1.28.2016

THINGS REPUBLICANS CAN DO TO IMPROVE THEIR IMAGE


     Before launching into my critique of the Republican/conservative creed, I want to clarify a couple of things. I am myself a staunch conservative (though I think of myself as independent, not Republican). Let me put it this way; when I turned 21, my very first vote was for Barry Goldwater. I worked at the Los Angeles ad agency which helped to elect Ronald Reagan. I am a traditionalist who pays attention to what Republicans and conservatives say. I often cringe at what I hear. Republicans need to refine their image, in a serious way. Thus the following suggestions (which predictably will be rejected by Republicans). There are many more, primarily dealing with foreign affairs and the misuse of our military, perhaps I will get to these when time allows:

1. GUNS

     Please! Stop over-reacting to every 2nd-Amendment-eating monster you think you hear under your beds and in your closets. It’s tiresome and boring. Stop bragging and yammering about your damnable guns, especially you younger women. The more you yammer about your guns, the more independent voters think you are yahoos. Maybe I have guns, maybe I use them at a range (none of your business), maybe I don’t. But if I do, I don’t talk about them, and I certainly hope I never have to use one against another human being (or the large California bears I occasionally find on my upper deck!) And I certainly don’t go bragging about my heaters, my blue-steel babies, my Roscoes... like so many so-called conservative yay-hoos do in the media. “My cold, dead hands”... indeed.
    Don’t appear, loaded with exotic weapons, in print publications or on the net, pretending to be a warrior for gun rights when all you are looking for is publicity and profit.
    If anything turns off sensible, middle-of-the-road people and voters, it’s the sight of a woman (or man) in a provocative outfit, wielding heavy weapons. It may excite you and a few, but it turns off a lot more people whom you need to win elections. It makes them think whoa – yahoo alert! It makes sensible conservatives squirm with embarrassment. So please... stop it already.

     After two centuries of liberals trying to take away your right to own a gun, you still have your right to own a gun. Right? Credit gun manufacturers, and maybe NRA lawyers for that. Not yay-hoos. So have your guns, twirl your pistols like Ken Maynard, but do it in private and shut the hell up about it – okay?

2. ABORTION.

     There is no point preaching to anyone after a baby has been aborted. It’s too late! Instead focus your attention on prevention. And on making those who would abort their pregnancies aware of the moral, physical implications, and longer-lasting psychological after-effects of their decision. If they cannot be reached on this level, at least make sure they receive safe procedures, and that the aborted proto-life is treated with dignity. Damn those evil people who spend their time trying to turn someone else’s pregnancy into a dead baby. They are doing it for profit, and are to be damned for it. But when those on the “right” side start going against them for publicity and profit, you have become one of them!

     Be reasonable! There are cases where a woman may need to submit to this procedure for legitimate reasons. Don’t make her feel any more guilty or haunted by it than she already feels.

 3. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

     Why are you so obsessed with the idea that your 1st Amendment rights are being curtailed? If anything, there is way too much speech. Too many blabber-mouths who have nothing to add to a subject other than their stupid opinions. Anybody trying to stop you from posting a joke or a meme or a cat video? Anybody stopping you from complaining that there is some conspiracy to take away your right to complain that there is some conspiracy? Anybody stopping me and others like me from pontificating as I am doing now? No. So complain all you want. But stop it already with the “send-me-donations-to-help-insure-your-freedom-of-speech” baloney. You liars are only doing it for publicity and profit. Unless you have something important to add to the conversation, blab all you want, but you’re not foolin’ any common sense voter about losing your freedom of speech.

4. RELIGION.

     Those conservatives who insist on wearing their religion (if not their character) on their sleeves are as cringe-making as any of the above-mentioned types.
     These annoyers come in two flavors. Media-savvy professional evangelists, slick, overly-groomed, smarmy fast-talkers whose professions of love for their Lord are only exceeded by their love for publicity and profit. You know who they are. Charlatans. Oh, sure, they are not limited to the conservative precincts; there are many on the other side as well. “Reverends” Sharpton, Jackson and Wright come to mind. “Your chickens have come home... to roost!” Indeed.
     The other flavor is the misguided believer who goes around preaching religion to his or her neighbors, friends and relatives. This includes misguided missionaries. They may not be doing it for profit, but they sure seem to be doing it for reasons other than personal private faith.

