6 Bullets

August 19, 2014

6 shotsI have been on hiatus, but this blog has never been far from my mind.  I decided to make the time, even if no one reads – it is good to put thoughts to the page.

The controversy in Ferguson Missouri is disappointing but not surprising.  On one hand you have marginalized youth with little opportunity and even less respect for authority.  On the other hand, you have a para-military police force that is unrepresenting of those it polices, out of touch, and deservedly afraid for its officer’s safety.  At root at it all is the crux of this problem – both sides do not represent what America is supposed to be about and are symptoms of a larger disease.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Think about that famous American line from our the Declaration of Independence for a second and how it applies to Ferguson Missouri before you get my two cents.  We’ll circle back around in a moment but you will see a critique of both sides of the debate.

First, this is America, not Liberia…but why do our inner cities feel and behave more like an impoverished African nation?  We will spend trillions on foreign wars, a billions on incarcerating our citizenry, but will not invest the needed monies/energies for our infrastructure or the education of our youth to help keep them out of those expensive prisons… things that government is supposed to do.  This is no greater felt than in places where young men like Michael Brown live.  They physically live in but are not cultural citizens of the greatest nation on earth.  Largely the system has failed them – their government, their culture, their fathers.  You will not hear me bemoan or give excuses for poor life choices.  You will hear me bemoan a system of dependency, a system that gives no bootstraps for people to pull themselves up by, a system that makes it okay to loot your or other’s neighborhood – not because you really care about Michael Brown, but because its an opportunity to score some free booze while you break shit and have ‘fun’ at another’s expense.

Secondly, you have the increasing police state that We The People are subjugated to.  How many times have you been the victim of petty power or known someone who was…and all because the cop knew he could get away with it?   The bad federal government policies exacerbate the problem.  The war on drugs, the Patriot Act, the offloading surplus military gear…are all easy examples of what contribute to the problem of an abuse of power by the police.  They are all misguided and top-down endeavors that empower the police in ways they shouldn’t and give them more say in our daily lives.  Their role is supposed to be about law enforcement, not veiled martial law and big government.

Back to Thomas Jefferson’s words.  Both sides are violating our core values as Americans.  Life:  Michael Brown is dead – that one is obvious – it is unfair and possibly unjust that he’s dead.  What’s even worse is all the other young black men taken at the hands of police or in the names of gangs and drugs.  Why are all these other young black men dead too?  Why does it take racial sensationalism to mourn their deaths – they die by the score every day across America and their lives are just as worthy of being saved and lamented upon as Michael Brown’s.  Liberty: We now see the beginnings of a push back against the militarism in our police forces, but this is nothing new.  Since the sensationalism of the North Hollywood police being outgunned and out-armored by two robbers, police forces have better armed themselves in an arms race against criminals.  The problem is that government handouts of military gear for civilian police work is incongruous.  Taxpayers do not need to pay for MRAPs – which is a far cry from having an M-4 in every police cruiser’s trunk.  That militarism only enables those with petty power to abuse it.  Pursuit of Happiness.  I cannot believe that officer Wilson enjoys the feeling of being an unwelcome occupying force on the streets that he is assigned.  How does his wife feel about it?  Further, he is not a part of the community.  He has no ties, he’s not from there, he doesn’t look like those he’s supposed to ‘serve and protect’ – and that counts for something, I don’t really care if its not PC – its the truth.  On the other side, how happy is the community with law enforcement when the police are seen as a 21st century SS squad?  This is not hyperbole, the sentiment is a direct parallel.  That is an untenable relationship from both sides and how can the social contract between the people and the government be consoled with such incongruous circumstances?  Even if the police were from the local hood, they would most likely be seen as an Uncle Tom rather than someone who gets it and represents their values…even if that particular officer does…he works for a system run by white men who don’t.  While this is an unfair oversimplification and no excuse for reverse discrimination, there is some merit to the sentiment.  The debacle did not begin with the death of a white police officer at the hands of a black man…yet on the other side, it is not the police who cause problems every night when the sun goes down.

My whole point in this article is that the root of this evil is one of un-Americanism and bad policies pushed and entrenched by big government.  It is about things far more insidious than poor urban neighborhoods with little opportunity, race, police militarization, or even the heralded and untimely death of a young black man.  We have lost our way as a nation – in our civic duty to hold our government accountable in our name, how to fight for your rights while preserving others, and what your role is supposed to be as a member of the republic.  This kind of stuff isn’t even on the radar and yet is the cause.  It is why we are here and its only getting worse…

 

 


The Source of My Venom

July 19, 2012

Image

A bit about the author and where my personal politics/beliefs come from:

What you’ll find from my personal politics is that I am a libertarian with a little ‘l’ (which by definition isn’t really even a party) and thus, a Jeffersonian in my political philosophy. It goes without saying I’m conservative, but I am an open-minded, truly ‘big tent’ conservative that would appear to be a moderate by some definitions. Like Jefferson, I am overly idealistic (almost to a fault) but I will fall on my sword of principle and point to our American values and source documents like the Constitution and ask ‘is this the intent behind this in the best interests of the country or a special interest’. On the corollary, I then also ask ‘is this consistent in the purpose of how our republic was founded’. Case in point – abortion. I am personally pro-life. However, I respect that this is not a gray area legally with Roe v. Wade (Even though I disagree with it) and its is certainly a personal decision when it boils down to it. So, taking my libertarian stance, as long as you are not forcing my wife to have an abortion when she doesn’t want one…why do you care what the woman/family beside you do with such a personal choice? Sure, you think they are going to hell – but that is your opinion, it might not be theirs. They are not pushing their value system of being agnostic or unitarian or atheist on you…why then would you push your Christian-right faith on them? You can’t have such a double standard in a society that says that protects its citizens from religious persecution, says abortions are legal, AND values liberty. Those 3 points are not relative. They are absolutes in this nation. Thus the issue of abortion falls into both of those quoted questions in italics above and is why I take the stance I do. My stance may not be popular with many on ‘the right’ where potential supporters would fall and may brand me as a moderate…and make me un-electable should I ever run for office HOWEVER, what I have done is definitively tell you my stance and why, and I stick by it. That is the exact opposite of how most politicians operate and should be far more valued, but it’s not and that is why such a stance is probably unelectable.

The problem with my overall political stance is that it creates a lot of personal heart-ache because my political leanings and philosophy are so foreign to how our country is run. It’s also why I think I am right and why I have no faith in our politicians because I think they’re going about it all wrong – it also leads me to think dimly of our citizenry’s concept of sovereignty and personal involvement in our republic – i.e. they don’t have it and it’s not important to them. Voting the same set/type of charlatan politicians over again and again and then wondering why our country is going to pot is a perfect example. We are getting what we are paying for…would you rather have someone who you know has integrity and may not represent you perfectly, but also doesn’t insult your intelligence and only tells you what you want to hear irrespective of the larger interests of the nation and what it stands for. Unfortunately, people key much more in on their own narrow personal interests and throw the larger picture out. The governance of our nation should not be boiled down to single issue politics no matter how passionately one feels about any given subject. If we didn’t do that as a nation, I believe we could get better people to run for office because they would think they had a chance to win without violating their personal code by having to sell out to win.

Thus, I get so worked up because I disagree fundamentally with how our country is being run. Its being run into the ground with this Republican vs. Democrat fued that is more about party identity and political point scoring than by actual governance. Its also why everyone knows that Congress sucks – obstructionism to the other party is no way to run any government, especially the most important one in the world. Remember, politics is supposed to be about the art of compromise. I think that has been by and large lost in the halls of our nation’s leadership. Instead, we have politics and campaigns that are fueled by sound bites on TV ads and big money donors via shadowy super PACs. I also disagree with the Hamiltonian philosophy that feeds this mindset of ever more centralized and elite control of government. I don’t think corporatocracy and elitism that is what makes America great or competitive…but changing that would mean the current system with those in power at the top would have to abdicate that power voluntarily. Why would they do so when the masses sheepishly vote the same type of politician into office again and again? They are getting away with it election cycle after election cycle with people’s response being to flip flop between two flawed parties. Thus my frustration. The root-issues of the underpinnings of our democracy and its governance are not even on the table to be talked about. Everyone has accepted the broken status quo!

My beef isn’t with any political view/belief. that is way too narrow, this country is way to diverse its in makeup and geography to think that my narrow political views have all the answers. Contrary to what is displayed in DC, one can have passionate beliefs about one topic and then respect someone who has a vastly different opinion than me as long as we both can agree to disagree – we are all still Americans and unless you are a radical, you probably agree with me in general broad strokes on 60 – 80% of things – its just how we get there is different. i.e. – I agree that health care should be accessible and affordable to all Americans, lets talk about how we get there in ways that get to the bottom of why medical care costs so much and is so inefficient and not spout differing party platforms. That’s not good governance or even intelligent reasoning. Nothing I say in theory is un-American or contrary to our basic tenants of life-liberty-and pursuit of happiness that by and large, frame the American dream. It’s just how I go about it isn’t how its done in DC is vastly different than how it could be. I may think it’s the right way, but not enough people actually take a step back and go…why is government so ineffective?

It’s not the debate of abortion vs.right to life or guns vs. guns control, or any other devisive political issue in the country that pits Repub vs. Dem, its how the politics and the media and the voters and the gridlock all combine into our country knowingly wasting time and money while we slowly watch the country I love so much being run into the ditch when it is perfectly preventable. That is why this snake has so much venom.