Sit Down Comedy … May 10th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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“But know this—that if the good man of the house had known when the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” *

We weren’t watching.

Maybe it’s because there isn’t a good man among us. I don’t know.

Maybe we thought there weren’t any real thieves out there.

Perhaps we were bewitched into believing that a Republican or a Democrat possessed any spirit to follow through on basic human integrity.

Maybe it’s because we were afraid to admit that the whole political system is evil, and nobody can exist within its parameters without absorbing the filth.

Again—I don’t know.

The thieves have come in and broken up our house.

We could get angry.

We could call all the politicians “sons-of-a-bitches.”

We can insist the ones who wear red hats are righteous or the ones with the blue hats are benevolent.

But we’d be missing the point.

The tree is corrupt, so the fruit will be rotten.

Moving forward, if we’re going to protect the American house, we need to make sure we’re not allowing thieves to come in and handle the national jewels.

This will require that we stop prancing around the room, talking about voting, civic responsibility and checks and balances, but instead, ask more internal, piercing questions of those who would desire to lead us.

I only want to know four things about anybody.

I don’t care if he mows my lawn, distributes my groceries or is the President of the United States. And the answers to these questions tell me whether I can trust him or her and therefore grant my support.

Just four questions—and if you agree, you can stop concerning yourself with immigration, the economy, health insurance and social standards. The answers to the questions tell you whether an individual running for office truly gives a damn about anybody.

So here are the questions I want to ask anybody I ever meet, to inform me where he or she is coming from and where they’re going:

  1. Can you tell the truth?
  2. Can you confess your faults?
  3. Can you learn?
  4. Can you love your neighbor as yourself?

After I ask them, I listen to the answers. I don’t accept, “I’ll try,” or “Everybody tells a fib now and then,” or “Who do you think I should confess to?” or “I’m pretty smart the way I am but I could probably learn,” or the classic—“Who’s my neighbor?”

The answers are actually easy:

  1. I not only can tell the truth, I want you to hold me to the truth, and when you catch me, I want you to stop me.
  2. I will confess my faults, because I know you will find them eventually anyway, and if I confess them, I have a better chance of being healed.
  3. I don’t work on being smart. I work on increasing my capacity and hunger to learn. There are too many angles for any one person to figure out.
  4. I will love my neighbor as myself because it’s the only way I can guarantee a positive ending to any situation.

You can go ahead and believe in politics if you want to—but as the “good man of the house,” I see the thieves coming around again, and I, for one, am going to do everything I can to make sure they don’t come in and break up our house anymore.

*Matthew 24:43


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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … November 12th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: Checks and balances.

 

Woman: What about them?

 

Man: They’re crap.

 

Woman: What an un-American thing to say.

 

Man: It’s not un-American to find a flaw in the system. You can still honor the traditions of our republic.

 

Woman: OK. I’ll buy into it. What makes them crap?

 

Man: Too many checks to create balance. We base this whole political organization of our government on the mindset of men who were frightened to death of kings and courts, and highly suspicious of each other.

 

Woman: Why were they suspicious?

 

Man: Because each colony was an entity unto itself. The idea of being united was tenuous, if not comical. So they put so many provisions into the Constitution to protect themselves that the government struggles to make any progress for the common good.

 

Woman: We have made a lot of progress in America.

 

Man: Have we? It took one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence to free the slaves. It took another hundred years to give those same people voting rights. And it appears like it’s going to take a hundred MORE years to start treating them like they’re white.

 

Woman: Oh, you’re just mad because Hillary lost.

 

Man: Speaking of that, how could a woman of your intelligence vote for Donald Trump?

 

Woman: Because I didn’t want the Clintons in the White House again, and even though I know there’s some chauvinism involved with President Trump, I’ve dealt with chauvinism all my life. I was just not certain that Hillary would be President instead of Bill.

 

Man: Well, I’m not gonna argue with you. I’m just explaining to you that this process of checks and balances in this country–where the President can only do certain things because Congress interferes and the Supreme Court comes along and overrules everything–well, the idea is overly cautious and clumsy. Let me give you another example. It took a hundred and forty years for our country to give the right to vote to women, and another hundred years before a female was even considered for President. God knows how long it will take for a lady to hold the position.

 

Woman: So what are you suggesting?

 

Man: I’m suggesting we choose our leadership more carefully instead of making it like a high school popularity contest, so that they are evaluated and hired similarly to the way people get jobs in the private sector–because they are qualified and experienced, not based stubbornness and how pretty they are.

