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.

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.

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.

Saddened by What I Saw, Inspired to be Better

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” -Jesus the Christ, Matthew 7:12

Call me odd, but I really enjoy going grocery shopping before the sun comes up. Hate my shopping habits if you desire, but WalMart is my store of choice when it comes to groceries. So, when I get a Wal-Mart experience at 6:00 AM, I have a sense of enjoyment: stockers working hard filling the shelves to ensure the customers are able to find what they need for the coming day; only one or two check out lanes open; an entire store where I make up 25% of the customers on site.

Late last week I was able to participate in such an activity; however, it ended up being one of the more somber moments I’ve had in quite some time.

I went in to get school folders – seven of them each with pockets on both sides when you open them up. I had an interview in front of a board and wanted to supply them with a bit of a packet about “me”. I bought the folders, got to the car, and double checked I picked up seven. Count six! Lame, right?!

So I head back in to get the seventh one.

As I approach the automatic sliding doors to go in to Sam Walton’s American Dream, there were three people exiting. A small white woman and taller but skinny black man, and a tall, well-built and bald white man. It was obvious in about two seconds that the bald white man was by himself and the white lady and black man were together.

How was it so obvious? “You f****ing N***er Lover. You’re a traitor to your race. Drug addict. You’re a disgrace to your race.” The words coming out of the bald man’s mouth were in various orders, but they were repeated and at volume 10.

The lady was yelling back, expletives, and the black man was telling the lady, “Baby, let’s just get [in the car] and go.”

Out of all of the commotion, it was the man who couldn’t change the color of his skin or his situation that was being the only classy one of the three.

My heart became very sad. As I walked in the store and picked out my last folder, I teared up. It simply burdened my heart with a weight that I can’t explain to know of the hate I just witnessed.

It is something I’m aware of… racism. I know it exists. I’ve stated in previous blogs that I have been called a Spic, been in fights with “friends” who called my mom a “N***er Lover”, listened to my grandfather call his son-in-law (my uncle) a towel-head, and been everywhere from work environments to barber shops where racist jokes and terms were nothing out of the ordinary.

However, what I saw on this particular morning saddened my heart.

Over the past three years I have found that we, mankind, have the endless capacity to love. It brings joy to us and joy to those who we extend it to. It lifts spirits and brightens days. Yet, there are people who have a true hate in their heart, a true ignorance in what mankind and the human experience are really about. Again, it hurt inside.

At the same time I feel blessed. While we will all come across these types of saddening experiences, let us be lifted up by the reality that WE don’t have to be like that. Let us find that endless capacity to love those around us – those that we know and those we don’t.

To do so is an amazing thing. Since I have found that endless capacity, my heart has grown and my ability to be a better human being to those I am around has been nothing short of a blessing in my life. However, it would not have been possible without the teachings of our Heavenly Father and also those I love and share my life with having shown me how that love is put in action.

So today it is God and those around me that I thank for the fact that I’m only able to give that love in which I’ve received.

Scalawags, Carpetbaggers, and Uncle Toms – A Brief History

Sitting down with my daughter for her freshman-year homework nightly has been a treat. The most flavorful treat yet has been her history homework. We started by working through the Civil War and the era of Reconstruction.

It was a wonderful refresher in how “reconstructed” our minds have become. Between what we are taught and a reality that exists, there is a great moat that nobody dares to cross because doing so would include the admission that one doesn’t care to protect their own emotional, psychological, and political well being. Those who cross will be called names and derided until they submit.

For as long as I can remember, the racially driven politicians, educators, and voters of this nation have associated the minority vote with Democrats. “The Democrat Party looks out for the little guy; they want to make sure no minority is left behind.”

But the difference between political posturing and historic reality is stark. I want to spend this time looking back on history and what we as Americans have apparently lost sight of. That is the fact that though the iconic Democrat Hillary Clinton can pose as a plantation worker at the podium, she and her party have a dark secret: their party is not, nor has it ever been, the party of Civil Rights.

As I was reviewing the unit on the Civil War and Reconstruction with my daughter, we came across Hirum Revels, a Mississippi Senator during the mid-1850s. From the US Senate website we learn “on February 25, 1870, visitors in the Senate galleries burst into applause as senator-elect Hiram Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, entered the chamber to take his oath of office.” Why the applause? No, no – calm down! It wasn’t because he was merely a Republican. It was because he was the first Black American to serve in Congress. That’s right! This glass ceiling for Black Americans in politics was broken by a Republican. What do Senator Revels, Blanche K. Bruce, and Edward W. Brooke, III, all have in common? Yes they were all US Senators – but also they were the first three Black US Senators and also all three were Republicans. As a matter of fact, the first Black American to serve in the Senate as a Democrat was Carol M. Braun, who took office in 1993. It’s amazing how the “Party of Progress” was only 123 years behind the curve of electing this minority to the two-seat per state Senate.

But then what do we expect?

Let’s take a look at the history of the Democratic Leadership of the past. I like quotes, so let’s start with those:

“I’ll have those N****ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” -President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat

“I am a former Kleagle [recruiter] of the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh County . . . The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the union.” -Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat

“I did not lie awake at night worrying about the problems of the negroes.” -US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Democrat

Going beyond quotes alone, let’s not forget President Woodrow Wilson – Democrat. While in office he thought it was a good idea to have a showing of “Birth of a Nation”. This movie was adopted from the book, The Clansman, which – among other racially sickening views, saw the Ku Klux Klan as an organization to be hailed.

A great set of further quotes from Democrats and platform statements of their party can be found consolidated in the Wall Street Journal extra, Whitewash.

Another necessary consideration is the overall Civil Rights Movement in the United States. This includes the 1960s movement, but also political battles that included Jim Crow Laws, the Black Codes, and the abolishment of slavery. Whether it was Thaddeus Stevens being a “Radical Republican” (I suppose old terms never die), the common accusation that Martin Luther King, Jr. sided with Republicans, or George Bush’s appointment of more blacks to high-level positions than any other President, there is no shortage of history to show the true Civil Rights Reformers of History have not been those who posture themselves as if they do, that being the Democrat Party. It has, throughout history, been that of the Republicans who have walked the walk.

The point it this: we have an election coming up in November. We can count on issues such as Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer or other racially-driven issues concocted by the left being a part of the election. That being the case, we need to arm ourselves with the facts that help debunk the myths that so many are taught to accept as common knowledge in society. Learn; understand; share.

PS – Thanks, Sis, for asking me to help with homework.