Monday, September 25, 2017

exercising my own self control-- sort of

If you visit Facebook, you know it's a hotbed of political and partisan rage-- both sides. I wonder sometimes why I go there as it has as many negatives as it does positives for me right now. I know why I have gone with friends there, where I want to know how they're doing. Does the good though now outweigh the negatives?

When I read someone's political rant, I am tempted to reply with my own take on whatever it is. Currently, it's about highly paid athletes angry at our country, Trump and deciding they need to make a political statement right before playing a game. Do they believe the owners pay them those exorbitant salaries out of their own wealth? Do they not understand ordinary people pay for tickets and subscriptions, often fund those coliseums out of tax revenues. And then are angered to be forced to watch them disrespect their country. The disconnect sometimes is unreal for how people don't connect actions to consequences.

Yesterday, at FB, I did reply to a liberal friend I use that term loosely as it's someone I don't know but on my friend list. I believe the person to be a liberal, not a left-winger and see him as someone who wants what is best for the nation. So I took the time to reply on a political issue and what a mistake. Someone else came in and took me to task for writing a lecture. See, I thought it was a discussion but to that person it wasn't-- at least not on my end. Once again, I thought, why did I reply to anything there. People really don't listen. They are there to vent and their friends then can vent with them.

So, this morning, I nearly did it again before I thought-- what am I doing and what will this change anything? It won't for the one who posted accusations of bigotry for anyone who didn't support the athletes taking a knee and understand how they have been wronged by being black in this country. Exactly, what she personally knows about that abuse, I have no idea. Does the abuse extend to the millions they get for playing professional sports? Maybe it does-- gladiators, dontcha know. Replying to her would've just gotten me another attack and for what gain?

Anyway, just because I didn't post my reply there didn't mean I had to lose it... Here it is and if you want to vent-- on either side of this, feel free.
I think the athletes have every right to do it. I also think the ones who go to their games have the right to stop going. Trump wasn't the first to condemn their action. If you know any conservative friends, you know that. Not standing began the summer before Trump was even his party's nominee.
Currently, left wingers are making it all about Trump, as another way to impeach or throw him out of  office. It was in the beginning, however, about claims the police are slave keepers. That the military and police are only there to serve the masters. The attack on the military is slowly being added, but one campus leader suggested veterans should not be admitted to four-year colleges-- maybe they can go to community colleges or trade schools. When the police are the bad guys, the military will not be far behind as part of those who keep order.

I see an opposing rage over this from my conservative friends. This is especially true of those with family in the military as they take not being willing to stand for the flag as attacking the ones who fight for it.

This is becoming one of those-- if you don't agree with 'me' whoever 'me' is, you are a bad person/communist/Nazi/bigot/destroyer. It goes right beyond I hate Trump to I hate anybody who doesn't think he's evil. Hillary, of course, is going around the country trying to stir up more rage-- like we needed it. She said the other day any woman who supports him 'disrespects herself.' She, the wife of Bill Clinton, said that...

The players make a LOT of money off those who buy high priced tickets or pay for sports channels and many of them are Republicans. The Repubs have every right to say not going to watch or pay for their disrespect-- and I'd suggest those who approve of kneeling start buying tickets, if they didn't before. Put their money where their mouths are and keep those players in the gold (and the team owners). I just read that the Pittsburgh coach gave Villaneuva a bad time because he didn't kneel with the rest of his team-- in other words, go with the group whether you agree or not. 

Trump doesn't help any of this, of course, as he stirs it up when he could just ignore it. His lack of emotional maturity (at the least) and the stupid tweets raise the temperature.
I'd like to see blacks talk about black on black violence, like in Chicago but what we saw was condemnation of the police, the ones who protect us all, that includes minorities. Yes, there have been police who used violence inappropriately but out of how many stops and arrests? [Police violence against blacks rare.] But hey, let's not let facts get in the way of a righteous rant...

Before I decided to stop reading anything political at FB, I read a good comment that asked, for these rich, young black athletes, do they go out into the community and try to make a difference for young blacks who need inspiration to go to college and get good jobs? Many of them may and it could make a difference for the next generation.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

missing self control


As I have frequently said, I am a moderate. Being a moderate does not mean I have no opinion. It means mostly I don't fit in a box. Where I suspect I agree with a lot of liberals and conservatives, is with Trump's tweets. Something is really wrong with a man who tweets without thinking when he's got as much power as he has. 

