In 2013, I stopped writing here because I no longer had the time. I didn’t have the time to research every detail of every issue to know what people were talking about and I didn’t have time to keep checking for comments and carry on a conversation. Half the comments were from robots anyways. This is why I disabled comments. In 2016, I began writing a little bit, but I’m still not up to checking my responses all the time. I’m not really back. Just in case anyone has something they need to say I will leave the comments open on this post only. I may respond and I may not.
I'm probably not helping matters by calling everyone either evil or idiotic, but I have found in the past that trying to be nice only earns disrespect. I'm frustrated and I just want to be honest about my feelings for a while. Maybe in the future I'll be willing to listen and we can work something out. Below is my story.
By the time I was old enough to vote in 2000, I had studied and learned a great deal more about public policy than the average voter ever does in an entire lifetime. Based on what I truly believed was an unbiased assessment of all the facts, I had become mostly libertarian on economics, somewhat conservative on foreign policy, and a mixed moderate on social issues. I preferred Republicans to Democrats at the time but thought of myself as an independent. Focusing on those few issues of supreme importance, I decided on the following five positions:
Freedom of speech must be protected, because without speech we cannot organize, educate, or advise each other on how to vote on any other issue. In a democracy, it is the voters that are in charge and we need to be able to make informed decisions. To lose speech is to lose it all.
The right to bear arms must be protected, because with no physical means of defense, all our other rights are protected only by the goodwill of the officials currently in charge – goodwill which has already been proven to be in very short supply. To lose our weapons is to lose it all.
Our sovereignty must be protected, because Americans will know better how to regulate Americans than some foreign power we cannot control that does not share our culture, economic interests, or form of government. This also means we need to control our borders and immigration, become energy-independent, and take care that too much foreign trade does not expose us to economic disruption originating outside our jurisdiction where we cannot control. To lose our self-determination is to lose it all.
The environment must be protected, because if the ecology suffers, we lose our food supply, we lose our oxygen supply, erosion increases, and the climate changes. To lose the biosphere is to lose it all.
Finally, I also recognized that without life, there is also no liberty, no pursuit of happiness, no free speech, no right to bear arms, no right to vote, no free health care, no affordable housing, and nothing else. If the government provides anything at all whatsoever, it follows logically that it should first protect us from being killed. Since I recognized that the role of government was to protect the weak and the innocent more than it was to protect the strong and the guilty, and since there exist no citizens more vulnerable or more innocent than those living in the womb, it follows logically that if the government protects the lives of anyone at all, it should first protect the unborn. It’s only fair.
Of course these issues are all much more complex than I have let on, but this is where the story began. These are the issues I’ve struggled with my entire life and that compelled me to take a stance. Looking back, I don’t see how it could have been any other way.
When considering who to vote for, I was quickly able to eliminate anyone who ran as a Democrat. Not only were Democrats for much that I considered evil and harmful, but over and over I would see them twist logic and rhetoric past the breaking point to defend the indefensible. It was blatantly clear from even a cursory review that they had no core convictions and only supported whichever position was popular at the moment. They always stood up for each other even when violating their previously stated values. Whenever Republicans did something stupid (and they did), other Republicans were very quick to distance themselves and make clear that the offender did not represent the party as a whole. Whenever Democrats did something stupid, other Democrats would do whatever they possibly could to defend the offender (mostly by lying about the facts). This not only applies to politicians and professional opinion leaders, but to the majority of those that vote Democrat. People I know personally can be just as dishonest as those on TV.
I also noticed that Democrats often spoke to voters in terms of what benefitted them personally (such as handouts from some program), while Republicans more often spoke in terms of fairness to everybody and what was good for the country as a whole. I remember that labor unions would openly ask for favors in return for the help they had given in getting Democrats elected. This is the very definition of corruption and selfishness, but for Democrats “tit for tat” is simply how statecraft is accomplished. While Republicans can sometimes be just as corrupt, at least they hide it.
There are many other things that turned me off to Democrats early on. When Republicans disagree with government policies, they blame the Democrats in government and run against them. When Democrats disagree with government policies, they blame America as a whole and some take to burning the flag. When Republicans encounter a voter who is undecided and has tough questions, the Republicans will invite them to join the party and say anything they need to in order to win them over (including lying and making promises they can’t or won’t keep). When Democrats encounter a voter who is undecided and has tough questions, the Democrats will call them a racist or a corporate shill and reject them as a lost cause. Republicans write books, blogs, and host radio or television shows that “connect the dots” and explain why they think the way they do. When Democrats write or host shows, they ramble chaotically about how evil Republicans are without even trying to support their accusations. What turned me off the most was how they would repeat the same outright lies over and over many years after the truth had been established. I still hear about “tax cuts for the rich,” about the Supreme Court stealing the 2000 election for Bush, about Bush “going it alone” into Iraq, about global warming being an imminent threat, and about there not being even a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS. These are all lies of which the truth has been known for a very long time. Who do they think they’re fooling?
