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Archive for the ‘My Beloved Country’ Category

I find it difficult to understand why Senate Democrats would block Neil Gorsuch’s nomination when they all know that it will just lead to the ‘nuclear option’ that will allow the man to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. This is just the child-like behavior that Republicans showed over the past eight years of the Obama administration. It seems to me that the two-party system in America has degenerated into a bunch of name-calling, infantile, assholedness that we often attribute to police state countries in other parts of the world. Perhaps the part that bothers me most is that the American public appears to be content to tolerate this behavior on the part of our national law makers…and that my friends is no less than absolutely frightening.

Are the Democrats so fearful the Justice Gorsuch will sway the balance of power that they have to use anything they have to prevent his nomination from passage? Yes, of course it’s true that he will be a voice of conservatism on the Court, just as Merrick Garland’s appointment would have made the Court one that would lean more to the liberal side of the aisle. However, I have to assume that the successful block of Garland’s nomination was nothing more than a cry-baby attempt by conservatives to further their agenda of diluting any kind of legacy that would be left by Obama. Certainly, Trump’s executive orders and the House’s idiotic attempt to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act seem to be designed to ensure that there is no Obama legacy to be undone.

Call me naïve or dumb or whatever you wish, but I find it absolutely ridiculous that 435 men and women, sent to Washington to do the very best for this country by composing, comparing, and enacting legislation that will benefit this nation as a whole, cannot do so. Sure, I understand that what the people in Maine want, the people in Mississippi want, and the people in Montana, Minnesota, and Massachusetts may want, but goddammit, somewhere along the line, there should be things that people in our 50 states can say, “Well, yeah, I’m not crazy about it, but I can live with it.” This is not the case today in the Houses of Congress. It’s “my way or the highway, and fuck you very much!” and that does not serve the best interests of anyone in any part of the country. Congress has become too self-absorbed with what it considers to be its own importance. To top it off, we now have a person in the White House who encourages this type of discord, although for what reasons, it’s hard to imagine. Congress can censure its own members, but the only way that America can benefit is if we throw some of these people out of office and let some new folks attempt to understand the word, “compromise.”

I can hear the politicians now…”Oh, you don’t understand how government works. You don’t realize the pressure we’re under from our constituents to stand our ground.” Perhaps not, but what I do realize is this: Too many of you have been in office too long, and you have turned government into your own political play thing, that does nothing for the nation, but that lines your pockets in ways that are unimaginable to the vast majority of your constituents. Do you think I’m joking? Time Magazine, in a January, 2014 story, wrote, “The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 current members of Congress and found that, for the first time, more than half had an average net worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257 the year earlier. The median for congressional Democrats was $1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even.” In that same year, the median income of Americans was $51,939. Doesn’t that make you stop and think that perhaps members of Congress cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be an average American citizen? They listen and nod their heads and commiserate with their folks back in East Bumfuck or wherever, and then they return to Washington, dining at Fiola Ware, Bourbon’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, or The Source, usually at the expense of some lobbyist or other who will get them to vote for a bill that is actually at odds with what the interests of their constituents happen to be…but they tried…they were just overwhelmed by their fellow Congressional leaders or members of their party…and it’s all a bunch of bullshit…just so they can pocket a few more bucks or increase their portfolios.

Am I a cynic? No, that’s not cynicism, it’s realism. I’ve been on this earth for over eight decades, and in that time, I’ve learned one or two things about political leaders. The first of these things is that they are overly impressed with their own self-importance. A second thing is that they may have begun their political careers hoping to change things for the better, but that they soon become corrupted by those who were in office before them and took them under their wing, and if they refused to be taken “under a wing,” they were soon out of office and never even saw the bus that they had been thrown under by their ‘friends.’ Remember what Mark Twain said, “We have the best government that money can buy,” and by God, he was absolutely right.

My political ambition never carried me farther than being vice president of a Little League, and seeing the back-biting and chicanery that happened in something as low-level as that was enough to convince me that getting into the real political arena was somewhat akin to shoveling shit against the oncoming tide…you just won’t win.

I love America with all my heart and soul. It is the greatest country on earth. It’s a land where people are free to pursue their dreams, and whether they succeed or fall flat on their collective faces, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because they are free to get up and start their pursuit all over again. Yes, I love my country, but sometimes I wonder just how we ever came to this sorry impasse that we call the United States Congress.

