Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

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

Thursday, October 8, 2020

What is this packing the court business all about? Is it really a big deal?


Many have heard the term packing the court and think it’s just about evening up the left with the right or becoming a court that leans mainly to the left.  If that’s what you believe, then you have been duped as those planning this course of action hoped you would be.

It began almost 4 years ago in the attempted coup held in plain sight.  People don’t want to acknowledge this.  Those who present this case are labeled conspiracy nuts, racists, or just haters.  Logic need not follow accusation.

Please note the impeachment of Donald Trump was planned and, in the wings, since before his inauguration day.  This was plan B, a failsafe, or whatever name you want to give refusing to accept the legitimate election of Donald Trump.

You may not like Trump.  You may hate Trump, but his election was accomplished in accordance with the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the land. In centuries previous, if you lost, then you regrouped for the next round.  Over the past three-plus years, the country was torn asunder by those who defied the law of the land supplanting the will of the people with their own power schemes.

Here’s the thing.  Had those seeking to get rid of Trump been successful, the Constitution provided a replacement in the form of Mike Pence.  Emotional victories may have been ubiquitous, but power would not have been usurped.  An injustice would have been done, but the United States would have survived, albeit with the blood of patriots past on the hands of the conspirators.

What’s that got to do with packing the Supreme Court with however many justices it would take to have an overwhelming majority?

Packing the court would create a second and more powerful legislature.  The court could and likely would hear all manner of cases and use those cases to disassemble the Constitution.

If you don’t like guns and you know you will never get a Constitutional Amendment repealing the Second Amendment, don’t worry.  Just send any ole gun case to the packed court and the Amendment to the Constitution will be discharged as unconstitutional. 

How is that even possible?  It’s not even remotely possible if there are three distinct branches of government.  The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, but when power has been ceded to the one branch—the packed court which now can legislate at will and without the concurrence of the President, it simply does what it wants and brushes aside the parts of the Constitution that are so inconvenient to those in power.

The first coup attempt was to get rid of a man who was duly elected to office.

Packing the court is an attempt to remove the Constitutional protections that you have which have been paid for in the blood of patriots.

When the candidates will not commit to not packing the court, their noncommittal is their tacit approval of this next coup attempt.  This time, Trump will not be the target.  You will.

The Constitution will be dismantled before your very eyes and the only course of action left for any patriot is the exercise of the original intent of the Second Amendment—to overthrow a tyrant. 

Make no mistake, the court-packers are not coming for Trump.  They are coming for you.  The thinking, self-reliant, God-fearing American stands in the way of their illegitimate power grab.  The Constitution stands in their way of getting you out of their way.

There is another alternative.  Get used to the term ‘serf’ or ‘slave’ for that is exactly what you will be once the Constitution is a thing of the past.

Packing the court is less about being conservative or liberal.  It is about the unlawful seizing of power from the American people.

In the past the court has swung like a pendulum from left to right, somewhat in arrears of the executive and legislative branches, but there was some balance.

The pendulum comes to a full stop if the court is packed.  There will be no opportunity for the American people to express their desire to return to a previous ideology.  In fact, any ideology of the people will be considered rebellion.  You will be prosecuted and persecuted and will have no legal remedy available in the law.

Packing the court will bring America to a simple dichotomy:  Civil War or Serfdom?

So many are saying that they just want this election over with.  It is an understandable sentiment considering the state of acrimony and vitriol at play in our representative government, but this malaise contributes to the surrender to the present coup attempt.

This is not the time to just hope for the best.  Two candidates who refused to answer the packing the court question multiple times are indicative of two power-hungry souls who will discard your liberty in an instant.

Have eyes to see what is in front of you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Is BLM doing polling now?


Have you noticed that Black Lives Matter has been changing what it stands for again and again in concert with that for which there is popular support.  They hoped that you wouldn’t notice.

About 6 years ago, their message was Kill All Police.  That told me that I wanted nothing to do with them right away, but that it would be wise to keep an eye on them.

Over the years, they changed their message to promote—not accept but promote—the LGBT and a bunch of other letters that I don’t’ know what they mean.  This has been removed from the website as well.

They were against the nuclear family—one in which the Father would be a vital part.  I have worked with so many black men who had no real father in their lives.  I worked with them while they were in prison and not being a father to their children.

