Monday, February 2, 2009

Another Bailout Waiting to Happen!

If, in fact, Joe Biden believes that paying taxes is patriotic,

and it appears so far that about half of Obama's Cabinet picks don't pay their taxes, 

then are we to assume that half of Obama's Cabinet picks are, in fact, unpatriotic according to this administrations own standards.

Ladies and Gentleman, that's change you can take to bank.  Just don't forget to put that bank on the bailout list.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Avoiding Hypocrisy - Vote YES on Prop 8 !

I said from the beginning that I would probably struggle to be a consistent blogger. There aren't many things that I care enough about to take the time to blog but voting season always brings it out in me. So, here's something I care enough about to take a minute on.

Yesterday evening I was reading a blog posted on a local newspaper website and came across the following statement:

OK so from what I understand, those in favor of Proposition 8 want to protect the traditional definition of marriage. This is ridiculous. Do they not realize that the "traditional definition" of marriage was lost a loooooooong time ago?

HELLO?! People cheat on their spouses, get divorced, get remarried, have children out of wedlock and things like this all the time. Are they saying that they're going to outlaw divorce also??? If I know my history correctly, in the traditional form of marriage divorce was NOT allowed. And even as late as the 1950's divorce was social exile. Yet now it happens all the time! Thats not traditional, so why aren't the supporters of Prop 8 trying to ban divorce also?

You know why? BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE A CHOICE TO GET DIVORCED!!! Same sex marriage is a choice, if we eliminate that choice haven't we undermined the very basis of our democracy? FREEDOM! Let them have the LIBERTY to marry whoever they want! We're Americans. The first of our ancestors who migrated here on the Mayflower came to escape INTOLERANCE! Are we not hypocrites if we are intolerant to gays/lesbians? Our founding fathers had freedom in mind when they wrote the Constitution. I ask again, are we not hypocrites if we deny this freedom to gays/lesbians?

I don't care what anyone thinks about same sex marriage, because it doesn't matter. We all know that there is hate and controversy about this issue. Frankly, the hate for gays/lesbians just doesn't matter, because it is not their choice to make. Mind your own business and don't try to dictate who can marry who. IT'S NOT YOUR CHOICE. It is not anyones choice but your own who you love, and who you marry. Let's keep it that way. NO ON PROPOSITION 8!!!!

Admittedly, I don't know much about this blogger, her age, her background, her education level so it is not my intent to pick on her specifically but it must be noted that the logic and argument she used was very flawed. Unfortunately, I find this argument very frustrating and even aggravating because I hear it used over and over again and it is absolutely pervasive in society despite its total fallacy; consequently, I responded thus:

"You are wise to predicate your comments on whether or not you "understand your history correctly." Your postulate, that supporting the traditional definition of marriage would make us hypocrites, is based on the flawed supposition that the pilgrims were champions of tolerance. While it is true that an intolerance for their religious practices motivated them to leave England for the Americas, the pilgrims were not leaving England as champions of tolerance, so much as they were simply escaping the tyranny of the "nation-state" of England which denied them the right to practice their religious BELIEFS. You may say that I am quiveling over semantics or saying the same thing in a different way (i.e. you say toe-may-toe, I say toe-ma-toe) but that would not be true.

The bottom line is this: the (pre-USA) Pilgrims believed in a strict moral code guided by their religious background. The pilgrims themselves were not champions of tolerance as we liberally define it today. They were champions of God and morals over State and secular law. In fact, their adherence to and faith in their religion could not have support re-defining marriage then, and it does not now. Many of us BELIEVE, like the pilgrims did, that homosexual marriage is wrong. We also BELIEVE, like the pilgrims did, that the State
has no right to tell us that our religious BELIEFS are wrong as it did when four tyrannical activist judges overturned the peoples' vote. we now have an opportunity and responsibility to stand up against the State in order to PRESERVE OUR BELIEFS. That is, we do not believe that traditional marriage should be re-defined.

It is sad that marriage has suffered the desecration you have described, but that does not mean we should abandon our the faith of our forefathers (the pilgrims) and our beliefs, values, and religions or allow the state to tell us as Christians what we can and can't believe. In fact, it means we should fight harder. VOTE YES ON 8!"

I only had 2000 characters to respond, which was probably good because I struggle with verbosity. However, I felt that there was so much more to say, so, I figured I'd take a moment to elaborate because this subject is far too important for me to stay quiet or apathetic about.

