In Search of Common Ground
Looking for sanity within the madness...

All Cops Matter

Law enforcement is one of the toughest professions there is. Not only do you have to be physically tough, you've got be be mentally and emotionally tough. You're expected to put your life on the line, often for an ungrateful public. It takes commitment and a lot of training to even be hired, then you've got to continuously keep up with your training and with new developments in law enforcement if you want to advance in your career.

A fair, professional, and impartial justice system is fundamental to the functioning of our civilized society. The first level of the justice system, the one where people have their first encounter, is the cop on the street. To be effective, cops have to be respected and they need to respect the people who make up the community in which they serve. Police have to be fair to be respected but a few try to be respected through fear rather than fairness. They let the power of the badge combine with their inner prejudices to bully the poor and the powerless members of the community.

Every profession has a small percentage who don't measure up, but there's a blue code of silence that allows these bad cops to continue doing what they're doing. Cops need to acknowledge that there are bad cops. All cops matter. Especially the bad ones.

What do you think? Please leave me a comment

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Dec 6 2015

Homeless Veterans

It's nice to see the concern for homeless veterans that has been showing up lately on my Facebook feed. After doing a little research, I'm happy to see that the situation has been improving lately. Homelessness among veterans dropped 35 percent between 2010 and 2014. The Obama administration has admitted that its ambitious goal of ending veteran homelessness in 2015 won't be realized by the end of the year, but it is making progress.

Bernie Sanders authored a bill in 2014 to increase spending for veterans' services. Could veteran homelessness have ended if the bill had not been defeated by Senate Republicans? Maybe, maybe not, but we would have made even more progress towards the goal.

This idea that aid to Syrian refugees has to wait until there are no more homeless veterans is another attempt to distract from the real issues. This country has the wealth to make progress on both of these fronts and more. How about we put a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until there are no more homeless veterans?

Denying assistance to Syrian refugees is unAmerican and an admission of defeat. Less than a week after the attacks in Paris, France says it will take 30,000 Syrian refugees, while cowardly U.S. Republicans would turn them away. Syrian refugees already have to go through a multistep vetting process to insure that they are not a threat, which takes over a year to complete.

The Islamic State "seeks to exploit the idea that there's war between Islam and the West". That is how they gain recruits and that is how they gain power. Don't give in to hate.

If you want to know more about veteran homelessness, here are some links:
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs Ending Veteran Homelessness website.
Estimates of Homeless Veterans By State, 2015

What do you think? Please leave me a comment

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Nov 21 2015

Racism Sucks

Generations pass, and some things stay the same. In the 1970's, nineteen year old Mizzou student Art Holliday was told that he was the first black person that another student had ever spoken to. A generation later, in the late 90's, Mizzou sophomore Jeff Huffman had his first conversation with a black man. Art was from St Charles, a suburb of St Louis and Jeff is from Dexter in southern Missouri.

Even when the evidence is clear, a lot of white people seem to want to deny or at least minimize the undercurrent of racism that usually streams just below the surface here in the Midwest. I can tell you that there are a lot of people who feel that blacks are a just a bunch of complainers.

Sadly, there are also a lot of folks that are simply racist. What prompts a seemingly intelligent white middle class college student to post threats about shooting black people? Where does this resentment and hatred come from?

I think it boils down to selfishness and a lack of empathy, and frankly, a lack of intelligence. White people have had it so easy for so long and they rationalize however they can to keep it that way. I'm sure that somebody is reading this and thinking "I've never had it easy". Well, as hard as you may have had it, if you were black, it would be even harder for you.

When I was a teenager and driving around Spanish Lake, it was pretty common to get pulled over by the cops. Once I got a little older, that quit happening so often. When you're driving while black, however, it goes on for the rest of your life. And it can be much more deadly.

What do you think? Please leave me a comment

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Nov 14 2015

Why is politics such a mess in this country? There have always been disagreements, but both sides used to be able to come together and compromise on the big issues for the common good. But those days seem to be gone and there's a reason for that...

The Stakes are Higher Now than Ever Before

It's always been about money and the power that comes from having lots and lots of money. By any measure, there is more wealth now in our society than ever before. And it is held by fewer people than ever before. The rich and powerful continually seek to change the laws in their favor to hold onto their own money and to take more and more of yours and mine. That's not easy to do in a democracy, where citizens have the ability to vote for their lawmakers. But the rich and powerful have learned how easily the average voter can be distracted and swayed into voting against their own best interests.

Distract and Divide

There's a lot to be outraged about these days. You see it on the news every day. The education system is in a shambles. Criminals are running rampant. Obama this, Bush that. Illegal Aliens taking our jobs, Big Corporations ruining the environment, you hear it all the time. There are many people who profit from your outrage. They profit from getting people pissed off and saying "what's the use in voting?". They profit from the status quo and they like things just the way they are.

Achieving Real Change

We all want the system to change but we diagree on how to do it. The right tries to convince you that government is the problem and if we can just shrink the size of government and let free enterprise rule, then everyone will benefit. The left feels that government can and should be used to solve society's problems. Who's right?

What Do We All Agree On?

Governments exist to provide for the national defense and.... what else?
The Preamble to the Constitution says "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, and promote the general welfare" . In all of these, government exists to provide fairness to its citizens.

We don't have to look back in history to get a sense of what life was like before governments were formed. There are a number of areas in the world today which are free from any form of central government. In these countries, local warlords and other leaders are in control and daily life in these countries is a struggle to survive. With no government, might makes right.

Some would say that we are at the other extreme today in the United States. Government is in every aspect of our lives, starting before we are born and continuing after we have passed from this earth. What is the best balance between too much and not enough government? The right answer is somewhere in the middle, between no government and oppressive government. Moderation in all things. Read on and please, send me your thoughts...

Nov 1 2015

All Cops Matter

Homeless Veterans

Racism Sucks



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Looking for sanity within the madness... Tell me what you think!

So I'd like to know what you think. Do you think I'm wrong? Misguided? Convince me.

I believe that reasonable people can respectfully disagree with each other and that they can come to common ground on solutions and policies to move forward.

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