Category Archives: patriotism

A word about why American politics are so f—-d up.

Warning: this post may be offensive to everyone on earth. Better to close it now and get it over with.
Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, protests and riots have swept across the nation.  The new President has signed executive order after executive order, and the country is more polarized than ever.  The more I look at things, the more I can see the origins of a lot of these issues and it comes down to a saying by the late pro football coach Vince Lombardi:

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Somewhere along the way, both the left and the right decided that their way was the not only the right way, but the only way to run things.  Instead of being open to new ideas and practicing moderation, extremism took root, aided by the absolutism made fertile by talk radio hosts, many of whom have turned out to be, themselves, outright hypocrites.  Both left and right pointed the finger at each other, decrying the other’s way as “evil” and “corrupt,” tossing about buzzwords like “income redistribution,” “globalism,” “market freedom” and “indoctrination.”

In the end, both sides are guilty of fomenting national discord for the sake of their own ambitions and avarice.  Both extremes are akin to fans of opposing teams in the Super Bowl who use the exact same offensive and defensive strategies.  The only differences are the cities represented, team colors and the one massive variable:  personalities.

This year’s Super Bowl is a great example. New England’s Tom Brady is a person who draws absolute reactions.  You either love him or you hate him.  You either admire his guile for exploiting lax rules enforcement with “deflategate,” or he is a cheater.  For Atlanta, you either love Matt Ryan for his stoicness in games and his ability to heave the ball downfield with stunning accuracy, or you hate him for his occasional post game showboating and arrogance or the demands of owner Arthur Blank.  Long story short, team affiliation and cults of personalities determine the fan base.

America’s political landscape is much the same way anymore.  It’s no longer about “what’s right for America.”  Rather, many citizens have become so fed up with the demands of either side, their rhetoric, and the approach to life their supporters take, the “win at all costs” attitude has permeated American politics.  You either love Donald Trump and what he espouses, or you loved Hillary Clinton.  Anyone who isn’t on the side of an extreme allegiance is a gutless moderate, or an independent who is immediately picked apart for which side of the ideological aisle they most identify with, regardless of if their heart is good.

We are no longer a nation which compromises for the good of all; we are a country obsessed with winning and being “right,” even if being right means may the good of the nation be damned, so long as our side prevails.  We no longer see shades of gray, or the empty spaces in between the argument where facts get lost in the name of victory.  It is now black and white terms:  good and evil, order and chaos, life and death, left and right….and zero in between allowed.

Both sides are guilty on this one.  The far right has pushed gun rights, the far left gun restriction.  The far right pushes free market and free will as the answer to everything, while the far left pushes government as the solution.  Both sides point the finger at each other when something goes wrong.  A great idea is only a great idea of our side came up with it.  If one side comes up with a truly great idea, the other side will do everything they can to stop it, and vice versa.  Why?  Because it wasn’t their idea. They can’t take credit, so they want no part of it.

This is where our nation has been taken. Compromise is death.  Bipartisanship is evil.  The left will destroy the rights of all.  The right will destroy the rights of all.  They are both the same, but they are different.  The left wants people to be lifted up, but so does the right.  The only difference is the means it happens and who at the very top benefits.  It’s old money family rivalries on a global scale.  The same monster with two heads and the same master manipulating both heads, in this case the people are the brains inside the heads, to fight each other.

But why?

Did it not occur to anyone here that if a world leader with access to nuclear weapons gets into a pissing match with another world leader with nuclear weapons in this age of “pride before prudence,” things could end VERY VERY BADLY? This is not the old Cold War era where world leaders understood the concept of mutual assured destruction. In this era where all that matters is winning, regardless of the cost, MAD isn’t really so crazy anymore.  It’s considered “acceptable risk.”

That said, here’s something think about:  all the protests and guns on earth won’t mean shit if there’s nothing left to protest or no one to kill. Yes, people are angry at each other and there are powerful people making a ton of money off pitting us against each other, but do you really think any of them give a damn about YOU when the mushroom clouds start rising? They already planned for this years ago.  At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, anyone who thinks those in position of true power haven’t found some way to gain from a world atomic holocaust are sadly mistaken.  They get to rebuild the world, only the way they see fit.

