Enlightened Conflict

fall winter and finding meaning in death

December 1st, 2016




“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.


Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.


Let the light in before it is too late. “



 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”



“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”




(via ginger-and-preppy)





Well <part 1>.


I just read a an article in one of those local papers you can pick up at Healthy Grocery stores which attempted to discuss how this time of the year <October/November/December> is the season of ‘decay and death’ … and how it was a potent time to connect with the dead <and highlighted several celebrations around the world which do just that>.

This thought was combined with the thought we human folk balk at connecting with death because it … well … seems morbid to do so.



and summer regrets

               getting rid

       of winter wishes


summer and i




Well <part 2>.


I balk at the whole concept of ‘decay & death’ as well as the ‘morbid‘ thought.


Simplistically, seasons remind of us the cycle of Life <not death> and that death, in and of itself a sad event, contains at its very core the very simple concept that without Death, there is no Life.


This was immortalized in pop culture by Blood Sweat & Tears in their absolutely fabulous song “and when I die”:



And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.



While each Life is a stepping stone for every future generation each death represents a stepping stone for … well … the future.

dialogue with pain


I don’t need any Eastern religion wisdom to remind me of this … I think we all know this.

Now … I will admit that connecting with this thought is much much easier for us when we remove any personalized death and accept it as simply a turning of generations. Therefore … one of the reasons we do not celebrate death is because it can get too personal. And if that is a reason … it sure as hell is a good one.


But death itself?


While death is something we dislike, facing seasons remain something we must face year in and year out. It is a constant affirmation of the turning of time and that some things we may have gained will most likely be inevitably lost in the natural turn of time.


And, yes, as today is December 1st I am reminded that Winter is the time of Life’s strategic retreat and conservation of what gives it all life.


It is not death. And it is not decay.


It is Life’s thoughtful way to insure its existence and survival.


It is the time of incubation and rest and restoration for all things to come in the following year.


I could also suggest that winter is a time of reflection and … well … comfort. In winter’s dark nights the stars are at their clearest and we have the opportunity to see them as the sparks of potential and wishes and dreams and … well … Life. Uhm. And dreaming is never a bad thing … particularly during the ‘ebb tide of seasonal Life.’


I will not argue that as Life recedes in autumn and rests in winter we do, at least emotionally, get closer to connecting with death … but I do balk at thinking of autumn & winter as ‘things associated with death.’


.... a time to Reflect ......

…. a time to Reflect ……

I would argue it actually does a nice job of reminding us we need to let go of things. and, sure, maybe we connect with ‘the dead’ better at this time because … well … it reminds us to celebrate what we had and embrace letting go.


And that is the thing about winter … it demands to not only be felt but also that you meet it on its terms. Even better … Winter demands us to let go of things we most typically hold onto with ragged claws.


You cannot refuse its existence and you cannot ignore what was because what is … is … well … is starkly different. Where Life was once obvious it is now starkly absent.


I would note that all Eastern mysticism and ‘being in touch with the universe’ and the ‘natural ebb of the earth’ and all that stuff, at its core, just suggests that we pay attention. Pay attention to whatever energy seasons give us … and more often than not that energy it gives us is … uhm … just good ole fashioned thinking. It gives us the energy to think about our lives, lives lost and lives yet to be lived.


Acknowledgement of all of that increases your overall connection not just with ‘the universe’ but rather to the eternal pattern of life and invests a sense of energy into pretty much everything <yourself and Life>.


And just as Death breaks things down to the bare essence, winter does the same.

And maybe that is the connection.


When things are at their barest, when we are drawn closer to endings rather than beginnings, we inevitably ponder the ‘great perhaps.’


Back in September I wrote this on the first day of Fall:




I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”. I think we all know what a better world really looks like. I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.


And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we begin to better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams. And maybe it is within Winter where , in ts barest of bare essences, we are forced to begin envisioning what could be in plans and dreams because it is left to us standing in the bare environment around us.




What I do know about all seasons is that they are markers of Time … and poetically speaking … Time is always hungry for many of the things we dearly want to endure and do.


This makes Time both beautiful and doomed. Yeah. Time is beautiful and doomed. And that is where I really believe the whole ‘morbid time of the year’ goes astray.



for it seems all of Fall’s stars

                       have fallen

and often summer and i

run through the last warm days

through the cool grass

       gathering stars caught in people’s dreams

with the intent

           to toss them to Winter

through windows of dawn.


