Thursday, September 2, 2010

Amazing Video at the Restoring Honor Rally on 8/28

This article appeared this morning on The Blaze and it is amazing. I tried to embed the videos here but I had some trouble with them. They are worth the few minutes it takes to watch them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How free are we?

I read an article the other day that got the wheels moving in my brain. I've been thinking a lot about the freedoms granted in the Bill of Rights and how they are abused in many instances. Let me begin by saying that I support and fully believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as being divinely inspired ideas that have be misunderstood at times by the general population. But we must recognize that every action, no matter how free we are, has a consequence.

The gist of the article was that Target has exercised their newly legal right to contribute company funds to political candidates in support of a candidate who is "an outspoken opponent of gay marriage." Well, the gay and lesbian community sees this as offensive and immediately calls for an apology and a boycott of Target. So, thus far we have one group exercising a right which offends a second group, so the second group retaliates by exercising a right to harm the first group. The real kicker in the article for me was reading that the homosexual community expects Target to match the initial contribution towards another candidate who is pro-gay marriage. As they say, "The repair has to be consistent with the harm that was done."

This doesn't seem right to me. I have opinions and you have opinions, and chances are that those opinions will offend other people around us. That is a consequence of being able to voice out thoughts freely. It does not mean that we should change our opinions or that our views are wrong. It simply means that others see things differently. If we were forced to change our views every time someone was offended we would lose our freedom of speech and religion. If Target, as a company, has an opinion about who they want in government they have the right to show their opinion with the money they have earned. To force them into a position of supporting someone financially that they otherwise would not support is wrong. I have nothing against a boycott of companies that you disagree with in principle. That is also an exercise of free speech that has it's own consequences. Just don't trample on the freedom of others along the way.

Along these same lines is the Muslim community advocating a mosque be built near Ground Zero in New York City. Is it within their rights? Absolutely. Should it be done. No! It is disrespectful to everyone intimately connected to the attacks on 9/11, as well as to our country as a whole. There are numerous other mosques throughout New York City, which are a testament to the free exercise of religion we enjoy in America. I understand that the majority of the Muslim community is peaceful and we should not punish them for the actions of a splinter group who do not live peacefully, but they should be understanding of people feeling this is inappropriate. I could continue on this subject, but I will not.

I guess what I'm really getting at is respect and self-control. Respect for our freedoms by exercising them with careful judgment. Respect for others by not blatantly using our freedoms to do harm. Respecting the nature of consequences for actions and being willing to accept those consequences. It has become popular in society to just do things because we can, because it's within our rights. Judgment and restraint are all but gone from our minds. And the government feeds that mentality by telling us that we are entitled to everything under the sun and that they should be the ones to provide it for us.

Yes, we are the most free people in the world, but exercising our rights and freedoms does not absolve us of the consequences of our actions.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Recent Frustrations

It's been a while since I've blogged. I was without a computer for a couple of weeks, which meant that I was away from the internet as my source for information. Luckily, our computer was still under warranty for one more week, so we had our hard drive replaced completely for free. Thanks Apple! It's taken a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things and catch up on major events. I'm sure I missed a lot that I'm not even aware of yet. While I was away I did get to watch a number of documentaries thanks to Netflix. You can learn about some of the more interesting ones here, here, and here. That last link should not be confused with this, but you may see a correlation between the two.

