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Friday, May 30, 2008

Finding Center

I've come to realize that I can't just meander through life. Granted, I'm thirty-four, married, and have four kids, so it's been a tad late coming, but I'm here. One tends to lose focus sometimes in life, at least I do. I think we all do. How else can you explain the whining and unhappiness of an immensely blessed people?

As a Christian, I have no call to be less than jubilant, ever. If my faith is true, nothing in this temporal world should be able to get me down. Jesus lives, and he saved me. He won't ever abandon me; only I can abandon Him. How is it that in a Christian nation, as eighty-plus percent of us claim we are, there can be as much animosity and dissatisfaction as we see and hear? I've come to realize that by embracing faith as the basis of my mindframe, I will always be happy. Am I there yet? Not quite, but each step improves me, and through me, the world around me.

Think about it... Why are prisons such terrible places? Aside from the bars, you are given food, ample opportunity for recreation, reading materials, clothing, a place to sleep, free cable television, and many other luxuries others around the world are denied. Is it, then, the place or the mindframe of those inside that makes it so awful? Imagine the same physical facility filled with peaceful and spiritual people and you'd have a monastery. The difference is astounding yet simple: change the heart and you change everything.

I've heard it said that the world seeks to improve the individual by changing his surroundings, but Christ changes the individual, who then improves his own surroundings. I want to be like that. The world I live in, that we all live in, is what we make of it, a reflection of who we are collectively and individually. Do I want my inner neighborhood to be a ghetto or a safe haven? As goes the inner, so too the outer.

This is the fundamental difference between Conservatism and Liberalism. Liberal methods will never solve social ills, no matter how well intentioned, because they treat the symptoms of the disease and not the disease itself. Conservatives realize that the only lasting solution to our problems comes by healing the inner man. If we can heal hearts and families, the rest will take care of itself.

I need, we all need, to remember that despite whatever evils exist in the world, on the whole it is a wonderful place. Let us not give up hope. Hope, after all, is the basis of faith, and with faith, and the effort required to realize that faith, we can accomplish anything.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hard Time for Republicans

What happened? The Reagan years were the zenith of cultural Conservatism. Fiscal Conservatism roared in during the 1990's. Republicans had the House and Senate, and then, in 2001, the presidency. What did we do with them? Nothing.

George W. Bush attempted to pacify the moot and powerless Democrats by giving them just enough power to become obstacles, a mistake Democrats did not imitate when they seized power in 2006. During the years of Republican control of the major centers of power in America, the only noteworthy achievements were two judges and a tax cut. These were years in which the entire Conservative agenda could have been legislated and enacted, and yet almost none of it was. One begins to wonder: why vote Republican at all?

I honor and cherish the history of the party. It is the party of Lincoln, after all. It freed the slaves, enacted laws after the civil war that made blacks politically powerful, pushed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts through Congress, and has placed African Americans in the highest positions of political power that anyone ever has in this country. For goodness sake, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Frederick Douglass were both proud Republicans! Communism was defeated by Republicans. For many years, the banner of social and fiscal Conservatism has been that of the Republican party. Somehow, somewhere, that has all changed.

I hear some crying that the Republican "brand" is dying. If so, it is because the product that brand represents is no longer the product consumers expect. If I buy a pair of Nikes and get the quality of Kmart Traxx, I'm not going to be happy. If I vote Republican and get free-for-all spending, global warming nonsense, amnesty for those who have invaded our country, and political correctness toward those who want us dead or converted to Islam, damn right I'm going to be upset about it!

Where is the right wing? Where have all the men gone? We are a nation led by invertebrates, too addicted to their own power to risk it for the good of the nation. Tough choices must be made. Men are capable of ignoring the shrill cries of their detractors when they know they are doing the right thing. If I must credit George W. Bush in one area, this is it. On the war on terror, at least, he's a shining exemplar of staunch manhood.

Nobody will elect Republican liberals when they can get name-brand Democrat ones. So what happens? Republicans stay home. Democrats are elected. The nation slides further and faster into the pit.

Do Conservatives need a new party? Do we need to abandon ship? Or can we, must we, retake the help, and deliver ourselves from the clammy-palmed pilots who now control our fates? I argue the latter. It's time for us to sweep out any and all who have been less than real Conservatives, and replace them with people who will do what's needed. The Republican party needs a clean house, not a makeover.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why Are Gas Prices So High?

