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Mike Rowe: ‘Something to stand for’

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It’s always about the individual.

Simply put, kneeling during the national anthem is the wrong way to send a flawed message. By kneeling you are saying, “I refuse to stand for a country where blacks are oppressed and discriminated against on a systemic level.” They are trying to raise awareness in order to put a stop to the institutions and groups of people who are doing the oppressing.

The problem with the Message

There will always be racists out there who harass, oppress, and discriminate against people of color… but each person who does so is an individual. No one can ever represent another individual without his consent. Whatever institution, organization, or race the oppressor is associated with does not implicate that entire group.

So when a white cop beats a black man, it doesn’t make the entire police force racist. Nor does it mean all white people are racist. And if that cop is a member of the Green Party, it doesn’t make all Green Party members racist. No. That individual is responsible for his own actions. He is the racist. Don’t lump groups of people together when bad things happen. When you do, you are making the same mistake as the racist himself.

The problem with the Venue

When we stand for the playing of our national anthem, we aren’t standing for the bad things that have happened in America. No one who stands with hand over heart has the intention of paying tribute to slavery, for example. No, we stand to honor the great things America has done.

If you haven’t seen Mike Rowe’s video on the amazing story behind the Star Spangled Banner, you should do so right now, it is a must watch. If you find the actions of even one of the five men in this story to be worthy, you should stand for our national anthem.

Our country isn’t without mistakes, but standing for the sacrifices of honorable Americans doesn’t mean you are endorsing those mistakes. Stand to honor the men and women who gave their lives trying to make our country better. When you kneel you divide. Stand together, and together we can tackle hate.

A full time engineer by trade, Dan is a conservative, Christian, father, and veteran. He considers himself a rebel against the dominant liberal culture.

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Culture and Religion

Gay Americans speak out in support of Christian Baker, against the gay lobby

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The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

-Patrick Henry

As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Now, however, after years of radical LGBT activist domination over the nation’s dialogue surrounding civil rights, liberty-loving gay Americans are pushing back.

All wheels have begun to squeak.

Masterpiece Cakeshop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled (7-2) in favor of Jack Phillips, a devout Christian and confectionary artist. In 2012, after declining to lend his artistry skills toward the custom adornment of a cake intended for the celebration of a same-sex wedding, Phillips was sued for discrimination and was later found guilty by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Although the Commission had deemed Phillips’s art – confectionary art is a subset of sugar art – as expression under the First Amendment, his religious views were publicly attacked by commissioners. It was this blatant governmental bias which persuaded the Supreme Court to reverse all previous rulings against Mr. Phillips.

Despite of the Supreme Court ruling’s narrow scope, by mid-day on Monday, freedom-loving gay Americans had begun to speak out in support of Jack Phillips’s Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, and celebrate the Supreme Court ruling in Mr. Phillips’s favor.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must… undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

-Thomas Paine

Pushing Back: Live on the Radio

Speaking with Rush Limbaugh on Monday, a Seattle woman who identified herself, saying, “I’m gay, I’m Hispanic, I’m female, I’m middle-aged, and I’m conservative,” stated:

I wanted to comment on the cake thing, on the Supreme Court judgment ruling on the cake matter. I wanted to say that I am so pleased to hear that, because I just don’t understand how people in this country can keep fighting against having their negative rights, against having what makes this country great, and against that which are the people that came to this country and come to this country, come here for. I just don’t get it… we are the country on this planet that stands for everyone to come and have liberty.

…[P]eople want to have freedom. But what they don’t understand is that freedom never needs to be defended. It’s liberty that needs to be defended. God gives us our freedom. God gives us the right to be free. We have to defend our liberty.

Another Limbaugh caller who identified himself as a wedded gay man, expressed disdain for the radical LGBT activists, describing them as “militant,” asserting:

…[I]t does not make our situation any easier when these militants are on the news because they do not represent me.

His {the husband’s] family didn’t show up at our wedding because they believe a marriage is between one man and one woman. And I don’t want to brand them a bigot or a homophobe for the rest of their lives when I could have an opportunity to have a relationship with them. I’d rather understand where they’re coming from and try to build off of what we have in common than brand them over a decision like a cake and then not have a relationship with the man I love’s family.

The caller continued his frank criticism, stating:

I think these militants make it worse, not better, and they don’t have me — in mind when they’re out there doing it… I just think they’re really loud and obnoxious, and so they get on the news.

They went on TV, and they said what their case was. They said it was never about the cake; it was about making them do what they wanted them to do. 

