Blacks, bigots, gays and gals!

When I first met Lyle Foster in 2008, I knew right away I would like the guy. A small business owner, very intelligent, and funny in his approach – three pros right off the bat. Plus, when we met we were sitting along side each other as candidates for a city council election. We weren’t running for the same seat, so that made it all the easier to like him.

Since that time, I have grown more and more respect for the man. He was one of the few who wrote me when I was incarcerated; he has believed in me when others didn’t; he has brought a lot of development on the north side of Springfield with little government help. Above all that, he is a good man.

One of the things he regularly does these days (aside from running two businesses, tending to tenants of his rental lofts, and being involved in several community organizations) is contribute to the News-Leader on a regular basis (I don’t think the guy sleeps… no, really).

His articles are ones I read with dedication, and rarely miss. Not because I always agree with him; I do not. Regardless of my position or his, he makes me think. A few times we have gone back and forth with our thoughts. In short, I enjoy the guy.

The reason I bring him up is this: he recently wrote an article in the News-Leader, Talking about race issues should not be taboo. In it, he asserts an overall belief that because race is a taboo issue to discuss, our best, brightest, and most educated young adults are making choices in life that are – well, in my words – ignorant. Whether its a college frat chanting racist songs about lynchings, or the “splash” made by Starbucks wanting to discuss the race issue over the counter, we seem to think the topic of race is either a joke or one that should be discussed in passing.

Why is this? Well, this is where I agree with Lyle Foster 100%: the issue of race is taboo – one we are almost afraid to talk about – and in not talking about it we leave our nation in a world of ignorance, especially the younger generations. We don’t talk about race, history, and things we as a nation have overcome. We don’t talk about things we could be doing to improve society. We don’t act like a civilized, enlightened and capable nation.

Now, here is where Lyle and I may disagree – and that’s the “why”.

Why is it we don’t talk about it? The same reason we can’t talk about gender or sexuality: yes, it’s taboo. Why is it taboo? Because it has become nothing more than a political issue, and the issue is completely monopolized by a group of people who, if you have any sort of difference of opinion, you are racist, sexist, or a bigot.

If you disagreed with Obama, it wasn’t because he is so far out in left field that Cubans find him more palatable than they do their own Socialist leaders. It can’t be because his policies on economics, foreign relations, and social issues are not in keeping with what your positions are. Nope – it’s solely because you are racist. That’s all.

Same thing goes with Ferguson: forget the forensics, forget the investigation, forget the truth – if you aren’t on the black guy’s side, you’re racist.

But this is not only limited to race. There are other taboo topics.

For instance, did you know that if you use terms like “polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over confident, out of touch, secretive, will do anything to win”, you are sexist… well, if it’s in reference to Hillary Clinton. You read that right, all the terms used daily in today’s political arena are now code words for “I’m sexist” when used in unison with Hillary. There is a group dedicated to telling you just that, and spending their time finding these references against the Democrat Presidential Candidate.

Let’s do one more category (yes, category – because we can’t be individuals, we have to be in groups). The LGBT community – well, not the community as a whole. The activists. The LGBT activists will tell you they want to promote tolerance, yet the blogs and social media posts by the same crowd are filled with terms like evil, ignorant, intolerant, backwoods, bigot, anti-Christ. That’s just the few I found in one article’s comments section, looking only at the first nine comments out of the 247 made. I personally know a MSU college professor – a doctor in Sociology – who uses very similar terms on his Facebook page.

That, in lowly Springfield, MO.

So, where Lyle and I agree is that when the issue of pretty much anything that creates groups or sub-categories of Americans comes up(race, gender, sexual orientation), we can’t talk about it. It is taboo.

I don’t know why he personally thinks that is, but it is pretty clear that the same group that has a monopoly on those groups as a voting bloc will destroy you socially if you disagree.

Talk bad about female democrats, you are sexist.

Disagree with Gay Right’s Activists, you will be threatened.

Disagree with forensic evidence and side with a white police officer, your town will burn.