Summer & i




We, especially in the West, hunger for time.

Conversely, time itself <to us Western folk> has a hunger and its hunger is for ‘things.’

It is a nasty emptiness waiting to be filled.




If there is one thing humans are fucking great at … it is filling time and stuffing whatever we can into any emptiness we can find.


Death and dying makes us reflect. It forces us to do so. Just as the bare often starkness of Winter does.

And it makes us reflect on what ‘stuff’ we have crammed into whatever Time we have had.


Oh. Maybe what it really forces us to do is reflect upon time. and that is where death truly makes us feel uncomfortable … not any morbid feeling but rather it’s just being dead livingthat we have been indoctrinated to focus on living … living life to its fullest, not wasting any time, to do lists that never get completed and just doing shit <just do it>.


Nowhere in that list of shit I just shared does death have a place. In fact. Death represents the exact opposite of everything society & our culture almost demands we think about 24/7.


And when forced to face death, or feel a need to connect, we are much less likely to celebrate but rather assess … assess our doing mantra versus ‘stop.’




Most of us don’t purposefully ignore connecting with death and those who have passed away because of sadness <because if it were we would be more likely to actually do it because the opposite of sadness is reflecting upon the inevitable happiness> but rather because death and past lives force us to reflect upon our ‘doing accomplishment’ <as well as it forces us to stop … which compounds the feeling of ‘shit, I haven’t done enough and I am not doing anything now>.



If you can get beyond the ‘doing’ aspect inherently death is more about sadness <loss of something or someone or time> more so than morbidity. Conquer the sadness and you have conquered death.


And all of this is just not that difficult <if you are willing to actually think about it>.


winter-fall-snow-season-change-lifeSeveral cultures do celebrate the autumnal solstice as the time life & death is closest. I would argue it is less a celebration but rather recognition of that which came before, and that which is dying, so that what will be will come forth.

Generations beget generations just as falls beget springs.


Death begets life.


This doesn’t mean we should celebrate impending death but rather recognize, even in sadness, life & beauty resides in the future.


Fall is of beautiful dying.

Winter is of starkness of death.

Spring is of rebirth from death.


This doesn’t mean you can find beautiful things to enjoy throughout any season.  Seasons simply remind us of the fact time does not stand still and no matter how hard we try and fill up the emptiness time offers us day in and day out … leaves fall, winter comes and spring arises.


I believe it is the Celtic wheel of the year describes this time of the year as Samhain … “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Just as several other cultures they use his time to reflect upon “that which was.” In my pea like brain … it is a celebration of navel gazing. It is an intentional event to purposefully explore the valuable relationship not only between Life and Death but the past and the future.


Listen to the cry of falling leaves,

            but winter breaks the silence

and warms us with words

of how to change it all

      before the Fall completely ends.

So, So



reflect brain things


I don’t believe we do not celebrate death and dying because we think it is morbid. I tend to believe we do not traditionally do so because we, as in Western civilization versus Eastern, don’t celebrate reflection.

We treat reflection more as  a personal thing and not a larger more public event and celebration.


Should we celebrate reflection? Shit. I don’t know. But understanding that seasons can offer us enlightening thoughts about how we actually think about death & Life & holding on & letting go is surely not a bad thing.


As for Fall and Winter? I do not think of death and decay. I actually think of flowers. Huh?


I credit Mark Strand for making me think Winter is the time to bring flowers into your Life as he describes Winter in his poem called Blizzard of One:


“A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that …”

Mark Strand <Blizzard of One>

Every funeral deserves flowers. Every Winter deserves thoughts of Life.

skittles and safety

September 21st, 2016


Donald Trump Jr. sent out this tweet last night:




<note: the actual metaphor, to be accurate, would actually be 10,000,000+ skittles and one poisoned>


I have seen it before.


And I have heard the same point made on talk radio with regard to USA accepting refugees.


I will not comment on the fact that 80% of domestic terrorism is conducted by non Muslims.


I will not comment on the fact that 1 immigrant has been convicted of a terrorism crime since 9/11.


I will not comment on the fact that recent terror acts were conducted by legal citizens.


I get fear.

I get national security.


I get terrorism is named terrorism because it creates terror.


I get the link between ‘permitting immigrants/refugees in to a country’ increases some risk of security <albeit a small risk as compared to the risks of everyday life like driving, crossing a street or drinking>.


