Category Archives: America’s founding ideals

Dr. Ben Carson – My Absurd Concerns

MY SKEPTICISM

When I first heard that Dr. Ben Carson might run for President in 2016, I have to admit that my immediate reaction was one of skepticism. It’s not that I don’t have a high regard for Dr. Carson or that I don’t see him as a good choice for President. It’s just that far too many times in the past I’ve seen the sudden popularity of an admirable person lead to many placing their hope in that person, as a likely candidate for higher office and then seeing that lead to disappointment. In Dr. Carson’s case, my skepticism came from a sense that placing hope in him as a political candidate would result in disappointment due to his lack of experience in that role.

MY ABSURDITY

As I’ve come to know more about Dr. Carson, I’ve come to realize that my initial concerns about him, as a potential presidential candidate, were absurd. I recognized that I was really only worried about his ability to campaign. With that recognition, I thought, “Our current President is arguably the best campaigner I’ve ever seen and yet, to me, he is clearly the worst President in my lifetime.” From that, the absurdity of my initial concerns about Dr. Carson became evident and as I’ve learned more and more about him, I’ve come to believe that he has all of the talents that are necessary to be the successful leader that we’re lacking in our current President.

THE REAL BEN CARSON Continue reading

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Keeping America’s Social Fabric Intact

Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation – Part Four

DESPERATE NEED

In Part Three of this series, Get Out of the Villages!, I talked about Baby Boomers and others stepping up to make a positive difference with America’s kids today as a desperately needed contribution in Repairing America’s Social Fabric. Certainly, that desperate need exists in other aspects of American culture too. With this article, I want to acknowledge an instance of this job getting done through keeping America’s social fabric intact. It’s the exemplary job of role model and true American hero being done by a fellow-Baby Boomer, the leader of the Lieutenant Dan Band, Gary Sinise. Continue reading

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Repairing America’s Social Fabric

Securing The Legacy Of The Greatest Generation – Part Two

Rockwell Diversity

YESTERDAY’S SUPERIOR VALUES

In Part One of this series, I pointed out a number of values that were commonly held in the heyday of the Greatest Generation, values that are significantly different from (and I think vastly superior to) our related values today. My purpose in doing that was to explore how America would benefit through reacquiring those once-common values and applying them to our present-day challenges. With that in mind, in this article, I want to more specifically try to answer the question, “What are the problems facing us today that can be addressed in this way?” Once I’ve examined the “What?” question here, in future articles I intend to take up the question of “How?”.

TODAY’S DAUNTING CHALLENGES

As I’ve considered this “What?” question, it has seemed to me that applying once-common values of the Greatest Generation might offer solutions to a broad range of present-day challenges. However, to illustrate my views on this, I’m going to focus on a single concern. It’s one that’s deeply troubling and in fact, this disturbing matter is the one that got my thinking started on this topic in the first place. It’s School Shootings. Continue reading

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Securing The Legacy Of The Greatest Generation

WHAT THEY ACHIEVED

June 6, 2014, marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the operation that began the Allied invasion of German-occupied Western Europe,ultimately leading to an Allied victory in WWII. Revisiting the details of this phenomenal event, again, served to remind me of the incredible accomplishments of the Greatest Generation, especially their gaining that victory in the face of overwhelmingly impossible odds. This led me to consider how we are doing with the priceless legacy we have been entrusted with through that generation’s victory and beyond that, to consider what lessons remain for us in their accomplishments that could lead to our gaining victory over today’s issues that may seem just as overwhelmingly impossible.

During the 70th anniversary celebration of D-Day, I read an awe-inspiring story entitled 93-year-old WWII Vet to Parachute into Normandy – Again. This was the story of Jim Martin who, as a private in the 101st Airborne, was one of the paratroopers dropped behind German lines in the hours before the D-Day landings. Jim determined that, to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he would go back to Normandy, to parachute onto the same soil he touched seven decades before and he did just that. Reading Jim’s story provided reminders for me about the unique qualities of his generation and that brought illumination to my considering the application of those qualities in resolving the most significant challenges facing us today. Continue reading

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Doing What’s Right

teddy-roosevelt

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Recently, I noticed this quote from our 26th President displayed at the entrance to an elementary school Fifth Grade classroom. As I read it, my immediate thought was, “I wish that was a common attitude with today’s politicians.”

