Monk and Mental Health

Tony Shalhoub played the defective detective in the police drama “Monk” from 2002 to 2009.  Monk is obsessive-compulsive and has a list of 312 prioritized fears and phobias.  But, as the main character, everyone is expected to see and find his mental health challenges somewhat humorous.  However, I like the show Monk for another reason, all the other mental health issues swimming around Monk that nobody understands or even recognizes due to Monk’s fears and phobias being so over the top.monk tv show cast - Google Search | Monk tv show, Mr monk

Monk started a mental health conversation in America, reflecting that even those with mental health issues can be productive members of society if given a chance.  For example, Captain Stottlemeyer, for the majority of the show’s run, has anger issues, and yet he is considered capable and competent as a Police Captain.  Lieutenant Disher struggles with his identity as a person and his value to the organization.  The supporting character’s mental health problems create the drama.  Monk provides comedy and allows the supporting characters to be accepted for their mental health issues, which is essential in this discussion.

TV Reviews - TV Liveblogging: Some Episode Of Monk - KittysneezesSharona struggled with being a mother, her boss was driving her crazy, and her mental health issues stemmed from both her boss and her nursing responsibility.  Sharona plays a problematic role; does she provide nursing care for Monk or provide living assistance as a counselor?  Concluding that stress can be a mental health issue when taken to extremes.  Natalie Teager struggled with loneliness and a desire to be her own person outside of her family.  Both mental health challenges that many people struggle with silently.  Other supporting characters had substance abuse issues stemming from mental health concerns and personal choices, thus Monk’s subtlety and genius.

When Sharona, his nurse, leaves the show, Natalie Teager provides a lesson on mental health, the difference between coddling and helping a person with mental health problems.  Sharona, for all her care and concern, never saw Monk as capable without assistance.  Natalie Teager saw Monk as competent but needing some assistance.  The difference is subtle but very real.  Monk’s behaviors and mental health problems lessen when Natalie Teager enters the show, and the story becomes richer.

Perception vs. Reality in Care Support

Image result for monk tv show cast | Monk tv show, Mr monk, Adrian monkAre you weak to admit you have a mental health problem?  Per society, not as much anymore.  Per yourself, who knows.  Perception versus reality is critical in the person with mental health concerns and in the care-providing staff surrounding that person.  Now, I suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression, as mental health concerns; but, I thank God for my support (spouse) and those characters in my life that provide the drama, while my mental health provides the comedy.  Not a single person who knows of my mental health struggles has ever treated me capable without assistance, and this makes all the difference in how I approach the world.

The pattern of admitting the mental health challenges, coping with those challenges, and the consequences of those challenges have been made bearable because my supporters never waiver from the foundation that I am capable but occasionally need assistance.  Monk taught me that it was okay to have mental health issues, to see those issues in others, and a pattern of living and approaching others with mental health issues.  The perceptions of the supporting people become a reality in the mental health challenges of the person suffering.

Monk (S1/F12) im TV Programm: 22:35 - 08.11. - Universal ChannelIt is not easy supporting someone with mental health issues, and while mental health sufferers get the attention, Monk taught the world that the mental health of the family and friends is as important to the cure as well as the problem in mental health patients.  Consider the two different approaches of the psychiatrists on Monk, but never forget two other principles in mental health, change is hard, and change is beneficial.

Change and Mental Health

Monk was stuck in a rut, and a change in the insurance policies spurs Monk to change.  As the show develops, change is witnessed as beneficial and challenging.  When Sharona left, Monk experienced quite a shock; the different care styles provided by nurses spurred complex and healthy changes in Monk. Differences in approaches by the psychiatrists produced more changes and spurred growth in Monk and the other supporting characters.  Hence, as a mental health patient and as a care provider, another pattern is produced: am I looking for changes?  Am I open to helping others engage in change?  Do I embrace both the light and dark of change?

Pin by Smeesmii R on MONK | Monk tv show, Mr monk, Detective monkAdaptation is the only constant in life.  We adapt to the people around us, the social environments, the emotions, and the influences of peers, employers, family, and so much more.  Yet, we often try to control everything to prevent change, even though every new day brings change.  Monk showed he could not handle change, mainly because he and his brother had never been taught to handle change.

Patterns in Family Rearing – Mental Health Challenges

As a kid, I was told that I would never amount to anything since I was raised in poverty and abuse.  I had teachers who made this comment often enough that I got mad!  Nobody was going to curtail my abilities and shoehorn my potential.  Their reasoning was the research that showed those in poverty as children stay in poverty as adults.  That abuse is generational, and that abuse will always influence those raised in abuse to perpetuate abuse to the next generation.

Monk (TV Series 2002-2009) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb)Monk showed me differently, proved that individual choices could change preset patterns, and end captivity.  Sure, Jack Junior and Ambrose are typical examples of the generational nature of abuse, leading to mental health issues.  But, Monk overcame, chose, and in choosing and sticking with his choices, he endured and conquered.  Monk overcame even with his mental health challenges, not because of, or as an excuse, but with his mental health challenges as a companion.

While it is true how a child is reared, does dictate how that child will approach the world as an adult.   Individual agency, moral choice, and the choice and consequence cycles also play fundamental roles in that person’s life.  Thus, one cannot, and should not, place blame upon how one was raised for the failures in one’s life; this position negates the agency inherent in each person, and shifting the responsibility of choices is not healthy mental health practices.  More lessons learned from Monk about how to face the world, even if you might not have had the best family environment as a child.

Did you notice that when Jack Junior makes his appearance, Adrian (Monk) has changed enough to know not to gratify and indulge his step-brother in his poor decisions?  Despite the differences in mental health problems, Ambrose, Monk’s other brother, was also not pampered, although he was given special care.  Cementing the theme that people with mental health problems are capable, have potential, and need only the opportunity to show who they are and what they can become, just like everyone else.

I am not my handicap

I have disabilities; disabilities do not have me.  I am not my handicap!  Monk taught me this lesson in spades.  When Monk gets his badge back, he realizes he has learned this lesson as well as learning what his abilities as a disabled person are.  Another subtle theme in Monk worthy of exploration.  Adrian Monk was not “Obsessive-Compulsive, Mentally health challenged, Adrian Monk.”  Adrian Monk was Adrian Monk who lived with obsessive compulsion, fears, and phobias.  The distinction is subtle but essential to living with mental health challenges as a companion, not a ruler!

I am forever grateful for the lessons learned and still being learned from Monk!  I encourage you who read this to ponder the themes herein; change is beneficial and hard, but critical; family and family life is not your life; you are not your handicap or illness.  These themes and more can help open your eyes and mind to new possibilities, freeing you from your captivity of mental health challenges, but only if you choose to open your eyes and mind.

Finally, remember your support staff.  Have you thanked them lately for their support, care, and kindness?  If not, start there, express gratitude to and for the care received from those who live with you, work with you and desire your success.  Never forget, on your bad days, your support staff is still there trying to help, and they need support too.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 3

Bait & SwitchThere many ideas I embraced as a child that brings me short mentally and cause some discomfort.  The biggest of these was the support of labor unions.  As a kid, I thought labor unions were the best thing since sliced bread.  I learned in K-12 how the labor unions had ended child labor, gave us weekends, Federal holidays, and the 8-hour day, among other tremendous and notable accomplishments.  Until I lost my job to a labor union guy who took four times as long to complete work, complained horribly and sent me to the unemployment line.  I never understood what he had to complain about, times were hard, and I lost a good job to a labor union member.

ApathyBecause of the hold, the Labor Unions have on government, the line between government policy and labor union influence is generally so blurred that confusion is bred as to why things work the way they work in government.  Unfortunately, every country with a representative government and labor unions has the same problem.  Labor unions are entirely Marxist in their ideology, but to keep the masses happy, instead of communism, we get rampant socialism instead.  J. T. Murphy writes specifically eloquently on the ties between socialism and the labor unions.  Frankly, I have never understood how a labor person can swear they love freedom and America while supporting tooth and nail their labor unions’ Marxist and socialist agendas.

Inflation and Socialism, plus the Captivity of Debt

Public Employment Retirement Costs Are At "Tipping Point"Public-sector labor unions are the number one reason many states in America have seen their credit ratings drop.  The debt of the retirement packages and pensions is a millstone around every state’s neck.  This is an absolute reality proven time and time again.  The pension crisis is so large that Forbes keeps coming back to this topic several times a year.  If you would like a primer on the public pension crisis, go here.  The public pension crisis is mentioned solely because it remains the number one budget item for too many states.  With that much money owed, the debt runs the state’s fiscal decisions, not people, and brings up the captivity of debt.

Look up the principle of “usury” in historical texts, and you find usury occurs when interest is charged on money borrowed, which creates captivity.  TheWalletcoach.com eloquently details how debt is captivity.  The oldest of historical texts, the Old Testament, is vehemently against charging usury of brothers and family members, but strangers being in debt captivity was okay.  Today, the confinement of debt, specifically the public pensions, leads the politicians like a goat to slaughter. But, unfortunately, none of the politicians can find the time to formulate a plan, gather their fellow politicians, and fix the problem.  Debt, to the height of the public pension crisis, creates inflation and leads to socialism, as the government runs out of other people’s money to pay for the failures of previous politicians to be fiscally literate and fiscally responsible.  Add in the labor unions’ consistent sticky hands, and the local and state governments are in deep trouble.  Add in the Federal Government’s debt obligations, and money trouble is a catastrophe!  Please note that catastrophe is not an “If” or “when;” it is a current issue right now!National Debt Graph + Bush-Reagan Voodoo Video - zFacts

16 March 2019, Tom Del Beccaro, writing an opinion piece for Fox News, produced the greatest missive I have ever seen tying the principles of debt captivity to inflation and governments becoming socialized!  Historically speaking, Mr. Del Beccaro is 100% correct that the socialization of Greece and the fall of the Roman Republic are both tied to government debts. However, the Founding Fathers in America knew history, were literate, and they feared what would happen to this Free Republic (if we can keep it) when the government is allowed to rack up debts!  Every single publication I have on the Founding Fathers, and the Founding of America, come back to the bondage of debt and the problems with government debt. However, when the population demands “free benefits” from the government and uses their voting power to elect only those who keep the “Gravy Train” coming, socialism has been achieved in all but name!Government Largess

That fact alone should scare every member of the American Experiment into correcting their government!  Yet, what do we find, the exact opposite!  Frightening does not entirely cover my feelings here!

