I know this seems crazy, but I wish everyone had the experience of being in a fist fight. Oh boy, my mother is going to kick my ass for this post. But seriously, you learn so many life lessons the second you “throw hands” or fight someone. The first lesson you learn is vulnerability. When you get that first punch to the face, God blesses you with the new-found wisdom of how fragile humans really are. Being hit by someone else quickly stops the world from revolving around you. The second lesson you learn or are faced with is courage. When your physical self is hurt, or is at risk of being hurt, you find out if you are courageous or cowardly. Also known as the instinct of fight or flight. And, the third and final lesson you learn is how to cope with and conquer REAL FEAR.
I know what you are thinking, what do I know about fighting? Truth is, the suburb, where I grew up, was a haven for teenage fighting. The UFC was huge back then (and still is, I believe). Everyone wanted to be Chuck Liddell. So our neighborhood, like so many others, had a fight club. I think it is safe to talk about it now that we are in our mid-twenties. At the time, none of our parents knew about it and of course, none of the kids involved told. It was like a weird secret among us boys. Quite honestly, it was very much like the movie “Fight Club!”
We would meet every Friday night behind the gym of the middle school. Didn’t matter if you wanted to fight or not, eventually everyone had to. I will never forget the moment of my first fight at this “middle school fight night.” I remember I didn’t want to do it. I was scared shitless of fighting, but, like most boys, your time comes. When the time came to choose “fight or flight” my instincts were to attack. Initially, I took 2 punches to the stomach and 2 to the face. After a slow start, a demon jumped out of me. It was as if a monster or the animal instinct inside of me was released. I won that fight, but I was never the same. I thought I was always “Jolly Jason.” You know like the funny, picked on fat little kid. Yet, I found out, with those fights, that there was another part of me I had never tapped into before… The part of me there to specifically protect, and push me forward when attacked.
I learned so much from that first fight and the fights that came after that. I learned to react quickly and not hold back. I experienced fear and learned to become comfortable with it. It was inspiring to see how courageous I could be when I was challenged. Much like life, when you lose a fight, it hurts. Whether I won the fight or not, I realized I was overcoming fear every time somebody called me out.
My whole life my parents gave me everything I could have ever wanted. They did everything they could to protect me. But the one thing they couldn’t protect me from was my peers. And those peers could be ruthless when you were a fat kid with glasses. Despite living in a nice neighborhood, there was a seemingly secret law of boyhood. And that was survival of the fittest. And with the fight club, I was given opportunity to prove I was one of the fittest.
I truly believe those fight clubs bred strong men. Several of the guys who grew up fighting in our fight club went on to play in Division One and Professional Football. We all grew up in a system where we were forced to conquer fear at a young age. Yes, it might seem animalistic, but the truth was we were all afraid in the beginning. And whether we liked it or not, we were forced to overcome that fear.
To this day, I have accomplished many things because of conquering that fear when I was a boy. In my mind, nothing will ever be as terrifying as that feeling I had swinging fists in the circle behind the middle school gym. It’s funny how fear becomes friendly once you show it who’s the boss.
Considering our history, many perceive that being something other than Caucasian can put you at risk for discrimination and unjust treatment. Even though there are plenty of cultures who have been, or are, discriminated against, I predominantly want to talk about the big 3. The African American, Native American, and Jewish populations have been victims of some of the most horrific discriminatory unjust actions ever to plague mankind. African Americans were forced into slavery and taken away from their home countries, Native Americans were massacred and conquered, and the Jews had the horrors of a mass genocide. Sure, these acts were terrible and deserve the emotions that come with them. But my question is, “Can we ever forgive and move forward? Or is this something each race will keep in their back pockets and bring out as needed to perpetuate the guilt on generations far removed from the original atrocities?”
Now I am not recommending we forget. Fuck no, we should never forget these horrible acts. What I am saying is for society to move forward, we must learn from these harsh times and all must move forward together. Everyone has their reasons to hold grudges, but victimizing yourself and not letting go will only make your situation worse.
Half of my family happens to be Jewish, so when I looked at the horrors of the Concentration Camps, they truly affect me. Sure, I learned about slavery and even the horrors behind Thanksgiving. But when I learned about the terror that happened to “my people” in Germany, it really pissed me off. Since I had a personal connection (I am half-Jewish), I felt entitled to argue Jewish people, my ancestors, had it “way-worse” than anybody else and deserve restitution. As I grew up I started to recognize just how stupid that was.
I was born in 1992 in America and never had to deal with those atrocities. I literally had no personal reason to guilt people into feeling bad for me. Instead, I started thinking about how many people thought like me. Slavery ended in the 1800’s, Native Americans were given casinos and land, and the Jewish population survived the genocide and have prospered in Hollywood. Everyone from these cultures can argue that they still face discrimination in this country and deserve. But I would argue back saying we have come a long way. And the only way we will move forward is to stop being a victim and finally forgive.
