Sunday, November 30, 2014

Them Southern Gals

We recently had a serious health issue with mom. She was suffering fainting spells and eventually ended up with a pacemaker, but is doing well now. That allows me to view the incident with a bit more humor today, because, as with much of life, there is humor even in distress. Especially when the distress has passed.

While at work one day my phone rings, and I saw it was mom. I knew it because our phones tell us everything today, so as I took it out of my pocket the words 'incoming call Mom' stared back at me. "Hi Mom, what's up?"

I didn't like the uncertainty immediately obvious in her voice. "Do you have my doctor's phone number?"

"Yeah, somewhere, why?"

"Well, I blacked out and fell and hit my head..." I interrupted her to say, "I'm closing, ma, and I'm taking take you to Emergency."

"I'd rather you call the doctor to see what he says."

I replied tensely, "He's gonna say take you to Emergency."

"I'd feel better if you'd call him." So, not to make her any more upset, I said I would and then call her right back. The doctor, of course, though very nice about it, made it quite clear that I should not be speaking to him but rushing her to the hospital instead. I called her and said I would be at her house right away.

As I had a key, I let myself in. Mother was not to be found, until I noticed her bathroom door shut. I knocked frantically and said, "I'm here, ma, let's go."

"In a minute. I'm brushing my hair and fixing my lipstick."

"We're going to Emergency, not a wedding reception." I barked in dismay. "They're not going to say, 'oh, don't treat Mrs. Cosgriff, her hair's mussed' Let's go!"

"I'll only be a minute." she responded with the finality of tone that told me I would be waiting until she was good and ready to go. Being a North Carolina girl, she would not be pushed, and I knew not to push back when she became that way. It would only make things worse, cause them southern gals, when their dander's up, they's fractious.

So we get to the hospital, they take her in right away, and we begin to sit and wait. She was lying on a gurney as I sat next to her. After a while she opined, "Well, I hope they find something, but I've lived a good life, no matter what."

I said nervously, having been thinking about the never never myself all along and not wanting to, "Let's not talk like that, ma, let's see what the doctors say."

About half incensed she asked, "What, don't you think I've had a good life?"

"No one says you haven't, ma, but let's not think about that just yet."

"Well, I've lived a good life anyway." There's that finality again, so I clammed up. But I really didn't care for it that second.

An hour or so later as I was standing next to her she said, stating more than asking, "It don't look right, does it, you seeing your mother lying in a hospital bed with all these wires and needles."

"No, momma, it don't." I whispered. I couldn't help but remember barely a year before, watching my dad as he lay dying in that same hospital. She was right on the money. It didn't look right at all.

"But I've had a good life." she said again. Aw, c'mon, ma, didn't we just go through this? I felt the exasperation of Ray Romano.

So a few weeks and several tests pass, and the doctors became sure she needed a pacemaker. It was obvious that even Mom was now quite sure that her good life had an indefinite time left and that she needed to get about living it. I sat with her on that Wednesday morning, waiting for the procedure. She fretted, "I wish they'd hurry up and do it. I have to weed my garden.", getting fractious. "And I'm hungry. But you know they won't feed me until after they're done."

Several starts and stops later (you know how hurry up and wait hospitals can be), and after not too little worrying about all the things she had to do, they put in the pacemaker. After she left for the OR, the next time I saw her was back in her room, all rosy cheeked after a month of appearing grayish and wan. She was eating and complaining, "They better let me go soon. I've got to get to work on my garden, and you know the house needs cleaning."

As my siblings were by then with her, I slipped out to find her doctor. I advised him to release her soon for his own good, because them southern gals, they's fractious.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Real Issue in Ferguson

Now that a few days have passed, we're going to revisit the Ferguson situation and offer a comment or two hopefully more in a spirit of understanding what lies at the bottom of it. We're just throwing a couple things out there, to stimulate conversation as much as anything else.

To begin with, closing malls and freeways will not win you many converts. When protestors get in the way of people trying to live their lives they will create more opposition than support. Part of the reason for that is that, by and large, people either don't care or have already made their minds up. Either way, at this point in the game, and it is a game of sorts for the left/libertarian protestors, the supporters of Michael Brown have lost their point. For the sake of argument, that in itself isn't saying that they're wrong about the incident. It's merely a suggestion that they need to acknowledge that different tactics are needed in order to change minds.

