Category Archives: creative commons

Random Thoughts 4/20/2022


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People wonder why there is so much low self-esteem in the world, if you take a good look at television shows, commercials, social media, movies, and even the news on cable news stations you just may see some of the reasons for low self-esteem, but then there is also how one’s family treats them, their peers and the educational system.

When you are constantly bombarded with images of thin, fit, and muscular actors, advertisements aimed to push miracle vitamins and supplements to fix all your shortcomings, it is very hard to hold on to a good self-image and even harder to build it up. Constantly being told that having a perfect body weight, toned muscles, the right clothes, and accessories makes one beautiful and successful is making it hard for most people to maintain healthy self-esteem.

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Unfortunately, fashion, the newest electronics, and possessions play a big part in teenage self-image, which makes it hard for those who don’t have the money to compete with their peers. Combining that with parents that have to work 2 jobs or inconvenient hours to maintain the quality of life they have only makes it harder on teenagers and kids.

The ones that seem to suffer the worst during school years are those that don’t quite fit the norm, the overweight, the below-average to average looking, and the sensitive passive individuals. Bullying from those who think they are cool, tougher, and better than others does not help the situation at all. The consequences of bullying are usually mild and it seems it’s hard to catch kids bullying or maybe some just overlook it.

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Parents and siblings also play a large part in the development of a child’s self-esteem, they can be either a positive or negative force when it comes to a child’s self-image. Siblings usually are competing for the parent’s attention, love and favor so they tend to be very mean to one another. Parents on the other hand usually are trying to do what’s best for the child but don’t realize what works for one child does not always work for the other. Each child is a unique individual, they have different needs and need help in different ways. Some parents, unfortunately, don’t know how to deal with their children at all so they try to treat them as if they are adults way before the child or teen is emotionally and mentally ready to do so. This usually results in conflict and the child/teen becomes rebellious and has a poor self-image.

If the low self-esteem is not addressed and corrected during the child/teen years then it is carried into the adult years. That makes it very hard for the Adult to achieve a healthy relationship with a significant other and even harder for them to become successful in the work world.

Raising kids is not an easy task, being a parent means you have to be a caregiver, advisor, instructor, friend, leader, cook, counselor, and of course an ATM for the children lol. Helping a child navigate the battlefields of youth and preparing them for the many challenges they will have to face in the future is not an easy thing to accomplish. All you can do is give it your best shot and always be there for them when they need you.

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I myself have had self-esteem issues throughout my life, I have been battling low self-esteem for many decades. I could go down a list of all the things that caused my low self-esteem but what is the use of that now that it now falls squarely on me to repair the damage and improve myself. Plus the first step in moving on and building up your self-esteem/self-image is to forgive those who helped in destroying it and letting go of your own contributions to the whole mess as well.

Just know this, there is no one better than you, but then there is no one lesser than you. We all are unique, we all have our own gifts to embrace and shortcomings that we need to deal with. There is no one on this planet that does not have some emotional or psychological baggage to deal with. How much money you have, and how many toys you have has nothing to do with who you are or how good you are. What defines you is how you live life, and how you treat others and yourself.

Being successful sure feels good, being financially well off does make life easier in many ways, but money, possessions, and success are fleeting, they can be gone in an instant. Family and friends to me are far more important along with how I treat others, and how I live my life. Those things will be with me throughout my life.

Well, I wish you happiness, remember it does not matter what others think or say about you, it is what you know about yourself that matters the most.

Random Thoughts 4-17-2022


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During the last few years, it has really come to my attention that humanity tends to cling to hatred, fear, and selfishness far more than it should. The Ideal is that being compassionate, caring, showing love, and being nice in general are signs of weakness that are slowly destroying our societies. Too many hold on to the belief, that in order to be strong you must be callus, cold, and show no mercy.

I ask you this question, which takes more courage, which takes more effort and strength to achieve and maintain? Being a person who lets his fears, anger, and lack of trust guide his decision, being callous and uncaring so that you can achieve a goal, or the person who conquers his fear and puts aside all his anger and distrust in order to achieve his goal?

