July 10, 2017
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July Mentalibrium

It is so difficult to remain in the moment.  Our lives are so full of distractions that any thoughts which contain any continuity are being constantly derailed, making it more difficult to return to the original moment of clarity.  This is the current meaning of the term “mentally disturbed,” and we are all mentally disturbed for a good part of our lives.  Thrown off balance, mentally buffeted and battered. Society forces this upon us, and the resulting effect is to make us and people in general “crazy.”  All of us.  We all may look okay on the outside but our interiors need help. And “shrinks” of all types help us only minimally because they, like the rest of us, are mentally challenged for the same reasons and maybe even more so than the average person because of their proximity to the problem.  So if our compasses are not pointed north at the same time, this is obviously causing some great and fundamental problems.

Negotiations of all kinds are potentially uneven because the parties are pointed in different directions making it difficult to arrive at sensible agreements.  Families suffer when parents are at different mental levels and children begin to bounce up and down and back and forth mentally, making communication and education difficult, if not impossible, because the communication vectors are rarely connecting.  One wonders at times who the role models are.  Are they the parents or the children?  And even this changes as age becomes a factor and we grow together or apart.

The workplace is another example of uneven communication and lack of polarity.  Some degree of polarity is necessary for a company to run smoothly when most of the time it is flawed, interrupting what should be common goals.  Employees and administration alike are affected by too much caffeine, problems at home, hormones, lack of sleep, etc.  Schools are prime examples of mental disparity.  Students and teachers alike have the same problems staying on, and in, the same subject matter.  All are carrying around loads of baggage, and it is this baggage that interferes  with the mental freedom that should let us all sift through information in a particular subject and retain what is useful or even valuable.

So how do we cope with this problem of a common mental balance?  What gives us a helping hand with which to stay even and moving forward with purpose and stability?  Religion?  Sometimes…!  It could be very effective if it were concise and stable and ubiquitous.  But there are too many permutations that cause even more distractions and mental confusion.  This might be one of the causes of the drop-out factor in most church-goers in all of our different faiths.  So, again, what is the most helpful factor in reigning us in from being crazy as a society?

In a word…Music!   Music tends to straighten out our bent and broken vectors and can reset our polarity.  Music helps us to think, and think straight ahead with a common rhythm.  This being the case, music may be the only salvation not only of our society, but of our civilization.  And, best of all, there are styles, melodies, harmonies and rhythms to fit almost everyone.  But we must listen!  And we must re-start the musical training and listening in our schools so that as each student grows, the benefits of music listening grow with them so that when they become teens and then adults all are increasingly less mentally disturbed and able to think creatively and analytically and actually move our society and our civilization forward.

So let us all listen to music.  Really listen to the content whether vocal or instrumental.  Listen for our mental health! And survive…!

June 13, 2017
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May into June

Spring into summer!

May was a crowded month for me, so it seemed like “all of a sudden” it was June and I still hadn’t written my blog.  My ideas were channeled elsewhere.  Even worse, I just noticed that the same thing is happening now, halfway through June.  Spring is about to become summer.   Again!  And, so, in my present planning I am looking at fall, then winter, and then spring again.  I’m chasing my tail, and this process seems to be going faster and faster.  And I can only hang on tighter and tighter.

Slowing down is not easy.  Unless something happens and you are no longer here.  Then, of course, there is no scheduling, no deadlines, and no days or weeks or months crowding together.  Everything just stops.  Then what?   It is very difficult to think of your own mortality when you are wound up tightly and stressed to the max.  So these thoughts get shoved farther and farther down the ever present list.  Then what?   We keep up our insane schedules as usual and ignore the inevitable. Bury our collective heads in the sand.

How about a compromise?  A little of this and a little of that.  This sounds good and it works for a while, but then we tend to slip right back into our well-practiced and now ingrained routines.  How about retirement?  I’ve heard rumors of this and the effects of getting even busier, or conversely bored or just slipping away.  Personally, I would rather keep doing what I am doing until I drop in my tracks.  Boredom is not my style.  So what is the take-away from this sobering train of thought?

No matter how busy you are, it is better to move forward rather than stand still.  Especially since the rest of the world does not stand still.  Forward may mean inches or feet or yards or miles, but forward is definitely the answer.  Life in this way is a lot like music.  Music always moves forward.  It has no choice.  It exists in time and space.  If it stops it is no longer music but silence.  What a horrible thought!

