A Politics for U.S.

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“If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln

Politics runs through all we do. This humanest of conditions is no less admirable nor abhorrent today than ever but it has become a reviled element of society, commonly viewed as beneath polite discussion.  However ignored or deified, the consequences of politics and the subsequent political reality still fall on the informed and uninformed alike.  Cast into the shadows, as a snowy Denver sidewalk encumbrance, politics evolves. It forms in the darkness for the inevitable prestige.

The human invention of our political system has become a degradation.  We cursed ourselves the day rational, passionate, Political belief became a social taboo.  Fear and emotional instability have bestowed us with the gift that is our present state of political affairs.

Contradictions abound as the unknown unknowns mount and even those with driver’s licenses don’t vote with any exuberance.  Genuine individuality bows to the perpetually offended; disintegrated integrity and the stranger dignity invigorate public discourse and rhetoric. It was simply an inevitability that opportunists like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would move to the forefront of American politics.

Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

As the daily attack ads, emotionally-driven controversies and all over jackassery ensue, average citizens engage in the field as would-be political scientists and the truth disintegrates into a subjective force.  Emails warn of disarmed militias, women baking again while foregoing careerhood, #alllivesmatterexceptyoursbecauseyouhavestuff, y’all back in chainz, and virtual canine genocide.  In the midst of this remember: Obama came, he will go and we remain. For now.  And we have the critical task of electing one of “our own” to lead.  This person will undoubtedly transform our global future for years beyond the given term(s). Several Supreme Court Justices will surely vacate those seats, ISIS will force a reckoning and the domestic political divide will continue as it does.

And Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Find a presidential candidate that does just that. Presidential activities, leader of the free world and so forth.  International relations, global power, military action and foreign policy are dominant at the executive level and these are the activities that require the action of a president.  Congress deals in legislation and the president does submit a budget that is regularly ignored.  Leadership on a global scale, not the status of local Planned Parenthoods or the activities of the NRA matter to a legitimate Commander in Chief.

Single social issues superficially simplify the process but do not constitute a legitimate cause for concern on a presidential level… for the most part.  Abortion, gay marriage, legal weed, gun rights, et. al., etc., etc.  As with any third rail of american politics, these issues see various changes at the margins but concentrated interests, the Supreme Court and states rights will drive change.  Presidents are rather limited as to the power and, quite simply, time or effort it takes to garner enough support to take our guns, outlaw pot again or see abortion doctors behind bars.

Focus on the iceberg, not the taste of the champagne: an economy subsisting on disgruntled foreign labor, discouraging domestic enterprise while falsely and faultily making financial promises for the future feasibility of me, you and Uncle Sam cannot long last.

Our houses, shops, parks and local amusements, both public and private, are regulated and taxed on a local level much more so than by the good folks in Washington. These bureaucracies employ thousands of workers that you never voted for and yet establish and enforce public policy.  Engage with local elections, school boards and the men and women making decisions that affect life on a day-to-day basis; literally in the front yard.

If nothing else: learn who represents you!  Local and federal senators and representatives; governor, mayor, Supreme Court, etc.

Because Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Personally, I’ve disagreed with everyone I have ever met on at least 16% of all things concerning life, the universe and everything.  Applying that same basic ratio to presidential candidates means that my very best, ideal, perfect, have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too, top hat, friendly joke telling, baby-kissing, karate-chopping, concealed-carrying, Chuck Norris of a candidate would still piss me off about 16% of the time!  May not seem like much, but over eight years, that’s quite a bit for someone I “agree with.”

Think on the political parties as teams with ever-changing players.  They are no longer established members with a rigid set of core beliefs.  Parties tend to start that way then diffuse as the tent expands.  Republicans and Democrats need strong, devoted members just as the Broncos strong players.  Whether or not we get a one-in-a-million or a dime-a-dozen depends in part on the decisions and focus of the other members of these teams but no matter what happens next year or next season, players and politicians must play ball.  Ideology is about ideas, politics is about winning elections.

Political teams are not friendly adversaries. They have and always will exist as ideological rivals engaged in allegorical combat in the realm of ideas for the collective destiny of free-thinking (and unthinking) people everywhere.  Active and opposing discourse is healthy and ought be encouraged as soon as children can speak (along with gun safety.)  Opposing ideas will be brought forth and a republican-style government will enact or reject reform.