Most people say nothing could ever heal the wounds from these tragedies. I would argue that point too. I believe it is time for all of us to learn from our history. We must stop having such an obsessive view of just negative perspectives. It took humanity a native conquest, slavery, and even a genocide to understand everyone is created equal. All these horrific things should have taught the world that the color of your skin should not reflect who you are. For those of you still holding grudges, it is time to move on. Let’s show our ancestors what they really fought and died for made a difference, rather than living in the past.
If you are alive and have ears, then you have probably heard about the Russian interference with our election. More recently, the evidence is showing that the Russians intent was much more than just about trying to swing an election. Instead of just interference it seems that their focus was to DIVIDE this nation. Some have said the initial interference was for the benefit of a certain party, but the truth seems to be that the Russians had a much more nefarious agenda hiding up their sleeves. I firmly believe the Russians want to see the removal of “United” in the “United States.”
If I was a leader of Russia, I would want to see the demise of capitalism too. So, they came up with a brilliant plan. A plan that undermines the information given to our people. Focusing on the presence of differences in this nation through arguments with ignorant tones. Publicizing and propagating our differences as a country, instead of providing platforms for understanding each point of view.
The saddest part to me is that the Russians have been successful and are damn close to completing their American divisional agenda. Using nothing but our own popular media and social media. Not only have the Russians focused on hateful messages through Facebook and Twitter, but we are now even hearing how they used Pokemon Go! They are freaking using Pokemon Go and other applications to create divisive campaigns such as “Don’t Shoot Us.” How crazy is that?! And, guess what, it has worked.
Our nation is more divided then ever. It wouldn’t surprise me if Russia had been and continues to portray America as a failing government and economic system. The Russians would love nothing more than to see this country’s unhappy lower class go to war with the upper class. Doing this in the hopes that another Civil War or revolution would occur within our country. A revolution that would show that capitalism is a corrupt and failing system.
Now I am here to ask you a couple questions. “Do you know what freedom is?” And, “Do you want Russia to win?” Freedom is not about forming hateful judgements and divisiveness after watching a video. Instead, freedom provides us the ability to hear all points of an argument and allows us the opportunity to create a moderate understanding that is both socially and economically positive for all. It is not just about taking a side that benefits you and only you.
You see, if you are an extreme Trump lover or hater (seeing ZERO FLAWS in a certain side), you are in the wrong. Regardless of your beliefs, we all need to be supportive of this government and this country. We can certainly disagree with a policy/decision/change. We all come from different places, so it should be common for us all to have differences. Instead of spewing hateful words at each other, we must start working together to try and compromise. We cannot let the Russian agenda prevail.
As I look at the Russian plan, I must laugh (maybe cry) at the fact that it has gone this far. I am an optimist so mark my words “this country is going to move forward together.” I will forever look at this moment in time as the growing pains before America finally took a step into the future. A future filled with love and understanding. The same future my parents and their parents dreamed about when they were my age. And so I say, it is about damn time to become the “United States” again.
In the era of convenience, social media has changed the dating game forever. The “swiping” dating movement has eliminated the need to find a compatible match. Basically, these swiping apps say, “do whatever you want.” If it looks good, “do it.” It is not about finding that special person. It is about f*cking that attractive person. This has created a sexual frenzy among millennials. Before the internet and the evolution of dating apps, the opportunity for sex usually had to go through a process. You had to go somewhere, meet someone, and then “get busy” J. Now, it seems people are barely meeting before banging. In fact, the people who want to be promiscuous now have all the opportunities in the world to do so. And, of course, it is their right as free Americans to live a sexually liberated lifestyle if they want to. But personally, I miss the effort of trying to connect to someone. Swiping to get sex was personally just a phase for me.
The key thing I feel those swiping apps killed was chivalry. Many of the women I “swiped” appeared to disregard and reject the idea of chivalry. We are millennials bred in a world of supposed love convenience, and with that has come the death of chivalry. Believe it or not, I met women who hated when I opened the door for them. They were convinced chivalry was an act of sexism… Can you believe that? Yeah, I couldn’t either. Well, I guess it’s about time I try to put an end to this madness.
You see Chivalry is an act of pride. Yes, I understand many people would say pride can be an evil thing. And, at times, I would probably agree with them. However, being chivalrous is more than that. It is an act of courtesy, politeness and respect. It is also something that can confirm feelings for someone. A man chooses to take care of a woman because she is sacred to him. Not because we are “the provider” of the relationship. But, instead, because we respect and cherish our partners. If a man happens to take pride in taking care of his family, no one has the right to tell him or his family that they are living “incorrectly.” We men are simple and like doing nice things for women who mean a lot to us. I guess there are women who don’t understand that. Instead some men and women would rather stereotype the act as misogynistic. Chivalry was something beautiful that women loved, and men secretly did too. Maybe it is time we find a way to bring it back for our children’s sakes.
We need to again take the time to meet, understand and respect each other. It can’t just be about convenience and speed to the deed. So, for all you guys out there that still believe in being chivalrous and respectful, I tip my cap to you. For those that don’t, please rethink your actions. We are different than women and we should embrace that. Women out there need chivalry to show how special they really are to men. Maybe if chivalry was more present, the self-esteem of women, and even men, for that matter, would improve.
Today, because of misusing the public’s trust, much of our media has become hateful biased propaganda. And, compounding this, we (as humans) have been wired to subliminally receive these messages from this deceptive media without truly questioning the legitimacy of the messages. Instead of the media releasing factual non-opinionated news, their “news” has dug our society deeper into the “hateful” hole. Whether it is “Fake” news or just “half baked” news, the impact it is having on our society today is moving us backwards. This worries me greatly for our children, and those naïve adults living in our nation today.
People who already have an opinion or stance based on an isolated upbringing are further pushed to the extreme by the media. This is especially true for people who have not mingled outside of the beliefs and norms of the culture they grew up in. This group (not mingling with other cultures) is very dangerous in times like these. Those types of people tend to be ignorant and easily swayed in arguments driven by hate. The more people interact and befriend people from different backgrounds and cultures, the more they are “aware” and/or “awake” through their personal experiences. You learn the more you listen and you better understand how to eliminate the lines drawn between sides.
So, as we watch our public media, “How can we watch it more effectively?” First and foremost, we must begin to understand each other’s perspectives on life. Get out of your bubble people. Then, we must question everything we hear. We must try to determine what is fact and what is opinion. We must learn to respect each other. I mean remember what you learned in kindergarten. Treat everyone as you want to be treated. We must ask questions about everything we hear. This is a cognitive right as humans living on this planet. For example, if the information sways my emotions, what could possibly be the motive or even the reason behind it? To say media just “puts the facts out” is preposterous in today’s world. Our media is highly sophisticated and incredibly trained to deliver its messages for its entertainment and political agenda. We certainly cannot say that our media “doesn’t think” before releasing information. That would just be a dumb and naïve statement to make.
Bottom-line, I encourage everyone to better understand all cultures and the challenges each culture faces. But above all, question everything. It is a RIGHT!!! So, don’t give it up. That is our guaranteed freedom in this country. Hate the opinions or love the opinions, always listen to the opinions. When our media shows us in chaos, I, instead, see a country searching for chemistry and commonality. Information, itself, can be a weapon. When used to destroy, someone is always benefitting from the destruction. Never let someone else tell you who your enemies are. Just because someone thinks differently, does not make them your enemy.
This has been a very emotional week for America. First hurricanes, and now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History. My parents were at the concert where the shooting took place and they said the sounds, screams, and horrors were indescribable. With nearly 60 dead and 500 injured, many questions are directed towards “why?” Was it mental illness or was it something different. One theory I heard is that the anger resulting in the horror was directed at the type of people attending the concert. If you have been to a country music concert, you know that they tend to have very patriotic crowds. There is seemingly more red, white and blue in a country concert than anywhere else. Of course, you would think that a patriotic crowd shouldn’t find many enemies in their own country, right? Well, maybe times have just changed. It used to be that the majority would considered patriots as the backbone of this country. However, over the past few years, the media has completely changed the way many view patriots. It seems like it’s no longer popular, trendy, or cool to be patriotic.
In the early to mid 2000’s (following 9/11), the media rallied the country together and patriotism was rampant. It was the most politically correct type of person to be. Whether you were a proud marine or just a proud citizen, being patriotic was a must if you lived in the United States. We sang “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch instead of “Take Me Out to The Ballgame.” Shit, National Anthems were sang with pride and brought people of this nation from all different backgrounds together. We were united against one common enemy and that enemy was not ourselves. And then things started to change.
Have you noticed the difference in the way the media portrays patriotism now versus before? Over the past few years, and especially since Trump walked into the oval office, patriotism started to be seen differently. Now it seems like people view patriotic “flag wavers” as racist, white, and misguided Americans. Anti-patriotism actions, whether they be burning the flag or protesting during the National Anthem, have garnered more positive reactions than ever imagined. We seem to be more divided then ever. Okay, so the key question is how much of this is real and/or how much of this has been driven by our media. Did our hatred of those that bombed us on 9/11 lead the country to seeing different religions and/or different skin colors more negatively than before? This, in turn, may have lead us into the current divide we find ourselves in? Or has all of this just been the media driving hateful publicity. If so, what are the media’s motives behind changing the perspective of the nation? And, more importantly, what can we do to change that?
