Category Archives: America

The Good, the Bad, the Ferguson

America’s pretty messed up right now.

We’ve got vitriolic divisions on racial lines, political lines, ideological lines, religious/non-religious lines… We’re divided on so many fronts, I still find myself unable to pledge allegiance to the flag. Why should I? It’s not true. One nation? Sure, even if a lot of people want to secede. Under God? Well, that’s definitely questionable. Indivisible? The only way we as a country could be indivisible right now is if we’ve already divided ourselves so much that we can no longer be divided. And we seem to be nearly there. With liberty and justice for all? That statement seems almost as laughable as “indivisible,” especially in the light of the events of Ferguson, Mo.

If you have no idea what events I’m talking about, go ye forth and seek ye a friggin’ newspaper and a house that isn’t under 6 miles of rock. The problems in Ferguson are so layered and numerous and ridiculous that one would THINK, as a nation, we could finally see eye-to-eye on something with only a few freak outliers in the data. I mean, we’ve got excessive, militarized police blowing responses out of proportion. We’ve got an unarmed, non-violent (at LEAST in that moment) person WHOSE SKIN COLOR OR CRIMINAL RECORD SHOULDN’T MATTER dead without a good explanation. If he was a criminal, he was executed without due process, a Constitutional right. We’ve got the freedom of assembly and the freedom of the press getting hampered by cops, not to mention the violations of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments. And you’d better believe that 2nd amendment wouldn’t get upheld if a Ferguson protestor legally had a gun. We’ve got proof of this sort of activity happening all over the country for YEARS without appropriate punishments. We’ve got scientific data showing a decrease in police brutality and harassment claims anywhere cameras are required to be in cop cars or on their person. We KNOW, without a doubt, that there needs to be change. Race shouldn’t even be an issue.

But, no. Nothing’s ever that simple. See, too much has happened. There have been riots and looting. Those are bad, so Michael Brown deserved it. He may or may not have stolen cigars. Therefore, he deserved it. Oh, and he’s black. Which makes a difference. Because when you’re black, if you’re not an honors student planning to attend Harvard with a spotless record, a 4.0+ GPA and have never smoked, drank, had sex, owned a gun or hung out with another person of color who is less “perfect” than you, then you’re going to be demonized. This guy says all of this much more poignantly than I can, so I suggest you read it.

I was born extremely lucky. I reached into the lotto bowls of race and gender and got white male. As a man, I will tend to get preferential treatment over women when it comes to being hired and paid. I have a far lesser fear of sexual assault and rape. As a white person, I don’t have to worry about being treated as a stereotype. I don’t worry about being frisked. If I were to commit a crime, I’m likely to spend far less time in jail than a non-white person. And if I get randomly killed by police, at least I won’t get my name dragged through the dirt postmortem.

But do you know what the worst part of this all is? Nothing will really change. People will pretend it’s an isolated incident, like Eric Garner choked to death in New York, like Rodney King in California, like Trayvon Martin in Florida, like Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, like Michael Bell in Wisconsin. It was a fluke. It wasn’t a symbol of larger problems. They weren’t perfect people, so they deserved it. They goaded the cops. For goodness sake, we’ve got a crowdfunding campaign in support of Officer Darren Wilson, the man who shot Brown, and you can see how many people are apparently GLAD the boy got shot. Because blacks kill blacks and no one complains? Because he was a thug anyway? Excuse after excuse after excuse.

Nothing will change because we allow it to stay the same. Because we choose to see people as different and lesser than the rest of us.

America is going to be one of the most disastrously failed experiments if we let this keep happening, but there’s too much pride, ego and ignorance blinding people to that fact. Hopefully, I’m wrong. Hopefully, Brown’s death will ignite a spark of change for the better. Because we desperately need it before we burn.