So listen!  And live!  And when the music stops at least you can say  “I was never bored.”  And this is just about as close to experiencing happiness as is possible in this lifetime.  Doing what you like. Following your passion.  So move forward and listen.

“Don’t worry, be happy!”  Thanks, Bobby.  RIP…

 

April 21, 2017
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March Into April

Well, I blew it with March.  I wasn’t able to even think, let alone write a coherent blog. So here it is with the last week of April approaching and I am just beginning to write again.

During the whole of March I was sick.  Heart, lungs, stenosis in my neck, a bad cold and/or flu and, of course, my hand.  I had to take water pills to get rid of fluid around my lungs which worked, but made frequent trips to the bathroom a necessity.  My neck was very painful, and limited in motion from side to side and up and down.  We tried codeine – I was allergic to it. Then a higher dose of valium which didn’t work, then vicodin which mad the pain at least manageable.  Next my therapy picked up again to restore mobility in my hand which was ravaged by a cranky cat.  And finally, since my heart was beating very irregularly at 130 bpm, I ended up having a cardio-version at the end of March.  The doctor sort of “jump starts” the heart with an electric pulse which is supposed to lower the heart rate and make it regular again.  It did, and by this time my cold was gone, so life was returning in time for the Easter rush.

April to me is Easter.  I prepare and rehearse the music for five services and supervise the other services to make sure everything is in place and ready to go for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.  Thankfully I was now well enough, though somewhat weak, to accomplish these tasks.  Every year I look forward to the day after Easter, “decompression Monday.”  And, by a series of miracles, I made it!  So this week I am cleaning up my desk, tables, floor, and every place that had music piled high upon it.  Little by little things are getting back to normal during “decompression week.”  Once again life returns. Now I can get back to my usual routine of preparations and rehearsals, writing and arranging, and, hopefully to my next CD that I am roughly two months behind on.

There is a definite similarity between the Easter theme of Resurrection and daily life returning.  For me, both involve musical themes.  There is hope, there is love, there is the work of discovering new ways of configuring notes and rhythms and styles.  Much of the time like working a giant puzzle.  You don’t know what you have until it is all together and finished.

So now we look forward to May with its holidays and gardening and warmth.  And yet again we get to sing and invent new songs and music.  We need to sing more. People don’t sing naturally any more for happiness or just the love of it.  Pause a while and think about this (while humming  a tune) and consider the joy of what you are doing.

February 3, 2017
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February – Open & Shut

I found myself on the defensive once again in a conversation with my wife.  This was not really contentious but merely an after dinner conversation.  I was for the umpteenth time supposed to remember something that was planned or had happened or was going to happen that we had talked about recently.  But once again I had no clue about the incident.  My mind was a blank.  This has mystified me for a while now because it  has become a regular occurrence.  Things that I should know, but don’t, won’t resurface into my consciousness unless I really concentrate on a particular time, event or conversation. And this requires a key word or event or date which I rarely have.

Just recently I was talking with someone else about writing and arranging music. I said casually that when a piece that I had worked on for maybe weeks or months or even years, and that I knew intimately was finished, and I went to work on another piece for another period of time, I totally and completely forgot the previous piece. This allowed me to completely concentrate on the new piece without the interference or distraction of the previous themes or keys or structures that might cause confusion.  I believe that this has allowed me to stay mentally balanced or even sane.

When I started writing and arranging for bands in the middle 50s, I wrote constantly.  I filled music pads and folders with ideas.  My school notes were filled with musical doodles which I would try out on our piano when I got home.  When these ideas were more formed, I tried them out at rehearsals with small bands and bigger bands that I was playing dances with.  My notebooks kept my ideas organized.  Everything was there for my referrals.  But when I started arranging for more bands in the 60s I fell into a new process.  There was no time for notebooks.  My mind had to keep things organized.  I was writing for dance bands, sometimes whole books of 30 – 40 songs. I was writing arrangements for jazz and stage bands for high school and college concerts and events. And I was writing for high school and college marching bands and the occasional drum and bugle corps.  Eventually I did over 40 pieces for publication for all of the above bands and ensembles including a tuba sextet.

After college I took a position as band director at a small high school in Ohio.  I became immediately aware that the arrangements that I was buying did not always work for me. They were rarely the current songs that I wanted to perform.  So I started arranging the most popular songs of the day for my band, then other high schools, and then colleges.  At first I was doing just single arrangements of pop music from the radio. Then I started doing entire halftime shows which had a theme or some kind of continuity.  At my peak in the summer when everyone was preparing for their fall shows, I was doing 3 or 4 arrangements a day just to keep up with the deadlines.  Ultimately I did over 500 arrangements of deadline work until the demand came to rest in the late 70s.

The only way that my mind could process all of this work was to “shut the door” on each previous arrangement.  I would completely block it out of my consciousness.  When I wanted to return, I had to revisit the arrangement itself.  How else could I do 10 or 12 arrangements of MacArthur Park or a Chicago or Beatles song that everyone wanted, and keep them all different?  So closing the door on previous information became a lifelong habit, and a lifesaver for my mind. And closing the door on previous projects has also helped me in doing work of any kind, but particularly work involving a mass of material or schedules, events, etc.  This has saved my mind and my life.

On the other hand, closing the door can be very inconvenient when my wife asks me about an event that has happened or is going to happen and I don’t have a clue what she is talking about because I have closed that door.  Because, (and here is the kicker), I finally figured out that marriage is an “open door” commitment………  And implementing this means that:  “Our Love is Here to Stay!”

January 5, 2017
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January Jabberwocky

January is not really an important month, but it is the first month of the calendar year.  That makes it the beginning of a new tax year, the start of another quarter, the reason we buy new calendars, and the time when I get another flu shot and begin a new cold with sinus draining, sniffles, coughing, and just feeling lousy.  This does not recommend January as the exciting new start of anything useful, except to get through it as quickly as possible (AQAP).

Contemplating a cold brings the worst foreboding of all to anyone who sings.  It means that you have no control over your voice, and its normal sound. The notes that should issue don’t always cooperate and with the addition of a stuffy head, everything sounds different and “off” anyway.  Nothing good can come of this.  Your work can come to a halt and your normal routine becomes nonexistent.  It seems that there is nothing to do but wait it out. Or else be proactive and attack the cold.  Go after it with everything possible.

There are so many cold remedies that the mere thought can bring on a major headache.  Start with the things we used when we were young, the natural cures.  Vicks, herbal tea, echinacea, whiskey, cough medicines of all kinds, heating pads, inhalers, pills, and almost any combination of the above ingredients have been recommended and used for generations.  Sometimes some of them work, and sometimes they don’t work.  It always seems to take the same amount of time to get through the cold whether we medicate or not.

So exactly how do we wait out the cold?  One way is just to feel miserable, and cough and sneeze and plod along as if everything were normal.  And make everyone else sick who is near to you.  This is the “misery loves company” approach.  No one likes either you or this approach.  The most humane alternative is to take some time off from whatever kind of work that you do.  Your co-workers appreciate this, but it can become very annoying to whomever is stuck at home with you.  Coughing, sneezing, watching TV and expecting service doesn’t last very long.  But doing this while reading a book in a spare bedroom with the door closed might work better for awhile.  Or checking into a hotel.  Alone time with your misery seems to be the answer that works for everyone around you.

So at last you are alone with your miserable cold.  Now what works?  Books, music, television, phone, iPad, iPod, etc?  All of these are short term fixes. There is really only one answer.  Sleep.  And plenty of fluids.  Dreaming is good.  But be careful of ear worms.  They can be devastating when you are already miserable.  So, take a drowsy pill and try for dreamless sleep.  Not only will you be happy when this is all over, but you will still have your friends, coworkers, and your marriage.  So the light at the end of the tunnel for me seems to be February.  And looking forward to Valentine’s Day.

December 1, 2016
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December’s Family

December in my mind is actually a composite of holidays which extend from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Day.  It is a corpulent month filled with many things, but especially family.  The traditional get-togethers are Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner and New Year’s dinner with all of the traditional foods we prepare and eat.  The family is close together for each of these holidays and it is this concentration of personalities that can cause friction in even the happiest of situations. I realize that not all families exist this way, but in my younger years, mine did.  And, I must say, it was never boring.  As a means of self-preservation I developed a “fight or flight” attitude.  But mostly it was flight, meaning: always plan for a quick exit no matter where you are.

A more normal attitude during these holidays is to relax and talk or work puzzles, or reminisce and catch up on nostalgia with anyone who will listen.  Words like celebrate, commiserate, re-connect or re-hash come to mind rather than annoy or pile onto the weak. There are many different styles and traditions, but all during this time involve family.

