Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Lot to Process Before the Election

I know there are many who will vote for their president based on whether there is an (R) or a (D) right next to their name. That is all that some people care about. They will post about the faults of the other candidate and will not do the same for their own. In fact, they will downplay the significance of the problem their candidate faces. You will hear people say, "It is locker room talk" or "Why are we talking about emails?" Unfortunately, it is so much more than that. Americans have picked probably the two disliked candidates to date, and then they say, "I must pick the lesser of two evils." It is like people are glued to the two parties and they have to stick with that choice. Now, I understand not all third party candidates are on all 50 states ballots, and at this point, Gary Johnson does not look that much better. But with all the information that is coming in about these candidates, I am surprised that people can defend the actions of their parties candidate while blasting the other. It reminds me of the Bible passage in Matthew 7. 
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

We end up judging the other candidate without truly looking at our own. As a military member, I know it is more than just an email. As a guy, I know it is more than just locker room talk. I honestly cannot see where I can vote for either candidate based on the work they have put forth. Both candidates are equally flawed, yet one candidate is going to make it to the White House. I honestly do not see a point with these two candidates that we can finally come together and repair the divisions of the past few election cycles have brought. 

So, I ask you, the reader, to look at both candidates faults equally. If you do not know the importance of classified emails, find it out. If you think things are only "locker room talk" look again. Truly process the information. This is the next four years we are talking about. We need to have a better understanding of who our President is going to be. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Conservative Platform

As a conservative we cannot endorse abortion, however, the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue, and unless some miracle happens the Congress cannot ban abortion, so, what should the conservative platform be? One should look to Europe. Many countries ban abortion no later than 20 weeks, and some go as early as 12 weeks. That should be the platform of Conservatives. Why? Because at this point and time conservatives are always on the defensive. In this way, Conservatives can now go on the offensive. The left has often times looked at Europe as a way of doing things. This way Conservatives can push back

Homosexual Marriage
Many Conservatives believe in traditional marriage. However, If it was broken down, they also believe all people deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the government. We always have! We believe in equal tax laws, many on the conservative side even believe in a flat tax. With that said, A government should not tax more of an inheritance because you are not legally related, nor should they keep people from visiting loved ones from the hospital because of sexual orientation. The conservative movement should focus on removing marriage from the government. The alternative is to apply for a Government Union. Ministers cannot endorse these unions, leaving government officials (court house) to be the ones to sign off on these Unions. This then separates Church marriages and Government Unions. 

Illegal immigration and Border control
There is no way America can deport 11 million people. Will not happen. However when people think of the word Amnesty they think of a free pass. That should not be the case. Truth be told, there should be a path to citizenship, but that also involves not being able to get social security, and tax credits right away. There has to be some kind of penalty for coming in illegally when there were so many people to go through the system legally that are still waiting. In order to get this right, the one area that one must look at, securing the border. Which also would mean a temporary halt on immigration. One must close the borders, reinforce the border, and work on a way where the immigration laws can be fixed. Step one, Close the border, stop immigration. Step two, reinforce the border, maybe even include a neutral zone. Step three find a way to legalize those already here. Step four fix immigration laws on the book, streamline the process. Step five reopen the country for immigration.

Gun Control 
The second amendment gives the right to bear arms. While we have rights, we can lose them. Thus you need to reinforce the laws on the books.Conservatives should also sign on to if you are on a no-fly list that should equate to a no gun list. Now conservatives can add a way to appeal being on a no-fly list, but if there is evidence you should be on that list then there is a reason to withhold the right to purchase a firearm. They should also sign on to a universal background check. The same standard should apply to all 50 states. 

Religious Freedom
Most conservatives believe in the freedom OF religion, not the freedom from.  We understand the federal government should not establish a federal religion, but the observance of is not the same as establishing. If this country ever gets a Muslim president, and he chooses to cite the Koran, he has that right. We may not agree with it, but it is his right. One cannot ban religious observances from happening because that too would be an establishment of secularism which is a faith background. The issue is that we have become so divided on many issues we have decided things must go our way. We cannot have that. 

Foreign Policy
We cannot shut ourselves off from the world, but one cannot give up its sovereignty. The United States is always willing to come to the table for a compromise on issues, as long as the other party is a willing participant. We will not give aid to those who only want the handout. We will also not intervene in issues unless warranted. 

