Everyone agrees…the new low in electing a president of the United States is upon us in 2016. What would George Washington or Abraham Lincoln think? Thank God they are not around to see the decline of their office, The Presidency. Many men have run for the office of the President of the United States. Some succeeded and others failed. None…NONE…sunk so low in their speeches and their personal presentation to the American people as what we have seen in debates and rallies around the country. Ronald Reagan gave a speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964. Goldwater did not win. However, the speech given by Ronald Reagan may be a genuine trophy compared to what we are exposed to by politicians seeking this highest of all offices.
All anyone can say, after a dose of ridiculousness and insult to our intelligence is “You have got to be kidding!” People I know have turned off the T.V. and refuse to listen. We have put on more music and less gab. One person’s analysis of the latest debates was “I feel sick.” When the political writers can only talk about a speck on a candidate’s lip or the candidates can sink to speaking of the anatomy, it is time to turn to a true era of what choosing a candidate for President is all about. Take the time to listen to the video below. It is worth it.
VIDEO (turn on sound)
The following article was written by David Harsanyi.
He is the senior editor at The Federalist February 5, 2016 The National Review (President meeting families in overflow room at Baltimore Mosque.Photo credit: Drew Angerer )
Obama’s Baltimore Mosque Speech Was a Dangerous Fantasy
For seven years now, the president has reprimanded the American people for their attitudes about Islam. Barack Obama’s big speech to the Islamic Society of Baltimore — granted, filled with many harmless platitudes — was no different, leaving little room for any honest dialogue about ideology or faith.
Many of the president’s ideas about “tolerance,” in fact, are antithetical to the American experience, and not something to celebrate. Acceptance of outsiders is an American virtue, yes. Do we have to embrace all ideas, as well? Obama has conflated tolerance of individuals and groups with tolerance of a select belief system — one that he demands be immune from criticism.
We certainly don’t want people attacking peaceful Muslims, but it’s irresponsible and intellectually obtuse to act as if the pervasive violence, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, tyranny, anti-Semitism, bigotry against Christians, etc. that exist in large parts of Islamic society abroad has absolutely nothing to do with faith. This week, Obama spoke about the evils of Islamophobia to a group that featured women covered, subordinated, and segregated from men. I’m happy he’s open-minded about that sort of thing.
Americans are free to practice their faith in any way they choose. But I’m not sure why all of us should feel obligated to celebrate this kind of narrow-mindedness. You will remember how offended liberals get when presidential candidates visit Bob Jones University or Mormons fund campaigns they find objectionable. Why is this different? Most liberals won’t even allow that terrorism and extremism have something to do with Islam. We don’t need the president gratuitously attacking an entire religion. Obama hits this note quite often.
This week, John Kerry, the Imam of Beacon Hill, said this about ISIS: “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.” Kerry has no more theological authority to brand someone an apostate of Islam than King Salman of Saudi Arabia has to consecrate the Eucharist. Not even moderate Sunni clerics make this claim. Yet, over and over, leftists try and detach the branches of Islam they dislike from the trunk so they can call you a bigot for attacking their idealized conception of Islam.
Yesterday, the president explained that an “attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.” Christian communities, often older than Islam itself, have been devastated by Islamic groups and left unprotected by moderate Muslim governments for decades. These attacks are aimed at Christians. We have done nothing to help them. It is then completely rational for Christians to be apprehensive about Islam. We can see Europe’s assimilation problems — which the Muslim community here has largely avoided — and wonder how this theology and culture will adapt to secularism. It’s not narrow-minded to do so. It would be reckless not to.
“We have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion,” claimed a president who believes forcing nuns (and everyone) to buy birth control comports with American values. There is no law in this country that inhibits the freedom of Muslim Americans to practice their religion freely. Not one. I’m unsure that the president understands that hearing things you don’t like does not constitute an attack on freedom. People say ugly things all the time. No crime is acceptable, but Muslims have experienced far fewer hate crimes than blacks, Jews, or gays. Any way you want to parse the numbers, there is no epidemic of Islamophobia. But Obama likes to create the impression that some great injustice is occurring.
Take this CNN headline: “Obama rebuts anti-Muslim rhetoric in first U.S. mosque visit.” What does it mean? In the piece, we learn that the president reacted to “young Muslim parents whose children are worried about being removed from the country.” I know of no Republican candidate — or anyone of note on the right, or anywhere else for that matter — who has ever suggested any policy resembling this. Not even Donald Trump.
A president who wanted to bring people together would have dismissed this as a preposterous idea. He would have explained that no one in American politics is plotting to kick Muslims out of the country. He could have pointed out that in the United States, these children will enjoy more religious freedom than any Islamic nation offers, and be free of virtually any religious or factional violence — but that in this country, people still have the freedom to be critical of one another’s beliefs and even denounce them. This freedom is a lot more useful than dangerous notions about “tolerance.”
written by: David Harsanyi
Many of my readers are Christians and many are not. Since everything that we hear on the news today is about the candidates who would like to be the next President of the United States, Boyer Writes would like to share with our readers a refreshing look at a young Senator, who is not afraid to give details about his belief and faith journey that has led him this far.
After viewing this, one may conclude that Senator Rubio may have missed his calling. If he does not become President now or in the future, he may want to consider if he did.
This is not an endorsement for everyone has to decide for himself or herself who would be the best leader for our country.
If he were alive today, would he change his message? Probably not for his focus was not only about the Spirit of America…love of country…but the true meaning of Christmas. He was not politically correct…afraid to offend someone because he was talking about Christmas…but straight to the point. Recorded from the Oval Office in the 1980’s, we are now celebrating Christmas in 2015. We have a need to hear this message from the past more than ever.
Blessings to all my readers. Merry Christmas!
“….trusting in God’s help, we have never lost our way…” President Ronald Reagan
We here in America know about our Special Forces and the brave men and women of our military, but we know little about the French military, past and present. One of the most interesting parts of French history is the French Foreign Legion. (Click on high-lighted words to play video. Enlarge picture for best viewing.) This video about its history is lengthy, but worth watching. One will be impressed with their training and skill as well as their long tradition.
The modern-day French Foreign Legion has about 7,700 active duty legionnaires. In the past, volunteers joined to start a new life, leaving old ways behind, coming from 136 different countries around the world. Today, there are strict regulations for becoming part of the Foreign Legion. Each member follows a seven point code of honor.
1: Legionnaire, you are a volunteer, serving France with honor and fidelity.
2: Each Legionnaire is your brother in arms whatever his nationality, his race or his religion might be. You show to him the same close solidarity that links the members the same family.
3: You respect your traditions and your superiors. Discipline and friendship are your strengths. Courage and honesty are your virtues.
4: You are proud of being a Legionnaire. You are always well-mannered and smart. Your behavior is of the best. You are always modest and your quarters are always clean and tidy.
5: You are an elite soldier who is rigorous with himself. You consider your weapon as your most precious possession. You constantly maintain your physical fitness.
6: Your mission is sacred. It is carried out until the end, in respect of the law, the customs of war International Conventions, if needs be, at the risk of your own life.
7: In combat you act without passion or hatred. You respect vanquished enemies. You never surrender your dead, your wounded, or your weapons.
The French military will meet the challenge of the new enemies of the world just as it has in the past. The Spirit of the French people also lives on…strong and resolute.
Singing of liberty and life is Mireille Mathieu’s in her legendary performance of La Marseillaise with the Eiffel Tower in the background. (Mireille was born in 1946 in Avignon, France. She has recorded over 1200 songs in eleven languages, with 122 million albums sold. She speaks of her love of God and her country. The French spirit lives on.
To enjoy one’s faith, without fear of persecution, is one of life’s greatest privileges. Unfortunately, it is not the reality of many in the world today. Each time one has the opportunity to walk through the church door or listen to the ringing church bells, it is a day to be thankful. Our founding Fathers had the foresight to give this to us as they established a new and free country. Many of our young people are not taught the history or the significance of religious freedom if they are a product of our public schools. Separation of church and state does not mean that we should not know history…and appreciate its benefits.
“National Religious Freedom Day falls on January 16 every year in honor of the day the Virginia General Assembly adopted the Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786.
