Saturday, November 12, 2016

Please consider…

I’ve been lectured and spoken at.  I’ve been told I’m insensitive.  I’ve been told that I just don’t understand.  Donald Trump was elected president, and now people have all these feelings and I’m not taking them seriously.

Believe me, I do.  I understand that you are hurting and scared.  I completely get that.  My problem is not with your feelings themselves.  My problem is two-fold.  

First, and most important for my friends and family, my problem is that your fear and pain is based on lies.  You have been fed a diet of lies for months, and you believe them.  Indeed, why wouldn’t you?  It’s not like anyone has been denying them.  Indeed, much of the supposedly Conservative media (which obviously means something different than I thought it did a year ago), is engaging in the lies just as much as the “mainstream media.”

Second, and less important personally, but more important from a practical standpoint, your engagement in this very public hysteria is dangerous.  Because good and decent people like you believe the lies, too, bad and dangerous people have the moral cover to do horrible things.

You have been told for months that Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist, and a homophobe.  You have been told that he is anti-immigrant and wants to deport all Hispanics and Muslims.  These are all lies.  Not one of them is true.

Is Donald Trump a racist?  No one thought so until recently - and there is no evidence that he is.  It has been said repeatedly in the last year, but those statements have no basis in fact.  He has been honored by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  He fought to change the laws in a city where one of his properties exists so he could allow Blacks and Jews to patronize his club.  His lists of nominees for positions in his cabinet are replete with minorities.

Is Donald Trump a misogynist?  Again, no one thought so until recently.  The recent evidence of that is better, but still completely overblown and taken out of context.  He regularly insults women - specific women with whom he has a specific beef.  Surprise: he regularly insults men, too - specific men with whom he has a specific beef.  That’s not misogyny; it’s equality.  Moreover, he was the first to hire a woman to lead the construction of a skyscraper.  His campaign manager was the first woman ever to run a successful Presidential campaign.  He neither fears nor hates women.  If anything, he sees them as *actually equal* which means he also pulls no punches when dealing with them.

Is Trump a homophobe?  Once more, I say no, and that no one thought so until the Media started saying he was.  When the “transgender in the bathroom” issue blew up, Trump was busy making sure Trump Tower was open to transgender people while also attempting to address the very real concerns of parents.  He has been supportive of the LGBT community for a long time.  He was pro-choice until recently, and even now I suspect is only pro-Life-ish.  He has announced no plans to fight homosexual marriage.

Is Donald Trump anti-immigrant?  If so, someone should tell his wife.  Because she’s an immigrant, you see.  Legal and everything.  Someone should also tell all of those immigrant owned businesses he uses to provide supplies and labor for his various properties and businesses - obviously they missed the memo.

Does Donald Trump want to deport Hispanics?  Again, there are no facts that support this assertion.  The worst that Trump has said in that regard is that he wants to deport all illegal aliens.  Hey, guess what?  If you’re here illegally, you should be deported - because that’s the law.  You can ask the Native American tribes, the Chinese in the 13th century, and the Romans what allowing unchecked immigration of peoples who do not wish to integrate and assimilate into your culture can do to that culture.

Does Donald Trump want to deport all Muslims, or even stop their immigration? Again, there is no evidence of this.  The closest he came to that was saying we should not be importing people from a part of the world where a large number of them want to kill us without some way of making sure the ones we let in are not those who want to kill us.  This is not even controversial, except that the Media told you it was.  If you hadn’t noticed, there is a significant portion of the Muslim world that either actively wants us dead or supports those who do.  We owe them nothing, so why wouldn’t we wait on letting them in until we had some way to verify we weren’t importing terrorists?

Donald Trump is crude, yes.  He is vulgar - in the same way that many of your neighbors are vulgar.  He’s even common and low-class.  But he is not a monster.  He’s not going deport your cousin’s mother-in-law, provided that cousin’s mother-in-law is here legally.  Even if she’s not, it’s unlikely that he’s going to get around to deporting illegal aliens who aren’t causing trouble - there are enough who *are* causing trouble to keep ICE busy for years, I think.  He’s not going to throw Muslims into concentration camps.  He’s not going to start some purge of the Gays.  He’s not going to attempt to reinstitute slavery.  The very idea that he would do any of those is a lie perpetrated by the Media, the Democrats, and even some Republicans for political gain - people who are in fear are easier to lead.

Please stop believing the lie.

Which leads to the next point - why it is so important for you to stop believing the lie.  For the last six months or so, you’ve heard the drumbeat from the Clinton camp that Trump and his supporters are literally just like Hitler and Nazis.  We’re supposed to be violent, barely restrained animals who will turn on Blacks and Gays and women in a heartbeat.  Trump is going to lead a fascist government bent on complete domination of the people.  The Clinton campaign, with the help of the Media, has made people believe that for six months.

And what has been the result?  It hasn’t been Trump supporters starting riots.  It hasn’t been Trump supporters gleefully defacing others’ property and posting it on YouTube.  It hasn’t been Trump supporters beating Clinton supporters because of their political beliefs.  It has been exactly the opposite.

And, again, why wouldn’t it be?  You yourselves believe that Trump is equivalent to Hitler.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be afraid of his Presidency and you wouldn’t feel “invalidated” by his victory.  You might feel disappointed.  You might be concerned that his policies would hurt the country’s prestige or economy.  You would not fear for your literal safety, or believe that his victory said anything about people’s feelings for you and your pain in any way.  Only if you accept, somewhere in your psyche, that Trump = Hitler does any of that make sense.

And if your opponent is the actual equivalent of Hitler, does that not mean you are not only morally justified, but even morally required to oppose him and those who support him with violence?  If Trump is Hitler, how can anyone complain that people are rioting in protest, or even if some call for his assassination (yes, that has already happened- on CNN, which did not bother to repudiate the statement).

In 2008 and again in 2012, I thought someone who would be disastrous for the country was elected.  I stand by that assessment, and would be more than happy to point out the ways he absolutely was that.  Yet I and those like me did not engage in violence.  We did not pull Obama supporters out of their vehicles and beat them.  We did not riot and overturn police cars.  We didn’t ask that you validate our “feelings.”

We bowed our necks, set our shoulders, and continued on as best we could.

When you fail to do the same, you validate and even encourage the kind of behavior we have seen- an old man torn from his vehicle and beaten on camera to the chants of “he voted for Trump,” children *actually beaten* (as opposed to mocked) for supporting Trump, even a child tormented by his own mother - again, placed on YouTube with pride - for supporting Donald Trump.

Your child’s hispanic friend was mocked and told their family was going to be deported?  You mean children said mean things to another child?  Why, shut my mouth.  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  I mean, I and those around me were *never* mocked for our names, or because our families weren’t as rich as others around us, or because we were socially awkward.  This is a brand new phenomenon which has only begun in the last 4 days!

I’m very sorry that mean people are saying mean things.  I’m very sorry that at some point in the past you were sexually assaulted, or that your parents brought you here illegally at the age of 6, or whatever bad thing happened to you.  I truly am - if you want to tell me about it and for me to extend my sympathy, I’ll be happy to brew up a cup of tea and sit with you on the couch.

But the public histrionics; the vociferous complaints of “I thought better of my country,” they are giving cover and even justification to those committing actual violence.  They are emboldening those who would truly overthrow our way of life - by installing their own choice for President over the justly elected nominee.

Please, I beg you: consider what you are saying.  Please stop believing and spreading the lies - lies so artfully concocted.  Those lies have very real consequences (not that you are lying - it’s not lying if you believe what you’re saying, but that the people who started them knew them to be lies) which are causing actual physical violence.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Whose Fault is it, Anyway?

One of the things you learn very quickly when you're thrust into a leadership position (if you're going to be successful, anyway) is that blame fixing and fault finding are wastes of time and energy, and ultimately are destructive.  For too long, however, our culture in general and our leaders - governmental, cultural, ideological - have focused on exactly this.