One should not judge an entire group based on the actions of a few, but there is a difference between an organization with bad people in it and a bad organization. For example, the Tea Party might have racists in it, but it is not a racist group, whereas for the KKK racism is fundamentally what they are about. It was clear to me that while the Republican Party had much corruption in it, it was the Democratic Party that was fundamentally a corrupt organization. Even the way they nominate candidates thwarts the will of their own people because of the superdelegates. Democrats are fundamentally anti-democratic.
Although I registered as an independent, for years I voted exclusively for Republicans. I knew they weren’t perfect, but the Democrats were too dangerously evil to allow them to win any offices. Gradually, the Republicans grew worse and today are very nearly as bad as the Democrats. It gets harder every day to see any difference in virtue between the parties. During the Bush years, the Republicans in Congress greatly increased spending – and not only on national security. No matter which party wins more seats, spending and borrowing only goes up. It may rise faster under the Democrats, but even under the GOP we will eventually reach the point that it will become impossible for America to ever pay off her debt no matter how many programs we cut, no matter how high we raise taxes, and even if the economy grows at its maximum rate. The experts disagree on exactly where that point is, but I’d be more comfortable if we didn’t keep tempting fate. Around the same time, many prominent Republicans came out as believers in global warming – just as I was concluding the theory to be in its final death throes based on the ridiculously tortured explanations I was reading in the science magazines. In this way, they showed themselves as scientifically illiterate as the Democrats are. Later, the Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting a bailout of large banks without doing a thing to fix the problems that led to the crisis in the first place (the Democrats later “fixed” the problems by making them bigger). Even later during the Obama years, when it came out that the Democrat-run executive branch was spying on our phone records (in clear violation of the fourth amendment), many Republicans joined in support of the program, and those Republicans somehow continued to get elected, proving that the corruption in the GOP was widespread.
Sometimes the GOP would agree to bad compromises with the Democrats, other times they would propose bad ideas themselves, and other times they would simply give in and give up. Twice during the Obama years the Democrats shut down the government and blamed the Republicans for it (yet more Democrat lies still repeated today). The Republicans tried over and over to suggest compromises but each was rejected. Only when the Republicans caved and gave the Democrats 100% of what they asked for did the Democrats allow the government to reopen. What is the point of voting Republican if once elected they do whatever the Democrats tell them to do anyways? Why does the Republican Party even exist? Why don’t the parties just merge and become the Republicrats? That the Republicans gave in so easily emboldens the Democrats to use the same tactics again, knowing they can always get their way if they hold the government hostage. What is the point of voting Republican if they just give up every time the Democrats hold the government hostage?
Mit Romney’s candidacy really brought it home for me how disgusting the Republicans had become. That he of all people won the nomination is inconceivable to me. That countless commentators and researchers I had learned to trust started to use faulty reasoning to make excuses for him, while characterizing his opponents as things they were not, really floored me. I had no source I could trust. I had no way to verify or falsify any claim. The entire party had gone batty.
While the Republicans became worse by becoming more like the Democrats, they also became worse by becoming less like them. When an already-existing mosque near (but not at) the site of the world trade tower collapse sought city approval to expand the facility, thousands of Republicans marched in protest, including a former VP candidate and a former House Speaker. They disregarded both the property rights and first-amendment religious freedom rights of Muslims simply because the ones who brought the towers down also happened to claim to be Muslim. This somehow lead the protesters to think that expanding a mosque in the area was in poor taste. These are not simply the attitudes of a fringe minority. Even people I know personally believe the Muslims should not build in New York, believe it a good idea to round up eleven million illegal immigrants (including those who came here as children), believe it a good idea to torture suspected terrorists for information (whether they call it torture or not), and believe that the solution to stagnant wages is for workers to get more education. Even if everyone in the country earned a PHD (which many people are not good at, even if they are fully capable of working both smarter and harder than anyone else), I would still need somebody to make me an iced coffee. They prejudicially blame individuals for situations better understood as the results of large-scale social and economic phenomena. They callously tell the homeless to “get a job,” not realizing how hard it is to get and keep a job when homeless. Whenever any Republican takes a moderate position on any of these issues, the others attack them and call them a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
More and more it became clear to me that Republicans were blind to the suffering of millions of people. This disturbing trend finally culminated in the nomination of Donald Trump, one of the most needlessly divisive and mean-spirited politicians I have ever seen. Before Trump, it was Democrats that held that title (e.g. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi). That of all people eligible to run it would be the worst of the worst that kept rising to the top in both parties proved to me that both parties were completely controlled by evil.