Rational, legal, AND compassionate conversations (ugh!) will occur when we define terms and establish goals.  We then begin to address economic issues and potentially avoid our own Greek tragedy.

The system is designed to work slowly, painstakingly at times, in order to avoid sweeping reforms and declarations such as offering mass amnesty to all immigrants or interning lifelong American citizens.  The modern politician makes a living off the exploitation of the ignorance of the populace on this very issue.  Claims of a “do-nothing congress” or “playing politics” are meant to give the impression that but for the actions of the inept and insane political opposition, the nation would be a better place.

All would be fixed if the plain-bellied Sneetches would do what their star-bellied counterparts know is best.

Come together for the good of the country!

Won’t somebody think of the children?!?

Ideological differences are rooted in fundamentally opposing views on nature and the human condition (see Sowell’s work “A Conflict of Visions”.)  Fundamental beliefs on authority and perfection on Earth clash.  Clarity and substance fade as rhetoric increases.  Each side openly admires aspects of Lincoln, Kennedy, the Roosevelts and Reagan, as leaders to emulate and claim that those historical and ideological powerhouses would support whatever cause du jour happens to be on the docket today.

The nature of human history is penduluminous. All apotheosized feelings of pride regarding enlightened achievement trudge forth, shackled to the omnipresent defects of human character.  Such shortcomings then serve as the basis of ideological opposition or critique; and every politically platitudinous bromide.  The elephant and donkey enhance the perception of the other as politicians stumble through words to make us believe we need them.

And Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Black, white whatever, Politics is interested in you.  Pick a side, join a team and come in for the big win.  We need devoted Constitutionalists and the opposition parties.  Care about the right, the future and your own place at this point in history, blessed to be a part of the most benevolent of superpowers the world has ever known.  Learn about more than the impassioned hysteria of the New York Times or Fox News and know that you will never agree with anyone on everything but that the perfect ought not be the enemy of the pretty darn good.

If you want a candidate that fits all your needs, see a priest. For the good of those of this world however, inform yourself and vote.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

– Luke 20:25, NASB

Jesus Saves

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Walking the streets of downtown Denver, the unmistakeable sights remind me why I love this city.  Coors Field, Elitch’s (from a distance), the cash register building and Union Station.  Some may also be aware of a little nook around Lawrence and Park Avenue West where the neon lights shine bright.   Here, at a place called Jesus Saves, the local street folk live from day-to-day.

Homelessness, like the appendix, has become an accepted part of the human condition.  Sometimes it can be cut out should conditions become too inflamed but, for the most part, people either do as they see fit to ease the condition or ignore the situation entirely.

However, dealing with these conditions on a public scale is a different matter.  When our leaders call for states to begin accepting homeless refugees from halfway around the world, I must take pause to wonder why no call has been made for the states to refugee-ize the current homeless population?  A few other questions persist as well…

Where are the refugees actually going?  Where are these vacant dwellings that suddenly become available in the state of Colorado when out-of-country-ers need a place to stay?  The resources that the refugees will consume, and the tenements that they will occupy must be supplied by those in the state of Colorado and the greater United States.  So why are officials dictating how we ought to deal with the foreign homeless problem when there’s one right down the street, with no end in sight?

There’s no bombs going off but gunshots do ring out and some will die because of those bullets.  People freeze, they drink, they shoot up and sleep, and it would be hard for me to honestly say that I don’t believe that the lives of those living around the Jesus Saves are not regularly at risk.

So, make with the housing, the food and the medical supplies that are currently on reserve!

It isn’t that there should be no refuge for the weak and weary or those attempting to flee the hell-on-Earth that exists in parts of the Middle East.  But when there are Denver-ites, and by extension Americans, who are apparently without, why is there no active movement to assist on par with what’s been done in response to Syria? The likes of the governors and our presidential brother’s keeper should be all over this.  Right now, calls should be ringing out for all states to allow those living on the streets to come in from the cold to the apparently safeguarded refugee hideaways.  The food, clothing, tools, EBT cards, medical care etc. that is being evaluated for any foreign refugee could be immediately directed to any street person currently living in the United States and preferential treatment will be given to those who can show a history of any military service.

Here is a story from CNN with the best layout of the refugee process that I could find.  It’s not a very clear road ahead and I find it quite intriguing that the UN is the directorial body on such events, presumably subordinating the United States to any decree regarding the where-to’s and how-to-fore’s of the refugee process.  Such bureaucratic olive-branching maintains the status quo of obscure policy-making and enforcement on such economic and social issues.

