The unlikeliest of sources

I have always rejected therapy (this from a Psych major lol) because I believe that there is no one more self-aware than I. To my credit, my Social Worker at the Transplant Clinic supports that notion as well. Why do I need therapy? I am blessed with a circle of friends that I can always talk to and I can count on them to tell me the truth. Yet, with all of the resources available to me, and despite my manifest blessings, I was continuously spinning down a Rabbithole of negative thought. It is my understanding that I have a fairly significant case of General Anxiety, this revelation can be neatly filed in the “No Shit Sherlock” column. One of the symptoms impacting me is called Rumination, in which I constantly dwell on negative associations. Even the happiness of memories, camping, for example, would immediately trigger the most negative experience I ever had while camping. Such a thought will send me down the drain of feelings of inadequacy and doubting my self-worth. This had become a constant behavior and I can’t believe that it took as long as it did to recognize how bad it was holding me back.

One event that I had been ruminating about is my recent breakup. Months after the end of an intense, yet brief relationship I had been unable to move on. I was hurt, I felt rejected, and I had so many questions because to this day, I really don’t know what happened as it went from great to nothing quickly and in a way that I can’t make sense of. It should be mentioned that I very characteristically assumed that it was my own fault. Because when you are insecure everything is your fault.
Talking to friends wasn’t working. I continued to dwell in despair despite so many good things happening in other areas of my life. So I tried something I had yet to venture into, Podcasts. I searched out Ted talks on grieving, moving on, sadness, rejection, you name it. What I stumbled upon was Mr. Big feet and hands himself…Tony Robbins. He did a series of podcasts dedicated to changing your thinking. I listened to hours of it. I know, to any reader I may have left out there this may be comical because a lot of people think that he is pop fluff. I did as well but the man makes sense.

The takeaways are many but the overall theme is so simple and I can’t believe that I couldn’t do this before. When you experience an emotion, find out where it is coming from and put it into a category in which you can work on it. Find a solution, a new approach, look at it in a different way. Consequently, I took the break-up and asked myself what was really bothering me.
Do I miss her? Not really.
Do I miss the feelings I had when I was with her? Definitely.
Would I take her back if she called tomorrow (unlikely)? Absolutely not, I’m better off without her.
So what is it? I want to know what happened! what did I do?
BOOM!

I realized that I hate not knowing and the harsh reality is that I probably never will. The category to shift that whole series of events to is the category of CONTROL. I am frustrated that I have no control over this. But in a new context, I am able to do just that. I accepted that I cannot control it and told myself to move on.
Because it doesn’t matter. It’s done and can’t be changed.

I then took this mindset and applied it to many other areas of my life in which I have been struggling and it’s always the same thing. By changing my thinking, by diagnosing from where it was coming, and by asking what can actually be done about it I had a further and significantly more powerful revelation; that I am spending way too much energy, at the risk of my own emotional health, on things that I can’t control. Isolating those things that are within my control became easier and I now have sufficient energy to do so.

This happened about 30 years too late but I am excited to see where this takes me.

Entitlement

Nothing screams hypocrisy more than a tiktok video generated by a white woman in a car with leather seats, wearing a designer sweatshirt, with expensive sunglasses adorning her head screaming into a $1000.00 iPhone about “entitled Americans.”

I shouldn’t have to say this, and I probably shouldn’t, but here goes…all Americans are entitled. You can see it everywhere if you look for it. It starts with the sayings we hear all the time.
“I’m going to get what’s mine!”
Excuse me, but what exactly is yours? Is there a locker at the local bus station containing a box labeled yours? Are the contents a bag of cash and guaranteed happiness? No, nothing is yours. You have to earn it. Through hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Even then there are no guarantees, just opportunities.
“I deserve it.”
The three words I will never, ever say. I deserved to get my ass kicked in High School when I shot my stupid mouth off to the wrong guy. I don’t deserve anything else. Nor does anyone else. If you’re fortunate, life will repay you for what you put into it. If you work, you get a check. If you help someone they may help you back. Any other expectations might as well come from rubbing a bottle. Nobody deserves a damn thing.
“The Constitution guarantees my happiness.” No, it guarantees the pursuit of it, not the actual happiness.

That’s the point here after all, when did we start believing that we are supposed to be happy and something is wrong and worse, that it is somehow due to a failure on someone else’s part?

We’ve been sold the American Dream, which is a bill of goods that basically says that we are exceptional and are not vulnerable to the same perils as every other country. So we feel comfortable in the future so we don’t save money; we don’t think about consequences because we believe everything will work out. We’re entitled to it, or a bailout when it doesn’t happen. And when it doesn’t, we expect it to even itself out. And there is no guarantee. Life is not fair, nor is it always fun, and in a lot of cases it just plain sucks. People have problems, bad ones, and it is often due to no fault of their own. Life can be brutal yet we, as entitled Americans, expect happiness. I am of the opinion that happiness is a subjective notion. It is based on expectations and those expectations must be modified for the times we live in. With all of the stressors of the world today, even those with a relatively problem-free life consider happiness what you can experience in your free time. After work, weekends if you’re lucky enough to have them off is the time that we do what makes us happy. Spending time with our families or friends or indulging in activities or hobbies, you get the point. If we get enough of that to balance out the effect of what sucks in our lives, we can say that to a point, we are happy. But thrilled is questionable, ecstatic unlikely, and euphoric is just not happening.
Because life is hard.


I don’t mean it as an insult. It’s just a fact. Americans are entitled. Even the lowest among us has a life that any of the millions of people trying to get into this country would call happy.

A walk down “the Ave”

I’ve been thinking about my Dad quite a bit lately. Much more than usual. It occurred to me recently that I am finally becoming, after many years of disappointing him, the person he wanted me to be. He never actually said it in words, but through various conversations that come to me in the middle of the night, I pieced together the causes behind his relentless criticisms (it can be argued that they were warranted) of my overall character. He had a clear vision of what he wanted me to be, not do, in life that he would be proud of. He wasn’t interested in wealth or status. He had a different vision for my continuation of the family legacy, and that is to do better than those that preceded us. That is what he did, and all of the times that he verbally chastised me for goofing off, being foolish with money, acting badly, and not showing ambition or looking to the future was out of fear that I would take the family name backward. He single-handedly rewrote the family story. And in the process, he created a wonderful legacy for himself. He will forever be known as a kind, humble, hard-working, honest man to all that knew him. I am sad to admit that for some time, I wasn’t all of those things. I always worked hard and I always tried to be kind and honest and humble but I could have done better. At this point in my life, I make it a priority to commit to all of those things as if my very life depended on them. I believe my father is with me and he needs to see that. It was important to him that his only son didn’t squander or discredit his good name.

My father did not have it easy as a boy. His parents would have had to get two raises to just be poor. They lived on Railroad Ave, a small, dead-end dirt road that contained the most decrepit houses in town, oddly not in the worst part of town. My grandfather had a steady job but it didn’t seem to go far. He was knocked out of the workforce early due to Emphysema and that certainly made matters worse. I never saw the house my father grew up in, it was torn down before I could, but two houses down was the house my Aunt and Uncle raised my 6 cousins. I spent a good portion of my childhood in that house and it was a mess. Sadly, it wasn’t even warm with love. The Husband made sure of that.

Life on Railroad Ave was a tough existence. For everyone but my father, it didn’t change much financially. My Aunt never caught a break financially, saddled with an abusive and underachieving husband and not much money. Fortunately, he died young and she was able to marry a nice man. He was wonderful to her but didn’t add much to the finances. My father’s other sister had a mild disability that she nursed for everything it was worth and never worked a day in her life. Her only accomplishment was caring for my very ill Grandfather in their squalid apartment until he passed. My Father affectionately referred to her as “useless”. His brother died in prison. I never met him and I’m glad. From what I understand he was a tremendous bully and very cruel to my father. My father hated him, so badly that he refused to go to his funeral. My father was committed to getting off of Railroad Ave as fast as he could and he worked his ass off to do so. He worked many jobs and took any opportunity to move up. He joined the Army and gained the necessary skills to further himself.
Fast forward to my birth in 1965. While in the National Guard he was married, owned a house, and had a Union job.

My dad loved his family and my childhood is full of memories of time spent on Railroad Ave. He was fine to visit there, but he was proud to have moved out. I’m sure that the Ave, with its dirt road riddled with potholes and crumbling houses, was a bittersweet reminder that he had done a little better than those before him. One thing I can say with all the confidence in the world is that his days on the Ave would forever influence him in every way. Those influences are also a huge part of who I am today.


Dahmer

“Jeffrey, please stop having your friends over for dinner. They’re tasteless.”

Last night I completed the Netflix series Dahmer. It was worth the watch.
I will watch anything that Ryan Murphy is part of. The casting of the phenomenal Evan Murphy of American Horror Story fame was spot on. He nailed the character. It was a nuanced performance, if not a factually flawed interpretation of a story that gripped and horrified a nation, and possibly the world from the day of his arrest to his violent demise several years later. I am unfazed by the inconsistencies, someone who knows the case as well as I will naturally catch it, most would not. And at the end of the day hey, it’s Netflix, not Ken Burns, it’s to be expected.

I suppose that I may as well get it out there, not unlike a staggering amount of people nationwide, I am an avid fan of anything to do with Serial Killers.

I was pleased to see this morning that it was the # 1 rated show on Netflix. I was also not surprised to see that Fox News ran a sequence on the controversy surrounding its popularity. I was expecting this. Whenever a dramatization or documentary about Bundy, Gacy, Kemper, etc., is released, and Netflix is guilty of a lot of content recently, it always generates a visceral reaction. The same questions/dilemmas are always posed,

Are we glorifying the killer?

Are we being unfair to the families of the victims?

And is it appropriate to continue making such content as opposed to letting the lore die a much-deserved rest?

All I can say is that yes, sometimes the Killers are painted in a sympathetic light. That can be merely a matter of perspective or in some cases a fact. In the case of Dahmer, I do not believe that he was painted as a sympathetic figure. I found him quite repulsive and very ill. Yet as a human being and a student of behavior the backstory that caused the man to perform the truly unspeakable acts that he committed is fascinating and from a research perspective invaluable. That is the appeal of Serial killers…what made them do it? Is it any different than questioning how Hitler was able to get an entire country to sit and watch as he extinguished millions of lives? It’s not the gore, it’s the why. So if you think it’s wrong on many levels then ask yourself is it as wrong as the people who send fan letters to these animals, offering their undying support and devotion? There are WAY more of those people than any decent person wants to think about.

It can also be argued that it is unfair to the families of the victims. I can only imagine that they don’t appreciate the rehashing of the most heartbreaking event of their lives. But let’s not pretend that they’ve forgotten it only to be reminded when Netflix releases a special. To its credit, the series did a respectable job of portraying the victims in a tragic light. In fact, almost half of one episode was dedicated to just one of the 17 victims, a very nice, bright young man with a promising future. His death was an absolute tragedy, as were the rest. His family was also discussed at length and the result was to tastefully illustrate how senseless and horrific the taking of his, and the others, lives really was. By delving into the families, it powerfully drove home the magnitude of their loss. Much consideration was given to the profound and devastating effect that Dahmer had on their futures. I think everyone, myself included, needed to see that. These were not just numbers, they were people.

As for the appropriateness of making such content…it will never go away. People want to see it. People want to know the Why’s, the How’s, and the Who. It is our nature to be curious. I can only speak for myself, but I’m not fascinated because I am an aspiring serial killer. I watch it because I don’t get it and I want to.

I’m sure that the motivations vary but I do know that we are fascinated by monsters. All serial killers are monsters and Dahmer was one of the worst. It was Scooby Doo that taught us that in the end, the real monsters are people.

Childhood and money

Have you ever been asked the question, “Would your childhood have been different (is that to say that you would be different?) if you had more money as a kid?”
Now, those of you that were raised in a wealthy family you can sit this one out. Myself, and everyone in my neighborhood, definitely were not. But here’s my answer.
I don’t know.
Well that was anticlimactic…
All I can say is that I never felt like I was in need of anything. As I stated in a earlier blog, I wouldn’t change my parents or my childhood at all, for anything.

I naturally led myself down this road of thought when I wrote about the varied and positive influences of my childhood, courtesy of 4 great role models; my mother and father and my grandparents on my mother’s side. I feel terrible saying this, but my fathers parents didn’t play a large role in my upbringing. But the rest of his family sure did, while they weren’t influencers they sure had an impact on my childhood and it was mostly a negative one.

Let’s look at the players and tie it in to the subject at hand.

My Grandparents on my mother’s side were born during WWI, graduated High School during the Great Depression, met during the booming ’30s only to go through WWII; money was never a major factor in their lives, nor were they fazed by the constant lack of it. They were conditioned to make do with very little. I knew them, from the earliest memory, to live a simple lifestyle and had few indulgences. My grandmother wanted little more than a decent home to live in. My grandfather liked a new car (never too fancy) every few years and he liked watches, also never too fancy. Oddly, despite their small home and frugal lifestyle they saved very little money. I was surprised to learn this, considering my grandfather was always working. Perhaps it is because my grandmother never worked after he came home from WW2.
Consequently my mother was very much like her mother when it came to money. She made her own clothes, even as an adult and liked to live simply.
She taught me well not to waste even though I thought it was a bit overboard to sew holes in socks and put patches on jeans. Fortunately for me patches became a fashion trend in the 70’s.



Generations

I am Generation X. I was born one year after the Baby Boomers. Gen X was followed of course by the much-maligned Gen Y, or Millennials. Without painting broad strokes about future generations, the reason for the generational mention is to paint the picture of the people I spent my formative years around. In addition to being fortunate enough to absorb the values of their generations, respectively (which I will delve into shortly), but my parents and grandparents were strong even for their generations.

I was raised during an era of political and societal upheaval. The late 60’s and early 70’s were marked by war, political scandal, youth finding their own voice, and a clash of generations. My family was very tight and traditional, and my Grandparents were around quite a bit and their old-school ways greatly impacted my earliest memories.
My Grandfather was a WW2 Veteran, a Navy SeaBee. He saw a lot of action. As many of his eras did, he dutifully volunteered to serve.. He was a lover of God and Country. His values defined him. Beneath his jovial appearance was a fiercely protective and serious man.
My Grandmother was as rigid as a soldier as she held down the household in his absence. They were both young adults during the Great Depression and “waste not want not” was the rule of the day. While my Grandfather had had a fairly normal upbringing, not rich but not poor, my Grandmother lost her parents very young as was raised by her Grandparents. They were strict and frugal and very tough on her and her siblings. The harsh childhood emanated from every pore.
My Father was also Military. He served during the Vietnam conflict but as he was to be sent to Southeast Asia I was born and kept him Stateside. He was a very hard-working and decent man whose upbringing, as was my Grandmother’s, emanated from every pore.
My mother, God bless her, was half a hippie. She never went to San Francisco or did mind-expanding drugs, but she was all about the empowerment of women, youth, and rejecting the Patriarchy.

What’s the point you may ask…well look at the influences I was exposed to. Patriotism, frugality, family, gratitude, simplicity, living within your means, and resiliency. Add to the mix 4 backstories that would make anyone take pause and you have a cocktail for a great childhood. To this day I thank God for the values I was taught and for the wisdom I was blessed to be on the receiving end of. The fact that I didn’t appreciate it then is an oft-regretted thought.

As they say, wisdom is wasted on the young, and I didn’t apply what I was taught as I tried to find my own way. Now, on the Back Nine, I recognize the greatness of their stories and work relentlessly to incorporate them into my life.

influences…

I wouldn’t change my Mom and Dad for anything in the world. They were great parents. My dad was a hard-working guy that did everything for his family. He had a terrible childhood and his reaction to it was to do better. Through hard work he rewrote the family legacy and became the only successful child in his family, and his siblings resented him for it. By success, I mean that he got a good job, bought a house, and planned for his future. He was a blue-collar guy that believed in work ethic and integrity. He didn’t care about how green the grass was on the other side of the fence. He cared about his yard.

My mother had a very different upbringing. While my dad was left largely to fend for himself in the hardscrabble section of town, my mother was under the umbrella of a very protective mother that tried to shelter her from the aspects of life what my dad would call an average Tuesday. Her parents were wonderful people and were a major influence in my life. My dad’s parents were less of an influence. His mother died when I was five and his dad was ill from emphysema for as long as I could remember and died when I was in High School.

Despite their very different backgrounds, there were a lot of similarities. While my dad was poor, my mother’s family had a better home in a better neighborhood. But the heads of both households were blue collar guys. Mom was an only child; Dad had several siblings. Obviously, many kids equal less household disposable income. The fact that my grandfather didn’t spend all of his money on booze and cigarettes made a difference as well. Mom’s father immediately accepted and respected my dad. He recognized the hard worker with integrity and what that brought to the table. They would share a wonderful bond as in-laws and friends. Mom’s mother treated my dad as she did all of her suitors and friends, as if he wasn’t good enough for her daughter. But she would grow to love and, perhaps more important, to respect him as well.

The commonality of the four is that they were all strong as hell. That strength permeated the dynamic that I would grow up with and it was unique and special. I didn’t know it at the time, it was just my life. But later in life, with life experience and access to the stories of others I recognized that I was fortunate enough to not only have 2 generations of good, decent and honest people to spend time with, but also the perspective of their experiences. Never has that evidenced itself than now.

more to come…

Food for thought

There is no limit to the stupidity of content on Social Media. From posts asking you if you remember your phone # or address from your childhood (an obvious attempt at identity theft) to the idiotic “everyone’s first job was at McDonalds, prove me wrong”. I don’t understand why anyone would comment on them but hey, that’s just me. One that has caught my attention recently is the “would you want your father (mother, sister, etc.) to be your father if you could do it over again?” On these, I immediately hit the comments. It is incredible how many people say no.

As it turns out, a silly FB post stimulated me a bit. I can’t begin to imagine a scenario in which the foremost influences in my life would be held in such poor regard? This interests me because I am a person that believes that good or bad, your experiences made you who you are and, in addition, it’s a waste of time to think about the past because you can’t change it.

I suppose if I had horrible parents, and was mistreated in some way that resulted in a traumatic childhood that left me a damaged and dysfunctional adult then maybe my thinking would be different. On that, I honestly can’t relate and will reserve judgment. But I still found a takeaway in the comments section, it made me think about my childhood.

After all, it all comes down to the childhood, doesn’t it?

Even if I could, I wouldn’t change a damn thing about mine. No revisionist thinking taking place here. I think I’ll dedicate a few posts to it.

The Horseshoe

I’m a fortunate man. Things seem to fall in my lap sometimes. S0 often in fact, that I began to believe an idiom that I used to scoff at,”Everything happens for a reason.” I was always a shit is random kind of guy. But so many things, series of events, and happenings have occurred for it to be random. Tonight’s tale is the latest.

I clean cars for people in town. It has become an illustrious little enterprise for me and, in three years, has netted some much-needed disposable income and also some great relationships. One such relationship is Ellen, a Nurse who lives in a Condo development in town. I dropped off her car early this summer and she waiting with a check and a cash tip. As I pulled into my driveway I noticed that she had given me two 20’s. I called her and asked if she meant to. She hadn’t, the bills were stuck together. I brought her the money back. She was very impressed with my honesty and told me that in turn, she would spread the word about my services in her development. I thanked her of course, but that wasn’t why I did it.

Last month I got a call from a woman in that development, referred by Ellen. I gladly cleaned her car for her and when I dropped it off she was quite talkative. She had heard through the grapevine the story of Bill’s health journey and she wanted to know if I was ready to go back to work. I told her about my Insurance license and the position I had committed to. She told me that her company was hiring. She is a therapist at a Drug/Alcohol Recovery center. Undeterred by the fact that I told her I was about to be employed, she continued. I was intrigued and told her that if the Ins gig didn’t work out, I would reach out. I drove home excited, working with people in recovery is something I have mentioned many times as a career choice. But I was committed so I put it out of my mind.

Then the Insurance thing didn’t work out. I immediately called her. She gave me a contact to call. I told my mother and she immediately recognized that I had expressed interest in that field before but I had moved on because I didn’t have a Social Work License. As it turns out, the available Case Manager position doesn’t require one. I made the call and it was requested that I fill out an online application. I did it that evening. The next day I got a call and ten minutes later I had an interview for the following day.

The interview went great. I was prepared and dressed to the nines. Interview equals suit to me, my dad would roll over in his grave if I showed up to an interview without it. I made the right call. The interview was great. I wish I had the confidence I have now in what I bring to the table twenty years ago. I explained my reasons for wanting to work with people in recovery. Wanting to help people is paramount of course and that was the central theme. I came across as humble, genuine, caring, and compassionate. It wasn’t an act, I don’t state those qualities, I exemplify them. I knew the role of Case Manager in and out and made sure they knew that. They repeatedly emphasized how hard the job is. I wasn’t phased. They even admitted that they try to talk people out of it to see if they are intimidated. It didn’t work. I like to work hard.
I left excited and I knew that they had seen the real me.
That was Thursday.
I got the call today. I was offered the position.

I did a job. I went the extra mile to the point where someone felt the need to help me. That effort resulted in meeting a person who had access to something that I have always wanted to do. At a time when I most needed it. That is not a coincidence. I have a lucky horseshoe lodged in my ass and I will leave it there.

It is definitely bringing me luck.

On selfishness

self·ish[ˈselfiSH]
ADJECTIVE

  1. (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure:
  2. “I joined them for selfish reasons”

One of my least favorite aspects of human nature is demonization. I don’t know if it is inherently human to seek ways in which to feel superior to others but it is absolutely everywhere you look. Racially, politically and socially we make assumptions and cast aspersions in order to well, let’s call it what it is, to feel better about ourselves. We call each other racist, rich, poor, spoiled, uncultured, and any other labels that seek to classify and denigrate others. One that has been sticking in my figurative craw is selfish.

It never ceases to amaze me how people, and this is a behavior that I suspect is here to stay, are compelled to compare value systems as if theirs and only theirs is the right one. How they have to weigh in on the way others live their lives. My take on this is simple and oft-heard. To each his own. If someone is happy, not bothering anyone, and not harming children and animals then I don’t care what they do or how they live their life. That extends to the extent of time and effort expended in the pursuit of their own interests.

Ayn Rand, the much-maligned Russian novelist known for strong and controversial opinions noted in The Virtue of Selfishness,

“In popular usage, the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends . . . and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
“Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word ‘selfishness’ is concern with one’s own interests.
“This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.”

The long and short of it is that I think it’s ok to look after yourself. There are many popular euphemisms surrounding it;
You must take care of yourself before you can take care of another…
Put your oxygen mask on first…
Take a breather…
You can’t pour from an empty cup…

All of these allude to the notion that at some point you must come first. I find it to be a valid concept, especially if you are a person who dedicates a considerable amount of personal resources to the assistance of others. Yes, take care of yourself first. But what if you are a person who does the bare minimum, or maybe nothing at all in the service of others? Is it acceptable to villainize them for looking after their own needs only?

There are many people who, not out of contempt for charity or out of deliberate disregard for others, simply dedicate their lives to the pursuit of their own interests.

I believe every person has a purpose in life. Many people feel as I do and they strive for that purpose in building a career, growing or creating a business, and working towards countless goals. There are too many to list. But bottom line, they are comfortable enough worrying about their own lives. I don’t condemn people for this. The reason one person stands out as giving and generous and selfless is because there are plenty of people who are not. It’s just how we are wired as individuals and it is not always something that can be changed. Or villainized.

No person is more villainized along those lines than the person who has the brave audacity to admit in a crowded room that they don’t want children. I feel for these people because they are constantly forced to justify it. They are challenged;
“Don’t you want to carry on the family name…?”
“What about the joy of creating life…?”

The list goes on. It’s especially bad for women. It’s as if it comes down to the fact that because they are able to conceive then they must. How Catholic. It is perfectly valid, especially in 2022, to not want to bring a child into this world.
Parenthood isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of BAD parents out there. There are also a lot of children that are born into despair and poverty with little hope for survival, never mind a future. Raising a child is prohibitively expensive, physically and emotionally draining, and requires complete and total commitment. As I always said, once you have a child your life is no longer about you. It is not something that everyone can even do. Recognizing that and choosing not to make the leap is perfectly ok. It doesn’t make you selfish.

Selfishness can be a bad thing and I’m not defending it. But not everyone who is focused on their own life and goals is necessarily a bad person. In many cases a person is barely able to handle their own life, never mind assisting others. The term is used as yet another harmful and judgmental label. To me, it flies directly in the face of a saying that I believe should be in the Declaration of Independence…

“Live, and let live.”