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Tidbit: Obama and Guns–Again

In a recent article The Economist wrote about Obama’s town hall on guns in America, the author (Lexington, an anonymous author whom this blog has criticized in the past, on this very same topic) was dismayed by what he (she?) saw.

“What came across, with dismaying clarity, was that this president’s critics listen to what he says about guns, and do not believe a word of it.”

Why should we? Why should we believe or listen to anything Mr. Obama says about guns? He says “I respect the 2nd Amendment” and yet he clearly doesn’t. Anyone who actually respects the 2nd Amendment never follows that statement with a “but”–the same way anyone who actually believes in free speech never says “I believe in free speech…but…”

That would be like saying “I respect women, but….”–whatever follows, it is just going to undermine your assertion. Someone who actually respects something usually does not feel the need to qualify it or put conditions on it. Of course, nobody is a mind reader. It is impossible to know Mr. Obama’s true sentiments on the 2nd Amendment, but to those of us who do respect the 2nd Amendment, Mr. Obama’s assertion comes across as pandering at best, disingenuous more commonly, and an outright lie occasionally. Put simply, to many–including this author–it is impossible to have “respect” for the 2nd Amendment and yet still believe in gun control beyond the most basic limitations, and anyone who is in favor of more control–by the government, just to be clear–is given a very healthy dose of skepticism.

However, one doesn’t need to be a mind reader–nor a pro-gun fanatic–to disbelieve any and everything Mr. Obama says about guns.

We the people who actually respect the 2nd Amendment don’t believe anything Mr. Obama says because his words do not match his actions.

Mr. Obama lives in a world where good intentions>results; we, by contrast, live in a world where results are what counts. Mr. Obama predicates his actions on words about mass shootings and yet among rational minds it is widely agreed his proposals would have done nothing to prevent any of the mass shootings he referenced.

We do not listen to Mr. Obama because there is a gap between his stated intent and his proposed action–that gap is what causes among us a lack of belief and a lack of trust. We do not trust Obama; we do not take him at his word, because his word, when compared to his action, makes no sense. The only logical conclusions therefore are either that Mr. Obama is incompetent on the matter–in which case discussion with him is going to be fruitless–or he has an ulterior motive he is not sharing with us. Is it any surprise that we believe a man who is otherwise brilliant in many respects could not be incompetent on this issue?

-SL

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An Open Letter to My Generation, on Patriotism

I’ll be honest with you: I am completely against using our military abroad if we are not taking direct defensive action.  I believe that most of the things that our military is engaged in at the moment have nothing to do with protecting the home front.  However, this is all beside the point.  What I believe and my political affiliations have nothing to do with it.  Wednesday was Veteran’s Day, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

I live on a college campus.  It’s its own little bubble of happiness and a carefree lifestyle that is so insulated from the outside world that it’s appalling sometimes.  I was in class on Wednesday and something happened that shocked me.  The class was ending and everyone was packing their bags up to leave.  As we all did this, my professor mentioned that it was, in fact, Veteran’s Day and that we had a veteran of Afghanistan in our class.  The guy sits at the front of the class and wears his hair high and tight.  He even has a camo backpack that looks like a standard military issue and I had never put two and two together before this point.  When my professor was done making his statement, I started to clap and stand up, only to be greeted by confused stares from the people around me and an awkward silence.  The veteran began to stand up with the rest of the class and his eyes were searching for anything to grab onto.  Everyone shuffled past him and put their computers away, then hurried out he door.  He looked dejected.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.

I don’t know why I didn’t immediately chase him down and tell him that I appreciated his service.  The moment just hit me and I never really even thought that something like this could be possible.  Growing up, I had always been told to respect the military and all the sacrifices that they made for my freedom.  Even though I’ve started to doubt the military’s role in today’s world, and I would rather live in a world where militaries were used less often, I still have so much respect for someone who will leave home and everything they hold dear for months (sometimes years) on end to fight people on foreign soil that would see us all dead if they could.  Men like that veteran in my class are the reason that we sleep safe at night, and nobody in that class saw it fit to give him a little gratitude on the one day of all days (if not every day) of the year when he should feel that from those around him.

And so, I write this letter.  Not to my classmates, not to kids on college campuses, but to my generation.  Don’t lose this.  We’ve lost a lot already and we’re proving that we are not fit to be in charge in so many ways, but we can’t lose our patriotism.  If we can’t learn to move past our differences, our political affiliations, the way that we feel about certain issues, etc. to just take a second and respect someone that has done us a service, whether we asked them to or not, then we are truly lost.  Those of you that know me know that I am the first one to shrug off civil religion and the advancement of statism in the minds of the populace, but I will never lose respect for the men and women of our armed forces.

