Make America Great Again

It is utterly clear to me that the highest priority  need of world society at the present moment is a realistic economic accounting system which will rectify, for instance, such nonsense as the fact that a top toolmaker in India, the highest paid of all craftsman, gets only as much per month for his work in India as he could earn per day for the same work if he were employed in Detroit, Michigan.  – Page 112 Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth –  Buckminster Fuller

The problem with the phrase “Make America Great Again”, the campaign slogan being used by Donald Trump, is the fact that it supposes America is not currently great. In order to determine how something is you need to compare it to something. I wonder what Trump is comparing the USA to? What was greater about the USA in the past  than what we have going on right now? When was the last time Trump thinks America was great? What exactly does he think he will do to make it better than it is now? For who?

It is certainly difficult to determine exactly what Donald Trump’s plans are for if he became President. I have heard things from “Build a wall with Mexico” to “Make Ford bring jobs back to the USA from Mexico” and maybe other places (China)?

If America is so terrible why are so many immigrants willing to come here? It must be better than where they are coming from? Why do they think it’s better here? Most people don’t have very crazy aspirations. They want to live their lives. Provide for their families and maybe have a little extra for a rainy day or to have a little fun. If people think they will be able to achieve that better here than wherever they are coming from that seems to tell me it’s pretty great here.

If Trumps goal is to keep Mexicans in Mexico his goal should be to make Mexico a place people want to be. How do you make somewhere a place that people want to be? Make it safe. Make it stable. What is more stable than having a stable job? If Trump wants more Mexican’s to stay in Mexico he should be thinking about how he can get more jobs in Mexico, not less.

I don’t think Trump actually cares about Mexico or Mexicans. He cares about getting elected. To do that he is more than willing to play the fear card in the meantime and unfortunately many people respond to fear readily. These days people seem very afraid, of what I’m not sure. We, at least in the USA, have access to the best food, health care, military and technology of any group of people in history ever. If there is one group in the whole world who shouldn’t be afraid it’s Americans. So why are we afraid?

I think we are afraid because we are bored. We don’t seem to have much else to do. Life must be to easy. We don’t have to work that hard to make food or shelter for ourselves each day. We can go down the street and buy food. We are interested in entertaining ourselves, in eating ourselves to gluttonous sizes, but not in keeping ourselves healthy, not in striving to do great things. We should be afraid of never trying but instead we are afraid of failure.

I strongly believe in the fact that whatever we focus on can become a reality. If we spend all our time reading about terrorism, various viruses, ebola, zitka, asian bird flu, West Nile virus, SARS, Swine Flu (how many of those do you remember from the last 10 years that were going to “end the world”, GMO food, Trans-fats, drugs, alcohol,, Super-Predators, homosexuals, transexuals, metrosexuals (some people are probably scared of people who dress nice), Obama, Trump, Hillary, Bernie. Of all these things that people are afraid of how many actually caused real issues in most people’s lives? I would bet not many. Unfortunately most opinions are just that, opinions, not based on any facts. I will continue to advocate people looking more at the facts, and then relooking at them to see if you have the real facts before raising any alarm.

What I propose we all do is take a step back and read some positive literature. Two books I recommend are “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” by Buckminster Fuller and “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. The point is, the world is not actually going to hell, despite what your personally taylored news media is telling you. I also recommend that people start following a news site that specifically is saying things they are opposed to. Here is a short list of Facebook pages I follow (I get most of my news from places via Facebook)

Matt Walsh
The Friendly Atheist
Ken Hamm
Neil Degrasse Tyson
Lizzy The Lezzie (she’s a lesbian if you didn’t pick that up)
Time
New York Times
Forbes
National Public Radio (NPR)
Nation of Islam
Mormons
Jehovah’s Witnesses

Catholics
HuffPost Good News
Inverse
350.org
Jim Palmer
CCTV ((China Central Television) is constantly updated with top news from China and around the world.
Secret Entourage
David Ramsey
TED (TED talks, their website sucks, just watch it on YouTube)
Tim Ferriss
Zoltan Istvan – (Transhumanist (not transgender) advocate)
Nikola Danaylov
Col. Chris Hadfield (Canadian astronaut)

If you can tell I like to get a diverse perspective on things. It’s pretty interesting to see any news story develop from the perspective of the different sides. Usually one is sharing how great it is while the other is proclaiming the end of the world. I don’t get caught up in the fear either side is professing and neither should you.