Accusations of intolerance and hypocrisy are flagrantly abused as weapons by today's society. I feel that this is especially true in the case of secularist liberals, who hurl these accusations far too frequently and casually towards those who don't agree with them. This tendency reflects a total lack of understanding of what hypocrisy truly is, and what tolerance really means. Of course, many people have addressed these topics of tolerance and hypocrisy far better than I have so I'll try not to re-tread too much of this familiar discussion. But I do feel compelled to add these few thoughts and feelings:

First: tolerate is not a synonym for accept. It never was and it shouldn't be, no matter how hard society tries to make it so.

Second: Hypocrisy exists when we act in a manner that is inconsistent or incompatible with who we claim to be and what we truly believe. Or perhaps stated more simply, hypocrisy exists when we represent ourselves fraudulently.

Personally, I can tolerate people choosing to engage in homosexual relationships. But when I say tolerate I mean that as long as homosexuals don't try to force me to accept their lifestyle and try force me, through legislation or whatever means, to change my beliefs, then I'm OK with them sticking to their world and letting me live in mine. However, I do not and will not accept homosexual behavior or lifestyles as appropriate, moral, or righteous. Consequently, I cannot and do not accept homosexual unions as equal to a traditional marriage, which I hold sacred as a moral and righteous institution if properly honored. Unfortunately, the misdirected blogger that provoked my response provides some sadly accurate observations regarding marriage. We as a society have not properly honored marriage for a long time. However, that doesn't mean that traditional marriage is now worthless, bad, wrong, or passe, or that its definition should be open for new interpretation. Instead, it just means that as a society we have made a sad and unfortunate mistake of defiling and dishonoring marriage.

Now, if I were to simply ignore this political issue and allow marriage to be re-defined, without opposition, I would be guilty of behaving in a manner inconsistent with my stated beliefs. In other words, it is being apathetic towards, or voting against Prop 8 that would make me a hypocrite, rather than the other way around.

Like many others who have said so, I must note that people who preach that tolerance equals acceptance, and then vehemently express hatred or criticism of religious and social conservatives, are behaving in a manner that is inconsistent with what they are preaching. Unfortunately the problem is absolutely paradoxical for liberals who preach tolerance (i.e. acceptance) of all people, creeds, and cultures, etc. Liberals cannot honestly preach tolerance (i.e. acceptance) of all races, beliefs, creeds, etc. out of one side of their mouth and then out of the other side of their mouth excoriate social conservatives for voting consistent with their stated beliefs. To talk out of both sides one one's mouth like that is, in the very least, inconsistent. At worst it is down right fraudulent and ultimately some liberals must confess that they either don't really believe in tolerance (i.e acceptance) of all people, or they must admit that are phony in their support of gay rights. That is, I think that there are many liberals who don't really believe that homosexual marriage is good, correct, or right but they don't want to appear intolerant. So, to avoid criticism or being labeled a phony liberal they vote against their conscience, feelings, or true beliefs to appear to be accepting and tolerant. This two-faced acting is the epitome of hypocrisy. Many people are pretending to be tolerant when they simply are not. Either they are not truly tolerant of all people because they won't tolerate conservatives or they are not truly tolerant/accepting of homosexuals.

In short, to avoid being a hypocrite, there must be consistency between thoughts and actions. As long as our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are consistent, the label of hypocrite is inappropriate and needs to stop being indiscriminately wielded as a weapon against those who disagree.

While I am losing faith in society's ability to recognize and teach truth and it's ability to be honest with itself, I will continue to vote and fight for what I believe in. My vote will sadden some friends and may even alienate some, but I must be true to my beliefs and trust that true friends will respect my honesty, even if their opinion differs. Even if Prop 8 fails, I will continue to be true to my religious beliefs and be true and faithful in expressing what I believe and feel. Which is this:

I belief that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is a righteous institution that when properly honored and respected yields great blessings of happiness and Eternal joy. I also believe that any other type or definition of marriage is a fraud and will result in the downfall of society. I also believe that disrespecting and failing to honor marriage through adultery, abuse, divorce, or in any other way will lead to the same downfall. And because I believe that a man should behave consistently with his true beliefs, I must vote YES on Prop 8. Any other vote would be dishonest and hypocritical.