Meanwhile, the promise of the Lord keeps the streets alight at night in Denver, Colorado.

#RadicalIslamistitis

isis-logo“If God be for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

There are people in this world that want to kill you.

You can be nice and sweet and lovely and liberal… and you will still be put to death.

Profess your love, your compassion, your forgiveness… and you will burn alongside the most hateful reprobates nevertheless.

It does not matter that Americans have thrived in a society based in freedom where all citizens have the ability to pursue multiple religious teachings in order to find spiritual guidance.  This group tolerates no dissent.

The group itself exists as ISIS, ISIL, IS or simply radical Islam.  The followers are known as Islamists and, quite aptly, fanatics who engage in various subversive and terrorist activities to achieve religious global dominance.  These actions can be openly barbaric, such as beheadings and immolation, or disobedient on a civil level such as blocking major streets in prayer and establishing so-called “no-go zones” in non-Muslim countries.  And in Dearborn, Michigan.

Google these words and explore their definitions in the context of Islam, radical or otherwise:

Jihad, infidel, caliphate, halal and sharia.  Learn about the process known as Islamization.  Here, every aspect of society is directed and governed based on an interpretation of the Quran, handed down by those in power.  See what Islam, not radical Islam but the theocracy that exists, looks like in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan for women, Christians and homosexuals.  Learn of the distinctions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and how internal conflicts between Islamic groups affect the tensions felt the world over.  See how Muslims in all different nations feel about implementing Islam as the governing theocracy in our previously democratic societies.

Whether an accurate interpretation or a wild fantastical delusion, radical Islam is a very real religious system and people are going to die because of it.  We live in a nation where I can decide what I believe and what I call myself as far as my religion.  It strikes me as only fair to extend the same courtesy to anyone claiming to be a Muslim.  My religion, and common courtesy, teach me to leave the judgment of others, especially as it pertains to faith, to God alone.  But if it quacks, call it a duck.

Now, there is absolutely no doubt that most practicing Muslims are not involved in any form of threatening activity whatsoever.  As one teen notes, he cannot be held to account for ISIS anymore than I can and this demonstrates the very real distinction between radical and peaceful Muslims.  And Islamists are not currently taking over the world, Europe or our nation.  Not even close. But they are expanding because no one has stopped them.

The problem with the current politically correct American approach is that the considerations that our society has taken to respect the beliefs of others is now being used as a weapon against us.  The radicals can blend with the moderates and claim religious persecution right up until they blow up a Starbucks on the Sunset strip.  But, at least we can rest assured that all those half-caff soy latte lovers didn’t die in the name of the true interpretation of Islam.

That is still alive and well…

You Gotta Have A Dream

The past year has seen many changes in my life, as I am sure it has in yours.  I recently completed a months long endeavor to explore and apply to graduate school, specifically the study of law.  As part of the application, I was required to write a personal statement of my choosing with minor parameters. I thought I would share that piece with you as I move forward in this adventure.

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You gotta have a dream to make a dream come true.

Throughout my life my father has expressed these words that have resonated in my heart as a mission statement for success, and I have always been encouraged to believe in myself and explore the world around me. With such a liberating mandate, I developed my imagination and sought the passion and inspiration that would surely lead to personal contentment. But as a confident and dedicated adult, I have discovered that dreams do change and that the practical pursuit of a desire requires balancing an idealistic vision with a vigilant evaluation of one’s personal state of being.

Looking around the sterile environment of an audition center, situated in the back of an industrial building off of Sunset Boulevard, I made such an evaluation and had a revelation:

This was not my dream.

Seven years earlier I had moved from the Denver-metro area and was currently living in Los Angeles, pursuing various acting opportunities, and headed in the wrong direction. Most of the work I was involved with centered around advertising and commercials which, in terms of personal fulfillment, can leave the dreamer wanting. The craft of acting was dear to my heart yet sincere happiness still eluded me.

One audition found me sitting in a barren room filled with dozens of other men, all similarly dressed with corresponding physical attributes. In my hand was my audition slip, complete with personalized barcode and corresponding identification number. I had my two-line phrase memorized and was trying not to self-consciously mumble it to myself as many of my colleagues had taken to doing.