From a conservative who sorely wishes to discuss race, gender, and sexuality in a rational manner, I am here to tell you it seems impossible. It seems that if I personally want to talk about these topics, my opinion (regardless of how grounded, educated, and well thought out) will lead me to be called a racist and misogynistic homophobe.

How do you “talk” when you are cornered? How do you have a rational discussion with somebody who promotes tolerance and hypocritically happens to be the most intolerant person you know? How do you say “I disagree” when you know that as soon as you say that you are a backwoods, ignorant bigot?

Maybe it’s not impossible. However, until those very same people who are saying they want unity stop dividing the debate in to “good and bad” or “right and wrong”, we will get nowhere.

So, in conclusion, when the other side is ready to stop being the adjectives they are using against me, I don’t really know how to talk to them. Not that I’m better than any other human being, but I am better than to act like a fifth grader crying on the playground because not everybody agrees with my point of view. And I’m not for sure, but I would venture to say I’m not alone in my position.

When the individuals who are acting like children are ready to put their big boy (or girl (watch it now!!) britches on, maybe race and other said topics will stop being so “taboo”.

Maybe when we can do all that, we can give a little more hope to American posterity and how their society will interact and behave.

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Just ask Al Sharpton.

When I was on City Council in Springfield from 2009 to 2012, I consistently had a recurring thought about the workings of the local government: It seemed to me that in order to keep their jobs, much of the city’s staff were bent on being busy bodies. No other department was as transparent in their efforts (through actions, not words) as Building Development Services. They seemed to always find something that “needed” to be done, a new regulation implemented, or they would find an old regulation that wasn’t being enforced but should be.

What it comes down to is the need to justify their existence, hence funding.

I find the same thing going on with those entities that take federal monies in order to fund their research projects. For instance, let’s assume a scientist was given a grant to explore the causes of “global warming” (aka, climate change). When he returns to the government that funded him with his results, he has two options: to claim there is global warming and discuss causes/effects and what people can do to fix it; or, he can say there isn’t warming.

(Before we go further, this discussion isn’t about global warming, and we can use a plethora of examples the same. What it comes down to is the result of each claim, and how it affects the giver of the claim.)

If our scientist states there is nothing wrong, why would the government give him more money to explore anything further – there is nothing to explore. If he states there is x, y, and z wrong, he can return for more money claiming more research needs to be done. Regardless of your opinion on climate change/global warming, I hope that you will be rational enough to agree that the scientist has something to gain by stating there is a problem. He also has something to lose if there isn’t anything wrong… that potential loss is funding.

The same goes with many, many other situations in life. And the funding doesn’t have to necessarily be from the government – it can be from anywhere. All money is green, right?

The one I want to discuss today is political.

It has to do with Gay Rights Activists, and some of the psychology behind this movement… and how it plays in to the above example. (And to be clear, this is not about gay people, but the activist movement.)

I have always been of the opinion the government should not – in any way – be involved in my marriage, your marriage, Chris and Christina’s marriage, Chris and Chris’s marriage, or Christina and Christina’s marriage. Take your marriage tax credit and go home, Mr. IRS Man. Abolish my SSA account, Mr. Government Bureaucrat. If it means the government gets out of the picture with regards to what should be a private choice, take everything you have to persuade me the government “needs” to be involved and send it packing.

It should be up to me, my partner, my religious leader, and the God I understand to be true. Same goes for everybody else.

You would think the LGBT/Gay Rights movement would feel the same. “Get out and stay out of my room,” they chant.

Well, that’s until the government actually gets out of the room.

You see, in Oklahoma, the state legislature has done exactly that (here, here, and here).

They have said, “Hey, it’s up to the clergy – peace out.” Albeit because the legislature believes the federal government overstepped their boundaries by undoing the ban on gay marriage in the state, the fact remains. The government removed itself from the process of marriage.

In my mind, it’s a win win. Those opposed to gay marriage don’t have to pay taxes to a government that supports it, and those who support it only need to find someone to perform the ceremony. If you don’t like how your clergy operates, tithe somewhere else.

Government out, liberty in!

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently, that is just not good enough for the activist. That you can get married as a gay couple in Oklahoma is just not good enough (here and here).

