Ted Cruz: Agent of the Constitut… Bible

Ted Cruz has been quoted to saying, “I am a Christian first, American second.”

How does this not scare you? This should for a few reasons.

First off, imagine somebody running for office said, “I am a Muslim/Jew/Atheist/Hindi/Pastafarian first, American second.” Imagine the outrage we would see on various news outlets. Hell, let’s imagine if Bernie Sanders said, “I am a Jew first, American second.” Fox News would be calling for him to drop out of the Presidential race.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if some in the GOP were calling for his resignation from the Senate.  Yet with Cruz, however, this is tolerated.

Let’s also look at this from another angle. The whole separation of church and state. For as much as Mr. Cruz claims to be a protector the Constitution he claims to love so much, where is his true priority? One of the major pieces of the Constitution was the whole separation of church and state, due to the fact that many Americans came here fleeing the notion of a church run state or a state run church that was persecuting them. If Ted Cruz loves the Constitution so much, then why on Earth is he trying to go back 300 years in the past?

This even brings up another point to the toleration level with Cruz.  With Barack Obama, a man born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and a white mother, there was outrage over whether or not he was a Christian, let alone an American.  This was insane.  No amount of  birth certificates or legal documentation could quell that storm.  Yet Ted Cruz, a man born of an American mother and Cuban refugee father in Canada there is barely a murmur about his eligibility.  You also notice that the Democrat side has largely sat silent, as well.  Why is this?  Which side is more prone to throwing out dramatic theatrics in politics?  Which side is more focused on the issues that the American people care about?

Speaking of toleration, since when is threatening to “make sand glow” (in reference) to the Middle East sound politics?  Let alone popular politics.  Somehow a comment such as this makes Cruz an even more popular candidate, despite the threat of [what I could only assume to be] nuclear war being absolutely preposterous.  On that tangent, however, I’ll digress and let you form your own opinion.

With this I simply leave this post reminding readers that in order for these sort of things to stop, we as a society need to stop allowing this.  We cannot sit idly by and say nothing when people make comments like these.  Whether these comments are from politicians or that crazy uncle.  I remember a day when the Dixie Chicks were boycotted and called treasonous for speaking out against G.W. Bush, yet now we have politicians openly disrespecting a sitting POTUS.  We’ve allowed this, however.  We are to blame.

The Bundy Revolution

So I’ve finally decided to sit down and write in this blog again.  I apologize for the little vacation there, new job and all.

I have a new job teaching at a charter school.  One of the classes I taught was a 9/10th grade Language Arts: U.S. Seminal Documents.  In this class we went over, in great detail, documents such as the Washington Farewell Address, The Constitution (Articles and all), Bill of Rights, Executive Order 9066, Emancipation Proclamation, etc.  We went over these documents not for the historical sense but rather for the language sense, to help students develop a better understanding of what many of these mean.  Obvious vernaculars change over the decades and we often times can lose things in translation, even from our own language.

With this, we have many great discussions both about such documents and also about current events and how they relate.  This class is full of some extremely intelligent kids (who don’t give themselves as much credit as they deserve) that bring a lot of valid discussion points to the table, from both sides of the argument.  Anything from Donald Trump, #BlackLivesMatter, even to the Bundy situation over in Oregon (and previously in Nevada) had been points of discussion.

Getting into the point of this post, however, with the Bundy Revolution that is happening I had a student bring up a great point to me:  How is it we are allowing things such as Cliven Bundy and his supporters to point guns at federal agents, using women and children as human shields and now allowing his son, Ammon Bundy, to take over federal property and treat it as his own personal playground without making a single arrest?  Now, yes, one arrest has been with with Ammon Bundy’s crew, merely for one of theirs driving a federal vehicle to get supplies in town.  No arrests have been made, however, towards what is essentially treason of fighting against the government, and ‘violently’ taking over federal land.

One great point I heard, and absolutely agree with, is the point that if these were Muslim-Americans this would have been over in 48 hours or less after a full-scale assault on the wildlife refuge, with much bloodshed on both sides.  If these were #BlackLivesMatter protesters who did this, we’d probably have had this shut down within a week, with minimal bloodshed, if any at all, but force would still be used by the Feds.  Yet here we are, many weeks later, still allowing these rebels to turn this into their own personal circus, slowly destroying whatever they please within this complex.  We had the local sheriff go in and greet Bundy with a warm handshake, not handcuffs.  What is wrong with this picture?

