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Category Archives: Politics
The quote below from this blog caught my attention because it expresses a common sentiment with which I am not in agreement. It is essentially that voting for voting’s sake is to be encouraged. Anything that gets people to vote is therefore considered good. I disagree. I’m all for convenience. I would very much like to be able to go online
and cast my vote at an accessible web site, but not at the cost of
opening the door to the rampant voter fraud such a system would invite.
My wife and I did use mail-in ballots one year. Obviously anything that makes it easier to commit fraud is not good. I do wonder if that plays a role in Obama’s lead, but that isn’t the issue I’m interested in here. The point is that if what it takes to get someone to vote is just to make it convenient enough for them, I am not at all sure I want them voting. If our goal in making it easier to vote is to attract those who won’t bother unless we make it that easy then our goal harms the society rather than helping. Voting should be undertaken with diligence and forethought. That’s not the kind of voter that will do it just because it’s easy. If you think voting is too much trouble, please do stay home. I’m not for making it any easier for you.
Some have suggested that early voting should be curtailed because it doesn’t give the voter a chance to change their mind if circumstances are altered. This may be true, but if it gets people to vote, it’s hard to argue against it.
I highly recommend The Patriot Post as a one-stop fill-up for everything you really need to know about national politics. The posts can be long but they are worth your time. This is not exactly a cogent excerpt of what you’ll find there, but it’s a smile to start the week with. It doesn’t sound all that practical in the long run, but I’m tempted.
Though drought ravages much of the country, killing crops, hurting livelihoods and driving up food prices, there is a bright spot for one industry. Many homeowners are turning to lawn care companies that specialize in painting grass. Rather than run sprinklers all the time, these homeowners are going with green paint. “It looks just like a spring lawn, the way it looks after a rain. It’s really gorgeous,” said one retiree, who greened 830 square feet for just $125. Many of the companies that perform the service normally only do it for golf courses and athletic fields, though with the lack of rain, many homeowners are turning to paint, and business is booming. Who says there’s no such thing as a green job?
Blog: When in doubt, blame the Tea Party! from American Thinker
History often repeats itself. When it comes to senseless acts of violence, our nation is often subjected to horrific, senseless acts of main stream media reporting.
On Friday’s Good Morning America Brian Ross and George Stephanopoulis suggested that the man responsible for the shocking Aurora, Colorado theater shootings which left at least 14 dead and scores wounded, might be a Tea Party member. Ross and Stephanopoulis were just plain wrong.
I wish I had taken the time to write down my experiences sooner, but I feel like I’m still catching up on everything I didn’t do that weekend. Life goes on and doesn’t stop to let you catch up. I went to the Republican Party of Texas state convention as a delegate from my district for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was an interesting experience. As expected I did lots of voting, but I think I did a lot more learning. I have a lot more to learn, and I look forward to the opportunity to do so.
I don’t think i know anyone who loves to go to meetings. I’ve had a theory for some time that there comes a point at which adding participants to a meeting begins to decrease the effectiveness of that meeting inversely as more are added. Being in a meeting with over 6,000 people hasn’t done much to challenge my theory. There’s no intelligence test before someone takes a microphone, and there’s no test of parliamentary procedure knowledge. I have to credit our chairman, Steve Munisteri, for handling the madness well. I’ve heard it was actually better than in previous years. Maybe there is something our local chapters could do to educate delegates a little better before they hit the floor.
Another thing I learned is that the real decision making happens in the committees. That’s true at both the state and local levels. It is the local resolutions committee who decides what makes it to the district level conventions, and it is the platform committee who decides how much of that ends up the platform that we all end up voting on. Though anyone can submit changes from the floor, there are practical limits to how much of what is presented can be changed.
We have a very good platform. I would have changed a few things, but there’s nothing there that I can’t abide. Therefore, I am not bothered much by the way things went, but I suspect a lot of others might be. By the time we got to the platform we were in a late session. I didn’t check the time but I figure it was around 10:00 p.m. before we even got started. We fussed over the immigration plank changes for most of the remaining session time, then someone moved we accept the whole thing as written, including the changes we just made. The motion was seconded and and overwhelmingly affirmed. Thus, what the committee did went largely unchallenged.
The caucuses were interesting for other reasons. We elected various people to represent us in different ways. The positions are fuzzy to me now, but I remember thinking that sometimes the reasons given by people who spoke for a particular nominee were specious. I suppose I understand rewarding the party faithful. I’m glad they are thought of as nice people. I would certainly appreciate testaments to their character. If the job carries some prestige and doesn’t require much else, I can even support sending someone to do it out of appreciation or good will. However, if they are being asked to represent me, I want more relevant information. I want some assurance that they are going to vote the way I would vote. That’s the idea of representation. Some of those were committee picks. Others were nominated on the spot, though not necessarily without forethought.