In a business environment, when you think someone is "at fault" for something, you can discipline them.  In a voluntary endeavor, you can confront them.  But what do you do when the environment is just life?  What if you think that "whites" or "cops" are targeting black men for assassination (more or less)?  What if you think that "blacks" are "thugs" or "Muslims" are vile monsters?  Especially when your frame of reference makes you see the government's non-reaction to most incidents as condoning violence, whether implicitly or explicitly?

If you really, really believe - deep in your bones - that the whole of society and the government is against you, what options do you have? 

You can surrender, certainly.  You can go about your life afraid at every moment that "they" are going to do something to you.  The problem with this option is it breeds cowardice and starts stratifying castes and classes.  We fought a war about that sort of thing about 240 years ago.

You can bury your head in the sand.  You can pretend that you believe other than you do.  In some cases, this may even be the optimal choice.  Certainly it isn't true that "cops" are "targeting black men."  In the vast majority of cases, there's not even questionable behavior.  In those cases where the behavior is questionable, quite frequently full knowledge of the circumstances makes it clear that the behavior was defensible, even if not fully justified.  So we're left with a minority of cases which are sensational and therefore repeated over and over.  Similarly, it certainly isn't true that "Muslims" are terrorists.  Mohammedanism most certainly is an evil death cult (read the book), but the vast majority of Mohammedans in this country are simply here because we're more free than they would be in the lands of their ancestors.  It certainly isn't true that "blacks" are "thugs."  Again, while some indeed are, the vast majority are not.

The problem with that choice, however, is two-fold.  First, it is very difficult to deprogram oneself.  Asking people to do it is asking them to give up part of their identity, and many are simply unwilling to do so.  Second, it can make it so that you are slower to react when there really is a systemic problem.  The unwillingness of many to acknowledge that Mohammedanism - as written - is an evil death cult makes it harder to support those who are not into the evil death cultishness and to oppose those who love blowing up the infidel.

Or, finally, you can oppose the injustice you perceive.  This can be either the best, most moral choice, or the worst, most monstrous.  It is very hard, before the fact and subjectively, to determine which any given act of opposition may be.

I do not know the motives of the murderer last night in Dallas.  I understand he told police that he wanted to kill police, and specifically white police.  One presumes this is because of recent events where two black men have been killed by police.  One case appears (though I don't know the details, so I can make no judgement) to have been a horrible event wherein an innocent man was killed.  One case is already becoming more "nuanced" as we find out more about the history of the victim and the immediate events leading up to his shooting.  Nevertheless, they feed into the balkanization of our nation.  Those who wish to see all blacks as thugs can do so.  Those who wish to see all cops - especially white cops - as racists hunting black men can do so.

This must stop.  It will stop.  What cannot continue, won't.

The problem with it stopping is that it can only stop one of two ways.

The better way is for it to stop because our leaders - governmental, cultural, ideological - stop feeding it and start opposing it.  If he hasn't already (if he has, I haven't seen it) Wayne LaPierre needs to get in front of cameras TODAY and say how horrible the shooting of Philando Castile appears.  No condemnation is necessary, simply the acknowledgement that - based on facts as currently known - this looks like a "bad shoot" and that all citizens should be secure in their second amendment rights.  Similarly, Al Sharpton needs to get in front of cameras TODAY and say how horrific the murders of 5 Dallas police officers last night were - especially if they were based on race.  Again, he does not need to indict everyone in the #BLM movement, simply acknowledge the evil of last night.  The head of CAIR needs to get in front of cameras TODAY and explain how the Islamic community rejects acts of violence and will turn its back on terrorists.

This would help healing begin.  People would be able to back down from this cliff.

The other way, the way I think more likely, is horrific.  There are over 300 million residents in the United States of America.  According to this source, as of 2015, at least 41% of households (2 out of every five) owned guns that the government knows about.  It is safe to assume, when illegal or unregistered (for whatever reason) weapons are taken into account, half the nation is armed.  There are more guns in private circulation in the United States than there are people.

If we do not back off the cliff, if we don't start seeing each other simply as humans and Americans, then the other way for this balkanization to stop is a literal civil war.  The War Between the States was not a civil war (civil war is one where one or more factions are vying for control of a government, the War Between the States was one where one group of states wanted to be out from under the control of the central government).  It was also relatively "clean" (one Northern General's March to the Sea and resulting war crimes notwithstanding).  Civilian populations (exception noted) were generally considered off limits.  Prisoners were generally treated with respect and relative care.

