What Happened to You, What Happened to U.S.

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step; it also ends with one. So many people have been taking single steps on a journey, but they don’t know the distance traveled. You have to look back to see how far you have gone, and if you have gone too far.

When someone kills a protestor by running them over with a car, the response is not supposed to be “they shouldn’t have been in the road.” Personally, I don’t agree with protests that block freeways. I don’t think the message is effective and I doubt it makes them many friends. However, I don’t think they should be hurt or killed for it. What has happened to you to put such a low value on human life? Recently, a driver ran over some right wing protestors, do you blame them for being in the road too?

This man had plenty of options of where to go. He was not blocked off, but chose to drive through a protest march anyway. He shot the young man who tried to stop him from hurting others and got out of his car. This was not a justifiable or defensible action. If you do not denounce him, you are not on the right side.

I see the posts of veterans, patriots all of them, talking about how their “oath never expired” and yet they are actively violating that oath. Specifically, the part about upholding the constitution. Any efforts to affect or influence an election should be staunchly opposed. No matter who it is by. If you believe in this country and the values it represents, you should fight for the People to choose their leaders, not the leaders you most agree with.

It isn’t just that Trump isn’t a king, it is that no president is a king. Our fight for independence was literally against that kind of thing. When your side starts to look like tyranny, you are supposed to stop supporting it. You should help correct it if you can or fight it if you can’t.

The same people who say “Trump is your president, deal with it” are the same ones gearing up to fight if he loses. That isn’t the thought process of a rational mind. I know there were right wing extremists and white supremacists long before Trump ran for office, but I’m not talking about them. I am talking about the rational, reasonable people who have been on this journey of single steps for the past four years and don’t see how far they have come.

When you are on a journey and you catch up with white supremacists, and the Nazis are within sight, you should rethink the path you are on. Because it is too late to rethink your position when you are being fitted for a guard uniform at New Auschwitz. You are not on the right side, and will be on the wrong side of history. When the president starts talking about eugenics at a rally, you are supposed to stop and consider the path he is on, not cheer.

I worry for some of you. You have lost your way, and I don’t think it is intentional. I don’t know if it is pride or something else that won’t let you admit that you have gone astray. I don’t think you are stupid, or weak, which is why I am so confused. You should be standing up to your peers when they talk about violence against protestors. You should be correcting your president and remind him that he is not a king. I am not saying give up on your political beliefs, but stand up for what is right, not what is right for you.

Germany in the ’30s and 40’s was full of people who prospered, not because of their own hard work, but because the system worked for them. Do you think that when people were taken in the middle of the night that no one took over their homes and businesses? No one took that as a opportunity to improve their own life? If you, right now, are befitting from the misery of another, knowing how this has played out in history, and are not actively fighting it, you are on the wrong side.

If you see a Nazi flag at your protest/rally, either he is at the wrong event, or you are. Our grandfathers didn’t liberate Europe so they could come here. If you find yourself agreeing with their rhetoric, you have lost your way.

You should be against voter fraud AND ballot tampering. You should want the decision of who leads our country and communities in the hands of the People, and you should support and defend that choice. That is how our republic is supposed to work. You should be looking for the truth, not the words that supports your world view. Just because you don’t like the information, doesn’t make it fake news.

You are on a journey of 1,000 miles, and each step takes you further away from who you were and what you believed. You are heading in the same direction as Hitler, you haven’t caught up to him yet, but he is within sight. The truly scary thing, is that the height of Nazi Germany was not at mile 1,000 on the journey of evil. Please don’t let us catch up and surpass them. Uphold your oath, defend the constitution, and get back to the person you used to be.

To be clear, so there can be no doubt. I support free and fair elections. I am against any efforts to manipulate or influence the outcome of any election in any form. I condemn violence against protestors and BY protestors. This includes people infiltrating protests with the intent to cause damage, confusion, or chaos. I think it is up to protest leaders to ensure that their protest message is not subverted by another and to enforce a peaceful protest and to cooperate with police to detain anyone that subverts their attempts at peace. I reject any message of supremacy by any group and disagree with anyone that suggests their oppression will end with the oppression of another. I believe that equality will be achieved by lifting everyone to the same level, not bringing anyone down. I believe that elected officials are to serve the people, and if their policies hurt or oppress another group, I will not support them just because it benefits me. If I am in position of privilege, I will use that privilege to help those disadvantaged and not use it to my advantage. Any questions?