Taxes = Patriotism !? What the...

Yes, I know this statement is old news, but since I finally got back to my blog, I had to post the first thought that came to my mind when I heard this ridiculousness.

So, Joe Biden says, "paying taxes is patriotic."

Well, I've got three words for you, Joe:

Boston Tea Party

Enough said!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Blog - Facing the Consequences

Well, here it is, my first blog. As more of my friends and family have created blogs or created pages on MySpace, Facebook or similar social networking sites I've held out and have failed to find a lot of motivation to put forward the effort. I’m finally giving in, though, as motivation has finally come. I’ll tell you more about why I finally changed my mind in a later post, but for now I think I’ll expand on my reservations about blogging. It’s a bit paradoxical, I suppose, to blog about my reservations about blogging but it’s a conversation worth having if only to get it out of my system.

There are a number of reasons for my hesitation, including the standard concerns over identity theft and security. While I'm certainly not opposed to technology by any means, the ideas of cyberspace, virtual identities and the digital frontier seem very daunting. The names we have chosen for these things are very telling and are, at once, both accurate and deceptive. The word cyberspace does, in fact, conjure up images of a vacuous black hole slowly but steadily sucking away our time and our moral virtues and perhaps even our souls if we aren’t careful. And I can't help but state the obvious by noting that the virtual lives that an increasing number of people are creating online have little virtue to them.

Probably the biggest reason, though, that I've not put myself on the internet to this point is because, more than my “off the cuff” nature indicates, I do think a lot about consequences. Growing up, it was driven home to me how even our smallest decisions can have big consequences. I learned that even the seemingly minor consequences of seemingly small and unrelated decisions could be compounded into devastating catastrophes. Unfortunately, this awareness hasn't always saved me from the painful stupidity of youthful ignorance and pride, or even from my big mouth. Yet, I've always tried as much as possible to consider the consequences of my choices in advance.

In this case, something as simple as creating a MySpace profile or posting a blog doesn't seem to carry significant consequences. And yet, I suspect they may, more than we realize. The internet and blogging is a combines for a strange hybrid of communication methods. As a forum for information exchange it has the potent ability to combine the elements of traditional writing and publishing with the immediacy and real-time interaction of candid, extemporaneous conversation.

This can be a double-edged sword, indeed. On one hand publishing a blog makes sets our thoughts in a somewhat concrete form and allows the reader to review things accurately, repetitively, and consistently. Unlike spoken conversation, once a blog has been posted, there is no need to dispute differing memory of what was actually said in the past.  Instead we can always quote a blog word for word. On the other hand, with blog comments, emails, and instant messenger programs people are able to respond and conversation can ensue immediately, even across continents.

Unfortunately, without the physical presence and the accompanying tone, inflection, and visual cues that exist in a random real-time conversation the emotional timbre of the written word must be deciphered, if not divined, entirely by the reader. Consequently, like many people, I have observed many blog forums erupt into a dull roar of accusations, hurt feelings and illogical emotions based on an assumed implicit tone that a reader thinks the blogger intended rather than an actual understanding of the explicit content of the blog.

While the immediacy of web publishing is extremely gratifying and perhaps what makes it very appealing to so many people, it is the potential longevity of a blog's existence and consequently its potential ability to have impact over a long period of time that can endow the blog with potentially powerful and unforeseen consequences. Sadly it is the long-term impact of a blog posting that we as a society (especially youth) spend the least time considering.

It is actually the potential longevity of a blog that should compel us towards constant vigilance against statements that reflect hasty passion, pride and prejudice. Who could possibly be hurt, offended, embarrassed, or discriminated against by what we chose to post? Are we prepared to live with those consequences today, tomorrow, or twenty years from now? These are the question that should be asked every time something is published.  And yet, ironically, it seems, to me that as more and and more people are able to take advantage of this publishing technology, we actually consider its impacts less and less.  Perhaps this is a simple case of supply and demand.  There is (theoretically) no end to the supply of available cyberspace, so consequently, it really has little value.  As a result, we seem to take this endless supply for granted and cyberspace gets easily filled up with cyperspace junk.