Now that I am back in the saddle (figuratively), I would like to take the time to clear a few thoughts all at once. I'm frustrated and saddened by the some of the recent actions by the various branches of our government. It's seems apparent that the checks and balances system built into our original system has been overtaken and destroyed by our current government system. The initial intent of checks and balances was so that no one branch of government became so overly powerful that it could abuse and use the citizens. But within the last month we have witnessed each of the three branches of government abuse power, unchecked and unbalanced by either of the other branches. Let's review them, starting with the Executive Branch:

First, we saw our Executive Branch, which has the responsibility to enforce the laws passed by the Legislature and to appoint judges within the Judicial system, begin a legal struggle with the state of Arizona over immigration. Regardless of your opinion on the issue itself, when the Federal Government begins suing states over their right to protect the citizens we have a real problem. It's a divisive tactic to say the least, and one that I'm sure is being employed intentionally. You may have heard the old adage that a house divided against itself cannot stand. If the federal government can orchestrate a series of events that would pit state against state, and people against people, our country would be ripe for a sweeping change in government action that will put us on a quick path towards communism. In this instance, the Fed is saying that the people of Arizona don't know what is good for themselves, so it requires someone else to tell them what is good for their state. This is a blatant overstepping of bounds and powers as much as Obamacare is a blatant overstepping of bounds and powers. And when states, like Missouri, vote to exempt themselves from Obamacare we hear the White House respond by saying that five million votes mean nothing to them.

Which brings me to our Legislative Branch. I just mentioned Obamacare, which was the dreamchild of the President, but put into play by the Legislature. We've witnessed the ill side-effects of the Bailout, which was started by Bush and finished under Obama. In recent weeks it is the Financial Reform bill that was passed that will cause more ill side-effects. These things, along with a number of other things like them, are reasons why California Representative Pete Stark would feel comfortable telling his constituents "I think that there are very few Constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life...The Federal government can do most anything." For a while I've been thinking how contradictory it is for us to expect honesty and virtue from our elected representatives when, by and large, we choose them from among the ranks of lawyers. Haven't we all heard jokes and generalizations about the dishonest nature of lawyers. It's nothing new and yet we continue to put lying and cheating lawyers in charge of creating laws that they can take advantage of in the future.

This leaves the Judicial Branch. It has long been a fear, even among our founders, that if a judge were given too much power we would find laws being produced in court instead of being interpreted. I've heard the term "Activist Judge" being used. I fully expect to see this now that we are getting Supreme Court Judges appointed who have no judicial experience at all. It's a scary thought to me that I would expect a judge to use the law to protect the innocent and punish the guilty, but in some cases the law is being interpreted and used to further a hidden agenda. Which brings me to the judge in California ruling that the constitutional amendment, now known a Prop 8, twice approved by the people of the state is unconstitutional. Gay rights is a topic for another day, but in this case the judge was being an activist for his own cause, as he is gay himself. In his response he mentioned that marriage is a bigoted institution used to put down homosexuals and that the people were voting for it based on morals rather than laws. I find this outrageous! Two times the people of California have voted on the issue in support of traditional marriage, and both time a judge has told them that what they think doesn't matter. Seven million people in California don't matter. Also, our legal system has its origins in Judeo-Christian law, which is a moral code and was so long before our government was established. And if a judge can somehow magically discern the motives behind peoples votes could we please get one of these judges to say that Obama shouldn't be President because most people voted for him because he's black and not because of his qualifications.

The three branches of our government have become three superpowers struggling for total control of the best country on earth and we, the people, are the ones being hit with the bombs while they fight. We should be aware, as were our founders, that government derives its power by the consent of those that are governed. We are watching our government take power unto itself, without care or concern for us. It is a virus that is spreading in Washington D.C. If we are not careful it will spread through the entire country.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Race Card

For starters, this video and the events surrounding it are the motivation for this discussion:

There are so many things to discuss from this video. What is clear is that for all of the progress that has been made from the Civil Right Movement there are still ignorant people reproducing. It is also clear that when these ignorant people have nothing better to do they will incite violence and hate by playing the race card.

Since the founding of the United States racism has been a real problem plaguing our progress. Slavery was a great injustice unwillingly tolerated from the same people who stated that "all men are created equal." Many of the Founding Fathers fought slavery but knew that, at least at that time, they would not be able to unite the divided colonies into a strong nation if the ratification of the Constitution were based on this one issue alone. It took less than 100 years for the leaders of our country to return to the issue of slavery, and it nearly tore the nation apart in the Civil War. Beyond that, it was nearly another 100 years before full rights of citizenship were given to those freed by the Civil War. Here we are, almost 250 years from the initial argument at the foundation of our country, and the hate, violence, and segregation are now illegal, but are perpetuated nonetheless.