I have one thing to say to everyone, which will be controversial, but reflects the liberty freedomnotfortimidthumbthought of one of the framers of our country and constitution:




“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”


Benjamin Franklin





I have one other thing to say to everyone, slightly less controversial, but takes a little more thoughtfulness on the part of everyone to think about the true repercussions … this time from one of our greatest presidents:



“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”



Abraham Lincoln





Here is most likely the most unpopular thought I will ever share on this site.


The current American terrorism problem is not an immigration issue, nor a Muslim issue, it is a domestic issue.




Trump, if he actually had half a brain, would recognize that something he is promoting is actually the best possible long term solution to domestic terrorism – jobs, economy and opportunity.

It isn’t about building a wall across from Mexico <which I could point out that almost 80% of illegal immigrants do not come from south of USA>. It isn’t about ceasing immigrants from any country <and, yes, you continue vetting and stringent processing>. It isn’t about not accepting refugees.


It is about making any possible disaffected citizens not become disaffected.


It is about insuring everyone has the potential for some level of prosperity if they work hard.


It is about insuring there are good, fair jobs for everyone who wants to work hard.


Happier citizens who believe the country they live in provides fair opportunity do not conduct terrorist acts.


I could argue, and I would, that people come to America to be an American, accept the freedoms America has to offer and is more than willing to live by constitutional law <which is about the only ‘test’ that matters>.


If America lives up to its side of the bargain then the people who come have no desire to be receptive to someone suggesting where they are living is not a ‘good’ place.



wrong stupid

The skittles metaphor is stupid and shows a lack of understanding.


I don’t need a candy metaphor … if you want to debate what it may mean to allow 10,000 refugees in to a country and the possible risk … just tell me.


But suggesting real people are skittles is just stupid and shows an incredible lack of awareness.


It doesn’t reflect a ‘smart mind’ <coming up with some visual metaphor> but rather shows a lazy mind who cannot grasp how to properly articulate an issue and have the intellectual strength to debate it on its own merits.


In the end it seemed appropriate to offer words I wrote back in My 2013:


Liberty is a choice. And with that choice comes some responsibility … and some broad boundaries … an expansive circle as it were.

And certainly some uneasiness within that wide open space … that tumultuous sea.

And unequivocally some fear because of its broadness.

In the end … the enemy of liberty is fear & ignorance.

Therefore to enable liberty there must remain the courage in all of us to accept it even with its imperfections.

Sadly the cost of having true liberty may be lives.

But the true tragedy would be if the cost of liberty was our freedom.

It seems to me that the biggest tragedy would be to have lost lives, people who most likely embraced the full liberty America had to offer, as a means, or an excuse, to kill or restrain liberty.




gracefully letting go

March 29th, 2015


———gracefully let go card




“Teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.”



via lilac-veinss







There are moments in the life of a man, and of a nation, when it is right to say:



I have done my utmost, and I can do no more, therefore I will cease my striving and seek another road.”







“People will try to hold on when their world starts to tilt.



They will grab onto whatever is in reach.”




Claire Zorn






freedom feels like hold




Letting go of shit may be one of the hardest things to do in the world.



Even more difficult?



Letting go gracefully.



These are the moments in which you have decided you have done what you have done, done what you consider enough … and you are … well … done.



These are the moments in which you actually consciously think:



How do I let go?

gracefully let go lemons

Where do I begin?

Do I let go memory by memory?

How many goodbyes will this take?

Do I leave words with everyone until I have no more words left to give?






And if I do all this, will it even matter?



In addition.


Maybe I should do nothing.


Maybe I should just stand here and let others let me <or ‘it’> go.


This stuff, letting go in general, let alone gracefully … is hard. Really hard.



And while we typically suck at letting the right things go, let alone anything I imagine, we REALLY suck at letting things go gracefully.



Suffice it to say..




Most people don’t let go gracefully let alone let go at all.



You just get stuck.


You just hold on tight … and then when you do let go you just want to throw it away and ignore it as if you never held it.



And maybe you get a little confused.







There is no handbook for “how to let things go gracefully. “


gracefully Yep time let go


It does not exist and so you must try to find ways to figure it out on your own.



Frankly … it seems almost cruel that a handbook on “letting go” doesn’t exist <let alone gracefully>. Because it may be one of the most common things we do in Life.



We don’t seem to notice the almost daily experience as we let go every single day of countless amounts of things:













We may not notice until we are faced with a situation that we want to hold on or that we are the ones being let go.


That must be it.



