A Former Yankee Savors the South

While listening to a recent recording from Glenn Beck’s show I was reminded of why I left New York.   I could relate so well to what he was saying and, at the same time, felt so sorry for him and his family.  In a city that claims to be so “diverse” and open to change; that claims to embrace so many different ethnic and religious groups; that claims freedom of speech is so important, they treated a conservative talk radio host and his family like common criminals. Must be that double-standard again.

I am one of the many transplants to North Carolina.  We moved here in May of 2011 from Long Island, New York.   Our home was only three-tenths of a mile from the ocean.   So many people asked, “WHY??  Who would want to leave ’Lawn guyland’ to move down south?”  In my heart I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to stay!

Long Island, especially our area, was brutally and painfully liberal. Mind you, ask any of them what the issues were and they’d say “I don’t know, but I know I’m a Democrat!  I vote Democrat.”   Ask someone on the Right what they were and they knew.  Unfortunately, conservatives were few and far between.

I remember one day when I went to vote and signed the book, one of the women working the sign-in table whispered as I walked to the booth, “She’s a Republican!”  I stopped dead in my tracks, did a 180 and said, “Yes, this IS what a Republican looks like.  We don’t have horns or breathe fire, we don’t dress up in Colonial costumes, we don’t walk about with machine guns, but we DO have it in ourselves to forgive, respect and accept people with different opinions!”  No one said a word but a lot of mouths were hanging open, and there were some very embarrassed faces on the people around me.  I, on the other hand, was smiling ear-to-ear and winked at one senior gent who I could tell wanted to applaud, but would never risk being called a “racist” or something.  That was the moment I realized I could speak my mind, and had the “chutzpah” (as they say in Oceanside, NY) to do it with dignity and conviction.

I think part of the “fire” I feel now in supporting the Right has to do with my indoctrination to the Left in those many years in New York.  The things that came out of their mouths were illogical and unsubstantiated by facts. They sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher: “WHAUK, WHAUK, WHAUK!”  I would get so angry and frustrated because our town REFUSED to decorate for the Christmas holiday.   No lights or wreaths on poles; no decorations in the shopping areas; nothing that would indicate Christmas was coming except for the stores sending mailers.  The Chamber of Commerce gave me the runaround each year, making up excuses as to why they couldn’t decorate.   I suspect now they were Obama’s speech writers because everything they told me was a lie, right down to saying the people of Oceanside couldn’t afford it. COULDN’T AFFORD IT?!

Every driveway was filled with high-end cars—a Mercedes here, and BMW there; a Lexus here and a Cadillac there!   Granted, we were shooting around town in an old mini-van and a small Toyota, but we didn’t see how they could claim there was no money for decorations.   That’s when I decided to take it the local newspaper, and the editor backed me up all the way.    He asked me to write for them and I wrote a few columns from a conservative woman’s point of view.   Unfortunately, in “lib America,” my children were being harassed, even by their teachers, with questions like, “Is that YOUR mother that writes those columns? Is that how she REALLY feels?” in a very mocking way.   I decided to stop the column to make things easier for them, but I never stopped voicing my opinion.

Now that I’m in North Carolina, and surrounded by so many people who feel as I do, who are kind and moral and have traditional values, I know I’m “home.”   I consider myself a “southern fried bagel”–another transplant who feels that this is where she was meant to be.

I will continue to defend our rights as Americans.  I will stand up for our freedoms and speak out for people who have been told to be quiet and sit down–people who have been bullied by the Left and put on the defensive for what they believe.  Only now I’ll try to do it without the Long Island accent!

Note: The preceding contribution was sent to us by Colleen Gilmartin, who contributes articles to The Greensboro GuardianHer work appears here with the permission of the editor and author.

COLLEEN GILMARTIN is a contributor for The Greensboro Guardian and considers herself a “Southern Fried Bagel, ” (a New York native, recently transplanted to the Greensboro, North Carolina area–we had to ask too!)

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Time for a Change by Michelle Worthington

Freedom of press is an interesting concept. How much of what is published is based on good writing and how much is based on good marketing? What we and our children read is determined by what sells and what makes a profit, and less about enriching literacy.

Australian children’s books have always endeavored to capture the uniqueness of the Australian way of life. Books such as “Dot and the Kangaroo” (1899) by Ethel Pedley, “The Magic Pudding, the Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum” (1918) by Norman Lindsay, “Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” (1918) by May Gibbs, “Blinky Bill” (1933) by Dorothy Wall have played a huge part in establishing our national identity.  But a national identity, once established and successfully marketing, is a difficult thing to sway.

Australian picture books had their golden age in the 1970’s. Mem Fox’s “Possum Magic” illustrated by multi award winning artist Julie Vivas, David Cox’s “Tin Lizzie” were the staples of school and home bookshelves. “Who Sank the Boat?” by Pamela Allen , “Diary of a Wombat” by Jackie French and Alison Lester’s  and Margaret Wild’s fabulously simple and engaging stories were to follow, including a stream of Mem Fox classics. A whole generation of Australian children grew up reading these books by authors establishing themselves firmly in a growing market.