Although “Teddy” Roosevelt is honored as one of America’s best presidents, I recognize that even he, most likely, didn’t always live up to the ideal indicated by his “do what’s right” quote. But, at least, “do what’s right” was one of Roosevelt’s stated ideals. And, surely, that ideal was shared by many of his political contemporaries. Likewise, I’m confident that this was an ideal commonly held by American politicians prior to the T.R. era, going back to the founding of the U.S. Even as recently as the turn of the current century, at least some politicians held to this ideal, as indicated by the well-known signature line of Former Congressman J.C. Watts Jr., who said,jc watts

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”

Today it seems that with one political issue after another it is sadly evidenced that, most often, the “do what’s right” ideal isn’t in play at all. Rather than belabor this by reviewing every applicable issue I can think of (Associated Press phone records scandal, ATF “Fast and Furious” scandal, Forsaking the liberty our sacrifice gained for the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, IRS political targeting scandal, James Rosen phone and email records scandal, Syria foreign policy fiasco, Ukraine foreign policy fiasco, Veterans Affairs scandal, etc.), let me illustrate my point by using details related to just one of today’s hottest political issues … The investigation of the terrorist raid on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. Continue reading

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Diversity or Reversity?

american diversity

DIVERSITY?

Unleashing the Power of Our Diversity”. That’s the slogan used by some dear friends of mine, to promote their course for diversity education. I suspect that it also describes what many in corporate America hope they’re getting with their investment in diversity education, though the primary motivation for this investment still seems to be avoiding discrimination-related litigation. Sadly, though diversity has been increasingly emphasized in recent decades, this latter-mentioned attitude reflects, perhaps in most cases, the ongoing misapplication of the term “diversity”.

MISAPPLICATION

Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen two glaring examples of this misapplication at the national level. One is the case of Brendan Eich being forced to step down from his position as CEO of Mozilla because he donated $1,000 to back California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 referendum to amend California’s constitution to define marriage as relationship between a man and a woman. And, on the heels of this event, came the news of Attorney General Eric Holder very publicly implying racism, in that both he and President Obama had been mistreated by Congress.

brendan-eichWhen Brendan Eich was forced out at Mozilla, it was the culmination of an effort that began in 2012, with the L.A. Times publishing a 2,000 page list of over 100,000 donors who had supported California’s Proposition 8. At first, when Eich’s name was found on the list, there was some social media outcry. But, when those who were fussing over this stopped to consider that this was the same Eich who was responsible for creating and promoting a most successful open, collaborative, and inclusive tech firm and that he hadn’t allowed his personal views on same-sex marriage to impact this in any way, the clamor died down. That is, until Mozilla’s board named Eich, then CTO, as the company’s new CEO. At that point, the outcry resumed with overwhelming fervor. The misapplication of the term “diversity” in this instance and its resulting mayhem were summed up well in an article, entitled The Truth Behind Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s Demise, that said:

“Some (Mozilla) employees revolted and openly called for him to step down. A dating site called for a boycott of (Mozilla’s) Firefox. And the way some in the media grilled Eich – hounding him to publicly recant his opposition to gay marriage and throwing around words like racist – you’d think the guy wanted to bring back Jim Crow laws or something.

Funny thing is, fanatical activists never see the hypocrisy in their own actions. Politically correct zealots that march to the diversity drumbeat are only inclusive of those who agree with their own groupthink. They’re only interested in being collaborative within their own hive collective.

Never mind that Eich helped to create the hive and its culture. Once he was tainted with the stench of a different viewpoint – an unaccepted viewpoint – the hive turned on him and brutally attacked him as an outsider.”

