Month: November 2014

What’s Important to You?

Politics is confusing.

So much positioning.

So many perspectives.

Few absolutes.

As we prepare for a new year and a potential new political climate, I want to lay out a few thoughts.

1. I tend to lean conservative in my political beliefs.  But don’t assume that I am a radical right wing nut job or whatever derogatory label you want to slap on me or others who lean conservative.

2. I happen to work for a news/talk radio station that carries Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.  They are 4 of the most listened to national radio talk show hosts. I will listen to them if I am in the car, depending on the topic they are discussing.  I do not agree with everything they say.  Each of them has their own agenda and it is a combination of gaining and retaining listeners and advertisers. I believe they are true to their own beliefs but some of them, notably Glenn Beck have changed their stance publicly and even apologized for the way he presented himself in the past.

3. I have listened to talk radio for 1/2 my life.  Started when I was in Detroit and was bored listening to music radio. I also listen to my local N.P.R. station because I enjoy some of their weekend programs and also their ability to take a deeper dive into some stories that never make it to the mainstream press.

4. I consider myself to be fairly well informed about things I care about. I don’t just jump on a bandwagon blindly.  I have a curious mind.  I could have been a detective or investigative scientist if I had not entered the radio broadcasting world as a teenager.  But I still take that curious approach to life both personally and professionally.

5. I tend to reserve judgement.  I believe that there is a reason for people to be passionate about the things they are passionate about.  I want to know why they are passionate and the root of that passion.  It helps me to understand more deeply the people and issues.

6. The Constitution of the United States of America is still the foundation for our Federal Government and identifies separation of  powers on many levels.  That includes separation of powers within the 3 branches of our Federal government. Also included is a separation between State and Federal governments. And last but not least, are specific rights of citizens.  Unfortunately, over the past 200+ years the politicians have whittled away at these separations and rights and even the branch of government that is supposed to be above the political leanings of left or right, the judicial branch is also influenced by biased judged who are either liberal or conservative.

7. An overhaul of certain areas of government are needed.  Theoretically it can be done.  A few years ago Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act which was a monumental change in how health care, health insurance and government interact.  But as difficult as it was to pass, it was a step in the wrong direction. Why? It gave more power to the Federal government and took away power from the states.  There are lot’s of good things in the law, but I don’t believe it was within the Federal governments constitutional authority and the changes should be made on a state by state basis. Time will tell. We really need to move to reduce the power of the Federal government in our lives or at least simplify the rules and regulations.  Taxation could be simplified.  I’m in favor of eliminating the I.R.S. and a whole host of taxes that are unconstitutional because they favor one group over another.  Instead a simple national sales tax that is paid when an item or service is purchased can replace our current mess.

8. Our government is self serving and not serving the people.  We have always had this to some degree, but I believe it is getting worse. People in power do what they can to keep their power.  The millions of dollars that are spent in elections is obscene.  It that money was spent on helping others with needs, we could help so many families instead of buying votes.  A co-worker of mine proposed a 12 year Federal government lifetime term limit. I’ve been thinking about this and like the concept.  Keep the two term limit for President of the United States and add this provision President, Vice-President, Senators and Congressmen. How would this work?  You get a total of 12 years to serve in any combination of those elected offices and then you are banned for life from serving again.

9. I believe in conversations and finding solutions. I believe in getting involved where we can and making a difference in peoples lives. The lives of our friends and families.  The people in our communities, the neighborhoods and our neighborhoods.  Break down the racial tensions.  Stop judging people based on who they are and begin to understand what they are about.  Look for the common. Expand your world by discovering the uncommon.  Your preferences are not mine all the time and that’s okay.

10. Get involved and take action.  Anyone can post something online.  But what about face to face? Over the years I have spent a portion of my time volunteering with a variety of non-profits.  In 2013 I started working with others at my church to adopt a neighborhood and make an impact.  Now in our 2nd year, I get to lead a group of volunteers who are doing incredible work and only God knows the ultimate impact we are having. This is not a government mandated or approved program. And fortunately our church removed some of the inside political process for us to do this kind of thing.  You can join us or join others for a cause.  You don’t even need any organization.  Just introduce yourself to a neighbor and sit down and talk.

There’s 10 of my thoughts on a few things I care about. What do you think? What’s important to you?

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Michael Brown Aftermath

Updated Wednesday 11/26/14

I think my Moms favorite word was Fair.

She wanted everything and everyone to be be fair.

My Dad was more of a realist.

He knew that some folks would have an advantage and others a disadvantage due to nothing that they had control over.

Monday night at 9pm the Prosecutor in Saint Louis County, Missouri read a prepared statement pertaining to a Grand Jury decision not to bring charges against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.  That shooting occurred over 100 days ago.

I recall watching the reports on TV the weekend of the shooting as eye witnesses told their story of what they saw or at least what they thought they saw.

The nation was outraged.  The original story was that a white cop shot an unarmed black youth.  As the weeks unfolded the story was enhanced and then altered and pretty soon we had a multitude of versions of what happened.

You can read the documents that were released after the announcement and you will see a mixed bag of testimonials.  Let me warn you there are 5647 pages here.   I have not read it and I probably won’t.

But here’s what I know:

Mike Brown is dead.

His family is grieving.

This is due to a series of unfortunate events that occurred, not an out of control cop who was determined to kill an unarmed black man.

That is why the Grand Jury decided not to indite the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown.

What bugs me is that the news media made this a racial issue.

It’s not.

Mike Brown was not targeted by Officer Wilson because he was black.

This is not to downplay the death of Mike Brown or to ignore the fact that there is racial inequality in our country.

But come on now, this became a public outrage when the media jumped on board and made this about race.

It is a private tragedy.

It can be talked about publicly as the issue of reducing racism needs to be addressed.  But that is not what has transpired here.

The President spoke in Chicago Tuesday evening and said he was going to hold a meeting or meetings on how to solve race relations and law enforcement.  That is a political stunt.  Having a meeting doesn’t solve the problem.  Dealing with the hearts and minds of people to remove racial bias and stereotypes is an ongoing exercise.

Pray for those involved with the Ferguson case.

Do what you can to eliminate racism.

Don’t confuse the two.

 

 

 

 

The People Who Give Up Their Rights

Yesterday I shared a few thoughts and an article on the dealings that contributed to the results of the 2014 mid-term elections.

Today, I want to focus on the apathy stupidity of the American Adults when it comes to politics.

The people who willingly give up their right to vote, by well, not voting.

Also the people who are willingly uninformed and uneducated about the issues and candidates who do vote, but do so blindly,

I work in marketing and advertising and my focus of study is on human relationship principles.

The media on the left and the right focus on what they believe will keep viewers, readers and listeners.  They are not interested in finding a middle ground, they have been led to believe that we want to rally around one view and not another and they make money perpetuating division by pointing out that the enemy is the other side and they are the hero.

So we have plenty of voters who are being fed one side of a story depending on the slant of the story tellers and they begin to believe the hype.

Or they simply get tired of the hype and tune out, disgusted with the whole process and become apathetic.

I understand the discouragement and disgust that many feel on both the left and right that leads them to bury their heads and wish it would all go away.

But I have a big problem with those people who are outspoken on one side or another who don’t even do the research to find truths behind all the mud slinging.

There was a local ballot issue in our county that was non-partisan in nature but I saw the supporters were mostly from one side of the political spectrum and the opposition was from the other side.

I spoke with one of my closest friends who is very outspoken politically about the issue before the election and she was unaware of the two positions on this ballot issue.  Before she went to vote, she did a little bit of research and then trotted off to the polls.  She voted her predictable straight ticket and then cast her vote on the ballot issue based on the propaganda from the ads she heard.  She essentially voted the opposite of what her political peers did, not because she understood the  differences, but because she listened to the political ads.  After the election we discussed who and what we voted for and she still has no idea what the simple facts are of the ballot issue.  How do I know?  She was able to quote almost word for word the wording of one side but had no clue what the other side was saying.

I did my research.  It wasn’t easy but I took some time before the final hours to read and research the issues and candidates that were going to be on my ballot.  I did not blindly support one party.  I voted for candidates all over the board and I was an informed voter.

Unfortunately too many voters are not informed and vote anyway.

And equally unfortunate is the number of people eligible to vote (age 18+) who don’t vote and use excuses on why they don’t participate.

The Underbelly of Political Power

It’s the day after.

I stopped into my fabled “north office”, the Firefly Coffee Shop for a bagel and beverage.

The politically outspoken owner and his liberal friends are discussing how the country is now going to hell that the Republicans won enough Senate seats last night to have a majority in both houses of Congress starting in 2015.

Earlier this morning I read the majority of an article by the left learning Washington Post that discusses the steps and mis-steps that were done by the politicians to end up with the results we will live with for the next couple of years.

I encourage you to read it yourself at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/battle-for-the-senate-how-the-gop-did-it/2014/11/04/a8df6f7a-62c7-11e4-bb14-4cfea1e742d5_story.html .

Basically there is a giant chess game going on that involves all the parties and it is as fascinating as any TV Drama that I’ve seen.  I’m thinking about the CBS series “The Good Wife” which shows a tiny glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

I’m not going to say that all the dealings are good or bad, they just are.

One thing that disturbs me however is the amount of money spent in these elections.  Not just millions, hundreds of millions of dollars spent to influence the voters that the other person is a scum bag.

If half of the cash that was spent, was used instead to directly fund the needs of the people that these politicians claim to serve, that is a change I could support and so would many others no matter what their political leanings.

More election aftermath thoughts coming…