Reading Is Fundamental – Especially In Politics

As a child of the 70’s and 80’s I have vivid memories of being in school and attending book fairs where we would get to select books, buy them and take them home to add to our libraries. It was an effort associated with the well-known non-profit organization Reading Is Fundamental, the largest advocate for children’s literacy in the world. I am happy to say that it had the desired effect on me. To this day I continue to purchase books regularly, mostly hardcover if I can find them, to which the multitude of stacks around my house can attest. As the organizations name suggests, reading is absolutely fundamental. It allows us to learn and understand complex issues and formulate opinions based on the knowledge we gain.

Since I began studying politics, I have jokingly held the suspicion that many Democratic Representatives are not reading the Bills that they co-sponsor and vote for. If they had, how could they possibly vote for some of the legislation we have seen recently in regard to abortion rights? You can imagine my horror this week when I learned that my suspicion was correct.

Dawn Adams (VA-D) apologized this week to her constituents for co-sponsoring HB 2491 in the Virginia General Assembly that was fortunately defeated by the Republicans. The Bill would have allowed for an abortion to be conducted in the third trimester with only a single physician to certify the abortion. Even if the expecting mother was already in active labor. In the letter she sent out she admitted that she had not read the Repeal Act when she agreed to co-sponsor it. Of her grievous error in judgment Ms. Adams said, “I vaguely remember signing on to this, and I did this in solidarity with my colleague and as a symbolic gesture for a woman’s right to choose.”.

Is that the status quo for co-sponsoring a Bill? Vague recollection and solidarity with others who have already signed? As my father used to say, “If your friends jumped off a bridge – would you?”. Sadly, it appears Ms. Adams did exactly that and jumped to her potential political demise all due to her not taking the time to do the most basic task – reading.

A similar Bill was passed in New York that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law last month. How many people who voted in favor of the Bill that legalized infanticide up to the moment of birth read it? If they did read the Bill, then perhaps the question we should be asking is how could the self-declared party of morality pass such an immoral law?

It reminds me of another example where reading the legislation was not as important as getting it passed. Of course, I am referring to the Affordable Care Act to which then House Minority Leader Sen. Nancy Pelosi (CA-D) said “…we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it…”. Fortunately, it appears now that newly appointed Speaker Pelosi has had a change of heart in that regard.

The Democratic controlled House has proposed new Senate Rules under House Resolution 6 where the legislative text must be made publicly available for a full 72 hours before it is considered in the House. It seems to be common sense, right? Sen. Rand Paul (KY-R) supported a similar rule in 2010 in the Read the Bills Act. So, if Democrats now support it and historically so have Republicans – why is this rule not already in place? For all the talk of common-sense gun laws it seems ironic that we do not have common sense rules allowing time to read proposed legislation?

Questions like this matter and deserve to be answered. They matter as all political questions do. Politics is the legal extension of our morality through the legislation we pass. If we cannot preserve our morality in that way, then what hope is there for the soul of our nation? As Charles Krauthammer wrote in the introduction to his book Things That Matter, “Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.”.

Perhaps those Representatives responsible for proposing and passing the legislation we have seen over the past few weeks should have read those words. It could be the morality of our nation that is destined to burn should we continue to pass laws such as these.

#WAR: Melissa Mackenzie on Andrew Breitbart

This week I am taking a break from what I would normally do for my Friday column. Normally I write during the week as time allows, edit, polish, rewrite, edit, etc. All of which I have been doing, but I feel the need to publish something else today. Something that struck a chord with me this morning and that honestly have not been able to stop thinking about all day. Therefore I am going to postpone publishing what I have been working on this week and instead am writing this ‘on the fly’. This may turn out horribly so I request your forgiveness in advance.

This morning while going through my twitter feed as is my daily ritual, I came across a tweet from Katie Pavlich with a link to a special report piece Melissa Mackenzie wrote about Andrew Breitbart. To be honest I knew the name Andrew Breitbart, that he started the news network that carries his name and that he was a mentor to Ben Shapiro, but beyond that I knew very little.

I started by first watching about half of the first video linked in the column. Andrew’s wit, wisdom and personality leaped off the screen and I could immediately feel a kinship with him. But more importantly I found myself agreeing with what he was saying. Especially when he started to discuss his liberal beginnings and the epiphany he had in regards to Rush Limbaugh. The realization of how his liberal bias of Limbaugh came at the hands of the main stream media. The very same media that I too turned to in the beginning. Andrew said, “All the things I had been told reflected that negative stereotype. But I in fact had never assessed him myself and recognizing that the main stream media doesn’t necessarily tell you the truth, or tells you the truth from its ideological standpoint became this panacea for me where I started to challenge the main stream media.”

