Heroes, villains and the wussification of America

I’ll be honest: I have come a long way in life in the past three years – spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. I believe I am more mild mannered and cool tempered than I used to be by a long shot. However, there are some things that I still believe are worth fighting and being willing to die for – namely freedom and the idea of America. I do believe that if somebody hits you, you hit them back; I believe you hit them as many times as you need to in order to secure your safety. I believe if your family is in danger you must be willing to fight by any means necessary in order to prevent their harm.

Maybe that’s the Marine in me, maybe it’s the guy who was passive to a fault in high school and figured out the hard way that passivity doesn’t equal safety. Whatever it is, that’s who I am.

That being my disclaimer, I will say what I’m going to write is not for the faint of heart or the weak kneed. If you taught your kids to never hit back, this post isn’t going to sit well. If you believe that “talking things out” with people who only know communication through violence and force will work, you are probably going to be steaming mad if you even make it to the end of this post.

Now that I’ve let you know where I’m coming from, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

War is a nasty thing; no doubt about it. However, throughout time it has existed and, I believe, will always exist until Our Heavenly Father places paradise on earth. With that, there are warriors. Some of those warriors are ones who do their job and are grouped with others who do the same. There are also those warriors that stand out for their exceptional expertise and ability to perform their job. One of those people was Chris Kyle, of whom the blockbuster release “American Sniper” has proved that America still believes in recognizing exceptional individuals.

Those type of men go forth and provide examples of phenomenal abilities; there is a cost, though – their reputations come from decisions made that will forever be under the microscope. Decisions semi-similar to the one President Bush made to place our men and women in the military under harms way. Decisions that are still being made by leaders to send their military in to a fight that will cost some lives and change other lives forever. It’s all a field-day for Monday morning quarterbacks.

However, as a former Marine and Iraq Veteran who was part of 47 convoy missions in Iraq in 2005, I recognize the need for these actions to be taken when the fabric of human dignity and respect is under fire.

That dignity and respect for America was threatened on September 11, 2001. That same dignity and respect for life was threatened by Saddam Hussein when he gassed his own people, when he paid families of “martyrs” (of which I have seen the checks he wrote), and when he refused almost two dozen times to abide by a UN resolution he agreed to 10 years earlier that would allow the world to know he wasn’t fabricating nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

I also recognize the need to show and use force against a people who behead, burn, cage and torture innocent individuals who are defenseless. People who do this, in the name of religion or otherwise, do not understand diplomacy. They are not interested in reconciliation. And they are not “on the run” anywhere except toward the front gates of bases manned by American Marines.

Because they don’t understand anything but force, I am forever relieved that the country of Jordan has entered the stage in the capacity it has.

After one of their soldiers was burned alive and that burning was placed on the web for the world to see, they have chosen to respond with force. Good. At least somebody is.

You see, when there is a bully on the block, that bully will continue to punk everyone he can until somebody stands up to him, is ready to fight back, and is ready to “hit him back as many times as you need to in order to secure your safety.” Will Jordan do this? I don’t know. But what I do know is they have symbolically done more with the little they have than America has with all her might.

Now, given, it hasn’t been all that long since America was something to be feared. When I left Iraq, America was in a good gun fight. When Bush left Washington, DC, we were winning that fight. So while I believe that we are weak kneed, and are viewed as such around the world in 2015, all is not lost.

But the way to gain that back isn’t by praising Michael Moore and Seth Rogan for badmouthing one of America’s modern-day heroes. It isn’t regained by electing passive leaders who can’t seem to mutter the words “Radical Islam.” It isn’t by creating bully legislation and legislation protecting everybody from everything including their own shadows.

It’s done by being willing, as a nation and as individual citizens, to realize that war is sometimes necessary – and when we get in it, we do so with the resolve to accept nothing short of victory. It’s done by teaching our children there are some things worth fighting for. We do it by not letting those who would have us wear elbow pads and helmets to leave our home continue to wussify our nation through media and Hollywood, public schools and universities.

Man up, America, and quit letting pacifists ruin the honor we give our heroes, and villains continue to run amok without response or repercussion.

