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How Did We Get Here?

It seems you cannot go anywhere on Social Media these days, and not see, or hear something about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected Congresswoman from the 14th District of New York.  Whatever you think or feel about her, she is, or even, already has become the face of the Democrat Party, and even, the face of the House of Representatives.  “AOC” as she is commonly referred to as of late, is the constant butt of criticism from the Republicans as well as Conservatives in general.   Most of the criticism of her stems from the fact that comes off as not very bright.  Her social media posts are error prone, sometimes make no sense, and when confronted about the inaccuracies, she throws out more inanities, or hides behind her race/gender, and plays the victim.

I only bring up Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, because, well, Twitter user @aggierican put it best:

First, she doesn’t drive me crazy. She is a font of hilarity. She has served to shine a light on what passes for education nowadays.

This is true.  Now, before I get dunked for even bringing up “Millenials” my 3 oldest kids are of the “Millennial” generation, and they are pretty smart kids.  So, why does the Millennial generation get so much crap?

For starters, and I work in tech, so I work with quite a few Millennials, they seem, well, “clueless” for the most part.  Many of the young men I work with are suprisingly less-than-handy when it comes to doing stuff.  Yeah, you can call it “basic man’s work” if you want, but in all seriousness, many of the women are the same, when it comes to “basic woman’s work”.   To make it all make sense, let’s just call it “Basic Life Skills”, which is everything from managing finances, to knowing how to change a tire, go grocery shopping, and minor home repairs.  Back in the seventies and eighties when I was growing up, most, if not all, of the men that I knew, from my father, and my uncles, to friends of the family, and my friends fathers, they all had one thing in common; they could, to varying degrees fix something, be it a leaky pipe, faucet, flat tire, hole in the driveway, lawnmower. They could add a light switch to a room, remove and add light fixtures, put up a range hood, you know, do, for the most part, what needed to be done.  To that end, growing up, I learned some of these things as well.  My father taught all of his kids (including my sister) how to do basic repairs.  Both of my parents taught us all of the necessary life skills.  My mom taught us all how to shop, how to manage a budget, how to cook, sew, iron, and do a proper load of laundry.  Now, I am not saying I am an expert in any of these things, but, I did learn the basics from them, and developed my own style, and way of going about it.  The fact is, I learned how to be self-sufficient. It seems that many Millennials are anything but

So, what happened, then.  Why are so many young people unskilled in areas that were once thought of as “basic”?

One of the common threads among everyone one I knew back then was this:  We all, with very, very few exceptions, came from two-parent homes. I think, throughout high school, I knew of maybe a handful of kids that came from, as it was termed then, “broken homes”, or in other words, divorced parents.  As the 80’s wore on, that was changing.  By the 90’s things were rather different.  I think my generation could probably be called the “Divorce Generation”, not because we came from broken homes, but rather, we were the generation that ramped up the divorce rate.   Also, about this time, there was a growing shift in education as well.  The way kids were being taught was changing, more and more teachers were coming from left-of-center viewpoints, schools as a whole were starting to drift left.  Additionally, there were more and more families with two working parents, and the kids were left for daycare.  Add all of these factors together, and it points to how we got here.

I am divorced, twice. I spent time as a single dad.  My first marriage was done right around my oldest’s 5th birthday.  I had 3 kids at that time, and my youngest was about six months old.  What happened?  You name it.  Why did it go the way it did?  Who knows?  I was married in 1988, I had several friends that were married about that same time.  By 1995, all but two of them were divorced, and all of them had kids.  Divorce, and kids don’t go together at all, anyone who has been through a divorce knows that the kids take it the hardest.  Combine broken homes, with the stress of raising kids as a single parent, and the stress of being the non-custodial parent and trying to see your children, there all of the sudden becomes no time to do “dad” and “mom” thing with, and for the kids.  I know the struggle, I was a single dad for 10 years.  Single parenthood is living hell, all of it.  In addition to working, I was raising my kids, and trying to find a social life.  Things that come much, much easier to married couples who stay married.

Because one has to work to keep the roof over their head, pay child support, keep up with any loans, mortgages, and etc, that meant that the kids went to day-care, or  if they were school age, they went to after school programs.  So, we have parents who are apart, kids in day-care, going to schools that were increasingly becoming sub-par, and being apart from their main sources of support (family, mom and dad) we start to see why we have what appears to be a generation of people who seem to lack common sense, life skills, basic knowledge about their country, their government, and pretty much the world around them.

It is a combination of cultural and social shifts, and not a good combination.  We are seeing in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and many others like her, the fruits of our public education system, and our higher education system.  No longer are kids prepared for life. Why? Well, part of the reason is the generation that raised them. I know, as a dad, I pushed my kids to be better.  I was also fortunate that my kids had grandfathers who were supreme examples of men.  Both of them, to varying degrees taught my kids the things they knew.  I also did the same.  I decided that I was going to raise my kids to be adults.  Because, as a parent, that is what one does, right?  It is the job of mom and dad to prepare the kids to handle things that happen in life, both good and bad.  What happened, was that we had a generation of parents who thought being single was more fun, became, in general, self-centered, and took care of themselves first, and figured “the kids will be alright”.  That same generation of parents also decided in many cases, that their kids need to be sheltered, and protected from bad things in life, and that “everyone is a winner”.  We took away the desire to compete, to be excellent, to go further, to out do everyone else, and win the prize.  Why did we ever do that?

My kids aren’t perfect, there was a time with my oldest boys where I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out.  Additionally, neither me, nor my ex-wife were very good at “adulting” some days.  The sniping, the nastiness, and the fights all took a toll on me, on her, and on the kids.  However, at one point or another, I said “enough” and started to take back control of the things I could.  Eventually the rough parts evened out, and now at 29, 27, and 26, my oldest kids have their lives in order (about as much as one’s life can be at that age) and are heading in the right direction.  The important part is that they have matured, and they have learned how to handle life as it comes and deal with it.

The education system didn’t help then, and sure isn’t helping now.  My kids all went to a public grammar school, and junior high.  I remember an open house at our school. I believe it was when my oldest was going into 3rd grade.  His teacher, a brand new, fresh-out-of-college, overly cheerful, and positive young lady.  She was excited to be a teacher, and couldn’t wait to start teaching our kids.  She eagerly showed us parents into her class room.  The classroom  was decorated in bright colors, and shapes. There were comfortable chairs in the corners, and flower prints on the walls.  There were signs on the wall, in bright colors that said things like “Be Happy” and “We’re all Friends” but one caught my eye.  It was bright pink, and was in two or three different places in the room. In purple letters it said “Feel. Don’t think” (I kid you not)    I was less than impressed. I don’t think she was a day over 23, dressed, looked and talked like a high-school cheerleader, or Glee-club president.  Her philosophy, when challenged on her “Feel. Don’t think” signs was something like “Well, feelings provide guidance on how we should think about something, and, through those thoughts and feelings, we find, and define our truth”.  I left shaking my head.  The school in general was more of that. Regardless of the sport, and level of participation, each kid got a trophy, and praise about how well they did, even in cases where kids who were on the team, either didn’t show up, or hardly played.  The school’s philosophy seemed to be “We are all winners, who feel about everything and think about nothing.”

I would read stories about other schools around the country, how some districts were going the same way, and the focus was less on academics, and more on “self-esteem”  We also cannot forget that perhaps this generation of kids may well be the most medicated one in history.  “Attention Deficit Disorder” was being diagnosed and medicated in record numbers through the very late 80s and through the 90s.  My oldest son was diagnosed as such at age six (won’t go into details, but, there was clearly something up with that kid)  Back then, very little was known about the long-term effects of Adderall, Ritalin, and other ADD medications.

So, as we went along, we had kids in schools, some of which were just short of “indoctrination centers”, parents who had limited time for their kids, and a culture that was beginning to swing toward an attitude of entitlement, more and more kids were growing up thinking they were “owed” something.

The bottom line here, is this: We are here, because of us.  We are the parents who raised these “Millennials” so, as much as one might not want to admit it, we all played a role.  It seems, in general, that my generation decided that marriage wasn’t important, and perhaps neither was an intact family.  I don’t know how we forgot what it was like to grow up in a two-parent household, and the support and stability it offered.  I can’t figure out how we thought that being a single parent was a good idea, and that somehow, we were going to raise kids that turned out okay.  We became a generation of parents that was more focused on being “cool” than being a parent.  I was there, I know this.  I had some of the same attitudes at times.  It is like we refused to learn the lessons that our own parents tried to teach us when we were young.  We listened, but we didn’t apply what we learned. We ditched our morals, our standards, our faith, and our values so we could go out and be irresponsible, and we tried to justify it.  I know I did.  I had a few arguments with my dad and my mom about how I was living, and raising kids.  It was not until after my father passed away that I realized that there were things I could be doing better as far as raising the kids, teaching them, and showing them how to be a family.  It was these attitudes, this cavalier dismissal of what was once important, that have created what we have now.  Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and many others like her are this way because at one point or another, we abdicated some of our responsibilities as parents, and as citizens and left some of them for other people to handle.

In writing this, I realize that it is much more complex than I tried to spell out here. I tried to explain, in some way, how we got here. This “Millennial” generation did not just appear here before us.  This generation was raised by another generation that is now it it’s late 40s through early 60s, we brought them here, and it seems to some degree we have failed. The school system can be blamed, higher education can be blamed, so can TV, radio, music, social media, the internet, and on and on.  All of those did indeed play a role.  However, the front line, the bulwark against much of this, strong families and strong parenting, fell by the wayside.  We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. We have to deal with what we have here.  On the plus side, there are all kinds of bright, and resourceful young adults who know how to think, and lead, and have values.  I also believe, despite the negativity, the next generation, of which my two youngest kids (17 and 16) are a part of, seems to be kind of put off by all that has come before them, and seem to want something different as they grow to adults.  I see this not only in my kids, but in their friends.  One can only  hope, I suppose.


This past week has been unreal, but, not much more unreal than, say, the last 100 or so weeks since November 9, 2016.

That is when a good portion of this country lost their collective minds.  We all know what happened, so, there is no point in rehashing all of that.  One of the lasting effects of this “loss of mind” as it were, has been the redefinition of the word “reality”

What is “reality” anyway?  If you ask your average person, they will tell you that reality is way the world is right now.  It is how things are.  What is reality to me?  Reality is, that I have a job I am responsible for, kids, a house, a car, and I have bills to pay. I have friends who are going through tough times, I am getting older, my health is changing, and not totally for the better.  My kids are growing up, I am not going to be on this planet too many more years, and, the world moves along, things happen, and life does what life does.

For many people “reality” is what they want it to be.  Too many people out there want a “Trump-free” reality, or a “Forever Trump” reality.  If you follow the stories in the “news”, or, if you are like me, and follow, and read multiple stories on the same issue, or event, lump them together, sort the details, and then, decide what is really going on.  Too many people seem to have a “personal reality” that goes along with their “personal truth”.  I see it all of the time on Social Media.  If anyone has been following the major stories this week, they are replete with examples of people seeing things the way they want to see them, despite having facts, and evidence in front of them.  Take the story that broke today about the curtains in the residence for Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations.  Twitter was alive with people going on and on about the Trump admin spending so much money on curtains (52,000.00) and rent (135,000 a month) so Mrs. Haley can live in New York.  Throughout the day, as more facts came to light, it turns out that Mrs. Haley had nothing to do with the purchase of the curtains.  Because the residence is used for official entertaining, it has to be at a certain level of luxury, because that is how diplomacy is done.  It just is. Been that way for a couple of hundred years.  The main fact is, that the curtains, and etc. were ordered under the Obama Administration.  Now, before you go getting all lathered up about that, it turns out that ordering expensive curtains, furniture, place settings, what have you, is kind of a standard thing that the State Department does for our ambassador’s residences all over the world.  There is even a budget for it. Imagine that.

Jake Tapper, of CNN, posted this thread to Twitter regarding the expensive window treatments. Read it here

That still didn’t stop people from going on and on about it.  Even the following from the New York Times, who broke the story, did little to end the pile on.  @NYTimesPR

The facts are there. Nikki Haley had nothing to do with it, and yet, garbage politicians like Rep. Ted Lieu (D) of California insist on calling for an investigation. It’s no better on the Pro-Trump right either. Pro-Trumpers were out in force decrying the supposed excesses of the Obama Administration.   Both sides live in their own bubbles, and it is because of that facts that do not fit their narrative are discounted out of hand.  It goes something like this:

Person:  (shouting up the stairs from the basement) Hey man what’s the weather like out there?.

Me: Sunny and warm. 

Person: I heard it was raining really bad out there. 

Me; Nope, warm and sunny.  take a look. 

Person:  I was told it was raining.  You are saying it’s sunny. why are you lying?

Me; Not lying, look, see out the window, sun, and blue sky.  

Person: It is rain. I was told it was raining really hard, and that it wasn’t going to stop for a while. It may even flood.  

Me:: Look, man, it sunshine and blue skies.  Look outside. 

Person: Don’t give me that, I am not looking outside, be cause you are lying. Look man, the fact is someone down here said it was raining real hard.  Just because you want it to be sunny doesn’t mean it is.  I don’t need to look outside to know it is raining.  You know, you people need to get out of your echo chamber and join the rest of us in reality.  I know it is raining, and you need to understand it is raining, everyone down here agrees it is raining real bad out there. 

Me:  Do you hear any rain, or any thunder?

Person: No, that doesn’t matter. You don’t have to hear it to know, and besides, it doesn’t always thunder when it rains, so the lack of thunder isn’t proof that its not raining.  One of the people down here heard last week that today was going to be a rainy day. 

Me; Yes, but weather changes. 

Person: That is exactly what an insulated and ignorant resident of an echo chamber would say. Weather doesn’t change that much, and you are stupid,…. 

And that is how it goes.  All of the time.  Every day.  There is not getting through, and it is people from both sides, not just one.  Along with the Russian Collusion business that is going on, we also have the investigation by the intelligence committee on what happened with the infamous “Steele Dossier”.  The narrative keeps shifting with each and every new bit of news comes out. On the left, and the Never Trumpers, they will tell you it’s smoke and mirrors, and that it is a, to coin a popular phrase, “nothing burger” . On the right, and the “Trumpists” they are saying that this is going to be “Bigger than Watergate” and that people are going to jail, and that Sessions is getting closer to unsealing the indictments, and that Trump is going to de-classify the FISA applications, and then everyone will know just how dastardly the cabal was that tried to prevent Trump from winning.   The stories, theories, and suppositions have gotten so convoluted, that the logic is turning in on itself.  Try pointing that out to either side, and that maybe what they are going on about is probably not what they think it is., and you get a variation on the conversation above.

The problem with people living in their own bubbles, or echo chambers, is that they give no other theories, facts, or anything else any consideration.  Information contradictory to their views is ignored, and worse, they react with anger to anything that challenges their beliefs, which is problematic, because anger can lead to violence.  So many people out there consume news only from one side.  Very few of them are willing to even consider another viewpoint.  They believe what they believe to be true,  because they want it to be true. Facing what is really going on is difficult for many people.  There is a big difference between what is true, and what you want to be true.  Children live in this kind of world, small children will tell you that there is unicorns in the sky, and rainbows, and clouds of cotton candy.  As an adult, you know it not to be true, and in time, little children learn that as well.  It is quite apparent that some adults have not gotten past that phase, and that is part of the problem.  Reasonable people take information in, analyze it, and come to a conclusion.  Unreasonable people, immature people do not do that.   It also leads to the same people wishing violence on those who share different beliefs, or wanting to commit violence on others of different beliefs.

We have gotten here from many directions.  The insulation of the American mind in my opinion started about twenty five or so years ago.  If you go back in history, the “mainstream media” has always been biased to the right, or left  to some degree.  It has only been over the last twenty-five to thirty years that a left-leaning bias became more apparent.  It wasn’t only the news though.  With the rise of computers and the internet in the early ’90’s people began to gravitate to online communities that shared their views.  First it was websites, and message boards, with CompuServe and AOL online communities became easier to form and publicize.  As electronic media grew, so did it’s influence, and it’s hold on the American mind. What really led the isolation was the advent of the smart phone.  People are tied to their “bubble” all day, every day. Having such a device allows easier rejection of anything that doesn’t conform to their world view.

As further proof, take the upcoming midterms.  All signs point to these mid-term elections being even more contentious than the 2016 Presidential race.  Democrats are convinced of a “Blue Wave” that will give them Congress, and they will be able to impeach Trump, and somehow, install Hilary as President. On the other side, Trump supporters are touting a “Red Wave” and Congress has GOP super majorities, and they are going to lock up Hilary, and the rest.   The thing is, the “reality” if you will, is the midterms are going to be somewhere between the two.  Reasonable people expect this, reasonable people understand, that given the current climate,  GOP majorities may take a hit, and they may either lose one house of Congress, or barely hang on with a slim majority in the House.  Try offering that compromise on Twitter, and see what happens.  I have seen many a person get savaged by both sides.

Another element of this has been the rise of, for lack of a better term, “Tweet-bloggers” people who, instead of writing a blog, (like this)  post long threads about what they think to Twitter, quite often they are thirty of forty entries. Many of these folks position themselves as knowledgeable people, and basically write opinions that they pass of as fact. A couple of them in a short period of time, have gained in excess of 100,000 followers.  The reason is, they say things people want to hear.  Because of that, their followers will rise up and defend anyone who has the slightest disagreement with any element of their latest thread.  They can (and do) post absolute pony-pucks, but their followers believe it to be the absolute truth, and they insulate themselves further.

Reality is indeed up for grabs.  Unfortunately, there seem to be multiple realities, depending on one’s political bent.  The fact is, there is only one reality, and it is the one we live in.  Reality, like truth, is not “personal” it is universal.  One doesn’t get to shape the world to what they perceive as reality.  Children do that.  Adults know better.  What is real, is real.  It’s not open for debate.  Like the conversation above, a sunny day is not a rainy day just because someone heard it is.  Evidence that it is a sunny day is proof that it is not a rainy day.  In other words, just because someone wants to believe that something is a certain way, doesn’t mean the world is going to conform to that belief.  Unfortunately too many people cannot let that go.  Many people need to.  Otherwise, both sides are on a collision course, and it’s not going to end well.




Originally posted in 2005 at and then again in 2009 on Facebook.  I like to bring this one up from time to time. 

I bring this post up, because of the latest controversy over “thoughts and prayers” and when people offer that up during a tragedy, be it public, or private, whether it’s an airplane crash, or someone on Social Media posting about death, or injury to a loved one.  Prayer is a big deal to me.  It is something that I engage in every day.  To me it is an expression of my faith, as well as proof of my faith.  Read on

Saying Your Prayers

“Pray for me”, believe in the “power of prayer”, “I will pray for you”, “Pray to God”, you know, we have all heard these phrases before, at one point or another in our lives. When we are down, and not feeling well, or stressed about a situation, or not sure of what is going to happen next, or perhaps, seeking some sort of metaphysical support for a problem we are going through, we are advised to “Pray” What is prayer? Is prayer a request for help? A glorification of God, and Jesus? A wish? A desperate plea? A chance to get “the goods” from God, because we have no other way to get what we can’t have? How are we supposed to pray? We learned the “mechanics” of prayer as it were, folded hands, kneeling in supplication, eyes turned toward the altar. That’s how I was taught to pray, but isn’t prayer an exercise in faith? In Daniel, Chapter 6, the prophet tells us this:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full”

So from this, we can surmise that prayer is a private affair, kind of like a phone call between you and your best friend, where no one else can see or hear what transpires between you. It is a private communication with God, It also tells us that those of us who pray and make a show of it, stand little chance of the Lord hearing what is being asked for. And that’s the other thing, what do we pray for? Does God indeed answer all of prayers, regardless of how trivial the request may be? When we are at our child’s soccer game and we utter “God let Johnny score a goal” is that a prayer, or just an off the cuff remark? And, to that end, do we pray to benefit others, or ourselves? In Matthew Chapter 22, Verse 22, it is put simply:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”

So, again we are told, it’s a faith thing. But, what of faith? Is it just merely saying “I believe there is a God.” ? A person may say that, but what is the level of his conviction? Is the faith always there? Or, is it there only when we are faced with serious troubles, and that’s when we begin to pray. This what the pastor at my old church called “pulling on the knobs of the Jesus vending machine” . This is where faith, and prayer intersect, when it comes to everyday faith. Many of us seem to forget about God, until the fertilizer hits the fan, and then, there we are lining up with the faithful, mumbling our prayers, and hoping for divine deliverance, so we can get back to our lives. But, praying is so much more than that, prayer is an act of faith. Praying isn’t a crap shoot, we shouldn’t say our prayers with the disclaimer “Okay God, I am asking you this to see if it works.” Prayer needs to be approached for what it is, an act of faith, as well as an expression of faith, and a desire to get closer to God In James, Chapter 5, Verse 15 it tells us

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven”

The keywords in the above verse being “And the prayer offered in faith” That tells us right there, a prayer is not a test. Praying is, and should be an expression of our faith, not a test to God to “see what we can get”. As far as how we should pray let us look at the book of Matthew, Chapter 6 verse 6

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

“For your Father knows what you need before you ask him” That last part of the verse says a lot doesn’t it? We spend many hours praying to God, and outlining to him, in detail, what it is we seek….. that is sort of like telling a fireman that you use water to put out fires. It’s obvious to the Lord what is in our hearts and in our minds, the challenge, is to put faith in that fact. It is through faith that we seek God, and it is through faith, that we pray. But we must not pray half heartedly, or tentatively, saying “Here’s my prayer God, I hope you answer it, it would be nice if You did, but if You don’t, I’ll figure something else out” A prayer should be prayed with the sincerity of the heart, and the conviction of faith that it will work out, and God will answer our prayers. The other part of praying is right there in the first part of the verse, “go into your room and pray to your Father”, in other words, set aside time for God, and for prayer. Give him the attention, and the praise that He deserves. Not only that, it is about giving yourself the proper time, and space to pray properly, and are not distracted. I guess all that this adds up to, is that prayer is our way of communicating with God, to ask for guidance, a favor, help, or a blessing. Prayer is powerful, it is soothing, it is calming, and it works. How do I know? God has answered my prayers before, and has come through in seemingly impossible situations. The first time it ever happened was amazing to me. I tried to apply logic to the situation, but I couldn’t, because it defied logic, the only explanation there could be was the fact that God did indeed answer my prayers. At first I am not sure that I wanted to believe, because, after all, surely God had bigger prayers to answer, but then, again, there is the faith thing again, and I can’t stress that enough. That is the main point here, is that you have to believe and believe with every fiber of your being, to the very depths of your soul. A prayer is not a prayer when it is uttered as an aside during an unpleasant situation, or when we think we will impress someone with our faith. To me, faith has always been a quiet, and personal thing, not something waved around in other people’s faces as a way of showing them we “believe better than they do” Because God has something to say about that, from Matthew

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full….

So, it is obvious to me that God doesn’t like show offs. I write this today, probably as a way of answering my own questions about prayer and faith. Hey, I don’t claim to be perfect, sometimes I need to be reminded about the power of God, and the power of prayer. And, prayer is not about instant gratification either, nor is it about personal gain, or power. God doesn’t make your wish appear in a puff of smoke. God does his work in His own way, and will surprise you, that when you least expect it, He will be there, presenting you with a solution, or an answer, or guidance. But remember, the Lord “helps those who help themselves” Praying is also not about laying around and waiting for God to deliver. As you go and seek Him, you will find Him, and, well as Jesus said, in Luke, Chapter 11, Verse 9

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”

One’s faith must be active, and seeking, not sitting and waiting. One must actively seek God on a daily basis, and reaffirm their own belief. Yes it’s hard, and yes, faith and belief can take a beating, especially in today’s world. God knows this, and rewards those of us who believe, even in the darkest hours. I often wonder where my life would be if I had abandoned my faith anywhere along the line over the last couple of years. And when I do think about it, I shudder at the thought. God has carried me this far, and will continue to do so, I know He will….it’s all a matter of faith.

To add to this.  When offering “thoughts and prayers” that is exactly what I am doing. It’s not a throw-away line, or something I am saying.  I mean it.  As soon as someone asks for prayers, they get them.  I offer a silent, heartfelt, faith-backed prayer for God to intercede and help the situation.  God acts in so many ways.  I have seen it in my own life, and the lives of others.  It’s real.  It works.


I learned over the last few years, about the price one pays, to some degree, for living in a self-made political bubble.

I don’t know when it happened, probably somewhere during the early Bush years.  I slowly began to ensconce myself in politics, and it began to pick up speed, if you will, during the Obama years.  I went from being a “follower” of politics, to being more involved, to being totally immersed in what “my side” was up to, and how it was taking on the “other side”.  As social media began to rise, I began to follow, and comment on, and post almost purely political things. I didn’t realize how bad I had gotten, until one day, during a conversation with my mom, I launched into a rant about one political thing or another, and was literally yelling at my mom.  I don’t know why, but I was that wound up in it.  I was quoting websites, and blogs that I read.  Trying to make a point that my mom didn’t really care about.   To say that I upset her, is putting it mildly.  The upshot of the whole thing was I had not realized just how involved I had gotten in politics, and how much of my life was focused on whether or not something was in line with my political beliefs.  I analyzed TV shows, I analyzed books, and music, and movies, for anything that was not in line with my political beliefs.  In short, I had become insufferable to family, and even my kids and girlfriend.  I had always been “political” in that I had views, just like everyone else, however, what happened, is that those views became the end-all-be-all of my existence.  I began to think, somehow, that my views were necessary for my survival, and the survival of the country, well, a country containing all of the “right” people.  You know, the people who shared my views. I had surrounded myself with people who believed as I did, and ignored any counter arguments, or opinions that challenged what I believed to be true.  It didn’t matter that the argument presented was factual, what mattered was that it ran counter to my beliefs, and therefore, needed to be rejected.   It took a family gathering, where I managed to upset my entire family with a bunch of political remarks that managed to offend several people.  Shortly after that, I was talking with my mom, who informed me that because of my remarks at the previous gathering, discussing politics was off limits at the next gathering, and if I so much as brought it up, I would be asked to leave.

Now, you have to understand something.  My family is pretty easy going, and mostly laid back, and we can discuss many subjects reasonably, its how we were raised.  The problem with me was I was saying things without any regard for anyone else there, and practically demanding my view be accepted as the only correct one.   It is what woke me up to the way politics had consumed me.  My Facebook was full of nothing but political content, either groups I belonged to, or stuff I had posted myself.  My Twitter account was nothing but political follows, and my Twitter feed was an endless parade of memes, links to blogs, and news stories that favored my point of view.  I attacked anyone who posted content that ran counter to my beliefs, and by “attack” I meant I insulted, and belittled the person who dared to post something in opposition to me.  I didn’t offer a logical, cohesive counter-argument, I offered vitriol, because I believed that my position was the only one.  Now, note that I didn’t say someone posted disagreeing with my politics, no, they were in opposition to me.  To me.  That’s how deep I had gotten.  Someone who disagreed with my politics, was disagreeing with me, because I had become political.  It was all I was.  It was so bad, that my politics had pushed aside my faith in God, and every thing I had been taught. My religion, my values system my beliefs had been pushed aside, rather, replaced by my politics.  It was, at this time, I woke up and realized what I had become.  I was no longer me.  I had become a political creature.  This was all prior to the 2016 presidential race.  It was near the end of the Obama administration, and things were shaping up for 2016.

The other thing that woke me up, is a “news” story that I read.  The story was about a container ship that had sunk in the Indian Ocean.  The story breathlessly related that the container ship was loaded with weapons and other support for the Syrian rebels, that had been approved by Obama.  I read the story, and in a moment of clarity, I realized the story was fake  Using Google image search, I found another story, from 2014, featuring the same photo of the sinking ship.  The ship had sunk in the Indian Ocean, that much was true, however, it had nothing to do with Syria, the rebels, or, Obama approving any kind of support for them.  The ship had broken up and sunk because it was old, and the shipping line that owned it was going to de-commission it at the end of the voyage it was on.   Here I was, so committed to my side, to my politics, that I believed every story that I read, everything put out by my side had to be the truth, because we were right, we were the only ones with the correct ideas, with the correct solutions to the country’s problems.  Yet, here was a group, a “news” source that I followed that I had believed without question, posting a story that was, to use today’s vernacular “Fake News”. It pissed me off.  It really pissed me off.  I began digging into the some of the stories that were posted by other groups. I began to find more of the same.

In the coming weeks, logic broke through.  I began to evaluate my subscriptions, the groups I belonged to, the “news” sites I followed, and even some of the bloggers I followed.  I stopped using Facebook for anything other than keeping up with friends, and activities within my Amateur Radio group as well as the hobby in general. I cleared my Twitter feed of all the political follows with the exception of a couple.  I began following people based on anything but politics, and in some cases, they were people I had followed because of their politics, but quickly realized that politics aside, they were funny, interesting, and decent people.  I also discovered that I could disagree with people, and not let it anger me.  I ignored people who tried to engage.  I quit paying attention to my mentions, and I was much better for it.

When the presidential race began to heat up, I distanced myself further, I stayed away from debate and discussing the candidates, because I thoroughly disliked both of them, and I couldn’t see any profit in taking a side.  So I let it be.  I still read other’s opinions, but I didn’t engage. I did know I didn’t want Hilary as President, but I could not get behind Trump, and that’s where I left it.  I stayed away from the arguments because they were everything I used to be, and everything I used to post.  Anger, insults, and no regard for anyone else’s humanity.

Politics is poison.  When your politics becomes your life, when everything you say, do, and get involved is nothing but politics, it ruins your life.  When you base someone’s worth on who they voted for, and ignore everything about them, you are short-changing yourself, and you have become unbearable. Whether or not you like Trump or hate him, or any other office holder, for that matter, is one thing, letting that admiration, or disgust dictate how you feel about family and friends, and is the deciding factor on continuing or discontinuing that relationship, then, you are the one with the problem.  No politician, or political cause is worth severing family, marital, or friendship ties over.

Back off, take a breath, re-evaluate, look at your life, and things around you.  Friends, and family are far more important than politics, or activism, or anything else. When the dust settles, and things have moved on, all you will have left is your family and friends.

Can’t go very far today on social media and not find a reference to, or a conversation about “Civil War 2”.

In fact, a repeat of the Civil War has been the topic du jour for the last couple of weeks.  I have given the potential of one a lot of thought, only because I find the idea very disturbing.  It’s not easy to comment on, or write about.  I have been a student of military history for most of the last 30 years.  I have read many books on World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and going back to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and even before that, the Austro-Prussian conflicts of the 1860’s.  I am not an expert. I don’t consider myself one. I am, however, well read on the subject, and I do know what I am talking about.  I understand diplomacy, power politics, and influence.  I also understand how wars come about, and I also understand how they can be stopped.

So, back to the subject at hand.  The reason many people are talking, Tweeting, writing, and Facebook-posting about the possibility of a second Civil War, is because this country, at this point, is as about as divided as it was back prior to the first Civil War.  The political divide in this country right now, appears to be deep and wide.  Well, it is if you are on social media.  It seems that the most intense arguments about it are on Twitter, or Facebook, or

The most common arguments I see regarding the Civil War, and the potential winners and losers, comes from many a right-wing person, based on the assumptions that because the Left is so anti-gun, that, they would have no idea how to operate a firearm, and the good patriots on the Right would be able to defeat the Left without working up a sweat.  Then there is the Left, where they assume everyone on the right is a simpleton, and incapable of having enough brain power to figure out how to fight.  Granted, those are broad, general statements, but they are true in that broad, general sense.

I will get back to the above premise in a bit, but first a discussion of the possible catalyst that would start this war.   First of all, lets look at the last decade or so.  We spent eight years under an administration that, at best, was questionable in it’s respect for America, and it’s people.  We were “bitter clingers” or, as coined by possibly the most unlikable presidential candidate in history, “a bunch of deplorables.”  We spent eight years being lectured to, told our values were silly, and stupid, that we had no idea about anything, and that we were racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and on and on.  Middle class, blue collar, white America was bad. In fact, we were so bad, as to be beyond redemption.  It was this kind of attitude many Americans, me included, were tired of hearing. Donald Trump, as we all know, was elected simply because everyone was just sick and tired of the condescension from the people on the Left who considered themselves our moral, and ethical betters. (full disclosure, I am not a Trump fan, nor did I vote for him)   So far, it is Trump, or rather, the Left’s reaction to Trump being elected that is driving most of the Left’s fits at the moment, and many of them cannot see their way past it.  Right now, their hopes are on a “blue wave” in November taking Congress from the GOP, and “fixing everything that is wrong” including impeaching Trump.  Would that be the event that starts the conflict?  The thing is, on some levels, the conflict has started, and has been for a number of years now, it’s just a matter of if and when the first shots will be fired. Right now, it is a war of words, and is being fought on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.  Many folks are content to lob insults at one another, spread “fake news” and generally be disagreeable.  Right now, the discussion is all hypothetical, and I hope it stays that way.

What would that conflict look like?  Who would be on what side, and how would the sides (there would be multiple sides in this, trust me) organize, and along what lines?  First of all, lets make one thing clear:  The Left would have the advantage in the early part of the conflict, simply because they are organized.  Very organized.  It’s undeniable, and if you dismiss that organizational ability, you do so at your own peril.  The Left, at the very least, would be able to pull together an organized front initially.  In fact, many Lefties on Twitter, and Facebook, are certain that they would be victors without firing a shot, simply because their ability to organize and bring many resources to bear on a given issue, or event, or place, would discourage the Right, and bring even more people to the Left’s cause.   On some level, that may be true.  However, the one thing the Left does, is they believe in their own intrinsic superiority, both moral, and intellectual, and they believe the Right is incapable of having even the basic knowledge needed to fight back.  A large majority of the Left is college educated, and from that is where they draw the assumption that they know better.  What they continually underestimate is the fact that people on the Right are also capable of organizing.  Also, there are many people on the Right who are more than capable of bringing together large numbers of people to a cause.  The Right does not organize like the Left does, they never have.  The only part of the Right that does have any organization, and can put large numbers of people “in the streets” are the Pro Life groups.  Look at the “March for Life”. It brings upwards of several hundred thousand people to Washington to march in support of ending abortion.  Additionally, there are other marches in other cities across the country, each one organized locally, by other anti-abortion groups, that are part of the national movement.   The Right, while at a disadvantage initially, would be able to ramp up an organization in a fairly short amount of time.

I have been reading quite a few articles, and tweets, and FB posts about the potential for such a conflict, and the one thing that strikes me is the dismissive attitude both sides display toward their would-be opponents.   The Left assumes the Right is a bunch of uneducated rubes, incapable of organization, and they can defeat the Right at their leisure.  Conversely the Right believes the Left is a bunch of “soy boys” that are too afraid to pick up a gun, and if they did, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.  The Right also assumes that because many veterans tend to lean to the Right of the spectrum, that they have a distinct advantage as far as tactical, and strategic knowledge, and therefore would be able to defeat the Left at their leisure.  Furthermore, the Right also believes that if armed conflict were in the offing,  many on the left would run scared, unable, or unwilling to stand up and fight.  It’s dangerous to make those assumptions, about either side.  In general, when it comes to war, there is an old axiom: “No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy”.  That means, that any plans, assumptions, ideas, or knowledge of your enemy’s intentions, as well as any strategies for taking on the enemy go out the window, and need to be revised as soon as the fighting starts.  Both the “Right” and the “Left” are going to be surprised at what their opposite numbers bring to to the battlefield, as it were.

So, lets now look at the premise that many on the Right think fighting the Left would be easy, because so many are afraid of guns, very few of them have military experience, and, they would be less than willing to engage in a pitched battle of any kind.

First of all, on the subject of guns, shooting, and learning how to shoot:  Learning how to shoot a gun, in all honesty, is not hard.  My oldest son, a six year Army veteran, and combat veteran as well, could take any group of people who know nothing about weapons, and teach them the basics in one morning.  By afternoon, he could have them shooting.  Within a week, they would be shooting well enough to hit their target at least 50% of the time. Within two weeks, it would be 75% of the time, and 50% of the hits in the “X” ring on the target.  To be honest, in combat, that could be good enough.  Shooting is like anything else, the more one does it, the better one becomes.  Anyone on the Left who is skittish about guns, could have those reservations overcome within an hour.  The same with anyone on the Right as well.  The operation of many semi-automatic rifles is pretty simple from the standpoint of the user.  Load the magazine.  Insert it in the weapon. Pull the charging handle to chamber a round.  Take off the safety.  Aim.  Squeeze the trigger. “BANG!”  In an afternoon’s time, most anyone unfamiliar with a rifle, would be familiar enough to operate one without guidance.    Let’s also remember that ANTIFA, for the moment is aligned with the Left.  The Left, in addition to being supremely organized, also has their “militia” if you will, in the form of ANTIFA.  ANTIFA is the left’s street brawlers.  ANTIFA is the core, they are the “true believers”, and it would not be a big transition to go from pipes and baseball bats, to AR-15’s and AK-47’s.  They would be the first to fight, and they would fight with zeal.  If all of ANTIFA, however many members they have, were to be turned loose, they would be a force to be reckoned with. Many of the members are hard liners, and committed communists.  If the country ever got closer to a conflict igniting, ANTIFA would require little in the way of provocation.  The Right has no such organization.  One may be inclined to include neo-Nazi groups as “Right-Wing” but, those groups are so small, and would actually, in my opinion would serve their own goals in such a conflict.  The same could probably be said for ANTIFA, but at the outset, the would be aligned as much as they could with the rest of the Left.

The US Military.  How would they figure in this conflict?   I would leave that to people out there who have served, and know their fellow servicemen and women.  However, in a general sense, and based on what I have witnessed while visiting my son at various Army bases (Ft Hood, Ft Sill, Ft Benning, etc)  and heard from my son, as well as friends and other acquaintances who have served, the military would most likely stand with the American people.   For the most part, military personnel tend to lean right, they all come from different backgrounds, and there is no guarantee that all military members would align with the right.  There are many people in uniform, and veterans, that align to the left.  It’s a given.  Remember Spencer Rapone, the West Point cadet, who had “Communism will win” written inside his hat, and he displayed that for a photo which quickly went viral?   Right there, that is proof that not all members of the military have the country’s best interests in mind.  That leads us to the veterans.  Again, same thing.  I know one veteran, a former Marine, who is a hard-core leftist.  He spent 8 years in the Corps, leaving in the mid 1990’s.  If there is one, there are many more like him.  I still think, however, that many vets would align with the side that wants to preserve this country as it has been, vs the side that would wish to transform it to something else.  Many of the vets that I have met over the years (I met quite a few, actually) have always been supporters of America, the Constitution, and the people.  To a large number of them, the oath to “Defend the Constitution” is sacred, and is something they committed themselves to, even after hanging up the uniform.

Let’s also be real here for a bit.  Much of the clamoring, writing, and speaking about the possibility of a Civil War, leaves out the reality of what such a conflict would bring.  For starters, any kind of conflict that starts, is likely to spread unless the military is called out to put down the insurrection, and put it down quickly.  Once the violence spreads, it would be difficult to contain, especially if it is over something that has inflamed the passions of both sides.  We can count on a few things:  Food shortages would be almost immediate.  The inner cities would be the first to run out, followed by outlying areas.  The rural areas where the food is grown, would be set upon by mobs of city dwellers looking to feed themselves, and their families.  Street fights, and fighting in urban areas would be intense. Many people would be killed, simply trying to escape.  As the conflict spread, there would be widespread damage to infrastructure. Initially it would be the buildings in the neighborhoods, and as the fighting became more organized, and the sides began to align, damage to infrastructure such as roads, railroads, bridges, power and water distribution, oil and gas facilities would increase as each side sought to deny the use of such facilities to the other.  Additionally farms would be destroyed, crops burned, livestock killed in order to prevent the other side from having an adequate food supply.  The destruction of farms would resort in massive food shortages almost immediately,  and a famine in very short order. In short, if the conflict were to last more than a year, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people would be dead. Hundreds of thousands more would be injured. Millions would be displaced.  The numbers would only increase as the fighting went on.  The continued fighting, would only draw more and more “ordinary” people in to the conflict as a means of providing for themselves and whatever is left of their families.  In order to survive, many Americans would align themselves with which ever side offered them the best chance of surviving without having to fight.  Its a normal human instinct to seek out shelter, and sustenance in times of trial.  Many people fight for it, others acquiesce to whatever power is in charge in order to survive another day.

At the outset the fighting, once started, would be contained, if you will, to the groups of “true believers” on both sides.  Many average Americans would do their best to avoid conflict, for the simple reason that many of us are not willing to pick up arms against our neighbors.  I could not see myself holding my neighbor and her husband at gunpoint.  This is a lady, despite her politics, bakes my family Christmas cookies every year, and is one of the nicest people I know.  I couldn’t see myself facing down the gentlemen who own the auto repair shop behind me, or opening fire on them.  Could I really shoot Mr. Carson down the street?  Would  Bob and John and their wives be combat ready if I were to call on them to join me in attacking our neighborhood enemies?  What about Leon and his kids? Would they launch pre-emptive attack against the rest of the neighborhood?   I can’t comprehend a battle between people, that despite some differences, are actually friends.  These are people that share back porch cookouts, walk their dogs  together, and cheer on their kids on the local high school sports teams.  This is where the ultimate price would be paid.  Those who push the prospects of another civil war, are those who are ignorant of it’s costs, and assume it would be an easy victory.  Whatever victory there would be, it would at best be Pyrrhic, and far from “easy”

That leads to another consideration.  IF American were to plunge into all out Civil War, the international community would hardly stand by and watch.  By that I mean there are several countries, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea to name a few,  that would actively do what they could to continue to sow chaos, ramp up the fighting, and even support the Left with weapons and materiel.  Any one of the above mentioned would cheer at the prospect of a divided America, fighting itself, and leaving itself open to eventual conquest, or, at the very least, destroyed so much, that it becomes the worlds largest 3rd world country.  The price to be paid, should such a thing happen, is unfathomable.  This is where I have my issues with those who talk so openly, and casually about a “2nd Civil War”.  Of all I have read, no one has given any consideration to what would happen once the international vultures started circling the American corpse.   It would be inevitable that our enemies would love nothing more to carve up what is left of this country, and erase American influence and culture from the world.  The Chinese would most likely be the first to arrive, only because they have the most capabilities in that regard.  Moving troops by air, or by sea, is something they have the logistics for. China’s influence would either take the form of support for the left leaning forces, or as an outright belligerent.  Taking over and subjugating the American continent, would allow China to dominate the world. Europe, pretty much prostrate already, wouldn’t have much to say in the matter.  What about Iran?  Iran would, and if you don’t believe it, you are foolish, use it’s Hezbollah-linked mosques and other groups to carve out it’s own sphere of influence, perhaps even mobilize, and import jihadists to join the fight in an effort to defeat both sides, and spread Islamic dominance to the Western Hemisphere.

Speaking of the Western Hemisphere, an American Civil War would have lasting, and powerful economic impacts on the rest of North and South America.  What would Canada do?  Close its borders to refugees?  Americans wishing to avoid the violence and conflict would be streaming both north and south to get away.  Imagine a war in a country of 340 million people, and the sheer number of refugees that it would produce.  It would overwhelm both Mexico and Canada, and their respective Immigration ministries. Both countries would have to close their borders with the US within a few months of start of hostilities because of the sheer number of people trying to get to safety.

Yes, this is a doomsday scenario, but, a renewed Civil War could not be anything but that.  It wouldn’t happen in a vacuum.  It wouldn’t be a lark, or something that would be settled in a couple of weeks.  The first Civil War lasted four years, and consumed vast amounts of treasure, as well as millions of lives.  In today’s USA, it would be even worse, because of the much larger population, and it’s diversity, as well as the changes in the world in the 150+ years since the first one began.  In 1861, China was far from a world power, Russia was  a European Power of sorts at the time,  and Iran was known as Persia, and was a monarchy.  In the last 150 years, China is the most populous nation in the world with the largest military.  Russia is resurgent, and flexing muscle worldwide.  North Korea is a hermit kingdom, but, if given the chance, would love to have some influence, and Iran is the regional power player in the Middle East, and is more powerful than it ever has been, and is looking to expand it’s influence.   These are the countries that would not only benefit from an America in chaos, but would also be the ones most likely to take a piece of the continent for themselves.

So, how about this.  Let’s stop pretending a renewed Civil War would be a minor conflict, that would be easily won by one side or the other.   Let’s look at it for what it would really be: Wholesale destruction and death on a scale never seen in this country before.  It would be end of the United States of America, and when the smoke cleared, it would be a nation of destroyed cities, starving and decimated people, and a  powerless government, with the real possibility that a large chunk of the country being occupied by a foreign power.  Let’s quit kidding ourselves, and lets get off of the stupid path toward conflict many seem to be eager to set us on.  Let us start calling out those who wish to put us on that path.  A country that is headed toward a civil war, has a dark, and dangerous future that nothing good will come from.  At best, it would wreck the United States of America for at least a century.  Does anyone really want that?  I know I don’t








I rarely interact on Social Media, especially on Facebook.  I hang out on Twitter, comment from time to time, but I avoid arguments, and disagreements at all costs.


I am tired of it.  Since November of 2016, I do little more than read others people’s FB posts, I almost never post to my timeline.  For me, there is precious little that is worth reading any longer, and, add to that, there is nothing worth responding to.   All I ever see is the latest “I hate Trump” or “MAGA” type post. Or the latest “Anti gun” or “Pro 2A” post.  The problem with the posts are not the content, but, rather the attitude with which they are served up.  It’s a “this is what I believe, and f*** you and go to hell if you don’t agree”  No one has rational discussions any longer, and I do mean no one.

I am also tired of the conspiracy theories surrounding, well, you name it; Las Vegas, Parkland, Newtown, etc. etc.  The worst part about all of this, is these posts are coming from people that I know to be intelligent, and, I thought, reasonable.  Many of them old classmates, and others that I have known for 30 years.  Politics, and one’s political views have become the yardstick, (and with some people the only yardstick used to measure someone’s worth.) .  I have witnessed lifelong friendships come to an end, over a vote, or a political stance.  There is no “opinion” any more, there is “My post is irrefutable fact, and f*** you if you don’t think it’s true”.  People post things that they find, somewhere in the deep, dark bowels of the internet, as truth.  Not only truth, but incontrovertible, irrefutable, truth, because their favorite website, blogger, or pundit said it.  In this day and age, it’s not “for” or “against”, no.  It’s “you must believe or you are a heretic, and must be destroyed”.  It happens on both sides.

If you are pro 2nd Amendment, you are branded a “baby killer”, an “NRA Terrorist” or you “Support the murder of children” and the ownership of “weapons of war”.  If you want support Gun Control, then you area “gun grabbing communist” or a “traitor”, or an “anti-freedom leftist”.  No quarter is given in these arguments.  There is no discourse, only insults, and if it’s a woman posting her support of  2A, it’s the most vile sexual type of insults I have ever seen.  There are threats, and more insults.  Hashtags are thrown around like so many bean bags.  Frequently posts are in all caps, as people become more and more unhinged.  Eventually the donnybrook loses steam, and everyone is on to something else, but not before feelings are hurt, anger flairs and relationships are strained, if not broken.  I am amazed at the hurtful things people, especially family members, say to one another over a discussion of politics.  Isn’t family supposed to be better than that?  It is the disagreement that severe that some stop talking to siblings or parents?  How crappy is that?  I don’t always agree with my brothers, or my sister, but I would never, ever stop talking to them over their stance on something.  My dad, if he were still among us, would not stand for it.  I feel bad for those people who feel that a relationship, especially a long-term one, be it familial or romantic, has to end, because of a political opinion.

I hate all of the stupid fighting, and when one side presents the other with facts, then the arguing switches to whose “facts” are more factual.  We get our news and information from many sources these days, unfortunately, we all know about “fake news”, and in many cases, the “facts” as presented, depending on which “side” is presenting them can vary.  In more than a few cases, news sites will post a story, and include facts that only support their side of the argument, then other people quote that source as being proof that they are right, while the other side of the argument cites a story about the same issue from a news site, or blogger, or pundit, that includes information that supports what they have to say.  It’s exhausting.  Woe to the person who enters into the fray, in an attempt to be reasonable, cites a balanced story on the issue, then they get torn into from both sides.  The worst part about all of it, are the vile insults that people hurl at one another, either strangers they don’t know, or people that they do.  It’s unreal, and it almost hurts to watch it.

An example of what I describe above, goes like this:  I will use the latest raging debate over guns, that is burning up social media.

Friend A; (a long time friend of mine) Posted a story about a study done by two criminologists, citing the number of times a gun is used to defend life and property, and stops a crime in progress.  He posted his comments, as well as a link to the study, so anyone reading his post can avail themselves of the information, and read the study in it’s entirety.   Several people posted comments after reading the story, and the study.  The comments are all positive.

Stranger A:  this person pops up in a comment, after a news story that this person believes “debunks” the study by the two criminologists.  The news story takes the study to task, and selectively cites facts that support the gun control side of the argument.  So Stranger A, goes off on a paragraph long screed about the NRA, and evil corporations funding gun companies, buying politicians, and etc, etc, etc.  Friend A politely asks Stranger A to read the study.  Stranger A replies he doesn’t need to because the article he read speaks for itself, and he knows the study was funded by the NRA and the gun makers (it wasn’t) so, of course it is going to back up their claims.

It’s this kind of attitude, the “If you are against gun control, you are for the deaths of children” is really rather tiresome, and it is a tactic used by many in an argument to deflect from their arguments shaky ground.  It is also used as a way to end the argument, because the tactic forces the other person to argue that they are not “for the killing of children”, which then puts the anti-gun person on the offensive.  Or, it forces the other person to walk away from the argument, because it just got stupid.  The tactic is designed to shut down debate, and silence opposition.  People on both sides use it.  It’s not a “left” or “right” thing.  So, the above exchange over the study went back and  forth, but the problem is, everyone wound up arguing with Stranger A about how they are not for the killing of children.  It was several comments before someone else got the argument back on track.

The point of the anecdote above is an example of what typically happens on social media.  The other phenomenon is the habit among many to read the headline of a posted story, and then comment on the inaccuracy of the story   It is embarrassing when someone I know, and always figured was intelligent, decides to go off on an article they did not even read, and puts their intellectual laziness on display.  It is amazing to me how little there is in the way of critical thinking.  What ever happened to analysis, reading comprehension, and logical thought?

It is indeed sad, that the current level of debate on Twitter, and Facebook resembles an argument between a bunch of 12 year old kids on the school playground.  It really is.  The crises that face this nation are not going to get solved by emotional outbursts, name calling or finger-pointing.  The problem is, no one wants to hear the other side out.  It is as if we all want our side to be the only one that prevails.  When you get right down to it, the truth to just about any of the issues is much more nuanced, it hardly black and white.  In the studies mentioned in my anecdote, each one can, when facts and passages in the study are cherry-picked and taken out of context, support either the pro-gun, or the anti-gun side of the argument.  However, that kind of cherry picking does little to shed light on the problem of violence in this country, and what effective steps can be taken to curb the violence.   The same could be said of any study, on any of the issues that face the nation.  The sad fact is, that any side in an any argument wants to be the “only” side that is right.  It’s as if being right, and defeating one’s enemies is more important than solving, or working towards solving an issue.  “All or nothing” rarely works.  When one takes a position that the only way to solve an issue is an “all or nothing” solution, then people on the other side of the issue, are going to be unwilling to talk, much less compromise, or reach an agreement.  This is also how fights start, because once an argument gets to the point where one side feels compelled to use force to convince the other side, then all is lost.

All I know is, and I urge my kids to do this all of the time;  If you are going to debate a question, come to the table with facts, and research, and also come to the table with an understanding demeanor.  Disagreement is not a personal attack.  One can understand the other side’s point of view, without resorting to personal attacks, name calling, and the like.  If you have made your point, and the other person, or group, still disagrees, then, move on.  You have made your point, you stood by your argument, and that’s it.  One cannot change another’s mind, well, can rarely change it.  The most that can be done is “agree to disagree” and move on.  There is nothing wrong with that, either.  Everyone has different beliefs on everything, from the big issues of the day, to the question of whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich. (it’s not.  Stating my position right now) or whether or not ketchup belongs on that same hot dog (It doesn’t, at least if you bought it from a hot dog stand.  If you made it at home, then, ketchup is permissible).  It is those differences that make us who we are, and one is not “less” because one believes differently than someone else on any given subject.  We sometimes forget we are human, and we should never dehumanize someone else over a disagreement  Ever.  It’s wrong, and leads to all kinds of scary things on a larger scale.

For those interested.  The link posted by my friend is below.  Read it and decide.  The article cites at least 3 studies and has links to them.  Read it.  Thank you.  Article my friend posted  I offer no opinions here.

The Sanctity of Life.

Is there such a thing?

Does life really matter?

Does it matter, in the big picture, to anyone?

I hear people talking about “the sanctity of life” and it usually in connection with abortion, euthanasia, or, something similar, and, in that same conversation, it’s not too far from it’s neighbor “dying with dignity”

Since the Charlie Gard episode exploded on the scene, I was really beginning to think that we live in one big “death culture”.  Think about it.  It seems like the human society as a whole has become so fatalistic, that many people seem resigned to the fact that death is really no big deal.

Let’s take abortion for example, and this is a subject that is a sore point for me.  Ever since I was old enough to understand what abortion was, the thought of it horrified me.  Way back in 8th grade, (Catholic grade school) as part of one of classes, I don’t remember which, we held a debate about abortion.  I remember being on the “pro life” side, and doing what research I could on the subject (note, this in 1980,) During the course of the lesson, I remember thinking “how could anyone knowingly, willingly, kill their own child?” 

Fast forward 37 years, and I still think that way.  The debate still rages, both sides trying to prove why they are right.  I know both sides haves some people who are passionate supporters for their side, and are vocal about it.  I get where we come from on the “pro life” side.  It’s really a simple argument.    That’s not what I am going to go into here, because it’s been articulated before.  What I don’t understand, is on the “pro-abortion” side (I refuse to call it “pro choice”) there are people who are unapologetic in their support for, and desire for abortion to be available all of the time, everywhere.

I am often taken aback at the tone many abortion rights supporters and groups take when it comes to defending a woman’s right to kill her child.  I have never seen strident language like the language many abortion supporters use to defend killing.  That’s what it is though, it’s death.  It’s death inflicted on an innocent human being because the mother thinks them “inconvenient”, or a “burden”.  When looked at in it’s proper light, “abortion” (which is too clean sounding a word for the procedure, I always liked “Induced Fetal Death”) the attitudes of abortion supporters seem almost bloodthirsty, as if killing babies is their goal.  They pay lip service to “women’s health” and etcetera, but what they really want to do, and see, is death.  Specifically the death of babies.

What drives a person to this level?  One can blame feminism, and one can also blame the society as a whole for being blase toward death, and violence for that matter. But, that is not what I am looking for.  How does one get to the point where they area a cheerleader for death?  During many protests in support of Planned Parenthood, I saw people carrying signs that said “Abortion for all” and “Abortion at any time, without apology”, and similar signs, saying vile things about children, Christians, and Republicans, and other pro-life types. Obscenity laced speeches about the same.  Fist shaking women demanding that not only should baby-killing be considered normal, but also, that the government should pay for it.  Even more disturbing, some of these women are mothers, and brought children to these protests.  I can’t help myself for feeling sorry for some of these women.  I really want to know;  Is killing babies that big of a deal to these women?   Why is it so important that so many children be put to death?  Furthermore, why do women like this seem to celebrate it?  Has feminism come so far, (or maybe, sunk so low) that they are intent on ignoring basic humanity regardless of the cost?  By cost, I mean the societal, moral, and ethical cost but to the personal cost to themselves?   Many of the “men” I see at these protests, or, rather in video footage of the protests, are along the lines of the “Pajama Boy” from the Obama Care ads from a couple of years back.  Men, who are men only in name, and have wives or girlfriends that are more masculine than they.  Men who meekly acquiesce, in some cases, to the killing of their child.  For these men,  it is a cop out, an admission of weakness, and an inability to stand up and take their responsibility.  They were “man” enough to get into bed with the woman, (honestly, sex is the easy part) but, now they are not man enough to say “That child is my responsibility too. (And before you judge, I was in that exact situation 28 years ago, I stood up and took my responsibility seriously, and married the mother of my child, and committed to raising him, which I did, along with four more kids over the years.  I stood up, I took responsibility. If I was man enough to have sex, then, I was man enough to raise the result of that encounter) For the record, the marriage didn’t last, but because I took parenting seriously, that now 28 year old is building a life of his own, as are his  two siblings from that marriage.  So, I took responsibility, and even, took custody of my kids when the situation arose, and raised them.  Like a man, and a parent should.   All of that, however is not the point.

The point is the evil that seems to lurk in those who support abortion.  I just don’t understand it.  They come at it with a passion, and it is visceral, and it is aggressive, and it is also “expsosed fangs and claws” kind of blood thirsty.   Yes, that is my take, because that is how many of them come across.  There seems to be no room for discussion on the issue, on the sanctity of life, or the moral aspects.  It’s as if all humanity has been abandoned in the name of making sure the deaths keep coming.


Why is killing babies so important?  It’s as if these people would do anything to prevent their “right” to abortion from being taken away.  What is it about abortion rights that makes these people react like they do?

Maybe, because abortion gives them a direct and easy way to rid themselves of the consequences of their lifestyle?  Perhaps, but that almost seems too simple.  There are other things men and women can do to prevent pregnancy that are simpler and less invasive.  The abortion procedure itself, despite what activists say, is not a simple, or painless procedure, and there is a psychological component to it that is never spoken about.  So, it would seem that solely using abortion as a form of “birth control” would be a something of an ordeal to go through.

It also seems that many of these women who are the loudest defenders of abortion rights, also seem to be ardent feminists, is it possible that in their desire to advance feminist causes, these women have abandoned their inherent “femaleness”?  From my observations, based on the things they say, it would seem that way.  Are they that caught up in feminism, that they are denying the things that make them women, in order to detach themselves from their gender?  Because if they can approach the feminist causes seemingly without conscience, especially on the abortion front, then, it would seem to me the only way they could do that is to put aside the fact that they are   “women”, so it allows them to approach the fight without any moral, or ethical concerns?  Perhaps detaching themselves from being women allows them to distance themselves from the reality of what they are doing?  If you think about it, advocating for abortion means you are actually advocating for the violent, traumatic death of a child.  An unborn child, but a child all the same.  By couching it in the guise of “women’s health care” and “women’s rights” they give it a veneer that hides what it actually is.

For the average, run-of-the-mill guy, such as me, the political and national events that have taken place since the 2016 election have been quite a bit to follow.   I have been through at least 8 elections since  I was old enough to vote, so I have seen quite a bit of politics, and political theatre since then.  I have also been around people long enough to be disheartened, if not downright scared of the divisions in this country.

What makes all of this worse, is the fact that everyone, on all sides of the political spectrum are like two people having an argument, and both are shouting at the same time.  No one is listening, and that’s not to say that “listening” is the cure-all here, but, it’s a senseless way to be, and completely pointless.  The winner of any of the political argument these days (if there is such a thing) is not one that presents the facts, makes their point, and persuades the other person the validity of their position;  no, it is the side that yells the loudest.  In this year, we have had a scandal-riddled presidency since day one, heck, since before Day One.   But, what are the meat of these scandals.  Are they real? Are they not? Does any one know what the facts are?  I am not picking a side here, mainly because I don’t know what is right, who is right, and whatever.  Is Trump acting, well, badly?  Yes, he is.  Are those that dislike him acting badly?  Yes, they are.  The problem is, it is so hard to separate what is real, and what is “Fake News” that many people like me walk around in a state of confusion trying to figure out if the next Washington Post “bombshell” is exactly that, or is it just another “I know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a girl, whose cousin’s wife’s sisters’s fiance knew someone who works in Washington and they saw something in a memo, but only read part of it.”

In any other place or time, something like that would not stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny.  Making accusations based on a sliver of a rumor would anyone laughed out of anywhere, and their integrity seriously questioned.  But, enough about the media, fake news, and the lot.  It’s been covered enough, and quite frankly, I don’t want to wade through that.

Today, Senator John McCain came back to Washington to vote on the motion to move the GOP healthcare bill for debate.  Vice President Pence had to break the tie.

And the left lost it’s collective mind.  (Or, what was left of it)

What astounds me is the intellectual dishonesty from the Democrats.  They were all over Twitter, and other media outlets talking about how now “people are going to die”.

Because of a debate?

It’s the same old tired rhetoric they have trotted out for the last two decades.  They, the party of “We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it” are now accusing the Republicans of obfuscation.  The whole thing is a joke, and the dishonesty from both sides is unreal.  The party of “Repeal and Replace” has been acting like the party of “We’ll take out the things we don’t like….maybe”.  They tried to repackage it, and rename it, and just keep the ACA in tact.  None of which made any sense.  But, now, the Republicans, by the slimmest of margins have moved their bill to debate.  Progress?  Maybe.

Nothing has been passed.  Nothing.  It’s being debated on, and we are a long way from passage of anything.  Add to that, my Twitter feed (such as it is) as well as Facebook were full of people clamoring for a “single payer system”.

Let us examine that for a moment.

I am not here to argue the economics of it or anything like that, there are others out there who are far more qualified to analyse that than I am.   I do not understand how anyone in their right mind would want a government agency in charge of one of the most personal things that we have as people.  Our health.  Why would anyone want to give control over how they are treated for an illness, or an accident, or a terminal disease even, to the government?  What is it about someone, or a group of people that desires outside control of their lives?   I find the calls for “single payer” is more indicative of what those who express that view, want for the rest of us.  Not for themselves, necessarily, but for the rest of us.  That elusive “them” or “the other guy”  I go back a bit to one my earlier writings “What Do We Want?  Tyranny!  When Do We Want it? NOW!” from last summer, where I talked about how the various groups of people across the political spectrum want revenge against “them”.  “Those people” whomever “Those people” may be.  When they express the desire for this country’s medical system to be “run like Canada’s” I honestly think they haven’t given it much thought.  So intent are they on implementing a system that would punish the rich, and tax to death everyone else, in other words punish “them”, they haven’t given much though to how it would affect themselves.

I am an independent thinker, I always have been.  One thing that will get me angry, and desirous of picking a fight, is someone telling me what to think, how to think, or what to say.  Or, even worse, someone trying to control my life.  I am not talking about being told what to do at work by my boss.  That is totally different.  My job is something entered into willingly on my part, and the part of my employer.  They pay me, I do the work I am assigned.  Do I disagree, perhaps, with policies?  Sometimes, but, in my disagreement, I come up with a solution to make it better.  Maybe they listen, maybe they don’t, but they are paying me to do a job.

However, someone telling me what to say, or think, or telling me what I must believe is totally different.  That is an imposition.  A totalitarian government is not something that most of us enter into willingly.  It is something that is imposed, something that is forced, and complying is mandatory, or punishment is handed out.  That is where I bristle, that is when my back gets up.   The thing about going to a single-payer system, is that it immediately becomes a  politicized single-payer system.  What you get treated for and for how long, or, if at all, is going to depend on your politics.

That should frighten any reasonable person.  It should frighten anyone, in fact.

I can’t even conceive of anyone telling me that I cannot have an illness, or worse, one of my children cannot have an illness treated.  That would make me insane.   A person, not my doctor, but, a person from some government agency,  a bureaucrat from a government agency is going to approve, or deny my treatment, based on how expensive it is, how many years I may have to live, and, yes, even my politics.  In fact, I would gather, in a very short period of time, (about 5 minutes after the legislation is passed) it will be the only deciding factor.

That should frighten anyone, regardless of your political stance.  Tyranny is not good under any circumstances.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a right wing dictator, or left wing.  The whole “If my side is doing it, its okay” argument is stupid, and pointless.  No one should want someone from the  government deciding if they get well, or get sicker, or even worse, if they live or die.    I hear stupid arguments like “Well, if the GOP does single payer, it will at least get done right.”

What the hell does that even mean?

Neither side could do it right, and you cannot convince me otherwise.  The best system we had in this country was the system we had prior to Obamacare.  Don’t get me started on that.  I know way, way too many people who, once they were forced to the exchanges were paying premiums that were higher than their mortgages in some ways, with unbelievable deductibles, and care that was so limited it was a joke.  I don’t want to hear that god-awful abomination of a “health care plan” was a good thing.  I know better, I know too many people, middle class people, who had to sell cars, and houses, and what not just to afford basic health care.

Yes, the previous insurance system in this country had it’s flaws, but, the fact is undeniable, it did work, and it worked for a large majority of Americans.  Spare me the stories of over crowded inner city emergency rooms.  Try to remember that the overcrowded emergency rooms were not the fault of the insurance companies, but, the fact that many of these people were on Medicaid, or it’s state-level equivalent.  I am also not saying the over-crowded emergency rooms didn’t happen, I know they did, I was an EMT for a private ambulance service, and paid many a visit to hospitals and saw the overcrowded emergency rooms for myself.  Yes, they were miserable, but, what is the solution?  Let’s also remember, by and large, no one was turned away, and treatment was not denied.  So,again, what is the solution.  The fact is no one knows, but the politicians of this country seem to be willing to gamble with all of our lives in an effort to fix something that was never really broken to begin with.

The problem with single payer systems, is that those who advocate for one honestly believe that a single payer system is the only solution, and it is somehow magical, and will fix everyone’s problems.  It is those people who tend to be the ones who advocate for it the strongest, and they are generally the ones who understand it the least.   It is that lack of understanding that makes their arguments so untenable.  Everyone of those who advocate for single-payer always point to Canada, or Sweden as an example of single payer success.   Unfortunately they aren’t successful as their proponents wish they were.

Try showing someone who sings the praises of single payer success in Canada the following articles, and see how fast you are accused of showing them “Fake news”.

Healthcare Wait Times hit 20 weeks in 2016: Report”  20 weeks. Can you imagine waiting 20 weeks for a procedure?  A test? An MRI that might detect a disease process, but at 20 weeks might be too far advanced?  I cannot even comprehend that.   Follow that with this  “Canada Has the Worst ER/Referral Wait Times of 11 Developed Countries“.  Facts take no note of wishes, however, but that doesn’t deter the ‘governement-can-solve-everything’ crowd.   This oft-quoted study by The Frasier Institute just adds more fuel to the fire.  Now, if the average time from referral-to-procedure in Canada is 20 weeks, then, obviously there are those who get care sooner.  At the same time there are those who get it later.   Yes there are this who get treated sooner, but, that does not take away from the fact that on average, for any procedure, the average Canadian can expect to wait 5 months for it to be performed.   Imagine going to the doctor.  You, or a family member has an issue that cause the doctor concern, could you imagine waiting?   If it is something serious (Cancer, etc) five months is an eternity.

Single payer makes no sense to me, neither did Obamacare, and so far, the the stuff being proffered by the GOP.

I don’t want a health care system run by the government.  I want my doctor and I making medical decisions about me, or my family.  Not some bureaucratic pencil pusher.  I don’t want to have to wait months for a test or a procedure.  I also don’t want the government telling me what to eat, or what is good for me, or bad for me.   I also don’t want a judge, or a court, deciding when my life ends (if you think that won’t happen, Charlie Gard should be a wake up call for you) or if I have become “too expensive” and need to be put on an “end of life path”

I just want the government to leave me alone, and let me live my life the way I see fit. I also wish the same thing for everyone else.

What is so hard to understand about that?


“Out There”, “Flyover country”, “beyond the lights”.  I have heard those terms with varying frequency, at various times over the past, oh, twenty years or so.  They are terms that many in politics, and media, especially media, use to describe the rest of the country.  The country beyond the Beltway, between the coasts, the places beyond the city lights of the cosmopolitan urban centers.  It’s a disparaging term, and used as a pejorative to describe anyone not from those privileged, comfortable, and sophisticated bubbles of “civilization”.  You know those places, where they absolutely lost their minds when Donald Trump won the Presidency, those same people, bearers of the double standard, spewed nasty, spoiled-rotten-brat rhetoric about Hillary Clinton losing the election, about how she was cheated, it was misogyny, it was sexist, racist, homophobic, or whatever label they decided they wanted to stick on it.  They called the rest of the country “rubes” and “uneducated”, or “bigoted”.  They acted as if they alone knew what was right for us, and how DARE we decide we want something else. (For the record, I did not vote for either candidate, I found them both odious) So, a large portion of this country, mostly on college campuses, urban areas, and inside the Beltway, had a collective temper tantrum that almost six months later, is still going on.  News outlets engaged in stories designed to defame, discredit, and  de-legitimize the election of Donald Trump.  Now, all of the sudden, after 8 years of worshiping at the Altar of Obama, the press decided that they were journalists again.  The words “Fake News” quickly gained currency, and networks, newspapers, and cable news outlets, were routinely putting up stories about the so-called “Collusion with Russia”, and then, were having to correct themselves, issue retractions, or straight up apologize.  Trust in the media, already in the toilet, was sinking even lower.  No one in these elite, liberal, college educated bubbles could understand what was going on.  They all asked “What is wrong with the American people?” instead of asking what was wrong with themselves.   I know, introspection, and self-awareness is hard.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, if you are not a user of the social media platform, then you missed it, there was a minor revolution, or even, a revelation of sorts brought to us by a couple of reporters.  Real reporters.  Journalists who went out, and sought out the people of the United States, what some people call “Real America”, to find out the reasons that Donald Trump got elected, and how that happened.  One of these reporters, a Salena Zito with the Washington Examiner, routinely posts stories about the people she talked to, the places she visited,  and what she found.  It was a revelation of sorts.  (Of course, those of us here in “Real America” already knew about it) Salena actually reported on what she found, no spin, no slant, just actual stories about what the people who live in this country actually thought, and what they thought about the election in general, and what their communities are going through.  They were stories about jobs, the opioid crisis, the economic woes still felt by many small towns across the country. They were stories about the people, they weren’t about what either reporter thought. They didn’t editorialize, or inject their politics, they listened, and they wrote.  With all of the garbage in the news, or, what passes as news, stories by Salena Zito, and another gentleman, Chris Arnade,  put a face on a nation of people dismissed by Hilary Rodham Clinton as a “Basket of Deplorables”.  The unique thing was that these two people at different times, climbed into their cars and traversed the back roads, highways, and  byways of this country, to find their stories (Yes, folks, they drove, they got on the road to go find these stories).  No pretense, no pomp, no qualifying, just reporting, and good reporting at that.   The stories brought to the fore the people of this country.  I am one of them.  I live near one of those “urban bubbles” if you will, and what I read from both Mrs. Zito and Mr. Arnade served to confirm what I already knew.

Here is why Trump won: People like me, and I can only speak for me, got sick and tired of the constant message from our elected officials, and from the media, and Hollywood, that the things we hold dear, our beliefs, values, rights, and ideas needed to be changed.  We were rubes, we were “bitter clingers” “deplorables’ and routinely called “racist”, “homophobic” and what ever other kind of “-phobic” they decided to stick on us.  In the weeks leading up to the election, Clinton and her campaign and her media enablers were acting as if she was not a candidate, but rather “President in waiting”.  It was disgusting, and it was enough to inflame anyone.  The display of arrogance and ego was astounding to me.  I got sick of it, I got tired of being told I was evil, or bad, or somehow mean for expressing my views, holding fast to my values, and wanting to just be left alone so I could live my life.  I did not want Hilary to win, I shuddered at the thought of her being president (I shuddered only slightly less at the thought of Donald winning)  So, now, here we are.  The “rest of America”, since November 8th, has somehow become the riddle that needs to be solved.  So, not to be outdone, the liberal media (because they are) has decided they are going to go out and find “America”.  the Huffington Post has decided to send a busload of their journalists on a 23 city tour of America, to do (in their mind) what Salena Zito and Chris Arnade have already done.  However, they are doing it by bus, and they are going to 23 cities, and the cities they are visiting, not surprisingly, were cities that Hilary won a majority of votes in.  So, in essence, this has become the Huffington Post “bias confirmation tour”.  Its amazing, and it is as if the liberal media has not learned a thing, nor do they understand just how despised they are.  The fact that they are going to cities, and not the rural, suburban, and semi-rural areas the other reporters went to, shows that they are merely going doing this so they could say “me too”.   Talk to Trump voters?  No, several of the reporters in this entourage have stated they are not going to talk to any Trump voters.  What they are doing, is going out to find Hilary supporters and have a good cry together, and share some mutual outrage, but try to mask it as an attempt to find “real Americans”.  This whole thing has inspired a Twitter hash tag #HuffPointheHeartland, and it is hilarious.  Instead of finding some integrity, and acting like the reporters they claim to be, and going out and objectively pursuing a story, they are going out to find stories, and people that agree exclusively with them, and of course, find people who have been negatively impacted by the Trump Administration, or the GOP, or both.  I also expect they will make something up if they can’t find it.   They are despised, and they just don’t understand it.  I am not sure whom I dislike more, Hollywood types with big mouths, idiotic politicians, or reporters and media types.  None of these people are even remotely qualified, regardless of their education level, to tell me how to live my life, what to think, or what to say, or what is right for me.  Yet, they seem to think that doing that is their job.  I hope one of these HuffPo reporters decides to walk into a diner in Southern Illinois, and start talking down to the folks that are there, and winds up wearing a plate of mashed potatoes.  I also hope one of the locals records it on their iPhone.

The bottom line is this.  This effort by the Huffington Post is just another attempt by the liberal media to make people believe they care, and they are in tune with the people.  What it actually is, is a tour of safe spaces, where they won’t be challenged, but can feel like they accomplished something.  If anything of any substance comes out of this, I will be truly surprised.

(Note. Salena Zito is also a CNN, and New York Post contributor.  You can find her on Twitter @SalenaZito. Chris Arnade is on Twitter as @Chris_arnade, and at The Guardian)

Trump. Again.

“The Donald” has won New Hampshire, and now, the din has become almost deafening.  In fact, on both sides of aisle, as socialists celebrate Bernie Sanders crushing of Hillary Clinton.

Trump won New Hampshire, rather handily, in many ways it was expected.  However, one primary does not a nomination make.  (Although, with the crows and cries from the Trump supporters, you would think he just won it all)

What is it about Trump supporters? Why, in many cases, are they so virulent, so vocal, so “in your face”?   I like Trump supporters to this:  Picture a Trump’s campaign, even, Trump the person, as a banquet, a banquet laid out by someone to satisfy a group of hungry people.  Now, on that banquet table, are carefully prepared favorites, things that the preparers know the hungry people want to eat.  However, also on that table, among the platters of delicious foods, are platters of things no one would eat, and many would find disagreeable., in fact, they may even be garbage, they smell so bad.  The hungry people arrive, and decide, “well, we are here, lets eat, at least at this banquet, there is stuff we can eat.”  So, everyone decides to get their fill, but in the process, have to reach over, around and aside of the platters of garbage, from which the emanating odors mingle with everything else, making it hard to smell the good stuff.  Still and all, once they navigate around the foul inedible, they pronounce the banquet as “The best” and “delicious”, despite warnings, and even, evidence, that the presence of the garbage at the table is going to harm them, despite all of the good food they have eaten.   In the meantime, the banquet goers are being told by others to take a step back, and look at the entire table.  For if they did, they would find the whole thing unappetizing, and walk away, despite the presence of their favorite foods.   And some, continue to eat, hoping that someone comes along, and cleans up the garbage, and gets rid of it, so all that is left is what everyone wants to consume.

I see tweets, and FB entries, praising Trump, talking about how he is a “leader” and “what this country needs”.   Now, I also understand what has given rise to Trump, and on the other side, Sanders.  It is an electorate that is fed up, finished, and angry, citizens who feel betrayed, and even, sold out.   People that are tired of “politics as usual” and the empty promises and hot air that comes out of Washington.

I get it, I am one of those people.

We are tired of the threat that is being posed to us by terrorism, unrestrained illegal immigration, a President who acts more like a dictator than the leader of a nation.  Tired of do-nothing Senators, and Congressmen.  We need, no, we want someone to do something about that.  Someone who will stand up and say “No more, this has to stop”.

Unfortunately no one has.  Well, except for Donald Trump.

The problem with Donald, and there are many. (take your pick) is that he is not, and never has been a Conservative, even a moderate one.  He is in it for himself, he is not in it for the country, the people, or our sovereignty.  He is in it for his ego.   His speeches on immigration, and terrorism strike a chord with many, because that is what people want to hear, he knows this, and he speaks to it.  It is little more than populist nonsense, with no real substance behind it.  It is what is selling though, and it is what is getting people to support him.  What most Americans want, is their country back, a sense of security, and the knowledge that Washington is not actively trying to run their lives.  Most of us just want to be left alone to pursue our version of the American Dream.  For various reasons, many Americans believe Donald Trump is, or can be, the man that does that.  Many of us disagree with that notion, and disagree with much of what Trump has to say.

Nonetheless, people are paying attention, taking it in, and following him.  In a speech just before the NH primary, Trump offered more of the same, talking points, and applause lines with very little substance, or policy behind them.   When I ask Trump supporters what he offers, I get very little in the way of responses that either point out what it is that he has, or, even make any sense.  I did get one reply on Facebook from a FB friend who is a Trump supporter, and she said “Trump is saying what we want to hear”.

That, folks, says it all.

Trump actually had his own, on the mark critique of his supporters, when he quipped during a speech recently in Iowa, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,”.  Which to me, is telling commentary on what he thinks of his supporters, and of himself.   In that one line, he is saying that his supporters blindly follow and support him, and it matters not what he does, they are so loyal, they wouldn’t abandon him.  Additionally he is saying that he is also above the law, and that if he shot someone, it shouldn’t matter.   There is not an ounce of humility in that man, and certainly, no respect for the people that support him.

Furthermore, the number of racist, white supremacists that support Trump, as well as Nazi, and other anti-Semitic types is more than a bit disturbing to me, and something that, I would think, any candidate would want to distance himself from.  It would seem, that Trump, while never acknowledging the support from these people, has also never disavowed it, and has never distanced himself from it.   Every extreme is present in every presidential election, in the past the extremism has always had little effect on the out come of the Presidential race.  This is the first election, in the 50 years I have been on this planet, where it seems that extremism has a much louder voice, and, while certainly not being courted, it is being tolerated, which should disturb just about anyone.