I can see why the BLM movement wanted an it takes a village approach over the nuclear family.  It got the dead-beat fathers off the hook.  Somebody else can bring up their children while they are free to make more elsewhere.

OBTW—nobody wants to talk about that.  This topic of the father in the family has never been present in the BLM movement.

Then there was their support of this cisgender garbage—letting the child pick his or her own gender when the time is right.  Again, this was not acceptance but pushing the agenda.  This one is absent from their present message.

The present site seems to promote less absurdity but still is opposed to the system in place to redress grievances.  It takes no responsibility for why some of its members are imprisoned.  It’s still illegal to riot and kill and destroy property, but the site does not denounce such practices.  It only objects when its followers are held accountable for criminal action.

What has happened is that this organization which could have been used for good but has become a terrorist organization has turned down its trying to bring in all factions rhetoric.  They want a kinder, gentler look as they riot and loot and don’t want to alienate those who might have great compassion for the plight of people of color but don’t want anything to do with denying the gender assigned by God.

They are a political faction set on the destruction of this nation and its core values but they pay attention to the polls.

They seek power and have eliminated some of their vitriolic and godless approaches from their statements of purpose.

They are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  They have just upgraded their costumes.  Do not be deceived.

Do we need to improve race relations?  Absolutely.

Is BLM working to do this?  No!

In one of the few places on the planet where people can be involved in nonviolent change, the BLM movement seeks violence.  They are here to help no one but themselves.  They want power not reconciliation or better conditions for black people.

It’s a sad story in our country that people have leveraged the plight of black people to gain their votes and power.  Now we see BLM leveraging their own community to gain power, not for the good of anyone, but simply to gain power as so many before them have done.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

America's Thermopylae


I think that a red wave in America is essential to our way of life, but not the answer.  It’s a hold at all costs until reinforcements arrive.  If we lose, then we have failed those in the womb who cannot defend themselves.

If we lose, we will either surrender our right to overthrow a tyrannical government or see the beginning of civil war when the Constitution is set aside.

If we lose, there will be lawlessness on a scale never seen before in this country.

If we lose, there will be no reasoned approach to immigration.  Over 3 years ago, the president proposed a very centrist—perhaps even left-leaning—solution to immigration.  It had more efficacy than anything proposed in my lifetime, but was rejected outright because of hatred of our president.

If we lose, the fear generated by the present pandemic will be continued to accomplish greater government control.  Will we be a living being created in the image of God or only a carrier of the contagion of the year?  Again, we will surrender our liberties without a whimper or see civil war attempting to reclaim what was paid for in blood time and time again for almost two and a half centuries.

If we lose, the taxes that provoked the Boston Tea Party will seem reasonable compared to what is to come.  We may still keep the title of Republic, but we will be taxed into socialism, and what little discretionary income you have will not be worth much.

If we lose, expect much of those taxes to be sent to those who hate America.  Appeasement is just the first sign of surrender.

If we lose, expect your freedom of religion to be revoked.  You will be assigned your religion.  For those Christians who truly seek God and his kingdom and his righteousness, you will truly know what it is to be a stranger in this world.

If we lose, expect history to be redacted at even a greater pace than we are now witnessing.  We will have nothing historical upon which to base our decisions.  We will have only what the Ministry of Truth sees fit to give us.

If we lose, expect that not only will some big-ticket items in our Constitution be ignored, but also the more subtle ones such as the prohibition on states and the federal government against bills of attainder and ex post facto laws.  If the government doesn’t like you, it can declare that you or your actions present or past are illegal and take everything from you, including your life.

If we lose, the lives of black people, brown people, or white people won’t matter.  The only lives that matter will be those in power and they will become royalty.  The promises made to people of color will fade quickly as they always have when the left promises to fix anything of value.  Sure, there will be a token act or speech or extra federal holiday, but the needs of people of color will be discarded quicker than a dirty diaper.

BLM and Antifa will continue to some extent.  They are terrorist organizations desiring to destroy this nation and our family values.  They will lose many of their allies on the left as they have served their purpose and are disposable.

I could go on.  There is much at stake here.  Normally, the election cycle that we have experienced every four years for our lifetimes, takes us a little left or a little right or leaves us gridlocked in the middle.  This time, it is about the life or death of our Republic.

It is about the liberty and legacy that we leave our children’s children.