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Judas Iscariot, promiscuity and Eric Clapton

Over the course of the past several months, a few experiences made me want to discuss personal responsibility. Some of this is going to be satirical, some theological, some philosophical; all of it will be real to me, and I hope you enjoy the “diversity” in this post. For my non-Christian readers, don’t run away so fast – there are some lessons here I think all can enjoy.

It all started in October at a church conference. A leader of the LDS Church, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, gave a talk discussing personal responsibility and submitted we should quickly consider our role in situations we experience. He began by discussing the night Christ fellowshipped with his disciples for the last time:

It was our beloved Savior’s final night in mortality, the evening before He would offer Himself a ransom for all mankind. As He broke bread with His disciples, He said something that must have filled their hearts with great alarm and deep sadness. “One of you shall betray me,” He told them.

The disciples didn’t question the truth of what He said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, “Is it him?”

Instead, “they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?”

In a time (today) where pride is often in the way of responsibility and blame is easier than personal reflection, most of us (Christian or not) can learn something quite valuable from this part of Christian history and the lesson it teaches.

While I believe in Christ – that He is man’s Savior – I fully recognize the belief isn’t shared by several of my readers. I am going to address this story and the lesson we can all learn (including me) in a fashion hopefully all people will have an open mind to, without dismissing it due to the faith-based foundation it carries.

Here we have a leader who freely allows His followers to come and go with no requirement, no coercion, no force of government to stay. He teaches and doesn’t rule. He offers spiritual guidance, not earthly gain. Whether the reader believes His words or not, his followers apparently do… to the point of leaving their earthly possessions behind to follow Him, learn from Him and fellowship with Him.

Imagine that amount of dedication to a cause, doctrine, and man. Imagine you are so sure of what you’re being told that in your heart you are willing to leave all that you have known behind, be chastised and ridiculed publicly, and still follow.

Now, imagine the man you had that much faith in says, “Hey, one of the dozen of you are going to betray me.”

(On a personal note: I have been truly betrayed one time in my life. It hurt so terribly bad; it took quite some time for me to come to grips with the fact it had been done. I say that to say betrayal is no small matter to me.)

Now back to the story at hand.

So here we are: a teacher teaching a foreign doctrine that is feasted upon by twelve disciples who are willing to leave everything they have in the belief that following His teachings will bring eternal exaltation. Now he is saying that one of the twelve of them will turn their back on him in the worst way imaginable.

Place yourself in this position. How easy would it be to take pride in your faithfulness and hope in what this teacher has taught to brush aside the idea it may be you who actually betrays Him? Yet, in this situation, each of these disciples personally reflects, is concerned with their dedication, and questions their own loyalty.

“Is it I?”

Not, “Surely it’s not me… which one of these rascals is going to do this?”

How meek. How humble. How “poor in spirit.” How much we could learn from this lesson, regardless of our theological doctrine. How different would the life we live and relationships we have be if instead of dismissing the possibility of us being wrong, we look at ourselves first in disagreements we have with our significant other, disputes with our employers, differences with our children.

“Where am I wrong in this situation?”

“What if I’m completely misguided in my position?”

“What have I done to contribute to this problem?”

What a phenomenal shift in relationship dynamics we could all experience.

Fast forward about 1,985 years!

Not long after this talk, I read a blog by Matt Walsh, a cynical and sarcastic blogger who addresses everything from politics to relationships. He calls them thoughts on “absolute truths (and alpaca grooming tips)”. Yes, much of his writings are amusing; all of them are very logical and thought provoking. The blog I’m discussing here, Ladies – it’s time to take responsibility for your failed relationships, is very crass – but something to think about.

The article was prompted by a woman who emailed him in reference to a previous article of his about men and their need to man up.

The lady emailed him, very bluntly, writing all about how men are to blame for her relationship failures and how the last “first date” she had didn’t even offer to give her a ride home in the morning.

WAIT WHAT?! Yeah, read that one again!

Matt so wonderfully responded to her via his article. What he says isn’t as profound as the fact that he said what so many of us would be thinking had we read any similar letter addressed to us. Her real problem is obvious.

What does he say that I’m sure this lady’s parents, family and friends probably wouldn’t say to her? “Sweetie, you’re creating your own world full of non-virtuous, disrespectful, childish, video-game obsessed men by the choices you make. By the way, that mouth on you isn’t doing you any favors.”

