Showing posts from 2022

Political Column - The Life of Judgment in Politics

On November 14th, 2022 a meeting took place at Dalton Township Hall in which the Board of Trustees made decisions concerning several items of import. In addition to the items that were voted on there were also a few that were discussed to determine a direction moving forward. These will be covered below. Each decision requires a judgment call. You can commonly hear people proclaiming to be non-judgmental. Sometimes this comes from a good place, trying to be understanding and accepting of others. Often there's an avoidance of wanting to make a decision, and if it's a situation that doesn't need to concern us then that can make sense. But understanding or compassion are not the same as acceptance or approval, an important difference that is often overlooked. Many times I have contemplated the life of grass. It grows as fast as it can, getting eaten by animals, trampled underfoot, cut, rained on, snowed on, burnt in the sun, and yet it perseveres. Its resilience is defiance in

Political Column - Government Solutions, Government Problems

The government is a solution to a certain set of problems. This solution then causes a different set of problems. Instead of a solution, it's more of a tradeoff between different sets of problems. The society gets to choose which hard path to take, because there are no easy options. Governments are created as a way to find peace, as a treaty among people to have order so that rights are not violated. For peace to continue to exist there must be certain things, there must be a fair amount of mutual agreement about rights and justice. Governments often lose their way. Police are very important. They protect the rights of citizens from other citizens. They are a bulwark against the monster of chaotic anarchy and lawlessness in which there are no rights and no protection. Yet, the Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that the police have no duty to protect people (see DeShaney v. Winnebago County, 1989; Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 2005). You can't lie to the police, that would be a

Political Column - Deception in Politics

I have been a little surprised at how much people are willing to blatantly lie in politics, even when they know that I know they're lying, and even when I can't figure out how such a lie could benefit them. I think there are five things occurring. One, people lie for personal advantage. Con games, making or taking money, and such. This is what comes to mind for most people when they think about deception in politics. Oddly enough, I've encountered almost none of this. This may happen to politicians more than by politicians. Two, people lie out of resentment in an attempt to enact revenge for real or imagined wrongs, against someone specific or against society and existence in general. This is common and frequent. People will even lie to hurt others when it hurts themselves. Cain is the archetype of this type of resentment, revenge, and deception. This happens both by and to politicians. Three, people lie out of fear. This is sometimes done by omission rather than commission

Political Column - The Tragedy of the Moths

Humans have a unique ability to desire the impossible. Complaints are one demonstration of this. Much of what politicians do is an attempt to avoid complaints. However, having no complaints is an impossibility. This is even more so in politics than in business because for the most part people cannot choose to disengage from a government like they can with most businesses. If you don't like a product then "Buy from someone else." usually works. If you don't like your government "Move." usually isn't so easy or simple. Some people like to pretend it is when they're talking about someone else while ignoring the complexities of leaving family and friends, finding work, government paperwork and approvals, changing schools, knowing the environment and history of a place, and arranging financing and logistics. Even on a divisive issue like spraying for gypsy/spongy moths it's unlikely for many people to say "I'm moving to Midland County because

Political Column - Common Ground

In a lonely, isolated society, lacking connection and belonging, a feeling of powerlessness whelms up in people, drop by slowly overwhelming drop. Meaning lacking, frustration growing, the complexity of the world beyond capacity of understanding. Human defiance seeks resistance, human fear seeks escape. How do you live in a broken structure? Trapped within peace and prosperity without knowing it, crumbling. Trapped with choice without choosing it, faltering. Middle class decimated, center politics evaporated, common ground lost and retreating. An old man named Civilization stands on a street corner holding a jar in his outstretched hand labeled "Gratitude", empty. A black, matted dog named Chaos watches from the shadows, hungry. Thus is our situation. An unbalanced society balancing on the edge of a precipice. Balance is needed, within individuals and between individuals. Calm emotions, common ground, logical communication, mutual understanding. Rather, we see the unraveling

Political Column - Reaction, Revolution, and Reform

Governments do bad things. People get upset over those things, and that's reasonable. They complain to their friends and family, they post things on social media. Sometimes they yell, sometimes they protest. This initial reaction is one of anger. Anger is an emotion that pushes us to take action. Often anger is only the first layer. Deeper we may find that we are sad over something that is wrong, and we're frustrated that we don't know what to do to make it better. Powerlessness is a disheartening feeling. So people repress it with a layer of hate. They fume and steam and hope that someone does something. This is exactly what happened in the case of Hidden Creek Farm in Dalton Township. People were upset when they heard about the lack of due process, they were upset about small farms not being protected. I fuelled the flames of upset with my articles, by organizing people to flood the township meeting, by my petition, by my recall attempts, by using the available processes

Political Column - Do I Like Being Supervisor?

Last month the local Girl Scout troop leaders needed a location to divide up their cookie shipment, and they did that at the township. It went well. While talking with the organizer she asked me how long I've been in office, I told her about 15 months. Next she asked, "Do you like it?" It's a question I've been asked quite a lot since taking the position. I said, in a matter of fact tone, "No." And, like most people, she returned a look of surprise, and that brought forth a soft chuckle from me. Over and over I've been surprised that people are surprised that I don't like the job. I didn't run for office because I thought I would like it. Actually, it disturbs me that there are people that like being politicians. And it saddens me that people who don't think they'll like doing the job don't run for office. There's an important difference to recognize between government and the rest of society. Thomas Paine pointed it out in 17

Political Column - Religion, Politics, and an Invocation

I don't fall into a clear category in politics. Nor do I in religion. This tends to make people uncomfortable because they can't classify me. To know what I think you have to ask me, or listen to me, or read what I have written. In my pursuit of meaning and understanding I have found truth in all party lines and religious creeds, some better, some worse, but never the whole or exclusive truth untainted by the limitations of human nature. So I remain, in whatever group I participate, an independent thinker; sourcing my own material, drawing my own conclusions. I have relatives and friends that are preachers, pastors, and ministers. I've been to services with Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, non-denominational Christians, Anglicans, Mormons, Greek Orthodox, and Messianic Jews. I've been to a Quaker meeting in a Reformed seminary. I've had students that are Muslims and Taoists, friends that are Jehovah's Witnesses, Hindus, and Knights Templar. I've talked ab

Political Column - The Stress of Holding Office in Tumultuous Times

As societies break down you see a breakdown at all levels. You can see it on display in our government organizations in villages, townships, cities, counties, states, and countries. You can see it in private clubs, friend groups, and family units. And you can see it in individuals. Each of these reinforces the other in an unstable and destabilizing positive feedback loop leading to... something big. This isn't the first time it has happened, nor will it be the last. One of my favorite books on the subject is 'Escape From Freedom' by Erich Fromm. It came out in 1941. The basic idea is that in times when there's a pervasive feeling of loneliness and powerlessness in a society people respond in a few different ways. They become authoritarian with its complementary submissiveness, they conform, and/or they become destructive. We see all of these things happening now. You can see this division in the representatives of the people holding public office. You can see it in thei

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