So everyone, please go out of your way to thank someone who has served or is currently serving this great nation.  Even if you’ve known them forever, they’ve probably never heard you say those words: “thank you for your service.”  Those are the words that they need to hear from each and every one of us.  We may not agree with why they went to war or what they did while they were away, but that has nothing to do with the fact that they sacrificed so much for us who have given them so little.  They truly deserve everything that we have to give them and more, and a lot of them get nothing when they return.

Thank a veteran.  Never forget the sacrifices that have been made.

CB

A Parable

There are people who are convinced that 2+2=5. They have every right to believe that, and if they ask me to indulge them in that fiction then I will out of courtesy and civility, but if they intend to use the government to force me to believe 2+2=5 I will fight them with every lawful means I have at my disposal.

Of course I am not referring to people in a literal sense believing in “2+2=5”, but metaphorically there are an increasing number of people who see the world through the lens of 2+2=5.

-SL

Am I on a list?

I often find myself asking this question when thinking about the things that I post online.  I have libertarian viewpoints, which obviously point to a distrust of government and a desire to have the size of the government reduced drastically.  The fact is, those in power do not like those who have a problem with authority.  I will admit that I do not like the fact that I have people who take money that I earn and waste it, monitor the things that I do online, take liberties away from me at will, and so on and so forth; but that does not mean that I will revolt agains the government.

I have advocated for revolt on here before.  I have said that it might be the only way that we can save our country from imploding.  I have even stated that the time for revolt might be close.  Nonviolent rebellion –  as odd as that sounds – is still not out of the question for me.  But does that mean that I should be placed on a list somewhere in the NSA database as a potential anarchist or someone who could possibly be a problem for the government in the near future?

I have no intention of killing anyone.  I have never posed an immediate threat to those in power other than the fact that I have posted my opinions online, and yet I have this feeling that I’m on a list somewhere.  Maybe it’s my distrust of the system.  Maybe I’m just paranoid.  I haven’t noticed any sort of change in my surroundings lately, but the things that I’ve seen happen in the government over the past couple years have started to make me a little more wary of the possibility that we might actually turn toward a police state very quickly.  Our governments have all the technology in place to make sure that they can keep tabs on every single citizen in the country at any given time, and the more they start to regulate what people can and cannot do, the more they start to move toward being able to change the face of our nation overnight.

That being said, I honestly don’t think that we will see something like that happen with this administration.  President Obama isn’t smart enough to want to take over the entire nation overnight and control the population because he knows that with his prior record, that would not stand for one second.  Even his supporters are starting to turn on him.  However, the individual that I’m most worried about is Hillary.  If she starts to make moves toward running in 2016, then we could be in for some real trouble.

She’s ruthless.  She’s cold.  She’s calculating.  She will do anything that it takes to get ahead and to make sure that she has the exact amount of control and power that she wants in any given situation.  I think that she did a great job as Secretary of State just because she was intimidating.  She walks into a room and instantly garners the respect of everyone in it.  I have a feeling that this might factor into future proceedings when and if she walks into the White House and has the capability to take control of the United States of America in one push of a button.

She must be held in check.  And now I’m definitely on a list.

CB

Distractions, distractions, distractions

More and more, I’m starting to believe conspiracy theories about the government having almost complete and total control over the mainstream media and what they release to the public.  With all the absolute nonsense that I see on TV every day, it’s becoming harder and harder to subject myself to it on a daily basis.  I can almost hear the politicians laughing at us as we continually shift our focus from things that are actually important (and this only happens once in a while when a Twitter trend takes off) to stuff that has almost no significance at all in respect to our daily lives.

Like it or not, whatever goes on in Washington has a lot to do with how you go about your life on a day-to-day basis.  The most recent and powerful example of this is the Affordable Care Act, which finally went into effect earlier this year and was a massive and embarrassing failure for the current administration, which had spent countless hours and millions of dollars on the system that launched and immediately crashed and burned and had to be completely overhauled almost overnight.  The whole “insurance marketplace” still didn’t really do what it intended to do, and a lot of the things that President Obama and many of his supporters and staff said for months about not losing coverage and being able to keep your doctor ended up being blatant lies that everyone figured out about after it was too late already.  People have lost their coverage left and right and many individuals have had to switch doctors because their new insurance plan doesn’t recommend them to go to a specific specialist anymore.