Family is where ideas are sorted out and either trashed or passed down through the ages. Ideally, we build bridges when there has been separation.  We heal.  We pray together before meals.  We acknowledge growth and the passage of time.  We listen. We offer opinions for discussion with acceptance or rejection.  Then at some point the general volume is raised to near deafening because everyone is talking at once.  And, at last, because of the large meals and desserts, the volume decreases as one by one everyone drops off to sleep.  The only ones who avoid this are those who are watching a football game.  Nothing deters an avid fan of the game.

However this plays out in the individual situation, the most important part of each get-together is the family itself coming together and re-connecting and perpetuating its own ideas and feelings of love through each generation.  The family is the basis of our love.  And love is the acceptance of each individual no matter how “over the top” or “out in left field” he or she has become.  Unconditional love, however, is reserved for the immediate family.

So as we near the middle of this season and the month of December, let us think more deeply than usual.  There are many who are disconnected and have no family, and consequently no love.  There are many reasons for this unfortunate situation, but the result is always the same when there is no love – depression, and a yearning for the things that someone else has. Let’s try to help these souls in some way before they get to this last resort. Everyone benefits from love. Most of our popular songs tell us this is so.

So the next time you meet someone in need who is without love, sing to them.  And then run as fast as you can.  Not everyone likes to be sung to.  Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! And have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

November 1, 2016
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November Sliding

November is a very slippery month.  It has been for as long as I can remember.  All of the major holidays are ahead, and Halloween has just occurred.  Now Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and Day are looming ahead.  It seems as if time itself is suddenly tilted and we are collectively sliding toward the New Year with no control.  This is the reason for stores, magazines, etc,to begin to overlap their decorations.  There is very little time between the holiday events.

When I was young and still in elementary school, the time went very slowly between holidays.  Much too slow.  The waiting was maddening.  I suppose that my mind was so uncluttered that this was all I had to think about.  This is, of course, unimaginable now. Everyone’s mind seems to be cluttered.  If our thoughts were visible as flowers, we would all probably look like large peony bushes.  I wonder if the ideal mind at this point in time would be somewhere between cluttered and uncluttered.  Maybe a chia plant growing from our heads.

This year even more clutter than usual has come from a very important presidential election.  The commercials and advertising have been out of control for months and months, an inescapable daily input, like vines growing everywhere which threaten to strangle everyone and everything.  Election Day is important, and everyone who can, should vote, but I look forward to the day after Election Day.  All of the vines disappear.  Television commercials are just about Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there is an exciting feeling of anticipation of holiday madness, a time when we collectively lose our sanity and drain our checkbooks and fill our credit cards.  This is the yearly price of anticipation and excitement.  And beware.  This can be habit forming.

So, as we slide mindlessly toward the New Year, let us hold on to the one little bit of sanity left in our holiday confusion: music.  Music for all of the holidays will be playing everywhere starting now.  Either enjoy it or use your iPad headphones and enjoy anything you carry around with you.  But listen and hang on to your sanity through your favorite vibrations and frequencies.  And slide carefully into 2017 keeping control of your plastic, your sanity, and your tax deductions…!

October 5, 2016
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October in a Splint

I love Autumn. It’s my favorite season of the year, and October is right in the middle of it.  Granted, here in California we really have to look closely to see any signs of leaves turning, cooler weather, grayer skies, or any kind of precipitation.  We just have to deal with it and enjoy pictures and videos from the east.  This year, however, I am experiencing autumn differently. My right hand is in a splint.

The reason for this began on a warm day in August.  It was a Friday about 8:30 in the morning.  We had contracted a man to come and clean our windows and carpets, an annual and sometimes bi-annual task.  Nothing unusual, almost routine.  Ahead of time we clear the spaces around the windows for easy access, and clear the carpets of furniture, tables, chairs, etc, to make the steam cleaning easy.  The key word here is “easy.”  Routine.  But this year there was a slight wrinkle in our routine.  Unforeseen and life-changing.

We have two cats, a male named Rusty and a female named Riley.  They are normally docile and flexible to some extent, but Riley can get cranky at times, like when her front claws need to be trimmed.  She can get upset during the brief process and has to be held tightly by the scruff with the paw to be trimmed accessible.  This is the normal extent of her crankiness.   In the past few years, when the cleaning is to be done, both cats are put in the bathroom with their toys, food, water, and litterbox.  When the cleaning is finished and things are starting to get dry enough, the cats are let out and everyone is happy again.   But this day was different.

