Identity

Author: Gary Hart

Many people, in America and elsewhere, are searching for identity in a world that is disrupting if not destroying historical identities.  Globalization, mass migrations, ubiquitous media, and disintegrating borders are pulling up the roots that most of us have taken for granted.

As in other Western democracies, the face of America is changing.  From its beginning we have been a white, Protestant nation, even after waves of immigrants from Europe.  Now immigrants are coming from the South, and black, brown, and Asian peoples are literally changing the face of the nation.

Another pillar of identity, work, changed dramatically at the same time.  Manufacturing, as the basis of the national economy, shrunk under pressure from less expensive imports, and the new technology sector hired only young people, and trained immigrants, with tech skills.  A generation of manufacturing workers not only lost their income, they lost their identity.

Geography used to play a key role in defining identity, that is until Americans began to uproot and move several times during a life time.  It became less common to identify oneself by region.  Being a Westerner, I believe there is still a regional identity in the West different from other American regions.  It is a matter of history, tradition, culture, and an approach to life different from other places.  And I’m sure those who have not migrated out of their respective regions feel likewise.  But it is less common for people to spend a lifetime in a particular place.

National security also has also been a dominant factor in identity.  World War II united Americans, as did the Cold War that followed.  A common enemy caused us to bring out the flag and pin it to our lapels.  We had a common cause that we identified with.  We are all in this together to resist threats to our survival.

So, race, religion, employment, region, and national unity shape identity and all are undergoing great change.

When Mr. Trump talks about making America great again, the unspoken message is that we can recapture our lost identity.  We will all be Americans again just like the good old days.  We will build walls against immigrants and foreign trade.  Renewed militancy against terror will bring back the common cause of national security.  We will recapture a religious identity and, by his rejection of Muslims and Mexicans, not so subtly suggests to evangelicals that it will be a white Protestant identity.

The search for a lost identity goes a long way to explaining the Trump phenomenon.  He promises a return to the happy days of the 1950s when families spent generations in the same communities with the same like-minded, and like-appearing, neighbors, and where Dad went to his factory job every day and Mom cooked and kept the household humming.  The kids went to schools with others who looked just like them and who went to the same churches.

And that was the family—father, mother, two children.  Now that traditional family institution has taken alternative shapes and does not preserve that traditional aspect of identity to older generations.

There are few if any instances where nations recaptured a nostalgic past.  History not only does not stop, it does not reverse itself.  The one ineluctable fact of human existence is change.  And we happen to be living through one of the most dramatic eras of change in human history.  The price being paid is the loss of our traditional identities.

The great challenge for us now is the shaping of a new identity that enables and empowers us to deal with this chaotic change as a cohesive society built upon enduring principles of democracy, human dignity, and mutual respect for all those on the same quest.  Our quests for our individual identities will only be successful if they coalesce with most other Americans into a new positive and constructive national identity

12 Responses to “Identity”

  1. Gary Hart Says:

    For those who think I’ve written on this theme before, you are right. But it is a theme that preoccupies me. And, therefore, I welcome your comments to help me think this through. GH

  2. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    I think most people have some difficulty, to varying degrees, with change and with the prospect of more change, in the most general sense. Admitedly, I am definitely one of those people. Though, I eventually adapt well enough, to the point where I don’t even remember what it was like before the change. Heh.

    This general aversion to change is especially pronounced in an ever rapidly increasing world – socially, economically, politically, and every other way. The easy way out of the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that can often accompany change is to say that we need to get back to where we were when we felt more comfortable with our own lives and with the outside world.

    Of course, the problem with that strategy is that we and the world we live in are not going to go back – not now, not ever. Equally problematic is a general lack of recognition (and promotion) of the positive progress that has been made as a result of this massive change. Granted, this recognition can be extremely elusive for people who have experienced great negativity in their lives that is easily, if not mistakenly, attributed to how everything is changing.

    And, all of that is to say nothing of the powerful entities in our communities and well beyond who have the power to direct the change and decide which change will occur and which will not.

    An important question for democracies to consider – especially for our national and international leaders – is how should change be promoted and managed in a way that is perceived to be fair and equitable, answerable to peoples’ real concerns and that paves the way for a more successful adaptation to change.

    “Progress is a nice word. But, change is its motivator. And, change has its enemies” … Senator Robert Kennedy

  3. Paul Borg Says:

    Dear Senator Hart,

    Maintaining an identity when all the existing anchors are either disappearing or morphing into something that is not contained within the person’s realm of experience requires an individual to either seek something to anchor to, which for all intents and purposes, is unchanging within change, or to attempt to maintain the status quo. Panic sets in when the person realizes the rate of change is beyond their control and their sense of who they are begins to dissolve into self doubt and insecurity. They have become the ‘stranger in a strange land’. A most uncomfortable position to find oneself in.

    At the moment we can see the inclination of most people is to maintain the status quo. How long this can be maintained is anyone’s guess. It creates a state of conflict with a reality that demands recognition and accommodation. This makes for an unhappy situation for the persons feeling under siege.

    When pressures build up on any organism, adaptation is the only response that makes sense. We need to find an adaptation that makes coexistence not only palatable but also a pleasant experience.

    There is a need to evolve from the state of homo sapiens to one being coined now as “homo spiritualis”. Black Elk has alluded to this transition in his statements about the nature of True Peace reproduced below:

    “The True Peace
    The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
    This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.”
    Black Elk – Oglala Sioux

    Many have attained this KNOWING without any conscious knowledge of ever having done so. It is their natural state of being. Others are aware of making a transition to it. They achieve or have achieved a connection with their True Self. This Self is unchanging and is often referred to as a reflection of the Primal Creative Power; made in Its image if you will. This self is not subject to change and therefore can manage the varied style changes conditioned by time and place of birth without losing loyalty to the fundamental principles of its nature. It is shared by all who have come to know this state of being. It exists as a potential in all Human Beings.

    It is my observation that many more people are spontaneously making this transition in this modern time than has been recorded in past ages. They present as ordinary people who are inwardly extraordinary. They seem to be able to act as catalysts for others who are by nature inclined to make the transition. Desire to connect, it seems, is a prerequisite for the event to take place. A person from the western region will find affinity with one from the deep south, or from New England, or from the Midwest because this Self recognizes Its reflection in the other. I am certain this is the next stage of human evolution.

    A peace between individuals is possible, a peace between regions is possible and ultimately a peace between nations is possible. A national identity can be melded that does not express as the mono culture that many of our corporate entities would have us aspire to but rather a rich, diverse one that enriches all our lives in deep profound ways and one which will never lose sight of its fundamental principles because it is grounded in something eternal.

  4. Eric C. Jacobson Says:

    Since the host asked for constructive criticism I will give mine (some of which, like the hosts, will be mildly repetitive of past comments):

    For me, the attribution of Trump’s popularity to a backlash against post-modernity (if I get Senator Hart’s drift correctly) falls flat.

    Granting that some Americans ARE “maladjusted” to some of the monumental changes wrought over the past half-century, as Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out, being “maladjusted” can sometimes be a virtue. It depends upon WHAT (substantively) one is unreconciled-to. A comment is not the place for an inventory but it is easily seen that most of the changes that go under the heading of “socially liberal progress” have corresponding downsides. For example many women and men no doubt rue their over-reliance on “family planning” as they realize too late that the imperatives of nature itself (which obviously wishes parenthood to occur in any couple’s young adulthood, trumps (so to speak) their prioritization of career and financial security, etc. For them, “Planned Parenthood” becomes “No Parenthood”. But political correctness and feminist dogmatism prevents any real, honest discussion of the subject.

    The Senator also refers (far too casually) to “inexpensive imports”. But the “globalization” that enabled those imports didn’t “just happen.” Nothing does. As President Kennedy said: “Things are MADE to happen.” (Emphasis added.) Globalization was a key component (although not the whole) of wealthy elites’ ruthless class warfare against “the 99%” over the past half-century.

    So-called “free trade” was blatantly misrepresented by both major parties, but particularly by Bill Clinton (and Al Gore in his famous CNN debate with Ross Perot) as a “win-win” for the American public. The emphasis was always placed on the manner in which such trade facilitates job-creating exports, etc., etc.. And the naysayers were universally derided as crude latter-day protectionists ala Smoot-Hawley who would promote a trade war, etc., etc.

    But these free trade agreements haven’t worked out well and the impact on American living standards is getting ever-worse. This (along with the absolutely senseless Iraq War) soured the American people on whatever vestige of healthy internationalism they once had. Today, apart from consensus agreement that terrorism by Islamist militants must be extirpated (by any means necessary) the overwhelming majority of Americans renounce any proposed duty to either police or help “develop” the third world where doing so costs us jobs, makes impossible full employment and/or lowers wages here at home. Rather, the overwhelming sentiment is that we must first “take care of our own” (in Bruce Springsteen’s phrase).

    This is the gist of the message that enabled Ross Perot to vault himself into serious contention for the presidency in 1992 and 1996. Unfortunately Mr. Perot did not succeed in forming an enduring third party nor in getting himself elected president. But there is little doubt in hindsight that the failure of Perot and his movement have been detrimental to the country and led (in good part) to the current schism between elites and the public that caused the 2016 voter revolts in both parties. (An interesting footnote is that Donald Trump was briefly peripherally involved with what-remained-of Perot’s Reform Party in 2000.)

    What is most telling is that prior to the dual voter revolts in 2016 neither of the two old parties (or the mainstream media’s presstitutes) had the slightest inkling of the fury their betrayal of best interests of the American people in favor of the interests of wealthy campaign contributors (and the entire 1%) had provoked in the electorate. (Since he asked for “tough love” I will add that I am not sure the host did either.)

    As a consequence of the obtuseness of its elected elites, the Democratic Party is now flirting with unmitigated disaster. I take some pride in my own political prognostication skills, such as those I employed on Senator Hart’s behalf in 1983-84, something Gary’s campaign manager graciously acknowledged in a recommendation letter to the UCLA political science department, to which I repaired in 1985 to study “the presidency” in anticipation of playing at least a modest role in what I felt certain would be an upcoming Hart Administration: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ilXuTzT1mlanUtV1FxN2stNXM/view?usp=sharing .

    Flash forward to February 19, 2014: I wrote the following, which even stuns me for its uncanny prediction of what Mr. Trump has just accomplished. See http://www.salon.com/2014/02/16/the_matter_with_kansas_now_the_tea_party_the_1_percent_and_delusional_democrats/ (scroll down to Comments – second down from top, sorted by Newest):
    ——–
    Thomas Frank correctly identifies the dynamic by which a large segment of the white working class has (masochistically) defected to the Republicans, and thereby stalemated American politics for the time being. In sum, hell hath no fury like a working class constituency scorned. Hence the “Reagan Democrat” phenomenon is far out-lasting its instigator. And, as Mr. Frank alludes, the “demographic shift” IS chimerical. Minorities are no more likely than whites to forever vote for a Democratic Party that will not safeguard the economic interests of those in “the 99%” and especially in the middle and lower echelons thereof.

    Three “bumper-sticker terms” define the policies Americans tell pollsters they really want: populism, protectionism and isolationism (“PPI”). These policies come in both enlightened and regressive strains. But the two old parties are both spurning ANY version of these doctrines. So (this still being a democracy) either a new party will rise up under this banner and eclipse one or both of the two old parties, or one or both of the two old parties will “get religion” and reorient its platform and intentions in accordance with PPI.

    I would bet that the Republican Party will be quicker on [the] uptake in this regard since protectionism and isolationism are already in its DNA (however latently at this historical distance). My hunch is that the Republicans will (sooner than anyone thinks) jettison harsh austerity and swallow the (for them) bitter pill of populism (along with the more palatable protectionism and isolationism) in order to secure their political longevity.

    If my hunch is accurate, the two old parties [will] soon switch roles entirely and start conforming in reality to current Republican caricature (which already has a large grain of truth): the Dems will actually become the party of, by and for smug self-satisfied lifestyle-oriented haves and the Republicans the party of the “everyday people” of America. A party that protects the have-nots from ruthless exploitation by (for example) ending the “one-world economy” that places American workers into unfair wage competition with billions of poor Chinese and Indians peasants-turned-factory-workers. A party that stops the flooding of the U.S. with goods and services produced abroad, and reduces the excessive influx of high-tech and low-skilled immigrant workers. A party that ends all pointless nihilistic wars – those Bob Dole memorably and accurately (save for World War 2) called “Democrat wars” – wars that undermine America’s national security and treacherously waste the lives of America’s sons and daughters by treating them as cheaply expendable “pawns in their game” instead of precious human beings that should NEVER be sent into harm’s way absent genuine national peril.

    This would not be a hard pivot for Republicans to make. All someone with influence (a Rove and/or Luntz) would have to do is “say the word” and the party’s (regimented) elected officials will all soon be talking like George McGovern (but without his warmth). The Dems are too cantankerous, solipsistic and beholden to Wall Street to do likewise. ¶Therefore a permanent Republican majority is almost certainly in the offing UNLESS the Dems “snap out of it”… ——–
    Well, as of tonight the two old parties now HAVE officially “traded places”. As a result (unless the Democrats’ “politburo” holds an emergency meeting to ditch Hillary in favor of Bernie or the host of this forum) the result WILL be a massive landslide in November for Donald Trump. THAT would not be so bad (indeed Donald Trump is in my view by far the lesser evil than Hillary Clinton) except for the fact that the old rightist GOP will ride his coattails to the type of political dominance approaching that of a one-party state.

    If the Dems do turn in desperation to good ol’ Gary Hart in lieu of giving the nomination to Bernie after all or if Hart is tapped for the vice-presidency (in the doubtful event he would accept it), I hope Gary will ditch the line of shallow speculative pop sociological discourse set forth in the main post (perhaps he should spend LESS time with the similarly inclined Matt Bai) in favor of his hard-headed indictment of the current system as “massively corrupt” (“rigged” in Trump and Sanders’ parlance) which was the trenchant, engaged and entirely apposite theme of his most recent book and public appearances. Respectfully submitted, ECJ

  5. Paul Borg Says:

    Dear Senator Hart,

    A few words from one I hold in the highest regard; a man who I am sure came to know his true Self and I believe died in in the act of giving expression to It.

    “It is not we who seek the Way, but the Way which seeks us. That is why you are faithful to it, even while you stand waiting, so long as you are prepared, and act the moment you are confronted by its demands.”
    ― Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

    “To have humility is to experience reality, not in relation to ourselves, but in its sacred independence. It is to see, judge, and act from the point of rest in ourselves. Then, how much disappears, and all that remains falls into place.

    In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses. The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.”
    ― Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

  6. LORENZO CHERIN Says:

    This is the issue that brings us together , in our common threats ,as nations , and separates us , in our various guises, as peoples. My country , the United Kingdom , has just voted to leave the European Union in a campaign that allowed identity and the related issues , to come to the fore .

    Yes ,the Britain that once, was so much the beacon of free discourse and tolerance, that it allowed the refugee, immigrant, Karl Marx ,to enter and settle and write to his hearts content and others obliviousness, in the British Museum public library, that Britain is still one of , if not , the, most , tolerant country on earth , it has suffered for the emphasis on identity without the substance of the meaning being explored.

    So too we have nearly broken apart the union of the United Kingdom, not quite destroyed by a referendum lost for Scottish independence a couple of years ago, so obsessed with identity , as it was, now threatened by a referendum that has the Scottish keen to be European Union citizens perhaps more than British ones.

    I am a Londoner by birth , and for many years of residence, who has more recently made home in Nottingham , I am English, but half Italian, and about a quarter Irish , and I am British and European.

    I married a London based woman of American origin who herself is of Italian , Polish French and German, lineage.

    I think it is Sir Peter Ustinov , himself of many extractions , who got it right , when he said , ” I have my roots in civilised behaviour “…. and “We are divided by our convictions , united by our doubts ! ”

    Identity is of some importance.But to identify as fellow human beings is of the most importance.We can see the connection in sharing values that go beyond ethnicity or nationality , while those do count. So I share more with an American Democrat, moderately liberal , as a British Liberal Democrat , than I do with a right wing British Conservative , or far left Socialist. But , in the wake of a referendum campaign in my country that was divided along unnecessarily bitter lines , and during an American election campaign that makes the self same UK ,EU one, seem like a tea dance , if not a tea party , I think we need to identify identity politics, as and with a note of caution.

    The murder of the fine British member of parliament , Jo Cox , a young ,moderate, Labour MP who worked and voted and campaigned across party lines , has moved me and my country , and many abroad. For she was killed in the midst of a divisive campaign by a lone lunatic. She was killed because she had close relations with her ethnically diverse constituents. She was killed because she supported refugees.She was killed because her killer was filled with hate. She said “We have more in common . “

  7. John Kane Says:

    I could not agree with Eric C. Jacobson more.

    If we contemplate honestly and deeply man’s mysterious existence in this temporary, speck-sized annex of eternity and infinity, we are forced to acknowledge how little we know of its meaning, its origin and its destiny. But of one thing we can be certain: that as human beings we are singularly privileged just to be alive. And not poverty, not pain, not heartache, not desperation; not suffering, not sickness, nor deformity; not fear nor loneliness not depression, not even madness can alter or negate that privilege, or warrant the coaxing or the wresting of that privilege from us, or the denying of that privilege to others. by Rita Joseph

    The unrest and voter backlash is a direct result of the government denying the privilege of destiny. The elite are in control and our paths are being guided by an ever increasing mountain of government regulation. The vocal minority or financially backed special interests have successfully hijacked and unduly altered the landscape. It is apparent that “we the sheeple” are at odds with the Great Change we are undergoing.

    “The noise gets so bad the narrator will to do anything to make it stop, and to stop the lying police officers from smiling at him, pretending not to know what’s going on.”

    The noise gets so bad the voter’s will to do anything to make it stop, and to stop the lying politicians from smiling at them, pretending not to know what’s going on.

    The noise you hear Senator Hart is your heart.

    “So, race, religion, employment, region, and national unity shape identity and all are undergoing great change.” Gary Hart
    “The search for a lost identity goes a long way to explaining the Trump phenomenon.”
    Gary Hart
    “Principles are different. It’s the core beliefs that keep you together and motivate you and cause you to act as a society. When you abandon those principles to pursue unprincipled kinds of politics, that’s when you get off the track.” Gary Hart
    “When Mr. Trump talks about making America great again, the unspoken message is that we can recapture our lost identity.” Gary Hart

    “The great challenge for us now is the shaping of a new identity that enables and empowers us to deal with this chaotic change as a cohesive society built upon enduring principles of democracy, human dignity, and mutual respect for all those on the same quest.”

    ****** was speaking of “the end of the New Deal,” of the need for an activist but less intrusive Government. Compassion did not mean bureaucracy, he said, a phrase that offended some older ******.

    The new ****** conventional wisdom includes increased spending for education, coupled with greater demands on teachers; “military reform,” words that have come to mean being both tough and prudent on defense spending; the need to make America more competitive in the world economy; and above all, a sense that it is possible for Government to attend to social needs without producing copies of New Deal and Great Society programs.

    Calling special interest money in campaigns “the toxic waste of American politics,” ****** has been a strong supporter of campaign reform legislation. But until the laws are changed, ****** refuses to accept special interest contributions from Political Action Committees.

    America has lost its commanding position in world trade: we are now a debtor nation, with trade deficits in excess of $*****Billion, and unemployed workers in industries from steel to silicon chips. We’re even importing food. ****** believes the way to “get even” is to “get competitive” — through new investments in retraining, rebuilding our keystone industries, restoring the international financial system, and getting tough with trade law violators.
    Relying more heavily on America’s economic influence — not just to promote domestic prosperity, but to increase world stability. An open and fair trading system can be used to make societies more democratic and markets more open — if — our policymakers understand the value and strength of America’s economic power.

    “With your support, our ideas will take center stage, and the American people will be the winners. Together, we can restore integrity and respect for law and the Constitution to the conduct of our foreign policy, and instill a new sense of purpose and direction to the management of our economy.” All by Gary Hart

  8. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    John Kane wrote:

    >>>>But of one thing we can be certain: that as human beings we are singularly privileged just to be alive. And not poverty, not pain, not heartache, not desperation; not suffering, not sickness, nor deformity; not fear nor loneliness not depression, not even madness can alter or negate that privilege, or warrant the coaxing or the wresting of that privilege from us, or the denying of that privilege to others.

    Apparently, this is a quote by Rita Joseph …

    Not sure who either of you are but there is one thing I can be certain of … I inhabit a wholly separate universe from the both of you if you believe the above quote to be true.

    Hopefully, that kind of non-serious thinking can only be attributed to a privileged few, so to speak.

  9. John Kane Says:

    In response to Elizabeth Miller:

    There is little doubt I am of limited intellect and questionable motives. I will attempt to dissect for us both.

    “If we contemplate honestly and deeply man’s mysterious existence in this temporary, speck-sized annex of eternity and infinity, we are forced to acknowledge how little we know of its meaning, its origin and its destiny.”

    Maybe you know? I do not. I am of great faith and well educated on biblical teachings as well as those of Charles Darwin. Humanity in the scope of “eternity and infinity” is in fact infinitesimal. I thought the meaning of life was one of those unanswerable questions? Are you certain of the origin of life? I in fact choose to believe in a higher power that did in fact step in from the vastness of eternity and create the speck-sized organism know as man. Does the fact that scientists can clone from a mass of living cells answer the question of life’s origin? Science seems to have questions of just how conception sparks life and in fact creates a soul. If in fact you know my destiny, or that of mankind I wish you would be good enough to share. With what do you take umbrage?

    “But of one thing we can be certain: that as human beings we are singularly privileged just to be alive.”

    I assume you don’t disagree? Or maybe you do? We are not singularly privileged just to be alive? We are privileged only as a group? There are others out there just as privileged as human beings? Human life is not precious enough to make this statement? Life is a right, not a privilege? Maybe this privilege extends to (other) animals and all creation, that I can see at some level but the statement is: “that as human beings” so we are in fact referencing human beings in this context. Maybe there are other privileges that deserve to stand with or you perceive to be of equal stature to life? Maybe you would be more comfortable with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? “I am the Lord of all creation. Man is the highest in all creation. He is next to Me. I have given equal privileges to all mankind”
    .
    “non-serious thinking can only be attributed to a privileged few so to speak”

    Maybe you are thinking I am white and therefore invoking “white privilege”? With what do you take umbrage?

    “And not poverty, not pain, not heartache, not desperation; not suffering, not sickness, nor deformity; not fear nor loneliness not depression, not even madness can alter or negate that privilege, or warrant the coaxing or the wresting of that privilege from us, or the denying of that privilege to others.”

    OK so poverty, pain, heartache, desperation, suffering, sickness, deformity, fear, loneliness, depression or madness do in fact have the power to alter or negate or to coax or wrestle the privilege of “just to be alive” from human beings? The poor, the desperate those suffering heartache, someone with a deformity or are mad should no longer be singularly privileged just to be alive?
    And by some form of assimilation there is a condition that might exist that would in fact allow for the denial of that privilege to others? Murder is not on this list and to the best of my knowledge within the society we live a convicted murderer is the only crime against humanity punishable by death. With what do you take umbrage and by the way, what universe do you inhabit? I am firmly planted on the third rock from the sun.

  10. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    I’m sorry, Mr. Kane but, I thought I was clear enough.

    To say that,

    “as human beings we are singularly privileged just to be alive. And not poverty, not pain, not heartache, not desperation; not suffering, not sickness, nor deformity; not fear nor loneliness not depression, not even madness can alter or negate that privilege, or warrant the coaxing or the wresting of that privilege from us, or the denying of that privilege to others.”

    means to me that one should be absolutely and unalterably happy to be alive, regardless of ones surrounding circumstances, no matter how dire or desperate or long suffering they may be and that if these circumstances lead one to conclude – as just one example – that death with dignity is their best option then others should deny them that right.

    Am I reading your intentions wrong?

  11. John Kane Says:

    Yes ma’am you are. The word used is privileged not happy. You did not choose or have a voice in whether you came to be or not, you were singularly privileged. How your life unfolds is however somewhat dependent upon you and the circumstances surrounding your existence. No condition negates that privilege, no human (besides perhaps the example I gave of the crime against humanity of murder i.e. to deny that privilege to another) has the authority to take that privilege from you. Disease/injury… can devastate a human body. I do not see where suicide can be construed as “others” coaxing or wrestling or denying life, it would be a personal and tragic choice assuming you had the faculties to make it. If you want to know if I have had the personal tragedy of being the one to have to end the existence of a loved one? Then know that honor and responsibility has been mine more than once and likely will be again. Please note I said existence, their life had concluded.
    I hope that you feel privileged just to be alive. I hope you have found the internal peace that allows you to cope with any situation no matter how dire.

    God grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    As it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    If I surrender to His Will;
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
    And supremely happy with Him
    Forever and ever in the next.
    Amen

  12. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    >>>Yes ma’am you are.

    Yikes. I think we’re done here. 🙂

    Seriously, I think your absolutist view on this is a tad self-righteous. But, then again, the comments section at this site can hardly be described as pedestrian – in any way, shape or form. And, that is just one of the site’s endearing qualities.

    I feel privileged to be a part of this site. But, inner peace? … well, I believe that will be forever elusive. I appreciate your sentiments, though.

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