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On Boy Scouts And Equality

I was a Boy Scout, once upon a long time ago. I did Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Made it to Second Class… failed the swim test twice. Not because I can’t swim, but the first time was in a lake where I couldn’t touch the ground and that always freaks me out and the second time I ate too much for breakfast. …feel I have to defend myself there. Anyway, when I switched high schools, I basically just stopped doing Boy Scouts, though I probably could have made it to Eagle without much of a problem. I had most of the requirements done.

Anyway, Boy Scouts was intended to help young boys become men with a certain set of skills and traits. A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Nice traits to have, right? Not bad things, I think, and entirely independent of any religion or dogma. Unfortunately, despite those traits being independent of dogma, most of the Boy Scouts have aligned themselves with a conservative Christian viewpoint. What this has come to mean is, openly homosexual males are not allowed to be involved in the organization at all.

Well, the times, they are a’changin’, maybe.

Recently, with gay rights taking some big steps in both reality, such as the new states that have legalized gay marriage and the ending of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and symbolism, via President Barack Obama’s reference to gay rights in his inaugural address, things seem to have a bit of a forward momentum. Recently, that forward momentum hit the Boy Scouts of America and they’ve started considering dropping their ban on homosexuals.

But it’s not all good news for equality, of course. See, a large portion of Boy Scout Troops are sponsored by churches. Christian churches. Many of which have particular views about homosexuals and homosexuality. Views that are frankly often contrary both to Christianity and reality, but that’s a topic to rehash another time. Anyway, many of those churches are threatening to pull their sponsorship and funding if the Boy Scouts change their stance on homosexuals.

I just don’t get it. If you can show me once, just once, where Christ turned away a sinner and said, “No, I can’t be seen around you, I disapprove of the things you do,” I’ll eat my hat. Did he rebuke some sinners, like the Pharisees? Sure. But he also ate with sinners, mingled with them, talked to them, treated them as equals. Not as a separate species to be treated with disdain and derision.

If Christ walked among us today, it’s the conservative Christians that would have him crucified this go round. The Pharisees are back, and they just don’t like gay people.

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I Don’t Know That A Gun Ban Will Do Much Good

So, if you’ve read anything else I’ve written about gun control and gun control laws, you’ll know that I’m in favor of regulated gun ownership. Anything else simply doesn’t make any sort of sense to me at all. I can’t comprehend how people seem to support the idea of unadulterated gun ownership based simply on the idea that the Second Amendment says there’s a right to bear arms. The other rights are interpreted and regulated, why wouldn’t the Second Amendment be?

Anyway, that’s my opinion. The way to regulate guns sensibly and in a way to lessen gun violence is, admittedly, a sticky wicket with many several factors that exist beyond gun control. Education, poverty, the war on drugs, mental health… they’re all factors. But I do also think that there are sensible things, sensible limitations that can be made, sensible and simple steps that can be put into place to continue to help lessen gun violence and more easily apprehend those that commit crimes.

If you haven’t heard, Senator Dianne Feinstein has just introduced a new gun ban, an “assault weapons” ban, to Congress. It’s basically a rehash of the one from the 1990s that expired in the past 10 years or so, only it has more guns on it. But not to worry. The ban’s not going to take away anyone’s guns, even if they’re on the list. It’s just going to make the selling and manufacturing of those guns illegal. Not that you’d know from the hullabaloo upraised by gun rights people.

Still, if I’m going to be honest here, I don’t know that a gun ban will actually do much. While I do think that there are many guns and armaments that have absolutely no right being in the hands of a civilian population, nor any reason, a gun ban isn’t going to work well. Especially if it’s the only thing that’s going up to bat to lessen gun violence.

Gun violence is a sticky wicket, like I said. It has myriad sources and ways to wiggle around and survive. It’s an unkillable problem, sadly. Only in a world where guns didn’t exist would gun violence not exist, and we will almost surely never be in that world again.