What will come next, if we don't stop it, will be a civil war and it will not be clean.  The only populations will be civilian populations.  Simply being a non-combatant will not grant you safety from being targeted.  Blood will quite literally run in the streets.  This great nation that (I hope) we all love will tear itself apart, and the light and freedom she represents will be extinguished, possibly never to return.

I'm not a child.  I know that Al Sharpton and I will likely never see eye to eye on most issues.  I know that Mohammedanism (world wide) will not reject terrorism overnight.  I know that police are not going to cease making mistakes - some of them quite horrible - just because we "want it real hard."

I also know that if we don't start trying to fix this now, my children will not know the relative peace and freedom that I have known.  I know that if we don't find some way to realize that we are all human, Created Equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, we're going to lose everything we hold dear.

Pray for America.  Pray for reconciliation.  And then act to achieve it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

#NeverTrump? Fine, Just Don't Be Stupid

If you've been listening to scuttlebutt, you may have heard that a large faction of the #NeverTrump movement have lost their collective minds.  By which I mean: they are openly advocating that the Republican Party self-immolate rather than actually go through with nominating Donald Trump.

Oh, they won't say it that way.  "He's behind by double digits!" they'll wail.  "He can't win!" they'll cry.  "He's a poo-poo head!" they'll whine.  Okay, I may have made that last one up, but it's in line with their opinions.  In fact, they are so certain of Trump's defeat in November (just how they were certain of his defeat in the Primaries), that they are now calling for the delegates at the Republican National Convention to change the voting rules so that those delegates elected in the expectation they would vote for Donald Trump will not do so, and instead will pick some party-insider to run for President.

To its credit, the RNC seems to be saying "That's stupid, don't do that."  That's because they're the Stupid Party, not the Self-Immolation Party.

And let us be clear: that is what this is.  This really is people who didn't get their way not merely settling for taking their ball and going home, but burning down the field and jumping into the conflagration.

Let's think this through for a minute.

What do you suppose will happen if the delegates overthrow the will of the people (pesky democratic processes anyway - you know they'll let ANYONE who is 18 or over, a US Citizen, and not a felon vote?  How plebian)? 

First, you have to select another nominee.  Who?  Ted Cruz?  Already a loser (and I say that as someone who likes the man and thinks he'd be a good president).  Seriously, he already lost to Trump, why do you think he'd fare better against Hillary?  Any of the other primary candidates were named unacceptable by voters long even before Cruz.  So not one of them.  But then who?  You think someone can put together a presidential campaign on the fly?  Seriously?

But let's say you find another nominee who you believe can put together a presidential campaign at a moment's notice.  Even assuming there is no problem getting him (or her) on the ballot (and I'm not sure about that), then you face one other problem.  Seventeen million voters whose will you just spurned.

Think about that.  Donald Trump did not just win the Republican Primary.  He won with a record number of votes.  Even assuming (as I do not, actually) that some of those are "false flag" votes from Democrats who are going to vote Hillary, what about the rest?  You think those blue collar voters who were voting to "Make America Great Again" are going to say "Oh, yes, absolutely.  Those party delegates know far better than we do, why did we ever vote for Trump in the first place?"

No.  They're going to be so royally pissed off, they'll vote for Hillary out of spite.

And then what?  Even assuming Hillary doesn't plunge us into Venezuelan Darkness in 4 years, do you think those people will come back to the Republican Party?  After that betrayal?  Who did those fighting for American Independence hate more: open loyalists, or traitors like Benedict Arnold? 

No.  You will have lost them forever.  Worse, you'll probably have lost their children and grandchildren.  "Don't listen to them," they'll tell their kids, "they lie.  They'll tell you they want to represent you and support your interests, but the moment you speak up and say 'Then this man represents me,' they'll call you stupid and racist and xenophobic and stab you in the back."