There are days when I won't mind seeing him impeached and Pence installed. It's not because I will like Pence's policies. I won't. But good grief, does Trump have no self-control at all?!! It doesn't seem like it where it comes to Twitter. Somebody should take it away from him, cancel his account, do whatever it takes to stop this endless reign of stupidity.


Liberal or conservative, who can disagree with that. I get it that left-wingers are constantly tweaking him. But a mature person lets that kind of thing go. He's not a mature person and by his age, that's sad. I think he had a lot of things right about policies. His emotional neediness though destroys his own best intentions. I keep coming back to one word-- sad.

Frustrating me is not just the danger of a loose mouth on a President, but also how it impacts our culture with bringing out the worst in others. This is spiraling downhill. I recognize, some of this is around the world, a time of transition and division and it's not just the US. The thing is Trump could do a lot to make it better here. He's not even trying. 

I put up the picture for something uplifting. I think we all need that right now :(

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

liberal or leftist

I thought this was particularly good in explaining the difference between liberal and leftist. I've used the terms interchangeably, and I was wrong to do so. Check it out and read Dennis Prager's article.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Immigration II

 New cover and new title for a book I brought out last fall, 
a book that has nothing to do with immigration (set in 1905), but ain't it purty? *s*

DACA has pushed me to write more about immigration when I had other things I should be doing. I've redone a couple of book covers this last week and maybe that's a way to do something with beauty and energy without having to think more deeply in a way writing novels demands. Covers are my play, but they also offer a respite from the world of words. Figuring out what energy best gets across a book is an art but also soul work. Anyway, in the midst of that DACA exploded with the left taking a typical hysterical response and the right re-entrenching on the moral high ground (in their opinion). 

We, us ordinary folks, in this country have a lot of responsibility for reaching this point. We've ignored the laws for convenience. We've benefited from cheaper labor in many cases while we looked the other way as to what was legal-- even refusing to use the word illegal as though it was a bad word.

So you didn't directly profit from those here without the legal right to be here? How about the groceries that you worry will cost more if immigration is enforced? How about that gardening firm, where you pay the contractor and don't worry about who they hire? Same with construction or in hotels and restaurants? 

When we look the other way regarding one law is it surprising others think it's okay to ignore other laws? Moral slippery ground is when you claim compassion but in reality are profiting from what you're doing. Worse, now, you worry the cost will come due for you and not just those you allowed to be here and work for less-- for virtually slave labor in the sense they had no right to complain about wages or conditions for fear of deportation.

I saw Krugman laying the fear on again but didn't read his column. It pretty much all says the same thing-- don't do anything about this or it will ruin the economy not to mention your vacation/garden/remodeling/grocery shopping. The selfishness would be more tolerable if it wasn't couched in such righteous tones.

So what now? Well DACA is the easiest since the parents did wrong to bring their children here but the children didn't even know it was happening. Make Congress do what is right and provide a path to a legal green card and eventually citizenship. This is Congress' job but then Obama knew that when he took the high ground that wasn't actually high and did it himself against the Constitution. That man has a lot to account for, not that the left will admit it yet. He started a process that he had no right to do and knew it would have to be eventually covered. That is so typically liberal and that word has ceased being one I admire. If being liberal means promising what you have no right to promise, then it's no wonder liberals went to calling themselves progressives-- not sure what that means. (And don't get me started on conservatives who don't really know the meaning of that word or so it appears). 

If the left would agree to enforcing working with a "verify card" and stop the border crossing by not making it possible to work here under the table, the right would *fingers crossed* do what is right and have a path to citizenship for those who have lived and worked here for years. We profited from that cheap labor-- except, we didn't all profit. The low income workers have been hurt by it for years as when you can get a person to indenture themselves to get a job, why would wages go up?

I used to think a border wall was silly but it would at least slow down the traffic. Better would be solid restrictions on cards that only allow hiring those here on work permits or citizens. If a company is fooled by phony cards, as soon as they find out, they would have to let the person go-- or pay a legal penalty. Enforcing the work place would stop the reason to come. Mexico has such restrictions-- why don't we? I can tell you why-- because we've profited from the existing situation. 

To me, to wink when a law is broken means you are heading to being a lawless place-- and we can see that all over the place where it's happening. 

Finally, legal immigration should be centered on who we need here. I'd say right now that means skilled farm workers. Why should we not make it a priority to get workers our country needs? I know the answer from the left-- gobbledygook with a lot of words that make no sense and no plan to fix anything short of no borders at all (I guess they feel they are above the level to be impacted by that). 

The other thing we need are those who want to be Americans. If we end up with those, who only want to change us into the country from which they came, we are not talking immigration but invasion. It's not wrong to want those who want to be Americans with our Constitution and set of laws, is it? In the past, those who came from other places wanted to be Americans and it's why they came. Is that still true today? If so, then no problem with learning our language and rules.

I am angry that we are at this place again. When Reagan enacted a path to citizenship, the deal was the border would be protected. Did not happen and here we are now with more wanting to work here and us winking and nodding as we profit from it. We are profiting from an illegal system that has a karma attached. Our wages have been suppressed and worse, we've taught our children laws don't have consequences. 

Monday, September 04, 2017

Immigration

Immigration is one of the big issues for the US and maybe other countries.

Who do you legally allow in and let become full citizens? 
What do you do to those who enter without permission? 

I thought I'd bring it up but not answer the questions without more thought. I am busy with changing some book covers and making progress on my next book.

Two quotes came to me as particularly influential for those on the left. The first some believe was part of the meaning behind the Statue of Liberty. It is not. It's a poem written in 1883 to raise money for the statue's pedestal. The lines that are most famous are the last.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"   Emma Lazarus
The world's poor, those who need someone to take care of them, that's who we are supposed to welcome. It's not particularly flattering regarding those immigrants to call them wretched...

The next is far more recent, and most of us probably didn't think how much it expressed a globalist viewpoint, one that is leading to not having rules to allow immigration into any nation. John Lennon wrote the beautiful melody and emotionally moving words-- Imagine.
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.
In other words, with no borders, there is peace. Nations are the problem. Is that the answer to immigration policy? I think for many idealists on the left, this is what they believe. 

Immigration is one of today's big issues as it impacts so much else that happens including our nature as a country as well as economic policy. I'll write more on it later in the week-- I hope... Or next week. This is a busy week for me. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I miss the days

What's on my mind is how I miss the days when people could civilly discuss disagreements on important cultural issues. 
I miss the days where to speak one's mind didn't lead to an accusation of being either a communist, fascist, racist, or enabler.
I miss the days when I was not a bad guy for disagreeing with someone else. 
I miss the days when I could respect college campuses for providing education and not attempting to limit genuine intercourse to push propaganda. 
I miss the days when there were real news programs, offering facts, 
not editorializing to push a partisan agenda. 
I miss the days when 'resist' wasn't considered a political position 
and genuine ideas were presented to solve problems.
I miss the days when people weren't vandalizing and tearing down statues 
of men whose lives they know nothing about. 
I miss the days when history was important to study and not ignored 
or only aimed at making partisan points. 
I miss the days when being nasty was not considered a compliment, when politeness was part of human interaction-- even when disagreeing.
I miss the days when I went to Facebook to see how people were-- before so much turned to anger and fear-- such that it's tearing families apart. 
I miss the days when demonstrations meant speeches and signs 
not starting fires and attacking people.
I miss the days we didn't have to be in partisan bubbles to find comfort and reassurance that our viewpoint is the right one.
I miss the days when responsible people could agree to disagree.

I am old enough that I know there have been such times. Will they return? I kind of doubt it because some of this is the internet, places like Facebook or Twitter, where we know too much about those who aren't in our community-- and yet not enough to know the deeper truths of why we are where we are. Temporarily, some believe the hurricane will bring us together with compassion, but it's already serving to foster this agenda or that-- even while the floods are still swallowing so many homes. I just don't know if there is an answer or a way back to a time of more civility in a time where incivility is being praised...

 This cabin, a photo from Stencil, with its still pond and reflection suggests peace and contentment-- but in isolation. Is that the only answer right now?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Slavery--

who would think we'd be arguing it today? Does someone defend slavery? Does anyone?

Biblically speaking, slavery was condoned and had rules regarding. Abraham, considered the father of two religions, owned slaves. His wife, Sarah, had a handmaiden (i.e. slave), with whom she encouraged her husband to have sex so he'd have an heir since she had been unable to conceive. The Bible said that at 90, Sarah then conceived a child and eventually mistreated Hagar, after she feared the handmaiden's child would take away the heritage of her son. The two resulting religions have been at war with each other through history.

The founders of the United States owned slaves. Although George Washington freed his, it was only in his will. Jefferson freed some of his in his will-- but not all. Worse, for him, is he had children by a slave, who he never freed. Jefferson, who favored gradual emancipation, still had slaves at the time of his death, who were sold to others in order to pay his debts. [For Jefferson, clearly complexity thy name was slavery].

The North turned from slavery but many believe because the practice was less economical in manufacturing. As with Jefferson, economic reasons, were why some felt they could not free their slaves, the situation with Robert E. Lee. He is one of the current subjects for vilification calling him a terrorist by some on the left. Was he or just a complex man in a complicated time-- one of transition from one thing to another. I found this a good article on him-- [Making Sense of Robert E. Lee].

The Civil War was not fought just about slavery, although it certainly was the underlying cause. Southern states would not have agreed to break from Britain if slavery had been put into the Constitution. The South feared eventually the North would try to emancipate all the slaves and wanted to form their own nation-- the official reason for the war.

While some saw slavery as always an evil, eventually it was deemed such by all. Nobody today in the United States is defending the practice or claiming it was innocent. Again and again, the United States beats itself up over it and here we go again.

I wrote about it awhile back in a different blog and said a lot of what I still feel is true.


In the raging rhetoric of today, it's not about slavery, although you'd think it was. Because of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, we are back arguing the whole thing. I've commented on it a few different places and usually regretted doing so as some talk in righteous terms about something they can condemn someone else over-- and that they ill understand themselves. Currently, it's mostly about Trump saying what he did and the hatred many on the left feel for him.

For those who haven't been following this, here's some of what he said:
"I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you have -- you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group -- you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent."

"Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee." 
"So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you all -- you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"
And so it went. Some believe what he said will bring down his Presidency. I have no idea but was he defending slavery or owning slaves? Was he defending using violence to gain a political goal? The one who used an automobile as a weapon was clearly radicalized by the flaming rhetoric but maybe also mentally ill, as has happened before. 

The irony is one journalist claimed the attack in Barcelona was inspired by Charlottesville. Seriously, that is where we've come to ignore history and use each tragedy only to make political points-- so Barcelona was about white supremacists not Muslim radicals. That writer must have not remembered the London Bridge attack or others in Europe-- a lot of others. 
Is there a solution to this kind of situation. I can't see us actually heading for another Civil War because this difference isn't geographical. It's inflamed by those who often have goals very different from what they are espousing. I worry a lot about where we are heading. 

Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets are now saying they will ban hate speech. The question is who decides what that is? If it's using violence to attain an end, then that might help. What if it's about different political views like defending a wall or concern over what is taught in schools? What if it is not allowing a conservative to speak on a campus?

Is Lee on those sculptures, as a defense of slavery, or is it because of what Theodore Roosevelt said about him (another who is condemned today regarding Native Americans).
In 1907, on the 100th anniversary of Lee’s birth, President Theodore Roosevelt expressed mainstream American sentiment, praising Lee’s “extraordinary skill as a General, his dauntless courage and high leadership,” adding, “He stood that hardest of all strains, the strain of bearing himself well through the gray evening of failure; and therefore out of what seemed failure he helped to build the wonderful and mighty triumph of our national life, in which all his countrymen, north and south, share.”
So here's where we are, with Vice (a left wing news outlet) suggesting we blow up Mt. Rushmore (then retracting it). Is this time really about determining right from wrong or is it instead about winning? The left currently is condemning the right but what are they saying they want to do? Issues are lost when emotions go wild. Worse, for me, is being in a time when the mood is so inflamed that we can only say what is deemed acceptable by each side-- no ability to discuss issues without accusations. It's a sad time.