The Digressor

Politics, Culture, Life, and Unusual Takes

I am tired of it all.  I just ran a campaign, but while I did not win, I am pleased with my results and effort given all of the circumstances behind my race.  But I am still tired of it all.

I would love to be able to sit back and recover, but watching TV I get bombarded with leftist messages everywhere because it is all a platform to spread the left’s propaganda.  The news cycle is a constant barrage of crap, and what is going on in FL is just disgusting.  All of this right after watching the left sabotage  Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings for political sport.

I am tired of it.  How people excuse this type of behavior is beyond me, but they do and they do it daily.  There’s little wonder why people shoot up bars and schools and churches and synagogues.  Hate is everywhere, but we are too busy demonizing the other side to recognize our own hate.

This is true on both sides.  I am a conservative, but I find those on the right can be just as hateful and spiteful as those on the left.  The left eggs the right on, and the right reacts in kind, proving, of course, what the left thought to begin with.  The right tires of this charade and lashes out, too.  The cycle never stops.

And part of the problem is that you can’t go anywhere to get a middle ground.  The news channels play to their bases, as do most newspapers and magazines.  You can’t get away from it!

And I am tired of it.  We will destroy ourselves before Russia, China, or North Korea does it for us.  We need to stop this mess, and we need to stop it now.  We need grown ups from both sides to step in and stop it.  This is not about Donald Trump, who is but a symptom rather than a cause.  This is about the very soul and future of our once free and positive society.  I am not sure it remains, or if it does remain, what future it has unless we stop the crap.

Spread the word if you agree, because we cannot continue like this.

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After putting four kids through college, my parents need to demand a refund from the feds!  We just found out, quite literally, that I have native American blood in me, too.  I have a grandfather in my family branch from Rocky Mount, NC, a Brake, who took an native bride probably about 7 generations back.

If Elizabeth Warren can get it, so should my parents!  And just about everyone who has family from the early settlement of the nation and the settlement of the West likely has some tie to natives in their ancestry.

This is a crock, really, that Warren can do this and do it with a straight face.  We need to ensure the farce of it is spread far and wide!

This title was used by Thomas Sowell, and I always liked it, so I am following in his good steps to provide some thoughts on the world as it is on October 4, 2018.  Here it goes:

  1. The Kavanaugh matter is sickening.  About the only argument against Kavanaugh that someone can make is his temperament, but even there it is a bit of a stretch.  When someone accuses you of gang rape as a teen, some anger is deserved, though.  And it is as that point that the stretch becomes apparent: it is a trap.  Kavanaugh is screwed if he keeps the ‘appropriate’ temperament for not fighting, and he is screwed if he gets angry.  But that’s how the left plays it, by any means necessary.  Therefore, personally, I would rather have someone get angry and defend himself and his family vociferously.
  2. The Russia thing mercifully is being forgotten, though the facts that continue to come out seem to exonerate the president.
  3. Where is the outrage against Booker?
  4. NAFTA is gone and replaced, but who really cares when we have 36 year old year-books to tear into?
  5. Whatever happened to reason?  If someone knows, please tell me.  I miss it, and I want it back…

Whew.  I am a write-in candidate for my County’s Treasurer’s spot.  I’ve learned a lot in the month that I found out I got the nod.  There is a lot that goes into preparing and leading a campaign, and I am doing it in the span of a few weeks.

The Treasurer’s spot is partisan, in that the candidates can get the support of the major parties.  I am running as a Republican against a Democrat opponent.  But the position is more about management than about policy.  Still, I believe that it is important to have good, solid conservatives in these positions.

The issue facing my county, Albany County, in Laramie, WY, are fairly innocuous compared to other places, but there are a few things to note.

