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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Two formative events happened at the end of my high school year which has caused me to put great thought into Diversity, and some of the myths that are currently surrounding it.

One was a multi-ethnic, multi-religious panel of people from various world religions.  The other was when our high school closed down an event because a group of students made a racial slur, that they did not know that they were making.  They of course apologized, but the upcoming event was canceled, and something else had to be arranged.

These events…combined with end of the year pep talks we had about the incident, ‘teaching moments’ for lack of a better term, led me to a few inescapable conclusions.

Way back towards the start of Obama’s  term in office Eric Holder his AG accused us of being a ‘nation of cowards’ when it came to race.

Now I love my country, and I am very proud of her…throughout most of my  life thank you…and I would  be the first one to shout down and condemn this as a gross and shameful over generalization of the facts.  But the question has to be begged…was he right?

Now I am not talking about the American people, the American people are, I tend to think of us, some of the best in the world, most of us are not ‘racists’ or ‘racial cowards’ or  other names that certain political groups have tried to apply to us, rather I wonder if it is a matter of leadership…and a way of thinking, that are the racial cowards.

Now part of the pep talk that we had was it was suggested by some of the staff and administrators that we needed to start forming diversity clubs, to become more aware of other cultures and other culture diversities and histories, to divide people up, in other words.

How is this helpful? How is this unifying? Because if you listen to anyone who advocates this, this is meant to let the people be more knowledgeable about other cultures, to unify other cultures into one…super culture?

How does this work though? How does it work to ‘unify’ people as American Citizens, or just as plane human beings, when you are constantly reminding everyone that you are different from one another! It is almost mind boggling.

Jewish-Americans, Asian Americans, African-Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Phillopeno Americans, Australian Americans, and probably many many more.  But yet, no real European Americans, or English Americans…oh yes can’t forget Latin Americans now can we?…those labels just mean American Americans.  There is no group that I know of that refers to itself as an ‘English American’.

Even if there were though, the point is moot since it would be continuing to increase the insanity of the whole process.  Simply, how can a country stand, be united, and continue to flourish when there are so many forces and so many different identities to perscribe too.  That there are ‘minorities’ and then there is the ‘majority’, whatever that means in the long run.

Now I am not, because I cannot…it would be almost as insane as what I am trying to stop…suggesting that you should not honor your traditions, honor your history, honor whatever you want to, in however way you want to do it…as long as it does not mean massacering innocent people.

But, how can we be united when everything from school administrations, to politicians, to applications for jobs and college…how can we be united when almost everything official in our society seems set and determined to divide us into our own little groups.  Groups of race, realigion, creed, and political affiliation.  And despite the ‘no discrimination’ laws that have been passed in many an area, if your political or ethnic background does not match up (or a combination of the two, black-conservatives anyone?) well its tough beans on you.  Why even have a section in an application asking your race, if you don’t care on what race you hire.  And this blog does not even touch on, the entire ‘affirmative action’ debate.

Where some races and ‘minority groups’ are treated even better for the sins committed by this county and its fathers long ago.  We need to learn from history, we can no longer hide behind it and let it tie us down, the only way we can forge forward as a people is if we acknowlege what we did, acknowelege it, and then move on, treating everyone fairly and equally, and not setting up some artificial system to ‘level the playing field’ for one group or another.

This is what I think at least, and it is a pretty good way of looking at the situation, we are all Americans, and we are all humans, with a shared legacy of greatness, and mistakes, all we have to do is to get over them, and unite, and we cannot do this under the current political climate.

Last week I was having a discussion on line with a group of people, and the rather absurd notion  of  ‘just what is the best subject to take’ came up.  Now it was quickly pointed out by one of us that you cannot possibly have one subject be above any other, that all of them have their own merits and disadvantages, that truthfully none of them is more important then the other.

But…(wait for it!) this got me thinking, if you could have such an absurd idea as the ‘most important subject in the world’ what would it be? I wondered, and thought.

Now I also happen to believe, that if there is an most important subject that it would only be so for a short time, that it will depend on the era and the social climate that is going on at that moment in history.  What is important now, hopefully, will not be most important in twenty years.  Hopefully Math and Science, or the arts, can take their rightful place as that title eventually.

But what about right here, right now?

Right here right now, the two most important subjects are…History and Political Theory.  For right now we stand at an age where the political reality is shifting, where politicians are advocating the usages of insane policies, laws, and notions.  And the only way we can know about these things as insane, is to get informed on them.

That is where political theory comes in, authors like the Founders, Machiavelli, and others from all over the world, reading books like Common Sense, the Federalist Papers, and the words of the very best of political thinkers.  Only then can you absorb a wide variety of theories, and learn about them.

History comes into learning about which of these theories work, and which don’t.  Actually learning from, and listening to, history.  Absorbing it all and listening it to it all so you can make an informed decision about what is happening, which of these policies that the government have done that have failed in the past, that have led to evil.

And learning from it, listening to it, observing the threads and the connections, the eddies and currents of history.  Not learning it for a day, and then spewing it all out on test day, actually learning what you got.

For I am a student of history, I do my best to connect the dots, and then to learn and to listen to what history is trying to tell me, not so much about facts, but about the reality of the matter.

In the end I hope we can come to a point where this will not be necessary, where we can get beyond the need to do this, where learning about history and politics is not a matter and a choice between liberty, and tyranny.  I can hope at least.

This is, in essence, the last blog in a small series, I will be moving on from here.

Back a few months ago I saw this video on youtube, it was a scene from the semi-popular SW RPG known as KOTOR 2: The Sith Lords.  If you have not seen it, you probably should.

Any way, it was a funny and bizarre scene, where the character made the wrong dialogue choice, and all of her companions started by saying, “Apathy is Death” over and over again, even one of the characters did it in this funny sort of low voiced growl.

This got me thinking,  about this issue as it applies to the political realm.  Simply, that Apathy is Death when it comes to politics, an apathy of the issues and what is going on around us that we are not aware of what is going on.

For if we are aware, then we can know what is going on around us, aware of what exactly it is that is going on in Washington, and exactly what our various governments are up to.

Now part of this problem has to do with mass media, and a refusal to report on (fair and balanced) exactly what is going on with the country at large, and on international politics.

They would rather report on celebrity and Hollywood news, glossing over what is happening, and devoting more of their time to what is popular, and populism, instead of being the true fourth wall of the government.

Nor would I suggest that anyone should regulate the news, and determine what gets posted and what does not.  They are a business that has to compete, someone will post the celebrity and entertainment news to the people to turn a profit.  It would be too dangerous to even have that kind of power in the hands of any organization.

Nor am I really suggesting that people should STOP doing what they want to do with whatever news they want to gather, and assimilate.

I am merely suggesting is to get informed on the issues.  To go out there and learn about what is happening in the real world around us, in the world that effects each and everyone of us, through laws and taxes.  And not on just one issue, but on a variety of issues.  This is especially true of my generation, for the politicians are doing things to us that are going to effect us for years, and it is time to get involved, in more then just one way.

And yes, i will admit, this is even good advice for me.  I could stand to get more involved, to do more research, and to get a handle on more facts.  For I have a pretty good idea of what is going on, but sometimes the specifics falls through the cracks on me.

If you are doing this, and you are getting involved and knowledgeable, this is not for you.  This is for those who do need to get more involved with the issues that are shaping this country.

This is true even for the one shot people, the legions of people that got involved for the last election and then, just stopped, that all that happened was they went out to support their one candidate, getting involved for the first time, and then leaving.  For it was true, and is, there was a lot of political interest in what was happening last year, right around the time of the election, most people were talking about it.

I am talking about a constant watchdog, to be aware as much as you can, without breaking in on the process.  Go watch TV, read, have your hobbies.  But for every once and awhile see what is going on, make that your mission to as citizens.

This blog might be a bit on the late side though, though the timing of it could not be better.  Because people are getting involved now, in droves of numbers, tea parties, health care town hall meetings, and protests, people who do not want to be activists, and just want to go on living their lives as they have been doing.  People who just want to debate and have an open and honest conversation.

There is great hope right now, because people are getting involved, and are searching for information, reading information, absorbing it on just what is the right thing to do with government.

I will be blogging about this phenomena, later in the year.

A couple of days ago, I was having a political debate with someone (shocker!) over Bill Clinton going to N. Korea to get the journalists out, I expressed my opinion that it was a good thing.  I expressed certain reservations, curious to see how the situation played out.

Well the debate devolved,  with one of the people involved making several accusations, accusations that I found to be offensive.  Well I responded to him, and tried my best not to respond in kind.  In the end, after I responded to the poster, the original poster deleted the topic on grounds of being ‘diplomatic’.    This derailed the subject after I had asked for clarification from teh poster I was debating.

Now this has got me to thinking about all the other times that this has happened to me, and it has lead me to one inescapable conclusion: People, at times, do not want to deal with the issues.  They would rather that they just went away.

That the debate itself is somehow evil and corrupting.  Now all I can do is say this for a few people, because this is my perceptions with a limited amount of experience at political discourse and political debate.

Now I know that sometimes debate gets out of hand, and that it needs to be curtailed and stopped.  I have done it way more times in the past, present, and future, then I would like to admit.

But that does not mean that all debate is harmful, that does not mean we should ignore it and clam up.  Let us just do our jobs to work together and do a better job tomorrow then we did yesterday, to learn and to grow.

And to continue to stick with the issues, and not be apathetic, to try every single recourse that is open to us before we stop the debate.

That if we are offended we should put that offense in a small corner of our mind, and try and not deal with it.  Be blunt, be direct, be as good as you can be, and ask for clarification, maybe you just mis heard?

But among some people it is easier to just stop the debate them let it continue, because it offends them, it is not politically correct, it is destructive and divisive.  In some circles there is real apathy to political debate.  That they would rather not deal with the issues, for whatever reason.

And this is the completely wrong approach to take, we should be out there, and be more active, and I think a lot of people are, and getting that way.

Now this blog is sort of a tie into this weekends blog, I will be talking about apathy in the political establishment before I go on and talk about entitlements, and then likely cap and trade.  Who knows? I will do my best to keep you informed.