Where do you draw the line?

I follow news organizations from representing the entire spectrum of political ideologies. I even read articles from the biggest culprits perpetrating “fake news”. I also tend to read some of the comments. This is where my apparent masochistic tendencies come in to play.

I seem to read the comments on the more liberal articles to see just what it is that the “other side” thinks. While some of them can be pretty tame, the vast majority seem to fall in the “triggered” category. It would seem as though all reason and logic is thrown out the window to be replaced by the cult like talking points. You know the ones, they are chanted at rallies, spewed by the MSM ad nauseum to get their point across, and have no basis in fact.

Then you have the wholly uneducated, who believe that the big word they are regurgitating means something completely different. Words like tyranny, oppression, equality, etc. These are the ones who really tend to “get my goat”.

In the past I’ve tried to question the poster to see if maybe I’m misunderstanding what they are saying. I’ve even simply corrected them and provided the actual definition to show that they’re not conveying their point correctly. In all but a very few cases, the ability of the author to form a coherent sentence dissolves and they resort to spewing spewing derogatory epithets.

So, I’ve come to the realization that I need to learn where to draw the line? I’ve found more and more lately that I’ll start to type up a response only to delete it as I’ve realized it’ll be a lesson in futility. Is that the right thing to do? I can’t answer that. I will say that it was the catalyst for this blog. Rather than argue on the internet I can opine, and should anyone want to discuss or debate the topic with me in a cordial manner, I am readily available.

So, where do you draw the line? Should I go back to debating in the comments section? I don’t think so, it may make my brain explode.

Equality, huh?

The latest buzzphrase (new word, you heard it here first) is “Equality for all”. This is on the back of the “trans-gendered” bathroom issue that was recently addressed by the Trump administration. I’ll get into my thoughts about that in a bit, but for now I’d like to address the lack of “equality” that the statement conveys.

The definition of equality is:

e·qual·i·ty
[əˈkwälədē]
NOUN
the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities:
“an organization aiming to promote racial equality”
synonyms: fairness · equal rights · equal opportunities · equity · egalitarianism · [more]

The feelings of those people who align with their true gender are not being given “equal” consideration. Note, I did indeed say true gender. While I have no problem with L, G, B, T, or Q individuals, gender is a scientific term and cannot be remolded simply because it doesn’t fit the narrative. You’d think the same people touting climate “science” would understand that. Therefore, it’s a given that biologically there are only two genders, and only very rarely do the two come in the same package.

I state that to shed some light on my overall belief, which is that they are not looking for “equality” at all.  These arguments are geared toward obtaining special recognition. Furthermore, they look to the powers that be to give them this special recognition and consider it a “win” for their ego, even though it’s simply unnecessary. Why are their feelings any more important than anyone else’s? In my opinion it contradicts liberty as a whole.

In all honesty, I believe that they are making much ado about nothing. In my time on this earth I’d imagine I’ve, at the very least, shared a restroom with a gay person. I can actually say that with certainty. I’d also imagine that my wife and children have as well. I can’t speak with certainly about the trans-gendered community, but it wouldn’t be surprising. The only way that would be readily apparent would be if a woman who looked like a woman tried to go in the men’s restroom, or vice versa. Otherwise we just don’t pay that much attention.

Why, then, do people need special consideration? The answer is they don’t unless they are trying to do something nefarious. If you’re just going to the bathroom, then go, do your business and get out. If your argument is that you don’t want to be in the bathroom with someone of a gender you don’t identify with, then you need to take into consideration that people of the gender you identify with don’t care about your identity and don’t want to be in the bathroom with someone of a different gender.

Of course, there’s a simple solution. Going forward make all bathrooms unisex single user units with full enclosure. Locker rooms could also be unisex with enclosed single user changing spaces, and rules that keep you from changing outside of the changing room. That leaves no one out, and makes no special consideration for anyone. Now that, to me, would be equality.

The mighty opinion…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve noticed quite a bit of volatility surrounding “fake news”. Whether it be our president, Donald Trump, calling the major main stream media (MSM) outlets “fake news” or “very fake news”, or it be the actual news outlets crying about being called “fake news”, you don’t have to go far to see it. If it weren’t true it might be funny, but even the MSM have been guilty of calling the “alt” media “fake news”.

I’m going to throw out some other buzz words:

  • Narrative
  • Agenda
  • Manufactured outrage
  • Selective Editing
  • Tone

There are plenty of others, but those are the big ones I’ve seen used recently to help define what’s some are construing as “fake news”. When you consider that they can all be used to sway or direct the information one way or another, you can see how it could be deemed fake.