I am inclined to believe that we as a society tended to think about the consequences of what we committed to writing and publishing more in past eras. Because of the financial commitment involved in traditional publishing we were not as likely to commit to producing or preserving things that were not worth keeping. Perhaps, we also understood better that the product would take a concrete form and would be preserved for better or worse. The tangibility of the medium of paper printing, of course, also contributed to this sense concreteness compared to the virtual existence of a blog entry. Perhaps, our thoughts don’t feel as concrete to us because we rarely print them out and handle them physically like we do a book or newspaper, although ironically, our blogs disseminated more easily than books other print media ever was.

I could probably go on a bit more about my theories of the social mechanics, implications, and ramifications of blogging. However, most of what I have said are obvious to most who have given the subject any thought. If we don’t think about it consciously, we should. We need to ask ourselves if we are ready to accept those consequences including those we don’t foresee, as well those we do.

Jumping to another train of thought for a moment…

Another reason I've but off my foray into blogging is that I tend to be a very private person in terms of my personal thoughts, beliefs and feelings. I suppose those who know me would laugh at that statement, because I talk... a lot.  I enjoy it. In fact, I am (much to my chagrin) often a fierce debater. I love conversation and I am extremely opinionated but for all my yakking with friends or even foes, I often I tend to stick to "safe" conversation; admittedly, this frequently means conversation where I feel I have some control and avoiding subjects I am inclined to feel defensive about. Also unfortunately, In the midst of conversation I have a tendency to becomes overly passionate about even trivial subjects and consequently friends sometimes have trouble distinguishing between what is really important to me vs. a random subject that has me animated in the moment.

In this light, I've decided that a blog might help people to distinguish between what’s really important to me versus what I’m just overly worked up about at the moment. A blog provides an opportunity for more full explanation of thoughts, ideas and feelings, as well. That isn’t to say that I intend for every blog to be as bloated and platitudinous as this one. But you can be assured that if I’ve taken the time to commit it to writing, I feel pretty strongly about it.  As much as I love sharing my opinion, I don't enjoy writing.  Being somewhat lazy by nature, I find it tedious and exhausting. It requires me to think harder (heaven forbid) and weigh more fervently the consequences of what I say. Consequently, I suppose I don’t really see my blog as a daily personal journal but more as a forum for conversation. However, while a blog is also a good way of encouraging conversation, I am not necessarily interested in ongoing threads of comments. I’ll likely moderate comments to keep things from devolving into a debate. While I am good at debate, I don’t enjoy it as much as my habits indicate.  While I am willing to try and explore more personal and significant topics clearly and thoughtfully, I'm not sure I'm ready to relinquish control of the conversation entirely.

Finally, tying it all together and wrapping it up…

Earlier I stated that the biggest reason I hadn’t started blogging yet was because I was concerned about the consequences of blogging. Now that I have assembled this presumptuous treatise on the consequences of blogging, I should probably take my initial explanation one step further. After all, what are the consequences of blogging that I personally am afraid of (besides security)?

I think my bigger fears revolve around potential criticism, or worse, wholesale misunderstanding. But the fear is not in hearing the criticism or the misunderstanding, both of which I usually expect and can be fairly easily ignored. Rather, my fear is my own laziness and apathy in responding to criticism and misunderstanding. In order to maximize my blogs potential for positive consequences, I will likely have to spend time following up and responding and having conversations that normally I might avoid. Like many, I tend to be selfish with my time, but if I am to take responsibility for what I post in a blog I will need to be less selfish. Am I prepared for this commitment? Until now I haven’t been convinced that the effort was worth it or that I was capable of fulfilling my responsibilities. I now believe that it can be worth it and the consequences could be great and uplifting.

One last trivial fear I should mention is simply that I dislike being just another voice out there, or one more rat in the race so to speak. But the reality is, that this blog will ever only be seen or frequented by a few people. And yet, appropriately, it’s those few people who I need to reach out to more and make more of an effort with. And these few people deserve to know how I really feel, and not be deprived an opportunity for conversation because I’m too lazy or selfish to take the time.  I hope that these people, especially, will be careful to read what I'm saying and not inject or assume emotion or a tone that is not, in fact, intended. For all my alpha-male, Type A, oldest child, take-me-or-leave-me bluster, I worry very much about hurting those around me. And at times I even have grand desires to be a true friend and servant.

So, to sum this all up… Until now I haven’t blogged or written my thoughts, mostly because I’ve been lazy and afraid of the responsibility. This blog is step one in my efforts to change that.