Mses. Judd & Ciconne or Ms. Germanotto?

lady-gaga-super-bowlLast Sunday, I was about 2/3 finished with the weekly post I had planned for today when it was time for Super Bowl LI, so I put my writing down to watch the game. As always, I enjoyed watching the last game of the season for the professional-level component of my favorite sport, but this year, something else struck me more than the top-level performances of the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons — so I changed my game plan for this post.

As for my Super Bowl experience … During the commercial time out segments cleverly placed at opportune breaks in action during the game, I watched 30-second commercials that cost $5 million a pop and left me wondering what product had been advertised. Then, although I don’t usually watch half-time shows, I decided to watch this one. The star was a woman I would not have known if I’d seen her on the street that afternoon. Although the show was apparently very well done if you like that kind of thing, it sounded to me like an inaudible collection of gibberish that left me wondering what, if anything had been her basic theme [modern sound systems tend to drown lyrics out — in my ears, at least].

Given the resounding applause and apparent adoration of Ms. Germanotto’s [Lady Gaga’s] fans on the field [and in the stands], her performance was apparently a booming success. Because of her strong support for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election campaign, media pundits all week had been predicting that she would have some anti-Trump sentiments built into her show. Whether she did or not, I have no idea because, as is the case with most “music” [to use the term loosely] and sound systems these days, I simply could not distinguish enough of the words in most of her lyrics to make sense of them. Her opening, though, seemed at least a little encouraging because I did make out a phrase or verse of God Bless America and “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all” from the Pledge of Allegiance. It also contained a phrase or verse from Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land, which seemed fine to me until I learned later through some media reports that this has been a theme in anti-Trump protests around the country. But as best I could tell, there were no direct anti-Trump slogans — and interestingly, USA Today’s coverage said “but a political protest never arrived, as Gaga opted for patriotism and unity over making a divisive proclamation” [emphasis mine].

I guess this is the point at which I must confess, if it’s not obvious from what I’ve written in this post to this point, that I am apparently “old”. At 71, I don’t really think of most of my life being in the past [although mortality tables say that is the case], and I’m actually excited about what I’m doing [including but not limited to this web site and my blog posts] and look forward to where my current pursuits might lead. But if “young” people can extract meaning and significance [or entertainment, for that matter] from last Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials and halftime show, I am definitely not one of them, which means that I must be “old” … Q.E.D., as mathematicians would say after proving a theorem [Quod Erat Demonstrandum, Latin for “which was to be shown”].

One thing I did pick up on, unless it was buried in the difficult-to-hear-clearly lyrics, was the absence of vulgarities and vitriolic tone like what spewed out of the mouths of Ashley Judd and Madonna Ciccone in the 1/21/17 Women’s March.  So if Ms. Germanotto’s performance did include any of that kind of thing, my “oldness” mercifully shielded me from it. To the extent she intended the show as a protest against our President and I just didn’t pick up on it, my hat is off to her for rising above the kind of ridiculous profile exhibited on January 21 by Mses. Judd and Ciccone.

Anybody who makes anything other than unsupportive remarks about almost anything President Trump says or does these days is viewed by liberal media pundits as small-minded and unable to understand what a terrible thing his election is turning out to be for America.  When I say something positive about what he is doing, it is not a blanket endorsement of him, the person — his is definitely not the profile I would like the person in the White House to have.  But when I consider the other person who would have moved in had she won last November, and what the outlook would be now, I am elated. There would have been fewer perceived snafus than many believe have occurred in Mr. Trump’s first two weeks in office, but that would simply be because she would not have had to get anything done that quickly in order to maintain the status quo — not because she is a “better” person or would have been a “better” president.  The first two weeks of her administration would have been nothing but celebratory events touting the historic significance of the United States electing its first woman president, a very high percentage of media coverage dedicated to special programming about her life and many accomplishments, appearances by her on all the “respectable” Sunday morning shows, etc. Nobody would have expected her to actually accomplish anything in her first two weeks.

The 1927 poem Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann, contains this line: “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”. The poem’s name is Latin for “desired things”.  For those who share my Christian worldview, these excerpts from the Bible, viewed collectively in context with each other, convey the same sentiment: “No one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” [Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV]; “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose” [Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV]. “There is a time for every purpose and for every work” [Ecclesiastes 3:17 NKJV]; “The vision … will surely come” [Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV]; “[God] changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” [Daniel 2:20-21 NKJV]. Wise words for all of us to consider in the current environment.