Eric HolderThe case involving Attorney General Eric Holder stemmed from a speech he made at a meeting of the National Action Network, a group founded by Al Sharpton. According to an ABC News report, entitled Holder Rips “Unwarranted, Ugly” Congress, a heated Holder went a little off-script, as he was lauding Sharpton’s organization’s efforts to advance racial equality, when he said:

“Forget about me [specifically]. Look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee,” Holder told the crowd. “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”

On Wednesday, with a finger raised, Holder told the crowd in New York that his tenure as attorney general has been “defined by significant strides … even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”

No doubt, the Republican Majority Congress has severely challenged our current Democrat President and his appointee, Eric Holder. Holder’s testy back-and-forth with Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), when the Attorney General was recently testifying before a House panel, was a clear example of this. However, there is no basis for the implication that the treatment received by Holder was the result of racism. And, in fact, there is no basis for Holder’s statement that he and the President have been treated more harshly by Congress than any of their predecessors. It’s really just another instance where a minority person, in this case an African-American, claims mistreatment due to their minority status when, in fact, what they’re demanding is favorable treatment due to their minority status. Here too, the misapplication of the term “diversity” is summed up well in a statement from the previously mentioned article on Brendan Eich, when it said:

“Funny thing is, fanatical activists never see the hypocrisy in their own actions. Politically correct zealots that march to the diversity drumbeat are only inclusive of those who agree with their own groupthink. They’re only interested in being collaborative within their own hive collective.”

REVERSITY?! Continue reading

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Legalizing “Acts of Love”

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

THE IMMIGRATION REFORM DEBATE

For several decades now, the issue of immigration reform has surfaced regularly. When it comes up, typically, it does so as a fiery controversy. But, in spite of all the attention the matter has received, there has been little progress towards settling it. One might say that, with this topic, there has been much heat and little light.

Former Governor and potential presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, set off another round of  heated  public debate on this topic with comments he made at a recent event, held at his father’s Presidential Library. On that occasion, he said:

“The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families — the dad who loved their children — was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.”

Conservatives, who want to see a fully secured border prior to any implementation of broader immigration reform, were quick in their response to Bush’s comments. Leading the way was Senator and potential presidential candidate, Rand Paul. In his response, Senator Paul said:

“I think it wasn’t the most artful way of saying something, but I think he was well-intentioned. If I were to make the same point, I would say that people who seek the American dream are not bad people, but that doesn’t mean you can invite the whole world to come.But I think [Bush’s critics question], if love is the criteria, what does that mean? [Does that mean] everybody who’s got some love for their relatives can come? You know, the whole world loves America, and they can’t all come. It is important to have a healthy respect for immigrants when engaging in the debate over immigration policy.They come to this country and they’re not bad people. But we have to start with the first part then that the border can’t be open, and everything that’s offered to American citizens can’t just be offered to the world. We have this enormous welfare state that we can’t pay for on our own, so we can’t invite the world to be on it.”

A CARING SOLUTION

I agree with Senator Paul, that Governor Bush’s comments were well-intentioned. And, whether or not it was an “artful way” of expressing his sentiments, I’d like to see that sort of caring as an obvious part of a whole solution for immigration reform. It’s been about 35 years since I first traveled from where I lived in Southern California, to visit Baja California and I still vividly recall seeing communities of homes constructed from appliance boxes and other similar materials lining the Mexican side of the U.S./Mexico border. My immediate thought, at that time, remains yet today … “If those were my circumstances, I’d be doing whatever it takes to get across that border.”

Although both Bush and Paul spoke kindly of immigrants, neither of them offered practical solutions for the immigration challenges the U.S. has been facing for the past several decades. In Paul’s case, he mostly talked about what we can’t do. However, in replying to his critics, I think Bush pointed the conversation in a more productive direction when he said,

“To be young and dynamic again we have to be young and dynamic again. [People need to view] immigration reform not as a problem, but as a huge opportunity.”

Though I, generally, agree with that, I think that Bush may have gone from what “wasn’t the most artful way of saying something” to saying it in a way that is too “artful”. I’d put it more simply by saying, “On this issue, we need to move from the ‘can’t-do attitude’ of people like Rand Paul to a ‘can-do attitude’ that incorporates the caring demonstrated by Bush.”

A PRACTICAL SOLUTION Continue reading

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