My Views on the Amendments to the Florida State Constitution

image
The state of Florida has a provision by which laws can be added to the books by creating amendments to the state constitution that are voted on by the electorate. This is not without controversy as special interest groups will try to get an amendment passed by playing on emotions and taking advantage of the general population’s ignorance on a subject. Such was the case several years ago, when animal rights activist pushed through an amendment banning birthing cages for pregnant sows. Other times amendments are necessary to restrict the power of our elected officials, because there is a widespread mistrust in the ability of our elected officials to do the right thing no matter which party they represent. Such is the case with some of the amendments presented here. This election cycle there are twelve proposed amendments on the ballot which is why this post is so long.  I am not an expert in legalese, this is my understanding of what these bills mean. In the interest of inspiring my readers to think for themselves, I have given the reasons why I am voting the way I am, along with some valid reasons why you may vote differently. If you want to see the exact wording of the proposed amendments and get eyestrain and a headache in the process (you’re welcome) I encourage you to check out this website. https://dos.myflorida.com/media/699824/constitutional-amendments-2018-general-election-english.pdf

AMENDMENT 1: INCREASED HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION
Placed on ballot by State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT.
It will provide many middle-class homeowners with a tax break. It will force local governments to be fiscally responsible and to find other sources of revenue such as user fees and sales taxes. These alternate sources of funding are fairer than property taxes because they spread the burden to those who actually use the services, and to all residents and visitors of a community, including renters and temporary residents.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO.
This law will decrease property tax revenue to local governments. You may feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 2: LIMITATIONS ON PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS
Placed on ballot by State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This would extend an already existing tax break due to expire in 2019. At first I was against this amendment but I have since changed my mind (we women can do that you know). Letting the tax break expire, would make property taxed go up for small business owners and landlords.  The increase would then be passed on to renters and would make rents prohibitively  high for the people who can least afford expensive rents.  There is already a shortage of affordable rental properties and this would make it worse. It would hurt small business owners making it harder for them to hire and expand.I know it is very Liberal of me to oppose a tax break, but here is my justification. First of all,  (FYI, I don’t believe luxury items should be subject to special taxes either). From what I could see, if the existing exemption expires, there is nothing in existing law that would prohibit local governments from implementing their own tax incentives to commercial entities to entice them to move into their territory, or to stay. BTW, neither amendment 1 or 2 affect school tax assessments.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO                                                                                                 You may feel that since this amendment does not apply to homestead exemptions it is not a necessary tax break. It applies to commercial properties and second homes. You may feel the ownership of secondary homes or vacation properties is a luxury and it seems unethical to provide a tax break for luxury items. It will decrease the revenue for local governments

 

AMENDMENT 3: VOTER CONTROL OF GAMBLING IN FLORIDA
Placed on ballot by citizen’s initiative
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT.
I’m kind of neutral when it comes to gambling. I can see both the pros and cons. This amendment will put the control of casino gambling in the hands of the voters, where it should be, instead of deep pocketed lobbyists. Usually I feel most laws should be enacted by the Legislature, but casino gambling is a very divisive subject and the lobby for it is very well-funded, making the corruption of our representative more likely. Basically, I don’t think they can be trusted to uphold the will of the people on this one.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO.
You would enjoy having a casino closer to home. It could bring revenue to local government entities possibly lowering taxes. You may feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 4: VOTING RESTORATION AMENDMENT
Placed on ballot by citizen’s initiative
I VOTE NO ON THIS AMENDMENT
This amendment would restore voting rights to nonviolent former felons. While I support giving not violent felons their voting rights back, the support of this bill by far-left groups such as the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, make me suspicious of its true motives. This law is more about increasing the voting base of the Democratic Party than fairness. In a different political climate, I might have been in favor of this.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE YES.
You feel it is unfair to restrict the voting rights of nonviolent offenders after they have paid their debt to society.

