Double Duty: Double Fun

The dream continues.

With less than two weeks from Opening Night of The Abolitionist’s Wife: The Saga of Mary Brown, we are getting some of those “magic moments” that happen during the rehearsal process. There’s nothing like it when actors find those little nuggets in the material and really make them shine on stage. We still have some work to do but it’s going to be a good show.

Once again, I am fortunate to be working with a really talented and dedicated cast & crew who are doing what they love. And it shows.

I am really enjoying playing the Bounty Hunter. But on the other hand, I really hate this guy. He’s vile, despicable and deserves nothing but contempt. And I am working hard to prevent any character hang over with this guy. I have found a little bit of his personality crossing over into my own though. You see, tact has been something I’ve always had a hard time with. I’m one of those straight talking kind of guys you know. But I’ve been down right rude in situations I normally am not. I’m thinking that I should do a serious ritual to banish this character after we close. Can’t wait to lose the beard either.

I’ve been tasked to sing in this production as well. Here’s where it gets sticky. I’m not a singer. Although, and I think I mentioned this in a previous post, I have been doing some vocal work. So it was a good thing I started early cause I’m going to have to use that particular tool. I’m trying to learn how to hear the harmony. I’m giving it my best but we’ll see. I do have more confidence in my singing in general but as I’ve never sang harmony at all before, it’s a bit daunting.

So as the title implies, I have been cast in another show as well. Yesterday we had our first read through for Julius Caesar. My fourth Shakespeare show. Produced by Animal Fire Theatre and Directed by Jenny Greenlee.

Not only do I get to perform in one of the Bards best shows, but we are performing it on the property of the Washington State Capitol. It’s an outdoor production, another first for me. Julius Caesar, outside on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, Washington. Hell yeah!

I’m playing three roles, the main one being Casca. One of the Conspirators and the one who stabs Caesar first. I get to do it again and I am so psyched. I’ve worked with several of the cast and have wanted to work with several others for quite some time. Plus the opportunity to meet and work with new folk. I love this stuff!!

Professionally, everything is aces. Financially, like many actors, I’m drowning. I’m still putting out applications and going to any and all interviews I manage to get but nothing has popped yet. So I’ve also started writing on a regular basis. I figure since I can’t get away from the politics completely, I should at least put that illness to good use and see if I can make some money from it. Here is the link to a page that consolidates some of my published work.

If you like what you read here, check it out. Especially the pieces on Yahoo and Helium.

A New Show

I have been cast to play The Bounty Hunter in the world premiere of The Abolitionist’s Wife: The Saga Of Mary Brown. Written by Barbara Gibson & Sky Myers, Directed by Sky Myers for the Olympia Family Theatre.

I get to do it again! Outstanding!

There is an old adage in acting, “There are no small roles, only small actors”. This has proven true multiple times just in the short time I have been living this dream and this production is no exception. I may have only one scene but it is a juicy one.

I play a slave catcher who has gone to New York in pursuit of a runaway slave and her baby. I bust into the Brown house and terrorize Mary Brown and her children.

This will be the first role where I am totally despicable. I’ve never been a racist and I’m no big fan of bounty hunters in general. So this will also be the first role where I’ve had no apparent personal connection to the character.

To anyone but an actor my next sentence is going to seem warped but here goes. I can’t wait to do this. Why would anyone want to play a role like this? Easy. Cause it’s necessary to the story. And unfortunately it’s a part of life. Then there is the added bonus of the challenge of getting deep into the mind of the character and finding the hooks necessary to be able to play the role convincingly. None of us are going to sit and watch a bunch of people getting along for an hour and a half. We go to theatre and movies to see conflict. So there has to be an antagonist. The evil guy for the good guy to vanquish.

And I get to be the guy who the audience will focus it’s hatred toward. I don’t know an actor worth their salt that wouldn’t jump at a chance like this. We’re kind of strange that way.

Since my last production closed, I’ve been in almost constant study mode. I’ve gotten with a private coach to gain more technical knowledge. The tools of our craft so to speak. I’ve been reading Stanislavsky and also Audition by Michael Shurtleff. I’ve been watching any and all coaching videos I can find including having watched episode after episode of Inside The Actors Studio. I really wish I could find video of the entire Q&A sessions afterward but I guess I’d have to be accepted to the Actors Studio to get access to those.

Everything I’ve learned in these last couple months I get to put into this next project and that has me excited as well. I have much more to bring to this role and production than I have in the past and I feel pretty good about that. I guess I’m gaining a bit more confidence in my abilities. Funny how that happens when knowledge comes together with desire and action.

It seems there is a couple of people reading this blog now. Thank you. Feel free to post any questions about acting or whatever. Or hell send me an email. If it’s an in depth question I’ll make a post out of it.

Aside

So I’m 20 months into my career as an actor.

In that time I’ve performed in five shows. A utility player, three supporting roles and a lead role.

But you know what, let’s start from the beginning.

I’ll never forget my high school drama club. There is much about my childhood that I have forgotten. For a reason. But not drama club. That’s where I found peace in an otherwise tumultuous time. Don’t worry not going to bore anyone with sob stories. I have flashes of doing improv games, I think maybe it was in junior high though. The drama club I remember most was in high school. I remember an end of year show we did. A variety show. I was the finale, doing a lip synch to “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters. At the end there was a dance routine with me and six ladies which ended on the last beat (“Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?) with a girl at each shoulder, a girl on each arm and a girl seductively holding on to each leg.

We killed it! The smiles and laughter I saw on each face just filled me with such joy. The applause was overwhelming. For a month afterward I was called Charlie Brown. That actually got kind of annoying after awhile but it was really cool at first. I was asked repeatedly if I was going to be an actor and I replied that within 10 years I was going to be on Broadway. It wasn’t a lie at the time. I really meant it. I wanted to act so bad. But I didn’t study. I didn’t take any action on the dream. I mentioned that it was tumultuous time in my life. Let’s just say the major influences in my life at the time lead me to believe that since the odds were so against me ever becoming a star actor it would be better for me to concentrate on the “real world”. That was the biggest mistake I have ever made. Thinking about it for a minute, it’s my biggest regret.

So for the next 28 years I did things that allowed me to “perform”. My first career was sales. Gee, no crossover there eh? And then of course my time in radio. I was only a mediocre music jock. Reading spots and doing news was a real rush though. Especially during weather emergencies. Two hours a day as talk show host was hard. It was a great challenge and I am very happy with the experience it provided. But being in politics turned me into a man I did not like. And as a bowling center professional I always enjoyed when I was training a new pin chaser or was DJ during the weekend rock-n-bowl. Well, you get the point.

I developed some other skills though that have served me well in the past. I’m no stranger to hard work. 50-60 hours a week in the bowling center were common. As a Head Mechanic (and often as B mechanic) if the doors were open, I was on call.

Then of course there was my spiritual life. As a young christian I was out preaching for the Lord to anyone who would listen. When I found ceremonial magick, well, that changed everything. When your audience are deities and spiritual entities it’s kind of important have a good performance, you know?

Performing as an officer in initiations was the most joyous. And now I know why. One of the primary reasons acting is such a passion with me is that I like being able to effect a person so deeply that it has a positive effect on their life. When you really “kill” an initiation ceremony it definitely has a life changing effect for the intended audience. Conversely, a bad performance can have a really negative effect on an initiate as well.

Think back in your life and how touched you have been by characters that we see on TV, film or stage. I want to do that for people. I’m a realist to a certain degree, although the very fact that I’m an actor sort of disputes that theory, I know that the odds are against me ever being another Hawkeye or Capt. Picard to name a few of my favorite characters. And honestly, I have absolutely zero desire to move back to California in general much less Los Angeles. But to be able to effect a theatre full of people for that one moment in that way only actors can. And to do that repeatedly of course. Oh, and to get paid well. Yeah, that’s the dream.

Anyway, so fast forward it’s now Spring of 2010. I’m 43 years old. I’ve just moved to Washington chasing the fairy tale of finally being with the woman I fell in love with back in college. I’m standing outside of the Lakewood Playhouse, I forget what production they were getting ready for but I saw a flyer about auditions. And I’m looking up at the sign and I suddenly have a strong memory of the whole Charlie Brown thing in high school and I remembered how strong the desire was to act. But once again, I have to live in the “real world” and I’m getting with the woman of my dreams for over 20 years so although it was a great memory there was no way I was going to waste the time. But I did mention it to Cindy later that night. Who was supportive but agreed with me that I needed to concentrate on the “real world.”

We once again flash forward. It’s now Fall of 2011. I’m in bad shape. Since 2008 it’s been really rough climbing out of the deep pit of despair I fell into culminating with the end of my second marriage. I know I’ve got to find something to do with my life or I’m going to fall back into the pit of despair again. It wouldn’t have had such a happy ending this time. So I’m desperately searching for something again. I even re brand Freedom & Liberty Show but I can’t do it. Heart is not in it. One night I’m particularly crazy and I remember standing outside of the Lakewood Playhouse. This time the thought festers. Why didn’t I ever try to live that dream?

Instead I tried to create different ones but never did I have the same passion. All the hours I worked in sales and bowling and the fast lube industry etc were the result of discipline and the desire please my supervisors and other such nonsense. Never because that was what I wanted to do with all of my being.

More thoughts start coming. It’s not like I had anything better to do. All I’m doing right now is going to work and coming back to my room and doing nothing productive. Gaming usually but that’s getting old. And working for a corporation that does everything ass backwards so that it can screw its employees isn’t providing a great deal of satisfaction. Not being a family man anymore (god I miss my boy) I don’t have anyone depending on me and wanting a great deal of my time. Nor am I looking for a relationship. Running away from them would be a more accurate description. But come on…ME an actor? Ain’t no fucking way. But it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot would it? Well, let’s just see if there are any auditions around here.

A quick google search delivered the information that in fact there were general auditions at Olympia Little Theatre going on the next week for a production of “Welfarewell” by Cat Delaney and they happened to fall on my day off. I spent the rest of the week debating back and forth on whether I was going. Finally, on the day of the final night of rehearsals, I challenged the universe. I said “Okay world. If I’m supposed to be an actor then I’m going to go to this audition and get offered a role on my very first audition! Yeah right, like that’s ever going to happen but let’s give it a shot.”

So I show up. I get to the theatre and I’m in a total state of disbelief that I’m there. I’ve done some preparation, read the script and such and know what part I want. The male lead of course. Alfred David, the lawyer. We’re being asked to do cold reads from sides and I’m digging the hell out of it. I’m asked to read for the Landlord. Now, this is the part I don’t want. It’s tiny. Two pages at the top of the show and that’s it and the character is not even essential to the story outside of setting up the lead character. (Hey it’s my first audition. Cut me some slack, I learned. Read on) So basically I just threw it away. I got up there and just didn’t care. So I didn’t perform. I just went up there and read the words and went through the motions. And I killed it. I knew when I walked off. I remember thinking I hope I didn’t do that too well because I want Alfred. I read well for Alfred but I just knew my best work was when I read for the Landlord.

I guess it’s fairly obvious I got the part. Four of them actually. Landlord/Chef/Bank Teller/Bailiff. All together I think I had all of 15 lines. The basic utility player.

I remember going in to the theatre first night of rehearsals. I was so proud. When we sat down and started the read through I was hooked. I knew this was what I wanted to do for a living. This was what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is what I should have been doing all these years since I played Charlie Brown but was to afraid to try.

 ImageImageImageImage

But of course doubt came back not long after Welfarewell had closed. Especially since I lost a part in Almost, Maine to the same son of a bitch who beat me out for Alfred. (That son of a bitch is now a close personal friend of mine and we’ve worked together on several projects including that one as I worked as a stage hand on it.) I had already planned to audition for Much Ado About Nothing because I believed then (and now for that matter) that any actor worth their salt should do at least one Shakespeare production. So I challenged the universe again. I said “Okay that was some trick. But let’s make sure it wasn’t just some fluke. If I’m supposed to be an actor then I’ll go for my third audition and get my second part in a Shakespeare show.”

Now to be totally honest. I was a big fan of Hamlet and I have particularly fond memories of watching Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing with an old girlfriend named Jane. That was a great night. But although I had great respect for the words of the Bard you couldn’t really consider me a fan. So the thought of actually being cast was ludicrous to me. I was going to give it a shot but there was no way it was going to happen.

This thought was by no means eased when I saw all the talent who had also showed up. It was amazing saying those words. Once again I had done some preparations and I went out on that stage and gave it everything I had.

The next day, I got the call. I’m standing in front of Wal Mart with some friends and I’ve been aching for the phone to ring all day. It’s the stage manager asking me to play the part of Borachio. Of course I tell him yes and thank him profusely in a very professional manner. At least that’s the way I remember it and then I let out with the biggest whoop and happiest happy dance. This is December of 2011 now and the Salvation Army lady smiles and asks me if I just got a job. Of course I tell her all about it. I wonder if she came to the show?

I can’t even describe the changes that I went through during that production. The happiness and joy that I discovered. The friendships that came about from working together. The healing process from my past issues greatly accelerated and I started to become whole again.

The biggest thing I took from Much Ado was the reinforcement of the knowing this is what I’m supposed to be doing. This is what I meant to do. I’ve been a dumb ass for not doing it all these years and now it’s time to get serious.

ImageImageImageImageImage

Since then, I’ve gotten to perform the male lead George in “Goodbye Charlie”, I had the incredible opportunity to work with Theatre Artists Olympia production of Titus Andronicus during the summer 2012 and that was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. Up there with the birth of my son and my initiations. I’ve also had the honor of playing Polonius in Hamlet. To say those words on stage, in front of people, just wow.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

In my 45 years I’ve been a dedicated employee and helped to build million dollar companies for other people. I’m no stranger to hard work having regularly done 50-80 hours per week for other people. But I can say I have never worked harder in my life than what I’m doing now studying my craft, writing, learning and acting as often as I possibly can. Anywhere I can.

I have never been as joyous, peaceful or as content. At the same time, I’ve never been as driven as I am now either.

The point of this story? Live your dreams. Do whatever it takes. It’s worth the risk.

Hope & Memories

Image

Wow, it’s been a month since I have last posted anything on my blog. Some of it has been laziness I grant you but mostly it’s been because I have been so very busy.

What an incredible summer it has been. With a few notable exceptions, I have been experiencing the longest, sustained period of joy in all of my 45 years. In my last post, I mentioned I was in rehearsals for my 2nd Shakespeare production. I had the honor of playing Aemilius in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus with Theatre Artists Olympia. What an incredible experience!

It’s been said that “Titus is Shakespeare’s most reviled work.” Many have even said that it wasn’t really written by Shakespeare, just polished up a little bit. Hell, I don’t know. Can’t say that I care much. Reads and plays like “regular” Shakespeare. Characters have just as many if not more layers as his other work. Granted it is pretty rough. Hell, it was only his third play so it doesn’t make sense to me comparing it to Hamlet. It is violent, bloody, grotesque, insensitive and just plain chilling. It provokes thoughts about things that we in the 21st century don’t like to think about yet are just as rampant as it was when the Bard wrote it.

I only had about half a dozen lines but I did have quite a bit of face time on stage. I gotta tell you, it was some of the hardest and best work I think I’ve ever done. The quality of talent I got to work with really pushed me to bring my best to each and every rehearsal. My sordid past enabled me to not have to stretch a whole lot when it came to the biker culture but to express all that energy and emotion on stage with no dialogue was an incredible learning experience. And based on our reviews and comments from my fellow actors and patrons, I succeeded.

I’m am so fortunate. Every production I’ve been a part of (all 5 of them LOL) in my career has been something I’ve been quite proud of. Titus Andronicus will be a project that I will never forget. It has been a part of what I hope and believe is a solid foundation of work that I continually learn from. There have been times in my current production which I will get into shortly, where I have played a situation differently after remembering something I learned during Titus. I’m sure that will continue to happen throughout my current project and probably several more as I continue to manifest this dream of mine.

Thank you to all the members of TAO and the entire cast & crew of Titus for one of the most joyful and intense experiences of my life. Thank you for your friendship and your giving. Thank you for your team work and professionalism. Thank you for allowing me to take part in creating such an incredible production. I am certain the Bard is quite proud of us.

During the rehearsal process culminating through the run of the show, each cast and/or crew that I have been a part of has developed a different dynamic. Of course that has a lot to do with the size of the cast and a myriad of other variables that can effect the group chemistry. Each cast & crew become a “family” of sorts and when a show closes it leaves one with a sense of mourning. Seriously. After the production of Much Ado About nothing closed I was really bummed out for longer than I really care to admit.

The closing of Titus has left me in the same condition. I can’t tell you how much I miss seeing all of my of my old friends and all my new friends. When Titus started I had never met about 2/3 of the cast. Seeing them 4-5 days a week for a couple of months and then not, sucks some pretty big rocks.

But once again, I am one fortunate SOB and during the last weekend of the Titus run, I started rehearsals for my current project. I have been cast as George in Olympia Little Theatre’s production of “Goodbye Charlie”. Directed by Kendra Malm. This is my first lead role and I am both excited and scared as hell. If it wasn’t for starting this production and having so much work to do, I would be in a world of hurt emotionally with the closing of Titus. Instead, I am just really bummed yet at the same time working extra hard on this show because most of the cast of Titus told me at one time or another that they were going to come see it. So I’ve got to kill this. I’m looking to break some serious legs.

It’s ironic for me to care about how others view my work. This is the first time I ever have. Before it was obvious I did excellent work as it was either visually obvious or reflected in my stats. But one thing I learned real quickly in this business is that it is so very easy to deceive oneself as to the good or bad of one’s performance. I’ve come off stage many times during rehearsals, totally disgusted with my performance to have someone come tell me that they liked what I was doing. Then too there is the fact that I’m still a newbie to this business and many of the cast are accomplished local actors. I don’t hold their opinion (or anyone’s for that matter) as sacrosanct but I do tremendously respect these people and their opinion of my work is indeed important to me. Especially on a community level, where it’s possible one of the other actors may be my next director.

I’ve come to realize that especially with a comedy, there are really two audiences. The first audience is the regular or new theatre patron. They are just there for entertainment. Make them laugh, take them away from their world and bring them into mine for the time that I want them there and I’ve done my job. These folks also make up the majority of the audience. I love watching them come out of the theatre with a smile on their face. No feeling like it in the world. I have experienced this from a stage manager perspective which was awesome. I imagine it’s different from the actors perspective.

Then there are other theatricals. We don’t go see a show and just watch the story. We watch the tech aspects of everything. How did they do that? What decisions did the actors make? Why in the hell did s/he make THAT decision, etc.? Now I understand the award shows. Although I still can’t understand why everyone else is interested. Actually, as I explore that thought a little, the mission is the same with both audiences, it’s just a whole lot more difficult to take a theatrical out of the world of theatre and bring them into the world of the story. Hmmm. Going to have to ponder that some more.

What I mean by Living A Dream

So the title of this blog is Living A Dream yet my first real post is about politics. Just damn. I find nothing dreamy about politics. But politics is a big piece of who I was as a talk show host so it’s really no wonder and there will probably be more. When I talk of living a dream I am usually referencing my life as a beginning and struggling actor. In this regard, I truly am living a dream. A dream I had as a young boy and always suppressed to live in the “real” world.

My dream to perform never really died. It just got refocused into aspects of the other professions that I’ve been in. A good part of sales is acting. I was always the guy who never had any issue running meetings or making announcements or reading something aloud. As a former radio guy the cross over is apparent.

My dream of acting is readily apparent in my spiritual life. As a long time occult practitioner I have come to see how a big draw of ceremonial magick is the performance aspect. When your audience are gods, goddesses and other assorted entities I’ve always felt I must give the best performance I possibly could. This was especially so when performing Liber XV The Gnostic Mass. Which to me is one of the most beautiful rituals there is to perform. The temples that I performed the Mass in always had good attendance so I even had a small live audience. I wasn’t particular, I liked performing the role of Deacon or Priest.

At the time of course I didn’t think in acting terms. But here’s a funny thing, In many ways performing a role on stage is not unlike performing a spiritual ritual. What’s called an invocation in magick is what we actors call “getting into character.” The only difference between the two is the intent of the performance. From a magickal perspective that’s a great big difference as intent and focus are the cornerstones of a good ritual. But the processes are the same.

Now I am acting on stage. For real. With audiences and everything. I’m currently in rehearsals for my 2nd Shakespeare production and I have worked with, am working with and can’t wait to meet in the future those I will work with, incredibly talented and good people. Oh sure, I have issues in my life. As do we all. As I’m not a ridiculously famous and rich superstar (Truly something I am NOT aspiring to) I am having trouble in this economy finding a paying job again. An issue that I share with millions of other Americans and probably thousands (if not more) other actors.

But as I said, now I am acting. I really am living a dream.

Community vs. Government

I’m no longer in full time politics. I had to get out of it primarily because I started to really not like the person I had become. I found that I had become an angry, resentful man and started losing hope. They say that anger is a derivative of fear. We get angry as a response to something that we are afraid of. That made a lot of sense as I am deeply fearful of what our government is doing to a country that was founded upon individual freedom, liberty and responsibility.

So I’m out of full time politics but still care very deeply about what is happening in politics and to our country so I can’t just ignore the things that are going on. Fairly frequently I’ll post links to my Facebook page of different governmental outrages. I particularly like when my friends engage me in debate about different points. The respectful exchange of ideas and principles is always invigorating to me. Folks that I respect very highly continue to defend the actions of the State by concentrating on the good that the state does. Let’s face it. There are families out there that would be in deep waters if it weren’t for food stamps, or TANF or any of the other social programs that our government maintains. And who can say anything bad about the highway system, railroads, rural electricity etc.? I also have several friends who have asked what the alternatives to big government are? Excellent question.

What it comes down to is what should be the role of government in our individual lives?

Let’s get one thing straight. In no way do I, or any thinking person really, advocate no government at all. That way lies anarchy and it’s really tough to have a civilization or any kind of culture really, if there is total anarchy. Government provides some sort of order for us as a community to live peaceably with one another. There is evil in the world and bad people who want to do harm to others. So we do need a central organization and authority to deal with folks like that.

Having said that, the only difference between government and any other organization is that we authorize government to use force to accomplish it’s goals. No other group of people have this authority. Without the ability and authorization to use force the “government” is just another committee of people.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one – Thomas Paine

Throughout history we have seen the best and worse of government. Hitler’s Nazi regime did do a whole lot of good in the beginning bringing Germany back from financial catastrophe resulting from WWI and bad government. They “made the trains run on time”. Of course with all the good he did, the evil that was perpetrated on humanity as whole vastly negates it. To the point that most people today don’t even realize what he did do for the German people.

Then there’s Idi Amin of Uganda, Kim Jong Il of North Korea, Josef Stalin and Vladmir Lenin of Russia and the list goes on of examples of brutal and bloody governments of history. But guess what? All the ones listed here are from the 20th Century. Every country on the planet in every century has examples of bad government. And they all have things in common. On many levels they all did great things for the country they served. And they have all also committed such atrocities that completely overshadow any possible good their policies enacted.

Fortunately our government in the United States has not reached the extreme of an Idi Amin or Stalin or Hitler. But our governments, on all levels HAVE and DO commit acts of extreme violence against its citizens. Not just physical violence either. Mental and physical acts of violence are committed everyday by representatives of all levels of government. And rarely is anyone held accountable. Why is that? Because the law has been written to allow it. And we the people act like sheep and no longer expect anyone in government to be held accountable.

Recently, I posted a quote from Frederic Bastiat about legal plunder on my Facebook page. Someone who I deeply respect commented that I was, or rather that Bastiat was“whining” about taxes. And this was by no means the first time I’ve heard it phrased that way either. Either personally or in main stream media.

I don’t know, I guess I do tend to whine a little bit when people are stealing from me.

It just baffles me how someone can believe that just because a bunch of folks vote on it, they then have the authority to come take more and more of our hard earned money without our permission With the use of force if need be. I was taught when I was just a little bitty one that taking something without their permission is stealing. Most of the time folks get really pissed off when they fall victim to people stealing from them. It seems for many, that definition applies everywhere but government. And we allow them to take as much as they want and spend it any way they want.

According to The Tax Foundation, is a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C, 29.2% of our income will be spent in taxes alone. 

30%!!! Almost a third of your income goes to government. This is okay with you? The Christian God only asks for 10%. Ain’t that a hoot. The government needs more than God. Well, okay he is God after all. Doesn’t need all that much eh?

No disrespect is intended towards anyone’s belief in spiritual matters.

And then there is the government attitude towards taxes. Rather than be honest and just say they are taking our money, they tell us that America has a “voluntary” tax system Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) House Majority Leader tells us “I don’t think we force…” people to pay taxes. He’s then questioned on this and even though he admits that the government will use force to collect taxes it is still a “voluntary system.” And will not say otherwise.

I’m sorry. I will not be forced to admit that up is down or vice versa. Or to put in in a more Trek type way: “There are four lights!” TNG fans will understand that line.

I want to give one other illustration of bad government. An example that most people don’t think is bad on it’s face. I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all the books a few times and seen all the movies. In the fifth book of the series, The Order Of The Phoenix, character Dolores Umbridge is assigned by the Ministry of Magic as Hogwarts High Inquisitor. I already hear people saying, “Really Rick, Harry Potter in a serious article on politics?” Bear with me folks. In the book especially but also in the movie, there is a very serious part where Dolores Umbridge (a very nasty and toad like woman) is giving a speech talking about why the Ministry of Magic (read “government) has sent her to Hogwarts. At the end of her speech (which does not go over all that well) Hermione Granger tells Harry and Ron that “The Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts.) Here’s my point, this moment in the story is one of those plot points designed to heighten the tension. It’s a da-da-dum moment where the audience looks around and thinks “Uh oh. It’s getting bad.” Everyone I have ever watched this movie with has held their collected breaths at that scene and held a frown or scowl on their face. This was a bad thing happening right?

Yet here in the real world we have our schools actually run by government and not only does nobody seem to mind, they think it is a right for the government to educate the populace. Instinctively we know that government involvement in education is not the best idea but yet the thought of private education for our children is way too scary for the majority of Americans. And so it is no wonder that since government schools account for the vast majority of education in America, we now have several generations of folks that believe government is there to take care of us. To nurture us. Or as Mayor Bloomberg of New York City thinks “if government’s purpose isn’t to improve the health and longevity of its citizens, I don’t know what its purpose is.” Just Damn! He obviously doesn’t know what the purpose of government is.

Which is a good question in itself. What is the purpose of government? What should the role of government be in our individual and personal lives? I can go on and on about aspects of bad government. And this is a question that I’ve been asked repeatedly. What is the alternative to the monstrous and criminal government that we have now?

How about a government whose primary concern is for the prosecution of those who harm others through force or fraud? A government that rather than stealing from us actually works within their budgets like we the people are required to do or face the consequences. Their budgets coming from we the people voluntarily rather than by force. A government whose agents are held accountable for their actions rather than protected from prosecution by various loopholes. How about a government whose representatives don’t lie to us on a daily basis? A government that does not incarcerate their constituents for anything other than harming someone or their property through force or fraud.

The Constitution and our other founding documents are not perfect . Not by any means. Jefferson and the boys knew that when it was adopted which is why they put in the Constitution a process to change it as the Country changed. But the Constitution was the first time in human history where it was codified in law that its citizens were free and that we were free NOT because government allowed us to be but by the very fact that we exist.

It was stated best in the Declaration of Independence: 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,

It goes on to tell us what we should do if government fails to secure our rights. 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.

They even included a warning for future generations to be careful when changing government. 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. (emphasis mine)

Rather than change the Constitution to give them the authority rightly, governments on all levels use legal trickery, word play and dishonesty to assume authority to do anything they want to do. Up to and including violence. And only very rarely is any government agent ever prosecuted or in other ways held accountable for their actions.

There used to be a difference between government and community but today it seems that those words have become intermixed and that is a root to our problem. The vast majority of the things the things that government does now are the things that people would turn to their community for. If a community member got into trouble financially or physically or what have you, the rest of the community came together to help them. Especially if it were for a more respected member of the community. How many times have we heard the stories of a farmer being hurt and unable to gather his crops for the harvest? He recovers from his condition to find out that the rest of the town has gotten together and harvested his fields. People getting together voluntarily to achieve a goal. If this were a government program, government agents would be sent out to gather “volunteers” and force them to harvest the old farmer’s fields.

And that my friends is the difference between the two. In a community people voluntarily pool their resources to make society better. When government does it, people are forced to “do their best for their fellow man” even if they disagree that it would be best. Even if it would actually hurt that individual to give their time or money or any other resources.

To use force against an individual is wrong regardless if it is the government or other individuals doing it. And we all know that yet most people in this country think its right that government incarcerate or in other ways harass people for reasons other than harming someone through force or fraud.

Hello world!

Greetings!

So the beginning of my blog. Going to be interesting to find out what all I’m going to post on here.  We’ll see where it goes from there.

So why am I doing this? My first thought is that this is the beginning of what will eventually turn into a full fledged web site as my career as an actor/tech and writer develops. I’ll be posting my experiences in the theatre as well my views on politics, religion and life in general.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back often to find out what’s going on.