The bathroom was prepared for the cats.  The only other task was to insert the cats themselves into the upstairs bathroom.  Rusty is always curious so, seeing him downstairs, I took a package of cat treats and shook some out on the carpet.  He came right over and started munching, so I picked him up and took him upstairs to the bathroom, opened the door, set him inside, closed the door and left to find Riley.  Back downstairs  I found the treats, shook the package to get her attention, and shook some out on the carpet.  Nothing.  No sign of Riley so I started looking around and under things and finally found her behind the couch.  I’ve done this before, just move the couch out from the wall and the cat comes out.  Easy.  But instead, she bolted out in a flash and ran upstairs.  All of the doors are closed.  She is cornered, so I gently pick her up and walk over to the bathroom, and, as I release my hold slightly to insert her, she gains her footing by scraping her claws into my skin and takes off.  I am now bleeding in various places on my hands and arms.

I’m now realizing that this is not going to be so easy.  Downstairs I again start looking around and under things.  It’s now after nine o’clock and I’m getting a tad frustrated.  Finally I find her behind the fridge.  Extraction is not going to be easy.  So I shake the (seemingly giant) fridge from side to side.  Nothing.  I push and pull it back and forth.  Nothing.  So my only option is to do this more strenuously, and in the process, the water line behind the fridge breaks.  Water is spraying at an alarming rate.  The cat is out but I have bigger problems.  By the time I get the water turned off the floor is covered with water.  I find towels, dishrags, anything that will absorb water.

So then back to the cat.  She is not downstairs.  I find her upstairs in the utility room behind the washer and dryer.  Same problem as with fridge, but stronger water line and machines not so heavy.  The cleaning man comes in and closes the door.  Being helpful, he shakes, and I grab the cat who, also being upset, rakes me with her claws while biting my right hand.  I toss and she jumps to the counter where the cleaning man tosses me a small carpet so I can wrap her and put her into the bathroom.  It’s now 9:30.  The whole process took an hour.  The two incidents with Riley took about 4 or 5 seconds each.  I am now bleeding from both hands, but mostly from my right hand.  Aftermath:

Later that day I go to my GP doctor and get a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  See him again on Sunday and right hands is swollen and looks bad.  He sends me to an infection specialist who after seeing me twice, sends me to a surgeon, who takes one look at my hand and says: “Surgery.  Tomorrow.”  That was September 2.  I have been in therapy ever since, trying to get control of my right hand so I can play piano again.  I have basically been “shut down” as far as the piano is concerned.  The take-a-way:

Get a dog.  Cat viruses are the worst.  Never corner an animal.  Wear gloves when near anything with claws.  Hindsight is invaluable after the fact.  And, remember that your life can change in an instant.  Be prepared!

September 5, 2016
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September Social Identity

What is and isn’t cool has been a factor in all societies since there were people on this earth. We all, either consciously or unconsciously, tend to imitate that or those which we admire.  Sometimes this is a harmless spread of a trend, and sometimes a dangerous escalation of the radical or even a societal virus.  Most of the time these trends catch on quickly and spread like an out of control fire.  The extent is indeterminable.  The effect can be comedic, stylish, bizarre, innocuous or ultimately harmful. Both the cause and the effect are unpredictable. While styles, fashions,  catch phrases, body movements and language itself may not have much lasting effect on society in general, there are other things that may be harmful, if not in the short term, then possibly in the long term.

The glorification of subcultures is prevalent in our global society at this time, and has been evident for hundreds of years.  Outlaws, bandits, highwaymen, gangsters and gangs have been terrorizing societies since recorded history.  They have caused death and misery to large numbers of people, and yet, until printed communication, have been fairly localized.  Their evil ways were in the realm of the fairy tale.  But, as soon as it was possible to spread the printed word, the fantasy started to spread to larger masses of people.  The nascent newspaper found a way to use sensationalism to sell a larger volume by increasing the intensity of each story.  Books, pamphlets, plays, and music found the same formula as a way to increase profit.

