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Boycotts, protests, and SOBs

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Boycotts protests and SOBs

I respect the decisions of those with the fortitude to follow through boycotting the National Football League. It really doesn’t matter why. What matters is that individuals have the liberty to choose “[p]rinciples over pleasure” (as J.D. Rucker discusses his perspective here), boycotting the NFL. Like Mr. Rucker, football players have the liberty to speak on issues and protest in a peaceful manner. The difference between the two forms of protest is the stage upon which the protest is made. Football players are viewed live by 60k to 90k fans in stadiums and by millions on television. Mr. Rucker’s protest, and others like him, is a private protest. Boycotting the NFL has been effective and noticed by ultra-liberal ESPN. Personally, I haven’t felt the conviction to boycott the NFL, and that is my liberty. That said, I was surprised by President Trump’s tirade railing against individuals for asserting their freedom of speech.

The perception is that when football players gather to play their games, they are in business mode – that is, on the clock. Although it is entertainment, NFL players are independent contractors paid to perform a specific role. For that work, they get paid, the NFL gets paid and the teams’ personnel and owners get paid. I can fully understand and be sympathetic, then, toward those who find it distasteful for protests during the National Anthem on this stage. Athletes, while on the clock, are not paid for their personal beliefs. Fans attend games for a break from political and ideological differences and they would like that break honored. Given any other business, private or public, it would be unacceptable for employees, while on the clock, publicly demonstrate personal ideologies that remove focus from the product.

I do not agree with the form of protest that NFL players have been demonstrating – taking a knee or holding up a fist during the National Anthem. First, I don’t think the demonstration fits the purpose of the cause. Second, I cannot help but think, “Is this the best you can do?” In other words: 1) if you just turned on a football game and saw a player kneeling during the National Anthem, would you know why, and, 2) a millionaire athlete demonstrates his protest with as little effort as possible. As an aside, I have some difficulty taking seriously a millionaire athlete’s protest against inequality. Wrapped in all of this, there are three points I am going to address.

Problems with President Trump’s message

I cannot express more contempt for the divisiveness and vulgarity of Trump’s message. This is personal for me because I chose to vote for him in order to vote against Hillary Clinton. Thank you, Mr. President for pouring more salt in that wound. Please, focus on NorKo, Iran, China and Russia.

“Son of a bitch” is derogatory towards two individuals, one of whom may not agree with her son. The mother of Colin Kaepernick is rightfully upset. The President should know better than create publicity that supports negative perceptions. If I were in his cabinet, I would resign. If I could rescind my vote, I would. Trump’s message is based on emotion intended to resound with a portion of his base. There are some things that, given one’s title and position, should remain unsaid. He should not, as POTUS, rail against (much less call for firing) a private citizen demonstrating a peaceful protest.

Vagueness of athletes’ message

The message of the protest is inequality. Or is it injustice? Well, depending on whom you ask, you may get a different answer. That is part of the problem. Inequality is too vague in that there are multiple contexts in which we can discuss equality – financial, ethnic, liberty and constitutional to name a few. Likewise, injustice is vague. The point is that the message is lost in connecting the speech with the cause. My perception – subject to correction, of course – of the core issue is an inequality of justice. The perception on one side is that persons are not held to the same degree of judgment as others due to skin color (ethnicity) or financial status.

Protest as a form of speech is protected

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech …”

Both protests – Trump’s and the athletes’ – are protected forms of speech by our Constitution. I don’t agree with the athletes’ chosen demonstration of protest for the reasons I mention above. I detest President Trump’s hateful message although he has the Constitutional right to say it. It’s okay to have certain convictions that motivate you to protest – either through boycott, peaceful demonstration or picketing.

Conclusions

The millionaire athletes should be able to find a way to publicize a unified message (without employing divisive tactics or groups) through a unified movement with a public relations team. But they need to articulate the message so that we all get it and it needs to be on their own time.

Trump needs to stick to refining his political acumen. Right now, he stinks and his verbal filter, if one exists, is broken. In spite of his divisive message, a great unity appeared in Sunday’s games during the performances of the National Anthem. I saw players standing side by side, arms locked. If anything, that is more unity than I have observed since Trump’s election.

There are inequalities in our justice system. The appropriate thing to do involves root-cause analysis. Following due diligence through analysis, they should develop a message. As educated millionaires, they should then have the tools to formulate appropriate actions to rectify the problem. One suggestion might be finding individuals who agree with and support challenging the current legal culture to fix the issues. Another might be programs to help minorities understand the roles of and become upstanding members of law enforcement, driving cultural change from within rather than rioting.

I am hoping that something good will come out of Trump’s ignorance – arguably, his stupidity. On the subject of inequalities within our justice system: I am unified with those who properly challenge culture and stand determined to seek an appropriate course of action to rectify the system.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Dale McNamee

    September 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Like the players have the right to protest… The rest of us have the right to protest them, not to purchase league, team, and player gear, or to buy tickets, not to attend games, watch games on TV nor listen to them on the radio…
    That includes having the freedom not to have an interest in sports at all !

