Thankful

What I’m Thankful For…

In the hustle and the bustle of the season, with all of the distractions and obligations we find ourselves beset by, it is incredibly easy to lose sight of what we have to be Thankful for. Religious or secular, there is plenty to give thanks for in our lives, and I’ve always believed that setting aside a day to be thankful is a fantastic thing to do. It could even be something that we consider in our everyday lives.

For me as a student and a fan of history, I find myself more pondering the spirit if the Holiday in the scope of our past; of what has come before and established the profoundly solid base we find ourselves standing on, with little thought to even the most incredible yet commonplace things we otherwise take for granted in our day to day routine.

With that in mind, please consider the following in your own lives, and ponder what it is that you are truly thankful for. As for me, I am thankful, every single day, for…

-The Devotion of The Faithful; that the strength of that Faith saw them through unimaginable trials to come to this Great land.

-The Tenacity of The Survivors; that in the face of overwhelming adversity they struggled through to pass on to us that most valuable of gifts, Life.

-The Valour of The Brave; that they confronted and stood steadfast in the face of one of our greatest fears- The Unknown.

-The Selflessness of the Dutiful; that the call to greatness was not left unanswered. No, it was answered and attended to with firm and resounding resolve by those who had much to lose in that course; that a solid foundation, a bed rock, was laid in order that a great nation might grow.

-The Teachings of The Wise; that profound knowledge is discovered and passed on to fortify each new generation with the seeds of Greatness.

-The Gracious Generosity of those who have little- Or wealth beyond measure; that the less fortunate do not despair.

-The Honour of the Great among us; that they remained true and dedicated to their core beliefs and principles- in the face of unfathomable temptation and power- in order that all that have come after might have their own chance to reach and fulfill their potential, their own Greatness.

-And finally, The Dedication and Sacrifice of our Brave Soldiers, all of those men and women, throughout our History, who have vowed their Lives, Their Fortunes, and Their Sacred Honour; that we might share a blessed meal in peace, surrounded by the love of family and friends, while they ensure our privilege to do so.

Without all who have come before us we would not, could not possibly be. All that we have, all that we are, rests on the broad shoulders of those that have come before us and that stand fast among us. They selflessly left to us invaluable gifts it is up to us to pass forward.

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Of Riots and Rights

In the aftermath of the Ferguson affair.

Here’s my thing…

I want to try and make one last point with regards to Ferguson and then I want to get away from it as the subject of the rioters is kind of played out; and that point is that is I am by NO means against protesting. It is a Right. We need it in our culture. It’s how change can be effected.

In Ferguson and many other towns we have a large group, many of them protesters exercising their first amendment rights. But we have an unfortunate subgroup, the rioters. Ditto Looters. And another unfortunate subgroup, the zealotry driven protesters who think that they have some twisted right to shove their protest in everyone else’s face, blocking traffic and ruining business owners capacity to do a profitable business by shutting them down through sit-ins.

How does any of that further a needed discussion? The conversation that actually needs to happen is being overshadowed by animals like Brown’s step dad calling to “Burn this m***** f***** down”; by people looting stores and destroying the property of local business leaders; by leaders ::cough cough:: implying that it’s all excusable by saying that they can ‘understand’ the anger, thereby condoning the behavior without actually condoning it.

Then you have ‘news’ outlets that throw opinionated commentary out into the world thinly veiled as news. Their round tables are often one sided and indictments are thrown out onto the table without the benefit of a so-called ‘news’ person moderating ridiculous statements accusing, in this case, Officer Wilson of being a murderer without the benefit of a trial on a national news program (I’m looking at You, Wolf Blitzer).

Additionally, any kind of news that might give perspective is left out. Again, in the case of Ferguson, how many cops have been killed since the year 2000 by ‘unarmed’ suspects? How many White men are shot by cops every year? Those figures are available, and shocking!

But I digress. I am all for everyone being able to express their first amendment rights, I am all for peaceful protest. Regardless of if I agree with the protesters, everyone has a right to speak out, it is a foundation of the greatness of what was once the greatness of America. That is actually what is good about our right to protest. It’s in the crucible of critical attention and debate that pares your point of view down to necessities, where you, if you are able to deal with it, find out what it is you really believe and maybe even why you believe it.

But the sad fact about the entire thing is that the conversation that actually does need to happen never will, because it is overshadowed by the violence and complete ridiculousness of a bunch of people that are acting like children, like feral animals that have no concept or regard for rights, much less the responsibilities that go along with those rights.

As a result we end up talking and endlessly arguing about the validity of the issues because a proportionately small number of people don’t really care about anything except the opportunity to grab a new pair of sneakers through the broken window at their local shoe store and watching the world burn. We end up categorizing the people with a legitimate gripe, pigeon-holing them with the looters and destroyers. Ironic that the people, the individuals, and the groups with legitimate concerns and issues actually seem to see the looters and the destroyers as on their side! It’s astonishing!

We need stop. Then we need to reset. We need to deal with the looters and destroyers the way we have been dealing with that type of person or group for all of living memory. They need to be shut down and put away without fear of political correctness reprisals or that the people with legitimate concerns won’t start pulling out the race card or see a chance to farther divide us by pointing fingers and calling names.

Then maybe the real discussion can begin. When we start to maybe take a good long look at ourselves and our assumptions, when we cease to jump to the defensive immediately and instead try to see where the other side is coming from. We need to take a good long look at the people who have made a living off of pimping poverty and racism and really question all of the ‘information’ that is being fed to us by people who have a vested interest in keeping the pot boiling and roiled up, and I’m talking about both sides.

We are too married to party. We are too married to the preconceptions we carry around like security blankets. People are too afraid to maybe discover that they might have elements to what they have been spoon fed with regards to information or opinion that might be wrong.

We got too lost in the minutia, the side arguments, like that dog in the movie ‘UP’ who kept getting distracted by the squirrels; and both sides, knowing that, use that to their advantage in order to ‘win’ the debate rather than further the conversation or actually accomplish anything meaningful; endlessly scattering shiny little pieces of subject bait all over the pathway of the argument, polluting the conversation beyond any hope of redemption or closure.

Someone has to say ‘to hell with pride’ and be willing to make a genuine effort at having the conversation honestly, without inflated or manipulated statistics, without false preconception and free of adherence to the party line. And it needs to be done in a civil and dignified manner.

Is that possible? I don’t know. I fear we may regressed too far as a culture, that there aren’t enough people willing and able to slog their way through that route. I fear that we have retreated too far into the false comfort of our respective paradigms to consider anything else. But it is said, ‘where there is life, there is hope’.

I would love to be able to believe that.

Why Can’t We All…

I find myself mired in sadness this morning. Not so much anger or anything else. Mostly sadness mixed with empathy for the innocent bystanders that we’ve become a country that has a large contingent of people who react like unruly, unrestrained, petulant children when something doesn’t go their way by throwing childish, immature, insane temper tantrums. Wrecking everything and doing to innocents around them what they assert has been done to them, despite that fact that countless members of their own group and other groups have come here, worked themselves raw and succeeded wildly.

A conclusion by a Grand Jury has been reached, fairly and squarely, despite the fact that there were numerous attempts to lie about the event and twist the story by witnesses and even the national media. The Grand Jury in question was not a panel of white men, it was a panel of peers of all types.

And more sadness that we as a nation don’t deal squarely with the lawbreakers and rioters by shutting them down in kind, by dealing with them equally as they deal with their environment. But nobody wants to be another officer Wilson, whose life is forever changed simply by doing his job and defending his life from a dirt bag who deserves the dirt nap he got.

If we stay this course, we will eventually fail as a culture. Dedicated peace-nicks lament ‘why can’t we all just get along’. Well, this is why. Because there will always be petulant and childish people, closer to animals in nature who just want to see the world burn, who deal with not getting their way by committing violence and human rights abuses on those around them, and those people must be met with force. It’s the only thing they will understand.

Not trying to sound too cliche` here, but stop the world. I want to get off.

The Fallacy of Memes

Meme’s are great. Almost everyone loves them, especially the funny memes, the ones that start your day with a laugh. They usually have a picture and a message and they are awesome when the message is short, funny and/or inspirational. All of that being said, they suck when it comes to delivering a comprehensive message about complicated subjects; and that means that they are perfect for half-assed political cheap shots.

Sone of the memes that always get under my craw and raise my ire are the misleading, stupid memes that have to do with immigration. You know the one’s I’m talking about, featuring a picture or a cartoon of a Native American that delivers the message that if you don’t want ‘immigration’, then maybe you should consider what was ‘done’ to the Native Americans.

Stop it, Stop pimping misinformation in order to foment hatred and resentment. That’s all you’re doing, you aren’t being constructive or helpful or even the least bit informative.

First of all, I don’t know a single person who is against legal immigration. No one, of any political stripe; point that American out to me and I’ll show you a minority of one. What smart people are, is against unrestrained, un-tracked illegal immigration, crossing this country’s borders (we have them, Native Americans didn’t) without permission. And doing so is illegal. That makes the people who do so law breakers in the eyes of existing law, and it should remain that way. You cannot have a welfare state (what America has become) and also have open borders. This is inarguable, unless it is the purpose of said action to reduce the nation to poverty and eradicate its greatness.

Sadly, there are many who seem to want just that thing.

Second of all, and more relevant to this rant, when Europeans came to the America’s, there was no nationally unified country. There were no laws against immigration. The concept, in fact, was completely foreign. All that was here were hundreds, thousands of tribes that were in the final stages of doing to each other what Europeans had been doing to each other for thousands of years, and that is fighting with neighboring tribes from things as petty as just plain being warlike  to things as important as control of fertile and abundant territory. To imply that Europeans were a bad, evil or ignorant people for crossing the ocean to join in the fray is ridiculous and displays a shocking ignorance of how the world was at the time.

The people in America were a tiny fraction of what had been here when the Vikings landed, and they themselves had arrived here in the same way, arduous journey in search of space, food and freedom. But just because there was an ocean doesn’t mean that you can compare the events of the day to events then. To do so is stupid, dis-ingenuous and completely misleading. America is a cohesive, organized State, it has a Constitution, laws, and the comprehensive will and wherewithal to implement those laws. Fifteenth century North America had none of those things. They were not unified. They were disparate and unorganized except in small clans.

Stop being so obtuse, willfully ignorant and party-minded. Or don’t. It’s a free country. But the people spreading such disinformation would do well to keep in mind that their constant lying, divisiveness and fomenting of hate and rage makes them far more like what they keep saying their political opponents are. They are the problem, not the sainted solution that they seem to think they are.

Meme’s are fun, they can be funny and even informative, but before you share anything, make sure that you sharing the full story, that you know what information you’re spreading. And if you are willfully spreading disinformation, well then, you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

Pimpin’

Pimpin’

Anyone who keeps trying to lump those of us who are against ILLEGAL immigration into a group that is just anti-immigration is a dis-ingenuous liar who is not interested in having an honest conversation. I don’t know a single person who is against LEGAL immigration, in fact, I don’t know a single person who isn’t a complete advocate of LEGAL immigration.

But those dis-ingenuous liars would rather just make their opposition look bad on any issue they can. They don’t really give a crap about the issues, all they care about is pointing fingers and putting others down. They have no desire to actually solve any problems or actually help anyone. They are not advocates of immigrants, they are advocates of division and hatred and their only agenda is keeping everyone divided so that they feel better about themselves, so they can SAY that they care more when in fact they couldn’t care less about anything other than pointing fingers and calling names like a mindless, stupid child.

The fact is that you cannot have a welfare state and open borders. It hurts everyone and helps no one, except maybe those whose only interest is redistribution of wealth, who themselves have an unwarranted bigotry against those willing to work hard and long in order to succeed. And even then it helps do that only until the successful, hard-working, risk-taking individuals amongst us have been bled dry or fled the country.

They are racist pimps. Hatred pimps. People who benefit in some way from fomenting racism, separation and class warfare, even if that benefit only be that they feel better about themselves about ‘standing up’ for something regardless of the fact that they haven’t actually done anything, risked anything. They are armchair activists, too lazy and uncommitted to actually doing anything that helps the person on the street, doing nothing but watching an interactive soap opera where they can have some minor effect on the drama.

They are not worthy of respect or attention until they are ready to stop calling names and lumping everyone together in order to justify their idiotic prejudices. Until they are willing to show up on the street and DO instead of TALK. Until they are willing to work on the solution instead of exacerbating the problem. Until then, they are simply what they accuse others of being. Uncaring. Bigots. Racists. Greedy.

And one more thing- this rant started about the immigration issue, but the core issue of this post is applicable to ALL sides in question, not just ‘liberals’ or ‘conservatives’ or ‘libertarians’. Next time you go to post something that paints everyone with the same broad brush, ask yourself if it’s constructive or helpful. And if you are trying to be humorous, try to make that clear somehow. We are too divided to be able to solve all the problems we have- and there are those who have a vested interest in keeping us that way.

Atheist Dogma

Whenever I hear militant atheists and that really is the only kind you hear in the public discourse, spew their ever-self-important position on the state of the world at everyone, all I really hear is yet another pie-eyed religious zealot forcing their dogma on those around them, demanding that all of the other fools wake up and fall into line.

For it’s true that atheism is just another dogma, another fantasy-filled heresy against the truth (whatever that might be); another attempt to explain the unknown around us and reassure the believer that he is on the right track. How could it be anything else?

Atheism is full of ‘facts’, of ultimate truths based, the adherents would tell you, in scientific fact. Yet Science is changing its answers every single day. Given, Science is more amenable to change, for the most part, than many other religious dogmas. But don’t be so sure about even that. Have you ever read about or watched a pioneer of some theory go up against the status quo of ‘accepted science’? Yeah, scientists can be just as delusional as any religious fanatic. In any field.

The truth is that proposing to have all the answers and dealing in absolutes, or even just putting forth that one has a grip on the path to all of the answers, is pure fabrication. A religion. A Dogma. The Universe is beyond comprehension of even the collective power of the infinitesimally small human brain, no matter how many connections, synapses or gigabytes of capacity we are told that it has.

The Universe itself is always changing, ever in evolution and even the most absolute of rules are not necessarily more than transitory.