(Parts of this are reposted from an earlier post entitled “No Guts No Glory”.)
This Monday we will see billboards, bumper stickers, and car magnets all proclaiming “Support our Troops“, and “Freedom Isn’t Free”. Are these truly heart-felt words, displayed by proud patriots or are they meaningless platitudes, mindlessly quoted by pandering politicians? On this day there will be countless memorial services and tributes. But will we stop a moment and reflect on what this day really means or is it simply the beginning of summer? Just a day to have a picnic or barbecue.
I remember as a child hearing the stories of my mother, who, as a toddler underwent surgery on her foot. For years afterward she required special orthotic shoes that had to be replaced every time her foot grew. This was during WWII and rationing was in full force. Everyone was allowed only one pair of shoes a year. Including my mother. The government didn’t make a special exception because she was a child with a medical condition. Her parents didn’t demand that she was entitled to more ration coupons because of a unique hardship. Instead they gave up their ration coupons to get her the shoes she needed and when those ran out other family members, friends and neighbors donated theirs. Why was this necessary? Because the materials that were used to make shoes over here were needed to make shoes for the troops over there. Could you imagine giving up coffee, sugar, shoes and tires and sending them to the troops in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq? Could we ever again unite as a whole country behind an effort to rid our world of an unspeakable evil? Do we even know what evil is anymore?
The invention of photography as allowed us to see the horrors of war up close and personal. The flag draped coffins of our loved ones, the bloody, mangled bodies of our enemies, the atrocities. Faced with the horrifying reality that the price of freedom is blood, many of us have decided that the price is too high. We believe that the act of war, rather than the megalomaniacal ideals of ruthless men is the true evil and that nothing save our own personal survival is worth fighting and dying for.
The men who marched at Lexington and Concord, whose bodies covered the ground at Gettysburg, who raised the flag at Mount Suribachi, all understood the power of the words of our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution. That such a radical ideal as individual freedom, that men should control their own destinies, requires a collective sacrifice.
By looking to the government for our prosperity rather that demanding that our elected officials recognize the freedom to build that prosperity ourselves, by allowing the government the rights to our personal property, and by allowing the government to usurp and mismanaged our wages though an unnecessarily complicated tax code, we dishonor those who have fought and died to maintain those freedoms.
By allowing our schools to indoctrinate our children with the mantra that it is the government’s job to take care of us, to protect us from our own ignorance and folly, and that “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” is the highest morality, we dishonor those who fought and died for our right to think for ourselves.
Our Forefathers wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not to give us certain rights, but to preserve them. The government does not grant us our freedoms, rather we “the people” grant the government its right to exist. It’s time for us to “take back” our government and hold our elected officials accountable, for what they do with the money, property, time and power we “the people” give them.
In every election we have the opportunity to show that we truly understand the cost of our freedom and that it is precious. By taking the time and making the effort to research and vote for people truly worthy to serve us, and by reminding them regularly that they do, is how we prove that those who made the “ultimate sacrifice” did not do so in vain.
A little over a month ago in a post entitled “Understanding the Occupiers”, I posed ten questions that I felt would be a reasonable measure of personal responsibility and life experience. I was hoping to reach people who had attended a protest, but didn’t really fit the media profile of an Occupier. The response was, well let’s just say it was not overwhelming. I got a couple of comments from LiberalTalkingPoints. Housewifedownunder answered the questions,and turned out to be just the kind of response I was hoping for. My two commenters were from two different ideologies, yet both expressed genuine frustration at the lack of opportunities for today’s young adults. It is my hope that the leaders of business and industry will listen to the desperation of these young people and will create jobs for those who are really willing to work. I hope the government will ease its regulatory burden so that they will be able to do so. And I hope that our universities become a place where young people are taught how to be competitive in a world economy rather that a place of political indoctrination. As for the Occupiers themselves, I hope that as they continue onto adulthood, they will realize that there are better ways than civil disobedience to be heard and taken seriously.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales sits in Leavenworth awaiting what will most likely be a conviction and death sentence for killing innocent Afghani women and children. What he did is unforgivable, and goes against everything the United States military stands for. I have seen the effects of multiple deployments on military members and their families. The high rates of suicide, domestic violence, and PTSD are evidence that there are limits to how much stress a human being can endure. Limits the military leadership has chosen to ignore. Sgt Bales is not alone in his guilt. There are many who have facilitated his transformation from an average man into a monster.
