Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Day Of Thanks...

On this day each year, we as a nation gather in celebration, to enjoy a meal and give thanks to the many blessing bestowed upon us. For most, it's a day of overindulgence and laughter, intersected with naps and shopping. Our hearts are lighter and we give more freely of our time and resources. All of which are good and necessary things. I am thankful for my family, friends and employment.

For others, this day will serve as a reminder...of failed adventures and unachieved goals. It will be a harbringer of stress and anxiety, another dark streak in a season filled with depression.With nearly eight million US citizens unemployed and of that portion;  690,000 of those folks are homeless. It's easy to see that our nation as a whole, has work to do. I am thankful for the volunteers that strive to combat the hungry and the destitute.

As always, there are uniformed men and woman both here and abroad, sacrificing their time with loved ones to protect our way of life and our freedoms. They willingly place themselves in harms way to safeguard our streets and borders every hour of every day. For all of them, I am especially thankful.

On this day we give our forebears for their vision and willingness to forge a new nation. For all the small things...the laughter of a child, the warmth of a hug and the laughter of family and friends; we are grateful.

It is my intention to remember each of these, not just on this day but every day. To be humble and grateful for that which we take for granted. Shelter, food in abundance and the love of a spouse and health...for all that we give such little thought too...I am thankful.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

One Sided Tolerance

This morning as I watch the stories coming in from Paris, I am sad and sickened but yet another senseless act of violence. My heart goes out to the people of Paris and their families. There are always a variety of opinions with such tradgedies but the one that mystifies me is the disclaimer I keep seeing attached to this one.

The repeated calls for 'tolerance' as applied to the Islamic refugees and the opening of our borders to them. Do I believe all the refugees are terrorist? No, of course not. Are there extremist using them as cover? I'd say that's a pretty safe bet.
Are they Muslim? Foolish question...yes, they are. So WHY are so many folks afraid to say so? Denying a thing because it isn't politically correct is madness. These terrorist ARE Muslim extremist and yes, that's a perversion of the religion but that doesn't change the facts.

This is not a call to hate Muslims. Hating all Muslims for the acts of terrorist is akin to hating all Christians for the actions of the Westboro church. Madness...plain and simple. BUT...

There is NO WAY to reliably weed out the fanatics from the victims. If anyone can give me a realistic way to do so, I'd be delighted to hear it. I'm not saying that we shouldn't help, but I AM saying that bringing unknown elements into our country is foolhardy. Camps could be established with no fly zones in their own country. Help with shelter, medicene and food are realistic and achievable goals. Security matters could (and SHOULD) be given to their own countrymen, who could be trained by NATO forces if need be. Once established, those wishing to enter other nations could do so through the establised processes already in place. Seems like common sense to me...

As a nation, we are known for our tolerance. Its part of what draws folks here and makes this country so great. Lately, it seems that we've been beat over the head with what MUST be excepted, least we be described as bigoted or racist. Standing for the very beliefs on which this country was founded are called outdated and old fashioned. Christians are ridiculed as are those speaking out for what they belief are traditional morals. Common sense has been caste aside in favor of the ridiculous. If the majority MUST respect the opinions of the few, why then is that respect not reciprocated?

Would you go to another country and demand that they speak your language, adhere to your religious viewpoint and enact your birth countries customs and laws? If so...then WHY did you leave that nation in the first place? it not?

My point is simply this...their have ALWAYS been those who will not only use tragedies to their advantage, they'll figure out a way to profit from it. Such is the darker side of the human condtion but when is enough, ENOUGH?
How many innocents do we sacrifice in the name of blind belief? The belief that prayer or a better ideology will change the minds of extremist and that they'll suddenly join hands and sing Kum-By-Yah is foolish and simple minded. That hasn't EVER worked in the history of mankind. Not once. Period.

There's no reasoning with such mindsets. They can't be bought or rehabilitated. They don't care who they hurt, whether it's women or children makes no difference. If something is rabid you have two choices...put it down or leave it be...and if you ignore it and it kills, infects and destroys everything in its path before it implodes, are you too; responsible?
In my minds eye... yes, you are.

In this age of unaccountability, the shrug and eye roll seem perfectly acceptable as answers for most folks. Perhahps I've reached the age where being flexible has become something I abhor. We ignore the homeless, the struggling vets, the hungry and helpless in our own country.
We applaud lawlessness and rioting in the name of equality while promoting a disregard for authority and a lack of respect for decency and common sense.
A growing number of our countrymen are becoming more dependent on handouts and fewer than ever are willing to work hard for the American dream. Maybe that's a part of the reason that so much of the chaos in the world is deemed...normal.