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“I pledge my allegiance to the United States of America and to the principles of the republic on which it was founded. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, equality, and justice for all, accepted by all and divided by none.”

Sort of screws up the traditional pledge of allegiance, doesn’t it? Sure, my pledge could use a little work, but after all, it’s only the first draft. You see, I don’t wish to pledge allegiance to any symbol, whether we agree that it represents us or not. My pledge is directly to my country, for which I am more than willing to give my last full measure of devotion.

My country is not a flag or a pennant waving in the breeze. My country is men and women and children. It is the farmer who provides me with food and drink. It is the manufacturer who has provided the materials with which my house could be built. It is the small business that I prefer to patronize, all the while knowing that I’m paying a few cents more than what I would pay in the “big box” stores. America is everyone and everything that I see and use and love and hate all in a single day.

“This is my country,” wrote Don Raye and Al Jacobs in 1940. Here I am 75 years later, still shouting it from the roof tops. “This is my country, land of my birth.” Yep, six years before that song was written, I came aboard America, and I love it as much today as I guess I must have loved it then…”greatest on earth,” and nothing has demonstrated to me that it is not. “I pledge thee my allegiance, America the bold, for this is my country, to have and to hold.” I just want to stand up and scream how great this land has been to me.

Unfortunately, America has not been great for all. We suffered through slavery and the thought that those of a different skin color weren’t deserving of the same rights. We brought shame on our nation by the manner in which we treated people who were living here long before “we” decided to move in, a shame we bear even more today because it would appear that we aren’t really repentant about the manner in which Native Americans are still treated. We would love to believe that everything in our country is okay, but as we all know, it’s not quite the case.

The America in which I grew up was simpler, far less complex and even far less diverse than it is today. I like to say that the country’s diversity has expanded exponentially while our minds have expanded arithmetically. There are some changes that we can accept with a certain degree of ease, while others cause us a certain degree of reticence. We like to believe that America was founded on Christian values. Why then, do we allow synagogues? The simple answer is “because we accept people of the Jewish faith.” In return, what have the Jewish people demanded of the Christians? The right to pray as they wish; the right to go to school where they wish; the right to raise their families as they wish. In addition, they would like us to join them in celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as holidays in our schools. In school districts where Jews outnumber Christians, no one has demanded that we fly the American flag upside down or that we replace it with the flag of Israel. Most of the Jewish people I know consider themselves Americans first but with an allegiance to Israel because it is the land where their history began.

I refuse to accept students replacing the American flag at their schools with the flag of any other country, as has been done in several areas across the Southwest. You are in America. If you wish to stay here, respect our traditions and our history. Otherwise, go back where you came from…and don’t tell me there are no jobs there or it’s too frightening. If those are reasons you came to this country, then leave the joblessness and the terror behind you and get on with your assimilation into our culture. It may be the custom in your country to dress in a manner totally different from how we dress in America. If you wish to become part of our country, learn to dress as we dress. If this is not acceptable to you, please, go back to where your mode of dress is acceptable. Worship as you will; celebrate your holidays as you will, but this is my country; get used to it.

One of the greatest attributes of this nation is its degree of tolerance. We’ve had to work at being tolerant. Ask any Irishman whose family came over on the boats. Ask any person of Chinese descent whose great grandparents had to settle for jobs that even the Irish wouldn’t accept. Ask the first Italian, or Jewish, German or Dutch, or almost any ethnic group that came over here in the 1800s. They will tell you the difficulties of becoming accepted in our country, but they worked at it and they succeeded. Today’s emigres appear to want to do as they damn well please and if Americans don’t like it, that’s just too bad.

We live in a country that, in many cases, is prouder of its heritage and accomplishments than nations that are far older but not as far advanced. Hear me well people who come here trying to change us: “This is my country! Land of my choice! This is my country! Hear my proud voice! I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold, For this is my country! To have and to hold.”

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It’s thirteen months before the next Presidential elections, and I’m already sick and tired of the promises being made by candidates from both sides, promises they have no intention of keeping because they don’t honestly know how. That, my friends, is a 37-word sentence, a fierce violation of the “writers’ code.” Frankly, I don’t give a damn. If the politicians can lie as blatantly as they do, I can violate a few of the inviolable rules of journalism.