     Let us judge our fellow men by their deeds, not their rhetoric. Do good. Be on the side of right. Thank your God for the blessings you receive. Support those needy who genuinely need it. Be charitable. Refrain from overtly broadcasting how much you love Jesus or Yahweh or Allah because you think it will gain you publicity or profit.

     Both sides of the political spectrum could stand to look at themselves. There are far too many people on this infernal thing we call the internet whose rhetoric is so over the top, so hateful, that no one can possibly have a meaningful exchange amidst this storm of nasty. There are only two kinds of people in this world. The decent and the indecent. Choose your side.
     For the decent, decency is its own reward.

     ‘Nuff said, I am starting to sound like a preacher. But I assure you, for this writer there is neither publicity nor profit.

1.23.2016

SUFFOCATING THE DREAMS OF BLACK CHILDREN

     There are few sins against humanity more damning than destroying the hopes and dreams of little children. Yet, we continue to do it by drugging their minds with the biased views of old leaders and their worn-out ideas. Our culture seems to forget that every African-American baby is created each with his or her own special gifts by the same God as every other child.
     Interviewed on the Michael Medved radio show, 1/20/16, Tavis Smiley was asked by Medved: how can Republicans better reach out to people of color?
     Smiley’s reply was the usual laundry list of all the things Republicans can do to ingratiate themselves to the communities of color (in exchange for what? Votes?) Listen to us, said Smiley. Come speak at our churches and organizations. Address serious community problems, etcetera. Let’s just say all the things Smiley feels people of color are entitled too simply because they are, well... people of color.
     They are people like all other people, Tavis, people!
     If you can force yourself to get past skin color, you will understand that every person shares similar needs, dreams and, yes, responsibilities to themselves, their families, and their neighbor-Americans.
    Smiley says (with a wink and a smile in his voice) there are “some” Republicans who are okay... some of the time. But most are not. Apparently you are an okay Republican if you support the things Tavis wants: giving special benefits to people, not because they have demonstrated merit, but because of skin color.
     Medved’s most profound contribution to the interview was to describe Tavis as one of his community’s deepest philosophical thinkers. If this is Michael’s idea of deep thinking, well, that reveals more about Medved than it does about Smiley.
     What Medved might have said in reply is that, yes, the Republican Party could do more to reach out to help America’s black community, but that the community ought to consider how to reciprocate. After all, if Republicans agreed to simply give Tavis’ communities what they want in exchange for nothing more than the promise of votes in return, that would make them liberal Democrats! Nothing worthwhile is free of strings.
     Here’s a start. A few things the black community can do to make America take notice. To make it at least seem like Republicanism, conservatism might be embraced in their precincts.
     Begin with honest self-examination. African-American leaders might as well stop blaming their community’s ailments on the very same Republicans (and by extension all white Americans) whose help they seek. Obviously it has had little positive effect. The negative effect has been to continue to elect liberal politicians who promise much but deliver little to change conditions in these communities. White America has plenty of its own problems, but knows blaming others for its problems does little to fix the problems.
     Instead of demonstrating and fighting the police, black leaders should work harder with their local police departments to clean up gang-infested inner cities so their children can at least be safe during the day, and rest easy in their beds at night. Grit your teeth and do what Robert Kennedy and others did to organized crime gangs. Break them up. Disband them. Do what needs to be done, damn it!

    People of color should reject any leader who doesn’t insist, from the very beginning, that their children receive a higher standard of education and work toward higher levels of personal merit. Black leaders and the community should speak out against and boycott any segment of the entertainment industry which glorifies guns, violence, drugs and misogyny. Demand Hollywood (including their own film and music makers) create more wholesome films and music: demand entertainment which does not glorify bad culture, because it encourages or inspires children to emulate who and what they see on the screen.


     One fundamental philosophical difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives believe in self-reliance, while liberals believe in reliance on an ever-expanding government, a government which cares little about individuals and actually stifles their growth. Self-reliance is a more difficult row to hoe, but the reward is exponentially better.
    The next time Tavis Smiley and fast-talkers like him suggest “If Republicans want our votes, they must do more for us,” the reply should be okay... but what are you going to do for your own communities in return? For if black leadership continues to try and use white guilt as a way to prosperity, if bad leaders and paid outsiders continue to fan the flames of dissent and chaos, very few will profit. Millions of black children will continue to be misled, deprived of their chance to achieve broader dreams, pride in their own achievement, and the financial profit gained through personal merit.
     African-America leaders, if you keep doing things the same old way, using the same worn-out rhetoric, nothing will ever improve for these poor innocent kids. Their dreams will be suffocated before they are ever realized. All babies are born with gifts and talents
bestowed by the same God.

1.02.2016

CHRISTIANITY VS ISLAM: A FRANK ASSESSMENT

     Two thousand years before Jedi Knights and Darth Vader came along, we were told of the cosmic war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness, but that light will always vanquish darkness. We are not told how many sons of light will perish in the meantime.

     From an historic point of view, Muslim jihad against Western Christian values and culture is merely a continuation of this several millennia-long struggle.

     Jihadists – that minority of Muslims who espouse a violent, fundamentalist interpretation of their religion – take the commands of their god literally and seriously. Go forth, vanquish the infidels, and establish a world-wide caliphate in the name of your god.

     So-called “moderate” Muslims publicly and loudly pretend to disagree with all this (taqiyya). But if they were truly in disagreement, they would be disobeying the word of that same god. If it comes to choosing sides, fundamental Muslims cannot pick the Christian side because it’s against their tenets, essentially making them infidels.

     On the one hand, the Christian god – Christ, the Light – calls his congregation to convert through peace, love, brotherhood and the promise of salvation. On the dark side, the jihadi declares “convert, pay or die” (and let us not discount the promise of lots of virgins). Between Christian and Muslim we have diametrically opposed modi operandi.

     Making matters worse, is a total clash of cultures. Modern Christians have grown “comfortable” with Western values. Capitalism... and its allure of wealth and creature comfort. But this goes against Christ’s own teachings. Not to say there aren’t Muslims who enjoy royal wealth... but the overwhelming number of the world’s billion Muslims enjoy no such level of comfort. So in the end, it would seem that Muslims are in fundamental ways more effective in accomplishing the demands of Islam than Christians are for Christianity.

     Many so-called Christian preachers are masters at finding and fondly quoting biblical verses which are ambiguous enough to suggest Christ does not teach that wealth is bad. But they shy away from verses which demand they forego their own wealth in favor of charity. The Christian world – at least that segment which finds itself living comfortably in the Western sense – has lost its fervor. Comfort tends to cause one to mellow. But Islam continues to spread and grow among those who are by natural predilection still capable of generating fervor and anger toward “the infidel.”

     Some Christians walk away from their churches, if not literally then in spirit, because they sense hypocrisy at altar and pew. As long as Christianity and capitalism continue to grow more comfortable, and comfortable with one another, fervent Christianity will continue to pale. Which of course is why the majority of today’s converts to Christ’s church are the poor, the uneducated, and the desperate. What else could explain the election of the current Pope? Wealth, position and their attendant creature comfort seduce and ultimately corrupt even the most saintly, luring them away from personal sacrifice. With a few exceptions, today’s Christian leaders, suffocated by their own political correctness, are unable or unwilling to join, even minimally, in today’s socio-tech version of the Crusades. So their flocks are exposed, easy targets for the jihad.

     Thankfully, there still are young men and women in the Western world – many of them Christian – who feel the call, and join the military. It will have to be the U.S. military which carries the light, because many leaders seem too occupied carrying their cash to the bank.

     Unfortunately, our sons and daughters of light are restrained by a Commander-In-Chief who seems inclined to go easy on the sons of darkness. Perhaps it’s because, as some believe, he identifies more with the dark side than the light.