As 2018 sputters to a halt and the dawn of 2019 appears on the horizon, I am minded of many hopes and dreams that I have invested in the coming year. This year has been one of awakening and as a result, it’s been a year of wild discontent. What do my hopes and dreams for 2019 include? #1: Financial Security- I need a job ( a career, really) that will allow me to pay my bills and make my own way in this world. My current job as a retail associate is not only unsatisfying, but after four years of hard work and zero opportunities for advancement, it’s been emotionally heartbreaking and psychologically deadening. I need to go out and live on my own again. #2: Social Life- I love my church and my coworkers are generally pleasant to work with, but every time the day ends, I go home to my green room full of books and walls that have icons on the wall. That is all very well, but it increases the loneliness factor. Few coworkers advance in grade to that of friends and that may be expected, but disappointing. I need to get into a situation where I’m with people who want to socialize with me and who are not forced to just so they can get a paycheck. #3: Romantic Involvement- See social life. I’ve been single for far too long and my eyes might alight on inappropriate situations for a man of my age and experience. Loneliness can greatly cloud and obscure one’s better judgment. I’m sick of being alone, but I won’t settle for another toxic relationship that will end in a period between three months and seven years. #4: Travel- I would like to travel to New York or Boston sometime this year. Most of my travels heretofore have been confined to the South and I am a little curious about what the food and culture of the North is like. #5: Weight Loss- I intend to embark on an exercise regimen that will allow me to lose weight and perhaps develop needed confidence to work for all those things I’ve mentioned earlier. #6: Inner Peace- The turmoil that has built up in me since 2014 has got to go. I’m going to continue in therapy and perhaps increase my meditation. I’ll start expecting more from myself and less from others. These are all realistic goals. I will have to work to achieve them, but I’m willing to do the work. When 2020 comes around, I hope to be a bit more evolved in my thinking and assertive in my attitude.
The World Is Changing … These days, I think that we can all agree that the world is changing. Not only are we changing as people in terms of the way we think and how we act, but we are changing our behaviors and what we find valuable and important as well. Several years ago, many people would not have thought twice about smoking a cigarette, it was something that was accepted, and dare I say, even cool. But now, times have changed. People are becoming more and more conscious of what they doing on a day-to-day basis. Many people are trying to stay positive and happy, to work out and not only look good, but feel good as well. Health and wellness has taken a huge upturn in the right direction, and overall, it seems that many people and the entire world as a whole is going through a type of shift, an awakening shift if you want to get technical. Now, what this all boils down to is the world is not like it was 100 years ago, it is not like it was 25 years ago, and it’s not even like it was 10 years ago. Today, on the cusp of 2019, the majority of people are changing and deciding that they want to do better, both for themselves, for their children, and for their children’s children. Veganism – The Beginning Of A New Era While people changing what they say and what they think is one thing, it is not everything. The most influential thing that has changed as of late, more than anything else, is what people are choosing to eat and cook. What once was common practice (eating meat), is now, for many people, disgusting and grotesque. What once was something that not many people thought much about (drinking milk that comes from a cow), is now something that many people think twice about, and others just refuse to do altogether. Yes, what I am talking about is veganism. Veganism is truly the dawn of the new day. It is the next revolution and the start of something big. The reason why veganism is such a big deal is because it is not just about a specific diet, or a choice for someone to eat meat, dairy, etc. or not, it is an entire lifestyle and mindset change. Veganism says a lot, not only about the world we are living in, but about the people in it as well. To be fair, for the greater part of history, especially in this country, people were pleasure-based. They did what felt good at the moment, and what they wanted to do to feel good later and for as long as possible. They did whatever they needed to do in order to quell their burning desires for pleasure. All that anyone wanted to do was to feel good, and that meant at whatever cost necessary. While it worked out well for a while, especially during the pleasure-seeking phase of the 80’s, there were costs to this self-validating behavior. Not only did people find themselves getting too much too soon, but they found themselves with so much excess, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. They started to gain weight, get sick, and become more and more unhappy. The environment was also suffering, animals were dying, pollution was rampant, and crime started to increase. This was until a new ideal started to come along, the ideal that maybe too much excess is not really a good idea. That maybe less is more and better is not always seeking the most pleasure possible. This is when the minimalism movement crept in, smoking cigarettes became something that was not only ‘not cool,’ but actually, pretty bad. Many people started to realize that the secret to happiness was not in pleasure-seeking, but in helping others and even doing without sometimes. While not everyone is on this wavelength currently, there are many people that are. And, this specific vibe has continued on and grown much bigger as time moves along. First, it was all about excess, then it switched to being about simplicity, then mindfulness, and now veganism. While veganism is a certain way of eating, it is actually much more than that, and that is why it is the start of this new world that we are all living in, the end of pleasure-seeking, and the beginning of introspection. Veganism As A Mindset So, here we are today. After the long history that we have had in this country pertaining to excess and gimme more, more, more, many people have taken it upon themselves to do less, less, less. They want to look good, they want to feel even better, and they care not only about what they obtain, but who they help; and this is the vegan way. Even if the majority of people are not vegan now, they are still mindful of their place in the world and the effect that they are having on the environment and the animals and people in it. A vegan mindset is that the world is not only about me, but about you and I, and us as one. In it’s true definition, veganism is defined as consuming or using no animal products. That means, no meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, or even honey. So, anything that comes from an animal or is an animal is off-limits to a vegan. And, the reasonings for this are varied and widespread, but the choice is clear. When someone refuses to eat or use any animal product, they are making a statement. Even if they are doing it for purely health reasons, they are making a statement that they are not going to participate in the killing or needless torture of any living being. With veganism, there is no reason to eat or use any animal products when we humans can survive on other foods. Really, what’s the point? And, if someone says because it tastes good, well, then they just aren’t getting the point of the new world that we live in, and the idea that we are no longer a pleasure-based narcissistic society, but one that is rooted in caring for others and helping each other whenever possible. So, take it upon yourself to educate yourself on what you mean to the world and the living beings in it. What do you want to be defined by? That is truly one of the most important questions you could ask yourself. Fruits and vegetables, the cornerstone of a vegan diet
But, to know if what I just said is racist, we must go to work in a country that has anything but English for a language but, where all the other variables are the same, like being overworked and under the gun.
KindleKindle E-Reader This essay will cover Mr. W. Cleon Skousen’s seventeenth principle as outlined in his book, The 5, 000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World ( pp. 205- 215). While James Madison and the other framers of the Constitution agreed that the powers of the government should be divided three ways ( Executive, Legislative and Judicial), they also intended that each division should have a system of checks and balances put in place to curb the powers of the other two divisions ( pp. 205- 07). These limitations that each branch of government would impose on the other two branches would function as a guarantee that no one branch would be able to interfere with the proper functions of the other two branches. When the system of checks and balances are actively enforced, this will mean that each branch will be able to perform its specified function while leaving the other two branches free to do toe same. When checks and balances are not actively enforced, then the chain of command is disrupted and the effectiveness of all three branches are weakened ( pp. 207- 08). The failure of our government in recent years to respect the checks and balances provided by the Constitution has seen the steady erosion of not only the functions of government, but also the confidence of the people in that government ( which is actually meant to answer to them). We see the President pass ” Executive Orders” and the Judiciary bypassing Congress altogether in their eagerness to legislate their own laws, thus rendering Congress ( our supposed ” Legislative” Branch) to be little more than puppets of the Executive and Judicial branches, with little say of their own ( 210). Ultimately, all power is derived from the consent of the people, which is why we send elected officials to Washington, D. C. in the first place. The House of Representatives and the United States Senate serve as the representatives of the people who elected them to their offices and they check each other in the introduction and ratification of laws. The Executive and the Legislature supposedly check each other with built in checks that prevent undue interference of one branch into the other ( pp. 211- 12). The Supreme Court, our Judiciary Branch, has its own system of checks and balances put in place. I would call it the not inconsiderable ” power of review,” to method through which they determine whether or not the laws they are being asked to confirm are actually in accord with the Constitution or not. The Judiciary itself is checked by the Congressional right to remove from office those Justices suspected of abusing their powers and the right to limit the extent of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The President, on his part, may appoint certain qualified Justices to the Supreme Court ( 212- 13). When the government realizes that its checks and balances have been neglected, there is a provision in the United States Constitution for a peaceful transfer of power to those who would be more diligent in protecting our constitutional government from violations that grow ever more flagrant the longer that damaging issues remain unaddressed. President Nixon was impeached and his cronies charged and in many instances imprisoned because they violated their mandates and sought power that was beyond their Constitutional scope ( 214- 15). To conclude, it’s rather obvious that the government we have now is in serious need of reexamination and overhaul. The decline began during the Clinton administration and has continued at an accelerating pace since. The Constitution of the United States of America is still the Supreme Law of the Land and in that rests our hope for federal reformation and renewal.