To me it seems far easier to give in to anger and fear, takes less courage and effort to follow the path of war and destruction. Takes a very strong individual to put themselves out there and do the right thing, to do the things that benefit others more than themselves. Regardless of which way you do things, you will have critics and naysayers, but I would rather be disliked for doing good and being kind than for being a warmonger or a bringer of hate and distrust.

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There is some hope for Humanity through all this pandemic and war business going on nowadays, look at those who have opened their hearts and homes to refugees, the people going out of their way to help protect others from the pandemic, and aid in keeping those infected alive. We have seen the worse of humanity and the best of humanity through the last few years and I really hope in the end, the best of humanity will outweigh the worse and become the light to guide the way for future generations to follow.

Try to remember, that we all are brothers and sisters on this earth regardless of our skin color, or religious or political beliefs. We all desire a peaceful and happy world for our children and the future children to come. Be compassionate, caring, and live in harmony, if not for yourself, then for your children and the future.

That said, May peace come soon to the Ukraine conflict, may the pandemic pass for us all, and Happy Easter, Passover, and Ramadan to you all. Happiness and peace to all of my Brothers and Sisters across the world.

The Meaning of life or The Meaning of your life


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As one grows older they contemplate the meaning of life, what it all means, and what was the purpose of one’s existence in the grand scheme of things. The desire of having meaning in one’s life increases as you near the autumn and winter of your life.

Some fall into the trap of possessions and wealth, thinking life is all about what one can obtain for one’s own pleasure and comfort. Sure having plenty of money and nice trinkets and objects around you makes life a bit more pleasant in some ways, but do they really bring you happiness or do they just give you a temporary sense of achievement?

As long as you do not allow wealth and possessions to control your life and you avoid the addictive thing called greed you are fine. Having nice things and money is not wrong, just when you put more value on possessions and wealth than on human life and wellbeing you are walking a dangerous and addictive path.

Far as the meaning of life, or more precisely the meaning of your own life, it is something you create and chose. What you do, say, and how you live your life is what gives meaning to your own life. Being compassionate, charitable, and loving to others is one way to give your own life meaning. Far as the meaning of life in general, I believe it is to live, learn, love, and experience all life has to offer.

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The biggest challenge I have found in my life is keeping the self in check, the side of myself that is selfish, self-serving, and constantly viewing life as if it was only mine. It is hard not to think everything said or done around you isn’t somehow aimed at you or done for your sake one way or another. It is part of the way the human mind works to a degree.

So I must remind myself daily, that I am but one of the many, just another passenger on the great spaceship we call earth. Though I am just a grain of sand on the beaches of life, I am a part of those beaches so I am neither greater nor lesser than the rest. I do my best to remove the shackles of individualism while in turn, I try not to get lost in being a part of the great wholeness of life. The Great balancing act of being a sentient being in the universe.

So instead of trying to find meaning in life, go out and create meaning in your own life. Serve others more so than just serving yourself in life, and find a balance between being an individual and being a part of the whole. Be yourself and accept both yourself and others as who they are without condition.

Random Thoughts 4-5-22


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Democracy, In Greek, is demokratia which comes from 2 Greek words Demos which means people, and Kratos which means power. Thus, demokratia means rule by the people. This is where what we see as modern democracy from. Though the U.S. is a democracy of sorts, it is more of a democratic republic than just a simple democracy. We could get into all the details about how our nation works as a democratic republic but most people have a good grasp of the concept.

What seems to have happened in the last century is slowly but surely the people started losing their power in the U.S. to the big industries, corporations, and those with the money to lobby congress. For example, Big Pharma as we call it spends a big chunk of money lobbying congress in hopes of keeping pharmaceutical prices high to keep their profits high. They claim it’s all for research and development costs, but insulin as one example costs around 30 or so dollars outside the U.S. but costs Americans a hundred or more dollars. Of course, this is an oversimplified example when it comes to Big Pharma or any big industry Lobby campaign is about.

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The point is, if any citizen group were to lobby for something that any big industry or wealthy lobbyist group disliked, the outcome would be more than likely in favor of those with the money to lobby congress and not for the lobbyist group with the most beneficial ideas. The question is how do we level the playing field between big money / big industry and the non-profit or civilian lobbyist groups?