Socialism, Taxes, and The Workplace

Gravy TrainReturning to the pattern discussed on 16 March 2019, Tom Del Beccaro, writing an opinion piece for Fox News, discussed how taxes are a knee-jerk reaction to “keep that gravy train running.”  Therein lay the root causes for how socialism has been promoted in the workplace and how high taxes will eventually go!  I have written about this relationship for a long time, but please allow me to refresh memories.

In the United States, the Government Agency tasked with employment, employment laws, and employer responsibilities is not the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); by statute, it is the Department of Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The NLRB is only there to handle labor unions, labor union growth, and labor union law.  The IRS defines what an employee is vs. a contractor or knowledge vendor.  Worse, the IRS rigidly protects this relationship as a key to preserving the government’s interest (tax dollars) in keeping socialism in the workplace.  Some of my earliest articles deal with these exact principles and the socialized employee structures in which each worker and business is demanded to participate.Gravy Train 2

Upset with how your employer treats you, both on and off the employer’s property, there is only one place to put the blame, the IRS.  The IRS states the employer can invade your privacy, in your home, as an extension of “Risk Control” because your employer agreed to the IRS’s demands to pay taxes.  Your rights, freedoms, and liberties are curtailed, culled, and clipped in the workplace because the IRS demands the employer play ball with them, and your liberties are the price you pay for a paycheck.  Every time I see a labor union complaining about how the employer treats them, I want to shake the stuffing out of the leaders, for it is not the employer but the IRS that should be struck down and disbanded!  Yet, the NLRB will always side against the employer, and the labor union, a Marxist organization, wins, the IRS wins, and the employer and non-union employees lose. As a result, socialism in America becomes more powerful and influential.

Socialism and Mothers in the Workplace

As a means to improve the strength of the family in society, several religious organizations would love to see mothers provided the power to stay home.  Yet, socialism, as a fundamental operating principle, that all able bodied people must support the state, K-12 educators can rear kids, and the government acquires drones who do as they are told.  High fuel prices are no longer discussed on the nightly news because the government needs every able-bodied and disabled person working and asked the media to find something else to discuss.Plato 2

Why does the current president keep ducking questions about inflation; because the higher inflation goes, the higher prices are demanded, and the more people will rely upon the “Government Gravy Train.”  Unfunded liabilities (kited checks) are acceptable to socialists as a means of controlling the populace and keeping people in the game.  Higher taxes from inflation are good when it controls those in society who would raise their heads and ask questions under the thumb of totalitarian control.  If mothers returned home, how fast would demands for improved schools become the big issue in local politics, again?Gravy Train 3

My wife, a single mother due to divorce, while raising her two kids, relates stories of gathering mothers in Seattle to fight the school board and win.  Bewitched (1964-1972), the TV show reflects several times where Samantha got involved and changed local politics.  It used to be expected in local politics for mothers to have the ultimate last word on worthy politicians for whom to vote.  Yet, by increasing prices, mothers had to go to work.  It is now standard for politicians to get elected whose only desire is to keep socialism going, stealing liberties and freedoms while pontificating that the other party is at fault for your suffering.

Knowledge Check!I repeat, only for emphasis, the IRS remains the most influential, nefarious, and deadly threat to America.  America, what I am proposing will be a culture shock. It will turn many people onto their heads. It will appear anathema, all because we, the citizens, have watched the government become stronger and us the citizens weaker for so many generations.  But, the reality remains, we own the government, the government has been abusing us, and the time of big government to solve all the problems from a broken shoelace to fixing the weather has to end!  We must believe, gather knowledge, and act as a conjoined whole to make the necessary changes.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: CHANGE! – Let me Explain

Bird of PreyAs a fourteen-year-old, I was wandering around an office supply store in Belfast, Maine, and came across a bookmark I thought had an interesting statement on it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I thought that saying was pretty neat, and it helped me begin a process in my own life of learning how to learn and challenging change.  Over time, I began to suspect something out of place in the pattern that quote/prayer was claiming; I do not believe there are things I cannot change!  I know that if a person refuses to change, I can do nothing until that person chooses to change.  But, I remain convinced that there is nothing man has made that cannot be changed.Leadership Cartoon

As a building contractor, I learned that the same tools I am using to destruct a building are the same tools I will employ to construct a building.  An important point where change is concerned, structures can come down, structures can be built, but the human element rests upon their own decision to change or not.  However, many times the structures can influence the individual to change.

Detective 4In the US Army, I noticed something powerful; when living in a Korean War-built Quonset hut, my fellow soldiers and I had moral problems, experienced depression, and struggled.  But,  when we moved into new barracks, many of these problems ceased almost immediately.  Thus cementing a lesson, the environment plays a role in personal feelings and influences desires to change.  In the US Navy, this was more poignantly learned.  I slept in Crew Berthing Three, the rest of the engineering department slept in Crew Berthing Two, and I hated going in there.  Between the smell, the lackadaisical attitude towards maintenance, and the general disorderliness of the compartment always left me feeling depressed.  So, even though I slept in the same berthing as Deck Department, which included the Boatswains mates, the berthing spaces were neater, cleaner, and better all around.  Environment matters and influences personal desire to change or not to change.

As my injuries have worsened with age, my ability to rebuild engines, build or destruct structures, and operate heavy equipment has been reduced dramatically.  But, the lessons taught have remained, there are people I cannot change, but there is nothing that I cannot change.  My wife asks me all the time why do I write articles for a blog.  My answer is rooted in the Serenity Prayer quoted above; there is nothing I cannot influence to change.

Andragogy - LEARNToolsThere are people who I have met who will never change.  One comes readily to mind, I was homeless on the streets of Auburn, Washington, after leaving the US Army in S. Korea.  I had a job but no place to stay.  One night while wandering to keep warm, I met a homeless man who refused to change.  He was homeless by choice, not because of any drinking or drug problem, not because he was not smart enough to get a job and improve his living conditions, but because he chose to be homeless.  He said, “I am who I am, and I refuse to change just to please society.”  A very intriguing thought occurred to me then and has repeated often, am I choosing to be homeless, or am I choosing to grow?

I choose to be a lifelong learner; this commitment sprang from this conversation with this homeless man in Auburn, Washington.  I committed to several principles knowing that I could more greatly influence my environment as I changed myself.

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Because there is nothing I cannot change, I know the power of small pebbles in a landslide.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes in an avalanche.  I understand how a small rudder can turn an enormous ship for good or ill.  Nothing man has made that man cannot unmake, remake, fix, correct, or influence change.  There are people no one will ever influence due to moral agency, individual perception, and the valuation of consequences.  But, the environment around that person can be changed, and opportunities provided to encourage a different mindset.

GearsCase in point, an engineering shipmate of mine, was kicked out of Crew Berthing Two for smelly feet, which led to smelly shoes, which upset a lot of people in Crew 2.  He was forced to come live in Crew Berthing Three.  Why did he have stinky feet, a fungus was growing on his feet, and he had never been taught how to care for his feet.  He could wash them 100 times a day, but because he did not know how to care properly for his feet, nothing would change, and his feet would stink.  When my shipmate chose to change, we taught him about foot care, he went to medical and got some fungal cream, and he purchased new shoes and socks.  Why were his feet not a problem in Crew Three; we had better, and took better care, of the ventilation system than Crew two.Courage

Those engineers in Crew Two could not understand that the environment influences behavior, and the influence of behavior led to negative consequences.  The move to Crew Three changed the environment physically and led to an eventual change in mindset for the person.  Could Crew Two have had better ventilation; absolutely, if the members living there desired it.  Since they individually decided not to have better ventilation, the consequence was a smellier and more nasty berthing space.  Environment plays a role in behavior and influences people for good or ill.  We can affect the environment, but we cannot force change upon people who refuse to change.Behavior-Change

Leading to the final thought, why do we need “wisdom to know the difference?”  I  can change the environment around me.  I can change me.  I cannot change other people, but I can change other things and influence the people after changing those things in the environment, causing problems.  Let us examine this from the viewpoint of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The administrators (people) are causing moral issues and distress in the employees.  Some of the employees like being morally repugnant. Others are ethically obtuse because of job security. Others remain true to themselves and stay in the system to help affect change.

Life ValuedHow does a person change a system built by man; start with the environment, which in this situation are the processes, procedures, and methods of conducting work.  A leader arrives and begins influencing people through how they perform their work.  Then begins the fundamental operations of training to new standards, including ethical, moral, and logical processes and procedures written down.  Then, that leader begins holding people, not written processes, accountable for their actions.  Shortly every person will be faced with a choice, change or leave.  Hence, cleaning and correction become a natural function of the environment, and change is made where many have claimed; change will never happen.

Knowledge Check!As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I know this is the path forward as I have applied these lessons in my own life.  Changing people, like destructing and constructing buildings, does not occur magically.  Plans are made, planning is carried out, and fundamental change occurs through the environment.  Use the pattern:

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Watch what happens!  It is amazing to see and possible to change.  Nothing cannot be changed; only people choosing not to change cannot be changed.  But people are not the environment, and the environment can influence people!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Some People Change

Bird of PreyMontgomery Gentry sings one of my all-time favorite songs, “Some People Change.”  If you pay attention to the song’s lyrics, you hear about people who make a conscious decision about how they will live in the future.  Leaving me with the question, how am I doing?

