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.
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.
I am finding that I am interested in many things other than politics lately. Some of these things will be found on my new blog, InkDoodler.com. So, I leave it up to you, my readers, to promote understanding and civility in the political arena. I will be leaving my archives online for posterity. Also, be sure to check out my book, The Nutcase Across The Street.
Sometimes two people watching the same video see it as supporting opposite points of view. We seem to be quick to pick up on elements that support our biases but sometimes miss elements that can be interpreted to oppose them. This is a phenomenon I have written on before. Recently, I encountered another example.
I just recently discovered this interesting tidbit and decided to share. Enjoy.
I recently read Create Your Own Economy by Tyler Cowen. It is an interesting book touching on many subjects, including how the internet might be changing the culture, and on the neurological roots of aesthetic opinions. In it are two interesting quotes about autism-spectrum disorders on page thirty-three.
Some people hate trickle-down economics. They speak of its “failure,” its “victims,” and they claim that it “doesn’t work.” On the other hand, some people like and endorse it. Before we get into the arguments for and against it, the question is: what is it?
After every election, the questions I usually hear from half of the electorate are: What is wrong with people? How can there be so many idiots? With everything that was going on, how was it not a landslide? There is a lot of mystery not only of what drives voting behavior, but how people think in the most basic ways. There is a huge lack of understanding between different groups of people. Not only do people not understand why more people don’t think like them, they find time and time again that predictions based on how they think others think are spectacularly wrong. The truth is none of us even knows how others think, let alone why. Unfortunately, I’m still working on the answers myself, but in this post I describe several theories I have heard. Discussing them ought to help point us in the right direction.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.