So you're #NeverTrump?  I think that's stupid, but whatever.  Be #NeverTrump.  But if you are advocating for a "delegate revolt" understand that you are advocating for the Republican Party to commit suicide.

As for me?  That's what I said nearly a year ago.  Donald Trump will kill the Republican Party.  He'll either kill it from the inside - killing the power the so-called "elites" and establishment have making them once more answerable to those they're supposed to represent, or those "elites" (note the establishment seems to have come somewhat to their senses) will do it for him.

Friday, June 24, 2016

#Brexit and Donald Trump

First: Congratulations to the People of Great Britain for their courage and commitment to self-rule and local governance.  I'm glad they voted to leave the European Union; it's in their best interests.  The days ahead will be hard, and at every bump in the road talking heads will tell them how "it's their own fault" for choosing independence.  To a degree they're right: independence, self-rule, these things are hard and not without difficulty.  But they are worth far more than the fake "security" of being ruled from afar.

As the English withdrawal from the European Union is analyzed and constantly second-guessed, let me submit to you that it was inevitable, and it shows that Donald Trump has a much better chance to win in November than the Talking Heads would have you believe.  See, I believe that Brexit and the Rise of Trump are both based on the same thing - the realization by the People that their so-called leaders have failed in their actual duties.

National governments have basically two jobs - ensure a "level playing field" inside their borders and protecting their citizens from non-citizens.  That's it.  Both of these are predicated on one foundational idea that the West seems determined to abandon: "Us First."  A nation's government should always, as its first priority, put the well-being and interests of its citizens over the well-being and interests of non-citizens. 

Whether that's non-naturalized immigrants living within its population, foreign threats, foreign business, or even just healthy old international competition, a national government's first priority should be "what is in the best interests of my citizens?"

That's a harder question to answer sometimes that it might seem.  Are trade terriffs on imports good?  How about a lax or strict immigration policy?  What about (any given) war?  Not always easy.

Sometimes, however, it is easy.  Is illegal immigration good for a nation's citizens, or bad?  Bad.  There's not even a question here.  Is unchecked immigration from majority muslim countries good, or bad?  Bad.  Again, not even a question - when your best answer is "we don't know they're a threat," you're not arguing that it's good, just that it might not be as bad as feared.  Ergo: bad.

Now, most people don't even think of these things in these terms.  I'm pretty sure the average Englishman doesn't think in terms of terriffs and duties, or immigration policy.  What they do think of is: how easy it is to find a job (harder with lax immigration, and even harder with massive illegal immigration)?  How good is my standard of living (worse with poor trade policy and massive immigration)?  How safe am I in my home (worse with Muslim Terrorists moving easily about the globe, worse with illegal immigrants)?

And that brings us back to our own shores and Donald Trump.  Donald Trump resonantes with people because he understands* these things.  He understands them in his bones.  Look at his campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again."  That says it all in four words.  America was great "before."  What is "before?"  Well, that's up to the individual.  But it's not great now.  So let's make it great again. 

Let's put Americans first.  Let's say that the well being of American businesses, the American worker, is more important to us than the well being of Iraqis, Afghans, Israelis, Austrialians, the British, Canadians, or anyone else.  Let's get control of our borders - all four of them, and stop importing unskilled workers to compete with our own unskilled workforce (what, you think we didn't have one?  Everyone starts "unskilled").  Let's stop immigration from majority Muslim countries - we owe them nothing - until either Mohammedanism can tamp down on its more violent tendencies or we can find a way to screen out the terrorists.  Let's stop engaging in wars to benefit others and not ourselves.  If American boys and girls are going to die, let's make it to the benefit of the country they serve, and not just someone else.

And that's where the leaders of Great Britain (not the EU) and the United States have failed.  By allowing massive immigration (usually without requiring assimilation), we import unskilled workers to compete with our own unskilled workforce.  The EU member nations are importing terrorists - and it won't be too long before one gets over here.  The so-called leadership of Great Britain and the United States has failed to put their own citizens first, and the citizens are crying "no more."

Of course, they also said (as late as yesterday), that the Brexit would fail.

Will Donald Trump win in November?  I don't know.  People are saying he has no chance.

