The American Experiment

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I hope everyone had a happy July Fourth.  I was in Maryland, staying close to D.C. for Independence Day at a hotel with an international clientele.  The only hint of violence were the reports of ISIS attacks reported on CNN.

I have been following the primary and election  process very careful.   I have very strong feelings about certain issues and find the ugly rhetoric  employed by some of those running as harmful, creating intolerance, and fostering hate.  I hear people say such rhetoric is only emotional talk, and policy would be much more informed and diplomatically implemented.  I would like to be assured, before we vote for our president, that the person elected is a serious and responsible candidate.  The primary offered choices from each party that meet my criteria.  Hopefully the chosen candidates will rise to the challenge.

I have been reluctant to write  in-depth about politics in an effort to retain a degree of neutrality, but politics dominates my thoughts.   Besides, my opinion is only my opinion.  The only value of my opinion is the value you, the reader, give it.  I am not a political reporter, nor political analyst.  Just a person trying to become informed and vote for the person who I  believe will do something good for the  American people.  My forceful defense of my stance on issues has provoked forceful assertions of the right to hold a contrary opinion.  If you don’t want to hear a contrary opinion,  then just keep quiet, and hold your opinion.

I have been upset at times, until I ran across an old journal entry written during another presidential election cycle.  The  feelings and concerns I wrote of then, are the very same feelings and concerns I have now.  Some how the American Experiment keeps on going.

The best or worst president has only a limited amount of power.  Congress can howl presidential overreach, and can refuse to approve appointments, but what the president is allowed to do is defined, in broad strokes.  In fact the duties of the legislative branch of government and the judicial branch of government are also defined in broad strokes.  These broad strokes create a lot of controversy over which branch has the power to do specific things.  Does the Judicial legislation the result of Supreme Court decisions?  Is the congressional obstruction the result of legislative control over the budget?

The struggle makes for an interesting show, and helps to prevent any real damage from being done.  If a president does anything really bad there is the option of impeachment. Impeachment is rare, only happening twice in the history of our United States.

So enjoy the freedom to vocally disagree with your candidates, and vote bravely.  You will get to do it all again in another four years.

 

Hate Kills

 

Photo from MarketWatch

I first heard about the shootings in Orlando, Florida during prayer in church on Sunday morning.  I spent my weekend watching home improvement shows, watching movies, and puttering around the house and garden.

As information became public about the shooter in the worst case of gun violence in our history we learned he claimed association with ISIS.  We learned the shooter may have had issues with his own sexuality, visiting the bar several times.  For any person of faith, Christian or Muslim, questions about sexual orientation are difficult. We also learned his behavior became unpredictable over the last year, perhaps due to mental health issues.

His wife, co-workers, and friends contacted the authorities about the erratic behavior  which resulted in the shooter being added to watch lists, and investigation by the FBI.  The FBI found no association with terrorists nor sympathetic organizations.  The FBI did find him “an angry young man.”  We also learned the shooter purchased his weapon during this period.

In the months before the Orlando shootings this “angry young man” listened daily to political talk about building a wall, closing boarders, domestic surveillance and/or deportation of anyone of his faith.

Also during the months leading up to the shootings was the passage of bathroom and other laws which can be viewed as state sanctioned discrimination against members of the LGBT community.  Members of the LGBT community have been portrayed as a danger to women and children.

“An angry young man” full of hate killed 49 people in the most deadly mass shooting on record.  Our political language, as well as our personal language has an impact.  There is a war going on not only against ISIL, but against hate.  It is a war defending the American experience and values.  The values of inclusiveness, and giving everyone a chance.

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Withdrawal

Watching the news has been disturbing during this season when we really want to believe in peace on earth and goodwill toward mankind.

Add to the bad news some ugly politics and I have lost my smile.  The grinchiness  and all its sourness is reaching across all aisles and is doing its best to ruin our holidays.

Analysis of the latest mass shooting continues with no solution and no resolution.  Radicalization brings violence around the world.  A leading politician calls for walls, roundups, and exclusion of those trying to escape the ISIS violence, as if just being a Muslim is the same thing as being radical.  All the hate spewed by this radical and racist position has boosted the pole numbers of the Most Radical candidate.  To me it looks like an ingredient for creating radicals.

I have seen reports of the Muslim community coming out against the violence, but it doesn’t get nearly the press that the violence itself gets, and many don’t even seem to be aware, as proved by discussions with those in my circle prove.  Muslim’s themselves are the major target of the ISIS violence.

My small voice doesn’t seem like much of a weapon against this hate.  My one vote doesn’t seem like it can make much difference.  Discussions with those in my circle don’t seem to change any minds and leave me feeling  ineffective.

A friend suggested I was letting terrorists (or maybe politicians) win by giving up on my blog.  I may withdraw at times, but I think I will try to hang in here.

 

 

 

A Week of Bad News

People strapped bombs to their bodies, and set out to do as much damage as they could a week ago, Friday, November 13 in Paris.  Just as I did after 9/11, I withdrew from society and watched all the news I could about the destruction.  I have seen French news reports being cautious about blaming refugees for the violence, and United States governors (31 U.S. governors) have signed declarations to refuse entrance to any Syrian  refugees.  I have heard presidential candidates say they would refuse shelter to three year old orphans.  I have seen social media posts angry at President Obama, because he has not turned Syria into a glass parking lot, at a minimum.