Seriously, the lady rants for quite some time with foul language, assumptions and accusations that ensure any reader the woman has no concept of what her choices have done to her “love” life.

But her love life isn’t the point right now… though I would encourage you to read the article (for a head-shaking moment if nothing else).

The point is she is representative of so many people I have come across over the past few years. Not necessarily with people’s love-life problems, per sé, but in general it’s the fact many people seem to think that their problems are typically due to the actions of others.

Sad; truly very sad. I say sad because people that refuse to self-reflect are ones that continue making choices that bring their life to the same conclusions that are self defeating. It’s almost an addiction to severe emotional self-destruction; the first sign of the addiction is denial. You do something, the results make you hurt/mad/sad, you blame others for those feelings and that outcome, then turn around and do the same thing again.

I want to take a minute to clarify that I did specifically say, “I have come across [these attitudes] over the past several years.” It’s not that I just now started to encounter these things; it’s that before these past “few years” I was the same type of person. I didn’t notice it in me or others – it was a subconscious way of life.  So, as much as I’m talking, I’m talking to myself – a reminder of what can happen to me if I’m not vigilant of my own flaws.

Here’s the point: for us as individuals and as participants in relationships (and society) to continuously seek self improvement, we have to be willing to nakedly look at our self. Our flaws. Our faults. In every situation we happen to experience, regardless of success or failure of outcome, we need to consider the true impact we’ve had on the situation.

Don’t over overcompensate for pride in success; don’t ignore reality to save face in failure.

The fact of the matter is that we can accuse others, we can blame a ubiquitous adversary, we can even blame “luck” or “fortune”, but the reality is that we can only control our own actions, behaviors and attitudes. To assume luck, fortune or others can be changed easier than we can change ourselves is about as “non-virtuous, disrespectful (to ourselves) and childish” as it gets.

Let us all take a hint from one of the masters of music, Eric Clapton: Before we accuse others, let us look at ourselves.

Saw it coming from a mile away

You ever find yourself in a situation that, if you were a betting person, you would go all in on what is about to happen? Well, this is one of those stories.

I’m was in a hurry yesterday. After several meetings for local politics I had to hurry back to the store and get some merchandise packed and off to the post office before they closed. I scurried about from the store to the library (to print postage) then to the Post Office.

As I walk in, I realize I’m not the only one that is making the last minute rush to the mailman. I am about 20th in line. But, to be honest, I didn’t mind; I was glad to have made it in time after promising two overseas customers I would have their items shipped that day.

As I walk in I notice two men sitting at a desk, not in line. As we move forward in line the two men remain sitting there. Younger fellas, they appeared to just be hanging out at the desk and not in line.

Well, as I move forward about five or six places, they get up and get three places in front of me.

The lady directly in front of me, an older white lady, turned around and asked me if I saw what she just saw. I told her yes, it appeared to me they decided the line wasn’t going to get any shorter so they chose where they wanted to be in line and took that place.

The lady in front of me then turned to the two gentlemen and mentioned, “Typically we start in the back of the line, not just in the middle.” The two men then said they were already there and had just taken a seat waiting for the line to move forward and away from the door where the breeze was blowing in. This lady asked them again, then raising her voice, she said that they needed to go to the back of the line.

At this point a gentleman, appearing to be not with the two “line cutters”, turned around and said the two men who appeared to be cutting had actually been in line, got out of line to sit, then decided to get back in line as the line became shorter.

Well, not only did this upset the lady in front of me, but so did the fact that even as they were in line, they were not “in line”… they were standing to the side goofing off, playing on their phones, joking around. My thought is that they were some young kids that, like many other late teen/early 20 year olds, have little etiquette or appreciation for the social norms those of us a little more… “vintage”… might have. (Now, I know many of my readers are a little more “vintage” than me, but let’s just say I believe my generation (late 70s early 80s) are some of the last who appreciate social norms and appropriate behavior, and believe they still have a place in society.)

At this point the lady, now irate, asks me to watch her stuff and keep her place. I told her sure, not knowing what she was doing. She was getting a manager to complain.

It was at this time I realized that if this escalated any more, I could see where it was going to go from a mile away. What I saw from a mile away did not happen because I’m good at psychology, but because it is that “simple” to read the general public.