Since it is supposed to be the will of the people of the United States and not just the rich and or powerful such as big industry etc. it is an issue that should be dealt with. I feel most of the time it is the ideals and agendas of the big money lobbyists that are being heard and acted upon and that the voices of the people the congress is supposed to serve are usually ignored or downplayed. It is all about the money I believe in the end and not about democracy or good politics.

In the end, I feel there should be some heavy regulation of the political lobby groups and term limits in congress as well. When people stay in power too long they lose focus and eventually lose touch with the people they are there to serve. Unfortunately, the house and senate both are starting to resemble the roman senate in their worst years before Rome’s demise.

Senators and Representatives are too focused on getting sound bytes and tv time, too rigid and uncompromising to get anything done that benefits the people they were elected to serve. But give them something to do to help their lobbyist buddies and their political supporters, then you will see things get pushed through. Both the Republican and Democrat parties are catering too much to the extremism and radical base of their own party which is not good politics.

I just find it funny, that if I were to act like some of those in congress, I would be viewed as a villain of some sort or someone that needs to be on medication. Oh, and more than likely I would have been fired from my job for some of the actions displayed and words uttered by those in congress. I guess I am just disappointed in how some of those folks are behaving and can not fathom why there are no consequences for such.

Maybe I will just chuck it up to the pandemic and trying times we are living in being too much for them to bear. Who knows, but they do need to remember they represent us all and the World is watching them and so are the voters.

Random Thoughts 4-4-22


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We are always living in History in the making, some years are more notable than others and sometimes there are worldwide incidents that will overshadow the rest. We are living in times where extremism has once again reared its not so pretty head, world superpowers trying to regain once lost territories with little regard for human life or freedom. And almost in every nation’s political system, there is a battle between the extremes of their political parties.

The civilian population is being fed political propaganda of one sort or another through opinion pieces often disguised as news which leaves them either divided or confused. Democracies are facing growing pains and some want to say that democracy is dying, though I just believe it is growing and changing. Any political system that is too rigid and/or too inflexible to adapt to change in the world is destined to fail.

So here we are at a pivotal and important time in history, will we navigate through it and come out the other side better as a whole? We are on the edge of what may be a world war, a war that could bring about the end of humanity and possibly all life. What we do individually is as important as what we do collectively in the end. Of course, the war scenario is more in the hands of the leaders of all the world nations, but it is the lives of each person that will be put on the line.

War is never a good option, though it will always be an option as long as we have militaries and conflicting national interests. Diplomacy is a better option but it requires all sides to be willing to compromise to bring peace. As we see in Ukraine war is a terrifying and ugly thing to live through. There is very little respect for life and/or compassion on the battlefield and most of the time civilians are looked at as unfortunate casualties / Fatalities of war if not cannon fodder by some.

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Extremism, Imperialism, and nationalism are all diseases infecting the world and may one day bring the end of humanity if we are not very careful. I am not saying one shouldn’t be proud of their nation or that you should abandon having your extreme ideals, I am saying you should also be open-minded to the possibility that there are other views and nations that could be just as good if not equal to your own.

Well, what do I know? I am just an average man in the mix and these are just my opinions that were formed from my half-century worth of experiences. I could be wrong just as well as I could be right or somewhere in the middle. I do know that war is not a good thing, what happened in Ukraine to the civilian population thus far is an atrocity and should never have happened.

We are at a pivotal point in history, which way will we pivot? what will be the new direction of humanity as a whole? We will continue down the road of war, greed, and extremism? or will we find a better path for humanity and forge a future all of our children can be proud of and live in. The choice is not only in the hands of the Governments that rule our nations, the choice is in everyone’s hands in the end.

Random Thoughts 3-10-2022


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Have you ever noticed that in this world those that show the most compassion, have a peaceful nature, and those who see the world around them as a whole a higher priority than their own desires and needs tend to be looked upon as either weak or they are socially shunned?

Seems it is more socially acceptable to be selfish, brutish, and cold-hearted than to be compassionate and selfless in nature. Too many people are stuck on what is in it for me, or what can I get out of it, and not focused on how it will affect the world around them. To be fair, we all have a bit of selfishness in us all, between self-preservation and the desire to find some happiness in this life it is unavoidable to be a tad bit selfish at times.

