My Blog Posts

A Question I Had to Ponder!

I was recently asked why I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) wrote my book, A Shattered New Start. I’ve been pondering that question ever since as I had never really thought about it before.

My immediate answer would be that I’ve always wanted to write a book and become an author. Whenever someone asked me what I’ll do in retirement, I would tell them “I am going to write.” I know a lot of people say that, few follow through, but anyone who knows me understands that when I decide to do something, I do it. One of my daughters is just like me in that regard. Some might say I am stubborn, but I say I’m motivated.

I debated what to write a book on, and someone told me to write about what I know when writing for the first time. That made sense to me. Being that I am veteran teacher of 35 years, if there is one thing I know about, it’s school life and the world of school bullies (#bullying #antibullying). During my teaching career, I dealt with many school yard bullies and comforted many victims of bullies. The truth is, bullies infuriate me. I had dealt with every kind of school bully there is. Bullying is a topic dear to my heart because I’ve dealt with a lot of it both as a teacher and personally.

Educationcorner.com, an American education site, says:

Bullying is an epidemic. It is rampant, widespread, pervasive and the effects can be catastrophic. It occurs in our communities, in our schools – and sadly – even in our homes. Bullying statistics are staggering, scary and merit serious consideration

Here are some of the stats it reports:

  • 90% of students in grades 4-8 report have been harassed or bullied.
  • 28% of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying.
  • Over 160,000 kids refuse to go to school each day for fear of being bullied.
  • 70.6% of students report having witnessed bullying in their school–and over 71% say bullying is a problem.
  • Statistics suggest that revenge [due to bullying] is the number one motivator for school shootings in the U.S.
  • 86% of students surveyed said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” is the number one reason that teenagers turn to lethal violence at school.

That means 90% of 8-15 year olds have been bullied. That is huge! In my experience, these statistics are a realistic reflection of school bullying. Bullying isn’t just a problem in schools, as there are politicians and governments who bully to get what they want, and there is a massive amount of bullying that goes on in our workplaces. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’d know that I have deemed 2020 the “Year of Bullying.” Last year bullying increased, as well as introduced new forms of bullying as indicated in the article, Bullying 2020. Our governments and police forces have bullied in 2020 unlike any other time; the very people who are supposed to have our backs, and their bullying is continuing into the new year.

I’ve always felt that bullying is a massive problem in our world, and I can tell you as a teacher, schools do their best to address the problem, but it is tough. What I’ve seen as a teacher is that most bullying is hidden or unseen. I’ll give you a personal example. Many years ago, while teaching Grade 6 (10-11 year-olds), I had a student that came to me who was receiving nasty notes from a bully. This went on for weeks. The principal and I tried to determine who the bully was by doing such things as analyzing the bully’s handwriting, but it was difficult. Honestly, I don’t remember if we determined who the bully was, but the bullying did stop after we talked to the class about the horrors of bullying.

So, why did I chose bullying as the main theme in my book? It’s because I see bullying everywhere. It’s in our schools, our homes, our workplaces, and it’s even commonplace in movies and television shows. Case in point: Draco Malfoy from “Harry Potter,” Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future,” Johnny Lawrence from “The Karate Kid,” Paris Geller from “Gilmore Girls,” and Nellie Oleson from “Little House on the Prairie.”  The list is endless. Bullying is a learned behaviour and television and movies are helping to teach it.

For most of my career, I considered bullies to be “bad” kids who needed a good dose of discipline. Having learned about bullies over the years, I now see bullies differently. Simply put, bullies are hurting people who hurt others, so I wrote my story with this understanding. Or as the expression goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.” If we can heal the injured person who bullies, then that person can be changed or healed. As the adage says, “Healed People, Heal People.”

Writing A Shattered New Start was a way for me to bring awareness of the magnitude of bullying that has plagued our world for centuries, and in 2020 especially. Sadly, it seems to be continuing into 2021. One thing I learned is that conflicts and challenges are more easily resolved if people are able to see things from other people’s viewpoints. As the adage says, “walk a mile in another’s shoes.” We need to respect other peoples truths instead of ostracizing them. That is especially true now more than ever because our present historical situation.

I purposely wrote my book with multiple perspectives surrounding the issues many teens face, including the viewpoints of an average teenager, their parents, their teachers, and the principal to show that everyone has their own points of view. A Shattered New Start shows the human side of bullies. They are really hurting people who take their pain out on others.

My book also uses a unique approach to dealing with bullies. Most schools deal with bullying with a punitive punishment approach, like suspensions. Typically, the aim of punitive approaches—the most common approach to dealing with bullies in schools—is either to punish the offender or to satisfy feelings of revenge. The bully in my story undergoes a restorative justice (some may call it a form of healing circle) approach. The bully, Ryan, faces his victims, endures his victim’s wrath, and shares in the process with his victims in determining his consequences. I believe my book, A Shattered New Start, has a powerful message for young people, or anyone really. I do cover other themes, such as friendship struggles, in the book since bullying isn’t the only issue teens face.

When I really think about the question I was asked, I wrote the book in hopes of making a difference in young people’s lives. Our youth are our hope for a better future. The 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said: “We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.” That’s what I hope my book can help do. Perhaps Nelson Mandela said it best when he said: “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” The world has enough wounded leaders.

I wrote A Shattered New Start for young adults (YA), namely junior and senior high school aged children, but the book could appeal to any age, especially those who have been victimized by a bully which is most of us. Parents of bullied children could also relate to this story. Any educator or professional who advocates for anti-bullying could could make use of my story. You can find links to where to purchase the book on my site (see top menus). Feel free to email me at authorkjsom@gmail.com . I would love to chat.

What Did You Learn From 2020?

A commentary on the lesson of 2020

In December, Time magazine declared 2020 to be the worst year in history with most people agreeing. Last year I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) have seen many Internet memes such as, “It feels like the year has been going on forever,” and “Can we uninstall 2020 and re-install it? This version has a virus.” My favourite however is:  

These memes reflect how the majority of us feel about the past year. Most people couldn’t wait for 2020 to be over in hopes of a better 2021. Recently I saw this meme.

I don’t disagree with the lessons it listed, and the New Year is a time for reflection. Since New Year’s Day, I have reflected on what I learned, and come up with my own list. These lessons are my truths, or my lessons, they may not be yours, and that is okay. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from 2020.

  1. I’ve learned not to trust the Mainstream Media (MM) whose purpose seems to be to instill fear in the masses. MM have provided a relentless narrative of an alleged pandemic for 11 months now. I’ve talked about this in previous posts.
  2. I’ve learned not to trust medical leaders and politicians. Our legislators and medical “experts” mislead us, lie to us, and also promote fear. They do not appear to have our best interests in mind. They don’t follow their own rules which they’ve forced upon us. True North lists all the Canadian politicians who broke their own COVID restriction rules. Even MM is talking about it (see CTV News).  Newsweek lists American politicians who did the same. Here is a story of one of Canada’s senior public health officials breaking the rules (see TNC). Clearly our leaders aren’t afraid of the virus. If our governments did have our best interests in mind, they would do something about the suicides, drug overdoses and the mental health issues caused by lockdowns. (see 2020 to be deadliest year). True North (TN) reports Mental health of Canadians reaching “tipping point,” evidenced by a quadrupling of people accessing treatment services. TN also has a news report titled, Rise in childhood eating disorders an “unprecedented crisis,” reporting that SickKids says there is an increase in the number of eating disorders among Canada’s youth as result of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns. If our governments really cared about our health, which is why they say they must implement lockdowns, then they would be promoting fitness and healthy diets to encourage good mental health, instead of closing gyms and spas. In its place, they keep fast food drive through restaurants (a source of unhealthy foods) open.
  3. I’ve learned how easily we humans are manipulated and controlled by fear of a virus that has over a 99% recovery rate. It seems people are willing to give up freedoms such as visiting their loved ones, closing their businesses, and compliantly wearing masks because our governments say so, without questioning decisions like; why corporate stores have never been ordered to shut down.
  4. I’ve learned how easily we humans give up our freedoms. We willingly give up liberties guaranteed by our constitution, just like what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1940s and Russia in the 1960s.
  5. I’ve learned that we really aren’t allowed to speak our truth, even though our constitution says it is our right. I say this because Big Tech companies (FaceBook, Twitter, etc.) censure by removing any truth that doesn’t align with their narrative (see Big Tech).
  6. I’ve learned how easily people are divided and incited to attack one other. There have been many attacks—even physical attacks— on individuals not wearing a mask. I’ve seen people belittle others on social media, and in videos, because someone thinks differently, calling them names and accusing them of being conspiracy theorists. This discord may be intentionally triggered as explained in the NY Post article, It’s our elites who are driving America’s divisions.

These are the obvious lessons for me, but as I reflect, I realize there is something more profound I’ve learned. Before I reveal what that is, I would like to preface with some indigenous wisdom.

The Indigenous, or First Nations people, have always spoken about the interconnectedness of nature, and the importance of community. Chief Seattle, who pursued a path of accommodation for white settlers said:

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

Indigenous people learn by observing nature. The National Forest Foundation has an article titled, The Amazing Connections Beneath Your Feet. Here is a bit of what it says:

Underneath the forest floor, intertwined with the roots of the trees, is a fascinating microscopic network of fungus…In healthy forests, each tree is connected to others via this network, enabling trees to share water and nutrients. For saplings growing in particularly shady areas, there is not enough sunlight reaching their leaves to perform adequate photosynthesis. For survival, the sapling relies on nutrients and sugar from older, taller trees sent through the…network.

Who knew trees help one another. The indigenous people may not have known about the relationship between trees and fungus, but they knew about the connection of all things. They know their choices affect others. Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), a Santee Dakota physician, writer, and lecturer once said:

“It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome…Children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving…The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have—to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return.”

Mr. Eastman clearly knew the importance of community because that was his culture. 2020 has been a year unlike any other. Never in my life have I lived in such a divided world where people are kept apart from their loved ones due to Draconian restrictions imposed by governments. Never before have I witnessed law enforcement using brute force to remove freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. Never have I seen people turn on one another, physically and verbally attacking each other because someone disagreed with them. I cannot condemn them as they are fearful. This past year has been a year of bullying (#bullying #antibullying) which is why I have deemed it “The Year of Bullying.”

What 2020 taught me the most is, I must never contribute to this bullying or divisiveness. Instead, I must become an example of kindness. compassion, empathy and most of all, love and light. The reality is, we are all navigating this chaos together, each with our own beliefs, thoughts, and fears. We are each having our own unique experiences. I must never judge someone, declaring them wrong. As some unknown person put it:

“Before you judge my life, my past or my character. walk in my shoes, walk the path I have traveled, live my sorrow, my doubts, my fear, my pain and my laughter.”

What I’ve come to realize, because of 2020, is that I am not defined by the external; by what others want me to believe, think, or do. I am sovereign and free, just like you. I decide what I believe, think, or do because I am an autonomous individual and I have choice. I give my power to someone else only if I consciously or unconsciously allow it or choose it.

As indigenous wisdom and nature teaches, we must realize that we are all human brothers and sisters and that everything is connected, so we must treat each other with respect and love regardless of what that person believes, thinks, says or does. I have learned that I must never judge another because I have not walked in their shoes. I am never right, and others are never wrong because right and wrong are relative. Spiritual writer, Gian Kumar, says: “There is no such thing as right or wrong, it is just you who matters; If you are right, you will not see wrong. If you are wrong, you will only see wrong.” That is the biggest lesson for me, and hopefully for us all.

Strange Things Are Happening this Month

A commentary on the spirit of Christmas

Strange things have been happening this month, and I am not referring to the craziness in the world. I’m referring to me (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors). Here is what I mean.

Every year starting in November, my wife starts recording Hallmark Christmas movies, and she watches them endlessly. Every year I ask: “Why do you watch those stupid movies when they are all the same and they are so predictable?” Every year she responds with: “They’re light and make me feel good.” I typically get annoyed with her because she records so many movies that they interfere with the programs I want to record, usually from the History Channel.

Now if you are unacquainted with Hallmark Christmas movies, here is the basic premise of all Hallmark Christmas movies. They often involve a fast-paced, big city type who meets a small-town type who teaches him/her what Christmas or life is really about. The setting is always in a small town with an unusual name like Fertile. Everyone drinks hot chocolate or cider, and these towns have Christmas tree lighting ceremonies or some type of traditional event. These movies always have lesser known, attractive actors and actresses. Perhaps that is the real reason my wife watches these movies as she enjoys nice-looking male actors. Okay, I’ll be honest. I like watching good-looking female actresses too. Often, in Hallmark movies, someone is brought together with an old flame, and involves a going-to-buy-a-tree scene where the couple literally bump into each other and fall in love in a short time. These movies almost always involve some sort of Christmas magic.

Usually when I go to exercise on the treadmill or rower, I watch a movie. Now here is the weird thing. This year, in 2020, I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies. I typically prefer to watch the typical guy movies; action packed Marvel super hero type movies, but not this year. This is a first for me. My wife likes it as I watch some of them with her. But the thing is, my wife is right; these movies do help a person capture the Christmas spirit.

Every year when it comes to decorating for Christmas, I complain. My wife and children call me the Grinch. In fact, for many of the Christmases past, my wife poured me an alcoholic drink so the decorating experience was tolerable for me. I’ll be honest, I hate decorating for Christmas, but this year was different. This year I volunteered to set up the tree and put the lights on it before having a hot tub. Anyone who knows me will tell you the hot tub is my “happy place,” so to decorate before hot tubbing is odd for me. I never complained once; I think my wife would confirm that.

Maybe subconsciously, I had a selfish motive. You see, I love coloured lights on the Christmas tree and my wife loves white lights, so we alternate years. This year is a coloured lights year, so maybe subconsciously I wanted to make sure the coloured lights were put on in case my wife put on the white lights and then claimed she forgot it was a coloured light year. But I don’t think that is it.

I believe the strangeness I am experiencing is answered in the song ‘The World Needs Christmas’ by Emily And Mike. The song says:

It’s been a long and trying year
Full of anxiety and fear
But now it’s finally December
It’s the time when we remember
The world needs Christmas
More than ever this year
Put all the distant, the conflict, the stress, and the trauma behind usThe world needs Christmas
We need laughter and cheer…

If you never listened to the song, here it is

I think I can explain my atypical behaviour. This year, more than any other year, my heart craves love, hope, peace and joy. I need to feel the spirit of Christmas. Some unknown said:

“Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display–so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow. It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow. It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men [and women] when the Christmas spirit returns again.”

American essayist and lecturer, Hamilton Wright Mabie once said: “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!” American novelist, Edna Ferber, says: “Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” Or “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen,” an unknown author wrote. Yes, I am longing for that Christmas feeling or spirit. Right now, our world needs peace after a trying 2020, the year of bullying (#bullying #antibullying). As American writer of religious and inspirational poetry, Helen Steiner Rice says: “Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.”

Christmas—I speak of Christmas only because I was raised Christian—has always meant something more to me than the commercial aspect of gift giving. It’s a feeling, and I remember well that feeling as a kid. I remember feeling love when we gathered with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Perhaps American children’s author Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, says it best with:

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

One of my favourite movies is the 1951 version of Charles Dickens’ story, A Christmas Carol. I grew up watching this movie every Christmas, usually with my dad, when it was on television Christmas eve. It’s the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly businessman who largely views Christmas as a waste of time. But that all changes on Christmas Eve when he is visited by the spirits, or ghosts, of Christmas past, present and future who show him the errors of his ways. My favourite part of the movie is when Scrooge, played by Edinburgh born actor, the late Alastair Sim, wakes up Christmas morning. Here is what I am talking about. Be sure to watch the entire clip.

Mr. Scrooge definitely caught the Christmas spirit. He is filled with hope, love, and joy. What Mr. Scrooge felt is what I need to feel more than anything this year. I suspect that is true for everyone on this planet.

Christmas time is an important month for other world religions, since Islam, Judaism and Buddhism all celebrate major festivals around Christmas. The Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah, is one such festival.  The Muslim festival, Ashura, is celebrated by both Sunni and Shia Islam. The Buddhist celebration of Bodhi Day, celebrated December 8th, is a celebration when Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment while sitting under a tree. These festivals are all celebrated around the Christian Christmas festival.

The word ‘festival’ stems from the root word ‘fest’ which is a gathering, event, or show having a specified focus. A festival is about relationship as it can mean a day or period of time set aside for feasting and celebration. Whenever there is feasting and celebration, there is peace, joy. hope, and love. It is time to bring on the festivals, in whatever form you envision this month, and capture the feeling of Christmas, or Chanukah, or Ashura, or Bodhi day, or whatever festival you celebrate. Author Max Abraham says, “Without relationships, life is useless, empty, boring and lonely.” The world needs that feeling, especially this year.

Does the World Makes Sense to You?

A commentary on making sense of our world

I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) taught science for 35 years, so I always taught my students to ask questions. French anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss said: “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” I ask questions to make sense of things like what is happening on our planet.

Physicist Albert Einstein once said; “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” That is how I’m feeling these days. Actually, more accurately, the more I learn, the more confused I become. The world once made sense to me, but not anymore. Now I have more questions than answers.

Is the Mainstream Media (MM) telling us the truth? In my last post, The World Needs Christmas! I listed some questions to ask yourself about the MM, so I asked myself those questions. My answers are underlined.

Is the MM making me fearful? Yes, that is why I stopped watching the news. Why? It makes me fearful of COVID because that is all that’s talked about. Is there one narrative that all the MM is feeding us or are there multiple narratives? One, the COVID narrative which has continued for 10 months. If they are only giving us one narrative, don’t we have the right to hear all the different narratives or truths? Absolutely! Is the MM objective or subjective? Does it have an agenda or are there multiple opinions being given to us? Subjective, as it’s based on feelings, rather than on facts. The MM appears to have an agenda.

Canada’s Rebel News—yes, I know it is not MM—maintains they tell the other side of the story, as their website states:

We follow the facts wherever they may lead — even if that conflicts with the official narrative of the establishment.

They have a story titled: CBC says this Manitoba hospital is OVERWHELMED by COVID – is it really?  (see CBC story) After sending a reporter to Manitoba, Rebel News reports “there were just five COVID patients per hospital in the province.”  Either the MM media is spreading misinformation or Rebel News is.  I’ve seen several videos like this one.

Is the MM is scripted? It would explain why all MM has the same narrative. According to the article; The 6 Companies That Own (Almost) All Media, that is, six billionaires, so it makes sense MM would be scripted.  The article shows what companies own what media outlets. That is why I trust independent news outlets more than MM. It makes sense to me.

Are our governments being dishonest?  A Global News Poll in May says half of Canadians feel governments are hiding something about COVID-19. Red State has a September headline: Emails Reveal Nashville City Government Hid COVID-19 Info From Public to Keep City in Lockdown. Governments lie all the time. Huffpost even did an article on it, called Why Politicians lie.

Why are our politicians implementing strict COVID measures when they themselves tend to ignore the rules? Canada’s Health minister flew home eight times while telling Canadians not to visit family, according to True North, a member of the Independent Press Gallery of Canada. This was also reported in the Toronto Sun. The NY Post’s article: Photos show California Gov. Newsom at maskless party, reports a US governor breaking his own rules. I guess it’s as the idiom says: Do as I say, not as I do. This reminds me of a quote from George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, a novel I studied in high school: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” 

Are our health officials spreading misinformation? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, under Comorbidities, says:

For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.

To consider all deaths WITH COVID as deaths OF COVID is deceptive. Principia Scientific International (PSI), an independent science body legally incorporated to champion the traditional scientific method has an article: Even CDC Now Admits… which states:

Damning CDC document confirms…there has NEVER been any successful laboratory test to isolate and confirm the existence of the SARS-COV2 virus, alleged to have caused the COVID19 pandemic.

The common cold is a coronavirus. Does that mean a positive test for COVID means a persons has the common cold? How can health officials say a person has COVID-19 with a PCR test if they haven’t isolated the actual virus? One study reports that the majority of COVID-19-positive patients were asymptomatic (81%). Could that mean the PCR test is flawed giving mostly false positives? Even Premier  Kenney agrees the tests are flawed. (see Interview). What happened to the flu season? Did flu viruses disappear or is everything classed as COVID? None of it makes sense to me.

Adolf Hitler once made these bold claims:

By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.

The greater the crime perpetrated by the leadership, the less likely it is that the people will ever believe their leaders to be capable of perpetrating such an event.

Are governments, health officials, and the MM be lying to us? If they are, we are being bullied (#bullying #antibullying) in a mammoth way.  

Why are small businesses forced to close doors while corporate stores (Walmart, Costco, Target, Macy’s, Home Depot) have always remained open? Adamson Barbecue located in Etobicoke, Ontario, was shut down with numerous police surrounding the building. Its owner Adam Skelly defied Toronto’s restrictions on indoor dining and was arrested, yet a nearby Costco was allowed to remain open with thousands of shoppers inside (see Toronto BBQ). Does that mean the virus is only spread through small businesses? None of this makes any sense. Why is it dangerous for people to gather in churches but not in the corporate stores? Rebel News’ article, B.C. church FINED $2,300 for in-person services, police CAN’T EXPLAIN which order was violated, discusses how churches are being bullied. It’s unfair and makes no sense.

Why are small businesses and churches forced to close, and Christmas gatherings restricted, when the death rates are so low? Why are governments implementing Draconian restrictions when survival rates are over 99% for all except those over age 70?  The word Draconian stems from the Athenian statesman Draco who implemented severe laws. Rebel News’ story: COVID pandemic restrictions are like Martial Law, is about a Pakistanian Canadian who compares her experience of martial law to living in Canada now. These measures make no sense.

According to the CDC recently updated estimated infection fatality rates for COVID (table 1) the survival rates by age group are: 0-19: 99.997%, 20-49: 99.98%, 50-69: 99.5%, and 70+: 94.6%. Do these survival rates warrant lockdowns? Does an almost 100% survival rate warrant closing schools? Even MM admits as in this ABC News’ article, Predictions of more suicides, overdoses and domestic abuse during COVID are coming true, that isolation, economic pressure and family conflict affect mental health. The CDC confessed that there have been far more deaths from suicides and drug overdoses than from COVID-19 (see CDC). To continue to damage people’s mental health when death rates are so low makes no sense to me.

What is the point of a vaccine if social distancing and masking will continue? That is what US head Dr. Fauci says. (See masks, social distancing will still be needed after a COVID-19 vaccine…) Canada’s head doctor, Dr. Tam, agrees. (see Physical distancing, mask-wearing could be in place for 2-3 years even with vaccine..) How is it possible to develop a vaccine if they haven’t isolated the COVID-19 virus? Yet, there is much talk of mandatory vaccines. The World Economic Forum says normally vaccines take 10 years to be approved for use, that is, to be deemed safe. Why is a vaccine for COVID being rushed? That same article says the experimental COVID vaccine will be ready this month. Does that mean the vaccine will be ineffective or unsafe? It makes no sense. I recently saw a meme that said:

Imagine a vaccine so safe you have to be threatened to take for a disease so deadly you have to be tested to know you have it.

Why are mandatory masks being forced upon us? Calgary and Edmonton have both had mandatory mask policies since the summer, yet COVID rates are purportedly rising. Does that mean masks don’t stop COVID infections from spreading?  Why are people who were given medical exemptions being denied entrance to places? See Police, public health have NO ANSWERS for why mask exemptions aren’t ACCEPTED. It makes no sense.

Is discrimination for having a certain point view allowed? The Vancouver Canucks have fired their anthem singer for planning to perform “O Canada” at an anti-mask rally (see Canucks fire anthem singer for anti-mask support). Is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms no longer valid? Why is the freedom to protest being taken away? Isn’t freedom of speech guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Our national anthem has the phrase: The True North strong and free! Is Canada no longer a free country?

As you can see, I have a lot of questions with no clear answers, so I must draw my own conclusions. The only logical conclusion is we are being bullied. There is much talk of the “Great Reset” which is about governments grabbing power by limiting our freedoms. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney admits The Great Reset is not conspiracy and is about “less freedom and more government.” Here is his discussion.

There is a quote in George Orwell’s book, 1984, that says: “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”  That is a troubling thought. One of the founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He also said: “He that’s secure is not safe.” The third president of the US, Thomas Jefferson, once said: “He who gives his freedom for safety gets none of them.” Maybe the late George Carlin says it best in this video.

Does the world make sense to you? Start asking your own questions.

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?

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.