The unofficial military mission statement of “doing more with less”, the Secretaries of Defense that pushed it and the commanders who bought into it all share the blame. The dream of a “Lean Mean Fighting Machine” would only be possible if the military were staffed with robots, but it is not. It is staffed with men and women who think, feel, love and fear. Who have families and lives back home. It is their humanity that makes them vulnerable to the horrors of war, but it is also their humanity that gives them a reason to preserve the dream of liberty anywhere in the world. It gives them the courage to willingly accept that the cost of freedom could be their very lives. This courage should not be taken for granted. Every military doctor who has proclaimed a troop “fit for combat” when he should have been sent home, every commander who has proclaimed his unit ready when deep down he knew they weren’t, shares in the guilt. Every officer who has ever put his career ahead of his troops, every military leader who lacked the courage to tell his superiors the truth, that his unit was undermanned and stretched to the breaking point, shares the guilt. Every Secretary of Defense who failed to make unpopular decisions on how to increase manning, every Commander-in-Chief who was told what he wanted to hear and bought it, shares the guilt.
After all the investigations, reports and hearings, are concluded and “band-aid” recommendations are put in place we will still be left with a military that is undermanned and weary. We ask our military men and women to carry an unimaginable burden. Our military leadership owes the Afghanis and Sgt Bales’ family, who is now left without a husband and father, more than an apology. They are owed and honest assessment of what went wrong, and real solutions to prevent it from happening again. Until the people at the Pentagon find a way to bring more men and women in and retain the well-trained troops already in place, the stress of repeated deployments will create more Sgt Bales’.
On Thursday, March 1st, the Florida State legislature passed SB, 98 www.flsenate.gov /Session/Bill/2012/0098/BillText/Filed/PDFwhich gives individual school districts the freedom to allow student led “inspirational messages” during mandatory assemblies and other school sponsored events. The bill was sponsored by a Democrat,
State Senator Gary Siplin, and was overwhelmingly passed with bi-partisan support. A fact that might surprise many conservatives and Evangelicals. The bill now awaits the probable signing from Governor Rick Scott. Other states are taking notice and waiting to see how this law will play out in the practical application of public school policy.
As a Christian and a mother, I should be elated about this. Over the past few decades we have seen the First Amendment being twisted and perverted into an instrument to deny Christians the right to freely practice our beliefs in public. Activities that are actually a positive influence on campus such as the annual See You At The Pole or groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are routinely banned from school property even though these activities are completely voluntary and take place outside of regular class hours. Teachers are forbidden to acknowledge their Christian beliefs on their school website bios and are reprimanded for publicly expressing their beliefs even when they are outside of the school setting. This is wrong and is in opposition to the true intent of the First Amendment.
This bill, however, is a bad idea. The bill’s only strongpoint is that it puts the authority for implementation in the hands of the individual school boards. This is right because the boards are better able to determine the needs and beliefs of their communities better than the state government can. The bill seeks to protect the schools from First Amendment litigation by giving the responsibility for choosing, who delivers the message and its content, to the discretion of the students. School officials and employees are forbidden to interfere in any way with the students’ decisions. There is absolutely no way a school board can define what constitutes an “inspirational message” without violating the rights of one group or another. These messages could be anything from a prayer or devotional to an anarchist rant, or hate group rhetoric. Any student who has an ax to grind or just simply enjoys stirring up trouble will now have a platform. Time and precious school resources would be wasted on the litigation that is sure to ensue if any school board tries to implement rules to curb the chaos.