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Unless one is seeking to live a life of a monk or nun, there will be some desire to accumulate wealth and possession. The key is to know when it is enough to be happy and when it is becoming just plain overindulgence. We as a species need to recognize that even though we are individuals we also are a part of the human race which is in turn just a part of the world we all live in regardless of species and or beliefs. The whole as they would call it depends on all of its parts from the smallest living microorganism to the largest of the animals.

Thinking we are an individual, separate from all other living creatures great and small only causes us to think of one drop of water in the ocean of life. Seems to me that is a very lonely and unfavorable way of looking at one’s self and life, we are all a part of something much larger than just ourselves. We should think and act as we are stewards of the world we live in and have a love for all of life. So if ya see someone in need, do not judge them due to their appearance, financial status, or social position in society, instead, reach your hand out to help them.

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Society will continue to shun those with a caring and loving nature it seems until we change the mindset that to love is weak and to be bullish and selfish is a sign of success or strength. Until there are social consequences for those that are hateful, selfish, and spiteful and reward for nurturing and loving people.

We should make it a priority to teach our children respect for all life, and respect for all people. Teach them to be at the least tolerant of different belief systems and ways of life. Humanity will always have a multitude of religious, social, and political beliefs. It is one of the things that keeps the species growing and changing. Those differences between us all will help us learn as a species and grow as a whole.

Well, Enough of my random rants and thoughts for now. Be blessed and may you find peace and happiness my friends.

Random Thoughts 1-5-2022


Seems the world is full of anger, fear and distrust now days, Hard to know where to turn for the facts and truth. We have such a vast array of sources of information but unfortunately very few are reliable and the majority is opinion based far more than fact.

The Covid-19 pandemic has done far more than caused the illness and unfortunately death across this planet, it also has caused financial problems across the globe as well. Along with the financial issues there is also the cost of food and other goods increasing along with inflation to boot in the USA. Add the cost of gasoline going up and the supply chain issues it is a recipe for certain financial chaos.

Then you have the political chaos happening across the globe as well, the politicization of almost every issue involved with the pandemic, Racial tensions and all the conspiracy theories floating around causing nothing but trouble. On top of all that you have the major super powers playing sabre rattling games on top of it, seems to be times of uncertainty to say the least.

Times like these, we should not waste time pointing fingers or fighting with each other . We should instead do the right or better thing and reach our hands out to help others in need, spend time talking to people and letting them know they are not alone. Right now there are many people suffering from mental and emotional stress along with other problems due to the covid-19 pandemic and from the state of our world. Each one of suffers some what mentally or emotionally I believe from the lockdowns, financial worries and the fear associated with pandemics.

I know of quite a few of my friends that are homeless, living in their car or in the street due to financial problems caused by the pandemic. I have seen the fear in the eyes of friends and family throughout the last few years. I even experienced fear to the point of being glued to the television looking for hope of the end of the pandemic, cures and vaccines (prior their release). I finally had to tell myself to turn off the tv and focus on my family and etc. Once I turned off the tv I returned to normal for the most part.

I now rarely ever watch the news , since most of it is about political issues or the pandemic and opinions. Very little news to be had now it seems, keeping people scared of the virus, vaccines and keeping them upset over political issues is good for ratings I guess. My suggestion is turn off the tv, read a book, do something nice for your neighbor (safely of course). Live Life, make the best of the situation and learn to channel that fear or anger into more constructive things.

Well it has been a while since I have blogged a random thoughts post, figured today was a good day as any. I hope that you all are doing well and may you all be blessed and stay healthy

An ancient Greek approach to risk and the lessons it can offer the modern world


A vase from ancient Greek civilization depicts Apollo consulting the oracle of Delphi. G. Dagli Orti/DeAgostini Collection via Getty Images

Joshua P. Nudell, Westminster College

Most of us take big and small risks in our lives every day. But COVID-19 has made us more aware of how we think about taking risks.

Since the start of the pandemic, people have been forced to weigh their options about how much risk is worth taking for ordinary activities – should they, for example, go to the grocery store or even turn up for a long-scheduled doctor’s visit?

As a scholar of ancient Greek history, I am interested in what the classics can teach us about risk-taking as a way to make sense of our current situation.

