A Crisis Turning Point

 

A New and Terrible Crisis

Have we reached the crisis turning point for America? With each crisis previously it seemed we might face a major problem but the corrupt leaders in our government blocked it time and time again. Will they be able to do it again or will the American people arise.

Seeking a Focus and Direction

After the recent tragedies it is clear we have to face the issues for what they are. One of the things being proposed is that we have what is called “red flag” legislation That means we would be alerted to unstable people so there could be intervention and prevention. It is also proposed that we have improved mental health services.

Not Primarily a Mental Health Issue

We need improved mental health services but mental health is not the central issue. Psychologist Here!  What we are seeing is a country beset by racism and corruption. As to the racism, the fundamentals are social issues, not mental health issues.

Take a look at what happened to Germany in the twentieth century. Due to a variety of unfortunate errors and circumstances they were led into war and a terrible defeat in World War I. The prevailing powers failed to respond with the need to help them recover to a stable form of government. The ongoing suffering was terrible and led to the rise of Naziism. The people of Germany had been victimized and it led to even more carnage.

A Markedly Authoritarian and Unstable President

In this country we must face the reality of our circumstances and this is not a mental health crisis. Surely we need to pay attention to unstable individuals but our first view needs to be of a president who is unstable, deeply pathological and is validly described as a Narcissistic Sociopath. He is supported by corrupt people around him and in his party. The president is seeking to drive us into an authoritarian state for his own personal benefit.

Facing Social Issues and Corruption

It must be emphasized that the instability and racism we are seeing is a social phenomenon. Humans are social creatures and can be herded into this type of malfunction and we must face it for what it is. The corruption must be dealt with and we need to combat social malfunction leading to violence and racist outbursts. People need to be educated and guided as we build relationships that will lead us to a better day.

We have a lot of work to do. The Republican Party I grew up in has been replaced by a corrupt party. The fact is we need a functional two party system. At present we are down to one. The work ahead will be difficult but must be done. With an unstable America the world is in jeopardy.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Beyond Politics to Essential Vision

 

In this seemingly endless era of pre-election scuffling I’m getting very restless.  Yes, we know the stakes in this election could not be higher given the fact that we have a pathological president and a world in growing chaos. But I would very much like someone to come forward to focus strongly on vision regarding the way ahead.

Stuck in the Mud

Recent elections have made me increasingly restless and I find myself looking back in time. I was very young when World War II ended but it quickly became clear to me that we had been through terrible decades of war and depression. Suddenly a new world was opening. Survivors of war returned home, married, started families and Eisenhower, a man of substance and vision, began to build a magnificent road system for our country. We had renewal and hope for the future. 

Before long we entered a new era of struggle with a focus on civil rights and renewal. In recent decades there have been fits and starts but currently we are failing to direct our attention to what is needed for our future. We seem to be embroiled in petty squabbles. Yes, the reasons are complex but often with a petty focus. It may well be that it is we the people who are going to have to pull us out of the mud.

It’s Not Politics!!!

If we are going to reduce America’s malaise to any one thing, I would suggest we call it corruption. We used to have a much more functional Republican Party – to put it politely. And honestly I wish Democrats would focus better on an elevating view.

Above all I want to shout “It’s Not Socialism!”. When a proposal is made, those opposed often declare the proposal is socialism. Here are just a few issues.

Health Care – I spent my adult life as part of the health care system as a psychologist. I won’t go into my long book of complaints. Rather I think the fundamental issue is that our health care system is among the poorest in “advanced” nations. Whatever advanced means. It doesn’t matter if it is physical or “mental” health, everything needs a lot of work and I’m not seeing the intensity or focus needed.

Child Care – In case people have failed to notice, children are our future. Now that our economy is more complicated, women have joined the workforce and the early years require more kinds of resources to begin our children on their way. Again, this is a complicated issue but definitely has nothing to do with “socialism”.

Infrastructure – Do I really need to go into this? From roads to the power grid we need to get to work. How can anyone declare no work is necessary or that getting the job done would take us away from democracy and basic enterprise.

Jobs – Then comes this little beauty. I was thrust into working on the job arena early in my career. With the pace of technological change the job world is changing rapidly. What we know and is being ignored because of political manipulation is the fact that people can be evaluated and retrained for a variety of jobs that are going begging. Humans are complex and do not really slot into working class and professional. That guy over there shoveling dirt may well have hidden wonderful talents. 

Enough!!

I’ll stop with those examples. There is no need to go deeper. It is not, or should not, be a matter of politics. Dismissing these issues as related to politics is putting a knife in the back of our future. It is time to focus, evaluate, study and direct our resources. Oh yes!! And its time to address the corruption which has become rampant throughout our society.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Studying Our Future

 

Being Taken Back

This past weekend has highlighted essential problems in our country. But what happened does not stand alone. Yes, we have a racist president who is fomenting hatred and discord.

But there is a larger context. I have been choking back tears the last few days. I am buffeted by conflicted feelings. I find myself reeling back to the 1960s when there was deep conflict and commitment to change and reform. At that time I was working on the impoverished streets of inner city Baltimore.

A Difficult Reality

I had just finished my studies at Duke University and was still deeply troubled by the entrenched racism I had experienced in North Carolina. This privileged young white man had, for the first time, experienced personally directed racism because he was a “Yankee”. My impression of entrenched problems has been enduring.

When I went to Baltimore I have to say I was an innocent. The idea of bringing mental health services to those people was alluring. And then came the reality of poverty and the meaning of life on those streets. 

On The Streets

Not everyone came to an office for help. We went out to their homes frequently. When I went to a building I learned that the facade told me little but I could know something about what things were like inside by the condition of the front door. At times I also went to the high rises. Often the elevators weren’t working so I would stop at the base of the stairs look, study, sniff and listen for clues about activities in the stairwell. 

Fortunately I had some good people around me to offer guidance and advice. And often they were women and together we fought the entrenched special interests of older white men who had little commitment to our mission but were committed to their own privilege and aggrandizement. The commonality of what is happening in our country now is stunning me. In that focused sense nothing has changed.

A Danger Point

I also must say from my decades long perspective that I see us at a serious danger point. It can be focused nationally but also at the world level. Suddenly after this last weekend we are gaining clarity about special challenge in America. Will we respond or will racism and corruption continue to rule? 

I didn’t realize it at the time but fundamental themes I have experienced in life directed my fiction writing in the Gaia’s Majesty Series. As I’ve said before, empowerment of women was central but so too was the corrupt rule of older white men. And now that I am an older white man, my commitment to our future and overcoming detriments to our future has not abated.

Transformation and Challenge

The third book in the series is called Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation and transformation is the key word I am looking at in our present crises. We can descend into decades of war and utter destruction as we have before or we can rise up with renewed commitment such as we saw in the 1960s. Now that men can ally themselves with women in a committed alliance we have the chance to have an important transformation which will benefit not just America but the world. Our leadership in the world is being sabotaged and it is essential that we take it back.

Are we up to the challenge? Will we seize the promise of our future?

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

It’s Not Politics

 

An Opening Comment

My plans for this blog were originally related to a desire to publicize my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy, a work of magical realism. Two major themes in the series relate to a growing world crisis and the other to the empowerment of women. It is said I should not endanger the promotion of my series by making other comments. Well, I’ve had it. I cannot stay back from commenting on disgraceful events in our country presently. I have a history in which I dealt with Baltimore poverty, southern racism, drug abuse, employment issues and beyond. Part of the time I”m going to address these issues. Some people may take offense. So be it. Others, I hope will be engaged by the reality of the struggles of our country. America has been a noble experiment and must be defended.

Facing Truth and Reality

Listening to the news suggests that politics is the only thing going on. Everything is reduced to or connected to politics.

Here is one definition of politics –    the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

A Broader Perspective

Granted politics can affect many components of our lives but we need to address issues specifically because much of what affects our lives is not defined by politics. Do you have enough money to live on? How do you like your child’s pediatrician?

When you address specifics, distinct issues emerge. They may not relate to politics or may only in some fashion. But what is happening to people is that they are being split into factions seemingly at war with each other. And linking everything to politics increases the division and in the end makes many people turn away from dealing with specific matters needing attention. When they turn away and turn off they tend not to vote and work on crucial issues. We need to come back to dealing with the issues in our lives.

Broad Issues

The wealth of our country has been flowing to a smaller and smaller number of people who already have great wealth. More and more people are joining the ranks of who we call “The left behinds.”  I was part of the health delivery system in my career and we have a markedly inefficient and unfair system. It needs to be modernized or we will fall even farther behind the rest of the world. The job world is changing and we are failing to look at what is emerging and how we can help our citizens adapt and join the new work forces. In another post I have addressed a lot of those issues.

Then There Is Morality

This is the issue that has absolutely grasped my attention. There are now a great number of corrupt people who are grasping at power at our expense. They fall in every level of business and government. What is truly troubling is that they are now engaging in their corruption openly in ways many of us would never have expected. And with many of our people turning away they are creating a corrupt, immoral society I never would have expected. This is not the America I thought we were and we need to turn back and drag these people down and that often should mean sending them to prison.

The Bottom Line

At base we need to rise to the defense of our country and our future, not to mention our children and grandchildren. The terrible immorality and corruption we are seeing on the national stage is terrible to see. Are we a people who are willing to tolerate publicly abusing children and tearing families apart. There are sub issues but just what we see on the surface makes me shudder and wonder who we have become.

I didn’t realize it at the time but when I began to write my Gaia’s Majesty series I was responding to the corrupt power elite in this country. And with my lead characters, including the warrior women called the Andromeda, I was attending to the empowerment of women.

In our day to day lives it is time for us to look at who we are, study issues aside from politics, make plans, dig in to do planning and above all return to who we thought we were.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

The New Millenials

 

What is your age group called?

Making Noise

I’m from what is called the Silent Generation but it seems I can’t keep quiet. My commitment now is to an entirely different generation. They are called the Millenials. Once upon a time I was of that age and the cadre I traveled with was not so silent. So let me speak in behalf of the Millenials.

A common viewpoint is that age brings wisdom. Seriously? I am not impressed by the evidence to support that contention. Experience, perhaps. Wisdom. Not so much.

The Wisdom at Awakening

I was to learn about wisdom. When I was hired for my first job after I got my Ph.D. at Duke I went to Baltimore in 1967. The community mental health movement sounded interesting and groundbreaking. Using a public health model, we were to bring mental health services to all the people of our country. Nice try!

Then came the awakening I could never have expected. To be blunt, effective leadership was lacking. Or at least their concept of leadership was a foreign language to the twenty somethings on the line of delivery. We huddled as we developed services and were not impressed by the seniors. Our particular unit was headed by a psychiatrist (of course!) and he was fairly clueless in our estimate.

Dedicated to a Mission

The people who had hired us made a significant error. They hired young people who loved new ventures. We were dedicated and could think. Bad. Bad!

Now granted, many of us were finding our way into a new field of endeavor. They called it mental health but it was being done differently. Or at least we wanted to do it differently. We were a diverse lot. Many of us banded together while some others chose different courses. One of the early radicals later became a dedicated creature of the establishment. One other fellow was fired. (An appropriate term because he became a radical who engaged in arson.)

Frequently the young staff went off the radar and developed new slants and we really, really got into the community. We even managed to engineer the hiring of people from the community we served so they could work with us.

Dedication Versus a Form of Venality

What’s the bottom line? We developed a very effective system for intervention, responded to the needs of these impoverished people and learned effective means of passive aggressing the establishment rather than engaging in confrontation so that we could deliver truly effective services.

The powers that were wanted not be disturbed, assumed obedience by their lesser colleagues, lived for status, wanted continuity of the established system, reveled in the status afforded by a new type of grant and wished unfettered use of the money. We wanted an effective mission.

In the end the establishment won. Yes, some of the hires from the community actually retired form the jobs which was an enduring victory of sorts. But, in the end, the services were sabotaged.

Bonding With and Empowering the Millenials

What did we learn? A great deal. We learned how to deliver truly effective services to an impoverished community and allied ourselves with them. And one of the things I learned is that we need to listen to and engage the young people now called the Millenials. Our current young adults have been dismissed as not interested in what needs to be done politically and otherwise. My brushes with them suggest something different. Look at who was standing in line in Wisconsin to vote. Millennials! And now look at who is fighting for effective gun control!

They are there. Many are quietly angry and frustrated. Only now are they beginning to show up on the streets. We need to recognize them and that this is their future and we old farts need to form a union with them. The coming demographic changes of all sorts are in our favor and we can win this fight. Now we need to band firmly with the Millenials.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Nicolai Redux

 

Sunset and fellow photographer at the beach

I’ve posted previously about my friend from graduate school, Nicolai Khoklov.

Let me review. One day at Duke University I was introduced to a new graduate student by the name of Nicolai. His heavy Russian accent was intriguing. Later it came out. He had been the head of the KGB for Eastern Europe and finally, after much soul searching, he defected.
The story is dramatic. Our intelligence service was to get his family and take them out of the country when he went on Radio Free Europe to announce his defection. They didn’t do it and he lost them forever. Later, when he was in Germany, Russian intelligence tried to poison him with a radioactive substance. He survived. That’s the drama.

The Truth Is Spoken

Then there is the other part. One evening Nicolai talked at length about his experiences. The key words he uttered in conclusion were – “You think it is like James Bond. It is, in fact, like Get Smart.” (For the younger generation, Get Smart was a television show which satirized intelligence services.)

