Monday, August 22, 2011

Can They Please Use The Same Playbook?

On January 8th of this year, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at point blank range by Jarod Loughner, a mentally disturbed man who had been displaying more and more odd behavior prior to the shooting. The main stream media and many people on the left, including politicians, were quick to blame right wing rhetoric for Loughner’s actions. Some blamed statements by Sarah Palin and a majority said it was right wing hate speech and violent rhetoric, such as putting the opposing candidate in the “crosshairs” of the campaign, that caused Loughner's actions and demanded that this type of rhetoric stop lest more blood be shed. Any type of violent reference or rhetoric was supposed to cease immediately.

Last month, during the debate over the debt ceiling, politicians and pundits on the left, including many main stream media anchors, made references to the Republicans “holding the American people hostage” and “holding a gun to the head of the American people”. Some, including the Vice President of the United States, referred to members of the Tea Party as terrorists because they were making demands of more budget cuts and less government spending.

So what happened to the demands from the left for an end to the violent rhetoric? Isn’t hostage taking, holding a gun to the head, and terrorism, violence? Is it not considered violent rhetoric?

Well… apparently it isn’t. There were no apologies for the comments from politicians or news anchors, only a denial by the President that Joe Biden called Tea Party members terrorists. Sadly for the President, the truth is “perfectly clear”.

So why is it that one side is condemned for any type of speech that can be considered violent or hateful and the other side seems to get a pass? I’m not going to try to pretend that only one side of the political spectrum uses such rhetoric because anyone who actually pays attention to politics and the news knows that both sides are guilty of it. What confuses me is why, given the expressed outrage of the left after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and the demands to end the violent rhetoric, politicians and news anchors on the left seem to have forgotten their outrage. Or they simply believe it’s OK for them but not OK for the other side.

I just wish both sides would use the same playbook. Either it’s wrong or it’s OK but for both sides, not just one. Maybe they do both use the same book. Maybe the last chapter in that book simply says “No matter what we say, if the other side says it, become irate and demand that it stop!” Never having seen that book I wouldn’t know. But it wouldn’t surprise me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Child On Loan

My sister-in-law was having a difficult week this week. She was missing her son, above all, and feeling kind of down and “weepy”. How well I know those feelings. They hit you all at once – sometimes lasting only a few minutes or a few hours and other times lasting for days. It happens less and less as time goes by but when it hits, it hits hard. And there’s really nothing you can do but endure it and work through it.

A few months after my son died and old friend from my high school days sent this poem to me. He had lost a son as well, when the boy was a toddler. But the age of the child is irrelevant if they die before their parents. It takes a piece of you.

This poem was written by poet Edgar Guest in 1938. I have no idea why he wrote it or whether he lost a child of his own. But the words are profound; painful yet comforting to those who believe God knows best no matter what happens. I sent this poem to Tami and she responded back that she thought it was beautiful. I have to agree. I thought I’d share it with all of you. If you’re a parent and believe in God, whether you’ve lost a child of your own or not it gives you cause to reflect. At least I think so.

Thank you, Mr. Guest, for your words. You’ve no idea what comfort you’ve brought to many.

To All Parents:

“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine,” He said.
“For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three;
but will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
you’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay since all from Earth return;
but there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true;
and from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love and not think the labor vain,
and not lose faith nor hate me when I call him back again?”

I fancied that I heard them say “Dear Lord, thy will be done.
For all the joy thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may;
and for the happiness we’ve known forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him much sooner than we’ve planned,
we’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand."

Edgar Guest

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rock and Roll police?

The other day, while driving, I was listening to one of my favorite classic rock and roll stations out of Tampa, Florida. I heard the familiar beginning sounds of Dire Straits “Money For Nothing” so I turned up the volume and got ready to listen and sing along. (It’s true. I can sometimes be seen on the highways of Central Florida singing along with the stereo. It’s not pretty but it’s fun.)