The statute disestablished the Church of England in Virginia as the official religion of the state and paved the way for religious freedom for Catholics, Jews and other underrepresented religious minorities. Thomas Jefferson, who drafted and presented the legislation to the assembly, considered it to be among his greatest lifetime achievements.
The U.S. consistently ranks among the countries with the least religious restrictions, and roughly 88 percent of Americans believe the country was founded on the principle of religious freedom.
From the Huffington Post
“Today we commemorate International Religious Freedom Day, which marks the 17th anniversary of the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. This landmark legislation sought to infuse America’s first freedom into our foreign policy, and it has made great strides in doing so. One of the ways it did this was by establishing the bipartisan, independent, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom…
“Beyond having the institutions to defend religious freedom, much remains to be done, as we see relentless assaults on religious freedom around the world. Today is a day to not only remember the foundational importance of international religious freedom, the birthright of every individual, but a time to renew America’s commitment to advocating for this most basic right whenever and wherever it comes under assault. We have a moral responsibility to stand firmly on the side of people who simply want to live and worship in peace.
“Nowhere has intolerance and evil combined to destroy people of faith more than it has in the Middle East, where ISIS is engaged in a systemic, genocidal effort to wipe out all religious minorities, including Christians and Yezidis. Just over a year ago, ISIS swept through the Nineveh Plains, uprooting thousands in a matter of days. Faced with the choice of beheading, enslavement or forced conversion, entire villages fled with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Their historic convents, monasteries and churches have been destroyed or seized and re-purposed into prisons, weapons facilities, or torture chambers. For the first time in 2,000 years, there was no Christmas Mass in Mosul, and this exile is now stretching into a second winter. In Syria, the situation is no better…”
Portion of a Speech by Marco Rubio
Any religion that would want to destroy a person’s right to choose his/her own faith, is a religion that does not understand or care about the principles of freedom of choice. We, as free people, must stand for these rights and give honor to those who have gone before to assure us of this privilege. A very important fact is that even today we have men and women being held in countries around the world because they were serving as religious people to improve education, health, and welfare of those less fortunate. Our government has done little to try to get the release of these Americans who are being tortured in places like Iran when we had the leverage to do so. One has to ask if this would have been the action…or inaction…of those who have gone before us to give us religious freedom? The significance of this important part of our freedom cannot be over-looked or ignored.
How serious is the threat to religious freedom around the world? Very serious. We can only take the word of those who know and have no reason to tell us something untrue. We have seen the videos of the Christians being beheaded and we are told that the same is happening to children in the Middle East. Do we know what is happening in places like China? Perhaps we should take a look and once again take a long, hard look at the religious freedom we still have in America.
There are those who will deny the basics of faith…and will spread this as truth. We are warned not to be deceived. Frankly, with world-wide conditions, it may not be enough to set aside certain days to talk about or write about “religious freedom”, which could so easily be taken from us…. as these videos will show.
My last post featured one of the most recognized and honored songs, Amazing Grace. Playing the piano was Condoleezza Rice. Her story is one that all people should know about in these days of unrest and violence. After reading this, one will come up with at least three thoughts:
- The power of parenting and what it can mean in a child’s life
- The power of being brought up in a home of faith
- The power of determination to be the best that one can be
Who would have thought that a young, black girl growing up in segregated Alabama would have a whisper of a chance to be one of the most respected and powerful women in modern history? This is her story. It is also a story of inspiration for all those who think their chances are slim and life is not fair. Never heard of her? Well, you must be too young? Now you have a chance to know about a woman of excellence.
(Taken in part from the World Encyclopedia of Biographies)
Condoleezza Rice became one of the most influential women in the world of global politics when President George W. Bush named her as his national security adviser in December of 2000. Her role became extremely important after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Rice has played a crucial part in shaping the most aggressive U.S. foreign policy in modern history, with wars launched against Afghanistan and Iraq during her time in office.
Rice grew up during a deeply segregated era of American history. She was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, to parents who were both educators. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., was a football coach and high school guidance counselor at one of Birmingham’s black public schools. He was also an ordained Presbyterian minister in Birmingham’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by his own father, also a minister. Rice’s mother, Angelena, was a teacher and church organist. Angelena loved opera, and so named her only child after an Italian term, con dolcezza. It is used in musical notation and means “to play with sweetness.”
Birmingham was clearly divided into black and white spheres during Rice’s childhood, and the two worlds rarely met. But her parents were determined that their only child would grow up to be an accomplished and well-rounded young woman. Rice began piano lessons at the age of three, and gave her first recital a year later. She became somewhat of a musical prodigy in the Birmingham area, performing often at school and community events. In addition to long hours spent practicing the piano, she also took French and Spanish lessons after school, and later became a competitive figure skater.
When interviewed, Miss Rice said this, “My whole community was determined not to let their children’s horizons be limited by growing up in segregated Birmingham. Sometimes I think they overcompensated because they wanted their kids to be so much better. I find football so interesting strategically. It’s the closest thing to war. What you’re really doing is taking and yielding territory, and you have certain strategies and tactics.”
(This may have been her war on being left behind because during this time of her life, there were fewer opportunities for people of color in America.) Not surprisingly, Rice earned good grades in school, even at an early age. Attending segregated schools in Birmingham, she skipped the first grade entirely and was later promoted from the sixth directly into the eighth grade.
Her city became a battleground during the emerging civil rights movement in the late 1950s, and the strife directly touched Rice’s early life. In 1963 the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, situated in the middle of Birmingham’s black community, was the site of a tragic firebombing that killed four little girls who were attending Sunday school. Rice knew two of them.
Finished high school early:
(Moving to Colorado may have been a turning point in her life for the schools were not segregated as in Alabama.) Rice’s family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, around 1965, when she was eleven years old. Her father had taken a job there as a college administrator. They later settled in Denver, Colorado, where she attended an integrated public school for the first time in her life, beginning with the tenth grade. She finished her last year of high school and her first year at the University of Denver at the same time.
Smart, educated, and influential…turns to political science
U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has sometimes been described as the most influential woman in global politics. A university professor and expert on Russian history, Rice is known for her cool, calm manner. When Bush appointed her to the job in 2000, some wondered if she was qualified for it…A job such as Rice’s requires nerves of steel, and the French- and Russian-fluent academic, whose friends and family call her “Condi,” fits the bill.
She explained in another interview “My parents went to great lengths to make sure I was confident. My mother was also a great believer in being proper.”
As an African American and a professional, Rice has experienced the occasional racial snub. She recalled one occasion when she asked to see some of the nicer jewelry in a store, and the saleswoman mumbled a rude remark under her breath. (Condi was not afraid to stand up for herself) “‘Let’s get one thing clear. If you could afford anything in here, you wouldn’t be behind this counter. So I strongly suggest you do your job.'”
(Dignified in every way, yet much the woman) The confidence that Rice’s parents instilled in her comes out in other ways, too. She favors suits by Italian designer Giorgio Armani, but the trim, fit national security adviser prefers her skirts to hit just above the knee. Her favorite lipstick comes from the Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics counter. When asked about her off-duty hours, she watches sports and goes shopping. (One wonders how the secret service took this?) Rice responded with a humor rarely on display in public, “They can handle shopping.”
For years Rice dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. At the University of Denver she was originally a music major, but eventually gave up on her dream after spending a summer at music camp. “Technically, I can play most anything. But I’ll never play it the way the truly great pianists do.”
She fell in love with political science and Russian history after she took a class taught by Josef Korbel, a refugee from Czechoslovakia. His daughter became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
Rice began taking Russian-language and history courses, and became fascinated by Cold War politics. The term refers to the hostilities between the United States and the world’s first Communist state, Soviet Russia, in the years following World War II (1939–45). Each “superpower” tried to win allies to its brand of politics, and in the process each side built up a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. After she graduated from the University of Denver in 1974, Rice enrolled at Notre Dame University in Indiana, where she earned a master’s degree in government and international studies.
Offered a fellowship at Stanford:
Rice was a promising new talent in her field even before she earned a doctorate in 1981. Her dissertation investigated the relationship between the Czechoslovak Communist Party and its army. Soon she was offered a fellowship at Stanford University. No other woman had ever been offered a fellowship to its Center for International Security and Arms Control. She eagerly accepted, and the following year she was hired by Stanford to teach political science.