I have heard about hackers who have taken it upon themselves to take down ISIS propaganda from the internet.  I have seen Christians who are begging people to follow their faith instead of their fear to welcome those running toward any country of freedom and safety, including our own.

There is a multi step procedure for legal entry into our country for refugees.  I tend toward a sympathetic response to people displaced by war and violence.  I would welcome refugees from Syria, and other people who practice the Muslim faith.  I have made this known in conversations with those who would isolate the United States from all Muslims.

My father grew up in a country at war with the United States,  He came to the United States as a young man having lost his home to U.S. bombs, and lost his country to the violent and repressive Nazis.  He served in the U.S. Army before he could even speak English very well.  His brothers also established their families here in the U.S.  The family has done well, and is now on it’s third generation of Americans.

I think offering the same opportunity to others who seek freedom and opportunity is the right thing to do.   I also think we should use every tool  we have to fight ISIS.  This includes the use of rhetoric and being a light of freedom to the people of our enemies, and those trying to escape them.

 

 

 

The Language of War

When President Obama used the term “violent terrorists” to describe the self-proclaimed Islamic State, rather than the term “Islamic terrorists.” I thought for a moment that maybe the President of these United States might have read my blog posting on the very subject of fighting ISIL.  Also pleased were  Americans  Muslims who use their freedom of religion to practice their faith.

A firestorm of  political attacks broke out due to his use of the term.  Some may not consider this a very important political issue, potato or patato, but the words we use are critically important. Words have power to convey legitimacy.  The Islamic State chose that name in trying to claim legitimacy.

Some people believe the lie that the ISIL represents Islam.  That is like saying any of the many Christian cults represent Christianity.  The Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL, is a well armed cult that is just like other cults in that it indoctrinates and uses children to further its ends.  ISIL leaders make the rules, and you follow or die.  Muslims have a greater stake in stopping this cult, because they are the ones most often in the line of fire, and have to suffer because of this perversion of their faith.

We are also in danger from these violent terrorist who use the internet and terror cells to further their goals within our boarders, and the boarders of all free society.  We must use all weapons available to stop ISIL.  These weapons are not only drones, fighters, and boots on the ground.  These weapons include the internet, movies,  our political rhetoric and the very language we use everyday to take away the propaganda that they are trying to sell to anyone who might be unhappy where they are.

Prosperity for all, respect for our freedom of personal expressions of religious faith, and acceptance of all who seek the American dream is our best defense against terror.  Stand united against terror.

Finding Your Place

Being under the weather during a polar vortex isn’t the worst thing. I cancelled everything and climbed under a blanket with my pups and a kitten to sleep my way to better health and watched television to keep me company. Unfortunately the news was full of gun violence, including, local people who shot their family members, protests against police shootings of young black men, ISIS violence, the Sony hack, and terrorism in France. I try to bring something positive into the world with my writing, and I was not feeling good about anything.

I don’t know how to bring about world peace, but I thought I would share with you how peace has been restored to my home. In October A Black Cat Crossed My Path. Hubby named her Shadow, and she has grown from shy, frightened kitten into a confident and playful young cat.

The dogs, Penny and Brutus, just wanted to be friends and play, but Shadow didn’t speak dog, and was a frightened hissing ball of claws. Both dogs gave Shadow her space at great cost to themselves. with Shadow occupying my lap, the dogs were fearful of occupying their normal places at my side, or feet. I did not let that go on for long. The dogs were here first, and I did not want them to end up resentful of the kitten, so I installed the dogs in their proper places at my side, and feet and tossed a blanket over all, and Shadow came up to join us. Shadows discovery of the dogs, sent them running, but I brought them back to their places. Shadow quickly learned that is she wanted to sit with Mommy, she had to tolerate the dogs.

Peaceful coexistence grew as Shadow learned the meaning of gentle. Teeth and claws must be put away during petting and playtime, and are not to be used against family members. A flick of the finger was enough to get Shadow to back off, but I would have graduated to a squirt from a water bottle, if that had been necessary. I had several conversations with Shadow, holding her firmly, containing her claws securely, while introducing her to the friendly dogs, allowing the dogs to sniff and come close. Once Shadow learned the dogs would not hurt her, she settled down and the dogs happily made room for Shadow.

Blue was another matter. I figured my handsome gray male cat could handle a kitten, after I made clear to him that this creature was now part of the family. Cat fights are not tolerated between family members. A reminder to be gentle was all Blue needed. If not, the water bottle would have targeted the aggressor. It was enough. They share a food bowl. Blue has asserted his right to play with toys he hasn’t been interested in for a long time. They run through the house after each other, and Shadow is seen peaking around corners stalking Blue who sits provocatively in the middle of the room. Shadow pounces and the wrestling commences. Hubby and I enjoy the show.

Shadow is definitely my cat, but Blue is hubby’s cat. Everyone has found their place, and our new routine has fitted Shadow into the family happily. If only a reminder to be gentle could solve all of our conflicts.

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