Brevis Ipas Vita Est Sed Malis Fit Longior – Adversity

Father Mulcahy 3The title is Latin for “Life is short, but trouble makes it longer.”  Recently I was reminded of the power and blessing of adversity.  One of the comments that struck me was, “You will all experience your own Gethsemane’s.”  Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives and became famous in the New Testament for the place where Jesus went to pray and, according to the New Testament, completed the atonement.  Gethsemane remains a symbol of hope for people experiencing trouble, difficulty, or adversity.  However, the thought of us experiencing our own Gethsemane individually intrigues me as a concept.

One of the scriptures that holds a lot of hope for me comes from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 7-9:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands
.

Nowhere is recorded how long Jesus spent in Gethsemane; one might presume the time was longer than an hour, but less than 8 hours.  Beyond that, I cannot guess and will not venture an opinion.  However, the thought that adversity will be but a small moment rings like an eternal truth in my mind.  Let me elaborate on this point, my wife and I spent 6-months homeless, living out of our car, showering at her mom’s apartment, and working as often as I could find work.  During this time, I was studying for a master’s in business administration and struggling with depression for feeling like an absolute failure for not being able to provide a home for my spouse.Adversity is an advantage to embrace, not an annoyance to avoid. | Art Coombs Art Coombs

Yet, as I look back on this homelessness period, it seems but a small moment.  While I know mentally that the timeframe was six excruciating months, the truth is that the adversity felt like a moment even during the adversity and the months following.  My friends found during this time were such an incredible solace; my wife’s family and even my studies became lifts to my spirit and a balm to my mental processes.  How grateful I am for the adversity that has shaped me since this event and the incredible people who supported my wife and me.

Interestingly, in M*A*S*H 4077, the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” the poignancy of Father Mulcahy’s predicament with losing his hearing has become more meaningful since this episode of homelessness.  Indeed life is lived forward and understood backward.  As Father Mulcahy said, “What good is a deaf priest?”  The value is found in learning and living, but the learning and living is the adversity shaping us physically, mentally, and spiritually.Grit - Defined

Long have I pondered what a piece of clay must think as it is placed on a potter’s wheel, and if it realizes that when the potter is done, the adversity on that wheel will make it something beautiful, useful, or both.  Whether you believe in god, God, or gods, what are the adversities in your life making out of you, and will you recognize yourself when the potter is done?  Will you care what the potter has made you?  Those two questions lay on my mind, not with weight, but nonetheless with power.  A final question struck me as Father Mulcahy was marrying Klinger and Sun Lee, will we respect the potter for the work invested in creating us through adversity?

30 Best Adversity Quotes To Regain The Courage | Brainy ReadersIt’s no secret to those who have known me that I did not like serving in the US Navy and the pressure cooker of the USS Barry (DDG 52) from 2000-2004.  I have often cursed and shook my fist at the sky over the experiences during the US Navy.  Yet, even now, the experiences in the US Navy are felt as a small moment, and time does help heal wounds.  Better still, time tends to soften the edges, and one of the other things I have found is that how we choose changes how we remember.  I loved being “haze grey and underway” in the navy.  Many things were better while sailing that worsened to the point of breaking while in port.  More to the point, being “haze grey and underway” was always an adventure, fun, and never dull, even while pulling five and dime watch standing, doing maintenance on a pitching deck, or even climbing the mast while underway to fix something broke.

Adversity QuotesMajor Winchester leaving M*A*S*H in a garbage truck reminds me of my time in the US Navy, very appropriate.  As soon as Major Winchester came to M*A*S*H 4077, I watched to see what pranks could be done to Major Charles Emerson Winchester the third.  I loved watching Charles become the butt of a joke.  Yet, even as I type, I cannot help but wonder, was a garbage truck appropriate; is it disrespectful of the potter to see another person struggle and heap more scorn upon them?  Charles’ life changed dramatically and horribly; his ways of thinking, the path of his life, and even his belief in his own self-worth were constantly challenged and scrutinized.  I can understand Charles’ experiences more now than at any time previously.