 

Woman: But you do want to give people the right to vote, right?

 

Man: Absolutely. But let’s understand. The two candidates who ran for President this year should have been evaluated on their resumés instead of their stamina and determination.

 

Woman: And what would have happened?

 

Man: I don’t know. It’s just that the President of the United States should be the CEO of this great corporation instead of being at the mercy of the partisan inclinations of a Congress which is working harder to get elected than they are at passing laws to benefit the citizens.

 

Woman: How about the Supreme Court?

 

Man: I would like to know what nine people we know of who have the wisdom to overturn the Congress and the President.

 

Woman: So what do you suggest?

 

Man: Less checks will bring more balance. People have to have jobs. You can’t tell the President that he or she is the leader of the country and undercut him or her right and left with the priorities of some junior congressman from North Dakota.

 

Woman: But it’s worked for all these years.

 

Man: Has it? Some of the best programs in our country came through the inclinations of a single person who we chose to be our leader. The Emancipation Proclamation was Lincoln’s baby. Social Security was spawned by FDR. The United Nations was originally conceived by Woodrow Wilson. And much of the War on Poverty was the hope child of LBJ.

Woman: I see your point. So how will this work?

 

Man: Well, honestly, I’m curious about the Presidency of Donald Trump. Will we accidentally stumble into some more realistic ways to open the door to good legislation because we have disrupted the normal passing of the torch from one old politician to another old politician?

 

Woman: Interesting. What you’re saying is, there was a need for this particular interruption because we have stymied the country with gridlock with the two parties. We’ve actually endangered the well-being of the people the government was meant to serve.

 

Man: I think so. There are three major problems that need to be changed. We’ve got too much culture. We have to decide if we really are “one nation under God.” Number two, the gender bias is killing us. Having an ongoing conflict between men and women never gives us a moment’s peace. And third, we certainly need to cease the class warfare–the poor against the rich and the rich against the poor.

 

Woman: That’s a tall order.

 

Man: Yes, but if we don’t take on the tall order, we’re going to greatly suffer under the short-comings.

 

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The Muddle Class… May 19, 2012

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I do believe I was in the ninth grade–a freshman. At our school the class was called Civics. It was a required course taught to instill  an understanding of how the American form of government functions and also to do a little bit of flag–waving to convince us, as future tax-payers, how fabulous the setup truly is.

It’s called checks and balances. You know it well: the executive branch, headed by the President; the legislative, by Congress, and the judicial, mainly referring to the Supreme Court. I suppose I could talk about our history and say that this particular organization seems to function–but the lethargy, competition and frustration that is produced through the process holds back progress to such an extent that it is often nearly lethal to human causes.

It’s because we believe strongly in this country that we need a middle. We want a middle class, we extol the value of middle-of-the-road music, we love the happy medium (just another name for the compromised middle), and we’ve even established a world called “middle management,” where people who have not yet excelled to executive level can still feel a boost of confidence that they are no longer working on the floor with the serfs.

The problem with the middle is that it creates a jealousy for the top, and too often, a disrespect for what lies beneath. The checks and balances envisioned by our forefathers was constructed in a time when individual thinking was supreme, and being linked to a party or clump of beliefs was secondary. In other words, as long as every person actually thinks for himself and is not responding to the demands of an organization, then debate, challenge and conversation can occur on issues, resulting in some sort of agreement. But if your allegiance is primarily to your cause instead of reasonability, then your particular “flavor of the month” can dig in its heels and halt progress.

I will tell you what the problem is with the legislative branch of our government–you have nearly 535 or so men and women in one building, wishing they could be President–wanting to do the bidding of the President, or deciding to do everything they can to discredit that President. They are jealous of the executive branch and therefore can use their vote to pout.

Let’s move on to the judicial arm of the government. When I was a young man, the politics of a judge appointed to the Supreme Court was quite private, and whether the individual was conservative or liberal was a better-kept secret, with each person who received the honor promising to judge cases on merit instead of political swing. That is gone. The Supreme Court has lost its meaning because it’s just as political as Congress.

So as both political parties try to extol the beauty of honoring and respecting the middle class as the true by-product of America’s governing style, the middle class instead becomes the muddle class–lacking the integrity of being satisfied, but also lacking mercy towards those who have not yet achieved solvency. This is why middle management, in a company, is filled with some of the most nasty, cantankerous pencil=pushers you will ever find. They are discontented that they are not upper management, and also disgusted with those who work beneath them because they once held those jobs and feel that they are menial and meaningless.

