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Make America Good Again

Jim Cathcart by Hope and Pray wall on Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship

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Vultures eat the dead or dying.

It is a fact of nature. If you are too weak to resist them, they will finish you off as they dine. No amount of indoctrination or retraining will get a vulture to eat only approved food. Likewise with rats, they’ll gnaw on it even if it isn’t organic matter. Scavengers do not make good pets. Nor will they ever be your friend.

Ironically, a group of vultures when not in flight is called a Committee. I’ll resist the temptation to run with that idea for now. Vultures feeding are called a Wake. Vultures in flight are called a Kettle. Let’s just go with Committee.

Reports have shown very little separation between Al Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban. All are Islamic extremists. They are predators, scavengers and vultures. Among desert people they are the desert rats. It is their nature to destroy and devour. In fact, they revel in it. It is their idea of a good time. Really. Let that sink in. They seek subjugation of and dominance over all who would disagree with them. How do you negotiate with such a creature? You don’t. “Negotiation” implies two parties seeking to reach a conclusion that will be acceptable to both. They don’t do that. But we do.

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Is America Good?

We have been good and, in fact, that is our main weakness. In war anything that reduces the threat from an adversary is an exploitable weakness. So, when ‘coyotes’ are herding immigrants across the Rio Grande they will often throw children into the water, knowing that Americans will rush to their rescue. Then in the confusion, the drug smugglers cross the border upstream uncontested. They don’t care about human life and we do, so they use it to distract us by creating an emergency we can’t resist.

Our adversaries are free from the limitations imposed by caring about honor, duty, friendship, compassion, or even personal integrity. The “god” they believe in is a scary dude that will take you out if you disobey. Their faith, if you can call it that, is in diminishing human life to the level of compliance and ritual. They believe in killing and they are not inhibited by morals. They treat women as cattle and don’t allow them to become educated or productive. They only want them subjugated and indoctrinated so that they will obey. They have no interest in the advancement of human life. They simply want to control it.

Meanwhile back at the ranch:

In America all of our laws, policies, cultural practices, religions, and societal norms are based upon the valuing of human life. We believe in caring about each other and being good stewards for future generations. Generations of good people. This is rooted in the belief in a good God, the God of the Bible, a loving Creator. We have Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Catholics, and many variations on these faiths but the one dominant premise in America is: Human Life Matters! We are creations of a loving God and it is our blessing to help to advance life on Earth. We are the most joyful people on Earth, the most resilient, the most creative, and certainly the most influential in the history of the world.

Everything in Moderation.

When we are more compassionate than committed to victory then we are exploitable. When we go to the other extreme we become creatures like our enemies. There is a point along this continuum beyond which we are no longer being compassionate nor considerate. Beyond that point we are being stupid and weak. In a tornado it is not smart nor nice to hold open a door and say, “No, you first, I insist.” It is a crisis so just find shelter and help others do the same! Likewise in a war, know that your vulnerability will be exploited and plan against that tactic.

The same applies when raising children. Parents who shelter their children from difficulty tend to raise weaklings and cowards. It is as if they believe that a child’s muscles will grow if the parent lifts the weights for them. People who do not face difficulty do not learn to deal with challenges. A “safe space” on a school campus where you are shielded from those who disagree with you is a really dumb idea. It doesn’t keep the kids safe, it just deflects the difficulties temporarily. It is like finding a shelter that only protects you from the first few hours of a two day hurricane. Sooner or later all of us have to deal with bullies, political opponents, jealous coworkers, unfaithful partners, greedy vendors, unscrupulous business people, and the physical dangers of the world. If we don’t then we end up hiding in Mom’s basement long after we are adults. And we seek to blame others for our weakness. Protect your kids from harm but let them find their own way through difficulties.

Goodness is not something that is taught.

It comes from what we believe. Our natural state is animal; do what it takes to eat and survive. Our enlightened state is spiritual; seek to do good and to advance and grow. Mortimer Adler once said there are only two basic questions we need to answer: Is there a God? and What is his nature? If there is no God then we are just intelligent animals, so do what works and then die. If there is a God but he’s a mean S.O.B. then you’d better figure out what he wants and give it to him. Just obey and he won’t hurt you.