No sooner did the thought cross my mind did comments from those in front of me start. They went in just the direction I thought they were going to go. to The patrons were “sure they knew just what this was about.”

What was it they were so sure about, you may ask? Oh, yeah, forgot to mention the two guys we’re talking about who were “cutting”… they were black.

And yes, it went there very quickly. The old white lady returned, visibly more upset than I thought it was worth. She continued to tell them they had cut, and those in front of the two men who had “cut” began to tell her that she needed to tell everybody present what “this was really about.” The words “simpleton” and “close minded” came out and in the direction of this one lady.

At one point the manager had to come out and tell everybody to calm down or she was going to get the Postmaster. Eventually it died down, but not before the line itself died down.

As people were leaving, the same manager was at the door apologizing for the disruption. When it came to my turn to receive her apology I told her she handled herself well. I also mentioned that I saw the race-card coming from a mile away. She said she saw it herself.

After I left I got to thinking. Maybe the older white woman in front of me was racist. Maybe she was an old KKK member. Fact is I don’t know and neither did anybody else. All that was clear was an older white lady tried to correct some young black men. That, in itself, is apparently racist.

As I left I had a heavy heart. Sure, it was apparent that maybe those kids were in fact there before we were. However, I don’t believe that gives them the right to assume their place in line is going to be held. It doesn’t. And what’s more, it deeply saddens me to know that regardless of the fact they were sitting down, away from the line, and until they decided it was convenient to get in line, what really mattered to three or four people is the color of the skin of those who were involved.

We say we want to get past race; however, we throw race in the mix any time something is awry and the cards are stacked against the minority. We can look to national stories and local stories and see that if race can be made a factor and you’re white, you lose in the public’s eye.

Until we can truly look past the color of one’s skin, and I mean all sides of the aisle, all races, in all situations, we are not going to ever truly know what it’s like to live in a society that judges men “by the content of their character” and not the color of their skin.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I come to this post as a half white/half Mexican kid who was a “cracker” in California, a “Spic” in Missouri, and been in fist fights with people because my step dad is black, making my mom a “Nigger Lover.” I have faced the racism from black people and white people alike.

What saddens me most is the close-minded attitude that people have when they think that they are providing some type of social justice and believe they are somehow more enlightened with their attitudes and dispositions, rather than seeing the reality: that they are as “simple” as they are accusing others of being.

Not a movie review; rather, a submission for modern classics

As the movie came to a close I looked over to see tears in my wife’s eyes. Now, to say that a lady cried at a movie is one thing, but to say that a young, business owning, assertive, strong woman has tears is another. And that is what I’m saying.

The movie was that good, and I’m sure the book is better.

The Giver, starring Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Jeff Bridges, is a movie adaptation of the book by Lois Lowry. Though I haven’t read the book, I plan to in time. However, the movie itself (which books always outdo movie adaptations) was phenomenal. I’m sure that after reading the book, I will place it in the same area of my bookshelf that holds 1984, Atlas Shrugged, Brave New World and Animal Farm.

In this movie, what I’m going to concentrate on, we have a society in which things are utopian: there is no pain, no war, no hate, no differences in people – everything is in perfect harmony.

At the end of childhood, each teenager is taken from their assigned homes and given work assignments… from the lowest to the highest of jobs, the “Chief Elder” (Streep) assigns the future of each young adult. That’s right, this is when you start to see that utopia has it’s flaws… choice is no longer existent, even when choosing one’s own career path. In the words of the “Chief Elder”, “When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong.”

Jonah, the main character, is assigned as the new Receiver. He is teamed up with the current Receiver, Jeff Bridges. The Receiver is the one individual in this utopian community that has the knowledge of past events – the history of man.

As the plot unfolds, Jonah realizes the dystopia in what is supposed to be the utopian society he has always known. As he learns more and more from Bridges, he finds that the community he lives in  has taken away the meaning of life – personalities, feelings, emotions, family.

I won’t ruin the movie for those who wish to see it, so I’ll stop with the review and leave you biting your nails.

As I watched this movie I thought much about our society – the current American way of life. I thought about how far away we have gotten from the America we once knew. It is my firm belief that the utopia presented in The Giver is one that many people seek to embrace in our world, and trying to reach that distant place is why we are where we are.

