From 2009 to 2016, I had to say this (or a variation of this) repeatedly: "Barack Obama is the President, and Obama alone is responsible for his decisions." Now let me rephrase it: "Donald Trump is the President, and Trump alone is responsible for his decisions."
Within a month of Obama's inauguration, it was already incredibly tiresome to see Obama and his enablers point back to George W. Bush and whine like little children. It is even more tiresome to see conservatives adopt the exact same pathetic, childish excuses that Obama had been using (and that we roundly mocked him for using) for eight years. It is pathetic and needs to stop. Grow up. All of you. Grow up.
If what Trump is doing on policy is good, defend those policies on their merits. If the rhetoric Donald Trump uses is good, defend what he says on its merits. Do not whine that Obama did the same thing. It was childish when Obama and his enablers whined and pointed at George W. Bush for the entire eight years he was President, and it is childish now that Trump and his enablers are doing the same thing. Stop it.
Folks, this is literally the same behavior I am trying to train my children to avoid. I often say something like this: "It does not matter what your brother does or does not do. Do not worry about your brother. Worry about yourself." What kind of example are our national leaders setting for children and young people?
I have often maligned political correctness, and I have been especially critical of the concept of "safe spaces" from ideas and opinions one does not like. I also have little use for the "check your privilege" meme. That said, I am going to defend the concept of both "safe spaces" and "check your privilege" here, while disagreeing with the way they are implemented by Leftists.
First, "safe spaces" is one that is easy to defend as a general concept. Everyone has a "safe space" in his life. For example, my home is a safe space. I expect to take a great deal of criticism out in the world for my political activism, and in fact I often thrive on it. But if someone is in my home and insults me, they will be expected to be respectful or they will be asked to leave. Even conservatives who attack "safe spaces" most harshly will demand respect in their own homes. If we attend a Bible-believing church, we expect that church will be a "safe space" from heresy and false religions.
Obviously, the way Leftists on college campuses implement "safe spaces" is absurd. I am not defending the implementation of that concept by the Left. I am merely pointing out that we all have "safe spaces."
"Check your privilege" is problematic, but there is some merit to the concept. Growing up as a middle class white man, I may not fully understand the perspective of someone who has a vastly different background. It is often useful to consider why someone who has a vastly different life experience has a different perspective. It may not change the way I think about something, but it never hurts to have more information or to consider other world views when forming your opinion on an issue.
Where "check your privilege" fails, obviously, is when it is used to justify moral relativism or to engage in utterly silly forms of censorship. There are certain moral standards that should be universal no matter someone's background, and "privilege" does not change the applicability of that standard. Furthermore, the value of free speech does not change because one person has "privilege" that another person does not have.
So what is the point? The point is that there are many times we need to re-examine what we think, and we may find we have more common ground than we thought we did.
If violent Leftist radicals want Donald Trump to be re-elected as President in 2020, then by all means continue rioting, burning things down, breaking windows and assaulting people. America has had enough of this behavior, which never convinces anyone and turns many people against your cause.
The display on February 1 in Berkeley, California was utterly shameful. Milo Yiannopoulos was not allowed to speak because deranged Leftists were rioting, smashing windows and setting fires. (Yiannopoulos is an openly homosexual Jew. So much for the Left's alleged respect for diversity.)
This sort of heckler's veto should never be tolerated, and it was refreshing to see President Trump threaten to pull federal funding from the university for allowing this violent censorship.
We have not been spared locally either, as Leftist radicals vandalized buildings and smashed windows in protest of the legitimately elected President of these United States.
I was pleased to see greatly outnumbered Leftists peacefully protesting the Rally for Life last month. We can be civil and express our viewpoints in a peaceful way. This is how protest should work.
But our city government (starting with Mayor Hamilton) should have zero tolerance for those who use violence to accomplish political goals.
It is rather absurd that Leftists see Nazis around every corner, and one of the more silly examples is an accusation in a recent letter to the editor that the Monroe County Republican Party's "red shirt" group reminds the author of Nazi Brownshirts. (The Brownshirts were thugs that preceded the Nazi regime and were notoriously violent.) The Monroe GOP "red shirts" are a group started earlier this year that volunteers with various social service agencies to help the poor and those in need.