As a fourteen-year-old kid, I remember standing at the bus stop, in the February cold of Morrill, Maine, shortly after my birthday, and committing to leading a life where the chains of abuse and the history of violence in my family stopped with me.  From that day to this, almost 40-years, I can say I have failed and succeeded, but I am still in the fight.

Mother Teresa is a person I look up to.  Kindness personified, even in the midst of the most desperate of human circumstances, she kept emptying the ocean one teaspoon of kindness at a time.  There are times when I hope to be as kind as Mother Teresa, and then I realize that will require a lot more work.  Mother Teresa has several quotes that I enjoy that apply to our times:

      • Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
      • Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
      • Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

Finest HourMy mother-in-law was a scrapper; born to an alcoholic and abusive father who stole her wages for the ability to drink; my mother-in-law came into this world fighting mad and swinging.  A knuckle-busting, streetfighting, hell on heels kind of gal.  I swear my mother-in-law could have scared Kitty Leroy into being an honest woman!

In her late 80s, she had a run-in with a high school football player who a grocery store employed; the player cried after getting her tongue lashing.  Their relationship improved over time.  When my mother-in-law passed from this mortal plane, she was kind, considerate, and angelic.  Her last five years or so were spent being 100% helpless from a fall where she broke a bone near her hip.  When I hear Montgomery Gentry sing their song, I thank the powers that be for having witnessed such a tremendous change in such an incredible woman.

Let me tell a story about my mother-in-law and her fighting spirit.  As a kid, my wife and about 14 of her classmates caught polio.  My wife was headed for split leg muscles, an iron lung, and a reduced lifespan.  My mother-in-law fought the doctors, did a lot of research, and through her convincing ways, 14 of those classmates, including my wife, walk today, had families, had long productive lives, and have experienced joy-filled lives post-polio.  The one classmate whose parents were convinced by medical professionals suffered greatly for her short life.Foghorn Leghorn - Medication

When I think of some people who change, President Abraham Lincoln comes readily to mind.  While he might not have made the dramatic changes my mother-in-law made, the changes he made were more fundamental and led America through some tough times.  Consider President Lincoln’s most famous executive order, “The Emancipation Proclamation.”  One of the few times in American Presidential history where I agree with the use of executive orders to make fundamental social change.  A true shame is that the Congress of the United States refuses to make this part of official law in America.  Like Mother Teresa, President Lincoln has said some things which I enjoy and motivate me.

      • Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
      • Whatever you are, be a good one.”
      • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
      • I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me, and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

I often quote my experiences with Miss Murphy, Principal of Governor Anderson Elementary School, SAD 34, Belfast, Maine.  I am who I am today because Miss Murphy influenced me in a primary manner that changed my life.  Two people had a tremendous impact on my life, Miss Murphy and a family friend who became my best friend.  Two people from paradoxical backgrounds chose to invest in me as a person, above and beyond the typical call of duty.  Miss Murphy had a poster in her office, it was of a forest of pine trees, with a path that wandered into the background, but the caption on this poster has stayed with me since the first time I saw it:

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

I did not know why, the first time I saw that poster, I liked it.  But, after enough years of thoughtful consideration, I understand why I love that poster.  How many times have we wanted a friend but got a follower or a person who wanted to lead; I do not know about you, but this has happened too many times.Friends Quote

To the bigots ignorant of history, please keep your yap shut!  Another person I recognize as a great leader, amazing person, and someone who personified the saying, “Some people change,” is General Robert E. Lee.  A man known to walk through his Arlington fields where Confederate and Union soldiers were laid to rest who prayed for those entombed.  The US Congress thought to punish General Robert E. Lee by seizing his fields for a National Cemetery, but in the end, the seizure was not the punishment the US Congress thought; that is the character of the man.  General Lee makes several points the world would be wiser to heed.

      • We failed, but in the good providence of God, apparent failure often proves a blessing.
      • I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.
      • Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.
      • The education of a man is never completed until he dies.
      • Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one.

A “Liberty FIRST Culture” recognizes that truth comes when people change.  People can choose to change, and in changing their minds, change the world.  Never give up on people!

Dont Tread On MeThanks to the brave!  Some people change!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting Change vs. Knowledge

ToolsRecently, I wrote about Change vs. Knowledge, and I have received some push-back on this topic and wanted to explain and expound a little to assure and address some concerns.  The basic premise remains, in Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

In basing the premise on this quote, I am not excluding anything in the learning process.  Education does come in many forms, including academic, informal, experience, and even through epiphanies where knowledge comes from sources greater than those we can understand with our limited senses and understanding.  I fully accept that the great warrior Joan of Arc received heavenly manifestations and was guided in her battles by these manifestations.  Hence, I acknowledge that people continue to be influenced in like manner and accept this as a form of education.

Detective 4Along the same vein, desire remains crucial to seeking knowledge and acquiring knowledge through the long struggle as a motivating force.  Thus, desire remains a tool of motivation in empowering change.  Provided the desire is not abused into appetite suppression, which leads to excess, abuse, and chaos.  For example, during the initial phases of the Spanish Inquisition, the desire was the unification of the population.  The Spanish Inquisition soon turned ugly and began persecuting Jews because the people leading the inquisition desired the Jews to either convert or leave Spain.  Thus, the conclusion that desire can quickly turn into appetite suppression can cause chaos, destruction, and severe abuses.

Let us be perfectly clear; education remains a vital proponent in boosting change in a population.  Teach a population to read, write, and perform mathematics, and you will significantly change a population within a generation.  Consider the post-Civil War era in America; the children of slaves went to school, learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then began to spread out as influential people.  The same occurred with the American Indian tribes, and this pattern repeats throughout all of history and never wavers.  Thus, we can safely conclude that formal education boosts changes in society, cultures, and people who then create change in their environments and communities.Grit - Defined

What is wisdom?

Wisdom is another term that everyone knows but has various components that aid in fully detailing the term.  Wisdom captures the quality of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, and couple’s good judgment, or the ability to make logical and sound decisions.  Wisdom also encapsulates the appropriateness of actions and decisions where experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, are applied to a situation.  Wisdom is also the body of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge in society.  Unfortunately, wisdom has been plasticized, and emotions and emotionally powered logic have been installed as erroneous variables creating confusion and aiding in language’s tyranny to exert undue pressure on people.  When Speaker Pelosi (D) can be called wise, the tyranny of plastic words becomes evident!

Choice vs. Perception

Remember, the premise “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  We choose whether we will allow change to be good or bad; we decide whether or not knowledge will be helpful or not.  The choice is based upon how we choose to perceive the world around us.  For example, I grew up in a house where smoking was considered tough, manly, and cool.  I smoked in high school but quit in the US Army during Basic Training; let me tell you, that’s tough!  But the perception of smoking, even with all the knowledge of the harm smoking can do, I still have to fight my perception of smoking’s image as I continue to be a quitter.

LookIs the relationship clear; as a kid, the perception was powerful that smoking is a good thing; as an adult, I must fight that perception because I choose not to be a smoker.  Even though for 10-years after quitting, I could walk through second-hand smoke, and my pulse would race, my brain would demand a cigarette, and I would have to choose to remember why I quit smoking consciously.  While the choice has become easier to keep in the now 20+ years after quitting, the power of the perception that smoking is cool remains as bright as ever.

The choice and perception variable remain a potent force in everything we, as humans, choose to do, see, become, and what we teach to others.  Worse, the choice and perception variable is evident in behaviors, cultures, social groups, and political choices.  Consider how many times Senator McCain (R), Senator Obama (D), Senator Robert Byrd (D), Speakers Schumer (D) and McConnell (R), etc., backpedaled, back dealt, changed positions, and still was able to convince citizens to vote for them.  Speakers Paul Ryan (R) and Nancy Pelosi (D) have had the exact same problem their entire time in the US House of Representatives.  Look at any politician who has been around for longer than three terms, and you will see choice and perception as significant variables in why they continue to win elections.

Never Give Up!Hence, when we take this article’s premise, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful,” we must factor in the choices and perceptions of those around us as a collective society.  When we understand choice and perception, we more thoroughly understand behaviors, trends in actions, and we grasp at the power and danger of the premise that “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

What we choose is not simply contingent upon what we know but also our perception and our valuation of past decisions on this topic.  Consider the quandary Robert Solomon has experienced by persisting that emotions are a choice, a judgment, and a socially influenced action consciously made.  The entire psychological world threw back their heads and howled, fighting, screaming, and becoming illogical, and yet emotions are as much a conscious choice as the clothes we wear each day, our hairstyle, and the foods we choose to eat.

LinkedIn ImageAs we choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture,” we must understand the why, the perception choice variables, and embrace the premise that, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Doing so will require we first look at our world views, knowledge, perceptions, choices and decide if these are bringing us closer, or taking us further away from, a society where the US Constitution lives as the paramount “Rule of Law.”  Are we actively choosing to draw ourselves closer to freedom through our Republic, or are we part of the problem?  Individual choice will drive change, provided we are conscious of our choices, educating ourselves, and actively working towards improving society.  As the fundamental building block of the American Republic, the society that matters most is inside our own homes; build that society!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Change vs. Knowledge

Guns and Liberals - A Pipe DreamWhile reading Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Long have I maintained a similar approach to change and the desire for knowledge.  What I find most interesting is how often truths become clear when I am not particularly looking for them but remain open to new thinking on old topics.