AMENDMENT 5: SUPERMAJORITY VOTE REQUIRED TO IMPOSE, AUTHORIZE, OR RAISE STATE TAXES OR FEES
Placed on ballot by Florida Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This bill would require a two-thirds majority of the legislature to pass bills that would increase state taxes or fees. This law would force the Legislature to be more responsible fiscally. In the unfortunate likelihood that Andrew Gillum becomes governor, making it harder to raise taxes or fund entitlement programs will become imperative. This law is opposed by the far left, Southern Poverty Law Center.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO
This bill may make it difficult for the State Legislature to raise needed revenue. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 6: RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS; JUDGES
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This is the first of several bundled bills on this ballot. That would make me likely to vote no on all of them, but since I actually support each separate provision in this bill, I am in favor of it. This bill protects the rights and safety of crime victims. Increases the mandatory retirement age of judges and prohibits judges from deferring to government agencies to interpret the law. I suggest that you read the complete wording that enumerates all the rights of victims here, https://dos.myflorida.com/media/699824/constitutional-amendments-2018-general-election-english.pdf
as it is too lengthy to explain in detail. I don’t think a competent judge is going to become incompetent just because he is five years older, and it is the job of judges to interpret the law, not non-judicial government agencies. This amendment is opposed by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center which is a good reason to support it.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO
You think it is stupid to bundle unrelated items into one amendment in order to confuse voters and ensure the passage of unpopular portions of a bill. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.
You think 75 is too old to be a judge. You think that judges should not be restricted on the resources they use to interpret the law.

AMENDMENT 7: FIRST RESPONDER AND MILITARY MEMBER SURVIVOR BENEFITS; PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This is another bundled amendment, but since I support all the provisions in it, I support it. This bill would grant death benefits and educational expense wavers to survivors of first responders and military members killed in the line of duty. It also requires a supermajority vote by university trustees and board of governors to impose fees. It also established the state college system as a constitutional entity. I support giving benefits to first responder survivors. I admit, that as a spouse of a first responder and retired Air Force Master Sergeant, I may be a bit biased, but I feel that if the tax payers of the state of Florida approve this bill, it shows that they are grateful to the deceased and their surviving families for their sacrifice and service. I hope and pray that I will never have to be a recipient of that gratitude. Providing governance and structure to the state college system will ensure consistency and making it more difficult to raise fees will help to make higher education more affordable. I do wish however that the bill applied to tuition as well as fees.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO
You feel that survivors’ benefits for military families at the state level are redundant since the federal government already pays them. You feel that survivors’ benefits for first responders creates another entitlement program. You feel that the control of state colleges should remain at the local level. You think it is stupid to bundle unrelated items into one amendment in order to confuse voters and insure the passage of unpopular portions of a bill. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 8:
The Florida State Supreme Court determined that this amendment did not qualify for ballot.
(though they appear on the ballot, the other “bundled” amendments may suffer the same fate)

