Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

I’ve particularly stayed out of politics on this blog until a few months ago… I guess that was my entry drug. So now I can’t can’t myself. When an old co-worker posed the question on FB.

“Can of worms – OPEN: So all my gun toting 2nd amendment rights loving Facebook friends. I am curious when the “right to bear arms” should apply? So today folks aren’t allowed to walk around with a loaded shoulder-fired missile launcher. But you can legally purchase and license a gun that can fire 30 shots in 30 seconds. So where exactly should the line be drawn and why?”

I consider myself a responsible gun owner and a lifelong hunter. I have taken several safety courses and respect the power to defend and take life if required. Ironically I’m not that  invested in this topic. But by the length of this post you might think I am. It’s just that I hear so many short quips on topics that require so much more than a twitter comment, it’s hard to get all information needed to have a good conversation.

I also  recognize the validity of asking ourselves, when enough is enough. Personally, I tend to believe assault weapons are a bit excessive and should be restricted by several contingencies like certification & training. But here are a few reasons I think make a plausible case to justify weapons that seem oddly unnecessary.

Among the reasons listed for the right to bear arms is for the defense of personal life and the state.

Now you may wonder in a time when we have so many services to protect us. Local & state police, fire, EMT, National Guards, and the branches of the Military, when will we ever need to protect our state?

It is not unfathomable. We have recent examples when mother nature taught us a few lessons:  East Coast Hurricanes,Japanese Tsunami’s/ Earthquakes, Katrina etc.

I just moved to LA which is due for another earthquake according to history. To be prepared I took the FEMA sanctioned CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) certification to know how to help in times of an emergency. It is taught by the LAFD.

The training was started by the LAFD and later adopted by FEMA in response to the 1986 Northridge earthquake, because there was a need to educate people that the community services will NOT be largely available in such a disaster. We take that for granted now and do not recognize their limitations for as good as they are now.

As stated in the course if we experience another earthquake of comparable size will render all public service workers powerless for at least two weeks probably three. This means that the police/fire dept/etc. are going to spend a week digging themselves out of their own rubble. And then the next week or two checking up on the critical population centers (i.e Hospitals & Schools) The rest of the residential population will be left on their own to fend for themselves for most likely up to a month.

This means no one except neighbors and those charities from the outside who can get in will be available to help you. In a town that gives the term “riots” a new name (see the latest episode) it would behoove everyone in the community to be prepared for such and event. When goods and services will be at a high demand and low scarcity.

In such a state when services, and our communities are not functional at all it is a time of extreme vulnerability. Both from within the community and from  possible external invaders. It’s not unfathomable to believe that a gang or terrorist group might want to take advantage of the situation. Having a community that is armed and educated can make a difference.

That is when the law abiding citizens whose right to bear weapons equal to those of criminal’s who will get those weapons regardless of their legality seem appropriate to protect individuals lives.

Now also think about even “regular” emergencies when community services are tasked at a high rate. Like the ferry accident yesterday in NYC. Think about what happens when more than 3 or four units are called any specific incident. That means that either volunteers or other units are called in to backfill the areas that need coverage when the rest of the units are at a high needs demand. And there is a limit. Your high taxes don’t really go that far when it comes to emergency services.

Having said all that I’m in favor of restrictions for assault type weapons, but can indeed see a “need” for the preservation of self and community if it arises. Secondarily I don’t think that gun control laws should be wholly restrictive. It takes a lot more to prevent the gun tragedies we’ve had in the past years than controlling laws. It takes people invested serving in their communities and knowing your neighbors. One of the key principles taught the CERT course is that you should go around your neighborhood, introduce yourself and tell them that you are learning what to do in case of a natural disaster. They even teach you to get a sense of who lives in your neighborhood. What they do. How many people live there. Etc. This might seem ridiculous to people in more tight communities. But in major metro areas this is not always the case. Being involved in people’s lives is always far more effective prevention than the laws. The question is are you your brother’s keeper? The answer is sometimes. Before they decide they want to kill people is usually preferable.

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Dear friends, acquaintances and citizens.

I’m going to break FB protocol and add a lengthy status update. The double-edged sword about Social Media today is that it allows us to keep in touch with many people, but it’s format leaves so much to be desired that in topics such as politics we are left to the posting of a link and bound by brevity. It has become the equivalent of running into a crowded conference room, shouting a string of one-sided epithets as if it were a ticking IED (Improvised Explosive Device), then slamming the door and running away.

As we enter this year’s election I make a plea for everyone to remain civil in our attitudes. What good is our democracy if we have to spend the next several years repairing hurt feelings and harsh attitudes at each election? Our lack of trust in each other erodes our ability to stay civil, work together and truly progress.

Politics requires a medium where all sides of issues can be explored or it will only serve to divide. Healthy debate and the challenge of ideas must exist for us to make policy. The first amendment can only serve its purpose when we show restraint and kindness and truly open our minds.

We can disagree without ridicule. We can share a counterpoint without disgust. Humor can be used to relieve tension rather than create it. The mark of true tolerance is being able to share space with a person, with whom you disagree, without feeling fear, offense or that they are the enemy.

Tolerance: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

However we as a people have not showed restraint enough to achieve true tolerance to make progress.

  • Tolerance is not the same as acceptance.
    • Our culture has confused tolerance for acceptance.
      • Acceptance: The action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group. Agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation.
      • Tolerance sits on the opposite end of acceptance. If we are to have any exchange of new ideas, we must embrace tolerance and be clear about the distinction between the two concepts and value them differently.
  • Tolerance must lead to co-existence.
    • In order for us to have productive, happy, healthy communities, we must coexist. We cannot merely live next door to each other with a brewing sense of hostility.
      • Coexistence: a policy of living peacefully with other nations, religions, etc., despite fundamental disagreements.

We call upon all people everywhere to recommit themselves to the time-honored ideals of tolerance and mutual respect.

I sincerely believe that as we acknowledge one another with consideration and compassion we will discover that we can all live peacefully despite different ideologies or interests and despite our deepest differences.

I used to love election years, because it was a time when people stopped worrying more about Beyonce Knowles and focused on issues that really make a difference in our lives. We have lost what it means to have healthy debate. We surround ourselves with people, books and ideas that only support our preconceived notions. Places where we have found acceptance.  We insist on/attempt to categorize others and their viewpoints in terms of “good” and “bad,” “black” and “white.” and pit the opposite into an all-good or all bad judgment.

American politics have always been full of character attacks and salacious headlines. It is time to evolve. If we purport to have kindness and tolerance, we must ensure our attitudes and our hearts reflect it first, before our laws can truly reflect it. Before we can make policy, we must truly understand it, believe it and be able to exemplify it.

The question is “How can we be better than we believe we are, when nothing less will do?”

No matter which leader you have been inspired by all of them promote the ideal that we can rise above our current condition and have hope for the future.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

-John F. Kennedy

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barack Obama

“We can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.”

Mitt Romney

This election year we can stand for civility.

The only difference in our candidates is HOW they propose to effect change. One statement or stance does not make them a socialist, a woman-hater, a bigot, or a tyrant.

I would like to restore the definition of hate back to its former glory. Hate: (v) Feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone). (n) Intense or passionate dislike.

Not supporting a certain cause does not imply hate or a judgment about the opposite. It implies support for a preferred resolution over another. Hate is an emotion, which is completely controllable. Can you disagree with someone and not hate him or her? Of course. However the propaganda today would have you believe this is not so. How do you disagree with someone and still love and respect him or her? Mislabeling someone’s proposition for change in a different way than you would suggest as hate only exposes weakness of heart & emotional immaturity. It will render us powerless in the long run.

Taking offense at the prosperity of another only shows a weakness of heart and mind, which will render you powerless.

I make a call to all journalists to raise the bar of integrity of reporting. Retractions & miscued reporting should be treated with the same import as the original article. If there is a headline that is found to be misleading, inaccurate or untrue, you should reprint the retraction as a headline. The small note from the editor in small print on the inside cover does not repair or redeem your credibility. Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Sean Hannity, I don’t care about your opinions just give me the facts. And BTW folks as much as I love John Stewart and Stephen Colbert they are comedians. They exploit situations for the profit of laughing. It’s not real news.

The mark of the greatness of our country is the peaceful transfer of power. I’ve had the privilege to attend the inauguration of two of our presidents. This one sacred event is a powerful example of how civility marks our nation’s attitude.

For most part of my life I have lived in places where ideologically I am a minority. Even as a white, heterosexual, male I have felt the pangs of discrimination. Ridiculed for beliefs, without proper foresight and feared for my well being if I were to publicly express my own opinion. We must all have the courage to be able to express our opinions without fear. A community that ensures that safety is the true mark what tolerance can do for us. It is true freedom, rather than following the rhetoric of groupthink as we have today.

News flash: we do not live in democracy. We do not vote for the president the same way we “Like” a Facebook post, vote for American Idol or Reddit threads.We live in a Democratic Federalist Republic. By design we have checks and balances for the wisdom of restraint. (Here some reference links. Democracy, Federalism, Republic)

We cannot afford to make assumptions:
Let’s all read the Constitution, Bill of Rights, All the amendments. Let’s study political & social history. Let’s study how read the results of a scientific study. Let’s listen more than we talk so that we can discover truth together.

I learned long ago that when you accuse someone/thing incorrectly without all the information you’re exposing to people much more about your own heart than theirs, even if they are making mistakes. And for those who think the reversal is too late? Well if we have no room in our society for forgiveness than we have no real hope for progress.

“If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”

-Nelson Mandela

Before you make an accusation, verify the facts, dig deeper, truly put yourself in the others shoes and try to understand why they might feel that is a good solution. Do not vilify others.

This is our greatest hour, and the world is watching. Our greatest testament of the power of who we are is the peaceful transfer of power.

From my liberal friends in Wisconsin to my conservative friends in Utah to all my friends on the coasts, we can be united in purpose and service. Recognize each other’s efforts as efforts. Accept the good in people and see their flaws as just that. Flaws. No one is perfect, but we would be remiss to throw the baby out with the bathwater just because we don’t agree with someone’s point of view.

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Do you realize how close we are to electing a new Leader of the Free World?

I kind of forget it’s actually going to come to an end soon. I kind of got used to the constant debates and bickering. But honestly I’m sad, because this time I vowed to be well informed and I feel as lost in a sea of information as ever. Somebody throw me a line!

About a year and a half ago I challenged my self to read at least one book by each of the major candidates, because even though the books are a polished word, each candidate had sufficient time to craft exactly how they wanted it to sound.  They weren’t caught off guard by odd out of context questions, or asked seemingly irrelevant questions beyond their own control.

It was a grandiose plan, but this was as far as I got:

Book Report

Hillary Clinton

It takes a VillageReview: Read the whole thing. It was a fascinating read, though I don’t think her policies reflect her beliefs as stated in the book. It was somewhat contradicting. Spent the first 3 chapters talking about how the nuclear family, (Father, Mother, Child) is empirically proven to the be the best case scenario for healthy lifestyles and a better community, then spends the rest of the book explaining how her policies support those that don’t fit into that demographic. OK good thought. But her policies/theories fall short or encouraging people to develop themselves into something better and get closer to that “ideal.” Its’ very odd.

Barrack Obama

Barack Obama in His Own Words – Read about a third of the book-Big Disappointment! It’s like it was written for kindergartners’.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream – Read about a half  of the book. Skimming the rest and jumped around a bit. Review: OK I understand him better. Some good thoughts, intelligent, there were several ideas I liked but he’s not very original, not quite the inspirational leader I expected. It couldn’t hold my attention all the way through. Why is everyone so psyched?

Mitt Romney

Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games Review: Read up to Chapter 17. Wow, the Olympics were totally screwed. This was and exhaustive read and I was very impressed with what he did there. Was a savvy strategist in solving problems and choosing the right people. Still wasn’t not convinced he was right for this job.

John McCain

Did he have something interesting to read that I haven’t heard already? Sorry I slept on this one.  Not sure it matters anyway.

As far as the other candidates go… by the time I got around to their books it what a moot point anyway. So I guess it’s back to the internet and CNN for me. I hope it’s accurate, and unbiased information.  Yeah right 😦

My vote for President?

The only one that I could finish and enjoy not just one but TWO of their books! (Wins, Losses, and Lessons: An Autobiography, Winning Everday: The Game Plan for Success)

A person of inspiration, integrity, fairness and faith. A person who knows how to rebuild, a person who knows adversity and how to overcome hardship. A person who know what true leadership is.

Lou Holtz for President!  – With Running Mate Mark May! ( Because they hardly ever agree, but when they do they’re lockon.)

Real Change, True Outsiders

Real Change, True Outsiders

You Gotta Believe! (No matter what your opinion of Notre Dame, this is an one of the great speeches.)

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