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Outside of Donald Trump, one of the biggest issues that seems to take up most of my Twitter and Facebook feed, is gun rights, and the associated Second Amendment legislation stuff that goes along with it. For much of my life, I never paid very close attention to Second Amendment rights, and things like that, always figuring they would always be with us, it’s not that I am against guns, or I didn’t care, I just didn’t pay attention.

Now, guns have never been a part of my life, outside of the odd BB gun.  My dad never owned any, but I did have an uncle who had a few guns.  However, even though guns were never part of my life, I was pretty familiar with them.  Being a military historian, and avid student of World War II, becoming familiar with guns, at least on paper, is part of learning about the history of the conflict.   That being said, I had always wanted to shoot a gun for real, however, being that I grew up here in Illinois, my dad couldn’t just go out to the local sporting goods store, by a .22 and bring it home for me to plink away with.  As I grew up, and became of age, I did manage to get a Firearm Owner’s ID card, but never bought a weapon, because money was always needed for something else.  Anyway, the upshot is, I never really paid much attention to 2nd Amendment stuff, but I did know that anti-gun types were rather irritating.

Fast forward twenty years, and things have changed.  Still not a gun owner, but,  I was gaining a better understanding of what the “gun grabbers” were up to, and what gun rights supporters were doing to counter that.  I began to understand that 2nd Amendment rights dove-tailed with First Amendment rights as well as all of the other rights in the Bill of Rights.  Even more so, I have also had a very strong belief that everyone has the right to defend themselves, by what ever means necessary, and, if that self-defense includes a gun, well, then, so be it. Honestly, a person gets shot breaking in to another person’s house, the, that person had it coming.   Don’t want to get shot? Then don’t do things that will lead to that happening.  Harsh? Well, yeah, but that’s how it goes.  If one intends to harm someone, and that individual gets hurt, or killed, because their intended victim put up a fight, well, then, there is no sympathy, or excuse.   But, enough of that.

A couple of years ago, as my two oldest sons became of age, they relocated to Texas (one because Uncle Sam said so) and, I had always heard that Texas, as far as guns went, was considered by many to be a “free state” in that regard.  Certainly, less restrictive than Illinois.  Two years after they both moved down there, okay, one was stationed there, and the other moved there, figuring he would do better making a living than he would in Illinois (He was right).  We decided to take a vacation to Texas to see both boys, and see the sights.

And get in a bit of shooting.

Yes.  That was the main reason outside of seeing my sons (one of whom was back from his second tour of Afghanistan): Getting a chance, finally, to shoot a gun for-real.

I had never handled a gun, a real one, but, in the late 80’s I was building model guns from model kits that our local hobby shop sold.  They were expensive, but, when finished, they acted like their real life counterparts.  On our first trip to the range, I was about as excited as a kid at Christmas.  I was looking forward to shooting both rifles and handguns, and my better half an I agreed that the kids (my two youngest were in Junior High at the time) if they were allowed to shoot at all, we would rent them .22 caliber handguns.  Full disclosure:  I will admit that I found the fact that one can rent a gun at a range rather interesting, because I had never heard of that before. (Remember, I was rather naive on the “gun culture”) At the first range we went to, we were warmly welcomed.  The employees were super friendly, and they went over the range rules with the seriousness that they required.  The range also had a gun store, and that is where we paid for, and rented the guns, signed the paperwork, and got our lessons on how to load, hold and shoot the 9mm Beretta, .45 M1911 and the .22 Ruger for the kids.  After that it was into the range.

Shooting was fun, I was nervous at first, but was able to handle the weapons with confidence, and I found I also enjoyed helping the rest of the family with loading, and clearing the guns.  Like I said, I had never used one, but I had  accumulated knowledge on how they worked, so I was ready to put my “book” knowledge to real life use. We had a great time interacting with the range staff, and some of the other shooters that were there. I also enjoyed talking shop about the various weapons with the range staff, as well as some other folks there.

It was this trip that moved me from being a passive 2nd Amendment guy, to an active one.  I gained a deeper understanding about guns, the people who own them, and how important those rights are to us.  Not only that I learned that shooting is fun, and it’s a worthwhile activity.  But, I began to understand the Second Amendment even more.  I am a holder of a gun card again, here in Illinois, but after a second trip to Texas this year to see my sons, and my brand new daughter in law, and for some more shooting, I am thinking that moving to Texas would be a great idea……

So, now, I stand for the 2nd Amendment, and I am not passive any longer. I follow what is going on with gun laws around the country, as well as legislation, and I pay attention to those politicians who wish to restrict our rights.  I know now, its a never-ending battle, because, fighting for one right, means fighting for all of them.  I am actively aware of things that go on now regarding gun rights, as well as encroach on free speech, and other rights.   To those who are passive on the issue, or or those who would say “Well, I am not a gun owner, so it doesn’t matter”. I say this:  As Americans, we should be vigilant in protecting all of our rights, fighting for all of them, not just the ones we feel we “are part of”. Because if we fight for one, and not others, we stand to lose them all.

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The View From Here.

I guess I can say that we live in “unique”, for lack of a better term, political times. Never before in my life, do I remember this kind of dynamic between people and politicians.  Growing up, and in my youth, I learned that politicians are the people who run things.  Not always trustworthy, always glad handing, speaking, and making promises, but people who ran things all the same.  There was then, as now, a certain level of cynicism regarding the process (especially since I live in the Chicago area) but, you could generally count on the politicians to go to Springfield, or Washington and “bring home the bacon” as it were.  You voted for the guy who got that done, and that pretty much was the way it went, or, it was my perception of it,  There was also the sense that the person in office, be it in Springfield, or Washington, was part of the place he or she came from. You knew where that person grew up, what Chicago neighborhood, or suburb they came from.   That person carried with them some of the traits from where they grew up, one could identify with them, one could actually feel, that that elected person, knew from whence they came. It was comforting in a way, because the person that everyone elected was “one of them”.  If you lived in the same town, or neighborhood where an elected representative was from, you got to hear stories from the people who knew that person as a child, or student, or altar boy, or cheerleader, or whatever.  They may have been a politician, but they were “your” politician.

Not only that, you could count on seeing them at the local neighborhood festival during the summer, or at the County Fair, Village Picnic, or “Gathering on the Green”, walking around shaking hands, swapping stories, greeting old friends, and neighbors.  In many cases, whether forced, or sincere, these elected officials acted as if they were still part of the old neighborhood.  You could actually talk to them, shake a hand.  Perhaps they walked about with a couple of assistants, but they were there and they were visible.

Yes, it was still politics, and yes, they were still politicians, doing what politicians do, but at least, back then, they gave the impression that they wanted to talk to their constituents, and remind the voters that they  themselves came from the same place, and they were their champion in Washington, or the state capitol.  As I stated, in a way, it was comforting, if I cast my vote for my Congressman, or State Representative, I felt more or less, that they would take my interests to Springfield, or Washington with them.  Of course, it wasn’t always the case, but, hey, these were politicians, we expected this from them. There was still corruption, scandal, and all of that, let’s be honest, politics has always been that way.  Back then, however, I always had the impression that most politicians devoted some effort to connecting with their constituents.  It’s never been perfect, and never was, but back then, 25, 30, 40 years ago, it was different in some ways.

That was then, this is now.

Back then, the impression I got, was that my elected representatives were accessible, on some level.  If you spoke to them, wrote them a letter, sometimes you got a form letter, other times, you got a personal response, but, you got a response from them.  These days, I am not so sure.

Regardless of the charm they try to exude, many of our elected officials come across as fake, and arrogant, and above the rest of us.  Condescension seems to be the norm.  We are dismissed with a pat on the head, and a condescending form letter reply to our concerns.  Sometimes, we don’t even get that.  We might get a tweet, or even, a Facebook response with an emoticon.  It feels like a brush-off, a “Get away from me boy, you bother me”.   In Springfield, as in Washington, we have  elected people who just don’t mesh with us anymore.  Summer Festivals?  Sure, their staff is there, with pamphlets, and a booth, and brochures touting accomplishments. Questions?  Concerns? “Sure, the Congressman is on Twitter, and Facebook, be sure to “Like” us!”  The elected representative might even show up at the event for some photo oppurtunities, with other local politicians, and perhaps labor, or civil rights leaders, but not with the people who put them in office.

What has been even more transforming over the last twenty years or so, is their transition from “politicians” to “Ruling Class”.  It started with Bush and Clinton back in the early 90’s.  You  could see it, the sense among the elected, that they were there, because somehow, they knew better than us.  The attitude is prevalent on both sides of the aisle.  There are no more “men and women of the people” in our Statehouses and especially in Washington.   We are given the brush off, we are spoken to like wayward children.  Even campaign literature has a note of condescension to it.  They are, for the most part, Ivy League educated, or products of elite universities. Taught by the same professors, the same theories, and develop the same attitudes and outlooks. In the “Ruling Class” Democrat and Republican are indistinguishable. Through the 90’s the Clinton’s and their ilk began to solidify the “Ruling Class” as it were.  If there were starting point for the elite arrogance that pervades these people, it would have to be the Clinton Administration.  Yes, the first Bush Administration had it too, but the Clintons and their ilk brought it home.  They institutionalized it in Washington.  They made it part of the landscape.  The attitude, however, infects every one of them in Washington, even to the lowliest intern.   The Clintons were the first to tie the bonds between Washington and the Hollywood Left.  No longer did we matter, here in the rest of the nation, we became “Fly-over Country”.   Hollywood’s big and powerful slept in the White House, hung out with the Cliintons, testified in Congressional hearings (remember the whole Alar thing? Actresses giving speeches to Congress on the dangers of the chemical, because they played a farmer in a movie) Spoke on Climate Change (then “Global Warming) policies.  All of the sudden, we had Hollywood types telling us to listen to Washington because they knew better.

Through the Bush Administration, it ease off, but not much. Hollywood may not have been visiting as much, but the arrogance and elitism were still there. Government became bigger, and more bloated, and more bureaucracy  With Obama’s entry into the White House, it only got worse.  Hollywood was back in the White House, bigger than before.  The arrogance grew in volumes, and politicians turned their backs firmly on the American people, and began a process of dividing us against one another, and also beginning to show shades of the tyrants they wish to be.  Obama began acting like the emperor that he wished he could be, what he displayed he wanted to be with his “I have a phone and a pen” comment.

What also changed was everyone’s perception of the government.  Instead of being ‘the government” they became “The Government”.  Back in my formative years, Washington was viewed with a bit of disdain, and cynicism.  Why not?  Bureaucracy moves slowly.  Getting anything done requires massive amounts of time, energy and paperwork.  Washington was an annoyance, something to gripe about, but not really worry too much about. We could go about living our lives without worrying about the government doing anything to us for the way we lived, unless, of course, we ran afoul of the law, and got the FBI’s attention.

That is definitely the one thing Obama changed.

I never used to fear the government.  I do now.

Are they going to come kicking my door down, and take me away somewhere? No, I don’t think they will, but I live with the fact that now, it is much easier to run afoul of the government than it was at any time in the past.  More regulations, more rules.  Special interest groups that used to be fringe organizations, are now sitting in the White House helping to draft policy. Groups that want to take away our rights to speak our minds, to own guns, to travel where we wish, even groups that want to regulate the lunch you send with your kid to school. It was never like this. I didn’t have to worry about my barbecue grill and it’s capacity to pollute.  Now I do. I never had to worry about “Carbon foot print” or “thought rape” or “hate thoughts” or “white privilege”. I have to now, however.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  I don’t want to have to worry about my grill, and the smoke it emanates, or if something I say is going to come back to haunt me in some way, or even worse, demonize me for simply having an opinion.

As an everyday American, I feel less like a citizen, and more like a subject.   When looking at the broader landscape, it is not hard to see how a Bernie Sanders and a Donald Trump are rising now.  Many people see Washington the same way I see it: Overbearing, intrusive, and bigger than it needs to be, as well as totally disconnected from the needs of this nation.   American citizens are wary, suspicious, and cynical, and we feel like no one in Washington even knows we are here. Crisis come and go, people die, and the President picks and chooses where he is going to get involved.  His disdain for American people is evident in the way speaks, and his actions while in office.  A crisis finds him on the golf course more often than not. Only the plight of certain people and groups in this country garner his attention, and then, it’s fleeting at best. There is no leader in Washington.  The Republicans we elected have waffled and caved, disappointing use even further.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are packing in the crowds, garnering TV time, and dominating news cycles. I do not support either Sanders, or Trump.  But, I fear either one of them could get into office, simply because a sick and tired America wants someone who will do something to fix what is wrong with this country, and not really care how it is done, just so long as someone pays attention to us, and fixes some things. Or, at the very least, kicks most of the elites out of Washington.

On the GOP side, we need to dispense with The Donald and his Circus.  We need to take on Hillary, and Bernie, and repudiate their ideas.  We need to unite everyone as an American, and find a way to begin healing this nation.  Four years of Trump, Hillary, Biden, or Sanders will just make things worse.

Whew…

Two posts in one night….. Doesn’t happen often at all.

After perusing my Twitter Timeline, and my Facebook Feed, I have come to a conclusion of sorts (A totally unscientific one at that) regarding those who like “The Donald.”

Forget the fact that he his spewing populist excrement.  Forget that, as a candidate, and the leading one (for now) at that, he should be telling us what his vision his, his plan, his idea to “Make America Great Again.”  What is pulling people in, is that he is saying what people want to hear.

You mean people want to hear this crap?

Yes, some of them do. At least, those of the knee-jerk  “Oooh, I like what he just said” type.  Now, I am not going to disparage anyone’s IQ, intelligence level, or anything like that.  But, we all know that this country is full of people who are, to coin a popular phrase, “low information voters.”  In other words people, who, for whatever reason, just don’t follow what is going on, beyond what is happening in their household, job, or social circle. Current events are something they see on the news for a few minutes a night, or something Kimmel or  Fallon joke about. They are just not involved, or following anything in depth. (Unless it’s Cecil the Lion, then, they are all over that. Can’t find Zimbabwe on a map, but they are all over the lion story)   They live on soundbites, and form opinions based on tweets they see in their time line, or on click bait in their Facebook feed. They may or may not be intelligent, that, we can’t discern here.  They do know they are not happy with some segment of America, be it politics, social issues, economic issues, or national security.  They may not have all of the details, or nuances of any issues, but they know something is “bad” and needs to be made good.  So, when someone comes along, speaking in those sound bites, and saying exactly what appeals to them, these people stand up and take notice..  Their ears perk up, and they say “Yes, I agree, Trump for President” and don’t bother to go beyond that.  People are drawn to the outspoken, makers of bold statements, those who can speak plainly about an issue.  When there is discontent, the person who speaks the loudest, with the words that people want to hear, is the one who gets followers. Doesn’t matter the motivation, or any other ulterior motive on the part of the speaker.  They are saying what the discontented want to hear, and the discontented mistake this for intelligence, and a statement of the outspoken one’s intentions.  Sometimes this is enough to carry someone to a leadership position.  Which, can be a scary proposition for the more rational, and thoughtful among us.

When challenged, I have yet to have anyone tell me what Trump’s positions are on the issues facing the country.  I get:

“He will build a wall”

“He’s a businessman, he can fix the economy”

“He will beat Hillary.”

and on, and on, and on.  None of those make any sense, and saying “Build a wall” does not fix our immigration crisis.  Saying “He can fix the economy” doesn’t put people to work.  Every election, probably since this country began, has had someone who sticks their head in the race, says a few things, runs a campaign, but never does much beyond a couple of percentage points.  They stir up public opinion, get some headlines, but, eventually fade away, mainly due to lack of any kind of substance.  Generally these folks have been outliers, “radicals” if you will, or fringe folks who are trying to make a name, but have no serious intent.  In this day and age, however, where the very survival of this country is at stake after 8 years of Barack Obama, an outlier with a big mouth is someone we can ill afford.   People, tired of the Washington Establishment are looking for someone who will “take the fight” to the establishment.  Trump is making those noises, and to people who have spent the last 8 years or longer, barely paying attention, his words are resonating.  They are hollow, full of self aggrandizement, ego, and narcissism, but they are resonating. This country cannot afford any more narcissistic, self aggrandizing leaders.   We just can’t.

I am waiting patiently for Trump to implode, evaporate, blow away, or do something, something other than running for President.

Add to the above, this little fact:  Trump has never, in all that I have read about the man, ever been a Republican, much less a conservative.  Being a business man, he is going to follow whatever direction the political winds blow.  The survival of his business and his fortune depend on it. He was a Hillary Clinton supporter and donor in the past.  He got political advice from Bill Clinton.  Tell me, does that sound like a Republican to you?

We need Mr. Trump back in his penthouse, doing what he does from a business standpoint.  We don’t need him jumping in to the presidential fray. We need solid leadership, from someone with a vision, and who is willing to do the work that is required to take this country back down a prosperous path.  We need someone who can secure this country, and our place in the world, someone who understands statecraft, foreign relations, and how everything works in the big picture.  Trump is not that guy.  I do not know who is at this point, but I know it’s not him.

 

 

If you are one of those who watched the Fox GOP debate the other night, then you are one of many who saw what amounted to a verbal fistfight.   For the record, I did not watch the debate. I also have not seen much of the video from the debate that has made it’s way around social media, and the like.  So, this is not an opinion piece about the debate, in fact, I didn’t really care much about the debate.  Too many candidates, and I need some time to watch the process and see who rises to the top.

When I started “Chairman of the Awkward Squad” a few years ago, my goal was to write as comprehensive a political blog as I could.  I like to write, I enjoy politics (or, at least, I used to) and I have strong opinions. (Just ask anyone I know.)  However, post 2012 election, I stopped.  I pretty much gave up on politics, following politics, the GOP, and all of the like.  Yes, I paid attention to the news, followed my Twitter feed, and in general kept as informed as I could, but I just didn’t, and I couldn’t jump in to the fray any longer.  The 2012 election soured me, really soured me, and, quite frankly, pissed me off.  Why?  Never in my life have I ever felt so betrayed by the politics I believed in.  Never in my life have I felt so lied to by the GOP, and really, conservatism in general.  I quit listening to Rush, reading Red State, and backed off of any conservative media, with the exception of a few Twitter feeds that I enjoyed, and some blogs in other places.  Romney was a nice man, but didn’t stand a chance, and yet, throughout that cycle we were sold a bill of goods regarding him.  When the returns came in on Election Night, the betrayal bit deep.  I was led to believe that Mitt had a chance.

Now we are approaching 2016, and I feel compelled to get back into following this stuff, and perhaps opining on some of it.  First off, I am not surprised by the size of the GOP field.  When election time starts to approach,  everyone with an idea, and that thinks they have a chance, jumps in. I was also not surprised by Trump’s entry, because, well, he’s Trump, and he is always looking for the spotlight. (If you have ever watched
“The Apprentice” you understand)  I figured he would flash in the pan, and be gone.

It would appear my assumption was wrong.

The reason, and I hear this from my FB feed, and friends and co workers, Trump is resonating, is simply because he is saying what people, who are fed up with everything that is going wrong in this country, want to hear.  What Trump is spewing is really nothing more than populist horse-hockey, that is designed to rabble rouse and nothing more.  Furthermore, and I remembered this from Queen Hillary’s Senate run, that Trump was one of her donors, and a supporter.

What is this guy doing trying to be a Republican?  Or, even worse, trying to portray himself as a Conservative?  Trump has a been a business man, and, I have always assumed, based on past behavior, a Democrat.

What Trump is doing, is trying to divide the vote, really.  He is a spoiler, a distraction, a carnival barker.  As I said above, he is saying the things that the discontented want to hear.  That is what is causing him to poll well.   A third party run?  Yes, most likely.  Why? Because he will cull away all of those in the GOP, if you will, who focus on one issue.  In this election, it will be Immigration.  He is appealing to those who are tired of the immigration crisis in this country, but, he is also appealing to those on a more baser level.  The racists, the xenophobes, and those who wish to just trash anyone who isn’t them.  I see it in my Twitter feed, and my Facebook feed, and, with an issue that requires a thoughtful, and comprehensive approach, shouts of “Build a wall” and “Send ’em all back!” are not a solution.  It’s rabble rousing at its worst.  Not only that, they are little more that catch phrases for people to rally around, and don’t require much thought.    Additionally, the stupid spat with Megyn Kelly of FOX is a distraction, and a device to further the moribund “war on women”, by providing fodder for the lefty pundits to bash conservatism with.

Trump is something the GOP, and this election cycle does not need.  With all of the crisis, both current and looming, that this country is facing, there is no room for someone who is going to nothing more than pound a fist, and shout catch phrases.   Has Trump said one word about how he would deal with Iran? or ISIS?  If he has, I haven’t heard it.  Because of his business acumen, he may be good on the economy, but occupying the White House is more than a one-dimensional job.  He knows it, and we know it, and we also know, like our current occupant, he is lacking in what many perceive as necessary skills.  Statecraft? Trump as no idea what that is.

Also, in the vein of what this country doesn’t need, is another Bush, and, we don’t need Christie either.  Those two really need to take off their RINO suits, and put on the “D”, because, really that is what they are acting like. (I don’t have time in this blog to go into it, perhaps later….)

I haven’t settled on any one candidate yet.  Too many to keep track of, and I am looking for someone to emerge as a leader.  There a couple who are starting to show some potential, but I will reserve my judgement for later.

So, I am getting back into this, and I will most likely regret it.  Look for more.  It may, or may not be interesting.

 

 

Over the last coupld of years, we have had the tragedies of Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, and several smaller incidents where a person entered a public venue, with the intent of killing others.  With all of that, one would think this is a nation where the national sport is shooting one another.

At least, that’s how it sounds when you hear the media report it.  They mention the gunman, sure, but, they don’t mention him as the cause of what happened.  I cried the day it happened.  Never in my life have I seen a tragedy such as the one that unfolded. It was truly horrifying. Nothing more can be said about it, that hasn’t already been said.

Tell me, though, would you ever hear, or read something like the following, from today’s newspapers, and news channels?

Six people were killed today, by a Chevy Silverado, after the pickup crossed the centerline on the highway, and plowed into the a minivan carrying a family of six………..

Of course not, the story lead, or headline would mention the drunk driver, would it not?  Yes, it would.  It would say “Intoxicated driver kills 6 on the expressway” The pickup truck would be mentioned as the vehicle, not the cause.  The cause would be the intoxicated driver.

Why is not so when there is a mass shooting?  The emphasis is put on the weapon used, not the state of mind, or the motivations of the person pulling the trigger.  In order to shoot someone, you have to pull the trigger, do you not?  Yes, you do….

So, that brings to the fore, the question no one, at least, not anyone in the media wants to have to try and answer: The moral questions surrounding why someone would do what they did, be it Newtown, or Aurora Colorado, Klackamas Mall,…. the list goes on.  Those who wish to ban guns only want to talk to you about how evil guns are, not about how evil the people might be that are doing the shooting.  That puts the onus on the deed on the person, not the weapon.  They want the weapon to be the focus, not the person, because it then becomes a moral argument, not a political one.   They don’t want moral arguments.

Enough of that though.  Both sides in the gun debate have staked out their positions quite well.  We know where they stand, and each side considers the other one evil incarnate.   But, the debate doesn’t stop there, in fact it doesn’t even start there.

It starts with our society. It starts with each of us as individuals.  It starts with the current social and economic climate, and it also includes the entertainment outlets in side our society.   As a people we have lost, or have almost lost, the moral recognition of right and wrong.  It has gone to “shades of grey”.  We can’t judge, we can’t point out mistakes, we have to worried about “self esteem”, we can’t be negative, and we cannot ever point out the moral failings that lead to poor life decisions, and then the results of those decisions, which generally involve guns.   In addition a bigger, and even more uncomfortable question comes up:

“What do we do with the mentally ill.”

In the shootings of the past year or so, the shooters involved have had mental issues, serious mental issues.  Why were they not treated? Locked up?  How did they get access to weapons? Why didn’t someone do something about them?

If one has never dealt with mental illness, then one is probably ill prepared to deal with, or even spot  someone who may have a problem.  Think about it:  If you do realize someone you know, or know of, may have a mental problem, who do you talk to about it?  Many families don’t even recognize a family member with a problem until something happens, and even if they do, it is a long struggle to get them help, medication, or, in extreme cases, put in an institution. Some families just hope the problem is a “phase” or something that their loved one is going through.  Mental illness in children is tough to recognize, diagnose, and treat.  Most insurance doesn’t cover the medications or treatment.  Obamacare?  Not going there.  Nope.  Leaving that alone for now.  Many families cannot afford the cost of long-term institutionalization of someone.  Most, if not all of the states have cut out, or drastically reduced the budget for any mental health  facilities they run.  So, what do we do?

This nation has a problem:  We have lost whatever moral code we used to live by.  We live in a “me first, the hell with everyone else” kind of society.  Right and wrong are relative, not absolute.  Our children are taught in college, and even younger that morals are what one feels they are.

We have also lost God.
Yes, I said it.  We have systematically cut God out of our culture.  Why?  Why are we afraid of God? Because God is the absolute moral authority, and the Holy Bible is the book that spells out that authority.  I can hear you readers now, either turning away from the screen, saying something rude, or clicking the mouse to go to another page.    We are afraid of God, because we are afraid of accoutability, we are afraid of judgement, and to be quite honest, we don’t want to be told that what we are doing is wrong.  So, we rationalize it, we minimize it.  We compare ourselves to others, such as “Well, I might be bad, but I am not Jeffery Dhamer”, so then we can go on with our lives, because we are “Not as bad as……” .

The society we live in is a compilation and combination of everyone’s “bad”.  The crappy things we do to ourselves, our family members or others adds to the sum total of the evil in our society.  We may not “feel” it is wrong, but it doesn’t make us any less wrong, and it desensitizes us to the wrongs of others.  “Judge not, lest ye be judged” we say in our most righteous voice possible, and this bible verse, translated in context means “Hey, do what you want, and I’ll do what I want we won’t say anything.”

So, we go along merrily, ignoring the evil that builds around us, and that we contribute to.  Pretty soon, we have a society of fatherless kids, teenagers dropping out of high school, divorce rates through the ceiling, alcoholism, drug use, and perversions everywhere. We look at what our society is and then say “Well, that’s normal.”

It’s the normal that is killing us, It’s the “normal” that is contributing to the morass that we are in.

Banning the gun because of Newtown, or Virginia Tech, or Columbine makes as much sense as banning cars because of drunk drivers.  No correlaltion? Really?   If one is the cause of mass shootings, then the other must be the cause of drunk driving.  After all, if we are going to excuse the shooter’s lack of morality, then we must excuse the drunk driver’s as well.  “But the gun is the cause, without the gun, then those people couldn’t have killed so many people.”   Well, yes, and no.  If there were no guns, do you think the shooters in any of those situations would have said. “Oh, crud, no guns, I guess I can’t kill all of those people.”   If we were a gun free society, heck, if the gun didn’t exist, would it not stand to reason that someone who wanted to kill other people would have used a different weapon?  Just because there is no guns, does not mean there is no evil.  Do you think, if there were no cars, we would have no drunks?  No, drunks would exist, they would be using whatever form of transportation was being used, and yes, people would still die at their hands.

But that is not how, or where we live, so the above is moot.

I can go on at length about responsible gun ownership, about responsible gun owners.  I won’t. It’s all been said. And, I must note, that just because someone is a gun owner does not mean they are not capable of evil. And, by the same token, because they own guns, does not mean they are evil.  I own a car, but I am not a drunk driver.  But, many drunk drivers own cars.  Just like many people who own guns are not criminals, but many criminals have guns in their possession.

The action taken, the pulling the trigger, or turning the key, is dependent on the level of moral responsibility that resides in that person.  The decision to take that action can be influenced by impairments, be they induced by mental illness, or too much to drink, or by being too angry, and not caring about what happens after the action is taken.

 

It’s been a tough couple of years for me, since the last election. My view of this country, it’s voters, and it’s political process took a beating, and since then, hasn’t improved. I have watched every scandal unfold over the last couple of years under this administration, and with each and every new revelation, I think: When is someone going to do something?

I mean, really do something.

We are the American people, all of us, from where ever we came from, whatever our lineage, born here, or not, this is our country, and, we are watching it be dismantled. Every freedom we cherish, and live for, every institution that made this country what it is, is being taken apart.

Piece by piece.

Now, mind you, we are not watching in silence. Oh no, our voices are raised, our Twitter feeds are full of our opinions, our Facebook timelines decry all of the government excess. Among our friends and confidantes, we pontificate, we expound, we point out the wrongs, the injustice. We sign online petitions, we vote in online polls. We scream “how dare they!” and “This is America, they can’t do that:”. And yet they do, over, and over and over. But, we raise our voices still louder. They do it again. Perhaps along with the raised voice, we pound our fist on a table, for emphasis, because “We aren’t going to stand for this! This is Americaaaaaa!”. But yet, they still do it.

Just hashtag it already.

We shout “Where is the media on this?” We all know where the media is. The “media”, that feckless collection of sycophants who have sold their souls to their agenda. They will never report on what is going on. The major media in this country has Joseph Goebbels dancing with glee in his grave. His methods are back in use, 80 years later, with the same results. The cold, hard truth is, well, no one knows what “truth” is anymore. Our so called “politicians” are the other collection of spineless sycophants who have sold their souls for votes, or recognition, or their agenda. None of them stand on any principal, unless that will get them someone’s vote. Then they are all over it. Until they get re-elected, and then they conveniently forget their promise. We have the “Conservative” media, such as it is. Yes, there are people of integrity, those who wish to report facts, and tell it how it is, and not how they feel about it. Unfortunately, there are many so-called “conservative media” sites that indulge in the same lies, distortions, misrepresentations, and bias that the mainstream engages in. These days it is very hard to tell what the truth is, and what is really going on. I am convinced that there is not a single person of integrity, that I can trust in the mainstream, and very few in the “Conservative” media. I watch the news sometimes, just to watch them deliver their pile of pony pucks with a straight face, in its own dark way, it’s entertaining. Through all of this, we demand that the “media” get involved and start reporting. Folks, they are reporting. They are reporting exactly what they want you to hear, and see, according to the agenda they are following.

Inaction follows inaction.

All I see are words. I don’t see any action. We are like a group of people in a burning house, hoping someone picks up the fire hose and saves us all. As far as every scandal that is plaguing this country. Action needs to be taken, and not words.

But no one will.

The news media won’t because, well, because they are on the same side as the administration, and, quite frankly, they won’t be biting the hand that feeds them.
Our politicians won’t because the risk to their precious careers is too great. Not only that, they have no guts, or integrity.
The people? What about us. What is our role in this farce? Where are the patriots? Where are those that would lead us out from under this mess, and restore some sort of prestige back to this country’s name, and rectify some of the wrongs that have been committed?

The truth is, a police state is just around the corner. We are standing on the cusp of it, and as we click the “send” button for every Tweet, or Facebook post, or other social media, while we watch out TV, listen to our music, and pound our fists about the injustice of all that is around us, we are being set up. The rug, folks, is going to pulled out from under us. How, when, and where is anyone’s guess. It is, however, going to happen.

Can it be stopped? I don’t know, but then, that is up to us, isn’t it?

Today. 9/11

I am sitting in my living room.  The house is quiet, the kids have all gone to school.  A light breeze blows through the open window next to me, while the sun shines in a bright blue sky this morning.

I still feel it.  It never goes away, not after 11 years.  It was a morning like this, that tragedy, aggression, and, quite frankly, an act of war was perpetrated on this country.  The memories are haunting to me.  I remember with striking clarity the events of that day, and the days after.   I have never visited Ground Zero, or the memorial site, not that I don’t want to,  I have just never had the money to travel to see it.

It is incongruous, sitting here, it’s a bright sunny September day, and it feels out of place.  It’s like this day is completely locked in to those horrific scenes from New York.  Even more so, it happened on  Tuesday, my day off from my Computer Technician job that I had at the time.

The TV specials that will air tonight, and probably throughout the week, bring home every memory, which are still as vivid in my mind now, as it was on the day it happened.

America changed that day.  We all saw it, we all remember it.

Now, those changes have changed again.  This America that we have today, is not as united as we were in the aftermath of 9/11.  We are divided among party lines, among class lines, and among racial lines as well.   We are a country that is hurting in ways that will not heal overnight.   But, someone has to bring the healing in order for that to happen.   The agents of divisiveness are the ones that are out there now, claiming to be the “healers”.

We walk through the morass that this country has become on some levels, a growing dependency culture, millions unemployed, optimism at an all time low… and we have an Administration, that is trying to tell us that this excrement sandwich that they are trying to feed us, is roast beef, and we should pick it up and enjoy it.

On this 11th Anniversary of 9/11.  I sit and remember America.  My country. Our Country.  The nation of people that have adapted, and overcame throughout history.  We are the American People.

We don’t belong to Government.  They belong to us, and it’s high time they are reminded of that.

This our Country built by those who have come before, from every corner of this earth.

This is a country of people.  Of Free Citizens, of self determination, and a desire to not only succeed, but excel.

I am tired of those who wish to apologize for, or try to minimize our greatness.  Our greatness as a country was earned.  Not given.  It was earned through the blood, sweat, toil and sacrifice of 230 years  of people just wanting better for themselves  and for others as well.

This is America, in all it’s stunning imperfection.  I love my country, and it’s people.

I don’t get it.

The absolute gushing over Clinton that occurred last night during his speech.  I watched.  I wondered.  I laughed.

Not at the speech, as riddled as it was with inaccuracies, distortions, and not a few lies, because we have heard that all before.  It was the gushing that was on Facebook, my Twitter feed, and, visible among the audience.

And then, there was this little gem from ABC’s Rick Klein, posted on Twitter.

______________________________________________

What is with this garbage?  First of all, my fifth grade daughter can write better than that, and so can my sixth grade son, and he would have used more stirring imgery.   I don’t get the fawning, the absolute sycophancy (is that even a word?) from the media and others on the left.  After the speeches at the RNC, there was praise and similar reaction from the right, but I don’t recall reading anything like the above.  That’s not praise, that is starry-eyed-teenage-girl-infatuation-puppy love type reaction.  That’s the kind of thing a seventh grade girl writes about One Direction.   (note, the above tweet has been removed from Mr. Klein’s timeline….just sayin’)

Predictably, Chris Matthews, he of the “thrill” up his leg, gave us this semi-obscene, and strange little tidbit:
MSNBC's Chris Matthews
“I always figured that if Bill Clinton landed on Mars. He would know how to do it with them. He would know how to reproduce,” Matthews said. “He would know everything. He would just instinctively know how to talk to people. They would be laughing in about five minutes. The Martians.

What the hell is that about? Between the the thrill up his leg, and his vision of Bill Clinton reproducing with Martians, I think Chris Matthews has finally gone ’round the bend. I don’t even want to dissect, analyze, or even discuss that bit….I think we would be probing areas of his mind that are better left unprobed.

And then, there is the semi-orgasmic offerings from quite a few women around the Twitter verse as well, at the hashtag #veganfox. (Apparently Mr. Clinton has decided to be a Vegan…. okay… whatever) I came away from that hashtag feeling like a voyeur outside of someone’s bedroom.

Camera shots out to the audience, that were enraptured by his living organism of a speech, showed more than a few women with the bedroom eyes turned on.  All of those independent, strong, feminist, “I’ll-never-be-held-back-by-a-man”, women were looking like they were going to be leaving wet spots on their seats……

Nothing, however, will compare to tonight, when the Left’s very own “Messiah” takes the stage, and accepts the Democrat nomination for President.

The reaction to the speech, may require towels.

Friday will be full of more airy, pseudo-poetic, sycophantic ravings about Mr. Obama’s speech, as the left wing media will try and remind us, that President Teleprompter is indeed a great orator.

Like I said.

Get the towels.

H/T’s…

Twitchy Team for the Rick Klein Tweet

Washington Examiner for the Chris Matthews quote

“Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values.”

As I watched Condeleeza Rice last night, that line stuck in my mind.  In fact, I kept thinking about it while I was working last night, and then catching up on Twitter and my other news feeds.

During the perusal of my RSS last night, that line echoed in my head as I came across a photo of a “Code Pink” protester dressed as a female body part, and holding a sign that said “Abortion on demand”.  The juxtaposition of that image, and Ms. Rice’s speech showed just how stark the contrast is between those who believe in this country, and those who don’t.

I saw some more photos this morning, all taken at the convention.  Ann Romney, Janna Ryan, Condi Rice, Mia Love, as well as a few others.   These women are proof of the line from Ms. Rice’s speech, and again, I contrasted these photos, showing strong, intelligent, graceful, and even beautiful women with the photo of the protester dressed as a, well, you know……

One group of photos showed accomplishment, achievement, intelligence, generosity, and purpose.

The other photo showed “gimme, gimme, gimme”.

There is no other way, in this country to get anywhere.  You go as far as you allow yourself. You go as far as the effort you put into your life takes you. But, that is something that is falling on deaf ears with many in this country. We have gotten to a point where success, any kind of success, is vilified, demonized, and even, if some had their way, criminalized.

I saw another picture. It was of one of the Occupy Movement protesters, holding a sign that said “What about me?” And then, I looked at my wall, and there was a photo of my dad.  Dad worked hard. Dad demanded that we work hard.  Dad guided us, and filled us with the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, decency, faith in God, and faith in our abilities.  Dad was a manager, a firefighter, and then Fire Chief, he was also a small business owner.  Dad could burn the midnight oil like nobody else, get up the next day, and do it all again.  I remember the times when I was a petulant teenage know-it-all challenging any value he held, and remember being shown, not told, how I was wrong in my self-righteous and self absorbed beliefs.  I was shown  the example Dad showed and lived.  See, he didn’t tell me, or my brothers and sister, he showed us.

So, with that image in my mind, I see this clean cut college student, smart phone in hand, back pack on his back, with the logo of a popular computer manufacturer on it, doing his best to look like he is down and out, holding a sign that said “What about me?”

Gimme, gimme, gimme.

You have to.

I need.

Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Entitlement abounds.  People, especially young people, not only want, but demand that things be given to them at the expense of others.  And when someone dares to speak about how that isn’t going to be, the speech is met with viciousness.  Not disagreement, no. Viciousness. Verbal attacks calling for the destruction, death, or injury of the speaker. If that speaker just happens to be a “person of color”, the attacks are even worse.  It’s not fringe lunatics doing this either.  It’s the mainstream.  Actors, Actresses, “news” anchors, commentators on national networks. This isn’t disagreement, this is hatred.  It is “You either agree with me, or face the consequences”.

This is where we are at.

We live in a society that is more than ever before, lazy, self indulgent, demanding, and amoral.  We are at the precipice.

We are at the cusp of a future that can either lead us back, or take us out.

It’s not just about the President we elect either.  It starts, or ends, with the decision that is made in November.  It is going to take more than a Presidential election, or even gubernatorial, Congress, or Senatorial.  Those are all starting points.  The changes, the real changes have to come from the people.  We have to start pushing back against the tide of corruption, ignorance, immorality, decay, debauchery, and destruction that this society has become. We, as a people, have to pick up the standard of values, and start carrying them.

We have to be like my Dad.  We have to show, not tell.  Dad did things for people without any other consideration, beyond the fact that they were a person who needed something. We don’t have to do big productions, we don’t have to call attention to calling for a moral shift.  We just have to act. When we act in the small ways, eventually, it changes the big things. We start, by teaching these things to our kids.

This is the future of the United States of America. Romney and Ryan can set the course, we must steer the ship. It’s not enough to have jobs and prosperity.  We have to show what this country has always been about, we have to live the values, not just talk about them.  It may seem impossible, but,  we must make it inevitable.

Jesus told us to “be the light of the world” and a “city on the hill”.  That we must do.  Whatever your faith, it is what we must do.  We must bring this country back, not only in the economic, and leadership sense, but as a society of values.

It can’t be any other way.

“Gaffe”  A word heard quite often, especially during a Presidential campaign. Sometimes, after long days and weeks on the road, candidates say something silly.  Other times, their true colors are revealed, and then sometimes, they speak, and say something that manages to make people angry, and make headlines.

Example: Todd Akin.

Todd Akin was asked, during an interview with KTVI-TV,  about “abortion in the case of rape or incest” and he said:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

“legitimate rape” are the two words that will go down as the words that potentially doomed, but definitely derailed, a campaign.  I have no idea where he got the whole “has a way to shut that down” idiocy from.  I can understand a gaffe, but, this wasn’t a gaffe. Akin’s remarks smack as uninformed, and uneducated.  Precisely how the left views most pro-life conservatives, and his remark played right into their hands.

Now, we are dealing with a totally derailed GOP message.  We have gone from “Jobs, Economy, Energy” to “Abortion and rape”.  This fits in the Left’s “War on Women” meme (I hate that word) that they have been pushing for the last few months.  Even Sandra Fluke is getting mileage out of this, and is coordinating with Barack Obama on an email that will continue to lump all of us Conservatives, and Republicans into the same box, under the “War on Women” meme (again, I hate that word)

Right now, we have lost the message.  The Romney campaign dodged this whole mess by condemning Akin’s remarks. If they hadn’t, or had remained silent for more than 10 minutes on it, the media would be spinning Romney into this.  Not that they haven’t tried, but, had Romney’s campaign remained silent, the media spin would have been more damaging. By condemning the remarks, Romney did put some distance between his campaign and Todd Akin’s stupidity.

However, that isn’t going to last very long. The longer Akin is in the race, the more likely it is that it will do damage (how much, remains to be seen) to the Romney campaign. Right now, the focus is off of the real issues, and on to this stupid sideshow.  It’s where the Obama campaign wants the focus, and actually needs the focus to be. They need it off of Medicare, Obamacare, jobs, unemployment, gas prices, energy in general, national security, and any other actual issue that he has a poor record on.  Right now, Romney and Ryan are still out there spreading their message, in an effort to keep the focus where it needs to be.  That can’t last if this Akin business persists. Eventually they are going to have to answer to it as well, even though their condemnation of his remarks have pretty much made it clear.  The Left is trying to tie this into Paul Ryan as well, and the more it stays out there, the more likely it is.

The other part of this is the usual “If a Democrat had said this he would have gotten a pass”.  Yes, a Democrat would have.  Get over it.  We need to stop complaining about the “unfairness” in media reporting.  it’s deliberate.  We know that.  Now stop.   We are never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to get a fair shot from the media. Ever.  Stop complaining.  Right now, we have a problem.  We have a candidate who failed us. Something needs to be done. Right now, this idiot, and his remarks are taking up news cycle after news cycle, and drowning out the real message that Romney/Ryan are trying to get out there.

I am not saying that our chances of winning in November are ruined.  What I am saying, is the longer this plays, the more the focus is taken off of the real issues.  We can’t have that.  This country cannot afford it.  We can not have the terms “legitimate rape” be the defining terms of this presidential election, not when so much is at stake. We need to define the terms of this election, we cannot let the Left define them for us.  However, when a remark such as Akin’s is made, we have lost the battle for definition, and are on the defensive….Again.

Todd Akin has to go.

From everything I have read, he doesn’t want to.  A PPP Poll released yesterday shows him up over Claire McCaskill by 1 point.  It was a poll that had a Republican sample that was 9% larger, and thereby seems to have skewed the results, in an effort, it would seem, to convince Akin he still has a chance.  He ruined his chances with a remark that was woefully uninformed and, ignorant.

Todd Akin needs to be convinced that the best thing for him to do is to get out of the race.  However, the public spectacle that would ensue if he doesn’t get out, and the GOP, or someone, sues to have him removed, would also serve to damage our efforts.  Trying to run a 3rd candidate would only guarantee MacCaskill gets another term.  It’s not a good situation, and the best thing for him to do, is to decide to get out, and let the damage get repaired.  His selfish intrasigence will only serve to make matters worse.