You see, they don’t want negative action in the definitive sense (here and here). They want positive affirmation. It’s not only about their ability to do it, it is also about you saying it’s okay.

Further, and referring back to the scientist example, what ever would the Oklahoma Activist do if they win (and I understand it’s by default to an extent) their biggest fight. They don’t have anything to fight over. If they don’t have anything to fight over, they have nothing to fund raise for. If they don’t have anything to fund raise for, they have no funding.

And if you don’t think the Gay Rights movement is a cash cow, you are sorely mistaken. Just this past December, in Fayetteville, AR, population less than 80,000 (here), the Human Rights Council spent $200,000 to fight against the repeal of the SOGI Ordinance (here and here). A small town and a small issue when comparing SOGI to the marriage issue.

Not only are the activists out in full force, but Democrat law makers in the state are worried this could bring up issues regarding polygamy (linked above). This made me laugh – another liberal logic moment. “I want my way, but you can’t have your way.” If gay marriage is okay, and straight marriage is okay, why is not plural marriage okay? I’m sooooooo confused.

It’s kind of like the NAACP being upset over the preferential treatment of Hispanics (here, here, and here)! “Colored” people seeking to advance “colored” people… unless your color is brown? Again, confused.

Sorry for getting off topic.

Here’s the point: unless we do exactly what we are told and in the manner we are told to do it, we lose. There is no compromising. There is no tolerance. There is only extremism.

Even when that extremism gets what they want, they are going to find a new way to keep the fight going, to take more ground.

And when money is involved, you can bet your bottom dollar they will find a way to make climate change/gay rights/race and issue.

Just ask Al Sharpton.

City Council, politically correct hypocricy, and the truth about who we are

I recently had the opportunity to learn a pretty interesting lesson on the history of Springfield. In a News-Leader article published of late, there was an in depth look at the industrial history of Springfield. In it, there were many facets of our economy and its past the article covered. At the same time, there were a few things missing that I’m sure the News-Leader simply “forgot” to include, and because of that omission I was left bewildered and confused.

Around the same time the article was printed for the Springfield community, Springfield City Councilman Jeff Seifried tendered his resignation as the public voice for Northwest Springfield. Now, how do these two events go together? Here’s how….

In the News-Leader article, we learned how competition, low costs for doing business, and a generally appealing economic climate was attributed to much of the economy that built contemporary Springfield. What was missing you ask? I didn’t note anything about the businesses that came here to allow Springfield to flourish do so because of diversity, SOGI ordinances, race relations, or any other politically correct legislation or “feeling” in the community. To this day, when I talk to business owners (which is often), their primary concern isn’t whether or not there are enough minorities on the police force or whether the LGBT community “feels” good about how they are treated. They seem to still be concerned about their bottom line; after all, isn’t that why people go in to business… money? And to be clear, I don’t blame them – good for them.

But back to my bewilderment… and thank goodness for Ozarks First! You see, they got it right (well, almost) with their article Courageous Conversation: Race Relations in Springfield. After this article, I lost all confusion. I was reassured that in order to be enlightened Springfieldians, we have to realize “how white we are” and only see the community through the color of skin.

You ask, “What do you mean by reassured?” If you listened to our City Council and several other leaders in the past several years, you would think that we are racist and intolerant, and if we ever want to grow our economy we need more taxes, diversity legislation, and the citizens in general need to quit being racist and bigoted.

It’s funny to even write that – because from my view the very people preaching this are ones who, from what I can see, are doing the very same thing they preach against.

You see, in the past 15 years there have been four City Council elections for Northwest Springfield. Of those four elections, and in this one particular district, there has only been one in which there was a candidate running without opposition. Of those same four elections, the only time this particular district has chose to elect a white person was in that same election where there was no other choice. Every time there was a choice, a minority was elected (a black man two times and a Mexican once) over a white man.

Further, when there was the opportunity for city council to show their own ability to be “diverse” and appoint a minority to council (due to the resignation of various councilmen), they went ahead with a Caucasian.

To be clear in what I’m going to say next, I want to ensure you know I’m using their logic.

I bring this topic up now because yet another councilman has resigned… that one white guy for that one district who has a tendency to elect minorities when given the option.

This leaves Springfield City Council the duty of vetting applicants and appointing one of them to fill the council vacancy.

From what I understand, there is a black man that is going to submit his application (as he has previously done) for the position. Never mind that he is a retired Army veteran; never mind that he is an educator whose biggest concern is our children; never mind the fact that he has a fairly good grasp on local politics. He’s black, so I encourage the same council that preaches diversity to show how diverse they are. Appoint the black man!

(On a side note, I may know they guy, but I’m not a fan of his politics… just wanting to be clear this is not me advocating his policies.)

In all seriousness, it is this type of distorted reality that I can’t seem to grasp in order to bring myself to understand liberal logic. In the end, will they appoint the minority? Who knows. Do I think if they don’t it’s because they are racist? No. It’s going to be because they decide he probably isn’t the best for the job. However, if a small or big business owner or a voting citizen hires or elects somebody for the “content of their character”, they are racist, or sexist, or xenophobes if it’s not the minority. Funny how liberal elected officials get a pass… and the media won’t blink – promise.

I suppose I just don’t get it. Maybe one day I’ll be informed and enlightened enough that I do. Until then, I’ll continue to believe that as a whole, Springfield is a community that is loving and embracing of all “groups” regardless of what I’m told by a vocal minority who happens to have a microphone by way of a podium or news outlet.

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.

Sexual Orientation, Freedom, and the Law

Tonight, Springfield, Missouri’s City Council is going to revisit an issue it put on the back burner two years ago. It is an Ordinance that, if passed, will place the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community into the protected class category the same as women and minorities. It will prevent an employer from discriminating against any person LGB or T in that business owner’s hiring practice; it will place landlords at odds with city law if they discriminate in their leasing practices of that same community; it will be a violation of the law for a business owner to deny service to a potential customer due to their Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (SOGI) – meaning their status as a member of the LGBT Community. The penalty for a business owner if found in violation of this potential law if passed? $1,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail.

Now, before I begin the discussion, I want to make something very clear. I hope those reading this blog that are opposed to it will see that there is no bigotry involved, no direct religious aspect involved, and no assumptions involved. I’m going to try and approach this from a logical, legal, and while I have my opinion, I hope an objective standpoint. I will add that some of the people I admire most in life are part of the community we are discussing, and this is nothing personal… I love and don’t judge; I’m as flawed a man as any; I believe that we all have our paths we choose in life and we must own them; and I believe I am no more credible a judge than the next man.

I also am a firm believer in freedom and man’s free will.

With that, let’s make sure we are on the same ground when defining freedom.

Freedom: the ability for one man to pursue his own self interests as long as doing so does not impede on the next man from doing the same. When there is a conflict, the default goes to the man on whose property the conflict resides or is about (property being anything one owns, including money). There are very few exceptions, but as a rule of thumb we are going to stick with this definition.

So, let’s visit what has been deemed the “SOGI Ordinance.” For me, this is not about bigotry, intolerance, hatred, or lack of understanding. Of those I have met who agree with me on what should happen to this bill I have yet to meet anybody that disagrees with my belief on why, though many people do in fact take the religious perspective as the main perspective in their argument. For me it is an issue of: (1) Safety; (2) Property Rights; (3) the 1st Amendment; (4) The Role of Government; (5) Tolerance.

Let’s take them one at a time:

  1. Safety: The proponents of this Bill will have you believe there is no other alternative and that doing this will only bring equality and harmony, tolerance and acceptance. What they won’t tell you about are the safety issues with this Ordinance – that is both the economic safety and the physical safety of the individual. What do I mean?
    1. If passed, this bill will allow any man who claims he feels like a woman to enter a woman’s restroom in WalMart, Applebees, gas station, or any other public venue. This is not about a concern so much of the “T” community – though there is that concern. Three words for Springfield: Craig Michael Wood (here, here, and here). All it takes is one sick pervert to decide he “feels like a woman” and having ill intent to destroy the heart of this community once more.
    2. If passed, this ordinance will not only enforce the non-discrimination of hiring and of leasing property, but also from services. If you host weddings you will be forced to host those of gay couples regardless of your convictions – just like in New York. If you are a photographer you will be forced to conduct wedding and engagement shoots for gay couples regardless of it violating your conscience – just like in New Mexico. If you own a bakery and tell a gay couple your religious beliefs would be violated if you made their wedding cake, you can be told otherwise by the police power of government, and you will make that cake – just like in Colorado.  Remember, in Springfield the punishment can be up to $1,000 fine and 180 days in the slammer… not to mention the fact that regardless of the validity of the complaint by the LGBT community member, your business will be all over the media. And this, all because a business owner decided to place his beliefs over the dollar.
  2. Property Rights: Really quick, you don’t have the right to a job! You don’t have the right to tell somebody what to do with their money! If you don’t like their point of view, their beliefs, their convictions, go somewhere else! It’s called the free market!
  3. The 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Let’s consider the second part of the quote – the Congress shall make no law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” with regards to religion. Now, there has been 200+ years of litigation revolving around what that term means. However, I would defer to the Father of the Constitution first: “James Madison’s statement that religion includes “the manner of discharging” duties to God….” As a linear thought, we can conclude that he didn’t say, “Only on Sundays,” or “Only when at church” – it says “exercise” means the manner in which we discharge our beliefs. As for my belief, I believe I have been charged to fear God in all I do and obey his commandments. I believe that pertains to every conscious decision I make – it’s not reserved for particular times and places – it means all the time and in all I do. And if we are to violate this law, have we the right to tell Muslims that because their religious garb offends us they have no right to exercise their religion? After all, they need to tolerate and accept me and my wants and expectations.  
  4. Role of Government: If we are able to be told how we are to practice our convictions and beliefs even on our own property, what is it the government can’t tell us to do?
  5. Tolerance: For two years I have asked the same question and never had a cogent answer given. I am told I need to tolerate and even accept others for who they are; I have been told I need to be non-judgmental; I have been told I shouldn’t discriminate because of a different lifestyle, belief, or conviction than mine. Shouldn’t that same ideal be reciprocated? Where is the tolerance, acceptance, non-discrimination, and lack of judgment towards me and my lifestyle, beliefs, and convictions? Jussayin’, if that’s not hypocrisy, I’m not sure what is.

For those paying attention, you are going to hear some things said tonight and in the near future that I would like to rebut ahead of time.

You are going to hear that if you oppose this Ordinance you are a bigot and religious zealot. No, actually I don’t want to interfere in any way or tell others what to do with their life. That’s their prerogative. However, I do have a problem with them saying I don’t have the same rights they do with regards to me pursuing my own interests.

This fight is going to be compared to that of slavery and women’s suffrage. However, at no time has the LGBT community been enslaved, denied the right to vote, made to use separate water fountains and restrooms, or lynched systematically and institutionally because they were LGB or T.

We are going to be told that there was a survey done in which 60%+ of respondents either witnessed discrimination or have been discriminated against. This survey was done by the same people who are trying to get this Ordinance passed (PROMO), it surveyed less than 300 people across the state of Missouri (population 6+ million), and less than 100 of those respondents had Springfield addresses (Springfield population 150,000+). Hardly reliable given the source and complete lack of statistical validity.

We are going to be preached at and told to be tolerant of alternative lifestyles. Please refer to the question posed in my 5th point above: “Where is the tolerance, acceptance, non-discrimination, and lack of judgment towards me and my lifestyle, beliefs, and convictions?”

I really hope I’m not perceived as being hateful. I know personally I’m not bigoted. I don’t want to come off as mad or spiteful. I’m not. I am, however, very concerned that inch by inch, we as Americans are having our rights taken away under the guise protection, help, and charity.

As somebody who has been called a Spic, who has been in fist fights because my mother was called a “N***er Lover”, had a grandfather who called his son-in-law (my uncle) a raghead, and listened to workplace jokes that were racist against all of the above, I have no room for hatred… it sickens me and I despise it. However, it exists and always will. The only thing legislation like this does is make people more partisan to their own point of view, and less likely to “tolerate” others when in fact those others are forcing their way in to the lives of those who aren’t doing anything other than trying to get by in today’s world.