The American Mirror…

“Beginning with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda setter. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation’s charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one…”

The Limits Of Power (2008), by Col. Andrew Bacevich, PhD

Before we slam the door shut on one President, and break out the anointing oil for another, let’s take a good look in the mirror…

Our policies, domestic and foreign, are not simply conceived and implemented by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us as if we had nothing to do with their creation. Our policies are conceived and implemented in Washington D.C., but reflect the desires of our personal agendas — what ‘we the people’ want.

And what we want, to paint a broad brushstroke, is a continuing flow of cheap consumer goods, unlimited energy, and easy credit. We want to be able to fill our cars with gas, regardless of how big they are, in order to drive wherever we want to be. We want to walk into any store and fill our carts with as much as we desire, and know that if we don’t have the cash for those things at the register, we can buy them anyway and pay the bill down the road — probably. 

And we want to drive to these places and buy these thing in the name of status, and without having to think about whether or not the ecological or fiscal books balance at the end of the day, the end of the month, or even the end of the generation. That will be for others to figure out, because America, loosely translated, means to kick the can down the road.

And we ridicule, point fingers at, and have great and frustrating arguments about the people we elect to ensure and protect these policies so that we can continue this lifestyle. That is, when we’re not celebrating them as the celebrity saviors of our best interests. And we believe each of these elected officials are there for the express purpose of helping us maintain this lifestyle of cheap consumer goods, cheap energy, and easy credit. All the while though, they tell us what we wish to hear so they can keep their easy jobs and their exalted status, and we foolishly believe them. 

And the pursuit of these ‘freedoms’, as defined in this age of consumerism, has induced a condition of additional dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on foreign credit. And the chief aim of the elected officials is to satisfy that desire, which it does in-part through its foreign policy. Thus, our foreign policy, by and large, is the result of our dependence on consumer goods, energy, and credit. 

And no President, no Senate, and no House Of Representatives will change this direction until there is a massive — a profound and overwhelming movement among and by ‘we the people’ to limit our dependency on those consumer goods, that cheap energy, and that credit. 

And at the end of the day, it feels good to blame legislative bodies, the individuals within them, bureaucrats, and the President himself — whoever he might be, for our weakness, our desires, and our selfishness.

Set Thine House In Order

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 209

Climbing: 9,100’

Mph Avg: 15.4

Calories: 12,008

Seat Time: 13 hours 37 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Ian Hunter. Enjoy…

Self-Reckoning…

Fun ride last night. Not as fast as I was hoping due to the wind, but it was a good test of Bella‘s new wheel-set. They performed well and $500 later, they’re a legit upgrade. Eventually these wheels will get passed on to another bike, and she’ll be fitted with her first carbon rims, but I have some financial catchin’ up to do first.

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In his book, Upheaval (2019), author Jared Diamond suggests honest self-appraisal is the single most important mechanism for a nation in crisis to successfully resurrect itself. Since the leadership of my nation is making no attempt to do this, I’m sort of taking it on myself. I’ve spent a lot of time recently looking at my social weaknesses and examining how I can improve on them.

I don’t care who you are and what your worldview is, there will never be a better time than right now for some honest self-appraisal.
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First on the list for me has been taking inventory of my prejudices. It’s not been an easy exercise. It’s important though, that I this considering the current social climate. It’s not just my racial prejudices I’ve been exploring either, but those that have to do with physical appearance, age, geography, and all the demographic lines we use to separate ourselves from them, politics included.

In exploring my prejudices, or any weakness for that matter, it’s important not to rationalize my prejudices away. No excuses. I won’t minimize them either, by disguising them as biases, or for being so-called evolutionary defenses that occur naturally in my species. Simply put, my prejudices have been learned behaviors since my earliest days and have been practiced and consistently reaffirmed without much regard for their impact on the people I’ve judged so freely.

One exercise I’ve been using has been to hit the pause button on my brain frequently throughout each day and when engaged with others. Whether it’s with a service employee, a client, a neighbor, but in particular with passing strangers, it’s amazing how quick I am to judge anyone based on their appearance, and how willing I am to not second-guess myself in those snap judgments.
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We’re marching for a lot of things these days — BLM, LBGT rights, proper context and subsequent application of our questionable past, environmental concerns and so-on. I haven’t participated in any of these marches.

My march though, and the one I’m encouraging everyone to take, is a march on the road to honest self-appraisal. It’s a nasty road with lots of hazards and, at least in my case, and a very long one. It’s also a place our leaders are never going to take us.

This is what I think about when I ride…

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Bella
29 miles
1,300’ climbing
15.6 mph avg
1,600 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Girlfriend, by Matthew Sweet