A little Emily Post maybe…

I’m Just an Average Joe

I am heartbroken for our country. I want to respond in a world that only desires to react. I want to believe the best of our news media, when all they seem to care about is being first and ratings. I would rather the news media concentrated on getting the story correct, and broadcasting the truth with verified facts. Is that too much to ask? I long for humanity to be righteous and responsible, when the only thing people want is a scapegoat.

My wife and I had just crawled into bed when we first started hearing the news about the Black Lives Matter protest and a sniper taking aim on the police officers that were Protecting and Serving, those that were only there to protest against them. As the protestors ran away from the gunfire, men and women in blue uniforms ran towards the gunfire and stood between the protestors and the deranged man. Only later did we find out that he was bent on doing one thing, kill white officers. Yet, they all stood there between the danger and the public! Because that is just what police officers do.

I don’t understand this kind of hate, this kind of prejudice. Where does it come from? Who fans those flames of hatred? This is not what made America great. There has always been division in America, but we could always talk. Our Founding Fathers had great disagreements when composing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and our Bill of Rights, but they sat down in a room together and carved out every word, together. Why is together so hard to come by today?

I believe that part of the problem is that we have lost the ability to converse in a civil tone. We have lost the art of compromise and the use of logical reasoning. Everyone has dug in his or her heels and decided it is “my way or the highway!” Everything has become disposable. Peace is disposable, relationships are disposable, and the rule of law is disposable. Even our founding documents are becoming disposable. Like the Bible, only the parts “I” agree with are valid anymore.

How about we just get back to the basics of civility, a civil tone, a polite response, no raised voices and no name-calling or unfounded accusations? Can we try that for a little while and see how that works?

Can we?


Average Joe


Only two options?

Average Joe just pondering…

I know I don’t have all the answers. I am even pretty sure I don’t know all the questions! I’m also pretty sure many of the questions we all face every day, there are many answers. The world of politics and religion are all trying to convince everyone that someone has to be the only keeper of “truth”. Too many politicians and pundits are spending every waking hour trying to figure out how to prove someone wrong in 140 characters or less.

What really is “truth”?

That is a question that has been kicked around by humans ever since we figured out how to communicate! The first truth is always about who is God? Or is there even a God? Of this, one thing I am sure. No one really knows. No church, no religion, no belief system can provide a scientifically provable answer. Does that mean that there is no God? Well, I guess that will have to be one “truth” you decide for yourself.

In my world, I believe that God is, and the Biblical version and explanation rings truth to me. C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, also wrote a great book titled “Mere Christianity” that helped me become confident in my choice of truth in my relationship to who God is. Will I cut off your head if you don’t choose to believe as I do? No, I won’t. I won’t even try to convince you I hold all the “truth” there is.

American politicians all want to convince you that their version of “truth” is the only truth and if you don’t believe then you must be deceived, foolish or stupid. Every political party and politician is more than the memes and sound bites they popularize. I tend to agree with Mark Twain, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” There is some truth to be found in all of the political parties in America, but none has a monopoly on truth or the correct answer to every problem we face. One thing I am sure of, all politicians want you to think they are the ONLY one with all the answers!

Americans fall into way more categories than Republican or Democrat. I cast my first vote as a Republican and many more since then. Ronald Reagan was once asked why he left the Democrat Party and he responded, “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.” I feel that way about the Republican Party today, but would I call myself a Democrat? I’m not ready for that nametag yet. I am pretty sure many Americans feel the same way as I. Neither party makes us want to sign up and drink the Kool-Aid!

What do you believe?




Where are we now?

I’m just an average Joe.

I bet I am not alone either. I was born in the suburbs of a major city, the last of the “Leave it to Beaver” generation, the tail end of the Baby Boomers. My father was a first generation American and proud of his family heritage, but more so that he was an American. He never referred to himself as hyphenated American. He grew up speaking a language other than English, in fact a couple of languages because of the neighborhood in which he grew up, people spoke many languages. The last of six kids raised by fresh off the boat new Americans, my Dad watched his older brothers go off to World War II and when it was his turn he served in the US Army after the war. He was the only child to get a college education, thanks to a football scholarship and the GI Bill. He took the first job he was offered after he graduated and worked for that company for 25 years. As he was making his way up the corporate ladder in the 1950’s he met my mother, a country girl who moved to the big city to find her fortune. She was his secretary. Dad always kidded that she was such a lousy typist and he couldn’t fire her so he had to marry her to get her out of the office.

Mom was a real American, part Native American, her father had gone to an Indian School on the reservation and he fought in World War I. She loved my father with every breath she ever took and converted to his flavor of religion to marry him and raise his children. She took her job very seriously and raised five of us while my Dad packed his briefcase, tied his tie and left for the office every day.

I never got a medal I didn’t earn. I never got a grade I didn’t earn either. Neither did my brothers or sisters. No “participation” awards. We all worked hard to place so we could earn a medal or a trophy or make the team. When my teachers called home my parents didn’t call a lawyer or blame the school for our grades or misbehavior. We got grounded or our butts whipped and we didn’t make the same choice again!

I cast my first Presidential Election vote in 1980 for Ronald Reagan. My parents never told me if we were Democrats or Republicans, but I am pretty sure they voted for Reagan too. My Dad was a very successful corporate executive for a major American company and he believed in fiscal responsibility, honesty and working for a living. He got up and went to work every day. He encouraged all of us to go to college and he paid the way when I first took a stab at it.

Once I dropped out after my freshman year for a “really great bartending job” he was done paying my way and I was on my own. I knew that. I wasn’t mad about it and I didn’t hate my Dad for cutting off his financial support. I was an adult now and had to sink or swim on my own. It took me a while, but I did finally finish college.

I remember once talking about politics with my Dad. He told me that the federal government was so massive and so poorly managed that it was a disgrace to American businessmen. Executives that daily had to make tough financial decisions to create market share for stockholders and profits to stay in business. Failed business ideas are trashed, but failed government programs are renamed and their budgets get increased because some politician voted for the program to help his constituents.

I wonder what my Dad would think of our current Presidential debate season. Both parties offer nothing for Americans to really get excited about, but both parties have an outlier. Both parties, Republican and Democrat are bought and paid for by corporate interests and personal greed. Our system of government was not designed for the career politician to enrich himself at the public’s expense but “We the People” have allowed it to go on so long the servants of our Constitution that “We the People” elected to serve our better interests seem to think that we somehow serve them. They have taken the example of the greedy CEO’s in America and have chosen to fleece the sheep rather than stand at the gate as the sheepdog.

It is clear that Americans are fed up. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are evidence that more Americans are fed up than are loyal to the Democrat or Republican parties. My only question is what shall we call the party of most Americans. The Middle? Clearly more us stand in the Middle than to the right or the left. Both represent extremes that most Americans find offensive. There is more in the middle that unites us than divides us. Ideologies that breed extremists live on the fringes and Americans live in the middle. I propose a new political party. The Middle. What should we have for a platform?