Personally, I would prefer that Mr. Trump find ways to be less abrasive if [and only if] he could do that without compromising his clear conviction to do what he believes is right for our country. However, the odds are that the most militant of all the blocs and special interest groups that oppose him [supported by the liberal media through wide coverage], would still be second-guessing his every move even if he had done that part successfully.

I am seeing a major common element to all the demonstrating, the dis’ing from some of Mr. Trump’s remarks and actions by “establishment” politicians [even in his own party], and the insistence of media pundits [liberal and conservative alike] to try to filter everything he does through their traditional lenses [while turning a blind eye to new lenses they need to be developing in the rapidly-unfolding New Paradigm] — resistance to change, which is a natural human tendency. This is yet another manifestation of the major paradigm shift that is underway [see the page Major Paradigm Shift Well Underway at this site].

I, for one, want to give our new President the opportunity to do his job. I do not categorically endorse everything he says and does, but I respect the fact that he is the duly-elected President of our country, and I do believe that he truly desires the “great again” America he promoted in his campaign. I honestly hope we can soon get to a point at which more people see the situation that way and at least consider giving President Trump a little more latitude rather than making an issue out of practically everything he says and does.



Charles M. Jones

Illegitimate? Really?

On the eve of this day when we honor a man I believe was one of the greatest people of modern times, I was appalled when I saw news coverage of a sitting U.S. Representative saying “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president”. This statement came from John Lewis, the Representative from Georgia’s 5th District [which includes the Atlanta area], on NBC’s Meet The Press program.

Note. … I am nearing completion of my regular weekly post, and will publish it on the usual mid-week schedule. I simply could not let this deplorable situation pass, however, without at least expressing my very negative view of it.

I know what a Civil Rights icon Congressman Lewis is, and I know that if I were a better-known commentator I’d be excoriated in the media as a racist for saying this, but this man has greatly reduced his own stature in my eyes. Clear proof that Lewis’ remark was pure politics is the fact that he took the opposite position last year when taking issue with people speaking disparagingly of President Obama — “Even if Obama’s critics don’t like him as a person, they should at least respect the position” [2016 interview on CNBC].

I grew up in the Deep South [Louisiana], and my preteen through high school years were in the late 1950s to early 1960s. That piece of information would cause many people who don’t know me to think that I’m just another white man putting down on a black man. Although the times, and to a considerable extent the region, of my upbringing exposed me to the racial divide that existed in those days, my upbringing was one that rose above all that and caused me to be just as appalled over racist activities as anybody from the North or the Midwest could possibly have been. My father was a school superintendent, and by his words, his demeanor and his actions, he was responsible for all schools in the parish, not just the white schools. In the excellent home environment that he and my mother provided, I developed an attitude of respect for people regardless of their race.

I say that simply to say that my repudiation of Congressman Lewis’ remark has absolutely nothing to do with his race. In fact, he and many other [certainly not all] black people in leadership roles these days are responsible for what, in many ways, is a worse racial divide than the one of my formative years. But maybe this scenario can end up being constructive. One way that outcome could come about would be for a considerable number of black leaders to take the high road and put their country above their politics and their sour grapes and let this inauguration be what it is supposed to be — a celebration of the peaceful transfer of power that is a bedrock of our country’s system of government [interestingly, that’s the way Democrats described this week when they were confident last November of a Clinton victory].

So in the spirit of what our country has been and hopefully has not completely lost, and in remembrance of the great man we honor today and the hope that those of his ilk will prevail over those of Representative Lewis’ ilk, let me close by saying that I hope everybody reading this has had a happy Martin Luther King Day.


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Charles M. Jones

Revisiting “Hope and Change”

How’s It Working Out?

Hope and Change — Sound familiar?

Barack Obama’s theme in the campaign that resulted in his election in 2008 was “Hope and Change”. He repeated that theme over and over during the campaign, also saying “We are going to fundamentally change America”. Now, as he leaves office after an eight-year term, whether Americans have more Hope or less depends on which Americans you ask.  As for Change, few could argue that it has certainly come about on the ideological front and on the international stage [with many dissenters saying “OK, but not that kind of change”!] — but that on the political front, the establishment not only has not changed, it has gotten worse through even heavier polarization and entrenchment.

So is real change on the horizon now?