After watching the video above some may think that the New Black Panther Party's acerbic message will be intended to draw attention and recruits only. Make no mistake, they do intend violence. They are anti-white, they are anti-police, and they are anti-government (please watch this video too). The Black Panther Party of the Civil Rights Movement was no different. And, while they do ascribe more to the doctrine of Malcolm X, they also would profess to believe the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. These same people would see no difference in their dreams of black supremacy and the dreams of brotherhood of MLK. These same people would see no difference in their dreams of violent domination and the doctrines of Jesus Christ that they hear from the pulpit every Sunday. The ignorant will continue to justify their wildly ridiculous claims by whatever doctrine sounds good to them, completely ignoring the facts all the while. And they will continue to play the race card because it creates a passive, sympathetic audience.

What I find to be interesting is the complete lack of coverage in the mainstream media of this hate speech and promised violence. If it were the KKK patrolling at voting stations and promising violence so loudly you can believe the case would not have been dropped and the news would have in depth coverage.

At this point, I do think the intention behind the hate rhetoric is to draw out into violence equally ignorant people on the opposite end of the spectrum. This would only 'justify' any acts of retribution on the part of the Black Panthers. The best solution to this problem is counteracting it with intelligence. We need people to stay educated on the current issues and the history of it all. Intelligent dialogue would shed light on the subject that is covered in the darkness of ignorant hate. With that intelligence we can plainly see that this is parallel to the rhetoric used by Hitler to create an environment in which the Holocaust could occur. Will we allow that to happen again?

It is part of the carnal nature of man to be susceptible to greed, envy, hate, lust, and a desire for power. It has been that way since the beginning. Those who act on those desires have many times attained that power, but always at the expense of others' freedoms. It does not matter the reasoning we repress people, whether it is because of race, religion, sex, or political affiliation, it is all wrong. Hate will never end if we only try to counter it with equal and opposite hate. We will only find freedom and brotherhood among those who daily choose to ignore the carnal desires. These are the only people who will truly realize the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. These are the only people who will truly deserve it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Words from the wise

"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor." - George Washington

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - Thomas Jefferson

"I've lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." - Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Publik Edukashun

Education reform has been a topic Congress has danced around for years now and it's time something was actually done. I am a product of the public education system, so you might think that I would favor what I am accustomed to, but I don't. Honestly, I feel that I am a fluke of the system. Actually, any intelligent person who makes it out of public education is a fluke of the system. We are fortunate that despite years of poorly run government education we still have some sense left. How much longer can we expect our country to last when our government runs an education system that fails to teach and instill American values and ideals within our students? They don't learn about our history. They don't know why America is great. They don't pledge allegiance to the flag. They don't sing the national anthem unless they are at a sporting event. And they sure don't pray in school. Instead, they learn why America has to apologize to the rest of the world.

In tackling this topic I find myself pulled in so many directions that I'm not exactly sure how to keep all of my thoughts on this coherent. Like always, though, I think that anything that has the governments hands in it is being run less efficiently than it otherwise could be. Education is no exception. I prefer privatized education with pay incentives for teachers meeting benchmarks with their students.

One of the main reasons that I prefer private education over public education is the aspect of competition. Just as with the economy, competition will have a positive impact on the education of all Americans. Why are professional athletes so much better than a little league squad? Years of competition and training. Why are professional actors so much better than any high school play you've ever seen? Years of competition and training. Why are foreign students becoming smarter and winning jobs over American students? Years of competition and training. Competition brings out the best and brightest in everyone. As private schools compete for students parents will begin to differentiate between schools based on the education quality that is being offered. Think about it as if you are shopping for furniture. If all you are ever offered is a couch from Wal-Mart (public education) you might occasionally get a couch that is well built. But for the most part, each couch will be poor in quality and will break under minor strain. (And this is from the same government who wants to handle your health care.) If, on the other hand, you buy a couch from a reputable and respectable furniture store (private education) you might occasionally get a poorly made couch. But for the most part, each couch will be a quality product that will stand the test of time.