AMENDMENT 9: PROHIBITS OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS DRILLING; PROHIBITS VAPING IN ENCLOSED INDOOR WORKPLACES
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This amendment prohibits oil and gas drilling in state-owned waters, and it prohibits vaping in enclosed indoor workplaces. First of all, I hate vaping. While at present there is no conclusive evidence that vaping is as harmful as cigarette smoking, there is no evidence that it isn’t, either. Most of the juices smell sickening sweet, and I would hate to be sitting next to someone at a restaurant or sporting event who’s puffing that stinky white steam my way. Still, I don’t think a constitutional amendment was the way to go here. Until there is conclusive evidence of the harm of second-hand vapor (like there is with cigarettes), vaping restrictions should be left up to local governments. Nevertheless, because I strongly support the other provision in this amendment, I will vote yes on it. I am not inherently anti oil company or anti drilling. I believe in energy independence as a matter of national security, and there should be, with reasonable restrictions, drilling on public lands. While all oil spills incur varying degrees of environmental damage, spills in the ocean or inland waterways are especially devastating. A spill off the Florida coast, or one of its rivers or lakes would take a nearly incalculable toll on the environment and the economy of the state. It has been my observation that the big oil companies are either unable or unwilling to devote the necessary resources to develop more effective ways to mitigate the damaged caused by large-scale oil spills. The responses always seem to be too little and too late to stop massive destruction. Therefore, until the oil companies show a greater willingness to prevent and mitigate spills, I oppose drilling in those places. At first this might seem to be a liberal stance, but as a Christian, I believe that we have a divine responsibility to be good stewards of this earth G-d blessed us with. Good stewardship is a decidedly conservative attitude, but that is a subject for another blog post.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO
You believe that offshore drilling will lead to lower fuel prices and increased energy independence. You believe that offshore drilling will bring more jobs to the state and be a boon to the economy. You own stock in or are employed by an oil company. You enjoy vaping in public places and want to continue to do so. You think it is stupid to bundle unrelated items into one amendment in order to confuse voters and ensure the passage of unpopular portions of a bill. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 10: STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE AND OPERATION
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This amendment makes a state Department of Veteran’s Affairs a constitutional requirement.
It creates an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Department of Law Enforcement. It ensures the election in all Florida counties of Sheriffs, Property Appraisers, Supervisors of Elections, Tax Collectors, and Clerks of Court, and removes the counties’ ability to abolish, change the term or transfer the duties of these elected offices. This is another bill with too many unrelated moving parts. I have some mixed feelings about the issues in this bill. Florida already has a Department of Veteran’s Affairs and I do not oppose making it permanent. I don’t necessarily oppose creating an Office of Domestic Security, though there will be the issue of how to fund it. I support preserving the rights of county citizens to vote for the various county offices, rather than have them appointed by the powers that be.
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO VOTE NO
The amendment doesn’t specify how to fund the Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism. The amendment removes the ability of smaller counties to consolidate elected offices. You think it is stupid to bundle unrelated items into one amendment in order to confuse voters and ensure the passage of unpopular portions of a bill. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 11: PROPERTY RIGHTS; REMOVAL OF OBSOLETE PROVISION; CRIMINAL STATUTES
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I STILL HAVE MIXED FEELING ABOUT THIS ONE. I WILL PROBABLY VOTE NO.
This amendment repeals the ban on owning property by persons ineligible to become citizens and, removes wording for a repealed constitutional requirement for high-speed rail systems. This bill will mean that suspects will be prosecuted under the new provisions of a law if the law has been changed before the suspect is brought to trial. It allows for the prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute. I feel that the ban on aliens owning property should remain. I think the states should have the right to restrict the ownership of real property by those who for whatever reason are ineligible for citizenship. I agree with removing the wording for the requirement for high-speed rail systems. This requirement has been repealed and never should have been an amendment in the first place. It seems fair to me that if the law changes before you are brought to trial, that you be tried under the new provisions. However, this amendment is supported by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center and that makes me suspicious of it.
WHY YOU MAY VOTE YES
You feel that ownership of real property should not be restricted. You feel the wording removing the requirement for high-speed rail should be removed. You think it is stupid to bundle unrelated items into one amendment in order to confuse voters and ensure the passage of unpopular portions of a bill. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 12: LOBBYING AND ABUSE OF OFFICE BY PUBLIC OFFICERS
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This amendment restricts public officers from serving as paid lobbyist and further restricts former public officers from serving as paid lobbyists until 6 years after leaving office. It prohibits pubic officials from using their office for personal gain. This amendment helps to ensure that public officials remain accountable to the people who elect them, not special interest groups who pay them to lobby.
WHY YOU MAY VOTE NO
You feel that 6 years is too long for an official to be prohibited from lobbying after leaving office. You feel that state laws should only be enacted by the State Legislature, not by amendments to the state constitution.

AMENDMENT 13: ENDS DOG RACING
Placed on ballot by Constitutional Revision Commission appointed by the State Legislature
I VOTE YES ON THIS AMENDMENT
This is a tricky one. This amendment will end by 2020, dog racing connected with wagering. When I think of the kind of people who would enjoy gambling on a dog race, I’m reminded of the kind of people who enjoy wagering on cock fights or dog fights. Dog racing is cruel. The dogs suffer frequent serious injuries and are kept in inhumane conditions. The revenues dog racing brings in are not sufficient justification for this kind of activity.
WHY YOU MAY VOTE NO Many people feel that this phrase in the amendment”-The humane treatment of animals is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida.”, leaves an open door for animal rights groups to argue that hunting, fishing, horse-racing, rodeos, basically anything the group feels is cruel, could be declared unconstitutional.  I don’t see it that way.  I see that phrase as an explanation as to why dog racing is cruel.

 

 

Advertisements

9/11 My Thoughts

Every generation has it’s defining moments.   Those events where you can remember where you were and what you were doing at that time.   I can remember three such events during my lifetime, the moon landing, the Challenger explosion,… 9/ 11.  I know we all have our recollections of that day.  Here are mine.

We were stationed at RAF Lakenheath, in England at the time.  There were two other bases nearby and we were living in the housing units just outside of one of those bases.   The circular street, called a close, had about twenty-five, neat brick houses surrounded by a fence.  It was just outside of the main gate of RAF Feltwell, just outside of a village with the same name.

