Tag Archive: Republican


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 Gab.ai.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Why?

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.

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.

“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.