[and maybe I should add, “… And if so, will it be change for the better?”]

In a recent post in one of the blogs/sites I follow [], the author [a good friend of mine] pursued an interesting question: Will the Trump Revolution bring real change?. His post pursued the question from a Christian Worldview perspective, and as readers of my blog posts know if they have accessed applicable pages at this site, I share that perspective [see applicable links at this site: Who I AmWhy I’m Doing What I Do]. However, since I created this site to appeal to anybody who would listen to me regardless of whether or not they share my Christian Worldview, I’d like to take a shot at pursuing the same question from an “It is what it is” perspective, just applying simple logic to our Current Paradigm and [using what we have learned so far about it] the unfolding New Paradigm [for a refresher on the paradigm shift underway, see these pages at this site: A Major Paradigm Shift Well UnderwayElection Aftermath – 1].

When it became apparent in the final stretch leading up to the 2016 Republican convention that Donald Trump could actually become the nominee, I began to hear a lot more references to him [by Republicans] in which the term RINO [Republican In Name Only] was used. That term had been used early on in the primary campaigns to describe “mainstream” candidates like Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, John Kasich, et al [at that point, the prevalent thinking was that Trump was a flash in the pan and wouldn’t be in the “finals”; otherwise, those who used that term to describe Bush, Perry and Kasich [et al] would have called Trump a RINO, too, because although he didn’t fit into existing categories well, his positions on issues in the “core conservative mantra” were not strong enough to suit them].

I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term DINO used to refer to a person fitting the parallel profile in the Democrat party. My guess is that this avoidance [by Democrats] is intentional because of the potential attachment of the word DINOsaur to that acronym — which would create an imagery of obsolescence that Republicans could use as fodder in their campaign speeches. Be that as it may, the acronym is certainly applicable to “mainstream” Democrats [of which Hillary Clinton could be considered the poster child], and is no doubt thought of conceptually by far left Democrats [like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren] whether they articulate it or not.


For reasons I have stated in one way or another in several previous posts, I firmly believe that the two-party system in the Current Paradigm is definitely on the demise as the New Paradigm continues to move into place. The only thing that remains to be seen is how long it will take for that demise to be complete. I doubt that it will be complete during Trump’s first term, but if his radical approach to things continues, I do believe it could be completed within a second term if he is re-elected.

Under the scenario that can begin unfolding after Trump’s inauguration [which I hope will unfold], terms like RINO and DINO would be meaningless. That scenario would result in passage of major legislation that can fundamentally change the entire outlook for this country while concomitantly putting in place a sustainable long-term fiscal path. That scenario is within reach because the two-party system has already been damaged enough to at least open the door for resolution very soon of the gridlock issues that have made our government dysfunctional [see Dysfunctional Government at this site] for at least the last four to six years. Four things favor the scenario I’m projecting:

  1. Lack of a closely-aligned philosophical mindset within the Republican majorities. A nearly monolithic alignment would be necessary to overcome what will clearly be a solid alignment among Democrats against at least some, maybe many, Republican initiatives.  Far-right Republicans seem to have been learning very quickly that a far-right, ultra-conservative agenda will do nothing but make the Republicans fail at every turn even though their party now “controls” the House, the Senate, and the White House — and drag their newly elected president down with them. The math that computes to this situation is simple: moderate Republicans [RINOs in the eyes of some] will not go along with far-right initiatives, and far-right Republicans will not go along with more moderate agendas [and in the Senate, in situations where Democrats are voting in lock step with each other, it only takes three Republicans to side with them and block a bill].
  2. A more closely-aligned [albeit not completely monolithic] philosophical mindset within the Democrat minorities. The far left wing of the Democrat party does not so far seem as able to exert as much influence on that side of “the center” as is the far right wing of the Republican Party to exert significant influence on that side of “the center” — the result being that Democrats seem more monolithic than they actually are. As 2020 approaches, I expect this will change, and the “Sanders” part of the “Trump/Sanders Phenomenon” [A Major Paradigm Shift Well UnderwayBack To The FutureCome, Let Us Reason Together …] will surface again through some other candidate [e.g., Elizabeth Warren, or more likely, somebody of her ilk but much younger — or,  maybe even Michelle Obama].
  3. A 2018 mid-term election cycle that favors Republicans unless Trump’s first term is viewed as a disaster at that point [i.e., more Democrats than Republicans will be up for re-election in 2018, many of them in Republican states]. Based on what’s been in the media recently, it appears that Democrats are gearing up to make Trump’s first term as unproductive as possible, setting the stage [in their view] for major shifts to Democrats [particularly the Senate] in 2018 and 2020 and a White House win in 2020. If Trump’s first term is viewed negatively by most Americans in 2018, and no better or even worse in 2020, that strategy might prove successful. Conversely, if Trump’s first term is viewed as at least “OK” in 2018, and at least as good or even better in 2020, that strategy will seriously backfire and paint Democrats as obstructionists, possibly resulting in even more power flowing to Republicans.
  4. A President who does not think like practically all his predecessors have, and who may actually: a) threaten vetoes of some legislation even when originated by and supported by a majority of Republicans in both Houses; or b) support some legislation even when originated by and supported by Democrats but opposed by significant numbers of Republicans [but not enough to block passage].

