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?

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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 Truth About the South and Democrats

 

Let’s Get Real

I was born in Queens, New York and grew up around New York. I went to college in Michigan and in 1963 moved to North Carolina to begin work on my doctorate in psychology at Duke University.

I was utterly unprepared for the reality of the South one hundred years after the end of the Civil War.  As I had said previously I was not expecting to endure such prejudice. This privileged young white man was vilified for being a “Yankee”. I learned a southern accent so I could be served at the parts store to buy spark plugs for my car. An end to innocence.

Time to Vote

I grew up in the Republican Party and turned 21 (the voting age then) in North Carolina. I registered as a Democrat because I wanted my vote to count. Often there were as many as four primaries to decide who the Democratic nominee would be. Most Republicans were black. They never won office.

When I went to register I check off C for caucasian which infuriated the woman at the desk because C was for colored. (I couldn’t resist the nudge.)

About the Democratic Party in the South

It is often said that the Democrats lost the South recently. Sheer nonsense. The Democratic Party never had the South. Lincoln was a Republican and they wanted nothing to do with his party so took the name Democrat. It was name only.

The furor about Biden and Southern Democrats has failed to deal with reality, complexity and truth. Real Democrats did a dance with southern racists as a means of assembling votes for legislative purposes.

It was ugly and disappointing but reflected a complicated reality.

The South Now

Eventually the Republican Party took hold in the South and we see it dominant today. The unfortunate reality is that racism is still a major issue at a level higher than anywhere else in the country. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War the battle continues. And we can see it displayed in the supporters of Trump.

Moving On

We need to stop the petty backbiting now. We are seeing the ugliest side of our country displayed in this era of Trump. The Republican Party I grew up in is dead. The upcoming election may well determine whether we as a country will be mired in prejudice and ignorance and whether we contribute to dragging the world into a terrible conflict. Alternatively we may pursue a new and visionary view for our country. We have never had more crucial choices. And making the choices mean facing harsh and complex realities.

###

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-ChallengeThe Truth

Our Nation in Crisis – An American Vision: Part 1

What do you believe is the core we need to address?

The Need for Vision for an America in Crisis

This has been a grueling election process with a conclusion very few expected. Now we have to deal with the consequences. 

Our middle class has seen income stagnate over forty years. Income inequality has been substantial and is increasing. We have created a body of people we are calling “left behinds”. And through it all there has been a stunning lack of vision combined with obstruction of problem solving.

Being Driven By Emotions

Many people in this country have been hurt and they are angry. Anger often leads to a search for someone to blame and awakens prejudice. We are just beginning to see and feel what fruits it will bear. Emotion, especially in the absence of constructive action may lead to feelings of hopelessness. People will strike out. Possibly they will strike first at the ballot box but surely more definitively in time. We wait to see where it will lead.

Seeing the Consequences

While I surveyed the national landscape, one of my daughters sent me this link to a Huffington Post article. I was stunned. The man had outlined the exact set of conclusions I had reached.

History Tells Us What Will Happen Next With Brexit and Trump by Tobias Stone

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tobias-stone/history-tells-us-what-will-brexit-trump_b_11179774.html

From the article:

“Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable. That was Hitler, but it was also Mussolini, Stalin, Putin, Mugabe and so many more.”

A Partial List of Risks

We now have questions to ask ourselves. We see and feel the anger. Do we now have a national awakening or are we to be led deep into feelings of hopelessness, disenfranchisement, dysfunction and destruction. Since World War II we have been the leaders of what we call The Free World. There have been substantial lapses such as with the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, but in general we have been able to offer support and security in many ways. If we fail now, before us there stands a vulnerable world. Europe took a bold step in establishing the European Union and it is now shuddering as nationalistic and populist movements such as led to Brexit threaten its future. And just to the side stands a sociopath called Putin who took Crimea and may well make additional forays into Eastern Europe. Of course, there is the Middle East with what I am calling their hundred years war just beginning. China has been flexing its muscles and we cannot know where that might lead without carefully crafted diplomatic restraint. Would North Korea see an opportunity to attack South Korea or go deeper into provocative conflict with Japan? What of the continuing tensions between Pakistan and India—both nuclear powers. The list is long and ominous. And in each case carefully crafted American support and diplomacy has proven crucial in fostering stability and progress. What if it declines or is missing?

It is easy to dismiss the prospects and blindly declare it will not come to worldwide conflict. But we need to pay attention to the history of deep wave phenomena. One of the most recent ones began just prior to World War I. No one expected that cataclysm and the duration of it through the creation of the Third Reich. The history of Nazi Germany has echoes suggestive of what we now see on the horizon in many areas of the world. Tobias Stone has warned us and history confirms his thoughts. The consequences for America may be considerable.

Paying Attention to Waves

Wave theory is fascinating and waves come in many forms. Recently I mentioned the book Postcapitalism by Paul Mason which addresses economic waves. Stone in his article addresses political/social waves. Waves are fundamental in human history. And now we seem to be entering another wave and we can either shape it or abandon ourselves to it. Inaction may lead to breathtaking consequences.

And in fiction we have a long history of exploring human conflict and where it may lead us. We are on the cusp of a real world exploration. In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I chose a fictional exploration where mythology and the women’s movement are woven. It is an exploration filled with hope as strong women lead us into our future.

