May 27

Walk With Integrity

This quote from the Bible (Proverbs 28.6) tells it all: “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”

Integrity can make a poor man rich. Lack of it can make a rich man poor. Which would you choose?

 

better-is-a-poor-man-who-walks-in-his-integrity-than-a-rich-man-who-is-crooked-in-his-ways

#integrity #values #walkwithintegrity

May 26

Revamping The Electoral System

I don’t think, as some do, that rich people are the cause of all the problems in this country. As a matter of fact, there are many rich people who give a lot of their money to helping those in need. It’s the ones who believe they are entitled to get richer on the backs of others – with no regard to their consequences, who are the problem. The problem lies in our electoral system.

Sure, since the majority of our representatives are rich (You have to have money in order to get elected) they are going to want to protect themselves and their friends. The laws are going to be made that benefit them. That is why our electoral system is so flawed – it doesn’t allow for the average person to become a representative. If our legislatures were filled with the average Joe/Joan the laws would be more centered toward their interests.

People who work hard for their money, and have taken advantage of what is available to succeed, should not be bashed simply because they made it. That is what capitalism is all about. That is what America is all about. It’s the land of the free and the home of the brave – or is it?

Just because the majority of us did not get the brass ring does not mean those who did should have to share with those who didn’t. It would be nice. It would be the “Christian” thing to do. It would be the humane thing to do. It would be the American thing to do – but it is not required.

your-vote-countsOn the other hand, being successful does not mean you should step on others in order to become richer. You should be paying your fair share of taxes – without all the loopholes those of lesser fortune do not have. I don’t think I should be paying a 19% tax rate while those with more money are paying less than 14%. I work hard for my money too, and I don’t have the deductions they can take to make their taxes lower. For this reason I believe in a flat tax rate.

What makes this day and age any different from any other time? There has always been greed and graft. What is frightening is the fact that it has gone unchecked for so long, and now the stronghold is so deeply embedded that we are scratching our heads as to why we didn’t see it before.

Suppressing the vote means that only hand-picked people will be able to have a voice in what goes on in this country. This means the “rich” agenda will be pushed through.

The question is how do we turn that around?

Most importantly – you have to VOTE. Although you may think your vote doesn’t count, if everyone felt that way the only ones who would vote would be the ones whose interests are being met. VOTING GIVES YOU A VOICE – just like them.

We expect our representatives to actually represent US. How crazy is that? They represent the people who got them elected. As soon as they are elected they have to start running again. The vicious cycle continues, and the need for more money opens up the opportunity to become more beholding to their larger contributors, and usually that means repaying them with favors that further their agenda and financial interests. These are not usually leaning toward helping those who voted to get them elected.

This type of government is for the special interests – not the majority of the people.

This is what I propose:

1) A live televised question and answer session will be conducted each month leading to the election, for no less than six months – with ALL candidates for each office participating. Because some people are better at debating than others, there will be no debate – just questions. The television channel chosen will be non-biased, and for now that station would be (PBS) Public Broadcast System – not Fox, MSNBC or CNN.

Each candidate will get the same questions to answer, and they will not have a chance to see them ahead of time. The questions will be chosen at random, and cover a variety of topics. There will be a total of 20 questions per session.

In this way the candidates will have to know their positions, and will not have the benefit of advisers giving them the answers in their ear. It will allow us to see them think on their feet, and work under pressure.

Any statistics they quote will be fact checked. There will be NO badgering of other candidates, or their records. The public will get a chance to see where each candidate stands on a particular issue – and not change the subject or back away from answering by hedging or bringing up the other candidates record. This will be based SOLELY on their thoughts, actions and goals.

2) A limit of $1,000 per person (and corporations are not people) can be donated to each candidate – and the authenticity of donors will be verified.

3) The Electoral College will be abolished. As it stands now, even if a region votes one way their representative is not obligated to vote that way. Whoever wins the popular vote will win the election. If the election results in a tie – which means there is a margin of error of less than ½% of those qualified votes, there will be an automatic new election.