Another aspect that I find really frustrating is the strangle hold that teacher's unions have on education politics and politics in general. It is amazing how quickly a politician will give up on a good idea when a teacher's union threatens to remove their approval of that candidate. With the great power that they wield they are not standing behind candidates that will improve education. They support the candidates that will allow them to continue with status quo. And that status means that more and more kids are graduated each year who can't read, write, or do basic math. That status means that more and more unqualified and unmotivated teachers get tenure and seniority, essentially securing them a cushy position doing nothing for a paycheck for years to come. Teacher's unions don't promote improvements or competition. If you need more information or proof of the negative impact of unions you can read all about it here.

Under the current education system there is no motivation for teachers to improve. Good teachers, like intelligent graduates, are a fluke of the system. And they deserve a lot of praise and a lot more pay than they are getting. Doing the right thing when there is no reward is not always easy, but there are great teachers out there who go far beyond their duties and pay to reach out to students. Altruism is a rare, but needed quality. In Confucianism it is believed that the teacher is the most noble and honorable profession a person could attain. Teachers were highly trained and highly paid because they taught and inspired the rising generation. Teachers still teach and inspire the rising generation, but for the most part teachers will only inspire students in so far as they are compensated for that inspiration. Is it any wonder that societies based around the ancient teaching of Confucianism are the very societies that are surpassing America in all aspects of education?

People may argue with my idea of the complete privatization of the education system saying that there is no way they could afford to send their kids to private schools. On the surface this may be a valid argument, but we are all paying for kids to go to public school and get a poor education. Public education is funded from our taxes, mostly from state income taxes, property taxes, and federal taxes. The amount of money the government spends per student annually is phenomenal in some areas. And yet the number show that students don't do any better when more money is spent on them in public schools. If we eliminate the public school system, even if only at the high school level, we will free up thousands of dollars in tax money for parents to use towards a private education. And if that's not enough, then maybe parents will be forced to take a more hands on approach to educating their kids. When the parents are involved the kids are more likely to take education seriously and compete for scholarships at private schools. Paying for public education out of tax money has separated many parents emotionally from the system because they are not physically writing out a check for their child's education, unlike with private education. Education will never succeed without the involvement of the parents from start to finish.

I will admit that this is a big step to take at once, but I certainly feel it is the right step. But if we must move in small steps, the we must reconsider the topic of school vouchers. These vouchers would provide government funds for parents who want a private education for their kids. The funds would not fully pay for the education, but it would supplement the parents' funds. Also, I am encouraged the many charter schools that are being opened up around the country. These school focus the curriculum towards the interests of the students with the end goal being an intelligent and skilled graduate. I am sure there are many great ideas out there for improving education and I have not even touched the surface as to the many reasons we have a need for reform. But we must be sure that reform happens soon or we will have a rising generation that will be less intellectual that the one previous.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Economy

Let me preface this by stating that I am no expert in economics. But, I feel, based on the current economic situation, that being an expert may be part of the problem.

America is a land of ingenuity and advancement. The entrepreneurial spirit is more alive in American than anywhere else in the world. This spirit is the foundation of what we refer to as the "American Dream" and the reason why so many people from all over the world seek out our shores.