And I would rather go get a cake from somewhere else and not be on the news and have a chance at understanding where other people are coming from than force my will on them any more than I want them to force their will on me. I know a lot of people don’t accept gay marriage. However, it’s a lifestyle choice I made. They choose not to bake me a cake. I’ll get one somewhere else.

My sexuality makes up so small of who I am as a person; it really shouldn’t matter.

Pushing Back: Speaking Out on Twitter

Other non-totalitarian, liberty-loving gay Americans chose to push back by making their voices heard via social media.

Pushing Back: The New Squeaky Wheels

The phenomenon of gay Americans, fellow freedom-fighters, pushing back against the radical LGBT lobby isn’t unique to the Masterpiece Cakeshop court case. Since 2013, Chad Felix Greene- a wedded gay man – has “been writing in favor of religious freedom for those asked to participate in gay weddings.”

After Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, Mr. Greene stated:

LGBT’s hysterical denunciations and hair-on-fire rhetoric has not changed. Fortunately the argument has. We must continue fighting the rhetoric.

This case is not over.

Back in December of 2017, a gay duo – T.J. and Matt – made headlines for their open support of Jack Phillips and all who wish to exercise religious liberty and freedom of speech.  In a video for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the pair, standing outside the front entrance of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, explained:

We’re here to buy stuff from him and support him, because we don’t think any artist should be forced to create for something that violates their beliefs.

On Monday, echoing the same sentiment, Mr. Greene explained to his followers on Twitter:

The LGBT movement needs to understand that tolerance goes both ways. They have been behaving as though they are entitled to special treatment from everyone under the guise of ‘equality.’

We have equality. But we don’t have the right to demand others violate their beliefs for us.

The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages is what every part is entitled to and ought to enjoy.

-Benjamin Franklin

Reason to Hope

The trappings of authoritarian identify politics are being rejected and the walls are beginning to crumble. Liberty-loving Americans representing a plurality of circumstance and lifestyle, often hidden from the limelight of the media, are joining together in good will.

As a Christian and an artist, I count the mounting acts of ideological divergence – examples of bravery – from those in the gay community, as true blessings!

Alas! The Lord works in mysterious ways.

 

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Education

A Tale of Two Shootings

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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Charles Dickens probably never thought of a shooting as the best of times, nor would anyone else. However, if you HAVE to have a shooting, then the obvious “best of times” is one where only the gunman dies. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

Today we had yet another, preventable shooting at a soft-target school, where the best defense the government can come up with is making the school a gun-free zone, and occasionally a couple of cops.

The facts will continue to play out, but while two police officers acted heroically today (take note, Broward County Sheriff’s Office) what we do know is that there were still far too many innocents killed. The first officer was shot before he knew what was happening, and the second seems to have moved as fast as he could, though no one can be everywhere at once.

This will obviously be a story that is played out in the press for days, while the talking heads on Fox News and CNN spout various “solutions” to the problems of mass shootings. Most of these talking heads won’t have the first clue what they are talking about.

I am a former military and civilian firearms instructor. I still teach friends and family who want to learn, but I don’t charge anymore. I was a Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor. I know the law in Texas. A 17 year-old having access to his father’s weapons like what happened today is a felony for the father. Yes, there is a DEFENSE to this charge if the gun was used in self-defense, but this was not the case here, and so the father can not use this defense in court, though I’m sure his lawyers will try if they’re paid enough. The father of today’s shooter (I won’t use his name and give him the fame so many of these killers desire) WILL see time in prison, if Attorney General Ken Paxton has anything to say about it. The father may have obtained his guns legally, but in no way was a 17 year-old legally using them.

Obviously, today’s shooting was the worst of times.

The best of times happened just yesterday in Dixon, Illinois, when a school resource officer shot a would-be school shooter. There were snippets about this in the NY Times and other major news outlets, but that story has already gone away, while this one will not. It SHOULD be talked about just as much as today’s shooting. We need to talk about successes in stopping school shootings just as much as we talk about failures. We need to have an honest conversation about what DOES and what DOES NOT work.

I’m not going to use this piece to go into a great detail on the gun-control debate, though I’m sure that’s where the Left will continue to take us, even though they admit there are no additional laws they want that would stop these horrific tragedies. I DO want us all to come to some common ground on this issue of school shootings though.

1. ALL of us (we, the common people) want these to stop. I say we the common people because there are a great number of politicians on both sides of the debate, but particularly on the Left, who make a great deal of hay when these incidents happen.

2. We have to have an honest conversation about what does and does not work. An HONEST conversation, by the way, Lefties, does not mean what levels of gun control we’re willing to accept.  And for those on the Right, yes, we need to talk about gun control. It’s our job to demonstrate to those who are ill-informed why gun control has not and never will work.

