On A Troubling Double Standard…

Verse of the Day:

Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.  You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.
~ II Chronicles 6:14-15 ~

Today I wonder what the generation that gave birth to the greatest experiment mankind ever conceived would think of us and what we have become – I wonder what every preceding generation would think…  And I’m speaking in reference to the America we live in where a high school coach that kneels in prayer is fired and a player that prays is mocked, while a football player that kneels during the national anthem is deifiedimg_1298 (I’m not linking to anything because I couldn’t figure out which douchiest love-fest for this craptastic quarterback I should use, so I used his stats from the last two seasons) and a high school coach that encourages his entire team to do the same in honor of said player is cheered and celebrated.  To be honest, I know what the Father of our country would think about the former, he made it pretty clear:

“If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed in the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it, and if I could now conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny and every species of religious persecution.”
~ President George Washington ~

From a guy who supposedly found little solace in religion personally, he sure took religious practices in the public and private sphere awfully seriously.  Also, I’m pretty sure we know where he stood on those objects that were symbols of national unity – they were things he gave his entire adult life to after all.

I was pretty disheartened today when the most overturned Court of Appeals, the hallowed (sarcasm, Sheldon) 9th Circuit (though that part is heartening – they are so wrong so much of the time it would be comical if we didn’t have to live with their terrible decisions for any period of time) ruled that the Bremerton High School had rightfully fired him because he somehow forcefully proselytized by quietly praying by himself after the game (you’ve really got to read the opinion – it is so ridiculous you will be amazed!).  Give me a break.  We have to deal with schools that have transgender reveal parties for five-year olds that parents can’t excuse their children from and children in the first grade can get sent to the Principle’s office because they misgender someone… and that’s okay?  But a coach can’t pray by himself in public because… it’s wrong?  It’s forcing an ideology down someone’s throat?  It hurt your widdel feewings?  It will make you grow purple polka-dots on aquamarine skin?  Grow up.  I am so ready to give up on the general public and move to the wilderness right now… because I’m an outdoorsman (I’m not an outdoorsman).

The double standard here is so painfully obvious, and those that don’t acknowledge it are willfully ignorant/oblivious: many of the same people that are perfectly fine with this coach’s firing (or even openly appreciate it) celebrate Kaepernick’s open insult to one of the few symbols that should unify us as a people, and think somebody should be forced to hire him; at least Kap has a reason for not having a job – he sucks at football, that coach didn’t – he just exercised his First Amendment Rights and got fired for it.  How intellectually dishonest can we be as a society?  Do we even care?  Or is it really all just about pushing an illiberal agenda where there’s no room for the public embrace of the faith that has helped this Nation grow as much as it has?  I have a feeling I know the answer, it’s just so sad.

I pray that the Supreme Court has the good sense to do what needs to be done, and overturn the 9th AGAIN.; I pray that common sense returns to the people of this land; I pray we find a sense of morality grounded in our Creator’s wisdom again; and I pray for the people in the path of zombie hurricane Harvey.

In closing, here’s a link to some ways to help victims of Hurricane Harvey which has just made landfall in Texas.

I’ll catch you on the flip side…

Advertisements

On Leadership…

leadership-demotivational-poster-1237740501

Verse of the Day

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

~ Matthew 20:25-28 `

Today we had a work event where the head of our department (fairly new to our organization) wanted to take the time at our first all-around get-together to talk about his views on leadership and the principles he lives by.  He started out with a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry about leadership being inspiring people to long for something rather than assigning tasks, then he moved on to discussing the balance between control and trust and how it plays into empowerment.

With the topic of leadership coming up, it reminded me of this:

“I think leadership comes from integrity – that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbor makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity.”
~ Scott Berkun ~

Sometimes I wonder if I’m being the kind of leader I need to be, or was meant to be. Sometimes it pays to take stock of our lives and ask the questions – are we leading? Are we doing what needs to be done and sharing in the work? Are we doing the non-obvious things as well as the obvious things? And where we lead – do people follow? Should they follow? Are we the family member, friend and neighbor we should be? And when we’ve asked the questions – do we like the answers? And even if we do like the answers – can we work on it and make them better?

Just my thought for the day…

On The Day That Was Yesterday When Stupid Seemed To Reign…

Verse of the Day:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

~ Proverbs 19:21 ~

I’ve got a lot of plans…  I hope and pray they’re in alignment!


Now, On Other Things

Wow…  What a busy, stupid day yesterday.wha

ESPN cancels a reporter’s appearance at a game… because of his name?!  President Trump was… well, Donald Trump.  The media, pundits, and elected officials lost their minds (again).  The Bundy’s were acquitted.  And the Chicago Bears’ coaching staff still refuses to acknowledge that Mike Glennon probably isn’t the answer to anything other than “What QB got paid the most for showing almost nothing this year?”.

