Now What?

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.  

From – Hillary Clinton’s Concession Speech

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From the moment that George Washington resigned his presidency the peaceful transfer of power has reigned in the United States. And, as strange as the dynamics of this past election, this peaceful transfer of power is what will ultimately strengthen our values and, although it may not seem so at first, it provides us the best opportunity to close the gap between us.

That does not mean that we will all agree on how to meet our challenges, but it will provide the spark to stop the vitriol that poisons our relationships and keeps us from reaching our highest potential as a nation.

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Different points of view, ideologies and political leanings form the bases for transformation. When we view our differences through a constructive prism, instead of a darkened tunnel, the light has a chance to break through. When we view those we vehemently disagree with, with a sense that we all want was is best for our country, even if we cannot agree on the means we can still share and connect on a level that is more soothing to our souls and in turn, more productive for America.

We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought, but I still believe in America and I always will… We believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone, for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people and for people with disabilitiesFOR EVERYONE!

From – Hillary Clinton’s Concession Speech

Plus, airing this week is my conversation with Homer Hickam. Homer writes some of the most heartwarming American fiction of the modern era. Our discussion about his book, Carrying Albert Home, is a classic example of how major differences of opinion, on a personal and political level, can still carry us all back home. 

Have a great week.

Barry

 

EPISODE LISTINGS AND TIMES ARE IN THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.

TO CONTACT BARRY YOU MAY E-MAIL HIM ATbarrykibrick@aol.com

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The Last Debate

The competitive American spirit is a defining part of our national character. But designed to channel that competitive spirit for the good of the whole. We have lost sight of its value in our current political environment.

Fmr. Senate Majority Leaders Trent Lott & Tom Daschle – Crisis Point

On Wednesday night, if you listened carefully, you could hear the county give a giant sigh of relief. The last presidential debate was over. So, were do we go from here? Obviously, there is an election in about two weeks but no doubt there will be much more we need to be aware of over the next four years.

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That is why I am re-running my two part conversation beginning this weekend, featuring Former Senate Majority Leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle and their eye-opening book: Crisis Point 

When Republican Senator Trent Lott and Democrat Senator Tom Daschle, who have been on the opposite sides of the isle on almost every policy and law debated in the Senate, come together to write a book because they both agree we are at a crisis point, it is time to listen.

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Our contrasting identities and philosophies also serve as a metaphor for the country itself – and share a vision for how we can get moving again. 

So, unless half the country really is moving to Canada after November 8th we’ll have plenty to do and plenty of time to fix what is so badly broken. In fact, this election may really be a wakeup call for our great country. Yes, there are such deep animosities at this time, or at least we are made to believe and feel that, but underneath it all lays a core strength that has existed since our beginning.

Our Founding Fathers generation had enormous faith in ours. We must act to preserve what’s worth saving, change what is hindering us from progress, and exercise the wisdom to know which is which. – Crisis Point

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Share these episodes with as many people as you can before you pull those levers. For I believe strongly in the Senators’ words and know you will as well.

There is hope. It begins with the strength that already exists within this great nation and its people.” 

Have a great week and stay strong,

Barry

 

EPISODE LISTINGS AND TIMES ARE IN THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.

TO CONTACT BARRY YOU MAY E-MAIL HIM AT: barrykibrick@aol.com

 

The Notion of a Nation

On July 4, 1776 we declared that “The American Experiment” itself is an idea as much as it is a national experience. It is an idea that transcends place and provides a baseline for the ideology of a country, as well as for the life of an individual.

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Many people are turned off by the term “American Exceptionalism.” They believe it means that we are better than any country and if taken to its jingoistic extremes would be a problem. But that is not what the term means. It refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty. It means that we are not a nation due to our heritage, but a nation due to the NOTION that people can govern themselves.

There is no doubt that there are some great dichotomies about our country. Two of the most obvious ones are how slavery could exist while liberty was at the forefront of every idea behind the revolution, and how we treated our indigenous people when life and the pursuit of happiness are paramount to our beliefs.

In fact, that strange duality existed nearly 300 years before we declared our independence. Its roots could be traced back to Christopher Columbus.

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In my conversation this week with world renowned historian Laurence Bergreen about his book, Columbus: The Four Voyages, we closely examine how this one time admired explorer was himself a walking contradiction. As Laurence reveals in Columbus’s letters to Ferdinand and Isabella, the great navigator truly loved the people he met on his voyage.

All are people of love and without greed, and suitable for every purpose. I assure Your Highnesses that in all the world there is no better people nor better country. They love their neighbors as themselves, and have the sweetest talk in the world, and gentle, and always with a smile.

However, to Columbus this implied that rather than treat these seemingly lovely people with kindness, they would be perfect to enslave. As Laurence writes:

It seemed to Columbus that the Indians were prepared to assume this role; indeed, with their show of subservience they were practically auditioning for it.

Why do such dualities, dichotomies and contradictions abound on the macro level of nations and the micro level of individuals?

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I believe it is because what truly separates humans from other animals are not our opposing thumbs, our large frontal lobes or our ability to produce art. It is that we are the only ones who know better and still do the wrong thing. Now that is exceptional!

So, as we celebrate the exceptional birth of our country, it has been a tradition in our household and one that I share every year with my readers, to spend a few moments with the beginning words of our Declaration of Independence, for you will then experience the notion of our nation.

Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In Congress, July 4, 1776 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Have a very happy and safe holiday,

Barry

 

EPISODE LISTINGS AND TIMES ARE IN THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.

TO CONTACT BARRY YOU MAY E-MAIL HIM AT: barrykibrick@aol.com

 

Crisis Point

Our system was not designed to encourage the kind of inertia plaguing our current leaders in Washington… The center can no longer hold under such mindless and unprecedented partisanship. 

Fmr. Senate Majority Leaders Trent Lott & Tom Daschle – Crisis Point

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When Republican Senator Trent Lott and Democrat Senator Tom Daschle, who have been on the opposite sides of the isle on almost every policy and law debated in the Senate, come together to write a book because they both agree we are at a crisis point, it is time to listen.

There is no one in this country, who, along with the former Senators, does not see that business as usual in our government is no longer an option.

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However, although an alarm must be sounded, this is far from a new experience for us Americans. From the founding of our country there have always been two major differences on how we envisioned our national government. One had a larger role and one a much smaller role. One largely built on rugged individualism and one built through collective action. Sides were clearly drawn but the answer always was we needed a little of both. George Washington, at the constitutional convention, knew we would find the answer. 

Surely, we have among us men who understand the science of government and who can find the answers to all our problems. Surely we have the ability to design a government that will protect the liberties we have won.

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What Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison and others knew then, and in our hearts we all know today, is that the people, not our leaders are the ones truly in charge. And that is what we see during this most tumultuous primary in our modern history. As the Senators write in their book Crisis Point:

Our country’s strength comes from the tension that’s inherent in our DNA.

Often, at times when we believe that things are falling apart, what really occurs is that we are just reeling from the spiraling within our own DNA. This cannot help but makes us feel dizzy, confused, unsure and filled with doubt. However, and I learned this lesson more often than I care to admit: The light is always the brightest when you emerge from the darkness of despair.

And as the great non-American statesman Winston Churchill said:

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

At this time we are experimenting with everything else. It seems like we are dazed and confused, and we just might be, but we also know that in the end we will do the right thing.

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This is a crucial time and therefore I am dedicating two episodes with Senators Trent Lott and Tom Daschle about their book Crisis Point. In the first episode, that airs this week, our conversation focuses on the problems at hand. In the second episode, airing next week, we discuss the solutions.

We will, like our forefathers, find the answers even if we have to try everything else first. And while we are looking, be grateful we are the ones in charge.

Have a great week,

Barry

 

EPISODE LISTINGS AND TIMES ARE IN THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.

TO CONTACT BARRY YOU MAY E-MAIL HIM AT: barrykibrick@aol.com

 

It’s Debatable

We just witnessed the first of many debates that will be occurring over the next eighteen months. My blog post this week about the debates was written before last night’s event.

It is a perspective on the current political climate and our often misguided discourse. It is published on the front page of today’s Huffington Post.

Click on the link above or the following link to read the post: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-kibrick/its-debatable_b_7951060.html?utm_hp_ref=yahoo&ir=Yahoo

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Please feel free to like, comment and share with all.

Plus, this week airing on most of our PBS stations, is an encore conversation that viewers found very helpful. It features Christine Hassler and her book Expectation Hangover.

Enjoy the post and the episode.

Have a great week,

Barry

EPISODE LISTINGS AND TIMES ARE IN THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.

TO CONTACT BARRY YOU MAY E-MAIL HIM AT: barrykibrick@aol.com

The World Until Yesterday

Modern societies don’t always think as clearly as we should about the dangers that we face.

– Jared Diamond –

In our current global society the most critical mission we all must deal with is the seeking out of truth. Our plight is to grapple with a constant harangue of misinformation designed to cause unwarranted fear, and in turn, mislead us about the real concerns we face as a society.

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As Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jared Diamond writes in his book The World Until Yesterday:

We are prone to misestimate risks because we get most of our information second-hand from television and other mass media that emphasize sensational but rare accidents and mass deaths.

My entire conversation with Professor Diamond is posted right below for you to enjoy or CLICK HERE to watch:

There are too many who believe that in some past glorious time life was more civilized and genteel. However, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most stunning observations, that Dr. Diamond himself found shocking, was throughout history more people were killed with spears, arrows and clubs than all the trench warfare, napalm, machine guns, artillery, torpedoes and atomic bombs combined.

To add to that, the ratio of murder in the most “tranquil” primitive societies far exceeds that in our most brutal modern inner cities. Yet, listen to any of our current political pundits, journalists, columnists and future candidates for the presidency and all exploit the supposed fears in place of the actual issues we need to deal with to improve the quality of life. And, Jared Diamond, considered to be one of America’s most celebrated scholars, knows: “… That denying any other reality for any other laudable political goal is a bad strategy.”

The good news is we can and do battle with the bad strategies that propagate our world view. The way however is not so much to question our media, pundits, politicians and so called intelligentsia, for they will for the most part mislead, divert, and continue to circumvent the main issues for whatever agenda they want to spread. The answer then lies within ourselves.

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Yes, as Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” However, we now know we cannot just depend on the answers the authorities provide. But, we can depend on the questions we need to ask and answer for ourselves. We can look not towards a romanticized past but towards a past filled with lessons that we must glean from sifting through the sands of time. Like a miner panning shallow waters it is there where we will find the gold. Then, we just might be able to heed these few more gems from Professor Diamond.

Some of what yesterday’s world teaches us is to be grateful for our modern societies, and not to bad-mouth them across the board.

Be grateful while still searching for the truth!

Plus, airing this week on most of our PBS stations is my conversation with one of the bestselling and respected mystery writers of our time, the talented Michael Connelly.

Enjoy both episodes and have a great week,

Barry

FOR EPISODE LISTINGS AND TIMES IN YOUR MARKET CLICK ON THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.

FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME AT: barrykibrick@aol.com

Depth before Dishonor

As we mark the birth of our nation’s independence this July 4th traditionally we do so with family gatherings, barbecues, fireworks and beer. I plan to do the same and think it is a wonderful way to celebrate this great holiday.

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However, we need to add something to the celebration. At a time when many gather together discussing such issues as: Who is a more powerful couple, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, or Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris? I had this discussion last night, so no finger pointing, but we can improve our sense of self and in turn our sense of country, if we and our media broaden the scope.

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As mentioned, there is nothing wrong with a little “water-cooler” type chat; it only becomes a problem when that is the majority of discourse. The other problem is when we and our media turn even important discussions into shallow sound-bites filled only with surface information. And, often times, what is most troubling is when we only hear information with only one slanted point of view.

The good news is we can do something about it and there is no better time to start than on Independence Day. The reason is because we have the one document at our finger tips that put enlightened thought into action.

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Much of the sentiment in our Declaration of Independence stems from the ideas and writings of the great Enlightenment thinkers. The words of such philosophers the likes of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith and many others set forth the ideas of Ben Franklin, Thomas Payne, Thomas Jefferson and many of our Founding Fathers.

The American Experiment itself is an idea as much as it is a national experience. It is an idea that transcends place and provides a baseline on the macro level for the ideology of a country, as well as on a micro level for the life of an individual.

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They did not just stitch together words but the thoughtful process that went into every single word, why they were chosen and where they were placed in our sacred text took months of deep thought and communication. Thomas Jefferson is given credit for penning the words but many others, especially John Adams, Ben Franklin and some lesser known like Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston gave their input before anyone put their John Hancock on it.

A few years ago we adopted a family tradition from a dear friend, and now every year, I share with my readers and viewers the Introduction and the Preamble of the document that started it all. We read these revered words at our barbecue and hopefully you will wish to do the same. Then, take it one step further and discuss some of the individual words and sentences. I am certain that you too will find the conversation exhilarating as the discourse not only fills your heart, mind and soul but is as much fun and entertaining as any great power couple debate. I am willing to bet my Brad and Angelina against your Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello.

Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In Congress, July 4, 1776 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

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Wishing all of you a joyous Independence Day and remember, you can have as much fun in the deep end, as the shallow end of the pool.

Barry