4) Everyone over 18 will be qualified to vote. As long as they can show proof of residency for 6 months or more they can vote in their current district, and proof of citizenship. If residency is less than 6 months they will have to vote in their previous district – either in person or by absentee. Anyone is eligible to vote absentee, and no reasons need be given.

This is not a perfect solution to revamping our electoral system, and there will be kinks to be worked out, but hopefully it will eliminate a lot of the problems with disenfranchising voters; open representation to that who demographically represent their constituents; and eliminates corporations and mega rich moguls from furthering their agendas on the backs of the working classes.

Any suggestions? What do you think?

 

#electoralsystem #elections #changingelectoralsystem

May 19

Why Do People Choose More Liberal Leanings?

I hate when people label others “liberal” or “conservative” as if they were curse words. Not ALL people who lean towards liberal ideals, or ALL people who have some conservative leanings, can be categorized in either category. In reality, most of us are more centrist in our thinking, and don’t fit into any one category anymore.

I am a lifelong registered Republican, but don’t agree with most of what our current Republican leaders are putting out. I think religion should be kept out of business and government because there is no “one size fits all” religion. We are a country established to get away from religious persecution.

American politics

American politics

Over the years I have been through many changes, and hopefully they are for the best. I think that often, with age comes wisdom. At least, with experience you should learn to relate to others in the same situation, and find not all people fit into categories.

  • Not ALL poor people are lazy. As a matter of fact, almost everyone wants to work and take care of their family.
  • Not ALL people on food stamps are buying steaks and shellfish – unless they are inexpensive cuts and packages that can fit into an economy meal.
  • ALL people deserve medical care, even if they can’t afford it.
  • Many senior citizens are living on only Social Security because their pensions were lost to greedy corporate executives, or when the banks collapsed.
  • There are wonderful people in every race, religion and sexual orientation – and you have to look at people as individuals and not as their lowest common denominator.
  • Just because someone claims to be religious does not make them so.

My political leanings have moved along with those, and I saw myself transition from a dyed-in-the-wool Republican to a more centrist – bordering on the original Libertarian ideas. Now I have come to lean toward more Democratic ideals – mostly because the Republican Party that I worked for, and was so adamant about has fallen off a cliff in so many ways. Instead of working toward fixing the economy, improving our infrastructure, keeping less government out of our lives, and balancing the budget they are now working for the benefit of themselves, their friends, and those who support them (in all ways).

I have not lived a life of wealth, although some would consider my childhood to be upper middle class. I married a U.S. Marine, and we had our share of rough times – medically and financially. I sometimes worked more than one job at a time in order to make ends meet, and when my husband died I still had to raise three children (ages 9-14 at the time) on my own. My oldest son was then 24 and already grown, but although living hundreds of miles away, he helped me with his younger brother. I know what it was like to be a single parent trying to do the best they could while working full time.

I have known what it was like to have to apply and use food stamps when times were tough, even though I was working more than one job. It is humiliating, and humbling.

I know what it was like to have to work 12-18 hours days to get a business off the ground.

I learned that people do not change easily, and even if confronted with ideas that could help them to improve their quality of life they will choose the comfort of the familiar rather than make the change.

All of these were MY reality, and why I have shifted my views.

The best answer I have found as to why people tend to lean toward more liberal than conservative views in today’s world came from a writer named Taylor Batten of the “Charlotte Observer.” He wrote a piece on “Honesty Day” that required him to be truthful when answering the question as to why he supported the liberal agenda. This is a synopsis of his answer (read the full version here):

  • We believe that everyone is created equal.
  • We believe that children should not bear responsibility for the sins of their parents.
  • We believe people should not be treated as lesser citizens, with fewer rights, because of whom they love.
  • We believe discrimination is wrong in every instance.
  • We believe that police officers should act professionally, under incredibly difficult circumstances, regardless of a suspect’s race.
  • We believe taxes should be kept as low as possible while still providing a sound safety net for the neediest, a robust education for all, decent health care for the elderly and the destitute, and other basics.
  • We believe there are people of worth beyond our tight circle and there are neighborhoods beyond our own, with different histories, perspectives and needs.
  • We believe there are peace-loving Muslims.
  • We do not believe President Obama was born in Kenya.
  • We believe in the separation of church and state.
  • We believe if you’re a fan of a politician solely because he has a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ after his name, then you’re not paying attention.
  • We believe we have only one planet, and we should protect it for our grandchildren.

