Category Archives: Book Review
Last night my friend, Lauren, posted this article from MomLogic on my Facebook page. I am writing this post as a response for her, for myself, and for all Americans, though I am not in any way suggesting that I speak for all of us with this response. Reading this article, as well as several other responding articles, has confirmed for me that we in America are currently suffering from a cultural epidemic of utter disconnection. Our disconnection is widespread, and because it is rooted so deeply in our culture, it’s hard to see where we lost our way. However, it’s relatively easy to see the symptoms of this disconnection.
#1 Symptom of Disconnect: Common courtesy within dialogue has disappeared.
Throughout her article, MILF Mommy personally attacks and devalues people who are, apparently unlike her, size 12 and up. I think it is beneficial at this point to refer MILF Mommy (and everyone else on the Internet) to the Wikipedia page on Rhetoric for both definition and illustration of effective and courteous discourse. As long as we see ourselves as one (right, justified, whatever) and others, well as “other,” (wrong, stupid, whatever), we fundamentally have a conversation rooted in disconnection. I certainly take issue with MILF Mommy’s expression of her opinion and her actual opinion, but for me to debase and devalue her as a person makes me no better than she is. In the all the responses to MILF Mommy, I cringed at how embarrassing Internet Trolls are to the human race; and let’s face it: we’ve ALL been an Internet Troll at some point or another. We’ve all found ourselves caught up in some such debate, whether on the Internet or not. But there is a difference between arguing, debating, or attacking a “point,” and attacking a person.
My Courteous Response to MILF Mommy
When trying to communicate with people, it’s not ideal to begin with attacking the physical aesthetic of your audience as MILF Mommy did with her first point. Firstly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What MILF Mommy specifically says about women size 12 and up being unattractive is simply untrue. In some cultures, having a more rotund physique is a sign of wealth, and therefore desirable.
MILF Mommy’s second point about people lying to themselves may not necessarily be untrue, but the way she expresses it certainly doesn’t do her argument any favors. I agree that we as Americans are not actually “in touch” with how we really feel. If we were, then all those times we became winded walking from our car to the mall would actually motivate us to not have the meal or sweet treat offered in the food court. That MILF Mommy focuses on the size of the clothing as an indicator of health is where I think she went wrong in her second point. Just because a woman may be a size 12 (or higher), doesn’t mean she doesn’t have “toned arms,” or that she does have a “muffin top belly and huge thighs.” Depending on a woman’s height, a size 12 may, in fact, be the perfect size for her. Consider the women on this page. They are all so tall they put Amazon women to shame, but none of them have a “muffin top belly and huge thighs,” and I can guarantee you all of them wear greater than a size 12. Essentially, healthy size proportion is a crucial point that MILF Mommy missed when she based her entire argument on something as arbitrary as a clothing size. I wonder if it would freak her out to know that a size 12 in America is something completely different to clothing designers who typically use European sizing guidelines?
MILF Mommy’s last three points are all different iterations of the same argument; so I will address them together. There is no such thing as “one diet to rule them all.” Every person is different and has different dietary needs and restrictions. So, the simple caloric intake/burn method of dieting and exercising isn’t always accurate. It even changes depending on exactly what type of exercising you’re doing. I am a perfect example of this. When my physical activity was fairly limited to yoga only, I noticed that I ate things that were lighter and fresher, more organic and less likely to be cooked. As I have added running to my active life, I’ve noticed I need more dense foods, but less fibrous than with yoga-only activity. I need more cooked, full meals instead of frequent small ones. My daily caloric intake has definitely increased just so it can fuel my running activities. And the scale hasn’t changed one iota, but my size has gone down. I am living proof that MILF Mommy’s sweeping generalizations about diet and exercise are wrong.
Because every person’s needs are different, it’s false that skinny people “work harder” than larger people, or that they are healthier somehow, and a lot of it is directly connected with genetic makeup, contrary to MILF Mommy’s personal, unsubstantiated opinion. While Type II Diabetes is linked to lifestyle and obesity, conditions like Heart Disease and problems with cholesterol are deceptively stealthy killers because people generally think like MILF Mommy in that if they “look good” they’re healthy. Even if you’re under a size 12, you need to get your blood work checked to make sure you’re healthy. And anyone who’s suffered with juvenile/Type I Diabetes knows it has nothing to do with your size and everything to do with how your body produces insulin.