Having been homeless multiple times in my life, one of my greatest difficulties is seeing someone putting up their petition for help and not being able to help.  I know there are a lot of scams out there, but that has never mattered to me; not being able to help bothers me greatly.  The war in Ukraine, the orphans left after war and storms, the hunger and depravity in this world, those individual adversities we see all around us.  I always want to help.  Long have I thought if I could relieve an ounce, a dram, a smidge of suffering, I could sleep better at night or know I succeeded at something.  Life has taught me how to fight, then it taught me how to think, and then my body was injured, and I am left stuck somewhere in between—proving that adversity comes in many shapes, colors, sizes, and types!Adversity Quotes

Please know, I am not maudlin or melancholy about my life.  I have some great stories, met some truly amazing people, and lived to tell those tales.  All I ever wanted out of life was to be “an interesting old person,” and if I can keep reading and thinking, and especially writing, I should be able to tell some of those stories.  If I died tomorrow, I could say I lived a rich, full life, with no regrets.  I have no complaints and look forward to learning a lot more.  Bringing up another exciting facet of adversity, the learning that comes through adversity.

For example, did you know you do not teach adults?  Anyone who tells you differently does not know what they are talking about.  Teaching only happens to children, and if those kids are like me, barely even then.  For adults, you help them see their life experiences in a new light, applying existing knowledge to current situations to improve how they think.  You do not teach adults; they teach themselves; as an adult educator, my job is to help them learn how to think.15 Quotes About Overcoming Adversity Never to Forget

I know a kid, now an adult, who had been molested, beaten, and suffered greatly.  Growing into a scrappy adult, this child had experienced the horrible and survived.  Sure, you might teach this kid how to reach a formulaic solution, but the core knowledge of life, this kid held a doctorate.  Adversity had trained this kid how to think, how to act, how to understand, and how to fight back.  While other kids learned how to wield a bat and hit a ball, this kid was learning how to throw punches, duck, dodge, and handle pain.  While some kids learned how to cook, this kid already knew how to cook and could make meals out of practically anything.  Adversity taught this kid, and the student was worthy of the master’s teachings how I have longed to be as apt a pupil to adversity’s teachings as this kid.A Layman's Blog: Pasternak on adversity.............

When considering the potter, as we are placed upon the wheel, then into a kiln, are we clay, easily molded, or a rock choosing to be chased off the potter’s wheel for refusing to change and be moldable?  A young adult uttered the saddest commentary on life I have ever heard.  My father did it this way; his father did it this way; his father did it this way; going back as far as family memory can relate, I am doing it this way.  When I saw the stubbornness of this person, I felt like weeping for the potential lost to generations who choose not to change.  Adversity gets us asking questions; for me, those questions are always about how I improve—improving myself, a process, an environment, the situation, anything that can be changed to drive improvements.John Wooden Quote: "Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate ...

Another book referred to the “captivity of the fathers.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevia sings the song of “Tradition!”  Is adversity trying to tell us there is a better way, and tradition is trying to hold us back?  In previous articles, I discussed how a friend of mine related that he is the first generation of his family who could read, and his children and grandchildren are graduating college because as a child, he was forced onto a bus, driven to Oklahoma, and forced into school and off the Indian reservation.  He experienced traumatic adversity as a child of seven.  The blessing of that adversity has lived and made him every day since, but to make him, the traditions of his fathers had to be forced out of his mind by formal education hundreds of miles from his northern Arizona home.  I weep for that little boy but cheer for the man he became and cherish my friendship with a man who had to justify two worlds.  Beware the traditions of your fathers so they do not become captivity your children must suffer to escape.

Not for any other purpose than trying and making the adversarial moment something I do not have to repeat.  I have repeated too many adversarial moments; there must be a better way to live!  For example, I was forced into bankruptcy twice!  I hope to learn from my mistakes, and if anyone knows how to raise money, improve earnings, and live more fully within one’s means, I am all ears!  If you know how to monetize a website, I will trade for this knowledge and assistance.  Bringing up another powerful tool of adversity, placing us into situations where we can help and will choose to be helped.Adversity Opportunity Quotes. QuotesGram

One of the reasons why some adversarial incidents last as long as they do is because we are proud people, and giving help is easier than accepting help and multitudes of times easier than asking for help.  My first time homeless, I had to get off the streets as walking the streets all night was interfering with my ability to work a complete shift.  Plus, it was cold, and those nights in Auburn, Washington in October and November were miserable!  So, I asked for help from a church, and asking for help was one of the most challenging events in my life.  In fact, asking for help has never gotten easier with time or experience.  I would rather get beat with a brick stick than ask for help; is it any wonder that pride is one of the seven deadly sins?Adversity | Adversity, Lds quotes, Church quotes

