January 25, 2012

Opinions are like...everybody has one!

I must respond to Ian Moone's comments on my previous blog. Then, that will end it.


I applaud your apparent ability to research and your apparent study of history. Your life has colored your opinions just as my life as colored mine. Maybe that accounts for the cynicism and bitterness I sense in you. Regardless, I do not call you ignorant because of them.

You see, Ian, the difference between you and I is that you seem bitter and to have given up on our nation -- perhaps on people, too. Conversely, I believe in our country, and I believe in the innate goodess of the individual.

We as a nation have made a great many mistakes over the course of our existence, both recent and "ancient." We've undoubtedly committed some acts for which we should be ashamed. For my part, however, I choose not to dwell on the past.  It's gone; we cannot change it. We can only hope learn from it. And try to better our behavior and the lives of those around us for our children.

Does that excuse those mistakes and actions? No!

I don't believe, though, any rational person can equate U.S. actions in modern times, however horrible they may be/have been, with Stalin's. He incarcerated, tortured and murdered MILLIONS of his OWN people!

Note: I define Middle America as a group of people of all races, religions and social standing trying to make their ways through life as best they can. They're NOT one ethnic group of one economic level in one area of the nation. Some of them are liberal, and some of them are not. Mostly, they want to be left alone. They're certainly not dupes of some faceless giant industrial/political/economic conspirator intent on keeping them downtrodden. To indicate they are is to paint with a broad brush, much in the way bigots and racists wield stereotypes.

I have a rhetorical question to you: If you are a U.S. citizen, and if you believe Scandinavian or other nations are edens, why are you not a citizen elsewhere? Undoubtedly, you and others with whom you're acquainted would be much happier.

...Then, we can all just dance....

January 24, 2012

Throwing stones only breaks stuff....

I recently engaged in an interesting thread on Facebook that has inspired this posting;specifically, from one Ian.

This is not an attempt to denigrate Ian in any way. His comments galvanized my thoughts, and I thank him for that. I hope I've understood him correctly. (If I haven't, Ian, please tell me.) My take is that Ian believes "the entire U.S. is populated by right-wingers" and both major political parties have sold out to the money interests. Additionally, he praises Europe's approach to similar problems and says the U.S. pursues recent "policies that would have made Stalin blush."

As I drafted my reply to his postings, I found it too long for my liking for Facebook. Thus, this blog, a sort of "open letter" re Ian's comments.

So. Ian....

I agree with much of what you say. We indeed have a lot of problems in this country. On other things, though, I respectfully disagree.

First, I assume your comment re Stalin is hyperbole. To actually believe that is, I'm sorry, absurd. That's all I'll say on that.

Continuing, indeed, we must get the taxation system straightened out. The health-care system certainly could be improved, as well. However, I don't think our problems are as dark as some paint them, nor as bright. I don't believe we should blindly follow the "European model" (my quotes, not your's) to solve our problems. Europe has its own brand of troubles.

Our nation is unique and as such needs unique solutions. It was founded on individual freedom and initiative and based upon the belief that all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That doesn't mean that I have the right to your earned wealth simply because you have more than me. (That seemed the purpose of the Occupy movement, but that's another topic.)

Some would have us shift wealth to the point that everyone gets something for nothing. We've operated under that misconception far too long and, unfortunately, it's an impossible scenario. Such a state becomes welfare/socialist and, if let grow unpruned, removes incentive, thereby killing individual initiative.

If we learned nothing from the shredding of the Iron Curtain, we should have learned that.

Does this mean that we should keep muddling along, bickering and accomplishing nothing? Certainly not! Name-calling, intolerance and ridicule only destroy; not build.

We've come to rely on Uncle Sugar too heavily since the days of FDR, and we have become too lazy and complacent. That's led to our electing lazy, complacent leaders with no moral compass who embrace, if not the moneyed interests, at least the goal of remaining in office forever. And we've allowed them to be fiscally, socially, morally and politically irresponsible without holding them accountable.

They lie and equivocate. They squander our wealth with the intent of pleasing everyone, with no thought to the nation's future. And we Americans, wallowing in self interest, let them.

Now, however, I see a groundswell of discontent with the status quo. People have begun to wake up, have gotten frustrated with what they've seen and have gotten involved. As caring Americans, we should celebrate that involvement, not ridicule their ideas or slander their intent.

I don't agree with everything the Tea Party puts forth, nor do I believe everything the religious right expounds. As someone moderately conservative and a Christian, I certainly strongly resent being characterized as "right wing." Likewise, Democrats and Republicans, I'm sure, resent being painted as "long-haired, hippie-type pinko fags" (Charlie Daniels' lyric) and mean-spirited fat cats, respectively. Stereotypes are easy to wield, but no more valid than racial slurs. (We all know them, so no need to list them here.) It's all hateful.

My belief is that Middle America is filled with folk who are hard-working, God-fearing, patriotic and family-oriented. We may tend towards conservatism, but by no means are we lynch-mob Bible-pounding isolationists. We may have made the mistake of trusting the foxes to guard the hen house, but I don't think that'll be a problem any more. I hope we've awakened.

Finally, Ian, I agree: I think both the established parties have failed us, and our government is long overdue for a general housecleaning. But let me add one more thing:

When I entered the U.S. Navy in January 1968, I did so thinking I might just expatriate when my hitch was up. In my particular job, I visited eight countries in Europe and the Mediterranean, plus the Caribbean. Most of those places, I lived on the local economy, so my outlook was less colored by the military. Several of them were nice, but I found nowhere that made me think living there was better than in the USA. And I looked hard. Why do you think we have an immigration problem? Our nation has its warts, certainly. But it's the best place to be on this planet, I have no doubt!

I enjoyed our interchange, Ian. Thank you.

I pray America'a citizens, no matter where they sit on the political or social spectrum, aren't content just to bellyache, point fingers and not try to make life better for all of us in these United States

...Then maybe we can all dance....