What is Knowledge?Detective 2

Knowledge is a formula:

Knowledge = Education (Formal +Informal)*Experience*Time

During the knowledge process, change happens.  Even when the decision is to reject knowledge, refute change, or deny change is occurring, the process of knowledge continues.  The problem, knowledge is gained and lost, proportional to our desire to obtain new knowledge.  I love the show “Married with Children.”  In one show, the daughter Kelly learns something new and forgets something old, in a constant cycle.  The same philosophy is found in the movie “Glory Road,” the coach says, “You know what, Shed? You’re like a duck. You wake up in a new world every day.”

What is change?

Non Sequitur - ClassicChange is modification, alterations, replacing, becoming.  There is nothing to fear in change.  Yet, how often has someone made money selling books about helping people change, driving business change, improving people during change, and adapting and adjusting to change.  During my undergraduate degree program, I had an epiphany, “Do you know that every time a business obtains a new customer, they experience change?”  Research supports this epiphany, and I was shocked silly to come to this realization.  I shared my thoughts in the classroom, and I thought the instructor, and most of the class, would have a heart attack and die on the spot.

That week’s topics were all about change in the workplace, and I do not hold that change is an event horizon but a steady strain on a person to move them from where they are to who they might become.  Another shocking idea that scared the class and caused a riot.  Yet, change is nothing more or less than a journey of knowledge, where we choose to embrace learning in the hopes of changing and gaining knowledge.

Why is this important?Leap Day

To answer this question, I ask another, “What is it you want most?”  For that which you desire, you will change to acquire.  Using Shed’s character as an example, after being handed his bus ticket, Shed realizes that he cannot go home in shame, “I’ll never be able to look my daddy in the eye.”  His character does some soul searching, and he returns to fight for a position on the basketball team.  Shed learned that which he desired he had to become willing to acquire, then had to fight to acquire, and only through total commitment did he eventually acquire his desire.

A friend of mine related his experience with a husband and wife.  They were considering divorcing, had concluded they had done all they could, and were visiting my friend to discuss the problem.  This couple had forgotten what they desired and had stopped fighting to acquire what they desired.  My friend helped this couple remember why they originally married in the first place.  Over time, the couple stopped growing apart and began again to desire and acquired what they desired most, companionship with their partner.

Detective 4That which we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  As a kid, I wanted a book.  Not any book; I wanted a particular book worth $75.00.  I shoveled a lot of snow, raked a ton of leaves, mowed lawns, split wood, stacked wood, cut down trees, and did many other odd jobs to acquire the money for this specific book, eventually earning almost three times the money needed for this book.  Then, I gave the money earned to my parents to buy the book for my birthday.  I did not get my book; the money was spent on “other things,” and I was told to be grateful to have those “other things.”  Interestingly, as an adult, when I finally acquired this desired book, a change had come over me where this book was concerned, shifting technology changed the original reason to own the book, and the book now sits less used on my shelf.

Yet, the principle remains a valuable lesson; what we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  We will sacrifice much to acquire a desire.  Consider our fraudulent president; what has he, and his wife, sacrificed to acquire the presidency?  What has Speaker Pelosi (D) invested and sacrificed to acquire?  What has America suffered so the Clinton’s could acquire their desires?

Do we understand the caution in Change and Knowledge?

Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Therein lay the caution.  Change is blamed when the consequences of desire are not as valued upon possession as they were before acquisition.  But, if we choose to allow it, the knowledge of that experience is always helpful as we plot future decision-making.  During my time in the US Navy, I learned the definition of a mistake, “A mistake occurs when everything learned, experienced, and achieved if given a chance to repeat, you would not repeat.”  Meaning that the knowledge acquired, the experience obtained, any achievement awards all lay as dross when compared with the original decision.

Never Give Up!Some journeys we travel are not enjoyable, but the knowledge is valuable.  Some journeys we undertake require too much, and we stop long before the lesson is learned, and in stopping, we lose what we thought we had gained.  Some journeys require a period of recovery before the lessons learned become apparent, and then we can choose to allow that knowledge to be useful.  Yet, change remains neither good nor bad; the consequences of our decisions are neither good nor bad; the knowledge is only useful when we choose to allow it to be useful.  You choose; choose wisely!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: “Which Way Are You Going?”

Difficult TimesJim Croce is responsible for the title of this article; he sings a song by the same name, with the following lyrics:

Which way are you goin’?
Which side will you be on?
Will you stand and watch while
All the seeds of hate are sown?
Will you stand with those who say
Let his will be done?

 One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun
One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun

 Which way are you looking?
Is it hard to see?
Do you say what’s wrong for him
Is not wrong for me?
You walk the streets, righteousness
But you refuse to understand

 You say, you love the baby
Then you crucify the man
You say, you love the baby
Then you crucify the man

 Every day, things are changing
Words once honored turned to lies
People wondering, can you blame them
It’s too far to run, and too late to hide
Now you turn your back on
All the things that you used to preach

Now it’s let him live in freedom
If he lives like me
Well, your light has changed, confusion reigns
What have you become?

 All your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns
Your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns

My parents are hippies; that is the simplest way to describe them.  A lesson learned from my youth is the essence of this song from Jim Croce; we all have to make a choice.  One of my parent’s favorite sayings, “You made your bed, now lie in it.”  Meaning, I made choices, and the consequences are now mine to enjoy or suffer depending upon how I choose to evaluate the consequences.

Detective 4For example, on my birthday in sixth grade, a school bully pushed me into the mud and called it my birthday present.  I was holding a math book and a borrowed clipboard; the mud ruined my book and clipboard.  I stood up and made a choice; in my right hand was the clipboard and book were used as a balance to swing stronger with my left, but my books and clipboard and then began beating the tar out of the bully.  I earned a seven-day vacation from school for fighting; the bully got a three-day vacation for pushing me, a bruised cheek, two black eyes, and a really fat lip.  All of which was still healing when I returned to school.

To this day, I do not regret beating that bully.  I had spent a year being bullied and was done.  No, I am not proud of the beating I gave him, but I was done being pushed at that exact moment.  I made a choice, and life has been significantly different ever since.

That is the point, the point we each need to understand and accept.  Carefully consider the words of the song above. We each have a choice to make. In making that choice, we have natural consequences, and how we evaluate those consequences determines our destiny.  Hence, which way are [we] going?

PatriotismWe have a fraudulent president, a congress that refuses to listen to the American people; we have legislatures, governors, and mayors, and so much more working against the citizenry for political power and personal gain.  Well, America, which way are you going?  Will we step up and resist, or will we sit and lose?

Will we choose to see and understand the truth of this stanza:
Every day, things are changing
Words once honored turned to lies
People wondering, can you blame them
No, I cannot blame people wondering, the world has been turned on its ear things are changing, words are being turned into lies, and the worst thing about it, so few are willing to choose to see and decide to do, and in failing to choose, they are choosing and the consequences are dire.

Grit - DefinedDo you understand the complex truth hidden in this stanza?
Now it’s let him live in freedom
If he lives like me
Well, your light has changed, confusion reigns
What have you become?
If a person chooses to allow the COVID vaccine, like a lab rat, we can now live in a “new freedom.”  But, in choosing that path, confusion reigns, freedom is lost, and the American light is shadowed.  What has America become?  Why did we allow freedom to be lost?

The Duty of AmericansHold one; why not shift the paradigm and change the questions?
Which way are you goin’?
Which side will you be on?
Will you stand and watch while
All the seeds of hate are sown?
Will you stand with those who say
Let his will be done?
Whose “will be done?”  The enemies of freedom and liberty or someone else?  I am not speaking theologically, philosophically, or metaphysically; I am speaking as a person who is observing, desiring a new set of consequences, and knowing that a different set of choices is required to make a change.

Therein is the problem, how does an entire population become motivated to make different decisions?  It is not just marketing at this moment in time; we must lose the political divisions and other divisive elements that have been falsely employed to create divisions and sow chaos.  I am talking about making a new conscious choice, logically deciding what we want, need, and desire.  The question spreads the spectrum from politics and government to media and food consumption and employment and shopping.

Theres moreI am done with both the Republicans and the Democrats; neither party is aware nor even listening to the citizens.  The extreme elements in the Democratic Party, the environmentalists, the LGBTQ+ community, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, etc., all have made their choices and must live with the consequences.  However, this does not mean the rest of the country has to take the same path to death and destruction.

The Republicans have chosen to act without spine, reason, or even cohesion in thinking and doing.  Yet too often, all the political choices come down to Republican or Democrat, and there is less and less difference between them from day-to-day.  Why have we settled for just two political parties in America?  America has been through changes in the dominant political parties before, and we must do so again for the good of the Republic.  We, the citizens, must force a change through refusing the Kool-Aid, refusing the political madness, and refusing to lose the Republic.  Which way are you going?

Non Sequitur - DecisionsWhich way are you going?  How will you choose moving forward?  Do you realize that your emotions are your own choice?  That by taking control over your emotions, you become empowered to choose more powerfully and more logically.  The media, the politicians, the bureaucrats all want to control your emotions, and they want you to be controlled by the marketing hype, the big-pharma, big-tech, and big-box retail.  Do you realize that your privacy is invaded 24/7 by people tracking the products you buy, the websites you visit, and so many other methods and means, including your cellphone?  Why did we give up our privacy?

Which way are we going to choose?  As each of us makes an individual decision, our country will begin to change.  I offer the first choice, choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture!”Image - Eagle & Flag

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: State Motto’s

Life ValuedHaving traveled across the 48 continental United States and having researched Alaska and Hawaii heavily, I have realized several things about the people who live in the various states.  Pick your state, tell me if you agree or disagree in the comments.