I know that many have stopped reading long before this point.  We have lost the art of civil discourse.  I am sure that hateful remarks already abound.  I will leave them unanswered. We have surrendered the sound mind that God gave us for the simplistic meme that gratifies our emotions.

But for those who have made it this far, consider my opening statements.

I think that a red wave in America is essential to our way of life, but not the answer.  It’s a hold at all costs until reinforcements arrive. 

A red wave is essential but not the answer.  We must hold until reinforcement arrive. 

Well, just who are those reinforcements?

It’s not the Marines.  It’s not the cavalry.  It’s not even the militiamen.  It is the nation that repents of its godless ways at the individual and family level and returns to God.  Evil is assembling for a final assault, one that the forces of this world will not hold off for long.  Only revival will bring about the righteousness that God desires.

In that regard, we are the 300 at Thermopylae.  We must hold off for as long as we can for the reinforcements we need do not presently exist.   Only a nation that seeks God at the grassroots level can form such an army that comes to rescue this nation which though never perfect sought to become more perfect with each generation.

The only hope for this nation lies in the hearts of its citizens.  This election is the Thermopylae of American hope.  Without Thermopylae, there could have never been a Marathon.

The remnant that remains must help lead those who have abandoned the church because it hurt their feelings by sticking to the word of God to come home. 

The church which the gates of hell will not overcome must take words of life to the lost. 

Yeah, ok, but I can’t stand Trump.

This is less about a man who is often crude (though for some that is all that it is about) but who seeks the best for America or a gentle-looking grandfather figure who has trouble forming sentences but will do what he is told.  It’s about taking enough seats in our legislature to stop the insanity of trying to unseat a president who was properly elected and not owned by any party or lobby.

President Trump has disrupted the slow surrender to becoming a godless nation.  He has put everything on the table.  Many hate him for it because it was so easy for us to turn a blind eye to a little corruption here and there, and more here and there, and on and on.  It was easier to be lulled into mindless submission than face the truth about the course on which we had been on for decades.

Like him or hate him, he has forced us to put the essence of who we are on the table, and at the heart of the November election. 

Much of it is politics as usual, but much more is good versus evil.  A red wave in November is not victory.  It is a chance for victory.  It gives us a chance to stop much of the godlessness being woven into the fabric of our modern society by the twin gods of apathy and ambivalence, while the faithful few lead many to the Lord. 

Victory will only come in the Lordship of Jesus.  We must set aside our gods of emotion, pity, shame, hatred, insistence on our own way, and cowardice.

Yes, if you are deserting the church now, you worship the god of cowardice. You magnify the specks in the eyes of believers and ignore the lumber yard in your own eyes.  Those who comprise the church all far short of the glory of God but we do not desert God when things get tough or the meme of the day sounds much better than love one another, which requires action on our part.

Liking and sharing a meme gives our minds time off and has a narcotizing function on us so that we think we have accomplished something.  Occasionally, the meme is on the mark and a stopped analog watch is right twice a day.  Most of the time, the emotional like and share without considering what is proffered only serves the Father of Lies. 

We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and live out our faith. We turn to each other with an iron sharpens iron attitude seeking God’s will not emotional satisfaction.  That does not mean that you will not find peace in this process.

OK, let’s get back to November.  You may not like Trump, but you may need to tolerate him and his rough edges for 4 more years.  You may not like most Republicans, but you should pray they have control of both houses of the legislature for the next 4 years.

This is not a victory for the Republican party.  This is a chance for victory for American. 

Should we hold at Thermopylae long enough for revival in this nation, I see a revitalized Democratic Party in 4 years—one that is reconstituted as the party of the people.

Should we hold at Thermopylae long enough, I see a revitalized Republican party in 6 years—one that promotes smaller government and fiscal responsibility.

Should we not hold at Thermopylae, neither party will exist in 4 years.  We will either give in to the government knows best for everything in our lives or be in the middle of a civil war.  We will never have our Marathon.

Christians will be meeting in secret but still taking the good news to our neighbors for the world will have claimed them as their own and our mission and commission is unchanged.  In some ways the destruction of America may bring some to Christ, but it’s not the world we will want to live in.

So, is this a political article or a religious article?  The answer is it is an article about your grandchildren.  Will they live in an America that celebrates them worshiping God or tells them which god to worship and how?

We cannot legislate ourselves into becoming a Christian nation.  It doesn’t work that way, but through revival and courage among believers we could become a nation of Christians. 