There comes a moment where we realize we are the ropes in a tug-of-war.


Someone holding on at each end … until one decides to let go.



Someone watches you leave.



Or maybe you end up watching someone else leave.







We have lots of personal experience letting shit go.



Most times things are let go little by little. And in these small but significant changes we don’t really learn the ‘gracefully’ part … just the letting go part.



In addition.



Not only do we let most things go in small insignificant increments … often you have no control.



Things get lost.



People are going to begin to let you go regardless of whether you ask them to or not.



I have said it before … but part of growing up is leaving shit – regrets, stuff, people, choices, etc. – behind.






That is the gracefully part.



Learning to let things go that you not only made the ‘let go decision’ but also the things that were ‘let go’ by someone else.



In other words … learning to let things go even when your world starts to tilt.






Holding on is a shitload easier than letting go.



And, in fact, I am not sure there is such a thing as ‘holding on gracefully.’



You are just … well … holding on.






Let’s end with this thought.


Unfortunately … I tend to believe you encounter more things not meant for you than those things actually meant for you in Life.

And while we may eventually get better as we get older with regard to sifting through all these things inevitably you will end up with a lot of shit that … well … aren’t really meant for you.


And even more unfortunately … there really isn’t anyone to help you sift thru … no one is going to … ‘teach me how to gracefully let go of things not meant for me.’



That is something you just gotta figure out on your own.


gracefully Life



I am a work in progress.




I have certainly learned to let go of things … but still learning to do so gracefully.



I can only hope that I am more graceful on the important things.

when not to let go (and balloons)

March 28th, 2015


hold on let go balloons

“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go.

Balloons are designed to teach small children this.”


Terry Pratchett





I have written about how difficult it is for people, in business & Life, to let go of things so much I am not sure I can find any new words to share on that topic.



In fact … if you google “reasons to not let go” you get nothing.





You get jack shit on the topic.



All you get is page after page of ‘reasons to let go.’



And, yet, there are certainly times to know when to not let go.



To be clear … a purposeful ‘not let go’ is a different difficulty for us. While not letting go is something that is mostly based on some version of fear or doubt … knowing when to not let go of something seems to be more about our difficulty in discerning what is important, or good, and what is unimportant , or bad.



In fact.


I think part of the ‘not letting go’ difficulty resides in how we learned to hold on in childhood <the balloon thing>.



We learn very early on that when you let go of something good it floats away never to be seen again. So we have learned to hold on a tightly as possible to goodbye handanything that could be construed as good <even if it is really a crappy balloon>.


We have become so good at it we are almost proud of not letting go. Therefore the problem isn’t our ability to actually hold on … it is choosing what to really not let go of.



Not letting go is complex compounded by the fact we are complex people.



Why does the complexity matter?


Because there is no formula. No ‘rules of not letting go.’


Yeah, yeah, yeah.



Some things are obvious.



The self stuff, the character stuff, the ‘who you are as a person’ stuff you don’t let go of. They are good balloons.




But after a while you have so many balloons you can’t discern the good ones from the bad ones. Which leads me to suggest I sometimes believe the ‘what not to let go’ choice is an acquired intuition thing.




I just typed acquired and intuition side by side.



I like to remind people that you are not borne with good intuition. You may be borne with a good intuition muscle but experience strengthens the muscle and it takes some time & experience to ‘acquire’ the intuition necessary to ‘not let go’ of the right things.





I suggest intuition because unless one of the balloons has lost all its air and has sunk to the ground you are choosing amongst a shitload of balloons that maybe all look pretty good to you.



This may sound crazy because balloons float above you and should seem obvious at all times … but the connections to many of the balloons in your life are actually like links of a chain underwater.


“The moment of truth, the sudden emergence of a new insight, is an act of intuition.

Such intuitions give the appearance of miraculous flushes, or short-circuits of reasoning. In fact they may be likened to an immersed chain, of which only the beginning and the end are visible above the surface of consciousness.

The diver vanishes at one end of the chain and comes up at the other end, guided by invisible links.”

Arthur Koestler


learning to fly hands
You see the balloons.

Okay. You see some of them.

But the strings get all tangled up and you cannot tell which string to let go of <because you are not sure which balloon will go away> and which one to hold on to. Some of the choices you make as you look at the strings is intuitive. And given some time and experience I imagine the string feels a little different in your hand as you pluck it out from all the others. That is this version of intuition.