  • Alabama – “Audemus jura nostra defendere” – “We dare to defend our rights,” also translated as “We Dare to Maintain our Rights.” Both translations are observable in the long-term residents.  Alabama’s state motto’s audacity is one to be proud of, to follow, and the people and the musical group represent this motto perfectly.  While I have many more miles to enjoy in Alabama, keep up the good work in living this motto.
  • Alaska – “North to the Future.” – The people of Alaska always seem to possess a fire of hope in their souls, and moving North to the future is a big reason for this hopefulness. Long have I desired to travel your highways and byways.  Keep up the great work!
  • Arizona – “Ditat Deus” – Translated to “Enriched by God” or more popularly “God Enriches.” Maybe it’s the sunshine, perhaps it’s the heat, but Arizonans in the major cities seem to have neglected their state motto, and hopelessness is breeding.  I have observed a mixed bag in the smaller towns where the state motto and hope appear to cross.  I tend to think it’s time to return to the roots that made this state great, “Ditat Deus!”
  • Arkansas – “Regnat populus” – Translates to “The People Rule!” Traveling through Arkansas, especially the smaller towns and cities, you see this principle in action.  I love watching “The People Rule!”  Keep up the great work.  Your strength is needed right now!
  • California – “Eureka” – Translates from Greek, not Latin, into, “I have found it!” The saying traces its origin to the gold mines that started the state.  When I traveled the coastal highway, I thought, “How did the Californians lose what they found?”  Then I traveled a few back roads and visited mountain towns, and found the state’s soul is not found along the coastal highway.  How grateful I was to see this occur.  California, especially those along the coast, needs to correct your behavior, attitudes, and positions.  For California is on the brink of destruction, suicide committed by those who have ruled you.
  • Colorado – “Nil sine numine” – Translates to “Nothing without Providence” or “Nothing without the Deity.” To all travelers to Colorado, Colorado is not Denver!  Denver is not a good, true, or even just representation of the state’s inhabitants.  Denver is a cesspool, and the rest of the state is incredible!  Why has this been allowed to occur?  Denver, why are you absent from the rest of the state?  Where is the leadership the rest of the state deserves and requires?  Frankly, Denver, you disgust me!
  • Connecticut – “Qui transtulit sustinet” – Translates to “He who transplanted sustains.” Connecticut, what happened?  Where did hope that sustained your forefathers disappear to?  Why?  I visited Connecticut two different times, and both times the population seemed to have shrunk in hope and faith, leaving a bitter people.  No judgment intended, simple observations if I am wrong, please let me know.  I miss the hope that was embedded in your state!
  • Delaware – “Liberty and Independence” – What happened? Why did your state sell itself and lose both liberty and independence?  Your state was the rallying call, but where is this rallying call now?  Where are liberty and independence in Delaware?  Doesn’t it seem weird to you that your state was founded upon liberty and independence but has grown into bondage and dependence?
  • Florida – “In GOD we Trust” – I know some of the stories for Florida changing. The import of so many different political views as people aged tore the roots out of your state, like the lost orange orchards, and the empty shell is full of bitterness and poison.  I know several of your political figures have been directly responsible for your demise.  Floridians, do you still believe?  Floridians, what are you willing to do to reverse course on the demise of your fair state?
  • Georgia – “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation” – Values to live by; values to honor; and for the most part, what I have seen of Georgia lives these principles. May you continue to strive and understand the power of this motto!
  • Hawaii – “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono” – Hawaiian Translates to, “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” I fully admit I have not had the opportunity to travel and meet the people of Hawaii.  From what I read in your newspapers, online news, and the politicians who call your state home, I deduce some significant problems and the existence of a disconnect between reality and the state motto.  I have met some great Hawaiians who have left the island for various reasons; again, no judgment, just concern for the loss and wonder about where your state goes from here.
  • Idaho – “Esto perpetua” – Translates from Latin into “Let it be perpetual.”  There is lots of good happening in Idaho, lots of change due to Californians’ movement into the smaller towns, and frankly, I worry about Idaho’s future.  So much good, so many good people, but so much change.  Fundamental, foundational, and honestly, some of the towns I have visited are unrecognizable from just a few years ago.  Change is perpetual; change is good; please remember who you are; I would hate to see Idaho lose itself and become Connecticut, or worse.
  • Illinois – “State sovereignty, National union” – I know when this motto was lost. I know the historical moment when Illinois lost its soul.  What I do not know is when the residents of Illinois will fight to get their souls back!  Illinois, you have so much potential, but the criminals and politicians, mobsters, and mafia continue to abuse you, which is unfair to you and the nation.  Illinois, I would see you regain your potential that has been stolen and squandered; as citizens of your state, what are you willing to do to fix the problems?
  • Indiana – “The crossroads of America” – Indiana, thank you for being the crossroads of America! I love the vibrancy of your state, the constant change, the beauty of your people is extraordinary.  The hope that comes from being at the crossroads infuses every moment of every decision, which is fun to observe.  Keep up the great work!
  • Iowa – “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” – Let me tell you a secret; Iowa, I love how your State, cities, towns, and people work together. Honest, forthright, dependable, and outstanding people.  Thank you for the goodness that comes from your people and supports the good throughout America and the world.  Keep your motto firmly planted in your hearts, and your state will continue to be unique and revered across the globe!
  • Kansas – “Ad astra per aspera” – Translates from Latin as, “To the stars through difficulties.” From all I have observed, the hope grown through this motto’s realization makes strong people stronger!  I know the jokes and stories about how flat your state is, how pancakes have more geographical change than your highways, but I also know your people and praise them for their goodness.  Keep up the great work, remember your motto, and live your motto, and nothing can harm you!
  • Kentucky – Originally, “United we stand, divided we fall.” I have only known your state with this motto.  2002 brought a new motto, and I have not observed your state since.  “Deo gratiam habeamus” a Latin translation of “Let us be grateful to God.”  I wish you and your people the best.  While I like the new motto, the unity I saw in your people under the old motto was something to be respected!
  • Louisiana – “Union, justice, confidence” – Feel free to disagree and correct me, but what I have seen, parts of the state live this motto and produce incredible people. Then we have New Orleans, and I have to wonder why the disarticulation?  Please explain why Louisiana always feels disjointed, disconnected, and discombobulated, where the rest of the state is one way, but New Orleans is so different?
  • Maine – “Dirigo” – “I Direct.” Maine, I have seen you from coast to coast, from stem to stern, and many places in between.  I know your farmers and your fishers; I am a product of Belfast, graduating in Camden-Rockport, have family across the entire state, and friends where I do not have family.  Please forgive the military axiom, “Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?”  Your state has been bankrupted twice!  You have such incredible potential, so many hardy and good people, but you elect the worst to represent you and destroy your potential.  WHY?  Of all 50-states, your economics are in a worse mess than California, and the only reason is the politicians elected to represent you!  I weep for the loss, the waste, the poverty, and the bloody madness that sees you repeating Einstein’s definition of insanity ad nauseam ad infinitum.
  • Maryland – The State with the most mottos and one of the more lost and listless states in America. “Fatti maschi, parole femmine / Scuto bonae voluntatis coronasti nos / crescite et multiplicamini” – From Italian, the first translates as “Strong deeds, gentle words.” From Latin, the second translates as “By the shield of your goodwill you have crowned us.”  Also, from Latin, the third translates as “Grow and multiply.”  Great motto’s, one and all, but how do you stand to exist so listlessly?  I know, Washington, DC infects your state worse than any other, and this abuse is hard to bear.  I also know the crabbers, farmers, and other people in your state would love to grow and prosper.  You can be so much better; would you please begin to live your state motto’s?
  • Massachusetts – “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem” – Translated as, “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” Boston used to live this motto and was respectable.  Now, the state’s motto is only lived outside Boston!  Could someone please explain why?  Why did Bostonians sell themselves and their peace through liberty by giving up their swords?  Look, there is a lot to respect about Massachusetts; I love the food, the people, the variety, the whole state has such incredible history and potential for the future.  But, do you understand the motto of your state and why this motto is so precious?  Do you feel the power of your state motto in your daily decisions?  Do you recognize the obligations to peace and liberty through proper and judicious use of the sword?  Please wake Boston back up!  Please open your minds and hearts to this motto and rededicate yourself to this principle; it is important!
  • Michigan – You have one motto that can be read as two different directives. “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice / Tuebor” – “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you, I will defend.”  A more pleasant peninsula cannot be found in the world than Michigan.  I have been so impressed with your people, your state, and I would gladly defend your peninsula.  But, your current governor has got to go in disgrace!  Many of your politicians need removed and held accountable for their insanity and abuse.  Worse, the infection of your politicians continues to throttle your state’s potential.  I sorely wish more would take up “Tuebor” as a call to action, for then blessed change would come to your great state.  If you ever visit Lansing, just outside the city is a farm that makes the best apple/peach lattice pie, apple caramel pie, and apple/cranberry pie on Earth!  Just saying!
  • Minnesota – I love that your territorial motto has never been repealed or replaced, “Quae sursum volo videre” – “I long to see what is beyond” the imagination this motto inspires in me, on a dark night traveling from one point of your state to the other, has always made me smile. The official state motto, not that fond of honestly, “L’étoile du Nord” comes from the French and translates as “The star of the north.” Honestly, your state is a star in the North. Indeed, your state has such amazing people, the food is incredible, and I have met the salt of the Earth in your borders.  Yet, I cannot help but ask some of the same questions of you that I asked of Maine.  Why do you continue to elect rubes and fools to public office to abuse and oppress you?  Please explain this to me; your state has potential, location, power, and resources, but the politicians never direct the state or lead very well.  Why?  Not saying you haven’t had some good politicians worthy of respect and honor, but the majority just embarrass your state.
  • Mississippi – “Virtute et armis” – Latin translation, “By valor and Arms.” Never forget the power you hold by standing with your neighbors and not relying upon anyone but yourself.  I have seen your valor through the arms of your people during natural disasters, state emergencies, and in normal times as a means for growth and development.  Please, cling to and live your state motto, for your lives depend upon this motto, and you are worthy of this motto!  Keep up the good work!
  • Missouri – The “Show ME” State has a great motto, “Salus populi suprema lex esto” translated as “The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law.” I guess I have to ask, especially since I am a die-hard “Show Me” adherent, where do you live your state motto?  How do you interpret your state motto?  I have traveled your state from border to border many times; the people are amazing, the geography ever-changing and beautiful, but your leadership represents the antithesis of your state motto.  Not always, but too often, your political leadership from the school board to the governor are simply the most useless specimens it has been my displeasure to observe.  Why?  Please explain.
  • Montana – The “Big Sky State” has a motto a little more earthy, “Oro y plata,” from Spanish, “Gold and Silver.” Oh, how I love your state!  Your people are incredible examples of strength, diversity, and down-home, old-fashioned goodness.  Helena and Missoula have million-dollar views that are beyond compare 365-days a year.  The small towns have hospitality flowing out of their every action.  Never felt so at home and comfortable.  While the politicians in your state continue to disrupt and dismantle, you continue to thrive, and I respect your people’s will to thrive against all odds.  Keep up the good work.
  • Nebraska – Much respect to your state has been earned because of your state motto, “Equality before the law.” I have witnessed this motto in the people, the businesses, and the air you inhale seems to breed this motto into a person’s soul!  Keep up the excellent work, for I know there are problems, but your state is worthy of the potential, and you possess the ability to improve!
  • Nevada – “All for our country.” If you travel to Nevada, get off the highways and take the back roads, and you will find some of the best patriots in the world!  The roads might appear lonely, barren, and desperate; the people more than makeup for these road conditions.  Thank you for being such a fantastic place!
  • New Hampshire – Of all the states in my travels, New Hampshire lives this motto like no other state, “Live Free or Die.” May I beg a favor to all my New Hampshire friends, family, and neighbors?  Please live this motto more fully, more thoroughly, and let your influence be felt throughout ALL of New England!  Join Vermont and take Maine and New York to the woodshed for some corrective behavioral modification.  You are doing a good job, and it is a pleasure to witness!
  • New Jersey – The State of “Liberty and Prosperity” seems to be lacking both! New Jersey, let’s face some harsh facts, you are lost!  You have lost your liberty through public debts and your prosperity through the labor unions who have made the state practically uninhabitable!  I know New York City has been and continues to be a significant influence causing your state’s problems.  But the bi-polar politicians have done just as much damage as the New York Citizens to steal prosperity and destroy liberty.  Do you not know who you are and your proud history of accomplishments?  Did you forget who you are, how your state was made, and the definition of your state motto?
  • New Mexico – Never be fooled; New Mexico is not found in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, as much as these two cities try to hide their inadequacies, hellish intentions, and bad manners. Albuquerque and Santa Fe are not representative of New Mexico and New Mexicans! Although the evil they try to hide is representative of the state’s motto, “Crescit eundo,” for “It goes by growing,” is precisely what represents Albuquerque, and her suburbs, and Santa Fe, and her suburbs!  I love New Mexico!  Truly an enchanted land full of people deserving better than the abuse they have received at the hands of her rulers and politicians.  Her current governor is in a race to the bottom and is in a three-way tie between Newsome in California and Whitmer in Michigan!  Want a culinary delight?  Stay out of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, eat at a local mom and pop restaurant, and the food of New Mexico is revealed in all its glory!  Las Cruces is a great area; the pecan trees and other agriculture speak to the people’s hard work and dedication.  Great people of New Mexico, you deserve better; please choose your elected officials and representatives better.  Your potential will only continue to be wasted and abused until your politicians are held to task and corrected!  If you are in Albuquerque and are hungry, Monroe’s is an excellent choice, and you can get some of the best food in New Mexico style.  The Owl Café is an incredible gustatory experience.  If eating at the Owl Café, save room for the Volcano Banana Split or the New Mexico Red Shake, both are excellent!