Have we lost the ability to separate real evil from the mediocre? I want to believe that we as a nation aren't to far gone. That the majority still believe in the core priciples that founded this great country. I want to beleive that the majority has been silent...quietly hoping for change. The time for quiet acceptance is over. If you are one of the silent majority, its time to stand...peaceably and in a dignified manner.

Common sense. Dignity. Justice for all. Those words need to be understood by ALL. No one group should have the ability or right to ride herd over the majority when the basic idea makes NO SENSE. It must be reasonable and realistic. Trashing the rights of hundreds for the perceived right of the one is ludicrous...and it's in the news nearly every day.

For our leadership to pretend this isn't a global issue and to hamstring our professional soldiers in carrying out their missions isn't just criminally negligent, its disgraceful. By most accounts, our current leadership has gotten rid of more high ranking officers than any CIC in history. More than a little unsettling with the current state of the worlds affairs in my mind. If we can't trust our leadership to act in good faith with the wishes of the majority and to follow the rules, then we the people need to demand a change.

Don't wait for the upcoming elections. Make your voice HEARD to your elected officials! The time for silent indifference to important choices is over. As the debates rage over the xenophobic intolerance of western nations, I pose this simple question.  WHERE are the muslim majority that I keep hearing about that oppose the atrocities of radical extremist?

When a moment of silence was asked for at a soccer game in Turkey (our allies) for the victims of the Paris attacks, the crowd BOO'D and chanted Allah Akbar! REALLY? These weren't fanatics or terrorist but they couldn't even show a mutual moment of respect for innocent lives lost?

That is what I would call disgraceful. Disrespectful. Bewildering. And yet it wasn't on the mainstream news outlets...a gathering in Paris of muslim's speaking out against terrorism, a country with a population of FIVE MILLION muslims, drew a whooping THIRTY people. How is that possible? Once news coverage.

IF the Islamic community remains silent in its opposition to such attacks AND cannot even show a single moment of solidarity as a whole, I wonder how then they can expect there to be any other viewpoints than fear and suspicion.

It's a complex issue and there aren't any easy answers but blindly rushing headlong into a wall, ignoring the obvious hasn't worked well so far. Do the research. Make INFORMED and rational decisions and MOST importantly, be involved in your communities and with your elected state and federal representatives. If they aren't doing the jobs they were elected for, it's OUR responsibility and duty to see that changed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The One Percent

On this day we reflect on those who serve our nation, past and present; both men and women who volunteer to be in harms way. Nearly all of them are young. Sons and daughters with little world experience but with an unyielding desire to push their limitations and test themselves in a way most others wouldn't dream of.

They don't do it for the money. It pays very little. The reasons are as varied as the individuals themselves. For some, its a family tradition spanning decades. For others theres a hole...a void that cries out, waiting to be filled. They want to make a difference. Most couldn't tell you why or even what they believe that difference to be...but they hear the call. More importantly, they act on it.

One percent...that's the amount of our population that serve. The number that runs toward danger instead of away. The few that are willing to sacrifice everything, time with their families and loved ones, even their very lives to complete complex task decided far beyond their ability to influence.

They swear an allegience to the country and its people and they keep those promises. The sad reality is that those making such decisions rarely expose themselves to such risk. Sadder still, we as a nation have failed to fulfill the promises made to them by our elected leaders and we as a people haven't held those folks accountable.

In each generation there are conflicts, global missions undertaken that inevitably cost lives. The cost of freedom is has always been and shall continue to be paid for with the blood of patriots. Whether they perish in training or on the battlefield is irrelevant. The cost remains the same.

It is difficult to understand such mindsets without having experienced it yourself. Your compatriots are not simply coworkers. They become your brothers, your sisters, your family. Bonds formed under such extremes last a lifetime and for those of us separated by time and distance, the ache never truly leaves.

So I would ask, for my brothers...for my sisters in arms, if you will, do not simply thank them for their service on this single day. I ask that you remain vigilant, that you safeguard those freedoms so painfully earned. Hold our leaders to the same moral and ethical standards that we have sworn to today and long ago.

For the vanguards, those who choose to make a career of sacrifice, duty and honor, I salute and thank you. For all who have and do serve, I am proud to be counted among that one percent.