Let’s rewind here now a bit.  We had Ferguson and Baltimore full of #BlackLivesMatter protesters with peaceful demonstrations getting gassed and mistreated.  Yes, I understand some people took advantage of the situation and took to looting but at the root of the true #BlackLivesMatter movement is peace.  You cannot bundle some idiots who decide to hide under this banner for their own personal gain with this.  I respect #BLM even with their protest at the Mall of America and various highways/airports.  People say this is stupid and they’re just disrupting travel or the economy, but remember a certain Rosa Parks who disrupted this and sparked a true Civil Rights revolution?  This is peaceful protest at it’s finest.  True civil disobedience.  Civil disobedience doesn’t involve a gun, or even the threat of violence.  True civil disobedience has the potential only to harm the one who is protesting.  What is Bundy doing?  Arming himself to the teeth, threatening to shoot if the need arises.  Where is the end game here?  At what point does Bundy just think he can walk out of there?

The sad thing is, after what happened with his father and his supporters down in Nevada, it isn’t far-fetched to think that Bundy and his rebels will walk out of there just fine eventually.  They saw how successful Nevada turned out, so why not Oregon?  Where is this going to happen next?  We have a domestic terrorist shoot up a Planned Parenthood and arrest him, but we allow this?  The sad thing is that there are politicians, some of which are running for the highest office in the land, who have praised both of these guys.  Why are we enabling this?

We enable these things, collectively as a society, by not calling for action to be taken.  We sit idly by because we’re not in Oregon.  We sit idly by because we don’t ranch in Nevada.  We sit idly by because we don’t go to Planned Parenthood.  We sit idly by because we sleep safe and warm at night.  When do we start demanding change?  Change starts with all of us.  Change starts when we stop allowing guys such as Donald Trump to spew his hate all over the airwaves.  Change starts when we hold Ted Cruz accountable for saying he’s going to make sand glow in the Middle East.  We’re allowing hate to win because nobody is standing up for it because it doesn’t affect us yet.

Whenever I hear…

Whenever I hear somebody give reasons for supporting Trump, Carson, Bush, Cruz, etc. all that I truly hear is:
  • Screw anybody NOT from America! They’re probably a terrorist or criminal…. except white people not from America, they’re okay.
  • I truly don’t care about jobs, the economy, veterans, the homeless, etc. I just like to act like I do because I’ve never actually paid attention to which party votes which way, I only listen to their fancy, fact-free one-liners I’ fed on the news.
  • People on welfare and lazy and I think they’re on drugs.  I don’t care that many of the largest corporations don’t pay a single cent in taxes due to massive loopholes and storing cash out of America, they’re just doing what I would do if I actually happened to be an extremely wealthy and successful individual, which I am not.
  • I’m so upset by ISIS and all the killings around the world which is why I support everybody in American having as many guns as they can. Who cares about domestic terrorism. We don’t call it that here, those guys were just misunderstood youth who needed help.  We need to go to war and give more guns and have more damage so they know not to mess with ‘Merica!
  • Gay people are icky and I cherry pick the bible for the verses that support me. When you bring to light other bible verses, however, I’m going to tell you that you’re just being hateful and misinterpreting them.
  • That candidate speaks their mind! I wish I could say the same things as them, but I’d probably lose my job.

 

You are not worthy of such a stage…

I’m just going to start this off with a quote from somebody currently running for President, in reference to Bernie Sanders, the self-described Democratic Socialist.

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me, I’ve been spending more time going after Bernie and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism. I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people. When you have a command economy, when everything is dictated from one authority, that’s socialism, but it doesn’t come easily to those who resist it.”