What do you see ahead as these conflicts build? 

Next we look at some factors which contributed to putting us deeper into risk. 

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

It’s Not Politics – We Are All Racists

 

 

Making Sense of Noise

The noise is overwhelming and requires some attention and sorting out. We see so much national chaos at this point that we are losing track of major issues and what they represent. There seems to be little in the way of careful examination of issues and origins and so many things are getting lumped into politics where people are trying to manipulate the public. The foremost example at this moment is the issue of racism. Let me clarify.

The Title

The title of this blog post is the key point and does not represent anything approaching an excuse. On the matter of racism what we must see is that racism is not necessarily anything political. We are all racists. That is a fact and let me explain my view.

My Recognition

Long ago I took a job in the impoverished inner city of Baltimore. Our staff was triracial. Innocently we began our work and very soon, in spite of our shared commitment, we felt the impulse to point fingers. I will never forget the morning after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Baltimore was in a growing riot mode but I made it to our offices. In the conference room sat the black staff huddled together. They looked up as if I was a stranger. By mid morning everyone was at work and we began to work to break down the barriers. Over time we dealt with fundamental truths.

How We Are As Human Beings

I’m going to simplify this because the issues and origins are, indeed, complex. Of all things humans focus on faces. It begins early when we are infants. Our survival depends upon attachment and we hold our family (our people) dear. The implications relate to the fact that we are tribal creatures and cleave to our own. That is universal.

I recall a trip to Germany and standing in a city in southwest Germany captivated by the women riding by on their bicycles. My wife’s father’s family had come from a nearby region. I didn’t know it at the time but part of my mother’s family had originated in that area as well.I was seeing very familiar faces deeply etched in me. Of course they got my attention and I was drawn in.

We have a lot of people of German origins in the United States and after World War II when we sent our men in to help Germany pull back together it was easier because of the number of German names and familiar faces. These and related facts must be stressed.

Culture and Familiarity

As humans we also carry culture and how we act and what we like and on and on draws us together—and apart. If our voices or ways of doing things are different, it sets us apart. Every day we attend to differences and how we respond. And much of this reduces our discriminatory responses and helps create what we call racism.

A Simplistic Complexity

It boils down to these and many other subtleties that bring some of us together and others of us apart. Every day we need to be aware of how we are as human beings which means that we each carry some form of racism. From that fact grows a lot of things but now it relates to what we are terming our political life.

My people emigrated here over 300 years ago and it is crucial that we all remind ourselves of our origins, why our families came here and that we need each other. Owning who we are and our inclinations for racism is crucial and it must be done daily. Let’s dim down the noise and make ourselves celebrate the success which is our immigrant nation. We must not lose what we have built. And handling our own racism is an ongoing personal job. Right now too many people (including many of our leaders) are sabotaging our integrity and future as they call out and utilize their racism for political purposes. Our future demands honesty, integrity and management of how we are as people.

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

Not The Election You Think

What Primitive Forces Are Shaping This Election?

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There is evidence that the political landscape is being distorted by forces which are going almost unnoticed and getting no coverage. The race for the presidency appears close but there is evidence to suggest what we think are fundamental issues are not what are driving the public. History and analysis suggest the real driving forces may be social, psychological and deeply underlying.

Revealing History

Long ago there was another two party system. There were Democrats and Whigs. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was a Whig until that party self destructed in the 1850s just as the Republican Party seems to be doing now. At the time the Know Nothing movement arose and it was fueled by nativism and fundamental prejudice against Catholics. Does the process sound familiar? It may not be happenstance that this occurred just before the Civil War. Fundamental forces and conflicts were being unleashed.

What Are the Present Conflicts in Our nation?

The real nature of conflicts is not always clear. In fact, there may be many answers.

Recently I heard a researcher talking about processes such as we are experiencing. What he had to say was fascinating.

Significant changes in leadership of a country can loose underlying forces. For example, when Australia elected its first woman as prime minister there was a sudden upwelling of misogyny—contempt of or ingrained prejudice against women.

Are We Unleashing Unrecognized Forces?

Not long ago America did something I did not expect to see in my lifetime. We elected a black man president. Obvious and underlying racism was unleashed. Our government was immobilized by a Congress which opposed virtually all initiatives. The conspiracy mill went into overdrive and ugly features in our national life were unleashed.

And now we are facing another significant change as we are presented with the possibility of a woman as our president. It calls to mind the experience of Australia. And the researcher indicated that these processes are far more common than we normally assume.

This political climate is something none of us alive have ever seen. Daily we are shaking our heads. There are calls for violence and we see such figures as David Duke (of the Ku Klux Klan) supporting one of the candidates. There are endless, fruitless investigations in Congress and charges of questionable validity are discussed in the media.

The Basis of Mistrust

This is not a normal election year. Is it possible that the mistrust of Hilary Clinton is founded in deeply rooted misogyny? We have been warned from history that irrational forces arise with major governmental changes. And we are seeing back to back significant changes at the very top of our government. It comes at a time when there are many people who are “left behind” and economic change in what may be a postcapitalism era is shaking our foundations.

The possibility of the basis for this conflict deserves our attention. The researcher brought to our attention forces we should be examining. And there is historical precedent to suggest validity. Deep self examination, personally, socially and nationally, is indicated.

What are you concluding?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page