Looking at this list, I would think this is more a HUMAN agenda than a liberal or conservative one.

What do you think? I’d like to hear your opinions.

 

#liberalorconservative #liberalideals #liberalismvsconservatism

May 15

We Are Becoming A World of Entitlement

Having entitlement, by definition, is the belief that one is “inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” We re seeing this more and more with each generation.

The Urban Dictionary defines entitlement as “someone who thinks something is owed to them by life in general; or because they are who they are.”

Are we becoming a world of entitlement?

We hear of rich people treating others, usually people working in service jobs, as if they are beneath them. They feel entitled to treat people any way they choose because they have money. Money and position should NEVER replace humanity.

We hear many politicians refer to government entitlement programs, which to them include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs. Obviously they don’t know, or don’t see, the different between an entitlement and an earned benefit. Our elders worked for, and paid into, some of these benefits. Veterans paid for theirs in more ways than we can imagine. Politicians certainly don’t look at  their pension and medical benefits (just to name a few) as entitlement, yet they are. While our seniors have paid into their benefits for decades, these politicians become eligible after only one term. Hardly seems fair, does it?

americaThe majority of our law enforcement officers are fine, honest people who want to help and serve – and they deserve our respect. Unfortunately there are many who feel they are above the law, and are entitled to get away with things they would arrest the common man for. A teacher, police officers, and parents were respected.

How did we get here? What changed over the years that make so many people believe they are entitled to certain privileges because of their race, social status, or position? Perhaps it hasn’t changed as much as we think. There have always been the “good ‘ole boys” networks, and people who used their influence and money to get what they want. It wasn’t how most of us were raised. It just is more prevalent, or open for review now.

I once was working with a charitable organization and their president was a local police detective. I was riding with him to purchase some supplies when he ran a stop sign – didn’t even slow down. I turned to him and said, “Why didn’t you stop? If that had been me I would have been given a ticket.” He looked at me and laughingly said, “It’s kind of like being tax exempt.” That angered me. I always looked up to police officers as being examples of what you were supposed to be. They know the rules, and enforce them. How can you enforce and punish something you do yourself? There should be no exemption, or exception, unless there is an emergency.

Children, and society, have parents too afraid to discipline their children for fear of being reported to the authorities. When I was growing up, very seldom did you see a child have a temper tantrum in class, or slap the bus driver while the bus was running. Never did a parent enter a classroom full of students and start beating the teacher because she gave the woman’s child a failing grade (these things happened locally to people I know).  If we got into trouble at school we got punished at home as well. Parents never let their children get away with bad behavior.

When my youngest son got suspended from school for something (I don’t recall what) I didn’t let him sit on the couch watching TV or playing video games. He was not allowed to get away with bad behavior.  He had to wash all the walls in the house and work in the yard while he was supposed to be in school. He said he never wanted to get suspended again – he had to work harder at home. He never did again.

I owned a local newspaper. It wasn’t the largest one, but there is influence and power associated with the press. When my son was not turning in his homework – a requirement for his grades, yet aced all his tests, I told the teacher to flunk him. He knew the rules, he chose to ignore him. The fact that he knew the material well enough to ace the tests was irrelevant. Actions have consequences. If I would have allowed the teacher to give him a good grade, knowing he did not follow the rules, both of us would have been wrong. My son would have thought he was entitled to do the same and slack off in other classes. He was angry at me, but it was one grading period, and he could make it up. He got over his angry, and he learned a valuable lesson.