It is fearful to me that we will continue going down this path, and I’ll attempt to explain why I fear the loss of many of the things that have made our world great. I’ll give a second shake at poetry for my blog. I hope it is enjoyed.

In a world where we have climate control,
We risk losing snowflakes and Autumn leaves.

In a world where there is no feeling of defeat,
We can’t embrace the value of victory.

In a world where there is no pain,
We lose the excitement of joy.

In a place where differences are taken away,
We lose the art of celebrating diversity.

In a land in which we lose our ethnicity,
We have the inability to celebrate multi-culturalism.

In a world erased of hate,
We find the intensity of love is lost.

In a land where we can find utopia,
We really find we have lost individuality.

May we not find utopia,
For in doing so we will lose ourselves.

Reality Realized

One of the more difficult issues for the conservative to realize, to grasp, and to accept, is that we really don’t have a political party to call home. We definitely don’t have the Democrat Party. The Libertarian Party desires open borders, is pro-choice (anti-life as I call it), and generally speaking believes all drugs should be legalized – all non-conservative ideas. Then we have the Republican Party; while they claim conservative values, they either lack the ability to show backbone in defending them or are simply giving lip service to conservatives they talk to.

What’s interesting is the beginning of a struggle we see when liberals begin that same journey of realizing something very similar.

The reason the left has always been so successful in promoting their agenda is because they are very much in to “group-think.” Stray from their party line and you will be destroyed (Joe Lieberman, for instance). Knowing that, few do such a thing.

But what happens when that party line is truly “modern liberalism” (as compared to Classic Liberalism/Conservatism), and those that have boasted the party-line and the leftist philosophy see that in action, leftist politics and utopia being joined is a pipe dream.

I want to make clear that this is not a slam on people who firmly believe that there is a possibility of a “Great Society” as expressed by Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, LBJ or Barack Obama. We all seek that perfect society in which poverty is extinct, bigotry is non-existent, and we can all be our brother’s keeper. Honestly, I used to believe in John Edwards’ “two Americas” concept – the whole “haves and have nots”.

But two things make the conservative different from the liberal in mindset: the first is that “utopia” will not occur no matter how hard we try; and, how hard we try should not be measured in how much government involvement occurs. Conservatives know this. I have come to understand this.

What we need to realize is that “having” and “having not” is largely dependent on the individual.

Are there some extreme examples of those who were not given a chance? Sure. But it is the exception.

Back to the discussion at hand. So we have conservatives who don’t have a home, and we have liberals who large in part have an idea of how to create a society that, quite frankly, can’t exist.

And they are starting to see that.

I will warn you, the content of the video I linked is vulgar and explicit, but it is typical of the left. While “discussing” his hate for religion, Bill Maher recently attacked his own ideology for the outcomes it produces and the mentality that results from it. He angrily expresses his disgust that there are people with his ideology that are upset because some baker won’t bake a cake for a gay couple, meanwhile there are women who can’t vote or drive, and are mutilated by Radical Islamists yet nobody seems to care. Well, Bill, do you expect anything different from a culture you cultivate that instills self-centered attitudes, gluttonous lifestyles, and a complete lack of appreciation for the lives of people around you?

In a local newspaper there is an opinion editorial written by a small-business owner and open Democrat. What struck me – aside from his admission that the policies of liberals aren’t working for the working class – is that Lyle Foster prefaced his letter with the acknowledgement that he would probably lose friends near and far for simply saying the Obama Economic Policies we are living under are not panning out to be the “hope and change” we were promised. It is a bit difficult to grasp (but it is reality, as I have experienced it), that people are willing to give up friendships because somebody that was/is “on your side” happens to look past headlines and see reality for what it is. But then again, I go back to the groupthink concept; step in line and follow close, don’t listen to yourself.

So, that is Maher on the national level and Mr. Foster on the local. Let’s look at the state level example I have conjured up. This is one that I think has it’s own special point to be made. Sure, Bill Maher and Lyle Foster can be upset about certain mentalities or policies that aren’t turning out as planned. But they are single individuals… private citizens.

How about when a state that has carried a Democrat majority for the past four Presidential elections decides to dump the key piece of legislation Barack Obama will be remembered for? That’s right, “Oregon, once expected to be a leader in the national health-care overhaul,” has realized that government-run healthcare isn’t such a good idea after all. Yes, the state has decided to throw out the federal program due to cost, implementation difficulty, and risk. Oregon has decided to dump their “glitch filled” option and let that “other” government entity take over. I find it funny how all of a sudden private business isn’t the bad guy, though the government still needs to have their hands in oversight and implementation. Unfortunately the feds are not going to admit the monstrosity they have created and we are forced to live with that disaster.

I’m not here to say this is some sort of turnaround for the nation and we are going to get our heads on straight. Far from that. Remember that whole issue with no home for conservatives…?

What I am saying is this: I find it refreshing, even if it’s for one brief shining moment, to see all at once several situations in which liberals are being vocal about how their own philosophy and approach to life isn’t working.

While it isn’t some magnificent moment that is going to change things, I can hope that even if slowly, the American people realize that we were founded on self-reliance, personal responsibility, thrift, and helping one another because it’s the right thing to do and not because we’re being forced. Those are the concepts that brought this nation from barefoot peasants fighting the British to the industrial, military, and economic giant of the world.

Those are also the concepts that will bring us back from being on our knees in a declining state that seems to think more government is the answer to the problems more government has created.

Texting, Burgers and Buzz Lightyear

I love local paper polling questions and looking at their results. They are a fun way to see how people think and what they see as important. The questions are simple, and the answers are typically “yes/no” options. It’s not statistically reliable by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a quick and easy way to gauge public opinion.

It’s also fun when the most irrational topics are polled, and the poll results show a response driven by pure emotion rather than any sort of logic.

A recent poll in the Springfield News-Leader asked: “Should it be illegal to text and drive?” The answer was a resounding yes by a margin that would make any government-loving lawmaker happy. I think of Lord of the Ring’s Smeagol tapping his fingers together while his crackly and wicked voice says, “Smeagol likes more laws.”

TextingPoll

I pondered the polling and thought about the good old Springfield Smoking Ban discussion. I used to love to ask people: “So, you are very concerned because 40,000+ people die per year from smoking-related diseases, huh? So much that you are willing to use the power of police force to create a law telling business owners they are not able to allow people to participate in a legal activity while on that business owner’s private property? Did you know that the Veterans Administration has a flier out noting the fact 38,000 people die per year, in America, from the flu? Should we make it illegal to be in public if you have the flu? 36,000 people per year die in America in car accidents – should cars be illegal?” The smoking ban advocate could never respond rationally to my questions. It’s because it’s not about health, it’s about not liking the smell of smoke or the act of smoking. Nothing more.

Now, it may be a bit different, but the “texting and driving ban” frenzy is similar in that the government-loving advocates get the non-critical thinker hyped up from all sorts of emotional pleas about how dangerous it is. I’m not saying it’s not dangerous, because it is.

I also think it’s super annoying when I’m trying to text while stopped at a stop light and the person next to me is mad and yelling at me for it; hey, I’m stopped, I’m paying attention with my phenomenal multi-tasking skills, and when it’s time to move I’ll put the convo on hold until we stop again. Duh.

You say, “Nick! Are you kidding?!” Well, yes – I am. I’m not going to say that I never have or never will text on the road again. I admit my guilt. However, right now I don’t even own a cell phone (and it’s a beautiful thing). Regardless, before you judge me for this most horrific action, let me pose an argument:

Texting while driving is taboo because it is distracting. Texting while driving is frowned upon because you are doing something other than paying attention to the road. Some want to ban texting while driving because it poses a threat to everyone on the road around the person doing it.

Really?! Have you ever had two youngsters in the back seat arguing over who gets Woody and who gets Buzz Lightyear, all the while you have your face in the rear-view mirror or neck turned in a 180 and your hands nowhere near “10 and 2″? Have you ever fidgeted with the radio while driving? Have you ever ate a good ole Whopper, mayo dripping in your lap, simultaneously trying to eat, wipe grease, and drive all because you are five minutes late to a meeting? Have you ever had a nagging passenger drive you insane to the point you can’t focus on anything but how much you want to bang your head on the steering wheel until you’re unconscious?

How are any of these things LESS distracting than texting and driving? They’re not. You won’t get me to buy they are.

So until we talk about making all these things illegal, let’s stop the irrational discussion about texting and driving. Texting and driving is dangerous, and so is having a lap dog on your lap while cruising the interstate.

I say all this tongue and cheek to keep the mood light, but the fact is that it drives me insane to witness the campaigns to make laws banning acts such as texting and driving while the same person proposing the law is the person that walks in the office everyday with grease and coffee stains on his slacks from his chomping and sipping while driving to work.

Thanks for reading – I just needed to rant, get things off my mind, shake my head while doing it, then go on with my day.

That’s all.

The Politics of Weak Knees and Self-Deception

I don’t know about most people, but music has played an incremental role in my life. Whether it was playing drums behind my piano-playing and singing stepfather in my high school years, playing heavy-metal at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, or listening to everyone from Charlie Parker to Pantera through different stages in my life, I have always taken a liking to music. It has always been something I viewed as an expression of experiences in life.

A particular song I have always like is Bon Jovi’s Stick to Your Guns. It’s a song about a wanna-be cowboy, and the singer is telling him about the facts of being “the one”… the idea of often being alone, but so long as you “stick to your guns”, you aren’t going to be hurt.

When I look at those words, I often consider the meaning in a political nature. In the end, though, it could be considered on many different fronts in life.

I have been guilty of it; most probably have. You believe something and you believe it strongly; but when push comes to shove you’re more concerned with the acceptance of others than you are concerned with standing for what you believe in. Either you know you will be ridiculed for the idea or belief you have, or you are not sure that your idea/belief is worthy of discussion.

The issue is this: if you can’t be true, faithful, and honest with what you believe or think, what is it that you can be true and faithful towards?

I will put it politically and explain what I mean. Let’s say an elected representative believes with all his heart a tax increase shouldn’t happen. However, he is the only member of the elected body to believe this. When it comes time for the body to vote he has two decisions: vote his values and beliefs though he knows he is on the losing side and will be all alone, or go ahead and save the political capital for something that may make a difference.

I’m here to tell you that one time of foregoing your values can turn into 10 and 100 very quickly.

And what does that lead to? Well it leads to the ubiquitous “you” losing your moral compass over time.

Why am I talking about this? Even more, what am I talking about? Here it is: I’m really weary of our elected officials campaigning as conservatives and libertarians, talking about family values, limited government, and economic liberty. The fact is that most people who campaign on these ideas may believe them in concept, but when the rubber meets the road – when it is time to walk the walk – they are either going to fold or they are going to show their true colors.

Even further, if in fact you are one of the few people that are elected as a public servant and you are going to stick to your values in a particular issue, why are you not screaming from the top of the mountain to get people’s attention when something nefarious is going on – maybe then you wouldn’t have to always be alone?

You see, we have fine examples of this right here in Springfield, Missouri. We have people that I think truly believe they are conservatives and libertarians representing us, yet they are the same ones who have supported tax increases in the past and either support directly or through inaction social agendas that are anything but libertarian, conservative, or any combination thereof.

I suppose I have been guilty of something similar in the past: I represented a people and was very good at sticking to my guns at the dias, voting on issues, and in the public’s eye. However, at the same time I was preaching family values and personal responsibility, my personal life was a wreck. Since then I have asked for much forgiveness of others, and have had to find it in my heart to try and forgive myself. But the thing is that I first had to recognize the faults in my actions and the flaws in my character.

But, Nick! Isn’t it much more easy to rationalize what I’ve done rather than face my faults and flaws? Well, sure it is; after all, Al Capone truly believed he did nothing more than help his community as a benefactor.

So therein lies the question: will the conservative and libertarian candidate that turns soft after being elected due to fear of standing for what they supposedly believe in ever come to realizing what they have done and who they have become? If not, then there is no hope that things will change.

The frustration that I have, in the end, is the lip service paid – sure – but also the fact that very few citizens/voters are willing to call out the individuals who are servicing us with rhetoric that will never match their actions.

And this, all because we have either been lied to, the candidate-turned-elected official has lied to theirself, or because he is too weak kneed to stand for what he thinks is right.