One of the things I admire most in people is consistent great intuition and how they manage what to not let go of.



It is an interesting characteristic to assess when you meet people and is fairly easy because you can just look up and see the balloons they carry with them.



So, in the end, maybe the balloon metaphor is bad … or maybe I simply overused it … but suffice it to say that while there is a lot of free advice on ‘letting go’ there isn’t a whole shitload of advice on ‘what to not let go of.’



I think it is obvious that there are certainly some ‘be yourself’ characteristics that you should never let go of <although figuring out what to not let go of as you try and improve yourself is not easy either>.
What is less obvious is the other stuff in your life. Experiences, knowledge, even people.


birds on hand

I don’t have any answers today. Just questions. And maybe some prompting that this is something we should think about a little more.



Most letting go advice online is vapid and a waste of time <albeit with good intent>.



I don’t have any advice for ‘not let go’ other than think about it. We all learn to hold on to balloons because they represent freedom and hope and good things waiting above us. Those should be the things we hold on to and not let go of.

the genius of the American constitution and government

July 11th, 2014

constitution american-flag-all-rights-reserved-by-jade-leyva


‘On great occasions every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the strict line of the law when the public preservation requires it. A strict observance of the law is doubtless one of the highest duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of a higher obligation … to lose our country to a scrupulous adherence to a written law would be to lose the law itself.”

Thomas Jefferson in his “great occasions” speech



When viewing American politics I certainly hesitate to use the word ‘genius.’


Absurd yes.


Genius no.

politics lies and truth and repeating

Politics has always been absurd to me … mostly because I think we all want the same objective <something better> and we all end up haggling over how to meet the objective so much and so often … we end up doing nothing <and I would rather do the wrong thing than nothing>.



Politics has always been absurd to me because even when a decision is made and implementation is in progress … it starts getting pecked to death by the ducks. Most governmental decisions … shit … most good business decisions … have limited short term successes … and need to be evaluated on the echoes of the decision. I would rather invest all energy in implementing well <even the wrong thing> than second guessing or ‘pecking’ which could affect the long term success.


And now politics has reached a whole new level of absurdity in that the current American president is so divisive among pundit views … that we are starting to act like presidents have never acted like the current one.


That President Obama is ‘more illegal acting’ than any president before <and therefore a dictator or imperial or some nonsense type wording>.




“President Obama’s rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, isyes or no crazy the foundational problem here. It’s not going to get better, and in fact irreparable harm can be done in this lame-duck term as he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along. It’s time to impeach.”

Sarah Palin








This is what presidents do.


Make decisions … popular or not … and let the chips fall as they may.


People may bitch and complain … but if they really do have a bitch or complaint … impeachment is the measurement of actions.


But … let’s be clear … all presidents <and I imagine all country leaders> “break” the law.


They do not rewrite the constitution or act like criminals … they simply do what leaders are supposed to do … take action for the benefit of the larger organization.



freedom and responsibility
Thomas Jefferson said it best in his “great occasions” speech …. ‘A strict observance of the law is doubtless one of the highest duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of a higher obligation … to lose our country to a scrupulous adherence to a written law would be to lose the law itself.”


That said.


These leaders take these actions without moral dereliction of duty.


The decisions may be difficult and unpopular and unclear with regard to strict legality … and sometimes even come at the expense of citizens … but if anyone suggests an American president takes immoral action … well … they are the absurd ones then.



Suing a president? Silly <if not stupid>.


Bringing criminal charges against a president? Silly <if not stupid>.


Impeachment is the ultimate measurement of a president’s actions. And I would like to point out that talking about impeachment and actually agreeing to an impeachable action is very very different.





Serendipity is a funny character in Life.


Just as I listened to some mind numbing diatribe on some talk radio show I read some interesting words from author Martin Gross in a book he wrote in the late 80’s <I believe>.


I thought I would share.



<excerpts from words spoken in a court of law by one of the characters in a book of author Martin Gross>


The commander in chief cannot declare war … that’s up to congress, but he can make war and he’s done that more than congress. We have had military hostilities over 200 times … maybe 20 or so considered ‘serious’ and congress has only declared war maybe 5 times. Andrew Jackson took Spanish Florida without congressional approval. We had invaded Mexican territory for 3 weeks before congress approved it. Truman made war in Korea without global unrest pining for a worldcongress approval ad Roosevelt started a sea war with Nazi submarines before world war 2. The Monroe doctrine was never authorized by congress. Reagan made war in Grenada and we bombed Libya … and congress did nothing. Bush did the same in Panama and most likely would have one the same in Iraq whether congress agreed or not. The president is far more than an ordinary person with regard to the law.