Unfortunately, there is at least one potentially major “fly in the ointment” that may present significant problems vis-a-vis #1 above. At least three Senators [possibly more] probably have their sights set on a Presidential run in 2024 for sure, possibly in 2020 — Paul, Rubio and Cruz.  To the extent they see contentious initiatives as opportunities to exert disproportionate influence and keep themselves in the media, they may “take a stand” on some bills on the Republican agenda [Senator Paul has already done this during the very first week of the new Congress in casting the only dissenting Republican vote on the first bill designed as part of repealing the ACA — on the grounds that it does not contribute toward addressing the national debt crisis].

The stage is set …

The bottom line is that the stage is set, probably better than it has been in recent history, for good negotiators to get a lot done — and remember, the ability to negotiate well was a major theme in Mr. Trump’s campaign; it is also evident that he has filled Cabinet and other top staff positions with people he believes possess this ability. For initiatives that Democrats will probably be unified in their efforts to block [like repealing the ACA], Republicans will have to negotiate intensely among themselves if there is no clear consensus at the outset on the details [because in these situations, almost monolithic Republican support would be required in the Senate].  Furthermore, they cannot assume that Trump will sign all bills that passed both houses without any support from Democrats [which means they must have regular dialog with him during development of those bills to ensure that the versions heading to the finish line address any concerns he may have with them].

It will be very interesting to see whether there is early evidence [say, in the “first 100 days” everybody seems to be focused on lately] that the scenario I’ve described in this post is unfolding.  I hope it is.


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Charles M. Jones

What I learned as a Boy Scout

Over the past week, as my thoughts moved toward the new year before us, somehow they also seemed to pull from the past. At one point, a book that was popular in the 1980s came to mind: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten [Robert Fulghum, 1988]. That book was not about “knowledge learning”. It was about “things of life” learning that begins very early.  That moment of reminiscence, in turn, got me to thinking about a similar recollection in my own life.

I was fortunate to grow up in what most people today would call a “traditional” family, and in what many would call “Small-town America”. The value system this upbringing instilled in me is one that coincides very closely with the value system of our Founding Fathers — see Our Founders at this site.

It was this value system that generated my interest in the Boy Scouts of America. If you look at their Oath, their Law, their Motto, and their Slogan, it is easy to understand why an eleven-year-old boy with my upbringing would be attracted to this organization [my Boy Scout involvement was actually a natural progression from being a Cub Scout from age eight to age eleven].

I went on to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, that organization’s highest honor. I doubt that most people understand what is involved in achieving that rank as a Boy Scout, and what the mindset of a boy in his pre-teen and early teen years has to be to achieve that goal.  Nothing I could write here could produce that understanding, but let me say that a love for God and country is at the root of that mindset.

Although Scouting has in recent years yielded to the “Political Correctness” movement and deviated from what it was in my Scouting years, the basic tenets of Scouting offer much today that could help us become a better society than we are at this point in our history. 

Scout Oath.  On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight [the connotation of “straight” in this context is not what “the LGBT community” might attach to it today — it is much broader in scope].

Scout Law.  A scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Scout Motto. Be Prepared.

Scout Slogan.  Do a good turn daily.

Can you imagine how many of our problems would just go away if everybody displayed the attitude described in these creeds?

So How Is All Of This Relevant To Anybody But Me? …

In what I’ve written in this post to this point, I’ve tried to articulate a backdrop to saying what I believe are my responsibilities as a U. S. citizen [which I believe are the responsibilities of all U. S. citizens].

