Some of the "Third Rail" topics, not to be discussed at the dinner table are listed below.
I can see my kids rolling their eyes. Yes, I'm a white, heterosexual male, and what's more, I'm a Baby-Boomer. As such, my opinions have been marginalized in recent years. That doesn't mean I'm not allowed to have them or express them. So here are my opinions...
I'm a firm believer in these three sayings:
Throughout history, two types of entities are responsible for the oppression of mankind: governments and false religions. If U.S. history is viewed as a test case, you'll notice that the morality and stability of a nation is inversely related to the size of the government. The bigger the government gets, the more people rely on it to guide their lives, and as a result, the government becomes a kind of god. Another factor in a society's decline is how far the population has distanced itself from a standard of morality. This is Paine's concept of evil.
The concept can be applied to Russia, China, Cuba, Germany in the early 20th Century, Rome about 2000 years ago... The larger these governments got, the more resources they consumed, the worse it got for the average person. Each of these examples in history became totalitarian. Totalitarianism doesn't play nice with freedom...
So what does all of this have to do with my view of politics? Everything! With an understanding of the nature of government (to get bigger and acquire power) and of man (an inclination towards selfishness and destruction), and seeing the bloated nature of our own government, I can draw a few conclusions:
This may not happen in my lifetime, but it will come.
We cannot return to "simpler" times. To stem the tide of our country's decline is a daunting task, since both major parties are complicit in creating the current environment. So what can be done?
First, hold representatives accountable. If they are not doing their jobs, which is to serve their consituency and uphold the integrity of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they should be run out on a rail at the next election. This applies at all levels: school boards, city councils, state representatives, congressmen and senators, and even the president.
Second, understand what is important to you, and stick to it. Too many people vacillate on what drives them to vote a certain way.
This approach can take years, especially since some people vote a certain way regardless of the facts - even if the party they support abandoned their values years before. Secession may be the only way to make those in Washington wake up to reality. I doubt that would happen, but I'd support it.
It is important for every legal US resident, who is registered, to vote. More importantly than that, it's vital to the success of any government (or downfall if that's how it should go) for the people voting to do several things:
An informed electorate is dangerous to established politicians. And parties are bad about expecting certain demographics to always support them.
There's no question which way I lean, politically... I didn't like Donald Trump as a person, but he was a good president who was villified by the media and the Democrats who had a "witch hunt" mentality. They still tried to impeach him even after he was no longer president.
Personally, I don't understand why people vote for Democrats anymore. Many of those at the national level have gone off the rails, and the younger crop gets crazier every year. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and others are trying to impose socialist ideals not just in government, but in every aspect of society. That is un-American. Even locally, Democrats are supporting Critical Race Theory and other dangerous philosophies.
Now comes the part where I see people gathering their pitchforks, where I exercise my 1st Amendment right to free speech...
"Woke" basically refers to the awareness of issues that concern social and racial justice. It's concepts are tightly intertwined with Critical Race Theory, Social Reparations and Systemic Racism.
Critical Race Theory espouses the idea that if you are not a white, heterosexual male, you are oppressed. And if you are, you are the oppressor, even if you're unaware of it.
People have jumped on this bandwagon, as have corporations and school districts. This is a dangerous bandwagon to be on. Essentially, because I'm a white heterosexual male (WHM), I'm a racist oppressor. And being a WHM, there's nothing I can do about it. (But what if I'm "Woke"? Or a Democrat?)
If this standard were applied to any other race or gender or sexual orientation of people, the theory would be considered racist and oppressive. But since it's applied to WHMs, it isn't. Can you say "Double Standard"?
One of the most eloquent speakers of the late 20th Century would vehemently oppose this theory. He would have spoken out against such generalizations... oh, wait. He did...
Wokeness is a joke. It's something that was invented to help people feel better about themselves. It's another label that people want to adopt to announce that they're "enlightened".
My church (Denton Bible Church) recently had a conference entitled "Wokeness and the Gospel". The church was eviscerated in the press and on social media as being racist. How dare a church not embrace "wokism"? Simple: to adopt the Woke philosophy is to reject the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Civil Rights legislation, the Bible, Christ and everything else that has kept the American experiment going for more than 200 years. And to judge the church and the conference without having attended either is like saying Huckleberry Finn is a racist book without ever having read it (read it - I dare you!).
Aside from Critical Race Theory, the other two planks of the Wokeness platform are equally harmful. Social Reparations says that the oppressors need to financially pay the oppressed for the injuries suffered during the course of American history. And since that oppression was so egregious, I would not make up for it with one payment, but I would have to continue paying reparations for the rest of my life.
To my knowledge, I have never had a slave, never oppressed anyone, and even spent time teaching in a school that catered to inner-city girls. So I think I've done a pretty good job of not oppressing. But then, I'm a WHM, so I can't know if I'm oppressing someone, can I?
The third plank of the Wokeness platform, Systemic Racism, is addressed in the next section.