#2 Symptom of Disconnect: We use comparison to define our self-worth.
Probably the most destructive thing we can do to ourselves is create our self-image and find our self-worth by comparing ourselves to others. Here in America, we see life in linear and ladder form. We are born; we live; and we die; and that’s linear. We spend our whole lives working to get the best grade, graduate from the best college or university, get the best job, and make the most money so we can have the best house and car and clothes and so we can send our kids to the best schools to continue this cycle; and that’s the ladder.
The only thing that perspective has done for our society is establish a class of generational wealthy elite who are so far removed from the average person that it seems impossible to find a sense of connection because there seems to be so many ladder rungs between “us” and “them.” When we’re always comparing ourselves to the people higher up on the ladder, we’re constantly devaluing ourselves in the process. Conversely, when we’re always comparing ourselves to the people below us on the ladder, we’re constantly devaluing others.
We would benefit from a more circular perspective on life. We all live TOGETHER. We have success only because someone else made it possible, and therefore we rejoice in our success TOGETHER. When we fail, we fall back on all the others around us, and we mourn and recoup TOGETHER. The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” really should extend throughout all of life, and we’d all be better off for it.
#3 Symptom of Disconnect: We have allowed our consumerism to turn us into zombies.
Because we are a culture of consumers, we have bought, eaten, and satisfied ourselves into a zombified stupor to such an extent that we don’t even realize how broken and disconnected we are as an entire culture. We are a society of generally overweight, unhealthy, unhappy people weighed down by our “pursuit of happiness” in which we willingly accept the debt, weight, disease, and mental illness that comes with the American, capitalist, consumerist culture. Because we think we can buy and/or own the means to our happiness, we think this is the only way to live. But, young padawans, there is another way to live happily, and it doesn’t involve the pursuit of anything at all.
A Cure for All that Ails Us
I know I’ve referred to mindfulness as the approach to fix a plethora of ailments, and I’ll reiterate it again. We’re all looking for a panacea to fix all our problems, but most people assume it’s something they can buy (like a pill or a diet book or a gym membership). I think the panacea for our cultural epidemic IS mindfulness, and you can’t price it because you can’t buy it. It isn’t a thing; it’s an action. It can’t be owned; it has to be done. Mindfulness may be a noun but its function is more accurately aligned with the verb class of words.
As it pertains to this post’s focus on dieting, in his most recent post, “The Meditation Diet: How I Lost 60+ lbs. by Savoring,” Leo Babauta from zen habits offers up mindfulness as a realistic, long-lasting approach to dieting. And really what he’s doing here is outlining the “lifestyle change” we constantly hear about from our family doctors as well as famous doctors like Dr. Oz and the coaches on shows like The Biggest Loser with specific and small examples.
When you start paying attention to all the minutia of your life, you’ll see how eating the #1 combo at any fast food restaurant hurts you as well as the local and global community. Likewise, when you start being mindful of your purchases, you find that you really do have the power of the almighty dollar to change the world. Are you going to buy this kind of chocolate that is only available to you in its condition and at its price because it was farmed for by the hands of child slaves in Africa? Or, will you spend a little more, thus requiring that you have the treat a little less frequently, and instead buy this chocolate that’s likely better quality, likely better for you, but definitely better for our world because you bought it from a certified fair trade farmer?
Taking a mindful approach to life will un-do all the damage of our epidemic of disconnect. It will help you with your diet, your domestic budget, your road rage, your marital relationship, your work-life….the list goes on and on.
Suggested Reading for Reconnecting
The book and PBS documentary, Affluenza explains our cultural epidemic of disconnect much better than I do and with better references that I have here, and it is what inspired me to take an “epidemic” and “symptomatic” approach with this post. We read the book as part of our required Biblical studies senior-capstone course (Christ & Culture) in college, and it challenged us to enter the world as recent college grads with the knowledge that we were about to enter an all-devouring machine, but only if we let ourselves be consumed by it.
David Korten, an American economist wrote, Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth-A Declaration of Independence from Wall Street in which he proposes an alternative culture to the current Wall Street economy. His suggested culture is based on the Main Street economy of locally owned, community connected enterprise in which success has more than just a monetary or consumerist value. We read this book during our congregation-wide focus on economic justice at Church of the Savior in the fall, and we were charged with passing it along to other interested persons to continue the work of economic justice. So, if any of you locals want to read this book, let me know and I’ll GIVE you my copy!
Suggested Practices for Reconnecting
Breathing. Yup, that’s all I’ve got. Really, you can do lots of things to try to reconnect, but breathing is the easiest, cheapest, best way to get started. Just breathe. In and out. Slowly, or quickly doesn’t matter as much as paying attention to what it does in your body.
Time Management Update
Last month I started logging and tracking my time usage as I did when I was in high school. It was eye-opening for me then, and I thought practicing it now might help me see where I am wasting my time. Time logging is a fairly simple practice because people tend to do the same things every day. In my daily logging, I noticed that the greatest percentage of my time is spent at work, followed by exercising and volunteering, which tied for the second spot, and then family time and personal writing. The data essentially confirmed what I’d been feeling, and I’ve also reorganized a few things to make living such a busy life more manageable. Here are a few tips I’m using to keep my time managed:
- I use my Google calendar, even for little things. Before I would just schedule meetings or workouts, but adding details that I would typically overlook gives me a better perspective of when I am actually available. I schedule what time I get up and how long it takes me to get ready. I schedule drive time to and from work/activities. I schedule a bed time. Keeping this schedule shows me where and when I can be flexible, and exactly where I can’t, and knowing that helps me manage the stress of maintaining a busy (sometimes over-committed) life.
- I have limited when and how often I check my email and other social media. This means I don’t spend an hour (or more) every day reading emails, blogs, news, etc. I check my email and social media once in the morning, once mid-day, and once in the evening. I have moved all of my blog subscriptions to a weekly digest, and I read them all on Saturdays, which is my freest day of the week.
- I have intentionally scheduled Saturday to be a mostly free day to allow me to do random chores as needed. Also, keeping Saturday open gives me large chunks of time to read and write, which is exactly how I’d prefer to do it.
- I leave evening time open for family. Whether I am folding laundry while my husband and I catch up on Dr.Who, or I’m reading while he and Shiloh play video games, I purposely leave evening time open for daily family time. We don’t do things as a family every day, but at least this way I know we have the time to do it.
The Bigger Picture
In doing yoga, learning to run, and participating in several different spiritual and secular groups, I have come to see that my life is best (most productive, most positive, etc.) when it is a life of practice. Practice is both a verb and a noun, and life should be as well. A life of practice is something I intentionally do (verb), but it is also something I continually observe and learn from (noun). A practice life is one of intentional habit formation and conditioning. It requires discipline and mindful observation. A life of practice results in lifelong learning and skill development. And knowing that I’m practicing something gives me room when I inevitably fail or fall short. As long as I am observing my shortcomings as opportunities to become more skilled…to hone my practice, then failure loses its power to keep me down when it happens.
Here are three things that help me live a life of practice:
- Yoga. Yoga has been the catalyst for a tremendous change in my life this past year, ultimately making my life one of practice. It may have foundations in physical exercise, which may or may not be life-altering for most people; but learning to pay attention to your body is a fabulous tangible way to learn mindfulness, which can be a rather abstract concept.
- Buddhism. Though some live according to Buddhist precepts with religious motivation, I see it as a way to help me observe myself and the world around me. Living a Buddhist life for me, is one of practice and not of faith. It helps me discern how I might change myself to live in the world with as few ripples as possible. As an environmentalist, one may be concerned about a carbon footprint, but what about our thought footprint or our spiritual footprint? What kinds of ripples are we putting into our local environments in the way we talk to one another; the type of entertainment we subject ourselves to; or even something as simple as the way we drive? Learning and practicing Buddhism helps me see just how I am connected to others, and it gives me ways to learn how to live peacefully in and with the world around me.
- Christianity. This is definitely a religion with fairly rigid definitions, and though those are not something one can necessarily practice, I do find a lot of meaning in maintaining certain Christian spiritual disciplines. Richard Foster’s A Celebration of Discipline is a great place to start and focuses on the classic Christian spiritual disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, studying, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. Though I may not fit the mold of a Christian, I wholeheartedly enjoy practicing these spiritual disciplines, and I think they build a solid formation for a practice life. Though one can practice these disciplines in any faith, understanding them in a Christian context helps me relate to my Christian brothers and sisters in spite of my great skepticism. I have a feeling that if more Christians gave themselves over to practicing these spiritual disciplines with as much motivation as they devote toward vocalizing their religious stance on political issues, the nature and demeanor of Christianity would be different and so would our country.
As always, thank you for reading, and please feel free to share your thoughts! Maybe you can give suggestions for how you practice life?
I feel I must apologize for not posting this by Friday as stated in my previous post. I was ready to publish Thursday, but I wanted to let my thoughts sit another day and go through another round of editing before posting Friday evening. Then Friday morning, I received news that actually affected my post, so I’ve spent Sunday and today trying to work in those changes. Please accept my apology. I will also admit this is not really the kind of post I expect you to like or dislike. I expect this post to make you think, and I hope it does that. If you actually like it, even better.
Having watched the film Ashtanga, NY somewhere around two months into my practice, I was mostly encouraged to challenge myself physically by learning to coordinate my breath with the poses. This has been helpful in making my practice not only more physical, but simultaneously psychologically relaxing. Now, it carries me through taking more difficult classes. As long as I can breathe deeply, I can do some pretty awesome things (on and off the mat).
I was also confronted with an intense spiritual devotion in the film. Reminded of my experiences growing up in a charismatic, Pentecostal Christian church, as soon as I saw glimpses of glossy, moon-eyed looks, I got a little nauseous. In that moment, I knew I would never embrace this part of yoga. I have nothing against devotion; but, when we worship people, our faith tends to fall apart when they deviate from our expectations. Although I may not fully appreciate the devotional aspect portrayed in the film, the combination of Eastern and Western yoga elements certainly piqued my interest. I do appreciate the fine thread linking my current blink of time to a time and place so far away.
In studying bits and pieces about the history of yoga, I’ve discovered a healthy debate between the Eastern and Western yoga communities. Though I can’t speak for Eastern yogis, my experience taking classes in the West has been a positively transforming one. To delve a little deeper into this transformation, last Sunday, I started reading Yoga Beneath the Surface by Srivatsa Ramaswami and David Hurwitz because it is a dialogue between a traditional Eastern teacher and a Western student. In the process, I’ve learned that Eastern yoga is more philosophically based. Vedic Scriptures are referenced…a lot. Just as with any “scripture,” some of it is way out there. However, some of it is beautiful and insightful, too. Conversely, Western yoga is pretty much a physical work-out. I’m confident some yoga teachers get into the healing/chakra/energy part of yoga, but I doubt many teachers include philosophy in an asana class.
I’m would never question my teachers’ abilities to teach more philosophy, but I do question their ability to stay in business if they did. Most students here come to class either to sweat through an intense strength training workout or recover/cross-train from some other physical activity they do regularly. I originally came as an alternative to physical therapy, so it applies to me too. Sure, the psychological benefit of breathing, slowing down, and creating deeper body awareness is nice, but I doubt you’d find many students who’d be willing to come to class with pen and paper to discuss the philosophical implications of the Bhagavad Gita or the Yoga Sutras. I am one of those students, though.
In addition to studying, lately I’ve been branching out in my yoga practice, taking new classes. This inevitably means I’ve been spending more time at the yoga studio instead of practicing mostly at home alone. But, the increase in studio time paired with studying the differences between Eastern and Western yoga has created some internal conflict for me. Because everything here in the West has a monetary value assigned to it, I started questioning exactly what type of exchange takes place in the Western yoga studio.
Is the Western yoga studio a business first? Is it a spiritual community center? Are the teachers no different from aerobics teachers or personal trainers? Are they spiritually connected to an ancient practice, or are they pandering a brand of New Age puff-ball narcissistic optimism á la Oprah? How can a spiritual journey or a life transformation have a price tag? Does any of it matter anyway? Are these questions just another way for me to be judgmental, distant, and resistant?
When I go to church, I have the choice to put money in the offering plate. Though church offering can easily deteriorate into a legalistic ritual, I think it mostly lends itself to an expression of gratitude or obligation for the connection to the community. Similarly, because of the connection and fulfillment I have with my yoga practice, I feel a deep sense of gratitude, but not obligation. Is that because I pay to learn?
Because of my enthusiasm after a class a couple of months ago, a yoga teacher trainee who was assisting recommended the teacher training program to me. The program consists of a 230-hour Yoga Alliance certification over eight weekends all conveniently located here in my own city. Though I doubted whether I would sign up for the next series of teacher training starting this September, I thought maybe I could take some classes with the teachers to see if I’d want to make such a commitment under their guidance. And though paying $2,300 for teacher training is no small investment for me, it is unbelievably reasonable in comparison with other programs. Thinking I may sign up for it when it comes around next year, I decided to ask my teacher more about the program. When he told me I’d have to pay for the workshops, I told him I thought it was a double whammy, and I asked what the $2,300 actually covered. I was initially under the impression that the cost covered the classes. I expected to pay for books or materials, but not for the actual workshops. Though he explained that it was for necessities like rent, electricity, and travel for the teachers/workshop leaders, I still thought to myself, Well, isn’t that what the workshop fee covers, too? Because of this discussion of the real cost of yoga teacher training, I began thinking of the payment particulars of classes also, and I began to see my first signs of cynicism toward the entire business of yoga. Learning about teachers like Bikram wasn’t helpful either.
Now, looking back over the new classes I’ve added, I notice that they mostly seem to be karma (donation based) classes. I think it says a lot about a teacher that they’re willing to offer their service by donation, especially considering my current perspective on the business of yoga. Karma classes definitely extend yoga to people who may not be able to afford it, and if I’d known such things were possible five or six years ago, my life may look different today. Though it may just be a business ploy to create a new client base for budding yoga teachers, I have found that the karma teachers feel different. If it is a ploy, I’m definitely sold because I’m particularly drawn to their classes. It never mattered to me before how much I donated because I always paid with my pre-paid class card, and I still do. I just never thought of the particulars until recently.
The timing of this suspicion and self interrogation coincides with rather unfortunate news that Aravinda Yoga and Healing Arts Center will be closing at the end of May. This news makes the business of yoga seem even more primarily important. Without the business, I wouldn’t have access to these services at all. Because of Aravinda’s closing, I see now how paying for a service has meaning for both the service provider and the community. Before, when I was commended for “investing” into my practice with every class card (or a $90 yoga mat) purchase, I always felt the smoke being blown up my ass. Of course you’re going to commend me on spending money at your business. That’s no different from a “thank you for shopping with us” note on your grocery bag. But now, I see my payment as a small, albeit somewhat impersonal, act of devotion to the people who have taken part in changing my life. It is an investment in my practice as well as the yoga community. Now, I wish I could support them more.
To the yoga students here in Knoxville, donation based classes are awesome, but they’re not free. Show your gratitude as you are able. Using class card punches for karma classes is not a wasted punch at all. For the Knoxville teachers who will be displaced as a result of Aravinda’s closing, I know West Knoxville is a great location, but Clinton Highway or Emory Road sure could use a studio, too, and rent might be cheaper.
Thank you for reading!
01/24/12 1:40pm edit:
Upon receiving an email from my teacher further clarifying the teacher training expenses, I feel it is necessary to provide corrected information so as to not misrepresent the program in any way. The cost of training does include the weekend workshops. It does not include the the cost of other classes that are required to meet the certification requirements. But, I’d probably meet that requirement anyway since I’m already regularly taking 2-3 studio classes a week. His clarification definitely curtails some of my cynicism regarding the business of it all, and I’m grateful to my teacher for reading my post and for correcting me.
This post is dedicated to Mr. James C. Owens, my government, psychology, and sociology teacher at Cherokee High School in Rogersville, TN. Mr. Owens was the first teacher I had who believed I could rise above my circumstances. He taught me how our government was organized, why it was my civic duty to be as educated as possible, and how to read and write an argumentative essay. All three of those lessons have served me well. We read Federalist 10 in his government class, and now, 12 years later, I am reading them again in light of our currently charged political environment.
Federalist No. 1, the Introduction to the papers, was written by Alexander Hamilton and begins with a call to action: “After an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America.” Considering that our federal government has been inefficient for at least the last decade, we may benefit from reviewing our Constitution. The last time our bureaucracy operated efficiently with a surplus under peaceful conditions was during the Clinton presidency. Every government has its highs and lows, but the last 10 years in the United States government have been more characterized by politicians creating their own celebrity statuses as opposed to politicians creating legislation for their constituents.
A review of our Constitution may be helpful; but in analyzing the Constitution, studying the Federalist papers helps inform us as to how our founding fathers persuaded people to accept the Constitution in addition to how they defended it to critics. The introduction even describes the nature of the expected obstacles to the Constitution:
Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.
According to the excerpt, one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome was the resistance to change on behalf of those with power. Their patriotism was questioned because they placed their own self-interest above the interests of the emerging nation. The other challenge was those individuals who sought to improve their own status and conditions at the cost of the whole, despite whether those “individuals” were actual politicians or states within the Union.
This passage is particularly relevant to our current situation in congress because our legislators have “aggrandiz[ed] themselves by the confusions of their country,” and they have put the interests of their financiers before those of their tax paying constituents. Our current legislators are far removed from public servants these days. They are more concerned with raising money for their campaigns than they are about raising the necessary income for the efficient and successful operation of the national government. They spend more time on their campaigns to keep their jobs for which they will always be paid, even after they have retired, without focusing on actually doing their jobs while in office. With the growing disparity between our representatives and the general American public, our legislators are essentially taking our tax dollars without actually being an advocate for our rights. Similar behaviors were also common during the foundation of our country. However, it was the unfair taxation without representation in the British Empire that caused the American Revolution. Maybe another revolution is in order to bring us back to our founding principles.
Another criticism that was shared during the birth of our nation was that of political parties. Political parties alone are not a problem, and they can be quite productive. However, when the party system is relegated to two parties, then those parties are certain to become opposition parties. Whenever a government is at the mercy of a two-party system, a stalemate of productivity is sure to follow. Alexander Hamilton discusses the criticism of parties in the introduction, and our politicians would do well to remember how ill-judged their intolerable spirits are, regardless of their party affiliation. Mr. Hamilton ends the introduction cautioning against a specific and unfortunately familiar type of politician when he states, “of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.”
John May wrote Papers 2-5 for the critics of the Union and Constitution. Considering that we are in an established union with dependence on the Constitution, it is not the aim of this discussion to revisit those topics. Similarly, Alexander Hamilton wrote Papers 6-8 for those who favored their own states over the welfare of the Union which is also a discussion for another time. In light of the current polarization of political thought and the radical instability which is a byproduct of that polarization, the remainder of this discussion will be in response to Papers 9 and 10 written by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, respectively.
Federalist No. 9 was titled, “The Union as a Safeguard against Domestic Faction and Insurrection,” and Federalist No. 10 continued that subject and title. In a time of revolution when state representatives were being persuaded to join together, domestic factions and insurrection were the chief obstacles of the day. Though the Papers were concerned with too many factions, they also cautioned against despotism, a government in which one person (or group) rules with absolute power.
Despite the few factions in today’s political system, those factions continue to be detrimental to the Union, and we are fast approaching a sort of despotism. Today, regardless of the party affiliation, one group does rule our government with absolute power. That group is the very small population who control the ebb and flow of money in this country. They are prevalent in both of the major parties in this country, and their power rests in the financial institutions that have our country at their mercy.
Madison also explains the natural assembly of various people into factions, almost defending their existence, but he states that the focus on opposition exists at the sacrifice of the common good. Moreover, Madison touches on the pulse of current American political conflict when he writes:
The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.
As a result of the gross inequality in the distribution of wealth in this country, the ruling minority has refused to acknowledge the needs of the majority in the attempt to protect their own interests. Though a small group of our nation’s wealthiest have publicly admitted that they should be taxed more to relieve the oppressive taxation on those with the least means, the disparity between the haves and the have-nots continues to grow ever vast because our politicians are more interested in serving the needs of their wealthy financiers than they are in serving the needs of their constituents. Madison charged the party politicians then, and he charges our politicians now with the responsibility of controlling the power of their groups in stating, “The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.”
Madison concludes his discussion on the causation for factions in saying that because the causes cannot be controlled, the effects of those factions must then be controlled. His proposal to control the effects of minority factions is for the majority to exercise their voting power. I will echo his conclusion by stating that those of us who find that we are not members of the ruling minority should be comforted by our voting power. We do not need to continue this two party system; vote in someone without obligations to the wealthiest 5% of the American population. We need to take control of our government and make our government work for us again.
Thank you for reading. Your comments are always welcome.