I’d argue that the problem is that we’re conflating opinion with fact. Many journalists have become purely opinion columnists, doing anything they can to manipulate data to fit their viewpoint. The problem lies therein, when the journalist takes to embellishment or other creative manipulation while hiding or outright denying that their opinion drives their portrayal of the data.

When journalists do that they will often find a large segment of the population who disagrees with them. That same group will be able to find counter information, often times more factual, to dispute, or outright invalidate, the claims. That turns brings into question the journalistic integrity and overall trust for said entity.

Blogs like this, on the other hand, that are decidedly opinion based are afforded a bit of leniency to embellish or surmise. We make our best effort to communicate cited facts with our opinion, the focus is not the fact but the reason and logic behind our opinion. The facts simply support our findings.

Therefore, I would surmise that if the “news” organization simply reported the facts, unmolested, you’d see the “fake news” moniker fade away. There is room on news station for an opinion show, but there is also expectation that a news agency will spend the majority of their time credibly reporting the fact without bias.

With all of that in mind I have to wonder, what real news are they missing while spending the majority of their time focused on being called fake? As the saying goes, “inquiring minds want to know”.

Are we really?

As the topic of immigration continues to be the catalyst surrounding much of the strife we see today, I’ve started to wonder about the argument “we’re a nation of immigrants”. I question, are we really?

I, for one, am not a “Native American”, but I am a natural born American. My parents, and their parents before them were natural born Americans as well. This is the only home we’ve known, and aside from migrating from one state to another, we haven’t resided outside of the US longer than military or work kept us there.

So, while our ancestors are indeed immigrants, at some point in history, I’d argue that I am not. I’d also take that one step further and suggest that the vast majority of the people I know are multi-generational Americans.

With that in mind, it would stand to reason that we are not, in fact, a nation of immigrants, but instead a nation of Americans. To add insult to injury, The U.S. total population of legal and illegal immigrants combined represents a mere 13% of the total U.S. population. That would mean that 87% of the population is, in fact, natural born Americans, supporting my previous conclusion that we are not a nation of immigrants.

When they say knowledge is power, they aren’t kidding…

I just hope that the next time I’m faced with the argument that we should be all accepting of immigrants and their way of life, I’m cognizant enough to remember these facts, and I can argue my point intelligently. I also hope that those wishing to migrate to these great United States will see the value in assimilating into our culture.

Choose your battles…

I grew up in a household where free thought and debate was not only allowed, but encouraged. We were taught early on to listen, try to understand, question, formulate our own opinions, and argue our difference in position if necessary. Of course, this lead to some pretty interesting discussion on all topics from cartoons, to politics, to music, and everything in between. Of course, this lead to some pretty entertaining arguments, and some less entertaining, and more serious fights.

One of the pearls of wisdom my father shared with me on more than one occasion (I could be thick headed), usually following a more vigorous discussion, was “choose your battles”. He knew then, and I learned over time, that not everything requires a fight. Not every issue demands you win. Arguing for the sake of arguing is pointless. At some point you lose your credibility, and when a real battle must be waged, you’re often dismissed.

You can see how this might be applied to the current political stage, both on the streets with the protests and riots, and in congress with the senate confirmation hearings.

Many of the protests we are seeing are filled with people who have no idea why they are there. They simply attend because it’s the “cool” thing to do. Take the “women’s march” for example. The people interviewed had many different reasons why they were there, and some even forced other women out of the area because they didn’t fit their specific narrative. Look to the anti-free speech Berkley protest and riot, and some people interviewed didn’t know what was going on and they were just there to see what was happening, yet they were still protesting.

These people are no longer being taken seriously from the perspective to listening to their grievances. They are only being taken seriously from the perspective that in many cases they are breaking the law or endangering others. I personally don’t believe that this status quo will last much longer.

Then you have the outspoken minority in congress. Oh, the mistreated and misunderstood few who believe that their opinion is much more important than the masses. They bellow the same sob stories about how mistreated they are, and they try to incite the aforementioned protests and riots. They, too, have become the laughing stock of the masses.

While on the surface there may be some entertainment value to this, the negative impacts are real. First is the impact that this has on innocent bystanders. As the rioting and violence increases, so does the damage and harm caused. Secondly, and as important, is that when real issues are being argued, they will be overshadowed or outright ignored by the masses.

I guess the overall point is that by not choosing your battles, you are doing far more harm than good.

Learn to choose your battles. Battles not fought are not lost; simply battles not worth fighting for. – Unknown

You are a product of your environment…

It’s a phrase that was used many times by my father as he tried to explain why he said I couldn’t go here or there, or hang out with this person or that. I didn’t really understand at the time, but as I got older it began to take shape. I would see friends fall away as I changed my outlook and goals. It was even more clear as I had children of my own and they started getting out into the world. They made their own friends and you could see the influences the friends would have on them.

The most basic environment is the home. I have seen homes in which selfishness and entitlement are the norm and that sentiment is reflected in their children. I have seen homes in which courage, patriotism, and liberty is the norm. That too is reflected in their children. I have seen open mindedness, open discussion, and free thought championed, once again reflected in their children.

Then, to take it a step further, as these children I’ve watched grow up through the years venture into the world, the places they go and groups they choose to associate with augment their personalities. Children who end up in sports begin to place higher value sports, those in the arts champion the artistic causes, those who float around tend to put very little importance into anything.

So, it comes as no surprise that as I entered my own adulthood, surrounding myself with moderate conservative friends, who are hugely patriotic, has driven my own evolution. When you add to that, the fact that many of my friends have been made through jobs it’s no surprise that I value a strong work ethic. After all, my friends and I spend the vast majority of our time working.

To me, then, it would seem logical that people who choose to go to rallies that spew vitriol with little to no reason to back it up, would share the same sentiment. I’m not talking about the conservative or liberal sides, they are equally to blame. The “echo chamber” analogy comes to mind. As their feelings are expressed, they are amplified in return, invigorating and validating their stance.

I stand by my conclusion that we are indeed a product of our environment…

All is not lost. We can make a choice, we can make a decision. We can realize that where we are is not where we want to be, and we can spend our time elsewhere. It’s not easy, and it’s not going to be quick, but you can indeed pull yourself up and move forward. What I can promise you is that if you make the conscious decision to make a change based on an intrinsic need for said change, you will reap the infinite rewards of a truly happy and satisfying life. Not to mention, should you ever want and have children, you’ll be providing an environment for them in which they can thrive.

Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. – Les Brown

Manufactured outrage and false reporting…

It never ceases to amaze me as just how our representatives are willing to go to rile up their followers. The fearmongering, the rage inciting vitriol, the ceaseless political correctness.

Just this morning it was reported that the AP, senator Dianne Feinstein, and senator Tim Kaine have vigorously spoken out about President Trump’s conversation with the Mexican president in which they say he threatened to send troops into Mexico. The problem with this is that the Mexican foreign minister and transcripts of the call tell a different story. Ultimately Trump was offering assistance if necessary. That does not fit the narrative.

All too often truth doesn’t fit the narrative and is either misrepresented or made up entirely in an effort to manufacture outrage. They don’t only want to manufacture outrage, but they do it maliciously. We see this time and time again, as is the example above and seen just about any time gun control is discussed by those calling for it.

On the surface this may seem like a fairly benign as we would expect people to do their due diligence and make an educated decision. That simply isn’t the case. Instead, there is a portion of the population who are incapable of critical and independent thinking. They simply look for someone who speaks to what they want to hear, latch on them, and follow them faithfully.

This couldn’t be more true than partisan voters. You know who I’m talking about. They are the ones who would vote for Satan if he ran on their ticket. They pay no attention to the person’s views and actions, and when questioned about their chosen candidate’s position on the issues they can’t tell you what they do or don’t stand for. I’ve seen people suggest that something bad going on was done by one party, when in fact it was done by “their” party. What’s worse, once called on it they get angry and resort to a hate filled tantrum.

Said hate filled tantrum is the direct result of their idolized politician doing the same in media. Once again, this is the manufactured outrage. There is no room for discussion, no room for open mindedness. It is simply their way or the highway, and the highway is filled with contempt, hostility, and disdain.

You may be thinking, based on the tone of my posts, that this is directed at one party. While I may be biased in my examples, that isn’t the case. Both sides are guilty. Both sides have much room to improve. The only way forward is to educate ourselves on the issues and the outcomes of legislation. Remember, we will not all agree on everything, and this is why liberty is so important. We must coexist without infringing on our neighbors.

lib·er·ty
[ˈlibərdē]
NOUN
the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views:
“compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty”
synonyms: independence · freedom · autonomy · sovereignty

So, in closing, please take a step back from the instant reaction. Research and digest the information. Take an educated and informed stance, and act accordingly. Finally, to use a quote I heard somewhere along the way,we’re all in this together and none of us are getting out alive, so we might as well make the best of it.

Rule of law…

It is becoming more and more apparent that there is an entire portion of our citizenship who believe that cherry picking laws is not only okay, but even appropriate, when faced with something they don’t like.

The obvious catalyst to this is the action and subsequent removal of the attorney general who refused to defend the lawful executive order surrounding immigration and travel from 7 countries. The idea that someone sworn to uphold the law can simply decide to not follow the law is ridiculous. I, for one, am quite happy to see what appears to be some level of accountability in Washington.

It would appear as though some people need to be given a lesson in civics, and how the different branches and their parts and pieces interact. Even our senators have suggested that Sessions should not be confirmed because he plans on following the law. News flash, the weighing of the constitutionality of a law is not within the purview of the attorney general. That responsibility sets squarely on the shoulders of the supreme court.

We are a country based in rule of law. Law created by representatives, removing the ability to impact the populace arbitrarily. Should a law become draconian and no longer applicable to our society, there are mechanisms in place to work through repealing it.

We are not savages ruled by mob mentality, or the whim of a single being. We are a civilized society, one in which liberty should reign supreme.

“When the Rule of Law disappears, we are ruled by the whims of men.”
― Tiffany Madison

My America…

sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous
[ˌsaNG(k)təˈmōnēəs]
ADJECTIVE
derogatory
making a show of being morally superior to other people:
“what happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first?”
synonyms: self-righteous · holier-than-thou · pious · pietistic · churchy · moralizing ·
preachy · smug · superior · priggish · hypocritical · insincere · goody-goody
Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press · Translation by Bing Translator

As I awoke this morning I was greeted by the news coming from the Screen Actors Guild awards. More vitriol and anger spewed by those filled with sanctimony. The entire reason I posted the definition of sanctimonious is to highlight just how self important these actors believe they are. They tout “my America” as if their opinion and beliefs mean more than my.

Well, those that share a belief in “their America” are the same ones who are protesting and rioting. Those who share a belief in “their America” are the same ones who scream “love trumps hate” while viciously attacking others. “Their America” is filled with a belief that if you do not agree with them you are inherently wrong and there is no room for difference.

Of course, this is on the back of “their” belief that America has suddenly become unjust in the wake of a new president. A president who has, thus far, done nothing illegal. Most of his actions are nothing more than instructions to agencies to follow and execute the laws already in place. The temporary stay on refugees from 7 countries is well within the purview of the President and was even used by Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act contains section, 212(f) that gives sweeping authority on the exclusion of certain aliens:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

Let’s not take into account that those delayed at the airports were probably hindered as much, if not more, by the protesters there to get their 15 minutes of fame talking about “their America”.

The problem seems to be that they forget that this is “our America”, and you don’t always get your way. The country is not how I would have it, yet I don’t scream about “my America”. I understand that there is compromise and that everything that goes against my wishes.

There is a right way and a wrong way of doing things, and throwing a tantrum is definitely the wrong way.

Transparency…

In the time that Trump has been in office, just over a week, we’ve seen what I believe to be unprecedented transparency. As he meets with people he tweets about it. He signs executive orders and memorandum live for everyone to see. He speaks out about what he will do next.

This is, of course, a double edged sword. If you let everyone know what you’re doing when you’re doing it, they have the unfettered ability to scrutinize your every action. It also gives people the ability to jump the gun and provide partial information twisting the meaning of said action. We’ve all seen it, a soundbite that drives a negative narrative, but when you get the full picture you see that the subject of the soundbite intended the exact opposite of what was portrayed.

This all ties into the outrage and the vitriol we’re seeing in the protests from this weekend. If you’re unfamiliar, I’m talking about the ones spurred on by the latest executive order leading to enhanced vetting and a temporary ban on immigrants from 7 countries with ties to “terrorism”. It’s unfortunate, but it seems as though many people either failed to read the executive order, failed to understand it, or are simply latching on to anything that will allow them to be part of some type of civil disobedience whether they agree with it or not.

Side Note – I’ll have to remember to post specifically on why I put terrorism in quotes. If I don’t remind me. 

It goes back to doing your research. With transparency comes responsibility. If you don’t understand, don’t have all the information, or feel like it’s a bad thing, take some time to re-read and digest whatever it is. Try to look at all sides of the argument, and ask yourself if it’s infringing on your, or someone else’s, liberty. Don’t jump to conclusions, and for heavens sake remember we’re all in this together. The amount of hatred I see toward people with differing opinions is disgusting. I’ve seen good friends become mortal enemies because they can’t get beyond their disagreement over a policy or action that literally has no affect on them whatsoever.

Before I close, I will say that I’m 100% in support of a stronger vetting process. I can’t speak for the other 6 countries effected, but Iran has assuredly had severe limitations on travel visas for Americans for years and have many times called for death to our great country. Right or wrong, fair or not, that gives me the information I need to agree with the ban against their country.