In that moment, reflections on my time in LA and the dream that I was pursuing became clear. The disconcertion that I felt stemmed from the fact that my path and the opportunities before me no longer reflected the dream that I had once held. The truth is that in order to live in the pursuit of a dream, practical considerations must be made where fanciful daydreaming once took place. My life and my happiness were at stake. So, as I had done seven years earlier, I took charge of my life and began the pursuit of my happiness once again.

After returning to Colorado, I put my efforts into exploring the field of law and began working with an attorney through the legal department at a Denver think tank. Here I experienced first-hand the excitement, frustration and fulfillment that accompanies the work of an attorney. I was able to assist with Constitutional research and professional presentations on historical and legal matters that only served to reignite my inspiration for the legal profession. As I had found studying the law and criminology while earning an undergraduate degree, I have a conscience and a passion for justice, seeking truth in all matters.

Providence and life experience have equipped me with the resources and support to succeed in law school. There, I will learn to understand and apply the legal profession while completing my studies in order to work as an attorney in the state of Colorado.

This is my dream.

As I now evaluate the present condition of my life, I am proud and humble to possess a certain peace of mind that comes in knowing that I am the type of person who lives to live a dream. I am proud of the accomplishments that faith and works have blessed me with in my life. With a firm belief in God and my own abilities, I am now endeavoring to once again satisfy the stubborn dreamer that dwells within me.

The Insecurity of Social Security Part II

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In Part I of the Insecurity of Social Security, found here, the recent revelation of the upcoming, and entirely foreseeable, insolvency of the Social Security disability fund was discussed to some extent.  With a sense of compassion for the reader, this subject was divided into two parts to prevent snoring and glazing of the eyes.  So now, with eyes and minds refreshed, we delve into Part II.

The fiscal dilemma in which the trustees of the disability fund find themselves is essentially, very basic economics.  Not enough money, no supply, to meet the needs of the people, high demand.  You can find direct info on this fund at the website here.  As noted, “the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.”

So that’s the stated, basic purpose.  To financially assist those citizens with disabilities.  As previously stated, I believe this to be a worthwhile goal for any advanced society and from what I have found, so do others.  It is an issue that in its most basic form, truly crosses party lines.  There will be those who need financial help and there are those who can, and more importantly, will be willing, to help those in need.

To be perfectly honest, I find the notion of citizens helping citizens, of their own free will, to be an entirely plausible notion.  And it is not a position that rests solely on faith.  There have been and will continue to be organizations devoted to helping and providing assistance in all forms.  Financially generous millionaires and generous middle and lower-class members who give what money and time they can.  We do not need government compulsion to direct our benevolence or generosity.

Case and point: Grover Cleveland is not widely known as one of our foremost presidents.  But in his day, he was able to hold a firm line regarding the appropriate extent of government involvement in the lives, and charitable activity, of the American people.  In a piece from the Independent Institute, “Cleveland believed in keeping government expenditure at the minimum required to carry out essential constitutional functions.”

As president, he famously vetoed a bill that would have provided government assistance to Texas farmers suffering from drought.  Upon his veto he wrote: “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution; and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadily resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.”  Cleveland also stated that, “the friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied on to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune.”

Nevertheless, there are detractors who raise some issues with the more privatized notion of charity.  Here is an article from the Atlantic with just such a position.  Check this piece out and see how it stands in comparison to current events.  As stated, “the government’s footprint has always grown alongside the rest of society.”  Yes, it has.  And what good does it do when that foot, causing the print, has the welfare of our society under it?

I am not so idealistic as to assume that the Federal government will pack up shop, say “Well, we gave it a go” and leave the entitlement system in the hands of private citizens.  But the fact remains, they have tried and are currently, by their own admission, failing miserably.  Meanwhile, an unintended consequence of compulsive “giving” to the state in order for that state to “give” to others is that the people will not have that money to give away, as they would choose, to those who need it most.  The middle-man gets it first and it seems that many monies are lost along the way. Unless people find a way, independently of the ineffectual bureaucratic hands, through churches and private institutions, money will always be lost, wasted and therefore, incapable of helping those for whom that money is meant.

The Insecurity of Social Security

Mr.-Monopoly-brokeThere is an important role of society in providing some level of support or “social safety net” for those citizens who are hurt, sick or fall on hard times, and I have found that most citizens, on either side of the spectrum agree with this basic tenet.  The reasons in favor of this support do vary: some may simply believe in the noble effort to help those in need, others see an alternate reality, with sick and dying bodies littering the streets.  Regardless of the motivations, there is a consensus that some people will need help, financial help, in their lives and that other people have the ability to provide that assistance.