What the political hacks seem to conveniently forget is exactly what Barrack Obama forgot when he assumed the Executive Office…you do not work alone in governing the United States of America. The Founding Fathers made this very clear when they proposed a system of checks and balances for each of the three branches of our government; the Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial. While it is the function of the Legislative Branch to propose and enact laws that will benefit a “great majority,” these can either be vetoed by the Executive Branch or ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Branch. The President, while he – no she yet – may bluster and bitch, he can veto what Congress sends to him for signature, ergo, he thinks he’s top gun, but Congress may override his veto. In addition, they control the purse strings, thus limiting his ability to spend monies on projects of which he may approve but which Congress does not. Oh, yes, and if they believe he has done something illegal or immoral, they can also impeach him. The judicial branch, while controlled by a systems of lower courts, is basically exempt from the checks which apply to the other two branches, and the rulings of the Supreme Court will stand until challenged by new justices.

As a result of the checks and balances that our Founding Fathers included in the Constitution, it doesn’t really matter what tripe and braggadocio is uttered by wannabee Presidential candidates. Their key attribute should be the ability to get those from their own and their opposition parties to work alongside them for the common good of the nation. This might just be a novel concept for the Executive leadership branch of government; after all, the Legislative Branch does not know how to work in any kind of harmony for the betterment of the country. I’d like you to think about that for just a moment. We have a chief executive who, when he doesn’t get his own way with the Legislative Branch, attempts to go around them through executive action rather than work with them to determine what they see as the problem with what he is attempting to achieve. (You may have to read that sentence a couple of times, but you understand what I’m saying, don’t you…sure, I thought you did.)  On the other hand, as you may have read in The Selling of America, we have a Legislative Branch that is so torn apart internally that it cannot even decide on the correct time of day or whether or not the sky is blue! Meanwhile, back in Kentucky, a clerk is telling the Supreme Court to go straight to hell, because she doesn’t care about the laws of America; she’s a law unto herself. The Founding Fathers knew that governing wouldn’t be easy, but I’m not so certain they ever envisioned anything quite as tragically comical as what we are seeing in the early part of the 21st Century. Where the hell is common sense when we need it…yep, you’re right; common sense truly is not all that common.

This is why I am already sick and tired of the banalities of these people who believe they are qualified to lead the United States of America. Here is a question that I would like to ask each of the candidates: “how can you be so certain that you are qualified to run the nation?” They would, no doubt, begin to respond immediately and I would interrupt by saying “SHADDUP FOOL!” as loudly as possible. If they continued to speak, I would have them ejected from wherever our meeting was taking place. If you don’t have to stop and think, think, think about the questioning of your own abilities, say nothing until you can speak with genuine authority. I could take each candidate currently in the running and dissect them piece by piece but then this essay would go on forever. Let me just say that governing a state does not qualify you to govern a nation, no matter how successful you were in doing so. Being in Congress most assuredly does not qualify you to be the chief executive of the United States. Having been a business person who achieved a modicum of success hardly qualifies you to the pressures that you will feel when you enter the Oval Office. Let’s see, have I left any area uncovered? Nope, don’t think so. To me, the best person to run the country is the one who has all sorts of reservations about his or her ability to do so, but who is willing to put forth a best effort to keep the nation growing, to reduce the national debt; to keep our country free from attack by foreign powers or individuals who would attempt to destroy us, and who is actually willing to sacrifice his or her life to do these things and so many, many more. Show me that person, the one who is free from bluster and bullcrap, who is willing to work with and/or around the idiots currently occupying the halls of Congress like a goddamned childish sit in, and who can demonstrate openly the ‘how’ of their plan, and that my friends is the person who gets my vote. The saddest thing of all is that that person has yet to come forward. Because of that, I fear greatly for the future of my nation.

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I am an American.

I was born in America, educated in American public schools, attended college in America, worked all of my adult life in America, married an American lady, brought up three kids in America – not quite true because my wife did most of the kid upbringing – and I fully intend to die in America. I love the country of my birth and death, but I don’t much care for some of the things that go on inside it.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m quite certain that there people in other countries who feel the same way about their nations as I feel about my own…though that’s not necessarily true, because it seems to me that many people in other countries look to America as either being the hope of the world or the devil that is driving the world to extinction.

