July 7, 2014
Redskins is disparaging because it focuses on skin color? Oklahoma should be on notice–the state’s name is Choctaw for “red people”.
There’s a certain sort of modern irony–a sweet, sweet irony–in the uproar among the very small minority in the media, academia, and in the public at large who find the Washington Redskins to be an offensive team nickname. It would be sweet, if the preposterous nature of the public crusade didn’t involve real attempts to ruin real people. For several years there have been those in the sports media: Michael Silver and Bob Costas, for example; those in the political sphere like Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, and those professional offense-takers and publicity hounds, such as Ray Halbritter and Amanda Blackhorse who equate the naming of a football team the Redskins as akin to using the “N” word for a team nickname.
Let’s pause for a moment. If we are discussing the relative offensiveness of two words and you won’t even say one of them, you already lose. By your own standard.
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July 2, 2014
When someone says they don’t follow politics or get involved in civics because they are Christians and are concerned most about the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore shouldn’t be concerned with the things of this world… I can’t help but think to myself… Do you know who won the Bachelor?
Are you glued to Royal Wedding/Baby/Bar Mitzvah coverage?
Can you recite the starting lineups of your favorite football teams or the cast of sitcoms?
What about the latest fashions, fads or hit songs?
Can we agree, then, that it is more likely that you personally just don’t care about politics? Don’t dress it up with any higher purpose than that, please. I do have questions for you, though, as a Christian who is disengaged civically but knows all of the lyrics to “Call Me, Maybe”: Which activity do you think is more likely to impact someone else’s life? Politics, or Glee? And, just because you aren’t involved in politics yourself, do you think that precludes politics from becoming interested in you? Many Christians are finding that not to be the case, these days. The hard way.
On the flip side, you shouldn’t be able to name your State Representative or know how many members of Congress there are, but not be able to name the Beatitudes, or to articulate the Gospel. If we claim to be Christians but our religion is informed by our preferences, and our views are conversely not informed by that faith, then we have just crafted an idol for ourselves to worship–not a real, reflective faith. Be informed in all the important areas of life. Just a thought.
June 29, 2014
Occasionally I’m reminded of the downward trajectory of the discourse in America over social issues like gay marriage. And, by occasionally, I mean several times a day. Proponents of gay “marriage” and all sorts of tolerance-toters typically speak in lofty terms about how open-minded and forward-thinking they are. However, when confronted with somebody’s viewpoint which does not fall lock-step in line with what they selectively call “tolerance”, these faux civil rights pioneers quickly devolve into name calling, shouting down opponents, and condescending or degrading those who think differently. After all, as it often is when debating the left, “the debate is over”–even though nearly 50% of Americans still oppose the redefinition of the institution of marriage.
Overstock.com thinks you are un-American if you support marriage, according to a spokesperson.
It will only be a few short years before even the insinuation that you don’t believe that marriage is anything that any small minority of people might decide it is, or you believe that your gender is dictated by your genitalia and not your mood that day will get you fired from most any job (it has already happened to Brendan Eich at Mozilla) and run out of business by the government (cake bakers* and photographers* across the country can say Amen). Calm, reasoned argument is met with insult. Personal attacks; the new standard for a valid argument.
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May 25, 2014
A 2013 study released by New York Life of 2,000 Americans examined Americans’ financial and family values. The study asked respondents what they would be willing to exchange for a 50% pay increase. The study beamed that “very few” Americans would trade time off with their family. Despite these trying economic times, societal degradation, and moral decay, apparently Americans still value their families! America is okay after all, right?
Let’s look at the actual numbers. Of those surveyed, 43% of people would give up activities or hobbies for the 50% raise, and 35% would give up vacation time. 30% would give up sleep time every night… Fine, but 54% said they would give up evenings off from work! I don’t know too many folks spending their evenings at work who spend a lot of time with their family–and 54% is a strong majority. 45% said they would spend less time with their friends for more money–okay, but 20% said they would spend less time with their spouse (and these are just the people who admit it!).
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February 4, 2014
Old White men are just itching to take away your rights and build separate restrooms for them “colored folk.”
We’ve got a problem, old White men! At least, the conventional wisdom these days says that the Republican Party has a big problem. And really, when I say old White men and Republicans, isn’t it really just a distinction without a difference? The GOP is becoming way too White. The implication of course is that the racist platform of the Republican Party (like the respect for life, rule of law, and free markets) is driving minorities away from the party in droves. How do we know this? Why, just ask Politico, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the LA Times, Salon, Slate, and any other major media publication. The GOP is ruining the party by becoming too White in a country that is increasingly brown-ish. There are just millions of Blacks, Asians and Hispanics who are ready and rearing to become goose-stepping TEA Partiers, if only Republicans weren’t so gosh-darned racist. It’s great advice, except it’s not true.
Election results would seem to bolster the claims that Republican policies can’t appeal to minorities. After all, CNN exit polls showed that Barack Obama won the support of 71% of Hispanic voters, 93% of Black voters and a healthy majority of any variation of Asian voters. But, the Republican Party is not becoming more “White.” At least, not in the sense that Republicans are gearing their policies and message specifically toward (and thereby only appealing to) Whites. Rather, White People are becoming more Republican, and in that distinction there is a difference.
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December 7, 2013
Let’s return to our March Madness Presidential Pool. I’d begun to work on a series of blog posts for a presidential bracket. I think it is a fun way to look at some of the lesser known attributes of some of our Chief Executives, to think about what makes a good president, and to perhaps rethink some of our own prejudices and notions about America’s political history. 44 presidents (including two Grover Clevelands) rounded out the field (Zack Taylor, Barack Obama and William Harrison have already exited the tournament) and compete in four different regions for the title of best president of all time. The Rose Garden Region wrapped up the play-in games in my last post–today we will move on to the West Wing Region. Things to consider:
- Problems that the president faced internationally or domestically and how he dealt with them.
- Problems that he caused internationally or domestically and how he dealt with them.
- How the president affected the prestige of the office or conducted himself.
- Short term positive or negative effects of the presidency.
- Long term positive or negative effects of the presidency.
- How did the president upheld the oath of office?
- How did he use presidential power?
- How the president changed or shaped the presidency–was he shaped by events or did he control the narrative?
The West Wing Region:
Benjamin Harrison (8) v. Herbert Hoover (9)
This matchup might seem a little lopsided since Herbert Hoover is widely recognized as the cause of the Great Depression, prohibition and polio too. It is unclear from his memoirs if true, but Hoover is also widely suspected of being a vampire. Prototypical Republican. The criticism and suspicion of poor Herbert Hoover knows no end. In addition to being the renowned developer of Hooverville mobile homes, for years (according to presidential historian Robert Ferrell) it was even widely (and erroneously) believed that Hoover had once tried to flee the country with a suitcase full of gold bullion stolen from Fort Knox! Read the rest of this entry »