 

In “Ways People Couldn’t Be Stupider” today…  ESPN determined it was in everyone’s best interest to shuffle their announcer deck so that a young Asian-American announcer named Robert Lee wouldn’t have to announce a game at the University of Virginia on opening week.  Defending this move, they claimed they were merely trying to protect their staff from ridicule.  Well, they succeeded – kind of.  Instead of mean-spirited memes or other things (that naturally occur in sports anyways…  ALL THE TIME), they are victims of their own hubris, and are being excoriated by virtually everyone over this stupidest of moves.  Honestly, I didn’t think we could get this dumb as a society – clearly I was wrong.  Not only does it hurt ESPN in the now, it exacerbates the (correct) perception that ESPN is moving well beyond sports (the arena it should be focused on) and expanding ever more rapidly into advancing leftist political agendas; there’s a reason I don’t watch ESPN anymore, and this is just the most recent example.  #dontwatchESPNanymoreitsbadforyourbrainpan


Then…  Last night the President did what only Donald Trump can do: he was himself.  This was the Donald Trump that ate through 17 4 much more qualified candidates (and 13 other guys/gals) in the Republican primary and then surprisingly (not really) squelched Secretary Clinton’s presidential aspirations in the general.  It was the Trump that rallied people across the country and rallied them around #DrainTheSwamp, and his supporters couldn’t get enough of it.  And the left and the media and the entrenched apologists for a do-nothing Republican Congress couldn’t take it…  It was kind of beautiful to watch – any time a crowd embraces and chants the idea that “CNN Sucks” I become happy.  Any time pundits respond to this like it’s the first time they’ve seen Donald Trump be The Donald and try to question his capacities, etc. – I am amused and entertained.  The unhinging of the left, the media, and those Republicans who can’t bother to keep their campaign promises (that one vote short came about because a guy who ran hard against Obamacare to get re-elected cared more about sticking it to the President than about the American people imnsho) is something that should be on display for all to see.  And that group of people – guilty of the worst kind of insular group-think – who keep floating the idea of unilaterally undermining the proper election results by removing this President are worse than the Russians they claim did the same thing (wait, we haven’t heard about that in a while since they don’t have anything…  Kind of funny how the media, left, etc. move from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis in order to undermine this President).  All that rambling to say – this rally wasn’t as great as the President’s fans think it was, but it was nowhere near as bad as the media and others are trying to pan it to be – and it certainly wasn’t anything new.  People who expected Donald Trump to stop being Donald Trump because he was elected President need to disabuse themselves of that notion and at least try to understand the appeal of him to the everyman – something I gather they never will.


I kind of covered the melt-down of the left, etc. in response to yesterday’s rally above; suffice to say it was hilarious and epic in its disproportion.  Maybe if the media started doing its job instead of acting like they were an opposition party; maybe if pundits – I’ve got nothing here other than they should cease being scaremongers, acting as if every time the President opened his mouth the world was ending (Clapper was especially trite the other day), and calling anyone that supports the President a racist, homophobic, transphobic Confederate Nazi scum (or something to that effect).


The Bundy’s were acquitted… And how that happened I will never know.  While I agree that the Federal Government is increasingly expansive, and has usurped much power that should have never fallen into its hand, and is about as responsive as the British government was to the colonists back in the 18th century – there are laws, and by all accounts the Bundy’s broke them.

Look, we may agree with the plight of the Bundy’s and be sympathetic to their cause; that doesn’t mean what they did was right or legal.  I chalk this up to people being fed up with the government, but I find little solace in a jury deciding to acquit individuals who broke the law because they don’t like the law.  We have elections, and the power of redress in our States through initiative and petitions – that’s how you change laws you don’t like.  Super irritating to be on the side of law and order, only to have half your side abandon those principles when it doesn’t suit their wants.


And lastly – what is going on in Chicago?!  How have we not given Mitch the opportunity to take snaps with the first team yet?  John Fox refusing to even give the inkling it might be on the table leaves me flabbergasted, and it needs to stop!  Mike Glennon may be a great guy and an exceptional teammate; he’s not looking like the best quarterback on our roster and it’s time to see what else we’ve got before the season starts!  #FirstTeamRepsforMitch


 

On The World Being A Little Less Funny Now… (and more)

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances…”

On Sunday, August 20, 2017 the world became a less funny place.  One of its great humourists, Jerry Lewis, exited the stage one final time leaving behind a legacy he and his family can be proud of.

220px-Jerry_Lewis_-_1960s
“I’ve had great success being a total idiot.”

I can’t claim to know too much about the man himself, but from what I can gather he was a consummate professional – dedicated to his craft, and making himself the best he could be at it; he also seemed to have a heart for serving others as his life-long work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (maybe donate one more time in his honour) and his desire to help children in need; and he was funny.

Not Will Ferrell ‘I’ll cringe while I laugh at your jokes and wouldn’t think of letting my niece and nephew watch or listen to you’ funny.  Not profanity-laced, crude modern-day stand-up funny.  Just funny.  Good old-fashioned, innocent funny.

