Why Joe Biden?

Distaste or disdain for one candidate is a terrible reason to vote for their opponent. I daresay it is how we find ourselves in our current situation.

We are led by an untrustworthy, churlish, unsophisticated, anti-intellectual, out-of-his-depth President with delusions of grandeur and little regard for the history or stature of the office of President of the United States.

I believe the demonization of Hillary Clinton—some of it self-inflicted—drove many to vote for Mr. Trump, with little regard for the consequences of such actions. The nonsense of a Deep State conspiracy gripping many Americans shows how rare analytical thinking—the ability to explore all avenues of an issue and separate facts from fiction—is among many of our fellow citizens.

Minds turned to mush by years of reality TV and rationality-sapping attention deficiencies—the dumbing down of America—has robbed many of the ability to think beyond a Tweet or a meme.

We are a country where common sense is as rare as unicorns. Yet one must find reasons to vote for a candidate, not just against them. I want to detail my own reasons for voting for Joe Biden rather than against President Trump.

The government of the United States is not a business. It is not a For-Profit corporation to be run for the benefit of stockholders, the enrichment of executives, or the empowerment of the party occupying the Oval Office.

Often, a President must make decisions in the best interest of the country even when it may go against the wishes of those who voted for him, or her.

That is the difference between a candidate and a President and that is the content of character one must seek out in casting your vote. Which person is best suited to transition from candidate to statesman?

In my humble opinion, Joe Biden has demonstrated the ability to move from candidate to statesman many times over his distinguished career.

The fallacy that America needs a businessperson to lead the government is just that, a fallacy. Businesspeople are zero-sum personalities, seeking an advantage over their competitors. In domestic and international affairs, such a narrow minded approach is a recipe for disaster.

Our government exists for three limited purposes; to protect our constitutional rights, to defend us from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to ensure the fair and equitable operation of our free capitalist economic system.

The immense sophistication of the government of the United States is not something one learns on the job. One must have elements of experience, a comprehensive understanding of history, and an intuitive level of decision-making ability tempered by strong analytical skills and the courage to make difficult choices in the best interest of the country.

Most critical, is the ability to work with those of the opposite political spectrum to reach those compromises which are in the best interest of the country, and the world.

Joe Biden brings years of government experience at the highest levels to the table. He has established both relationships and credibility with foreign governments, something we have lost to the most severe degree with the current administration. Consistent reliability was never more needed than in the pandemic now gripping the world.

America should be leading the way out, not foundering in misinformation and anti-scientific voodoo driven rancor. Joe Biden is the candidate best positioned to re-establish a sense of purpose and balance during this national crisis.

And more important than anything else, Mr. Biden is unafraid to admit mistakes, learn from them, and adapt to changing times. America has always had a greatness within her, but we have not always been great. The best leaders, those who make the best Presidents, are those who listen to their opponents and adapt when they hear good ideas, no matter where or who they come from.

That is the Joe Biden I see before us. A man who understands the most terrible of personal tragedies, the satisfaction of hard work for a job well done, and the joys of accomplishing great things.

A man from modest means who has accomplished great things.

Now Mr. Biden is not perfect, but he is unfazed by changing circumstances and willing to change with them, not resist them out of some whitewashed memory of the good ‘ole days. He embraces good and necessary change with an open mind, not intransigent stubbornness.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells

Seamus Heaney

 I wish it had been Mr. Biden four years ago who faced Mr. Trump. I have little doubt the outcome would have been much different. Those who drove the political decisions back then will answer to the inquiries of history as to their culpability, but looking back is only useful if we apply the lessons to the future.

Joe Biden is the answer for the immediate future of this country, and Kamala Harris is the long-term future for change. The many controversies roiling this country; economic, health, racism, changes within criminal justice, climate change, are matters that will take time, and experience, to resolve. Placing someone like Ms. Harris in the position of Vice President, with a front-row seat to profiting from Joe Biden’s extensive experience, will offer a roadmap to future endeavors.

Why Joe Biden? Because for all the reasons I just pointed out, he is the best solution to regaining American greatness and our leadership and place of respect in the world.