Think about those words. ‘…the main stream media doesn’t necessarily tell you the truth, or tells you the truth from its ideological standpoint…’.

I too had come to the very same conclusion of which I wrote about here back in May of 2017. We shared a common experience that I am now coming to the realization is not all that uncommon for conservatives. The realization that the main stream media is, in fact, spinning a narrative that is against our beliefs and who we are as individuals. Their goal is simple – succumb to their ideology or be silenced. And it has been working for decades.

I stopped the video and read Melissa’s column beginning to end. Twice. Slowly reading the words and absorbing their impact like waves in the ocean. Her blunt assessment of the current political environment was spot on. From the main stream media’s hate of President Trump to their even more vile hatred for those who voted for him. Their coverage of the March for Life this past weekend using the Covington Catholic High School boys and Nathan Philips to destroy the positive narrative all while providing glowing non-stop coverage of the Women’s March with nary a mention of its antisemitic undertones. It was as though she had somehow gotten an all access pass into my mind, was taking notes and wrote them for me.

I found myself nodding in agreement….to myself….alone….in my office with only my dogs to see the spectacle. Her affirmations that the Covington kids had the right to wear their MAGA hats, that they have a right to be pro-life, that we have the right to have our voices and morals accounted for as well and that we have the right not to be silenced. And that though we do not seek them out, we must fight the battles that we know are just and right to fight. Not for the sake of arguing but for the sake of truth. For the sake of defending our civil liberties. For our freedom.

Melissa brilliantly chose and used Andrew’s words as encouragement as you read them along side hers. “They declared war on us; we did not declare war on them. We have an obligation to fight back!” – Andrew Breitbart

I couldn’t help but tweet to Melissa letting her know how much I appreciated her column. To me it read like a Conservative Declaration of Independence. It motivates and inspires me to keep learning, to keep writing and most importantly to keep speaking my mind and telling the truth when the main stream media spins their narrative with lies and deception. I know I am years late for the call to action, but I am here now.

I hope to do justice to what Andrew started and to continue to fight as he did. I ordered his book this afternoon, ‘Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!’ and cannot wait to read it. I now have a strong desire to learn more about him, his story and the way in which he waged battle against the New York Times and CNN.

Like Andrew said . . . .

WAR!

Wit, Wisdom & Wokescolding

There is nothing worse than the point in an argument or debate when you realize you are wrong. If you engage in enough discussions, especially those that are political in nature, it’s inevitable that you will find yourself in that position. It is impossible or at least highly improbable that you will understand every key issue you are confronted with. Instead we tend to focus on the issues that matter most to us. We spend our time learning them, understanding the arguments and getting to the point where we understand the complexity of the issues so that we can in turn explain them simply to those who have not taken the time to do so. There are only so many hours in a day and only so much time you can give to any subject. As Richard Feynman said, “I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.”.

Though being wrong does not feel good it should not be allowed to be a deterrent from engaging in those conversations in which you are not an expert. How else are we to learn? We should embrace the chance to discuss, ask questions and become familiar with the facts as they pertain to the issue. Ignorance is not a crime nor should it be viewed as a reason to dismiss a person’s opinion. Rather it should be viewed as an opportunity to teach and possibly learn a new perspective that you hadn’t though of previously. But we must also be careful not to mistake a difference of opinion with ignorance. They are in no way the same and to make the assumption of ignorance is what leads to dismissive and disingenuous discussions that lead to stagnation with no forward progress. Unfortunately this tends to happen a lot.

Political discussions devolve into an exchange of parting shots aimed at those on the other side. Pointed words aimed at not only the issue being discussed but the character of those who oppose our views. More often than not Democrats tend to do this by focusing on the moral character and intellect of the person they are debating. Republicans proclaim to focus on facts and ignore emotional responses as nothing more than opinions that carry no relevant weight in the discussion. After all, as Ben Shapiro says – ‘Facts don’t care about your feelings’ and that mantra is carried by many Conservatives. The problem is that you can readily find moral reasons or facts to uphold any side of an issue you debate. So the questions are: which is correct? How do we determine what side of the issue is the one we should choose to work towards finding a solution that best suits that side of the argument?

I found myself in this position Wednesday evening while discussing with two others on social media the Electoral College. I raised the discussion point contending that the Democrats in the House are attacking the Constitution itself by submitting H.J.Res.7 that would abolish the Electoral College. The two individuals I was discussing this with took the stand that the E.C. is essentially a relic that was pro-slavery and therefore should be abolished with the Popular Vote replacing it. I disagreed with their reasoning and stated that I believe the E.C. should remain and be protected. The sides we took are not the issue I’d like to discuss here, but rather what happened as we debated the issue.