  • New York – The State whose motto is “Excelsior!” could do with a heck of a lot more “Ever upward” movement! Everywhere I look in New York, you see the exact opposite of your moving “Ever Upward.”  From spasmodic politicians to Janus-faced labor unions to vacillating and spineless bureaucrats, the entire State of New York is in desperate straights, committing suicide with a dull knife, one stroke at a time!  Look, California is in trouble, no doubt, but why, oh why is New York competing for the bottom?  Unfunded liabilities and debt are crushing the entire state, and not a single politician wants to speak to the 800-pound gorilla in the room.  Worse, the mayor of your most populated city has murdered citizens by placing infected COVID patients into long-term care facilities.  No mention from Albany, no leadership from Albany is the standard response to every state problem.  Please explain how the state government in Albany can afford to be so disconnected from what occurs in the rest of the state!  Roads are crumbling; Albany does not care.  Crime skyrockets due to criminal injustice reforms; Albany could care less.  Towns failing; Albany wants the tax dollars and refuses common-sense approaches to aid in moving the state from a downward trend back to moving “Ever Upward!”  It is past time for Albany to wake up, put on some work boots, and start leading the State of New York!
  • North Carolina – “Esse quam videri” – “To be, rather than to seem!” North Carolina has been through some difficult times, but if your people return to this single motto, you can regain all you have lost.  Cease the fakery and “BE” what you need to become to regain your state!  I weep for the history that nefarious and petty tyrants have imposed upon you recently.  Worse, the terrorists are still among you, some even hold public office, and deep cleaning of fake people is required.  I wish you luck, for liberty and freedom will be lost if your state cannot remember your roots!
  • North Dakota – The State where Daniel Webster is quoted on the Great Seal of the State, “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” While the state’s coat of arms declares, “Strength from the soil.”  Both are appropriate.  I have barely traveled in your state and regret that I have not met more of your people, traveling your cities and towns and sampling the goodness in your state.  Your state is an example to the entire country, and I thank you for your hard work, dedication, and living the motto of your state.  Keep up the great work; you deserve all the success you can create!
  • Ohio – As the only state whose motto is taken directly from the Bible, “With God, all things are possible,” one might think the state would be less inclined to self-destruction. However, the state also has the following motto, “Imperium in imperio” or “An empire in an empire,” which explains a lot.  Ohioans, I have lived and traveled your state extensively, meeting you in small towns, big cities, restaurants, and other civic events, and frankly, I think your state is stable and in good condition.  Except for the labor unions and the politicians and bureaucrats!  Holy… “Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot” Ohio, why did you sell yourself for a bowl of pottage to borrow another incident from the Bible.  I have had the most incredible privilege of sweating beside the Amish, the Mennonites, and so many more of your people working and building.  The people are fantastic in Ohio, the second friendliest state in the Union.  But you have gotten sick on the political hay fed to you, and that sickness is ruining your state!  Would someone please explain why this is acceptable to a state with such a rich history of industry, commerce, resources, and the people to put these tools into action?
  • Oklahoma – “Labor omnia vincit” translates to – “Hard work conquers all things.” A truth and a representation of a people.  Oklahoma, you have some problems, you have some issues, but after what I have observed of your people, and through living your state motto, you can conquer, and I will cheer like mad!  I wish to take your people and transplant some into Pennsylvania or New Jersey for some woodshed corrective behavior modification.  Keep up the great work!
  • Oregon – “The Union,” and “Alis volat propriis” – translated as, “The Union, she flies with her own wings.” A state motto where the leaders are wholly disconnected from their state motto and couldn’t recognize the problems if Lady Justice was beating them with her sword!  Look, when one gets out of Portland, the entire State of Oregon is 180-degrees different.  Portland did not use to be the example of supreme idiocy, asininities, and deranged behavior.  These were inflicted upon her citizens by her rulers and government representatives until Portland was lost!  What boggles my mind is why the rest of the state has allowed Portland to fester and the rest of the state decay.  I know the environmental movement in the 1980s did a number on Oregon that has never been fixed, crimes committed where justice was denied the individuals, and Mount St. Helen’s didn’t help the state at all.  Please believe me; Portland is not representative of Oregon on or off the I-5 corridor; the rest of Oregon is full of good, honest, great people.  Outside of Portland, Oregon is the third friendliest state I have had the pleasure to travel through.  I pray that Oregon’s citizens can recover Portland, even if it means woodshed corrective behavior modification for the entire city!
  • Pennsylvania – “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,” I repeat, only for emphasis, “Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?” The historic land of independence depends entirely on all the wrong things, government answers, and labor union hypocrisy included!  Why did the land of virtue choose to lose virtue as a watchword for moderation and intelligent thinking supporting distinctive action?  Why is liberty so scarce in the land of liberty?  Of all the states that have thrown off their motto, refused the answer to their problems, and denied their heritage, I would never have expected Pennsylvania to make this list, but not only are you on the list, but you also lead the list!  I look at your state budget and the captivity of debt and shudder to think of the consequences coming your way.  Worse, I can find no excuses for the loss of virtue, liberty, and independence.  Sure, your politicians and labor unions helped.  Sure, the people were sold a lie and fed voraciously upon the lie.  But, there is not a single incident I can point to that would explain this destruction.  Why and how did you fall?  Please help me understand, Katrina and New Orleans are a historical point that ripped the scab off the rot in Louisiana and New Orleans.  What happened in Pennsylvania?  Why have you agreed to sleep in the filth left from the lie sold you?
  • Rhode Island – “Hope,” yes; I am an adherent, acolyte, postulant, etc., to the “Show Me” State, I live by “[Living] Free or Die,” but at the end of the day, “Hope” is my watchword. Rhode Island, why did “Hope” die in your state?  My last trip through your state was during a good economy, and things were happening, lots of good taking place, but your people were the most hopeless I had ever witnessed inside the borders of America.  Why?  Please explain to me why “Hope” is so scarce in the State of “Hope!”
  • South Carolina – “Dum spiro spero / animis opibusque parati” – Translates into, “While I breathe, I hope; prepared in minds and resources.” South Carolina, as a kid, I traveled extensively through your state.  As an adult, I have traveled not as extensively, but I can still not help but think the changes made in your state have not upheld your state’s motto.  I respect your state’s preparation for natural disasters and consider your efforts to be good.  But, the people’s minds have been forgotten, as witnessed by the terrorism of thought experienced during the summer of 2020.  Resources help in being prepared, but the minds must also be supported, instructed, and built!  Why were the minds of the people summarily discharged from the state efforts?  Of all the states in the Union, I expected South Carolina never to forget this lesson learned in the fires of the American Revolution.  Would someone please explain to me why mind preparation has been strangled, defied, and left behind?  In a case of limited resources, it is better to invest in the mind than in resources, for the mind can be stretched, and imagination can make resources.  Please, return to preparing the minds of your people.  Everyone else, understand this: South Carolinians are not stupid, ignorant, or mentally deficient; the state has simply stopped aiming for literacy, which has hurt the state’s resources and denied the heritage left them!
  • South Dakota – “Under GOD the people rule,” a sentiment worthy of such incredible people. How true this lesson remains for the rest of the country to learn.  I regret not having had the privilege of traveling more in your state, for I love what I have seen and experienced.  Your people are fantastic, and I encourage more people to participate in both North and South Dakota at your earliest opportunity.  When you see the metal T-Rex being walked by a metal man, I hope you laugh as hard as I did!  Keep up the great work, for I am very impressed!
  • Tennessee – “Agriculture and Commerce” remains a beautiful sentiment worthy of the people in Tennessee. I know Kentucky is the “Blue-Grass” state, but I find Tennessee’s agriculture to be much prettier.  Tennesseans, I implore you to return to your roots of agriculture and commerce.  Please correct your politicians and regain your competitiveness.  Your people are some of the world’s best people where ingenuity and imagination combine to create commerce.  Use this skill and develop your people.  But first, get new politicians at the city/town, county, state, and federal levels of government; these people do not represent who you truly are as a people!
  • Texas – “Friendship.” Another state motto that has been replicated perfectly upon the citizenry.  All my time in Texas has been defined by friendly people, helpful people, and people who care about their neighbors to the point of showing their care and concern as a daily part of regular action.  I regret the changes that have come, through unfriendly people to the city of Austin.  I implore the rest of Texas to rise and bring some woodshed corrective behavioral modification to Austin before the cancer of unfriendliness ruins your state!  Keep up the great work Texans, I know of no friendlier people on Earth!  Don’t forget to get your politicians back in order; they are killing your state.
  • Utah – “Industry” the perfect motto for the people of the state! Everywhere one turns in Utah, “Industry” is the watchword and the directive.  I met a man traveling through Utah, he wanted to be lazy, but when he saw how industrious all the people were, he was ashamed of himself and went back to work.  Sure, some homeless people needing to learn to be industrious, but I always had work sufficient for my needs in Utah as a person of action.  A willingness to work, and no skills, was not an affliction that kept one from working; I found trainers everywhere, provided I wanted to learn.  I know some of this is engrained from the founding of the state through the religious beliefs of the members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints.  Still, the heritage of industry surpasses religion’s influence, and frankly, I am always amazed to see just how much industry can accomplish in 24-hours!  Not saying there are no problems, but through living an industrious life, the troubles melt.  Keep up the great work, Utahans!
  • Vermont – Holding two state mottos, “Freedom and Unity” and “Stella quarta decima fulgeat,” the second translates from Latin as, “May the 14th star shine bright.” Ever want to know the history of something cool, look up the history behind the 14th star and Vermont.  The lesson is well worth the time.  Vermont, you are definitely worthy of both your state mottos; better still, I am anxiously awaiting the day you and New Hampshire become the central players in New England; your people and your states have waited a long time to rise.  Keep up the innovative work you do; hold your politicians more accountable, and keep the faith; your time is coming, and success is yours!
  • Virginia – With all your potential, your resources, and your people, I cannot help but claim, your state motto leaves me madder than a soaked chicken with a raging case of hemorrhoids! I know you are the only “Commonwealth” in the American Republic; I know your state has hated Texas since Texas came along.  I know your political class exemplifies perfectly the state motto, and this is flat-out disgusting!  “Sic semper tyrannis” – “Thus always to tyrants.”  Virginia, you have bullied and abused your neighbors as a tyrant, you continue to be a thorn in the side of this great Republic, and frankly, I look forward to the day your state is finally humbled.  For from the ashes of humility, I hope to see a better state rise!  I have met extraordinary people in Virginia, I have worked beside some great individuals, but all of these people were transplants, not “true Virginians.”  Honestly, General Robert E. Lee would be ashamed of the tyranny in Virginia!
  • Washington – Of all the states I have visited and lived in, Washington is the most bipolar and schizophrenic! With the motto of “Al-ki,” translated from the jargon of the Chinook Indians, it means “By and By.”  Seriously bipolar and schizophrenia are the watchwords in Washington.  If a person travels the entire length of Interstate 90, upon leaving Idaho, the homes of Boston become familiar, and then the rest of the whole United States becomes replicated in the architecture until you hit the mountains.  Drop down the mountains, and an entirely new world arrives where moss grows so thick on the roofs of houses that homeowners have to mow their roof!  SeaTac is not a good representation of the people of Washington, but schizophrenia is apparent everywhere along the I-5 Corridor from Canada to Oregon!  Some blame coffee for this psychological disease, but I assure you, you cannot blame the people on the coffee!  Great people, fantastic food, and incredible resources are throughout the entire state.  Still, the politicians, aided by Marxist labor union types, and too bloody much money, all crammed into too little space, has created a lifestyle that makes no sense and has seen people earning a million dollars a year living out of their cars, showering at the club or work, and driving home on the weekends!  Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, you especially, and desperately need to change who you elect to public office!
  • West Virginia – “Montani semper liberi” – Latin for “Mountaineers are always free.” Damned straight and from that freedom, West Virginia threw off their chains of captivity to Virginia, and the world changed forever.  Having lived with the mountaineers, climbed the back trails of the mountains, and witnessed the mountaineers’ strength and stubbornness, I know why Virginia lost that fight!  West Virginia has been the victim of government and Virginian abuses since its inception, but always the mountaineers remain steadfast, loyal, and fierce!  Do not underestimate the women or the mountaineers’ children, for they will kick your butt like nobody else!  Keep up the efforts, West Virginia; you are truly worthy of respect and honor, and shortly your day will come.
  • Wisconsin – If ever a state could exemplify both their motto and the need for living that motto more succinctly, Wisconsin wins hands down! The official motto, “Forward!”  I have traveled and experienced Wisconsin in good times and bad, from shore to border, and from Canada to Illinois, and all I can say, keep moving Forward!  Wisconsin, you can improve, you have the tools, resources, and some of the best people fed on the most incredible foods; keep moving Forward!
  • Wyoming – “Equal Rights and Cedant arma togae.” Two distinct thoughts that merge into a single motto, that “Equal rights ‘Let weapons yield to the toga.’”  The import of this idea is that with equal rights, the weapons of the past yield improvements in society to bring out the academic, the professional, and the better human.  Keep this motto in mind, for the truth is absolute that this can occur, and Wyoming is a unique example of how the state motto is leading the mind to change.  I was so intrigued to witness this motto in action in the people who still love rodeos, western living, and rugged individualists!  Wyoming keep up the great work you are living; I loved visiting and living in your state; thank you!