To ask for help, I felt I needed to have a plan to repay the money.  I demanded that I stick with that repayment schedule, even after being told, very kindly, that I did not have to repay and that there was no debt to repay.  How often do we make the pains and problems of adversity worse because we struggle to ask for help or feel a need to repay debts when there are no debts?  The reality is that when adversity appears to drag on and on without end, being a relentless taskmaster, many times I am the problem making adversity worse.Adversity Quotes By Famous People. QuotesGram

Bring us back to that garden near the Mount of Olives and the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Leaving me with a final question, how do I know when enough is sufficient?  I do not know how to answer this question, nor am I sure I am asking the right question; I merely know that adversity is not occurring because the intelligence’s of the universe want to see me struggle, adversity is not happening because I committed a crime or deserved being punished.  Adversity is a tool that helps us gain strength and I am weak, and the only way to get my attention is to put me in situations where I can grow through the things I suffer.  But help is always available; this is another lesson adversity teaches.  Help, assistance, support, we are not left bereft of these in our times of need, and this is a comfort and a hope.

Knowledge Check!Let us choose to be more charitable, relieve suffering where we can, ask for help when we need, and choose to make today a little better than yesterday through our involvement in the world around us.  I am not asking anyone to go broke helping those putting up their petitions, and it does not matter where the money goes.  Be the hand reaching out, and you WILL always find a hand reaching out to you; this is the final lesson adversity teaches us.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Advertisement

Taking a Longer View – Actions Really Do Have Consequences

Bobblehead DollIf you are dead set on living a life devoted to the philosophy of, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die,” there is nothing I can do to help you.  Feel free to stop reading now.  If you are suffering from the consequences of overeating, a hangover, and are feeling nauseous from being too merry on the merry-go-round of life, keep reading, we might have something for you to consider.  If you are not one of the people described, you might want to consider continuing to read for some moral support.

Throughout my life, people have been made available when I have been ready to learn.  They have also been made available to laugh and scorn when I needed my butt-kicked and to provide remedial behavioral therapy when I have gotten way off the beaten track.  For which I am eternally grateful!  One of the first of these people, who made a significant impact in my development for the good, I might add, was Miss Murphy.  A school principal, who left the nunnery to help save children, she did a phenomenal job.  She also gave me the worst chewing out I ever got, the most brutal punishment I have ever had to take, the best compliment I had gotten to that date, and made me feel like a million dollars, all at the same time.  I left her office thoroughly convinced I was never going to do, whatever I did, again.

Grit - DefinedYears later, when I heard the comment, “Decisions Do Determine Destiny,” I knew exactly what the speaker was talking about, for I had experienced this phenomenon.  This is the first principle in need of understanding. If we live in the here and now, every behavior has an excuse, and depravity, abuse, murder, everything abhorrent can be excused for tomorrow we die—what a terrible way to live.  When our choices do not have consequences, and those consequences do not have long-term effects, we, as vapid human beings, lose an eternal spark of goodness, a willingness to strive, and a desire for achievement.

Consider with me a common theme since the early 1960s, it is a theme I am thoroughly sick to death of hearing, but it is a pernicious and invasive theme, “Free Love,” “Love is Sex,” “Love is All You Need,” “Just Love.”  By perverting love, the morals of society broke, chains of modesty were sundered, social decency was abolished, and curbs of compassion and care were thwarted.  Worse, it opened, for everyone to see, the windows of perversion that lurk inside some very troubled souls.  Today, it is considered normal to have statistics from the CDC regarding the number of live births to single, unwed children ages 10-14, decisions determined destiny, and the consequences are dire indeed!Courage

Consider for a moment the following from President Jefferson:

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Hence, one can deduce a person is taught morals from their society and then is personally responsible for the continuation of that society by living the morals as taught.  What are your morals?  Who taught them?  What are you teaching as morals?  What morals do you live in public that you refuse to live privately, and do you see a disconnect in this moral behavior?