While I can appreciate Sen. Feinstein’s efforts and the intentions behind her bringing the gun ban to the floor, reform cannot end there. It may possibly begin there, but I have a feeling the only beginning it will truly initiate is a conversation. That’s a good start, to be sure. But we need the conversation to be given by people with much calmer heads that won’t instantly jump to slippery slope analogies of Stalin and Hitler any time any law potentially curtailing someone’s ability to own a chainsaw slingshot is introduced into the conversation. And maybe we can stop dodging the problem by saying there are bigger ones and let’s forget this one. Yes. There are bigger problems, people dying more and more in other ways. But that shouldn’t stop us from trying to fix this one as well. And who knows? If we can start doing damage to this problem, we may find some other problems (poverty, crime, drug trafficking, education) start to fix themselves.

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Women Can Fight Now, And That’s Bad, Apparently

If you haven’t heard, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the military ban on women serving in combat.

And judging by people’s reactions, you’d think he started shooting people in the face for fun.

As you may know, in America, women have been allowed in the military for several years at this point, but there has been a ban on women being allowed in special forces units and front-line combat units. Of course, unlike in wars before Vietnam, “front-line” is now a bit of a more obscure idea than an actual thing you can point to. The theater of war has spread in a far more chaotic, guerrilla style. So there have been, for some time, women that have had to fight for various reasons, as well as women that have died in combat.

So, you start to wonder what the heck everyone’s going crazy over with this ban being lifted.

Allen West, the now civilian that gets the Sarah Palin “for some reason we think what you have to say means something” treatment, thinks that women serving in combat will destroy the military, basically. The irony there is that West is black. I recall people complaining about the dissolution of unit cohesion and disparaging the state of the military when it was desegregated, or so my history teachers informed me. Yet, our military still stands. Then there was that thing about how gays would destroy the military… which also hasn’t happened yet, oddly enough.

If you want to see just how idiotic and ridiculous the arguments against women serving in combat are, you can just take a look at this excellent “Daily Show” bit that covers it quite well.

Is it going to be a smooth transition? Probably not. Change doesn’t always go smoothly. Are there going to be problems? Possibly. Sexual assaults might increase. We’ll have to increase diligence in stopping and prosecuting any instances of sexual assault, something we should have been doing already. But the argument that suddenly men and women will be too overcome with lust to do their job is ridiculous. They tried the same argument with openly serving homosexuals… and yet no news of men randomly shagging in the desert mid-gunfire.

The argument that women won’t be able to perform physically as well as men is also stupid. Yes, statistics show that women are not, on average, as physically strong as men. However, in the military, they have these physical performance tests, minimum requirements soldiers have to meet. Physical requirements that I’m pretty certain women have been meeting for some time now. Being that there are women in the Marines, and the Marines are generally considered to be the toughest branch of the military, I should think these women can hold their own, and possibly someone else’s at the same time.

There’s the argument about men being embarrassed… Is it wrong of me to say get over it? When you’re in combat, is embarrassment really the thing you should be worrying about? And isn’t that something you can, you know, get used to and get over? I don’t know about you, but “dropping trou” in front of other men isn’t something I’m super keen on. It seems like soldiers manage to get over that eventually, though, so why not with women?

And then there’s all the severely sexist and ignorant arguments. One guy started yelling about how women were wives, sisters and daughters and who would want to put them in harm’s way and subject them to torture? At which point, my response has to be the same people that want to put husbands and brothers and sons into harm’s way and subject them to torture. So, in my opinion, I don’t want to put anyone in danger. But women in the military have always been in danger. Some have been captured and, I bet, tortured. The whole chivalrous thing is just insulting to the men that are in the same position, deeming them as expendable.

Women can fight in combat roles now, officially. Good for them. People that want to complain? Get over yourselves.

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Could We Stop Punishing Rape Victims?

So, I know I’ve been talking a lot about rape lately… but has anyone else noticed that rape has been appearing a lot in national conversation? It’s weird. I understand it in the context of the slut walks and other protests, where women are attempting to shine a light on fallacious yet pervasive thoughts pertaining to sex, sexuality and consent… but it’s been appearing more and more in the political world, too. Conservatives on a federal and state level are moving more and more often to try and redefine rape or somehow contextualize  and categorize it instead of simply saying “Rape is wrong and illegal.”