Climate Change
I don't believe in man-made climate change. I just do not see the actual science behind it. However, as conservatives, we should promote being good stewards of the earth. That means if there are better ways to use energy, we should find it. If there are ways to get off our dependence on fossil fuels, we should use it. Green energy is not bad. Wind energy is useful, and cleaner let's continue to develop wind farms. 

Common core is not the answer. But neither is putting all your eggs in one basket like Oklahoma has done. They got most of their spending on education through the oil industry. When that collapsed so did education. There needs to be a better way to support education. Also, No Child Left Behind seemed to hurt more than help. Ways to fix the issue, Education needs to be a budget priority. You cannot tie education spending to a certain industry, it is not fair to the school system. Also, Cut the levels of standardized tests. When I was a Para-educator it seemed there were many tests and less time for teachers to be teachers. Let us put the education back into the hands of the teachers, and find ways to support them. 

The current debt is at 19.5 trillion dollars. To think we are going to cut spending and fix the problem is a joke. We will need to cut spending, but it may be necessary to raise taxes. So how do we cut spending? Conservatives believe in a balanced budget, which cannot happen without sacrifice on both ends. We may need a tax increase in the short term, but where waste can be cut, it needs to happen. Where do we cut spending? Often times it is fought through politics. There needs to be a study that shows actual waste, and area's that can be improved. That way programs are not cut that actually do provide benefit to the country

In the Declaration of Independence, it says we have the right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is my belief that that happiness is for the community, not the individual. If we all pursued our own desires, someone would ultimately ruin that for us. But as a community we deserve happiness, and that is only accomplished by working together.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Gary Johnson Deserves a Spot at the Debate

I want to start off by saying, I do not agree 100% with Gary Johnson. I do not know if he has my vote or not. But I will say that with the negative ratings of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we need another voice at the table. For too long I have heard the phrases, "I am going to vote for the lesser of two evils," and "A vote for a third party is a wasted vote." The problem is these two phrases are what kill the republic. If you believe voting for the lesser of twi evils save your vote, you might as well stay home. By that logic most states are already decided anyways. If you are a democrat in Oklahoma, might as well stay home because your vote doesn't matter. If you are a Republican in California, might as well stay home. As a matter of fact, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania should be the only ones that vote, seeing as if every news agency is focused on those three states. We need to vote our conscience. If you truly vote for Clinton just because trump scares you more, you are a part of the problem. Give the other parties a chance. I know I am.

Monday, May 2, 2016

You are a Bigot

My hope is that the title got your attention. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was told that one day I would be considered a bigot. When you type bigot on a google search, you get this definition, "a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions." Though I do like their synonym as well, "partisan." Bigotry is not a one sided issue. This word is thrown out by the left towards anybody who does not conform to their idea. You will see this Election cycle candidates who cannot reach across the aisle because the other party, "has no ideas worth listening to." We have become so divided as a nation that nobody is willing to tolerate anybody else's opinion. I believe marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman. Does that make me a bigot? No. Now, if I said, "marriage is between a man and a woman, and all who disagree with me should be put to death." That would be bigotry. But I do not believe that. Many people who are called bigots and intolerant for their views on homosexuality do not believe that. But we get shut down for having a differing voice. That is actually closer to bigotry. So before you go off saying someone is a bigot or intolerant for not having the same views you have, take a step back. We need a more open dialogue. It is okay to disagree on issues. But if you are not willing to discuss those disagreements in a civilized manner, you are part of the growing problem that this country is facing. Partisanship. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Independent Mindset

I read an article the today about how John Boehner perceived Ted Cruz. This is what the former Speaker had to say about the presidential candidate:

             Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with                        almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my                      life.

That is the problem. As a conservative, there is a lot that Ted Cruz says that I like. However, not being able to work with people is a problem. There are area's that I cannot vote yes on. I.e. expanding abortion rights, taking away 501c3 from organizations that do not accept gay marriage, etc. However, in order for this country to be able to run there are area's where compromise needs to be on the table. If you have alienated the whole legislative branch, you cannot serve as Commander-in-chief. The problem is there are a lot of people who are turning more to the right or more to the left, and nothing is getting done. The reason Congress has had such a low approval rating is because both the left and the right have dug their heels in the sand, and will not work with the other side, and this has not been a recent deal either. It was going on in the Bush years as well. As an Independent, I would like to see things get done. There needs to be a way both sides can come more to the center. They do not need to give up their convictions, but they need to find a way to keep this government running.

My plea to voters this election cycle is to find a candidate that is willing to work with the other side. One that is willing to go across the aisle to get things done. Let us hope this country goes in that direction.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What an Independent Would Like to See in Coming Elections?

Interestingly enough, I have a friend who is running for Lt. Governor of Utah, Kim Bowman, and I had the chance to ask him a couple of questions before his nomination became official. I asked him if I was an eligible voter, who as an independent is looking for a change in everyday politics, but leans conservative, how would you earn my vote? His response, "I'd present you with the hard facts about the way things are going. For example, that our population is getting older and we don't have the infrastructure to take care of them. My version of fiscal conservatism is to spend $10 today to save $100 next year.  That's what I'm talking about doing with our aging programs, because it's a heck of a lot more expensive to wait until people are really in need." I liked that answer because it showed that he had a plan that he was willing to present an idea that could challenge the everyday thought of a conservative. However, I believe there is a point that is missing. I am an Independent, and as such I do not hold to a political party. Over the past 12 years (as long as I've been eligible to vote) I have seen partisan attacks get worse. This includes the Utah elections of 2016. While I am not an eligible voter in the state of Utah, I have an eye on it because my friend is running. One area I have seen it get worse is in the idea that porn is a public health hazard. I have seen marriages end, teenagers struggle, and people lose their jobs over the use of pornography. In that way, I could see the current Utah Governors thoughts as to why he needed to label porn as a health hazard. Instead, I have seen Bowman Supporters lash out at the Governor saying he has no idea what he is talking about. He is just this old religious minded guy that needs leave his religion out of politics. It is the same problem I see in the national elections. People do not want to open a dialogue with the other side. I have even seen it in my friend's campaign and his rhetoric. Looking back to when I first met Kim Bowman, we had a discussion based on Gay Marriage. I am a conservative who believes marriage is between man and a woman, but also believe in fair treatment by the Federal government. How do I believe that can work? Through civil unions. But in our discussion Bowman said, "Wilde, I love you as a friend, but twenty to thirty years from now my kids will see you as a bigot." He could be speaking truth. But there is a way that could change, and it starts with our elected officials. It is not enough to just get elected and push your agenda. We have seen how that plays out. Nothing gets done, and everybody blames everybody. You have to open a dialogue. I believe Kim Bowman can do just that, but is he willing? So far, he has talked about the progressive agenda, and it won him a ticket on the ballot as a democrat. I am proud of him. But if he is to earn the vote of Independents. He will need to show that he can work with the other side, and have a civil conversation. That is what many Independents want to see from both sides, Democrats and Republicans. If that becomes the norm, maybe people like me will not be seen as a bigot, but someone with a different perspective, who also has the right to be heard.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Religious Freedom

I have been keeping up with these "Religious Freedom" bills that are popping up around the country, and what they entail. The thing is, this was expected after the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage. When the Supreme Court ultimately decided that states did not have the right to decide what constituted marriage, there became a void. For years, both Federal and state laws said marriage was between a man and a woman. It is something I still hold to. As a Christian, I believe in traditional marriage. The problem is with the government. When the Government got a hold of marriage and attached benefits to it, then the marriage waters get a little muddy. I believe in equality of government benefits no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Therefore, I was willing to entertain the idea of a federal government sanctioned union. I was also okay with states determining their own definition of marriage because the Bill of Rights gives the states that right. But because of the void left by the Supreme Court decision many conservative states have felt like they need to act. States like Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi all have passed bills in their legislative branches. The Mississippi bill allows individuals, businesses and government employees (including counseling services, foster care and adoption services), nonprofits and other entities to refuse goods and services to LGBT people and anyone who has had extramarital sex on religious grounds. Some believe that this includes the denial of emergency services. If that is the case it would go against all that religion, especially Christianity stands for. The Bible clearly states that one is to love their neighbor as themselves. It even states, "love your enemy and pray for those that persecute you." As a Christian, it would be wrong to deny someone emergency services just because they are living a lifestyle you disagree with. I do believe private businesses should be allowed to decide who they serve, I also believe pastors should be protected to speak biblical truths, and turn down couples who want to be married, and are not living a lifestyle that the pastor believes reflects the traditional values of marriage. Those things should be protected. Finally, a county clerk who believes in traditional marriage should not have to put their name on a marriage license, but she should not stand in the way of a couple who want to be married in accordance with state law. She should be able to step aside and allow someone in her office who is okay with signing the marriage license to do just that. But in no circumstances should emergency services be denied due to sexual orientation. To be honest, that would be unChristian  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

#NeverTrump #NeverClinton

So there are those out there that are using the hashtags #NeverClinton and #NeverTrump. Many of which are saying that about both candidates. These men and women now find themselves in a sticky situation. Unless there is a brokered convention in July, it now appears that these two candidates will be the ones that face off come November. Here is the problem. Since I began voting in 2004, each ballot I have looked at has other parties. Yet many who were posting these hashtags are now saying they are going to vote for the lesser of two evils. In their argument, they claim they do not want a wasted vote. To me, that is the true problem. If you were so adamant about these two candidates, voting for that candidate seems like a wasted vote. Either way, you are putting someone into office that you do not want. If you truly believe that these two candidates are not President material and you vote for one anyways, you have become part of the problem. There are other candidates out there. You just have to do more research about them, and when the you cast a ballot in November, you can hold your head up high, because you stuck to your principles. A presidential election should not be about the "lesser of two evils." It should be about principle. Because as long as people keep voting on the idea of "lesser of two evils" the two party system is going to continue to ruin the republic. If you are in this category, and the candidate you vote for does not win, it is not a wasted vote. Maybe people will see that we do not have just two options, and maybe in 2020 people wake up to the idea of the third party.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Be Positive

Every now and then I get a gentle reminder that I have to look at the good into everyone. So this blog post is just that. When it comes to politicians it is hard to look at someone you disagree with and find good in them. It is why we are so divided today. So, I am going to start with the president and move to the current presidential candidates.

  1. Barak Obama- When I heard he was planning on staying in the DC area after he leaves office I wondered why. But after hearing that it was so his daughter can stay at the same school and graduate, I had to applaud the man. The one thing I thought he was decent in was being a good father. We do not have much of those these days.
  2. Donald Trump- The man is ruthless, but he tries. He may have many failed businesses, but he keeps at it. There is something to be said about not giving up.
  3. Hillary Clinton- This one is difficult because I do not trust a word she says, but she also does not give up. It would be easy to say she would not run for president after the 2008 primaries, but she is going for it. Hillary is persistent.
  4. Bernie Sanders- I believe he is the most honest presidential candidate, which is why I voted for him in the democratic primary here in Oklahoma. As an Independent, I was given the chance to vote in the primary, and while I do not agree with much of his policy, there is something to be said about honesty.
  5. John Kasich- This man may be the most level headed of the remaining republican candidates. He has stood at the debate stage without much speaking time, and has kept a calm demeanor about himself.
  6. Marco Rubio- He has fought for his right to be up in the top three on the republican stage. While he has only a couple of primary wins, he has not fallen back. Chris Cristie rightly acknowledged his sticking to talking points, and ever since then has at least tried to change it up a little.
  7. Ted Cruz- This man may have made mistakes early in the primary contests, but one thing I liked was that he pulled Ben Carson aside and apologized. It is not for me to judge whether he was honest about it, but it was a great move. I have also seen him willing to engage people who do not like his policy, and be able to explain himself. 
There you have it. President Obama and the remaining candidates. It is easy to find something nice to say about people you do not like. It is something we all need to start doing. These people are human, just like you and me. They are wanting a job that I do not want. Look at past pictures of presidents from when they were campaigning then look at pictures from after they become president. It is a stressful job, and it takes its toll. So please do not just spew hate because you disagree with their politics. Find some positive. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Civil War

      I have always been a fan of series that makes you think. Jericho was one of those shows. While it only lasted two short seasons, I was enthralled with it. I even went to a convention where I bought a couple of the props from the set. By the end of the TV series neighbors are fighting against neighbors, and the country is fighting a civil war. While it made for great TV, I have come to fear we are not too far off of a similar situation playing out. While I do not see 23 nuclear bombs going off in the United States, the hostilities of this country is at an all-time high. With "Black Lives Matter" vs "All Lives Matter" or "Liberal" vs "Conservative" or "Pro-Life" vs "Pro-Choice" or Donald Trump vs America. Whatever it is there is a divide, and we need to be aware. Something is feeding into the Anger of the American people and it is not just Donald Trump. This country is legitimately at the brink. Part of it is we have quit listening to one another. The Declaration of Independence says we have unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The problem is we want our happiness at the expense of others. That was not what our founders had in mind, and because we took these words to mean a personal level, we now hate those who get in the way of our happiness. We are dividing each other. My understanding of the pursuit of happiness is that of a community. We look out for one another. That was something Great Britain was not doing. They didn't care about the colonists happiness. They cared about business. The founding fathers believed that we had a right as a whole to pursue happiness together. We may not be totally satisfied, but we needed to come together for the betterment of the people. That is not happening anymore. The result is you have neighbor fighting neighbor, because, they make the other unhappy.
       At the end of Season 1 the neighboring town of Jericho, New Bern, is upset. A mercenary group called Ravenwood has desolated the town. They were upset that Jericho did not warn them. Jericho on the other hand almost blew their bridge trying to defend their town. New Bern starts building munitions and ultimately wages war on the small town. Jericho gets ready to defend. In a speech Johnston Green, former mayor, says, "Most of you have no idea what to do or what's coming, some of you do. This isn't a fight about land or about this town. It's a fight for our very existence. Pray for each other; while you are at it, pray for the men and women of New Bern. Pray that God forgives us." I may be seeing things, it may be nothing, but I do not see this country as sustainable the way it is headed. We have way too many people who are angry with one another for there to not be anything to happen.  But my prayer is that we will wake up understanding what is at stake. It will not be land, it will not be who will be the next president, it will be for our very existence. So pray for one another. Pray that we can return to a country of civility. Pray that God forgives us for the mistakes we made along the way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NASCAR and Trump

I am a huge NASCAR fan. I grew up in Virginia, which is part of NASCAR country and was hooked at a young age. I was interested yesterday when Brian France endorsed Donald Trump. After all Brian France has been trying to move past controversial items in the past. The biggest example Surrounds the Rebel Flag. Now, I believe it is a flag with multiple meanings, but I understand the need to separate from it as it has been tainted for a while. In the Summer of 2015 after the Charleston, South Carolina shooting France had this to say concerning the flag, "We want to go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag. I personally find it an offensive symbol, so there is no daylight how we feel about it and our sensitivity to others who feel the same way. We're working with the industry to see how far we can go to get that flag to be disassociated entirely from our events." What does this have to do with Donald Trump or the 2016 election? Read what Donald said on CNN when asked if he would disavow from the KKK and David Duke,"Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don't know. I don't know -- did he endorse me, or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists." While he later disavowed David Duke, Trump missed an opportunity. He should have said yes I disavow any organization that carries a racist message. instead he said he had to do research on the group. The KKK is the perfect example of an offensive symbol. This was a chance that Donald missed, and soon after Brian France endorsed. This looks like a hypocritical moment for Brian France. Donald Trump has said things in the past that are offensive, and controversial, and in 2015 the Camping World Truck Series banquet had to be moved because of things Trump had said. To publicly endorse Donald Trump, Brian France just gave Donald Trump a pass and that may hurt NASCAR down the road.   

Friday, February 26, 2016

Why Do I Hate Trump?

I was asked not that long ago why do I hate Donald Trump. I want to make it clear that I do not hate Donald Trump. As a matter of fact I do not hate anybody. In my personal life I make a commitment to love everybody, even those I disagree with. I will send a letter to President Obama every year. I did not vote for the man, but I respect the office. I have had people stalk me, call my work place and spread lies about me, yet I do not hate them. Often times when one is filled with hate, they tend to do awful things. Hate tends to take over a person. Often times that will lead to intolerance. Once one falls into hate, they become more close-minded. I believe that is why Donald Trump is winning now. He has tapped into the hatred of American politics. Washington DC is broken. Everybody knows it! Donald sees that and reaches people from all over the political spectrum. Donald represents an angry group of people. People who have finally had enough. It will probably be the reason Donald wins the presidency. What I am doing is trying to stay as rational as possible. I do not believe Donald is the best thing for this country. This country has been full of anger for a while, and people want a change. So they are now turning to someone who sees that and is tapping into that anger. An angry president does not make a good president. A billionaire does not make a good president. Someone with character makes a good president. Someone who is a man (or woman) of principle makes a good president. Do I have to agree with them 100% on the issues? No, but I do not think I agree with anybody on this earth 100%. I just do not see Donald as a man of character or principle. That is why I cannot vote for the guy. If he wins, then America will have spoken, and I will give him the same treatment I have given every President I have had since becoming an adult. I will pray for him. I will ask that he is given wisdom. For he will be my president.

My thoughts for the reader: Do not give into hatred. We are better than that. Love one another. We cannot continue to divide ourselves. We are polarized today because of hatred. We will not even sit down at the table together to come up with solutions. That must change! You may have wanted a leader of hope and change! You may want America to be great again! You may want a leader who can fix all our problems! Honestly, that will only happen if you start from within. You need to be filled with hope! You need to be the one to go and do something great! You need to be the one to start working on the problems. When you do that, maybe someone will take notice. Just remember it starts with you , and it starts with love.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Trump is a Mistake

Is this what you want out of a President? Is this someone you want as Commander-in-Chief? I will give him props for feeding into the anger of the American people. The political system is broken, and people are tired of the gridlock in DC. Understandable. But if this is the best we can do as Americans I fear we are doomed. This man acts like a spoiled rich kid. Someone gives him a negative review, and he calls them a loser or tells them to get a life. Someone with a lot of money spends money against him, and the threatens them. That is not a man who I want to run my country. He WILL NOT make America great again! He is only feeding into the anger that many people have right now. But how many people who are angry make rational decisions? I do not know many. I believe Trump has a good chance of winning on emotion. But emotion is not always rational. If Trump wins the election many who voted for him may later regret it. As for me, I will vote on principle and reason. People may tell me it is a wasted vote. That I will vote for someone that has no chance of winning. That may be, but I refuse to vote for somebody who acts childish on Social Media. I refuse to vote for somebody just because they had a reality TV show and billions of dollars. I refuse to vote for someone who threatens people just because they do not support him. That is not a man of principle! That is a man who is looking to win no matter who he burns in the process. That includes the American people.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

True Tolerance

I want you all to read the statement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when talking about the passing of Justice Scalia. These two were on two very opposite sides of the political spectrum:

Toward the end of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, tenor Scalia and soprano Ginsburg sing a duet: "We are different, we are one," different in our interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve. From our years together at the D.C. Circuit, we were best buddies. We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation. Justice Scalia nailed all the weak spots-the "applesauce" and "argle bargle"-and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion. He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh. The press referred to his "energetic fervor," "astringent intellect," "peppery prose," "acumen," and "affability," all apt descriptions. He was eminently quotable, his pungent opinions so clearly stated that his words never slipped from the reader's grasp.

Justice Scalia once described as the peak of his days on the bench an evening at the Opera Ball when he joined two Washington National Opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. He called it the famous Three Tenors performance. He was, indeed, a magnificent performer. It was my great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.

To me this defines tolerance. We have become so polarized that we have lost the ability to love one another. Yet, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives a reminder of what true tolerance can be.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Platform

Back in 2010 I had ambitions. One of them was to run for political office. Because of that, I had my platform ready to go. My problem is that I do not have the financial backing to run for office. So here is how I would run my campaign as a candidate.

I do not believe in abortion, however, I do believe the Supreme Court has ruled on the issue, and unless some miracle happens the Congress cannot ban abortion, so I would not run on a platform that banned all abortions. Though I would ask that you as a person would try to meet in the middle with me. Could be make sure there was a federal ban on late-term abortions? I know there are some out there that say as a man I do not have the authority to speak on the topic, but as someone that was born at 28 weeks I disagree. If you have reached the third trimester and you have finally decided you do not want that child, please consider the option of adoption. I was born three months early. I know these babies can survive outside the womb. Now, when it comes to medical emergencies, I am not a subject matter expert, and if you had to choose between your life and the life of an unborn child I could not judge you.

Homosexual Marriage
This has changed slightly over the past year as the Supreme Court has ruled on it. Again, I believe in traditional marriage. However, I also believe all people deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the government. Always have! I believe in equal tax laws. A government should not tax more of an inheritance because you are not legally related, nor should they keep people from visiting loved ones from the hospital because of orientation. But for those that disagree with traditional marriage. Could we agree that people have the right to hold to the traditional view of marriage without being called bigots? As a minister I cannot in good faith perform a ceremony for a couple of the same sex. I believe God has given free will, and if a court looks at you and says you have the rights of a married couple, good for you, but as a minister I still have to live according to my faith. It doesn't mean I love you any less, it just means I am living according to what I believe is right.

Illegal immigration
There is no way we deport 11 million people. Will not happen. However when I hear the word Amnesty I think of a free pass. I do not believe that is right. I do believe there should be a path to citizenship, but that also involves not being able to get social security, and tax credits right away. There has to be some kind of penalty for coming in illegally when there were so many people to go through the system legally that are still waiting. Now, one area I do believe they could quickly earn their citizenship is through military service. Serve in the military two years minimum, and you should be granted citizenship.

The Border
No way do we make the Mexican's build the fence. Now if we were to have a partnership to help build the fence that is another story. Though we do need to secure our borders. We cannot continue to allow people into our country and not know who they are. If Mexico does not want to help then we could re-allocate some of our funding to them in securing the border. Once the border is secure and paid for that money could return.

Gun Control
I believe in the right to bear arms. Though I do believe we could do a little more to enforce the laws that are on the books. I also believe if you are on a no fly list that should equate to a no gun list. Now I believe you have the right to appeal being on a no fly list, but if there is evidence you should be on that list then there is a reason to withhold the right to purchase a firearm. I also believe in a universal background check. The same standard should apply to all 50 states.

Religious Freedom
This probably does not surprise you seeing that I have said I am a pastor, but I believe in the freedom OF religion not the freedom from. I believe that the federal government should not establish a federal religion, but the observance of is not the same as establishing. If we ever get a muslim president, and he chooses to site the Koran, he has that right. I may not agree with it, but it is his right. I will not agree with him, but he can do so if he pleases. One cannot ban religious observances from happening, because that too would be an establishment of secularism which is a faith background. The issue is that we have become so divided on many issues we have decided things must go our way. We cannot have that.

In the Declaration of Independence it say we have the right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is my belief that that happiness is for the community, not the individual. If we all pursued our own desires, someone would ultimately ruin that for us. But as a community we deserve happiness, and that is only accomplished by working together.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Long Time, No Blog.

It has almost three years since I posted on this blog. While I do not expect to get readers anytime soon, I will pick up blogging. It is a new year, and I feel I have to put my opinion somewhere. I have kept a lot to myself, and while I have learned a lot in my years of growth, I feel like keeping my thoughts to myself would just make me an angry person. This way I can give my opinion, and if people don't like my view they can move on, and I can still put it out there with out confrontation.

What Politicians Really Think of You

In an election cycle we always hear about the party platform. Immigration, religious freedom, women’s rights, gay marriage, gender equality, racial equality. But over the years it remains the same thing. Very little gets done on any of these issues. Why is that? My hypothesis is that it was never about your rights as an American citizen. It is about the vote count. Each political party has chosen who they feel as a victim and in need of saving. For Democrats, they have picked women, homosexuals (only recently), illegal immigrants, African Americans. For Republicans they have picked Christians, unborn babies, people who see a government who is all too powerful. You see it all the time. Just look at the 2008 Democratic platform, and see how much they actually got done while having a majority in both the house and senate. Look again in 2004 when Republicans held both the house and Senate and the White House. Can you honestly see what all got done to better the country as a whole, or even to further their platform? I cannot. Now, I know what you are thinking. What about the supermajority? Couldn’t the lower party still filibuster? Yes, they could. However as seen when the Democrats still had a majority in the Senate, that could have been taken away. The issue was they still wanted someone to blame when they could not get things done. Harry Reid still had the Republican House of Representatives. So why do they have their platform? For the almighty vote. Minorities and Women, Democrats care more about your vote than they do your rights. Christians and men and women who believe the government has way too much power, Republicans care more about your vote than they do about government overreach. To them it is about a paycheck, and nothing more. How would you like a paycheck of $174,000 and not get much done, and have a scapegoat for not getting it done? That is what you get out of your Representatives and Senators.
What can you do about it? Wake up! Christians if you vote in Donald Trump, you are voting for the republican platform and not what is in the best interest of Christians. Women and college kids, if you vote for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton you are voting for the platform than what is in your best interest.
The Declaration of Independence states that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the pursuit of happiness, it is not about individual pursuit, because if that happened nobody would be happy, because your neighbor would make you mad. It is about the happiness of the community. What is better for the whole? What I believe is better for the whole is for Americans to realize the two party system has failed us, and has only caused anger and division between our fellow citizens. Now is the time to step away from the two party system. For Americans to make sacrifices about their beliefs on what is best for them as individuals, and come together and realize what is best for America.