Words Matter

Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men’s actions. ~ SIGMUND FREUD

Just about everyone argues, that’s pretty much a fact. You argue with the spouse, the kids, the parent, the sister, the brother, the… well, you get the picture. It’s probably safe to say that everyone has had at least one argument in their lives.

Pat and I argue all the time. Our first argument was the night we met. That was 20 years ago. Guess what? We’re still arguing. In fact, we’re arguing right now! Hahaha!

I love to argue. Surprising absolutely no one, I’m sure. When I argue I like to win. In order to win, I need facts. Facts, contrary to the belief of some, are your friends. They are necessary to open and healthy discourse. Like sunshine, they keep you healthy and honest.

Let’s set aside, for argument’s sake, the act of arguing and talk about talking. About interacting. About being responsible for what flows from your lips or your finger tips. Facts are not for special occasions. They are not your wedding china. They should be used all the time. For with use, they get stronger. They get healthier. They get factier.

So, what’s my point?

There are several.

The first, are you responsible for what you put out in the world?

My answer: Yes. Yes you are.

Second, do you have a responsibility to make sure that what you put out, makes sense to other earthlings?

My answer: Yes. Yes you do.

There is this picture making the rounds on facebook that is driving me absolutely, talk-to-myself-crazy. What, I hear you asking, can be making me crazy? This:

I’m only responsible for what I say not for what you understand

I read it the first time, it seemed harmless. I see 100 pictures a day on my facebook wall. It showed up again. Then again. The more I was confronted with it, the more it started to annoy me.

Really, you have no responsibility for how your words are perceived? Really?  So I can call someone a stupid, lazy, fat-ass, douchenozzle and it’s not my fault if they get mad. I should just tell them that I have no responsibility for their hurt feelings since I’m not responsible for their reaction? Really?

How about taking a moment and remembering that words have actual meaning? Meanings that are established by society. They have a certain weight to them. They can stir passion and incite violence. When you put them out in the world, you own them. All of them. That includes how they are received.

Call someone a hero, and that lifts them up. Call someone an asshole, and that tears them down. You. Own. Both. Results. Know what I see when I read that slogan? I see the Palinization of personal responsibility. Say whatever comes to mind and get defensive and petty when someone calls you on your bullshit. Quite frankly, It’s astounding to me. Breath-taking in it’s duplicity and complete abdication of any sense of decency.

The thoughts and opinions in this blog originated in me. I own the words. I own the thoughts. I own your reaction. Good or bad. Happy or sad. Enraged or indifferent.

That’s the power of words.

Use them wisely.

They matter.

Even if it is “only” facebook.

Are you one of the 53%?

Are you a 53%er? You know, one of the poor bastards that actually pays FEDERAL income tax. I am! No freeloaders here. Oh, wait! That is not a true statement since Pat was on unemployment for a while. Bad, bad, Pat! Sucking off the government’s tit like that! You should be ashamed. What’s that you say? You PAID into the unemployment fund. What kind of commie-socialist-fascist nonsense are you spouting? Don’t let Rush here you say that; he might bore you to death with all his talking.

Anyway, back to my point…

The 53% campaign is based on the notion that 53% of Americans pay more in federal income taxes than they receive back in deductions or credits, and so 53% of people are subsidizing everyone else. Like much of everything that Mr. Erickson does, this is also misguided and meant to widen the divide in public discourse which, of course, helps drive traffic to his website and get him on the TV machine. Just who are the sons-of-bitches that are shirking their FEDERAL responsibilities?

Well, 22% of them are lower-income seniors on Social Security. Those old bastards. Who do they think they are! That leaves us with 25% of able-bodied, competent folks who still refuse to pay their fair share! Who are these people? Why do we tolerate this nonsense?

Taken together, the earned income tax credit, the child credit, and the childcare credit account for about 15% of the people who pay no federal income tax. I’ve taken advantage of these credits in the past (I must be a horrible, horrible person).

That leaves about 10% of people who manage to use other deductions and/or loopholes to get under the tax line. Some of them make a decent amount of money.

Perhaps we should stop looking to the bottom and blaming the poor for being poor.

We are systematically destroying the public education system, turning it into nothing more than a testing ground for private companies to get rich off telling us that our kids suck and that they’re stupid; that lazy teachers and greedy administrators are the problem; that we need more ridiculous unfunded mandates that benefit no one but the test companies.

We have almost finished reducing the middle-class to nothing more than a footnote. I, for one, am tired of being told that the government is the problem. No it’s not. Bad government is the problem. When you continue to elect people that HATE government, you get bad government. What a fucking shock!

Wake up. I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to think like me (I still don’t understand why you don’t) but let’s at least strive to elect people that believe that government has a role and function in this country. People that want to work to make this country better and not by dismantling it. When has that ever worked?

Next time someone tells you that about 47% of people don’t pay any taxes, look them in the eye (or the keyboard) and tell them they’re full of shit. You can also tell them they’re part of the problem.

Most of my figures come from http://dmarron.com/2011/07/27/why-do-half-of-americans-pay-no-federal-income-tax/

Which stem from http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/1001547-Why-No-Income-Tax.pdf

Heaven Help Me

I’m no angel, but I’ve spread my wings a bit.  ~ Mae West

Heaven gets a lot of press. As well it should and most of the time, heaven is portrayed as a place of good. Harps and clouds and happy thoughts. But maybe there’s just a little bit more to heaven. Something sinister.  That’s right, I said it. Sin.is.ter.

You’ve heard it. Hell (ha), you may have even said it. I know I’ve said it at least once. But I never really stopped to think about the implications of it. Sure, it’s innocent enough, meant to comfort. You know what I mean, about how your loved ones are looking down on you. Making sure, you’re “safe”, watching over you. Whatever that means.

Am I the only person in the world that gets the wiggins from that? Can you imagine toiling on this Earth. Being good. Living a moral life only to get to heaven and have to spend all your time looking back here! Checking up on everyone to make sure they stay out of trouble. I don’t know about you, but man I will be one pissed off lady if that’s what my eternity is reduced to.

Can you imagine an eternity of watching the unfolding of boring lives when the entire universe lies at your feet? The people you can meet. Ghandi, Jesus, the grandfather that squandered the family fortune! I know a few people that have been waiting to meet that son-of-a-biscuit-eater. Besides, it’s not as if you can affect anything directly. Right? Cause if you can, and my dead relatives haven’t, I am going to open up a giant can of whoop-ass when I get up there, especially on Dad! Hear that Jimbo? You are going to be one sorry dude when I get there.

How do I know that I’ll be meeting all these awesome people in heaven? How do I know there not in that other place? Well, I have my thoughts on who belongs there and, well, since this is my blog I’m going to share them with you. Hell, in my estimation, is reserved for the truly evil and heinous. Nicolae Ceaușescu, Ted Bundy, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden. War criminals. You know like Dick Cheney-level evil.

All kidding aside, I do want there to be an afterlife. Honestly, I want there to be more than one. I’d hate to think that this is all we get. This short time. This taste of the extraordinary. This struggle and turmoil. This uncertainty. I know one thing. Heaven better be spectacular. Wild horses, dancing til dawn spectacular. Full-on rave spectacular. Fall in love with your soul mate spectacular.

Hey, Saint Pete! Are you paying attention? I’ll be up there sooner or later and I expect a room with a view. One that faces away from Earth. K. Thanks!