Presidents have always been sneaky. In a crisis they generally try and do what they can before congress can get their hands on them. President Tyler made a secret deal with the Republic of Texas to get them into the United States and almost got impeached for it. President Jefferson grabbed the chance to make the Louisiana Purchase from a poor Napoleon for 15 million dollars. When congress complained they hadn’t authorized the money Jefferson asked if he should give back the land. Even Lincoln was sneaky. Before congress could meet in the civil war he raised an army, spent money on arms and even eliminated habeas corpus.

I sometimes think the founding fathers made the separation of powers of the president and the congress somewhat vague so that this battle – a political one really, of public support, or lack of support – could go on.

The constitution outlines what is legal and what isn’t by a president by providing impeachment. Outside of impeachment where the people’s representatives speak, the president has been able to do whatever he can get away with. If you want him to stop doing something … whatever … you have to impeach him. If he is not impeached by default it’s apparently legal <or justified>. Constitutionally and practically.

This is what presidents do. Make decisions … popular or not … and let the chips fall as they may. People may bitch and complain … but impeachment is the measurement of actions.


Thomas Jefferson said it best in his “great occasions” speech:

‘On great occasions every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the strict line of the law when the public preservation requires it. A strict observance of the law is doubtless one of the highest duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of a higher obligation … to lose our country to a scrupulous adherence to a written law would be to lose the law itself.”


The constitution is almost perfect in this discussion. It rests in the people. And the people not only rest in the president , the only one elected by us all, but in the congress as well. So, the congress can always kick out an evil president. That’s what makes the perfection. The constitution accommodates both politics and legality. The people’s will within a framework of law.


Will we ever answer the question of what a resident can or cannot constitutionally do?

“Never if God grants us continued liberty someone will always be sitting in some chair a hundred years from now arguing the same battle and the same issues … searching for the right answer. That’s the genius of the American constitution and government.”



Whew. What a great speech.


In the end.


We will never really answer the limits of any president.

And that is the genius of the American Constitution and government.


We will constantly be searching for the right answer and seek the right limits.


liberty freedomnotfortimidthumb


And we will do so because we have the liberty and freedom to argue about it yesterday, today … and 100 years from now.



And I hope we are still debating it 100 years from now.



I simply wish that politicians and right & left wing pundits would embrace the genius aspect of who America is rather than the idiot * absurd aspect. I wish they would think of it all as ‘work in progress’ rather than ‘faults.’


I wish they, and everyone, would remember one person will never destroy a great idea and great ideas do not just happen by themselves … nor do they occur as planned.


the price of the tempestuous sea of liberty

May 14th, 2013




liberty freedomnotfortimidthumb

Liberty is certainly not for the timid.



“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”


Benjamin Franklin






The actions committed by the Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, were cowardly, heinous and unforgivable.

Four people dead and over 150 wounded.



This is certainly not the first time that homicidal killers have attacked a major American city.


In 2002, Washington DC was terrorized by two  snipers, who randomly shot and killed 10 people. In February, an unhappy police officer murdered four people over several days in Los Angeles.


I would also note that on the same day as the Boston tragedy I believe 30+ other people were killed in America because of some type of violence.




I say this not to diminish the Boston tragedy but rather instead to suggest we fight this battle every day.


We are constantly at war with those who attack liberty.


Liberty is certainly not for the timid.


We cannot allow ourselves to be easily and willingly cowed by the threat of terrorism.


We cannot allow fears for temporary safety permit us to be timid with liberty.


It would be easy to begin increasing restrictions, surveillance, and oversight of the citizenship under the overall <good> guise of safety.


I do believe people deserve to not actually feel safe … but also to be safe. But I say that also with an eye toward ‘we cannot always be 100% safe.’


It can easily go beyond punishing everyone for the evil transgressions of a few to punishing the foundation of liberty. We should be seeking to remain vigilant without superseding liberty.


Liberty is not for the timid.


“It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”

George Washington


American liberty, democracy, is all about the freedom of citizens to speak their mind, choose their leaders, demand their rights, be valued entities in their society and be different <think and believe different thoughts>.


Now … democracy, to be truly effective, must be rooted in the hearts and souls of each individual within that citizenship.


But here is an uncomfortable <and unsafe> truth.



