Look out the windows to your left

And you will see the Balkans.

I just finished an amazing visit with two strikingly beautiful young ladies. They are my Granddaughters. Liv is 5 and Mia is 2. That explains why nothing has appeared on this blog for two weeks. I believe that when my time has passed and I am on the death bed, I will not be wishing that I had spent more time blogging or with my head buried in some political news site angered by the latest failures of America’s political ruling class.

Children teach us a lot. They remind us, often painfully so, of what we have become. They help us comprehend the message in Matthew 18:2-6 (NIV) when Jesus told his disciples “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Children make us long to return to the place where worldly influences have not yet pounded us into the dirt, turning us into something we do not even recognize in the mirror. Something we once observed, but took an inner oath to never become. We must look at our country with a similar perspective. We need to shake off all of the other worldly multicultural and moral relativist influences and return to our basic guiding principles.

As Liv grabbed my hand and said come on Grandpa, no one had ever told her that the Barf-a-Whirl just might make Grandpa lose his oatmeal. I did not tell her either. If I suggested to her that it might make her ill, then it may have. There we went, whipping and spinning. She was throwing up her hands screaming and laughing while Grandpa grinned through clenched teeth, thankful that he did not yet require dentures. Liv was fine when the ride stopped. Grandpa was a little wobbly.

America, nearing the end of a dizzying ride, is wobbly too. Actually, there is no longer an America. She is splintered. Instead there is an Africa America, an Asia America, a Mexico America, a Euro America and, a You Name It America… The people who wanted to see an end to America have practically succeeded. From the Whitehouse on down through the ruling class line, the emphasis is always on what divides us rather than what unites us. It is on ethnic or some other identity like Gay America rather than on the Christian principles on which our nation was founded and by which she is blessed. If we are nothing more than a collection of ethnic or other identities then it becomes status quo to discount an opposing voice as racist, sexist or homophobic. That is the approach of imbeciles who cannot defend their defenseless positions.

I find it rather comical when the pundits lament that we are transforming into European style secular socialism, although that is what most of them seem to pine for. I hate to disappoint them, but we left that train stop quite some time ago. Our bullet train is speeding past Hugo’s Venezuela with non-stop service to Uganda via a scenic detour through the Balkans. Although, it could be argued that the Balkans was our first stop on the drive to become a third world nation. Do you think that our Balkanized identity nations will ever live in peace and harmony? The ruling class will provide us with new sheet music that is supposed to guide us along, but there is no chance that we will ever be harmonious.

Hanging out with toddlers, you might find yourself watching a movie that otherwise might not have made it up to the top of your viewing list. Sitting in the recliner between two beauties, I got to watch Horton Hears a Who. It was again quite educational. I did not, repeat, did not tell my Granddaughters that the mouthy mother kangaroo bent on destroying the clover on which sat the speck on which Whoville existed bore a striking resemblance in appearance and character to Nancy Pelosi. I also did not tell them that all of the Who’s screaming unheard at the top of their lungs, “We Are Here!” was remarkably similar to the healthcare debate. We just giggled and ate ice cream. I did raise an eyebrow when Mia, the 2 year old, jumped down only to return with Curious George in a head lock. The Who’s were finally heard and they survived to prosper. Recalling the famous words of our President when he said that he was looking for some butt to kick, I suggested that next we watch Kung Fu Panda. Mia responded by yelling Hiiyeeaa! and hitting me in the head with a cardboard wrapping paper tube.

Before the United States of America can right herself, she must return to the Judeo-Christian principles that guided her through infancy – the principles that made us the most prosperous and free nation in the history of the world. We will be held accountable for how we bring up our children. We will also be held accountable for the America that they inherit from us or if there is an America left for them. We can save our country from destruction only when we make sure the ruling class hears us loud and clear and our one vote in November is too late to start.

