Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Border Wall

Banksy's take on the border wall

If I told you about a great movie I saw, meal I ate, or experience I had and bragged that it was the greatest thing I had ever had, would you secretly want some of that?Well, of course you would!

So why wouldn't anyone in the world not want to live in North America?

About 15 years ago, I was in southern California speaking to a friend of mine who was educating me who Cesar Chavez was, how his leadership transformed the system, and the workers in the San Joachin Valley. Many of these workers were illegal immigrants, but the country turned a blind eye because few white people wanted these labour intensive, and low paying jobs.

Around the same time, I had a friend who lived in New York City and she was married to a man from South America. They were living in the States because it was apparently easier to live as an illegal alien in NYC than Canada. She explained to me how there were a lot of illegals working in the States and nobody cared much about this immigration epidemic.

That was until these immigrants were Muslim.

It seems as soon as the countries the US were attacking, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and a handful of others who were greatly affected by these wars started to leave their countries, this immigration issue all of a sudden became really important. Up until this point, the immigrants who were coming into the US were mainly Christian, and more importantly, they were doing menial labour that no white person would ever want to do. So, if it benefited society, this was considered win-win.

And now with the government shut down in the US, the mention of this border wall keeps popping up disguised as "border security" when it has nothing to do with security at all. It has everything to do with keeping non-Christians out of the country in the facade of fear mongering.

If there was a real threat to Americans, it comes from within, not from other countries. Domestic Americans kill 10,000+ more Americans with gun violence every year than their nearest rival. Yet, there is little to nothing being done about this issue. Nobody is asking for 5 billion dollars to fix this problem because the NRA has paid off every representative and their campaigns for re-election. So this topic gets re-visited on social media whenever a classroom of school children are being murdered in their places of learning, or people in their places of worship. THAT, is real terrorism. But "these people" don't want to talk about that, because it's not on their agenda.

If these people wanted to spend 5 billion dollars of border security, they could create infrastructure behind the scenes using technology that would invest in systems and its people to create a customized solution. Building a wall is like using coal, which this president seems to think is the wave of the future.

I had a mentor in sales that once shared an invaluable insight. In sales like in life, people will give you a reason for something they don't like. The trick in sales is determining the reason they give you and then finding out the REAL reason. The faster you can ascertain the real reason before they know it, you have a better chance to get the sale. So in this situation, the border wall is the reason these people give you. It's not the real reason.

So let's be real. These people don't want a wall, because that's clearly the most inefficient way to keep the "deplorables" out. Instead, they want to align themselves with the signal which says they support dividing themselves from refugees or immigrants in need, who want a tiny taste of the Freedom the greatest country in the world says it has. These people think Freedom is so finite that it can't be shared with people who aren't fitting into the mould of people like them. Historically, these are the people didn't want Women to have a vote, didn't want people of colour to have the same inalienable rights as they did, and they certainly don't want Muslims swimming in their pool of Freedom.

This has nothing to do with border security. We all want safe border security. But this has nothing to do with border security and everything to do with the mentality of racism and bigotry which has been the main separating point in the Divided States of America since it's inception. And this has been the underlying current which presents its ugly face, over and over in a reincarnated dream for the United States of America.

This time around, it just looks like a border wall.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

I Wish My Life Looked As Good As It Does on Social Media

I wish my life were half as good as it looks when I post on Facebook or social media. I'm sure somewhere out there, someone is yearning for the life I post on Facebook. They yearn for my life as I yearn for the equally unattainable life of someone else I admire as they post their best moments on social media. It's like the hamster wheel of chasing the perfect life right in front of you.

Its exhausting and it's not possible.

December is the loneliest season of the year. It's supposed to be the happiest month of the year, and for some it may be. But I have a sneaky sensation the norm is to feel a little blue at this time of year. There are a myriad of reasons for this, and I suspect they all stem from comparing what you have now with something you want, or what you used to have. We all get a little nostalgic for this stuff around the Christmas season.

First, the comparison is yearning for something someone else has. Perhaps its good health. That's a big one. You usually only want this one when you've had your health taken away from you, then you get a really focused interest on how you, and everyone else you know takes their health for granted.

Or, you might yearn for a meaningful relationship. That's another big one; especially at Christmas with all the parties, dinners and New Year's Eve approaching. Can't be seen alone, now can we? That would mean that our worst fear of being unlovable at the most connected time of the year would be out there for all to see.

Or, it could be the timeless, big money issue. There just never seems to be enough of this old tale. You could be making 200K and it still wouldn't be enough because most of us all spend about what we make, and some of us manage to even outspend what we make too, don't we? Always chasing something better to make us feel better, rationalizing it to death with the stress delivered with the double-edged sword of justification.

It could also be something you can't compete with anymore. You're in competition with yourself when you were younger, skinnier, more attractive, made more money, you were less stressed and significant about life before you became so bitter and resentful. Perhaps you were a better mother, father, son, daughter, friend, Lover or listener. Now, you're none of those things. You're simply a shell of who you once were, and there's no way to get back to being the cool "you."

Perhaps you are searching for the memories that are long gone and you can't get them back. A time in your life that wasn't so complicated? When you were carefree, and took spontaneous vacations just because you could! You flirted with that guy or woman because you had that ability, and now it's suicide to think you could pull that off with how you look now. Ouch, that's a tough one...

Perhaps you're selling out being with that person you know you're not in Love with because they give you a life of comfort, instead of the Love you yearn for. You trade off your fear of financial stress with moments generated by money and amp up the fakeness you have to muster in order to live with yourself. Your posts on Instagram are showing all your friends that you value things more than being true to yourself.

Or maybe it isn't you at all. Maybe it's a place.

Maybe it's a place that you used to visit that held a special meaning to you. I have this place in my head. I walk in this memory in the house that I used to Love, with the dog I used to have, the crisp, winter night air biting at my nose, holding the hand of the Woman of my dreams on Christmas Eve, looking up at the stars hoping to spot a tiny sleigh pulled by 8 reindeer. A quick walk around a picturesque park newly blanketed in a sheet of white snow, illuminated by the moon above. Life certainly wasn't great back then either. But damn, those were fantastic times. Call me a romantic, but that moment will never leave me til the day I die. A part of me wants those problems back now, instead of the ones I currently have.

Perhaps it's the loss of a Loved one that bites more during this season than any other time of the year. Sometimes these Loved ones have passed away, or worse, they are still alive but just not available in the classic sense, which is worse in a way. When you've lost them a long time ago, this could be the saddest and most confronting feeling of loss.

Or lastly, perhaps it's your childhood in the eyes of your child. You get to see everything that you are and aren't through the eyes of your children or grandchildren. This can be especially hard when you're having these moments of self-loathing because you're feeling that you're just not a good enough mother or father. You aren't making enough money, or you're simply not spending enough time with your kids. You're caught up in a world of accumulation to give your kids a little better than you had growing up and the price you pay is they grow up too fast and you've missed it all.

Yes, you're really going to let yourself have it for these things you don't have, or the things you can't be, anymore. It's your worst fear to think it, let alone admit it. Well, if you're thinking any of this landed, I'm right there with you. And I'm quite sure we're not alone. We'll have lots of company thinking the same things as the next person. For all its worth, this is the great human experience.

I think half of it is just made up bullshit and the other half is the work we have left to do. Depending on which half you'd like to focus on, I'm sure that will give you the results you earn. But we all have work to do. Til the day we die, that work will never stop. And neither will the self-judgment we subject ourselves to.

So give yourself that space. The reason I wrote this is to let you know that you're not alone, even if you feel you are alone. We tend to make life much more difficult than it needs to be. We complicate the simple, and over-simplify the complicated. So instead of doing what you always do, which is make yourself stressed out, understand that we all do exactly what we are capable of, with the tools we have in the moment. No more, no less.

And if you are the one perfect person out there that none of this applied to, I hope you're able to take it all in and appreciate it all. Because just like in life, it will change. And in the not so distant future, you might look back on this, and check one of these boxes about the great human experience.

Happy Holidays to you all. Please be kind. To others, and most importantly, to yourselves.