The Lowest Common Denominator

The problem with redistributing wealth and having everyone equal, aside from how unfair it is to those who are working to better themselves, is the lowest common denominator.  That is the number that everyone is reset to so that we are all equal, it is an average down trend.  It is mathematically impossible for an average to raise everyone, so someone is reduced, in many cases dramatically.

Some simple statistics:

14.8 percent of the population live below the Government Poverty level. (U.S. Census Bureau 2014) (census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/index.html)

For a family of 3 the annual income for poverty guideline is $20,090. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) (aspe.hhs.gov/2015-poverty-guidelines)

The group that increased in the poverty level were married families and people with Bachelors degrees.  In 2014 there were approximately 47 million people in the U.S. living below the Federal Poverty Line (FPL).  The group most heavily represented are children under 18, at 20% of their population.

Some Perspective:

A single person, earning minimum wage, working 40 hours per week, with 2 weeks vacation per year is above the FPL. That same wage is less than $100.00 per week from being above the FPL for a family of 3.

The average salary in the US is $46,480.00 (2014 census)

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America is the Land of the Free.  We are free to worship how and is we want.  We are free to try and fail as often as we like.  Anyone can make poor (STUPID) decisions.  In the privacy of your home you can love whomever you wish and do whatever pleases you with your sexual organs with another consenting adult.

What you are not free from is the consequences of your actions.  That is what the Nanny Government and Socialist programs are trying to take away, at the expense of the other 85% of the population. Education is not the answer.  The percentage of degree earning adults has increased to 34% age 19 – 29, which is also the group growing in poverty.  Providing free education will not eliminate the un- and under employed.

If you want to redistribute wealth, get off your butt and get to work. If you are waiting for someone to hand it to you, you’re part of the lowest common denominator.

 

Nostalgia

I’ve avoided this for the last couple months, Presidential Politics.  It’s like trying to tiptoe through a puppy-poo minefield in conversation.  I can’t help but to stare in disbelief as they parade across the new channels debating and criticizing each other.  Trump by himself is as enthralling as footage of the latest terrorist attack.  It’s sick.  You can’t help looking, a zit on someones nose, in your face talking to you.

If we are to believe the polls and reporters, the nation is doomed.  This morning I heard Sanders paraphrase Obama “If I can’t get the legislation through, I have no problem using Executive Authority…”  What happened to trias politica and the balance of powers?  I may be a dying breed but that seems un-American for a presidential candidate to state that they intend to ignore the Constitution, Legislature, Supreme Court and People if they don’t get their way.

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State and individual rights are being stripped for political correctness.  A bar can refuse to serve anyone for any reason, but not a bakery?  If you don’t like the service, go somewhere else.  Are we no longer free to decide for ourselves?  Do we really need safe zones from words?

The age of Nanny Government came creeping up and we didn’t notice.  We were told it is for the greater good, but if you can do basic math, it’s usually for 10 percent or less of the population.  Thirty million people are without health care, force the other ninety percent to pay for it and run up the cost of medical care for everyone! Bail out the Banks and Auto Industry!  They failed at business so the nation is obligated to keep them operating.  The cars and trucks that were symbols of our nations productivity weren’t safe enough, now you don’t have the right to drive without airbags.  The right to try and fail now comes without consequence.

I want it back, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  A nation being raised and taught to stand up and fight for themselves and other.  Let’s not  force our opinion on others if they disagree or force someone else to compromise their beliefs to accept another.  I want a nation that doesn’t try to placate terrorists and criminals.  A government run on principle not polls.  A nation with an identity, where we can say the Pledge of Allegiance but you don’t have to.

When this nation collapses under the weight of trying to be everything to everyone, I hope we at least have enough identity left to rebuild.  The next civil war will make everything that has come before look like a fist fight at a family reunion.  I don’t think we love ourselves or each other enough to show restrain this time.

The Destruction Cycle

The Destruction Cycle.  I like that.  It sounds ominous and terrible.  I doubt anyone will look at it and shrug it off saying, “Oh, the life cycle.”

In the diverse group I work with are the entrepreneurs, investors in their own future, who venture in the world of real estate.  The general discussion started around a piece of property for sale on the edge of The Bad Part of Town.  Being diverse, the topic of gentrification was tossed out.  It was strange to hear the same individuals who are investing in real estate express that it was wrong.  The evil was identified as ripping off the home owners by only paying fifty or sixty thousand for a run down town house, only to rehab it and sell it to someone else for three hundred thousand.

The urban growth cycle has been observed and documented before.  Communities are born, grow, flourish and eventually start to fail.  The value drops and lower income families move in.  Add to that the tendency for investors to rent these houses, the lack of ownership stresses the neighborhood more.  The life cycle for the are in question was about eighty years.  Most of the construction is making use of the existing foundations and some are trying to preserve the amazing architecture and stone work.  Others are just trying to make as much money as they can with cookie cutter apartments that could have been designed in Mother Russia during the Cold War.

We destroy our past to create our future, building on the bones of our ancestors and our history.  There is no Year Zero for us or our descendants.  They have to start from where we are as a nation, a people, with all the good and bad that got us here.  Growth and competition, robber barons, railroad tycoons, medical and scientific breakthroughs, we don’t know if we should applaud or lament because of the lives sacrificed to get here.  The Constitution allows for the growth cycle.  It allows for the nation to change.

It’s all of a piece.  I look at society and see natural competition, destruction and growth.  Back up and look at it again.  We can’t forget the past but we can change some of the things we don’t like.  Our children will change more.  We are going to have to destroy some of the old neighborhoods to do it, not everyone is going to like that, it’s how we grow.

