has some sort of chip on their shoulder resentment of scientists as if they have an “elitist” (ridiculous term) axe to grind, is beyond me. We revered experts in my house, growing up.

          Sigh!!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sometimes disheartened when people I consider educationed and well established think the appropriate candidate should be the bumbling, sometimes cruel buffoon who would either cause a world war or get himself killed. I am sad, as the time shortens and the people’s numbers are so big from the opposing candidate who someone couldn’t pay me to vote for him. Thanks for your concise, specific list of progressive qualities, Beth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Trump has lied very effectively to people who don’t take the time to learn about him. Americans are busy and apparently easily duped. They have believed outrageous lies about the Clintons for years. The worst one can say about Hillary is that she is boring.

      Trump’s numbers reflect the fact that half the voting public votes Republican no matter what. I still think he will lose. If he wins, we will be taken back 100 years, in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am sorry, sometimes it is so busy at work, trying to fit family and a man in my life, I drop one of those proverbial “balls in the air” I keep trying to juggle, Beth. I missed stating how I felt about this well thought out post!
    I should not use word, “happy,” but I will say that the recent voices coming out against Trump have helped me breathe more easily. For fun, Robert DeNiro’s rant against Donald Trump was very gratifying. He calls him a “thug,” among other things and says since he has been in a few boxing movies, he felt urged to “take him on.” (Paraphrasing the latter, his own word to describe Trump for me chuckling and “offended” the Donald. 🙂 )
    My Calisto dislikes Hillary and uses the word “hate” to describe his feelings about her. How sad! For a second generation immigrant he is acting like a spoiled, rich man. His parents owned a tailoring shop in Columbus and they were starting to lose money so Les Wexner (the Limited store magnate) asked them to be his housekeeper and man servant at his and his wife’s home. C’s mother cooks and his father keeps things organized and not sure what else. I cannot imagine why they (Calisto and parents) would feel that Hillary was selfish or someone to “hate.” I am distancing myself, with regret. Those who have worked their whole life, as they and others have, need to know that Trump is out for himself and others who make millions or billions without cares about the lower and middle class people.
    The reason Hillary belongs there is clear, she has worked hard for the people, her husband’s (Bill’s) service outweighs his dalliances and the country will be better off with the Clinton’s in the Oval Office and White House.
    As soon as the new sexual allegations came out against Trump, I was pleased to see some more Republicans shift their places, Beth. We shall see! 🙂

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