Normalize ‘This is Where You Lost Me’

No one will deny that things are pretty polarized in this country. There is an inherent need to be right and no one wants to admit to being on the wrong side of history. Because of that, some people are “ride or die” with their candidate or philosophy. What we need to do is allow for the phrase “this is where you lost me.”

This is very simple, it allows for someone to have a belief, even a strong one, but not take it too far. It will support a good belief system, but not take it to the point where defending it makes you evil. I’ll start you off easy.

  1. Pizza is good.
  2. Pizza is a great meal.
  3. Pineapple is an acceptable pizza topping.
  4. Hawaiian is the best pizza.
  5. No other pizza than Hawaiian should be served.
  6. People should be punished for eating any other topping on their pizza.

So, the question is; where did I lose you?

Some people might not like pizza and are not on board from the start. There is a huge debate about pineapple on pizza, so some people are out at number three. There may be a handful of people out there that stick it out until the end and really believe that all other pizza toppings should be banned. I think we can all agree that hose people are not reasonable.

For me, I agreed with the first point, even the second. I like pizza and at times it really hits the spot. While pineapple isn’t something I would put on my pizza, I don’t have a problem with other people eating it. I disagree with the fourth point, but I’m all about viewpoint diversity, so if you love Hawaiian pizza, you do you. But you lost me at the fifth point. And number six is going too far.

This guy had a plan to bring peace to Afghanistan, or so he said.

Let’s kick it up a notch. The Russians pull out of Afghanistan left a huge power vacuum. Tribal leaders who had weapons and fighters started fighting among themselves for power and control. Mujaheddin quickly went from freedom fighters to warlords. A scrappy holy man said that they were all students of Islam and should not be fighting so if you supported him, he would put an end to it so everyone could go back to farming. A lot of people supported that rhetoric and supported him and his movement. His name; Mullah Omar and his group was called the Taliban. Talib, in Arabic, means “student” so the plural form of student is Taliban.

When I was in Afghanistan, I spoke with a man who said he was Taliban. The operative word is “was.” He was no longer Taliban. For him, he liked the message or no more fighting, and supported the Taliban in that. But once Omar took Kabul, they instituted a bunch of new laws. Women had to wear burkhas and stay in the home, girls couldn’t go to school and could only learn the Quran at home. Music and dancing were considered useless indulgences and the only thing you could yell at a soccer game was “God is great.” There were men walking around enforcing these rules by whipping offenders.

You can be a good person and support the early Taliban messaging, but if you are still on bard at this point, you so far over the line into evil that you need a passport to get back.

The man I talked to was on board with the fledgling Taliban when they said they were going to stop the fighting. He was all in for going back to farming and living a life of peace. Everything else is where the Taliban lost him. Maybe he didn’t have hard feelings on the burkha, but he supported education for all children. He for sure was against Afghanistan becoming a heaven for terrorist. In the end, instead of putting down his rifle for good, he had to use it to fight the Taliban. The group that he had been convinced was good for the country, turned out to be the worst for it. He was actually happy to see American soldiers because it meant he could go back to farming again.

You can support a person, organization, or cause and still question it. Being all in doesn’t have to mean all in for life. You aren’t a bad person for supporting a person that turns out to be evil, you are a bad person for continuing to support them because you don’t want to admit you were wrong.

Some men never told Mullah Omar “this is where you lost me.”

This is another advantage of the phrase “this is where you lost me.” It makes you on the right side again. It means you can be critical of the side you once supported. Like the former Taliban, he was all for peace in the country, but they lost him with their extreme views and he stopped from going down the wrong path with them and got to be on the right side again. “This is where you lost me” means you can be a good person for supporting values, but not the actions of a person or group.

You can say, “I wholeheartedly support the police, but when an individual shoots an unarmed kid in the back, that is where they lose me. Not the entire industry, but that individual.”

