Archive | November 2016

Is age in the “eye of the beholder?”

It happens so easily in our often “child-centered” yet so often a negligent culture that we take for granted the “them” in the equation.  Unfortunately, I’m writing about the “us and them” in youth’s relationship with adults in the society we live in.  The specific issue I’m writing about should go in the file marked Adultism.

Don’t you wish that we behaved with more unity and respect for diversity/difference within the context of our civil society?  One way to get at this consequence is to learn how we play into a society steeped in Adultism, getting more information about Adultism, and then starting by employing the tools and resources (that do encompass the art of substituting one type of practical knowledge with another).

So, what is Adultism?  Very simply, it’s the social systems within our culture that emphasize adult power & authority as a superior way of doing things, when held up to a template of how we adults think, feel & believe youth or children should be viewed and interacted with by adults.

Like any other kind of ism, there are varied ideologies, practices, behaviors, norms, & philosophies that are followed in Adultism, even if unconsciously followed.

Here’s one for example: suppose your church is setting up some kind of event or activity; the event requires a lot of hard work on decoration, setting up, food, space, clean up, etc. Your congregation is made-up of around fifty percent middle-aged adults (over 18), about twenty-five percent elderly, and the rest consists of youth.

We adults look at the situation, and often say, “This will never work.  We don’t really have enough folks to make this thing happen!”  Our next thought may be: the teen-agers we’ve got have so much energy and persistence-they’re young & energetic, so they can do this-and we’ve immediately reinforced & played-into Adultism; it happens so much and so easily and with so much unconsciousness, that it “becomes business as usual.”

What I’m driving at here is trying to persuade us to change what has become a mechanical reaction in relationship with youth.  I’m not talking about mentoring a young person, or asking someone younger, that you feel isn’t fulfilling their potential, adding skill-you might suggest a solution that the other person might gain a tangible benefit-either a material or spiritual result.

Can you see the difference?  Adultism gets built out of thought processes that don’t achieve equality, but rather as a sort of blind system perpetuated by something that keeps us “up and others down.”  Adultism keeps youth in a “one down” position, thus an inferior one. Anti-adultism enables youth to develop their own sense of identity, not someone else’s.  Thus, it’s a “high self-esteem growing” behavior, and one that’s based on the person’s own sense of self-confidence, not only the group’s power or confidence.
©Christopher Bear-Beam November 5, 2016


Be an insurgent against Trump

Hi everyone: I just re-edited this blog, and want to remind us to vote, and also see if we can get others to vote who perhaps were planning not to vote. The letter today from FBI Director Comey complicates things, because it will be difficult to disseminate with only two days left until Election Day

OK, that’s it.  Stop. Think.  After Donald Trump’s recent interviews in nation-wide media outlets, not disavowing his relationship with David Duke, the outspoken, “once-a-candidate” a KKK member, makes Trump, in the words of one journalist, “unelectable.”  Duke has endorsed Trump for the Presidency.

If we haven’t had a fairly militant, or passionate response to the even the possibility (as I write this it’s Super Tuesday) that Trump could be the Republican front-runner, and maybe President.  I don’t know about you, but this causes shivers to run up & down my spine.

It’s curious to me that reports are so conflicting over this issue.  He tells one interviewer he doesn’t know Duke, but, please, have you been alive for the last decade, living on this planet, and don’t know who David Duke is & what he advocates for (hate& violence) in his apparent new role as the “pied piper.”

I’ve wondered to myself, what are the conditioning factors of a person like Donald Trump?  How does one get to be so unaware of her own behavior (I’m not a mind reader so I don’t really know), in Trump’s case, his own political & rhetorical style is raw, blunt, emotion-stirring & driven, biased, based on his own inferences not fact, some might say abusive (he turned to an audience member at one his rallies, and asked her if she was Mexican), and certainly race-baiting. Whether this kind of rhetoric is intentional or non-intentional, the reader has to decide.

Another factor about Donald Trump is that he’s got a good case of narcissism and “big headedness.”  Glenda Blair has written a book about the Trump family.  David Margolick, reviews the book in the New York Times Book Section, December 3, 2000.  At Donald Trump’s father’s funeral in the late Nineties, Trump showed his self-absorption, having little to say about his father:

Appalling, perhaps. But astonishing? Astonishing to whom? Surely not to anyone who’s followed the career of Donald Trump — which is to say, virtually everyone. No one can doubt he has done remarkable things. But not content to let the facts speak for themselves, he has been breathtakingly, unabashedly, amusedly immodest. Whether one credits all his superlatives he spreads around — the ”biggest” and ”greatest” this, the ”richest” and ”sexiest” that — few would dispute his stranglehold on the one title he has never claimed: the most swollen swelled head on earth. He has plastered his name on everything: hotels, apartment buildings, casinos, an airline, a yacht, a quiz show, a bicycle race, golf courses and even a board game (lowest denomination, $10 million, and guess whose smiling face is on every bill). He is forever flaunting beautiful women on his arm, always with a smugness suggesting that they are his just deserts (or desserts).

Watching and listening to Trump, one always must ask two questions: Could anyone ever really, before an audience of people who don’t know him, act-out-so-full-of-himself? Or is it all an act? To Blair, the author of ”Almost Golden: Jessica Savitch and the Selling of Television News,” the answers are, essentially, ”Yes” and ”No.” True, Trump knows that his very name is as golden as the facades of his buildings and helped to save him from bankruptcy a decade ago.

But that Trump’s conceit has made and kept him wealthy makes it no less genuine; it is a matter of conviction, not tactics. A man who so loves himself does not have much room left for anything or anyone else, which is bad news for Blair. Someone so deeply shallow, so profoundly superficial, yet so painstakingly scrutinized for so long by so many reporters and gossipmongers is not a promising subject to write about — unless, that is, she uncovers something everyone else has managed to miss.

Blair neatly captures Trump’s uncanny business instincts, as well as his competitiveness, chutzpah, cruelty, vulgarity and hucksterism. And she catches him in his lies, or what Trump himself calls ”truthful hyperbole” — inflating the number of floors in his buildings to give each more cachet; hiring bulldozers to go back and forth uselessly outside a casino site to give potential partners the illusion of activity; boasting of paying cash — $8 million of it — for his Palm Beach pleasure dome, Mar-a-Lago, when he’d put down only $2,811 of his own money. She also reintroduces us to Ivana Winklmayr, the beauty from Czechoslovakia whom Trump married in 1977. It was Ivana who gave Trump his first three children and his most enduring nickname — The Donald — only to be traded in, a dozen years later, for a younger and more pliable model named Marla Maples.

Margolick uses Trump’s own, interesting term when he references the term “truthful hyperbole.” Trump appears to use the over-inflated statements & opinions of a New York street punk, and the logic of a jackass; I’ve found very few statements he’s made that mention any source or reference making his political & rhetorical points.  It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that if you have a serious “narcissism” problem, it’s like a chronic & terminal eye disease, and very easily may lead to, or trigger, pathology, or “false to facts” reasoning.

Another little-known fact is that Trump’s father was a known sympathizer & associate of the KKK.  In 1927, Fred Trump was arrested in New York for a melee between police& the KKK; several people were wounded in the disturbance, and Trump was thrown in jail.

I’m glad that Trump is the Republican candidate who must be beat at this point.  Why?  Trump is the ex officio example of a politician (saying he really isn’t) who doesn’t care about what people think about his blatantly racist remarks & behaviors, nor his form of dishing out a neoconservative & racist message.  He has done his part to graphically display the ultimate contrast to Social Justice. We thank you, Donald.

The other piece of this is that it’s brought out the racism, exceptionalism, & ignorance of many people in the nation think& act; racism has never left-it returns in a multi-display of costumes and clown outfits over many generations, and since the founding of the nation & prior to that as well.  The reason so many people are responding to Trump is out of fear.  They’re afraid of American Whites not being the majority demographic in American culture & politics.  Sorry folks, you can’t change what’s already happened, and it’s moral & rational foolishness to attempt the idea to try to go back in time, to a lesser state of social consciousness, to a lesser state of continuous abuse of Civil Rights .

A topic for another time is fundamentalist or conservative co-dependency on bigoted politicians.

As it has often been said, if we refuse to learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat it.  When Trump moved from being the entertaining clown (incidentally, he loved playing the “class clown” role in school) among the Republicans, to being the iconic spokesman for racism, bias, & bigotry; he moved into the realm of danger for the human rights & civil rights of all Americans.  Because this is the arena where ideology & power meet and do their work of attempting to influence the thought processes of human beings, in their own behalf, with their political agenda.

Between now & the election, will you choose to be an insurgent against Donald Trump, using whatever your wisdom & skills tell you what to do?   Time is short.  Let’s find our space to act! AND, PLEASE, BY ALL MEANS POSSIBLE, VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8; if you don’t have transportation to get to the polling place, call your party office (Dems or Repubs).  This may be the most important we’ve ever cast so be there!

©Christopher Bear-Beam March 1, 2016; revised 11/06/2016