  2. Steve Bliss

    September 24, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    I was with you until you said that the protests marked an increase of unity. Maybe you witnessed unity among teams and in some cases, not even teams but pockets of players on teams but in the big picture I would not call it unity. In most cases where there were large groups of players kneeling you could also hear fans booing. All of the Steelers except one player didn’t even go out to the field. And the one player who did go out for the anthem and stood with his hand in heart is a former Army Ranger, but that didn’t stop Mike Tomlin from throwing him under the bus at the post-game press conference. No, in the big picture the players protests did not enhance unity at all but instead they just further perpetuated the divide.

  3. Dale McNamee

    September 25, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Mike Tomlin, “coach” of the Steelers, is putrescent for his trashing of the one player who is a true hero and war veteran who did 3 tours of Afganistan…

    I used to be disinterested in sports, now I’m “woke” and enraged !

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Culture and Religion

Why abortion must be fought politically AND culturally

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Why abortion must be fought politically AND culturally

Last week, I jumped in on a heated Twitter debate between a conservative writer and a pro-life policy wonk. Though they both wanted to reduce or eliminate abortions in America, they were fighting over whether it was practical or even fair to charge women who get abortions with a felony. Obviously this debate was set within a hypothetical world in which abortions were already illegal, but it’s worthwhile to plan steps that need to be taken if Roe v Wade were overturned, or if some other laws at the state or national level made abortion-on-demand illegal.

Both sides made pretty epic arguments supporting their side, but both missed the bigger picture. Abortion is, at the very least, a two-front war. There are a few smaller fronts where the war can be waged, but the two primary battlefields are political/legal and cultural. Most pro-lifers fight the political battle. They may invoke faith-based arguments or post videos from the womb to pull at the heartstrings, but when they do so within the framework of the law, they’re still making a political argument.

The pro-abortion side is focusing on the cultural side of the debate… and they’re winning. It’s not because they have the better argument. It’s because the pro-lifers are neglecting this front, and the few that are actually addressing it are doing so with a generally poor strategy. Most are relying on judges and legislation as the way to stop abortions. Meanwhile, they’re losing ground on the cultural front.

How is the left so adept at fighting the culture war? Because they’re framing their arguments within a bigger picture. Their focus on the collective rights of people groups has made their willing sheep abandon what they once knew in their hearts, that killing preborn babies is fundamentally wrong.

The left’s message is that if you believe in equal rights, then you MUST believe in women’s rights. Not too long ago they called it “reproductive rights” but they abandoned that when they realized they could position abortion within the greater women’s rights narrative and get away with it. We’ve seen some pushback by prominent pro-life women, but it’s not enough. To win the cultural war against the womb will require utilizing a variation of the same tactics used by the left.

There are three fundamental truths that pro-lifers must understand if we’re going to win the culture war as it pertains to abortion.

  1. Statistics are counterproductive. I cringe every time I see or hear someone spouting out statistics like there are 125,000 abortions worldwide every day or that over 50,000,000 Americans have been murdered through abortion since it was made legal. It’s not that the statistics are wrong. It’s that they only have an impact on those who already oppose abortion. Those who support abortion do so knowing that many abortions happen and they don’t really care because to them, these weren’t people. Whether they think of them as fetuses or potential humans or parasites or whatever, they’re not going to be swayed by arguments that abortions are rampant.
  2. Science is on our side. Every week, there are new stories highlighting certain attributes of preborn babies that need to be communicated to the masses. They feel pain. They dream. They’re often viable at a much earlier stage of development than previously believed. There’s still a large portion of the population that believes a baby’s heart starts beating when they leave the womb. So much effort is made to use the science on the political side, we often forget that it works from a cultural perspective as well, perhaps more so. We need to educate the people so they understand that preborn babies aren’t just potential humans. They’re humans.
  3. Framing is everything. Just as the left has framed abortion as part of women’s rights, so too must pro-lifers frame the right to exist as a human right. This may seem like a political argument instead of a cultural one, and it is, but when we do so from the perspective of right versus wrong, we can allow the argument to transcend into the part of consciousness that touches on cultural ethics. But framing doesn’t just end with making it a human right to live. We have to frame abortion itself with other topics that people may find despicable. Here are three examples of talking points that frame the abortion debate in a culturally favorable way for pro-lifers that have the potential to reach those who are either pro-abortion or indifferent.
    1. Planned Parenthood was born from the tenets of racism and population control and continues those missions today.
    2. Pushing for gun control to save lives while endorsing abortion-on-demand is a contradiction.
    3. The elite promote abortion knowing it is far more rampant among the poor and minorities. This is no accident. It’s by design.

The war on the womb cannot be won through political means. It cannot be won through cultural shifts. It can only be won when both fronts are addressed simultaneously. Pro-abortionists are doing it. It’s time pro-lifers learn a lesson from the enemy.

