As the 2016 prexy election looms, it is hard to be optimistic that the recent trend of electing divisive candidates will end or lessen. It appears we have now morphed into an electorate made up of the Right which will elect a KKK member as long as he or she (hmm are there any female KKK members?) is an elephant and the Left which has an avowed socialist rising in the polls and a head of the DNC who cannot define the difference between a socialist and a donkey. According to the numbers, there are a few of us left in the middle who are being courted by the respective parties to choose between these polar opposites. It appears we have a nominee on the Left who is the epitome of what most of the electorate hates: a professional politician who embraces crony capitalism and lies whenever it is convenient to do so. Just today, my local liberal paper even ran a story contrasting Hilly’s speech against anonymous donations of money with the reality that she just received over a million from anonymous donors. On the Right, we have some sensible candidates like carly and ben but we have to leave their names in small letters because they are so far down in the polls, they hardly matter. Instead, we have Mr. Ego, Donny Strump leading the polls, a man so scary that putting him in charge of the nuke button would be akin to having it in the hands of Idi Amin Dada (or perhaps the Muddles of Iran). I can only hope that the elephants can come to their senses and pick a viable candidate to go up against the Clinton foundation. But don’t hold your breath.
Moving into my seventh decade, I assiduously try not to comment from the perspective of “having been there and done that,” preferring to let the younger generation find their own way through this veil of tears known as life. It also helps to know that most young people could care less what older people have to say anyway. But, on occasion, I can’t seem to help myself when I read something so stupid it pisses me off. Falling prey to reviewing Facebook, I recently read a missive from an obviously uber liberal blogger condemning a presidential candidate’s (the candidate’s last name suggests a small plant growing alongside the roadway) advocating working hard to achieve success. The blogger spent an inordinate amount of space setting forth how hard we Americans already work, his apparent conclusion being that more work won’t improve our economy or our lives. There is a simple solution to his dilemma. First, don’t get an education or prepare for a specific skill set that will enable you to earn a living. Second, spend your time complaining about the success of others. This will inevitably lead you to resenting those who are successful and wanting what they have. Since you have no education or skills, you can advocate taking what they have. Some would suggest this is unfair but what do they know. Call it “income redistribution,” it sounds so much better than “highway robbery.” Third, in another nod to Robin Hood, taking from the so-‐ called rich and giving to the so-‐called poor, wait for the government to meet all your needs. Now, you’re set. You can spend all your time on the net while you wait for your welfare check or other form of governmental largess. Of course, as more and more of you do so, there will be less and less of those who still work for a living. Since government produces no widgets, it can only raise money by borrowing, taxing the private sector or printing money. When the latest form of “ism” finally runs its inevitable course, don’t be surprised when your fellow citizens start burning themselves in the streets, like the Greeks, when the flow of governmental largess finally runs out. When I worked, I paid no attention to how many hours I worked. I often worked seven days a week. All I was concerned about was getting the job done and supporting and educating my family which I am proud to have accomplished. My oldest is a PHD and a lead professor of biology at a college, my middle is a Hollywood publicist and my youngest is an international tax lawyer. And they achieved their success with long hours and hard work. You can achieve the alleged “American dream,” whatever that means but you won’t do it unless you apply yourself and stop worrying about what others may or may not do.
Not having been born with a computer in hand, I have a healthy distrust of many things digital or whatever we are currently calling the use of all these devices that are supposed to make our lives easier. I find, for example, that while I am able to do so much more in accessing info and seeing movies, I also spend (in my opinion at least) an inordinate amount of time having my computer guy come in to fix the various machines (probably an outdated term) I own. My TV suddenly brought up the streaming icons so dark I could barely see them. After my guy fiddled around, he found the set had mysteriously reset the picture modes to zero. Of course, he had no explanation for why that would happen. Traditionally, being an old paranoid White guy (NSA anyone?), I have eschewed using social media leaving that to Kathy who is quite adept at it. I have mastered my iphone enough to keep in touch with fam and friends. Lately, however, I have begun reading all the stuff on my Facebook page. I was really surprised to see all the beautiful young, often sexy looking women who are my friends. I had no idea! Who would have thought I would have all these gorgeous young women as my friends. My only regret is that they weren’t all friendly with me back in the day when I was young, fancy free and would have died to have all these lovely ladies sending me messages about their choice in makeup, their love of giant poodles, the best medicine for hangovers and so forth. Ah, wouldn’t it have been grand! I think I get it about Facebook. I have one friend ( I actually know him) who is obviously lonely as he lets everyone know the exact time he goes to bed each night. And several of my religious friends obviously keep their faith intact by sending out sayings like, “God is not dead, he’s just on vacation.” My favorite pics are of my “friends” with their friends compounding my mystification as to who these people are. Wasn’t there some joke or whatever it was about everyone being related to Kevin Bacon? With Facebook, I can see how that occurs. I suppose that if all these digital group hugs bring us closer together, then the exposure of about everything we do in life and the attendant loss of privacy may not be all bad.
Let me be clear: there is no reason to fly the Confederate flag on the grounds of any governmental institution. The best reason is that it represents a group of states which sought to end our Republic. It is akin to flying the Nazi flag, the flag of a foreign nation which also sought to destroy our Republic. Banning the Confederate flag, however, goes too far. While many see the flag as representative of racism, many others see it as a symbol of part of our history and a testament to those Americans who fought and died for it, whatever we think of their motivations. As a student of the civil war, it is important to remember that most of the Americans who died for the South were not slave owners. Many of the leaders in the South did not own slaves and were not comfortable with slavery. Some on the left have gone so far as to call for the dismantling of the Jefferson memorial because Jefferson, one of the architects of our Republic, owned slaves. This sentiment reflects an attempt to rewrite our history, not understand it. Defacing memorials to Southerners like Jefferson Davis will not bring our country together. Studying and understanding the times and the conflicts within our country during those times will do more to facilitate the maturity necessary to move ahead and continue our path toward racial equality. One of our current President’s avowed icons, Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said in his second inaugural address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all…let us strive…to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves….” Obviously, the families of the slain victims in Charleston got the message when they greeted the killer with forgiveness and compassion. We should follow their lead.
A former retired male athlete has decided to and has become a female retired athlete. Since the athlete in question has become, since her retirement, a celeb, the press has done the story to death, as would be expected whenever there is the possibility of controversy. My initial reaction is a big “ho hum.” With all the important issues facing us, a sex change operation by anyone would seem to have a very low priority for concern. While I respect my religious brethren’s right to believe what they will, I don’t see issues of gender identity having any adverse effect on the war on terror, the Chinese hacking our computers to death, Iran getting and possibility using an atomic bomb, the NSA stealing our personal information, the IRS going after our citizenry for political purposes, lying by our President and so on. As to the argument that such behavior somehow underscores the perception that our society is moving away from the traditional values which allegedly made this country great, that is a moral position that cannot be supported objectively. Gay people are productive members of society: they have no corner on crimes committed or harm done to others. In essence, their sexual identity is just one aspect of who they are as people. And, if we are really going to hold ourselves out as being traditionally moral Americans, their differences should be respected. As for the coverage, Kathleen Parker, a columnist for the Washington Post put it best when she wrote: “the media’s group embrace of Jenner’s transition should be seen for what it is–not a revolutionary step toward minority rights, but a money grab for ads, ratings, sales and buzz in a culture of provocation and greed without ethics or conscience. Let’s talk about that instead.”
I remember when the so-called “War On Poverty” was initiated by prexy LBJ. Although it wasn’t labeled then as “a liberal progressive agenda,” it fit the definition as it promised we would tackle the roots of dissension, disenfranchisement, fatherless families and other ills resulting in reservations in our inner cities known as “ghettos.” We would use the federal government’s vast resources to restructure our cities. Today, however, this experiment has clearly failed as statistics show. Most studies conclude that we have just as much if not more of these problems even though we have poured millions into addressing these ills. Baltimore is a prime example. The Obomba admin poured millions into trying to improve the city. The city has a Black mayor, police commissioner, prosecutor. The result? Riots and chaos in the street, the destruction of property in the very neighborhoods where businesses need to flourish, not be destroyed. For their part, the police have been made the scapegoats for the failures of the politicians who refuse to crack down on lawlessness and promote private ownership of businesses and the creation of meaningful jobs through the private sector. And where we treat the police as the enemy instead of part of the solution, the predictable result is more crime, more innocent people being killed and maimed. The murder rate in Baltimore is skyrocketing. With liberal icon DeBludgeon in NYC, wiping out stop and frisk, along with giving press conferences in which he says he is afraid his own son will be targeted by police, it is no wonder that violent crime is also increasing in the Big Apple. As someone with some familiarity with law enforcement, it is small wonder that cops are backing off when they know that the slightest miscue or perceived miscue will result in their own censorship, up to and including arrest and prosecution over any incident that will further inflame anti-cop rhetoric. We are in the midst of a breakdown in civil authority that will only get worse. While cops are people and therefore subject to error, the answer is not condemning police who are the first line of defense in maintaining order but condemning politicians who have ignored and worse, profited by upholding special interests that wrecked our inner cities. And throwing tax payers’ dollars into the mix, without responsible leadership, hasn’t nor will it ever solve the problem.