The first verse of the song went well. Next came an instrumental interlude that I didn’t remember being in the song at that particular point. Then came the third verse and I realized what happened. Someone, either the radio station, their parent company, or the publishers of the song, had removed the vocals of the second verse and left only the music. In today’s society the words apparently are offensive to the point of being removed from a song that is 26 years old. The verse reads as follows:

“The little faggot with the earring and the makeup; yeah buddy – that’s his own hair. The little faggot’s got his own jet airplane. The little faggot is a millionaire.”

These words would certainly not be acceptable if the song was written today. The word “faggot” is derogatory. Except there are songs written every day that contain foul, crude and insulting language. Many rap songs contain things that I wouldn’t want my child to listen to but they’re not played with lyrics removed. Some pop songs are the same way and the music of the subculture is often disgusting. But it doesn’t seem to be censored.

This song has been out for 2-1/2 decades. What will be censored next in the name of political correctness. The Pledge of Allegiance is being changed because someone said its words are offensive. How about old movies? “Blazing Saddles” was hilarious but the “N” word was used several times in the beginning. Will it be banned? How about Richard Pryor’s “That N******* Crazy” - one of the funniest comedy albums ever made? What about comedians who are people of color making jokes about white people or gay and lesbian comedians who make jokes about straight people? Will that be censored or is that acceptable because… well, it’s just acceptable? Where does censoring in the name of political correctness stop? And why is it that some things are offensive and others are not? Why is it that it’s OK for some people to insult some groups but not OK for other people to insult other groups? How about Bill Mahar’s show “Politically Incorrect”? Should it not, by its very title, be banned? He certainly offends me sometimes.

I’m not a heartless bigot who believes insulting, mocking or making fun of someone because of their beliefs, their lifestyle, etc., is acceptable and OK. But by the same token I’m not looking forward to the censorship it seems is coming in the near future. Taking the vocals out of a 25 year old song because it might be offensive to someone (but most likely isn’t because it’s just an old song) seems a bit ridiculous to me. I’m curious as to who it was who actually altered this song and I may call the radio station and ask. Do we really want to become a nation where anything and everything that is deemed by someone to be offensive is no longer allowed? Isn’t it freedom of speech, regardless of whether or not it may be offensive, one of the best freedoms we have in this country? And isn’t the right to express yourself, whether or not everyone agrees with you, part of that very freedom?

I’m guessing whoever altered the song, or instructed that it be altered, did so thinking it was the right thing to do. People complain that the government is slowly taking our rights away. Do we want to help them by voluntarily giving them away on our own?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Biden Being Paid To Be Protected...?

Last year, Vice President Joe Biden said that paying higher taxes was the patriotic thing to do. He thought everyone should do more to get more revenue for the government.

Today it was announced that Joe Biden is collecting $2200 a month in rent from the Secret Service. Apparently the detail which protects him, any of whom would take a bullet to keep him safe, is living in a cottage on Biden’s property and the Secret Service is paying rent to Vice President Biden for them to live there.

As you all know by now, I’m a big proponent of capitalism and free enterprise. So I can certainly understand Biden wanting to collect rent for a property he owns. But these people are there to keep him alive. They are bound by duty and oath to step between him and an assassin, to take the bullet and give their lives to keep Joe Biden safe. So he’s collecting a couple grand a month to house these people who would die to save him?

Somehow, in my warped, conservative mind, that doesn’t sound very patriotic to me. So why is there no condemnation from the left about this? Risking your very life to protect a politician is pretty darn patriotic in my book. So why does the government have to put money in Biden’s bank account to keep him safe? I’m thinking that while it may not be illegal, or even technically unethical, it’s at least immoral. To take money from the very people who are there to protect you doesn’t seem very patriotic. It makes me wonder just how sincere Joe Biden really is.

Want people to be more enthusiastic about paying higher taxes, Mr. Vice President? Start by NOT taking rent money from the agency assigned to keep you alive. And what happens if they don’t pay the rent? Will you evict them?

Things that make you go “Hmmmmmm”.