That would be a victory.  That would be victory in Jesus.  That would be the best inheritance we could give our children’s children.

But first, we must hold long enough at Thermopylae. 


The Post Script…

I provided many links to many sources in this article, but not to those about Thermopylae, the 300, or Marathon.  I didn’t even use the word Nike!

For those who continued to the end, it’s likely that I didn’t need to include them.  For those who quit early, they likely would consider them irrelevant as they never came across them in the course of their education.  Imagine having $100,000 in student debt loans and not knowing the story of Thermopylae that most learned before graduating high school.

We don’t have to look nearly 2500 years into the past for our model.  One hundred years ago will suffice.  Consider the report of First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates to his commanding officer in WWI France.

"I am in an old abandoned French trench bordering on the road leading out of your P.C. and 350 yards from an old mill. I have only two men out of my company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try and get it here as we are swept by machine-gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I WILL HOLD.”

He couldn’t advance but he would hold.  That has to be our mindset in November.  We must have a red wave.  It’s not victory, but gives us a chance for real victory.

I will hold!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Truth Matters


Saying that BLM supports helping black people is like saying that KKK is just a good inning for a pitcher.   BLM is by their own acknowledgments a Marxist organization intent on destroying the nuclear family, including promoting this pick your own gender business.

Their statement/stance is a moving target.  It has been softened over the past few years and does not currently include killing police.

The KKK is a racist organization even if I try to promote it as a baseball thing.

I’m glad to see some messages coming out that read “I believe that black lives matter “instead of blindly supporting the BLM that wants to create anarchy in the government and in the family.

Please use the sound mind that God gave you.  If you want to promote racial reconciliation, then do it, but don’t jump on the bandwagon of the month because it sounds good.  Envision the end state of BLM.  There will be no liberty.  There will be no racial equality.  The family unit will be defunct.  Someone other than God will help your child determine what gender they are and the government in whatever form it takes in post-democratic America will require its approval.

I don’t think I have to explain what the KKK wants.  I don’t know why it is necessary to reiterate what BLM promotes.

BLM and the KKK both emanate from evil intentions.  Don’t show your support for them in any fashion unless you truly support the evil behind them.

Try this exercise.  Name 3 people that BLM or KKK has helped in a tangible way, not by using them to promote hate or further the organizational cause or as a media showpiece, but by helping them get a better job or home or education. 

Truth matters.

Love matters.

Reconciliation matters.

Hope matters.

Service matters.

Life matters.  It is a gift of God and we must cherish it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The tools of the Father of Lies


I usually scroll past these under the counsel of Proverbs 26:4, but so many whom I know have succumbed to the wiles of the devil.

Hate the president all you want.  Don’t vote for him.  Campaign against him but do not succumb to the Father of Lies.  Understand that in this post is a single statement.  It is surely an opinion.  If it is fact, the post brings no supporting documentation to bear, but the statement is made nonetheless as if it were fact.

Next are a series of conjectural statements that are red herrings and non-sequiturs.  I’m sure there are other logical fallacies, but the most evident should suffice.  Logical fallacies are used when the facts will not support the desired conclusion. 

You shouldn’t be surprised when…

Abusers support…

Perverted people support and defend…

It’s not coincidence…followed by unsupported statements…

Imagine if instead of the president’s name, someone substituted that of your husband and declared in a singular statement that he is a pedophile.  No supporting documentation is provided nor required by the online venue.  Someone just posts the statement.  That person may or may not believe it, but now the statement is out for public consumption.

Some who know your husband, might reject the statement outright. Others might suspect something because someone was bold enough or capricious enough just to make the statement.  Either way, the statement is out there.

Based on zero facts, we will support the statement with logical fallacies.  Anyone who stands up for your husband, must also be a pedophile.  What other excuse could they have?

Spice it up a little and advise people don’t be surprised when those supporting your husband are guilty of the same crimes.  These people are otherwise known to you as respected members of the community, but get lumped into this melee to avoid having to produce facts.

You shouldn’t be surprised when your husband’s friends are outed as well.  Realize that at this point, there is no evidence to support your husband or his friends are pedophiles, but using the tools of the devil, you can paint them as if they are.  Facts and evidence just get in the way. Hate and contempt must rule!

Rally people to your cause playing on their emotions and blinding them to the fact they have been deceived.

Let’s continue with non-sequiturs.

Pedophiles support and defend other pedophiles. 

Perverted people support, defend, and champion other perverted people.

Most people would agree with these statements but they have no real connection to the initial statement that your husband is a pedophile which was made without supporting evidence.  They are not supporting facts.  Logical fallacies are designed to deceive those who have surrendered their sound mind.

Those who don’t like your husband for any reason at all, are called upon to jump on the condemnation bandwagon.

Let’s wrap up this exercise in a style similar to the original post.  It is not a coincidence that your husband’s friends and supporters who try to help your husband out are tied to pedophilia and perversion. 

When you don’t have facts and logical argument, all you can really do is reword the same fallacies to appear as a conclusion. 

It’s unlikely that anyone would do this to your husband, brother, son or other dear friend.  Public figures know that they are subject to hate and disdain and all manner of assertations that may or may not have merit.  I know of no perfect people in the world and the faults of those in the public eye are always magnified.

But this is not about President Trump or your husband or son.  It is about integrity.  Will we employ the ways of the Father of Lies as if he is our own father?

Are we fearful of facts?

Have we lost the ability to discuss and reason?

Have we surrendered the sound mind which is of God for the tools of the devil?

I have my list of political leaders that I don’t really like.  I am not called to condemn them using the tools of the devil.

I have had many laughs at the expense of many politicians.  Representative Cortez and former VP Biden keep me laughing.  Of course, I had my laughs at former President George W. Bush as well, when he couldn’t get a door to open or he tried to pronounce nuclear.

We are entitled to laugh a little at our leaders.  They know it comes with the territory, but when we resort to demeaning them by false argument, it is not about our leaders but about us.

It’s about us.

As noted in the beginning, I usually scroll past these sorts of posts, but so many that I know and love have been ambushed. 

I would not expect anyone to agree with my political choices based on this post.  That’s not the goal.  Campaign your hearts out but don’t sell your soul along the way.  Keep your sound mind.  Challenge the authenticity and argument of that which you choose to support.

Do not be deceived.

Monday, June 22, 2020

American Privilege

I hear the words white privilege and know that in many cases in America it is present.  I don’t buy that the condition is ubiquitous, but prevalent is surely a viable assessment.  Many are in shock when I state that such privilege can be put to work for good, to bring glory to God and help our fellow brothers and sisters.

Too many mock God and insist that we must repent of our skin color.  God will not be mocked so don’t look for me in that club though the membership is growing daily.

Now, I’m really going to get under the skin of many of varied hues.  I will tell you that there is American privilege.  If you are American, the chances are that you are privileged regardless of the color of your skin.  You—we—have so much more than the rest of the world just because we are Americans.

Better food, housing, education, transportation, acceptance, respect, and much more just because we are American.  We may or may not have worked for this somewhere along the way.  We may or may not have deserved this, but it is there.  Not every person outside of our country loves us, but they love what we have—opportunity, in addition to the other previously listed blessings.

Most people in the world, at least the ones not sworn to destroy us, envy what we have.  We are privileged and most don’t even know it.  American privilege is real.

And yes, we have wealth.  We are rich and I mean almost all of us compared to half the world or more.  Do you know what a privilege—let’s say blessing—it is to have running water that comes inside our homes? Do you know what it is to travel coast to coast without government-approved endorsements?

Do you know what it is like to speak your mind and the most you will see in retaliation are some hateful comments.  You don’t end up in prison.

Do you know what a privilege it is to have health care services that we can complain about instead of wishing we had something more than a clinic that serviced two million people.

Do you know what a privilege it is to be able to travel to most of the globe, even to countries that are not America’s best friends, just because you are American.

American privilege is real but not the topic of the month.  It’s not popular because one group of Americans can’t point their finger at another group and say they have it or we don’t or combinations thereof.  Just about every single American enjoys privilege.

The question posed before us is the same one I pose for white privilege.  If it’s real and you have it, what will you do with it?

Will you divest yourself of it?

Will you use it only for your own needs?

Will you bury it in the ground?

Will you put it to work at once for the glory of God. 

Don’t feel guilty about privilege.  You didn’t earn it.  It was given to you. 

Do with it what you would do with other gifts.  If someone gave you $10 million, would you refuse it?  Would you use it only for your own selfish needs and desires?  Would you bury it in the ground?
Would you put it to work for the glory of God?

Privilege is not merit.  Merit is about earning more.  Privilege is granted based upon who you are or who your group is.  The question is, what do we do with it?

I have experienced white privilege.  I have also experienced increased danger because of my skin color.  When you come out of a building in the Middle East and see someone you don’t know leaving your vehicle in a hurry when they see you, you break out that telescopic mirror and make three laps around your vehicle instead of the usual one.  Your senses peak and your look for anything out of place.

You can live with a knocking sound in the engine.  Sounds that go boom are unforgiving. 

I know what it is to be singled out for my skin color.  When you are one of two white men in a community of almost two million black people, some point at you.  Some fathers bring their sons out to show you to them.  You are different and a rarity. 

There is usually no hostility.  When you walk down a street in these places, you will attract attention from the less than friendly element.  All is not just the uniqueness of a white man in western Kenya.

So, I have known privilege and I have known danger, and I have been singled out for my race. 

I have been singled out for being an American. I never desired to be worshiped so when I was, it was somewhat unnerving.  I was in Kuwait City shopping at the outdoor market set up by the Iranians that came across the gulf with nuts and other items of interest.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by dozens of women making all sorts of unfamiliar noises and waving their arms at be in something of a bowing motion. 

They were Kurds.  American forces had saved thousands of Kurds from Saddam.  They saw the American flag on my left shoulder.  The United Nations patch on my right shoulder was ornamental to them.  The American flag drew much attention and extremely favorable attention.

If you have white privilege, use it for the glory of God.

If you have American privilege, use it for the glory of God.

If you are privileged because you were born into or inherited wealth, use it for the glory of God.

Here is a little something I know about privilege.  As a commissioned officer I had head of the line privileges in most places on base.  Seldom did I exercise them but they were there and sometimes you needed to be in three places at once and you did use your privilege.

That same privilege applies in the field training exercise or in combat, but officers just don’t use it.  When Marines receive hot chow in the field, it’s a big thing.  Officers eat last because sometimes the chow runs out.  It is a privilege to eat last.

It’s time to take off the blinders that those who wish to generate and maintain hate have placed on us.  There is white privilege.  There is white profiling—mostly overseas.  There is American privilege that is much more pervasive than anything based on skin color.  There is American profiling. 

Many factors in our lives give us privilege and advantage.  Some of those same things come with existential risks attached.  That’s life, but what do we do with privilege, advantage, danger, risk, and so many other things that we receive in the course of a lifetime.

The question remains, what will we do with what we have and what we will be given?

Refuse it?  Use it selfishly?  Bury it in the ground?

Put it to work for the glory of God!

The only answer with any efficacy in reconciling one to another is to put it to work for the glory of God.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Fools and Pharisees – The Demons of Discussion

‘Tis the season for fools and Pharisees.  What do I mean?

It seems there is a whole bunch of “If you can’t see this my way, then you are the problem” comments floating around social media.

Social media has not only given false bravado to cowards but a place for the mindless to speak their minds.  What is the person who seeks civil discourse to do?  What is the person who desires intelligent conversation to do?

Move on.  Delete, block, or whatever is needed but move on. Don’t give in to the temptation to engage.   If you were driving around town looking for a hardware store, you wouldn’t stop for the afternoon at the local tavern.  Some do and there goes the afternoon and whatever project was in store for it.

The Proverbs counsel us not to discuss or argue with fools.  Well that’s putting someone down to call them a fool.  I know, in today’s world, correctness calls us to regard the absurd with reverence. 

You don’t have to play that game and you don’t have to label anyone a fool.  Just abide by your part of the guidance.  Don’t engage.  Unfollow, block, delete or whatever you must do not to indulge your cravings to engage.

It casts your pearls before swine.  What?  Now instead of calling people fools, we call them pigs?  No.  Consider the counsel as don’t give your best efforts—to include your well-reasoned arguments—to the least profitable engagements.

How do I know that I should engage no farther?  If what you proffered in sincere thought and respectful verbiage is countered with name calling, labeling, often hateful labeling, and I won’t discuss this, then disengage.  Many come to discussion sites not to discuss but to seek disciples of mindless devotion to the meme or platitude of the day which must be beyond reproach.  Actually, it is presumed to be beyond reproach.  These are usually filled with logical fallacies and often the offense that they so hypocritically address.

There is no intellectual profit here.  Disengage.  Unfollow, block, unfriend or whatever you must do to make sure that you do not return to your vomit. 

