Studying Our Future

 

Being Taken Back

This past weekend has highlighted essential problems in our country. But what happened does not stand alone. Yes, we have a racist president who is fomenting hatred and discord.

But there is a larger context. I have been choking back tears the last few days. I am buffeted by conflicted feelings. I find myself reeling back to the 1960s when there was deep conflict and commitment to change and reform. At that time I was working on the impoverished streets of inner city Baltimore.

A Difficult Reality

I had just finished my studies at Duke University and was still deeply troubled by the entrenched racism I had experienced in North Carolina. This privileged young white man had, for the first time, experienced personally directed racism because he was a “Yankee”. My impression of entrenched problems has been enduring.

When I went to Baltimore I have to say I was an innocent. The idea of bringing mental health services to those people was alluring. And then came the reality of poverty and the meaning of life on those streets. 

On The Streets

Not everyone came to an office for help. We went out to their homes frequently. When I went to a building I learned that the facade told me little but I could know something about what things were like inside by the condition of the front door. At times I also went to the high rises. Often the elevators weren’t working so I would stop at the base of the stairs look, study, sniff and listen for clues about activities in the stairwell. 

Fortunately I had some good people around me to offer guidance and advice. And often they were women and together we fought the entrenched special interests of older white men who had little commitment to our mission but were committed to their own privilege and aggrandizement. The commonality of what is happening in our country now is stunning me. In that focused sense nothing has changed.

A Danger Point

I also must say from my decades long perspective that I see us at a serious danger point. It can be focused nationally but also at the world level. Suddenly after this last weekend we are gaining clarity about special challenge in America. Will we respond or will racism and corruption continue to rule? 

I didn’t realize it at the time but fundamental themes I have experienced in life directed my fiction writing in the Gaia’s Majesty Series. As I’ve said before, empowerment of women was central but so too was the corrupt rule of older white men. And now that I am an older white man, my commitment to our future and overcoming detriments to our future has not abated.

Transformation and Challenge

The third book in the series is called Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation and transformation is the key word I am looking at in our present crises. We can descend into decades of war and utter destruction as we have before or we can rise up with renewed commitment such as we saw in the 1960s. Now that men can ally themselves with women in a committed alliance we have the chance to have an important transformation which will benefit not just America but the world. Our leadership in the world is being sabotaged and it is essential that we take it back.

Are we up to the challenge? Will we seize the promise of our future?

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

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It’s Not Politics

An Opening Comment

My plans for this blog were originally related to a desire to publicize my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, a work of magical realism. Two major themes in the series relate to a growing world crisis and the other to the empowerment of women. It is said I should not endanger the promotion of my series by making other comments. Well, I’ve had it. I cannot stay back from commenting on disgraceful events in our country presently. I have a history in which I dealt with Baltimore poverty, southern racism, drug abuse, employment issues and beyond. Part of the time I”m going to address these issues. Some people may take offense. So be it. Others, I hope will be engaged by the reality of the struggles of our country. America has been a noble experiment and must be defended.

Facing Truth and Reality

Listening to the news suggests that politics is the only thing going on. Everything is reduced to or connected to politics.

Here is one definition of politics –    the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

A Broader Perspective

Granted politics can affect many components of our lives but we need to address issues specifically because much of what affects our lives is not defined by politics. Do you have enough money to live on? How do you like your child’s pediatrician?

When you address specifics, distinct issues emerge. They may not relate to politics or may only in some fashion. But what is happening to people is that they are being split into factions seemingly at war with each other. And linking everything to politics increases the division and in the end makes many people turn away from dealing with specific matters needing attention. When they turn away and turn off they tend not to vote and work on crucial issues. We need to come back to dealing with the issues in our lives.

Broad Issues

The wealth of our country has been flowing to a smaller and smaller number of people who already have great wealth. More and more people are joining the ranks of who we call “The left behinds.”  I was part of the health delivery system in my career and we have a markedly inefficient and unfair system. It needs to be modernized or we will fall even farther behind the rest of the world. The job world is changing and we are failing to look at what is emerging and how we can help our citizens adapt and join the new work forces. In another post I have addressed a lot of those issues.