Our economy is founded on the principles of capitalism, which essentially means that the people control the economy by how they choose to spend their money. Businesses thrive because they are better able to provide a service or a good to the people with money. Businesses that are unable to generate customers fail. Hence the need for ingenuity and creativity when starting a business. And Americans have done very well. America is the birthplace of electricity, light bulbs, television, computers, automobiles, airplanes, the internet, etc. American companies are recognized the world over - Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Ford, Chevy, etc. And family owned and operated businesses build a strong backbone within our market. I worked in a family owned small business all through my childhood and it helped to teach me the value of work, money, and creativity.

The driving force behind capitalism being a success is that the government does not control the market. When government controls the market or even over regulates a market we move away from capitalism and into socialism. Some would argue that this might be a good thing, especially in the light of the dishonest actions within the housing and lending markets that have led to our current troubles. I would say that you should ask Russia how it turned out for them having a government run market. And yet, this is exactly the route we are taking. The government is reaching its greedy hands into the market, taking over businesses in the financial sector and even the auto industry. In my opinion, the government, behind a sneaky liberal agenda, is trying to expand ever further to slowly swallow our economy to pay off our enormous debts. It won't work because the more the government interferes or controls the market the less entrepreneurial spirit we will see.

Businesses come and go. It is the way of free trade. When a business is no longer relevant someone will replace it with something better. With the government stepping in to bailout hundreds of businesses over the last couple of years we have seen our debts rise and our economy crash. The Fed interfered with the natural flow of capitalism and we are seeing the devastating consequences that cannot be escaped so long as politicians continue to meddle in affairs that they understand less than I do. What should be happening in stead is the American people should be changing their spending habits. We were all hurt by immoral lenders over inflating home values and home builders feeding into the climate it created. These businesses deserved to fail. These businesses would have failed and been replaced with smarter, better solutions if not for our leaders. It is corruption preserving corruption, and when that happens we all lose.

Our economy can recover. Our economy should recover. But whether or not our economy actually does recover will depend on the people regaining control of the market. There are many factors at play within our capitalist foundation and none of them can be ignored. Education is one key component. Without highly educated and skilled people many businesses will never get off of the ground. Work, hard and honest work, is also necessary. More and more people are neglecting work and looking for the next government handout to sustain them. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness will never be handed out in a welfare line. These things are earned with blood, sweat, and tears. When we combine education and hard work we can become productive. And productivity is exactly what we need right now.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I need to thank a friend for taking the time to thoughtfully read my posts and asking me a question about a statement I made. In my posts on Arizona's Immigration Law I stated that Mexico would deport illegal immigrants from their country within a week. My friend asked for my source on that statement and after researching for hours I have not been able to find one. So, I will have to say that until I find a credible source I retract that statement. I apologize for potentially misinforming you.

While I was searching for that missing source I did come across a few articles that compared Arizona's law with that enforced in Mexico and document the treatment that illegals receive in Mexico. I was also alerted to these interesting reads about the Constitutionality of the law in Arizona and the fact that California already has a similar law on the books.

This is a very complex issue, and I haven't even addressed the amnesty implications yet. It is sad to me that there is such an issue over enforcing our borders, our security, and our very laws that would have even our President saying the law is a bad idea. Really?! I thought he took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." It should not be a question at all that our laws as currently stated should be the standard until a better law be passed in it's place.

I'm sorry that this is the only real issue that I have addressed to this point on my blog. I promise I am reading and researching to discuss other topics, but this one has fired up so many people and raised so many questions that I have not been able to set it aside yet. Some issues that I would like to talk about soon are the economy, the environment, and the role of pop culture on politics today. If you have something you would like to discuss just let me know in the comments. I would be happy to broaden my horizons learning about something interesting to you.

As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Free Pocket Constitution

I just got home from work to find in my mailbox my free pocket Constitution and Declaration of Independence from the Heritage Foundation. As their website says:

"The future of liberty depends on reclaiming America's first principles, and The Heritage Foundation is leading the call to awaken our country and get it back on course. With our pocket-sized copies of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we seek to remind Americans that when you govern according to conservative principles, America flourishes!"