Children EXPECT their parents to buy them name-brand clothes and top of the line technology. They feel it is OWED to them. Their reasoning is that they did not ask to be born, so we owe it to them to provide the best. Although we would like to, it isn’t required. The problem is, we have given in and allowed this to happen. You can not raise an adult by treating like a child.

When my oldest son wanted to buy Bugle Boy clothes (in at the time) I told him I couldn’t afford them. I would buy him regular jeans, shirts and shoes, and if he wanted the name-brand things he would have to work to buy them himself. He did. It didn’t kill him.

All of my four children have grown up understanding that the world does not owe them anything. They have to earn it. That means working for what you want. If you want it badly enough you will get it. That also means that the world is not always fair, and some people get away with things because they are of small minds and lack the character and integrity to do the right thing. We feel sorry for them, we don’t have to associate with them, we don’t have to work for them, and we don’t have to vote for them.

 

#entitlement #privilege #expectationsofentitlement

 

May 06

Scare Tactics Are Usually Without Merit

When I was small we were told to be afraid of Russia and China invading us (The Cold War). Many people set up air raid shelters; federal buildings had centers where people could go in case of invasion; and my father sold Nutri-Bio fallout shelter kits that contained food in tablet form. It was a big thing. People were buying into the scare tactics and wanted to be prepared for a potential nuclear bombing.

The attack never came.

In 1999 we were told, and many of us were convinced, that a cyber attack (Y2K) would take place and all our computers would be corrupted by a virus. Since much of our world is powered by computers, we felt we would have to revert to “old fashioned” ways of living.

The attack never happened.

There are all sorts of scare tactics being put by politicians in order to sway people to their way of thinking – even if it makes no moral or ethical sense.

Most of them are unsubstantiated, but many still fall for them.

militaryCurrently there is a conspiracy theory that the military is trying to invade Texas because it is against the political agenda of the administration. Is this another Y2K or approaching martial law?

Operation Jade Helm is an 8-week training operation of several different special forces units. It is not only being conducted in Texas, but also New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana. This nine state exercise may be different than most, but it is not an invasion of the United States, as some people are making it sound.

Training missions are conducted all the time, in not only the United States but other areas of the world. We hold joint exercises to learn to work with our allies, and to understand how to approach different types of terrain and cultures. These are not always conducted on military bases. My husband was deployed twice to Norway to learn to work with all branches of U.S. forces and allied troops for cold weather training, and working around waterways.

Working with villagers is important, and being able to assimilate into surrounding areas is necessary in order to gather intelligence and provide safety for the troops. They have to learn it somehow – better to learn it beforehand than be less prepared when the situation should arise that they need it.

If you never had a fire drill at home or school, how would you know how to handle the situation? Being prepared is so much better than winging it.

I realize that it is often hard to believe our government sources sometimes, but usually if they are planning a surprise attack they don’t announce it beforehand, or ask states or communities for permission. Sometimes we have to just assume what the officials are telling us is correct, and it’s not out of the ordinary.

I am not discounting the possibility that there may be some need for paranoia. Scare tactics have been used for centuries to keep people in line. I just don’t think this one is one of them. I could be wrong. What is your opinion?

For more information on Operation Jade Helm, visit these sites: http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/04/politics/pentagon-texas-jade-helm-15-takeover/ and http://www.truthandaction.org/operation-jade-helm-massive-military-drill-across-7-states-unconventional-warfare/2/.

#scaretactics #conspiracytheory #OperationJadeHelm

May 02

Open Carry Is Return To Old West

Advanced countries do not allow their citizens to walk around in public openly carrying a weapon. Have we moved from the lawless old west to being able to walk the streets without arms, back to carrying weapons on the street? This open carry ruling is open season for vigilantes, and people with anger issues, to intimidate others. In most states (see map) they don’t even need to have a license or permit!

If you walked into a store and someone walked in carrying a rifle, what would be your reaction? I’d run for cover. You never know if they are going to rob the place or open fire on customers. We shouldn’t be made to feel unsafe in our own neighborhoods. I don’t feel comfortable, and most of the people I talk to don’t either.

People who carry weapons in the open, and are not law enforcement or security, are simply bullies – in my opinion. They enjoy the feel of power, and how people react to them with a weapon. This shows an immature mentality, and not one I would like to see angered.

There is a reason why the U.S. has multiple times more deaths by guns than any other country.

open+carry1313499177Don’t get me wrong, I am not against owning a gun. I am against people owning a gun and not being responsible enough to think of others, or to handle them as they should. Unless you are out hunting (and a submachine gun is NOT a hunting rifle), guns should be left in a secure, locked place and not openly displayed. No child should be able to pick a gun up and accidentally kill their sibling or parent with a gun left out in the open.

My husband, a former special forces Marine and Vietnam veteran knew how to handle a weapon, yet died in a freak hunting accident when his gun discharged when he tripped. If it can happen to someone who knows guns, what happens to those who don’t?

There was a reason Barney Fife kept his bullet in his pocket, and why Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry never carried a gun. Here is why in his own words – “When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear me. I’d rather they respect the man.” He may have been a fictional character, but the sentiment is real.

After his death my son wanted to learn to use a gun, and I sent him to classes for gun control. How many who open carry have this basic training?

As a child we had a gun. My parents kept it in their dresser drawer. It was not locked up, and my siblings and I would go in and look at it. We never took it out of the room, but it still should not have been easily accessible to us. Years later, when my brother was in the military, he asked our mother if she still had the gun. She brought it out to him and he looked at it and said, “It’s a good thing no one tried to pull the trigger. It would have backfired.” The gun was defective. What if we had pulled the trigger “just testing it out”?

People hide behind the 2nd Amendment – the right to bear arms. This amendment has been debated in the Supreme Court several times. The landmark decision in 2008 (District of Columbia vs Heller) protected the individual right to possess and carry firearms. It should have added that with these rights come responsible ownership, and should require training before licensing.

Ruben Bolling put up a tongue-in-cheek article: “How to Tell the Difference Between an Open Carry Patriot and a Deranged Killer.” There isn’t much difference between the two – because when someone walks in with a gun on their shoulder you are not thinking about the intent of the person, you are looking at the weapon and automatically assuming they are there to do something bad.

What is the need to openly carry your gun? Is it not enough to know you can own one, and have it when you or your family are in danger?

Too many people have access to firearms who have no business with them. Not everyone is mentally mature, or stable enough, to own a weapon. If they weren’t so easily accessible, there wouldn’t be mass killings in schools or open playgrounds. What happens if someone with anger issues is allowed to carry a gun around all the time? Road rage, people shooting others in a theater for using a cell phone, etc. are prime examples.

I sometimes think legislators who pass laws allowing people to open carry weapons should be just as responsible for deaths and injuries as those shooting the weapons because they have given them the green light to do so.

What is your opinion?

#opencarry #legalizedopencarry #weapons

Apr 22

Are We Living A Life Of Fear?

As a child I was allowed to walk several blocks to play in a local park, or go to the skating rink. As a parent, I allowed my children to walk to the school down the road to play in the playground. Now parents are finding themselves being arrested for doing this. Have we become so afraid and jaded that we have digressed this far, this fast? Are we living a life of fear?

What brought about this change in thinking? Was it 911, or too many movies and television shows that show pedophiles and abductions? We are becoming a world living in fear of our neighbors and our neighborhoods.

I don’t think there are any more mentally unstable people in the world today than there were 40 years ago. I think we are just more aware of it, and it scares the hell out of us. Do we have to continue living a life of fear, or is there something we can do to make us feel a bit safer?kids-play-outside

I realize that we live in a time when we are too isolated in our personal lives, but much more open in our social media lives. Perhaps it’s time to close the computer and go meet your neighbors. When we felt safer we knew our neighbors.  Their children played at our home, and I felt safe sending my children there. I trusted them, and they trusted us to take care of their young ones. We socialized – played cards, sat out on the deck and talked, etc. Now we nod as we pass them in our car or when we are in our yards, but we don’t know them as people.

When my husband and I were raising our children on military bases we knew our neighbors because we depended on each other when our spouses were deployed. We emotionally supported each other when they were low on food, when they needed a babysitter, and when they just needed a shoulder to cry on or were feeling lonely. It was a whole different world, but much safer.

Are we destined to live a life of fear, in bubbles – overprotecting our children so they can’t ride their bicycles in the neighborhood, or to a friend’s house? Are parents who allow their children “free range” actually being bad parents, or just trying to teach their children that living in fear holds us back, and learning to become independent is a natural part of life?

We taught our children about not talking to strangers. We taught them to run the other way, and yell loudly when they were in fear. There were neighborhood homes that had signs in the window that they could go to if they were feeling frightened. “Stranger Danger” was taught at home and at school. The better prepared they were, and the more they learned about safety, the better they felt – and the better we felt about letting them explore.

Yes, parents need to be more careful who they trust, but most people are trustworthy. If you get to know your neighbors you can get a pretty good feel about who is trustworthy.

We can’t suppress our children from growing up, and we can’t live a life of fear. Do you have any solutions? Let’s start a discussion.

#livinginfear #fear #toomuchsafety

Apr 20

Whatever Happened to Patriotism?

I have been reading several versions of a story about a white woman being handcuffed by police after stealing a flag during a protest at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Marchers were trampling the American flag to protest unfair treatment. The more I read the angrier I get. Whatever happened to patriotism?

I agree that ethnic groups are being unfairly selected out for prosecution and abuse by officials, and that the woman who stole the flag was white and did not get arrested for theft, but the group she took the flag from did not press charges. That is not the issue I wish to address at this time. What ticks me off is that not one of the people commenting made a point of the fact the protesters were walking on the flag!

flagI realize that I am a baby boomer, and things have changed, but have we come that far? Whatever happened to patriotism, and respect for our country and it’s symbols? We are given the right to protest by the Constitution. It does say you can exercise your right to free speech, but it does not go far enough in protecting the rights of all Americans who serve and honor our American symbol. NOWHERE in the 1st Amendment does it say you can desecrate the flag during your protest.

I don’t believe our forefathers never envisioned stomping on the flag they so gallantly fought for as a way to exhibit free speech. I don’t believe the soldiers who have fought, and many who have died, would have ever entertained the thought anyone wanting to desecrate the very flag they had fought to protect.

As a widow of a Marine and Vietnam veteran, and having lived on military bases for many years while raising our children, I look at this type of protest as a kick in the face to every man and woman, of every race and religion, who wore the uniform of an American soldier. The American flag is not the symbol of the “white man,” it is the symbol of what American is all about – all races, gender, religion and ethnic background.

I look back at the renewed patriotism after 911 – where every American came together as a nation to mourn what happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. It was patriotism at it’s best. Then, however, it suddenly turned to hatred for another race and religion – for people who were different from most of us, even though they too may be Americans. Whole cultures were tried and convicted as “the enemy” for being related by nationality to those who committed acts of terrorism. Strangely, we don’t condemn white terrorists and mass murderers. The faces of bigotry and segregation have risen, and we are being returned to a time where hatred ruled the land.

The greatest thing about America is that we ARE the melting pot of the world. We have taken in people from all countries, with different religious backgrounds, to ENHANCE us as a nation.

The pilgrims came here because of religious persecution – although they too were bigoted against others who did not believe as they did. Can we not grow as a nation, to be accepting of others and their diversity? We all need to learn about what we don’t understand. Education makes us stronger, ignorance weakens us.

Using the American flag as a stomping mat because you protest white Americans having control is misplacing your anger. Use your power to make positive change – like getting out the vote. People only take power because we allow them to. Love your country, or find another you like better. Make the changes from within – but don’t trample over the ones who have done their part in trying to make this nation one everyone wants to come to.

Raise the flag, and stomp out those who try to keep control by suppression. That’s patriotism.

 

#patriotism #flag #Americanflag #desecrationofAmericanFlag #donttredonflag