“G” was taking his nap and I turned on the TV to CNN.  It was nearly two o’clock in the afternoon.  I watched what I thought was a report about a terrible airline accident.  Then, live on the TV I watched as a second airliner circled around and crashed into the South Tower.  As I sat transfixed watching the events unfold, it still hadn’t sunk in that this was a deliberate attack.  Then came the crash at the Pentagon.   I know at some point during this time I must have prayed.  Prayers for the people at the Pentagon, prayers for the safety of my family and my husband’s family even though they were thousands of miles from New York and DC.  And prayers for the people trapped inside a house of horrors as I watched through the TV screen as the South Tower collapsed.   I knew life on base was about to get very complicated.  My mind turned to some mundane thoughts.  “Did I have enough milk and bread?  What about diapers?   Heaven forbid I run out of diapers.

It was just after three pm, school had just gotten out and “A” came rushing through the kitchen door.  “Mom, I left my back pack on the play ground and we have to go back and get it.” “We’ll have to hurry before they lock the gates” I told her.  “Why would they lock the gates? “ She asked, unaware of what had just happened.  “I’ll tell you later.” I knew that any minute the base would be going into Threatcon Delta and if the base was locked down we might be stuck there for hours. I grabbed “G” and buckled him into his stroller, grabbed my purse and a couple of diapers, just in case.  We ran a block to the street that separated the houses from the main gate of the base.  As I showed the guard my ID, I asked him how long we had before he would be locking down.  He gave me a strange look and said he wasn’t closing the gate.  Obviously he didn’t know yet.  We ran to the playground, found the backpack, then ran the couple of blocks back to the gate.   We crossed the street just as the guard pulled the big iron gates, that would block vehicles from coming on to the base, closed with a loud clang.

Why did we have to run?  Why did they close the gates?  How do you tell an eight-year-old child that we are at war and maybe in danger?  I had to be straightforward.  “A” would not accept a half-truth.  We sat down and watched as the events continued to unfold on the TV.  Some people thought that it was wrong to let a child see the coverage.  But I have never lied to my children even when the news might be hard to bear.   The phone rang.  It was the hubs calling to say he would be home late.  “I know,” I said.  Then hung up the phone.  I know at sometime during the evening I called my family.  Even though I knew they were fine, I need to hear it from them, and “A” needed to know that they were OK.

The next morning, the gates to our housing unit were locked.   In front of the pedestrian gate where the kids would meet the lollipop lady that helped them across the road, was a Humvee with a .50 caliber machine gun on top.  For the next three days we were locked in.  Only the active duty military members were allowed in or out on their way to and from work.  No school, and very little information about what we were supposed to do.  This was new territory for us military spouses.  Some kept their blinds closed, others kept their lights off after dark.  The BX was closed, the Commissary was closed.  After a few days the walls began to close in.  We decided it was safe to let our kids play outside.  Under the watchful eyes of the guard, we walked by the gate.  There on the other side of the street in front of the entrance to the base was a mound of flowers.  Our English neighbors showed their support in so many ways.  The Queen even ordered that “The Star Spangled Banner” be played at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.  The only time another country has been so honored.

Slowly we settled in to what was now the “new normal”.  The Humvee was replaced with a portable guard shack.  The gates were open, but were filled with iron obstacles that resembled giant jacks.  The kids having to show ID’s to the gate guard,  the vehicle searches and the dogs became routine.  As we once again returned to the villages we were often greeted with, “we’re so glad to see you out and about”.  It wasn’t the greeting of shop owners, glad for the returning business; it was the kind of greeting you would give a friend who was finally outside after recovering from a serious illness.

The whole experience was surreal.  As I went about my normal routine, it seemed somehow inappropriate to do so.   After so many had lost their life, it seemed wrong to go to the market, to go out to eat or to the pub, or go to London to do some Christmas shopping.  But carry on we did, because to do otherwise, was to let the terrorists win.

My most poignant memory of that time did not happen on 9/11 or the days following.  It came several months later.  “A” was learning patriotic songs in music class.  In her backpack I found a paper the music teacher had given them, and this was what she had doodled on the page.

911

The patriotism, the pride, the tribute of an eight-year-old girl.  There is hope for this country after all.

 

 

Truth, Justice and the American Way

In the title of my blog, you know exactly what you are going to get.  This isn’t a news site, or an educational reference blog.  Though I would like to be, I am not a journalist. I am exactly what the title says, a middle-aged housewife opining on the state of the world today.  Nevertheless, I try to be truthful in what I have to say, to back up my opinions with facts whenever possible.  It’s not enough to just be opinionated, I need to be at least somewhat educated about the things I post about. I think there is power in the truth, and right now in this country it is in very short supply.