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History and Future: The Window of Lyrics

Music has always been an important part of my life. Serving as a soundtrack, memory anchor, and source of entertainment and inspiration.

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I am always fascinated by the way the human mind works, memory in particular.

Memory is a mystery. I often cannot recall things I did mere moments ago, yet I can recall the lyrics of songs I haven’t heard in decades.

The lyrics of the songs which have most influenced my life seem to lie just below the surface of my conscious brain, waiting for the first few notes of the melody to bring them bursting forth. I wonder if every generation has such memories.

This got me thinking of the lyrics of songs that made it to the top of the charts over the course of my lifetime. Curious if there was some commonality in the lyrics that made them resonate with us.

Looking at these revealed some interesting things.

I wonder if music, along with economics, social attitudes, and incarceration rates, can measure the health of a society.

I think the sixties marked the emergence from the euphoria of the victorious end of WW II and launched a new era.

In 1956, the year I was born, the number 1 hit was Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley. He holds the number 1 and 2 position for that year. I dare say Elvis resonates with many, foreshadowing the shift in American society coming just over the horizon of the 60’s.

In 1960, the number one song was The Twist.

Twist

Come on baby
Let’s do the twist
Come on baby
Let’s do the twist
Take me by my little hand
And go like this

Ee-yah twist
Baby, baby twist
Ooh yeah, just like this
Come on little miss and do the twist

My daddy is sleepin’
And mama ain’t around
Yeah, daddy just sleepin’
And mama ain’t around
We’re gonna twisty twisty twisty
Till we tear the house down

Once again, the opening lines of a change in the air. Still focusing on the pleasures of music and the freedom to let oneself go as you “…twisty twisty twisty. Till we tear the house down.”

The number 2 song of the 1960’s was Hey Jude and number 3 was Theme from a Summer Place. Of these three, it is the melody and lyrics of number 3 that resonate with me.

There’s a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I’m safe and warm
For within that summer place
Your arms reach out to me
And my heart is free from all care
For it knows…

…And the sweet secret of a summer place
Is that it’s anywhere
When two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams, all their love

The decade of the seventies, an important one for my friends born in 1956, began with one of the most iconic songs of all time.

Bridge over Troubled Water

…When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all (all)
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

The decade, from my perspective, didn’t end well musically. The number 1 song of 1979 was My Sharona. I had to look up the lyrics. The only part I could remember was the repetitive chorus.

…Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona
M-m-m-my Sharona

Hints of the descent into a dismal creative hell. Less elegant lyrics written without heart and soul.

1980, the beginning of the next decade, led off with a mixed bag. The number 1 song was Call Me by Blondie.

Cover me with kisses, baby
Cover me with love
Roll me in designer sheets
I’ll never get enough
Emotions come, I don’t know why
Cover up love’s alibi

Just doesn’t have the same effect as “Like a bridge over troubled water.” There was a hopeful sign with the number 2 song Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd, but by the end of the decade, the descent was out of control.

The number 1 hit of 1989 was Look Away by Chicago. Now I have always loved the music of Chicago, but this was not the same band. Cetera had left the group; the outstanding horn elements were missing. And the lyrics? Once again, I had to look them up.

When you called me up this mornin’
Told me ’bout the new love you found
I said, “I’m happy for you, I’m really happy for you”

Found someone else
I guess I won’t be comin’ ’round
I guess it’s over, baby
It’s really over baby, whoa…

A far cry from Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

By 1998 the demise of civil society was in full, raging rampage. Here are the lyrics to a song from that year. The song is called Ho. If this invokes a Christmas Carole theme in your mind, the words will dispense of it forthwith.

The artist is called Ludacris. And the lyrics? Well, they “speek fo demselfs.”