We can stop all this madness, but we need to focus on what we see happening, not the rhetoric being said or the memes being posted. Focus on what’s real instead of what is imagined. We still have a judicial system and civilian control of our military. I know people are saying we need to strike “just in case.” What is that going to accomplish? To all of you wanting a civil war to settle it all, do you really think that dying for SOMEONE ELSE’S CHECKBOOK is more important than the ideals espoused in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, because I guarantee you that most of your radio and television pundits and commentators, liberal or conservative, couldn’t remember the Bill of Rights, much less which state first ratified the constitution.  They CAN, however, remember their bank account number and safe combination, easily.

Those want to die, or are okay with friends and loved ones dying, to impose their worldview of America on everyone else, are EXACTLY the sort of danger George Washington spoke of in his farewell address. We need to take a long hard look in the mirror as a nation, stop worrying about who is offended by who said what and what injustice was committed by people long dead, and instead focus on the injustices being committed right now, against us by each other. We need to look at our current immigrants who may not have gotten here legally, but are law abiding otherwise and a great source of tax revenue.  We need to look at our homeless and see how much of it is true laziness and how much of it is actually mental illness which, once treated effectively, can unlock the minds of potential geniuses.  We need to feed our hungry children so they can feel compassion and grow into compassionate adult instead of bitter children in adult bodies vying for the power they never knew in youth.  We need to help our veterans who our leaders have come to view as similar to sanitary napkins; something to absorb political blood in photo ops and rituals, but disposed of once they’ve outlived their usefulness.  We need to address the reality that racial tensions exist not so much as the result of what happened over a century ago, but the mistrust formed between races because of old fears turned into old wives tales, which have in turn become cultural norms.
Finally we need to remember and accept that assimilation does not mean elimination.  A people can become law abiding productive citizens without being forced to abandon their cultures and customs.  Immigrants should have to learn our language, history and abide by our laws but should not be required to abandon their heritage and culture in their own homes.  

Yes, there will always be those who wish to harm us, but we should never do the work for them, and our current political climate is doing just that.  We are truly doing our enemies’ dirty work.  We can, we must, learn to listen to the better angels of our nature.  That is what a “more perfect union” is about, after all.

Let the Fallen Rise in Memory: Sign the Petition to Rename Hurricane Field for the fallen Americus and GSW Police Officers

ajcamericus
December 12, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution front page, showing the article reporting on the memorial service for Americus Police Officer Nicholas Smarr.  The service for Officer Jody Smith of GSW Public Safety will be held this week, also on the university campus.

As Americus and the State of Georgia mourn the loss of Officers Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith, ways to commemorate their sacrifice in the name of serving and protecting their community are now being considered.   To that end, a petition on Ipetition has been set up calling on Georgia Southwestern State University, with the approval of Governor Nathan Deal and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, to rename Hurricane Field, the home of GSW State’s NCAA Division II Baseball Team, in honor of these officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.  Further, it also calls for permission being granted to place and appropriate memorial to all fallen officers of Sumter County, Georgia on the stadium grounds.

The goal of this petition is to collect 3,000 online signatures to show national, global and community support for this proposal.  While it is, ultimately, the decision of the University and the Board of Regents, this proposal is believed to be an appropriate way to commemorate the sacrifice of not only these officers, but all who died on the thin blue line in Sumter County.

As of 9:48 PM ET on December 12, 2016, over 150 online signatures have been collected.  We ask for signatures of support from not only Americus and Georgia, but around the nation and the world.  Please, show your support for these officers being remembered for their sacrifice in the line of duty.

My greatest fears for America realized, my greatest hope still possible

This is what I’ve feared ever since I left college in 1997.

We’ve reached a crescendo of anger and partisanship in our nation.  Those who we once believed were our best and brightest, offices which we once looked to for inspiration and hope, are now becoming synonymous with scandal and mistrust.  We have a media which is so steeped in ideology on both sides, common sense has vanished.  The notion of an America where anyone can become a success with hard work, a little luck, and some smarts is beyond endangered.  It’s been eviscerated.