Rice became a tenured professor at Stanford in 1987. She was also a rising star in U.S. foreign policy circles. She served as the informal campaign adviser to a Colorado Democrat, Gary Hart, during his 1984 bid for the White House. She came to know a foreign policy expert, Brent Scowcroft, and was offered her first official job in government. Scowcroft had been named national security adviser by George H. W. Bush who was elected president in 1988. Scowcroft then hired Rice as a staff member on the National Security Council.
Served as Stanford Provost and then in White House as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State:
The National Security Council helps analyze data and plan American foreign policy. It looks at potential global threats from hostile nations, and works to make strategic alliances with friendly ones. Rice eventually became a special assistant to the first President Bush, serving as his expert on Soviet and East European affairs. It was an important time in American foreign policy. The political system of the Soviet Union was crumbling, and by 1991 the Communist governments allied with Soviet Russia had been peacefully ousted throughout the Eastern Bloc (as the communist nations in Eastern Europe were known).
Rice tired of the toll the White House job took on her personal life, and she resigned in 1991. She went back to teaching at Stanford, and in 1993 became the university’s first-ever female provost, which essentially made her second-in-command at the school. She was also the first African American to be selected for the position.
“That was the toughest job I ever had.” She was charged with eliminating a large budget deficit, and the university had also been accused of misusing government grant money intended for military research. There was internal turmoil as well, and some faculty members complained about Rice’s no-nonsense manner.
“I told people, ‘I don’t do committees,'” she explained.
Bush won the Republican party nomination and later was declared the winner of a hotly contested November election. The president-elect immediately named Rice as his national security adviser. Though she was not the first African American ever to hold the post—Bush’s new Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell, had held the job for a year in the late 1980s—she was the first woman ever to serve in the position. The national security adviser helps shape American foreign policy, both on the public front and behind the scenes, in strategy sessions with the president and his team.
Plotted strategy from underground bunker
Rice’s duties also included coming up with ideas to combat threats to American interests at home and overseas. This became an important part of her job on the morning of September 11, 2001. She was in a meeting at the White House when an aide notified her that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. She quickly ended the meeting and notified the President, who was in Florida. After a second plane crashed into the other tower of the New York landmark, she and other key personnel gathered in what is known as the White House “Situation Room.” When a third plane crashed into the Pentagon Building, which is the command center for the U.S. Armed Forces, Rice and the others retreated to an underground bunker. The attack was the deadliest ever to occur on American soil.
Rice worked long days in the months afterward to shape U.S. foreign policy. The first order of business involved Afghanistan, which was suspected of harboring the shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group known as Al Qaeda. It was founded by a Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden, who quickly took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Less than a month later, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan. Rice also worked to create a new policy for dealing with longtime Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The fourth year of the Bush Administration was a difficult one for Rice and other top White House and Pentagon personnel. Though Hussein had been captured and the war in Iraq was officially declared over, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq had become the target of repeated attacks by insurgents. And American military operatives had yet to capture bin Laden. In April of 2004 Rice was called to testify before a special panel that had been set up to investigate the 9/11 attacks, namely whether or not the attacks could have been prevented and how the emergency response to such an attack could be improved. There were charges that U.S. intelligence officials may have come across suspicious information but failed to put the pieces together. Rice sat before the official 9/11 Commission, in front of a barrage of television cameras, and held her ground.
“There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States. If there had been something, we would have acted on it.”
Love of Football, but loved teaching more:
Rice lives in a luxury apartment complex in Washington known as Watergate. Her mother died in 1985, and her father died the same month that Bush named her to the national security adviser post. She attends church regularly, and is known to be close to the President and his wife, Laura (1946–). At the Maryland presidential retreat known as Camp David, she has been known to watch hours of televised sports with President Bush.
Rice’s name has been mentioned as a possible future vice-presidential candidate. Although she has joked that she would love to serve as commissioner of the National Football League (Which some said she would have been great at this job also. After leaving the White House, Condi Rice wanted to return to teaching. She was always wanting to give back.)
“I miss my kids. In a class of 20, there are always two or three for whom the lights go on. When that happens, I think I’ve done for them what Dr. Korbel did for me.”
Miss Rice went on to serve as Secretary of State from 2005-2009. She is a black woman who never has forgotten her roots…her family…and her upbringing. One may say that she has all the credentials for being the first woman president. However, it is probably not what Condoleezza Rice will ever be. She may be too smart to mix a perfectly good life with an unforgiving position.
Feeling a little beaten up? Things aren’t going right at all? In fact, you think things are just rotten!
Maybe your holidays were good, but not as good as they could have been. How often we think of “only what if”! Some of you may even be saying that there were just too many people at my house at Christmas; someone I love did not show up…or even call; there was just not enough time to do what I wanted to do; or worried about what 2015 will hold for you…so on and so on.
You think your days are rotten and you’d like to just go down to the local bar and forget it all like Hemingway. Unfortunately, we remember how his life ended.
Well, sister or brother…you probably don’t have anything to complain about. I thought I’d show you some rare photographs sent to me by a friend. Let’s take a journey to the past when rotten was really rotten!
Cheer up…yes, there is terrorism in the world. Terrible things happen but do not forget the brave of the past who can encourage us with their lives. In the time of trouble, people used their talents and showed us the way! They stepped up to the plate…did not feel sorry for themselves…but moved on for what was best for themselves, fellow citizens, and their country.
Go outside…feel the sun…pick a flower…tell someone you love them. Your day does not have to be rotten. Keep things in perspective and “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Post note: After this post, a reader wrote me this comment after she, a music teacher in a rural school, had received some unhappy news from her employer.
Every President has been part of the ceremonial duties of honoring the men and women who have served. I looked carefully at the pictures of the most recent military recognition of those honored and visited by our Heads of State.
There have been a number of Medal of Honor recipients in the last few years, but some of the most warmly human interaction that I could find would have to be the pictures of Pres. George Bush.
I believe that on this Veteran’s Day, it would be good to see a few of these pictures between a Commander in Chief and those who served…often giving so much sacrificially.
To all those in all wars that served and gave the ultimate sacrifice…we HONOR you today.
Often in life, one has to decide whether to go with the thing that he thinks is right…or follow another path. This was the case with a man who fought in a different way with the American military in Afghanistan. Some would say he was brave and wise in the way of warfare…the best at what he did. Others would say he dishonored the uniform and the rules of warfare as well as conduct expected in the American military.
When one listens to former Green Beret Maj. Jim Gant, in the videos, filmed by his mistress and war-correspondent lover, Ann Scott Tyson, he is foul-mouthed and extremely confident in the type of warfare he believes will secure the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan. He looked at them not as a nation of individual citizens, but as a tribal communities who have been warriors for centuries. He chose to “go native” in his approach to them.
The article and video shown below is not one of condoning the decisions that Gant and Ann Tyson made. It is, however, worth watching to look deeper into decision making. When one has to decide for one’s self what should be done under extreme situations, he takes many others with him…under the challenge to “trust me”.
I leave it up to you, as readers, to draw your own conclusions. Where were they right or wrong? In some cases, it will be easy to decide by drawing lines clearly black and white. Decisions were made by both of these people which effected the lives of many.
We all make decisions in life. Some work out for the best. Others are disappointing. Regardless, there are consequences. Breaking all the rules.. even if the person/ or persons breaking them thinks it is the only right thing to do…may leave many regrets. It takes digging deep in the soul to finally to decide if it was worth it all.
The article below is written by Dylan Byers in Politico. Give yourself time to listen to the ABC video interview. It is revealing that the struggle continues.
Article and Video (For best viewing, enlarge video picture)The case of Ann Scott Tyson.
It was my privilege to teach in a University in Donetsk, Ukraine a few years ago. Taking my small suitcase in hand, I left the USA alone, not knowing what would await me in this country. Feeling that this was a door God had opened for me to be of service to them in their English language program for the summer, I answered the call. I remember my first night there. Not knowing the language or Russian,(thankfully most spoke some English) I was a wakened to a very loud microphone shout that sounded in tone like “Come out with your hands up!” Pulling the covers over my head, I decided that they would just have to come get me…whatever it was! The next morning, asking about the commotion, I was told that it was the changing of the shift announcement at the local brewery.