My final observation on "wokism" is that those who claim to be "woke" have shut themselves off from different perspectives. If you don't agree with them, it's because you're a racist, and nothing you can say can prove otherwise. So they stop listening.
This is how societies fall...
Before I go into this, let me begin by saying that "race" is a social construct, and it has no scientific or moral justification. It was simply a way in the past for one group (slave owners) to classify another (slaves). There is one race - the Human Race - and sadly, we're all losing. The perpetuation of "race" being based on the amount of melanin in your skin is simply to divide people. It's the liberal institutions that keep the tension going, since it suits their needs - whether it's a political party that gains votes based on a knee-jerk reaction to issues, or some entity that hopes to take money (BLM, Inc, for example), or the media that is trying to be relevant.
But let's just use the common vernacular - that a person's "race" is determined by the skin tone of the individual.
Racism exists in people from all races, not just from one race. Racism lives in the heart of the individual, not in a generalized group. To say an entire demographic is racist is to judge people "by the color of their skin." I firmly believe that if there was systemic racism, there would be many more very public examples of it across the country.
You can't legislate away racism. Laws can't be created that stop people from thinking a certain way. Contrary to what a frighteningly large percentage of people think, people are free to think the way they do, even if their thoughts are not popular or socially acceptable. It's their actions, not their thoughts or words, that should be judged. Someone can say they hate me all they want, but as soon as their words become action and an attempt is made to injure me, that's when opposing action can be taken. Not before.
Granted, there are individuals who, knowingly or not, treat people unfairly because of their skin color. Whether it's a police officer, prosecutor, defense attorney or judge, their actions cannot be hidden. If actions are examined, and it's shown that the person is treating people differently, proper action should be taken: bring their behavior to their attention, and show them the proof. They can either correct their behavior or face discipline. An independent auditor might be needed to review someone's performance in this light.
But just because there are individuals exercising poor judgement, it doesn't mean you toss the entire system and start over. If a fan belt in your car goes out, you don't toss the car, you get a new fan belt. All systems have replaceable parts.
So the conclusion here is to root out the few individuals in authority who are misusing their power and deny them the opportunity to impact lives like they do. It doesn't mean they should be publicly humiliated and be called names - because people can change when given the opportunity.
Finally, the death of anyone at the hands of the police is tragic, and each situation must be addressed based on the actions of the individuals involved, not by any racial or organizational affiliation. For the most part, that has been done through the legal system, with some exceptions.
By the way, here are the numbers of people killed by police in the United States, 2017-May 20211:
|% of Deaths
|% of Population
So based on these numbers, it's true that a disproportionate number of Blacks are killed by police compared to their percentage of the population. Other demographic factors, however, might account for this disparity. Whether it's environmental, economic or social, there are always more ways to examine an incident.
Besides, if the problem was systemic, wouldn't the numbers for Black deaths be higher?
I strongly recommend Voddie T. Baucham, Jr.'s book, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe. This book is well written, and clearly lays out the fallacy of Critical Race Theory and Social Justice, with examples of the hypocrisy of both.
1 Statista Research Department. "Number of People Shot to Death by Police in the United States from 2017 to 20201, By Race" http://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race
Considering this as a philosophy, I agree. Considering this as an organization, I am vehemently opposed.
Originally, I was even opposed to the philosophy, not because I didn't think Black lives mattered, but because all lives matter, so to say one matters seems to say it matters more. Someone explained it this way to me: "If you had a water hose, and two houses were on fire, which one would you spray? The one that isn't on fire doesn't need the attention, but the one that is does." That shifted my attitude.
The Black Lives Matter organization, which is raking in millions of dollars in donations, is run by two Marxist women in California. (I know, Marxists in California? Big deal!) These women are pocketing a large percentage of the donations, which come from both individuals and corporations. And, like the good Marxists they are, they pocket the donations and do nothing to help the community. This is what happens when people don't look before they donate. These women should be charged with fraud - but because they're in a state where that's commonplace, they can keep their multimillion dollar homes.
Now comes the controversial part: a majority of the black men killed by police had lengthy rap sheets or warrants out for their arrest. If you look from the perspective of the police, they are walking into a potentially dangerous situation. They overreacted. The victims in these cases were not innocent by any stretch, but they were supposed to be afforded due process under the law. Officers that kill when they or someone else is not in danger should be charged, and have been. And it's not because of demonstrations or protests, it's due to prosecutors doing their jobs.
It is rare, and tragic, that innocent people have been murdered by the police. Sometimes, law-abiding people are killed simply for being improperly identified as a threat. Again, in these cases, those who acted wrongly have been (or should have been) arrested and charged with murder.
The other stories I hear, about black people being stopped for no reason, being harassed by authorities, are not rare. But this does not indicate that there is "Systemic" racism, just that individuals in authority need better training, or at least better employment screening. Regardless, this activity needs to stop.