Or try, “I support the First Amendment and the right to protest, but when protestors start destroying property, that is where they lose me.”

“I support the Second Amendment and the right of a person to defend themselves, but they lost me at a bunch of randos in body armor, or a handing a child an AR-15 and letting him wander around alone after curfew fitting the definition of a well-regulated militia.”

“I think it is great that a 17-year-old kid supports law enforcement. It is awesome that he is community minded and wants to help clean up graffiti after protests. But when an adult committed a felony by handing him, a minor, a loaded rifle, that is where you lost me. You really lost me when they let a child wander off on his own, illegally carrying a rifle. You completely lost me when the unsupervised child was in a position to shoot and kill people.”

See how easy that is?

What boggles my mind is how far people let the president go without questioning it. Remember, it isn’t about not liking a position, it is about not letting it get too far. You can support strong borders, but be against locking up children for long periods of time. You want money for your wall? I’ll bet sending those kids home and closing the facility will free up a bunch of cash.

These are not the words of a rational person.

You can be pro-life, but you should question it when the president says they are executing babies after they are born. That is not the thought of a rational mind. I am going to back up because a lot of people skim read and or are feeling attacked so they are on the defensive. The President. Said that babies and being executed. After they are born. AFTER THEY ARE BORN! Even if you believe in a media conspiracy, there is no way that story would not be told. Baby executions! Even if every retweet and quote of his tweet is countering that lie, still more people “liked” it.

You can support your president, but when he openly talks about circumventing the election process, and therefore the Constitution, that is where he should lose you. When a person in power starts speaking like a king, you, as an American, are supposed to question it. It is literally what the founding fathers would want you to do and exactly why the Second Amendment was written. Not to fight people exercising their First Amendment rights, but the only trying to take them away.

It is one thing to be a soldier, fighting for your country on Omaha Beach, it is another thing to be the one turning on the gas chamber in Auschwitz. There is a point where you can say this is where he lost me and you can be on the right side. But if you stay on the bandwagon long enough, it is going to take you to a place where you can’t come back from. ‘This is where he lost me” is your out.

When someone calls you a racist for voting for Trump the first time, you can counter with, “I supported strong borders and draining the swamp, but he lost me at burning the Constitution and using his position to pad his family’s pockets” or something along those lines. If you vote for him in November, you won’t have that out.

You Patriots and Moto Vets Are Dishonoring Your Oath

A lot of the people that are upset about athletes kneeling are also the ones who think the Pledge of Allegiance should stay in schools. If that person is also a veteran, they usually say “my oath never expired.” I am here to say, between protestors and patriots, the patriots are the least honorable.  

If you are patriotic, you have said the Pledge of Allegiance more times than you have sung the National Anthem. In it, you swear loyalty to the United States as one nation. ONE NATION; UNDER GOD. Not the nation you want it to be, not a white nation, not a nation of the same religion, not the citizens within the border you agree with, but ONE NATION!

Remember this?

You pledge liberty and justice for all. I’m going to slow it down for your skim readers.

WITH

LIBERTY.

AND.

JUSTICE.

FOR.

ALL.

Justice for all. Justice, not vengeance, not a financial settlement, but fucking justice. If you are the target of a crime, or an injustice, you deserve justice. If you commit a crime, you should have justice leveled upon you. That is what Justice for all mean.

You should not be able to claim that you are free from justice because your cause is righteous. So, people starting fires at police stations should be prosecuted. A badge should not shield a person from justice when they violate their oath and cross the line into criminal activity. And lumping all people at a protest or all police officers together and judging them based on the worst in their group is not justice for the peaceful protestor or the good cop faithfully protecting his or her community.

The children being held in ICE facilities for so long are experiencing neither liberty nor justice. If you think they should not be allowed in the country, you should at least believe that they should be allowed to be free somewhere else. The people in ICE facilities deserve justice for the crimes being committed against them. Not some tree hugger idea of a crime against their chakras, but actual; on the books; fitting the legal definition of crimes; being committed by individuals employed by the U.S. government.

Note; I did not say by the U.S. government, but by individuals employed by the government. Those people decided to commit an illegal action. Individuals who deserve justice.

If you don’t think she deserves justice, you are not faithful to your oath.