3. We need to approach this with logic and facts, not emotion.

This honest conversation has to begin with certain undeniable facts:

1. The shootings with the lowest body counts are those stopped by a good guy with a gun. It’s not ALWAYS a cop. Arming responsible teachers who both desire to carry and have demonstrated that they can handle a gun is something we need to talk about. I’ve heard good arguments for this, and one or two reasonable concerns against.

2. In nearly every incidence, mental health has played a factor, and could be seen BEFORE the shooting.

3. In MOST (not all) incidences, there were already mechanisms in place within current law that COULD have and SHOULD have stopped the gunman from obtaining firearms. Take today for example. Daddy is going to go to jail, and he should, for not having his firearms secured where his son could get them. I’m speculating here, but I’m willing to bet a lot of money as the investigation goes on, that the father of the gunman knew his son was disturbed, and should not only have kept his firearms secure from his son, as is the law in Texas, but also should have been seeking mental health for his son.

4. The Left is going to hate this one, but it’s an undeniable fact. Almost every one of these mass shootings, and ALL of them in schools, are in gun free zones. Those who know little to nothing about guns may think this irrelevant, but it is one of the most important points. They are soft targets that are chosen because most if not everyone there is completely defenseless.

There is more we could talk about on today’s shooting. We could talk about the explosives, the fact that neither of the guns used are ones the Left (currently) claims it wants to ban, or the instant calls for gun control. I did see something just yesterday that I found interesting from the Left. They were complaining that Parkland was disappearing from the news and it wasn’t getting any attention anymore, a month later. They wanted to push for gun control and nothing else.

Well, I have a solution for this. Adhere to the above rules for a conversation, and accept the undeniable facts above, and then engage us with logic and reason, instead of pure emotion. The kids from the Parkland shooting got famous not for their calm reason, but for their rage.

And before you think I’m not emotional ENOUGH about all this, just keep in mind I have two little boys in public school here in Texas. Yes, I’d love for the teachers and administrators in their schools (those who want to be) armed and willing to protect my kids. I’ll donate the time on the range to help them become proficient. I’ll even pay for the ammo and range time.

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Culture and Religion

Trump goes nuclear on Iran deal

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In a move that will doubtlessly give Muslim apologists around the world an apoplexy, President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal made with Iran under the Obama Administration which was theoretically supposed to prevent the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Instead, as the President made clear in his announcement, the Iranian regime has gained momentum toward developing nuclear weapons as well as the missile technology needed to deliver warheads around the world.

Calling the deal “defective at its core,” President Donald Trump gave his multitude of reasons to withdraw from the deal and to impose sanctions upon the radical Islamic regime. Trump also made a series of promises that made it clear that he would not tolerate Iran from advancing their nuclear weapons program. He also left the door open to renegotiating the deal in the future, and even seemed confident that Iran WOULD seek such a deal in the future.

Presidents are supposed to remain optimistic, and Trump did a good job in this respect by leaving that door to renegotiating open. However, it is quite possible that the President himself didn’t believe his own optimism. Iran has never negotiated in good faith with the world before, and they are unlikely to start now.

President Trump touted his ongoing success with the North Korean regime to prop up the idea that new sanctions will force Iran back to the bargaining table. On its face, this seems like it could be done. After all, Trump has accomplished on the Korean Peninsula more than six decades worth of Presidents combined.

That said, the circumstances are somewhat different in Iran than they are in North Korea. For one thing, Iran has large oil and natural gas reserves, which allows them to generate foreign currency at a level North Korea cannot come close to matching. Further, while North Korea is controlled by a brutal dictator, we have seen circumstances over the decades where Communist ideology has been overturned in favor of capitalism based simply on the fact that the latter works, and the former does not. Iran, however, is not just dictated by Marxism, but rather by radical Islamic fundamentalism, which has never been overcome except by force of arms.

Only time will tell how all this plays out.

In the meantime, there is, sadly, little the President can do to recoup the billions of dollars given to Iran by his predecessor. That money is gone, and has undoubtedly been used not only to further Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but to fund radical Islamic terrorism across the Middle East and around the world.

What the President CAN do is order a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding the giving of billions of taxpayer dollars to the murderous regime, and if evidence is found of wrongdoing, prosecute those US officials and former officials who had a hand in what is tantamount to treason. While the money will still be gone, having been used for evil, such prosecution could discourage future US Administrations from acting so willfully against the best interests of the American People and the world.

Former White House National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes would be an excellent person with whom to start the investigation, and Secretary John Kerry as well as former President Obama himself may need to be called to account. I, for one, am not holding my breath on the Obama Administration being held to account for any of its multiple crimes, but it WOULD be nice.

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