In asking these questions, I am not holding myself up as a moral authority, the moral police, or the enforcer of the moral squad.  I am just as prone to moral stupidity as the next guy, and I am often worse, as my wife continually reminds me.  I suffer for my mistakes and faux pas, just like everyone else.  So, please do not think I am making any judgments here.  As socially wired creatures, humans adopt and adapt to the social norms in our surroundings minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and we make a life by adapting to the environments when we cannot change the environments.Anton Ego

For example, when humans can control the weather inside a building, we change the environment to make it hotter or cooler based on our desires.  We do not alter our behaviors to fit the environments unless we cannot change the environments.  For example, being outdoors, we cannot change the weather, so we pack extra clothes for cold conditions, waterproof clothes for wet conditions, and make do in hot conditions by changing behavior and drinking water.  Does this make sense?  When we can change the environment, we prefer to change the environment than our behavior, even if it means we suffer consequences.  For example, dressing in revealing clothing to satisfy a trendy designer and packing a heater because the office is always “frigid.”Bait & Switch 2

Unfortunately, taking a longer view is not inherently natural in human beings; we are not born with a desire for delayed gratification.  Hence, we must choose, do we want a marshmallow right now or six marshmallows in 15-minutes?  Neither, we want the first marshmallow right now and the rest of the bag while we watch TV over the next 60-minutes, and we will accept the painful stomach ache, nausea, gas, possible vomiting, and the other discomforts because we got our marshmallows.

In our family lore, there is a story told of my older brother and a large bag of salt-water taffy.  It is near Halloween, and a large order of orange jack-o-lantern salt-water taffy Halloween candies have been procured.  The flavor is orange and anise, like a cross between black licorice and orange, and the amount is somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds.  My older brother gets caught stealing some candy, and my mother claims he will be forced to eat all the candy by himself in her infinite wisdom.  After much vomiting, a lot of whining, crying, and my father’s helping hand, the entire bag is eventually emptied.  But, the lesson that was supposed to be taught to stop stealing was not the lesson learned.  What happened, my older brother got better at getting the younger brothers in trouble, and he kept right on being a petty thief.  Why was the lesson learned not the one desired?  My brother made a choice, that choice had consequences, and he liked the consequences, even though the consequences made him sicker than Irving, the drunk dog on M*A*S*H.Father Mulcahy 5

Taking us back to the longer view and consequences.  We can have a short view, live for today, and die tomorrow.  Lots of people in the history of the Earth have taken this road.  But, what was their satisfaction?  What was their heritage?  A friend of mine related a story of a person with a short view and ended the story with, “He was an enjoyable idiot.  “Fun to have around during leisure time, a pest during work time, and a scallywag who could not be trusted to walk a dog.”  If that is the heritage you want to leave, be my guest; I promise not to try and stop or interfere.

For the rest of us, let’s consider what these morals are teaching in society.  Do we really want American society, a society built upon hard work, personal discipline, and individual effort, to be wasted for instant gratification and immediate death?  Do we want the American experiment to end with one bourbon, one shot, and one beer, where the rent is never paid, the job never worked, and the lifestyle unlived?

Knowledge Check!All I ask is that you take a minute, think about what you want people to say about you after you leave a room, and then live the way you want to be remembered.  I worked with a man who lived his principles, and I salute his willingness to live his principles.  He was going to die at age 40, with a fifth of Jack Daniels empty by his head, an empty six-pack of Mountain Dew scattered around his bed and empty bags of Lay’s Dill Pickle potato chips on his blankets.  He worked very hard to meet his end as he wanted while I knew him, and I have no doubts that he met his fate as desired—good guy, great worker, but not an example I would ever choose.

© 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: Enthusiasm and Confidence – The Power Tools to Conquer

Laughing OwlIn a job interview, the interviewer asked me for my two greatest strengths and why.  The following article represents both my answer and my desire to see others understand.  The interviewer thought I was insane by the look of disgust on their face; needless to say I was not hired.  When I asked why; the answer amazed me.  My strengths were too strong for their culture.  Let that sink in for a moment; a confident and enthusiastic person was not a good fit for their organization.  Maybe, just maybe, free societies should be taking a new look at these age-old tools for changing the world.

What is Enthusiasm?

Henry Chester is quoted as saying, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence. It is no more or less than faith in action.”  As a point of fact, this is the first quote I took time and a ton of energy to memorize.  Enthusiasm represents intense interest, eagerness, enjoyment, and a desire for approval beyond the simple desire of peer acceptance.  Enthusiasm also arouses feelings and originates via Latin from enthusiasmus, meaning inspiration and frenzy.  From the Greek, we learn the etiology of Enthusiasm stems from “enthousiazein ‘be inspired or possessed by a god’ (based on theos ‘god’)”  The etiology of Enthusiasm makes Henry Chester’s point more perfectly when a person considers the power and origination of faith and placing faith upon a power greater than oneself.