“Ho”

…You doin ho activities
With ho tendencies
Hos are your friends, hoes are your enemies
With ho energy to do whacha do
Blew whacha blew
Screw whacha screw
Yall professional like DJ Clue, pullin on my coat tail
an why do you think you take a ho to a hotel?
Hotel everybody, even the mayor
Reach up in tha sky for tha hozone laya
Come on playa once a ho always
And hos never close they open like hallways
An heres a ho cake for you whole ho crew
an everybody wants some cuz hoes gotta eat too

Somehow, I don’t see those lyrics inspiring anyone. If they are the soundtrack of the lives of some of our fellow Americans, then perhaps there is something to be learned in the words and melodies of our music history.

Everyone’s taste is different. A style that uplifts one may annoy another. There’s plenty of room in the world for all types of music. Every word written as a part of music doesn’t need to inspire or uplift or even be memorable.

Sometimes, just a catchy tune with simple lyrics is enough.

Yet, when we look at the overall level of literacy and language used within music. When we compare what once filled the musical airways with what came later. We may see something reflective of society.

And we may not like what we see.

 

Lost in On-line Addiction

There are one thousand four hundred forty minutes in a day, five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes in a year. On average we spend 1/3 of that time sleeping, leaving nine hundred sixty minutes a day, three hundred forty six thousand eight hundred ninety six minutes a year to do things.

When you think about it, it sounds like quite a bit. As you pass through your first few years, you can almost hear each second of the clock tick. With the passage of time, the sound is blurred, time speeds up, and each tick of the clock seems to represent a season, or a year, or a decade.

Einstein forgot to mention that not only is time relative, but it is accelerating. As a wise older man once told me, ‘monthly magazines come every three days.’

Being conscious of this aforementioned phenomenon of time acceleration, I decided to pay attention to the things I do with my time.

I created a little experiment I call Connectivity Impact; separating myself from the online world in toto and measuring the amount of time I could redirect to other things.

No email

No messaging

No social media

No surfing the net

I must say it has proven both refreshing and enlightening.

Here is the number of items waiting for my attention when I rejoined the world of connectivity.

845 emails all clamoring for my time.

I timed myself in opening several and reading them through. It took an average of 20 seconds. If I responded it added, on average, an additional 30 seconds.

Thus if I read all the emails (16900 seconds) and responded to only 10% (1690 seconds) it took about 300 minutes of time out of my life.  5 hours a week/260 hours per year. More than 10 days. Just for email.

Facebook: I had 45 Notifications/Messages/Friend requests. It took me 20 minutes to read through/respond. It was hard for me to tell how many newsfeed notices were there since I last checked, but holding the down arrow and watching the screen fly by so fast as to be unreadable, it took a full 2 minutes to get to notifications dated on the last time I checked. If I only took a second to look at them all and only stopped to read 10% of them I am estimating it would take at least 120 minutes. Thus Facebook took 140 minutes of my allotted time.

Twitter/Instagram/Linked in: Without going into more detail and further wasting your time, which is the whole point I am trying to make, it took 45 minutes for me to sort through it all.

If I went through the normal process of reading some, responding to some, deleting some, forwarding some, in the timeframe I was “off the grid,” it would have taken almost 500 minutes of my time. 8 1/2 hours.

Now we add in, just for arguments sake, 30 minutes a day surfing the net. That brings the weekly total to more than 10 hours per week doing nothing but staring at a computer screen reading, for the most part, senseless drivel. Out of all the emails I received, 25 required a reply for either business or personal matters. All the rest were mostly attempts to entertain, politicize, criticize or promote some meaningless point of view.

This was just for a 7-day period. Seven days! Over the course of a year, I would spend 520 HOURS reading email/Facebook/Instagrams/Twitter material without including net surfing, googling trivia, and watching YouTube videos.

Keep in mind, I do not work a traditional job (I write and it is a solitary endeavor) so I am not receiving work related emails. Unless you count rejection notices from publishers, but I consider them to be a source of inspiration.

I recall when I worked at Southwest Airlines there was easily 40 to 50 emails a day, most of which had to be read and at least 1/3 required responses. This doesn’t include cell-phone calls/texts. I have a cellphone. I use it only if I need to call or text someone, which is minimal. The time I spend on it is minimal. I know that is not the case for many, if not most, people. When I see people watching TV shows or movies on a phone I want to cringe. These things used to be something you looked forward to, now they are just something else to waste time on.

