WHAT AM I MISSING?

Do you ever have the feeling that something is going on, but you are totally missing the point? I have felt that way since approximately 2010. That was the year my off-the-rails life tipped over and rolled into the gully.

“What just happened?” I asked the world. As usual, the world had nothing to say, so I’ve been more or less puzzled by everything ever since. It isn’t merely that my health went massively down hill between 2010 and 2014.

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It’s also people I thought I knew behaving strangely. I realize some of us have reached an age where dementia is creeping in around the edges, but these are smart people with advanced degrees suddenly passing around Facebook memes. And look who we elected? If that isn’t proof there’s been a significant cultural disconnect, I don’t know what might be.

So what am I missing? Something is going on that didn’t used to be going on … or something isn’t going on that should be going on. One way or the other, I am definitely missing “it.”

Then, if I look hard at the world, I think maybe whatever I’m missing, I’m better off. Knowing what’s going on doesn’t always make me feel better.

MISSING | THE DAILY POST

STAND UP FOR TRUTH

This the season to spread stupid rumors. It keeps coming up. I get madder each time I see it.

This is the season to spread the rumor that there’s a war against Christmas. That the same cabal consisting of “them – the unnamed conspirators that are doing bad things” want to ban the holiday. That there are movements afoot to make Christmas trees into “holiday” trees and thus ban Christ in Christmas. Worse, that people will get angry and maybe sue you if you wish them a merry Christmas.

Has that ever actually happened? To anyone? Anywhere?

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It has never happened to me. I am not a Christian, but I like Christmas. It’s a nice holiday with pretty decorations, terrific music, and great lighting. Good food and drink and friends getting together to celebrate. What’s not to like?

I am an equal opportunity greeter. I will greet friends and strangers by saying whatever comes to tongue first. I have been doing this my entire life. Not once in all these decades has anyone objected to being wished Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday. Because people are not anti-Christmas. There is no war on Christmas.

There is a Constitutional, entirely legal (obligatory) separation of church and state. It suggests putting a crèche in the middle of town might be in poor taste or outright illegal, but is not a war on anything. It’s protecting my right to not be Christian while simultaneously protecting your right to go to the church, synagogue, mosque — or none of the above — of your choice. Separation of church and state protects all religions and non-believers equally.

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If you want to a crèche in the middle of town, ask the nearest church to put one on their property — if they don’t already have one (and I bet they do). Enjoy it at the church because that’s where it belongs. It’s religious iconography and is entirely acceptable in a religious context.

The United States is not a Christian country. It is religiously unaffiliated. Even though the majority of the population may profess to be some kind of Christian, this includes millions of people who never go to church. One of the many thing that are protected is your right to say your are a Christian or anything else without actually having to do anything to prove it. Freedom of religion is a wonderful thing. It means the government has no stake in your personal belief system as long as it stays personal and doesn’t involve bombing other sects or non-believers.

Which means you can say you are a Christian, never go to church at all, complain how Christianity is being threatened by the “freedom and politically correct cabal” (who don’t exist) and no one will ever ask you to show your bona fides. It’s a great constitution we have. If we ditched everything else but kept that first amendment, we might just be okay anyhow.

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If there’s a war on anything, it is on my right to not be Christian. Enforcing the first amendment is not a war. It’s what keeps us free.

Speaking of the first amendment, there is no law anywhere against greeting anyone in any manner you choose. The first amendment also protects your right to free speech including saying Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Or nothing at all. Whatever. It’s all good. I suggest the following response to any seasonal greeting: “Thank you!” Accompanied by a smile. Because someone is being nice and you should be nice, too. Now … that wasn’t so hard, was it?

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Despite Facebook, there is no war on Christmas. No war on free speech. If you spread the rumor that this is true, who knows how much damage you can do? Unless that’s your intention, don’t do it.

No matter what you believe, it’s time to stop sharing, tweeting, and re-posting stuff that’s supposed to be true without first checking to make sure that it is true. How about we stop letting other people’s opinions substitute for facts? How about not passing rumors? How about we all make a commitment to fact-checking as a matter of course? Because the damage we do by spreading lies, rumors, and half-truths — intentional or not — is incalculable. This is something you can do to make the world better without getting out of your recliner.

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If you don’t have time to check the facts, do not repeat it, share it, re-post it, publish it, or in any way pass it along. Unless you personally have checked the facts, assume it is not true. The world will be a better place no matter what politics you favor.

This is not an “us versus them” issue. It is a true versus untrue issue, a fact versus fiction issue. It affects everyone — including your children and grandchildren. Stand up for truth!

ALMOST LIKE ZEN: THURSDAY SPECIAL

The challenge is “concept.” The picture is …

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Tranquility and balance

Paula’s Thursday’s Special this week is “Conceptual Photography.” Which — for me — less an illustration of a concept, then a picture that embodies — or is itself — a concept. Many of the odd photographs I take are an attempt (more or less successful) to capture an idea, often of balance, or a counterpoint..

I took this one last night very late. I think I was more than half asleep and the original intention was to see if the camera would do a particular thing. It came without a manual, so although I’ve had it more than a year, I’m still discovering what it can do. The answer turned out to be “yes it can” and this is the result.

I would have posted it last night, except I fell asleep before I finished the post. Better late than never, right?

Thursday’s Special: Conceptual Photography