Greek mythology features godlike heroes, but Greek history was filled with men and women who were exposed to great risks without the comforts of modern life.

The iron generation

One of the earliest written works in Greek is “Works and Days,” a poem by a farmer named Hesiod in the eighth century B.C. In it, Hesiod addresses his lazy brother, Perses.

The most famous section of “Works and Days” describes a cycle of generations. First, Hesiod says, Zeus created a golden generation who “lived like the gods, having hearts free from sorrow, far from work and misery.”

Then came a silver generation, arrogant and proud.

Third was a bronze generation, violent and self-destructive.

Fourth was the age of heroes who went to their graves at Troy.

Finally, Hesiod says, Zeus made an iron generation marked by a balance of pain and joy.

While the earliest generations lived life free of worries, according to Hesiod, life in the current iron generation is shaped by risk, which leads to pain and sorrow.

Throughout the poem, Hesiod develops an idea of risk and its management that was common in ancient Greece: People can and should take steps to prepare for risk, but it is ultimately inescapable.

As Hesiod says, “summer won’t last forever, build granaries,” but for people of the current generation, “there is neither a stop to toil and sorrow by day, nor to death by night.”

In other words, people face the consequences of risk – including suffering – because that is the will of Zeus.

Omens and divination

If the outcome of risk was determined by the gods, then one critical part of preparing to face uncertainty was to try to find out the will of Zeus. For this, the Greeks relied on oracles and omens.

While the rich might pay to petition the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, most people turned to simpler techniques to seek guidance from the gods, such as throwing dice made of animal knuckle bones.

Dice made of bone
Marry, or stay single? Ancient Greeks, at times, let the dice decide. PHAS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A second technique involved inscribing a question on a lead tablet, to which the god would provide an answer such as “yes” or “no.” These tablets record a wide range of concerns from ordinary Greeks. In one, a man named Lysias asks the god whether he should invest in shipping. In another, a man named Epilytos asks whether he should continue in his current career and whether he ought to wed a woman who shows up, or wait. Nothing is known about either man except that they turned to the gods when confronted with uncertainty.

Omens were also used to inform almost every decision, whether public or private. Men called “chresmologoi,” oracle collectors who interpreted the signs from the gods, had enormous influence in Athens. When the Spartans invaded in 431 B.C., the historian Thucydides says, they were everywhere reciting oracular responses. When plague struck Athens, he notes that the Athenians called to mind just such a prophecy.

Chresmologoi played so much of a role in bolstering public confidence that the wealthy Athenian politician Alcibiades privately contracted them as spin doctors in order to persuade people to overlook the risks of an expedition to Sicily in 415 B.C.

Mitigating risks

For the Greeks, putting faith in the gods alone did not fully protect them from risk. As Hesiod explained, risk mitigation required attending to both the gods and human actions.

Generals, for example, made sacrifices to gods like Artemis or Ares in advance of battle, and the best commanders knew how to interpret every omen as a positive sign. At the same time, though, generals also paid attention to strategy and tactics in order to give their armies every advantage.

Neither was every omen heeded. Before the Athenian expedition to Sicily in 415 B.C., statues sacred to Hermes, the god of travel, were found with their faces scratched out.

The Athenians interpreted this as a bad omen, which may have been what the perpetrators intended. The expedition sailed anyway, but it ended in a crushing defeat. Few of the people who left ever returned to Athens.

The evidence was clear to the Athenians: The desecration of the statues had put everyone in the expedition at risk. The only solution was to punish the wrongdoers. Fifteen years later, the orator Andocides had to defend himself in court against accusations that he had been involved.

This history explains that individuals might escape divine punishment, but ignoring omens and failing to take precautions were often communal rather than individual problems. Andocides was acquitted, but his trial shows that when someone’s actions put everyone at risk, it was a community’s responsibility to hold them accountable.

Oracles and knuckle bones are not in vogue today, but the ancient Greeks show us the very real dangers of risky behavior, and why it is important that risk not be left to a simple toss of the dice.

Joshua P. Nudell, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics, Westminster College

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Envy: Destroyer of self worth


We all at one point or another fell prey to Envy, counting the blessings of our neighbor instead of counting our own. Be it at work, at home or in our social circle there is always someone who has more or better than we do.