My main concern with the name "red shirts" is that everyone stay far away from the Starship Enterprise. We all know what happens to people who wear red shirts on the Enterprise. Also, I just hope I was not unwittingly a member of a group of neo-Nazi thugs when I wore my red shirt while working at Kroger years ago. If the employees in red shorts (or grey, or blue) are modeled after Nazi brownshirts, I wonder what the Service employees International Union is, then. Would the SEIU be the SS?
Seriously, folks... Is this actually an objection? Is this a serious criticism?
Do people believe this foolishness? Really?
Come on, people. There is no historical context to understand and there is no education needed regarding "red shirt" volunteers here in Monroe County. It is an absurd leap to equate a group organized to serve people in need to thugs and criminals who terrorized people to advance a political agenda. This is one of the biggest reasons Donald Trump won, because people are fed up with this politically correct nonsense from pathetic crybabies who are perpetually "offended" every minute of the day. Grow up and get over yourself.
When you cannot even volunteer your time and money to serve the poor without being equated to Nazi thugs in Weimar Germany, political correctness is totally out of control and *should* be mocked and ridiculed for the foolishness it is. The Leftists attacking the Monroe GOP cannot be taken seriously and should not be engaged in a serious discussion. I truly do not care about your feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelings, because your feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelings are not based in reality.
By the way, the hypocrisy in these defamatory attacks is astonishing. I have heard for decades that Republicans do not care about the poor. When local Republicans step up to serve those in need by volunteering their time and money, they are literally smeared as Nazis. This destroys the credibility of the people making the attacks. Finally, given the Leftist "punch a Nazi" memes going around, can we expect to see Republicans volunteering at local social service agencies be the subject of violence and terrorism from deranged Leftists?
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Senate Bills 237 and 24 - moving toward a police state?
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2009 07:42:28 -0500
From: Scott Tibbs <email@example.com>
To: H60@IN.gov, H61@IN.gov, H65@IN.gov, S44@IN.gov, S40@IN.gov
Representatives Welch, Pierce and Koch, and Senators Steele and Simpson,
I am writing to express my concern about and opposition to two pieces of legislation currently before the Indiana State Senate. Senate Bill 237 would require "all persons arrested after June 30, 2009, to submit a DNA sample." Senate Bill 24 would require "all persons arrested for a felony after June 30, 2009, to submit a DNA sample."
I have deep concerns about the government collecting and maintaining a DNA database for people arrested for a crime. If SB 237 and SB 24 only dealt with people convicted of a crime, it would be enough of a concern, though I can see the usefulness of keeping this kind of data on some criminals, especially convicted sex offenders. This would be a worthwhile discussion if that were the case, though there would still be concerns. But why should someone arrested for a crime that he/she may or may not have committed be required to submit a DNA sample?
SB 24 "provides for the expungement of a DNA sample" if the person arrested is acquitted, if the conviction is reversed, or if the case is dismissed. So why not require a DNA sample upon conviction of a crime instead? Why should everyone arrested for a felony be subject to DNA profiling when the data will only be kept on those convicted? In these lean economic times, why should government be spending money to collect and then dispose of DNA samples from people who are arrested but not convicted?
DNA evidence can be very useful for the criminal justice system, leading to the conviction of those responsible for crimes but also leading to the exoneration of people who have committed no crime. My concern is that legislation like this moves Indiana a little bit closer to being a police state, something that is anathema to a system of government founded on individual liberty and limitations on government power. I urge you to vote "no" on SB 237 and SB 24, and to do whatever you can to prevent them from becoming law.
Jonah Goldberg makes a goodpoint that conservatives should not defend everything Donald Trump does and says. He is right. We are a political party, not a cult. Trump is the President, not our Messiah. To the extent we treat Trump as Messiah instead of as President, we betray everything this great nation was founded to be.
On broad policy matters, Trump has done well, conservatives are mostly pleased with him (I certainly have been) and conservatives can defend him in good conscience. When he goes off the rails, behaves in a childish and petulant manner, or is dishonest, it is difficult to defend him - and we should not defend him. The reason Trump feels empowered to behave childishly is because he has too many people defending him for every single thing he does, treating him like the Branch Davidians treated David Koresh.
This is not conservatism. This is wicked idolatry and those doing it must repent.