Some information given about the brewery was only what one would expect in the old days of the Soviet Union under Stalin and his henchmen. The story goes that the owner of the brewery was told that certain men wanted to buy it. He refused and was later shot at his home. Other businessmen also found that they had similar strong-armed tactics. Just across from the brewery was a very high, walled compound. It had guards at the entrance…and if I was to walk that way, “Do not make pictures…as you will probably have your camera confiscated.” I definitely was “not in Kansas”…or Florida, where I live!
I mention all this because I turned on the news tonight and saw people breaking windows in the Donetsk downtown. Evidently, the unrest was spreading to Donetsk as well; as we have seen in Kiev. I also read that when Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted president of Ukraine tried to flee, he also went to the Donetsk airport. Even though he tried to bribe his way through, not having the proper documents, the Ukrainians would not let him leave. He fled another way.
I have great concern for the wonderful people whom I met at the University and at the Christian orphanage near Donetsk . I think most people who hear about Ukraine do not understand how the long shadow of the former leader of Russia, Joseph Stalin, still casts its spell over a people trying to write their own destiny.
I read an interesting article which I am including here,in part, written by Julia Ioffe the senior editor at The New Republic. She explains some of the history of this area.
“…In the last tense months, the conflict in Ukraine has been described as a fight over Ukrainian identity—in terms of language, territory, and great-power influence. Maps on television and in newspapers show a country conveniently cleaved in half between Ukrainian speakers in the pro-Yulia Tymoshenko west and Russian speakers in the Yanukovych east. The former love Europe; the latter love Russia. The former have been oppressed for centuries by the latter, who want to see a return to the days of the USSR….. The real split is generational. ..Students (or people) born after 1991, in an independent Ukraine, see their country’s close relationship with Russia very differently than their older people…The younger a citizen of Donetsk, the more likely she is to view herself as Ukrainian. The older she is, the more likely she is to identify as Russian. And this is the crux of it all: What we are seeing today is the reverberation of what happened more than 20 years ago. This is still the long post-Soviet transition. And this is what it’s like to wander in the desert, waiting for the old generation to die off.
HOW LANGUAGE PLAYS A PART: Ukraine the country has existed for only brief spurts. In the nineteenth century, as nationalism spread through Europe, Ukrainian language and culture—as well as the new idea of independence—became fashionable in Ukrainian cities. Before that, the area was a fluid mix of languages and ethnicities. The Ukrainians, southwestern Slavs who escaped Tatar rule in the Middle Ages, developed independently of the Russians. (Their language, for instance, was heavily influenced by Polish, and their religious affiliation was, for a long time, partly Catholic.) Then it was absorbed into the creeping sprawl of the Russian empire.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, though, Ukrainian speakers were mixed throughout the country, and the language divide was more socioeconomic than geographic. For the most part, the Ukrainian speakers were the peasants, and the Russian speakers were the city dwellers, a blend of Russians, Tatars, and Jews. When industrialization came to the region, those who worked in the new factories were also mostly Russian.
To this day, language in Ukraine follows these same socioeconomic lines, rather than the east-west axis. A map produced by The New York Times, for instance, represents Ukrainian in orange and Russian in blue, and announces that it depicts a simple split between the speakers of these languages. And yet, the fault line is hard to see: There are heavily orange dapples in the west, and intense blue spots in Crimea and Donetsk, but most of the rest is a brackish mingling of the two. It would take a very talented surgeon to carve the two languages apart—or a charlatan to claim it can be done.
If we set aside Crimea, which was not part of the country until 1954, the much-advertised rift inside Ukraine originates neither in language nor in ethnicity. Rather, it is the bounty of the seed planted in the early 1920s by the People’s Commissar for Nationalities, Josef Stalin.
A BRIEF HISTORY For five years, between the 1917 Revolution and the end of the Civil War, Ukraine had a brief and tumultuous experiment with independence, as did other former Russian colonies and future Soviet republics, like Georgia and Armenia. Those few years of independence gave Ukrainians a taste of national liberation that they would not soon forget and were marked, as now, by lengthy sit-ins in public squares, by rowdy parliamentary debate, and by diverse factions of Ukrainian society jockeying for influence. Then, in 1920, Ukraine—like the republics of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and others—began signing a series of vague military and economic treaties with Moscow that gave shape to what we would come to know as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Very quickly, though, the Union became a distinctly Russian entity. According to Soviet historian Geoffrey Hosking, this was no accident. Stalin “wanted to see a political framework which would give expression to the dominance Russia had assumed in the world revolutionary movement,” in which communist patriotism was sublimated into Russian patriotism. Vladimir Lenin was slightly horrified by all this, seeing it, correctly, as a revanchist moment and a return to the bad old days of imperialism. He even prepared a memorandum in protest and was to deliver it at the Twelfth Party Congress in 1923. He demanded that, in the new Union, some form of autonomy be returned to the various national republics.
But Lenin had his third and final stroke before he could go on record with his protest, and Stalin and Leon Trotsky had the memorandum suppressed. (It came out after Stalin’s death.) As a result, notes Hosking, “the new [Soviet] constitution embodied Stalin’s conceptions rather than Lenin’s.” Moscow and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic got to run the show, not just in terms of military and diplomatic matters, but in pretty much everything else. Ethnic Russians made up nearly three-quarters of the Communist Party, and official business all across the USSR was done in Russian. Which is all to say that, when the older respondents of Cherkashin’s poll in Donetsk say they are Russian, what they mean, mostly, is that they are Soviet.
VLADIMIR PUTIN Vladimir Putin fits Cherkashin’s paradigm nicely, too. Born in 1952, he came of age in an era dominated by Leonid Brezhnev and his neo-Stalinist policies. The policies were a comparatively toothless version of Stalinism, but they were Stalinism nonetheless. Not in the sense of mass repressions and genocide, but in the sense of a unified Soviet space that is, at its core, Russian. So when Putin and his surrogates speak about a larger Russian-speaking universe, they are talking about a Soviet universe.
Only 23 years have passed since this universe was carved up by Boris Yeltsin and regional party chieftains who wanted their own national fiefdoms. In the scheme of things, that’s not a very long time, just one generation.
UKRAINIAN UNDERSTANDING But notions of linguistic and even ethnic identity are highly malleable, politicized concepts, and they evolve with time. Cherkashin’s four young students, for instance, prefer to speak Russian over Ukrainian, but not one of them agreed with his idea that Ukraine is a fictional country. Their city is economically tied to Russia; they have family there. But it doesn’t mean for them that Ukraine should meld back into a resurgent Soviet Russia. Their generation has a profoundly non-Soviet understanding of nationality, one that is based on citizenship: “I was born in Ukraine, therefore, I am Ukrainian.” For their parents and grandparents, it is defined by language and ethnicity, and so many Russian speakers in Donetsk and the Ukrainian southeast may feel like they are living on islands, far adrift from the motherland. It is why a few dozen pensioners and middle-aged citizens stood guard by the statue of Lenin in the town square, though the irony of it surely escaped them.
THE FUTURE? If Ukraine survives this crisis intact, it will still have miles to go to a fuller embrace of its own independence. This standoff—with a Moscow that is itself still struggling with its own Soviet legacy—is just a step along the long road out of the Soviet Union. It will take more time still for this newer understanding of citizenship to become as firmly entrenched in eastern Ukraine as the old one was, for the old one to die away, for the Lenin statue to lose its emotional significance, for the old Soviet apartment blocks in Donetsk to crumble and for something newer and more distinctively local to spring up in their place—even if the locals still speak Russian.”