The Blue Line

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Unheard behind the screams of police brutality and Black Live matter are the gunshots fired at Police Officers and silence from the White House as Obama pretends everything is fine.  In spite of more officers being killed by ambush, gunned down on the street while on duty there are cries of abuse of power and idiots trying to record these abuses.  With a snippet from a cellphone recording, Officers are tried in the court of public opinion.

How long until the protectors start pushing back?

In Baltimore, complaints of oppressive policing policies resulted in riots that the Mayor sanctioned and ordered police not to respond.  In the aftermath, the police gave the service that the community demanded and violent crime soared.  The backlash?  Complaints that the police were providing less service to black communities because of racial motivation.

Just in the month of February we have had a run of tragedy in the policing community.  Where is the resulting protest?  What about the condemnation of the acts where the perpetrator states that the act was intended as reprisal against police?

For our Blue Family, we have done what we always do.  We gather in our circles, closing ranks to protect each other as best we can, knowing that we are all vulnerable.  Still, we endure.  Still, we patrol the most violent and dangerous areas of cities like Detroit, Chicago, Los Angles and Philadelphia.  We show restraint more often than not.  For how much longer?

It feel like we are the guard dogs, being teased and beaten.  We try to remain loyal because it’s not everyone who joins in the abuse.  Not everyone joins in the abuse, but almost no one helps protect us either.  We loose a little trust everyday, just a small part withdraws.  We are less likely to take risks for others because everyone is starting to look like our tormentors.  When we do act, we are hounded by people threatening us, our lives and livelihoods.  Why act when it’s easier to just clean up the mess and not take the risk.

There is s Thin Blue Line of man and women sworn to fight to protect others, to risk that other might live better.  On one side are the peaceful citizens in need of protection.  On the other side of the line are the criminals and predators who would attack them.  More people cross the line everyday.  Not because they are preying on the weak and innocent but because they have started attacking the line.  We represent less than 1% of the population and we are under attack.  How much longer before we are reduced to protecting ourselves more than the weak and innocent?

Camouflage or Role Models?

 

 

So, I work in this minor hell.  A violent, drug infested, crime ridden, slice of survival over humanity.  This assessment coming from an amoral, emotionally numb human who was raised in a similar environment.  I survived.  I’m sure most of the children I see everyday will also.  The question that is exercising my brain is what version of them will survive.

I’ve been paying attention this last half century.  Watching myself change to survive.  As a child living with violent alcoholics or manipulative psychopaths, I learned to endure without understanding.  In combat, I learned to isolate my emotions further.  I’m not fearless as much as indifferent to risk.  You must learn to care and do for yourself because there are so few you can rely on to do for you.  It’s my armor.  You can’t hurt me because I will never give you the chance.

I see it on the streets everyday.  I wonder if it’s camouflage or role modeling.  In nature, defenseless creatures imitate predators as a form of defense.  Even when confronted with a determined adversary who has seen through the display, they still pretend.  If they survive and escape, they must still act like a predator in the hope that it will keep the next attack at bay.  Survival instinct.

Humans do the same, the nurture versus nature argument echos in living experiments.  You can watch the sweet loving child grow until they reach a social separation point, usually school age.  After the introduction to complex society, they learn to negotiate for position.  Cooperation or dominance defined by ability and bargaining position start to replace family security.  In the early teens comes a major change, not just puberty.  The roles become set.

This is where the question of the day comes in.  Are these young adults choosing to camouflage themselves or picking role models?  To survive in the street, you either look like a predator or a victim.  The traditional, forgive me, White American role models are policemen, teachers, scientists and businessmen are portrayed as oppressors and chumps, people to be fought or exploited.  The strong man, seen everyday, fighting and surviving is right there on the corner.  He’s powerful, has a gun and money.  The people all know him, the women all want to be with him.  It doesn’t matter that he will die young or spend half his life in jail.  He accepts that as part of the cost.

Does it matter whether a child chooses camouflage over role model?  That’s the problem the rest of society has.   It’s simple.  You can’t tell the difference.  That’s the point of camouflage.  The weakness is that as soon as it is broken, it is useless.  Which is the wasp and which is the moth?

The “Not Enough” Racist

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There is a flurry of comment and vitriol after the Super Bowl 50 half time show.   I didn’t watch it. I don’t care for Beyonce, Coldplay or Bruno Mars.  So when my coworkers and I discussed the game, I was asked about the halftime show and it “message”.  I said, “I don’t care”.  I was hit from all sides.

“You’re just a racist.”  Being a middle aged, bald, white, male, with a lingering Southern accent, that was expected.  “Are you anti-cop?”  and “You can’t agree with her?” Came next.  See, I’m also a cop in a large city.  My obvious stance is pro-cop and anti-Beyonce.

I started thinking of it as Enough Racism.  I don’t care enough.  I don’t agree with the new extremist view, by what ever imagined oppressed group is protesting.  I’m a racist.  When Black Lives Matter comes up, I say, “…not to most blacks, because most black males are killed by other black males not Police”.  Same Sex marriage?  Who cares?  The only people that it effects are the ones in the relationship.  I must be anti-gay, because I’m not for the cause.  Immigration?  If they come to this country and want to work, let them.  I’m discriminating against illegal aliens, because I don’t think we should pay for them to stay in the country.

I’m labeled a racist because I don’t support the cause enough.  I’m not liberal enough to want separate rules for separate groups, based on arbitrary factors.  I’m a racist because I don’t believe the government should tax the working class to pay for cell phones and cable for families living in government housing so they “don’t feel shame” over their position.

I am hated by people who don’t know me because I’m perceived as part of the privileged.  I fit the stereotype that other try to shove me into.  I don’t matter as much as what others think I am.  If I am not for the cause, I am against it.

I am the New and Hated “Not Enough” Racist!