Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The middle path: Why balance is the hardest to achieve

I have found inspiration in the vigorous discussions that have sprung up from my previous blog and the writings of others. This is a good thing even if we vociferously disagree that we are talking rather than trying to shout each other down. Yet I see the growing cancer of intolerance, disinformation, and excessive hyperbole within the general discourse. It to me is the strongest proof of the growth of tribalism, which I have written on the topic previously, in the United States today.

The issue that I am taking up in this post is the often utter lack of context when we discuss a political, social, or religious issue today. I see the rise of meme's, tweets, and other aspects of social media as tools that are being grossly misused by all of us. Rather than permitting facts as we can research and verify for ourselves we are serving up more "soundbites" that make us feel good about striking a blow for "our" side, whatever side that might be.

I can personally attest to the need for our data to be accurate, factual, and as devoid of bias as possible. Given both my training as an Intelligence Analyst and student of human psychology empiricism isn't just a good idea, it is sacrosanct as without the information is useless. The goal of your research is to provide useful and usable data for analysis and then dissemination to a larger group. It is NOT to allow you to cherry-pick the facts you want to present or ignore those facts that modify your desired end state.

Given the divisive nature of our recent turn in our national politics and rise of what to many are disturbing parallels given the actions of the Trump Administration and Nazi Germany.   The fact that such comparisons made regularly are disturbing yet so are the actions by the Trump Administration to draw such ire from concerned citizens. Rumor and innuendo seem to be propelling headlong into our information stream.  Blindly parroting the rumor and innuendo is counter-productive to the imperative need for factual information that informs us to move as our intelligence and conscience would guide us.

Something to keep in mind, amidst the sound and fury, be mindful of where and what your data comes from if someone else does the research for you.  We must be intellectually honest and hold our integrity dearly in the face of such temptations to fight with our hearts. Our emotions are powerful tools to help us, but unchecked can do far more harm than good to ourselves and others. Outrage at what is perceived injustice, racism, and a host of other ills is justified whenever we find it.

Before we take to the streets and the Internet, let's stop for a moment and gather facts. Groups that have long experienced discrimination have shown us that being armed with factually truthful information is both transformational and infinitely powerful, History provides numerous examples of this such as our revolution against Great Britain. If you separate the propaganda from both sides, you will see that the colonials who fought to break away sought to decide for themselves rather than be told by others, how to rule themselves.

Thus I again sound my refrain of "Stop, listen, research, gather facts, recognize bias both in yourself and your data" before you act. As for me personally, I find it disturbing the amount of concern with our current political and social climate for a lot of reasons. I will fight for those freedoms I have fought for on behalf of all Americans till it is my time to depart the Midgard.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The justification for violence against those who hate???

During the events of the inauguration a known white-supremacist, also someone who openly admires the politics of Nazi's, was struck while on camera. I quickly came to see many people who I respect celebrating this act of, in their words "poetic justice", violence. Their reasons for justification of this glee was he was a Nazi and thus unworthy of any sympathy. I will admit that while it was satisfying to see his arrogance breached and for a moment he experienced an awareness that likely eludes him daily otherwise. There are consequences for this action now immortalized via the internet.

I have made no attempt to hide my mistrust of this violence and its potential long-term effects upon the very groups that are the subject of the hideous and vile claptrap that is peddled by the white-supremacy movement be they Nazis or otherwise. I have first hand seen the horrifying results of such beliefs that violence is always justifiable against those who are different for any reason. I have seen marketplaces filled with women and children bombed simply to make a political point. Thus while the individual may have gotten his comeuppance, the one who struck him did not strike a blow for justice in any form.

A World War was fought with the deaths of millions, so much death that the actual human toll is still unfathomable today. With the end of that war the world was ushered in to the nuclear age, promising death on a species scale of annihilation. Thus it is through the lens of history that I see the dangers of violence in kind to the hate spewed by other men. This is not to say that you don't prepare for the worst of their ignorance to cause violence to be used against you and yours. Yet as one who has seen what happens with such thoughts, the human toll is very real when bombs, bullets, and hate are fueled by a desire for revenge being masqueraded as justice.

Violence is a tool that I understand must be employed at times to defend one's self or others lest they be a victim(s) of that violence themselves. Still I cannot state enough why it is and should always be the court of last resort in the face of hate, even when they call for such violence against yourself or others. I am not tolerant of the speech of hate and will oppose it in any form because of my study of history as well as what I have seen it do in real life to innocent people. Yet my first resort is to entrench myself and others against the temptation to become that which we loathe, thus surrendering our moral justification for the use of surgically applied violence when absolutely necessary.

This is not to say to be kind to those who would subjugate or enslave you or any other human being. Only that we must understand fully the consequences of using violent means, however justified, against others. There is a heavy price to be paid for this responsibility and one that as of my experience continues to be paid long after the guns have fallen silent. I live with those images and emotions of being part of such every waking or sleeping moment of my life.

Thus I counsel all of humanity to passionately oppose hate and those who preach it in any fashion, do not be silent or complicit in their oppression. Please be mindful that while in our opposition we do not become that which we fight, this is the greatest trial of the warrior to fight without corruption of the heart and our very souls.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

An Oath I Swore to My Country and why you should swear it as well..

On July 11, 1991, I found myself inside the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Military Entrance Recruit Processing Station or (MEPS) in a room with about 25 others. I swore the following oath...

I, Jared Michael Royka, to hereby solemnly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. To obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me. And to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, so help me God.

Now given our 45th President who was sworn in on January 20, 2017, I am not saying you swear allegiance to Donald J. Trump personally but that we are in service to the nation, her people, and their way of life. That the office of the President of the United States is ultimately as I am bound by that same oath. It is our sacred honor and duty to hold him and ourselves to that oath even when it counters our self-interest.

My oath did not come with an expiration date nor should any oath we swear for it is a reflection of what we hold sacred and honor most about ourselves, our people, and our beloved nation. I call upon all of us to either swear or renew our oaths to support, uphold, and defend our Constitution as well as our ideals that gave birth to this nation. We as a nation have often failed more than we have succeeded but that is where our greatest strength lies, we despite failures continue to move forward to the future.

Let us leave no one behind in that march to our future. All  Americans are valuable and necessary to our nation even those we would otherwise shun or ignore. Yes even those who espouse hate and spew venom against their fellow Americans, we will lead by example and answer hate with love, violence with peace, and ignorance with the light of knowledge. Growth and change are constant but always painful in some way, I believe that we are more than capable of this and so much more.

Our nation requires informed and active citizens, if you wish to change things become involved in every single aspect of our government from local all the way through to national level issues. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH  and always VERIFY your sources never trust anything that is presented to you by anyone else, remember they have an agenda and it may not be yours. Call your elected officials, hold them accountable, and never give up an inch of ground because its hard.

Support groups and organizations that help do these very things as well for they can magnify our efforts to uphold and defend our Constitution against those foreign and domestic enemies. Do not give in to complacency or brutality given as a response to your efforts to uphold your oaths. I challenge all of us to renew our oaths to our nation, our people, and our way of life. We can do it and I will be right beside you.

I will hold our government accountable, I will educate and inform myself about the issues facing our nation and act vigorously on them. I challenge everyone to do the same with the caveat of remember to love each other when we want most to hate or denigrate one another.