Literary FiendConsider those people you have found possessing large amounts of Enthusiasm; can you feel their intensity, frenzy, and eager interest?  I have had this pleasure multiple times, in various locations across the world.  My first experience was with a S. Korean business person riding the subway who was so excited to help and interested that I parted company with a feeling of desiring to be better as a person.  From that day in 1995 to today, I have strived to capture the same level of Enthusiasm as this business person in gratitude for his kindness and example of Enthusiasm.

What are you enthusiastic about?

Recently I was hired to be a data analyst for warehouses, and I sit as an advisor to the warehouse operations team to use data analysis to improve decision-making.  I cannot describe in words how enthusiastic I am every day to wake up and learn something new about data analysis, the tools of database data mining, and keeping my boots dirty and hands greasy in operations.  Ever since I got injured in the US Navy, I have tried to be what I knew, and the journey to this position has been great and dreadful, but each experience has improved how I think, and teach, to improve business operations.  I finally feel I can positively contribute as a handicapped person to the world with this position, and this feeling is incredible!Leadership Cartoon

What is Confidence?

In an effort to not confuse this topic, I have copied the definition of confidence from an earlier writing.  Confidence is a unique term, and Webster spends an inordinate amount of time trying to capture the power of, and reality is confidence.  Confidence is “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities; firm trust, a specific feeling  regarding the truth of something, a feeling or belief upon the reliance of someone or something.”  The key to confidence is your own self-assurance.  For example, you are assured through past transactions that your employer is not kiting paychecks.  Your confidence in receiving a salary drives you to be motivated and return to work each day.  When that trust is broken, you will leave and find new employment.  Hence, people do not work for companies, but for managers and leaders, they like.

ToolsConfidence is a reality when many people all trust the same thing, which creates societies, social standards, and governments.  Confidence in the government is expressed using the government’s monetary system to trade for products and services you would not have if you had less confidence in the government system.  Firm trust in the “value of the US Dollar (insert your own currency here)” leads to gains and losses in economic values.  Consider the events of the Christmas Holiday, which is fast approaching.  The individual expresses confidence, faith, and hope in holiday shopping.  The government uses the data of the volume of trades of confidence as a measuring stick in how well they are doing in government to improve a person’s return on investment.  Shopkeepers, stores, and others selling products and services represent a two-way street of faith, hope, and confidence as they trade with customers and with other suppliers, government, and stakeholders in conducting business.

Confidence is never an unconscious decision!  One cannot have firm trust, faith, or hope, in something without being consciously aware and possessing experience and knowledge in that someone or something.  Hence, confidence is the conscious use of trust as a destination in the journey of hope, launched by faith.Grit is a Marathon

What are you confident about?

In the movie “Sound of Music,” Maria sings one of my all-time favorite songs as she leaves the nunnery and takes a bus to her new  role as a nanny, “I Have Confidence.”  I can honestly say, as she does, “I have confidence in me.”  I have talents, skills, knowledge, and experience worth value to me, and that is all I need!  It did not matter to me that my Enthusiasm and confidence were too great for the interviewer’s culture and business; I interviewed my best and allowed the chips to fall where they may.  What are you confident about?  Who are you confident in?  Why do you invest your confidence in those answers?  When do you feel the most confident, and would you like to feel more confident?

Of all the questions asked, the “Why” and the When” questions are some I would love to discuss individually as you make your improvement plans.  Since this is not entirely possible, I offer the following advice from LaRae Quy, an FBI Agent.  The points are hers; the comments are mine.Non Sequitur - Decisions

