Don't think that just because my last post declared I would never vote for Democrats that I am going to start going easy on you. If anything, I'm going to be harder.
Questions for Republicans:
Granted the Democrats are out of line for playing along with lies and delusions, claiming anyone can literally be whatever sex they choose simply by choosing, which is unhealthy for both the deluded and those they intrude upon, as well as confusing and disruptive to long-established modes of social interaction, but what are we to do with those rare people who are genuinely biologically intersex? Is there any place for them in our society at all?
Granted the Democrats are out of line by using the threat of state force to prohibit sex specific restrooms in private businesses, but just how were you planning on enforcing sex-specific restrooms in public buildings? Were you planning on posting genital inspectors? Will you create the fashion police? Is that a world you want to live in?
Granted the Democrats are out of line for accusing police of racism without evidence, stirring up fear and division, and declaring “stop-and-frisk” a racially discriminatory policy for being applied more often in high-crime neighborhoods that for whatever reason have disproportionally high numbers of minorities, but how exactly do you justify detaining and searching anybody of any race in any neighborhood simply for walking down the street? What qualifies as “suspicious?” Does the cop on duty that day have the power to make the fourth amendment mean whatever they want? Who is providing the oversight?
Granted the Democrats are out of line for suggesting that the military be forced to retain those disruptive to cohesion, camaraderie, and morale, and for suggesting that homosexuals have the “right” to serve, but why aren’t you more concerned that our soldiers are so easily unnerved by serving alongside homosexuals? It seems that an enemy need only put captured soldiers into a shower with a gay interrogator to get all the answers they want. They could torture them into talking without even violating the Geneva convention.
Just a tiny fraction of the reasons why I will never vote Democrat:
Facts: Joe Biden brags on television about threatening to hold back a loan to Ukraine if a certain prosecutor wasn’t fired, meddling in the internal affairs of another country. It later comes out that his son’s company was under investigation by that prosecutor. In the meantime, a new party takes power in Ukraine and they are cleaning up the old corruption. Since it would be important for the voters to know the truth of Biden’s record since he is running for president, and since not even Joe Biden’s family is above the law, Trump asks the new president of Ukraine to investigate and find out if there was any truth to Biden’s claims.
Democrats say: Trump is using the threat of holding back a loan to meddle in the affairs of another country! Not even Trump’s family is above the law! We need to investigate to find out if there is any truth to our claims!
Facts: Hillary Clinton colludes with Russia to create a fake document implicating Trump in a prostitution ring. Hillary Clinton colludes with the press to get debate questions fed to her ahead of time. Hillary Clinton colludes with the DNC to suppress Bernie Sanders delegates. Hillary Clinton also (possibly) colluded with Russia when she approved the Uranium One sale after a timely donation to the Clinton Foundation, and also by sending and receiving classified email on an unprotected server in her house that was hacked by both the Russians and the Chinese, by deleting thousands of emails AFTER being told not to, by using BitWipe software, by having the “classified” labels removed from emails before being sent to her, and by repeatedly destroying more Blackberry devices than most of us have ever owned. Finally, somebody exposes her crimes on Wikileaks. Later evidence suggests this person was more likely a Bernie Sanders supporter and not a Russian agent.
Democrats say: Russia hacked into the DNC servers! Trump and the Russians are somehow colluding in some way to do something – not sure exactly what, we’ll have to investigate, but possibly illegal in some way perhaps – but more importantly, with Russia!
Facts: During a protest over statues, NeoNazi types clash with AntiFa, both violent and racist extremist groups, leading to several injuries and a murder. On day one, Trump denounces the violence on both sides. On day two, Trump denounces the violence on both sides again, calling out by name the NeoNazis and white supremacists, but not mentioning AntiFa or Black Lives Matter. On day three, Trump holds a press conference where he gives extended answers to questions, explains his position in detail, and clearly denounces racism, violence, and both sides in the fighting by name.
Democrats say: Trump still won’t denounce the Nazis. He is racist!
Facts: A new and violent gang from El Salvador has infiltrated American cities. Trump calls them animals.
Democrats say: Trump called immigrants animals! He is racist!
Facts: Thousands of Mexicans and other foreigners from Central America and beyond are sneaking into the United States illegally because there are reasons they can’t do it legally. Some have criminal backgrounds and are thieves and rapists. Some are smuggling in drugs or slave workers, including sex slaves, including children. Some are terrorists. Trump gives a speech where he goes out of his way to clarify that not all Mexicans fit this description, that not all that cross the border are Mexican, and that even among those illegally crossing the border, some are otherwise good people.
Democrats say: Trump called Mexicans rapists! He is racist!
Facts: A terrorist attack is carried out on our Libyan embassy. Obama, Hillary, and Susan Rice tell us that it was a spontaneous attack by locals over a video, but later admit that it was organized terrorism. Republicans in congress, who are responsible for writing and passing a budget, want to know if we need more security spending on our embassies. In the interest of knowing whether the executive branch is doing a good job so the voters can make informed decisions, they launch an inquiry into what happened. It comes out that repeated requests for more security were turned down. It comes out that security already in place was ordered to stand down and that no one will admit to giving the order. It comes out that Hillary Clinton knew at the time Obama and Susan Rice were spinning their yarn that it was terrorism, telling both her daughter and an Egyptian official this.
Democrats say: What difference does it make?
Facts: Global temperatures have fluctuated randomly for the last fifty years. There is no clear trend. Measurements taken in most countries before the 1970s are unreliable, but there is no clear trend in older data either. Extra heat energy in Earth’s climatological system can manifest in many ways, including higher wind speeds, OR more storms, OR more evaporation and rainfall, OR melting the ice caps and raising sea levels, OR higher temperatures, OR any combination of these, and some models predict that global warming could trigger an ice age, or a runaway greenhouse effect, or anything in between. Nobody has a clue whether the climate is even changing or if it will change in the future. Al Gore predicted the ice caps would be gone by 2000 and they are still here. The UN engaged in a conspiracy to retroactively rewrite the peer-review standards to silence global warming skepticism, as well as deleted all their raw data so no one could double-check their findings. It is getting ever more difficult to take these people seriously.
Democrats say: We need to ask the FBI to look into bringing charges against those who publicly question climate change!
Facts: A large number of organizations with “tea party” as part of the name submit applications for non-profit status. Some are denied. Some wait months or years for approval, causing potential donors hold off. Some are asked questions generally considered off-limits for a government founded on religious liberty, such as “What are the contents of your prayers?” Accusations of discrimination by the IRS are made. Finally a couple IRS agents from a regional branch are caught in their corruption, they admit to the deed, and they are fired, but the same actions occurred all over the country and some of the orders could only have come from Washington. Top IRS agent Lois Lerner had been caught in the past doing almost the exact same thing on the local level and she refuses to answer questions.
Democrats say: There wasn’t even a smidgeon of corruption found at the IRS.
Facts: Among other issues with the law, the Affordable Care Act is being interpreted by regulators to require employers to cover the cost of abortions, making them accomplices to murder in some people’s eyes. Republicans sweep to power in congress and the senate in part by promising to end the ACA. They have the votes to repeal it, but not enough to override a presidential veto. The Democrats refuse to compromise or even negotiate. In the meantime, the annual budget is due. Feeling they have the obligation to do something, Republicans refuse to continue funding the programs associated with the law, as is their right to do since no congress can bind the hands of a future congress. The Democrats insist on getting their full funding and will not compromise. The Republicans offer to give the Democrats everything they want in the budget except for this one thing so they can talk more about it. The Democrats refuse to compromise. The Republicans offer to pass the budget piecemeal, fully funding one department after another. The Democrats refuse to compromise. Without a budget, the government shuts down. The democrats refuse to compromise. While funds are tight, the Obama administration actually spends extra man-hours to shut down national parks that need no maintenance, shuts down private businesses leasing federal land, and closes a state-owned road that leads to another national park.
Democrats say: The Republicans refuse to compromise! The Republicans shut the government down! Obstructionists!
Facts: The Obama reelection campaign employs people with ties to Bain Capital and other private equity firms. Obama’s father was once married to three women at the same time. Obama once attended a church pastored by crazy Jeremiah Wright. Obama admits in his biography both to eating dog in Africa and bullying a girl in school.
Democrats say: Romney worked at Bain Capital! Romney’s grandfather had multiple wives! Romney is a Mormon! Romney once let his dog ride on the roof of his car and bullied a gay guy in school!
Facts: Bush once directed the ATF to allow the sale of guns to criminals so they could find out where the guns were going. This was done with radio trackers and with the cooperation of Mexican officers. Too many of the guns went missing and it was deemed too dangerous an operation to continue. Much later, the Obama administration decides to do the same type of operation, but without Mexican help and without trackers. It is a disaster and the same guns are later used on American border agents. Republicans angrily chastise Obama.
Democrats say: Why are you getting after Obama for not ending Bush’s flawed program fast enough?
Facts: A hurricane went straight over New Orleans. Although busses were in place to evacuate those without cars, they were not used. This was a municipal responsibility. Neither President Bush nor his FEMA director had dictatorial powers to fix the dysfunctional city government. Nor did they have the ability to see the future and understand how bad things would be.
Democrats say: Bush doesn’t care about black people!
Facts: Iraq had nerve gas at one time because they used it on Iran and on the Kurds. Iraq had attempted to gain weapons of all kinds. Iraq had funded terrorist organizations in Israel. Iraq lent Al-Queda a fuselage to practice on. Saddam and his sons terrorized Iraqi citizens on a daily basis. Iraq started a war with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (and fired missiles into Israel) that they lost, accepting the terms of the treaty that included a no-fly zone and UN inspections to ensure they had destroyed their chemical, biological, and radiological weapons. They continually broke the treaty for twelve years, firing on US planes enforcing the no-fly zone, kicking out the UN inspectors, and replacing computer files with video games just as the inspectors arrived. Evidence piled up that Saddam was hiding something. British intelligence thought Iraq had WMDs. American intelligence thought Iraq had WMDs. French intelligence thought Iraq had WMDs. The Iraqi officers themselves thought they had WMDs. The UN thought they had WMDs and passed a resolution giving Saddam one final chance to comply. The Democrats thought they had WMDs (John Kerry and Hillary Clinton voted to go to war). I thought they had WMDs. You thought they had WMDs. Bush thought they had WMDs. Everyone thought they had WMDs.
Democrats say: Bush lied, people died!
Facts: When one gets more votes tallied than one’s opponent, this is usually all it takes to win. That’s how democracy works. Under Florida law, there is the added stipulation that if the difference is less than one percent, a recount is done. If a candidate wins both the original count and the recount, that candidate wins, period. That is the law. In 2000, Bush got more votes than Gore. He won both the original count and the recount. Bush won, period. Gore sued and wanted special treatment by granting additional recounts, opening the door for Bush to order additional recounts too with no end in sight. The Florida Supreme Court sided with Gore against the law and against the Florida citizens, forcing the US Supreme Court to override them. Gore committed treason by attempting to steal the election with help from the Florida Supreme Court.
Democrats say: Bush committed treason by stealing the election with help from the US Supreme Court!
Facts: Running for president, Bush proposes cutting taxes for everybody in all brackets. Of course, it goes without saying that those who pay no taxes can’t get a tax break, and that those who pay very little in taxes get a very little tax break. It is mathematically impossible for one’s tax break to be bigger than the amount they pay in taxes. The rich, who also pay the most in taxes, get the biggest tax break. Duh!
Democrats say: Tax cuts for the rich!
Facts: Bill Clinton was involved in many scandals, including Waco, Elian Gonzales, and the fact that he couldn’t seem to keep his hands and other body parts off the White House interns. When he was caught, he lied about this, and later admitted lying when he was caught lying. Concerned about our image around the world, Republicans sought to impeach him.
Democrats say: It’s a right-wing conspiracy!
I recently came across a few interesting videos on YouTube:
This speaker on school shootings touches upon a few issues I have been thinking of for some time:
One: Therapists and counselors are under a lot of pressure to report potential troubled individuals to law enforcement before they have committed a crime, but this is sometimes exactly why troubled individuals do not seek out help for fear they will end up in even more trouble.
Two: Often, potentially violent individuals are only reacting against harassment and threats of violence done to them. Who is more of a threat? The bullies who actually shove, spit, trip, throw false punches, berate, mock, and spread rumors and lies? Or the victim, who might – perhaps – maybe – retaliate one day?
Three: There seems to be a lot of public support for pre-emptive law enforcement, but might such action taken against an individual be exactly the thing that finally pushes them over the edge and makes them snap?
Meanwhile, this speaker on feminism illustrates a rare case of someone able to see the legitimate concerns on both sides of an issue and realize that everyone has hurts and problems. It makes me wonder how she became a feminist in the first place.
I don’t know anyone I can trust. Sooner or later everyone lets me down. Most people on the other hand are very trusting. They repeat lies they find on the internet and have no capacity for critical thought. Whenever someone continues to deliver me questionable information I start to tune them out. When the Democrats kept telling lies about Bush and how the Iraq war was going, I stopped listening. Only years later did I discover that a few of the things they told me were true. Later, Sean Hannity was so unfair in his criticism of Obama that I concluded he was just being partisan. He was never able to support anything he said. Today, the news media is notoriously misleading. They are called fake news – and not just by the president. Trump too has been accused of being loose with his facts. There are those so turned off by the continuous lies being published about Trump that they have stopped listening and will miss it if Trump ever does do something that should concern them. Then there are those so tired of Trump’s lack of clarity and other antics that they are predisposed to believe anything bad about him without questioning the source.
Mexicans Are Rapists
Trump’s comments on those illegally sneaking across the Mexican border is the quote played over and over supposedly showing Trump calling Mexicans rapists. More than any other of his quotes it is used as the example proving him to be racist against Mexicans. However, actually listening to the quote in context with an open mind proves quite the opposite. First, Trump opines that when Mexico sends its people, it does not send its best. In other words, the “good” Mexicans stay in Mexico (or come in legally) and the “bad” Mexicans sneak across the border illegally. Obviously, he recognizes that some Mexicans are better than others – just as in any people group. He does not lump all Mexicans together and all Americans together and imply one inferior to the other. Then he says “they aren’t sending you,” apparently speaking to those he recognizes as good Mexicans, thus reinforcing the proof that he is not valuing people based on race. He then lists some of the crimes committed by the criminal Mexicans (sneaking across the border illegally being by definition a criminal act), following it up by saying, “and some, I assume, are good people,” again showing he is not only not being racist, but is not even going so far as assuming that those guilty of one criminal act must be guilty of other criminal acts. After this, he goes on to say that a lot of those sneaking across the Mexican border are not even from Mexico, showing he is not picking on any one particular group. Only a very very very very stupid person could see anything racist in these comments. They are quite possibly the least racist thing ever said! Trump DID NOT call Mexicans rapists; he called rapists rapists, a few of which happen to be Mexican. Whenever I hear people repeat the lie that Trump called all or most Mexicans rapists, my ears shut tight and I hear nothing more they say. Why would anyone listen to such liars?
Fortunately, just because I don’t trust the news doesn’t mean that I have started to trust Trump and his supporters either. He has also been rather careless with his words. During the campaign, he accused Obama and Hillary of being the founders of ISIS. Even after listening to his words in context, I still hear him making ridiculous accusations. On at least two separate occasions I heard reporters ask Trump if he wanted to explain, suggesting that he might have simply meant that Obama indirectly enabled them by creating the power vacuum that allowed ISIS to thrive, but Trump dug in his heels and refused to elaborate. With statements like these, why would anyone believe anything that comes out of Trump’s mouth? Why would anybody read his Twitter feed?
Last Night In Sweden
Now Trump is being accused of making up a non-existent terrorist attack in Sweden just to make a point. Trump says he was referring to the various problems Sweden has been having with its immigrant population, such as crime and riots but not terrorism per se. The problem is that he uses the phrase “last night,” which implies an event rather than a trend. He says he was referring to a story that ran on FOX the night before. Seriously? That’s the weakest excuse I have heard in a while. What am I supposed to believe? I can’t believe Trump, but at the same time the news media has been very unfair and misleading to conclude Trump was referring to an imaginary terrorist attack. The truth is, nobody knows what Trump was talking about and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.
I don’t have time to check everything out. I need someone I can trust in order to know what’s going on and who to vote for, but I can’t trust any journalist and I can’t trust anyone in government. Both have “cried wolf” so many times that I can’t even be bothered to pay attention. It might be better not to vote, but if I stay home the decision will just be made by the gullible, brainless masses. Democracy is dead.
We need to start listening to each other and stop believing whatever our favorite politician/pundit tells us unquestioningly. The fate of the world rides on this.
I have no hope of this catching on, but I thought I’d throw it out there just in case.
On the one hand it’s hard to imagine how anyone can justify killing babies, but in some cases the health of the mother might be at stake, and this can include psychological health. In cases of rape, where it is understood to be a form of psychological torture, the law can sometimes forgive it if the rapist is injured or killed. Continuing to carry and bear the child of a rapist can conceivably be perceived as a continuation of the original rape to someone so distressed she isn’t thinking clearly. In these rare cases, killing the child can be construed as a form of self-defense.
However, just because abortion can be construed as self-defense does not mean the mother has the absolute right to kill her unborn children on a whim. Often in cases of killing in self-defense, the killer is put on trial and an investigation occurs. If George Zimmerman had to be put on trial because some people didn’t believe his side of the story, then there can be nothing wrong with trying aborters. To suggest that we don’t want to further traumatize those who might not be fit to stand trial is to suggest that George Zimmerman shouldn’t have been tried either and we should have just taken him at his word. When a murderer must be executed, it is the state that does it. One does not go to a company that profits off execution with no questions asked. If an abortion is deemed necessary, it must be the state that performs the operation and Planned Parenthood should not even exist.
Here is my compromise: Allow women to get abortions by having a physician, a psychiatrist, and a judge all sign off on it. The mother will retain the option to back out at any time. The procedure should be provided free or at least close to it. If he can be found, the father must be notified and be given the option to testify, though he cannot be part of the decision-making process. It is his right to know what really happened to his kids. I suppose the court records could be hidden from the general public. There are some risks that come with secrecy, but I think the benefits outweigh them. However, the public should at least be allowed to know how many total abortions the state performs per year and how much it costs the taxpayers. Should a woman fail to get permission ahead of time and the abortion has already occurred, she can still be held innocent provided she can find a physician, a psychiatrist, and a judge to agree. Otherwise, it becomes a murder charge.
This is a compromise I can support.
Half the country is in tears over the election Donald Trump while many of those who did vote for him only did so to prevent the even greater terror of Hillary Clinton. I see many expressing worry over the future and wondering how the nation has gone so far astray. It is times like these that it helps to keep things in perspective.
There are those that consider Trump’s treatment of women to be less than perfect, but at least he isn’t Bill Clinton. There are those that consider Trump’s proposed methods of fighting terrorism to be less than perfect, but it was Franklin Roosevelt that interned the Japanese. Americans have been doing stupid things since the very beginning. We elected Andrew Jackson president, who as general once invaded Spanish Florida on his own without declaration of war and hung the British consultants he found there. We once tolerated slavery. The Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit by a slave by claiming that property couldn’t sue. Other people took it upon themselves to assassinate slave owners yet had no plan of what to do with the suddenly-freed slaves. Irish and Italian immigrants were discriminated against. We eagerly started a war with Spain over the destruction of a ship (later shown to be an accident) that we had put into harm’s way where we had no business being. When the stock market crashed and the economy stalled, we thought it would be a good idea to raise taxes on those being productive and give the money to unnecessary projects. Blacks once had separate water fountains. Kennedy got us into Vietnam and Johnson escalated our involvement. Nixon was once granted wage and price controls. The Supreme Court ruled anti-abortion laws unconstitutional, effectively legalizing murder. More recently, there are many of us that have embraced indefinite detention without trial, phone tapping, stop and frisk, drone strikes, corporate bailouts, and insurance mandates. Some of us cry “racism!” over every minor incident even when obviously innocent, and others cry “unpatriotic!” in the same way. If we can survive all that, we can easily survive Trump.
There is nothing special about our current situation. The Aztecs used to sacrifice people to receive favor from imaginary Gods. The Romans once crucified a man whose only crime was to claim to be God. The Greeks forced a man to drink poison for nothing more than asking questions. In the Soviet Union it was illegal to discuss religion with minors. In China it is now illegal to tell time-travel stories. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
It also helps to remember our alternatives and to realize that we cannot know the full results of our choices until it is too late. Would Hillary Clinton really have been better? It is known that she was knowingly reckless with national secrets and likely allowed many to be stolen. Coupled with the evidence that she may have been offering favors for sale, can we really be sure that she wouldn’t sell us out to Russia or North Korea once president? Would Bernie Sanders really be better? Assuming he could even get congress to approve funding free college for everybody, what would stop the colleges from raising the prices ever higher until the taxpayers couldn’t afford it anymore? Does anybody really want the state to step in and tell companies how much they can and can’t charge for services? Where does it end? Would Jeb Bush really have been any better? Being so closely tied to the establishment Republicans that brought us Medicare part D and an expensive war in Iraq, will he really veto anything? Don’t we spend enough already? Would Ted Cruz really be any better? Considering that he seems to be at least as hated as Trump, would he be able to govern at all? How do you know?
While it is true that apparently good candidates can make terrible presidents (Barack Obama and Ulysses Grant come to mind), it is also true that apparently terrible candidates can turn out all right. People change. People resign. People die and leave their offices to the next in line. Surprises still happen. Who expected the Soviet Union to collapse without a nuclear war? Who expected slavery or colonialism to end? Who expected the invention of television, microwaves, or the flushing toilet? Who expected writing? Who expected such low infant mortality rates? Aren’t we better off than we were 15,000 years ago?
One also has to keep in perspective that this is all part of the process. In every person, thoughts cross the mind that are later rejected in favor of others. We do not get angry with ourselves, because it is only the final result that counts. In a democracy, some ideas are rejected in favor of others, but if we had never heard out the wrong ideas voiced first, we would not have as deep an understanding or commitment to the right ideas. Letting fools speak is part of the process of defeating foolishness. In the same way, letting fools vote is part of the process of settling any remaining dispute. Even if a fool is elected, the checks and balances (if followed) of the constitution should keep him from doing too much damage, but allowing the country to feel some pain is often the only way for voters to learn. I know it seems that generation after generation makes the same mistakes without learning from history, but taking the long view one can see that progress has still been made.
This video sums up every conversation I’ve ever had about politics, religion, or just who was rude to whom in everyday life.
Them: These are great policies and politicians! And we need more of them! I love tyranny!
Me: My allegiance is to the republic – to democracy!
Them: If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.
Me: Only a partisan deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
Them: You will try…
All of us write blog posts that argue our positions back and forth for several months. Nothing is accomplished.
Me: I have failed you. I have failed.
Them: I should have known sane people were trying to take over.
Me: Politicians/bureaucrats/police/BLM-protestors/gay-rights-activists/the-religious-right are evil!
Them: From my point of view, people who respect others and just want to be left alone are evil!
Me: Well you are lost then!
see part onewww.theunderstandingproject.com/blog/how-i-usually-feel-lately
So many people do not understand this.
If you point a firearm at me and threaten me there is a one hundred percent chance one of us will not survive the encounter. It will probably be me – but do you really want to take that chance?
If a group of you catches me by surprise, carrying guns, moving quickly and aggressively, yelling over each other so I can’t tell what you want, the last thing I would ever do would be to disarm myself. I will feel safer with a weapon than without one.
If I have a weapon in my hand, there is a good reason for it. You yelling at me at me is not going to make me put it down any more than me yelling at you is going to make you put your weapons down. Pointing a weapon at me is likely to get you shot or worse. I will point my weapon down if you promise to keep your weapons pointed down. Then we can negotiate.
Robbing me is easy. Simply make clear what it is you want, make clear what will happen to me if I don’t comply, make clear what will happen to me if I do comply, and let me make the choice. Chances are, I will give you what you want.
If I ever get the impression that I am no better off cooperating than resisting, I am going to resist. This will happen even when my demise is virtually certain. I will consider it my noble obligation to martyr myself in the act of injuring or scarring you to make you think twice about ever hurting anyone else again.
If you attack first without giving me the choice to cooperate, there will be no other conclusion to draw but that I am no worse off resisting. There is nothing you can say afterwards to redeem the situation. Actions speak louder than words.
On the other hand, if I can’t even understand what you want, you will certainly not get any cooperation from me. If I ask a question, it is to clarify what I am supposed to do, not to make your life harder.
These principles are valid even in non-violent situations. My entire life I have had parents, teachers, students, employers, coworkers, customers, and idiots in orange vests directing traffic (poorly) yell at me for no discernible reason. Often, they contradict themselves or order me to do something so crazy I think for sure that I have misheard or misunderstood. Whenever I try to clarify what is expected before I make an irreversible decision, they only seem to get angrier and I never get answers. This has caused me in some situations to simply follow dictates unquestioningly only to discover later that I indeed had misunderstood. Other times I have guessed at what they really wanted and obeyed in a way I thought would be good enough, but it was not.
All this brings me to policing policies, but first a couple disclaimers are in order:
Disclaimer: I am not going to get bogged down in a debate over the facts of any particular case. I don’t know better than anyone else what really happened. Too many times there have been those with an anti-cop prejudice who have taken up a specific case to further their cause only to find out when the facts were revealed that the cops had actually done no wrong and those injured or killed by them were true thugs in the act of attempting to murder the police. Instead, my points are based on the policies. I have heard numerous people both inside and outside of law enforcement voice support for every one of the policies I illustrate in this post. This is what I have a problem with.
Disclaimer: Anytime I bring these points up, there are those that declare my opinion worthless because I am not an expert in police tactics. I might not be an expert in police tactics, but I am an expert on human psychology and how people will react to police tactics. I have been living as a human among other humans for 34 years, so I think I know what I’m talking about.
Just as with criminals, if a group of cops catches me by surprise, carrying guns, moving quickly and aggressively, yelling over each other so I can’t tell what they want, the last thing I would ever do would be to disarm myself. If you identify yourself as cops, I will likely miss hearing this in the chaos. Should I happen to catch this information, I will not believe you; any criminal can claim to be a cop. I will also likely be too nervous to notice what you are wearing. If by some miracle I see that you are dressed as police officers, I will discount this; any kid can be a cop on Halloween.
If I have a weapon in my hand, there is a good reason for it. You yelling at me at me is not going to make me put it down any more than me yelling at you is going to make you put your weapons down. Pointing a weapon at me is likely to get you shot or worse. I will point my weapon down if you promise to keep your weapons pointed down. Then we can negotiate. Also, don’t give me a reason to think I am no better off cooperating than resisting.
I have good reasons to be leery around cops anyways:
I once heard about a man who was sitting outside at night and was approached by four police officers. The police were not in uniform and had no probable cause to detain him. It is not known what the man thought at this point, but the theory is that he believed these four men might be the same gang that had robbed a relative of his. He ran and the police pursued. They verbally identified themselves as police officers at that point, but this man barely knew English and was by this point probably scared out of his wits. As the cops closed in, the man reached in his pocket and pulled out his wallet, likely hoping the men would take it and leave him alone. In the night, the police mistook the wallet for a gun and killed him.
Another time I heard about a man who had his girlfriend and baby in the car with him who was suddenly surrounded by flash-bang grenades, which are meant to disorient people. Quite understandably, he defended himself against the attack by firing his gun as the police closed in. The police fired back and killed both the man and his girlfriend, miraculously missing the baby and everyone in the surrounding neighborhood. The man had been suspected of murder, but had never been convicted.
Another time another man was rushed from behind and thrown to the ground because he was suspected of some crime. Fortunately, this one did not fight back. As it turned out, the police had the wrong person. He merely looked like the one they wanted. If they had approached him quietly and asked to see identification, he might not have been injured.
Another time another man fully cooperated by stopping his car when pulled over. The police officer asked to see identification. The man fully cooperated by reaching for it. The police officer then shot him in the leg because he thought he might have been reaching for a gun. The man didn’t even have a gun.
I’ve also heard of police officers being extremely rude and threatening to a man with autism who was only suspect because of a misunderstanding pertaining to his autism. I’ve heard of them chasing down a man with schizophrenia when he was too paranoid to answer their questions, even though they had no probable cause to detain him. Even a perfectly healthy person would have been right to be paranoid under those conditions! I’ve heard of them shooting people who ignored their orders to stop, who were no threat to anyone but were likely so high on drugs that they didn’t realize they were in danger. I have not yet heard of anyone shot by cops because they were deaf and didn’t know they were being ordered to halt, but it would not surprise me.
It doesn’t matter whether every fact as I have heard it is true or not because there are actually people both in and out of law enforcement that support these types of actions. I’m only debating policy. They say that if you don’t comply with police orders immediately and to the letter the police have the right to shoot you. Do they forget that we have a bill of rights in the constitution to protect us from just this sort of tyranny? They tell me that police have to rush in and make surprise attacks because otherwise the suspects might get away – or worse – kill one of the cops before they can subdue him. Do they forget that these are only suspects not yet convicted and might actually be innocent? They tell me that one has to always move slowly and keep their hands visible at all times when talking to the police. Do they not understand that there will always be some people that get nervous and forget this? Do they not realize that most people will not even have this occur to them? Police often ask for car registration, but I and most people keep it in the glove box where I have only just recently been told is a place you should never reach. I’m scared for myself. What should I do if pulled over? Since these stories are widely known, can anyone be blamed for fleeing the scene or refusing to open the car window? Can anyone be blamed for pulling out a weapon just in case things go bad? It may be stupid to pull out a gun, but under the circumstances isn’t it equally stupid not to pull out a gun? If it is okay for police to point weapons at you, isn't it equally okay for you to point weapons at them?
I have heard two separate accounts of those who were confronted by police, cooperated fully, and now endorse cooperating fully. They actually claim it is perfectly sane behavior to point guns at people who are just reaching for ID and to search for and seize any weapons without a warrant during a routine traffic stop. It seems to me to be awfully reckless behavior to provoke people you don’t know. Even if it were true that the right thing to do in that situation is cooperate, there are always going to be some who do not, and by provoking those people the cops will have started a conflict that would not have otherwise existed. Isn’t it the job of the police to keep the peace and protect us? Why do they escalate things? Because it is known that some will react to aggression with aggression, the cops should not be acting aggressive, and it becomes wrong to allow them to get away with it. I wish more people stood up to the police. I have zero respect for those who will not stand up to bullies. If we don’t stand up to bullies, nothing will ever change. Somebody needs to do something. I’m not at all saying that we should shoot police officers, but I am saying with deliberate firmness that any police officer that behaves in such a manner deserves to be shot; I can’t in good conscience condemn anyone who does shoot police officers under those circumstances. That I feel compelled to say something like this proves these are very scary times for our country.
This isn’t just a policy dispute. We’re playing with people’s lives here. These policies are so perversely misguided that there can be no compromise with them whatsoever. There is no point in debate and we can’t wait for a vote. This has to end now. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends (i.e. protecting our rights) it is the right AND DUTY of the people to abolish it. I greatly fear we could be heading into a civil war in the next four years and yet I see most people pushing for more.
This only makes it harder for the good officers who are only trying to protect us, who joined the force out of love for their communities, and have children at home to provide for. Unfortunately, they will not be spared. If you put on the uniform of the enemy and hang out in the bases of the enemy, you will be mistaken for the enemy. No matter which side wins the war, there will be tragedy.
Then there is Black Lives Matter, a thoroughly evil, racist organization who casts every misdeed of the police (real or imagined) as a conflict between all black people and all white people. Those of Asian, Hispanic, or mixed heritage are caught in the middle, never knowing which side they will be considered to be on. They distract us from the real issues that affect all races and help to prevent any real reform from ever happening. Numerous pundits and politicians repeat their rhetoric and millions of gullible sheep believe it. One quarter of the people I know support the current police policies, while one quarter of people I know are ensnared in the ridiculous worldview of seeing racism everywhere. They are just as much bullies as the police. My friends are very evil people. I hope they aren’t representative of the country. I have tried to make new friends but haven’t had any luck.
I have better things to do with my time than fight a war. I have books I want to write and places I want to visit. I want nothing more than to find a (not evil) wife, start a family, and maybe have a cookout in the summer. However, I see no way out of this one. If a civil war begins I will certainly be caught up in the fight and I will feel morally obligated to fight both sides. I don’t expect to survive a day, but with any luck I will take out a few of you morons with me.
Your move, America.
P.S. Just so that we are clear, I am not the one advocating war by writing this post. I’m the one trying to avoid war by writing this post. Maybe if I wake some people up we can make peaceful reforms. If you decide to take my words as a threat and attempt to intimidate me into silence, you are part of the problem and will be dealt with severely when the war finally comes. The fact that I feel I have to add this last part to protect myself when exercising my first-amendment rights is additional proof of how scary our country has become.
The media elites in America are always trying to divide us. They divide us by age, sex, religion, and race. They divide us into extroverts and introverts. Most of all, they divide us by political party affiliation. They use misleading labels such as “conservative” and “liberal” to make us believe there are two distinct groups of us with a large gulf in between. The reality is that no two people agree on everything and there are often more differences within groups than between them. Independent individuals exist across the political spectrum as one large, sprawling group.
How people are classified depends much on the questions asked and on how such things are framed. It is entirely possible to believe the death penalty is sometimes justified, but to still believe it to be bad policy. It is entirely possible to believe the wars in Iraq and Libya were justified, but to still believe them mistakes. It is entirely possible to believe that drug use and extramarital sex are unhealthy without considering them immoral, and possible to consider them immoral without believing they should be made illegal. It is entirely possible to be deeply suspicious of big corporations and yet even more suspicious of big-government attempts to reign them in. The same person taking two different surveys may seem very liberal to one and very conservative to the other. Depending on which points candidates emphasize, the same person could vote either Republican or Democrat.
Sometimes people will support the same policies for very different reasons. One can support anti-capitalist economic protectionism not to protect the jobs of American workers, but to protect national security and self-determination. Some people may oppose affirmative action not because it divides us and perpetuates unequal treatment based on race, but because they are secret segregationists.
Whether one supports particular policies often depends how the policies are applied. One might be perfectly happy to let the state decide to legalize or criminalize abortion or drug use, but not believe it is the role of the federal government to tell the states how to rule. One might believe it perfectly permissible for government to fund with taxpayer money things such as health care and education, but not the federal government. One might believe that the congress should pass a law to define marriage to include homosexual unions, but still call foul when unelected judges impose their own will on the people.
Sometimes what policy someone supports depends on what the given alternatives are. The same individual might support a flat tax when the alternative is a complex income tax with multiple brackets, exemptions, credits, deductions, and different rates for different types of income, yet support a sales tax over a flat tax, and a tax on the states over a national sales tax, allowing the citizens of each state to decide how they will be taxed. This is what gets politicians into trouble more than anything else. They will support one policy one year and another policy another year because the given alternatives have changed, not their principles. The media will still cast the change as a flip-flop. Sometimes the problem is one of pragmatism. On one hand, one might support democracy over anarchy because of the political reality that without government there is no protection from criminals or foreign governments, though in an ideal world without such threats they would support anarchy. On the other hand, one might support separation of powers, a bill of rights, and term limits that thwart the will of the voters over pure democracy because of the political reality that most voters are easily manipulated and too willing to impose their will on each other, though in an ideal world without such things they would support a pure democracy. On yet another hand (How many hands do people have again? I’ll use a foot.), one might not support term limits or separation of powers because of the political reality that such things are not politically viable.
Over and over I see people that actually agree or have very similar positions argue with each other – and this phenomenon happens outside of politics as well. Sometimes two people who are both moderates on abortion and can see merit in both the pro-choice and pro-life arguments will misinterpret where the other is coming from. One person might react to recent pro-choice extremism by repeating a pro-life argument and another person might assume the first to be pro-life and respond with a pro-choice one, in turn leading the first to assume the second is a pro-choice extremist. They can go back and forth for hours and never realize that they agree. We aren’t as far apart as the media would have us believe. I encourage everyone to be patient and tolerant and really listen to each other. We are more alike than most people know.
What is the difference between liberals and conservatives anyways? I find that what I am told by pundits, politicians, and even scientists does not make sense to me. We are told that liberals support big government while conservatives support small government. Is this true? There are many different ways to measure the size of government. It can be measured in the number of agencies, the number of employees of those agencies, the fiscal costs of running the agencies, the number of individual laws and regulations, the expansion of the ability to enforce the laws (e.g. greater punishments, greater surveillance), the tediousness and intrusiveness of those laws into realms that many consider private (e.g. how many ounces of soda one can order), and the expansion into realms not directly related to governance (e.g. spending money on welfare or corporate subsidies rather than on law enforcement). It is very difficult to find data on these things except for spending, and spending has been increasing under both Republicans and Democrats since the forties.
I am sometimes told that conservatives value tradition while liberals are for change for the sake of change. Is this true? There are different ways to measure change. Liberals keep proposing new policies all the time, but from my perspective they seem like only tiny tweaks to the same top-down, one-size-fits-all, all-in, big-government model that they have been using since The New Deal and The Great Society. In contrast, conservatives propose many creative new ways to order public life, such as partial Social Security privatization and school vouchers. It is only a tiny minority of them that propose tearing the whole system down.
I am sometimes told that liberals are idealists and conservatives are pragmatic. Is this true? While it makes sense to say that the free market is a practical alternative to failed liberal welfare-state policies that only create dependency and it makes sense to say that training and equipping good citizens in gun use is a practical alternative to failed liberal gun-control policies that the criminals don’t follow anyways, conservatives are idealistic in that they cannot see that neither the free market nor repealing the gun laws are politically viable. When the majority supports an impractical ideal, the practical thing is not to fight it.
Some students of political science classify people in two dimensions – one pertaining to the degree of economic freedom they support, and the other pertaining to the degree of personal/social freedom they support. Others use three dimensions – one for economic issues, one for personal/social issues, and one for foreign policy issues. I have even seen models using four and five dimensions. With all of these models, there is the problem of classifying which issue fits in which dimension. Are school vouchers a personal issue or an economic one? Is participation in NAFTA an economic issue or a foreign policy one?
Just to make things even more confusing, the way pundits and politicians arrange possible positions on a given issue into a political spectrum often defies logic. It is highly misleading. There is a school of thought popular among Republicans that we must meet every potential threat to our national interest with overwhelming force before they become big problems. There is another school of thought popular among Libertarians that the best way to avoid wars is by not being so quick to escalate. The best policy is probably somewhere in the middle. Where do the Democrats fit on this spectrum? Listening to the politicians, they would have you believe that they are Libertarian-esque when running against Republicans, but as soon as they get into office they get us into wars everywhere even when there is no compelling national interest, instead citing “humanitarian reasons” – but humanitarian reasons exist in every conflict!
Spectra can be divided up differently depending on how an issue is conceptualized. Purely pro-choice people obviously go at one end and purely pro-life people obviously go on the other end, but who goes in the middle? Those otherwise pro-life who make an exception for rape and incest, or those otherwise pro-life that make an exception during the first trimester? There exist those that dislike verbal obscenities but have no problem seeing them in print. There exist those that dislike written obscenities but have no problem hearing and using them verbally. Some people prefer an income tax, some prefer a sales tax, and some prefer a property tax. What fair way is there to arrange those people onto a political spectrum?
Among those who are called moderates there can be larger differences than between the most radical liberals and the most radical conservatives. Some are called moderates because they are radically liberal on social issues and radically conservative on economic issues. Others are called moderates because they are radically conservative on social issues and radically liberal on economic issues. Some are called moderates because they are right in the middle on nearly every issue. Still others are called moderates because they don’t care much what happens on many issues of little importance to them. There are those that care deeply about the environment but have little preference whether gay marriage is legal or not.
Even on a given issue there are at least three different ways to be a moderate. One can hold a position that is an equal distance from the extremes in potential positions one can have, one can hold a position that is identical to that of the average voter (mean, median, or mode?), or one can hold a position that is an equal distance between the official positions of the two parties in Washington at the moment. One extreme school of thought is to grant the federal government complete power to overrule the state governments. The opposite extreme school of thought is to give each state the complete power to rule without interference from other states. To some, the perfect compromise between the two is to grant the federal government only those powers explicitly granted to it in the constitution, leaving everything else to the states, and prohibiting from the states only those powers explicitly prohibited from any government. As far as they are concerned, they are moderates, but because this puts them out of step with the majority who clamor for more federal intervention, it makes them extremists. Still, the average citizen does not want to grant as much power to the Washington as both the Democrats and Republicans seem to want to take recently, yet the media will often treat those that lie between the two parties as the true moderates and paint average citizens as extremists.
The truth is that the words liberal, conservative, moderate, centrist, radical, statist, fascist, and libertarian have no constant meaning. The labels are misleading at best and divisive at worst. Don’t let words get in the way of understanding. We are all Americans. We all want to be safe, free, and prosperous, but many of us are confused and misguided. They are not the enemy anymore than those we think of as our allies. That is the greatest illusion. Start talking to each other again. More importantly, start listening again. The nation and the world depend on it.
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.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.