“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”– His Holiness, Dalai Lama XIV
As we sit, America is in tumult, reaping exactly what she sowed. It’s a lot to take in.
So let’s take a moment to appreciate goodness. There is innate goodness in all people. Some people choose to celebrate that, while some people choose to focus on our differences.
The Dalai Lama, despite his life’s journey, chooses to give us a positive nugget in this week’s quote. The roots of goodness come in the appreciation of goodness. Apparently, the corollary is also true; when goodness is lost, we have to deal with the roots of discontent, which lie in appreciation of discontent.
Right now, we have more people interested in us hearing that we can’t tell them what to do than we have people interested in speaking for the greater good. When you assert your liberty over someone else’s, the result is oppression of the other. That’s not real liberty.
Appreciating the good of others begins the growth of all goodness. And that’s what Smoll does.
Smoll appreciates the goodness of great small businesses around our country. It celebrates that goodness. It makes itself a root for goodness and appreciation for good small business.
Goodness: An Interfanatic Quality
At the end of the day, I choose to take or reject a client based on their goodness. I have a tough client right now. Extremely difficult to communicate with. But I knew that going in, and I decided to take on the project because I believe him to be a good person. I appreciate the goodness and in this case I’ll work with that despite otherwise intense difficulties.
That’s not the case with Smoll – they’re great to work with! And I think much of that comes from the innate goodness they work toward.
But, we know what it’s like to work with difficult clients and we know what it’s like to work with great ones. We always prioritize being great to work with because that’s how good things happen.
Smoll, Celebrating the Good of Local, Small Businesses
Where do you go when you need something? You go where you know. You go where you trust. Often, what you know, what you trust is a big chain. It’s the McDonald’s model. When I’m in Shanghai, I know with certainty that a McDonald’s is not the best hamburger I can get. Shanghai is filled with excellent restaurants, with even some that have hamburgers, and surely a couple that make great hamburgers. But if I don’t feel like seeking out that restaurant, when I want a burger quick and I see McDonald’s on the corner, that’s where I go. (Not me literally; I’m the type to seek out the burger if that’s what I want. But…) You know what to expect. Probably a reasonably inexpensive Big Mac and you have a pretty good idea of what it will taste like.
Then, there’s Yelp. Yelp is extortion. Often, I see small business beholden to Yelp for their shady business practices. When people go to Yelp, it’s to air grievances much more often than it is to share praise. And being beholden to Yelp is expensive. Unless you have an excellent system and process in place to ensure a good working relationship with your customers, you’re likely to get bad reviews that soil the good ones.
So that’s why there’s Smoll. It’s designed around celebrating and helping to promote the great small businesses in your community. It features special businesses from every community around the United States so that you can find businesses you’ll want to work with that you may not know about. Maybe they don’t do Yelp and maybe you haven’t heard of them. But there’s a great, hardworking team at that local small business you would really enjoy working with.
And that’s why we work with Smoll. That’s exactly what we want and what we want to do: celebrate the goodness in our local communities and small businesses.
Interfanatic: Finding and Celebrating Goodness
Let’s take a moment to find the goodness in each other – the common ground we can agree upon. We should not focus on our differences. Let’s appreciate the goodness in each of our perspectives.
This week’s image:
Interfanatic‘s founder, Ryan Delane, takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.
The purity of sunflowers – that’s some righteous goodness. My wifey bought these for our table and I couldn’t help but revel in their beauty and splash of color. It’s nice to have beautiful things around to remind you of goodness.
Black Lives Matter.
The world is on pins and needles as our democracy is called into question. Trump voters got exactly what they want – they asked for hatred and discontent and we’re all getting it.
So how did we get here, with almost 50% of the voting public preferring insanity?
First of all, I have to say this again, it’s very important: a significant number of the people I respect most voted for this idiot. That does not make them idiots. His presidency has brought about and opened up bigotry in some I didn’t expect. And that’s extremely upsetting. But the vast majority voted for him on his record, not his character.
One thing almost all of us can agree on is that this dude is a piece of shit. There is nobody that really knows him that likes him. His character is pathetic.
But, this is what we gotta understand: his character was not elected. And that’s actually kind of okay.
