Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

It's time to American Up!

It is time to American Up.  That’s right, we need to take all of our differences, diversity, and dialogue and use it to make ourselves better.

We have been divisive and derisive enough for long enough and it needs to stop.  Your side doesn’t have to win every issue.  I don’t have to be right every time.  Maybe you can’t remember a time when we actually listened to each other, respected each other, and looked out for each other, but we can move towards that time.  It doesn’t have to be something long lost.  It can be our American Aim—a United Goal if you will—for 2016.

We don’t have to value a black life more than a white one, hate police officers, or bomb abortion clinics.  We have a lot of differences among us, but we are Americans and it’s time that we stopped acting like a bunk of hoodlums.  We don’t have to hate refugees to honor veterans.  Are we not a nation grand enough to do two things at once?  Can we not help those afflicted by war and respect those who stepped forward to serve with honor at the same time?

Can we not tell our politicians, “Enough!  I am not listening to another word that bashes someone.  Tell me what you will do or why we should vote for you, but enough with the put downs of other honorable men and women in the arena.”

Enough with hating people because of their faith.  If you are a Christian as I am, then fulfill your commission—proclaim the good news and do it with love.  If you belong to another faith, then live what your faith truly says.  Don’t let anyone hijack it in the name of their secular cause.

If you are an enemy of the United States, get ready to get your ass kicked big time.  We are through fighting among ourselves.  You are our target.  If your faith compels you to attack the people of this nation, then expect to die.  The one true God has not set you upon this course, so as much as I would like to reach you with good news of life in Jesus before you launch your attack; because I haven’t, then expect not only to die but to burn in hell.  You are servants of the god of this age (That’s Satan for the biblically illiterate).

I am really not a big fan of telling people to burn in hell, but if you have declared war on my country, Burn Baby Burn!

That last part really speaks to only a few who have made it to this country to do us harm.  If they wanted, they could just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves.  We have been fighting each other for too long.

But that time must end.  It must end now.  We must unite as Americans, tolerate our differences better, synergize our diversity, and be the light to the world that we can be when we are at our best.
We are better than we have been for the first 15 years of this century.  We became selfish, self-centered, and just outright lazy.  It is time to reignite our pioneer spirit, bring out the ingenuity that vaulted us to world prominence, and quit fighting among ourselves.

Look ahead with optimism that we can work together once again and truly live as brothers and sisters in this nation that so longs to be great again.

It is time.
It is time to American Up!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Let's talk about guns in America, and while we are at it, the shootings as well

Let’s talk guns.  Everyone else is breaking out their clich├ęs for and against them, so let’s break the mold of immobilization and actually talk about the issues.

First in any discussion that pertains to guns is the fact that the crux of the discussion cannot be about the tragedy of the moment.  The shooting of the week will surely bring the discussion to the forefront of the national discussion; but the two are separate issues.

There is senseless killing, very often accomplished with guns; and there is the issue of guns in America.

Let’s begin with the latter.  The United States of America is a unique nation in that the right to bear arms is fundamental to our foundation.  It is the second of ten initial amendments to our Constitution.  It is integral to the operation of our system of government.  It is not a standalone provision that may be removed without impacting the system.

If you don’t want satellite radio on your vehicle, then you don’t get it.  The vehicle operates just as well.  If you don’t want a suspension system; the ride might be much bumpier than you had anticipated.

If we want to have a national discussion on guns in America, then let’s do it in the proper arena—the constitutional arena.  I find it odd that the National Rifle Association has emerged as the leading advocate of Second Amendment Rights.

Who better?
How about the American Civil Liberties Union?  What!  Those guys won’t get anywhere near this.  That’s too bad because the Second Amendment is the ultimate civil liberty

If we want to restrict or do away with guns in this nation, we must first answer a fundamental question.  Do we no longer fear tyranny or oppression from our own government?  Our system of government was not set up for efficiency but for stability—that no branch or individual was able to seize too much power.

Do we no longer fear tyranny or oppression from our own government?

We must first answer this question before proceeding.

The right to bear arms is about throwing off a government that no longer represents the people.  I hope that we never see that day, but if we do, a few handguns against the full force of whatever government has supplanted our republic won’t do the trick.

The very weapons that cause the most damage in these mass shootings are the ones that would be needed to overthrow an unjust government.  Yes, if we are at odds with tyranny in our own government, we will need assault weapons not small caliber pistols to wrestle back our liberties.

Our government is a mess, but I don’t think we need a call to arms at this point; but the question is, “Must we preserve the power to overthrow our own government should it cease to be one that is of the people, by the people, and for the people?”

That’s a tough question.  That is a gut wrenching question.  That is a constitutional question not a matter for simple legislation or executive order.  Constitution amendments are difficult by design, but not impossible.  We have knocked out more than two dozen after the Bill of Rights.  That’s an average of more than one each decade in the life of our young nation.  It can be done.  If it is important, it will be done.

It can be done and it should be difficult.  We must decide if our duty to preserve the blessings of liberty not only for ourselves, but to our posterity, is at risk when we change the system.  Make no mistake; changing the Second Amendment changes the entire system.

If we need to do this, then let’s do it as a constitutional amendment with the labyrinth of process that must accompany it.  It should not be done lightly but if it is necessary, then let’s have a true national, constitutional discussion.

Knee jerk legislation and executive orders are not the answer.

But what about all of the people who will die while we are having this protracted constitutional dialogue?

That’s another issue.  That is about the sanctity of life.  Addressing this doesn’t take any laws or amendments.  It takes a willingness to return to seeking God.

Even without another law hitting the books, it is already illegal to murder one, two, or two dozen people.  Whether it is done with a truck bomb, pipe bomb, or assault weapon; the malice aforethought is what is responsible for the killing.

We as a nation must once again value life.  Black lives?  Yes!  Hispanic lives?  Yes!  Asian lives?  Yes.  Christian Lives?  Yes!  Lives of people who don’t even believe in God?  Yes!

Unborn life?  Yes!

Ouch!  Let’s frame that as a woman’s right to choose.

Let’s not.  Let’s look at it first from the sanctity of life.  We don’t need more abortion laws or overturned court decisions.  We need to value life from conception to the last breath.

We don’t do that!  We do not value life.  We get upset—for a while—when a couple dozen people are killed in a school or at a Christmas party or one person is shot by a police officer but by and large, our culture does not value life.

We must return to God and value the sanctity of life if we want to see the shootings and bombings and other recurring forms of human hatred stopped in our time.

If we need a constitutional discussion of the right to bear arms, then let’s have it.  It needs to be one of the most robust discussions that we have ever engaged in as a nation.  It will take at least a decade.

If we want to stop the senseless violence, then let’s stop it.  This has to do with everyone—not just the faithful few—the modern day remnant—but everyone repenting of their selfish ways and returning to God.

Jesus broke it down to one command, that you love one another.  This is what will stop the violence.  This turning from the wickedness of this age can begin now.  It doesn’t have to take a decade.  Once we as a nation turn to God, he will draw near to us.

We will know his blessings.

The challenge is that this will take courage.  Do we have enough men and women of courage left among us to lead us back to God?

Where are you men and women of courage?

Will you lead this nation back to God and out of this senseless violence?

Where are you?