Detective 4As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I study and observe people.  I look at how people interact as a social group, a society, and an organization to understand the good and ill of human relationships.  I am not perfect, and I admit I am biased to hope, even when intelligence tells me hope is gone and to give up.  I also freely admit I live by “Show ME.”  My political beliefs live in New Hampshire’s motto, “Live free or die!”  I realize that living free involves following laws.  I support the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights as the only laws we need for the Federal Government to operate smoothly where the most freedom and liberty reside in the hands of the states and the people.

I love America!  Having seen the slums of Bahrain, the poverty of people in South Korea, the incredible beauty and wonder, the problems of countries in between, and the issues in America, I would live nowhere else on Earth.  Why; because of all of the problems witnessed in my travels across America, I know that when Americans wake up, put on their work boots, and go to work with a purpose, the world changes for the better again and again.  Each state’s motto is specifically designed to describe the culture of the people living in that state.  More, each state’s motto represents America’s ideals as a patchwork quilt that is American greatness.

Lever UpHence, I urge you to learn, discover, define, describe, and live the state motto that makes you the American you desire to represent!  American, [A(h)-Me-I-Can], adapt and adopt, gather, and be defined by any state motto that inspires.  How great is that!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to

Confirm thy soul in self-control – Thy liberty in law!

From “America, the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates (1913) comes the principles of this post and its title. This phrase comes from the second verse of the song after requesting “God” to “mend thine every flaw.” While many will consider this either religious or political, the principles being discussed transcend labels and form the bedrock of good followership, which is simply being a good leader without the title and responsibility.

The principles of self-control are paramount to living in any society, but especially in the American Society consisting of a Constitutional Republic. For example, rules and laws exist in a society as they do throughout the universe because there is no right or wrong without them, and tumult, discord, terror, and chaos in the absence of rules and laws result. The principles of self-control will prevent those laws from ever needing to be enforced provided control of selfish desires are properly employed. According to Webster, self-control is all about controlling one’s own emotions and desires or the expression of those desires in one’s behavior.