With that as a backdrop, we can move forward into a discussion surrounding the vessel for determining who will receive financial support and how those funds will be distributed.  Over the past hundred-ish years we in the United States have seen an explosive expansion of the so-called “entitlement” system, the likes of which, such expansion, would be the envy of any private corporation.  From unwed mothers to to school-age kids, groups of all kinds have seen increased advantage meant to provide financial assistance in their lives. (Evidently this does this sense of grace does not extend to alleviate the abhorrent conditions plaguing the VA)

But now, as it turns out, the money does not stem from an infinite source but, of course, from the compulsory payments of citizens to one another through the omniscient powers that are the state and federal governments.  And as with all human endeavors, it too possesses fallibility.

Many outlets are now reporting on the insolvency of the Social Security disability fund, as reported by the benefactors of the burgeoning bureaucracy in Washington.  Cuts to this fund are being predicted and an overall restructuring of the disability payment system is a likely consequence.

But this is not news.  And contrary to this article’s suggestion that “there is an easy fix available for the disability program: Congress could shift tax revenue from Social Security’s much larger retirement fund, as it has done in the past,” the money does not exist.  The funds for Social Security do not sit idle in an exclusive account waiting for me to turn 65 or 67 and cash in.  They have been borrowed against, and borrowed against and loans rolled over into new loans with interest and subsequent payments due forthwith.  But when there’s no money, there’s no money.

Start with a debt load of over $17,000,000,000,000 and you can work through the details.  It combats reason to claim that this money is owed by a government but that that same government possesses the billions upon billions required by all of the entitlement programs, of which Social Security is a huge component.  It also combats reason, admittedly to my way of thinking, that this form of public welfare is the best manner in which to provide for the social safety of the citizenry.

People are people whether they work for government or a private business.  They possess bias, and belief, and incorporate knowledge into making decisions.  Where such decisions have led those in charge of the Social Security disability fund is to a state of fiscal delinquency.  Whether or not the Feds should be in charge of these programs seems to be a rather moot point.  Blame fraud, abuse, ignorance or stupidity.  Blame Republicans, Democrats, the rich, drug addicts or my cat Raisin.  In those immortal words, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

The waste, abuse, fraud et al. are well known.  Find articles on the subject here, here, here and here.  For all of its devoted benevolence, those in power are terrible trustees of public finance.  The source of their ineptitude lies in the fundamental concept that what belongs to everyone really belongs to no one.  There is limited accountability and even more limited knowledge by the common folk, as much a result of a self-imposed naiveté as anything else, as to what is happening to all that money.

And now admittedly, and not by an accusation of a right-wing nut but by their own accounts, the system meant to support citizens in need is going broke.  Yes, they can restructure and move some money around but as with the debate concerning the minimum wage, without a shift in the foundational approaches taken to create an economic and financial system, we will have these same fear-based discussions in another five or ten years.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.

But there is an alternative and you can probably guess what I am going to prescribe.  Remember, people are people, but people in charge of their own money are infinitely better guardians than people in charge of other people’s money.

**I had meant to go further into alternatives but I think I will save that and make this Part One of Two on the ways that people can help people, financially speaking.

I AM WHO I AM

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 I wake each day with thoughts in my head
A conscience I feel
But this body instead

I look at this stranger in the mirror each day
Through the windows of my soul
At myself far away

I look at my hands, at my beautiful hands
And I know that they do not quite fit with me

I run these hands through my hair, not my hair
I see my arms, not my arms
My nose, my lips
Part of me
Not of me

Like clothes too tight
A crowded room with no air
Or standing atop a tall building with the uttermost care

My body betrays the true me that is me
If only I could be the me that is me

The Me
I have always wanted to be

Who I know that I am
The one that’s inside
The one who no longer can hide without pride
The trapped me that screams

LET ME OUT LET ME LIVE

Take who I am
All that I have to give

I will be strong and live on
Until that glorious day
When the world will let me
Be me and just be

But the truth is so hard
Nature got it wrong
I don’t feel quite white today
And it makes me less strong

For you see my skin
Is different within

To my innermost soul

Help me
Accept me
Don’t judge me

I
AM
WHO I AM