• No Socialism for America

    My little ‘ol libertarian-leaning self seems to be finding himself living in bizzaro America in these waning days of the presidential election. Did I hear correctly yesterday that in a national poll a majority of voters feel Senator Obama would be better on taxes than Senator McCain? What exactly is the color of the sky in the American voter’s world these days? Thankfully, the veracity of many polls have come into question recently–hopefully this is one of them.

     

    How in the world could anyone conclude that a man who’s voted 94 – 0 to raise taxes and opposes the Bush tax cuts, will suddenly lower taxes? Gee, it’s like he wants something from voters; now what in the world could that be?

     

    A partial-term senator who voted to raise taxes nearly a hundred times vs. a multi-term senator renowned for his anti-earmark, anti-spending commitment, would seem an inconceivable race in America, but today is apparently different. I’ve never seen nor even heard of such a political cult-of-personality taking hold in a non-totalitarian nation as that of Senator Barack Obama. It’s even risen to religious fervor in some quarters. I actually heard a reggae song yesterday by an Obama supporter set to the Lord’s Prayer, replacing “Father” with Obama.

     

    America has had its heroes, but has never so venerated someone with so little empirical achievement. This is a sure sign that the cult is rising based on the ethereal and not on the factual. The irrational veneration for such a relative political nobody, it’s frightening. It’s as if his followers have imbued in him everything they’d hoped to find in the first black candidate, regardless that he doesn’t live up to the hype. Even the popularity of Sarah Palin, a relative political new comer, but someone with a bona fide traceable executive record, is different. Am I the only one frightened by this? I never thought anyone could make Kerry and Gore seem like reasonable political alternatives.

     

    Children sing Obama songs, uniformed teen boys pay homage to Obama with military cadence and bearing, and everywhere are ubiquitous images of Obama painted in the old Socialist Realism style reminiscent of defunct communist regimes.

     

    Socialists, or if you prefer, radical progressives ignore all the proof in the world that socialism causes misery, people don’t thrive and its societies are prone to eventual collapse. Neo-socialists persist that, if only they had a chance, they could do it right. A related axiom reminds me that this is the very definition of insanity. While socialists might not be individually, clinically insane, socialism is most definitely an insane political philosophy.

     

    Any philosophy that encourages taking money out of a productive person’s pocket under the force of government, and puts it into an unproductive person’s pocket, is morally and ethically corrupt. I’m a cop, if I investigate an incident in which a suspect steals a victim’s wallet under the threat of force, if I find the suspect I arrest him for robbery. How is it any different when a government commits robbery? The definition of robbery hasn’t changed: the takiing of property from another through the threat or use of force. Has the deity granted the government an exemption from the proscription againsts stealing?

     

    The thing is, the government has other ways of raising sufficient revenues through sales and use taxes, which are purely voluntary. In other words, they’re taxes that conform to the American ideal of liberty. Income and property taxes make serfs of all Americans—certainly not the plan of our founders.

     

    I fear for our nation like I never have before. I thought Americans, the beneficiaries of the greatest experiment in liberty ever undertaken by man, were immune from being absorbed into such a mysterious, glazed-eyed, political cult, but shamefully, we are not. I also blame those of us on the libertarian/conservative side who haven’t done all we can to fight the socialist onslaught. There will be some issues we’ll all have to deal with when this election is over regardless of who wins.

     

    McCain supporters will forever lament his resistance to attacking Obama’s ties earlier and more forcefully. We will also lambaste him for holding Palin in reserve and not unleashing her sooner, and when he finally did, to not have done it in the venues of his clear media enemies. She would have been treated fairly and loosened her interview wings so she could fly free. Hannity, Ingraham, O’Reilly, the list goes on, would have been great warm ups. With a week to go she still hasn’t appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show, the most watched on cable news. This is another looming regret.

     

    On the Obama side; there is no way on earth any human being could ever live up to the hyper hype created by the Obama campaign and the Obama major media. My prediction if Obama wins: we with no scales on our eyes will not be surprised in the least by any Obama catastrophes that are sure to come. However, for those true-believers, when the scales begin to fall, the bright light of truth about the limitations of a flawed mortal will be blinding. And Obama will not be able to blame a Republican congress; he’ll be working with a Democrat-controlled congress, which is the most unpopular and least effective in the history of our country.

     

    The above is not an indication that I have given up hope in a McCain win. Hardly. While the leftists have always been more in-your-face about their political preferences, the right tends to keep their opinions close to the vest, and speak loudest in the voting booth. My lament above is in that there can be so many Americans ready to chuck our, as Senator Obama puts it, flawed Constitution, is gut-wrenching regardless that I do expect to be celebrating a new President John S. McCain.     

     

     

     

      

  • WHEN YOU ASSUME…

         It’s interesting, to say the least, being a conservative-libertarian cop working in an overwhelmingly liberal city. One interesting aspect of liberal city culture is quite relevant at this time: political campaign signs, political assumptions, and my observations regarding them.

         It should surprise no one to find a disproportionate number of Democratic Party campaign signs proliferating in the neighborhoods, compared with Republican signs. However, I’m not sure why, but it surprised me that there weren’t at least a smattering of Republican campaign signs—one or two even—sprinkled about.