So, if you are not fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, you are not supporting your oath. Justice would have been George Floyd being given his day in court. Justice was not kneeling on him after he had stopped moving. Justice was not continuing to “restrain” him after he lost consciousness. Justice would be investigating not just what happened to Vanessa Guillén, but what is wrong with the culture and leadership climate that it happened and why the truth was not a priority for the base. It shouldn’t have taken national outrage and a viral video for steps to be taken for Ahmaud Arbery to maybe get justice.

If you think liberty and justice is only for some people, and not for people you don’t like, you are violating your oath to loyalty to the country and the promise of liberty and justice for all.

Better to be a Sheep Than a Lemming

Lately, as a joke, when someone makes a point or an argument that is supported by science, research or solid evidence I say, “well you didn’t say ‘don’t be a sheep’ so I don’t believe you.” Today, as I was posting that as a comment on a Facebook thread, I started to think more about that saying.

It is a derogatory term for someone that goes where they are led. To a certain extent, that is true and is true for everyone. We are all influenced by the information we receive. Most recently, it is being used against people that are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic by wearing masks and requiring masks in their place of business.

In these instances, the “sheep” are being led by shepherds who are experts in the medical field, especially infectious diseases, or are government officials who are taking the information provided by those experts. In that case, I am indeed a sheep. I listen to top experts and consume my information through credible, objective media sources. Note: I did not say “trusted” media. Just because you trust someone, doesn’t mean they don’t mislead you.

My thoughts, as I lay in bed, went deeper down the sheep metaphor rabbit hole. The shepherd has a vested interest in the sheep. The sheep are the livelihood of the shepherd and as such, cannot be treated callously. Just as sheep provide wool, civilians provide revenue in the form of taxes, sales or income, to the government. There is zero benefit to the government to shut businesses down. A state without a state income tax relies on sales tax for their revenue. The longer businesses stay closed, the less money they make. Sure, they get some sales tax from Amazon sales, but the more businesses that are permanently closing now, the less revenue they will have in the long run.

Businesses are losing money, and not just the small businesses. Think of all the big lobbyist groups. Gun sales are going through the roof, but other than that, and the toilet paper industry which wasn’t going anywhere, corporations are losing money. Even “Big Pharma” is losing because people are going to the doctor less frequently and skipping vaccines because they are worried about getting Covid at the doctor’s office. Oil is taking a hit because people are driving less. The list goes on.

Aside from Amazon and gun shops, this pandemic is bad for everyone. So, our “shepherds” have a vested interest in getting businesses open and people back to work. What state and local governments really want to do is get the virus under control enough so that they can open back up. Better to take a three-week hit to the pocketbook once, than a two-week hit every other month for the next year.

 Shepherds do not want to lead the sheep down a dangerous path. They want as many sheep to survive as possible so they can continue to shear them for years to come. Even sheep used for meat are fed and treated well until it is time for slaughter. A well-fed sheep is worth more at market than a scrawny, malnourished one.

Then I started to think about the people that ignore experts. They are not sheep, as they often proudly proclaim. But what are they? I am sure they think of themselves as wolves, a strong predator. But that isn’t fitting for the whole sheep metaphor. Because a wolf still acts in the best interest of the pack. Those people are lemmings.

Lemmings seem to serve no real purpose. I have never heard of a market for lemming products. I have seen no lemming clothing, or seen them featured as a challenge on a cooking show. Lemmings just congregate with other lemmings and go wherever the group is going, even to their own detriment. I picture lemmings, heading for the cliff, mocking the sheep grazing in a field.

“Covid is a hoax!”

“Vaccines cause autism!”

“If the Earth is round, Australians would fall off!”

The first lemming over the edge is not the leader, just the lemming in front. Sadly, there are lemmings on both sides of the political spectrum, in every industry and virtually every household. When the world burns, it will no be the fault of the sheep, it will be because of lemmings. So yes, I am a sheep, shepherded by reliable information, which is better than being a lemming following the lemming in the front.

Note: Yes, I know that lemmings don’t commit mass suicide, it is a thought I had in bed. If you don’t like being thought of as a lemming, don’t be a fucking lemming.