And I am also one of the few remaining people in this world who does not play Candy Smash or whatever the game of the moment is. That seems to be an even more insidious time thief.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating abandoning technology. I couldn’t reach as many people as I do with these posts without it. I am advocating that we take a hard look at what time we devote to these various technologies and seek a balance in our lives. Instead of watching videos, try actually doing things.

If you do the math, and extend to the numbers to a year, “on-line” takes 21 days of my time on an annual basis. For most people I am willing to say it is much, much more.

21 days of your finite time in this world. And that’s 21 full days, if you deduct sleep time, it takes about 29 days a year to deal with online activities. A month out of your life.

Seems like a lot of time to me to spend watching cat videos.

If you are of my generation, (interesting correlation to time acceleration is age relativity, I now consider sixty years old to be just a kid,) we didn’t have these issues to deal with until our thirties. My daughter’s generation has dealt with them almost from birth. Her children will deal with it from birth (Facetime/Facebook announcements/etc.)

This is not a plea for a return to the “good-old days.” Our perception of the good old days is often a twist on Shakespeare’s words “The evil men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.”

In the case of the “good old days” we remember the good, and gloss over the bad. These are the only days we have. That is what we need focus on.

I recognize there are some great benefits from this connectivity. In many countries, the internet is a lifeline to free expression and access to new ideas. There are posts from sites like Humans of New York which highlight the best of our diversity and sadly sometimes point out the worst of things we do to our fellow man.

But these are the exceptions, not the rule.

Perhaps if those of us in countries like ours, with open and free access to these worlds, understood the value and power of such technology we would use it more selectively. We would stop watering down the net with meaningless, nonsensical pleas and requests to “like” or “forward.” We could stop flooding the cyber-world with messages containing pictures of colorful sunsets, puppies in the snow, or horses dancing on beaches holding promise that you’ll receive money/blessings/etc. I am not a religious person, but I have read many of the books. Not one mention of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram as a vehicle for contacting the Supreme Being du jour.

Maybe he/she/they are off-line? Is it possible ‘god’ or “God” or the “Goddess” doesn’t have an email address? No Twitter handle? No Facebook page?

If that is what you seek or embrace, try using your mind and heart. Stop looking for quick fix Tweets to bring eternal salvation or to spread the word and tell the world of your devotion to a particular faith.

There are many who find a false courage in the deceptive anonymity of being online. This false sense of empowerment makes them willing to say things online they lack the courage to say in person. Used improperly, it turns even the meekest among us into bullies. Until they are found out.

When did having an online video go viral become a worthwhile goal?  Why would anyone admire someone who stood around and took a video instead of helping out? We’ve become a world of voyeurs seeking pleasure in watching others suffer and rewarding those standing idly by doing nothing.

Back to the numbers.

The life expectancy of my generation for a male is 82, (although I am hoping to exceed expectations.) This means, if I can believe my research, that I can look forward to spending 262 days of the 7030 days I have left on the following.

Answering emails, reading the latest Mark Z’berg giveaway nonsense believed by the dumbasses of the world, watching cat videos, listening to belligerent uneducated morons proclaiming their expertise on everything from military policy, to immigration, to police procedures, to the second amendment, to what they claim is the one true religion.

Draining my humanity one digital moment at a time.

On-line is a wealth of information, lacking the filter of knowledge and common sense.

To steal a line from one of the most profound sources of wisdom in the world today, coffee cup slogans, “Don’t confuse your Google search with my education and years of experience.”

I have returned to the world of connectivity. I look forward to the many benefits, now more cognizant of the risks and pitfalls.

Will I let it consume any more time than is necessary and practical?

I don’t f$&^ing think so.

(You can email a response to joe.broadmeadow@hotmail.com, Joseph.Broadmeadow@gmail.com, jebroadmeadow@gmail.com, Tweet to me at @jbroadmeadow, I am on Linked in and Instagram. You can comment here or my WordPress blog or ‘like’ or comment on my Facebook page.)

See what I mean? It is insidious.