  1. Take Risks!
    1. In my youth, I climbed trees, lots and lots of trees. In Maine, we had a patch of pine trees growing so close together, the trees had woven a mat out of their uppermost branches, and you could walk on this mat of branches.  Huge risk, great fun!
    2. As a soldier, I was freaked out by how close the Warthog could provide fire support. When the ‘Hog came through, being on the ground was the most intense feeling I have ever experienced.  Huge risk, lots of fun.
    3. As an operations manager, I took an ill-considered risk. I fired the floor supervisor as they refused to train anyone else in doing the jobs they were hired for as a means of job security.  The risk paid off; the remaining team members stepped up to the plate and learned.
    4. Risk requires action; act swiftly, even if it means minor course corrections along the way.
    5. Action includes failure; stop fearing failure! When we understand failure, we know ourselves just a little better and act more smartly!
    6. When in doubt, activate step 5!Bound & Gagged - Near Death
  2. Ask for feedback!
    1. Do you prefer to receive feedback from friends, family, or foes? Some of all, all or none, or something or someone else?
    2. Do you trust those providing feedback sufficiently to act?
    3. Can you tell the difference between feedback and criticism? They are not the same, and in accepting feedback, you need to be able to give feedback.  Hence ask, but never forget to provide feedback.
    4. Never give criticism, even if you think the criticism is “constructive.” There is never, ever, anything “constructive” about criticism!Frank & Ernest - Life Lesson
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice
    1. Missoula Montana, I presume he is retired now, Veteran Employment Specialist, Charlie Brown, genuine person, real name, had a favorite axiom for helping veterans search for work and hang in their job search, “Keep throwing spaghetti at the wall until something sticks!”  Which is all well and good, but to get spaghetti to stick to a wall, you must first cook and drain the spaghetti.  Thus, practice requires preparation.  In case anyone is interested, yes; I have thrown spaghetti against a wall.
    2. Rule of 6-P’s, “Proper Prior Planning, Promotes, Promising, Practice,” is my saying, and I know it works. Practice is a prerequisite to promising performances, but you must prepare properly.  Yes, as a dual-service veteran, I know the other axioms for the Rule of 6-P’s.
    3. See Suggestion 5! Wash, rinse, and repeat!Garfield - Good Explanation Needed
  4. Link up!
    1. Network.
    2. Make acquaintances.
    3. Get to know people!Non Sequitur - This explains so much
  5. Grit Up!
    1. I cannot stress this enough; confidence and Enthusiasm require grit! Lots and lots of grit!
    2. Believe this statement: “Merentur Melius Quam Tu tibi semper sit.” From Latin, meaning, “You will always be better than you deserve.”Grit - Defined
    3. What is “Grit,” you might ask? Grit is a positive, cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a specific long-term goal or end state.  At least, that is what the academics call grit.  Of all the people America remembers who have had a positive and long-lasting influence upon American culture, John Wayne is near the top.  If anyone embodies grit, John Wayne is quoted thusly, “True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be doneNo moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows they should have done.”  In understanding grit, I have oft called upon T. S. Eliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

© 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.

America – Let’s Elect a Few More Bastards

Non est vivere sed valere in vobis …. merentur melius quam tu tibi semper sit.

Finest HourPersonally, I am tired of soft speakers who speak platitudes and inwardly are ravening wolves.  Pres. Obama spoke softly, carried no sticks, drew red lines without consequences, and America is far worse for having had him as a president.  President Clinton also spoke well; but, severely lacked morals, courage, a sense of honor, and America suffered.  Both President’s Bush spoke well but lacked intestinal fortitude, grit, backbone, and ultimately were bad presidents for America.  President Reagan had grit, spoke eloquently, was respected, and was a bastard whose enemies honored him and feared him.  President Trump for all his good qualities is plain and abrupt.  But, inwardly he has a spine of iron, and demands accountability first from himself, and then from those around him.  Recently, I heard President Trump referred to as a “Bastard of a Bully!”  I think we need to elect a few more bastards.  People with grit in their teeth, iron in their spines, tongues that can lash and whip, and hands with calluses from doing actual work.

Anthony Liccione is quoted as saying, “A company of wolves, is better than a company of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  For too long America has been electing legions of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  People who can utter pleasing words, but lack a spine, morals, convictions, and calluses from doing hard work.  We have elected the political poison we currently suffer because they make a good speech.  I remember an election, in fact, it is the only time I ever voted for Senator John McCain.  His opponent was lackluster, the race was a non-presidential year, and I had heard a couple of speeches and thought Senator McCain was worthy of my vote.  Not two days after McCain’s victory, I witnessed how spineless and useless McCain truly was and my eyes opened.  McCain was a traitor to America, and unfortunately, he had excellent company in the long-term emplaced members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle.  I am glad to say, I never made the mistake of voting for McCain ever again.

Grit is a MarathonAs an independent thinker, armchair historian, and a morally upright citizen, I have been doing more work every election to scrape the shield of whipping cream off the crap sundae the electorate is handed, and know who is being offered for election.  The more I scrape, the more worthless those running for office appear.  Terry Pratchet is quoted as saying, “He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting ‘All the Gods are bastards.’”  That is the type of person America needs in political office.  Not the namby-pamby, wishy-washy, flim-flam artists, but people who insist that the government needs to be smaller, thus consequentially more flexible in crisis.  We need people who have suffered under the rule of bureaucrats and beat the hell out of them to achieve, despite the bureaucracy.  We need more grit!

Grit - DefinedWhat is “Grit” you might ask; well, since America has not seen a lot of grit, please allow me the opportunity to describe this precious commodity. Grit is a positive, cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a specific long-term goal or end state.  At least, that is what the academics call grit.  Of all the people America remembers who have had a positive and long-lasting influence upon American culture, John Wayne is near the top, and if anyone embodied grit, it was John Wayne who is quoted thusly, “True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done.  No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows they should have done.”  In understanding grit, I have oft called upon T. S. Eliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

As a child, I once watched the Boston Marathon, it was as interesting to me as watching a dandelion grow, only the finish line really mattered.  As an adult, I saw nonedited pictures of runners during a marathon and understood that which I could not see as a child.  I saw men and women who had bowel movements, torn large pieces of skin away and were bleeding copiously, or thrown up on themselves and still kept running, and I came to understand why grit involves the mindset of living life as a marathon and not a sprint.  Marathon runners are not pretty at the finish line, they know about heartache, failure, blisters, torn muscles, dog bites, shoes failing, weather changes, and so much more.  The marathon is effort incarnate, planning that fails, sorrow, misery, and a finish line.  A marathon is grit embodied, sticking to a plan day in and day out, not for a small period of time days/weeks/months, but months/years/decades, because the goal is worth the effort.

On the Maine coastline, just south of Belfast, is a marina called Bayside.  As a child, I spent time delivering the Bangor Daily News to Bayside homes and got the honor to meet and talk to several of the lobstermen who came and went through Bayside’s docks.  I never expected to see professional lobstermen and fishermen in Bayside.  I was told Bayside was where the rich Boston people had summer homes and playboats.  One very senior lobsterman taught me a lesson one day about grit that I never forgot, “Without grit, pearls are impossible.”  He talked about how small amounts of grit wore down large rocks, that lobsters used grit to clean, and how grit polished.  My grandfather a few summers later taught me how to polish steel until it shined using grit.  I look at President Trump, and for all his faults, I can also see how grit has polished him until he shines.  Maybe a little more grit, that comes with 4-more years as President, can soften more of his abrasive character; but, when I see the growth that the first 4-years has brought, I cheer for President Trump!

PatriotismAmerica, I think it is time we learned a valuable lesson where the selection of politicians is concerned, “Be a good enough person to forgive the losers elected in the past, and smart enough to never trust them again with political office.”  America has lived the words of Soren Kierkegaard, “There are two ways to be fooled.  One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to accept what is true.”  It is true, at all levels of government, poor choices have been made, rotten and unintelligent boobs have been placed in power above their ability.  In the military, we called this “being promoted to a person’s maximum level of incompetence.”  Well, this is an election year, and we will have another next year and the year after.  We have been cheated and abused by the smooth-talkers long enough.  Let us elect some true bastards!

Let us elect people who buck the system, who take the bureaucrats on and win.  Let us elect some people who have grit, backbone, and knowledge from experience, not just a degree from a wealthy school and experience as a lobbyist.  We need police officers who know about laws, we need farmers who know about growing things, ranchers, and dairymen who know about long days and short pay because of taxes and dumb decisions made in capitals that kill their businesses.  We need manufacturers who make things, and we need people who do not want to live their lives in the capitals of America feeding off the work of others as a parasite, but who work while elected and long to return to doing what they love.

The Duty of AmericansGeneral George Patton was a bastard; but, he is remembered for being the biggest bastard of them all in WWII, and when the chips were down, he won by being the biggest, grittiest, most hated bastard America had ever sent to war.  I suggest ripping a few pages from General George Patton and Ayn Rand’s book, and electing people who have trod the gristmills of life with bloody feet and callused hands, who live the following: “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me!”

America, you are the superheroes in your own story, rise!

Thomas Watson said the following about friends, but it applies to politicians desiring to lead just as well, “Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with.  Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up!”  Politicians should be forcing us to leverage ourselves up, to rely upon ourselves, not the government, and the politicians America needs, know that government is a necessary evil and nothing else!

Lever Up

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/