Can you guess who said that?  If you answered Donald Trump, you’re wrong.  This was Rand Paul.  Rand Paul is stooping to new lows and essentially saying that if we elect Bernie Sanders that there will be a genocide.  Are you kidding me?  Rand Paul is just one of the many who does not deserve the stage to be running for the highest office in the United States.  The United States has officially shown the world that we are absolutely mad.  Do you not think the rest of the world looks at us, looks at our current Presidential race, hears the comments coming from some about different ethnic groups, about homosexuals, about foreign affairs and Iran?  We are an embarrassment to our own selves and we are all collectively allowing it to happen.

First off, I’m going to list off some countries that currently follow the Democratic-Socialist structure of government: Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium.

Now, tell me where the massive genocides have been in those countries in the past 500 years.  Please.  I beg you.

Thing is though, Rand Paul spewing this kind of garbage isn’t anything new.  We’ve had eight years of hearing about an imaginary Muslim who was going to sell the country to Al-Quada and introduce us all the Sharia Law.  There are people out there who ate all of that up and have had 8 years of being in honest fear of somebody coming, taking their guns and giving them a homosexual to marry.  We, as a country, have allowed it.  We have failed as a society.  Those who run the media have given us this and we have taken it from them, as a society.  Just because you don’t personally watch Fox News doesn’t mean that you haven’t allowed this to happen.  We’ve openly allowed lies to be told without taking action against them.  We’ve allowed those lies to be told and believed; and if not by ourselves we’ve allowed it to be told to our family, our friends, our neighbors and everybody we interact with.  Yes, those of you who are not insane thinking that Obama is a Muslim coming to take over the country are still at fault.  We might laugh at that crazy uncle who rants on about Mexicans or guns but we’ve never challenged him to back up his views with anything other than Fox News.  Why?  Why are we so damn afraid to stand up to people who are misguided?

People like Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, etc. have essentially turned this election into reality television and we have allowed it.  Donald Trump spewed about how boring the 1st Democratic debate was.  Guess what, that is politics!  Politics isn’t always fun and games, Mr. Trump.  You don’t need to turn everything into a big showy event that will turn heads.  This country wasn’t founded on that.

Some speculate that Ben Carson’s main motives behind running is partly so he can get more book sales.  I wouldn’t doubt that.  We all know that Trump is an ego-maniac who craves the spotlight.  Trump possibly fears that he’s becoming less noticeable in the world but now he’s the first story nearly every day in the news.  We’ve allowed this.  Where do we hear about Bernie Sanders in the news?  Where do we hear about Hillary Clinton, aside from hearing about Benghazi and emails (two things that have been admittedly wastes of time to try and slander Clinton).

I understand one of the best freedoms we share in this country is the freedom of speech.  Anybody can truly say what they want (minus a few things, such as making open threats… that will get you arrested) to whatever audience they want but since when has the freedom of speech also meant the freedom of consequences?  As children we always had that one kid on the playground who thought he could insult others, then when confronted said he had the freedom of speech.  We wouldn’t allow our mother, our father, our crazy uncle, etc. to lie right to our faces about something important in our lives and just let them get away with it, would we?  So why on Earth are we allowing these people who are seeking the highest office in the nation to do it?  Why on Earth are we allowing Fox News to do it?  Honestly, their “Ex CIA operative” whom they called an expert is facing criminal charges for making that false claim.  When do we hold others within that organization and others accountable?  If Brian Williams can damn near lose his job for lying about being in a war zone, why can’t people within Fox News lose their jobs for blatantly lying about the state of the nation, about the president, about presidential candidates… for lying about stuff that actually matters in our lives?  We allow it.  We always have allowed it.  When do we demand action?

The race for the Republican nomination has turned into a circus.  Eight years ago we heard people complaining that a man with only one Senate term couldn’t be President.  Now there are three people running for President on that same side who have never had ANY governmental experience.  One has filed for bankruptcy 4 times, one was a CEO who wasn’t even regarded as having good business sense, and the other a doctor.  All three of these candidate have made at least one ridiculous or bigoted or outlandish claim about an issue that is extremely important to our country, while the rest of the world watches.  We’ve allowed it though.  If Barack Obama made one of their claims we’d all be demanding his resignation, what is so different here?  You might not think any of this is a big deal, but there is a very real chance that one of these people get elected.  Eisenhower, Reagan and Nixon would all be denouncing these candidates if they were still alive.  The sad thing is that Jeb Bush appears to be the least of the evils, and the thought of four more years of that should keep some awake at night.  So you can continue sitting there, watching cat videos and posting your lunch on Instagram OR maybe, just maybe you can start being a part of the solution.  Follow a campaign that you support.  Make a small $5 donation.  Talk politics with your crazy uncle and challenge his views.  Change doesn’t have to be big, if we all are more mindful about the country we live in and where we want it to go, then we can all make a big difference together.