America is great. The people are what make a place what it is. America is great because of it’s people and we will continue to be great regardless of, or perhaps in spite of, who is elected. But we shouldn’t get too full of ourselves. Most of the rest of the world is great also and it’s because, in general, people are great. If you don’t know someone or some type of people, consider getting to know them instead of being afraid of them. You just might find you have more in common than you thought.

Elevate Your Thinking

“Jaime, we have half an hour now during this drive. What’s the most important thing we can be thinking about?”- Buckminster Fuller

The opening quote for this post was posed by Buckminster Fuller to his granddaughter, obviously during a car ride. I lifted it off of page 1 of “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” by Buckminster Fuller (actually it’s part of the foreward by his granddaughter), which I will buy and send to your house if you tell me you’ll read it! (email me at hooglandaxel@gmail.com). What a powerful question! How would you answer a question like that? Have you ever even been asked something like that?

I have been on a quest for truth since well before this blog was started but I feel the quest has been ever quickening as I try to write more and more opinionated pieces for this blog explaining the world as I know it to others. Trying to explain things is quite the humbling act as it really is true the more you learn, the more you learn how little you really know.

That is not to say that learning is a fruitless act, far from it!
Some of the mysteries I have been bumping into though get to sounding downright mystical. This has been a real challenge for my analytical mind.

What is Love?
What is Truth?
Why do some people turn into murders while some are artists and engineers? Why are some people both!
Is there a God? If so, is he the God that is preached by any of the hundreds of branches of each religion or have they all missed the mark in some aspects?
How do I most effectively move the world forward in a positive direction?
How do I even determine if my actions are actually positive or negative!?!?!
Why do I think negatively of X type of person. You can substitute just about anything for X. Tall, short, gay, straight, bros, hipsters, foreigners, other Americans, Republicans, Democrats. You name it, I’ve judged them.

One thing that has been wonderful for me has been visiting other churches or religious events. I have been visiting a different church each month sometime during the 2nd week of the month for almost a year now with a group from my church. At the start I had to ask “What is our goal here?” Were we on a mission to save souls from their wrong thinking? I feel this is often the attitude taken by, at least, many denominations of Christians towards other Christians, and certainly other religions. Or were we just trying to learn about others? See how the worship and try to BE with them. Luckily we had the presence of mind to choose the latter.

I have purposely tried to seek as varied services as possible. To date I have visited, Lutherans, Missionary Baptists, Southern Baptists, Mormons, Sunni Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Greek Orthodox Christians, Church of Christ – Scientists, Universal Unitarians and I’m sure some I have forgotten. I have only been met with welcome at every service I attended. People were happy to talk to me and those with me. They invited us in, ate with us and shared their stories and beliefs. Our group tried to be very respectful of each group we visited and they showed us each the same respect and, even better, hospitality, back. The responses I have gotten have really elevated my faith in humanity.

Incredibly when I have shared my visitation stories with friends and family often the first question I am asked is “Were you scared?” Now perhaps they are just joking and I am very oblivious but I believe that every joke has at a minimum a small amount of truth behind it. I have been a bit nervous walking into places I know no one but every time I have done it it becomes easier. I think what the people asking me those questions are really doing is voicing their own fears. Fears of the unknown, which we all have. My solution to the unknown is simply to make it known!

I believe that one solution to much of the violence and fear in the world these days is to simply expand our our circles of influence, or put in a gentler way, expand our neighborhood. Buckminster Fuller coined the term “Earthian” to help unify us. If we could brush away our differences and recognize that we are all in this together, expanding our circle of neighbors, I think we’d all become a lot more comfortable.

As you start a new day ask yourself a few questions.

How can I expand my neighborhood today?

What’s the most important thing I can be thinking about?