It is a great resource to have and it's completely free. Just fill out the order form here to get your own copy. It took about 3 weeks for mine to arrive.

On a side note, I signed up over the weekend to volunteer for Tim Brigdewater's campaign for the Senate seat available in Utah. I'm excited to get involved and see firsthand all of the work that goes into running a successful campaign.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

To Represent and be Represented

For the last month, and continuing for the next month, there have been primaries all around the country where people have come together to elect their representatives. I have watched the news and read the articles about all of the incumbent representatives who are now out of a job. We are in the midst of a giant political upheaval that will be talked about in history classes for years to come. Even though this history isn't complete yet, I feel the urge to sit back and analyze what is happening.

It seems to me that most Americans have forgotten for too long what a great privilege we have in selecting our representatives. I, for one, have been guilty of this for far too long. In fact, most Americans forget the meaning of the word representative. We are reminded of other American ideals in dramatic fashion - we remember the price of our freedom with every American life that is given preserving those freedoms we wake up to daily. But to be represented and be able to choose those who stand in our stead in the halls of Congress, that ideal and American dream is largely removed from our memories. Do we not remember from our history classes the call of our founding fathers that there would be 'No taxation without representation.' It is one of the major faults they found with the distant monarchy of their day and yet, here we are some 230+ years removed from this rallying call and we don't take the time to choose wisely those who represent us.

The percentages of eligible voters who participate each election cycle continue to drop. Voters turn out in larger numbers to vote for the President every four years, and they generally put more effort into learning about the Presidential candidates than they do for their own local representatives. It is a sad piece of irony that the person we put the majority of our efforts into learning the most about and voting into office will actually represent us the least, be the most out of touch with our way life, and actually affect our lives the least. We are most affected by our local government - the mayor and city council members, state legislators, and governors. But how many of us could remember the names of our state governor and the mayor of our city, while our kids will be taught in school the names of all of the President's family members, pets included.

Represent means to serve as a sign or symbol of or to take the place of in some respect. When we cast a vote for someone to represent us we are giving them authorization to make decisions for us in regards to making laws. When those who have been elected betray that trust, we have the right to remove them from there position in the next election. Unfortunately, the damage is done by the time we realize that they didn't truly represent us in the first place. All of this could be avoided if more people took the time to be educated and aware of their local elections. It has become the American pastime to complain about our corrupt elected officials. And yet we chose them! We don't see that our complaints are simply voicing that we are poor judges of character. We would be a lot better served, complain less, and be more likely to trust our government if we took the time to get to know the candidates before they were elected. Make sure that they represent what you stand for. They should have similar views of the roles of government, share your values, and be people of moral character. It is our job to make sure of this. I intend to be a better voter, and I encourage you to do the same.

While I am on this subject might I just mention an article I read recently that asked whether or not it would be important to know the sexual orientation of a certain appointed official. If I haven't made my point clear yet, let me be very clear now - Yes! It does matter what sexual orientation our leaders have. It matters how they view family relations. It matters how they view abortion and gun control. It matters how they view health care. Everything matters when someone is being chosen to represent me! If they do not match up with my values and morals, then I do not want them as a representative. Why? Because if I do not enforce this when I vote then I will become subject to their values and misrepresentations of the law.

Now, to those who represent - you have been given the trust of your constituents. They chose you to stand in for them and be a voice for their needs, values, and morals. Don't screw it up or you will be unemployed very soon.

I can't say that this subject is something that I normally would think of on my own. Politics is something I have always been content to just complain about. I have to give credit to a good friend of mine who has taken the time to research and get involved in his area. He has motivated me to get more involved and educated on my own.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Immigration Revisited

Upon further discussion and reading two more points stand to be reasoned in regards to how we handle immigration laws in the United States.

First, if a person is willing to disregard the laws of the land to gain access to our country what is going to stop them from also ignoring every other law we have established. This is, in fact, a very real problem that we face with illegal immigrants now. They obtain identification illegally, they work illegally, and avoid paying taxes on their wages illegally. And that is only the beginning. Other more serious crimes are being committed on a daily basis. So, the question that should be answered in this regard is do our laws apply only to legal citizens and residents, or do they apply to everyone within our borders.

Second, I am very shocked by the hate and accusations made by the government of Mexico regarding the immigration law. What doesn't make sense to me is that they seem to be encouraging their people to illegally cross into the United States instead of trying to either support immigration reform or make reforms within their own government. Wouldn't a normal government be a bit concerned if it's people were making a mass escape into a neighboring country? Wouldn't they see it as a need for change within? What is so wrong with Mexico that so many people would risk life and limb to come to America?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Law

"Excuse me, Flo? What's the topic du jour?"
"It's the topic of the day."
"Mmmm. That sounds good. I think I'll have that."

First things first - I spent the last 30 minutes reading the text of the Arizona Immigration Law so that I would not be addressing this ignorant of what is actually written in the law. Here's the official brief summary:

This act declares that it is a crime to reside in Arizona as an illegal immigrant, and that law enforcement has the right to demand proof of legal residence of those suspected of having illegal immigrant status. It was signed on April 23, 2010.

Let's jump right in.

I know there has been a big debate and heated arguments over the contents, purposes, and extent of this law. Also, it has been debated about Arizona's ability to enforce a law that assumes a role reserved for the federal government (immigration enforcement). Based on the text of the law, Arizona plainly states it is the intent of the state to assist in the enforcement of federal law, not to assume full control of this responsibility. Isn't that the responsibility of all states? It is nice to see, that while Washington drags their feet on immigration reform and control, at least one state takes our laws seriously.

Racial profiling has been alleged from a number of sources, reputable and otherwise, including the Hispanic population. The argument that a police officer would be on the lookout for Hispanics and watch them with a microscope for any reason to request identification is a compelling one. 'The Man is watching you' is the fallback argument that many resort to when they want to invoke fear instead of intelligent analysis. It's McCarthyism at it's finest. Think about it - Police officers patrol the streets on a daily basis, charged with enforcing the laws of the state in order to keep peace within their assigned community. They carry guns on their hips and in their cars, along with a number of other items to assist the enforcement of law. If they had the desire to profile based on race and incite fear they would have the capacity to do that already. They don't need a new law to facilitate profiling. In all likelihood Arizona police will have enough to do already than to go out of their way to show hate and repress a major percentage of their state's population. This will be another enacted law that will see minimal enforcement, but it serves the purpose of bringing the debate to the forefront of people's thoughts and interests.

The 'It's bad for the economy' card has been played as well. I understand the role of immigrants in forming a strong base in our economy. They fill millions of jobs that most would shun under normal circumstances and provide vital services to millions of others. That's fantastic! I'm all for it. But these aren't normal circumstances. Opponents of this law say that the Arizona economy will collapse because of the jobs vacated by immigrants, both legal and illegal. They may not have noticed that our government is currently reporting a national unemployment rate of approximately ten percent as we recover from a devastating recession. And that's most likely a low approximation because it doesn't factor in the number of people who are looking for a job right out of college and first time job seekers. That's at least 35 million people desperately in need of work. I'm sure a number of them would be willing to fill the positions vacated by evicted illegal immigrants.

The issue that Arizona is obviously trying to address is illegal immigration from Mexico. What is interesting to note is that the Mexican government (and most other governments, for that matter) has a strictly enforced immigration law that would have any illegal immigrants shipped out of Mexico within a week of their arrival and yet they complain if they receive the same treatment from America. Some of the problem, it's been said, is that the immigration process into America is difficult and tedious. I concede the point that our immigration system is difficult to navigate, is outmoded, and needs to be brought up-to-date to ease the burden it places on those seeking the American dream. But a difficult immigration process is not an excuse to illegally bypass the system completely. It is difficult to get a lot of things done through the government but that doesn't stop people from getting them done legally everyday. Ask any entrepreneur in America how long and difficult is was for them to get all of the necessary permits to start a business. And yet it happens daily. It's not any easier for the citizens of America to pay taxes on a yearly basis, but we do it (well, most of us). And we put up with these pains to PAY the government out of our hard-earned money.

