DEC
2018
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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 11.21.18
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

What about Autumn?

I know that officially Autumn started this year on September 23 at 01:54 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Officially, that is when the axis of the earth's rotation is exactly perpendicular to the rays of the sun striking earth. Because I live in Washington, that was Monday, September 23, 2018 at 3:50 am EDT.

For me, Autumn began this year on October 28 at 8:57 AM, when I looked out my office window and saw that the big maple had started to turn.

tree

We had been having unseasonal high temperatures, in the 80s and lots of rain (not global warming; no, no, never, that is a myth). Also, we had the 5th wettest September on record at 9.73 inches. That is not what I call fall.

Autumn 2018 is/was the time for the U.S. elections and the airwaves and print were filled with propaganda, lies, and some information. If you got caught up in this Party-generated game, you could have believed that this game defined Autumn. But, you did not have to get caught up in the game: handicapping winners and losers, collecting stats, predicting outcomes based on polls, etc., and buying into a party line.

Yes, your responsibility as a citizen of the U.S. is to vote but voting is not a game. Actually, voting entails work, defined as: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. So first, what is our purpose or result? The Preamble of the Constitution spells it out clearly:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The work comes in when We the People look at the policies, procedures. and programs (PP&P), which will further our purposes and results. For example, what kind of governmental PP&Ps, local, state and federal will promote the general Welfare? We can all have our own opinions ranging, for example, from Medicare for All to the government should prevent malpractice and nothing more.

Belief will not resolve the differences and produce a result, nor will Party. Party becomes nothing more than a self-reinforcing collective belief, which jumps into the arena for battle. We cheer, we boo, but nothing is accomplished.

So if belief and Party are not the answer, what do we do? We go back to work: the mental and physical effort part of work. We need to gather data, analyze, and develop options; we need to consult reliable authorities on technical issues (what constitutes malpractice?), we need to discuss with others, even if we disagree, while making eye contact (you know, talk with, not at), and we need to make compromises.

My way or the highway results in gridlock, not results.

Autumn is the time leading into the Holiday season; and, therefore, to think about family and friends. It is a time when we should rethink the classic Thanksgiving Dinner standoff. Drawing on the teaching that Christianity, other religions and ethical structures agree on; Love thy neighbor looks like a good starting point. At Thanksgiving Dinner, that may mean listening instead of talking, maintaining eye contact, making sure everyone gets heard, sticking with ideas and not personalities and NO shouting.

Autumn is a time for reflection and celebration. Engage for a wonderful Autumn.

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