The school system in Florida has many challenges. Fixing a broken system of accountability is one. Though it is a well-intentioned attempt at restoring morality in the school system, this law will not work. The only way to improve the quality of education in Florida or anywhere else in this country is to remind the schools that their purpose is to serve their students, parents and taxpayer supporters, not the other way around. The only way to accomplish what this bill is trying to do, is to implement school choice.
Though it started months ago, and no longer makes daily headlines on the major news networks, the Occupy Movement is still plugging away. Tenaciously spreading its anti-capitalist mantra to anyone who cares to listen. This movement has been applauded in the media as a great social movement, but how great has it really been? Just what has truly been accomplished that will benefit the whole of society? To get a better handle on the kind of people who are, or have participated in an Occupy protest, I have a few questions I would like to ask. I would appreciate a direct response to these questions from anyone who is or has participated in an Occupy protest for more than a week.
- Are you currently employed? If so, how did you get the time off from work to participate in this protest? If no, are you actively seeking employment? If so, how are you conducting a job search while attending the protest?
- If not employed, are you a student? If so, how are you managing to attend class and keep up with your homework while attending the protest? What is your grade point average?
- Do you own a home or rent? If so, how are you paying your mortgage, or rent and utilities while you are attending the protest? If not, where were you living before you encamped at the protest? Did you have to contribute financially in any way, in order to live there? Will you be able to return there when you are through protesting?
- Other than student loans or education grants, are you receiving any form of government assistance? If so what kind?
- Do you depend on your parents for any kind of financial support? (To include trust funds)
- Are you married? If so, are both of you attending the protest?
- Do you have any children?
- What visible positive effects can be seen in this community due to the presence of this protest?
- Are you old enough to vote? If so, are you planning on voting in the presidential election?
- Do you now, or have you ever owned any kind of business?
It will be interesting and probably surprising to see the answers to these questions. I’ll put the results in a future post.
When it comes to fairness in this country it seems we have come full circle. We have a black president. Hispanics will soon be the majority in this country. We have doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, policemen, firemen, politicians and astronauts of all races and genders. So who is really discriminated against anymore?
I have come to the conclusion that, the most discriminated demographic in this country is…….the white heterosexual male. I know a lot of you are thinking, whaaaaaat? But before you get David Duke to come and fit me with a sheet hear me out.
Yes, once there was a time when being a white male gave him an unfair advantage, regardless of his wealth or social status. But those days are over. Now you have the NAACP, the National Black Caucus, The Hispanic Chamber Commerce, NOW, the League of Women Voters and The Gay Straight Alliance. Our society considers these organizations to be progressive and enlightening. They are not presented as discriminatory. What you don’t have is the NAFAWG (National Association For the Advancement of White Guys), White Voters United or The White Guy White Gal Alliance. Organizations such as those would immediately be considered discriminatory even though they would exist for the same purpose as the before mentioned organizations. To unite people of a specific ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
There are no scholarships set aside only for white guys, yet there are numerous scholarship opportunities exclusively for blacks, Hispanics and women.
There are no start-up loans for white guy businesses even though being a white male doesn’t automatically grant you a higher economic status. There are however, loans for minority businesses.
White guys have no rhythm or sense of style, they can’t dress and Lord knows they can’t dance.
Affirmative action doesn’t apply to white guys. They have to get a job or promotions strictly on their own merits and work ethics.
White guys have to endure being called crackers, gringos, chauvinists and homophobes. But heaven forbid they call a woman “sweetcheeks”. Uttering the highly forbidden “N word” could get him sued or fired.
The time has come for a truly level playing field. For all forms of public financial, educational, and employment assistance to be color and gender neutral and be based solely on need. So that all persons regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation, can have the freedom to pursue the vocation of their choice and to live by the consequences of those choices.