First, Laramie, the County seat, is a college town of about 30,000 souls.  The college is fairly conservative as a whole when looked at against other universities, but there is a radical element here.  A few weeks ago, the Albany County Republican Party’s HQ, just finished the night before, was burned.  See this Newsweek article: https://www.newsweek.com/albany-county-gop-office-laramie-wyoming-set-fire-act-vandalism-1109418.  There are other articles covering this, too, with national scope.  The event made several national news coverages and radio shows.  This demonstrates the radical element here.

As a citizen and a candidate, I loathe that people do such stupid things, and made that comment in a letter to the editor of our local paper, the Boomerang, and at a League of Women Voter event last week.  People have to get their houses in order before really bad things happen.  (Yes, I am looking mostly at Democrats, who seem to support the Spartacus moments of today, though Republicans are not entirely immune, either.)

I hope to be a voice of reason, if nothing else.  This is why I think getting good people into these offices.  We need responsible people running and in office, because they stand in a position to be a voice of reason.

Second, the life of a candidate is hard.  This is a relatively easy race.  As mentioned, its about competencies and service more so than policies.  Yet, I am running around getting my name out there and publishing on Facebook and a website (mjpfortreasurer.com).  Its hard to tell the traction, but I feel I have been well received.  I have been told that its basically like running an 8th grade race to be class president, ie a mere popularity contest.  I take it more seriously than that, but it is an interesting way of viewing running this type of race.  And it is always on my mind and I feel I have to be careful about how I act and what I say.  My family is affected and it is difficult.

But I do think it is worthwhile, and I am enjoying it.  I am learning quite a bit about the back side of politics and feel about as energized as I have in a long time.  Its fun.  I do believe I can make a positive difference, and think I am doing so.  A woman who was at the LoWV event came up to me the other day and complimented me on my reasonableness and seemed impressed.  I was honored by that, and hope others see it, too.

For those that know me and have known me for a long time, know that civil service is where my heart is, politics, civics, running a fair and good government in the most efficient way possible.  And that is what I hope to bring to this process, even in my little isolated corner of the world.Messages(4)

 

 

My apologies for my absence, but I have been quite insane as of these last couple months.  Moving offices, a large case concerning the elections in Wyoming, and now a run for County Treasurer…  Not to mention being a husband and dad, which really are always my priority.

But as I mentioned, yes, I am running for County Treasurer.  Why?  Because I can do the job and do it well.  Couple with my legal background and my prior history in banking and project management (budgeting side), I feel I am a strong candidate for Treasurer.

Also, for those that know me, I have had, in my blood, political and civil service for a long time.  I figured it is time to get in and do it.

So, here I am, working to become the next Albany County Treasurer.  I have my website at mjpfortreasurer.com.  Check it out.  Let me know your thoughts…

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Here is a list of short, random thoughts I have had these last couple weeks about current events:

  1. People spend too much time fretting about politics.  The message has been for a long time that people need to get out and get involved.  While that is not a false statement, it also needs to be said that people would be much happier if they paid less attention.  The reality is that most of what happens does not affect our daily lives.  And as people pay more and more attention, we only get divided more and more.  We are better served living our lives and working together on a daily basis.
  2. What is the difference between a baker refusing to bake a cake for someone involved in something he disagrees with and a restaurant owner kicking out someone she disagrees with?
  3. While I wrote on this before, I think the left has gone off the deep end, and now Schumer is actively encouraging revolution.  Nothing can go wrong with that, can it?
  4. I have an emphatic “That’s it?” reaction to the Kavanagh pick.  I’m very indifferent to him, but surely better than what Hillary might have picked.  However, the left’s reaction is quite telling.  As I said above, I think they are losing it and going over the edge.  No, the world is not going to end and we are not going back to 1850 in Montgomery, AL.  Minorities will not become slaves and women will retain their rights, even the right to abortion.
  5. Speaking of abortion, Roe may specifically be overturned, but that does not end the ability to get an abortion.  The scare tactics and overstatement of the left as it pertains to Roe do no one any good.  Its more division and hatred.  Not good.
  6. I firmly believe that most people just want to live.  They don’t want to be preached to or told what to do.  Left and right both want freedom, but through very different means.
  7. The left is about experimenting and changing human nature, while the right is more accepting of certain truths about mankind.  To change human nature, they must tell others that certain things just aren’t that way.  An example: a guy wanting to be a girl is perfectly normal and a part of every day life.  If you object, there is something wrong with you, not anyone else.  The right may agree that there will always be boys who may want be girls and accept this truth, even if they think it wrong.
  8. Dems just introduced a bill to cut ICE, the immigration law force, and replace it with something else.  While this is nothing but grandstanding, it is also simply asinine.
  9. I’ve seen some liberals harken back to the great days of yore, and how Trump has fundamentally changed the nation to something no good.  Isn’t this a conservative philosophy to preserve what was before?  I love irony.
  10. Croatia in the World Cup final…  Its a fun run, and I would like to see someone new win it.  Do they have enough in the tank, though?  Three straight extra time games and a France team relatively fresh and coming into its own…  And watching the World Cup fans reminds me that we will never get rid of our nationalism, nor should we…

There. Whew.  Enjoy!

 

Democrats have gone too far.  Of this, I am certain.  Democrats are no longer a party of rationality, driven now to destroy opposition and to pursue its radical ideology.

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Not too long ago, it was not as progressive or aggressive, but now, it is a group who simply will do what it takes to see its agenda through.  And they have overplayed their hand.

The United States, for all of its issues, is generally a place where politics has remained an honorable place and people have acted accordingly with honor.  This has not been universal, sure, as from the beginning we had a duel that killed one of our founding fathers.  By and large, though, people have been honorable.

Now, though, it seems that honor is being thrown out by the political left.  As Congresswomen call for pressure against opponents, the people are obliging.  Perhaps Ms. Waters is even catching up to the trend…

And as she does that, she demonstrates that the left is simply going too far, and I think most regular Americans see that.  I strongly believe that most people simply want to live, and I expect they will see such aggressive rhetoric as a turn off.

I hope that is the case, at least.  Socialism seems to be on the rise in terms of acceptance of the philosophy.  Unfortunately, most probably don’t know what it even means…  And they don’t know what it means because the left has made it a point to drop civics and emphasize liberal politics in our schools.

Nonetheless, I retain hope that people do begin to wake up to the craziness found on the left…

Or am I being naïve?

This week was hard to keep up with the news.  Several huge decisions from the Supreme Court, an even bigger Court retirement, and so far book ended by a shooting a paper in Maryland.

For a week that started with a crazy representative telling people to make conservatives uncomfortable and to pressure them, it is ending with even more craziness, and we still have a day to go.

We don’t know much about the shootings, but it is easy to let the mind race after events of the week.  After Maxine Waters tells followers to pressure conservatives, and after all of the contentious Supreme Court decisions, I am not surprised something crazy happened.  It is a bit bewildering this shooter went to a newspaper, and what his motives may have been.  It sounds like he just stopped after killing five and hurting several others.  Its bizarre.

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I am becoming a big believer that truth is stranger than fiction, and that the James Patterson’s of the world would have a hard time coming up with scripts as wild as events are unfolding in real life.  The Trump scandals are strange, from him bedding a porn star and paying her off, to him colluding with Russia while an internal and prominent FBI agent swears Trump would not get elected, with everything in between.

With the media bias as it is, and it is biased, it makes one wonder how much fault it has in seeing the confusion ever abound.  Why it chooses to focus on the crazy, wild events that happen, is beyond me.  I understand they are a business, and that viewers means money, and viewers love wild and crazy.

But at what cost, one might begin to ask.  In a sense, this story, of a media gone mad, is similar to the robber barons of old, who would cheat every corner to make an extra penny.  These barons would do what they could to make money.  They abused people, they abused the environment, they abused competitors, all as they strove for an advantage in the marketplace.

Eventually, people stepped up to fight them, establishing what were once useful ideas and policies to avoid further abuse.  The people that fought these people and their companies now look away as the media pushes people over the edge and divides our people further and further apart.

I hope at least two things happen: First, the media shows some maturity and backs off the heated rhetoric that calls opposition horrible things.  Second, I hope people being to recognize the problem the media is creating and works to find ways to stop it, just like they stopped the Standard Oil’s of years gone by.

The reality is that we all live in this world together now.  I do not mean to be soft, but to recognize a reality that just cannot be swept aside.  Either we must separate, or find real tolerance by showing restraint against our opposition.  Yet, people are more concerned with being right than with tolerating someone different, and too many just get angry about it.  Or at least that’s what the media shows…  I think most people aren’t that angry or crazy: they just want to live.

On a level this anger and division can start with the media, but in a deeper sense, it starts with all of us.  We decide what to watch or read and what to think.  The media cannot do that much.  All it can do is spread ideas, not force people to adopt them, no matter how apt the people are to adopt them.  This means that we all can decide on our own to push back, just like people pushed back against previous generations of powerful interests.  The non-angry majority can decide to tune out the media, or it can pressure it to change.

Until we do, the bizarre will only get worse.  Unfortunately, I am not confident that anything will change.  I hope I am wrong.

 

Freedom of the press is one of our celebrated freedoms in the United States.  The freedom to say what you want and do what you want, as long as it is not overly obscene, is one of the founding principles of this most successful of nations.

I still believe this is true.  However, freedom speech and the press are perhaps different from the media.  The media, I would say, is something different.  While speech and press include the ability to write what  you want and say what you want without punishment, the media is a group, an organization.

This distinction is important.  The “Media” is a group of companies, not really individuals, who publish information.  The “Media” is something more than just speech and publishing.  The “Media” is made up of, usually, large conglomerates who control the flow of information.

One of the reasons we have a freedom of the press is because the government can abuse the flow of information by restricting that which is negative to its foundations.  This would mean that the government could abuse, jail, or ruin people who said bad things about it.  The freedom to say what you want was not recognized and it restricted free thought. Another is that the government can manipulate messages to its favor, especially without a contrary message being conveyed.

This is a good thing to not allow a government to control the messaging, precisely because of the abuses it can create both in its own messaging and in restricting other messages.  Interestingly, if the government could be impartial and allow contrary thought, there would be no concern.

However, we don’t trust a government to be impartial.  We expect the government will act in its own best interest.  We trust ourselves more than we trust the government.

But there’s just one problem: we tend to look out for our own best interest, too, and so do companies.  This is not to say we shouldn’t trust ourselves more than the government, only that we should be wary of what we can do, too.

So, what can happen?  And is it actually happening?  Well, what I see happening is an erosion of the mores that kept the “Media” impartial.  I see the “Media” acting to protect its own identities and aims.  It is not, therefore, really concerned with the truth.  Rather, it has become exactly what it fears from a government: self serving.

What makes the “Media” worse than a government acting in this way is that the “Media” can say it is independent and not biased, even when that is precisely what the “Media” has become.

To answer my question, such a media is not a net positive.  Such a media abuses its power and seek to shut down opposition just as a government can do.  It serves no one but its own good.  It can influence policy aims and get the public to agree with it if no one is there to oppose it.  And that is what it wants.

This system is dangerous, and it must be stopped.  This does not mean we must shut down the freedom of speech or the press; it means we need to rethink how our media system works and is run.  Massive corporations cannot be trusted to disseminate information any more fairly than would a government.  I suggest at least a breaking down of these companies so that they cannot control the message to the extent they do.  Get more voices in the market and take away the scale that allows a paper like the NYT to dominate.

Is this anti free market?  I don’t think so.  I think it is free market at a high level.  Give people choices to make and give them more than one story.  Also, the conveyance of news information is not like buying a car.  This is how people are educated and become aware of the world around them.