The pain at the pump is affecting the entire economy. Goods, after all, must be transported, and this adds to the cost of everything. With fuel prices around four dollars a gallon, the public is left wondering: "How did all of this happen so fast?"

There are several explanations, most of which point the finger of blame at government ineptitude and short-sightedness. Global demand is at an all-time high, with China, in its new-found prosperity, consuming huge amounts of petroleum. Anyone with any economics education whatsoever can see that this large increase in demand will affect prices. Oil is now above 130 dollars a barrel. Only a year ago, we were panicking that it might someday hit one hundred dollars. Without an increase in supply to meet the increasing demand, costs will only go up.

That explanation would be sufficient if the oil supply were naturally limited to the sources currently being developed, but it isn't. Combining Anwar, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and the Dakotas, we have more petroleum potential than the Saudis. We have simply (and stupidly) refused to use it. Environmentals (as opposed to true environmentalists) have fiercely opposed the development of our oil resources. Their solution: drive a Prius. For those of us not in the economic league to purchase such a vehicle, that solution falls far short of the mark. Moreover, if the demand keeps outpacing the supply at this rate, not even a Prius will make gas seem affordable.

Worse still, our refining capacity has not increased for over thirty years. Every time an oil company begins to talk expansion, the local environmentals put up enough of a fuss to foil the effort. Our government has been more responsive to the wishes of the petroleum-Luddites than they've been to the ninety-nine percent of us want affordable fuel. These same morons oppose nuclear energy, a technology which would lessen our dependence on oil. Anything that represents progress and productivity is, to them, anathema.

The government could have ignored the protests of the flea-ridden-hippie crowd and done what's best for America. They did not. Their spineless pandering to those opposed to our continued prosperity is the root cause of the gas crisis. Now the same people who caused the problem argue that it's too late to do anything. If we begin development, it won't produce anything for perhaps ten years. I disagree. If the foreigners who hoard their oil know we're about to flood the market, they may reduce prices to discourage us from doing so.

Next time you go to the pump, thank your local senator for the high prices. There would be plenty of gas if they'd thought ahead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No (Involuntary) Poverty Exists in America

I realize that I am bound to upset quite a few people with this article. Many of you are thinking, "But, hey! I'm poor! There are homeless all over the place! The ghettos are full to the brim! How dare you suggest that we have no poverty here!"

Those of you who feel that way have likely never lived among people in the Third World. Our poor, those who live in our ghettos and slums, live at the level of the wealthy and prosperous of other nations. I realized this on the drive home from the Oakland Airport after living in Ecuador for two years. The ghetto over which we passed on the freeway seemed so nice in comparison to even the nicer areas I'd lived in that I was utterly amazed. It seemed so clean, so rich, that I felt like I was in another world. I was. America is an amazing place.

Our welfare recipients all have television sets, radios, DVD players, and microwave ovens. Many have cars and computers. Almost all of them have cellular phones. In most of the rest of the world, these items are luxuries of the rich. Our poor live in finished homes with running water and electricity. Not so in many parts of South America, Africa, and Asia. The ownership of an automobile, regardless of its age, is a major status symbol in Ecuador. Here, we think you're dirt poor if you own a car with a carburetor.

The real poor think we are rich because we discard out-of-fashion clothing. It still covers you, right? Are you crazy? The real poor have to struggle to feed their children each day, many times having meals which consist of only a bowl of unadorned rice. The real poor live in bamboo shacks with dirt floors, glassless windows, and a hot plate. I've known families with less even than that, still too proud to ask for charity.

Our closest equivalent to that type of poverty are the homeless, yet we provide even for them. They have access to shelters, soup kitchens, and donated clothing. Were they willing to live in accordance with the norms of society, they could have welfare and job training, an apartment, and make their way up the ladder of economic success with help from the public funds. The long-term poor in our country (as opposed to those temporarily down on their luck) choose to be such. They prefer their vices and lack of rules to the benefits we provide for those who choose to live responsibly. That is to say, they choose to be poor. The lifestyle they have adopted is not compatible with anything else.

I am sick and tired of hearing about the "War on Poverty". All who have desired to win that war here have won it. We cannot, nor should we, force prosperity on those unwilling to live in a prosperous manner. For this reason, as Jesus said, the poor will always be with us. Unless we are willing to abrogate their freedom, this is simply a reality.

Let's rejoice in the wonders of our nation and society! We have access to a degree of wealth and economic equality unparalleled in human history. To deny that is to deny reality. All who are willing to do what prosperous people do become prosperous. That fact shouldn't make you angry; it should inspire you.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Indiana's Gay Marriage Worries

The day after the California Supreme Court usurped the law of the land, Hoosiers began panicking over whether such might occur here as well. Would the California decision create a legal precedent? If it went to the U.S. Supreme Court, would it stand? The people of Indiana are about as socially conservative as any you're likely to find in America. The worrying has begun.

I predict that not only will the decision be rendered null and void in November (by means of a California constitutional amendment), but that it will also be quickly overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court before then. Waiting to opine on this issue could create a great many problems. For example, would marriages that take place in the interim between the court decision and its being overturned be recognized in California? Would such marriages have to be honored in states that do not allow same-sex unions? The only way to avoid such a mess is for the higher courts to order a stay on the decision, and allow time for the case to be argued before the highest court in the land.

Those of us not living in California will still be affected by the decision, just as we were by Roe v. Wade. After all, Roe v. Wade technically only overturned one state's abortion laws. However, the decision created a legal precedent that had to be followed by all states. The lower courts must follow stare decisis, literally "the precedent stands". This means that the decisions of a higher court create a precedent that must be followed by all of the lower ones. Every similar case is therefore bound to be decided the same way. If the U.S. Supreme Court decides that "equal protection under the law" does indeed guarantee same-sex marriage rights, the entire country will be bound to legalize them under Article IV of the Constitution, which mandates that all legal acts in other states be given "full faith and credit" by the rest. In other words, if two women are married in California, Indiana is legally bound to recognize the validity of that union. If this isn't overturned, we're all in a lot of trouble.

We stand on the brink of a massive social upheaval. The entire basis for civilized society, the nuclear family, may soon be given a definition so broad as to prove meaningless. Any married person ought to be outraged, and demonstrate that outrage as vocally as possible. Write to your congressman. Write to your senators. Write to your local newspapers. Harass all involved until they understand full well that we will not permit the basic unit of society, the family, to be denigrated in this way. It is time for the Silent Majority to become the Shouting Majority!

We cannot stand idly by, complaining only amongst ourselves while the culture we know and love is pulled out from beneath us. Certainly those who have caused this dilemma have not made the "progress" they have by being quiet about their opinions.

Here are a few ways to contact those who need to hear our voices...

To write the Supreme Court, send a letter to the following address:

Public Information Officer
Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, DC 20543

Other people to contact:

Your Senator

Your Representative in Congress

The President's Office

Only by actually doing something can we preserve a sane society. As Edmund Burke once said, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!

Friday, May 16, 2008

California and Gay Marriage

I must have fled the great state of California just in the nick of time. How many times do the voters of California have to make it clear that they don't consider two same-gendered people doing unnatural things to each other a marriage?

This was already decided as early as 1975 and as recently as 2000. A marriage is a governmental recognition of the fundamental, natural basis for the propagation of the species-- a family. Gay relationships exist in direct contradiction of the natural order. Californians en masse recognize this fact, and have always expressed such in the voting booth. Now, four "sophisticated" individuals have turned the law, both man's and nature's, on its head. It's important, by the way, to know the etymology of the word sophisticated. It's root is the word sophistry, which means to alter the true meaning of something by means of over-complicating the issue. So, yes, the voters of California have an unsophisticated mentality when it comes to gay marriage, and that's a good thing. They have the common sense to see that just because you can shove a square peg into a round hole doesn't mean that's where it's supposed to go.

I joke around with people in Indiana that I come from the land of fruits and nuts, and also there's some agriculture. California has always fought the first salvo in every cultural battle, and this is no exception. As California goes, sooner of later the whole country will follow.

Having ranted enough to calm myself down, now let me address the issue logically on two levels: legally and biologically. The judges in question argued that the "equal protection under the law" clause mandates gay marriage. The reality is that no disparity ever existed. Gays and lesbians have always had the right to get married, so long as they chose to do so with someone of the opposite biological gender. That is the same exact right granted to straight people. Whether or not they choose to exercise this right, or to follow their own path, is their choice. Two straight men may not marry, even though it may make fiscal sense for them to do so (as in the recent film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry). There is equality under the law already. In fact, the phrase "equal protection under the law," taken literally, means that the laws on the books are interpreted the same way no matter to whom they are applied. The recent California Supreme Court decision actually contradicts this notion.

Biologically speaking, all sexually-reproducing creatures are geared for sex between males and females. This isn't just an argument about human behaviors and preferences. It is a matter of whether our culture honors the designs of nature enough to live by them. By officially recognizing the sexual union of two same-gendered individuals, we have parted with the natural order. We recognize marriage because it is an eternal, human truth; men and women must unite to keep the species alive. For our government and culture to continue to exist over time, such must occur. Thus, we honor and protect the union which nature has designed, in her wisdom, for that purpose. It behooves us to do so. The benefit of official recognizance is, in fact, a lure to couples to add the stability of legal responsibility to the family unit. It benefits society at large to have children raised in stable, long-term families. It is simply a good societal investment to encourage them. Moreover, the marriage between individuals of opposite genders has been a given throughout recorded history. Government did not create marriage, nor can it alter it. Marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of our society since it began.

There is no decent, rational argument in favor of gay marriage that will stand up to the light of reason. The best its proponents can come up with is: "Well... Why not?"

That's scant cause to overturn the basis of our entire civilization.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Vocal Minority Syndrome

If you haven't heard about it already, the Washington Post just printed an article about how Obama workers in Indiana were subjected to a surprising deal of racial animus, with people saying things like: "I'd never vote for a black person."

Now, for the sake of argument, let's assume they were not just making this up for publicity or to frame the debate around whether we're racist if we don't vote for Obama. Let's give them the benefit of the (admittedly valid) doubt. Does the heckling of a few racists condemn the state of Indiana?

If you've listened to local talk radio stations, the tone of the response is quite clear. We're all disappointed. Listening to the Pat White Show the day the article was published, I got the distinct impression that the vast majority of the residents of Allen County are non-racists. Are there a few racists here? Of course. They're everywhere, although in rapidly diminishing pockets. The fact that society (and yes, even Indiana society) despises their existence proves that we are not racists as a group.

One question, however, has not been addressed. What about those African Americans who are voting for Obama because he is black? I'm not saying that such is the case for all black people who favor Barack Obama; that would be a racist assumption to make. Still, I've heard quite a few African Americans who identify with Obama based on race, and this saddens me. This, also, is racism. To vividly illustrate this fact, let's flip the coin for a moment. If I were to say that I'm voting for McCain because he's the white candidate, would there be any question in any one's mind that I was a racist? If I were to say that I'm voting against Hillary because she's a woman, would that not make me a sexist? Yet, to vote for either Obama or Hillary because of race or gender is not condemned as bigotry, at least not by the mainstream media.

Racism is certainly extant in Indiana, just as it still clings desperately to life everywhere else. Those who carry that bigotry, while they may be loud, are few. The "Silent Majority" of us, all of those who didn't say anything racist, are not counted because we are quiet. To label the entire state because of a few idiots is a classic case of over-generalizing. Ironically, it's the same logical fallacy which lies at the root of racism.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Iraq War: Necessary or Not?

War is an evil. Let's get that out of the way so everybody is clear where I stand on the issue of human violence towards humans. It is evil. If we all loved one another, seeing ourselves in the context of divine creations, children of the same Father, the world would be a much better place.

I am sad to report, however, that not everyone sees things that way. There have been, are, and always will be those who see human life as just one more pawn to be played in the grand scheme of conquest and greed. Hitler was one of those, as were Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Fidel, and many others. Saddam Hussein was also one of them.

I have just read the book Saddam's Secrets by Georges Sada, the head of the Iraqi air force for many years under Saddam Hussein. He reports, from a vantage point at the top of Saddam's military, that chemical and biological weaponry was indeed a part of Iraq's armaments, even after the recent invasion. During the first Gulf War, Saddam ordered his military to drop them on Israel, but changed his mind at the last minute. He would often use them against his own people. He would brag to his cohorts about his ability to mislead and hide things from the U.N. inspectors, that is, when out-and-out bribery proved ineffective (which was rarely).

As American troops began the march to Baghdad, Saddam had three passenger airliners emptied out to be used as cargo planes. He loaded them with his weapons of mass destruction, and flew them to Syria, who agreed to store them (for a fee) until things blew over. At the same time, Saddam sent truckloads of chemical and biological weapons over the Syrian border under the pretext of offering emergency aid, as Syria had just suffered a natural disaster. Georges Sada received this information from the pilot of one of the passenger jets used for that purpose.

Saddam had also paid Chinese scientists millions of dollars to develop a nuclear bomb for him. This way, he could claim with a straight face that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program. It didn't; it was paying someone else for that. We can only thank God they never delivered.

Another source, Saddam's mistress, reveals that she witnessed meetings between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda at least twice, during which Saddam gave large sums of money to the organization. The idea that there was no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda is ludicrous. Saddam spread his money freely among rogues of all sorts in the Arab world. Doing so pacified them toward his regime, and caused problems for his enemies (namely us).

Did we have to go to war? No. We've never had to, not even after Pearl Harbor. Submission is always an option. We could have simply ignored the dangers, and allowed the Muslim extremists to wreak havoc on us as they wished. George W. Bush could have talked to Saddam, just as Obama wants to dialogue with our enemies today. In our culture, this is a sign of intelligence and reason. In Arab culture, this is a sign of weakness and vulnerability. Look what years and years of trying to pacify terrorists and tyrants has gotten Israel-- missiles from Gaza. What a brilliant move that was!

War is evil, but a temporary peace at the later expense of our children and families is far worse. Sometimes, leaders are called to choose the lesser evil. I believe that is just what our president has done. Let the simple and the naive ridicule and revile him; in the end, he ought to be judged by the fact that since September 11, 2001, we have yet to be attacked. You may question the methods, but not the results. He is responsible for the security of those he governs. I believe that he is supremely loyal to that responsibility. Unlike those whose quest seems to be the development of a positive image, both to the American public and to the rest of the world, President Bush will endure the hate-speech of liberals if the end result is our safety. You may take him to task on immigration, the budget, No Child Left Behind, and many other issues, but at least he has his priorities straight. National security is the one, essential function of government.

At the end of the day, if you aren't safe in your own country, what else matters?

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Coming Recession

An economic recession is coming, and soon. It is not because George W. Bush is doing a bad job. It's not because of Iraq. It's not because of the housing bubble or gas prices. The reason is far more mundane; it's simply time for a recession.

Anyone who has studied economics will tell you that recessions are a natural part of a market economy. They happen with regularity, and in fact they are predictable (if you pay attention to economics over the decades). Every decade has its recession. The recession is preceded by a slowdown in growth (just as we are experiencing right now) and a downturn in the stock market. Unemployment rises, and government revenues decrease. Companies streamline themselves to remain competitive. The weaker corporations and businesses die out, leaving the remaining economy stronger and more vital. The resulting economy is healthier, and thus begins to climb its way back out of the recession.

This is a process the economy goes through on a regular basis, a natural and necessary cleansing of the capitalist system. It is not pleasant, by any means. People suffer. Yet we are fortunate to live in a country compassionate enough to have developed a safety net. In the rest of the world, which always suffers worse than we do during these times, many are not so fortunate. A friend of Dinesh D'Souza once stated that he wanted to live in America because he always wanted to live in a nation where the poor were fat. In India, and much of the rest of our planet, the poor starve.

The government can either help the process go by quickly (by staying out of the way), or it can hinder the recovery by interfering and over-regulating the economy. Certain enterprises must fail. Those which are under-performing and badly planned need to make way for a bright new crop of entrepreneurs. This is how an economy remains vibrant, fresh, and job-producing. Those industrialized nations that interfere in this process always go through far worse times than we do during a recession, and they seem to last twice as long. Socialism keeps businesses on life support that should be euthanized. This is not good for the health of an economy.

We will go through a recession, though we are still a good distance away from it right now. A recession, after all, is not a decline in growth, but an actual shrinkage of the economy. That hasn't happened yet. It will still take a while for the slow-down to turn into a real recession; this is a process, not an event.

To lessen the impact, there are some very simple steps we can take. First, we need to open up drilling in the Dakotas, Anwar, and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Geologists report that when you combine the petroleum these regions contain, we have more than the Middle East. It infuriates me to hear our politicians whining that gas prices are high, then refusing to let us do anything to solve the problem. This leads to the second step-- refineries. We haven't built a new refinery in the United States in twenty years, yet the population here has exploded. Demand is higher, yet the supply, even with cheap oil, is limited. If we can't process the oil, the end-product will remain expensive despite the price of the ingredients.

Of course we should explore alternative fuels, but to do so exclusively at the expense of the economy is just plain stupid. If you want cheap electricity, give people a tax credit for ten thousand dollars toward the purchase of solar panels. The sun is a free resource, and people will gladly take advantage of it with such an incentive. No government money need be spent.

Another easy fix for the economy would be to tax imports from the countries we do business with the exact same amount as they tax our goods. Japan, for example, makes more money in tariffs from the sale of a GM vehicle there than GM does. With a fair-trade policy (as described above), we could not only decrease taxes on our own people, but also level the playing field for American corporations, both here and overseas. Many nations depend on us as a market for their goods. They would gladly get rid of their tariffs in order to remain competitive in our consumer market. The end result of such a policy would be either a booming export business for American products, a renewed home market for our own goods, or a mixture of both. Why we haven't already taken this step is mystifying to me.

Still, whatever we do, recessions will occur, not just here, but in the world economy as a whole. We'll continue to blame our politicians for this, but the mere fact that it is occurring everywhere at once ought to be sufficient evidence to any sane and rational person to the contrary. Alas, there are very few of those around anymore, or at least reporters studiously avoid putting them in front of a camera or microphone. Nevertheless, from the economic signs already in evidence, it's time to hunker down; it looks like we're in for some stormy weather.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kids Today...

It is my view that human nature does not change over time. Cultures shift and evolve. Morality ebbs and flows as people transition from total repression of instincts (and its inherent woes) to total expression of them (and the resultant social chaos). People change as they experience more and hopefully learn from that experience. Human nature, however, is a constant.

In this light, I can see the children I teach as actors in the current drama of a deteriorating society. Some of them are the defenders of morality. We love to have these students in class. They are the responsible, polite few who rarely, if ever, cause problems and give their best work every day. Others are the natural followers, who will go whichever way the most dominant personality nearby goes, for good or evil. Then we have the amoralists, those who believe in the concept of right and wrong only so far as it may negatively affect them at any given moment. These are the few who will attempt to steal from the prize box one moment, then stridently moralize you on the right to property when you confiscate their chewing gum.

These three groups each comprise about one-third of every class. Thus is their nature, and I believe it has always been so. The difference we see is not in the children themselves. It is cultural. Does our culture embrace and promote absolute, universal moral standards, or ever-shifting, individualized moral "preferences"? Do we drill into the kids individual responsibility and the civic duties of the individual, or do we promote and accept excuses based on a clannish, group mentality which exempts the individual from responsibility for his own circumstances? Or, perhaps more insidiously, do we do both simultaneously? I suggest it is this path we have chosen, and it is the most damaging of all. It costs us the trust and faith of our children.

We cannot, on the one hand, excuse the vices of groups of individuals based on poverty or racism, and on the other hand, promote the idea that each child is empowered to forge his own destiny. By admitting the prior attitude, we invalidate the latter. Students can see and recognize this. They are far less gullible than we imagine. They will therefore, having no consistent guidelines, seek the path of least resistance, going with their natures despite whatever we may try to teach them to the contrary. Sadly, this often results in tragedy. What we want is very often the worst thing for us.

I don't blame the children for the rise in behavior problems. We have brought it upon ourselves. Until we can present them with a consistent moral framework worthy of their respect, they will see us as arbitrary and hypocritical. We will have to fight the good fight each day to maintain respectful behavior (as we all do), not enjoy it inherently, as was the case many years ago. This is sad to say, but the truth is not always pleasant.

I hope that soon we will be mature enough, as a society, to connect the symptoms plaguing us to their true and proper causes. Only then will we have any chance at finding the cure.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Obama vs. Clinton: Ground Zero

Fort Wayne, Indiana has become ground zero for the Democratic nomination fight. I've already been called by an Obama representative, or at least my wife has (I answered for her; she's registered as an independent). The news is abuzz with rallies for Hillary at the park, or Obama at a local school, or Bill the Thrill at the convention center. Even the kids are excited about it.

I teach a bunch of fourth graders who are well aware of the candidates. They seem about as well informed as most of the adults. To them (and, I'm guessing, their parents) the question is: Do we want to elect the first woman or the first black man as president? Those students who mention policy say they don't want either to win because they'll raise taxes.

That statement shows the true color of Fort Wayne better than any. This is a heavily Republican town in a very Republican state. Sure, there are pockets of Democrats, mostly centered around downtown and the local college, but the vast majority here is conservative. Clinton, as I've written previously, couldn't even get one "Honk for Hillary" at the most crowded stoplight in town. Sure, the convention center is jammed when Bill comes to speak, but that's only because every liberal in the surrounding counties (including parts of Ohio) comes to see him. The rest of us just sigh and go on with our lives.

Frankly, most Hoosiers have lost interest, and I expect that voter turnout among Republicans will be quite low on May 6. I'm already hearing radio ads chiding Republicans to come to vote for local candidates even if they don't care to vote for our presidential nominee. Myself, I'm still going to vote for Romney, just like I voted for Alan Keyes three times in the past, without any hope of winning. I always vote for whomever I think is the best candidate, regardless of his chances of winning.

I think, in fact, it will be surprising just how many of us have that same mentality here. Indiana is used to having little or no say in the nomination process, but people still vote their conscience more often than not. Romney is fairly popular here, his faith notwithstanding. Mormons, after all, may be misunderstood as a group, but most people I know respect them as fellow-Christians. Had a certain "dirty trick" not occurred early on in the nomination process, a trick which kept Huckabee in the race so long that he even had to make fun of himself on Saturday Night Live over it, I'm quite certain Romney would have been the nominee. Oh well... Water under the bridge, as they say.

Still, the level of excitement over the role Indiana is finally getting to play is quite palpable, if limited to one side of the aisle. Operation Chaos (Rush Limbaugh's little gambit) is in full swing here, with Democrat operatives desperately trying to thwart any Republican sway in their nomination. Meanwhile, thanks to their invalidation of the Democrat vote in Florida, all of the liberals there who wanted their votes to count went for McCain, turning the tide in his favor.
(I wonder if that was a calculated move on the DNC's part.) Turnabout is fair play, unless it's Republicans turning the tables on Democrats.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why Wright Needs Obama to Lose

In order for hucksters such as Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and Jeremiah Wright to maintain their power and privilege, Barack Obama must not win the presidency. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not an Obama supporter. Still, facts are facts.

The aforementioned hate-mongers make a living getting people to buy into the phony idea that nothing has really changed in America. They portray America as a fundamentally racist institution, built on the backs of slaves. They see America only for the evils that some of her citizens have committed, and not for her kindness. They make money and stay on the news because (sadly) far too many people believe that a black man (or woman) has no real chance for success here.

This they preach despite the fact that none of them is personally impoverished, despite Oprah, despite Cosby, despite Clarence Thomas, despite Condoleeza Rice... indeed, despite the many thousands of other famous and successful African Americans respected by members of all ethnic groups. They will tell you that all of this is meaningless because we haven't yet elected a black man to the highest office in the land.

Now comes Barack Obama, ready to break this notion apart. What happens? His old pastor, Jeremiah Wright, rises to the surface like so much dross. Does he lie low? Nope. He makes a four day tour, appearing in front of a national audience. Does he attempt to sound more moderate? Of course not. In fact, he offers up even more juicy sound-bites to be played over and over on the airwaves. He accuses Obama of simply being a politician, of saying what he feels must be said to pacify the media.

What about Al Sharpton? He threatens a riot if the Democratic nomination doesn't go to Barack. Sure, this may seem like support, or at least Sharpton's version of it. In fact, however, Al Sharpton is slyly killing any chances Obama might have of winning the general election. Let's face it-- Al Sharpton knows precisely how most Americans feel about him. If he is able to get people to associate Barack Obama's candidacy with Sharpton-esque tactics and demagoguery, Obama will be through. We Americans staunchly refuse to be threatened into voting for anybody.

In my view, Barack Obama is being sabotaged. If he wins, what excuse can be used for the ills of the ghetto? It can't be racism. For the victim mentality to be preserved, Barack must go down.