My complaints about my own country might be considered by some as marginally ludicrous. I don’t consider them such. For example, why does this country spend so much money on foreign aid when we have Native American people who don’t even have clean water with which to drink, bathe, or do their washing in? Haven’t we done enough to the Native Americans? First, we – the settlers who first invaded what we now call the United States of America – slaughtered as many Native Americans as we possibly could so that we could steal their lands. Then, when we came to a certain degree of our senses, we gathered them together and tried to place them on the most inhospitable lands that we could find. When they discovered that the land had value – beneath if not above – we pushed them into other areas where the land had no value above or below. Here it is, the 21st Century, and they are without running water in many of their homes? What is wrong with us? Have we lost all sense of what is important versus what is politically expedient? These people, whom we slaughtered, marched on a trail of tears, pushed away from the ‘real’ Americans, should be revered and treated as well as we treated the Italians, Poles, Germans, Irish, and so many others who came to this country seeking the American Dream and who actually found it. Native Americans, on the other hand, have known nothing but the American nightmare.

“It has been said the democracy is the worst form of government, except for all of the others that have been tried.” The quote is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, although there are many questions regarding the date, place, time he might have spoken such erudite verbiage. Purists will tell you that America is not a democracy but is, in fact, a republic…and they are correct. According to ThisNation.com, “The United States is, indeed, a republic, not a democracy. Accurately defined, a democracy is a form of government in which the people decide policy matters directly–through town hall meetings or by voting on ballot initiatives and referendums. A republic, on the other hand, is a system in which the people choose representatives who, in turn, make policy decisions on their behalf. The Framers of the Constitution were altogether fearful of pure democracy. Everything they read and studied taught them that pure democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” Sounds about right to me because if we allowed the people of Wyoming, Rhode Island, Florida or any other single state to enact laws applicable to every other state, the death of our nation would, indeed, have been swift and violent. The problem, however, is that those representatives we have chosen to make policy decisions on our behalf have, over our 228-plus years evolved from being men and women concerned with the welfare of the nation, to a group of idiots more concerned with perpetuating the goals of their own political party and their place of power within that party…and this is wrong. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, and I for one do not see any hope for a return to the days when, as Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill said, “It’s country first; state second, and political party a distant third.” We the people are represented by those we elected to office; however, their allegiance is being usurped by lobbyists, by political action committees (PACs), and by a few power brokers who can ensure their reelection or their defeat, ergo, their allegiance is really to themselves and to hell with the people who actually cast votes in their favor.

Everyone talks about a moral compass. America’s moral compass is so screwed up that the Founding Fathers are, I am quite certain, spinning so fast in their graves, they resemble a child’s toy on the kitchen table. We invade other countries and wind up starting bigger wars than we can finish. We feed the people of other nations, dig wells for their fresh water supply while our own citizens go wanting. We pay more attention to the infrastructure of other lands than we do to the lands in our country. I am but one voice screaming in the wilderness. I will continue to scream until things change or I am dead, and where I’m headed, I’m certain I’ll still be screaming!

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In a little over a year, Americans will be going to the polls to pick a new leader. What do we expect of this person? Do we expect the status quo? Do we expect this person to keep world peace, either by sending troops into faraway lands or by pulling them back within our own borders? What about the mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters of these troops; what do they want? Do we expect our new leader to do things so differently that we will be positively affected or that the opponent will immediately make changes that will adversely our standard of living? What do we really want?

It seems to me that the vast majority – the silent majority, if you wish to call them that – just don’t give a damn! The one percenters and the one-tenth of the one-percenters, they care. They care enough to invest millions to ensure that their candidate takes the oath of office on Wednesday, January 20, 2016? Why is that? What do they expect that Mr. and Mrs. Average American don’t expect or don’t really give a damn about? Well, for one thing, they expect to keep their one percent or one-tenth of one percent status. That means they expect a large return on their investment (ROI). They expect their winning candidate to make only those changes necessary to help them improve their bottom line. And since the bottom line for this group means lifestyle and more money in their pockets, they really don’t care when and if their candidate does things to screw Mr. and Mrs. Average American out of more of their hard-earned weekly paycheck. Increase the amount of money that the worker has to pay for health Insurance…sure, go ahead. Allow the pharmaceutical companies to jack up prices on medicines for the elderly…hey, why not? Add a new tax that will have little effect on the rich but will drive the lower income folks deeper into poverty…what’s wrong with that…helps to pay off the national debt… but not with my money!

Lord but I’m tired of these people with their wealth and power. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t begrudge the entrepreneurial spirit and those folks who busted their balls to create something of benefit to mankind. The late Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Dean Kamen, and many others have and continue to do wonderful things, and I admire them for doing so. I’m talking about sleaze balls like…nah, they’re the types who sue at the drop of a hat, but I’ll bet we’re thinking along the same lines. Oh, sure, they make contributions but only to cover their butts come tax time.

I was and remain one of those Average Americans; I will die one of those people. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I care deeply for my country, and I care deeply about whom our leaders are and what lies in their hearts. In order to lead our nation, I believe one thing very strongly, and that is, “Our President should be a veteran of our armed services.” I’d repeat that but you can read just as well as I. There is a discipline learned in the military that cannot be learned elsewhere. There are leadership qualities developed in the military that cannot be developed elsewhere. There is a learned responsibility for all fellow military as well as civilians that cannot be learned elsewhere. Eisenhower, Truman, and Kennedy all had it. It’s an indefinable trait that exists in people who are responsible for the 320 plus million people who call themselves citizens of the United States. It’s a mysterious ability to know what is right; what is wrong; and what the difference is between the two. Unfortunately, veterans of military service are a rare commodity – Jim Webb seems to be the only veteran in the current crop…and perhaps Rick Perry’s Air Force service may qualify him – because universal military service is no longer a requirement in this country, something that I happen to believe is a mistake, but that’s a topic for another time.

So, in the final analysis, what do we expect of our next President? Certainly, honesty would be a good start. It would also probably cut the field in half…at least. Compassion is also a good quality, but only when the time for compassion is necessary and that generally means compassion toward our own citizens. Otherwise, I want someone whose enemies will call him or her “a tough, hard-nosed son-of-a-bitch,” and whose friends will nod silently in agreement. We – you and I – are going to the polls to bring the next leader of the free world into office. Think about those words for a moment: The next leader of the free world. We don’t want someone who will make deals that he or she believes might keep us safe; we want someone who will be that son-of-a-bitch who will make “don’t screw with the US or else” deals. We want a leader who can work with his/her opponents and members of his/her own party in Congress equally well. We want a person who understands that he or she was elected by and is responsible to the citizens of the United States. Am I asking for God? Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am. I don’t expect this person to walk on water or raise the dead, but I sure as hell expect more than I’ve seen over the last quarter of a Century. The next President doesn’t have to fill any shoes but his or her own. I wish that person well, but whoever you are, remember, you can be replaced.

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“Politicians and babies should be changed every so now and then, and often for the same reason.” The quotation has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson, although Ronald Reagan used it in one of his presidential speeches. The quote actually applies to many people and situations, and now I have learned that it also applies to many of the flags of our 50 states.

There has been a great deal of bitching, wailing, and gnashing of teeth over the Confederate flag flying over the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina. Here’s a news flash…that isn’t the official flag of the state. The actual flag depicts a crescent moon and a palm tree – I think it’s a palm, or maybe it’s a palmetto – on a blue background. It was adopted on September 28, 1861. It’s dull; it’s deadly…well, that may be a poor choice of words, but if a flag is supposed to depict the excitement of its state, South Carolina needs an upgrade…and not just to SC.2. They have to jump all the way to SC.21; after all, we are living in the 21st Century.

There was an article in The Washington Post recently. A columnist tore every state flag apart. While not piece by piece, she did have a disparaging remark to make about each of the flags. As I read the article and studied the flags, my first thought was, “What a bitch!” but then I realized, “She may be onto something here; these flags really suck!” However, all of the controversy over the Confederate flag flying over Columbia isn’t even about a state flag. It denotes something else. If you’re a southerner, it means southern pride; if you happen to be black or from a non-slave state, it is a symbol of violence and the horrible treatment of one race of people, and it should be removed.

Aha, now we’re beginning to see the two sides to the same story. On the one hand, we have patriotism; on the other we have hatred. Which is correct? Are either correct? Are they both correct? I’m opting for the latter, ie., that both groups…those who want the flag to remain and those who wish it removed…are, in fact, right. There is the pride of calling oneself a “southerner,” such as in the song, “My Home’s in Alabama,” by Alabama or “Southern Pride,” by Matt Dylan or any one of hundreds of country songs that reflect a loyalty to state, county, or town. On the other hand, the south equates, to some people, both black and white, with the Ku Klux Klan, with attacks on freedom riders who were trying to register voters, with lynchings of black men and women who were perceived to have broken some unwritten southern rule, and with a perception of slowness supposedly illustrating uneducated or a low level of intelligence.

Hell, the only state that still has the Confederate flag as a part of their state flag is Mississippi. Georgia did have the flag as a part of its state emblem until 2001, but it was removed. In examining the flags of our various states, it’s not all that difficult to understand why they have been adopted. However, each and every one of them could use an update to reflect the status of state in the 21st Century.  Only four states have flags that were designed on or after 2000; Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah.  Don’t get me wrong…there is no bigger ‘history must be preserved’ buff than I, but some of these flags just invite smartass remarks. Alabama, with its big red ‘X’ or whatever the hell that’s supposed to be is, in and of itself, a joke. Hell, the flag they flew during the Civil War was more attractive than the current obscenity! The flag of Hawaii appears as though the state thinks it may still be part of the British Empire.

Do I believe state flags should be changed every Century? Yes, possibly. Certainly, they should be reviewed periodically to determine whether or not they accurately reflect the current status of the state. During my career in higher education, I worked for seven college presidents. Only one did not wish to have the logo of the institution changed. The seals of the institutions were inviolable. They were created when the institutions were begun. The logotypes, however, depicted the current vision of the institution. Some might say the same is true of the states; I don’t believe that. Most state flags were created for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. One dates back to 1845. Every state flies the Stars and Stripes. If we are to say and believe that we are “united,” wouldn’t it be a good idea to incorporate some variant of our national emblem with our state’s emblem?

The state flag of Massachusetts could probably use some updating. The motto, “By the Sword We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty,” was fine when the Pilgrims first hit the rock, but it seems to me that we might consider an update. In addition, the last time I saw an Algonquin Indian in Massachusetts was…ah…let me see…nevah! I’m certain there are still descendents of the many tribes that used to populate our state, but to select one group of people as representing an entire state – any state – is to potentially offend other groups, ergo, take people out of the equation. From the Berkshires to the tip of Cape Cod, the symbols of Massachusetts are myriad. The same is true, I believe, of every state in the Union.

Perhaps it would be an idea to hold design competitions to bring our state flags up-to-date, incorporating part of our entire national emblem with something or things that are of great significance to the particular state. Sounds like a plan to me; what about to you?

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So, Dylann Roof was afraid that black people were taking over the world. Well, maybe that’s just not such a bad thing after all. I can hear the screams now…”Are you out of your friggin’ mind?” “Oh, come on, you can’t be serious!” “Didn’t you see all of those shootings in Dorchester and who committed them?” “Yeah, right, and all those black gangs would be taking over our neighborhoods and killing all the white people; that’s what would happen you idiot.”

Yep, possibly true. But why is it true? It’s true because a minority of the minority make all of the headlines because of their actions. I have seen the riots; I have seen the black banners; I have heard the yelling and screaming, and; I have seen the way in which we ‘educated’ whites have treated “uppity n___as” for over 200 years.

Despite all of our legislation; despite all of our efforts to integrate blacks and whites, nothing seems to be working. In one of the most advanced civilizations in history, we cannot overcome something as seemingly simple as two races living together in some kind of harmony. Even when we elected a black president, there was sufficient racism in the legislative branch – and other branches – to stop any kind of progress from being made. Anyone who tries to tell me that racism isn’t behind the gridlock in Washington is a goddamned liar! “We won’t let him get anything passed in the House.” Those are as close to an exact quote as I can remember from one Representative. “Him,” the word was “him,” and who was “he?” He was the first black President of the United States.