Our country was founded on the backs of immigrants (some by choice and others by unfortunate force) and has been seen as a melting pot for hundreds of years because of it. Our doors were open to the world to send us "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free " and we welcomed them with open arms. But since the inception of our revolutionary government that door has been a guarded door so that America is not overrun by another country. We establish immigration rules and laws for a reason. We welcome any who want to come to America seeking the freedom's we offer, but do it the right way. We aren't racist (I'm not, and most of America isn't either). But we establish rules for a reason. I heard it said of the recent health care reform bill that it was a good thing to at least have something in place even if it is still flawed. This is a weak argument for accepting trash from our legislators, but if they can play that argument and expect me to accept it for poor health care reform, then they can accept the same argument from me in this case. It's not a perfect law by any means. Mankind cannot create such a thing. But for now at least we have something in place.

I think I have made my position clear on this matter. If you have an opposing view I welcome it, but do take the time to actually read the text of the law before voicing it. Otherwise I will disregard the comment as uneducated dribble.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why do we distrust the government?

This is just one example of why we, as concerned citizens, have a negative perception of our political system and those who run it.

I was planning on discussing the Arizona immigration law tonight, but I haven't been feeling well, so I will get to that at some point in the next few days. If you have any topic suggestions let me know in the comments.

Ungrammatically Discorrect also

Thanks to my lovely wife I am now aware that the sticky keys on our keyboard led to a slight typo in the domain name for my blog. This will probably happen a few times over the course of posting as well. It may be time for a new keyboard - one that the kids aren't allowed to touch. So, just bookmark the page if you like it or find some other convenient way to find it on a regular basis.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Opinions are like....

I think we've all heard someone say "Opinions are like..." followed by some body part that everyone has. This is especially true when people discuss politics, as I will attempt to do here. As I begin this journey of expression through the medium of 'blog' I think it is important that we explore the source of our opinions. By doing this from the start it may be possible to avoid any hurt feelings (in theory this would be true, in reality though there will still be a lot of hurt feelings by the nature of the topics to be discussed).
Opinions can be defined as a personal judgment or view based on our perception of facts. A number things influence how we view these facts - culture, sex, age, religion, education level, societal influences, peers, personal experiences, etc. My views may be different from your views because I am a young, religious, and college educated. My opinions will be influenced by growing up the South, but also having lived in Hawaii and the Mountain West. The people I admire most and those I call 'friends' have an impact on the way I see the world around me. None of these things makes my opinion of any more value than yours. What separates opinions is the amount of effort we put into forming them. Did we form our opinion based on gut reactions to what we see and hear? Or do we take the time to research, study, and ponder all of the information available in order to make an educated assessment of a situation?
When opinions are expressed it is very easy for the words expressed to be misinterpreted because we do not fully understand the many influences upon the person expressing their opinion. Often, we do not even wait for an explanation for the opinion before we either agree or oppose it. For instance, if I were to say to you that I agree with many Republican policies and practices some of you would interpret that to be 'conservative' while others would say 'right-wing nutjob'. You instantly have a reaction to the expressed opinion without waiting to find out why I might be inclined to agree with those policies. Rather than react to the statement of my opinion immediately, listen to the reasoning behind that opinion. In that way we can all come to a better understanding of each other and work together in bringing about necessary change.
My goal in writing this blog is to express my opinions, hopefully in the most educated and unoffensive fashion I can muster, and back them up with facts. I hope that you will share your opinions with me in a similar manner so that I can broaden my horizons. Let the journey begin...