Some Personal Ramblings

So I guess I do write about non-political things.  Woot!  Woot?

So lately I find myself doing many things.  I am teaching full-time as a long-term sub, I still also am doing my nights at the bar and the liquor store I work.  What I am not doing is taking any time for myself.  I finally gave up my weekends at the gas station just so I wasn’t working 7 days a week, despite some family members warning me not to.  A wise quote I’ve read many times was to never get so tied up in making a living that you forget to make a life.

I started this year off wanting to make changes in my life.  Big changes.  Some changes so personal I won’t even talk about them.  Despite that I’ve become a better person this year than I was last year I cannot, for the life of me, remember anything I put on that list, but one thing.  The funny thing is that even though I’ve had the desired outcome I wanted in the creation of that list, the only thing I remember from that list is the one thing I won’t be able to complete.

I’ve been getting so completely tied up in work that I haven’t hardly had time to just be me.  Tonight would have been my only weeknight off this week had I not gotten a night shift covered on Thursday.  Saturday morning, I am still on at the liquor store, however.  Having to juggle so many different hats can just be over-whelming.  I don’t miss my old days in the finance/accounting industry one bit but what I do miss about that was the time I had.  I felt like I just had more time in general despite the fact that I still worked a full-time job that kept me 8-5, I still had a part-time job (that wasn’t necessary, financially) that had me 2-4 nights a week, too.  I never felt like I just didn’t have free time though.  Yes, the part-time job was working with a rock wall/outdoor rec/boathouse, which just so happened to be a huge passion of mine, but even despite that I was still able to have relationships, go places, see things, do things without having the financial or spatial drag on my life.  These days, despite working so many jobs I don’t have that luxury.  I’m always worrying about bills, rent, etc.  Sure, I don’t make the same money I did in the financial/accounting industry, but honestly even with that job I didn’t make that much.  Sure, I lived in a town that was relatively inexpensive, but I also found myself in Minneapolis nearly every single weekend to spend time with my significant other I was with at the time.  I know that has been nearly 5 years since I left that life behind, packed everything, closed my eyes and took a huge step into my new life, a life of being back at college in my mid-twenties which has now led to my current life as a 27 year old, but what has happened in that time?  I feel like I am just living in a completely different life, it is hard to imagine any of that anymore.

I love my jobs, really I do.  Subbing at an ALC can be an extremely stressful job.  I keep going back there day in and day out, however, not because of the paycheck, but because I actually feel like I belong there.  Sure, I’ve got nothing good to say about the current position teaching math, where I feel like I was just thrown into a pit of lions to fend for myself, but I’m making it work and being successful with it.  Even with all that, there are still days where I just feel like I belong and know that I am making a difference, even if it was just in one person.

Time

Time is a very important thing.  I’m trying to relearn this thing called life.  This time, however, I feel I will do a much better job of it.

Some of you may ask,”Why are you writing this?”  For that I think I have a very simple answer.  Venting.  I often times tell others that sometimes you just need to vent, even if its not a big deal.  Sometimes just saying the words helps you understand what it all means, more.  There have also been times where I’ve found I learn the most about myself by allowing somebody else to vent towards me, even if I have no advice to offer them when they’re done.

Resistance to Gun Control or Resistance to Reason?

So with yet another mass shooting in the U.S. I find that everywhere I look I see the worst in people coming out on the news and the interwebs.  Yet, somehow, when it comes to having a face to face conversation people worry about what words represent them, but I digress.

I am just going to list out some of the most basic of argument we’ve been hearing lately when it comes to gun control, or lack there of.