Now, to a certain extent, I like Trump's style. I was thrilled when he threatened to take away federal funds from UC Berkeley after they bowed to violent radicals who were rioting in response to a homosexual Jewish immigrant being allowed to speak on campus. I cannot imagine Mitt Romney, john McCain, George W. Bush or Bob Dole having the intestinal fortitude to eschew establishment norms and take it to the Left the way Trump did. Trump is notoriously thin-skinned, but he is a counter-puncher and millions upon millions of conservatives have been longing for a counter-puncher for decades.
The problem is that Trump is undisciplined and unfocused. If he would channel his personality in a more productive way, it would be easier to defend him, and he will pick up many more defenders. Instead of smacking everyone, be a little more restrained and save your fire for when it will be more productive. Conservatives already like what he is doing on policy, broadly speaking. I want to defend him more often, but I refuse to defend childish and petulant tantrums, especially from someone who occupies an office that needs a steady hand and a mature temperament. I want Trump to be that kind of leader, and I believe he can be. The question is whether he wants to be that kind of leader.
One of the things President Trump wants to change is to make federal government employees easier to fire. Clearly reform is needed, to make it easier to remove federal employees who are incompetent, lazy, insubordinate or otherwise poor employees. The most egregious examples are things like federal employees watching porn at work instead of working, and are very difficult to terminate despite this behavior. But here is the problem: Extreme cases make bad law, and making all federal employees "at will" goes too far in the other direction.
Having all federal employees be "at will" in 1917 would have been more feasible, but the federal government is called a leviathan for a reason. Government is simply too big for large-scale changes when a new administration takes office, which is what would happen if all employees served at the pleasure of the President. It would be extremely disruptive, would reduce services to the taxpayers, and would demoralize employees. It would incentivize abuse of power, as well as putting in unqualified employees to replace the qualified employees that are fired on an "at will" basis.
Furthermore, government should have fewer rights than private employers. If a private employer does not like someone's political opinions, that employer is free to remove that worker. The federal government is bound by the First Amendment to not punish employees' political speech. There is more leeway when dealing with employees than the general public, obviously, if an employee is being disruptive to the work environment. (That can be abused, obviously.) But the reason that we have the protections in place for federal employees is to prevent abuses of power. To the extent that the protections allow bad employees to continue to collect a paycheck, they should be reformed.
We have seen locally the kind of chaos that can result when new elected officials clean house when they take office. That would be magnified many times over if federal employees were "at will" the way city and county employees are. Making massive changes in the structure of federal employment in response to the extreme cases of porn-watching employees is not in the best interest of the taxpayers, the other employees or the interest of an efficient government.
Since the National Organization for Women held a "rally for choice" on February 11, I decided to attend with a sign showing the reality of "choice" - the remnants of an aborted baby. If you are advocating for "choice," then we should be clear on exactly what you are supporting and exactly what "choice" does.
I had butterflies walking up there. To some extent this because I was vastly outnumbered, but I got over that once I took my position. I was a little concerned that someone would take a swing at me, but thankfully that did not happen. I just stood there silently with my sign. I thought I would be surrounded and censored earlier, but they let me stand there for several minutes before ten people surrounded me to block my sign.
To test their commitment, I moved. They followed me and surrounded me again. When I moved a second time, they followed me and surrounded me again. So I thought it would be useful to document the fact that there was a moving wall, following and surrounding one counter protester with a sign. (There was another man there with a similar sign, who was seated.)
This is where the behavior of the feminists actually surprised me. This was a public rally. It was being covered by the invited news media. It was live-streamed on Facebook by NOW and on Periscope by someone else who was there. So taking video of the moving wall would not be a big deal, right? Wrong! Censorship of free speech was not enough for the pro-abortion crowd. They had to suppress freedom of the press in addition to practicing censorship. My phone was blocked from recording, and when I tried to move it they blocked it again. Non-approved video would not be permitted.
The whole situation was silly. My sign was not a threat to anyone at the rally, and neither am I. For perspective, no one surrounded and censored the signs of people who counter-protested the Rally for Life a month ago. They counter-protested and we held our rally. But because I was exposing the reality of what this rally was organized to support, the feminists had to censor free speech and suppress freedom of the press. It shows that the real intolerance in this debate is on the Left.