But what is next? The market for children’s books is not longer growing, and in some cases, falling away. The E-book revolution is making authors and publishers alike uncertain about the future of children’s picture books, not only in Australia but internationally. More than ever, publishers are no longer accepting un-solicited manuscripts and are doubtful of investing in unknown authors. Smaller publishers are building a groundswell of new and exciting manuscripts, but they are unable to get their books into the bookstores, who themselves are skeptical to take on unknown authors and are sticking to well known and mass produced books. Publishers are not free to make decisions about taking on talented new authors. Decisions are made based on the bottom line, not on merit. This is the new face of Freedom of Press.

Where does this leave the emerging international authors and publishers? Developing an online presence and learning to market yourself as an author and in turn your publications is now par for the course of becoming a successful writer.  ‘Vanity publishing’ is becoming less of a dirty word, as it becomes a viable avenue for getting your work out into the market, in the hope that a publisher will ‘hear’ of you and consider your subsequent works.  The world is changing and the next generation of writers are more than capable of accepting the challenge.

All I can say to my fellow aspiring authors is to take courage from the fact that emerging fiction, non-fiction and picture books are some of the best quality ever produced. The new generation write with heart and a uniquely independent voice. Never give up hope that your book could be the next ‘classic’. The electronic age is reinventing Freedom of Press. Our time has come.

About the Author:
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MICHELLE WORTHINGTON is the author (Australian and proud of it!) of the picture book, The Bedtime Band, published with Wombat Books in November 2011. Her first adult nonfiction book, Practically Single, will be released by Mostly for Mothers Publishers in June 2012. Her next children’s picture book, The Pink Pirate, is being published by Little Steps Publishing and another children’s picture book, Yellow Dress Day, will be released in September by New Frontier Publishing.
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Michelle has two boys who love to read, and she has read them a story to get them to sleep every night of their life. The stories she writes are like the stories she read as a child–tales with a timeless message. Her family are her inspiration and motivation to become a successful author.
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You can keep track of Michelle at http://www.michelleworthington.com and check out her author store.
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Be Free! by Joe Blow

Are we free?

It’s a two stage question. Before we decide whether we are free individuals within our society, we have to ask ourselves whether we are free in our own minds. Are we prisoners of what William Blake called “the mind-forged manacles”? Is there a division in our psyche itself? Are we at war with some aspect of our own nature?

Often we look only at external social and political factors when considering the question of freedom. But whether we can be controlled or exploited by others depends on the vulnerability or otherwise of our psychological state. Divide and conquer is a basic principle of warfare, and, in the same way, if our psyche is divided then we become much easier to control.

The less we need, the freer we are. We only need to take a look at the life of any drug addict to see that where there is absolute need there is also absolute slavery.

The psychological foundation for any kind of meaningful state of social or political freedom is self-sufficiency in the area of personal esteem. If we really don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about us then not only are we freer economically ? not having a need to make any kind of statement of self-worth through ostentatious material goods ? but we are much harder to intimidate.

The route to this kind of freedom is radical self-acceptance.

If we consider ourselves as we are at this moment, we know these things :

  1. The past cannot be changed, so anything which has happened to us in the past or which we have done in the past is best accepted without regrets or guilt.
  1. While our actions may harm others, our thoughts and feelings, in themselves, cannot. So we might as well accept those thoughts and feelings unconditionally.

One of the great ironies of life is that we spend so much effort on trying to improve ourselves, struggling with our feelings or trying to censor our thoughts. And yet, if we can learn to accept ourselves as we are and allow our thoughts and emotions absolute freedom to go where they will, we find that these thoughts and feelings ? even the most shocking and frightening ones ? are part of a movement towards wholeness in our being.

We are born with a capacity for unconditional love for all of our fellows. It never goes away, but only becomes subsumed by our struggle against accepting ourselves.

What would it be like to live in a world where nobody had anything to prove? Left wing politics, right wing politics, religions of various stripes… All dogma is a defense against free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place.

The world is a mirror in which we see ourselves reflected. Those of us who are greedy think the government is greedy and wants to tax us too much. Those of us who are full of hatred see enemies everywhere. Those who have a hard time repressing their sexual desires see “sinners” on every side.

But freedom exists in the hearts of those who, unhampered by self-obsession, are open to love, that force of attraction which draws the individual to find his or her fullest meaning within a freely unfolding society which cannot be controlled by those in the grip of closed-minded insecurity.

This is already happening. The old dogmas are dying. In the middle ages you could be tortured to death for questioning the concept that the sun revolved around the earth. Today you can say pretty much anything you like on the Internet.

We live in the latter days of civilization. Civilization is socially-enforced repression. Anything which threatens its cohesive structure has to be made civil, that is tamed or repressed. This is what civilization means. So what is it which threatens the cohesion of society? Mainly two things ? sex and violence. If we were to act on all of our sexual desires or give our feelings of anger uncontrolled physical expression it would be very hard for society to keep functioning.