To be honest, I think Envy can not be totally removed from human nature, but it can be put in check as soon as it comes out to play. I think it’s instinctive to see what someone else has that brings them the appearance of happiness and to want it for ourselves, that is not so much the issue as when we think we should take it from them to obtain it instead of working to achieve and obtain it on our own.

In the Workplace

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Being I’ve been around for over a 1/2 century, I have experienced Envy in the workplace from both ends of its pointy stick. I suffered from it a few times in my earlier years of life. Watching some people just seem to get all the breaks and promotions, get higher wages than me or get to goof off all day while I worked.

At least that was how I perceived it when i experienced it, and I spent too much time worrying over those other people instead of doing my job better. Now that I’ve matured, I have learned to focus on what I am doing and not worry what others are doing.

unless I am in a supervisor position, and even then I only pay attenuation to what i am required to in that role. I guess part of it is that i have learned to be happy with what I have been blessed with now, instead of worrying about what other people are blessed with.

The Social Circle

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Ok, This is one place I Suffered Envy the most I think, especially in my teenage years. Being I was just an average run of the mill guy, no athletic skills and a unfortunate low self esteem, I was one of those barely noticed or remembered guys from your high school days.

Envy filled my veins when it came to the cool kids, the ladies men and the geniuses around me. Always wanting what was theirs instead of seeing i had plenty i was not aware of or using at that time.

Hind sight is 20/20 as they say, so much i missed out on due to my poor self image and lack of confidence. Only if we could go back and do it again with what we know now eh? lol.

The Family Unit

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Another Weak spot for me when I was young, I had a older brother, so i was the younger brother. I always felt like I was less than him since he had 3 years on me. I envied his popularity, his luck with the ladies and his independent spirit. He could be a bit of a smarty pants and a bully at times too (the 2 things I didn’t want to emulate).

Of course as i hit my later teens I didn’t envy him as much as I disliked his attitude towards me, but that’s siblings for you. Mind you now I look back and think how stupid I was for wanting to be more like him instead of being more like me 🙂


Conclusion:

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Through years of both experiencing and observing Envy in its many flavors it comes in, I have watched it ruin peoples lives when they let it take root for too long. Watched people lose careers, their friends and even.

Best to count your own blessings than to worry about the blessings of others. Focus on making your own life better than desiring the life of someone else. The grass may look greener in your neighbors yard, but sometimes if you look closely it is mainly crabgrass.

Envy and its sister jealousy are both destroyers of happiness and are detrimental to your emotional and mental well being.

Be Good to one another, and be thankful for what you have been blessed with

Raymond Barbier

Random Thoughts 6/02/2021


What we see in the news, online and sometimes in print is nothing more than opinions , truths shrouded with distortions to keep people sidetracked, entertained and in some cases divided. Feeding fear, radicalization of ideals and politicization of what normally would not be political. What once was the Watchdogs of the Government now serve one political agenda or another. This is especially true when it comes to Cable news networks and so called Internet news media as well. The traditional local channel news is not quite as political and agenda motivated as the rest. News now is a money maker, a way to sway the people to believe or follow a political direction as well as a way to keep people divided and unable to think for themselves.

In small doses I don’t think watching any news channel is bad, but if you stay focused watching it all day you get hooked on the hype and underlying messages being pushed. During the early months of the pandemic I found myself glued to one of the Cable network News channels, It only caused me to be full of fear and heavily swayed my view on politics during that time, I chose to walk away from watching any news for a period and once i took my break and went back to watching the same new network i could see how it was politically motivated and divisionary. I also watched the news networks with opposing views and see they were doing the same thing. We need Factual news , not opinion based and politically motivated / biased commentaries. News with integrity and proven sources with little to no opinion attached.

In this trying times we are living in, we need more unity and less separation and polarization of the people, including the government. Time to put aside our differences, pull together and do what is right for the people in general and the nation in whole. Time to turn off the tv, get out and help our brothers and sisters in this world as well. In the end does not matter if one is conservative or liberal, poor or rich. We all are humans, we all are important. Every cog and sprocket of the machine of life is needed to make it work.