There again I see the importance of the committees. A delegate selection committee at the district level was responsible for naming the slate of delegates in the first place, though again anyone could have applied at our local convention and I seem to recall that a couple did. at that level all that is required is that you breathe and vote Republican, but this should be our first line of defense against influences that are contrary to what we say we stand for.
I found the whole process intriguing. Unless they decide to run me off I’ll be back again next time and hopefully take a greater roll. If you have the time and the will, what has come to be called the “grass roots” is the place to be. We complain about the intrenched party leadership, particularly at the national level. If all we do is complain we are going to continue to be disappointed. Texas is a pretty conservative state. We’re probably never going to be entirely satisfied with what comes out at the national level, but if we don’t work to change it, we never will.
If you agree that our country is headed in the wrong direction both economically and socially and that we must turn around quickly and completely, I hope you’ll join me in the fight. I don’t know what form that will take even for me. I don’t believe many of our traditional methods work so I am reluctant to perpetuate them. I believe we’ve got to come up with ways to build relationships before our message will be heard. I don’t know about you, but calling me in the middle of dinner or interrupting any part of my day for that matter to give me a sales pitch makes me less likely to buy. That’s the opposite of what we want.
Now I speak to Christians specifically. We can’t fix this with politics. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can in the political arena so that conditions are as favorable as possible for the triumph of good over evil, but it does mean we’ve got to do more. We live in a country that is governed (at least by design) by its citizens. If we are corrupt, then our government will be corrupt. It falls to the ones who know the Truth to share that Truth at every opportunity. If we hope to save our nation, then God must save its people first. We are His messengers. In all that we do, let us never lose sight of that commission. Otherwise, nothing else we do will matter.
Last week, everyone except the alphabet networks was talking about a couple of videos released by prolife group Live Action. They show Planned Parenthood advising a woman on how to get an abortion after determining the sex of her unborn child. The staffer stated that it was not the place of Planned Parenthood to question the reasons why the abortion was wanted. (I’m paraphrasing.) The resultant outcry got the attention of Congress, where a bill banning the practice of sex selective abortion was introduced and defeated.
When I first saw the headlines coming across my Twitter feed, I had two thoughts. Is this a problem in the U.S.? By standing on this issue, are we diminishing any other equally invalid reason to murder an unborn child? Then another troubling question occurred to me. By attempting to know the motivation of an act, are we not as conservatives acting hypocritically? When hate crime legislation is introduced, we say that a crime is a crime and it is not the government’s business to read the mind of the perpetrator. Is this any different? Thus I am not as incensed as some that a few Republicans, including Ron Paul, did not vote to pass this law.
I don’t know how much of a problem it is here. Certainly the motivation that makes it so common in China and other eastern nations to prefer boys to girls is not as strong here. But whether the mother prefers a boy or a girl, why is this motivation better or worse than any argument of convenience that is used to justify the murder of the innocent?
I think I understand the motivation behind tackling this issue in this way. We want to stop as many deaths as we can. It may be hoped that the horror of gendercide would unite liberal and conservative alike in the effort to stop it. Maybe we might save a few. I understand taking “baby steps” to limit the tragedy of abortion in any way that we can. Maybe that is the only right thing to do under the circumstances.
Having said that, I think we need to ask ourselves whether the actions we take will in fact lead us to the ultimate goal. Abortion should be outlawed, with the possible exception of immediate danger to the life of the mother. We have murdered over 53 million children since Roe v. Wade. That’s almost five times the number of people killed by Hitler. How it is that God has delayed so long in judging us for this I do not know. While we argue over motivation, more children die. I realize we can only do so much within the confines of law, but let us not lose our focus. The slaughter of innocents must stop whatever the intent of the killer.
It recently came out that non-white births have now exceeded white births in the united states. I read another article this week lamenting the leftward shift of our countries politics that the changing demographic portends. My first thought, “why should that be?” Why should we assume that just because non-whites have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in the past that this will always be the case? I can’t remember who the author was, but he/she made some good points based on who benefits most from government largess. It also seemed to me to be a somewhat racially biased assessment. Sowell, as usual, gets to the heart of the matter, which is not rooted in race but in how we are tought to think about race. It makes no difference to me how many of any race are born, Skin color is an incidental. The real question is, will they be given the opportunity to learn the truth and succeed on their own merit whatever their origin?
Our whole educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities, is permeated with ideologies of group grievances and resentments, painting each group into the corner of its own separate subculture, instead of drawing them into the mainstream of the American culture that made this the greatest nation on earth.
Unless the fashionable Balkanization is stopped, demography can become destiny — and a tragedy for all.
For the last few months in my local TEA Party, we’ve been talking about the upcoming elections and how we should be involved in them. Though we are expressly non-partisan, our views are most closely represented by the Republican Party, so that is where our discussions have been focused. We were taught about how the process works, how voting is done, and how our precincts function among other things. Each time we met volunteers would be called for as various needs were brought up. I sat there taking it all in, not sure how or even if I wanted to get involved on the party level.
I have not always been happy with the Republicans, particularly at the national level. Yet when it comes time to vote, where else am I going to go? I believe there are more than enough principled people in the Republican Party that we can move it in the right direction rather than try to form something entirely new that doesn’t have any real power. We can only do that by participating in the process.
So when the call went out once more for delegates to participate in the local district convention and go to the state convention in June, I decided to at least investigate the possibility. This is the place where the party platform is created and where state party leaders are chosen. I began asking questions of people who had been involved. I looked at the online material provided by the Texas Republican Party. I watched a mock district convention video they have on the site. The only remaining concern I had was based on that video. They agreed not to read resolutions since they were visible on screen. What if something like that was done in my district? What if printed material was presented that I could not access? I wanted to be able to make informed decisions and I didn’t really want to put the hard-working organizers to more trouble making accommodations for me. I went ahead and asked the question. No definitive answer was forthcoming, but it turned out not to be a problem.
I was encouraged to come, so I filled out the delegate application sent to me via email and ended up at the district convention. Everything was read aloud, and I am sure I could have requested any clarification I needed. A couple of times I almost got up the nerve to speak out on something, but there was no need. I think next time I’ll be more likely to do that. From time to time proceedings would be interrupted by a candidate for office swinging through on his or her multi district convention campaign run. This is common and provides a way to get some exposure to lower level candidates you might not know anything about otherwise.
I will be involved at this level from now on, and I think I’d like to be part of the resolutions committee. That’s the first stop for anything that someone wants on the platform. In a couple of months I’ll be going to the state convention, and I’m looking forward to the experience. I think this is the right approach rather than trying to start something entirely new. If you haven’t read the platform, go here and do so. I can’t speak for other states, but in Texas we’re on the right track. When I read the platform I decided I wanted to be part of keeping it that strong.
The short answer is “no,” but it requires explanation. I would put so-called victimless crimes into two categories. The first would be those commonly trotted out as such; examples being drugs and prostitution. The second are those that may be said to have no moral component at all, resulting from the violation of laws that in fact do cause harm, often being agents of victimization.
A crime is generally understood to be the breaking of law, so we need to consider why law exists. We have laws because we are naturally lawless. Unconstrained, we will tend to do whatever suits us, considering others only so far as we have determined that to be in our best interest. If we were all carbon copies of Jesus, law would be largely if not entirely unnecessary. It is because we’re not that He had to come show us how to live and pay the ultimate price to redeem us.
Laws protect us from each other, and yes, from ourselves. That leads to more questions. How much law do we need? Who sets the standard by which the law is made? Who says what is right and what is wrong? What constitutes harm to others or harm to oneself? Does harm to oneself really affect only the individual? If the answer to the last question is no, how far can we go to protect the individual from himself under the banner of protecting others?
I observe three perspectives from which to answer these questions. One that we all seem to be able to agree on to one degree or another is that of the society as a whole. How does the individual’s behavior affect society? Depending on one’s inclination the answer to that question may differ. One says that the use of controlled substances is a personal matter that harms no one else and that the blight we blame on drug use is really caused by its criminalization. The other points to the family breakdown, neglect, accidents, and death related substance abuse. One argues that they’re going to do it anyway so we should take away the incentive for criminals to profit from it. The other says if we make it easy more will do it and society will be burdened by the side-effects.
The second perspective references a moral code. We recognize that not everything one might choose to do has a right or wrong to it, but we always apply the test. In so doing we often find that fewer things than one might expect will lead us back to a question of morality. Benefit to society is seen as flowing from the moral choice rather than dictating it.
The third I will call the sociopathic perspective. All of us must deal with it at some level. Because we are lawless by nature, we tend to favor those things that we think will benefit us the most. Often we cloak our selfish desires under the mantel of the other two. We may not even be conscious that we’re doing it. Remove a finite standard, and this is all we have left. Too often we take this with us to the polls, voting for that which seems most likely to give us what we want.
If we want it badly enough we’ll have it regardless of the consequences. We’ve all heard that prohibition didn’t work. I submit that it didn’t work because we really didn’t want it to work. I find it ironic that we’re headed in the same direction with marijuana, the smoking of which does far more damage than tobacco, while we continue to turn the screws on tobacco smokers.
As long as God permits flawed humanity to govern itself, we will not have satisfactory answers to these questions applied throughout our societies. There is only one measure by which our actions are rightly judged, and that is the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Until He is the unquestioned king of this earth, all we can do is strive to see as much of His truth applied as possible under the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Our government was uniquely fashioned such that we are free to make that effort. It is not only our right, but our duty to make good use of this divine gift. If we do not apply it, even what we have will be taken from us (Matthew 25:14-29.)
Here’s just one example among many, courtecy of Michael Reagan.
He had a mistress who was pregnant and his wife had terminal cancer; he was running for president and the press knew all about it.
But there was no firestorm in the media about this juicy scandal until after the election of 2008 because John Edwards is a Democrat!
Too bad Newt Gingrich is a Republican — otherwise the media would see to it that he’d be home free, warts and all, just like John Edwards.
I’m not really going to go into sects and cults today. That’s a topic for another post. I just like the title. I haven’t checked, but I suspect the conspiracy theorists are all abuzz with speculation about our ever narrowing field of choices for the Republican presidential nomination. We’ve run out of choices that might have brought some real reform to Washington.
I’m sure Ron Paul supporters would beg to differ. They may do so with good reason. Paul does say some things that need to be said. I believe he is dangerously wrong about the Middle East, but he’s right that we should not be going to war without a declaration of war as directed by our Constitution. His message of spending reform is desperately needed. He would champion limited government, and I would not be opposed to his having a roll in the new administration. However, when I think of Paul as president, I imagine living in Amsterdam. That’s not where I want to live. I suppose one could argue that if you’re high when you die by a terrorist bomb at least you’ll die happy. Some of his supporters aren’t doing him any favors either. They behave just like those on the radical left, the only difference perhaps being they’re not stupid enough to think socialist economic policies actually can work. That’s what corrupted moral standards lead to.
That leaves us with the other three, who all seem to have discrepancies between record and rhetoric. The same was true of Perry, but his professed loyalty to the Constitution with emphasis on states’ rights had my support. Now I’m not sure who to get behind. I’ve never seriously considered Romney. That hasn’t changed. If he wins, I’ll be voting against Obama rather than for him.
Santorum’s staunch support of life and family are very attractive, but I have seen nothing that convinces me that he will push for the radical changes we need to get government spending and overreach under control. However, character counts for a lot. He has no skeletons in his closet, despite the media’s despicable efforts to invent one. I think he would follow his conscience, and it seems to be in the right place. Could he hold his own against Obama? That question worries me.
Finally there’s Newt Gingrich. He’s Intelligent, knowledgeable, articulate and bold; and he’s mopping the floor with the other candidates in recent debates and buffing it with the media for good measure. The champion of the original Contract with America in 1994, he’s already proven he can get big things done. It’s too bad about the personal life. If the stories of his conversion are true maybe we can now believe that he will conduct himself with integrity, but his past is not going away. In our microwave culture, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Gingrich is riding high on his recent performance. I’ll admit to being swayed. He sounds like the man who can get the job done. Yet I also know that his solutions don’t reduce government enough. They just reorganize it in a more palatable mixture. Pragmatism suggests that his approach is the more reasonable, the better ideas from other candidates gone by being impossible to implement in our current environment. My questions are these. Are they truly Constitutional, and are they enough to keep us from collapsing? The latter answer may be that there is no longer anything to prevent that. It may be that we can only delay it.
I say again that our problems are not political but spiritual. I struggle to make the best choice among the available options, but I also realize that without change in our hearts, we will keep tilting toward evil. Driven by self-interest over all, we will make whatever choice seems to net us the best personal result. If we can overcome the deficiencies in our inadequate and liberalized educational system we may come to understand that we won’t ultimately get that by soaking the rich, but conservative economics wont’ save our souls. Far greater is the destruction wrought by declining morals than that by a declining economy, though the former will often lead to the latter. So do your civic duty and make the best and most informed choice you can, but above all preach Jesus. He is the only one who can save us.