The Fordham Political Review stated the following about the possible future of Donetsk: “… Earlier today, a mass protest was held in the eastern Ukranian city of Donetsk, reminiscent of the protests that occurred in the weeks previous in Kiev. But besides sharing the classification of a “mass protest”, today’s protests are fundamentally different; while the Kiev protests were generally made up of ethnic Ukrainians protesting for governmental reform and the removal of the now-former president Yanukovych, the protests in Donetsk consisted of ethnic Russians crying out that they share “the aspirations of Crimea to rejoin Russia”. With Crimea now occupied by Russian military forces, it is not inconceivable that Russian president Putin could deploy his forces to do the same in Donetsk. In fact, I argue that it is likely that Russia tries to retake the Donetsk and its surrounding region, primarily because of Donetsk’s geographic location, high percentage of ethnic Russians, and high economic outlook. Moreover, the loss of Donetsk would be severely detrimental to the economic capabilities of Ukraine as a whole.In Putin’s Russia, geopolitical opportunity is everything. If Russia is looking to grab all it can from Ukraine, Donetsk may be next. “
God bless you, Ukrainians….the ones of you that I met in the University, in the orphanage, and in the shops and on the streets. You deserve better than what you are enduring. We pray you will seek God in this turmoil and reach toward the best for your people. Freedom has always been a struggle.
The slide presentation below is one that I made of the wonderful Ukraine that I knew…in happier days…the Opera house in Kiev, the churches, the architecture…and the people. How much of this is in ashes? What is the future of the wonderful people who live here?
Watch and weep.
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
Many will not make it home this Christmas. The song, “I’ll be home for Christmas” brings a lump in the throat. Some of our military will stay where they are…in the desert or the mountains…watching…knowing that back home there will be those who are decorating the tree; eating the Christmas dinner; opening presents….without him/or her. It is a hardness that they endure..but it does not make it any easier.
There are troops who have come home; sick in body or sometimes in the mind. Memories are difficult. So much change since he left to serve. Some wonder the streets of towns as part of the homeless…having their service and dedication to country unnoticed. We want to say to all the troops at this Christmas...you are noticed. You are our heroes. You are missed. We pray for your safe return.
Click to hear a “Santa” who also noticed.
December 6 is the day that my Mother, Alta Ellis Bishop, would have been 96. It is a day to remember exactly how much my mother meant to me and her family. She was 93 when she passed from this life, but her life was one of courage, determination and making the most of all her talents. She left home at age 16 to work her way through life; built a career in hair design and took time to be a patriot, working at a munitions factory, when W.W.II was being fought. Her dedication reminded me of the brave men and women who have given so much and why my mother’s generation was called “The Greatest Generation”. Thank you, Mother, for your generosity and love.
Once again we take a look at the era in which my mother was a young woman and mother.
We start with Winston Churchill. His famous speech echos through the years. (I paraphrase) “WE SHALL FIGHT....in the fields, on the sea, in the streets, on the land….and where we cannot…the new world will take up the fight….”
It is not easy to be a leader when the world is falling in around you. Neither is it easy to inspire an entire nation…but inspire he did. When bombs were daily pounding, one can imagine what the economy was like. Just living from day-to-day was an effort for all of Europe. It was not only a battle to secure land, but a battle for the very existence of mankind as millions were being murdered in concentration camps.
The movie, The Longest Day, shows the thousands of men, ships, and planes that came to the aid of France, giving great detail of what it was like for the people living in France on the coast of Normandy and those who braved the assault to free them.
There are two videos below: The first of Alta Bishop…The second one reminds us that the United States and the free people of Europe were not going to be in bondage. It is worth a journey back in time because our own nation must have this same fighting spirit if we are to survive today.
Churchill would not have guessed that the “new world”, as he called it would face a 9-11 or that his own beloved land would see suicide bombers. He would not have known about “cyber threats”, but had he been in a different time and place, one CAN BE ASSURED that he would step up to the challenge. He would warn against apathy and talk about pulling together.
It may seem strange to link a family member to a great man of history. Yet, the determination and sacrifice they shared for the lands they loved links them and all of us together. Freedom is all we have and as my mother and so many were willing to give of their efforts and their lives….so should we. I love you, Mother, and always will. Happy Birthday, even though you are unable to blow out the candles with us. We will go to your grave site and put a red poinsettia there to remember the many years that we celebrated your birthday and Christmas together. Christmas was one of your favorite times and we will miss you. We are certain that the stars and planets are so bright where you are as the hosts of heaven sing praises to the “New Born King”.
The Men of the war Years….Always brave!
Yesterday, our prayers at church were that the U.S. Congress will do what is best when voting whether to strike Syria. It is a very tough situation…and the proposal to do something in a “limited” response may not deter anything at all. It is an area that is already devastated and now its people have been attacked with chemical weapons. Nevertheless, the world is watching and waiting to see if we have any spit left in our mouth at all. (that is an old N.C. saying…as to guts).
An article by Jeffrey Heller and Angus McDowall said “…Tzachi Hanegbi, a Netanyahu confidant who sits on the Israeli parliament’s defense committee, complained that Obama’s statements had delivered further proof to Iran – and North Korea – that “there is no enthusiasm in the world to deal with their ongoing defiance regarding nuclear weaponry…To us in Israel, it says one thing: …‘If I am not for myself, then who is?'” …
For all the unease that Israel has about Syria’s rebels, who have at times fired into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, it is pushing hard against Assad now after learning to live with the Syrian leader and his father over the past 40 years… The message from Netanyahu was clear:”There is a man in nominal control of Syria who is using chemical weapons against civilians. That has to be stopped.”
Abdullah al-Askar, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Shoura Council, said that U.S. strikes should aim to end Assad’s rule…Askar said “If the attack is just a punishment to show that the international community will not stand for chemical attacks, Assad will just remain in his place and do his bloody work. The second scenario is to finish the business.”
Another report on August 28 said, “An unnamed senior Syrian army officer told the Iranian news agency Fars: “If Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors.” Israel is “prepared for every scenario” and will respond forcefully if necessary, Netanyahu said.”
In looking at future threats to tiny Israel, Iran has already said they want to wipe Israel off the map. When their nuclear weapons are ready, they intend to make this attempt. There is no way that tiny Israel will sit back and wait for a chemical or nuclear attack on its people. They now have decided that they can not depend on Washington to “watch their back” and may have to go it alone!
Going it alone, as we know, is impossible. Someone will have to step up to the plate with them. When the American war ships were sent to the Syrian coast…the Russians sent some of their own to keep an eye on what is going on. Can we ever believe that the Russians would defend Israel if they should be attacked with any form of weapons? Never! There is too much involved with Russia’s oil interest with Syria….not to mention the oil interests of the United States and Europe.
For those who say, ” It is not our war…the Middle East has been fighting one another for thousands of years…” This is a new day. We are connected one nation to another through our own cyber abilities. Radical terrorism has spread across the globe. Any time a war breaks out…especially on a big scale or a limited one…there is an impact on most everyone in the world. The stock markets in major countries go ballistic…gas prices sky rocket…air freight and truckers take a great hit…and so do we in our own homes...for it is a trickle-down effect that no one can deny.
Economies around the world will not recover for years even if dictators are toppled…so others can take their place. There is also the Suez Canal to consider along with human lives from any disaster. The rest of the world depends on keeping this open. Yes, it is all a huge mess. No nation can be perfectly right in any decision made.
Only God knows what will happen by the decisions to be made now…and in the long run. The world cannot expect Israel to go it alone ….for they can’t. Every church, temple, synagogue, and mosque should be pleading for God’s help!
We are all in it together like it or not.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America….”
A Democracy will only be as good as its LEADERSHIP. This was true in the beginning of our country and is true today.
After the War for Independence was over, the very thing that had held the confederation together was now struggling to endure. This new United States….this Union was in terrible danger. They had to prove that this step that had been taken was correct. The world needed to also see that this was true.
AN OVERVIEW OF CHALLENGES TO THE LEADERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- TIME-FRAME There were several committees appointed: One to draft the Declaration of Independence and the other to form a confederation. There was back and forth discussion in congress for over a year. They prepared a plan…and then amended it, sending it to the states for ratification This took three years to get the approval needed.
- A UNIFORM POLICY: Whether it was a matter of commerce; raising funds to run a government or other matters, it was most difficult to get all states involved to see things in the same light. Selfishness abound from every angle. “A uniform policy was necessary, and while a pretense was made of acting in unison to achieve a much desired end, it is evident that selfish motives frequently dictated what was to be done.” (Max Farrand)
Example: If a state happened to be a coastal state with ports of entry such as North and South Carolina and Virginia…taxation or not of other states who used their ports would be a way of cutting off their life-blood. There could not be an interference with the “arteries of commerce. “Virginia and Maryland had come to a working agreement regarding the navigation of Chesapeake Bay….requesting the cooperation of Pennsylvania and Delaware.” Sounds good? Hold your horses! The Article of Confederation specified that Congress must first consent. This had not been done.