America was not ready to accept anything other than a white person for the Presidency. It is doubtful that America will ever be ready for anything but a white presidency. It’s too ingrained in us over our two hundred plus year history to accept anything else. We are creatures of habit; we are NIMBY’s such as there has never been. We talk of how we have advanced our civilization by trying new things, and that’s true, we have. But we sure as hell don’t want to disturb the status quo when it comes to the who of how we govern. Someone said to me, “When the Obama’s leave the White House, they’ll take all the china and silverware.” The person was only half joking. Why? Because that is the impression too many of us have of men and women in the black community. Wait a minute; who gambled away the White House china? Why it was President Warren G. Harding. How many alcoholic white presidents have we had? Too goddamned many. How many wheeler-dealer crooks have we had in the White House? Too goddamned many.

I have no sympathy for Dylann Roof; don’t get me wrong. Certainly, trying to start a race war is not the answer to bringing this country together. He deserves to pay the ultimate price for his actions. My gut feeling is that if he has already confessed to these murders, there is no reason for a trial. “That’s not the American way!” Bullshit…why isn’t it the American way? Why waste time and money to satisfy the blood lust that the media will create over this senseless and heinous act? The same should have been true with the Marathon bomber, the theatre killer, the one who shot Gabby Gifford and others, as well as Edward Hinckley. You did it; we saw you; you pay for your actions in the same manner as your actions. Within 24 hours of your capture, you are on your knees with two shots behind the ear. “Oh, my God, how brutal; how you can even think such a thing; this isn’t China where they do that. This is America; we’re not savages@” Oh, really, what would you call the people I’ve listed above…preachers of God?

Over the past 15 years I’ve watched this country begin to come apart at the seams. Statisticians tell us that crime is going down…and we’re supposed to believe their bullshit! The FBI, the Justice Department, this one and that one tell us how we’re better off than we were a couple of decades ago. Guess what, I don’t believe them. I think they are covering their butts and lying to us. Perhaps it’s because when something like Charleston or Newtown happen, it makes a big splash. Perhaps the media is doing a “better” job of covering the sexual assaults that are taking place on our city and suburban sidewalks and homes. I don’t know what it is, but things sure look pretty fucked up to me.

So what are we looking at for the future? Dylann Roof will go on trial, be convicted and when his execution date comes – somewhere in the next 10 years because of all the automatic appeals – the whole thing will be rehashed and America will once more be told that we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior, the population will be up in arms once more. Will any action have been taken to sort out the potential Dylann Roof’s in our society? No! Will any action have been taken in an attempt to control who and how guns are distributed? No. Will the NRA still own Congress? Yes. Will people still be going on rampages of killing children, classmates, adults of all colors? Yes.

Do I have reasonable solutions to all of these problems? No, not to all of them, but I have a few thoughts:

  • Any member of Congress who takes money from any lobby should be immediately ousted from his or her seat in that law-making body.
  • Members of the House of Representatives should not be allowed to serve any more than six terms. If they cannot get the job done in twelve years, it’s time to go.
  • Senators should be allow to serve two terms in office. Once more, twelve years in Congress is quite enough.
  • Certain lobbies are so powerful that they should be disbanded in some way, shape, or form. These include the tobacco, public utilities, pharmaceutical, gun advocacy, and several other vote-buying bastards who serve no useful purpose in our government.
  • Certainly our jails are overcrowded. We do not possess the laws to discourage crime. Opponents of the death penalty maintain that the threat of such punishment is not a deterrent, and they may well be right. However, have we ever really tested this? One execution every ten or twelve years is not testing. Executions every day for a couple of months might get a few bad guys to change their minds about committing a serious crime.
  • The Second Amendment, at least to me, means that if you own a gun, you do so to protect yourself and your home and that you are a part of a militia to guard the country. Fine, let’s put you to the test. If you voluntarily purchase or possess a gun, you will be trained and sent to wherever the United States is engaged in a ‘police action,’ or whatever we’re calling our conflicts these days. You will serve one year in a front line unit. If you survive, you will be allowed to keep your weapon when you return. However, you will not be allowed to keep an automatic weapon or more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

These are very rough plans and will have to be worked out…by whom? Aha, therein lies the rub. Who creates and who enforces these rules and regulations? Won’t be me; I plan to be dead. Good luck, America; you’re going to need it!

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