         Among all of the ubiquitous Obama signs and bumper stickers plugged into private lawns, public planting strips, and plastered all over hybrid cars and VW Microbuses, I finally saw a McCain-Palin campaign sign standing solitary sentinel of the Republican presidential effort. It had been placed in a planting strip dividing the north and south bound lanes of a well-trafficked route.

         It felt good to know that Americans could tolerate each other although strongly disagreeing on political issues even in city that lists heavily to port. After all, this city has long boasted that it is a place of tolerance. Still, when I mentioned the lone sign to my comrades, each in turn predicted its imminent demise. I drove by later in the day and happily reported the solitary sign staid and secure.

         Sadly, the following day, I had no good news to report for as predicted, some un-American fool had removed the sign; one McCain sign out of dozens of Obama signs, and they just couldn’t leave it alone. While I know there are certainly examples of this behavior on both sides, it’s been my personal and professional experience that removal or destruction of Republican or conservative issue signs is much more common. I’ve yet to notice any conspicuously placed Democratic signs having been removed. 

         The point here is that, the left self-describes as tolerant. However they only seem to tolerate what they deem tolerable. Their political hyperbole borders on insanity. I once had a discussion with an ardent leftist about the unauthorized removal of campaign signs, which is anathema to every conservative, and most certainly, every libertarian I know. I offered that it was the epitome of being un-American. Her answer, “Should we have tolerated Hitler’s campaign signs?”

         Hitler? Really? How can we have a reasonable conversation about issues when the right sees the left as wrong, but the left sees the right as evil?

         I was at a party just before the last national election. The soirée was well represented with public school teachers, a well-known bastion of liberalism. At one point one of the teachers mentioned President Bush; in a negative context of course. I casually quipped that I didn’t agree with certain policies, but in general I liked “W.”

         Holy Moly Batman! The slack jawed teachers stood staring at me like I’d just crapped in my hand. I was suddenly the vilest thing not only in the room, but on the face of the planet. These teachers, these objective molders of young minds, couldn’t seem to comprehend anyone not agreeing with their point of view.

         Did I have an opinion on John Kerry? Well, let’s just say I didn’t have a Kerry/Edwards campaign sign in my yard or bumper sticker on my car, but at least I had the courtesy not to make assumptions, as I understand not everyone thinks as I do—come to think of it, isn’t that kind of what America’s all about?

  • The Other Half of Road Rage. (A little courtesy won’t kill you part 1.)

          A little courtesy won’t kill you.

         I was learning to drive when my home state used this slogan in an attempt to cajole its drivers into better, safer behavior. I don’t know if there was ever any statistical analysis done following the campaign, but I can attest to its ability to stick in the back of your mind. Perhaps, being a cop with a professional interest in driving behavior is why it stuck.

         Courtesy is such a simple concept most responsible parents, teachers, coaches, and clergy attempt to instill within us from an early age. Most of us do learn the lesson and while not always successful, we do attempt to be courteous in our daily lives. So, why doesn’t this behavior translate to the roadways?

         They (you know the, they I mean), say this may have to do with the relative “protection” and “anonymity” of the automobile. I’d like to offer up some food for thought on another facet of the issue: the other half of road rage.

         You’re out for your evening run, you’ve got a good pace, and you’re feeling like you could run forever. Then suddenly you hear the thump-thump-thump of footsteps from behind; someone’s quickly gaining on you. You begin to feel the stress and you hope he’ll just pass, but he doesn’t.

         It’s annoying enough to have someone on your tail like that, but what if ,you glanced back and saw that the guy running behind you was holding a shotgun—with his finger on the trigger—barrel pointed at your head? Now, for argument’s sake, he’s not threatening you, he’s not intending to shoot you, he’s simply running, but he’s not passing you. He’s probably not going to pull the trigger while running, but he sure could. What a ridiculously stupid thing to do, right? How dare he risk your life like that? How angry would you be?

         Now, how about this: instead of running, you’re driving your VW Beetle down the freeway at 60 mph—maybe you have your kids buckled into the back seat. You glance in your rearview mirror and see a Cadillac Escalade rapidly advancing on you. You feel that stressful niggle and hope he’ll just pass, but he doesn’t. Now he’s so close you can’t even make out the license plate.

         In this second scenario, instead of holding a shotgun to your head, the driver is hurtling down the freeway with a massive three-tons of SUV a millimeter and a half off your rear bumper. How would this make you feel? Angry? Of course it would—how dare he put your life at risk? Anger is understandable. Just like the guy with the shotgun, the Escalade driver doesn’t intend to hurt you, in most cases, he just wants you out of his way.

         How you respond to the jerk is key and the difference between so-called, Road Rage, and acting responsibly. While every ounce of your being wants to slam the breaks, forcing the tailgater to cause a collision, that cure would obviously be worse than the illness. (Let’s see, you slam on the brakes and his 6,000 pound tank squishes your 2,000 pound bug. Yeah—that’ll teach ‘em.)

         Instead, what I propose is to take the “courtesy” arrow out of your quiver. Simply, take a deep breath—curse the butthead with that breath if you’d like, and then move out of the lane. (Take the high road, so to speak.) If it isn’t possible to move over, call 911 on your cell phone, or just wait and move out of the way at the earliest possible moment.

         Don’t let the bum pull you down to his level, or into his world. You were having a good day before he came up on your rear end; don’t give him the power to take that away from you. Simply reduce him to the insignificant pile of excrement he’s demonstrated himself to be.