For our country to succeed we need to believe in the ideals that this country was founded on. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the values patriots hold dear to their hearts. They are values we have and continue to fight for. Obviously we have fallen short at times. But, we keep trying. That’s the American way. Regardless of race, social class, and/or religious beliefs, we are all American. I am not saying that there are zero flaws in patriotism. But what I am saying is that Patriotism happens to be the one thing that can unite us and bring this nation together. I find it very interesting that the media would want to destroy something that binds us. Instead of using the power to build patriotic morale, it appears the media is deliberately trying to destroy it.
Everyone understands this is the home of the free because of the brave. But maybe it’s time to make this place the land of the brave as well. Not by stomping on our flag, but instead by working together as Americans to fix problems. So, stand up America and have pride in yourselves and this country. We, the people, support this country because we live here and it provides us with a plethora of opportunities. And if you have a problem with that, you can get the hell out.
Amid all this media chaos, some are starting to believe our democracy is failing. Having a president some would consider a false president who appears to favor the upper class is scaring many across our country. Instead of rightfully praising our democracy, people are starting to blame our faults on it. When people should be entrusting their lives and livelihoods to their government, many find themselves questioning the true intentions of their political leaders. Are these leaders trying to do what is best for their country, or what is best for themselves? I know, it’s the trillion-dollar question all common people ask before casting their valuable vote. Of course, the other question is, are these new leaders SO much worse than former “polished” leaders? Or do we just have more access to information about them than we did before?
We might never know if our political leaders are really working for us or hiding selfish intentions, but nevertheless morality in our leaders is needed for our democracy to prevail. The only reason our democracy is still here is because society felt like it was the morally right thing to do for all. The minute democracy becomes tethered in lies and morality is loss, democracy fails.
I understand our government has not been completely honest with the people of this great nation. Although, I believe this is wrong, it is not the end of our democracy. Instead, I believe our country is approaching a very important crossroad in human history. A time where lies can’t be erased and information is more difficult to hide than ever. Through technical advances to the World Wide Web, some of the most inaccessible secrets and information have become accessible to the common person. Hell yeah! Power to the People!
This flip in the power of knowledge has placed our government in a spot where it has never been before. A spot where most people living in America distrust traditional politicians. Think about it. What if we could record everything you or I have said in our lives, every lie (be it big or small), every conflict of statement, every rude comment, etc. and play it back to attack something we do or say today. Not many of us would look too perfect. But most of us see ourselves as moral human beings. And the same goes for our government. Some of those “polished” politicians of today are hiding lies and doing whatever they need to do to get elected. This critical moment in time gives people sources to carefully watch the government and every move it makes. Giving us access to a “shit ton” of information, has proven past politicians are hypocrites and even worse, Moral Liars. The worst kind in my book.
But then, some of our most beloved politicians from JFK to FDR to Clinton and even Lincoln were talented liars and hid many secrets. Many traditional politicians promised all sorts of things to get elected and then didn’t deliver once in office. Having so much hypocrisy in our government has created a monster of doubt in traditional politics. A doubt that led us to where we are today. The funniest thing to me is that a government could restrain and suppress this monster just by being honest with it’s people. Overall, exemplifying an administration of morality, which should naturally sway the majority anyway. That is because most people in this country are good people who make good decisions when presented the truth. Hell, maybe that’s is why they call it the “MORAL MAJORITY”!
Anyway, has our old way of electing politicians (and believing they would do as they say) been working? In my opinion this election proved that “the people” believed they had enough with traditional politicians and their pretty ways of talking. “The People” would rather deal with a wolf that may deliver what he promises, than wolves in sheep’s clothing that won’t. The election showed “The People” would rather deal with someone who is naïve, foolish and even stupid than someone who is so polished and with the ability to cover their lies and/or indiscretions. Our country voted a notable and narcissistic dumbass into office instead of another politician with words that could convince angels to leave heaven. An inevitable decision in my opinion. A decision society made after countless political disappointments over the last 100 years or so.
As much as many people seem to hate our current president, he seems to be delivering what he promised those who elected him (other than his dumbass public comments). Just goes to show you how much people just wanted a leader that they believe to be truthful. Whether he is or is not, is another question I will leave to each reader to answer. Truth is hard to come by without the wholesome morality of our government. Hopefully, our democracy won’t fall before our government learns its lesson. We desperately need a government that realizes being open and honest with it’s people is the path to real success.