Quite frankly, and this may sound odd coming from folks like us who typically distrust government power, we and we believe a solid majority of Americans support the actions of authority generally over the actions of an individual, particularly when that individual was apparently a real threat. Like it or not, even if Officer Wilson overreacted, Michael Brown brought this upon himself. It has been said often in various ways and manners but it holds true and bears repetition: don't steal from and attack a store owner, get out of the middle of the street (where you should not be) when told to by a cop, don't threaten that officer of the law, and you will virtually always be unharmed. Brown's friend wasn't hurt, you'll notice, and why? Because he did not present himself as a threat.

We will admit that, in terms of race relations, there may well be certain socioeconomic background issues which lead to poor community relations and, sadly, sometimes violence. These avenues may need to be explored in order to determine how to make things better for everyone, police and community alike. Still, in the heat of the moment if you will, that simply doesn't matter. If there were socioeconomic problems which lead to Michael Brown becoming the legal adult which he became, and we ourselves don't doubt that, for example, the breakdown of the family brought on by government policy may be one, that may mitigate his faults. Yet at the moment he posed a danger to that store owner and Darren Wilson, that just didn't matter. People must bear that in mind when considering what the best course of action by the police and the community might be.

We're just ruminating a bit and explaining the conservative outlook. The entire incident is a shame for all involved: we should strive for a society where kids growing up have better support and where the police and neighborhood store owners and neighbors themselves are not living under threat. Yet the here and now is the here and now, and in it, threats exist. Ours in not an ideal world. We must be careful about allowing unfettered ideals to cloud our judgment about real world problems.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday 2014

Once there was a day called Black Friday. It was meant to launch the holiday shopping season, and was known to start as early as 4 or 5 in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving. Yet that, it seems, was not good enough. We have reached the point where the sales are encroaching so far into Thanksgiving itself that there are stores opening as early as 5PM Thursday afternoon. We are now faced with Black Thursday.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture, something which speaks to a serious ill in American society. Why do we need these sales? Why do people think they have they right to them? And before all the rabid libertarian free marketers go livid about it (no one makes them do it, what about freedom?) let's ask you two things: aren't some folks (if not most involved, quite frankly) being made to do things?, and, isn't their freedom being sacrificed?

It is hard to imagine that the bulk of sales and support staff at stores would rather be working than at home with their families and friends on a major holiday. The same can be said of those working arenas for sporting events as well, or even at television stations and entertainment establishments. Why do we think we have the right to expect those people to have to work for our leisure?

This isn't capitalism. It's consumerism, and it's the worst example of bacchanalia. It is the time of year when we least like free markets, and perhaps the best time to remind those who do preach them that economics aren't everything. Simple, unfettered economics may well infringe on someone's freedom as well as any government attempt to stifle a reasoned liberty. Yet there is a difference. There's at least a small chance that, with a bit of discipline at the voting booth door, we might actually stop government. Is there any way we might stop the Invisible Hand?

Anything which does not practice a decent amount self examination and a reasonable self discipline will become a devil. The free market is no different. Yet it does create quite the hypocrites among its defenders, doesn't it? They express a disdain for coercion. Yet they sure don't mind the coercion which the markets force upon people.

That strikes us as violence against the person as hateful as any government encroachment upon the person. But the free marketers won't see it. They have their own god attending to their business. And it is not constrained by care for humanity.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

Anyone who claims that we weren't founded on Christian principles, read these words well and carefully. And have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving in that light.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Justice in Ferguson?

Is Ferguson, Missouri burning? Because, given all the signs we've been given, it should be. Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police will not be charged in the shooting of Michael Brown. And, of course, this is a miscarriage of justice.

To the more libertarian among us, it may well be. To the arrogant (presumedly) poor, it may well be as well. For after all, when an authority figure uses deadly force, he must be wrong. All authority must be subject to question when a person is at issue.

And, of course, no individual or action of an individual should be subject to question either. But, you know, the person is always right. Because someone somewhere said that Michael Brown had his hands up, well, he must have had his hands up and was trying to surrender. Why even debate the matter?

Well, because authority, in some book somewhere, is always wrong, and the person, in that same book (wherever it exists), is always right. And do you know what the bottom line is?

If someone, some person, that is, had gotten out of the middle of the street when told to by a cop, none of this would be at issue. If someone who should not have been in the middle of the street had gotten out of it when told to by a legitimate authority, there would be no issue tonight. If someone who had any real respect for others let alone the law had done what he should have done, there would be no issue tonight.

Yet there is an issue tonight. And it is made by those who disrespect the law. And they are why the Taco Bell restaurant in Ferguson or nearby environs were boarding up their windows earlier last night. Because they knew, somehow, that certain hooligans would use last night's grand jury findings to justify what they, in their own, felt, only felt, mind you, was right.

But they could not be selfish, could they?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mean What You Say

We live by definition. Many folks will disagree with that, and it's interesting to wonder whether all they're doing is living under a different definition. It would seem so, despite the fact that, very often, they attempt to live under a banner of no definition.

What purpose can that serve? For starters, all it really does is put them into the category of relativists. All kinds of fun can be had with factoid, but we'll set aside for now. There's a more ominous idea at work under the auspices of no definition. If people cannot be defined, then no human action can be called wrong as there would be no definition to fit it.

That's why so many folks now believe that marriage can be between any two people who love each other. It takes away from marriage by making the term meaningless, that is, without definition. It throws the point into the realm of love, whatever that means, as it is also a term used rather loosely these days. How many of us actually consider what love might be, or what it actually might demand of us? Very few, because it is now a term used merely to justify what we want to do and with whoever wants to do it with us.

Words mean things. At least, they're supposed to. They are the only way in which we can effectively communicate, and they can only be effective when we define them and hold people to those definitions. This is hardly a new concept. The ancient Greeks insisted that we must define our terms before discussing matters; more recently, Rush Limbaugh opined that, well, words mean things. If we are truly serious about understanding other people and other cultures then we have to be able to understand what is being said by ourselves and others. If we are really serious about ending war and injustice or merely making our local community a better place, then we must admit that our words must be well defined in manners comprehensible and acceptable to all rational people.

If we do not do this, then we are simply banging a gong when we speak. Such is nothing more than a metallic din which can only drown out those who really want a better world.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Amnesty for illegals is a moral wrong

It appears as though President Barack Obama is preparing to announce a general amnesty to those who are living in this country illegally. Such an act would make them all legal residents.

This would be an insult on many fronts, not the least of which would be the simple question of fairness to everyone who has entered the US by the front door. There are questions of it might affect elections, which is surely something which the Obama Administration and its Democratic allies have thought through. But more than that: it is an affront against every American who has left his country only to be put through the mill on his return, and to the many visitors to our nation who are similarly grilled when attempting to visit amicably.

We have border guards in Detroit, no doubt by instruction, demanding to know where US citizens have been and what had they done while outside the country. What, can citizens with proof of citizenship not be allowed back in should not they care not to explain, to someone who has no business knowing, that they were out with friends or enjoying legitimate recreational activities? The insults have went so far as to demand the last time the subject was in prison, as if that too might prevent their repatriation. Legitimate visitors who mean know harm are often hassled as well when they are merely trying to come by to say and maybe spend a few bucks.

Yet those who have come here wrongly and have lived off our largesse are soon to be welcomed with open arms.

We have no problem with fairly open immigration. But there's nothing wrong with expecting to people to come by the front door after a friendly knock. But if someone broke into your house, would you tell them that's okay or call the cops?

Yes, that's a decent analogy. But we are increasingly sure this Administration cares not for decency anyway. A general amnesty simply proves it all the more.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jay Nixon is Right to Plan Ahead

We await the verdict, such as it may be, of the grand jury investigating whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson wrongfully shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown. Speculation about what may happen runs the gamut from having charges brought against Officer Wilson up to his being cleared of any wrongdoing. In the meantime, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has already deemed the St. Louis area to be in a state of emergency and supporters of Michael Brown are making various demands, and mostly demanding an indictment of Officer Warren.

What's wrong with that, that last bit? Simply that it leaves us to question whether the people, of Ferguson really want justice or not.

Shouldn't the system be allowed at least the chance that it will work? Remember that working actually means doing justice, and the Darren Wilson is an entitled to justice as Michael Brown. Yet when protestors openly demand an indictment, they are for all practical purposes demanding to have there way about the manner without regard to any actual right or wrong.

It's that sort of knee jerk reaction to events however possibly awful which brings the entire community down. We can almost imagine that no matter what the grand jury finds there will still be rioting in Ferguson after an announcement is made, because what happened isn't about doing right but rather about what a supposedly put upon community wants solely because it wants it. Most of the protesters, we'll venture to say, don't in fact give a hoot nor a holler about the young man who was killed. They simply want to lash out for whatever vague reasons.

That is not justice. But it is the mob mentality. As such, we believe Jay Nixon has the right idea.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Brittany Maynard's God

We recently spoke of the death of Brittany Maynard, calling it an act of cowardice or, worse, self righteousness. You may read about it here: http://www.examiner.com/article/brittany-murphy-s-death-pure-selfishness . We have received several criticisms of our editorial, and they all boil down to two things: that God is a loving and merciful God, and that we cannot judge the acts of others. They are interesting criticisms.

The second point we can quite frankly dismiss almost without thought: aren't those who criticize our thoughts guilty of judgment of us? Yet if judgment of the thoughts and acts of others is wrong, on what grounds do they judge us? We will skip the intermediate steps which that question entails and cut straight to the chase: no one argues against judgment when they like the judgment. If we were to have said that Maynard had the right to do what she has done, no one would have jumped up shouting, 'You can't judge her!'. So the implication is clear: the assertion that we cannot judge the thoughts and acts of others is itself little more than a selfish, self righteous claim invoked when one doesn't like the conclusions being drawn. As such, we dismiss the point as an argument for assisted suicide. Or as an argument for anything else, for that matter.

The first argument, that God is loving and merciful, is simply a red herring with regard to any human act or construct. We do not argue that God isn't loving and merciful; but what have those fine and lofty ideals to do with whether an act or thought is right anyway? It is as though those who employ that line of argument are saying: because God fully understands what so and so is going through, he will forgive it. Again, we do not argue that God does not fully understand things, or will further not take individual circumstances into account. Yet the idea that that must mean He will forgive them is presumption, plain and simple. We must be very careful about presuming the Will of God.

That God loves us and is willing to forgive us is without question. Yet love and forgiveness mean little if you don't want them, and wanting them requires that you ask for them with contriteness. Contriteness means understanding that what we did was wrong and required forgiveness. So we ask: might Brittany Maynard have been contrite before she did what she did (which seems unlikely as she went ahead and did it), or at least before her act came to fruition?

The answer is that we don't know; as we've just said, we must be very careful about presuming the Will of God. Since we don't know, we cannot presume anything about the state of her person. Yet even that is still a separate question over whether what she actually did was right or wrong. And we can draw useful conclusions about that: it was wrong. No one has the moral right to take their own life (sacrificing it, in war or as a police officer or when defending a family member or friend for example, is not taking your life, just for the record, but is offering it for a greater good).

Quite frankly, we cheapen human life to think that what is wrong is in fact right no matter the exact state of the person involved. Yet the god invoked in support of Brittany Maynard apparently would not say that. He would say that what she did was okay, because, you know, he loves her and would never, ever judge her.

Yet the sad fact is that the god of Brittany Maynard would be quite happy if we did all just kill ourselves.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Social Conservatism is not a lost cause

Cheer up, social conservatives. Things aren't so bleak as they seem.

To be sure, the battle over gay marriage is lost. Not to be flippant, but so it goes. Sometimes, in this imperfect world, the wrong side wins. Yet there are many reasons for that happening, and not the least of which is the simple fact that the world in its imperfect vision blurs the lines. People reach a point where they cannot or are unwilling to fully see right from wrong; this is not said to excuse them but only as an observation. Either way, we're at the point so that as long as religious liberty is not infringed upon by the gay rights activists we may just have to live with parts of their program. Worse things have happened in human history and, not to excuse them, but sins of the flesh are indeed the least immediately harmful of the sins. At the end of life, those who commit them will have to answer to God for their errors as we will for ours. If you aren't shuddering at the task of explaining your own sins to St. Peter, then you may need to give that question better thought anyway.

But as to our responsibilities towards justice on this Earth, well, sometimes all that can be done, so long as we've actually done all that we can do lately, is to wait for the next best opportunity and do what we can do now about whatever other errors are out there. With some few exceptions, there is no point to fighting battles which cannot at this time be won. All that does is expend resources uselessly while perhaps leading to other more critical battles unwon. Abortion still exists, and is surely a worse evil. So long as we will not support human rights among our weakest brothers and sisters then talk about rights and responsibilities in general is pointless. Even this does not preclude our speaking from the pulpits and through our social media against what has been made conventional. Leaving the battlefield does not mean we are no longer to propagate. It only means that we must be patient about ultimate ends.

The one thing we cannot do is allow ourselves to be painted into a corner. We cannot be lumped in with the buffoons who say that rape can't cause pregnancy or that God wills this or that; we don't really know God's will in particular instances, and He cannot undo the free will of men and women. But we insist that as a group we are not Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock. We must stay reasonable about our cause. Further, we must not allow ourselves to be called bigots. It is the bigots against religion who call us that, and they cannot be allowed the high ground. We speak, if we speak truly, for what is really right and what is really wrong. As such, we need to call for honest introspection and proper self denial among ourselves as well as our adversaries. They speak almost by definition for shallow self interest. That by itself should give our beliefs greater moral clarity and power.

And it will in the long run. Keep the long run in mind, for the short run will never give us complete satisfaction for the good or the bad. That's simply the way things are, and there's no use becoming pessimists over short term defeats. We must remember that we are called to optimism evil in this world. Without that belief, how are we to be optimistic about the next?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Justice leads to Freedom

Libertarians and conservatives seem so very close on several issues that it may at times be difficult to distinguish between the two. Yet certain distinctions can be made, and they may be all the difference in the world between the camps.

Perhaps the most serious difference lies in the areas of freedom and justice. Libertarians occasionally talk as though justice is the most important thing which human society ought to strive towards yet almost unfailingly insist that the measure of an act is the amount of freedom it allows. The problem is that freedom ultimately is a means rather than an end, and while it is easy to think that the society with the most freedom may (and the word may cannot be stressed enough) produce the most justice, that surely cannot be a given. A hedonistic society such as what the Western world sometimes appears hell bent for leather determined to make of itself surely welcomes a great (one is tempted to say an absurd) amount of freedom among the people. Do libertarians sufficiently address what that must mean?

Seeing as they are only seriously opposed to areas of direct and physical violence against persons, it is easy to say no. This isn't to say they oppose any and all nonviolent yet repugnant actions; we presume they are against libel and slander, for example. But do they take it far enough? Are there areas where, even though there may appear a lack of real violence against the person or society, there is a nonphysical violence which may yet hurt individuals and nations?

The conservative says yes. When society allows repugnant actions to be legal then it had begun teaching individuals and nations that the immoral is in fact moral. It begins to tear the fabric of civil society into little more than strands, each strand being each person, each person being free to do what they want, outside of overt violence, of course, without censure. When that happens, how long may it be before the strands cannot support even themselves? Likely as not, the moment they become too individual, too little concerned with the larger society. What will happen then? The strands that get together by whatever means will dominate the rest. That probably won't mean much for freedom, let alone justice.

Without a sense of true justice, decidedly non violent yet unjust actions will be seen as mere aspects of personal freedom. If it doesn't harm anyone directly and immediately it must, in the libertarian view, be allowed.

Such is a shallow definition of justice. But when a creed is based on mere freedom rather than on actual right and wrong, what can we expect in the long run but decay? If the libertarians wish to be taken seriously then they must accept that freedom isn't the end all be all of human actions. Until that happens, they will always be on the margin of political society. Or, worse, they will lead all of society to its destruction.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day 2014

Why is it that we often only appreciate the American Soldier when he is fighting Nazis?

That is the fault of the Hollywood Left, quite frankly. For whatever bizarre reason, and knowing them it must be somewhat bizarre or selfish, it seems that the soldiers most fondly recalled are those from the WWII generation. Without a doubt, they deserve that praise of course. This isn't to doubt their service or their bravery. We should recall them. The American Soldier, and his compatriots from Canada and Great Britain and France and China and dozens of other nations from around the world fell while fighting that menace. The Nazis were awful, to be sure. They may have been at least to that time the worst threat the entire world had faced, and a threat to the United States as well, to be sure. But were they only reason the American Soldier fought and died?

Did not the American Soldier fight and fall at Lexington and Concord? Citizen soldiers, yes, they were. And they stood their ground, refusing to allow the Redcoats to secure a garrison of patriotic supplies at Concord, pestering the British all the way back to their garrison at Boston. Did the American Soldier not fall at Fort Ticonderoga, or Bunker Hill, or at Saratoga? Did he not fall at the retreat from Manhattan, or while fighting the Hessians at Princeton or Trenton, or was their blood not shed as they attacked redoubts numbered 9 and 10 at Yorktown, the attacks which were key to victory at that famous battle? Why do we not remember that American Soldier?

During the Wars which we do not remember so fondly, at sea against the French in 1798, at the Raisin River right here in Michigan in 1813 during the War of 1812, did he not fall? At Tripoli during the Wars in 1804 and 1815? Why do we not remember the American Soldier from then?

Do we remember Fort Sumter? Do we remember Antietam? Do we remember Bull Run, battles One and Two, or the siege of Vicksburg? Do Chambersburg and Gettysburg, Gettysburg, the battle which many historians argue is one of the ten most critical battles of World History, World History, mind you, mean anything these days? Do we appreciate what that means to our nation even today?

The doughboys in World War I; do we know them these days? Yes, they are universally gone now. They should not be forgotten.

World War II and Korea live in our memories. Yet we forget Korea. That is, other than with the greatest cynicism, as presented by M*A*S*H. Why do we recall only with disdain the great victories of the American Soldier in Vietnam? Why do we not acknowledge the tremendous victory of the American Soldier of the TET Offensive during the New Year of 1968? The Viet Cong were blown off the field of battle as an effective fighting force for a year, an entire year, and the media which hates conservative America called it a military loss. Why do we forget you? Why do we forget the American Soldier of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Why do we forget the American Soldier who toils each day in Afghanistan? Why do we forget the American Soldier who toils each day holding the Al Qaeda militants at bay at Guantanamo, safe from attacking their fellow citizens?

We should not. We should not forget you any more than we should forget the veteran of Granada or Operation Desert Storm, of Panama or Haiti or the 200 or more military operations in our history. Has every action of the US been right? No; we are human. We have made mistakes. Where we have, nature and nature's God rightly demand we regret them and make amends where we can. Yet even then we must not forget that our sons and daughters have not died in vain. There were part of the greater cause, willing to serve their nation whenever or wherever it called. We must give them their due too.

The Nazis have not been the only evil in the world. They may have been not the worst evil, either. Other evils have arisen; evils whose blood soils the hand of the American Soldier. He was always and everywhere was concerned with rightness and justice no matter what. And that, dear friends, is how we ought remember him.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hey GOP: Be Partisan

Everyone on the left wants bipartisanship, it seems. Cooperate; make concessions; let everyone have a slice of the pie, a share of the trouble. It sounds so right, so fair, and so just.

Well, it isn't. The Democrats have not been bipartisan for years. So the best advice for the now ruling Republicans is: be partisan. Stuff your ideas down their throats. It's what the liberals and Democrats have done for years. Now it's your turn.

The Left, the Democrats, they aren't bipartisan. Their very history displays as much. Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court in 1981 in order to fulfill a campaign promise, fully expecting that when then time came the Democrats would respect his real first choice for the high court, Robert Bork. Yet when it came time to nominate Judge Bork, the liberal Democrats who by then controlled the Senate said no way. Hence the term Borked was brought into our political lexicon. No bipartisan ship there.

When George Bush the First pledged no new taxes, he was coerced into agreeing to the largest tax increase in American history, on the grounds of necessity and bipartisanship. Was he lauded when he gave in? No. Before the ink was dry on the deal, Democrats were already pointing fingers and yelling, "He's a liar! He said no new taxes and he raised them!" Unprincipled hypocrites, the whole lot of them.

After the 2000 Presidential election, when it was clear to any unbiased observer that, under the system established by the United States Constitution, George W. Bush was the duly elected President of the United States, were the Democrats bipartisan? Nope. They called out every lawyer they could to argue that this was not so. They argued for imaginative judgments about hanging and dimpled chads where no real intent could possibly be displayed, and for totally subjective and selfish reasons, that an unknown voter meant to vote for Al Gore.

Then these same types of people deigned to shove Obamacare down the throats of Americans at the last minute, before a newly elected Congress (elected by a substantial majority) could meet, by nothing less than parliamentary gamesmanship, at the last minute.

The Democrats do not believe in bipartisanship. Now is the time to teach them exactly what that lesson means.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

You won, GOP; now Govern

The 2014 midterm elections weren't even close. The Republicans took control of the US Senate and could increase that margin, and they have added at least 13 seats to their majority in the House of Representatives and could add more there as well. Governors races, which were supposed to offer the Democrats solace and perhaps even slight gains, saw the Republicans add three governorships to their majority of that group. Illinois and Maryland saw Republican upsets. State Legislatures by and large are held by the GOP. The only good national news for the Democrats was in Pennsylvania, where a Democrat ousted a Republican governor.

What of the supposed racist and sexist Republicans? Iowa and West Virginia sent their first women senators to Washington, Joni Ernst and Shelley Moore Capito respectively; they are Republicans. South Carolina sent the first elected black senator to DC since Reconstruction: Senator Tim Scott, a Republican. This turned out to be a much more significant romp than even we expected. Well, what does it all mean?

It means that the GOP is the new majority party in America. And it can keep that status if it lives up to its promises and actually governs like Republicans, something quite attainable in a center-right country such as ours.

Take President Barack Obama to the woodshed. Show him that the nation does not like his policies or his leadership and force upon him policies which will help the United States prosper. Don't go after as the GOP went after Bill Clinton in the 90s. Go after him by putting forth an agenda which will improve our economy and increase legitimate personal freedoms. Make him the man of NO the same way he disingenuously called the GOP the party of No. Because he will say no to the Republicans. So take advantage of that. Show that there is a real difference between the major parties and that more conservative ideas are better for us.

2015 isn't that far away, and the Senate math could work against Republicans then. The GOP needs to fashion itself so that it can keep a Senate majority while winning the White House. The Party can only do that by showing, clearly and forcefully, that its ideas are right and will work.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Brittany Maynard Died Selfishly

Brittany Maynard has died. The 29 year old woman with terminal and aggressive brain cancer took her life in Oregon, where she moved to take advantage of that state's assisted suicide laws. Her death, it is said, was with dignity.

Only in America today can we call surrender dignified. Only in America today can giving up, throwing away perhaps the most incredible gift we are given, be interpreted as an act of strength. How can anyone believe this something positive?

What did she really believe, this woman who taught children in Nepal and traveled widely as she pursued what must have been, with her mentality, a vain bucket list? Vain, quite frankly, and its sister term vanity, are absolutely the correct words here. Apparently nothing matters except her comfort, her desires. Why else do what she did? Teach kids why? Because it satisfied her. Travel why? Because it satisfied her. Die on a schedule? Because it satisfied her.

This was an act of selfishness, of, in fact, hatred, and nothing more. It teaches only that life is good until it is difficult. Then it is a trial which should be ran away from with all due speed. Brittany Maynard did not love life, did not love going places and seeing things, did not care for children in remote areas of the world. She cared for herself and her enjoyment, and nothing more. Her opting to die rather than fight the good fight, rather than actually live every day to the fullest measure possible, demonstrates as much. There is no lesson in that save that futility is the end of humanity.

Pray for her, friends, as you ought. But as much as that, pray that no one takes her lesson to heart. We are all doomed should her attitude win the heart of humanity.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NFL anti-bullying campaign hypocritical

Any one else notice the odd bedfellows associated with anti-bullying crusade?

The National Football League has, lately, had a significant rise in aggressive off field behavior from its players, most notably in the area of domestic violence. The very product it offers glorifies violence; it actually encourages it on the playing field. It's no wonder that too many of its players can't control it off the field. Violence can easily become ingrained in their psyche; can we reasonably expect that they can readily turn it off? Yet the NFL is quite active in the anti-bullying area.

Does anyone else see something absurd about that?

Similarly the WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, has for several years been active on the anti-bullying front through such promotions as its Be a STAR program (Show Tolerance And Respect) in which their roster of superstars go to schools to encourage kids not to be nor tolerate bullies. There's nothing wrong with that so far as it goes (we could quibble by asking such intrusive questions of a feel good campaign such as tolerate what? or respect it why? but such are for another time), but isn't it the least bit incongruent for a wrestling entertainment corporation which actively promotes trash talk among its members leading up to, during, and after wrestling events to turn around and, in real life, argue against the same behaviors? Can someone say mixed message?

Still, there are important differences between the two. The WWE brand of violence is comic and the organization knows it. Indeed, it plays it up. Wrestlers do things cooperatively in the ring so as to reduce the chance of serious injury. The violence of the NFL is intentional, uncooperative, and will quite naturally lead to serious and debilitating injuries. It makes the League's anti-bullying cries seem at least vaguely hypocritical. The WWE meanwhile is self aware. It doesn't promote violence per se. The NFL is at least arguably schizophrenic. Its violence is encouraged while its mouthpieces say things radically opposite of the attitudes encouraged for play in an actual game.

We find we can take the wrestlers' anti-bullying pleas more seriously. Go figure.