It’s hard not to question the possible connections between the media and the government with all the stuff that seems to happen at the most opportune times to distract us from things that are happening that shouldn’t be.  News outlets love to find small things that happen and completely blow them out of proportion and bend the truth to get the public riled up for no apparent reason, and meanwhile those that we have elected – in theory – to go to Washington, D.C. and represent our best interest in the federal government are doing their own thing and working hard every single day not to further our interests, but to build up their bid for reelection during the next round of balloting.  The fact is, and I’ve said it many times, our system is definitely in need of some patchwork after all these years of corruption and finagling by career politicians that are all too comfortable in their offices in the Capitol and various other buildings around D.C.

The media isn’t helping the situation either.  They’re just enabling politicians to go about their business as if nothing’s wrong while they lie to us and pretend to be doing their job every single day. There’s little to no accountability for politicians that repeatedly and knowingly violate the Constitution and the rights of the citizens of the United States and the first life if defense against these individuals should be the media. There’s a reason that Edward Snowden did what he did and leaked that information about spying programs to journalists instead of giving them to other countries, which would have been infinitely more profitable I’ve terms of monetary compensation.

The fact it’s, we as a people have been programmed almost to ignore the facts because we don’t want to know the truth. It is true that the truth hurts a lot of the time, but it’s better than learning the truth much later on when it’s too late to reverse the damage that has been done.

CB

More about education

The more I think about what plagues this nation, specifically my generation, the more I start to point fingers at public education.  I have addressed, in earlier posts, about how mass media and sound bites and our shortened attention spans have started to homogenize the thought processes of our society today, and how people have almost ceased to think for themselves because they would rather listen to what their favorite television personality or politician says about a specific issue.  Now I’m going to talk about how the education system specifically has contributed to the fact that my generation in particular has no idea how to think for themselves and has pretty much all aligned with a similar thought process regarding almost every single issue that our nation faces.

I have already talked about how our public school system does not cater to kids who don’t learn as well using the traditional methods that teachers tend to use.  We have been teaching our kids the using basically the same methods and philosophies for much too long, but that is another matter entirely.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve told this story before, but I’m going to tell it again just in case.  It illustrates my point perfectly.

It was my senior year of high school and I walked into government class as if it was a normal day.  I didn’t particularly like my government teacher because she started every single class period with an update on what great think Obama did for the country that night or during the time before our class met that day, followed by a harshly biased recap of the Republican primary race.  She would bash Rick Perry for saying this and Newt Gingrich for saying that, then she would tell us more about how Obama is the greatest President that this country has ever seen and that none of these idiots running for the Republican ticket were ever going to beat him in 2012, no matter how hard they tried.  On this particular day, after the rant had ended, she stood in front of the class and gave yet another totally biased and disgusting speech about a teacher that she greatly admired, one that is now held in high regard within the AP Government community and is apparently working at the College Board AP Central to help write the curriculum for AP Government and how it should be taught.

With that in mind, this is the story she told us:

On the day that he was supposed to teach the class about the Bill of Rights, he would walk into class carrying an American flag.  To demonstrate his rights that the First Amendment granted him, he would first lay the American flag on the ground, then stand on it.  He would then start to lecture the class about the Bill of Rights, and when the first student started to protest about what he was doing to the flag sitting beneath his feet, he would flip that student off and keep going with the lecture.

Is this the way that we want the next generation to think?  I’m all for letting people express themselves freely because any rational society should not have laws banning any sort of expression or speech, especially if it goes agains the government.  However, this method of teaching might not be the most effective way to get the point across.  Maybe if he showed a video of someone doing it, or told it as a story.  The argument could be made that the visual of the situation will make sure that the kids do not forget it, but do we really have to be that offensive in order to get the point across?  If a teacher had walked in and went on a rant about how the government is way too powerful and how most of the things that they are doing are illegal nowadays according to the Constitution, then they would probably receive a reprimand within 24 hours and would be suspended without pay for a certain amount of time.  The one-sided education system that we have today is only teaching kids to think, and therefore vote (if they choose to), a certain way.

I know that there are exceptions to every rule.  The Right loves to sit there and point fingers at the liberal media and teachers unions (or really any union, honestly) for causing just about every problem that this nation faces today.  The Left loves to criticize the fact that the Right has advocated for the abolition of the public education system for years, automatically assuming that they are trying to create an elitist society where only the rich can afford to educate their kids and the poor people will be left without the means to learn to.. do what?

More often than not, I feel like kids don’t as much as they used to in the public school system because it’s harder to teach kids how to think rather than just telling them what to think.  Public schools are becoming grievously overcrowded and it’s becoming more and more difficult for teachers to find time to actually take care of their students and make sure that they’re keeping up with the material.  Those teachers that really do care will go through the extra effort (I have come across those teachers during my years in middle and high school and they were always the best teachers hands down) to make sure that their kids do well, but that teacher is truly a dying breed.  In states like California, teachers that have simply been in the system longer are being given jobs every year over newer educators that deliver higher test scores, invest more in their students, etc. simply because of the fact that they graduated and got their teaching certification before the other guys did.  One teacher in particular that I can think of, Keldon Clegg, was my Advanced Placement US History class teacher my junior year of high school.  If he’s reading this, he probably doesn’t agree with me.  We never did really agree on much when it came to politics.  However, I did not do very well in his class the first semester.  I was struggling from the very beginning and it took a long time to dig myself out of the hole that I dug early on.  It took work, and it took some investment from Mr. Clegg to finally get me to a respectable grade, and I ended up getting a 3 – I think; I’m positive I got at least that – on the AP test at the end of the year, when I was almost sure that I was going to fail.  He ended up getting fired at the end of the year i favor of someone else in the department who was more senior than he was.  This makes me sick.  I’m not saying that that other teacher was not qualified, but the teacher that I really enjoyed and that took extra time out of his day to make sure that I understood the material and got better grades got fired simply because he hadn’t been there for very long.  He’s now teaching at a high school in Berkeley, CA and seems to be enjoying himself (or at least Facebook says so).  If you’re reading this Clegg, you’re the bomb.

We need more Mr. Clegg’s in the world, the educators that are willing to help kids work through problems but not tell them how to think.  He laid the groundwork and then asked questions, which is how it should be.  Drones do not make good citizens.  Drones make good prisoners.  Individuals that can think and decide things for themselves are what makes a country or society great.

CB

On “Patriotism”

I love hearing this word.  I think I love hearing it because people don’t know what it truly means.  Both sides of the aisle use it, but they believe that the other side doesn’t have it locked down like they do.  People who believe differently than they do couldn’t possibly be patriots, because their ideas are going to destroy America and everything it stands for.  We have this deep-seated hatred for those who aren’t patriotic, but we all have our own specific definitions of what it means to be “patriotic” which we apply to just about everyone.  Why can’t someone be patriotic in their own way?

My own generation of Americans is changing the way that patriotism is defined.  We are not voting in the numbers that our parents and grandparents did, but we’re also much more involved in the overall process than they were.  We’re working for campaigns, voicing our opinions and supporting candidates through different mediums and devices that aren’t traditional, but they’re effective nonetheless.  Young people have the ability to communicate like no other age group at this point in time because of their immersion in social media and other forms of mass communication that can be used to spread ideas, messages, and other things.  As much as I like to disparage social media for all the perversions that it has caused in society today in terms of the uniformity of thought and deterioration of the English language, I do love the fact that it allows for people to be politically active if they choose to be.  Among those who choose to, there is a very clear divide amongst conflicting ideological platforms on what constitutes a true patriot.  The Right tends to believe that patriotism is defined by love of country and its military (regardless of its actions abroad), a vehement passion for the Constitution, a general mistrust of government and an especial hatred of large government.  The Conservative Patriot, as we might call them, also must have guns in their house and defend their right to bear these arms against all odds and to the death. At the very least, if they don’t own guns, they have to believe in the right to bear arms.  On the other hand, The Liberal Patriot believes that minorities must be protected from the majority, whether it’s the poor from the rich (which seems to be a little backwards, but whatever) or certain ethnicities from racial discrimination.  They must be an avid visitor of the ACLU webpage and frequenter of MSNBC talk shows that do nothing but bash every single Republican in Congress for being a baby-killer (never mind that the “baby-killers” are anti-abortion).  The Liberal Patriot is also usually pro-abortion and pro-woman (which also makes little to no sense).  However, both of these definitions make absolutely no sense to me.

I believe that true patriotism comes from activism.  As long as you are working to better the world that you live in and move it forward, then you are a patriot.  Military involvement, campaign management, social media activism; these are all forms of patriotism.  We need more patriots in this country.

CB