If you will allow me to advance a theory, here’s the problem. Right now, in this country, we are trying to develop a philosophy based on the facts provided. Therefore, we are always changing our philosophy just due to circumstances, which can frankly often be temporary. America has developed a “moveable philosophy,” and because of that, all we have to do to become befuddled, frustrated, angry and unwilling to cooperate is to be confronted with a new set of hassles that contradict and challenge our previous conclusions.

Consider this: we just finish with the issue of civil rights for our black citizens, battling, arguing and even shedding blood over the issue, and then, before we can even take a deep breath, here comes the issue of gay rights. Rather than taking what we learned through the civil rights movement during the 1960’s, we act like we’re reinventing the wheel when it comes to civil liberties. We fail to honor a basic philosophy. Bluntly, we do NOT hold it to be self-evident that all men are created equal, as Jefferson insisted. We are continually looking at similar issues and acting like they’re brand new problems.

Let’s bring it into the normal household. If my oldest son has a curfew of eleven o’clock and I discover, that eleven o’clock is too late for him to be out because of the temptations available and I decide to change his curfew to ten-fifteen, it is ridiculous for me to start all over again with an eleven o’clock curfew with my next son. Have I learned anything through the experience with my first-born? Have I developed any concepts, attitudes and notions that are transferable to the next situation?

Therefore it is not an issue of checks and balances nor whether we have a middle class. The problem with our vision is that whenever anything new comes up, we never consider our history while honoring our philosophy, and applying both yardsticks to measure out wisdom to our new situation. So there you have it. History, our philosophy, action–the correct order and it is the way to get things done using the gravitas of our journey.  Instead, we try to develop a new philosophy for everything based upon the facts provided rather than adjusting the facts provided to our well-established, trusted and tested philosophy.

I have very little conflict in my life. It is not because conflict is not available. I deal with hundreds and hundreds of people every week–a built-in formula for stress (or even a coronary). But I don’t look at every person I meet as a new problem or even a new situation. I take these people into my life based upon an established philosophy and allow them to fit into that existing Magna Carta of tried-and-tested behavior. I took a combination of Thomas Jefferson’s “all men are created equal” and the suggestion of Jesus–“do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and I came up with MY core of conduct: “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

So if I were in Washington, D.C., the checks and balances would work for me. I would not feel I was better than the people who elected me, and I wouldn’t be jealous of someone who had achieved a higher office. In my soul, I have accepted the fact that no one is better than anyone else. But absent that fireball of intense understanding inside my soul, I begin to try to adjust everything I do to the information that is right in front of me. In that case, I not only become confused over the statistics and data, but bewildered and angry that nothing seems to be working.

I don’t care if you’re a Republican and I don’t care if you’re a Democrat. But I will tell you this–if the soul of your philosophy is not the precious idealism of “NoOne is better than anyone else,” you will eventually clump and muddle things up by protecting your cause instead of creating a cause to protect those in need. I do not extol any system unless it honors a central truth and holds that truth to be not only self-evident, but well-practiced.

So you can debate about Mitt Romney or Barack Obama all you want to. Our government will be at a stand-still as long as we are trying to find a middle ground that just becomes a muddled mess of confused, conflicting opinions. Sooner or later, both parties–all Americans–and everyone who lives within our borders need to agree on the lessons of our history and hold dear a common philosophy about how to move forward. We can debate how “NoOne is better than anyone else.” We can argue about the best method to treasure that particular gold nugget. But to proceed forward with half of our country believing one thing about humanity and the other half of our country believing another thing about humanity is to produce a muddle class that has no idea which direction to go. Going up seems impossible; going down sounds like hell.

Here is my suggestion–tell me your core philosophy and I can tell you if we’re going to be able to work shoulder-to-shoulder towards the common good. For me, if someone contends that “some people are just better than other people,” I can love that person but I cannot work with him. Because for every reason you can come up with that some individuals are better than others, I can tell you that holding that position is always the first fruits of bigotry.

So how do we get OUT of the muddle class? Somewhere along the line, as Uncle Tom Jefferson told us, we must hold some truths to be self-evident. Otherwise we debate the statistics and twist them in our own direction, instead of using our philosophy to determine how we will address the present possibility. 

   

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