Monday, July 18, 2016

Attitude Makes All the Difference

Many believe that relations between whites and blacks have seriously deteriorated over the past few years.  This has reached an ugly peak with the ambush and assassinations of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge in the last few days.  

I can't claim to fully understand what black people experience in their lives and their relationship to the police and other authority figures.  Is there racism in our society?  Of course there is and the harsh reality is that there will always be racists, bigots, and other assorted idiots in the human race.  Racism will never be completely eradicated due to the imperfection of human beings.  What's a person to do?

Change starts with each individual.  President Obama lectures us on how the police need to acknowledge their racism and mend their ways.  This, however, is a two way street.  What responsibility do blacks have in this?  The fact of the matter is that blacks commit violent crimes at a higher rate than whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  Black-on-black crime is rampant in some cities, yet the President doesn't seem to want to address this issue.  Police behavior is often in response to black criminal behavior; according to the FBI, the rate at which cops are killed by blacks is 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by the police.  

So where does attitude enter into all this?  Did you know that a black man by the name of Charlie Brown spent half his life in slavery and couldn't read, yet when he was freed he built a business domain in Brazoria County, Texas?  He eventually bought the plantation where he had been a slave, married his wife, who was also a former slave, and when he died in 1920, he was a millionaire. Where might Mr. Brown have ended up had he spent his life lamenting the injustice of slavery?  I doubt he would have achieved much success had he chosen to wallow in victimhood.

The first self-made female millionaire in this country was a black woman, Sarah Breedlove, a.k.a. Madam C.J. Walker.  Early in her life, she faced odds that were heavily stacked against her.  She was orphaned at 7, married at 14, and widowed at 20.  After she began losing her hair, she developed a line of hair care products, successfully fighting racism and sexism along the way and making a place for herself alongside America's elite entrepreneurs.  

The point I'm trying to make is that these black people achieved fantastic success long before affirmative action or the Civil Rights Act.  How could that be?  Racism, and in the case of Madam C.J. Walker, sexism, were much more common and blatant in those days, yet they triumphed in spite of it.  I suspect that attitude, determination, and personal discipline played a role in their success.  These are personal traits that are seriously lacking in many individuals of all colors these days.  

I'd like to see our so-called leaders quit talking about eradicating racism; it's impossible.  It will always be with us, so how about talking about achieving excellence and success in spite of it?  It can be done!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dear Mr. Trump....

Dear Mr. Trump,

Speaking as someone who voted for you on Super Tuesday, despite my serious reservations, I'd like to offer you some advice.  I normally don't attempt to speak for other people, but much of what I'm going to say has been voiced to me by others who agree with me.

First, please expand your vocabulary!  Some of us are sick of hearing certain words over and over, e.g, "disaster", "liar" and "tremendous" to name a few.  In addition, please quit telling us how wealthy and successful you are and how you've built a "huge" company.  Each time you tell us how rich you are, I have to wonder if underneath all that bluster you're really deeply insecure.  I've heard that the old guard folks of Palm Beach look down on you despite your wealth, considering you ostentatious and vulgar.  Could that be part of the problem?

Last, but certainly not least, please quit hurling personal insults at those who criticize or disagree with you.  Calling people names is immature, unprofessional and wholly inappropriate in one who aspires to be president of the United States.  You often act like a bully, which is most unattractive.  Now I hear that you threatened Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, saying he'd "pay a big price" if you can't work with him!  Why not say instead that you and Mr. Ryan will work together to iron out any differences between you for the benefit of the country? I do hope you realize that Congress is not subordinate to the president; it is the president's equal.  

Instead of sending out juvenile tweets, please devote some time to sharing details of what your policies will be like as president.  What, precisely, do you want to accomplish?  Are you wise enough to surround yourself with experts who know more than you do, or will you be like the current egomaniac in the White House who thinks no one knows as much as he does?  "Make America Great Again" is a pretty good slogan, but what specifically do you plan to do to achieve that goal?  

To your credit, you have prodded people to start talking about tough issues that probably wouldn't have been brought up in this election cycle.  A great many Americans are sick and tired of political correctness and your brashness has a certain refreshing quality to it.  How about taking it to a new level by adopting a more mature tone and filling in some details of what we could expect with a Trump presidency.  Please don't make me regret voting for you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Maladjusted Barack Obama

It's a sad state of affairs when a French president shows more leadership and courage than the American president.  President Hollande's response to the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris was completely justified and appropriate. President Obama, on the other hand, seemed cold and detached when speaking of the murders.  Where is his anger?  Why isn't he outraged like most of us? The answer isn't that he's simply "cool" and is "no drama Obama".  He displays anger against Republicans, reporters who dare to ask him pressing questions and anyone else who has the temerity to disagree with him.  His reactions raise the question of his mental and psychological condition.

Could it be that the American president has no moral compass?  Is it possible that he is so incredibly narcissistic that he believes he can do no wrong?  I'd say the answer to these question is "yes".  It's been obvious over the years of his administration that he is incapable of admitting that he's mistaken about anything.  He is a man who learns nothing from his mistakes.  

There have been people who claim that Obama is a Muslim.  I don't believe he's a religious man at all, but I think there can be no doubt that he is a Muslim sympathizer.  He seems to have an antipathy toward Western cultures, especially that of America.  Perhaps that's due to his being raised partly in Indonesia and the fact that his father was from Kenya.  I'm sure that his mother's abandonment had a negative impact also.

Whatever the reasons for his psychological shortcomings, it seems to me that Barack Obama does not understand nor does he experience normal human emotions.  He's angry and petulant when he should be civil, he's cold and detached when he should be angry and outraged; in other words, his reactions are unusual and inappropriate.  I pray to God that the United States and indeed the world can survive the remainder of this man's presidency.  


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What Has Changed?

For over two hundred years, the United States has been a country in which people owned and sometimes carried guns. When I was growing up, I don't recall ever hearing about mass shootings such as we've had in the past few years.  If people have always had guns, yet the mass shootings have increased, what has changed?

People who lean left politically always predictably call for gun control after these heinous acts. The problem is that only law-abiding people will obey the laws and we're not the ones you need to be concerned about. Criminals are, by definition, those who violate laws and new gun laws will be no exception.  

These horrible mass shootings present a multifactorial problem. Our society has changed over the past thirty years or so and not for the better.  It's not the presence of guns in society that's the basic problem.  There are other social factors at play:  broken families, too many parents who fail to teach their children right from wrong and a lack of respect for law and order.  On top of this, many children are exposed on a daily basis to extreme violence in video games, television and movies in which human life is portrayed as expendable and not worthy of reverence. In addition, our society has become less religious and more secular which sometimes results in a broken moral compass.  Add all of these factors together and you get a mixture that is toxic and potentially explosive.  

One of the supreme ironies of this day and age is that even as our communication technology has become ever more sophisticated, more and more people seem isolated and alienated from others.  There was a time in the not so distant past that most people had ties to their neighbors, communities at large and churches.  Now, it's not uncommon for people to not know the people who live right next door to them.  The loosening of these community ties contribute to people feeling disconnected from those around them, and when a person doesn't feel connected to others, it's easier to harm those people.  

While I'm in favor of common sense gun laws, we can all play a role in keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.  We must have the courage to speak up if we know of someone who seems unstable, perhaps with violent tendencies, or someone who talks or writes about hurting others.  If you sense something is wrong, don't ignore it!  You could possibly be saving lives by taking notice and trying to get help for those who need it most.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What's the Difference?

Abortion has long been a hot button issue in this country.  The "undercover" videos that have recently surfaced about Planned Parenthood have added fuel to the fire, causing even staunch abortion advocates to wince at the callous attitudes shown by Planned Parenthood doctors and personnel about the harvesting of organs from aborted babies.  

I've had debates with family members in the past about whether abortion is a moral outrage or whether it's acceptable in a civilized society.  The point made by my relative was that abortion is legal.  My point is that while it is legal, it's not moral.

"Legal" and "moral" are two entirely different standards. Ideally, they should overlap, but this is sometimes not the case.  Legality is conferred by man-made laws and thus are subject to the whims of society.  Man-made laws can and do change with societal norms and mores.  

Morality, however, is derived from God's laws, which are constant and unchanging. In my opinion, God's laws should always trump man's laws. Legality does not confer morality on actions. For example, in the early days of the United States, slavery was legal.  Did that mean it was moral?  Did it become immoral only when it became illegal?  Of course not!  It was always immoral, even when it was legal.

I believe humans have an immortal soul.  Greater minds than mine have contemplated the question of when the soul enters the body.  Is it at conception, at birth, or after birth?  The truth is that no one knows for certain. An analogy may help illustrate my point here.  Let's say you go out into the woods to hunt.  You see movement in the bushes:  is it the animal you're hunting, or is it possibly another hunter?  You don't have to know with certainty that it's another hunter to be morally constrained from shooting.  The fact that it is possibly a hunter means that you are morally bound not to shoot.  Thus it is with abortion. You don't have to know with certainty that the soul has entered the body to be morally constrained from ending that innocent life.  The possibility that this being is fully human, with an immortal soul, means we should be morally constrained from ending it.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Who's Coming Across Our Southern Border?

The southern border of the United States is extremely porous, despite what this administration has been telling us about it being as secure as it's ever been (which isn't saying much anyway).  When Republicans talk about securing the border, Democrats and the butt-kissing press that supports them scream about Republicans hating Hispanics and immigrants in general.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Republicans in turn too often shrink from talking about stemming illegal immigration for fear of totally alienating Hispanic voters.  Is there anyone out there who has the courage to stand up for doing what's right and protecting our borders?

While it's impossible to completely halt illegal entry into the country, the federal government could do a damn sight better at controlling the border than it's currently doing.  This is not a matter of hating immigrants or Hispanics; it's a matter of national security.  In this day and age of terrorism, with the rapid spread of ISIS (or ISIL if you prefer), isn't it just common sense to suspect that there are more than just poor Mexicans coming across the border into the U.S.?

Indeed, there is evidence to support the contention that those who would love to kill Americans are indeed entering the country via the southern border.  
The Tucson Weekly reports that the Bureau of Land Management estimates that there is a total of eight pounds of trash per day, per person dropped in Arizona by this invasion of illegal immigrants.  Alarmingly, prayer rugs, juice boxes in Arabic, and an Arabic diary have also been discovered, among other things.  An illegal female migrant knocked on the door of an Arizona rancher one night, asking to use his phone.  He complied; the call she made was to Libya!

Obama talks often of "fairness".  How fair is it to the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are going through legal channels to enter the United States, only to see the president allow millions to enter through the southern border illegally?  Republicans need to remember the legal immigrants who are outraged at the illegal entry so many people make into this country.

Improving border security is not discrimination.  It would be a step toward bringing order to a chaotic situation, enabling us to know who is entering the country and where they are going.  This would be of benefit to everyone living here; the failure of our government to do so is a dereliction of duty.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

There's Something About Trump

Anyone who's paying even a little bit of attention knows that Donald Trump has recently made some very blunt - some would say outrageous - comments about immigration, other Republican candidates for president and now about John McCain.  This has caused an uproar and condemnation from both Democrats and  Republicans.  In spite of this, polls show Trump in the lead for the nomination.  What's going on here?!

I think the explanation is quite simple.  First, Trump is saying what many people are thinking, but are afraid to say.  Political correctness has run amok and muzzled many people who lack the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what they believe.  Regardless of whether you agree with Trump or not, you can't deny that he says what he thinks, however artless and broad it may be. When he receives criticism for his words, he doesn't immediately back down and apologize, as so many do.  Second, when he's asked a question, he actually answers it!  What a concept!  People are sick and tired of politicians who dodge answers to direct questions.  They talk and talk while saying very little.  Equivocation is the name of the game for most politicians.  Third, many Americans are rejecting the weakness and dishonesty embodied by the Obama administration.  These people, who I believe constitute a majority of Americans, would like to see the United States project strength again.  I'm not talking about being a bully or rushing willy-nilly into military action.  The United States needs to be an honorable country and an example for good in the world, as it so often has in the past.  The current administration has no honor; our allies no longer trust us to keep our word and our enemies don't fear us.  This is unacceptable to many Americans.

Whether you agree or disagree with what Trump says and how he says it, he at least is saying things that politicians are afraid to say and in doing so, he has initiated conversations about issues that need to be addressed.  Whether Trump has the personality and temperament to be president is debatable, but at least he's not afraid to speak his mind and that's a refreshing change from the status quo.