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Culture and Religion

Doctors baffled as inoperable brain tumor in 11-year-old Roxli Doss miraculously disappears

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Doctors baffled as inoperable brain tumor in 11-year-old Roxli Doss miraculously disappears

It was the worst news Scott and Gena Doss could have received. Their 11-year-old daughter, Roxli, was suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, a very aggressive brain tumor. To be sure, her parents sought multiple opinions to see if the worst-case scenario perhaps wasn’t what they thought it was.

Everyone agreed. It was bad.

“At Dell Children’s, Texas Children’s, at Dana-Farber, at John Hopkins, and MD Anderson, all agreed it was DIPG,” said Scott.

The prognosis was grim, but then something miraculous happened.

Texas girl’s inoperable brain tumor miraculously vanishes

https://nypost.com/2018/12/18/11-year-old-girls-inoperable-brain-tumor-miraculously-vanishes/Roxli underwent weeks of radiation as her Buda community rallied by holding a benefit for her in August, when all her parents could do was pray for a miracle.

“And we got it,” an overjoyed Gena said.

“Praise God, we did,” Scott added.

“When I first saw Roxli’s MRI scan, it was actually unbelievable,” Harrod said. “The tumor is undetectable on the MRI scan, which is really unusual.”

Doctors have no idea why the tumor vanished.

My Take

Those of us who share faith in God and His plan are rarely surprised to hear stories like this one. Medical science can only go so far before a higher power must be called on to intervene. We hope and pray the Doss family’s story can inspire others.

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Culture and Religion

Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

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Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

It genuinely disgusts me that, despite how much we’ve progressed as a society, especially in regards to our treatment of minorities and women, men still earn more than women do. It makes me ashamed of my country. How can we still refer to the United States as the “Land of Opportunity” when women are only paid $0.80 for every $1.00 that men are paid despite working just as hard in the same positions? Hell, even that depressing number doesn’t accurately express how large the gender pay gap is, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In the report, titled Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap, published in November 2018, the organization revealed that women earn a mere 49% of what men do. What’s worse is that it won’t be until 2059 that men and women have 100% equal pay, assuming the gap continues to narrow as slowly as it currently is. This is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s well past time Congress made it illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work.

At least, that’s what I would say if I was a leftist moron who still pays attention to the easily debunked “women earn less than men because of sexism” argument that’s been regurgitated countless times over the years.

The reality is that Congress made it illegal for employers to pay people differently based on their sex decades ago. It was called the “Equal Pay Act” and it was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy all the way back in June 1963. Ever since then, employers have been able to pay employees differently based on their merit, their seniority, their work output, or really whatever factors the employer desires… except sex.

A man and a woman in identical positions with identical output are legally required to be paid the same amount, and employers that fail to do so run the risk of some hefty legal ramifications. But if that’s the case, then why do the numbers presented by the IWPR show that there’s such a massive gender pay gap? Is the Equal Pay Act ineffective? Did the IWPR mess up its numbers? Is there some patriarchal plot to keep women from making money?

No, no, and no. The real answer is incredibly simple, and it’s one I’m sure most of us were able to figure out on our own the first time we heard the “women earn ($0.75, $0.79, $0.80) for every $1.00 that men earn” statistic that’s been getting thrown around for years. Basically, men are paid more than women on average because they seek out more lucrative jobs on average and work longer hours on average. If you take the combined earnings of all the women in the United States in a given year, divide that number by how many women worked at any point in that year, and then do the same for men, you’ll see that the earnings-per-working-woman are quite a bit lower than the earnings-per-working-man, so clearly there is a gender pay gap. However, despite what leftists like the people at the IWPR want you to believe, this gap has nothing to do with sexism.

This was demonstrated in a report, also published in November 2018, by two PhD Candidates in Economics at Harvard University. In the report, titled Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators, the two students examined the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in order to figure out why such a heavily unionized agency in such a notoriously progressive city (Boston) still paid its female employees $0.89 for every $1.00 it paid its male employees. The answer was, once again, incredibly simple. Women were less likely than men to work overtime hours while also being more likely to take unpaid time off. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

Men tended to prefer making more money to having more free time, while women tended to prefer having more free time to making more money. While an argument could be made that more employers should account for the different preferences of men and women, something the report actually advises on how to do, there’s no basis for the argument that the gender pay gap is a result of sexism.

It should be noted that the Harvard report examined just one industry in one metropolitan area, which means the findings aren’t applicable everywhere, but the gist of them is. Yes, there is a gender pay gap. That’s an objective fact. However, it has nothing to do with sexism. The causes of the gap vary from industry to industry and place to place, but they almost always have to do with the inherent differences between men and women. I think there’s a conversation to be had about whether or not this is an issue, and if it is, whether it’s up to employers, society, or women themselves to solve it, but to even have that conversation requires us to abandon the idea that sexism is the cause. There are certainly some instances where it is the cause, but the vast majority of the time, it’s not.

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