* - Understanding is not the same as agreeing with or supporting.  Personally, I believe he does both, but whether or not he agrees with or believes in "America First," it is clear that he - unlike the talking heads and Washington Establishment - at least understands it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Don't Give in to the Lie

In a famous episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard is taken prisoner by the Romulans and subjected interrogation and attempted brain-washing.  The brain-washing attempt is fairly direct and simple and, I'm given to understand, is actually more or less how brain-washing works - get the victim to agree to something they know to be false.  Get them to agree to a lie.

Eventually, he responds one last time (just before being rescued): "There... are... FOUR... lights!"

Well, America is being brain-washed right now.  As I type this, you are being asked - even coerced - to agree to a lie: that a man can be a woman, or that a woman can be a man.

And I am here to proclaim- there are four lights.

Honestly, I'm not even sure why this is an issue, but suddenly it seems you can't turn around without tripping over someone decrying how it's unfair that men can't use women's restrooms.  It's unfair, we're told, that transgender people are "barred" from using the restroom "of the gender they identify with."  And if you bring up the idea that, hey, maybe some pervs will use reduced scrutiny to engage in their pervishness, you'll get two responses:  1) "Oh, that won't happen."  and 2) "Pervs are going to be perverted anyway, our rules can't bend to them."

Without addressing either of these responses directly (because they're both stupid and I don't have time to waste on such stupidity), it is important to see the hidden premise behind them - that transgender people really ARE transgender.  That is, that they're really in the "wrong" body.

This is absolute nonsense.  To explain, we first have to clear some things up.

First off, there is the fact that "gender" really is a social construct, and it is mostly tied to masculinity and femininity.  That is why in many Latinate languages, nouns have a gender (and the rules seem weird to us).  Gender has nothing to do with your biology, and really has nothing directly to do with any specific human.  Humans do not have a "gender."  Humans, being sexual beings (that is: we reproduce sexually) have a sex.

Which leads into the next part: you can't be the wrong sex.  Sex is a biological constant.  With such few exceptions that I'm offended I have to mention them, humans are born with two sex chromosomes - the X chromosome and the Y chromosome.  These can be paired in two ways - XX or XY.  If you have two X chromosomes, you're what we call "female" and if you've got an X and a Y you're what we call "male."  This is a biological fact which does not change in our lifetime.  If you believe you are the wrong sex it is your belief - not your sex - which is wrong.

Now, there is nothing inherently evil or immoral about having a mistaken belief about your own biology.  There's not even anything inherently evil or immoral about dressing as though you were the opposite sex.  Assuming you are someone who has a mistaken belief about your own biology and who dresses as though you are the opposite sex, there is nothing inherently evil or immoral about using the restroom of the opposite sex.

I don't think any conservative will disagree with the above statements.  What a conservative says is this:  "I should not be bound by your mistaken belief."  It should be obvious that anyone with such a mistaken belief is not viewing the same reality as the rest of us.  If you have a penis and you think you're a girl, you're not wrong in the way that someone who thinks the earth is flat is wrong (though you're not far off); you're wrong in the way that someone who thinks they're a duck is wrong.  You, in short, have a delusion.

And it is no kindness for society to indulge your delusion.  Deluded people are crazy; who knows what they'll do next?  I would be as uncomfortable in a restroom with a girl who thinks she's a guy as I would be in a restroom with some dude who was talking to the sky about how the aliens were never going to take him alive again.

So tell me, why does the deluded person's "comfort" trump my own?  Why does he (or she) get to be "comfortable" while I must be uncomfortable?  Why must objective reality comport itself to his (or her) subjective unreality?

By the way, the secret that the Progressives don't want you to realize?  Real "passing" transvestites have been using the restroom of their choice without molestation or objection for decades.  With the possible exception of random bigots no one harassed them, and even then, the bigots could only harass them if they knew.  So this isn't about them.  This isn't about "Elsa" who was born John but has been passing as a woman for five years and you never knew.  This is about "Fran" who has more hair on "her" back and arms than a gorilla and whose wang hangs out of "her" micro-miniskirt.