  • We start with my favorite argument of. “but criminals will still get their hands on guns!  Why punish everybody else?!”  First off, I find that the same people who make this argument are far too often also the same people who say we need to ban abortion.  Going by this very same logic, they’re being hypocritical in their argument.  So because people will illegally get guns to kill others we shouldn’t try but when it comes to people risking their lives to get back-door abortions it doesn’t matter?  I’d rather we ban something that works to save lives (you know, actual lives… lives that live and breathe in the world) rather than ban something that will ultimately take those same living, breathing lives in the real world.
  • Also, going off the banning argument not keeping things away from criminals.  Now, you can currently go into a Cabela’s and purchase a number of Semi-Automatic Centerfire Rifles for under $2,000.  Many people also call these assault rifles.  I’m not going to split hairs on definitions, however, but these are guns where even a person with little to no training, who has a few days to become acquainted with the gun, can become extremely dangerous.  Now, I know some of you might be saying in your head, “But you can kill somebody with a hunting rifle, too!”  Here’s the thing though.  A hunting rifle doesn’t carry as many bullets and is also slower to reload.  If you’re trying to do a mass shooting (you know, the kind of shooting where there is a mass of people around to shoot) then that mass has a greater chance of being a mob that takes you out before you can do more damage.  An assault rifle is designed for this kind of mob control.  One person with an assault rifle can fend off an entire mob for quite some time.  We’ve seen war movies where this happens, this is why we love Bruce Willis.  Now if those guns were no longer able to be purchased at stores such as Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, WalMart, etc. they would in turn have to be purchased on the black market.  I’m no expert on the black market, but I am pretty sure that your average college student isn’t just going to be able to walk into a dark alley and yell, “I want some guns!” and walk out happy.  Also, those prices will increase exponentially on the black market.  What once costs you $1,500 will now easily cost more than most vehicles we see these sort of madmen driving.
    Cabela’s Assault Rifles
  • “The government/Obama/Muslims/Communists/Space Aliens are coming to take our guns now!”  Now, being realistic, any gun control will not ban all guns from U.S. citizens.  It would only ban certain types, generally the types that will make it easier for any ordinary citizen to inflict a large amount of damage in a small amount of time.  This would include things such as extended clips for handguns, assault rifles, and even guns with modified stocks for maneuverability.  Keep in mind that any guns you want to own for sport hunting wouldn’t be touched, period.  Also, handguns generally wouldn’t be touched.  I would still be owning my two guns (a rifle and a shotgun) and I would still be able to use them legally.  I repeat to all sportsmen and hunters, YOU CAN STILL OWN YOUR GUNS!  Here’s the thing, there are many in the GOP at the state and federal level who want to make it easier for you to buy a gun than to vote.  They want to do away with the most basic of defenses, such as background checks.  They also want to throw loopholes in there that make background checks essentially useless.  How is this even reasonable?  Do me a favor, go see how much the NRA contributes to elections each cycle.  Just, please, you can easily Google that.
  • “This is in our constitution!  You can’t mess with the constitution!”  Well for starters, those rules in the constitution, what do we call each one of them?  An amendment right?  Amendments have been added.  Amendments have been removed.  We, as a country, have added amendments as we’ve realized times have changed and we need to change with them.  We need to only ask African Americans and women how well this has worked out for them.  Then again, you can now go to a bar and drink, too, thanks to an amendment that abolished another amendment that abolished drinking.  But tell me again how amendments are so permanent?  Yes, they’re hard to change, the founding fathers set them up to be hard to change that way we had to be damn sure we wanted change.  You also know what the founding fathers knew?  They also knew that a gun in the hand one one man could maybe kill 5 people in ten minutes if held by the most expert of shooters.  You know what that expert couldn’t do?  He couldn’t kill or injure over 20 people in less than 5 minutes of shooting.  He would be overrun by the angry mob that ensued and maybe kill 2 people if he was completely lucky.

By the end of the day the people who are against any form of gun control only have 2 arguments for their position.  The first argument is the one they don’t realize they project on a daily basis, and that is that. “Hey!  I am just too damn ignorant to think for myself and am just spewing the same vile filth I read/heard somewhere that I didn’t bother to think about myself.” or “Hey!  I like guns!  They’re fun to shoot!”  That is it.  Don’t give me the, “I’m a law abiding citizen!  Why should I be punished!”  Nobody is punishing you, we’re just realizing that society can only move as fast as it’s slowest member in order to keep from falling apart.  Keep in mind that we were all law abiding citizens until the day we flipped.