Then There Is Morality

This is the issue that has absolutely grasped my attention. There are now a great number of corrupt people who are grasping at power at our expense. They fall in every level of business and government. What is truly troubling is that they are now engaging in their corruption openly in ways many of us would never have expected. And with many of our people turning away they are creating a corrupt, immoral society I never would have expected. This is not the America I thought we were and we need to turn back and drag these people down and that often should mean sending them to prison.

The Bottom Line

At base we need to rise to the defense of our country and our future, not to mention our children and grandchildren. The terrible immorality and corruption we are seeing on the national stage is terrible to see. Are we a people who are willing to tolerate publicly abusing children and tearing families apart. There are sub issues but just what we see on the surface makes me shudder and wonder who we have become.

I didn’t realize it at the time but when I began to write my Gaia’s Majesty series I was responding to the corrupt power elite in this country. And with my lead characters, including the warrior women called the Andromeda, I was attending to the empowerment of women.

In our day to day lives it is time for us to look at who we are, study issues aside from politics, make plans, dig in to do planning and above all return to who we thought we were.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

The Truth About the South and Democrats

 

Let’s Get Real

I was born in Queens, New York and grew up around New York. I went to college in Michigan and in 1963 moved to North Carolina to begin work on my doctorate in psychology at Duke University.

I was utterly unprepared for the reality of the South one hundred years after the end of the Civil War.  As I had said previously I was not expecting to endure such prejudice. This privileged young white man was vilified for being a “Yankee”. I learned a southern accent so I could be served at the parts store to buy spark plugs for my car. An end to innocence.

Time to Vote

I grew up in the Republican Party and turned 21 (the voting age then) in North Carolina. I registered as a Democrat because I wanted my vote to count. Often there were as many as four primaries to decide who the Democratic nominee would be. Most Republicans were black. They never won office.

When I went to register I check off C for caucasian which infuriated the woman at the desk because C was for colored. (I couldn’t resist the nudge.)

About the Democratic Party in the South

It is often said that the Democrats lost the South recently. Sheer nonsense. The Democratic Party never had the South. Lincoln was a Republican and they wanted nothing to do with his party so took the name Democrat. It was name only.

The furor about Biden and Southern Democrats has failed to deal with reality, complexity and truth. Real Democrats did a dance with southern racists as a means of assembling votes for legislative purposes.

It was ugly and disappointing but reflected a complicated reality.

The South Now

Eventually the Republican Party took hold in the South and we see it dominant today. The unfortunate reality is that racism is still a major issue at a level higher than anywhere else in the country. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War the battle continues. And we can see it displayed in the supporters of Trump.

Moving On

We need to stop the petty backbiting now. We are seeing the ugliest side of our country displayed in this era of Trump. The Republican Party I grew up in is dead. The upcoming election may well determine whether we as a country will be mired in prejudice and ignorance and whether we contribute to dragging the world into a terrible conflict. Alternatively we may pursue a new and visionary view for our country. We have never had more crucial choices. And making the choices mean facing harsh and complex realities.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

This Is Not The America I Thought We Were

 

The World Opens

In 1945 my aunts took me to a victory parade on Fifth Avenue in New York. Masses of troops paraded down the Avenue to a cheering crowed with planes flying low above. It was an unforgettable experience

World War II had seemed distant with only an occasional intrusion such as the night I was seated in a window seat looking out at a darkened city and dim sparkles of light in the rain. There came a knock on the door. It was our block captain cautioning us about our blackout curtains being open. My father was a surgeon and had an A sticker on his car indicating he could buy gas when he needed it. My mother peeled off stickers for food. Otherwise I was an innocent.

Collectively We Rejoiced

We watched as towns sprouted to house the families created by returning troops. In 1952 we sat late into the evening before our twelve inch black and white television and cheered as we watched the election of our hero Dwight Eisenhower to the presidency. 

The early years assured I would watch events in our country and the world with great interest.

When I graduated from college at the University of Michigan my new wife and I moved to North Carolina where I was to begin my studies for my doctorate in clinical psychology.

Early Painful Revelations

It was the 1960s and the civil rights movement was growing. I was shocked at the racism I saw and, as the child of a privileged family at the discrimination I experienced because I was a “Yankee”. My interest and distress deepened as I worked to serve the impoverished people in the inner city of Baltimore.

One of the things I learned in college was about cultural flow from the impressive Leslie White, the father of cultural anthropology. What he taught stayed with  me and I could see that culture and its impact were all around us and changing constantlyl. I learned to detach it from politics which is only part of the picture.