The path to the Eagle Scout rank includes a number of specifically-listed requirements, one of which [probably the largest in terms of difficulty and time required to complete] is earning 21 merit badges, about two thirds of which are required [the rest being elective based on individual interests].  Merit badge requirements vary, but on average I’d say the overall load on the schedule of a boy meeting Eagle Scout requirements is about like adding at least one additional middle-/high-school class to a full academic year, maybe more.

Three of the required merit badges were Citizenship in the Home, Citizenship in the Community, and Citizenship in the Nation.  I was reminded of this recently when I read an article in the [Nashville] Tennessean about a bill currently under consideration by the Tennessee House of Representatives that would make passing a civics test a requirement for high school graduation.  And get this … the test would be the same civics test administered to immigrants looking to become U.S. citizens!  It seems unconscionable to me that we require immigrants seeking U. S. citizenship to know more of the basic rudiments of our government and how it works [ostensibly] than we do of a young citizen just entering the ranks of the voting population! If you’ve ever watched Watters’ World or [until he retired] Jay Leno’s Jaywalking segments on The Tonight Show, you can see that this lack of emphasis in our educational system has produced a generation of people who don’t have a clue about their government.

So, with the backdrop I’ve tried to present to this point, I believe every U. S. citizen has, at a minimum, the following responsibilities:

  • Learn, if they don’t know it already, at least the information on the civics test administered to immigrants looking to become U.S. citizens — preferably many times this very basic level of knowledge in civics.
  • Regularly pay attention to news [being careful to evaluate sources] and keep themselves informed on local, state, national and international matters.
  • Prepare for every election available to them — read candidate platforms and decide in advance which ones most closely align with their value system and their philosophy on government’s role [and ignore, to the extent possible, all negative mud-slinging ads].

{Note. … In this regard, it can be helpful for an individual to identify advocacy organizations which he/she trusts and which are aligned with his/her value system and philosophy on government’s role, and use the research data and recommendations provided by those organizations in his/her assessments of candidates for office. However, caveat civis [let the citizen beware] definitely applies here — an individual trusting an organization in this way should know it very well; many advocacy organizations purport to be one thing in order to gain appeal, but actually have much different philosophical views than their names and public profiles might portray.}

  • Vote in every election available to them — local/municipal, county, state and national.

To me, these are the basics that apply to every citizen. The propensity for more active, perhaps intense, involvement will vary greatly by individual. I’ll close with just a few examples of ways in which a person who is so inclined can act on that inclination: write opinion letters to his/her local newspaper; express his/her opinions on issues of the day in discussions with friends; be an advocate for candidates for office who share his/her values; encourage people he/she knows and respects to run for office; consider running for public office; join a political party; help with a campaign; join a civic group; join a community group; give an elected official your opinion on an issue; call senators and representatives; publicly support or oppose an issue or policy.



Charles M. Jones

An Introduction To

According to experts on blogs, if I’m going to capture your attention with this, my introductory blog post at this site, I must do so in the next few sentences. I sincerely hope I can do that, … read more

According to experts on blogs, if I’m going to capture your attention with this, my introductory blog post at this site, I must do so in the next few sentences.  I sincerely hope I can do that, because I honestly believe I have a perspective on “goings on” in America that makes me more than just another blogger in the [insert your own adjective: Liberal; Conservative; Republican; Democrat; White; African-American; Asian; Gay; Straight; Religious; Non-Religious; Wall Street; Main Street …] Camp. This country is on a path to a future that the vast majority of its citizens will find very undesirable — from many perspectives, but although I see the country [just as anyone else does] through the lens of my ideological worldview, the financial situation will ultimately make all ideological considerations moot if we don’t develop the political will in our leadership to get ourselves onto a more sustainable fiscal path.  If you don’t agree with me at this point and your interest in what I have to say is waning, PLEASE consider the possibility that there may actually be something to my claim of potentially bringing a broader — perhaps even unique — perspective to the endless stream of opinions from bloggers in the various camps mentioned parenthetically above, and at least read the rest of this introductory blog post before making a decision to move on to something else.  If you agree with me to this point, I’d like to assume that you will at least read the rest of this introductory blog post [if that assumption is incorrect, all I can do is ask you to PLEASE reconsider — for the same reason]. Continue reading “An Introduction To”

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