#AllLivesMatter… No kidding?

I’m sure anybody reading this has seen the big social media buzz of #blacklivesmatter #bluelivesmatter #policelivesmatter #alllivesmatter and so on.  This is all really starting to get tiresome.  Not the #blacklivesmatter movement, but everybody that tries to make some other clever hashtag to combat the #blacklivesmatter movement.

We all know that #alllivesmatter.  That is a no-brainer.  What people are trying to accomplish with the #blacklivesmatter hashtag, however, isn’t that they’re trying to say black lives are more important than other lives or any of the such.  They’re merely bringing to light the fact that yes, all lives matter, but right now we’re trying to focus on black lives because there is a growing number of people coming out of the woodwork that seem to believe that black lives are somehow inferior to other lives.  These people are not just police officers, too.  These people are lawyers, doctors, teacher, bartenders, and really anybody from any walk of life, rich or poor.

I read somewhere a little story that sums up the #alllivesmatter crowd quite nicely and I’ll paraphrase below:

  • Imagine you’re at a party and everybody at the party receives a piece of cake but you.  You’re irritated at this because you are being treated lesser than everybody around you.  You say out loud, “but I want my fair share!”  Somebody overhears you and replies back to you, “No!  Everybody wants their fair share!”

How does this make you feel?  Does this make you feel like you’re asking too much for your fair share?  Now imagine we’re not talking about cake.  (I know… I’m having a hard time not thinking about cake, too)  Imagine we’re talking about being treated like a person, instead.  Having a hard time imagining that?  That’s probably because you’ve never been treated differently based on the color of your skin before.

The sad thing is that most often, people don’t want to believe inequality exists.  It is easy to turn a blind eye to such things when you’re the one who stands to benefit from it.  I am a white male.  Louis C.K. said it best when he said that being a white man is truly the best thing there is.  Louis C.K. (and I) are not saying that white men are better, either, but being white is clearly better.  I’ll link that video below, but back to the point.  Even though I stand to benefit from inequality, I am still fighting against it.  The most hardship I’ve ever faced is in being an atheist, where I’ve had narrow minded individuals (who think they’re Christians) attack me for my beliefs.  This is nothing compared being bullied by authority figures, such as the police, for being black, Hispanic, etc.

Here’s a little anecdote for you all to illustrate this.  I live in Mankato, MN.  This is mostly a college down.  One night I found myself downtown and ran into some friends who I ended up sharing a few drinks with.  I knew there was no way I would touch a vehicle after this.  I called my friend up who happens to be black and live next to downtown to see if he could give me a ride, in my vehicle, to my house.  He came downtown, picked me up in my vehicle (which he wasn’t acquainted with) and proceeded to drive and be pulled over because he didn’t fully turn the lights on (only turned them to fog lights).  Upon being pulled over he handed the police officer his driver’s license and my insurance.  I explained to the officer that this was my car and my friend kindly came to pick me up because I ended up having a few beverages.  What did the officer do?  He had my friend get out of the car, was screaming at him and his complacent face and asking if he had a problem with the officer.  My friend was 100% cooperative, never once rose his voice, never made any threatening gestures and tried to be as kind as possible.  Finally after two other squad cars showed up and they wasted 20+ minutes of our time they let him drive his intoxicated friend home.  During this whole time the officers never asked anything of me, or even said a word to me after my friend was out of the car.  How is this fair?  Tell me how much his life mattered compared to mine?  I was the only intoxicated person and yet my friend was the one they treated like garbage.

So despite that I personally have nothing to gain from this movement I will gladly stand next to my fellow men and women in this world and say that #blacklivesmatter.  I say #blacklivesmatter because I am intelligent enough to realize that all lives matter, but right now we need to give some extra attention to the black lives that are being left behind.  We, as a society, can only move as fast as our slowest member, so we can’t leave anybody behind.  And by anybody, I mean that bigot, too.

Louis C.K. clip