Having given this small example of only this many states and only a problem within commerce to build a nation, one can see how this type of problem multiplied by many such matters could cause a great deal of grief; confusion and even a stalemate. Public opinion was to be added into the equation. A French representative put it this way in a letter he wrote home about this young, fledgling country and those who governed: “….there is no expectation and no intention that anything should be done by the convention beyond preparing the way for another meeting and the report has been hurried through before sufficient states could be represented…”
It is amazing to us in the 21st Century, 2013…looking back at the 1780’s…that anything was accomplished at all. Yet, the men who stepped forth to lead….and I emphasize the word LEAD… were up to the task. They had to call a meeting…with a fixed time to meet in Philadelphia. With the approval of congress, it was set for the second Monday of May, 1787.
- WHO WERE SOME OF THE MEN WHO LED THIS YOUNG NATION?
The men shown below are not all the leaders or signers of the Constitution, but are a few, interesting men who were not afraid to be leaders. As we look at their lives, we may be surprised that they would not fit into political correctness today….as some were holders of slaves…fought duels…and met with other problems. For some, their personal lives and problems could have been a detriment to their willingness to help forge a nation. Not so. They were TOUGH…DEDICATED..PATRIOT LEADERS.
Alexander Hamilton born 1757 , on the island of Nevis, British West Indies. In 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington’s assistant. In 1788, he convinced New Yorkers to agree to ratify the U.S Constitution. He then served as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, from 1789 to 1795.
Personal facts: Hamilton died of a gunshot wound that he sustained during a duel with Aaron Burr.
George Washington was a soldier and presided over the convention that drafted the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and established the position of President. He became the first President of the United States (1789-1797). Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism. Of him was said, “…first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Personal facts: Mount Vernon was Washington’s home and he freed all his slaves in his final will.
Patrick Henry was an attorney, plantation farmer and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. He served as the post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is remembered for his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech.
Personal Facts: In 1771 Henry and his wife Sarah moved into their Scotchtown plantation in Virginia, along with their children. Sarah developed a mental illness and deteriorated rapidly, becoming dangerous to herself and others, she was clothed in a ‘Quaker shirt,’ an early form of strait jacket.”
It was recommended that she be moved to the public hospital in Williamsburg. After inspecting the facilities, Henry “saw that if he agreed, his wife would be locked into a windowless brick cell containing only a filthy mattress on the floor and a chamber pot. There she would be chained to the wall with a leg iron. Appalled by what he saw, he instead prepared a private, two-room apartment for her in the basement of Scotchtown. Each room had a window, providing light, air circulation, and a pleasant view of the grounds. The apartment also had a fireplace, which provided good heat in the winter, and a comfortable bed to sleep in.” She died in the 1775. “Because of her illness (then thought to have been caused by being ‘possessed by the devil’ ) she was denied a religious funeral service or a Christian burial. Henry buried her thirty feet from the home they shared and planted a lilac tree next to her grave to remember her. The tree still stands there, a few steps from the door to her basement.”
When Patrick Henry refused to attend the Philadelphia Convention, Virginia’s legislature selected Dr. McClurg as a delegate. Dr. McClurg thus became one of three physicians involved in crafting the U.S.Constitution. McClurg advocated increased executive powers while at the Convention, but returned to Virginia in early August. He never returned, worried that his “vote would only operate to produce a division, & so destroy the vote of the state.” He never returned, and thus did not sign the final draft of the Constitution. President Washington later considered nominating him as Secretary of State, after [Thomas Jefferson] resigned.
Dr. McClurg was one of the most distinguished physicians in the colonies, educated (and later professor) at the College of William and Mary; studying also at the University of Edinburgh and in London and Paris. His Experiments upon the Human Bile and Reflections on the Biliary Secretions (London: 1772), was translated into several languages. He was appointed professor of anatomy and medicine at his alma mater in 1779, and also served as a surgeon in the state navy. Dr. McClurg achieved renown in Richmond for his efforts to stop various epidemics, including the yellow fever in 1798. He had some set-backs in his career when he received criticism in connection with the botched toxicological work in the celebrated trial concerning the murder of Judge George Wythe, whom he initially thought suffered from cholera, not arsenic poisoning
John Blair’s greatest contribution as a Founding Father came as a judge on the Virginia court of appeals and on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he influenced the interpretation of the Constitution in a number of important decisions. On September 24, 1789, Blair was nominated by President George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States.(for information on today’s Supreme Court justices.)
Personal Facts: Contemporaries praised Blair for such personal strengths as gentleness and benevolence, and for his ability to penetrate immediately to the heart of a legal question.
James Madison…student of history; scholar in politics and hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and a key author of the Bill of Rights. He became the 4th President of the United States; was a slave holder who inherited his plantation known as Montpelier, and owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime to cultivate tobacco and other crops. Madison supported the three-fifths compromise that allowed three-fifths of the enumerated population of slaves to be counted for representation.
These two writings on the Constitution only give a taste of what was involved in producing this great document. A suggestion would be to do your own study and research on a great work that is often taken for granted; thought of little and those men without whose courage and dedication to carefully think-through, pray-through and give this Constitution to us…we may not be the United States of America today. Other great tests were to follow: The Civil War being one, which Boyer Writes will address at a different time.
Does the average person understand or know anything about the document that lays out the very freedoms and rights that he or she enjoys? NOT LIKELY! When the average person on the street sometimes cannot tell us who the Vice President of the United States is or what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, we cannot expect much. The frightening thing is that so many may be our voters.
This blog is for all people who would like to learn more or those who slept through their civics courses in high school. It is also for the intelligent and educated who would like to remind yourselves how difficult it was to draft and ratify our Constitution. I do know that there are also those who will see this blog title and say to themselves..”No, I , don’t care and I don’t plan to be bored. There is no real action here! ” Therefore, we exclude those persons and hope that their freedoms are not gone when the Constitutional rights of all of us are ignored.
Maybe someone will pass this guide, The Constitution, and the book from which I share facts and ideas along to those trying to set up order and freedom in their countries and to those people left in the USA who care about this subject as much as they care about cell phones, emails, Facebook, Twitter and other conveniences of the day.
My information briefly provided here is taken primarily from a fine book, The Framing & The Fathers of the U.S. Constitution by Max Farrand with an introduction by Wayne LaPierre (Privately printed for the members of The Library of American Freedoms)
- WHO WAS THE AUTHOR, MAX FARRAND?
Max Farran lived from 1869-1945 and was a distinguished historian. He taught history at Yale, Wesleyan, and Stanford. Several of his books are known as classics. He tried to make history come to life by retelling in detail the exciting story of the Framers, Debaters, and rugged people who wrote and ratified the Constitution of the United States of America.
- WHAT IS SOME OF THE BACKGROUND LEADING UP TO THE RATIFICATION?
In 1781, the Revolutionary War was mostly over with the surrender of British General Cornwallis to General George Washington at Yorktown. The 13 original colonies, now states, no longer had any allegiance to England, but had their own political freedom. Now the challenge began to see if they were able to establish and maintain an effective government.
(From time to time, we will quote and highlight words from the Constitution even though we may be jumping ahead in a time-frame before it is actually written.) Some of these words referred to the challenge that lay ahead and what it would mean to those who had fought and struggled for this new independence. “…to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”
- WHAT WERE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS FACING THE NEW STATES?
In many ways, each state was acting on its own…taxing each other…without concern for the another state. When problems arose, they even considered military action. Each tried to write out some laws to help in governing themselves. The Revolutionary Declarations, or Bill of Rights, were adopted between 1776-1780. The Bill of Rights was Ratified in 1791.
HAVE YOU EVER READ THE BILL OF RIGHTS? READ THESE ARTICLES CAREFULLY FOR THEY ARE YOUR LIBERTY AND PERSONAL RIGHTS!
(Some of these ARTICLES need to be emphasized here in the light of problems in our own government agencies today, and in other countries, especially in the Middle East, that are moving toward a theocracy and not a democracy even though they have taken to the streets and shed their blood to try achieve democracy. They simply do not have the leadership that is willing to look at a plan that worked and continues to work after hundreds of years. One lady who testified before Congress recently said, ” I am terrified that the rights I knew as a child are slipping away.” We pray our leaders will not let this happen. )
THE ARTICLES IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS:
- Government shall not establish a national religion. (We may worship or not worship in any way that we wish to do so.)
- Also in the light of recent possible stifling the press…“abridging the freedom of speech or the press…”
- The right to assemble (Where do we think we got the privilege without fear to have town hall meetings; go to church, synagogue, temples and mosques; demonstrate for a particular cause…political or non-political?)
- Search warrants and acquiring permission from the owner to enter a home or property
- Due process of law when accused and a speedy trial with witnesses
- No cruel or excessive punishment.…(We struggle with the issue of water-boarding and interrogation tactics of non-citizens enemies and terrorists since the USA was attacked as well as many other countries around the world. The recent movie, Zero Dark Thirty gives a graphic view of this disturbing problem. )
- States Rights. which is a separation from the Federal Government.
ALL of which are important to personal liberties that are spelled out in the Articles below. I did not repeat everything…so read it for yourself. Be informed. You may need it someday.
The Continental Congress was formed in 1774 (seven months before the Revolutionary War began) This had been established to protest the British in their “Intolerable Acts”.
- WHAT WERE THE RESULTS OF THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS?
In May, 1775, the Second Continental Congress met and drafted the Declaration of Independence and The Articles of Confederation. Thomas Jefferson was the author and his purpose was not only to declare freedom but to reach further into the future with what we today would need to govern ourselves. He had great wisdom and fore-sight. It may be mentioned here also that these men were men of faith and prayers were led and said during this time of searching for the right form of government. They looked not to establish a religion but to acknowledge the God of the universe by Whom they believed they were being led. One might call the Constitution a guide-book or a map to keep us on the right path.
Two extremely important principles to the establishing of a democracy were laid out:
- Government exists for the well-being of the people and not to be their rulers. If a government becomes dictatorial, the people have a right to resist and overturn that government. (Today, we would say “vote them out” since we frown on anarchy.)
- All men are created equal. (Basically this says that “all members of society have full protection under the law and a right to participate in public affairs.” As we know, it was a long time for our nation to catch up to this true meaning… as we waited for the freedom of the slaves; civil rights; women to vote…and now we struggle with the morals of society and what rights people have under the Constitution in the areas of gay rights, gun owner’s rights (Article II of Bill of Rights), privacy rights and more.)
- WHY WAS THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION TROUBLESOME AND DEFICIENT?
The Articles of Confederation was a way for the thirteen colonies to establish what we know as the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Some difficulties were that it did not give Congress the power to collect taxes; make a military; enforce treaties or laws or regulate commerce.
A delegation came to Philadelphia in 1787 and it was not an easy job to design a government with regulations and rules that gave the freedom that they wished for after leaving an oppressive government in Great Britain.. They spent time in serious debate and compromise (unlike, it seems, that our government today is able to do) and they were successful in agreeing on the adoption of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, which was formally signed and ratified by the required nine states on June 21, 1788.
When you hear someone say, “That is not Constitutional!”, you may now have some idea of what they are talking about from this brief introduction to the making of one of the world’s greatest documents….if not the greatest. Was it perfect? No, and the Founding Fathers knew that there would need to be changes as times changed. That is why they provided for AMENDMENTS.
THE NEXT WRITING WILL BE SOME DETAILS CONCERNING THE DRAFTING OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE MEN WHO MADE IT HAPPEN.
In the mean time, you may want to look at some of these links. Pass them on to your families and especially urge your children and grandchildren to learn about their country’s liberties and stress that it will some day be in their hands….to protect and honor this great document and those who brought it into existence. Liberty was and is not free and it came at a great cost….in war and loss of life. The young people of today will keep it or lose it. In my title, I asked if most people even “give a flip”? I believe they do, but being vigilant is part of maintaining the freedoms we have. It will not be enough to vote with our emotions, but vote to be certain the ones who run our branches of the government are put there and appointed there with the dedication to preserving freedom and our Constitution.
A Thank you to our Armed Service
In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May.
First observed on 20 May 1950, the day was created on 31 August 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches under the Department of Defense.
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Navy
- U.S Marine Corps
- U.S. Air Force
- U.S. Coast Guard
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. In 1962,President John. F. Kennedy established Armed Forces Day as an official holiday. The United States’ longest running city-sponsored Armed Forces Day Parade is held in Bremerton, Washington. They will celebration 65 years this year.
Fly your flag this weekend and remember to thank our service men and women wherever they have served. They have given so much…time away from families….their health and their limbs and in many cases the ultimate sacrifice. They are the ones who are called upon when our country’s freedom is threatened. They are our Armed Forces. There are not enough words to thank them.
After this man gives his speech with all its points, some may ask, “What is he so excited about? Why is he talking about a 2nd American Revolution?” Why is he calling Americans “cowards” if they sit back and do nothing?
If anyone asks this question, he may not know what sparked the first American Revolution. There, of course, were a mixture of reasons. Everything from economic restrictions, ethnic diversity of emigrants, the desire for self-rule, and the one reason that we hear most about was taxation by the British. Here are some thoughts on the matter.
Reasons for American Revolution:
(1) Taxation without representation in parliament. Colonials thought the English could not control colonies from so far away. (across the pond) Money, people like John Hancock, a great American leader, did not want to pay taxes on his goods being brought into the docks or sent to England, import and export.
(2) Then there was the “shot heard round the world”. This was fired when British soldiers marched out from Boston to seize the guns and ammo we Americans held at Concord. (Let that be a warning to those who would do the same today.) For Parliament to tax us was also an irritant and a burden. We had no representation in that body and hence no way to limit those taxes. (Just as we hear of more hidden taxes that may be coming our way today.) Many years after the fight, one of the Massachusetts men, asked why he fought, said something like: We had always governed ourselves; the British intended that we shouldn’t. The causes for the revolution were many, but may all boil down to one thing: self – government.
(3) We might conclude then that the American Revolution was mostly to do with taxation. It was enough to try to earn a living in the New World without someone taking it from the Old World.
(4) Colonists wanted to separate from England and get rid of taxes. The tea that was thrown in the harbor at Boston was one demonstration of the people’s resistance to taxation without representation.
(5) Another cause for the American Revolution started with the French and Indian War. In this war, Great Britain went into much debt. To fix this problem, what they did was pass taxes on the American colonies. This, of course, made the people extremely unhappy. Wars drain the purses of all nations.
Some of the causes written about here resulted in new government, new constitutions, and an independent nation. Today it is up to our nation and the elected officials to lead…as the men of old had to do. Perhaps this is what the man below is trying to say! You decide.
As a young girl, she had no idea that her life would be so amazing. Now, Margaret Thatcher is dead at 87, but she was woman of her time.
Regardless of your politics, I think most will agree that if a woman is passionate about something in life….and is fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, she can go after it!
It was not easy to be Prime Minister of one of the world’s great countries, Great Britain. She was not terribly close to the Queen. It certainly was not easy on her family (as seen in the movie trailer below). She had the terrible pressures of a failing economy. Nevertheless, Margaret Thatcher is truly a person to be admired. Not many can fill the shoes of such a challenge.
Her life only proves that some women have the ability to lead through the good and tough times. She dealt with Northern Ireland and the Revolutionary Army and the Falkland Islands.(pictured below)
She arranged for the British Colony of Hong Kong to go back to the Chinese.
Much, much more could be said about this woman.
She is seen here with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated. Being a Prime Minister or head of any country is putting one’s life in harms way. Yet, she was unafraid to speak out and to act as she thought best.
How ironic that she and one of her best political friends, President Ronald Reagan, both ended their lives with the devastating disease of Alzheimer.
Today, Boyer Writes honors her in pictures and with the video of 1990 when she was unafraid to stand before the men of Parliament, both liberal and conservative. Below is a real clip of Margaret Thatcher and the British Parliament. She will be remembered.
If you did not see The Iron Lady, starring Meryle Streep as Margaret Thatcher, here is a movie trailer that gives highlights of her life. It is worth viewing the entire film.
Brigette Gabriel was the guest speaker at the Anti- Shariah Conference in Tennessee. She is an emigrant to the United States from Lebanon who is the American founder of ACT which is the American Congress for Truth Some have called her “extreme” in her view point, but she has an answer for this: Gabriel claims she gives voice to “what many in America are thinking but afraid to say out loud, for fear of being labeled a racist, bigot, Islamophobic, or intolerant.”
On the video below, she is speaking about our American public school system and what is being taught beginning in 7th grade. If, indeed, she is correct, all Americans have a grave concern. Our young people may be indoctrinated without parent realization or permission. If you are a parent, it may be a good thing to ask your school system to see their curriculum on different cultures. You may also want to ask about the separation of church and state as it has to do with teaching a particular religion in the classroom where may faiths are represented.
You decide what you think about the message from Brigette Gabriel.
As the crowds cheered and waved approval in Chicago and elsewhere in the world at the re-election of President Obama, I was taken by a sentence given by our President in his acceptance speech. It went like this: “We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions…”
This led me to think about what individualism is and what it has accomplished through the ambitions of many. I immediately thought of the individual efforts of men like Henry Ford and the car or Edison whose many inventions changed the world. Yet, there are individuals who worked tirelessly in their homes or laboratories to change society for the better. They did it without the government or state telling them to do so. In some cases, they probably did not know what their individual efforts would do for the world. Consider the following names, that you may have never heard of but your life is different today because of them:
- Emst Alexanderson…the radio
- Luis Alvarez… the windshield wiper
- Robert Adler…TV remote
- Thomas Amat….Movie projector
- John Bardeen ….transistor
- Forest Bird….Respirator
- Laszlo Biro….ball point pen
- Samuel Blum….LASIK eye surgery
- Nills Bohlin….safety belt
- Willis Carrier…air conditioning
- Andrew Moyer ….penicillin
I can go on and on….and will write later about some of these people. Yes, it took cooperation with others to see these ideas come to their final results, conclusions and development, but what would the world be today without the individuals who first had the idea….and the ambition? What about the fore-runners to the computer age who first worked out of their garages?
First we may want to look at what those in history had to say on the subject of individualism. This would include those, like Karl Marx, who believed the masses can be controlled and individualism has little place in a social society. There are those, like John Mill, who believed that society is made better by individual thought.
“The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed an emerging role for the individual that culminated in the appearance of the language of individualism. One strand in the intensified interest in the individual was the rise of capitalism as an economic system that emphasized the individual both as the holder of self-interest and as the foundation of all legal rights. Perhaps the most famous early advocate of economic individualism was Adam Smith (1723–1790). Although Smith is sometimes labeled the first great economist of capitalism, he preferred to describe his system in terms of “natural liberty,” arguing that the welfare of society is best served when every individual seeks his or her own advantage without reference to any overarching scheme of goodness or justice. When individuals are left to their own devices, Smith held, the ensuing system possesses an inherently self-adjusting quality that will ensure the maximum satisfaction of individual desires.
The apotheosis of individualism may be found in the utilitarian doctrine, formulated most clearly by Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), that social policy should promote the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This idea rested on the principle that all individual estimations of utility deserve equal treatment and respect in comparison with all others. Hence, no person could claim that his or her calculation of happiness counted for any more or less than another’s. A truly democratic society should treat the wishes and desires of each of its individual members with the same dignity, without regard for moral judgments concerning the content of those aims. Bentham elaborates the basic insight of Smith to cover the full range of political and social programs and institutions.
Although liberalism could seem to take individualism for granted, the extreme egalitarianism of the utilitarian position, coupled with the events of the French Revolution (1789–1799), made many thinkers (including those of a liberal stripe) nervous. Edmund Burke (1729–1797) was concerned that the spread of democratic equality and the breakdown of the organic social order would lead to the fragmentation of persons into atomized individuals lacking any sense of identity or place. He scorned the individual’s “private stock of reason” in comparison with the wisdom of history, fearing that the glorification of individuality presaged the crumbling of regard for the tradition-bearers of social authority, such as the monarchy, the nobility, and the church. Under such circumstances, Burke predicted (presciently, as it turns out) that authoritarian forms of government would step into the breach and provide an artificial identity for individuals as a remedy for their extreme alienation.
Karl Marx (1818–1883) wrote about individualism. Although Marx is commonly regarded as a holistic social thinker, he in fact repeatedly asserted that individual self-realization was the standard against which social relations should be judged. In his early writings, he condemned capitalism for the alienating and dehumanizing impact that it exercised on individual workers, while in the Communist Manifesto (1848), he called for a system of equitable distribution of the fruits of labor on the grounds that the precondition of the liberty of each is the liberty of all.” (One might call this the “Robin Hood theory” of taking from the rich to give to the poor.)
In the ’90s, I was in the former Soviet Union and saw first hand the results of Karl Marx’s theory about individualism and society. Every few feet along the road, there was a ramp on which to drive up your car in order to fix it because there were so many unfit cars on the road. I also road behind a dump truck taking grain to the market. The grain was flying out of the truck onto the road. I ask my driver, ” Why do they not cover it?” He explained to me that it does not matter how much is in the truck…just that the truck delivers something . The hard work of the individual who grew the grain and the amount delivered was not taken into consideration. Socialized medicine was a part of the society and doctors, who were skilled, were not rewarded financially for this skill. A cab driver could make more money than a doctor. Individual skill in this case did not seem to matter. The individual efforts or training of the individual were not part of how the society thinks. The masses had been trained well. One would ask then, why would a person study years to become a doctor when they could learn to drive a cab and be paid even more. Of course, we know that the former Soviet Union fell apart economically. I would say that common sense tells us that individual ambitions are important and we are not greater when we set aside this gift of individual effort. Perhaps John Stuart Mill thoughts on individualism says it best.)
“John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) shared some elements of nineteenth-century skepticism about mass democratic society, but his writings crystallized the understanding of individualism still widely shared in Western societies. According to Mill’s important essay “On Liberty” (1859), the interests of humanity are “progressive,” in the Enlightenment sense that human beings seek material and moral improvement. Mill holds that the societies that are most likely to promote this goal—societies that he terms “civilized”—share the common factor of defending and promoting individual liberty. Individualism—understood as experimentation with lifestyles and ideas—challenges uncritically received sureties and broadens the basis of human knowledge. Borrowing from Tocqueville, Mill admits that democratic society contains the potential to dampen or even forbid many expressions of personal liberty that stand at odds with mass tastes or beliefs. In contrast to Tocqueville, however, Mill maintains that individualism stands on the side of liberty, not equality. A free society supports individualism.”
We have short memories….most of us. It is not likely that anyone remembers what was said in 2008 during the Presidential Campaign. Maybe before November….or even if we plan to vote early…we should refresh our memories. A candidate may think “If it worked before…maybe, just maybe it will work again.” Was there a plan that worked that somehow we missed? Is there a plan now that is different from the first speech?
Listen and decide if it is something to believe this year. Words without results make those of us who truly listen wonder. The video below is a memory refresher…just in case you need one.
Some people go down in history because they have been the best at what they have accomplished. Others go down in history because they have not given the world anything good. Good is all that can be said about this man….Neil Armstrong. Those of us who remember his walk on the moon and the day he died, can be especially grateful. The moon will never look the same to us.
Here are the pictures that you may not have seen. ( Friday, Sept. 14, 2012)
A footnote: A Reader wrote to me this information which I did not know: ” I’m pretty sure the urn used for Neil Armstrong was made of salt. They are designed to decompose rapidly….”
Arthur P. Hilbish L.F.D.
Pictures by NASA/Bill Ingalls
In the midst of turmoil around the world and collapse of many economies, it may be prudent to listen to a voice from the past. This voice gives us a “FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH”. The only thing that she says that is not factual in the world today is “… the only public money we have is from the tax payer…” When this Head Of State spoke, there was no CHINESE LENDER. She would have not believed the debt that nations have accrued and expect someone…anyone….to bail us out with interest.
Until the election is over, I plan to write about various things that have to do with our future here in the United States. After that, we will all need a break.
This video was made in the 80’s…a voice from the past… Listen carefully.