Within a citizenship of over 300million people not only are the roots going to vary <depth & breadth of belief> but also the simple meaning of democracy <how it is defined> will be different in each individual.


Some will abuse it.


That is a fact.


That is an unfortunate truth.


That means people will get hurt on occasion.


And that also does not mean we can deprive people of liberty because we ‘think’ they will abuse it.




This is difficult.


And it makes you feel unsafe even thinking it.



There is a natural inherent risk in democracy and liberty.


Because this means we need to stop seeing ‘enemies’ everywhere … even though they may truly be everywhere.


Liberty is certainly not for the timid.



“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. liberty under_water

But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” 


Alexis de Tocqueville



A democracy seeks equality in liberty.


For good or for bad. The highs and the lows <of the people making up that society>.


I do not suggest this lightly … for death is a very high price to pay.


I am certainly not suggesting senseless sacrifice of life. Nor am I suggesting losing life through the ineptitude and irresponsibility of practical monitoring of the citizenship and its safety <note: I am not suggesting that anyone did that in the Boston tragedy>.


Nor am I suggesting any perpetrators of violence should not be pursued to the full extent of the law.


I am suggesting that sacrificing life for liberty … well … that I, personally, would do.


Restraint and servitude are not characteristics of democracy and the liberty our forefathers foresaw for the country’s citizens.


Freedom means … well … freedom.


“… what we call freedom … it is necessary to determine the justice or injustice of this phrase. Try to draw a circle with the ‘free’ hand, and with a single line. You cannot do it of your hand trembles, nor if it hesitates, nor if it is unmanageable, nor if it is in the common sense of the word ‘free.’ So far from being free , it must be under control as absolute and accurate as if it were fastened to an inflexible bar of steel. And yet it must move, under this necessary control, with perfect, untormented serenity of ease.”

<1905 Evolution of Expression>



The circle must be drawn with a strong hand. And, yet, it must be absolute and accurate true with its intent. The circle, drawn with intent, does not wax and wane with fear or the thought of ‘what could happen.’ It remains resolute in its space.


Restricting liberty is not, should not, be what democracy & freedom is defined by.


Will some people abuse a broad definition of liberty? Absolutely.


Should they pay the price for that abuse? Absolutely.


<unfortunately> Will others pay the price when those few abuse it? Absolutely.


Does that mean we should restrict liberty? Absolutely not.


Liberty is not for the timid.




The tempestuous sea.


That sea called liberty.


“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”

Thomas Jefferson


liberty Tempestuous Thomas


Every day, week, year, decade … whatever … we are buffeted on this sea of liberty. That is the challenge liberty to gives us all. We get tugged this way and that way by waves of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but our intent is to remain afloat … and not sink. Sink to tyranny or fear or … well … lack of liberty.


“It is of small importance to any of us whether we get liberty; but of the greatest that we deserve it.

Whether we can win it, fate must determine; but that we will be worthy of it we may ourselves determine; and the sorrowfullest fate of all that we can suffer is to have it without deserving it.”

<1905 Evolution of Expression>


Oh my.  “… that we will be worthy of it we may ourselves determine.” Yes. We <the people> determine whether we are worthy of Liberty.




A mistake <to me>?


Seeking absolute calm or safety. And I fully recognize that we could end up debating what constitutes ‘absolute’ or ‘acceptable’ and what a citizenship deserves.


All I suggest is that we remember Liberty rarely equals safety or calmness.


It most often provides the turmoil of great minds and great thinking and … well … greatness.


Is it an uncomfortable greatness? Surely.


It is the greatness insured by not remaining stagnant despite the temptation to find some calmness in the tempest.


Not a mistake <to me>?


Freedom and equality.


Liberty is a choice. And with that choice comes some responsibility … and some broad boundaries … an expansive circle as it were.


And certainly some uneasiness within that wide open space … that tumultuous sea.


And unequivocally some fear because of its broadness.


In the end … the enemy of liberty is fear & ignorance.


Therefore to enable liberty there must remain the courage in all of us to accept it even with its imperfections.


Sadly the cost of having true liberty may be lives.constitution-we-the-people-american-01


But the true tragedy would be if the cost of liberty was our freedom.

It seems to me that the biggest tragedy would be to have lost lives, which most likely embraced the full liberty America had to offer, as means to kill or restrain liberty.


Harsh words? Maybe.




Liberty is certainly not for the timid.

Enlightened Conflict