Some years back when my niece was born, I felt the need to go out and buy several DVD sets of things I didn’t want her and my nephew to miss out on; included in those are three of the greatest duos of all time imnsho – Abbott & Costello, Hope & Crosby, and – you guessed it probable – Lewis & Martin.  These were the groups I wanted to share because they’re some of my favourite entertainment memories; those winter nights when mom and dad would go to Hollywood Video and rent us movies, it would often be these guys.  And one of my favourites!  Scared Stiff

This here is my kind of funny.  And it’s the kind of funny I’m glad I can share with everyone.

And now there’s less of it in the world…  You will be missed, Mr. Lewis, but you have left a mark that remains.  Thank you for the memories.

Godspeed.


In other news, the President gave a speech last night outlining the new strategy moving forward in Afghanistan…  and it was surprisingly good.  When CNN has a hard time finding anything bad to say about it, and Senator Graham has nothing but praise for President Trump – hell has frozen over with the jihadists in it (I wish).

trump-afghanistan-speech-nicholas-kammafpgetty-images-640x480
“The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable,” Trump said. “We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake we made Iraq.”

I appreciate what the President had to say, and that he was man enough to admit that he has changed his mind (as did the last President) based on the advice given to him.  While the worst people have been able to say about the speech is that President Trump didn’t give enough specifics – that is something I’m more than okay with.  He didn’t say exactly what he’d be doing and how long we’d be doing it – it’s best not to telegraph that info so the enemy can just wait us out… like they did when President Obama set an arbitrary withdrawal date of 18 months.  Apparently unlike our last President, this one occasionally learns from history.  President Trump has also done infinitely better than President Obama in not playing armchair General, and disseminating authority and decision-making power to the people who are qualified to do it on the ground – and this sounds like more of the same; which has given us yuuuuuge gains in the battle against ISIS so fat this year.  I look forward to seeing what our men and women in the armed forces can accomplish with the gloves taken off and the Generals in charge.

 


Today’s Verse:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

~ Proverbs 17:17


And Another Thing…

The home of the First and Second Battles of Bull Run – Manassas, VA – has had to cancel its Civil War Weekend for safety concerns.  This is getting stupid, people – and it just keeps adding to the reasons people are the worst: so just stop it.

Civil War re-enactments were one of my favourite things to go to when I was younger; I loved learning about the era and the people and the events that shaped and changed the course of our country.  Just stop already.


On that note – have an awesome Tuesday!

On Totality

From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised.

~ Psalm 113:3 ~

IMG_0027IMG_0029

So… maybe photography isn’t my thing…  and I only had an iPhone and eclipse glasses to work with.  Go to NASA if you want better pictures.  🙂

Either way – this was pretty awesome!  And I’m glad I got to see it!

It’s also pretty amazing how much light is still generated by our sun when almost completely covered; it seemed as though there was just a substantial cloud cover – that’s pretty impressive output…  Right?  I dunno really – that’s a science question, and while I’m a nerd there’d better be a “-fiction” right after the science part if I’m going to have any chance in getting it right.

I know it’s just an object passing in front of another object,

eclipse_science
https://xkcd.com/1877/

but I still find these things amazing – God created a pretty awesome world and universe for us to enjoy.  Not only that, it’s kind of fun to see how the world has viewed events like these over the past few thousand years – check out these observations through time.  Pretty fun stuff.

 

Anyways, have an awesome Monday!

Musing of the Day: 8-20-2017

It’s Sunday!  And as such, today’s musing will be on some of what I’m studying in my Bible.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselveswith compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

~ Colossians 3:12-17 ~

thankAnd I can’t add much to that, so on that note – I’m out…

Just kidding!  It’s my blog, I feel the need to write – duh.

So, on this verse I don’t think there’s one of us out there that doesn’t struggle with these things:  being compassionate to everyone?  That homeless guy on the corner just needs to go get a job.  Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?  Holding doors open for people?  Smiling at the attendant at the gas station?  Taking time to listen to a child talk about their day even though you can’t understand them?  That’s so 90s, nobody has time for that.  Humility – not the fake kind?  Pshaw!  Gentleness?  We’re not a gentle society.  Patience?  In this microwave, fast-food, 24-hour everything world we live in?!  And forgiveness?  That has no place in this grievance-based world, so-and-so did me wrong!  I’ll forgive them when they say/prove they’re sorry.  I must have justice!  There is no mercy! (I actually heard that last one from a fellow Christian once and was in such shock I didn’t know how to respond…  I still don’t know.)

We’ve got a lot to work on captured in these short five verses: some we have to work on more than others, and each of us has a different set of strengths and weaknesses in the mix from above.

But, if we want the Peace of the Lord to rule in our lives and in our hearts, we’ve got to try to do it all.  Thankfully we’re not alone, and the Spirit should provide us with the strength we need to do it; and thankfully the Father will forgive us when we fail – but we need to try at the very least.

One of the first things we can do that should help us set the tone in our lives so we can have the Peace of the Lord is to be thankful.  Find something each and every day that you can be thankful for; on days we have difficulty doing so, or when the forces of darkness are sneaking in – it can be as simple as the fact your 6′ above ground instead of 6′ under, the fact we have a sun that provides us with warmth, etc.  Other days we’ll find more, but it starts with a mindset where we focus on things we’re grateful for.  There are even contemporary social studies that show gratitude makes people happier and healthier; so if even the broken world we live in gets it – we should embrace it even more.

There’s other things we need to do to achieve letting the Peace of the Lord rule our lives and hearts: by loving others, being kind, being humble (though in my case, this boat may have already sailed… 🙂 ), being gentle, showing patience, and forgiving others frequently; but I think showing gratitude is a pretty good way to start.

So stay thankful, my friends – and have an awesome week.

A Good News Story To Start The Weekend

And this one even involves a lawyer!

Rafael Gonçalves lost a client when he asked these questions of a young couple – but he knew that he could help their marriage if he tried.

Source: Divorce Lawyer Helps Save Marriage by Asking Four Simple Questions – Good News Network

Sometimes, all we need to do to solve a big perceived problem is self-reflect and talk things out.

Have an awesome weekend!

On Charlotsville, Intellectual Honesty, and Integrity

“When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgement have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a “case” with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends.”

~ George Orwell ~

I have an axe to grind…  That much I’ll admit to, but first:

The events of this last weekend in Charlottesville were terrible, an example of the worst mankind can offer: it was on both sides, and it needs to be addressed on both sides by all of us.

A recap:

  • A rally to protest the proposed tearing down of a statue of Robert E. Lee and renaming of Lee Park in Charlottesville was scheduled; permits were obtained and all community obligations were met for holding said rally by the planners – who were ostensibly a hodge-podge of groups that included neo-Nazis, KKK, alt-right extremists, etc.);
  • The planners of the rally and Charlottesville Police, knowing something like what happened would happen purportedly met/communicated well in advance and put together a contingency plan to prevent violence from taking place;
  • Counter-protests were planned by community members, BLM, Antifa, and more;
  • Friday night a heinous rally and march took place with people showing just how despicable their ideology and driving forces were in a display reminiscent of old Klan rallies replete with (tiki) torches and anti-Semitic slurs;
  • The day of the rally the safety promised to the rally holders was nowhere to be found as a situation was allowed to escalate quickly with few (inadequate) to no safeguards in place;
  • The planned rally (with proper permits, etc.) took place, and was met by counter-protesters (no proper permits, etc.);
  • Violence ensued, perpetrated by both sides but culminating in an evil individual allegedly (for legal reasons) associated with the white nationalist movement driving their car into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring many others;
  • President condemns evil and blames both sides for violence;
  • Media blows up because President refuses to blame just one side and call them out;
  • President issues more robust statement two days later, says what needed to be said… should have left it at that; and then…
  • President holds a completely unnecessary press conference where he issues some factual statements, doesn’t go far enough for the second time in three go-rounds in condemning the alt-Right, and lambasts the media for “fake news” (correctly imnsho);
  • And in the latest update – Steve Bannon was fired.  Whether in relation to this incident or not, I can’t say – but it’s good riddance; he shouldn’t have been allowed to grace the West Wing’s doorstep as any kind of advisor.

My take (in order, mostly chronological):

  1. tumblr_m9g4hcmqz51qzd722o1_500
  2. Maybe this should have been #1…  But there’s a lot of people to be hitting our knees for: that hearts and minds are/can be changed, that a community can heal, and that we remember the more we have in common as Americans than the differences we have as politically motivated beings;
  3. Evil was on full display last weekend. It should not be excused, it should not be tip-toed around – it should be named for what it was.  The hateful ideologies and identity politics espoused by white supremacists, the KKK, neo-Nazis/Nazis, Antifa, and BLM are terrible and have no place in civilized society; I condemn all of them for what they are – evil.  Anyone who approaches things with vile hatred in their hearts and minds, and seeks to do harm is evil – I draw no distinction between groups that believe, behave, and act in that manner (nor should anyone).  And now my more extensive thoughts;
  4. As a community we need to reject tribalism like that on display this last week and the last couple of years. Any group that claims ultimate superiority over another based solely on differences in race (white supremacists/KKK, BLM), political ideology (Antifa, Alt-Right); any group that asserts special and superior status because of some cultural sub-set/group/race; any group that feeds into identity politics; etc.: these types of groups miss the mark by more than is acceptable. Groupthink of this kind is the grossest distortion of political and social reasoning; it is a betrayal of our status as the reasoning, responsible, self-governing individuals we were Created to be. The rise and promulgation of these ideologies is a throwback to darker days, and it saddens me that we haven’t learned from the past;
  5. I don’t feel like statues should be taken down or parks renamed (I agree with Sec. Rice), but if that is what the elected officials – or citizens through referendum/initiative – in a locality or State decide to do: that’s up to them. I agree with the assessment that once you start doing that, where it ends no one knows; and that we’re better off leaving monuments alone so that history is not forgotten. Also, I have little regard for people who claim to be “oppressed” or “discriminated against” because of statues/monuments/art/street and park names – these things do not oppress or discriminate, and feelings are poor reasons for policy.
  6. A side note: I have no fondness for rallies or protests (loathe may be a better word). They are at times a public good (think MLK Jr.), but are more often public nuisances (think idiotic protests by people that don’t like the outcome of an election, any of the ‘Occupy’ crap, think marches where violence against law-keepers is propagated, heck – I attended a Tea Party rally once and thought it was a giant waste of time afterwards, rallies for statues, etc.) that serve little to no purpose other than to get a group of people worked up over something – which feeds into our basest, most tribalistic impulses (and apparently recently leads to property damage and harm to our fellow man)… the only place I can think of that being a good thing is at a sporting event…   Today no one’s rights are being trampled on, nobody’s life is in danger – it is just now popular and acceptable to claim that opinions of your opponents are harmful, despite whatever facts and figures declare otherwise.
  7. Know thy history. National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie was a landmark case in US First Amendment Law, and it was a good decision.  We may not like groups, we may find them and their values odious and repugnant – as I said above the very worst mankind has to offer; but that does not mean we have the right to prevent them from gathering or being heard.  The planned rally was legal, and as much as we may not like it – they should have been allowed to carry about their business unhindered.
  8. Counter-protests/rallies are completely within peoples’ Rights as well, as long as they too went through the proper channels – I feel that given the situation their requests would have been expedited/approved, but I don’t believe they went through the process to get them. Also, these counter-protests/rallies have a history of turning things violent – especially in the last election cycle where there were numerous incidents with counter-protestors attacking people gathered legally to express their civic rights. That being said, when something like this is going on – is it really best to insert yourself into the situation knowing your presence will most likely only make it worse? A better example was set when the NSPA set about its plans for a march through the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Skokie, the community there did something constructive and created a Holocaust memorial museum instead of showing up to exacerbate matters.
  9. This may be controversial and upsetting to some, but I feel that certain elected officials in the region had political points to gain by enabling a certain narrative, and that by not allowing law enforcement to implement strategies that should have better protected people – they got what they wanted.  I’m not sure why, after being aware of the plan for quite some time, law enforcement was not better able to implement the plan they said was in place to keep people safe/why they were given the order to stand down as long as they were – but it is my opinion that it was partially politically motivated; and putting politics above safety in this situation was deadly and beyond the pale if it is the case.
  10. In the end one group (BLM, Antifa, etc.) showed up to start trouble with another group (neo-Nazis, white nationalists, etc.) they knew would be there, and the group that was there was all too willing to accommodate them – I think Ben Shapiro accurately likens it to the old red vs. brownshirt fights in the past (his podcasts the last few days do a good job discussing this situation if you’re interested). Anyone that suggests any ONE side was to blame for the whole affair is being intellectually dishonest and I don’t really respect/care about their opinion at that point. I’ve seen posts from friends saying – literally – ‘isn’t it nice to punch Nazis’… and the only acceptable answer is, ‘no’. We live in a nation where we are free to be as dumb as we want to be in our opinions, where we are given the ability to voice whatever stupid idea pops into our head free from the threat of violence, where stupid is as stupid does – and that’s all I have to say about that.
  11. Regarding the President’s first statement: he didn’t go far enough. Apparently he had something similar to the statement he gave later in front of him but chose not to give it, and that is terrible. He should have named names, he should have called out the organizers, the neo-Nazis, and the white nationalists…. He should have also named BLM and Antifa. These groups are everything that’s wrong with identity politics, and they promote and breed the kind of behavior that took place at Charlottesville. We need strength and moral clarity from the President of the United States, and while I agree that there were many sides at fault – they needed to be addressed by name up front; the delay was unnecessary and disappointing – President Trump needed to do better then, he has to do better from now on.
  12. Regarding President Trump’s second statement and press conference – he said what needed to be said. And the media refusing to cover both sides of the problem is a continuance of the disturbing trend by news agencies to promote only one viewpoint; there is a reason I, and many many others, do not trust them. They too need to do better. (when even NYT reporters are Tweeting it, you should take note)
  13. And finally, the people who were involved in the violence ought to be sought out by the authorities (not over-zealous individuals) and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as Attorney General Sessions has indicated will be done; the individual who drove their car into the crowd and murdered a woman ought to be tried as the perpetrator of domestic terrorism if possible (me being by no means a legal expert…).

Now, as to intellectual honesty and integrity.

First, the difference: for the purposes of this Honesty is the adherence to facts, Integrity includes being honest, but also having strong moral principles, and having an internal consistency.

We are now engaged in a vicious cycle where both sides have engaged in an escalation of rhetoric that increasingly paints vast swaths of opposing ideology in the vilest of terms, and as that continues – more and more of the public are drawn into a war they didn’t want any part of, or even knew was going on. While the left insists that everyone that disagrees with pretty much any of their policies is a racist or Nazi or any other number of ist’s and –phobe’s; the right responds by lumping the entirety of everyone not them into the regressive left/libtard/unpatriotic buckets… And the rest of us are just over here asking what happened to everybody until we get bucketed with one of the groups – either by choice or by default. It’s not a good system; it doesn’t work for anybody but those on the fringes who are looking for ways to reaffirm and advance their own views.

And almost nobody is being intellectually honest or discussing this with integrity.

There is evil on all sides, it will always be with us. But we need to have the wherewithal and courage to discuss this and other issues with moral clarity, integrity, and intellectual honesty.

We need to be willing to address and call out the wrongs not only in the groups that we oppose or are in disagreement with, but to do the same with those groups that appear to be in alignment with us and/or our policy objectives; we must also not adhere to the notion that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. – “the enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy, no more, no less”. But we have come to accept that the means justify the ends; that in order to advance our opinions it is okay for us to shout down, demonize, and physically harm those that disagree with us or express a conflicting point of view. So much so that we drive a wedge in our supposedly civil society to the point we are no longer able to talk about things in a civil manner because everyone is a libtard or a Nazi or a racist or a fascist, etc. – bottom line is they’re not good people, heck , they’re not even people a reasonable person would talk to.  And once you get to that point, you can’t have a conversation with someone so evil – now can you?

Too often, each side will discuss the evil in the world when an opposing party is responsible: when BLM marched with violent slogans and targeted law enforcement officers with slurs that encouraged violence upon them that incited attacks and assassinations against our police, when people who were angry over election results rioted and destroyed property and hurt people, when you burn campuses because you might hear an opinion you disagree with, when violent factions show up to places where they know they will cause mayhem – the Right was correct in their anger at President Obama for refusing to call out those who should have been held responsible in the first two instances and instead offering platitudes about coming together and condemning all violence (he even blamed guns and cops for these – an embarrassing display of political posturing) and they are correct in their anger with the media and the left for refusing to call out the violence of their own protestors at events; and when white nationalists/the KKK/the alt-Right etc. choose to put all their ugliness on display – the Left (and a large portion of the Right) are righteous in their anger when President Trump refuses to name groups and offers the same platitudes the former President did.

But righteous indignation from either side is disingenuous when we refuse to acknowledge the plank in our own eye; I have a hard time taking the media and the left seriously with their complaints over President Trumps original statement about the events in Charlottesville when they were perfectly fine and praised the milquetoast statements from the previous administration, or tried to find any way to pan the responsibility to other parties. I have an equally difficult time with members on the right that called out President Obama over the aforementioned statements while being perfectly fine (and even defending at times) the original statement from President Trump. Both were wrong, both were morally reprehensible, both needed to do better, and both did not. And we all need to acknowledge that. We don’t get to cherry-pick when violence is okay and when it’s not. We don’t get to cull those instances that only favour our chosen side and ignore the balance. We don’t get to espouse those kinds of opinions, give sanction to the idea that squelching unpopular and even evil opinions and speech through violence is acceptable, and claim to be freedom loving members of a civil society. It just doesn’t work that way, and – again – if you think it does you are lacking in the honesty and integrity departments.

Surprisingly – or not surprisingly once you look into him – George Washington had a lot to say about this… I’ll probably cover that more specifically once I finish a couple of books I’m reading. All that to say though…

In closing: moving forward we (it would be helpful if the media would as well, but I’m not going to hold my breath) should strive to reject these ways of thinking: as a people we must, we must, we must be intellectually honest – first with ourselves, then with the groups we belong to, then with the remainder; we need to embrace and confront the world with moral clarity; and we must act with integrity, striving for consistency in the application of our ideals.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
~ Proverbs 11:3 ~

It’s the only way things are going to change for the better; my prayer is that we all do better.

Let Me Explain Myself…

Well…  I think I have kind-of-sort-of fleshed this out.  That is not to say this is an all-encompassing, all-inclusive list of everything I believe; rather it should provide a general understanding of the prism through which I view the world and its going-ons.

understand

First off, as a Christian I have accepted the fact that I am first and foremost one of my Creator’s most prized creations.  Having said as much, I must also acknowledge that I am a sinner, a deeply broken person: I swear too much, drink too much sometimes, and too often do things that break my Father’s heart.  But He is a forgiving God, so full of grace and compassion, that even while I continue to disappoint Him He knows I’m trying (sometimes harder than others unfortunately).  Something I hope is evident to my neighbours, but I fear too often is not…  It’s a life journey though, and with His help I’ll get where I need to be – because He lives.

Because of my faith, I know there are two things I must do: love the Lord – and by doing so follow His commandment as best I can, and show His love to my fellow man (note: this is especially hard to do during my commute).
Now, how this applies to my views of governance and the nature of man’s relationship with earthly powers and such may differ a great deal from many of those who would naturally assume I agree with them, while at the same time reinforcing other beliefs that others may find stereotypical.
I believe that humankind is the pinnacle of Creation here on Earth; we hold a special place in God’s heart and His plan.  I believe we have been given dominion over the earth and all it contains, and we should be wise stewards of what we have been given.  More on this later…

Secondly: I was born a citizen of these United States and I embrace my identity as an American whole-heartedly.  This nation is possibly the best experiment in governing theory that man has ever conceived, and more good has been done for mankind through the auspices of the US than any other man-lead endeavour in my not so humble opinion (my opinions are often anything but humble, just ask around). 

And lastly… Actually – before we get to the lastly – a slight disagreement I have with a lot of people on my side!
While many would argue that the US was founded on Christian principles, I assert that is to ignore the Revolution was in direct conflict with the precepts laid out in Romans 13 and ignored the teachings of Christ.  Despite that, once Revolution succeeded, the United States was indeed founded on principles that are deeply rooted in the Christian tradition.  And based on its founding, I find myself to be a Federalist: I believe in the American system of Federal government as proscribed in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights; I am convinced we are stronger together than as separate States and that the untitled.pngFederal Government has duties that are best left to its purview – common defense, interstate commerce, post office (though today maybe not really?), infrastructure, etc.  And as such, I understand the powers of (the Federal) government are, and of right, ought to be limited in scope and in size (something both parties of governance have forgotten).

Also if Chicago has a sports team, I’m probably a fan – except for the White Sox.  This will probably pop up from time-to-time, like if the Cubs are on a playoff run I’ll probably spout off.  And if the Bears by some miracle make it anywhere near the playoffs… well, you probably don’t have to worry about that too much.  Another also!  GO COUGS!

Now! …lastly we get to my defining what it means to me to be conservative.
Just as I believe humankind is the pinnacle of Creation here, I believe the individual is the sacrosanct expression – taking that into account I also hold that individuals are not complete without community and relationship.

That being said, here is where I deviate from what most conservatives would declaratively state: while I believe the individual is of paramount importance in God’s eyes, of all the Rights that mankind supposedly has – I can only find a singular God-given one, possibly two: in all my studies, the only Right I find guaranteed by my Creator is the right to choose to do what is right or what is wrong… to do what my God calls me to do, or to do what man says I can do…  That’s the only definitive Right I believe is God-given…  There could be an argument made that the right to be born is God-given as well, but since the Fall – I’m not so sure: with that caveat – it is still a right I will fight for till the day I die.

Since I’ve stated that I don’t presume most Rights are God-given, I should take time to note that despite my misgivings there – I feel the Rights listed in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are important, integral parts of a society seeking to protect and foster individuals and civil society.  It should also be noted that almost all Rights elaborated on in the original Bill of Rights were negative Rights, and the positive Rights that were included were put in place to prevent the government from abusing its powers.  I contend the Rights outlined in the original Bill of Rights and other Rights that have been added are correct and necessary reactions to injustices; whether they be known historical injustices or injustices practiced in this country – wrong was done and corrective actions were taken to right those wrongs and/or to prevent them from happening here/again.  To me Rights should almost necessarily be negative ones, and the only positive ones should be implemented to ensure protection from governmental abuse – I have very little stomach or patience for those “rights” people argue should be that would require forcing others to do things they otherwise would not do.  President Lincoln once said, “The legitimate object of government is “to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves.”” and I agree… to a point; but a legitimate object of government is not to do that which people do not feel needs to be done, or that people choose not to do – people should be responsible for their own lives and choices, and communities should step in when there is a perceived need to the extent they can.

To be a conservative, one should accept the simple premise that government is ill-suited to doing that which we as people should and could be doing.  I accept that for the most broken and needy there should be a safety net (however we have far exceeded this mandate, and our posterity will pay dearly for it), but strongly feel that the government most definitely is not to be in the business of solving the world’s or society’s ailments.  The American experiment is one in which the people did not desire a king over them to provide for them as the Israelite’s did, but desired first and foremost freedom – the freedom to do and be and say whatever they wanted to within the confines of the well-understood Judeo-Christian morality the colonies were well steeped in.  The government of America’s founding was not meant to be a provider for those in want or need; rather it was meant to be a protector for those who wanted or needed to make a better life for themselves (I fully acknowledge there are disparities and dark spots in America’s history, and that it did not protect all equally for a good portion of time…  But we did eventually get it right, I’d like to think).  I think a government that de facto protects individual’s Rights while leaving them to their own designs is the best environment for people to become and do what God wants them to (granted it’s even better in a society rooted in Christian mores with strong communities, but you can’t force that on people and still be free…).  I maintain that while individuals are that most important creation – that when facts and figures come into conflict with feelings, facts and figures are all that matters; this is an important tenant for public policy that I think passes to the wayside far too often.

And now…  with that abrupt and awkward ending, I think I’ve gotten most of it out there.  Now, we can move onto… other things…  Later on…  For now, I’ll leave you with this:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

~ Philippians 4:8 ~

That First Post…

What am I doing?  Why am I doing it?  And who am I anyways?
All important questions to answer if I’m going to do this right I guess.  Any time one ventures into new territory they should definitely declare the causes which impel them to the…  Anyways, I’ll give an overview here and follow-up in a day or so with a paradigm-defining piece so you’ll have a general feel for where I’m coming from.

What am I doing?

In the simplest terms – I am thinking out loud.  I like to pontificate about a good many things, so I might as well spend that time attempting to define for you (and to no little extent, myself) what I think and why I think that way.  Hopefully I am helping you see another point of view, maybe I am at least enabling you to understand another point of view, mostly I hope I am challenging you to think critically about topics – and that you will in turn challenge me to do the same.  I hope to cover the gamut, from my personal beliefs to my views on governance to issues of the day to how the Bears/Cougars/Cubs/Blazers are doing to what movies I’ve watched and what books I think you should read to what astronomical event/scientific discovery has caught my attention.

Why am I doing this?

Well, in this uncivil era where voices struggle to be the most strident and most provocative – civil discourse and explanations of one’s reasoning become more and more imperative.

While others strive to drown out opposing views and disdain those who disagree with them – I feel the need to critically examine my beliefs, and then to make sure my opinion is known.  This is not to say that a scathing exposition won’t be warranted from time-to-time; I can almost guarantee there will be more than a few – but I will try to focus rather on the positive…  if I can…  I swear I’ll try.

I also need an avenue from time-to-time to express myself personally and politically, and believe this may be the most appropriate venue – I’m almost always better at the written word than I am verbally; I am much more able to express myself and make sure my reasoning is sound when it is on paper…  or the ether of the internet…  maybe it will get lost in the cloud, who knows.

And who am I anyways?

No one of consequence, that’s for sure!  🙂

Just a normal guy – I’m a middle-class 30-some year old male.  I have a degree in public policy that I put to work doing…  absolutely nothing with public policy!  Money well spent, I tell you. (Note to anyone not in college yet: get a STEM degree!  It’s much more sensible and will probably pay off a lot more in the long run)

Once a child with delusions/dreams of grandeur – I wanted to be President.  Since then I have sizably downgraded those – from President to some State office, to maybe some local office, to working on campaigns and donating for/to people I believe in, to just wanting to get through one day without hearing histrionics on the news about some policy something or other.

* I think that is an imminently more reasonable dream; and yet, it seems so unattainable at times! *

I identify myself as a Christian, a family man, and a conservative – but that is something I’ll get into in  another post;  I strive to be as diverse as a modern-day renaissance man could be with interests that include the theater/performing arts, literature – classic and new, religious theory/study, fiction and non-fiction, politics (theory and practice), the sciences (astronomy in particular), history, and sports (some would say I identify too closely with my teams at times); and I try to be as involved in my community as possible through my church, volunteer opportunities in the community, and civic engagement.

Last year I took time to identify the verses in the Bible that spoke most to me and I would seek to have best define me; I also compiled personal vision and mission statement.  I’ll include them here, and maybe if I’m not living up to them you can help put me back on the right path.  🙂

Life Verses

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

~ Philippians 2:1-4 ~

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

~ Psalms 139:14 ~

Life Quote

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

~ George Washington ~

Vision Statement

My vision is a world where the people that come in contact with me know that I am a Christ follower; that my nephew and those around me can look to me as a role model; that I am a positive influence on the people around me; where my relationships with my family and friends are strong; where my co-workers know they can depend on me to do my work capably; where I am viewed as a leader in my community and give back to it regularly; where I make a positive impact in my community and make it a better place for the future; where I am ever-inquisitive and ever-learning; and where I do all of this cheerfully.

Mission Statement

In my life I will make time daily for prayer and study so that I can grow closer in my relationship with my Creator; I will take more care of my well-being – both physical and mental – by being more careful of what I say and do; I will strive to be a better example to those around me; I will take time each week to build stronger relationships with my family and friends; I will organize my days – both personally and professionally so that I maximize my time and my talent (while maintaining flexibility when the need arises); I will find more opportunities to be involved in my community through service; I will make my voice heard in the community on the issues that matter to me; I will always seek to learn more about this grand Creation; I will find time every day to be thankful for something/appreciative of someone/encouraging to someone; and I will do all this with the joy of my Creator.

It seems to me that covers everything for now…  I’ll catch you on the flip side

Thanks for taking the time to check me out.  If you ever have questions or comments, I look forward to hearing from you – the one thing I ask is that we all remain on-topic and civil.