It is About Culture. Not about Politics

Presently we are making the mistake of reducing everything to politics. What is happening now is an outgrowth of who we are and I am truly shocked to see it. I never expected to see someone like Trump elected president and do not view him as representative of a political party. The narcissism and corruption is shocking. And as someone who grew up in a Republican family I do not know who these people are who claim to be Republicans. I view them as betraying our country.

Even worse I see 40% of our country supporting Trump. I truly did not know they existed and I see them as betraying themselves and their future. I not only did not know this about our country but hope that we can salvage ourselves. 

I am especially disappointed in the men who lean more heavily into the dysfunction. It seems that our women have a much better perspective.

If we do not win this battle against this turn of culture we will not only damage our future but the future of the world as well. instability is growing across Europe and we are seeing corrupt regimes which are damaging much other relations.

We will see shortly but I clearly believe that our future will be created in the election of 2020. If we rise to the occasion we can turn our destiny back toward who we thought we were or descend deeper into something we thought unimaginable.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.)

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

 

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

(Available now on Amazon)

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

We The People

 

Have you thought deeply about the basis of recent tragedies?

Thought Needed

In the wake of recent atrocities no doubt the finger pointing and attempts to use the events for partisan political gain will continue. But we continue to need wise illumination and guidance.

An assessment of the basis for these events can fill books but there are a few basic pieces of history to which we need to attend. The words “We the People” are being used as the headline for this post because we need to understand that it is fundamentally the public at large which must face the basis of the problems and what we are to do about them. As of now truly enlightened historical commentary has been limited.

The Human Social Animal

There needs to be two broad areas of concern. One relates to how human beings are at base and how it affects our society. Humans are social animals which is both a strength and a weakness. Being social, we cleave together in groups of “our” people and work together for that common good. There is strength in numbers and it forges not just relationships but the development of productive effort.

Yet, our young staff working in the inner city of Baltimore in the 1960s learned to attend to a fundamental truth. In a very real sense, because we are socially centered beings, there is a dark side of racism and rejection of “the other”. What we learned was that each of us had to own that dark side and discovery and attention could help us contain and overcome the effects. As a society we still have not adequately recognized these realities nor how we can most productively work together.

Misguided Public Policy

At another level there was the matter of public policy. In Baltimore, as I stated in another post, we saw the beginning of a gulf between the police and the public when the police were forced to “arrest” innocent, homeless people. The police did not want that duty but were forced into these arrests which created terrible scenes in the communities. And then came another level when we began the “war on drugs/war on crime”. It was a bipartisan error forged by both major political parties.

And with this new war the police were forced into “stop and frisk”, stopping people on the roads where their cars were searched often resulting in the discovery of small quantities of illegal drugs. Convictions led to long prison sentences which robbed many men (especially minority men) of their future. Their home communities declined and the effect was to not decrease but increase crime. It also led to the scandal of our swollen prison populations. The ramifications are extensive.

The Public and Police as Victims

The people in these communities along with the police all became victims. Divisions and hostility was increased. And recently we have seen terrible tragedies especially within the black communities. Not every police officer is consummately effective in a difficult crisis situation. Errors will be made. Racism may contribute but it may also simply be an error. We cannot blame the police as a whole. And the effects of errant policies may lead the depressed or dysfunctional person to strike out. Depression is a janus and may lead to suicide or murder.

Looking to the Future

Are we to face ourselves and face the fact that it is we the people who have brought us to these tragedies? And we the people deserves emphasis. We must face our own racism. And if the public responds to prejudice and racial manipulation on the part of self serving politicians, then we become responsible for the tragedies as is currently the case. And if we fail to educate ourselves in the election process, then we abdicate our responsibility as citizens. I have often heard people say it does no good to vote. To not vote does harm, to fail to face reality and assess the often self serving political rhetoric does harm. We each have only one vote but we need to exercise it in the interest of our country and our fellow citizens. 

We the people helped create the problems we are facing and we the people can help solve them. That is the hope and the nature of a democracy. We face a swelling set of changes in this country and we had best attend to the process and our mutual interest.

And now, after recent school shootings, our young are rising up. And we are also seeing women rise as they throw off subjugation. These two processes are landmarks we must applaud and support.

What can be your contribution to solving these problems?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt