An Evening in Downtown Phoenix.

I was at the Trump rally in Phoenix last night. I ended up getting there quite late, roughly 7 o’clock. The last few people who were going to get into the convention center were entering. The sidewalks were crowded, with protesters on one side of the street and Trump supporters on the other. The streets themselves were relatively clear, thanks to the phoenix police. Knowing that there was no chance of getting in, I wandered the streets and enjoy the sights and sounds of the throng on both sides of the street. 

Amid cries of “Fuck Trump!”, which has become the standard battle cry for the erudite leftists when they find they have no actual argument, there were a group of BLM members that were playing a rap song on a boombox that also featured the term “fuck Trump”. A highly imaginative group on that side of the street. 

Meanwhile, on the conservative side of the street, there were discussions going on as to what was being said by Donald Trump inside of the building, as many people were streaming it on their phones while they stood on the sidewalk. 

There was one guy wearing a white wife beater that was admonishing the conservatives by naming downtrodden communities like Harlem and Compton. Y’all wouldn’t understand, he said. Y’all don’t know, he said. How little this man does now. I grew up in a place like that. Unlike him, however, I didn’t sit around for decades feeling sorry for myself. I decided that my lot in life was not the hand I was dealt. I, therefore, did not sympathize with this man. 

I saw police on horses wearing riot gear, and police on the ground wearing the same. It was far too hot outside for what they were wearing. And yet, it was necessary, due to the situation that could pop off at any moment. When Trump’s address ended, The attendees, obviously conservatives and Trump supporters, filed past the protesters, with mere feet of space and a thin line of police tape separating the two groups. 

I was prepared for a fight at one point, as a man who had his little girl with him who couldn’t possibly have been above ten years old, was harassed and shouted at by the protesters with a level of profanity that a girl that young should not have to listen to. Her father was obviously perturbed and offended, as he flipped the bird at the group. Two protesters broke off from the rest and began to follow him and his daughter. I followed as well, prepared to put them both on the ground if they attacked the man and his daughter. Eventually they backed off and went back to their group, to resume shouting at the passing conservatives. 

While I wandered, I made sure to listen to the conversations going on. Something that struck me was how everyone on the liberal side of the street seems to be looking for a solution to their problems that didn’t involve actually solving them. They wanted somebody to point the finger at, someone to blame. Not themselves, though. Clearly, nobody can be responsible for their own life and decisions. They were born poor, and raised by single mothers. They can’t possibly have any responsibility in this world.

There were a small group of BLM members that were trying to blame Whitey for every problem they ever had, but they mainly kept to themselves.

There was one point during which a very large and muscular man wearing a trump shirt passed by. The protesters became conspicuously quiet at that moment. They who are so keen on violence to spread their word, but only toward those who are unlikely to hit back. It was very telling. 

Among the people wandering around observing was a man who was dressed in furs and wearing a spirit hood. He appeared to be a centrist, and was trying to let both sides know that they were wrong in opposing each other.

Anyways, once all of the attendees left, and the only people remaining where the conservatives and protesters of various ilk on opposite sides of the street, the police deployed teargas to disburse the crowds. I don’t blame them one bit. I’m sure that thousands of people on either side of the street did not have work to get to in the morning, and would’ve gladly stayed there all night carousing, arguing, and fighting. In that heat, in the clothing they had to wear, with dehydration weighing on them, I fully understand why the police did what they did. I also fully support it. They had families to get home to. They were tired, and had beds they wanted to collapse into. 

In short, the evening was relatively uneventful, compared to what was expected. Phoenix showed that it, as a collective, has a little more class than some of the other cities we’ve seen. I’m proud to live here, and look forward to seeing other cities live up to what I saw last night.

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Blame.

Life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, but, who’s to blame?

Life doesn’t always go as well as we hope it does. Often, just when things are going smoothly, something will happen to muck it all up. It happens. That’s life. What do we do when things don’t go right, though? Often, we look for the reason it happened, and just as often, we fail to look at ourselves.

How often do you hear people blame some outside force for what happens in their lives? There are small things, like blaming the train or bus for your lateness to work; or blaming the dog for eating your homework. Those are small everyday things, and they generally get put into the category of Excuses. The thing with these is that everybody knows they are excuses. Oh, the train was late? You should’ve caught an earlier one. Your car broke down? Maybe you should’ve maintained it better. People don’t pander to these things.

Why, then, don’t more encompassing things get relegated to the Excuses bin? A common one I hear, often used by awful people about why they’re awful, is their upbringing. People without a father growing up are supposed to be given a hall pass to be lower achievers? Apparently, lacking a father suddenly makes you go out and commit crimes or engage in otherwise illicit behavior. Why is the crime rate higher among people raised by single mothers? Should we lay the blame on women?

Of course not. We’re smarter than that. To whom, then, shall the blame fall? A common one is society, or The System. The system is designed to keep people down, they say. It’s especially designed to keep down those of certain racial backgrounds.

I grew up in that system. Moreover, I grew up in the same household as someone who constantly blames the system. Both of us had no father figure. We had the same mother, who was single and went to work. Both of us had the same level of opportunity. He chose gang life and crime. I, while often invited to take part, did not. He’s been in and out of jail multiple times, and I, despite times of extreme hardship, and opportunity to commit crime, have not.

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I have anger issues. I used to punch holes in the walls of my home every day. Thing is, I could have blamed a number of outside forces and not helped the problem. I could have blamed…

The System.

Lack of a father figure.

A negative home environment.

Bigotry.

Rich people.

Bullies.

My depression.

My anxiety disorder.

Poverty.

Instead, I paid attention to my triggers, and instead of trying to rid my life of them, I developed resistance to them. I rarely punch walls anymore, or anything, for that matter.

It might sound a little absurd, but most personal problems can be handled that way. It simply takes a little maturity and introspection. Oh, and patience. Tons of patience.

Maybe a little bit of personal responsibility, too.

It’s easy to talk about solutions to problems. It’s far easier to blame something or someone for them. How often did you hear people blame Obama for their financial woes? How often do you hear people blame Trump for random thugs committing violent acts in the name of freedom? How often do you hear people blame every current president for the country getting worse?

Not a single one of them has a real solution though.

Maybe if they worried about themselves instead of everything they can blame, they’d find a solution to their own problems real quick.

Making a better you takes work, and it takes knowing that the current you is not the best one. Aren’t you worth the work?

Two Kinds of People

A tale of two mindsets.

It’s a beautiful sunny day. Big, fluffy white clouds are in the bright blue sky, it’s a comfortable 85 out, and two friends meander down the sidewalk, sharing a laugh about something in their conversation. A beautiful vehicle drives by, and they both stop to silently admire it.

One says, to the air in front of them, “What a beautiful car. One day I’m gonna buy one of those. I’ll work my butt off till I get it.”

The other says, “What a beautiful car. Why should that guy get it and not me? Is he better than me? I deserve that car!”

This duality of viewpoints is common all over this great country of ours. It is easily found on the news, in TV shows, and in politics. You, the reader, and your best friend may even have this duality between you.

While it is great to have differing views in this world, in this case, the one borne on pettiness and jealousy is terribly wasteful. Sadly, this is the one that appears to be gaining ground in our modern age. In 2017, people are inundated with instant gratification. Those who play the long game are becoming fewer, and quieter, while the latter are becoming more vocal and gaining platforms with which to spout their detrimental views to like-minded masses.

This blog is an attempt to bring together those people who value personal responsibility. Each day we will cover something to add to the growing conversation of personal responsibility, providence, and presiding over our flocks with mindfulness.

Until next time, keep honing your life.