Our current system is indeed dangerous, and action should be considered to alter how news and information is conveyed to a public who knows no different than what they are told.

As a conservative, by definition, I am trying to conserve something.  As conservatives globally, we are trying to conserve something, too.  What is that something?

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Each of us is likely going to answer that question in a different manner.  We all have different priorities and different ways of looking at things, and therefore, we will all have at least slightly different answers.  Nonetheless, I would be surprised if most of our answers include certain general themes and items.

Conservatism is hard to define, really, yet it is quite simple.  As I mentioned above, conservatives seek to conserve something.  How we seek to accomplish that and what we specifically  want to accomplish complicate the question.  Is conservatism dedicated to liberty and freedom?  Or is it based in religion and honors principles of faith above all else?  Is it logical, linear, and educated, or is it reactionary and angry towards progressive thinking?  Is it none of these, or all of these?

I am not sure the answers, but I do think all have some truth in them.  Conservatism seeks to conserve because it recognizes what works.  This includes dedication to liberty and freedom, and really should put those concepts at the forefront.  It should also recognize religious mores because those are based on concepts that should lead toward liberty and freedom.  I think it is logical and linear, and that it requires a knowledge of our past and of philosophical constructs.  These can lead to reactionary impulses, but the conservative should never act on those impulses without first considering what is being proposed, what it changes, and what alternatives exist.

I tend to think conservatives must to be aware.  They are to consider the world around them deeply to avoid becoming single minded and regressive.  They can become blind to certain realities of the world that do no one any good.  Such situations lead to accusations of hatefulness and bigotry.  And when those accusations come, conservatism is undermined.

What is undermined?  What it is we seek to conserve is undermined, and it becomes easier to justify progressive thinking because no one wants to be hateful or bigoted.  It becomes easier to throw logic and the obvious out because what difference does it make when people are suffering, at whatever level and for whatever reason.  Alleviating suffering is an aim of progressive thinking.

Progressive thinking, if conservative is conserving, is moving forward and not conserving.  To where, no one is exactly sure and no one can say exactly when we will get there or even if forward does not mean backwards.  Part of that, though, is striving to end suffering.

In this vein, progressives look to those who are suffering as worthy of admiration because they are generally suffering because something is holding them back and hurting them.  Therefore, those bonds holding the suffering down must be broken.  They can blame these bonds on conservatives because of what they say conservatives want to hold onto.

However, their identification of what conservatives want to hold onto is misplaced.  Sometimes, however, I cannot blame them for misplacing.  All too often, conservatives are reactionary and come across as harsh.  Conservatives lose what is their biggest strength: logic and dedication to true liberty.

So what is it conservatives want to conserve?  I would answer true liberty.  However vague this concept may be, I would like to explain it in more detail.  True liberty honors the freedoms of all, and it does so from a personal level.  True liberty recognizes that we all make decisions.  It recognizes these decisions all have consequences that we must face.  True liberty states that everyone is responsible for their decisions, and that those who make decisions that contribute more to society should be given preference to those whose decisions do not contribute to society.

True liberty is more than that, too.  True liberty also recognizes inherent worth that we all have, regardless of the decisions and actions we take.  This means that all people should be afforded equal protections under the law and that the law should be applied equally to everyone.  However, the law should indeed be applied equally, regardless of wealth, standing, gender, or race.  No one should be given any breaks for any reason.  Any such derivation from that principle becomes favoritism, not liberty, and liberty and favoritism cannot go together because under favoritism, someone’s liberty is pushed back at the expense of the favored.

Nonetheless, true liberty rewards those who contribute more not because of favoritism but because of their contribution to society.  At the risk of confusing economic and market principles with basic freedoms, let me state that I do not believe the two areas can be completely separated.  This is a concept of conservatism, though: recognition of human nature.

It has been repeated throughout time, that humans will act selfishly and aggressively to amass wealth, possessions, and prestige.  This is a part of human nature that cannot be extinguished.  As such, in large societies that tend to suppress these tendencies we see the development of groups of people needed to enforce the suppression.  In other words, we still see people rising over others and creating mechanisms to protect their standing.  And when that happens, everyone else’s liberties are curtailed.  This, too, is but one example of human nature.

True liberty recognizes this tendency in human nature, and true liberty has developed mechanisms to protect against it.  Because another part of human nature, is for people to fall.  This is as much economic as it is political or philosophical, so my discussion here necessarily includes both.  Conservatism, then, recognizes that true liberty must include the ability of people to rise on their own and to fall on their own.

But this is not all about rising and falling that conservatives recognize.  Rising and falling is about contributions, not about externalities such as sexual attractions and color of skin.  It may be true that once upon a time certain groups were held back.  It may even be true now, however the conservative must ask, “So what about color or sexual attraction?  What do these have to do with someone’s ability to contribute?”  The conservative must answer that these things have nothing to do with that ability, and as long as they are contributing, who cares what they look like or who they choose to chase.

This is true liberty, being able to allow others to act in ways they see fit, and a conservative recognizes that.  Before this is taken as throwing away other principles, such as religious principles, let me restate a key point of conservatism: it recognizes what has worked in the past, hence the need to be aware and educated.  As it pertains to religion, religion works.  Religious people can be incorrect, too, but by and large, religion respects and values everyone, even when calling others sinful.  Religion works because it is generally a system based on love and respect.  And here is another place where progressives are able to manipulate the conservative message.

Religious people often apply their mores and standards to non believers.  This is a mistake when it becomes judgmental.  It is one thing to state standards and live by those standards, and even to expect everyone to abide in them.  It is something different to condemn nonbelievers to those same standards.  Breaking this down, religious people should be concerned with the health of everyone as it pertains to their standards, and they should show appropriate concern.  However, when they come across as intolerant and judgmental, they move beyond what is concern to what becomes dictatorial.  An example is when Christians condemn homosexuality as sinful but also say that no one should be gay and look down upon gays.

True liberty, which I think is found within the heart of Christianity, recognizes that people will be gay, and that’s OK.  True liberty can say that homosexuality is a wrong choice, but will not condemn the gay person solely because he is gay.  (Homosexuality and sin within the church or religious organization is a different matter.  I am discussing the religious and contrasting with the non-religious.)

Conservatism, then, seeks to protect and conserve ideals of freedom and liberty.  It may always be on the defensive, because of its very nature.  However, conservatives must be wary of abandoning these concepts.  The reality is that we share the world.  This does not mean we abandon that which we hold true.  To the contrary, we embrace it.  We embrace liberty.  We embrace freedom.  We embrace those who disagree with us, even while we disagree.

Conservatives are an optimistic group, too.  Contrary to the myth created by progressives, true conservatives see in everyone the ability to contribute.  True conservatives allow contributions from everyone, and don’t discount what is said because someone does not look right.  Everyone can succeed under conservatism.

However, as part of human nature, conservatives all too often mess it up when they become defensive or reactionary.  This reaction only fuels progressives, and we face a harder struggle.

So, what are we protecting and conserving?  I think at the end of the day, we seek to conserve freedom of thought and action.  While progressives push to liberate oppressed peoples, they seek to shut down that which oppressed.  Freedom and liberty are lost through that process.   Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that everyone can indeed think on their own, and that there will never be uniformity in the world.

Conservatives, then, seek to conserve a world where everyone has a chance and what matters is hard work and dedication.  Conservatives recognize truly open minds without condemnation and that differences exist and that is OK.  Conservatives recognize that true freedom is found when we can actually discuss issues and work through them, recognizing what has worked and why, while we seek to lift everyone up regardless of creed, color, or gender.

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