© 2010

Land of Liberty

ThinkerNostalgic moments seem to be coming at me more often these days. I do not believe it is a sign of aging. I am still a juvenile in the eyes of some of my more senior acquaintances. Maybe it is an anxiety state. Maybe it is a manifestation of a fear of what might be slipping away from us. Leaving us with only memories of the land of liberty. Perhaps it is because those of us with memories, self-included, are not standing up and speaking out forcefully enough. There is a reason for that too I expect.

It is a self-inflicted slipping away. It is self-inflicted because we insist on proving that we are the tolerant and accepting group of people that we are always accused of not being. It might be time for us to point fingers back in the other direction and ask why it is that you cannot accept who I am and what I believe? Is it because you, Mr. Atheist et al are an intolerant lot? Surely that cannot be.

Are you growing tired of the insinuation that you are a rabid proselytizer because it just happens to become public knowledge that you are a Christian? Then they want you to shut up and get into those now vacated closets. What do you call it when atheists insist that you accept their premise that nothing follows this life? Is that not atheistic proselytizing? The meaning of proselytizing after all is an attempt to convert someone to a religious faith or to a political doctrine. There is much of it going on in our world. If one looks at our shrinking Churches and the state of our government, he can only conclude that the atheist, moral relativist, homosexual, anti-free market, anti-personal liberty etc. proselytizers are winning. Apparently, watching our country’s transformation into something not recognizable, unless you are familiar with Sodom and Gomorrah, is preferable to being labeled intolerant by the most intolerant people imaginable.

It would have been late August or early September 1958. That is when my 5 year old self began the first grade at Wyoming Grade School. It was a one story wooden school house holding grades 1 through 8, and a couple of years later only 1 through 6. We never had a kindergarten. I was allowed to enter the first grade at age 5 because I would turn 6 in September.

I have a rather vivid memory of my first school day. Before we went into the school house, we were gathered by class in front of the building. The first thing we did is recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Granted, not a first grader among us had any idea what was happening, but we learned from watching “the big kids” to place our hands over our hearts and in a day or two of school, we mastered the words. After the pledge, we sang, “My country tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty. Of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died. Land of the Pilgrims’ pride. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” After that first time outdoors each classroom day began the same way, except that inside the classroom it was common to also add The Lord’s Prayer.

Can you imagine the law suits if any of that happened within a mile of a public school today? A cross-dressing drug dealer has a better chance of getting into your child’s classroom today than does the pledge to our flag, a song of pride in our country and most assuredly God.

They took prayer away from our schools in 1962. They gave us Woodstock in 1969. We gave them the country in 2008. Because we are tolerant here in the former land of liberty.

©2010

Will There Be Fireworks in Your Heart

ThinkerWhat does your heart tell you?

This weekend, we will gather with friends and family and fill up backyards and picnic grounds. Smoke from barbeque grills will waft through neighborhoods. Distinctly American food will cover the tables. Hamburgers, hotdogs, baby-back ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, watermelon and ice-cream. A lot of fun will be had.

Americans will once again enjoy their gift of freedom and their lives of abundance. When the sun sets on the land of the free, crowds of perfect strangers will stand together and watch celebratory fireworks displays. Together, they will ooh and ah to the visual gratification of brilliant, but momentary, flashes of exploding fireworks. What will they feel in their hearts? When the fireworks end, there will be a dash for the parking lots so as to get home ahead of the traffic. As fast as this day wrapped in red, white and blue arrived, it will be gone. Like Christmas, the true meaning and purpose of it likely not considered.

With bellies full and senses satisfied, the populace will grudgingly concede that the holiday is over and tomorrow will be just another hum-drum day of drudgery. Another day spent doing the job, if they are among the group fortunate to have one, which feeds the family and provides the economic fuel for our country.

Will the meaning of this day cause a fireworks display in their collective hearts? Will there be an internal and thankful celebration of Independence Day? Will we collectively have given any thought to the real meaning of this day? Will it inspire us to grab hold of all that is good about the United States of America? Will we insist that no man may take from us what God has provided?