Since Donald Trump took office, the level of anger all over social media has been astounding. People are reacting with furious outrage to virtually anything Trump does or says. Trump's own supporters were largely driven by anger themselves, and much of that anger has remained even after he has taken office.
Wassup wit dat?
Here is my advice to everyone raging on social media: Chill out. Calm down. Enjoy life. Relax. In fact, combine chilling out and relaxing, and chillax for a while.
Last year was probably the most frustrating year I have ever experienced in politics, which led me to doing something I have never done before: I unplugged from politics for a month. For the first week of that vacation, I did not even read the news. I needed to unplug, settle down, and find some perspective.
We live in a time where we are more blessed than at any point in human history. We have more leisure time than ever before, better technology than ever before, and even our work is easier. Yet people get so wrapped up and angry about politics that they cannot speak to each other with any kind of civility. We have to blame them for what is wrong with the world, demand they join our outrage, and personally attack them if they refuse.
For the vast majority of us, the world will not suffer if we stop posting, protesting or venting against whatever has us outraged at the moment. Unplug and go paint a picture or take your dog got a walk. It is not worth it to be so angry all the time that you make yourself miserable, or to be so obnoxious that people do not want to interact with you. If it is affecting you that much, walk away for a while. Your stomach lining will thank you.
If not for nuclear weapons serving as a deterrent to both sides, we likely would have had a third World War between these United States (and its allies) and the Soviet Union (and its satellites) within a decade of World War II. Nuclear weapons prevented the untold devastation that war would have inflicted.
Nobody on the face of the planet believes that tolerance is in and of itself a virtue, and nobody has ever believed that. Not one single person in human history has ever been perfectly tolerant, and nobody should be perfectly tolerant. We need to reject the meme that tolerance is always good, breaking free of this sophistry to instead think like men and women, not little children.
Instead of extolling the virtues of tolerance itself, we should think about what should be tolerated, and what should not be tolerated. Obviously, things like murder, rape, stealing and terrorism should not be tolerated and even those who advocate for "tolerance" most loudly will agree with that. Christians are expected to not tolerate sin, either in our own lives or in the world around us. So the first distinction we need to make is the difference between a sin and a crime. (For the purpose of this discussion, crimes are the most serious sins. Not all crime is sin, and that is a separate issue to be discussed at a later time.)
A crime harms someone else and must be punished by the civil magistrate. Sin primarily harms the sinner, though it may cause harm to someone else that does not rise to the level the civil magistrate needs to use the sword. Because we are called to love God and His Law, Christians should not "tolerate" things like greed, anger, pride, bitterness or lust. We should rebuke sins, with the hope that either the sinner will come to repentance and faith or that we will have victory over it. But it is not a crime to be greedy, angry, arrogant or lecherous unless the idolatry in a man's heart leads him to commit actual physical crimes.
In fact, sometimes tolerance is objectively evil. When people in positions of authority know terrible crimes are being committed and innocent people are being subjected to horrific acts and then do absolutely nothing to stop it, those in authority are every bit as guilty as the criminal himself. In fact, it could be argued they are actually worse because they refuse to use the authority given to them by Almighty God to protect the widow and the orphan. Tolerance is never admirable when we tolerate helpless innocents being victimized.
We live in a nation that, as a matter of law, tolerates all manner of religions and political ideologies. We live under a constitutional system that does not jail or execute people for their religion or ideology, and that is a good level of tolerance. Christians should then emulate the tolerance in our legal system for those holding heretical or idolatrous religious views, and also tolerate ideologies might find abhorrent. This means we may not harm or persecute people for these reasons. That is why we may not, as the meme goes, "punch a Nazi."
But we are well within our rights to speak against them and try to persuade people to turn away from heresy and idolatry. We are to be intolerant of something that dishonors God, but also being tolerant at the same time within our legal framework. There is not a thick black line where tolerance is universally good or bad.
Obviously, it is impossible to explore every single permutation of when tolerance is good or bad in a blog post. I could write several books on the subject and barely scratch the surface of every possible permutation of this principle. My point is we need to have a broader view and understanding of tolerance and when it is necessary, when it is good and when it is evil. I admit that I am still figuring this out in my own mind. We all are.