Peaceful BLM marches or protests are encouraged and supported. What sometimes follows has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter and actually hurts the cause. The riots which follow a BLM march are often perpetrated by opportunists not interested in "social justice".
I think it's hysterical that this group of people call themselves this. ANTIFA - anti-fascists. That's a joke. They are no more than cowards hiding behind masks. Have you noticed that they only infiltrate cities run by weak leadership? Portland, Seattle, probably San Francisco. I'm surprised they haven't cropped up in New York, Chicago or Detroit!
All these people want to do is intimidate. They intimidate regular people going about their lives, beat up anyone who opposes them, cause massive amounts of property damage, and get away scott-free because the leadership in the city is so weak and wracked with fear that they have no response.
Their actions are no different than the "Sturmabteilung" in 1930's Germany. Also known as "Brown Shirts", they were the Nazi party's paramilitary organization. This organization had a branch that broke off and became the SS, the Nazi party's security force, which took on a larger role during World War II.
ANTIFA's activities also are similar to Mussonlini's "Black Shirts", who used intimidation, violence and even murder to support Mussolini's Fascist regime.
ANTIFA isn't as organized as these two historical predecessors, but it seems like only a matter of time. They are a terrorist organization. They should be treated as one.
My understanding is that a lot of the people who identify with ANTIFA are young, Gen-Zers and some Millenials. These people have been raised without a moral compass, so they latch on to any philosophy that gives them what they want. They are cowardly thugs.
Let them come to Texas. They'll see how strong leaders deal with the weak-minded (Yes, I'm saying ANTIFA members are weak-minded!).
So, they call themselves ANTIFA, while taking on the uniform and behvaior of Fascist groups from history. Seems like they need to be schooled.
When I started college, I went to one of the best journalism schools in the country - Northeastern. It was in the top 5 at the time. In the Introduction to Journalism class, the professor talked at length about impartiality, warned us against the use of inflaming language, and spoke of the responsibility of journalists in a working republic. One of the key things we were told was to not make ourselves part of the story - we should be impartial observers of events, not participants, otherwise we become the story.
How times have changed!
A significant majority of the news that's seen now is slanted heavily left - and they aren't newscasters, they're commentators posing as newscasters. They engage in all of the things my journalism professor warned us about. Even some of the most revered organizations, such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, which until only a short time ago exposed corruption and reported rather than commented, have fallen prey to the insidiousness of partiality and abandoned their responsibility to the public. They participate in smear campaigns against people they don't agree with.
Our local newspapter, the Denton Record Chronicle, reported on a conference held at my church, and the article was slanted in a way to make it seem like everyone who attended was evil. They could have asked to have a reporter present, but instead they decided to stir things up with half truths (it is true - everyone who attends is a person).
Alleged reporters like Jim Acosta have violated the "don't make yourself the story" rule I was taught. It's clear that his goal is not to gather information and report facts, it's to make a scene and put himself at the center of attention. He is a idealogue, a verbal hit-man, who throws muck against the wall and hope it sticks long enough for others to believe it.
A fair and responsible media would help to maintain accountability in our government. Instead of reporting on Hillary Clinton's complicity in the deaths of CIA officers in Benghazi, they expend all their efforts chasing a story alleging that President Trump arranged to steal an election with the help of the Russians.
Shame on all of them. Write a novel if you want to make things up!
I do not, nor have I ever (except for 5 minutes 20 years ago) had a social media account. And I'm glad!
In my opinion, social media is a scourge on our society. It started out as a way for people to reconnect after years apart - long lost friends, estranged family, etc. But it evolved into something else.
Now, virtually all social media is a platform that stifles free speech, that promotes some idealogies over others, and protects those who commit crimes.
They claim to have a set of standards, but they shut down those who believe COVID was created in a Chinese laboratory, but leave up people who are spreading hate and promoting violence against Jews.
They shut down people who don't believe in the COVID vaccine, but allow spread of disinformation about conservatives.
I will never use social media - my blood pressure is high enough now. I'd probably get kicked off as soon as I spouted my first opinion.
Children are bullied, harassed, stalked and worse through social media.
Adults are similarly treated if they have an opinion that others find offensive.
People feel protected behind a wall of anonymity - a cowardly way of attacking someone. Bullying was epidemic in schools - and at least, in school if someone saw it, some action would (should) be taken.
I'm not trying to offend anyone, but one thing I've noticed when all my kids are together and we're in the same room, everyone is staring at a little screen in their hand, rather than engaging in conversation. Or when there is conversation, it's about something they saw on their little screen.
Gone are the days of actual communication. It's challenging to connect with someone with some sort of device. They're engaged in pictures or stories they see on Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter or any of the other platforms out there.
I'd bet that no one would notice if I started chewing on my own foot. Unless a photo of it was posted to social media and it trended. I left the room one time and no one noticed for five minutes.
I guess that's because I'm a white, heterosexual male, and a Baby Boomer...