How long has it been since you have read the Declaration of Independence? It may be the appropriate time for it. And contemplate its meaning. What does it mean to you personally? If you do that, it may light the fuse to that internal fireworks display. Written in the classical English of the day, one often has to pry out the meaning of the words. You may not read it as I do or take away from it the same meaning, but give it your own try. It is difficult to defend, or if you are so inclined to attack, what you do not comprehend. I can remember shying away from reading the Bible in my younger days because I knew that when I opened it up there would be a big finger in my chest reminding me of my shortcomings. I assure you, it is more akin to a fatherly arm around your shoulder. Read our founding document with that thought in mind and add some urgency to the words.

I find the statements in the document incredible. It declares right up front that all men have a separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of the nature’s God entitle them – separate from, but equal to every other man. In other words it describes individual liberty. It repeats that thought again when clearly declaring that these laws of nature to which we are entitled manifest in the self-evident truths that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

The signers declared unequivocally that the unalienable rights to which all men on earth are entitled are the laws of nature, the laws of nature’s God, endowed to us by our Creator. Our Creator who is also nature’s God. They declared that the unalienable rights to which men are entitled came with God’s creation and are not any creation of man. With that opening statement the founders set the corner stone to our national foundation.

It goes on to explain that governments are instituted amongst men with the consent of the governed for the purpose of preserving these unalienable rights. The government that we form and the people we select from among us to govern have no purpose other than the preservation of our rights. Whenever the government becomes “destructive of those ends”, in other words when they attempt to remove rather than protect those unalienable rights, then it is our right to send them packing.

…when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security…

The signers of the Declaration of Independence affirmed their belief in their purpose with this closing statement.

And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.

The United States of America is the only country on the planet founded on the principle of God given unalienable rights to which men pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to protect and defend. Nowadays, we can barely find men who are willing to make the following pledge to these enduring principles.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Whenever you feel like asking God to bless America, think of the freedoms and abundance that we are allowing to slip away. Then remember that God has blessed America. Maybe it is high time that we returned that blessing.

© 2010

A Leadership Failure

ThinkerI have had some time to digest all of the spin on General Stanley McChrystal’s lapse in judgment. I am reading now that conservatives are lamenting that he was a political liberal and that he banned Fox news from his headquarters. That he might be a political liberal should not surprise anyone. Politically liberal Commanders in Chief are prone to appoint Generals who share their political views. This is not about political leanings. It is about leadership. It is about leadership failure and on more than one level.

Soldiers like to complain about things. Usually their complaining is limited to their own circle of influence. Privates complain to other Privates. We used to kid that if Soldiers were not complaining, they were not happy. Within General McChrystal’s circle of staff, some grumbling about issues would be expected. Anything else would mean a leader who was surrounded by non-thinking yes sir men, which is certainly more dangerous than grumbling about methods. It is when the grumbling makes its way outside the circle and especially when it makes its way outside the organizational family that it is serious. It is a leadership failure and a symptom of bigger problems.

If General McChrystal had a subordinate commander or members of the commander’s staff publicly criticizing his leadership or the prosecution of the mission he would have pounded that commander into the dirt. His duty would require that he do it because such conduct destroys unit cohesion. Without a cohesive effort, missions fail. When he and his staff became publicly critical of the Commander in Chief, it was to the same affect. The General knows this. He is after all a General and would have known that his actions would lead to his becoming a dirt dart.

Why did he do it? The answer to that question is at the root of everything. There has been much conjecture, but only the General and maybe his closest staff can provide the answer. You will not hear those answers, however, until the retirements are final and the first pension installments are deposited into the bank. There is certainly evidence of a low level of confidence in the President and his staff and a high level of frustration with the mission.

There has been concern expressed about the Rules of Engagement (ROE) with the enemy for the Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. In a nutshell, they dramatically increase the danger to our Soldiers while having the opposite effect on their battlefield enemy. I was always curious about whether they were actually General McChrystal’s ROE. Talk is they were and I have no evidence contrary to that, but I am a cynic and leaders do not generally endanger their Soldiers with unnecessary rules. There is precedence for politicians becoming overly involved in such matters. Vietnam.

There is a problem with operations to win hearts and minds. There is no question about the importance of gaining the support of the indigenous population in defeating an enemy. You can find accounts of us fighting hearts and minds battles in Vietnam. We would go into villages to help them by day and the Viet Cong would come back and kill the village leaders by night for accepting that help. It led to the expression of the time that said it is only when you have them by the balls that their hearts and minds will follow. That was the Viet Cong approach. Until we are prepared to seek out the enemy wherever he is and destroy his will to continue the fight, we will not win any hearts and minds. Instead, prepare for the video feeds of helicopters evacuating the embassy.

According to the media, firing General McChrystal was the President’s Truman moment. They likened it to Truman firing MacArthur during the Korean War. There is no comparison. MacArthur publicly opposed President Truman’s policies. The same media and politicians, who publicly savaged General Petraeus as “Bush’s General”, are now insisting that the President’s putting him in charge of the Afghanistan war is a stroke of leadership genius – brilliant. I am grateful that I do not have to live inside of any of those duplicitous minds.

If General Petraeus does not get what he needs and if he is bound by politics rather than the principles of war and if he has the same indecisive and dysfunctional leadership he too will fail. Most sadly, the United States of America will fail.

© 2010

Political Marsupials

ThinkerI had it in my mind today to share some thoughts about getting to the root of problems and then solving them at the point where they began. It is that type of critical thinking followed by action that our Washington politicians greatly lack.

I started my problem list with the oil spill, for example. Find the root of that problem if you are interested in such a drill. Pun not intended. Start by asking why we are drilling for oil a mile beneath the surface of the ocean when there are many completely safe places to drill for it. Then work your way back from there. Eventually, you will arrive at a stalemate between ideology and common sense. Unfortunately for us commoners, those of us who actually rely on a productive carbon fueled economy, the politicians are rarely on the side of sense, common or otherwise. They live at a dogmatic juncture where utopian ideals are frequently overcome by reality and where problems are never solved.

As you can see, my self-diagnosed attention deficit disorder kicked in and my mind side tracked a little, or maybe, depending on your perspective it tracked.

Snarky little men perched on a dais looking down upon others, asking them questions that should be directed into the mirror and feigning outrage toward the television cameras are frankly incapable of solving problems. By their actions, I must conclude that their objective is something other than solving a problem. Any problem.

The “damned hole” will never get plugged by even ten thousand sessions of Congressional Kangaroo Court, especially when Washington’s marsupials are only interested in how to benefit politically from the real human suffering that the disaster produces. (Kangaroos are marsupials, not the typical political order of Rodentia found in Washington, but I’ll get to that in a minute.) Certainly, by their method they will never find their way to the root of the problem and then solve it.

In the President’s Oval Office address on the oil spill he summed up the challenge of moving our nation from carbon based energy to green energy by stating, “Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how to get there. We know we’ll get there.” Let me interpret that into English. We are on a trip. We do not know the destination. We do not have a map. But, we are going there as fast as is politically possible. That is typical political problem causing rather than problem solving. I am not a czar of any kind, but I believe I can fill in the blanks for the President. If we hold hands and leap from a tall building, we know we will get to the bottom. I am also fairly certain that we know what that looks like. I also believe we will know it when we get there, even if it is for only a tiny fraction of a second.

Marsupials are interesting critters. They give birth to immature young and then have them fully develop in a pouch on mamma’s belly. Political marsupials are much the same. They have their pouches full of what is the beginning of many major problems. One must only look around to see the matured ones. A failed energy policy, Fannie and Freddie mortgages, labor unions, financial crises, out of control budget deficits, etc., etc. The mamma marsupial turns her mature offspring out when they are ready to care for themselves. The political marsupial nurses his immature problems along until they develop into calamities. Then he starts wagging his self-righteous finger while glaring from the dais across the top of his glasses and demanding to know why the target of his ire is unable to solve the problem he created. It makes perfect sense.

Let’s see now. What was I talking about? With all of the grand examples we have of ethical men of integrity solving our Nation’s problems that is on display in Washington, I want to wish all of you Dads a Happy Father’s Day.

© 2010

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