But, if there is a Loving God, everything is different! That means that someone cares about us and we should care about each other. That means that Life has a purpose and we will become happier and more fulfilled when we help to advance life. Everyone who finds meaning in their life will tell you how good life is. Everyone who finds life meaningless will be angry because life is futile. Money, fun, food and bling are very poor satisfiers. They are the sugar of life: a big rush followed by an empty and guilty feeling. Love and goodness are the proteins and minerals, the nutrients of life that foster even more life.

Hope and Pray

If there is no God then what do you pray to? You don’t. Instead you beg, demand, rail against, gamble or blame whatever is outside of you: the weather, the country, the laws, the unfairness, the systemic-anything that disadvantages people like you. When you find others who have the same sour worldview then you organize to pass more laws, rules, policies and requirements so that others won’t have an edge over you. No God equals many many more laws, rules and regulations. Diminished life. An exercise in futility.

But when there is a loving God you can count on goodness as an asset. With good people contracts are kept. With good people consideration of others is given. With good people compassion is shown. With good people what we do in private is not a threat because good people don’t lie nor cheat nor steal. There’s nothing to hide. Good people do generous things with no expectation of reward. They thrive on being good. There is joy in generous living.

Hope comes in two forms. Weak hope is “I sure hope it doesn’t rain on our picnic.” Strong hope is “I see a pathway to safety! There is hope for us after all.” Weak hope is begging, it is a subject’s form of proactivity. But it is rooted in negative expectations. Pessimism is the worldview of weak hope. “There is no way! We tried that before and it didn’t work. What makes you think you are so special? You’ll never make it with all this traffic. Give up you are wasting your time.” Strong hope is expecting to succeed.

My own family’s motto, from long ago in Scotland, is “I Hope To Speed.” It used to perplex me so I looked up the ancient meanings of those words. Hundreds of years before automobiles “Speed” meant: to prosper or succeed. And hope, in this context, meant positive expectation. So, today’s translation of my family motto is: I Expect To Succeed. No wonder I  became a motivational speaker!

Now look at the dark side:

Closed Schools, Teachers Unions Blockades, Comprehensive Racism Training, Unconditional Surrender to the Taliban, Unfettered Government Spending, US Support to Rogue States,  Fighting COVID with Masks, Mandatory Vaccination, Micro-agressions, Pejorative Language, Systemic unfairness, Technological Threats from China/Russia/Iran, Social Media Censorship, White/Black/Brown/Yellow Supremacists, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Climate Change Deniers, Defund the Police, Make Landlords forgive Rental Debt, Make Banks forgive Student Loans, Low Respect among Nations, Stalemates in Congress, Lies from our Leaders, Communism, Socialism, Greed, Slavery, Banning Plastic Straws, Homeless multitudes, Nonstop Immigration, Voting Law fights, Atheism, Next!  

Surely there is something else to fear that I overlooked in this list. Name your poison. Which ones get your blood boiling? If there is no loving God, then folks, we are toast! This laundry list of evils is all rooted in conflict among those who are not good and cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Good people could resolve almost all of this, without being required to do so. Pick your devil and apply goodness to dealing with it, most problems  would dissolve quickly.

How many laws are enough?

Among bad people no amount of laws would ever be enough. Look at the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of laws on the books already in the USA. We have storehouses of documents across the country with policies, regulations, laws, requirements, codes, restrictions and other pronouncements that are not working. Passing a law against murder didn’t stop murders. So they passed more painful punishments. That’s not just a crime, it’s a “hate crime!” Excuse me, but all violent crimes are rooted in a hateful attitude. And penalties only restrict the good people who might consider doing the deed. Criminals just work harder to not get caught. What’s the difference between a 7 year prison sentence and a 50 year sentence when paroles and pardons can erase either of them?

Laws are not the answer. Goodness is the Answer!!!!

The best and cheapest law enforcement comes about in the home. When Mom and Dad require good behavior then the community doesn’t have to worry about it. When families go to church, pray together, bless their meals, say the Pledge of Allegiance at public events, then goodness ensues. When children are required by their parents to behave respectfully, responsibly, and with good intentions then society becomes safe again. When police officers are treated with respect and friendship they respond in kind.

There is no adversary so great that good people working together cannot resolve it. There is hope as long as there is goodness. There is goodness when we pray in gratitude rather than as a form of begging. Let’s be a grateful, generous, self-disciplined Good Nation Again!

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Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 21 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his Advisory/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



 
 
 

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