I think that’s really important to point out. We need to come together with understanding and love for each other, no matter what happens. My judge of character is not so poor that I should dismiss these people I know as heathens or anarchists – though clearly there is some heathen and anarchist in them to allow this.
For too long, the left and center-left has failed to listen to our other brothers. We’ve made the problem so excruciating for them that we’ve landed here.
Yes, some of these people are racists. My view is that we’re all on a spectrum; we’re all racists to some degree. The degree of the Trump voters’ racism is probably in general higher than the degree of the average liberal. This is because the average conservative voter is more racist. Maybe not a lot, but generally, definitely, some. There are definitely racist liberals.
This comes back to the self-centered nature of the modern conservative. And I don’t mean that necessarily in a bad way. A self-centered nature is, to some degree, a requirement of business success. A requirement of all success, really. We have to believe in ourselves.
However, the modern conservative prioritizes the self and those like themselves above the good of the many and the good of those not like themselves. I hold this truth to be self-evident.
It is the fevered pitch of the media – on both sides – that pits us against each other. If we were happy to hear each other in normal terms, C-Span’s ratings would be off the charts. They are not. To make money, any news organization must sell advertising. To sell advertising, you must have viewers and readers. What bleeds leads. To get eyes, you have to be spectacular.
Enter this giant orange POS Donald Trump. He bleeds, so he leads. The news organizations – ALL OF THEM – have never sold so much advertising.
And, as Simon and Garfunkel put it presciently in 1965: “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
FINALLY, there was somebody telling them what they wanted to hear. At least a little part of them. That little part of them felt loved.
Another characteristic of the modern conservative is the need to be heard – the need to tell us that “We can’t tell you what to do.” Liberty, right? Hey man, that’s straight up American right there. Hard to fault that.
But the priority is for that message to be heard over doing what’s right for the greater good.
And here comes a schmuck that is speaking their language! (And, please, I’m not saying they’re schmucks – they’re good people. They just had a part of them that had been itching to get out scratched – and it felt good!)
I need conservatives to understand that liberals do not want to kill babies.
And, I need liberals to understand that conservatives do not want to kill black people.
I need black people to understand that Mexicans are not the problem.
And, I need people of Mexican or Latina American origin to understand that illegal immigrants are not the problem.
ALL of these things ARE indeed a problem. A very small part. But because it can be easily sensationalized, these trigger points lead in hyperbole. The 1% that are the problem are made to look like 50% of the problem.
So that’s how we got to Trump. Our Democracy is threatened. Our country is at odds, where half hate the other half. Of course we don’t hate each other, it’s just that we don’t understand each other because it’s become impossible to effectively communicate.
And that, my good friend, rests squarely on Donald Trump. He is a sower of ill will, an anarchist, a hater of the establishment. Which is what people love about him. He inflames people as he ignites them.
Just like Hitler.
Please don’t look away, dear reader. So many times in the past, this comparison has been made in hyperbole. I’m not trying to be the same problem I just described in the news media.
We have studies history lest we repeat it. WE’RE REPEATING IT.
And just like AH, the reason DT rose to power is that he ignites people – and he’s effective. Or, at least there’s a perception that he’s effective.
He’s not. Not really. But let’s dig into that.
About 20-30% of the progress he claims is outright bullshit. I mean, completely manufactured. Only the hardcore right wingnuts will argue this. About 20-30% of the progress he claims is substantial exaggeration. Which is fine, he’s a politician. And don’t tell me he’s not because he spent at least as much time on the campaign trail or golf course as he did governing – this is undisputed fact. And if you choose to dispute it, we’re talking minutia. Get over it and hear me out. The dude is a politician.
The remainder, 40-60% IS progress. He actually achieved quite a bit – but not for America. He achieved quite a bit for the conservatives, which we’re finding out is about half of the population.
“If he had ran on record and shut up, it would have been a slam dunk.”
This realization only hit many conservatives with Amy Coney Barrett. And when it hit, it changed the vote by 20% or more, I’d hold. Without the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (God rest her soul), DT loses in a landslide. Also, without COVID-19, DT wins a second term.
So let’s look at those accomplishments:
He packed the court.
It’s so funny to me that the conservatives are so concerned with liberals packing the court while they have a 6-3 majority. The Supreme Court was never supposed to work this way. Of course given the chance liberals and centrists will pack the court to even things out. Conservatives disingenuously packed the court. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That’s how our democracy is supposed to work!
Packing the courts with a conservative majority is an accomplishment for conservatives. It alienates everyone else – everyone not like conservatives. If conservatives prioritized people not like themselves, they would understand that a conservative majority in the courts is a threat to liberty. They don’t. Conservative liberty is liberty for conservatives, not liberty for everyone. Liberal liberty is for everyone, and conservatives feel they’re treat upon. They’re not, but that’s how they feel as their power isn’t absolute.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? No. I think she would have tried to pick centrist judges and after some fighting, the Senate would have approved.
This not an accomplishment. This one falls in the pseudo accomplishment. He helped some people and hurt some people, and then he put his name on it. The idiot shouted loudly how bad NAFTA was and shouted loudly how he fixed it and he knows if he shouts long enough and loud enough some people will believe him. He didn’t accomplish much of anything.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? Possibly. She probably wouldn’t have changed the name, and she probably would have gone about it in a different way.
Repeal and Replace Obamacare
The Republicans had six years to come up with legislation to fill a major Trump campaign promise. They fumbled. He touts the individual mandate as an accomplishment. It’s not because he failed to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better. And now, we’re potentially forced into a position of needing social-democratic medical system. Come up with something better, we’re all all ears. There was no accomplishment here. Obamacare was a major accomplishment that got everyone to work together towards fixing a broken system. It was not a permanent fix; nor was it ever going to be. It was a start. Breaking the fix to the broken system accomplishes nothing. Getting hospitals, doctors, insurers and patients to work together in a mutually beneficial system outside of social-democratic medicine is a huge accomplishment. Breaking stuff is not. Come up with something better.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? I don’t think so. She would have tried to fix it rather than break it.
This is one that’s obviously false. Liberty for people of one religion that oppresses the religion of other people is not real liberty. He lead with a Muslim ban.
There is no greater religious liberty in this country. We’re closer to having a state mandated religion – which is incredible because this douchebag is so clearly atheist. He believes in the religion of himself, and that’s it.
Again, pretty much everyone agrees this dude is bad news. He’s an asshole. But that doesn’t mean that everyone who voted for him is an asshole. Some – a lot – are actually really good people. They’re able to overlook his complete vacancy of character.
(I’m not. I do not want my children growing up in his world; where the shit he does is normalized. And the fact that he got elected in the first place speaks to the desperate need his voters face to overlook his character to get what they want. Scary, but true. And we all brought us here.)
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? No.
Yeah, this one is clearly a major failure for all conservatives. Any president who can get away with saying he grabs women by the pussy does not represent traditional American values. This pos has no morality and he leads by example, showing our children that morality has no place in American values. So this one is the opposite of progress.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? No.
Middle East Deal
No matter what you think or where you are, this is monumental. This is a huge win for Trump. If he wasn’t such an asshole, it would be widely celebrated.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? Possibly, but probably not. It took an outsider to get this done. I’ll freely admit that my understanding of the details here are not significant, so I could be very wrong on all of this. For me, this is Trump’s keystone (and probably only) accomplishment.
This should probably be a big deal, too. I don’t know that ISIS is out for good, but they certainly lost power and land during Trump’s administration.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? Absolutely.
Trump keeps telling everyone that he got our NATO allies to pay more. Our NATO allies have been paying more each year for years. He’s taking credit for somebody else’s deal. He’s ruined our relationship with our closest allies.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? Without question, yes. And we’d have a better relationship with every one of our allies.
China Trade Deal
Trump likes everyone to know what a bad deal we’ve had with China. Things have gotten worse with China. He’s a lot of talk and little to no action here. Just like USMCA, he helped some people and hurt others. Our trade deficit is worse than it ever has been.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? She probably would have made similar or better progress. It’s possible she would not have made progress, but it’s entirely possible that she would have.
Trump likes to brag about the pre-COVID economy. Most of the spurred economy was the result of Obama and Biden’s eight years of work. And COVID did happen, so Trump has left the economy substantially worse than he found it. This is despite a massive tax cut for corporations and ultra wealthy that made the stock market do so well. The economy, for most Americans, sucks.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? The economy under Hilary Clinton would be substantially better for more Americans than it is now, but not as good for the wealthiest Americans (but still pretty damned good.)
Here we have one of Trump’s famous “Trump Cries Wolf” problems. There actually is a substantial issue at our border right now. But, because he’s a racist piece of shit, nobody believes him. Do we have a border wall spanning the country? No. Did Mexico pay for it? Despite protestations about USMCA, no Mexico did not pay for it.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? Actually, she might have accomplished exactly the same thing, but she wouldn’t have tried to make a big deal out of it.
This is the defining part of Trump’s tenure in office. He killed 100,000 people before their time. Can you imagine if Obama had? He would have been executed. But because the piece of shit is an old white guy, not a black guy, not a woman, he gets a by? This is insane. Pure insanity. The conservative take as I understand it is that this would have happened to anybody. And look, in my mind – as I’ve been saying – he’s killed 100,000+ people. Not 230,000. I think 100,000 were probably inevitable. New York was prime for a major problem. But everything after the rates in New York slowed down was preventable. This is where Trump fucked up. Instead of coming out strong, providing leadership everyone could get behind, he tried to save his beloved stock market. And look here right now, I’m not quoting other people. I watched the motherfucker do it. I watched his conferences, I listened to all of his words as they happened. He fucked us majorly with his dithering bullshit. And in the process, he killed over 100,000 people before their time.
Would Hillary Clinton have done this? No. I think 100,000 would still have died under Clinton. Perhaps fewer because she would not have disbanded the Obama/Biden office to handle these things. She would have shut down travel to China early, and she would not have been labeled a xenophobe because she doesn’t have an inflammatory racist past. (I’m sure she’s not perfect, but she sure is hell is not Trump.) Nobody would have questioned her. Some people would have said she was racist, probably, sure. But everyone called Trump a racist xenophobe not because he shut down travel to and from China, but because he’s a racist xenophobe. And going back to my spectrum, the people that voted for him are a little bit more than average, too.
Now, for everyone saying that Hillary Clinton is the devil incarnate (the same people that are saying Kamala Harris is the devil incarnate, natch), I know now why you do that. It’s because you’re a conservative, and on the spectrum of misogyny, you sit higher than the average bear. If the Trump administration has laid one thing bare, it’s that conservatives are at least slightly more misogynist and racist than liberals. Some way more than others. Some less than others. But on the whole, the Republican war machine that hated Obama’s legislation hated a lot of it clearly because he was black. On the whole, the Republican war machine that hated Hillary Clinton hated her because she’s a woman. That part is obvious now. There’s no hiding from it; it’s clearly on display.
But that doesn’t mean that conservatives are misogynists and racists. Not really, not more than the rest of us. But there is a part, and Trump brought it all out into the open. There are white supremacists everywhere.
If you’re a conservative, I’m not calling you a white supremacist. I’m not calling you a misogynist. If you’re a liberal, you could definitely be a white supremacist. If you’re a liberal, you could definitely be a misogynist. But white supremacists and misogynists are almost all conservative. See the difference? If you’re a conservative, you are in the party of white supremacists and misogynists. If you’re not okay with that, it’s time for a new party. The Republican party is broken. Trump is more Libertarian than he is Republican; always has been.
(And believe me, the Democratic party is not exactly hunky dory either!)
And look, there’s a huge difference between a Socialist Democracy and a Socialist state. Liberals: just like there’s a huge difference between a Fascist Democracy and a Fascist state. Luckily for us, at worse we’re in the middle of a fascist democracy. It has retained enough check and balance so far to prevent the spiral into Nazi Germany.
But it’s closer than it ever has been.
This is America.
To prevent the fall of democracy, we need to begin talking with each other. Don’t like what I wrote? Talk to me. Tell me about it. Don’t post it somewhere else out of context and talk shit. Man up, show some balls and let’s have a civilized conversation.
Ignore the inflammatory baboon. He is not the way forward, no matter what happens.
America, we need to talk. All of us. That’s what real democracy is.