Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Downside of Diversity

In "Diversity Can Spell Trouble," Victor Davis Hanson writes a thoughtful piece on the often-negative consequences of diversity in a society. Hanson is such a well-educated scholar and historian of ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome that it's really tough to argue with his points--although people often do. In fact, VDH's website has an "Angry Reader" feature in which he publishes criticisms he has received, along with his responses.

Whenever I read articles by such learned and astute writers as Mark Steyn or Victor Davis Hanson, I'm reminded of how sorely lacking our public education system is today. It's one of the drawbacks of diversity, the disintegration of our national unity in exchange for the dominance of various ethnic or social groups.

Hanson expresses that thought eloquently, as follows:
"A diverse America requires constant reminders of e pluribus unum and the need for assimilation and integration. The idea of Americanism is an undeniably brutal bargain in which we all give up primary allegiance to our tribes in order to become fellow Americans redefined by shared ideas rather than mere appearance."
 Good luck with that in today's fractured America. How sad for us--every last diverse one of us.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"The Dog Ate My Homework" and Other Excuses

Hillary Clinton has a new book out. With the unintentionally comical title What Happened, Clinton expects a reader to sit back and drill through 512 pages of finger-pointing fury.

Sorry, Hill. Not this bookworm.

The list of reasons why Clinton thinks she lost the 2016 presidential election is breathtakingly long and exhaustive. It was because of Vladimir Putin, James Comey, President Obama. It was because of Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Steve Bannon. It was because of racism, sexism, misogyny, bad polling, suburban women. It was because of the Democratic National Committee, the Electoral College and Citizens United. Even Facebook and Netflix are called in for some accountability. Perhaps the most amusing target of Clinton's wrath is the media--not just the "right wing media," but "the mainstream media." Seriously!

By far the most insulting, belittling and condescending excuse Clinton presents is that white women were somehow mind-controlled by the men in their lives to vote for Donald Trump:
“Women will have no empathy for you because they will be under tremendous pressure — and I’m talking principally about white women — they will be under tremendous pressure from fathers, and husbands, and boyfriends and male employers, not to vote for ‘the girl,'” 
In your dreams, Loser. I'm a white woman who has been voting for president since I was in college. There is not a man in my life who ever once tried to sway my vote. Of course, all of the men in my life knew better than to make even a feeble attempt to do so. My vote is mine. And all those women who voted for Donald Trump? Their vote was theirs, too. No one walks into the voting booth with us. And women are not stupid, despite your obnoxious insinuation.

So since you're having such an existential struggle with the lamentable obtuseness of the American woman, Madam Secretary/Senator/First Lady, let me explain to you "What Happened." Americans--male and female--didn't want you to become president. People didn't trust you, didn't like you, didn't want you leading the country. You're a liar, a fake, and a criminal--a bad combination to overlook simply because it's "your turn" to be president. The country is tired of listening to your voice and couldn't tolerate the thought of another four years hearing it. So I guess you'll have to settle for 512 pages of blame and bitterness.

Neither blame nor bitterness are leadership qualities. If you read between the lines, oh superior one, you'll see plainly that's What Happened.

Monday, September 11, 2017

In Memory and Honor

This steel beam from the wreckage of the Twin Towers was on display at the San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. Each climber touched the beam, read from their event badge the name of the fallen hero they were representing, and rang the bell standing next to it before beginning their climb.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

The 2017 San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

This video is from the 2016 San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. I was there, and it was a moving and inspiring event. I was also proud, because my firefighter son was a climber. Firefighters from all of the San Diego region climb 110 floors in honor of the first responders who gave their lives on September 11. Matt appears at 3:27 in the video. He'll be climbing again this Saturday, and I'll be there again to cheer him on.

September 11. Never forget.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Endorsing Work

In "The Day After Labor," Mark Steyn has some interesting reflections on Labor Day (or Labour Day--"you can't spell labour without you.") Along with presenting some frightening thoughts on a present and future increasingly devoid of honest work, Mark neatly summarizes his point:
"Labor Day is an appropriate occasion on which to reflect upon the dignity of work and self-sufficiency and its indispensability to a civilized society."
Written with his usual acerbic wit, "The Day After Labor" is a good read--especially if you hold a job and work hard. To all American workers from sea to shining sea, Happy Labor Day.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Two Sides of Evil

Great piece by Marc Thiessen on the similarities of neo-Nazis and antifa. The excerpt below sums up the peril we now face:
"Neo-Nazis are the violent advocates of a murderous ideology that killed 25 million people last century. Antifa members are the violent advocates of a murderous ideology that, according to “The Black Book of Communism,” killed between 85 million and 100 million people last century. Both practice violence and preach hate. They are morally indistinguishable. There is no difference between those who beat innocent people in the name of the ideology that gave us Hitler and Himmler and those who beat innocent people in the name of the ideology that gave us Stalin and Dzerzhinsky."
How quickly the free and comfortable forget the horrors of totalitarianism. We are in danger of repeating a terrible chapter of history, and we are obligated to take a firm stand to prevent it from happening again.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Look Before You Help

We all want to help our Texas neighbors. In deciding where to donate toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, I like my tried and true charities for disaster relief: Catholic Charities USA and The Salvation Army. The Red Cross is very a very worthy charity, too, but I can live without the additional emails and snail mails I know I'll get if I begin donating there, also. (That's no doubt selfish of me, but that's a tangent for another post.)