The more I learned, the more I found wrong. Members of both parties vote to exempt themselves from the laws they pass, members of both parties are up to their eyeballs in insider trading, and members of both parties get very cozy with lobbyists. With everything that is widely known to be wrong with both parties, anyone that endorses either of them by running as either a Republican or a Democrat tarnishes their own reputation. A decent person would not wish to support either party in any way, therefore anyone who supports either party cannot be decent. I can no longer in good conscience vote for any individual running under the Republicrat banner, even if I know of nothing wrong with them individually.
I need another party – but which one? The Reform Party of Ross Perot caught my attention in my childhood, but it pretty much disintegrated by the time I reached adulthood. From what little I know about the Greens, they tend to favor socialistic and intrusive economic policies. They seem to attract the same people that are attracted to Democrats. I never had much interest in them. The Libertarians currently comprise the third largest party in the country and they tend to agree with my values more often than not. The biggest problem with the Libertarians is that they tend to be too extreme. I value compromise and pragmatism almost as much as I value liberty, but the Libertarians seem unlikely to ever compromise and they are far from pragmatic. I get the impression that many would wish to simply abolish unconstitutional programs such as social security and welfare overnight, forgetting that many people have become dependent on them. Furthermore, many Libertarians believe in completely free trade and open borders, but these would damage our national security. If there is no border there is no country. Many (not all) are also inconsistent in how they apply the principles of liberty, wanting to force states to extend benefits to homosexual unions meant to be reserved for traditional marriages and refusing to protect the life (and therefore liberty) of the unborn when it would compromise in a much lesser way the liberty of the mother. I don’t like Libertarians. I once came across the blog of an ex-Libertarian who proposed forming what he called an “upper-left” party, meant to tap into what he believed was the largest unrepresented opinion group in the country. The party would be essentially libertarian, but moderate. It would reign in not only the government, but the large corporations that are nearly as controlling. It would also protect nature. Unfortunately, his idea has not yet caught on and shows no sign of catching on any time soon.
Even when one is unconvinced by the usually stated reasons supporting a new controversial measure, it does not mean that such measures are no good.
For example, I understand that many people who understand marriage to be by its very nature heterosexual do not agree with extending the legal benefits of marriage to homosexual unions simply because the homosexuals claim a right to “equality.” Nevertheless, at least some of the benefits do make sense (at least to me) to extend to others. It would be of great benefit to anybody to be able to designate another individual to have power to make medical decisions should they be incapacitated, someone to visit them in the hospital, someone to inherit their pension and home since they might have given up making income in order to take care of the house, and more. This would be of great benefit to the elderly whose spouses have died and to those who have yet to find someone to marry. It’s not just about gays and lesbians. We could call these contracts civil unions and extend the same tax benefits and insurance benefits that marriage has. Why not?
Another example has to do with unisex bathrooms. Recently, transsexuals have started a new fight over which bathroom to use. Many people do not consider them to have a legitimate case. Why can’t they just use the same bathroom they grew up using? However, it isn’t just about them. What about parents with young children of the opposite sex? What about disabled persons with caregivers of the opposite sex? It seems that it would be beneficial to many people to have a unisex option.
There are often (at least) two sides to every story. Even though I no longer pay close attention to politics they way I used to because of my other interests, I still find that more often than not I know more than the average person. Most people only know one side of any given story. Over and over I find myself in the middle where I can sympathize with both sides. Since neither side wants anything to do with the other, everyone treats me as an enemy. There are two issues that have caught my attention in the past couple of years that I thought I would throw my two cents in on.
On the one hand, I don’t care who I share the locker room or the restroom with, and I think it would be healthier for society if everyone else got over it. At the same time, I have adapted to the rules of society very easily and I wonder why there are those that can’t. There are biological males who feel most comfortable identifying as women are often very uncomfortable using a restroom or shower with other males present. They prefer to use the women’s room. I can sympathize with that. The problem is that allowing them to do so also necessarily allows other uncomfortable biological males to use the women’s room with them, recreating the very problem that they meant to avoid. Nothing is solved.
Furthermore, it also tends to make any biological females present uncomfortable as well, creating many new problems. If I consider the discomfort of “normal” people to be illegitimate, I must in fairness consider the discomfort of transsexuals illegitimate as well. If on the other hand I consider the discomfort of transsexuals to be legitimate, then so must be the discomfort of “normal” people, whose concerns outnumber those of transsexuals perhaps a thousand to one. This is only logic.
While I do not see that the transsexuals have a case here, at the same time I think it would be a mistake to enact laws to regulate restroom policy. There have already been reported cases of biological women dressed in somewhat traditionally masculine outfits being harassed for entering the women’s room – the room they are supposed to use. Who decides whether someone is masculine or feminine enough? We do not want the police to also become the fashion police. We also do not want to have our genitals or chromosomes inspected just to enter the restroom (among other problems, this would be very expensive).
On the one hand it seems that transsexuals and their allies are troublemakers, but on the other hand enforcing the rules will do more harm than simply letting people do what they want. There is danger in all directions and intense hate on both sides. Not wanting any part of it, I don’t fit in very well. I don’t claim to know what should be done, but I know that everything I have so far heard is wrong. My best idea is for everyone to just get over it and accept males and females sharing the same spaces, including showering together. Of course, once this is accepted it is only a matter of time before we will have common nudity on the beach, at the park, at the bank, and in the grocery store. Maybe there is nothing wrong with that, but suggesting there might be nothing wrong with that means I really don’t fit in.
I know that we have a government problem in this country. When the Congress can mandate people buy health insurance, the IRS can confiscate the entire content of one’s bank account merely because of what they perceive as suspicious behavior, and the state can snatch your kids away on hearsay, you know the government is out of control. Being the enforcers of law for the government, the police are part of the problem. When a cop feels justified in shooting you for reaching for your ID – because he told you to get your ID – because you might have been reaching for a gun – you know the police are out of control. I have heard of the police escalating situations by attacking first instead of first inviting the suspect to come willingly, creating shootouts in the middle of high-traffic areas that would likely not have otherwise happened. In some cases, those attacked did not know they were being attacked by real cops, and in some cases, the police had the wrong person. Everyone I know that has had dealings with the police has found them extremely rude and intimidating. It isn’t just a few bad apples either; police have been caught covering for each other, prosecutors have been caught withholding evidence, and the former attorney general of the United States was more than once caught covering up scandals. The corruption goes all the way to the top and down to the core. There was even a small town in Texas that would arrest those passing through and confiscate anything of value for “evidence.” The entire town was in on it. The policing problem and the larger government problem of which it is a part affects blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, Jews, men, women, children, gays, straights, immigrants, rich, and poor alike. Because police tend to focus their efforts on high-crime areas, since more crime occurs in poorer neighborhoods, and since blacks are disproportionately poor, it makes sense that blacks might face a disproportionate share of the abuse, but because everyone is affected it would be a mistake to make this a racial issue.
This is where Black Lives Matters comes in, but to understand them one must first go back to the beginning. I grew up in an era of political correctness. Comments clearly made in innocence were attacked by busybodies casting the comments in racial terms and pretending to be offended in order to score political points. I remember during the Olympics that immediately after a black woman had done gymnastics they went to commercial and the commercial that played featured a chimpanzee doing gymnastics (it was an ad for the Olympics). Because I am not a racist and do not think in terms of race, I never made any connection. Chimps share much DNA with humans, but white people are just as human as blacks. Only a racist would have noticed any connection and only a racist would have thought the advertisers were comparing chimps and blacks. Of course, this is exactly what the racists did. They made a big deal of it and accused the advertisers of racism.
Sometime later I began to hear people tell others to “check their privilege.” I never grew up thinking of my race or even classing people into clearly distinct races. I have worked tirelessly to learn the best policies for this country that will do the greatest good for the greatest number no matter what their ancestry. I could be wrong, but my genuine belief based on all the evidence I am aware of is that capitalism (if properly understood and applied) works better for everybody of all races than socialism. Now I am told that I only think the way I do because I am “white” and therefore “privileged” and have nothing to say worth listening to. Assigning worth to one’s beliefs based on race is the dictionary definition of racism.
For political reasons there are those that want to make a racial issue out of everything. Then Trayvon Martin happened. Only George Zimmermann knows exactly what transpired that day, but all the evidence we have supports his version of events, including an eyewitness that saw Martin on top beating Zimmermann just before the shot. All indications are that Trayvon was a thug who started fights at school while George was only trying to protect his neighborhood from someone engaged in rather suspicious behavior. I saw the entire trial and I can tell you that anyone who tells you something different either didn’t watch the trial or else is lying. The police knew that there was no case against him and that was why they originally chose not to press charges. That’s how these things normally work. Somehow the politically-correct racists picked up on the case, noted the “victim” happened by chance to be black, noted the shooter happened by chance to be not-black (a Hispanic with a dark-skinned mother), and claimed this was yet another example of anti-black racism by whites. The racists took one isolated unfortunate event that happened between two men and made it about all blacks and all whites everywhere. Blacks began to target whites all over that had nothing whatsoever to do with the case – whites that might have not even known of the case and might have even fought in the past to help blacks. The problem was made worse by selective and outright false reporting. MSNBC was caught editing the 911 tape to make Zimmermann sound like a racist. It was out of this environment of falsehood and misdirection that Black Lives Matter was born.
While the high-profile cases against Zimmermann, Officer Wilson, and the Baltimore six quickly fell apart, I could not simply dismiss the concerns of the movement. Other cases still looked as if they might be legitimate. I knew we had a police problem and given our country’s past it would not surprise me much if there was a racial component to it in some states. Just because there are racists in the Black Lives Matter movement, doesn’t make it a racist organization. Even if it is a racist organization, it doesn’t mean they don’t have legitimate grievances. Even if they have no legitimate grievances, that doesn’t mean that black lives don’t matter. There is nothing wrong with speaking the sentence “Black lives matter,” because they do. It doesn’t make one a racist to say so. Some opponents of BLM need to be reminded of this.
On the other hand, it does make one a racist to have a problem with saying “white lives matter” or saying “all lives matter.” This is of course exactly what has happened. When Governor O’Malley attempted to connect with and support BLM by saying “all lives matter,” they booed. To me, they seemed racist. I have since been told that they only saw it as an inappropriate distraction because they were there to talk about the issues facing blacks. The problem with this is that they were the ones that had interrupted the event. Furthermore, Governor O’Malley’s statement did not distract from the issue. Only a moron could think that. It spoke directly to the issue. At TheUnderstandingProject.com, I do my best to understand all sides, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, but in this case I understand all too well that there is nothing more there to understand. I have absolutely zero doubt whatsoever that BLM is a thoroughly evil, racist organization. At this point, anyone who joins must be aware of what they are like and must be aware that joining essentially endorses them. Most people would not think twice about condemning a member of the NAZI party; they would not question whether the individual might be ignorant of what the NAZIs stood for. They would not accept the explanation that there might be a "few bad apples" in the party, but the NAZIs are overall a force for tolerance. In the same way, I condemn all members of BLM.
The problem I have now is that people I care about and know not to be racists will still happily wave BLM signs, thinking they are somehow doing good (this includes many whites). I can’t bring myself to condemn them. I also know those that seem to think the police can do no wrong. These people fight with each other and they fight with me. This is because most people are not nearly as informed as I am; they have no idea what has been going on. I keep finding myself arguing with everybody and I never fit in.
Instead of rationally examining a particular issue, today I want to try to explain how I feel by combining common themes from every political discussion I've ever had into one imaginary conversation. It starts with something common sense, such as “look both ways before you cross the street.” It is so common that I think everyone must have heard and accepted it, and it is so sensible that I think that no one could ever legitimately argue against it. Then people do.
Democrat: Looking both ways before crossing the street is ridiculous! The safest thing to do is to cover your eyes and run across as fast as you can; if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
Republican: Don’t be silly. I’ve seen lots of people who had their eyes closed or were turned away from me. I saw them even if they didn’t see me. The cars can still find you.
Democrat: When I was four and had monsters in my closet, I covered my eyes and they went away. I know because I checked in the morning and they were gone.
Republican: There are no such things as monsters!
Democrat: You have your religion; I have mine. You cannot force your beliefs on me. You’re a racist!
Me: Hold it; you’re both missing the bigger picture. The cars aren’t trying to hit you; they’re trying to avoid you. We want them to see us.
Democrat: Huh? I don’t understand.
Me: Cars go very fast and might not be able to stop in time if you run right in front of them. If you look both ways, you can see when there is a large enough gap in traffic so that you can get out in the road while giving plenty of space for the cars to stop.
Democrat: When is there a gap in traffic? Do they close the roads between 1am and 2am or something?
Me: No. There are gaps all the time. You just have to wait for them.
Democrat: If they happen all the time, you don’t have to wait. You’re stupid.
Me: Look, the important thing is that the cars see you.
Republican: He’s right! We want the cars to see us. That’s why we need to immediately mandate that all people wear heavy neon signs everywhere they go.
Me: Wait, everywhere? I’m not wearing those to bed.
Republican: What if a car hits you while you’re sleeping?
Me: There are no cars in my bedroom.
Republican: There might be. They could be hiding under your carpet or in your refrigerator. Your pillow could be one in disguise. You could be one!
Me: I’m not a car.
Democrat: He’s right! He could be a truck or a motorcycle! You’re a racist!
Republican: They’re all cars to me, and if I see one, I’m going to shoot it.
Me: Whoa! Don’t shoot cars! There are people inside.
Republican: The cars have taken hostages? This is war! We need to bomb their factories, cut off their metal supplies, and take control of all the oil!
Me: War is totally unnecessary here. If you just look both ways…
Democrat: You don’t win wars by fighting! Why not feed the cars? Free food should be a right! You’re a racist!
Me: Cars don’t eat. They only drink gasoline or diesel.
Democrat: Petroleum addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. My mother was addicted to petroleum when she was pregnant with me.
Me: That explains a lot, actually.
Democrat: You’re a racist!
Libertarian: Hello gentlemen, I’m a Libertarian. I’m much smarter than you.
Me: What do you want, Libertarian?
Libertarian: Everyone should be free to cross the street however they choose, eyes open or closed, fast or slow, with or without neon signage.
Me: Hmm, that actually kind of makes sense.
Libertarian: And cars should be free to run anyone over that they want! That’s true freedom.
Me (facepalming): Ugh!
Democrat: You’re a racist!
Republican: I like you, but you can’t possibly win the general election.
Sometimes when tempers flare and hurtful words are exchanged, what people need to hear are words of healing. However, this often makes things worse and makes me wonder if we are actually better off just killing everybody.
Whatever: Sometimes people spout nonsense that needs to be challenged. Other times, nonsense is only an unimportant distraction. I use the term “whatever” to let them know that I am not challenging it and that they may even be right, but that I have something more important to say that I think they will also be interested in. It is a way of avoiding unnecessary conflict. Another way the word is used is to indicate that one is not picky and is perfectly happy with whatever. I use it this way when I am asked which restaurant I want to visit. There are of course derogatory ways to use the word, such as implying that one will not listen to whatever the other is going to say, but this is less common. Once, two of my coworkers were in a conflict. In order to deescalate, one of my coworkers used the term the nice way, but my other coworker took it the mean way. There was no deescalating it after that.
As ready as I’ll ever be: Once a customer came through drive-through, but there seemed to be a little bit of confusion. I tried to coax them to order, but they didn’t seem to realize I was ready to take it. Conflict was brewing and I needed a way to ease their mind and make my intentions clear. Finally, they directly asked me if I was ready to take their order. I replied enthusiastically, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be!” I meant that I was so ready (and happy to help them) that it was not possible for one to be more ready – not that I couldn’t be bothered to be any readier. I think they took it the second way.
What is your problem: Another coworker of mine told me about the time he worked at a call center. He helped with troubleshooting and customer service. He would answer the phone with “What seems to be the trouble today?” or “What’s bothering you that I can I help with?” One day, what came out of his mouth was “What is your problem?” It didn’t go over well.
Meaning of meaning: My parents once got into a fight over the meaning of my father’s words to her. My mother eventually realized her mistake and tried to explain what those words meant to her so my father would understand. By using the term “means to me” rather than simply “means,” she was allowing my father to be right. They were words of healing. He would not allow her to use the word “meaning,” claiming that the only meaning a word could have is the one in the dictionary. They continued to argue over the meaning of the word “meaning” for half an hour – far longer than the original argument.
All lives matter: There are those that need to be reminded sometimes that all lives matter. People find it easy to dismiss the needs of the homeless or of convicted felons, blaming them for all of their troubles. Others seem deaf to the troubles of immigrants (legal and illegal) or of the unborn. More recently, there have been blacks, angry about how they have been treated by law enforcement, that have tried to remind us that black lives matter too. Those sympathetic to the cause have offered words of healing, saying essentially, “Of course they do; all lives matter.” The response has been less than welcoming. Those trying to help have been pushed away. Instead of working towards a solution, we are now in a war of words over whether black lives matter or all lives matter, which is silly because all lives necessarily includes black lives. I’m really starting to get upset.
Choose life: There are those that are pro-choice even when the choice is to end life, and there are those that are pro-life even when life can only be saved by eliminating choice. It is a very emotionally-charged subject that needs words of healing more than any other. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could work together to save as many lives as possible without ending choice? Wouldn’t it be nice if people chose life? Whether it solves anything materially or not, isn’t it good for the sake of harmony and our well-being to propagate the slogan “choose life?” Pro-life individuals can promote it because as long as they cannot control the choice, they want to encourage others to willingly choose life. Pro-choice individuals can promote it because they want the pro-lifers off their backs so that they can retain choice for the rare, extreme circumstances that a life must be ended. It is a win-win for everybody. Unfortunately, there are those that find such a slogan offensive because it is clearly anti-choice, choice being meaningless if one is not using it to end life. I’ll remember that the next time I’m making a choice. Let’s see, chocolate, strawberry, or kill idiots?
Just a theory: Religion is almost by definition dogmatic, whereas science is supposed to be forever open to inquiry. For several decades now, science has become just as dogmatic as religion. The nutritionists turned against fat too quickly and recommended eating more servings of grains per day than anything else. Only now are they starting to change their minds. Global warming was pushed on us long before all the data were in. Those of differing opinions were ignored, laughed at, and had trouble getting funding. Biological evolution is often taught in such a way that makes it seem unquestionable. Once in a while it is important to remind people that it is a theory – a model that has so far made meaningful predictions but is ultimately unknowable. Creationists would rather discredit it completely, but the kinder ones have taken a moderate approach, reminding us that all scientific models (including creationism) are just theories. With the idea that we have already found an unquestionable truth rejected, we can then have a productive, civil debate on the comparative merits of the theories. These are also words of healing. Strangely, there are supposed scientists that reject the offer and claim evolution to be a fact. Either they don’t understand science, or they are lying in order to cause division and turmoil.
FOX bias: I was once talking with a self-described liberal. He made the claim that FOX News was biased to the point that they were nothing but a propaganda machine for the RNC. My experience had been that FOX was no worse than ABC or CNN. They all show bias sometimes, but still provide real news worth watching. On the other hand, MSNBC truly is not a news organization. It is a propaganda machine not worth watching except to understand what the millions of gullible sheep who watch it are babbling about. I wanted to understand how this liberal came to determine what was and wasn’t a reliable source, hoping to learn something myself as well as possibly introduce some critical thinking where this liberal needed it so that he could eventually reach his own conclusions using sound reasoning. I started by admitting that I had seen examples of bias on FOX, but added that the jury was still out on whether they were completely devoid of value. I moderated my position hoping we could meet in the center. The liberal responded that if the jury was still out for me, than I was completely hopeless and not worth talking to. I had opened my mind up to being shown how bad FOX really was and was ready to learn of possibly better sources. Instead of trying to pull me over to his way of thinking, the liberal shut me out ensuring that we would continue to be enemies. This same guy had told me previously I was some sort of right-wing extremist when I know that I am quite centrist – just ask my Republican friends.
Phil Robertson: Some people are downright mean to homosexuals. Others aren’t. When directly asked what he thought of the subject, Phil gave no opinion of his own but appealed to consensus and authority. He quoted the bible in a country that is over eighty percent Christian. He went further to say that it was God’s job to figure out what to do with them, while his job was simply to love. It was quite possibly the least controversial thing that has ever been said on the subject ever. They were words of healing. Did he win a medal? No, they tried to kick him off his own show. The backlash over his statements were worse than I’ve ever seen for statements others have made that are actually hurtful. Do homosexuals prefer to be insulted? Because if they keep acting the way they’ve been acting, people aren’t going to stop with insults.
When I try to tell people that I misunderstood them, they take it as insulting them that they were not more clear. When I try to tell people they misunderstood me, they take it as insulting them that they are not smart enough to understand the stuff I’m saying. I’m done arguing with you. Next time I will keep my mouth shut and pull out the acid and flamethrowers. Apparently it is the only language you understand. This especially goes for those that will suggest that I’m promoting violence by writing this post. I’m not the one promoting violence – you are! If you mind your own business and shut up you will be left alone. If you attempt to intimidate me, I will torture you in creative ways and leave your body in a public place where it cannot be easily removed, leaving people to scratch their heads trying to figure out how it got up there, where the other pieces are, and why it glows in the dark.
The FBI is now looking into the possibility of bringing charges against those who mislead the public to doubt climate change. I can think of a lot of better things they could do with their time - such as bringing charges against those who mislead the public to believe climate change, those who mislead the public that they can keep their doctor and keep their insurance company, those who mislead the public on shovel-ready projects, those who mislead the public on whether programs exist that collect phone data on millions of Americans, and those who mislead the public that a mere video sparked a terrorist attack. Is this really the world you want to live in? Open the door to these kinds of charges being possible and it won't be just your enemies that get hurt.
I hear all the time that we shouldn't elect someone too rigid that will walk away from a good deal while waiting for a great deal and end up with nothing. This is true, but sometimes compromise isn't all it is cracked up to be. I've been called stubborn even in areas of life outside of politics, so I know something about this.
What we think about people who are stubborn:
The truth about people who are stubborn:
I'm all for compromise - when it is done right and it is a good compromise. I understand that others have their own set of concerns and that I do not know everything. I value peace and unity. I know that sometimes I am better off enduring some injustice than making enemies who would only add to my problems. There are many issues I am flexible on and I wish our leaders were also. However, compromise is not always a good thing, and I sometimes wish our leaders were less flexible.
How compromise is supposed to work:
How compromise actually works:
Perhaps it's time to elect someone a little bit bull-headed.
Does your candidate have a heart for justice? Do you have a heart for justice? We debate over the minutiae of economic policies that may or may not cause prices to rise a small amount, hurting everyone but not exactly causing the end of the world. At the same time there are those being persecuted for which their entire world has ended, but because they are such a tiny proportion of the population and it does not affect us yet, we remain silent.
When a man is savagely attacked in his own neighborhood, traumatizing him, unfortunately kills his attacker in a clear-cut case of self-defense, traumatizing him again, the police (knowing they have no evidence to the contrary that it was self-defense) decide to drop the case, but political pressure from above (responding to a mob of angry, misinformed, racists) sends a special prosecutor to put him on trial, jeopardizing his future and traumatizing him yet again, you live in a tyranny.
When the Supreme Court negates a law, making it impossible to successfully prosecute someone for breaking it, but the decision is interpreted by lower courts as compelling one to break the law, in essence creating a new law (something only congress can do), and a woman is placed in jail without trial for breaking this non-law that doesn’t exist, you live in a tyranny.
When a state government can abduct the daughter of the citizens of another state, prevent her from receiving her needed treatment, allow her to get progressively sicker, and issue an order prohibiting the family from even discussing the issue with anyone else, you live in a tyranny.
When a company that has built its brand on designing secure (and perfectly legal) file storage is told that it must commit man-hours to find a way to breach its own security system, effectively putting itself out of business and making the data of its millions of customers potentially available to the same government that was outwitted by Edward Snowden and co-opted by Lois Lerner, you live in a tyranny.
When prosecutors at all levels withhold evidence, police plant evidence, police escalate situations that could have easily been resolved peacefully, and when this corruption goes all the way to the top, you live in a tyranny.
When police can mistake a man for someone else, not introduce themselves as police officers, attack him from behind, and yet somehow expect him not to fight back, you live in a tyranny.
When the government engages in a gun-running operation, never even tries to keep track of them, covers the whole thing up, and actively obstructs the investigation to the point that congress holds the attorney general in contempt, you live in a tyranny.
When the Supreme Court can rule the ACA constitutional twice (and for opposite reasons!), you live in a tyranny.
When the president declares that he has every right to order drone strikes in sovereign countries we have not declared war on to kill American citizens without trial or oversight of any kind, you live in a tyranny.
When the government can collect private phone data of millions of people without telling anybody, you live in a tyranny.
When those in US custody are subjected to indefinite imprisonment and torture without trial or solid proof that they know anything worth torturing them over, you live in a tyranny.
When the IRS and EPA believe that they can garnish your wages and confiscate your property without even charging you with a crime, and making it your responsibility to appeal to get your money back, you live in a tyranny.
When the government can confiscate your land, not to use for roads or bridges, but to hand over to private entities to build shopping malls, you live in a tyranny.
It is nearly impossible now to tell the difference between the law, the criminals, and the vigilantes. There is practically no difference. We are so close to the edge now that we cannot afford to make a mistake in electing someone without a heart for justice, especially with upcoming vacancies in the courts. Keeping the current set of candidates in mind, ask yourself some questions:
Is it just to return people to Mexico who have no memories of being there, who were brought here without consent, who have spent years here, who have friends, families, a career, and dreams here? Is it just to refuse to issue them a passport?
Is it just to allow Christians to enter the country, but not Muslims? How does one tell the difference?
Is it just to prevent American citizens from expanding a mosque/community center – only because it happens to be near a place that was attacked by others who also claimed to be Muslims?
Is it just to execute those who happen to be related to criminals and terrorists?
Is it just to refuse to investigate crimes because the victims of those crimes are in the US illegally?
It does not matter that many of these things are impractical, illegal, or at the very least not actionable by the executive branch acting alone. The fact that some are even considering these as possible actions proves they do not have a heart for justice. How do you know they won’t try something else easier to get away with? If your candidate will not protect others, how do you know he/she will protect you?
For a long time I haven’t felt up to writing a whole post, or even doing the research necessary to ensure the post is fully accurate and of high quality. I’ve also been distracted by life and my fiction writing. Honestly, much of the time I've been to angry to trust myself not to do more harm than good. It seems things have only been getting worse. I’m breaking my silence because of a new development in the political atmosphere.
It used to be that people could blame government policy for making things more expensive for everybody (i.e. taxes), or for creating the potential for individual injustice (i.e. the EPA unexpectedly preventing people from building on their own land), but when these things happened even those who supported such policies would recognize these examples of injustice as abuses and accept that exceptions could be made. People might advocate to make certain actions illegal (i.e. smoking in public parks), which would obviously injure anyone who gets caught doing them, but they would refrain from going after specific people themselves, leaving it up to the legal system. People might make accusations against politicians (i.e. of war crimes), but at least politicians should expect backlash for taking a public stand. What was rarer was the mob mentality in going after everyday people who innocently get caught up in the political waves.
Now people are actually getting hurt. A college professor opines that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, which is a semantics argument with no objective truth or falsehood, and the college fires her. Now I see thousands of people saying she deserves it. I hear that a county clerk in Kentucky who has harmed nobody is thrown in jail without trial simply for doing her job under Kentucky law. Now thousands of people say she deserved it and have spread lies about her. I hear that cops and blacks aren’t getting along. Both feel threatened by the other. Now a black restaurant manager can’t even make a joke to a policewoman without getting fired and a white cop can’t even defend his own life against an attacker who happens to be black without being accused of murder and getting death threats. Countless people on both sides spout the most hateful rhetoric I have ever heard, but the content of their comments makes it clear they have absolutely no idea what they’re ranting about! Hardly anyone takes the time to understand an issue before taking sides. This is entertaining (though also sad and frustrating) when debating abstract economic policy. It becomes scary when involving the fates of real people. Who’s next?
There is nothing to be done with those that won’t listen, but those that will might find value in my book, The Nutcase Across The Street. We will never make any permanent progress without compromise, and we can’t compromise without understanding the concerns of others. Often, there is more to an issue than we are aware. In The Nutcase Across The Street, I try to show this and that many of the current divisions are illusory. Read more.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.