Everyone is angry at everyone.  Family and friends are no longer speaking to each other, separated by ideology, preconceived notions, income disparity and occupation.  Ours was a nation once admired for its ability to take the best features of any culture, any religion, and race, and make it our own.  The ability to merge, to meld it all together into one made us the envy of the world.  Today, we have allowed those who wish to do us harm to claim the ultimate victory.  We’ve allowed them to drive us apart.

Worse still, we have allowed others to profit from our divisions.  We have embraced them and entrepreneurs and innovators instead of what they really are:  unpatriotic predators.

We are better than this.  We don’t need tolerance or safe zones now.  We don’t need gun control or fear mongering or opportunistic politicians.  We don’t need platitudes, slogans, investigations, accusations or organizations.  We don’t need moguls taking advantage of situations to enrich themselves.  What is needed is what we fear the most, the hardest possible thing we could ever do as a people.

We need to wake up and accept that fact we cannot live In the past anymore.

Progress happens.  Forward movement is part of life.  Change is reality.  Regression is what backwards societies such as North Korea and Iran have done.  It’s what ISIS wants. Regression, for a nation such as ours, is death.  The question for us is why we resist change so fervently.  Why are some changes so embraced, while some are so repellent, and the only thing I could think of was an analogy I once offered a longtime friend.  This man, who is an avid tea connoisseur, was asked a practical question; if your doctor told you that tea is lethal for you and that you must stop drinking it now and never touch it again, could you handle it?  He admitted it was a very disturbing idea. 

This is where we are now.  We are a people facing tough choices we don’t want to make because it upsets our lifestyles, our narratives, or our worldview.

We’ve gone from a society of reasonable people to a society of folks who have been told what they must do or can’t do.  We have a President who once told Americans we had to “eat our peas,” like a grouchy father scolding oppositional children.  We have a slew of pundits on talk radio accusing the party in power of everything short of killing puppies.  Whether it is true or not is irrelevant – the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” is gone.  We have become a society governed by our passions, those passions fomented by those co-opting the message of well-meaning, passionate citizens, and twisting them to fit a very profitable narrative.  Rather than listen to the better angels of our nature, we are now embracing our greatest demons, both past and present.

Our Founders were skeptical of the People governing directly, and I can see why.  We are no longer a nation of individuals who have the greater good at heart.  Ours is no longer a nation which asks what we can do for our country, as President Kennedy once called upon every American to do.  Nor is it the nation which once saw morning dawning again, and President Reagan once declared.  We aren’t even a nation which only has to fear fear itself as FDR once declared our only enemy to be.  We are beyond a nation by the people, for the people, and we have allowed ourselves to become too involved in foreign entanglements.  We are no longer a nation of laws, but of men and women.  Ours is a people captivated by cults of personality, enthralled by fantasy, obsessed with scandal, and unable to move forward out of a desire for vengeance and bloodlust.  We no longer forgive; we retaliate. We are near nihilists, but accept everything told by so-called “leaders” as gospel.

We can come back, if we want.  We can focus on the good in our nation, if we would stop looking at each other with suspicion.  We can end the hatred if we stop wondering how we can “get over” on each other.  We can rebuild if we start focusing on rolling up our sleeves and working on repairs.  We can stop the insanity if we realize that our greatest strength is the very thing which many regard as our greatest weakness – our differences, our seeming inability to agree.  If our nation was to collectively awaken from its slumber and see just how badly we are being played for fools by both sides of the political aisle, the consequences would be as an earthquake destroying a major city.  Anyone who wonders the veracity of this assessment need simply read this quote…

“A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.”

That quote was not by any American, but by Admiral Yamamoto of Japan in 1942 as the war in the Pacific intensified.  Three years later, Japan would lay in ruins, and America would have displayed what the collective will of a truly free people, properly directed, can do.

My hope is that my fear is only short-lived.

PODCAST: Taking Off the Gloves on Trump

Get In Johns Head – 12/9/2015

If you like Trump, this will piss you off.  If you are on the fence about Trump, this could change your mind.  If you are on the fence about me, this WILL change your mind one way or the other.  I encourage you to listen, and excuse the coarse language, but I hadda blast this fool full blast.

America’s most dire issue, and how to fix it

“When you’re going through hell, keep going.”  – Sir Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill would be shaking his head at America today.

Forget net neutrality, homegrown terrorists, racial discord, ideological politics, and socioeconomic iniquity for one moment and let’s look at the most basic, fundamental thing that is going wrong in our nation.  We have lost our sense of respect for the individual and appreciation of community.  We have become a nation of labels, colors (ideologically speaking), and slogans.  Rather than focusing on what we can do to create a better nation, we have allowed ourselves to devolve into a collection of non-confederated sides.  “Balkanized” is quite inaccurate; rather, we have become a circular firing squad, shooting each other instead of focusing our collective national and cultural might at common goals.

Ours is a nation which is in the center of its own hell.  We are falling on our own collective faces, refusing to see the foolhardiness of our intolerance and inhumanity.  Rather than lift one another up, we are focusing on how to keep certain segments of our society and nation down.  Instead of combining our efforts towards a common good, we are dividing our abilities and assets in multiple directions, attempting to eviscerate those perceived to be enemies, rather than focusing on healing our collective national wounds.

The “why” is not the issue, nor is the “who.”  What is now the issue is the “how,” as in how can we right this ship before it hits the rocks, because our own ignorance, intolerance, and inability to see the forest for the trees has extinguished the beacon of enlightenment perched upon the precipice.  Naturally, there are those who say this light has not been extinguished, merely obscured.  If so, that fog is pretty damned thick.

What we, as American, fail to remember is that there are no easy answers to anything in life.  Many, especially pundits and radio hosts, like to wax romantically at the “good old days,” talk about how the government was once so small and regulations so few that people could innovate, build vast empires of wealth, and create rags-to-riches stories.  What these folks fail to grasp is the collateral damage involved in these stories and the struggles taken to level the playing field.  Others fail to understand those who created these empires are now also attempting to maintain them, and the lifestyles afforded by them, in ways which run directly contrary to the original intent of the Founders.  Of course, these folks are also co-opting others who, either out of ignorance, fear or hate, have found some form of collective sense of acceptance in ideologies based upon perverted versions of political or theological thought, much of which have been concocted out of a desire by those in positions of power and influence to merely maintain said position for them and their posterity.

Sickening?  Yes.  Real?  Even more so.

Our nation has, indeed, reached a tipping point.  Many of us have refused to act out of a sense of fear, or a simple desire to focus on our daily lives.  This is understandable; most Americans are busy trying to survive, many are just doing their best to keep from falling behind in a landscape increasingly tilted towards those who are capable of quickly and efficiently, through either informal or legal means, acquire more wealth, power, and influence.  The notion of a “New Feudalism” is not the province of conspiracy theorists – it is a clear and present threat to the very fabric of our national vitality, and one which must be confronted directly.

Yes, ISIS is a visceral danger to our nation, as is our national debt, as is illegal immigration, but our collective will to focus our economic and military might is misplaced.  The notions of “giving jobs” to terrorists or achieving “social justice” to create racial harmony are much a song of misguided angels as is the belief that abandoning our own constitution and imposing a theocratic biblical legal system will cure our ills.  The solution lies in a simultaneous evaluation of both our Founders intentions, the struggles our nation endured through its darkest hours, and the innovative potential of our current and upcoming generations.  Rather than embracing the “herd mentality” of red and blue, liberal and conservative, believers and nonbelievers, and the simple black and white of absolutist approaches, we must conceive a new way of thinking.

Pulling our nation back from the brink requires the sort of ideas which abandon the social Darwinism of the current perverse strain infecting both liberal and conservative thought, and a return to classic American ideals which often seem contradictory when viewed on their own, but work symbiotically to create a national identity so envied that many now seek it out for destruction, rather than transplantation.  Those ideals – liberty, community service, national unity, economic and environmental harmony, religious tolerance, and the ever-so-lofty goal of all created equal under God – truly are the stuff of a nation which is a beacon to the world.  We are truly a nation in need of a rebirth of freedom, which must also come with full knowledge of the responsibility that we must allowed ourselves to be both one and together, individuals and community, to create a new nation, a reborn nation, which may again be a light of hope to all who grasp for it.