Nicolai’s words continue to resonate with me. Especially in our current political environment. What we are seeing displayed is incompetence, disregard for country and corruption among many other things. What we are showing the world is embarrassing.

How Are We To Assess This Specter

Nicolai’s story resonates. In this campaign season, we may dismiss the show as a form of comic opera or are we seeing life as it is? Many of us are shocked at what we are seeing, but, is the truth that this was there all along and we have not seen or experienced it this openly?

Get Smart was meant to be funny but what we are seeing now is anything but funny. Or is it that we should be honest with ourselves and that we are seeing fundamental truths about humanity? It is sobering to realize that these kind of beings were there all along and we need to attend to the fact of their existence. Maybe the recognition is uplifting and useful.

Remember, Nicolai’s job was to safeguard the underbelly of the Soviet Union in Europe. He was to gather intelligence, kill people if necessary and build an underlying defense force for his country. In the end he felt it was all a lie and his job violated his sense of humanity. And so he followed the guidance of his conscience. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more politicians with his integrity.

Another Form of a Reality Show

The lesson for us is that this is not comic opera. It is reality and it is often dysfunctional and displays the faults and frailties of humanity in its worst forms. We may laugh, but often should cry at what is revealed. Will we see ourselves for who we are including our vulnerability and what is lurking under the surface. That, in itself, is valuable.

Get Smart was for fun but as is often the case with comedy, it displays lessons to which we need to attend. Again we come back to our view of reality. We have to decide how we interpret the events of this season and what we do with it is another matter. And to me Nicolai is a role model. Is it up to us collectively to bring this under control?

What have you concluded?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Part 4 : Our Nation in Crisis

Our National Turmoil

The People’s Business

Each morning when we turn on the television we are greeted with coverage of a pathetic and terrifying political scene of a Washington in disarray. Certainly there has always been a dark side to politics and inspiring leaders with wisdom are often not too common. There is an important question. “Would it be possible for us to have a representative democracy?”

There are ongoing hints of deeply rooted corruption and authoritarianism. The unwise Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court simply deepened the corrupting influence of money in government. There is a seemingly endless conflict about health care. Every other developed country has a more efficient and less costly system. Perhaps it’s time to get back to pursuing the people’s business and needs.

No Paucity of Vital Issues

We have come to the point where we are seeing everything through partisan political views. But before us are numerous issues needing to be solved and they should not be partisan.

One frequently mentioned issue is the plight of what we call the Left Behinds. In fact, we have many groups of them. Most often mentioned are the people of the Rust Belt. There are many other groups.

When I came to Maryland, Baltimore was a city approaching a million people and now it is a city moving down toward six hundred thousand. People moved out, jobs disappeared and the population suffered from a multitude of issues.

In Appalachia the coal era has been coming to an end. No, we can’t bring coal jobs back. The reasons are numerous and inevitable. Among them is the fact that clean, renewable energy has become economically viable.

We say we are having a heroin epidemic. The problems are much deeper and broader but rarely do we hear clear statements. It is a complex issue and requires complex answers. It is not merely addiction, there are societal and economic roots.

I’ll leave the list there for now.

The Need to Debate Responses

Instead of evaluating responses to our needs, we seem to be focused on political turmoil. Political parties serve useful purposes but are not an end in themselves. The keys may be found in representative government. Perhaps we need to be representing the needs of constituents and working to make compromises born of an understanding of complex and competing interests. We have found solutions and agreements in the past and its time to do it again. And that process takes debate and compromise.

And representing the needs of the public is found in getting out there and knocking on doors to gather constituent views and information. Certainly it helps to have candidates do some door knocking but trained volunteers can also gather information.

In Gaia’s Majesty

This is an unsettled time in the world and raises the specter of another major worldwide conflagration even as we face significant climate change issues. It is a time in which we need to explore our response to our future. In that environment I decided to explore thoughts and possibilities in the realm of fantasy fiction. And so the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy was born.

But this time on earth is new. At long last we are looking at a worldwide movement to empower women. The potential of half of our population has too often been stifled. That process appears to be changing and the idea that a greater role for women might just be a decisive factor in the challenge developing before us.

Enter the Tethyan people including the Andromeda defense force working under the vision and conviction of an earth goddess. This goddess is not merely a reflection of a facet of human conflict but rather a being who oversees the development of a promising population of animals.

We will see how decisive this time is and how important a role women will play in the outcome. For now we can enjoy a fantasy exploration and the view of enticing possibilities.
Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt