Monday, July 19, 2010

Change Language, Change Reality

Recent Obama speeches in Egypt and China have hailed "freedom of worship" as an important universal right. At first glance, this seems to be a simple reiteration of the best in American social thought. I applaud the sentiments that champion freedom, but I am appalled at the subtle and subversive change in language from "freedom of religion" to "freedom of worship."

Our founders understood that freedom of religion/conscience is the first and most fundamental freedom of all. The U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were - and remain - unprecedented and unequalled in world history as charters of personal liberty. The federal (and by implication local and state) government does not exist to bestow rights, but to protect God-given (or Natural) liberties. America remains the only nation in the world with a complete "free market" in matters of faith and conscience.

"Worship" as defined by the current Administration is a narrowly-focused set of activities that are easily marginalized and privatized away from the public square. This new language conforms to Islamic thought where other monotheistic religions are "protected" - coded language for permitted as second-class (dhimmi) citizens. Obama-speak "worship" will permit gatherings for religious ceremonies, but allow the government to declare other public activities verboten if they are not is the interest of the "general welfare." One example of this is the arrest of peaceable Christian evangelists at an Arab cultural festival - in Michigan!

The Left for years has called upon the "people" to "speak truth to power" and "subvert the dominant paradigm." Well, now they are revealing their true colors in their intolerance of any dissent. As Tea Party activists expose their failed policies, the propaganda machines crank up their lies about the extremists and racists in the movement, conveniently ignoring the millions of hard-working citizens of every color and creed who oppose current policies. Collectivism destroys incentive and does not work. More government and more deficit spending will only destroy the prosperity of two centuries.

There are other language games being played by the magicians in power. They promised hope and change. They promised a post-partisan and post-racial era of good feelings. They promised reduced deficits. They promised exit strategies from "untenable" wars. Obama promised a "sharp pencil" look at every expenditure. The results? Utter failure on every count and the planned rapid destruction of what remains of free enterprise. Instead of a NASA promoting math and science in U.S. schools, the new Director sees his primary task as boosting the "self-esteem" of Islamic nations concerning their historical contributions to math and science. We have a State Department marginalizing the one democracy in the Middle East (Israel) while initiating new "outreaches" to the 57 nations living under the iron hand of Islam (none but Turkey are close to democratic).

I call upon all people of conscience to join me is an open process of decoding public rhetoric. Our enemies are not those who debate policies. There is room for rigorous public dialogue on the best ways to solve our problems. Our enemy is more nefarious. Our opponents are linguistic subversives who redefine terms that require a special class of interpreters! "Pro-Life" has become "against women." "Marriage" is now up for grabs. "The gender assigned at birth" is the new phrase for what any normal person would call "boy" or "girl." "Progressive" used to mean freedom with a social conscience - now it means control of the instruments of business.

Why does every politician need a spin doctor to interpret what she or he has just said? Our founders spoke unambiguously and laid the foundation for the greatest nation in history. Current leaders within the Beltway need to learn plain speech again and understand that ideas have consequences. People are not groups to be manipulated, but individuals made in God's image to be unleashed to their full potential.

There is still a window of time to change course - not back to Bush, but forward to our founder's best ideals. There is no time for nostalgia - we need renewal and responsible choices. Join me in not just reacting to the latest outrageous policies, but in actions that demonstrate our finest principles.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Needed: Character and Competence Not Color and Condemnation

When times are tough, people look for scapegoats. Today the Obama Administration leaders are lambasting the racist elements of the Tea Party Movement and encouraging African-Americans to be more "intense" in their demands for better health care, education and job opportunities. For an Administration billed as "post-racial" we are seeing familiar agitprop and a refusal to condemn the hate speech of racial radicals on the Left. The failure of Attorney General Holder to prosecute the New Black Panther leaders in Philadelphia for voter intimidation is only one example of the preferential politics of this "post-partisan" regime.

There is no place for racism or sexism in American life. Too many have shed blood, sweat and tears to bring us to the current moment of opportunity. Democrats and Republicans have their saints and sinners in our history of moving toward the ideals of our Constitution. When we are at our best, the words of Martin Luther King resound in our hearts, as we long for the day when all are judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. Word like "cracker" and "nigger" should never flow from our lips. We can be proud of our ethnic heritage and enjoy the contributions of every culture to the living cathedral of the American community.

Our current crises are solvable, if women and men of character and competence keep the media out of the room, roll up their sleeves and get to work. We can create new private-public partnerships to repair our infrastructure, restore urban war zones and deliver services to the rural poor. Instead of posturing for attention and and lining our pockets with present and future kickbacks, civil and political leaders must exercise integrity and imagination and usher in a new, more humble and more creative era.

Black families are in crisis. The factors are many and structural; however, they are also moral and spiritual. Poverty and redlining are not the immediate causes of illegitimate babies and murder. Fathers must be held responsible for the children they sire. Ministers of religious communities must insist that reverence for God and respect for others are the only antidotes to the rage men and women feel. Educational leaders must step up, remove incompetent administrators and leaders and create a new environment for empowerment.

White America is also in dire straits. Some of the problems are better hidden, but they are just as serious. Narcissistic parents divorcing each other and dividing the loyalties of children cause a huge strain on the legal and social service systems. The rural poor are trapped in their own cycles of domestic violence, ignorance and hopelessness. Two generations of indulgence have produced men and women who grow up too fast in the wrong categories (sexual experimentation) and too slowly in the important ones (hard work and integrity).

"Brown" America struggles with the issue of illegal immigrants draining the economic and social resources of many localities and states. Hispanic leaders cannot pretend to be loyal to the USA and pander to the La Raza crowds. While the Left-leaning African-American and Hispanic groups share a jaded vision of past and future, the majority of folks in their communities just what a safe world for the children to flourish. We need men and women of courage to help us create legal pathways to citizenship and not just amnesty and cheap labor/votes.

We need character and competence, not emotional appeals to color. We have shared challenges and dreams that require more than tolerance - they require love and respect that are the keys to the transformational synergy our nation and world needs. We have structural issues that transcend color-coded politics:

Public employee pension funds must be overhauled. Sloganeering will not preserve jobs or services.

Politicians must have the same health and retirement benefits as the private sector. This is the fastest pathway to real reform and the unleashing of creativity in the public square.

Balanced budgets are no longer optional. If we need more money, we streamline or raise revenues openly. The California Legislature cannot account for billions of misappropriated dollars, scores of commissions and unspeakable waste of the taxpayers' money.

We cannot have a war economy and welfare state at the same time. Our troops need to destroy terrorist locales, protect allied interests and rapidly train host nations' personnel. We must stop being an occupying force in Muslim lands and bring our brave women and men home. We do need excellent technology and we must care for troops and veterans; however, we can do these effectively without the corporate and political largess that misuses our tax dollars.

Government regulation of private industry is needed to ensure ethical standards. Government administration of the same is the quickest road to disaster. Seventy years of USSR-led economic experiments should teach us something about the dangers of bureaucratic collectivism.

I call upon conservatives and progressives, accountants and agitators, engineers, ethics professors and all people of conscience to unite in dialogue that leads to action. There are dangers to real success: We must let go of anger and show compassion. As we solve homelessness, some "advocates" will need to find a private job. Capitalists will have to be accountable to more that their leading shareholders. Read and Yellow, Black and White - we are all precious in His sight. Precious...and accountable for how we live.