I mean, we all should know that most social conservatives are very much anti-abortion. Speaker of the House John Boehner, for example, recently made the statement that he wanted to try to make abortion a “relic of the past.” Don’t be confused. He’s not supporting putting money into science initiatives that might research the safe and healthy removal and maturation of a fetus from a woman unwilling to continue with a pregnancy. No, he just wants to ban all abortions, except rape and incest, which anyone with any knowledge of human history, or even just American history pre-Roe v. Wade, should be able to at least guess means abortions will carry on, just more dangerously.

But now we’ve got rape entering into the abortion equation. It was thought that social conservatives were willing to swallow the “let a rape victim have an abortion” pill because, well, it’s sort of like letting someone that got stabbed go to the doctor and be healed. I know that’s a crude comparison and people will cry out about human lives being involved in abortion, but rape is a crime and pregnancy brought about through rape is an aftereffect, like bleeding out after being stabbed is an aftereffect of the crime of being stabbed. Again, not a perfect analogy, but you maybe see my point. You’d think we’d want to, as a society, not force people to suffer unwillingly with the aftereffects of criminal actions taken against them.

Except now there’s Representative Paul Ryan trying to make certain abortions in cases of rape illegal, which I’ve mentioned before. To be more accurate, he’s signed on to co-sponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would give states the right to ban all abortions. Which I feel like contradicts something that just had an anniversary… some Supreme Court case… I could be wrong, though. Anyway, the act would also allow rapists to sue women that attempt to abort the rape pregnancy if their state makes it illegal and she goes to another state where it’s okay.

But that’s not all! Ryan isn’t the only one throwing his hat into the “force women to keep pregnancies they were given in an act of crime” ring. No, now New Mexico is tossing its hat in there. New Mexico legislation has introduced a bill that would imprison any doctor and woman that go through with a rape abortion for up to three years. What’s their reasoning? It’s tampering with evidence.

At which point my head hits my desk.

I’m not certain, but I’m sure there’s a way to get DNA even from an aborted fetus that could help with that evidence thing. And with other Republicans trying to burden rape victims with the need to prove the rape was “forcible,” again trying to categorize rapes as though one were better than the other, we can see a pretty regrettable trend starting up.

Starting up… I say that as if this hasn’t been going on for years. It has. But it seems to be very frighteningly kicking into a much higher gear. And that needs to stop.

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Americans Should Be Allowed To Vote Out Politicians

You know what we need as Americans? Crimes specific to politicians. We need some way to hold the members of our government to a higher standard. Not the Constitution, which just lays out what they’re supposed to do. I think we need some method of being able to just fire them when they do or say certain things, such as creating segregationist laws,  abusing legal loopholes to their benefit and the detriment of Americans, something.

I know that Congress has ethics rules and such… but you know what happens to people that violate those? Practically nothing. Many resign, and many get voted out that don’t, but too often are there politicians that say things in direct counter to what their jobs are supposed to be. Members of the science committee decry science. Members of the ethics committee get caught having sex with underage people. Representatives of the people suggest using humiliation as a tactic to target specific groups of people.

Basically, there needs to be a much easier way to fire people in government instead of letting them rake in money for two to six years doing jack-all or actively harming this nation.

Yes, I know a lot of this comes from me being a liberal and finding conservatives like Representative James Lankford blaming gun violence on welfare moms and suggesting we humiliate homosexuals until they lose equal protection rights repugnant to the utmost degree. It’s disgusting to think that there are people, voters, that agree whole-heartedly with Lankford. But I have faith that every time one of these politicians spouts out some awful, ridiculous, shameful thing, their constituency doesn’t want them saying or thinking what they’ve said or thought.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, getting that person out of office becomes a herculean task. If they’re a senator, you have to wait six years for their term to be up. By then, people have forgotten all sorts of sins, which is just a sad reminder of the state of our national attention span. If they’re a representative, they’ve only got two years, but that’s still enough time for many to forget or to obfuscate the issues.

I don’t have a real suggestion for a solution, unfortunately, other than a recall vote that can be triggered by a certain number of people petitioning for one. And maybe that is a possibility that can be used in the real world. I recall governors facing that problem before… never any senators or representatives in my memory, but maybe it’s possible. If it is possible, that option needs to be used far more often and people need to be made far more aware of it.

Our nation’s not in the greatest position it could be. One of the places we need to start cleaning up is with our politicians, kicking the ignorant, vicious and lying out as soon as they reveal their true colors. Let the people keep them on a short leash. We need to start working on an oversight from the population that isn’t just voting them out next election. We need a way to oust them, deny them their pension and try someone new that might actually try to do the right thing.

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Gun Laws: I’m About To Give Up

Honestly, I’m just about to give up.

Every time a tragedy occurs involving a mass shooting in America, the gun laws conversation gets started again. And every time, people start pretending that gun control equates to an all-out ban on guns, that gun control is never going to stop all murders anyway so why bother, that gun control leads to more violence/murder even though that is not even remotely true in any of the first world countries that are remotely comparable to America.

But all those comparisons really don’t matter because America is its own country and, frankly, we won’t know what stricter gun laws will actually accomplish until we try them out.

Ultimately, I know one thing: Doing absolutely nothing, which is what we’ve been doing for the past many many years, has done absolutely nothing.

Honestly, I don’t know if stricter gun laws or more accessible mental health care (which is definitely related to lowering crime in America) would have helped prevent 20 dead children in Connecticut. But our strategy of doing nothing certainly did nothing to stop it.

America has become on of the world leaders in violence. We have some of the highest rates of mass murders, school shootings and gun crimes in the world, particularly among first world countries. And yet so many seem content to just say, “Eh. Whatever. It’s fine.” And seem to enjoy calling people that think something should change, that we should do everything in our power to stop the headlines tomorrow being 20 more dead children, or people of any age, anti-American, taking away Americans’ rights to own any and every firearm in the world.

It’s frustrating. It’s so immensely frustrating because the conversation ends before it can begin. Because people that are pro-gun rights refuse to admit that maybe, just maybe, we have a problem. That maybe we shouldn’t accept that our current situation is the best situation, especially when statistics have shown that America is far and beyond the norm for gun violence and mass shootings.

Yes, there are crazy people. Evil people. No, we’ll never be able to stop them all. But if the person in Newtown had, say, a chamber with 10 or 20 less bullets in it, instead the 100 or more it had, would there maybe be one more child left alive today?

Maybe. It’s possible. But as long as we do nothing, nothing’s possible but more of the same. And I’m too sickened by that to want it to continue on. But I’m also feeling beaten down. I don’t know what we can do when Americans seem so intensely divided on this issue and politicians cower and refuse to take action. There is some hope, after this most recent incident, that President Barack Obama will step up and force a political conversation. But who knows. So I’m going to try to bow out of the conversation for a time. I know what’s right, and I know what “rights” people should have, and that certainly isn’t free and unabated access to any and every single firearm and weapon on the planet. Mutually assured destruction just doesn’t work.

But I think I’m just going to shut up for a while. Until the politicians start bringing real changes to the discussion table, there just doesn’t seem to be a point.

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When Can We Talk About Gun Control?

This year, more than any other I can recall, really feels like the year of the gun in America. So many people have died and been injured in high profile mass shootings, with things kicking up heavily in July. Tuscaloosa saw a mass shooting, and then there was about one every week for another month. Even The Onion tried to run a satirical article about how everyone was rejoicing that it had been a week since the nation’s last mass shooting, and mere hours after they posted it, there was a shooting in New York City. Their response? An update to say “Never Mind.”

Just recently, the gun issue was brought back up with a high profile murder-suicide of an NFL player’s girlfriend, committed by Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. It picked up even more steam when NBC sports broadcaster Bob Costas read from a pro-gun control column about Belcher. And tonight, it’s likely to get another boost of conversation, thanks to a shooting in an Oregon mall, with two dead.

But every time these tragedies occur, we’re told that it’s rude and inconsiderate to talk about gun control. Fox News, for example, just went nuts on Costas. Of course, it’s perfectly alright to stump for lessening gun control soon after a tragedy, like they did on Fox News after the tragedy in Norway.

After all, people that support the Second Amendment to the nearly fanatical point never want to talk about gun control. Because they’re convinced that gun control equals a ban on all guns and the destruction of the Second Amendment. They have painted the opposition as so extreme, they think they know how every conversation will go. And since they don’t want to hear it, they try to play the “cheap” card, the “tragedy” card and keep the conversation muted. A free speech issue, might I add, and people that are fond of the First Amendment are more than happy to have conversations about regulation and why it may or may not be bad, generally speaking. As President Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” said on Twitter today, “If we cannot talk about gun control legislation in the aftermath of a tragedy, we will never be able to talk about gun control legislation. Maybe that’s the point.”

In pretty much every single argument I’ve gotten into about why we should try to limit guns or try to regulate them more in some way or another, a few topics always seem to be brought up: Knife deaths, “You can’t stop them all” and self-defense.

See, if I mention just how many gun deaths there are in America compared to somewhere like the United Kingdom where there are far stricter gun laws, they point out how many stabbings there are. If I talk about regulating guns or bullets to attempt to limit the number of homicides, the rebuttal of “Someone willing to kill’s going to find a way. You can kill with [fill in with a far more innocuous weapon here, like piano wire].” And inevitably the idea that we need guns to defend against criminals that have guns gets mentioned.

Well, here’s just a few little nuggets to ponder, not that any proponents of gun rights will listen, because they’ve spent so long trying to get people to stop talking, why bother listening at all? First, yeah, there are a higher number of stabbings in the U.K. than in the U.S. What’s your point, exactly? I’m pretty sure that the percentage doesn’t even come close to the percentage of gun-related homicides in the U.S., so if we could see the percentage drop and become all knife-related, then fine. Second, exactly how many knife-related mass killings are there? How many people can walk into a mall or a church or a school with a knife and slay multiple people before they’re stopped? Third, there was a very recent story about a 7-year-old boy being shot by his father outside of a gun store, accidentally. Exactly how many accidental knife deaths are there every year?

Will gun control eliminate gun violence? Certainly not. Not even close. Would it maybe, just maybe see the number of deaths per year drop, even slightly? It might. So, no, we’re not able to stop it all. People will find ways to kill. But isn’t seeing one less murder enough of a reason to try?

Isn’t the possibility of at least one less gun-related murder, one less death per year enough of a reason to talk about solutions?

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Modern Libertarianism Confuses Me

Quick disclaimer: I’m not 100 percent certain that there is a classic libertarianism I should be differentiating from… but on the off chance that there is and that the libertarianism I want to talk about, the type as I’ve seen it played out in today’s political landscape, is distinct and notably different on the issues I want to mention, I want to cut people off before someone that missed my point comes in and tries to take my head off for equating non-equatable political ideals. I’ve kinda been burnt on that before.

So, libertarianism has been, I think, seeing a bit of a hey day in recent years, particularly through Ron Paul’s past two presidential campaigns and the creation of the Tea Party movement. While the Tea Party movement has strayed, via its leaders/candidates, from the original message, a message that is almost like a distilled Paul campaign description, the feelings of the grassroots it started with are the same types of feelings people (often young people) had with Paul and with 2012’s Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Basically, libertarianism as it has come about today can be put in terms of a Venn diagram. On one circle, we have Democrats. Democrats are currently the party of social freedoms. Keep the government out of bedrooms, eliminate censorship, et cetera. It may not be doing so great with that, but it’s the pro-choice, pro-legalization, pro-gay marriage party, particularly compared to the Republicans. Their economics, however, are more restrictive and government involved. Tax and spend fiscal policies, regulations on banks and businesses, et cetera. The other circle hosts the Republicans. They’re the party that, on the social end of things, wants government all over everything. Nowadays, while they talk about small government, they simultaneously talk about constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage, increased surveillance, more military/wars, ban abortions… the legislate morality party. Their economics, however, are (in theory) more hands off than the Democrats. Roll back regulations, lower taxes, cut spending.

So, where the two circles meet is with Libertarians. They are the party of the laissez-faire, both in economics and social policy. Hands off the free market. Let people decide what they want to do, get government out of making choices for people. It’s the Democrats’ social policies and the Republicans’ economic policies.

…again, in theory.

See, the thing is, while Libertarianism is the confluence of similar ideals from the main two political parties in America, neither of those parties is really looking to pull away federal powers. President Barack Obama did, surprisingly, talk about looking into more clearly defining and limiting the powers of the Executive Office, but that’s not really a sentiment you hear too often from either party. The Republicans, more often than not, want to make certain issues states’ rights issues, but those tend to just be issues they don’t think they can win federally.

What confuses me about modern libertarianism is that, the more I hear from them, the more it sounds like they want EVERY issue to be a states’ rights issue. Insofar as, they would rather the federal government to bow in power to the state governments.

When America was being created as a nation, our first attempt at creating a government was an utter failure. A rope of sand, as someone called it. For about eight years, the law of the land was dictated through a document known as the Articles of Confederation. Basically, it didn’t recognize the United States as a singly governed entity, but rather a political alliance between the 13 separate states. If one of them was attacked, they’d help each other out. They were to assist one another, but still be mostly left to their own devices. And it failed pretty spectacularly, as the national Congress was almost completely ineffectual and each state felt no real reason to actually help out the other states, making commerce and land contracts and, well, everything begin to fall apart. When Shay’s Rebellion started in 1786, combined with everything else that was happening, Alexander Hamilton and others essentially staged a coup and reworked the entire government, writing the Constitution. The Constitution created a far stronger federal government while the Bill of Rights were added to help protect individuals and the states’ sovereignties.

Now, I understand the desire to get the federal government out of being involved with many things. As a liberal, I think marijuana should be legalized (huge economic benefit there), same-sex marriage should be legal, pretty much all the social policies should be left unfettered, by and large. I still think a completely free capitalist market runs contrary to democracy and would implode our ability to govern and be governed, but others disagree. What I don’t understand is the apparent desire of many modern Libertarians to seemingly peel back the federal government almost in its entirety and bring us back to the Articles of Confederation.

It’s thoroughly possible I’m completely misunderstanding or misrepresenting this particular political belief. But I have many friends that are Libertarians. And when they talk about their politics, they often talk about letting states have power as opposed to the federal government in nearly every issue. And that, it seems to me, is a bit contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.

The preamble to the United States Constitution talks about creating a more perfect union. Considering that was written up after the quite imperfect coalition under the Articles, it makes me think that maybe the framers wanted the federal government there to help encourage states and citizens to help other people out. Yeah, sometimes it means Texas has to help bail out California, that your tax dollars get spent in some state you couldn’t care less about… but the theory is, we’re all in this together. We are a united nation, a group of united states, and we leave no one behind.

Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s how it seems to me.

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America Is Not Dead

“The nightmare of ‘Obamacare’ has already begun.  Many small businesses have already said they will close down because of the added cost of the health-care provisions under ‘Obamacare’, while other businesses have stated that they will only hire future employees on a part-time basis.  […]  Businesses are panicking because of the extra financial burden this presidential plan creates.  I heard from another of our employees that her husband’s company is going to start charging him $40 extra a month for his family policy, because his wife (our employee) has access to other coverage.  Wages will stagnate or go down because of the added financial burden on the companies, so the employees will have less income to cover these rising costs.  In addition, President Obama has said that he will implement ‘green’ policies that he freely admits will cause the prices on electricity and gas to rise for the consumer.  So get ready for the ride.  It’s going to be tough on us all.  And I’m only mentioning a small piece of what is coming down the pike.  I grieve that you and your sisters will probably never know a better America.  Our country’s heyday as a world power and a true land of opportunity and freedom has passed.”

This was most of the final paragraph of an email my mother sent me just recently. Notice anything about it? It’s very… How shall we put this… Doom and gloomy. It waxes Poetic, insofar as it sounds like something Edgar Allen Poe would have written up.

After the election, the fox-for-hair wearing grumpypants pile of severely unimportant yet we still talk about him known as Donald Trump ranted on Twitter about how this was not a democracy (because I guess in democracies, Trump gets to put people in power) and how Americans should start a revolution. Useless has-been rocker and walking pile of anger Ted Nugent called all the people who voted for President Barack Obama pimps, whores and welfare brats as well as suggesting America had just committed spiritual and economic suicide. Former SNL cast member Victoria Jackson said thanks a lot to the Christians that didn’t show up to vote and that she couldn’t stop crying because America is now dead.

Well. I guess that’s it then. Let’s pack our bags and head to another country because this one’s all washed up. It’s over. Let’s not even give Obama a chance to do anything. The mere fact that we utilized our Constitutional rights to vote for a new leader of our country and over 50 percent of the nation chose to give Obama four more years means that this country is, quite simply, gone to pasture.

We’ve got over 20 different petitions on WhiteHouse.gov now, last I counted, for different states to secede from the union. One of those states, Texas, has now received the 25 thousand signatures necessary to have the petition officially reviewed and responded to by the White House. 25 thousand. Which is .1% of the entire state’s population.

When George W. Bush was reelected, many liberals were upset. Heck, a lot of the world was confused and upset. In their being upset, some liberals said silly things and said they’d leave the country. But, honestly… maybe it’s because back in 2004 Twitter and Facebook weren’t big on the scene, but it seems like the right wing has completely lost it. The hyperbole and hype of how this is the end of the world, not to mention all the rather abhorrent racism, is just disgusting. Seriously. It’s awful. And if you’re someone who thinks America is dead or our nation is ruined or whatever, then you are not a patriot.

Let me say that differently: If you think America died when Obama was reelected, you hate America.

The end.

See, America isn’t a nation about getting your way. It’s a nation about growth and competitive ideas working together and against one another to spawn greater, stronger ideas that will create a greater, stronger nation. Your guy didn’t get in. So what? Will things maybe be rough? It’s possible. It’s also possible that things will go better than you expected, that America will improve. But to those that say this is the worst thing that could ever happen to America, I kindly invite you to shut up.

The reason I get snippy and angry at people that act like this, the reason I will likely go off on my mother should she talk politics at Thanksgiving, is because it’s completely idiotic and disrespectful to our nation’s history. You know what some of the worst things to happen to America are?

The War of 1812, when the White House was set on fire.

The American Civil War, perhaps the bloodiest war America has ever fought, where brother fought brother and neighbor fought neighbor for five years.

The Great Depression, where our economy, and the world’s economy, crashed so thoroughly, people were eating ketchup and water for meals.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor, a shocking attack on our homeland that dragged us into the bloody Second World War.

The Vietnam War, a lengthy, pointless war that ended with atrocities and body counts too numerous to list.

September 11, 2001.

Seriously. Did Obama’s first four years lead to any event, even one event that comes REMOTELY close to anything on the list I just gave?

No.

Did Obama’s economic recovery, slow though it may be, resemble in ANY way the devastation of the 1930s?

No.

And did America ever even ONCE fail to rebound from each catastrophe and tragedy it faced, often times coming out on the other side even stronger than before?

No.

So, even if Obamacare is a disaster that will destroy small businesses, and even if taxing the wealthy at a higher rate will do nothing to stem the tide of our growing debt and massive deficit, and even if Obama’s social policies will change the face of America forever…

America will survive. And those of you that think otherwise? I hear Antarctica has some open space to start your own government.

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