10 reasons to celebrate freedom

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A long time ago in a land of hope and plenty, a perfect union was formed. But after a few years people got together to try again, declaring the new arrangement was “a more perfect union.”

Even at that, they perceived something was missing from their founding document. They made 10 additions. Continue reading

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For Emily, because we found her

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When Emily Dickinson died, they found a treasure trove of poetry that has endured for a very long time. In her lifetime only a handful of those poems had seen the light of day. She was afraid or otherwise unwilling to share them with others.

What are you keeping to yourself? How do you know you don’t have the power to touch millions of hearts?

You never know until you let the sun shine on your soul and share what’s in there.

Maybe you won’t change the world. But maybe you will.

Give it a try.

Weary of fear? Just stop

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Every message — OK, maybe not EVERY message – most messages, a vast majority, seem to be steeped in fear nowadays.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep people afraid and clamoring to be rescued, after all, as H.L. Mencken succinctly put it.

But it’s not just politics. Most headlines, most ads, most politics begins with something scary.

“You’re scared? Me, too. That’s why I turned to (insert bogus solution here).”

It seems fear sells everything, so the key to success is to scare everyone.

What if we refused to let the fear take us? What if we sought our own solutions rather than accept the ones offered by the fear mongers?

“How do you propose to do that?” you say. But that’s the point: You’re so accustomed to the pattern – propose the scary problem, then sell a solution – that you missed the point. It is not important how I propose to do that. How do YOU propose to move past your fear?

Swallow your fear and find your own solution. You know what to do; you’ve just been snared in the fear trap so long you feel you can’t take action. Take a step, then another, and see where it leads you. Or rather, see where you lead yourself.

Why I choose optimism

The other day I posted the preface to the revised and expanded edition of my book Refuse to be Afraid, which begins:

“As this 2016 edition of Refuse to be Afraid is prepared, the major U.S. political parties have put up the two worst choices of my lifetime. To pick either one is to doom the United States government to four years of scary leadership, their ideas antithetical to the American standard of individual freedom and equality before the law.”

An old friend offered this comment: “I thought you were the eternal optimist. These words clearly convey a message of good old pessimism.”

Oh, perhaps those words are pessimistic, but they are an introduction to an introduction, and I chose the words carefully. Continue reading