Self-control is the foundation to freedom. There cannot be any society without self-control of the individual members and that requires a sense of morality. Lack of self-control forms barbaric societies where the biggest/strongest get their needs and appetites fed and everyone else can suffer. We see this style of thinking with President Bill Clinton and the long list of sexual appetites displayed, and President Obama through his long list of vacations, foods, and family trips, along with many other federal, state, and local politicians; lack of self-control leads to barbaric actions, feeds one’s own appetites to the detriment of all other societal members, and ultimately concludes with the frustration and destruction of society as a whole. Rome was a nation that tried to curb appetites using law not moral action, refusing to stress the need for individual self-control in all citizens as a paramount virtue, including its politicians, and fell gloriously. To avoid falling, America needs to remember self-control and the liberty created through proper self-control.

The concept of law being liberating is as foreign to many as saying, “War is kind,” a concept from the poet Stephen Crane. The concept of law as being liberating stems from the foundational principles of self-control and the lessons of Alexis de Tocqueville, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” John Adams said something very similar, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other;” thus, driving home the point that self-control is the first foundational building block of a moral society, the chief cornerstone, and the mortar upon which laws are cemented into the resulting society. If the mortar of self-control becomes cracked and splintered, the entire construction of society crumbles.

Consider ENRON and the debacle that occurred with this organization, which began with flaming success and crashed and burned into abject horror and misery. The business was originally built upon self-control, good leadership, and correct principles. Then, a new leader came into power who lacked self-control, refusing to follow established accounting principles, preferred to be a barbarian feeding individual appetites and lining his own pocket, and launched a meteoric rise in ENRON while also launching the demise and destruction of the same. When leaders lack self-control, followers will abandon self-control and follow the leader into destruction.

Self-control is difficult, but liberating. Self-control is a challenging taskmaster, and choosing to exercise self-control remains the chief lessons of childhood. Consider the story of the “Affluenza Teen;” because the parents did not teach self-control, self-restraint, and consequences for poor behavior, the child abandoned any sense of wrongdoing, and society now must take responsibility to teach the child how to behave. The “Affluenza Teen” learned that a lack of self-control is a good thing from the only teachers available, his parents. This is a replicating story in millions and millions of lives every single day in America currently. Lack of parental involvement advocating a lack of being held accountable and the only lesson learned being feed your appetite without restriction caused the “Affluenza Teen” less liberty, less freedom, and less ability to thrive. Appetites, desires, and passions must be controlled to enjoy liberty and freedom and discover other life enjoyments.

There remains a strong connection between self-control and liberty, so before God “may mend thine every flaw,” we must learn and teach self-control as the true path to freedom, as the only path to liberty, and as the main responsibility of societal members to other members in the same society. This means a return to morals and ethics as taught by religion; no, this does not advocate one religious belief system over another, as freedom of religion is a right. This means advocating for a return to religion from the wastes of “free love,” popularized in the 1960’s flower power generation, that has stripped America of much of her beauty. Those lacking self-control created multiple generations of Americans, who prefer to speak about “Rights” without shouldering any of the “Responsibilities.” Hence, self-control was the first victim of the 1960’s “Hippie Movement,” and self-control remains in the hospital on life support while society has crumbled, wilted, and died in the ensuing period of time.

In short, the chains of not possessing self-control are strong and choking the life out of American Society. We have lost liberty to government and bureaucrats of government. Those lacking self-control are honored and immortalized, e.g., “Kardashian’s,” “Clinton’s,” “Pelosi,” “Obama’s,” and so forth, while those with honor and integrity are scandalized and harangued, e.g., “Ronald Reagan,” “Benjamin Franklin,” “Robert E. Lee,” “Margaret Thatcher,” and so forth. Leaving politics and political affiliation out of the discussion, those with the most self-control enjoy the most liberty and those with the least self-control enjoy less liberty.

Some erroneously make the argument that they are freer for having less self-control except that the items being pointed to reflecting liberty are nothing more than selfish desires of the individual wanting the same appetite fulfillment. For example, according to tabloids and media, the “Kardashian’s” are symbols of sexual immorality and are filling this appetite. Sexual immorality is the epitome of enslavement and remains highly addictive. Sexual impropriety is life threatening. Sexual impropriety is an insatiable appetite, consuming everything good unless bridled, and controlled; but worst of all, sexual impropriety is mind altering leading from one perversion to another until the person is left an empty shell, damaged goods, unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

Where is liberty to be found? Control of appetites and passions has been handed down from the 1960’s as immoral, immaterial, old-fashioned, and out dated. Engaging in immoral, uncontrolled sexual permissiveness often leads to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood’s success rates are an indicator. How often does lack of sexual self-control lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a special website just for STD’s. The symptoms of no sexual self-control are all around us. Media companies advertise alcohol and sex with no control or limitations as a good thing and warn in the same commercial break of rampant problems from the lifestyle lacking self-control.

There is no freedom without sacrifice, no self-control without making decisions, no liberty without moral convictions tried and tested in the fires of unpopularity. The freedom and liberty found in self-control are not boring or uneventful, simply different from those lacking self-control. Those lacking self-control might find pleasure in the moment, but how pleasurable are hangovers from too much alcohol? How happy is an unwanted pregnancy? How happy are those with STD’s whose lives are permanently changed, affected, or outright destroyed? Let us take the words of this beautiful piece of music to heart, “… confirm thy soul with self-control” and find “… liberty in law” then we can rely upon “… God to mend thine every flaw.”

© 2016 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved

Organizational Contention – Or, Fostering the Case to Shift the Employment Paradigm

Medical doctors call any condition that progress slowly into advanced stages before manifesting itself openly a “silent killer.”  Organizational Contention (OC) is one of the deadly ‘silent killer’s’ rampant in business today.  Organizational contention can be as simple as when employees disagree with each other, or as complicated as when whole departments antagonize, hate, and actively work against each other.

Below are some examples of OC the author has knowledge of:

  1. A senior operations employee instigates a fight with a junior supply chain employee.  The senior employee picks up a metal rod and strikes the junior employee.  The resulting company investigation shows the junior employee at fault.  The junior employee leaves the company.  The contentious response of the senior employee will result in a repeat of this incident again.
  2. A manufacturing company whose labor union is so anathema to change that adding equipment to improve the manufacturing process almost initiates a strike.  A production supervisor added a fully anchored roll table to the output side of a machine.  The table sped up production 25% per part.  The owner averts the labor union’s strike.  The supervisor forced to apologize, the table removed, and the labor union fakes pacification until the next attempt to initiate change.  This animosity cycle to change repeats itself repetitively.
  3. A call center and business unit in one geographic area is despised by the other call centers and business units.  Actions initiated to show the value of the call center at fault is to no avail.  Enough employees at the other call centers and business units run down the other call center causing action by senior management to investigate the call center for possible closure.  The investigation uncovers that the call center is performing above company standard in all aspects measurable, the call center remains open, the dislike and discord continue unabated.
  4. A supervisor, to a fellow supervisor, describes a new employee as “unstable.”  Examples include “slamming papers down,” “scowling,” not making eye contact, and the supervisor invokes those action demanding words, “workplace violence,” to the other supervisor.  The second supervisor conditionally concurs based upon the reputation of the first supervisor; neither supervisor notifies human resources; no corroborating investigation occurs.  The second supervisor makes copies of the employee handbook, takes the offending employee aside, explains the observations, details the employee handbook sections applicable, all in an effort to “raise awareness.”  The employee expresses amazement that the first supervisor is receiving this perception and asks for specific instances, specific guidance, and situational training for the new corporate environment to “make the right first impression.”  No underlying causes, discussed in the meeting receive attention, no further training or guidance was received, and shortly after this incident, the employee was terminated.

Reality check, these are not fictitious examples.  Even in a down economy people remain people, organizational contention continues to cost valuable resources, and without significant change to organizational cultures the contention wins.  Even with massive interdiction changing the organizational culture, contention can still win.  Not all is without hope.  People do change, contention does lose, and the pressures feeding contentious responses mitigated.

At this point, some would argue for tougher business policies against employees on employee violence or human resources taking a more aggressive position regarding labor control and/or calling for more professionalism in the workplace towards other employees, ramping up existing or creating new incentive programs, etc.  The list is as endless as customizable solutions for specific incidents.  Others argue that since each organization is unique, unique solutions are required, that the one-size-fits-all or most approach will not be successful, that allowing people to express themselves is all fine and good within certain limits.

Change has come of age, essential and demanding change in thinking and actuality, for success in current market environments.  These former, unsuccessful arguments fail to address the core issues of individual employee responsibility, accountability, and organizational needs, to address organizational contention and foster safe working conditions.

Correcting organizational contention and fostering safe working environments do have a universal answer:  change the employment paradigm.  Traditional thinking on employees imply they “must be managed, controlled, and persuaded to act in a specific manner.”  Because the concept and reality of changing “employees” to “contractors,” specifically those choosing to affiliate with an organizational brand, prepares people to come fully equipped to work with a proper more prosperous mindset to do the job.  They do not need or want managing, controlling, and persuading.  As a result, organizational trust in people to make good decisions is realized when they have a stake in the organization that demands responsibility and accountability.

            Introduced in the article, “Shifting the Employment Paradigm,” are the support for the need of shifting and the reconstruction plan to shift.  This plan rectifies many of the diseases silently killing today’s business organizations through the process of ‘shifting the employment paradigm’ from traditional thinking to new and innovative levels of employee responsibility and accountability.  Employees are smarter, more engaged, and less needful of the expensive pampering traditional thinking forces upon organizations where employee relations are concerned.  It is time to make the change, shift the thinking, and reconstruct the business environment.

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved