The World Needs Christmas!

Typically, I start writing about Christmas in December, but as we approach upcoming celebrations like Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas, we are hearing more and more talk of COVID cancelling these festivals. Global News’ article, ‘Normal Christmas’ off the table,  quotes Canada’s Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau as saying: “A normal Christmas, quite frankly, is out of the question.”  The New York Post has the headline: Dr. Fauci suggests canceling Thanksgiving gatherings amid COVID uptick, so the same goes for the American Thanksgiving. Yahoo has an article titled, Dr. Fauci Says Cancel Christmas Unless This Happens, listing a number of restrictions.

Yes, governments and health officials will try and stop Christmas, and other celebrations, because COVID numbers are allegedly going up. They might be somewhat successful in achieving that goal as those who are fearful of the virus will comply, and those who fear their freedoms are threatened will likely gather with their families for Christmas anyway.

The world is divided into two camps, both driven by fear. There is the camp consisting of those who fear for their lives because they believe the virus is deadly. The other camp are those who believe the virus is no deadlier than any other flu virus. These people fear that this alleged pandemic is being used to remove individual freedoms and rights, and as a means to control our lives. These folks fear this is what the “Great Reset” is about that Canada’s PM is speaking about. Here is a video of the PM’s speech to the United Nations.

A few days later, Trudeau changed his rhetoric claiming the “Great Reset” is conspiracy theory as reported in the article: Canada’s Trudeau calls Great Reset a CONSPIRACY THEORY after video of him promoting the globalist initiative went viral. What I find interesting is the Mainstream Media as remained relatively silent on this.

That being said, I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) do not wish to get into the politics as I am merely pointing out how divided our world is. Never before have I wanted to avoid people, whether it be family or friends, because if I say something that others disagree with, I am attacked and ostracized. Most other people I talk to feel the same way. This fear is isolating people and pitting people against one another. This is a terrible time in our history.

The question remains: Can Christmas be cancelled? The answer is emphatically no since Christmas is more than family gatherings. American novelist, Edna Ferber , says, “Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” Valentine Davies, known for Miracle on 34th Street says, “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.”  I agree wholeheartedly. For me Christmas is about love. As the Methodist missionary in Canada, George F. McDougall, once said:

“Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.”

Yes, Christmas is a spirit of love which is what gift giving symbolizes. For Christians, gifts are given at Christmas is an opportunity to show love. American actress and singer, Dale Evans, was best known for her singing on her husband’s show, the Roy Rogers Show. I remember watching it as a kid. Dale Evans once said, “Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” Christmas is about love and you cannot cancel love, so you cannot cancel Christmas.

Presently, the world is living in more fear than love, as I alluded to earlier. Many argue that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. A quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi says that, as it says: “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”  Author, Gerald G. Jampolsky says: “Love is the total absence of fear. Love asks no questions. Its natural state is one of extension and expansion, not comparison and measurement.” Or as teacher, author, and spiritual master, Anthony de Mello, known for his parables which are short sayings of “the Master,” has this parable on love.

What is love?”

“The total absence of fear,” said the Master.

“What is it we fear?”

“Love,” said the Master.

If fear is the opposite of love, then let’s talk about fear. It is said fear is learned, so if that is true, fear can also be unlearned. Even more, many argue that we humans are programmed to fear. Many have contended that the Mainstream Media programs us to be fearful, and that has always been its purpose. Sotero M Lopez II is one of them as he says: “‪Whatever Mainstream Media focuses on, BEWARE. Whatever Mainstream Media ignores, FOCUS.” Author Jess C. Scott is another who would agree as he says: “People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.”

Could that be true? Are we humans being manipulated to be fearful? Joseph Goebbels was a German Nazi politician and the Reich Minister of Propaganda for Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He said:

If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.

He also said:

Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.

Ask yourselves these questions: Is the MM making me fearful? If it is, why? Is there one narrative that all the MM is feeding us or are there multiple narratives? If they are only giving us one narrative, don’t we have the right to hear all the different narratives or truths? Is the MM objective or subjective? Does it have an agenda or are there multiple opinions being given to us?  Now you may think: The MM would never lie to me. That is cognitive dissonance. We’ve been programmed to believe the MM is the only reliable source of information, but is it? So I ask you: Is the MM’s COVID narrative making you fearful? If it is, stop watching the news.

American author and YouTube content creator, John Mark Green says:

“If you want to tap into what life has to offer, let love be your primary mode of being, not fear. Fear closes us down and makes us retreat. It locks doors and limits opportunities. Love is about opening to possibilities. Seeing the world with new eyes. It widens our heart and mind. Fear incarcerates, but love liberates.”

Love liberates, so free yourselves from fear. Writer Agnes M. Pahro once said:  “What is Christmas?  It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future…” 

The world needs Christmas now more than ever. The world needs love, hope, peace, and unity. Let’s be honest, 2020 could be deemed “the year of bullying (#bullying #antibullying) with maskers attacking anti-maskers, people who are pro-lockdown attacking those who are anti-lockdown, and those fearing for their lives because of a deadly virus judging, and even attacking, those who fear their rights are threatened, calling them conspiracy theorists. Every human, no matter what camp they’re in, can agree on one thing, which is 2020 is hell. What the world needs is a path that leads to peace and unity, and I think I know the path. We can all join in unity by proclaiming ‘2020 as the worst year of our lives’ and be united in making 2021 a ‘better year;’ a year when we show respect even when disagreeing.

Yes, the world needs Christmas now more than ever. Suzy Kassem, author of Rise Up and Salute the Sun says it better than I ever could when she said:

“When the world shifts its focus on heart over mind, we will finally experience a beautiful global village for our children.”

If 2021 is going to be better, then we must start following our hearts and not our minds. When we follow our minds, our ego gets in the way. When we follow our ego, we Edge God Out, or love out, and attack those who disagree with us. The heart is where love is.  It is where Christmas lives. Imania Margria, author of Secrets of My Heart, says:

“No matter where we come from, there is one language we can all speak and understand from birth, the language of the heart, love.”

The world is in dire need of love, not fear. The world is in dire need of Christmas. Cancelling Christmas is not an option!  Some unknown person said, “Don’t let fear of what may happen hold you back from following your heart.” I urge you to remove fear by turning off the news and start listening to your heart where the spirit of Christmas lives. As the late actor and comedian, Robin Williams said, “There are no rules. Just follow your heart.”

Really, the song ‘The World Needs Christmas’ by Emily And Mike says it best. Have a listen.

Food for Thought During These Troubling Times

November 11th Remembrance Day is once again upon us. This is a commemorative day to remember the members of our armed forces who have died serving their country.  The observation of Remembrance Day in most countries is to remember the end of World War I, which ended on the eleventh hour of November 11 in 1918.

Normandy Beaches France

Since visiting Vimy Ridge and the Normandy Beaches in France five years ago, my wife and I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) have a much stronger appreciation for all soldiers and the sacrifice they made to maintain peace and freedom in our world. Visiting both WWI and WWII military cemeteries was a humbling experience to say the least. What shocked us the most was the age of many of the soldiers, some as young as 17 years old. We now attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies with much more gratitude and appreciation for all soldiers. It is essential that we remember the soldiers who have lost their lives, or put their lives on the line, to protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens.

WWII was a war to stop fascism. I speak about WWII because it was the war I taught about the most as a teacher and am most familiar with. During that time in history Italy was ruled by Benito Mussolini, a fascist leader. The Nazi Party, led by the best known fascist, Adolf Hitler, a leader who adopted a form of fascism that incorporated fanatical racism against Jews. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” An interesting thought. During the pre-1945 period, Japan moved into political totalitarianism, ultranationalism (extreme nationalism), and fascism ending in Japan’s invasion and of China in 1937. According to some accounts, thousands of Chinese civilians were buried alive, machine-gunned or used for bayonet practice. Females were taken and forced into labour as “comfort women” (sex slaves for Japanese officers and soldiers). There were other fascist leaders during that time.

What is fascism? Fascism is a term coined by Benito Mussolini in 1919, who described it as a belief system for his political movement. Merriam Webster defines fascism as:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

I would define fascism as bullying (#bullying #antibullying)  especially since it involves suppression of opposition. When you get down to the root cause of both World Wars, and all conflicts,  the cause is division. With COVID and the US election, the world—I believe—has never been this divided. What is happening in our world today is a reminder to humanity to unify as a human family, or once again fall into the chaos of war and other atrocities. We must be able to hold our truths and still respect other people’s truths. As Alexandre Dumas, one of the Three Musketeers says, “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.” If division continues to pervade in our world, we are headed for trouble.

Fascism is a term that seems to be used a lot these days. Just last night, my wife and I were watching a series called, This is Us, and a character’s teenage daughter in anger calls her dad a fascist. President Trump  has been accused of being a fascist  (see Trump a fascist). There are those who say Democrats are fascists (see Democratic Party). Some even argue that fascism is creeping into Canada (see Blogger Mark). Is fascism alive and well today? I don’t know but it feels like it with our rights and freedoms being removed because of COVID. The National Post has an opinion piece titled: We are giving up our freedoms in the fight against COVID-19, which questions whether those freedoms will be returned to us.

What I find disturbing is what the Huffpost’s 2014 article, Government of the Rich, by the Rich and for the Rich, says:

We now live in a two-tiered system of governance. There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and its corporate allies, and another set for you and me.

I always intuitively felt that was true. One set of rules for the wealthy elites, and one for the rest of us. There are many who argue that elected governments have little power and are merely puppets of a shadow government known as the Deep State. Mainstream Media calls the Deep State a conspiracy theory. Interestingly, Newsweek’s article, The Unraveling of the Deep State’s Coup Against President Trump, speaks about the Deep State as real and not conspiracy theory. Could this be true?

Italian fascist leader, Benito Mussolini once said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Wiktionary defines corporatism as “The influence of large business corporations in politics.” Is this what is happening?

Nephew of John F Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. says: “While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business.” American politician, Henry A. Wallace, once said:

A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.

That is a scary quote. Is fascism reappearing in our world today? I don’t know, but I see a lot of disturbing things happening in our world right now. I would like to believe fascism was eliminated at the end of WWII. As I said in my last post, How Do You Know What is Truth?  it is time for us to start thinking critically.

The truth is humanity must learn how to unify in a divided world. As J.K. Rowling said in her book, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” Mahatma Gandhi, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule, once said: “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” That is so true! To unify means to step out of that mind-set that ‘I am right and you are wrong;’ the mindset of I must convince you of my truth.  You are sovereign individual and I am sovereign individual, and I may not agree with you and you may not agree with me, but that is okay. That is very different from you are wrong, you’re ignorant, or you are stupid. Richard Twiss, a Native American educator and author, says: “You can’t have unity without diversity.”I believe that to be true. We will never live in a world where everyone thinks the same, or believes the same. Besides, wouldn’t that be a boring world. The fact is, everyone is entitled to their truth (perspective, beliefs). The challenge is: Can I/you respect other people’s truth? If we can do that, unity will be achieved. If we can’t do that, we are headed for troubling times; a time filled with bullying. I am convinced we humans can create a better world, but first we must achieve unity in diversity to do that.

How Do You Know What is Truth?

Sommer Season all year

Lately, I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) have been involved in several discussions with people regarding truth. It typically begins with a question like: How do you know what to believe on social media and in the news? It’s not easy.

One of the definitions in the Cambridge English Dictionary is: “Truth is the real facts about a situation, event, or person.”   That same dictionary defines a fact as “something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof is given.” What people are really wanting to know is: How do we determine what are the real facts of a situation, event, or person, and what’s the proof?  I am going to attempt to answer that question.

I have come to realize that we humans are programmed, manipulated, brainwashed (you pick the word) to believe what we are told. Most people believe what the Mainstream Media…

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How Do You Know What is Truth?

A commentary on critical thinking

Lately, I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) have been involved in several discussions with people regarding truth. It typically begins with a question like: How do you know what to believe on social media and in the news? It’s not easy.

One of the definitions in the Cambridge English Dictionary is: “Truth is the real facts about a situation, event, or person.”   That same dictionary defines a fact as “something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof is given.” What people are really wanting to know is: How do we determine what are the real facts of a situation, event, or person, and what’s the proof?  I am going to attempt to answer that question.

I have come to realize that we humans are programmed, manipulated, brainwashed (you pick the word) to believe what we are told. Most people believe what the Mainstream Media (MM) is telling them. Most believe what our leaders and governments tell them. I have even heard people proclaim, “Our leaders/governments would never lie to us.” We believe if “doctor” is in front of a name, or a person has a doctorate degree, then they are telling us the truth. We think, “They’re a doctor, it must be true.” We believe everything our spiritual leaders tell us. I once heard a person say (paraphrased): “Tell me what I need to do to obtain my salvation, and I will do it.”  Organized religions have indoctrinated us to think a certain way and believe what they tell us without questioning, often using fear to do so.  Comedian, George Carlin, once said: “I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.” He’s right. MM is constantly proclaiming “Experts say” (see Experts say).  As soon as it is labelled “expert” we think: “It must the true if experts say it.” Rarely are we told who these experts are. When statistics are given from some study, we think the stats make it true.

Debate.org deliberates on the question: Are we being brainwashed as a society? Here is an excerpt.

…in my society, the United States, I think we’ve been being brainwashed for a long time, and still are. We’ve just never been encouraged to think critically about things. We’re always told/taught what to think, rather than how to think, which I consider tantamount to brainwashing.

We’re encouraged in schools to stand in reverence and pledge allegiance to the flag before we’re even taught why we owe our allegiance to it in the first place… We’re taught early on in our schooling that certain drugs are bad (marijuana, LSD, psylosybin, etc.) but are not told why they are bad, and nary a word is said of the harms of socially acceptable drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, oxycotin, or even pharmaceutical drugs that are often used in excess for recreational purposes, like children’s cough syrup. Even in the media, we’re often presented with a biased view of events, and they are often put through an ideological filter, and rather than presenting only facts; the opinions of the reporter are reported along with it.

The debater said, “We’ve just never been encouraged to think critically about things.” He or she is absolutely correct. I always tried to teach my students to think critically, but it was a difficult battle. Students typically resist thinking critically. Sadly, their only concern is what is on the test. Over my teaching career, I’ve heard many a student say: “Just tell me what I need to know for the test.” People, like my students, are programmed NOT to think for themselves. Instead, they are told what to think and tested on it.

The Buddha 

The Buddha—also known as Siddhartha Gautama—(circa 450 BCE) an individual whose teachings form the basis of Buddhism allegedly said:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Now that is good, sound advice. Just because someone—even if they have credentials—said it, doesn’t make it true. We must think for ourselves and come to our own truth. If we believe everything we’re told, then we are being unknowingly bullied (#bullying #antibullying). If ever there was a time in human history to think critically, it is now! There is much misinformation being told.

We are robots. We are programmed, manipulated, or mind-controlled to just believe whatever someone tells us; especially if they are seen as an authority figure. I experienced that as a teacher. My students, for the most part, would believe anything I told them. A colleague of mine once told his students that packaged wieners were dug out of a landfill site after being in there for 100 years, and the wieners were still edible. This teacher was “pulling their leg,” of course, but the students completely believed the teacher. The reality is, we humans tend to believe what we are told, even if we think we don’t.

So how does a person think critically? When you are critically thinking, you are asking: What is my truth? You are tapping into what is yours, what feels right to you, and deciphering what is somebody else’s. Whenever we are told something—whether it be the news, a YouTube video, another person—you can digest the information by thinking critically. That can be done using these three steps.

  1. Recognize that you are hearing or seeing a message.
  2. Understand the message.  This message means…  This doesn’t mean the message is true.
  3. Observe and start asking questions about the information you’ve received. Dive deeper and peel back the layers of the message. Ask yourself: Does this feel right to me? Does this make sense? Could this be true, or could this be false? Is there more to this message or information? Where did this information come from? What is the source of this message?

Ask yourself: Does the source have an agenda or goal? All media messages have goals, which can affect the information presented. For example, Coca-Cola claimed its Vitaminwater brand could promote healthy joints and reduce the risk of eye disease, among other health benefits. Such claims are aimed at selling a product and are likely partially true or maybe not true at all. Some publications aim to rally readers around a particular issue, like climate change, and so may present a skewed view of the science.

Instead, feel the message; feel the resonance of the message; feel the message’s energy. Does the energy of the message resonate with you? As Albert Einstein once said:

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

Thinking critically means stepping out of right or wrong, good or bad, or true and false and using your intuition to feel the energy of the information you are receiving. Cambridge English Dictionary defines intuition as: “(knowledge from) an ability to understand or know something immediately based on your feelings rather than facts.”  Have you ever gotten a “vibe” from someone or something? Have you had a feeling that I’m unsafe,  I’m in danger, or felt that something was a bad idea? I have. That is your intuition. Now use those same intuitive feelings to determine if a message you’re receiving is your truth. If it feels right, then it is your truth. If it feels incorrect, then it is someone else’s.

Start critically thinking for yourself. That is what I am doing. Not everyone likes it, as they want to debate me and prove me wrong. I will no longer allow bullies to manipulate me to think a certain way. I am stepping into my sovereignty and thinking for myself. I encourage you to do the same. That doesn’t mean I’ll disrespect their truth.

Control is a form of Bullying

A commentary on censorship

The Guardian this week had a news article titled: Facebook and Twitter restrict controversial New York Post story on Joe Biden. The article says Twitter blocked tweets that contained links or photos to the New York (NY) Post’s report on alleged emails that show that Hunter Biden offered to introduce then Vice President Joe Biden, and now Democrat presidential candidate, to an executive of a Ukrainian gas company. Joe Biden’s son has faced accusations of corrupt behaviour from both Democrats and Republicans. Users attempting to share the story were shown a notice saying: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”  My question is: Harmful to who?

Facebook also took steps to limit the spread of New York Post—a newspaper that is part of the mainstream media—article placing restrictions on posts linking to the article, saying: “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.”  The article goes on to say that Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote Twitter saying: “Twitter’s censorship of this story is quite hypocritical, given its willingness to allow users to share less-well-sourced reporting critical of other candidates.”

Are social media companies censuring? I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) personally have had Facebook posts that I shared declared “misinformation,” and YouTube videos which I saved to watch later to discover them removed from YouTube.

According to the NY Post’s article; Ted Cruz slams ‘unbelievable’ Twitter censorship of another Hunter Biden story, Twitter locked down some accounts of people who shared the report, forcing them to delete the story from their feeds. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to delete her tweet and remains locked out of her personal account, which has 1 million followers. The article also reports that Twitter blocked Ted Cruz from sharing the article. President Trump has had many tweets blocked by Twitter, and the company has even temporarily blocked the Donald Trump`s re-election campaign Twitter account (see US Election 2020).

A September 29th study uncovering global perspectives on online censorship using citizens in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Norway and Sweden, showed large segments of people in each country do not trust the integrity of information they find online, and many suspect censorship is at play. The study reveals 37% of Canadians and 54% of Americans feel that they’ve experienced internet censorship. The Toronto Sun has an article: BIG TECH CENSORS: Social media continues to gag conservative voices, stating YouTube nixed thousands of videos under the pretense it was removing hate speech.

Are we being controlled? If we aren’t being controlled, then why are so many users unable to speak their truth without being censored? New Zealand-born writer, Juliet Marillier, says,  There is no truth on this island of yours. Rather, there are as many truths as there are stars in the sky; and every one of them different.” American photographer, John Szarkowski, says, “Because we see reality in different ways, we must understand that we are looking at different truths rather than the truth and that, therefore, all photographs lie in one way or another.” We all like to think we hold “the truth.”

We need to ask questions, such as: Have we been controlled and manipulated with the use of fear tactics to keep us silent and out of our truths? Let’s face it, if we are being controlled and manipulated, then we are being bullied. Bullies (#bullying #antibullying) intimidate and torment others to control them. Start asking questions. First ask yourselves: Who is doing the censoring? Why are social media CEOs censoring? Who is telling them to censor? Secondly, ask yourselves who and what are they censoring? Are they censoring people who are speaking truths that are not the truths of those doing the censoring? Are they censoring truths that they don’t want us to hear? I have to wonder why the social media giants are attempting to prevent a New York Post article about the possible illegal dealings regarding the Biden family from being read? I guarantee that if a similar article about Trump came out, it would not be censored. We’ve seen lots of examples of that. The third question to ask yourself is: What are those doing the censoring afraid of? After all, censorship is the voice of fear. What are they hiding? Who are they not censoring? Could it be they are not censoring individuals that have the same agenda as them? Are they allowing the truths to be spread that are their truths? I am merely asking the questions while remaining neutral as best I can. Do some research to find the answers to the above questions if you feel called to.

I was under the illusion that everyone had freedom of expression or freedom of speech in the ‘free wold.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects our rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and the right to equality. It is part of the Canadian Constitution. The First Amendment of US Constitution guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  

So, ask yourselves are we manipulated and controlled? Have we always been? An article titled: Fear-Based Manipulation: How Politicians, Marketers and the Media Create Panic to Control the Masses, explains how this could be done. Another article: How the Media Controls Your Reality explains how media could control our lives. I encourage you to read them.

American singer and songwriter, Jim Morrison, once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Soviet politician, Nikita Khrushchev, said, “The press is our chief ideological weapon.” Malcolm X, an African American Muslim minister, says, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  British television writer, novelist and non-fiction writer, Dresden James, once said, “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” Could that be true?

If we really do have freedom of expression, which our constitutions say we do, then we must respect and tolerate everyone’s truth. As German-born physicist, Albert Einstein, once said, “We must not only learn to tolerate our differences. We must welcome them as the richness and diversity which can lead to true intelligence.” We must remain neutral, no matter how difficult that may be, and stop labelling things as right or wrong. Really, there is no such thing as right and wrong. As Ufuoma Apoki, founder of Petra Ministries, says, “Right or Wrong, most times, merely depends on perspective. It takes humility (not necessarily logic) to let go of our egos to see through the other person’s eyes. But I guess even I, myself, can’t let go to see why you’d object.” In other words, right and wrong are relative.

Some people might claim there are absolute truths, meaning a truth that is true at all times and in all places; a truth that is always true no matter what the circumstances. Perhaps there is, but that would require more study.  

If we are ever going to live in peace and harmony, then all truths need to be respected and tolerated, and the use of censorship to control others needs to stop. Let’s face it, we live in a diverse world; a world with an infinite number of truths, and that is okay. I don’t have to accept your truth, nor do you have to accept my truth, but we do need to understand and accept that your truth may be different from my truth. When you attempt to impose your truth onto someone else, then you are acting as a bully.

Is the Cure Worse Than the Virus?

A commentary on COVID restrictions.

The Washington Times has a September 15th opinion piece titled, America’s pandemic: Why the cure has become worse than the virus. I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) happen to agree with the commentator. Especially for young people, the cure is worse than the virus. The mainstream media (MM) continues to tout the dangers of COVID-19, instilling fear by constantly telling us that COVID numbers are on the rise. Yet, the article states that coronavirus COVID-19 has killed 0.058% of the U.S. population, assuming they were actually COVID deaths. As I stated in previous posts, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has admitted that 94% of people said to be killed by the virus had two or more other health conditions which likely contributed to their deaths. The opinion piece goes on to state that the Associated Press, for months has said: “For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a few weeks.” 

I intend to remain neutral, not pointing fingers or judging the decisions that our leaders have made. Instead, I carefully analyze the information available to me, asking questions, drawing my own conclusions, and speaking my truth. It may not be your truth and that is perfectly fine.

I recently saw a September 23rd Calgary Herald article titled, Opioid deaths more than double in Alberta during COVID-19 pandemic.  This article states that more than twice as many Albertans died of opioid overdoses in the second quarter of 2020 than the first, an increase of 28%, according to new data. Finally, the MM and the province’s government are starting to talk about the effects of COVID restrictions. Alberta’s associate minister of mental health and addictions, Jason Luan, stated, “The past few months have led to increased fear and anxiety, isolation, disruption to in-person services, job uncertainty and more.” He admitted that these problems are not unique to Alberta as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Ontario have seen a similar rise in overdose deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Huffpost’s September 24th article, Statistics Canada Reports Record High Level Of Youth Not In School Or Work, reveals that Statistics Canada found that 24% of Canadians aged 15 to 29 were “NEET” ― not in employment, education or training ― as of April of this year. That’s double the rate in February, before the pandemic. The article also states that the jobless rate for youth was 23.4% in August, compared to 10.2% for Canada as a whole.

Are our youth affected by COVID restrictions more so than adults? The information suggests so. I would even go so far as to say our youth, more so than any other demographic, are being bullied (#bulling #antibullying) because of COVID restrictions. I have to wonder if COVID restrictions are really necessary?

CTV has an August article titled, How deadly is COVID-19 for children? Here’s what we know. According to the article, one death out of 7,888 cases in children and teenagers means that less than 0.013% of young COVID-19 patients in Canada have died. In the US, only about 0.2 % of patients under the age of 17 have died, according to the article. A study of 100 children who contracted the coronavirus in Italy, a country touted is one of the worst affected by COVID back in March, found that no children died. In China, a study reveals only one of the first 2,135 pediatric patients to have contracted the virus later died. Research from Ontario concluded that it is “rare” for children to die after contracting COVID-19 in high- or middle-income countries.

I have to ask: If our children and teens have a less than 1% death rate because of coronavirus, then why are there such harsh COVID restrictions placed on them? Are these restrictions—forced masking, social distancing, insisting they sanitize their hands before entering school rooms, and fear mongering affecting their mental well-being—a too high of a price?  Shouldn’t our youth’s mental health be priority? The cure—at least for our young people—is far worse than the threat of the virus.

The Daily Signal—not a MM source—has an September 29th article titled, COVID-19 Linked to Rising Suicide Rates Among Teens. The article states:

Many experts say that the stringent social distancing measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 have significantly worsened teen mental health. Because teenagers are social by nature and developmentally reliant on their peers, the pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues among an age cohort already vulnerable to begin with. 

I can tell you as a retired teacher who worked with children and teens for over 35 years, that our youth are emotionally fragile at the best of times. The most important thing for a teenager or child is being with their friends, and with COVID restrictions, this is being taken away from them. It seems to me that decisions concerning our youth are being made out of fear of the virus when decisions should be made from the perspective of what what the data says and what is best for young people.

The New York Post has an August 13 article titled, One in four young adults in the US contemplated suicide during pandemic.  The article sites a CDC study that states:

The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey (10.7%) was significantly higher among respondents aged 18–24 years (25.5%)

In another article by Health News Florida titled, The Pandemic Has Researchers Worried About Teen Suicide, it states:

“Teenagers are in a developmental space where it is critically important that they have regular contact with their peers and are able to develop close and ongoing relationships with adults outside the home, such as their teachers, their coaches, their advisers,” says Lisa Damour, an adolescent psychologist.” And I worry very much about what it means for that to be disrupted by the pandemic.”

Are COVID restrictions, said to be implemented to protect our children and teens, worth damaging their mental health when the death rate of the virus is less than 1%? Forcing kids to wear masks and social distance is harming them more than the virus threatens them. The cure has become worse that the virus for our youth. That is bullying. In one of my May posts, I suggested a simple definition of bullying, which was; ‘when a person is made to feel threatened or unsafe by another person.’  Now I would define bullying as: ‘When a person, or group of people, are made to feel threatened, unsafe, or restricted by another individual, group of people, or authority.’  COVID restrictions are affecting young people’s mental well-being, so they are being bullied. The question remains: Is protecting our children and teens from a virus where less than 1% are said to have died from COVID worth causing 25% of young people to consider suicide because of COVID restrictions? I say NO. It is illogical. The data says NO. And most of all, NO because it is bullying. That is my truth!

We’re All in this Together

A commentary on the need for hope.

I saw a video recently which made a lot of sense. The video was talking about our chaotic world which every human is experiencing; a world facing an apparent pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, protests against Covid restrictions, mask confusion, human trafficking, missing children, ever changing messaging, and the list goes on. Here is the essence of the video.

The video emphasized that we’re all enduring this storm together no matter what our beliefs and personal truths are. Everyone has their own truths and beliefs, but we are all navigating these confusing times together as best we can. For many, it may feel like we’re divided, polarized, and fighting against one another. Many feel confused and frightened about what is going on. Despite this, the speaker says to pay attention to how you react and respond to other humans, to your knee jerk reactions, and to avoid asserting that someone is wrong. There is no right or wrong. Practice being neutral.

The speaker goes on to talk about neutrality. She says you can navigate through the chaos with neutrality. You can still have your opinions, beliefs, and your own truths, but see and respect other people’s truths as well. That is what neutrality is. We are all experiencing our own human journey together amongst the chaos, so pay attention to your response to others, having more compassion for them since we don’t know what other people have experienced or what they’re going through. How kind can you be to others? We can be unified with our differing thoughts, beliefs, and still retain our individuality. Be kind, as everyone is doing the best they can.

The message in the video resonated with me. My beliefs about what is happening have not changed. However, I’ve realized that I may have failed to be sensitive to other’s perspectives and beliefs, pushing my perspective without considering other perspectives and beliefs out there. I may have forgotten that many people are fearful; fearful of the virus, or afraid that something sinister is happening in our world. The video reminded me that every human is navigating the chaos as best they can and that now is a time for kindness. If ever there was a time for unity and hope, it is at this time.

Having said that, the speaker did talk about the importance of considering other perspectives, to question everything, and to be skeptical about what we are being told. Be a truth seeker!

In May, I (#blog, #blogger, #YA, #authors, #somseason) wrote a post titled,  An Opportunity, Or Back to the Same? In that post I quoted the author, poet, speaker, educator, humanitarian and social justice activist, Sonya Renee Taylor, who said:

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-Corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”

From the very beginning of this alleged pandemic, I’ve always felt strongly that the world is going through an awakening or reset; that the Universe, God, Yahweh, Allah, Creator, or some greater power is orchestrating this, and awakening us to  the “greed, inequity, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack” that is on a global scale; awakening us to racism, bullying (#antibullying, #bullying), misogyny, and tribalism. I believe this now more than ever.

Recently, I saw a post on social media that said:

Don’t Give up on this year.

Keep fighting for the good.

Keep showing up.

Keep loving.

Keep giving back.

Keep being kind.

Keep being brave.

Keep caring.

Keep trying new things.

Keep showing grace.

Keep on.

This world needs you to believe in the good.

How true that is. The fact is, it doesn’t matter if we believe that the mainstream media is imparting fear causing a steep rise in suicides and drug overdoses (see Opioid deaths double) or not. It doesn’t matter if we believe our governments are taking away our rights. It doesn’t matter, as we are free to believe what we want. What does matter is for humanity to be united, to believe in good, and to practice kindness.

Idowu Koyenikan, in his book, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability, said: “There is no denying that there is evil in this world but the light will always conquer the darkness.” Author, Ken Poirot, says, “Light can devour the darkness but darkness cannot consume the light.” In John 1:5 of the Christian scriptures it says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Several major religious festivals use light to acclaim the power of spiritual hope. Christians decorate Christmas trees with lights to symbolize Jesus Christ as the light of the world. During Diwali, a Hindu festival, fireworks displays and candles are used to celebrate the hope of spiritual victories. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, or “Festival of Lights,” is a festival of hope, that teaches us that there is no limit to what we can accomplish when we let God—or the Universe, Yahweh, Allah, Creator, or whatever you want to call it—be our guiding light. The festival encourages everyone to shine light in the darkest places of our lives and in our world.

Science tells us that light overpowers darkness since the photons (small packages of light) can dispel darkness, but darkness cannot dispel light. This principle can be seen simply by entering a dark room and turning on a flashlight. The light is visible in the midst of the darkness, even if there’s just only a small amount of light in a great amount of darkness. This same principle applies spiritually, as the light of hope is always stronger than the darkness of discouragement, fear, despair or even evil. I choose to believe we are living in a time of hope; a time where light is overtaking the darkness in our world, even though it doesn’t feel like it at times or even if we don’t believe it.

The South African Anglican cleric, Desmund Tutu, is known for his anti-apartheid and human rights work. He said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  What the world needs most, right now, is for humanity to have hope that there is light entering our dark world.  To believe we are experiencing a cleansing; a time of light entering our world. Perhaps we’ve been living in darkness—“greed, inequity, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack,”—and we didn’t even see it. The world needs to have hope that what we are all experiencing will end and that we will end up with a better world. Perhaps this experience will create a strong desire to build a better world instead of returning to what was. I choose to have hope and to no longer live in fear. You should too.

Are We Being Bullied? (Part Two)

A commentary on the reality of our world.

Columnist Molly McCann wrote in one of her columns titled, Mandatory Masks Aren’t About Safety, They’re About Social Control, “Mandatory masks are a critical predicate conditioning us to accept abuses of our liberty.”  Columnist Lee Smith shared McCann’s piece on Twitter and wrote, “Masks aren’t about public health but social control. Image of Biden in black mask endorses culture of silence, slavery, and social death.” President Donald Trump shared a tweet that argued the mandated use of face masks to control the spread of the coronavirus represents a “culture of silence, slavery, and social death.” I couldn’t agree more with these statements. This shouldn’t surprise you since I’ve written about the mask debate in previous posts. The question is: Why are authorities mandating mask wearing and why are politicians and the mainstream media pushing masking?

In the May 21st edition of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) it states:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

Even prestigious medical journals are saying masks are relatively ineffective. So, again I ask: Why are authorities mandating mask wearing and why are politicians and the mainstream media pushing masking?  To me, It seems evident it isn’t to protect us. The only logical explanation is to control the masses.

Dr. Jeffrey Barke MD, a doctor I referred to in part one purportedly said:

We should never require a child to wear a mask. Not only is it ineffective but it could actually be harmful. It increases learning disorders. It increases anxiety. It reduces the ability for that child to bond with their teachers. It is a form of child abuse to require face coverings on a small child in a school setting. Stop scaring the public unnecessarily.

I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) couldn’t agree more. Masking children is abusive! This is bullying (#antibullying #bullying) plain and simple. I recently substituted in the school I once taught in where students are forced to wear masks because our government mandated it, even while sitting in their desks. Dr Barke is right! As a teacher, I had difficultly identifying the students and it was tough to develop any kind of relationship with a faceless student. I had no way of knowing if they were struggling with an assignment, or upset, because I could not read his or her facial expressions.

During a press briefing in August, US Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden stated the following:

“Today, I want to talk about one thing, straightforward. Doesn’t have anything to do with Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, it has to do with a simple proposition. Every single American should be wearing a mask when they are outside for the next three months at a minimum.” (source: Biden)

Did you catch that? Joe Biden would make mask wearing outside mandatory. Why? Ken Rice of Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA interviewed Joe Biden in June. Rice asked Biden if he would use the federal leverage to mandate the mask use, to which Biden replied: “Yes, I would from an executive standpoint, yes, I would.” Rice then asked: “So you would, in effect, mandate the wearing of masks.” Biden replied: “I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public” (source: Biden). Joe Biden, if elected president of the US, would mandate wearing masks outside.

Why would a presidential candidate do this? Does he have an agenda? Does he want to keep the masses fearful of the virus? Or, is it about power and control?  Whenever I see someone in a mask, I see them as muzzled; as having their voice taken away. It is like we are symbolically silenced. Is that what is happening? It sure feels like it to me. A few weeks ago, I saw this video on social media. Please listen to the entire video as this person raised some thought-provoking points. You can access the video by clicking on Savanna’s video

Savanna didn’t address another element of masking, and that is: How mask use affects criminal behaviour. If ever there was a prime opportunity for the criminal element of society, it is now. All a criminal needs to do is put on a face mask and a pair of sunglasses. By doing this the lawless person becomes unidentifiable. Don’t believe me? It has already occurring. Have a look at the news articles Anonymous and emboldened: How mask use affects criminal behaviour and  Gloversville man used large face mask to hide identity, commit crimes, say police. I guess we should be grateful that these criminals have our safety in mind since they are protecting us from this so called deadly virus.

The statistics that Savanna gave in the video come from an article titled, Child Abduction Statistics for Parents from Parent’s Magazine. The most shocking statistic for me was:

Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted.

Now let that statistic sink in.

Beautiful People Magazine states:

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. Sounds a little bit too much? Think of it this way to realize the whole situation – that’s roughly 2,000 per day!

Yes, pedophiles are taking away our children. They are being sold on the rich black market. Powerful people worldwide are buying them as they would buy groceries or anything normal.

Wow! Pedophiles are buying children. Pedophilia is the ultimate kind of bullying because it is  the abuse of innocent children. My Cognitive Dissonance just kicked in. If this is true, why is this not the biggest story in the mainstream media (MM)? Why is that? The Hollywood elites have been eerily silent on the topic of child sex trafficking. That wasn’t the case after George Floyd’s death when the Black Lives Matter movement exploded. Why are the Hollywood elites silent on human trafficking? Why aren’t Hollywood stars taking up this cause? Why are our government leaders, for the most part, silent on child sex trafficking? Is the MM intentionally trying to keep us focused on the pandemic to distract us? Are they hiding something? Is human trafficking what they don’t want us to focus on? Are our governments trying to keep us fearful of covid with all their talk of second and third waves, and another possible lockdown? If they are, why?

I mentioned in a previous post that I saw this meme on social media:

The Media isn’t silent on Child Sex Trafficking because of the Children, it’s because of who the Customers are. Read that again please.

Could that really be true? When I begin to think about all this, my brain says: “Stop that, you’re thinking nonsense,” but isn’t that Cognitive Dissonance?

Just in case you are unfamiliar with that, allow me to explain. When a strong core belief is presented with evidence that challenges the belief, our brains refuse to accept the new evidence. It creates a feeling that is far too uncomfortable for us to stomach, and this is known as, “Cognitive Dissonance.” This happens because we have a need to protect the core belief, so we rationalize, ignore, and deny anything that fails to support that core belief.

You will experience this just as I have, once you start critically looking into things. The English novelist and poet, A. S. Byatt is quoted as saying: “Things are not what they seem.” Don’t take my word for it. I challenge you to do some of your own research. As Atisa, an Indian Buddhist religious leader, once said: “The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.”