The conversation quickly became a listing of educational resume from one of the two who support abolishing E.C., that my sources provided in support of my view are not academic institutions and the constant statement that I am out of my league on this matter because their education is superior to mine. The second supporter of abolishing E.C. was not on the attack as much as the first, but was dismissive of any responses I had no matter their validity (like the fact that slavery is no longer a thing). Simply put the problem was both sides were convinced their side is the correct side. We failed to acknowledge that both could be true at the same time.

Did the E.C. benefit southern states by the Three Fifths Compromise allowing slaves to be counted for representation in the House? Of course it did. To bring the example to present day it would be the equivalent of us allowing Illegal Immigrants to be counted on our census thereby giving more representation to those states supporting sanctuary cities like California, Illinois and New York. Republicans would lose their collective minds if that were to happen, just as the Democrats rightly objected to the Three Fifths Compromise. Was the E.C. specifically written to support slavery and allow a skewed electoral process? Absolutely not. Additionally, neither of the two have yet to provide facts supporting their argument despite multiple requests for them to do so. I only received an NPR article explaining why some scholars believe it to be so, but no hard evidence just conjecture. Federalist No. 10 and No. 68 explain how the E.C. protects against factions and what Alexis de Tocqueville called ‘the tyranny of the majority’. Nowhere do those papers indicate slavery as a necessary cog to make this engine work.

Instead we volleyed shot after shot at each other’s education, the quality of information being shared, some name calling and a lot of snarky comments along with a lot of wokescolding towards me. I regret to say this conversation thread lasted many hours. As would be expected no middle ground was to be found. It essentially ended with the posting of memes at my expense and the classic ‘no point in arguing with someone who needs to double down to support an illegitimate treasonous president.’. I find many of my discussions with Liberal Democrats end with them ending the conversation by similar means instead of providing persuasive evidence to support their views.

We are seeing the exact same behavior playing out in Washington D.C. today in regards to the Government shut down over border security. President Trump is refusing to budge on $5.7bil for a wall/barrier. Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer refuse to provide the funding for something they believe to be ineffective and immoral. Thus, the shut down continues on into its 28th day – the longest Government shut down in our nations history. Neither side realizing that both of their visions of border security can be true at the same time. The Democrats know barriers are a necessary part of border security and have voted many times before in the past for precisely that. President Trump knows the Dreamers path to citizenship is important to the Democrats and their base. There is a deal to be made here where both sides could walk away with political wins. Provide funding for the barrier, give DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship and reopen the government. America sees this compromise – why can’t Congress?

Perhaps bipartisan debate by We The People of the United States of America is actually the first step in getting our elected officials to do the same. After all, we elected them to office so it is really not all that surprising that they mimic our actions and behaviors when we debate with each other on social media. But there is an expectation that those in Washington D.C. would conduct themselves better. It literally is their job to find compromises on issues such as this. Maybe we should first hold ourselves to maintain civility, decency and the truth in our own conversations before expecting the same from Congress? Lead by example with civil discourse and respect. Following only the facts to support our positions with reason and compromise at the forefront of the discussion.

Now wouldn’t that be something!

Democrats Mantra: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Change The Rules

2016 was a devastatingly difficult election year for the Democrats. I can still see the faces of the main stream media as the election results started coming in that were giving the indication that the impossible had happened. Donald Trump was to become the president elect and eventually the President of the United States. Over the course of the following days and weeks they tried to come to grips with reality. They struggled to understand how this came to be. There had to be an explanation and malicious actors at play here – like the Russians! How is it they lost at a game they were almost guaranteed to win from the start?

It never occurred to them that perhaps they should look into getting better players, but that’s a story for another column.

Eventually they came to the conclusion that the problem was millions of simpletons like you and I who call themselves Conservatives. We are uneducated, evangelical, racist, xenophobic, older white males who dictate to our wives who to vote for because we are also misogynists. How could we possibly be trusted with our votes? Drastic measures must be taken to ensure things like this never happen again! But what to do? The answer the Democrats came up with is simple. Change the rules.

Of course I’m being overly dramatic here. Or am I? It’s not as though they haven’t done that very thing in the past.

In 2013 Senate Democrats led by Harry Reid used the nuclear option on executive branch nominations and federal judge appointments. This was done to ensure President Obamas nominations would not be challenged by traditional filibuster rules. In true “tit for tat” mentality, the Republicans returned the favor in 2017 by invoking the nuclear option in order to end debate on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The Democrats were enraged that their own tactics were used against them and lead to President Trumps first Supreme Court Nominee to be confirmed. Democrats changed Senate rules in order to get what they wanted in the short term only to have it backfire on them in the long run. Now they are at it again, but this time they are targeting the Constitution itself.

With 2020 now clearly in sight and the Democrats taking control of the House they are wasting no time taking efforts to ensure what happened in 2016 does not happen again. On the first day in session for the 116th Congress Rep. Steve Cohen (D) from Tennessee submitted H.J.Res.7 which proposes amending the Constitution to abolish the electoral collage and to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States. No longer would the Democrats have to suffer winning the popular vote like what Hillary did in 2016 but still lose the White House.

By turning our presidential election cycles into nothing more than a popularity contest it can easily be won by securing votes in only a few states. There are two video’s by Prager University from 2015 that explain the Electoral College and why it is so important. I highly recommend you watch them and will provide links to them below this article. The protections built into the Electoral College are crucial to defending our democracy. It ensures we all continue to have a voice when it comes to our elections and guards against interference from other countries which, oddly enough, the Democrats still believe happened in 2016. Why if they believe another country colluded to influence our elections and did so successfully would they now seek to change the process making it easier to influence our future elections by going with a simple popularity vote?

This is why the Democratic Party has become so dangerous. When faced with a loss that they cannot comprehend or believe to be unjust – they seek to change the rules to favor their immediate objectives. They do not consider the future impacts. Forget that for hundreds of years we have had the Constitution to protect our freedoms and it has worked. That doesn’t matter. They lost and don’t like it let alone understand basic Civics. As soon as they acquire the slightest bit of power again, as they did in 2018 by winning back the House, they immediately work to change the rules to try and ensure they do not lose again.

What the Democrats have proposed is not democracy. It is an attempt to implement totalitarianism by those who believe their morals and ethics are superior. The bill is sure to be dead upon arrival should it even make it to the Senate floor. But that’s not really the point here. The point here is that the Democrats have shown their true colors. They have exposed their intentions for everyone to see. And it’s not just the Electoral College they are after. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) along with many other cosponsors have introduced another bill aimed at the Second Amendment called the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 that essentially outlaws every rifle and handgun.

However, consider what would happen if Rep. Cohen’s or Sen. Feinstein’s proposed legislations were to pass. Democracy will have died at the hands of those who claim to most ardently defend it.

It appears their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Prager University Videos:
POPULAR VOTE vs ELECTORAL COLLEGE
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Pelosi Regains Title Speaker of the House

The 116th Congress is now in session under the leadership of newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. This marks the second time she has assumed this title in her political career which brings to mind two historic facts that everyone should celebrate. The first of which being that she was the first woman in to ever hold the title when she was first elected January 4, 2007 which she held until January 3, 2001 when Paul Ryan took over as Speaker. The second being that she is one of only seven individuals to have regained the Speakership on non-consecutive terms. Something that has not happened in over 60 years.

It also comes at one of the most pivotal times for Speaker Pelosi with the looming face off with President Trump over funding for border security and specifically the funding of his border wall. Both Speaker Pelosi and President Trump have made their stances crystal clear.

As recently as yesterday morning on the Today Show, Nancy Pelosi stated again “We can go through the back and forth. No. How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall.“.

When asked how long he is willing to keep the government shut down over funding for the wall, President Trump during his first cabinet meeting of 2019 responded, “As long as it takes.”. He then went on to say, “I mean look, I’m prepared. I think the people of this country think I am right. Again, I could have had a lot easier presidency by doing nothing, but I’m here, I want to do it right.”

Speaker Pelosi and the newly elected House Democrats plan to vote on two bills this evening. The first of which funds the majority of the government through the 2019 fiscal year. The other funds Homeland Security through February giving them time to further debate the issue of border security and funding for a wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated that any bills that are proposed by the House that do not include funding for the border wall would be blocked and considered a “nonstarter“.

It seems we are in for a very interesting and entertaining two years given the current state of affairs and shift in power in the House. As newly appointed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy handed the gavel to Speaker Pelosi and she prepared to take her oath of office, she paused asking that they allow a few moments so that her grandchildren and any children in attendance could come up to the front and stand with her as she takes her oath. It was a beautiful and moving sentiment that I know many on the floor appreciated and that those children in attendance will never forget.

I pray for the sake of our country that it is not the first and only bipartisan act we see from Speaker Pelosi during her Speakership. After all, she and those in Congress work for the American People. Regardless of what side of the isle we are from many of us are not happy with the current state of affairs in Washington D.C. We have a long list of issues we need resolved. Too many of us are in need of the kind of assistance that only Congress can legislate.