Sometimes this is difficult as the partner in such diatribes seems to be drowning in their own fallacies.  There is no lifeline to be thrown to the person intent on drowning.  Disengage.

Then there are the Pharisees who are civil in presentation but dogmatic in engagement.  If they believe that the world is flat, the presentation of facts becomes irrelevant. 

I encountered both fools and Pharisees once when I published and posted a short piece about teaching creation in public schools.  I was against it thinking that whatever was taught would have to be some sanitized version approved by multiple secular levels and void of original intent. What prompted my pontification was an ongoing dialogue about teaching something other than the theory of evolution. 

My thoughts were to directly teach thinking skills instead of hoping that students learned to think in math, science, or composition.  We could teach students how to know what they believed on faith, how we determined something to be fact, and what was theory.

I got a plethora of one-word replies:  Moron.  That was the extent of their dissent.

Others invested more verbiage without corresponding brainpower.  

Evolution has been a theory long enough that it is now a fact.

There was no valued discourse in either case.  Not a single response addressed the thought of teaching thinking skills.  Perhaps these many mindless responses were indirect validation of the need.  There is no valued discourse in such encounters. Sometimes you just move along.

The good news is that every once in awhile, not often, but every once in a while, you will find someone who is of the iron sharpens iron mode.  Pray that when you find such a person they are not of the same mind as you at least on some matters.

If you want to grow in your knowledge, analysis, wisdom, and fulness of life, you need someone who not only listens to understand your perspective, but will present theirs to you for like consumption and analysis. 

These are the discussions worth maintaining.  These are the relationships that build with each discussion.  Debate is not argument with disdain for the other’s point of view, but in full consideration of it.

Debate and discourse value diversity.  This requires a teachable spirit.  As adults, we find ourselves responsible for our own learning, even when in a structured program.  We need to be challenged in our thinking.

If we only want to confirm what we know or believe, we seek disciples.  If we want to learn, we seek those who value thinking.  Topics may vary.  Passion may be attached to some, but it is the willingness to understand each other so both may grow that makes these encounters worthwhile. 

Finding the right discussion partner is much like dating.  You may have 1000 first dates before you find someone worth asking out a second time.
Don’t give your best thinking to mindless banter and bandwagon slogans.  

Find the iron sharpens iron partner or partners and grow.  No second dates for fools and Pharisees.  They are the demons of discourse.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Must we disgrace the professional because of the criminal?

Must we disgrace the professional because of the criminal?  We don’t need police reform.  We need a culture of continuous improvement.  Everyone is so busy fixing blame that nobody wants to fix the problems. 

Why do you buy a new phone every two or three years?  The old one probably works, but the new one is better.  Kaizen—continuous improvement—has been at work in the commercial sector for decades.  Which companies don’t have it?  Not many because most that didn’t improve disappeared. 

We don’t need to defund, dismiss, disband, or disrespect the police.  We need to reinforce the most professional practices and procedures every day and every year.  We can do this without hate and without disrespecting the many who are now receiving the scorn of the few.

We need to practice law and order.  Do you want Derek Chauvin prosecuted and convicted?  If you defund the police, do we just let him go? 

There are people doing evil things in this world.  The police are often the first or second line of defense for many.  When police break the law, the offenders must be prosecuted swiftly, but must we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

The disrespect for the many honorable men and women in today’s law enforcement agencies has gone too far.  This reeks of the days of people spitting on Vietnam Veterans when they returned home.

This is hate arising from the human heart.  It has no place in America.  That last statement purposely has no qualifiers.

It’s not,  hate has no place in America, but…

It has no place.  Hate has no place.

Do we want to be better or do we want to satisfy the hate and anger that can only be reconciled through Christ Jesus?

Neither human law nor practice, protest or pontification, or any other proposed remedy of human design will get to the heart of the problem. 

Do we want to fix the problem or live in ongoing hate and disrespect? 

What is your goal?

Here is a term that we all need to know.  The word is efficacy.  It means the power to effect the desired change.  It is a word that I insist people know if they are committing to counseling or any sort.

It is a rudder and an anchor simultaneously.  It is a filter and a paradigm meter.  It challenges us to ask the question:  Is what I propose going to get me any closer to my objective?

Protests and posts and other peaceful forms of redress get some attention.

Riots and lawlessness get more, but do they move you closer to your objective or put more obstacles in the way?