Robin Hood, King Arthur and Aladdin spawned Jesse James and Billy the Kid who morphed into the turn of the century gangster and the more modern criminal and serial killer.  This chronology has now permeated our society and affected our attitudes, morals and ethics. The role models for our children have changed to the celebrities of several subcultures.  This has caused an erosion of our whole value system, belief in a supreme being, and even our own constitution and government.  All of this has caused many in our society to live in a fantasy world consisting of a myriad of drugs, attitudes that shift with the wind and political leanings into cults and socialism.  In other words a surrender of the individuals right to think independently.  All of our media are infected.  Movies, television, books, the internet, and all of our communications promote the dark side of life as being exciting, living on the edge, being cool.

The above causes everyone, but particularly our young, impressionable and callow offspring, to fear reality because of an unrealistic view of life.  And being unbalanced makes it easy to be seduced by lies, misinformation and various political aberrations.  Seeing the truth is much more difficult when unbalanced.  So how do we restore balance?

As difficult as it is, we always have choices.  Our young need to understand this.  When we are inundated with misinformation and fantasy, we can still choose reality. We have the right to say no to addictive substances and unhealthy situation.  It is still possible to be an individual and to think and to question the popular trends and authority itself.  It is still possible to “Make your own kind of music,” and to  chase the clouds away and “Let the sunshine” in to our lives. So together let us start turning over old rotted logs and rocks and let light chase away the infections in our society.  Let us glorify our real culture.  Let us deal more with facts than just emotions in our decisions. Let us begin to think again…!

August 1, 2016
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August Adversaries

“When idealism meets common sense and they clash.” (just think about this for a moment)

Respect for law and order has been necessary from prehistoric times through the present. Humans have always needed safety and security and order from chaos and anarchy.  No society has lasted without law and order.

The exact opposite of this situation are the mentally deficient humans who crave chaos and anarchy.  Originally they were banished from the tribe to exist on their own.  We have sensationalized the outlaw in our own society in all of our media: newspapers, books, pamphlets, movies, videos and songs, etc.  This has only encouraged the outlaw to prey upon the innocent.  It has also encouraged those in our justice system such as judges, attorneys and elected officials to be lenient instead of firm which exacerbates the problem. When this is the case, the jobs of law enforcement on the ground: police, FBI, military and various security organizations are made extremely difficult, if not impossible at times.  Our security and safety are assured and supported from the top down.  Citizens support but have no real authority.  Government at all levels support by assignment and funding. Our safety and security need to be the highest priority.

The outlaw, whether thug, gangbanger, common criminal, white collar or terrorist is a bully. And all bullies have the same misguided mentality.  I found out personally in elementary school that there is only one way to deal with a bully.  Force.  You must stand up straight and not back down.  If you are pushed or knocked down, you must get right back up and confront in exactly the same way you deal with an out-of-control dog:  a folded newspaper or a firm smack on the nose.  And you must firmly back this up with whatever degree of force is necessary.  The best illustration is the character of Ralphie in the movie “A Christmas Story.”  He and his little brother are badgered throughout the movie until he finally snaps and confronts the bully with force.  He is never bothered again.  This same scenario happens in schools, colleges, and workplaces at the state and national level and also between nations.  When the leaders at any of these levels are strong, there is very little problem.  When they are weak, things at any level start to fall apart.

The infiltration of the “politically correct” movement into our society and government has made us weak at every level.  Everyone is afraid to confront and back it up out of fear. And this is the legacy of  PC:  fear of lawsuits, fear of the media, fear of grassroots movements and gangs and thugs, demotion and job loss.  And this is backed-up by fear of, and in, the departments of justice for the same reasons.   Censorship goes hand in hand with fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing or even being accused of saying the wrong thing. Censorship strangles free speech, and fear strangles freedom.

The preceding are the basic tenets of socialism along with liberalizing (dumbing down) education and muzzling gun owners.  All of these tenets very gradually pave the way for the benevolent dictator to enter and fix (control) everything.  Keep in mind that no society has survived the evils of socialism and its inevitable result – communism.  No independent thinking, inventing, art, music or advances in technology have survived this evil anywhere in the history of the earth.

We are creeping dangerously close.  WAKE UP!  We are sliding, edging, being nudged into full socialism.  It is time to stand up and confront the aforementioned basic tenets of socialism and say Stop!  Enough!  We already have laws and a constitution and a bill of rights.  We don’t need a bully or any form of outlaw to show us a better way.  We need to say Halt! Or we will use whatever force is necessary to stop you and your movement.  We the people are singing the same song of freedom as our forebears who fought in our own Revolutionary War.  Yankee Doodle. Don’t tread on me. And now, “God Bless America.”  For ourselves and our children, God bless the United States of America!