Of course, even without any externally imposed repression, each of us restrains those impulses which we recognize as being potentially dangerous to society. For various psychological reasons some have more to repress than others. The more someone is struggling to repress something within himself the more its expression by others seems to threaten that struggle. So, while the initial reason for social repression was to avoid forms of behavior which might be directly destructive to society, later the need to protect the feelings of the most repressed also became a factor.

And since the desire to control others arises in the struggle to control oneself, it follows that the members of society who most commonly sought power were also the ones who were the most repressed, and thus the most insecure or neurotic. As a result, civilization became patriarchal, sacrificing the freedom of women and children and homosexuals to avoid disturbing the fragile psychological state of the male hierarchy.

Will the collapse of this kind of sick civilization mean a descent into violent chaos? I don’t think so. While these structures were repressing our scary aggressive and sexual desires, deep below those impulses our profound capacity for unconditional love has also been laying dormant. Wars, terrorism, riots, etc. These are eruptions from this stockpile of repressed hostility, but they are the exception, not the rule. Often we see the dramatic, the violent, but not the gentle and the creative. But we have a medium now ? the Internet ? for voluntary global cooperation of an anarchistic rather than imposed variety. Our society has, historically, been a hierarchical one, and hierarchy is an attempt by the most frightened and unimaginative members of society to keep love and creativity from expressing themselves freely.

Set free that which is within you!

About the Author:

JOE BLOW is the author of the ebook How to Be Free. Find Joe’s ebook at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88690

Photo Credit: Image: Chaiwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Breaking Government’s Power Vaccuum by Charles Cooper

In America, government is a system.  It is a system whose object is to promote freedom for her people.  It is no mistake that the system manual, the Constitution, puts almost all of its emphasis on restraining the system instead of restraining the people.

And yet, our system grows in scope and power every year—often to the detriment of her people’s freedom.  Our government may have recently met the only restraint that could contain it, the availability of money.  Yet Congress sweeps this problem under the rug and out of view while concealing the ever growing financial crisis that if left unchecked threatens to throw the country into economic ruin sometime in the near future.

The only goal of our government is to ensure the most freedom for the greatest number of our citizens.  Everything else is up to those citizens and to some extent, luck.  To achieve this goal, the Constitution limits government’s power—not the liberty of its people.  But how do we the people ensure that the government obeys its own supreme law?  I would suggest, as a means of containing government, is an establishment of the scope of government as an absolute.  The only thing Government can do that individuals cannot is use force to achieve an end, moderate disputes among her people, and make agreements with our fellow nations.

Second, we must agree on three principles as fundamental and then integrate them into a staged-gate algorithm where failure at any one stage prevents something from becoming a law.  These principles are:

1.       Equality: Toward that end, all people will be treated as equal under the law without regard for any characteristic or choice they have made.

2.       Property Rights and the right to contract: All people will have without fail the fundamental right to own property and to make bargains and trades as they see fit.  Two consenting adults make an agreement.

3.       Justice: Government cannot correct for the natural results of decisions made by people.  It will only be allowed to interfere where some fraud or other violation of rights has occurred.

Through those filters, the algorithm for law making looks like this:

1.       Is the purpose of the bill to enable freedom, choice, or otherwise create the opportunity for people to further their potential?  Yes, continue to the next question.  No, stop here:  this is not a question for our government.

2.       Does the law apply equally to all citizens all of the time?  Yes, continue to the next question.  No, stop here:  this is not a legal action for our government.

3.       Is there a private sector, market based solution currently in place?  Yes, stop here: this is not an issue for government.  No, continue to the next question.

4.       What is the best approach for solving this issue, creating a market or creating a law?  If market, then create a private sector solution. If Law, continue.

5.       By now, you’ve found that Government only has two purposes, defending the people and their rights and ensuring that people reasonably uphold contracts.  Everything else belongs to the states or the people, and I question the role of the states outside of the same algorithm.

Every individual in this world has a “power pie” that divides neatly into only two pieces.  Those pieces are the power that one has and the power that one gives away.  In order for all people to achieve their full potential, they must retain as much power as possible.  It is no wonder, then, that when the Government of the United States was so small and constrained, our people achieved so much.  Government is a power vacuum, drawing on your potential, feeding itself and growing larger and stronger.  This is why every generation is called on to fight for its freedom.  This is why the fight to constrain government seems so futile and so lost.

But the fight for freedom and to limit government’s power is not futile: a biannual peaceful revolution is built into our government, every four years a complete revolution at the ballot box.  It is designed to allow for a reset constraining its growth.  This begs the question, where is the will to reset?  Where is the will to eject the specter of power from its place of establishment?

The answer is just as simple. The will to reset government’s seeming one-way track to more power and more resources is in each of us. The desire to make our own destiny instead of accepting a mundane fate of common outcomes and common mediocrity pervades who we are as a people.  We must seize on this desire to be free and act on it by choosing elected representatives who share a love of freedom before the cost of our patience is blood.

About the Author:

CHARLES COOPER is the President of C3 Acquisitions, a company that conducts analysis, builds effective business processes and provides proposal and project management services to companies seeking to expand their business base.  He is a long time conservative activist working to restrain the growth of government.