Over the years, through disasters near and far, once I had settled upon these two charities that I'm comfortable with (and resigned to receiving mail from), I've stayed with them.

If you are planning to contribute to a charity in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it's always worthwhile to remind ourselves that disasters bring out the worst in bad people. To be sure that our financial donation goes to where it should go to do the most good for the most people, a little research goes a long way. If you're new to charitable giving, be sure that the organization you choose is one you don't mind receiving endless correspondence from for many years to come. Because I promise you, they will never, ever lose your address.

However, emails, cards, and letters are a small inconvenience to bear in exchange for the huge feeling of spiritual satisfaction we will feel by doing something good to help others who are in urgent and painful need in our hard and hurting world.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Robin Hood, Where Art Thou?

 Victor Davis Hanson presents one of the most cogent takedowns of progressive hypocrisy I've yet encountered in "Silicon Valley Billionaires Are the New Robber Barons." Nothing underscores our current era's frightening lack of critical thinking skills than the following jarring observation:
 In the case of the cobalt mining that is necessary for the production of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, thousands of child laborers in southern Africa are worked to exhaustion.
Oh yes, little clown-car drivers. Don't be so smug about "going green." Laptop and i-Phone users, be aware. Follow the money and you'll find that the human cost of our trendy conveniences is quite considerable.

Monday, August 14, 2017

About Charlottesville

We, as a nation, are in such a very bad place right now. The horror and evil of the Charlottesville atrocity underscores the darkness that is currently obscuring our American spirit. I've read dozens of articles today, but this one by Robert Tracinski, "Notes From Charlottesville On Our State Of Emergency," is the best I've found. In comparing the "white supremacists" and the "antifas" (the new trendy term for "anti-fascist"), Tracinski notes:
The two sides are mirror images of each other, and both have an interest in making our politics devolve into street fighting. Both sides have also been priming their people to be ready to kill for the cause...
This is all true. Seriously, if someone is waving a swastika flag or a communist flag, as they were Saturday in Charlottesville, what's the difference? The only difference, as the old joke goes, is the uniforms. These are both evil, totalitarian, intolerant and violent ideologies that have absolutely nothing to do with American values. In fact, they have caused the deaths of untold numbers of Americans who fought against them. Furthermore, the USA defeated both of these failed ideologies at great cost in blood and treasure. So if you're fond of the Nazi or Soviet flags, go wave them somewhere else. No true American wants anything to do with your hatefulness. It's an insult to all those who died to protect and preserve our freedom.

Also worth reading are Hugh Hewitt's observations in "The Charlottesville driver isn't the only one who should lawyer up." Speaking from his experience as a constitutional law professor, Hewitt explains the criminal culpability of those participating in the protests. It's eye-opening, and I can only hope there are indeed many prosecutions against the instigators and perpetrators of Saturday's violence.

The United States has not been in such terrible condition since the 1960s. I hope we can get a grip soon. We can't stay too long in such a bad place without incurring permanent damage.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tolerating Reality

I rarely recommend anything published in The New York Times. Frank Bruni's "I'm A White Man. Hear Me Out." stands as a worthy exception.

Intolerance is a hot topic in today's headlines. Whether it's a Google firing over an unpopular viewpoint, violence over political differences, or being shouted down due to philosophical differences, we Americans are behaving with increasing immaturity and irrationality in the face of opposing opinions. Black, white, left, right--we are, all of us, much more than the sum of our parts. Too many of us have forgotten that fact--or worse, we have never learned it. We are, each one of us, responsible for the decisions and actions in our own lives. It is our own choice to protest, to counter-protest, to speak out on one or the other side of an issue.

Screaming into the wind accomplishes nothing except making noise. It is not the fault of the president or the police if things go badly due to our own actions. If we decide to take a principled stand, we had best be prepared to accept the consequences. Results won't always break our way. The fact that things don't turn out as we want them do does not automatically equate with hatred, oppression, or racism. Occasionally we need to accept the challenging idea that we may have been wrong.

All of us will be wrong, sometimes. Hopefully, that's how we learn. If we learn, we grow. That's a reality of life.