One thing the left does with expert precision is distort the truth. Very rarely do we catch them in an outright lie or fabrication.  Instead they selectively edit, use half-truths, and provocative headlines to manipulate the facts to support their narrative. They repeat inflammatory talking points over and over, until the naive and uneducated believe them as fact.  This is what we have come to expect from the Leftists, unfortunately many of us on the Right have been playing the same game.38273577_2067012506936032_4601916191894667264_o

Memes like this circulate regularly on social media sites.  It distorts the truth.  While President Trump has indeed donated his first quarter 2018 salary to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, he did not designate it to go rebuilding military cemeteries.  “So what?” You might ask. “The spirit of the statement was true, what does it matter if the details are a little off”.  It matters because the truth is the most powerful tool we have.  In this era of,   academic indoctrination,”fake news”, politically correct “double speak”, and even the manipulation of algorithms to effectively censor conservative viewpoints, the truth matters more than ever.  As Conservatives and especially as Christians, we have a responsibility to evaluate what we post and share carefully.  To the best of your ability, vet the websites you use, to make sure they are factual and trustworthy.  Remember if the post or meme elicits a strong emotional response, whether you agree with it, or it makes you angry, the creator of it might just be trying to manipulate you.

Trump’s America/The Handmaid’s Tale

There is something compelling about dystopian literature. For all the bleakness of living in various totalitarian societies, there’s always that one person who dares to hope. Who courageously fights against the evil overpowering them, sometimes in vain. Such is the heroine Offred, in the Handmaid’s Tale.

Like any good dystopian fiction, you read or watch and see the parallels in our own society. Margaret Atwood didn’t just imagine what the future could look like, she used real examples, things happening even today in various parts of the world to bring realism to her story. The Handmaid’s Tale makes for riveting television. The story is captivating, it is well written and acted. What it isn’t is original………or brave.

At its core the Handmaids Tale is trite, and unimaginative. It’s simply another version of the well-worn, overused theme that Fundamentalist Christians are a cesspool of hypocrisy that subjugates and devalues women. Never mind that women in Western nations, (you know, Christian nations) have more freedom and opportunity than women anywhere else in the world.

To be truly audacious how about a tale that is frighteningly close to becoming reality. A story of life in a Sharia inspired America. Instead of reimagined nun’s habits, the women would wear stylized burkas, men would read from the Quran before raping their servants, and instead of Gilead, we would now be called New Mecca.

Or how about a radical Feminist utopia. A nation run completely by women. Men could not own property, hold any position of authority, or vote. They would live in squalid colonies, waiting to be chosen to donate sperm which would then be artificially inseminated into women ready to bear children. Sex for pleasure would only be allowed in lesbian liaisons with other females. Children once weaned would be turned over to the state to be raised and educated. Freeing the women from the burden of child rearing so they could pursue lucrative careers or artistic endeavors.

Pushing the envelope in Hollywood obviously doesn’t mean what it used to. You would not find any producer or studio in Hollywood interested in making a movie with the above-mentioned themes. In this day of attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the pink hatted women’s marches and violent Antifa protests, I doubt anyone in the entertainment industry has that kind of courage anymore.

The Contradiction of Trump Support

Donald Trump

Donald Trump attends the Hank’s Yanks 1st Annual Golf Classic at Trump Golf Links on Monday, July 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/APhttp://rack.1.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE1LzA3LzIzL2E5L0RvbmFsZFRydW1wLmYyMjJhLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/291253b0/6f3/Donald-Trump-1.jpg

 

I’ll be the first to admit, I am not a fan of Donald Trump. He says and Tweets cringe worthy things everyday. He steps right into the traps the Leftist media sets for him, then walks back what he said. No, he is not a paragon of virtue, a bastion of integrity or a fountain of wisdom, and the Left feasts on these flaws the way buzzards swarm around road kill. The leftist media pour over every statement, every tweet, every post ready to skewer and slander the President in ways they never would have considered had he been a Liberal Progressive.

Whenever there is interaction between Leftists and Conservatives there is an incredulity in the way the Leftist approaches the conversation. Even if they don’t say it, the question is there,”how can you possibly support such a man?” They are asking the wrong question.

They should be asking, “what is so wrong with leftist ideology that rational, moral, intelligent people would rather support someone like Donald Trump than that ideology?”

I don’t support President Trump by overlooking his many character flaws, I support him because the Leftist agenda is so immoral, so corrupt, so wrong for our country and indeed the world, that I have no choice.

The Grownups vs David Hogg

There has been a lot of talk about “common sense gun regulation”. Most of this talk is simply a back door way to introduce the banning of certain types of guns, which will ultimately lead to the banning of guns altogether. While I generally agree with the pro Second Amendment faction, there is one regulation that I am in complete agreement with and believe it should become law. I believe that the age to purchase a gun, any gun, should be raised to twenty-one. Let me explain why.

As science shows, and most parents of teenagers can attest, the frontal lobe of the brain, the “judgement center,” is not fully developed until the late twenties. Next to preschoolers, this makes college agers one of the most impressionable groups. The Left exploits this to push its agenda. From the Hippies of the Sixties, to the Antifa movement today, the Left exploits the idealism and lack of life experience this group possesses to further its agenda. College campuses have ceased being places where young people gain wisdom and life skills to become Progressive indoctrination centers. The entertainment industry reinforces the agenda, and social media gives this group a place to sound off with the like-minded, instead of having face to face conversations with those of differing viewpoints.

Now, since the  Parkland Shooting, the Left is using these youngsters as spokes persons.  They treat them as experts with authority and allow people who are barely more than children to shape policy.   Regulations that will affect our way of life could be dictated by young people too naïve to know they are being used, and that should frighten us all.

You see, it really isn’t about raising the age to buy a gun, it’s about raising the legal age of adult hood for everything, from buying cigarettes to voting.  Especially voting. It may be  one of the most effective ways to combat the Leftist indoctrination of our young people. One argument against raising the age of legal adulthood is that if you can serve in the military at eighteen you should be old enough to vote.  This is easily solved. Military service should confer legal adulthood on you. If you can show a valid military ID, or DD214 showing an honorable discharge, you can drink, buy a gun and vote. No matter your age.

I am not anti-youth I know there are exceptions.  Many parents have been much more successful than I at combating the Leftist influence in their own homes.  I am encouraged by the young adults who are turning from the lies of the Left, but the numbers just aren’t there yet to stop those raised with an entitlement mentality, who truly believe that those in my generation have caused all their problems and the government is the only solution.  Even our Founders realized that life experience is a necessary component of leadership, that is why you have to be at least thirty-five to become the President.

 

 

Gun Control, Divided We Fall

I am disgusted. After seventeen people lost their lives last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, We lost our collective minds….again. From news headlines to social media posts, pundits and politicians, everyone has something to say. Whether Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal Progressive, most of what’s being posted is nothing more than ignorant emotionally charged talking points, none of it promoting anything truly objective or useful. The Far Left uses every mass shooting as a platform to push their anti-gun agenda. The ultimate, though unstated, goal of which is to eliminate the private ownership of all firearms. The Far Right then pushes back, hiding behind the Second Amendment, to push it’s ultimate, though unstated, goal of complete and unrestricted access to all firearms. Most of us don’t espouse either extreme, but we lean Left or Right. It seems no one is centrist in this debate, though many claim to be. There are valid points and arguments on both sides, but we have dug in our heels, armed ourselves with our favorite talking points and have stopped listening to each other. The sad outcome of this obstinacy will be more needlessly lost lives.

To restore some reason and civility to this debate, both sides must accept some inevitable truths. Those of us on the Right must realize that the majority of Americans support universal background checks. Many also support expanding the minimum purchase age to include shotguns and rifles. It is inevitable that there will be change to gun control policy. Rather than opposing this change outright, we should take control of the narrative. We should support legislation that prevents the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining firearms, without restricting the rights of law-abiding adult citizens to purchase them.

Those on the Left like to hold the rest of the world up as the paragon of virtue when it comes to the possession of firearms. They must understand that the United States is unique in its treatment of firearms ownership. The United States is one of only three countries that has a Constitutional right to gun ownership. It was the first to protect this right in its founding documents, and the only one that has no Constitutional restrictions against it. Second Amendment proponents understand that this amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It has to do with a citizen’s right to protect himself and his property. Whether it is from an intruder or an overreaching tyrannical government. This amendment protects the tools by which we can defend liberty. Liberty for everyone, Right, Left or somewhere in between. The only way the Second Amendment will ever be repealed is with a bloodbath that will forever split out nation in two. Is that what you really want the ultimate legacy of the Liberal Progressive movement to be?

Here are my personal positions on this issue. I’m pretty sure Leftists will hate them, and Conservatives will think I’m selling out, but this is just common sense to me.

I support universal background checks with an exception for guns willed to or gifted to family members. However, the law should hold responsible family members who knowingly buy guns for another family member who wouldn’t pass a background check.

I support increasing the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from eighteen to twenty one. The law should apply only to the purchase of a weapon. Persons under the age of twenty one should be allowed to posses and use a firearm under the supervision of an adult.

I support training in firearms operation, safety, maintenance and law. I would not oppose this being mandatory for the purchase of a firearm.

I support the banning of “bump stocks”.

I support increased funding to diagnose and treat the mentally ill. While compassion for mentally ill persons is important, when it comes to firearms, the safety of the patient and the public should be the main concerns. However to protect the rights of a patient, a person would have to be declared unfit to possess a firearm by a licensed mental health professional.

I support holding accountable the agencies responsible for performing the background checks for gun ownership. I also support holding accountable the agencies that fail to report dangerous individuals. The inability or unwillingness of these agencies to enforce the already existing gun laws is a great threat to public safety and will render any reform of gun law useless.

I oppose the banning of so-called “assault style” weapons. This is an unquantifiable term that concerns the cosmetics of a weapon rather than its action. It is a term meant to play on the emotions of people unfamiliar with firearms.

I oppose the banning of high-capacity magazines. It places an unnecessary restriction on law-abiding gun owners, and a well-trained marksman can change magazines fast enough to make such a ban useless. Again, it is a knee jerk reaction, meant to play on the emotions.

I oppose any form of gun registry or database of gun owners. To require gun owners to register their firearms and to maintain a database of those persons and their residences goes completely against the spirit and purpose of the Second Amendment.

Freedom of Speech, Freedom From Thought and the NFL Insanity

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  (The First Amendment of the United States Constitution)

It seems as though my beloved United States of America has lost its ever-loving collective  mind.  Never in my lifetime, have I seen such asininity on full display from entertainers, athletes, so-called community leaders, and the men and women we elect to represent us. Our President types out more Tweets than an emo teenager, NFL players, take a knee during the National Anthem, disrupters of all kinds try to impede the Democratic process, and rioters destroy their own neighborhoods. Politicians and community organizers pander to any group they can label as a victim, and the white supremacists pander to the only group left, white Christian males. Feelings trump facts; everyone wants to be heard, but nobody wants to listen; right and wrong are whatever you want them to be, and the truth no longer matters. It makes me want to stand up and shout as loud as I can “Can’t we all just grow up and get along?!”

The participants in all this insanity believe that their words and deeds are sanctioned by the Constitution; that the First Amendment is a protective shield that gives them the right to say and do whatever they want without consequence. Well, no, it doesn’t.  Since apparently, the Constitution and the mindset of the men who wrote it are no longer taught in public school, it looks like it’s up to me, the Middle Aged Housewife, to give you all a common sense, middle class, refresher course.

Let’s start with “freedom of religion”.  This part of the amendment was created to prevent the Federal Government from establishing an official national religion.  Many people came to this land to escape from religious persecution in their homelands, and being able to worship G-d how they saw fit was important to them.  Interestingly, this amendment makes no mention of the “separation of church and state”.  That statement was made by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, confirming that there is a wall between the government and religious practice.  This was meant to assure religious leaders that the government could not dictate religious practices.It was  not meant to infer that politicians, public officials and educators, could not rely on their personal principles, religious or otherwise, to guide them in their decision-making. When public schools ban prayers, and public buildings remove copies of “The Ten Commandments”, they in reality are violating the First Amendment.  However, we Christians must realize that while this amendment was meant to protect our religious rights, it also protects the rights of non-Christian belief systems.  This means that a ridiculous statue of a Satanic goat ministering to children has just as much a right to be in front of the courthouse as a stone with The Ten Commandments,  a Cross, a Nativity Scene or a Menorah.  As individuals, we have the right and the responsibility to practice our beliefs, and to bring our children up with the knowledge that under our secular form of government, all religions have an equal right to exist, but that doesn’t mean that all forms of religion are equally benevolent or beneficial.

In my next post, I’ll explain my take on Freedom of Speech.

 

 

Hell Hath No Fury

A little advice for all you men out there. Never, and I mean NEVER, mistake a woman’s silence for acceptance, approval, or agreement. It is a woman’s nature to talk about an issue, sometimes infuriatingly so, until she deems the problem solved. The solution will almost always require some sort of action on the part of the man, a change of habit, a change of attitude, an apology, or just listening and respecting her feelings on a subject. If you disagree with her, she wants an explanation, why you feel the way you do about a subject.  To her, discussion is intimacy, because she loves you, she wants to know what makes you tick, and she assumes that because you love her, you want to know what’s on her mind as well. To a woman, ignoring her or dropping the subject is the same as saying “you do not matter to me”.  You may think the silence is a welcome break from all the nagging and yammering, but trust me it is not. If a woman feels that talking about an issue is no longer productive, she hasn’t changed her mind, she has written you off, and if this is a woman you want in your life, this is not some place you want to be. It means that there is a hurricane churning and building strength out there on the horizon and you do not want to be on the beach when that baby hits land.

With Liberty and Justice for All

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A2016.11.12_Anti-Trump_Protest_Washington%2C_DC_USA_08735_(22778715758).By Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Veritas, as a Conservative and a Christian, there is no higher moral imperative than to seek out the truth. Even when it doesn’t gel with my preconceived notions about the world and my place in it, undeniable truth must be accepted. Personal integrity, and personal responsibility are the defining values for most Conservatives.  It is what the left both admires and fears in us.  To us, truth matters, character matters, justice matters. We play fair, we play by the rules.  To the Progressives, Conservative support of Donald Trump just doesn’t make sense.  He has fudged the truth on many occasions.  He says and tweets cringe worthy statements on a daily basis. He’s arrogant and petulant.  He displayed a litany of character imperfections throughout his campaign, and continues to display them into his presidency.   The Progressive Left is still in denial about President Trump’s election.  Taking to the streets, and the airwaves, in a mass panic they think that by declaring that he is “not their President” they can make him run, tail between his legs, from office.  “How?” they demand,  “How, could sane, rational people ever elect a man as flawed as Donald Trump?”  They are asking the wrong question.

What they should be asking is, “What is so wrong with the Progressive Left philosophy, that the vast geographical majority of the nation would rather have a flawed and divisive man like Donald Trump to lead us, than someone who espouses leftist ideology?”  The answer is liberty.  The conservative knows that without the freedom to reap the benefits, or consequences, of one’s actions, one can never achieve the quality of character necessary to prosper.  Progressives simply don’t get this.  The Conservative understands that most hard-working, everyday American citizens, regardless of their political proclivities, want the same thing.  To prosper in a safe, peaceful country.   The Conservative believes that our rights are inborn, a product of a Creator God or natural law, and the duty of government is to ensure that everyone who is willing to work hard enough, and abide by the rule of law, has the opportunity to pursue the course of his or her choice.  There is room for differing opinions, differing philosophies and beliefs.  Success and prosperity will mean different things to different people, so some will choose careers that are lucrative, while others will choose careers that are personally rewarding.  Our success will depend on the choices we make, and while some may not ever achieve prosperity, no one has a right to another’s earnings.  Charity is always on the terms of the giver.  The Progressive, however, believes that our rights are granted by the government and absolute equality must be guaranteed.  No matter what your choices or character, you are entitled to the same level of prosperity as everyone else, no more, no less.  Charity should always be on the terms of the needy.  Because there will always be those who prosper more than others, and their generosity cannot be guaranteed, the Progressive believes that the duty of government is to distribute the wealth evenly to everyone within the country’s borders.  The Progressive does not or cannot understand that to deprive a man or woman of their earnings to supply someone else, is theft at the most basic and personal level.  President Trump understands this, and so far his policies are in line with this basic Conservative philosophy.  That is why Conservatives are willing to grit their teeth and bear his obvious moral failings and support him.

What we Conservatives need to understand is that this election was not about putting a “Donald Trump” in the White House. It was about restoring our national culture. It is our duty to expose the hypocrisy and danger of the Progressive left agenda. To do this, we need to claim the moral high ground. We need to show, in our actions and interactions, as we go through our day, that Conservatism truly is the way to peace and prosperity.  We need to show that there is room at the Conservative table for everyone, regardless of your sexual persuasion, personal wealth, or religious beliefs.  That your personal liberty and dignity will always be respected so long as you are willing to respect the same for any other human being. We cannot do this if we are always on the defensive.  We need to educate ourselves, and shut down any attempts by the Left to erroneously label us as homophobes, Islamaphobes, racists, and any other unjustified monikers. We need to reveal their talking points for what they are, mindless, baseless accusations.  We also need to quit making excuses for President Trump when he makes inaccurate statements.  For better or worse, he represents Conservatism to the world.  We put him in office, and we must hold him accountable.

%d bloggers like this: