On Not Being Cursed…

Verse of the Day:

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.

They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
~ Jeremiah 17:5-8 ~

scandal

So this wasn’t part of my regular Bible study, but recent events made me think of it: Republicans in different camps are upset with a good number of people today for a variety of reasons – one side is perturbed that President Trump didn’t even attempt to negotiate a deal re: the debt ceiling, another that we increased the debt ceiling at all, one that blames Speaker Ryan and Republican leadership for failing to see this coming and get in front of it, some at Messrs. Ryan and McConnell for just rolling over, and some (ok… most all) at the GOP led Congress for not getting anything done in 6 months after they’ve been saying for seven years ‘If only we had the House, Senate, AND the White House we could get stuff done”.  Not going to lie – I fall into a couple of those camps myself.

But it made me think of how much hope and trustpsalm1463 and faith we as people put into politicians….  and how much we really shouldn’t.
It’s something people on all sides of the political spectrum do: President Clinton was going to save the Democratic Party, President Bush was going to restore prestige to the Oval Office, according to President Obama – he was going to stop the rise of the oceans or some such nonsense, etc… I personally  yearned for the day when then-Governor Sanford would run for President – he was going to save the country with his sound policies, but he couldn’t even save his marriage because of his unsound morals (talk about a heart-breaking disappointment); then there was Governor Romney – probably the most qualified, morally upright person to run for President in recent memory; then there was Messr. Ryan (actually – he was before Gov. Romney, and I won’t lie – I’ve had a policy crush on Messr. Ryan since his early Roadmaps…  it was so dreamy) – I personally had so much faith and hope placed in him that his transformation as head cat wrangler Speaker has been soooooo disappointing I have a hard time finding the words to explain it (understandable seeing as he has a caucus that’s stupid to the nth degree, but still); and somewhere in there was Gov. Walker and Senator Rubio – both who I still think have bright futures.  And lastly I figured while the GOP controlled Congress wasn’t going to do anything substantive I might as well embrace The Donald – he may not share many of my convictions, but at least he ticked off all the right people.  And there was no way he was going to deal with Mme. Pelosi or Messr. Schumer….  And then yesterday happened.  GRRRRR…  I give up.  😉
Recently people put a good deal of faith in Donald Trump: he was going to build a wall, drain the swamp, take the national debt seriously in an Andrew Jackson kind of way; he along with a Republican Congress were going to repeal Obamacare, revise the tax code, etc…  And we know how that’s going right now.

But there is so much faith put in these folks, that I think we forget that’s what they are: merely human.  Individuals who are gifted with power, but who still have to deal with being deeply flawed people.  And when we put that much faith in men, we’re bound to be disappointed – which will lead to feelings of frustration and anger, and we too often take those out on the folks around us, or let it go into the ether that is social media…  And that just leads to the society we have today where everybody is angry so much of the time that we need to just take time away from it all.

It’s not worth it.

I could stop there really, but I won’t.   Still – it’s not worth it.  There is so much out there we should be doing, so much of God’s love we should be showing to our neighbours, that we really need to stop placing so much trust in people (maybe especially politicians – if you don’t give them that much power over your emotions/etc., maybe they won’t be that important overall) and start putting it back in the Creator of all things.

Look, I’m disappointed in a government that slowly encroaches on more and more of my life, I’m disappointed in a Republican party that lets it and doesn’t move on big issues to reform/reduce the size and scope of government, I’m disappointed in a President that is petty and doesn’t seem to have any core beliefs, I’m disappointed in a media that doesn’t care about the truth or the facts – only their agenda… And often that disappointment slips out as anger – it’s something I’m working on (maybe not hard enough(?)), work on it with me?  If we all work on it together, maybe we’ll get to a place where no matter what the douchebags in D.C. or Olympia or wherever do – we can still be filled with joy and be pleasant to one another.  Maybe.

Now, from today’s study:

1-cor-13-4-8a

And that is a true fact.

On The Ending of an Extra-/Un-Constitutional Era(?)…

daca

Today President Trump issued a statement outlining the end of DACA, and I don’t think I could be happier with this President right now; he has kept his promises and he’s found a way in this instance to do it in such a manner that gives Congress time to make changes to the law so that it is – in some people’s views – more compassionate.  (Update: under the president’s statement – nothing really changes…  the government just stops handing out papers that aren’t legit anyways.  He could/should have gone further to actually faithfully execute the laws of the land.)

DACA at its best was a well-intentioned un-Constitutional exercise of Executive authority – something that even President Obama had the intellectual integrity to admit…  several times; he just didn’t care in the end.  At its worst it was an ill-intentioned attempt to win votes.  I imagine it falls somewhere in-between the two.

But either way – it was an un- and extra-Constitutional abuse of Executive powers.  The US Constitution clearly – CLEARLY places the entirety of onus on the Legislative branch of our government to craft immigration policy:

The Congress shall have to power… To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…
~ U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 ~

DACA was clearly not included in any immigration law passed to this date, and as such is not a legitimate execution of said law – something the President of the United States is sworn to do.

Now, the President and many members of the Congress have expressed a desire for the program to continue, but as the President’s statement concluded – it’s the legislature’s job to make it law.  Allowing for the gradual phase-out of the program – where the first allowances begin to expire in six months and extend out for up to 24 month – gives the Congress ample time to pass a lawful version of DACA; heck, they could pass the exact same thing that’s in place right now if they wanted to – I’m just not sure this Congress is capable of passing even gas right now.  But again – THAT IS THEIR PREROGATIVE – and to circumvent that is to circumvent the law: I have no taste for that, and neither should you.

For all my friends: this is a policy issue – nothing more, nothing less.
Good people can disagree on immigration policy, believe it or not – there is no need to demonize or assume the worst about somebody because they opine contrasting viewpoints.  None of us is a better person because we want stricter border control, or because we want to take in more refugees or what-have-you – there are legitimate concerns and points on these across the spectrum – let’s respect each others’ right to differing opinions.  I have many I hold dear that desire a much stricter immigration policy and many that believe immigration should be reformed to be more expansive – and none of them are evil people because of it.  Could we have a policy discussion without assuming the worst about everyones’ motives, please?  Please?!  For the love of all that’s holy?!
  I’m begging everybody here!

For my friends on the Right: I imagine if Congress takes this on and successfully passes it but is unable to repeal Obamacare, pass tax reform, or build a security structure on the southern border – you won’t be too happy.  Nor should you be – promises were made, and the impotence and incompetence of this Congress should be punished.  Unfortunately – the left’s policy agenda is worse than the feckless agenda of Republicans today. Do with this majority what you will.  In regards to DACA, you should take time to acknowledge that most of the recipients have been here a long time – a good deal of them not by their own volition.  We perhaps should take that into account when drafting a policy prescription, and perhaps we should work together to figure this out.

For my friends on the Left: stop lying already, and stop acting like the world is coming to an end every time the President does something you don’t like – we dealt with it for eight years, you’ll make it through at least another three.  I’ve seen far too many posts about how the President is kicking out hundreds of thousands of children – that is false and you know it: DACA recipients were mostly in their 20s.  I’ve seen you try to make an equivalence between abortion and illegal immigrants (“You can’t be pro-life and anti-DACA, HYPOCRITES!”) – get real, and get smart – that’s a crap argument and as dishonest as it gets, and if you don’t know it I worry for your mental well-being.  I’ve seen you tell me I can’t be a Christian if I don’t agree with you on immigration policy and DACA – PUH-LEEEEESE, apparently unlike you I can accept that in order for a government to function the law must be followed and enforced, and as a Christian we can have different ideas on what national policy should be – you don’t get to tell people what their faith dictates policy-wise.  This all comes down to the fact that President Obama said time-and-time again that he didn’t have the authority to do this but he did it anyways, and now we have a President that actually believes in his proper role in governing.

For eight years we had an administration that ruled through Executive Order on the big things – this is what happens when you embrace such a form of governance: the other guy is just going to come in and undo what you liked…  If he’s inclined – he may try to do stuff you don’t like too.  You want DACA to continue?  Urge your Representatives and Senators to work together to create a constitutional, legislative fix.  The President said he’d sign it – he even gave them quite a bit of time to do it; so stop acting like he’s the big evil bogey-man because he believes the law says what it says and means what it means.

All that to say: finally.  The President kept his word and has consistently – if ham-handedly – tried to carry through with what he said he would if elected.  And, as stated above, he did it while being gracious and compassionate and allowing the system to figure itself out to reach a more amicable, legal decision.  Bully for him!


Now, in other things – join me in donating to these places for Harvey relief:

JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund (He’s gonna make sure it goes to a good place)
Houston Food Bank (I don’t know what % goes to folks on the ground – but it’s a great place to give from everything I’ve looked into)
Church of God Ministries (100% goes to help on the ground)
Salvation Army

While the Southeast floods, the Northwest burns – I’m still looking for places to give here….  Donated to the local Salvation Army because I know they do good work.  If I find more, I’ll share it.

On A Cup of Morning Joe And Other Things…

8e161f48aa8c9cc51d54ba3157ee0088--lol-pics-funny-meme-pictures
One of my favourite memes…  EVER.

Verse of the Day:

No one calls for justice;
      no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
     they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
~ Isaiah 54:9 ~

So the other day President Trump pardoned controversial figure Sheriff Joe Arpaio (SA); I would have shared my thoughts earlier, but I had a fantasy football draft to prepare for and attend – priorities people!

On the pardon itself
*shoulder shrug* Meh.
Everyone knew it was coming, and yet the media did what it does best: blew everything out of proportion and acted like the world was ending.  The coverage that night was ridiculous, and it continues to be.  As I’ve stated before: to me intellectual honesty and integrity are pretty key, and I’ll get into why this whole thing is stupid. on so many levels.

Regarding the President
He was going to Pardon SA from the beginning, and anyone who thought differently is living in a fantasy world – one that many of us may enjoy, please pass whatever it is you’re partaking in.  This was completely consistent with the President’s views that immigration law was poorly enforced by the last administration (it was), and that stricter enforcement was necessarily a good thing: this is not racist, this is not discriminatory – it is a policy preference for the laws of the land to mean something and be enforced accordingly.

Regarding Sheriff Arpaio
I can honestly say I don’t know much more about the man than what’s been in the news and what’s on Wikipedia – and I don’t care to; in the grand scheme of things – priorities, people!
But, what you can find about him is that almost since he was elected Sheriff in 1992 he has been a contentious figure; with many siding with him because of his hard-nosed stance towards criminals in jail and those here illegally, with many siding against him for many reasons mostly failing into the category of civil rights abuses (perceived and otherwise).
I’m not a big fan of that kind of thing; most of the time I (publicly) steer away from controversial fellows like that because it doesn’t foster good-will, harmony, and national unity (though I understand their necessity and usefulness from time-to-time) – something I think we need more of, and I’m a big fan of Vice-President Pence’s advice:

“If there’s a line you don’t want to cross, you don’t even walk up to it — you stop three feet in front of it.”

*advice maybe we should all take to heart – I know I should more often*
Now, maybe there were lines SA was okay approaching and/or viewed as worthy of crossing – that’s for him to say; the courts clearly disagreed with his interpretation of what law enforcement should be doing, and the legal process played out like it should have…  And a part of that is the President having the power to pardon if he deems proper; he did.  End of story.

Regarding the Right
Two parts here – there is the portion of the Right that seeks to be admired by the public and the media and can’t wait to be the first to condemn President Trump because it will score them political points, and there is the portion that can’t get enough of The Donald.
On the former, nothing new to see here: the decision may have been politically unpopular, and political animals will do political things – it’s what they do.
On the latter, it’s a victory lap that perhaps they should not be taking part in.  Your guy got pardoned, be thankful and move on: I know the left and the media aren’t going to let it go – don’t let them drag you into the muck.  Also, there is an incredible amount of posturing involving the moral equivalency of the previous administration, the ‘they did it first’ argumentation, etc. – I’ll get into that momentarily – don’t worry about it, but…  The President has the Constitutional Right to pardon and commute, if you had a problem when the last President did it – you should have problems now; have the integrity to be consistent in your application of political principles.  And another thing: none of this is conducive to promoting better community and unity, so let’s focus on that when and where we can.  All that to say…
What’s done is done, move on.

Regarding the Left / Media
Seriously?  You have problems with this pardon, but you had no problem with the previous administration deciding that our Constitutional form of government didn’t suit their needs desires so they were going to unilaterally change immigration policy?  You have problems with a law enforcement officer attempting to enforce the lawfully passed laws of the land in regard to immigration, but you have no problems with people who break those laws (even Justin Trudeau of Canada has a problem with people who do that – where’s the condemnation there? I mean, he is a racist, right?).  Where were you when the last President was commuting the sentence of a traitor and pardoning one who leaked national secrets?  If you didn’t say anything about Manning and/or Cartwright – shut your cakehole, you have no room to condemn – and this applies doubly to the media.  The coverage on this was bordering on apocalyptic and that is just embarrassing for the media and the left when they refuse to provide wall-to-wall coverage on these – it is an indictment of an ideology that has one thing, and one thing only in mind: the march of leftist policies no matter the cost.  Also, you have no problem calling for civility in discourse, but the second someone disagrees with you on immigration policy (or any policy for that matter really) you publicly denounce them as racists?  As fascists?  This doesn’t help your cause, it just makes reasonable people think you’re unreasonable, self-absorbed jackasses without a reasonable worldview or any rational context – I have friends that immediately called President Trump racist for pardoning SA and believing immigration laws should be enforced, and it made me cringe.  Get over yourselves already.  Believing that immigration should be regulated and the laws surrounding it should be enforced is not racist, it is not fascist, it is reasonable.  It is reasonable to disagree with the current law, but if you don’t like the law – change the law; if our elected officials choose not to change it – get new ones at the ballot box.  But until then, the law is the law is the law – and we are “a government of laws, and not of men” as John Adams once aptly pointed out.

I think that covers most everyone and everything – maybe I’ll think of something more later on.

But my conclusion is we all need to take a deep breath, re-evaluate how we’ve reacted to situations in the past and now, find a way to assess our opinions without attacking people who have different policy preferences, and then watch some football (or baseball) for the love of all that’s holy!  There are Husky and Duck fans to rip on for goodness sake.  😇

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 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.