How do you make it harder to get what you want?  Loot a Target or Walmart or your neighbor’s store that was barely making it as it was.  These make big statements but generate more resistance than support.

Do we want to accomplish what we set out to do or must we satisfy the hate in our hearts?

But… There’s that word that keeps us from reaching our goals and objectives.  But, peaceful protests are slow to make a difference.  But, replacing elected officials takes time.  But…

We must ask if the change we desire is worth our continued effort over whatever period of time it takes, or do we give in to our hate and hope for the best as we alienate more and more people who were once with us?

Efficacy asks us:  Do we want allies or enemies?  If we are willing to disrespect honorable men and women, we are creating more enemies than you realize and you will not reach your objective.

This is called selfishness.  This is self-gratification.  This is I must satisfy my hate even at the expense of the cause I claim. 

If you are loyal to your cause, this is called treason. 

How did we get from disrespecting police officers to treason?  It’s a journey of very few steps.  I do not recommend it.

Let’s keep our heads, our sound minds if you will.

Let’s agree to seek solutions not barter a tenuous peace treaty.

Let’s kick fear to the curb (it’s not from God) and courageously make our nation better than it was yesterday.

Our history is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, selfishness and sacrifice, abundance and scarcity, but our future must be one that values and respects each other and desires a better America for our children’s children.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Humanity Matters

Social Distancing???

We should consider the words with which we have abided to some degree for the past few months.  Chief among them is social distancing.  What does that mean?

Some would say that physical distancing would be more accurate for we are social creatures and surely, we are not to be disconnected from each other, are we?  Are we?  We just need to spread out more, right?

I propose a new term:  human distancing.  That’s what we have been asked to do, put distance between humans.  We are now defined as carriers of contagion.  People have been through thousands of years and countless diseases and contagions without having to live their lives at double-arms interval. 

The guidelines that emerged this year are dehumanizing and we accepted them.  The other extreme of dehumanizing is packing people in like cattle such as in a crowded subway car.  There should be some sane limits applied, but not to the extent of having to look at every person like they had the cooties.

The discussion and arguments about which lives matter rage once again.  Black Lives, Blue Lives, All Lives seem to have taken center stage at some point in this unique year.  Always left voiceless in the background are those yet to be born but still thriving in their mother’s womb until they are not. 

We paused momentarily to recognize those working the front-line medical services, but did we realize that we were being conditioned to dehumanize each other?

As we divided and subdivided which lives mattered, still at work was the model that no lives mattered.  Life and lives existed for the manipulation of the few seeking to seize or retain power, many of these not being elected officials.  Life in the aggregate had become a commodity to be bartered.

Social distancing was proof that fear was a powerful tool.  Suddenly, we were afraid of each other.  Mass manipulation was not only possible but easier than anyone would have thought in a land formed out of independent will and pioneer spirit.

So now the discussion is moving towards how do we get back to work and to school.  I say let’s do it without using the term social distancing.  If we are going to separate people by distance, we should be required to use the dehumanizing term, human distancing.    Let’s remind ourselves that we are treating ourselves as carriers of contagion instead of creatures made in the image of God. 

Should we wash our hands more?  Absolutely.  Should we stay at home when we are sick? Yes!  That goes for keeping your kids at home when they are sick as well.  Should we keep an abundant supply of hand sanitizer?  Why not, and maybe some moisturizing lotion for when our skin begins to crack.

And yes, even you teachers and supervisors need to stay at home when you are sick.  The world will survive without you for a couple days.

There may be some work-at-home models that continue because they were good for both employee and employer and not because they saved the world from a mostly impotent contagion, at least as far as things declared to be plagues go.  There may be some adjustments to sick leave policy for working parents with sick children.  The employee who produces a great return for his employer will be worth this perk.

Let’s kick social distancing to the curb.  Let’s not accept its first cousin physical distancing as a fill-in.  Let’s use the term human distancing so we are reminded that what we are doing is dehumanizing.

People use the term New Normal a lot these days.  If the New Normal does not improve the quality of human life, I say let’s kick it to the curb.

Let’s not lose our humanity in this fa├žade presented to save humanity.

If you are sick then stay home.

If you are vulnerable, then be on the lookout for where you are at risk.

If you are ready to live life to the full, then don’t let the propaganda hold you back.

You, we, are more than carriers of contagion, and our humanity matters.

Humanity Matters!