Politics Explained: The Batman Theater Shooting in Colorado

As you woke up this morning, the first thing you likely heard when you turned on the news was that there was a shooting in a pleasant, unsuspecting town in Colorado during a viewing of the highly anticipated new Batman movie. Being in Moscow, Russia, I was awake as the story broke, and have been following the developments closely. I have made some interesting observations which I would like to share.

Politics Explained: Batman Colorado Theater shooting

Politics Explained: Scene of the Crime

It was so sad to me how quickly this became a political issue. To quote someone who left a comment on the New York Times article on the issue, “this is not a time for politics, it is a time for mourning.” With that statement, I couldn’t agree more. What happened last night was horrible. We should be sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of the 12 dead and 50+ wounded (not to mention the rest of the audience which has been psychologically assaulted), instead of throwing around accusations with incomplete knowledge. To be quite honest with you, I’m going to have a tough time fully enjoying the movie, knowing that is exactly what these defenseless victims were trying to do at the moment of their untimely demise.

Gun control advocates jumped all over the issue from the very start. I believe that the gun control debate is one that should be brought up, and I will be writing about that later, but I think that there is something much deeper in the heart of the issue.

Politics Explained: Batman Theater Shooting in Colorado

Not so fast, Mr. Media

We can argue gun laws all day (and I have a feeling there will come a day when we will), but you have to ask yourself, how could a person do this in the first place. There are those who suggest that it is because the 24 year old shooter possibly listened to Rush Limbaugh who has been attacking this movie as being liberal propaganda. The thing is, there is no evidence yet speaking to the shooter’s motives. Anti-Rush Limbaugh people just think, guy had gun, republicans like guns, republicans listen to Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh hates Batman, therefore, this is Rush Limbaugh’s fault. I think that is completely ridiculous, but at the very least, we are getting away from the “he had a gun, therefore he wanted to use it” argument. The thing is, there is nothing we can definitively say until a full investigation has gone into this shooter’s background.

Politics Explained: Think of the children

Think of the Children

No matter what is found in the investigation, no matter what comes of the renewed gun control debate, one thing is certain, we need to better educate our children. We need to do better at teaching kids that violence is never the answer. I want to underline the fact that the primary place this education should be happening is in the home. Parents have a responsibility to raise their kids right. Unfortunately, not every kid has good parents, which is why we need to be providing this sort of education in the schools.

No matter how strict gun control laws become, guns will never disappear from our country, and this propensity for violence in our culture will not immediately vanish. Let’s take this moment to not only mourn for those who so tragically lost their lives in Colorado and think of the children.

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Politics Explained: “You didn’t build that” – Obama

Video

Obama Meme from "You didn't build that" comment

Obama “You Didn’t Build That” Meme

Recognize this picture? Well here’s the story behind the madness. At the beginning of this week, President Barack Obama caused tsunami level waves among conservative crowds for his comments made at a campaign stop in Virginia. At the end of this video, Obama culminates his build up by making the bold claim that, “If you’ve got a small business, you didn’t build that…” I recommend watching the clip before reading on; it’s less than one minute long.

If you are having trouble viewing this video, click here for the original on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjPI6no5ng

Conservative audiences jumped all over this comment saying things like, “President Obama doesn’t believe in the American dream!”

When I first set out to write this column about Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment, I was going to try and just give him the benefit of the doubt; I really was. But every time I re-watched the video, I was more and more put off by his comments. However, before I go into that, let’s go over what Obama’s supporters, and those sympathetic are saying.

On the surface, these comments seem pretty normal. Nothing to scandalous about them. In fact, you can see where the president is coming from. To be quite honest with you, when I first saw the clip for myself after reading all of the hype, I thought to myself, “So what? What’s the big deal?” I wanted to join in the exposure of some radical comment but I just didn’t get it. It seemed that all he was saying was, you are where you are because other people have helped you along the way. I mean it makes sense. Even his part about the roads. I mean I guess no one could come to my business if there wasn’t a road leading up to it (but now that I think of it, they seemed to do just fine in the old west, and for all we know, in the future we might not even need roads; I guess only Marty McFly and Doc Brown can answer those questions). Forgive my aside. But anyway, all our dear president was saying was, be a little bit more grateful for your success. When you think about it like that, it doesn’t seem like that radical of a statement.

That’s just the surface though. The more I listen to this (and I’ve rewatched the video multiple times now), the more I realize just what this says about Obama’s thought process and ideology that I don’t agree with. Conservatives are talking all about how Obama doesn’t understand that small business is the lifeblood of the economy. I disagree, I think he does understand that any business is good, but there is something much more fundamental that needs be exposed.

I’m especially disturbed with his statement about being smart or working hard. Obama is in essence saying, if you’re successful, it’s not because you are smarter than the average person or that you worked harder than the average person, it’s because you got lucky. It’s because you were given that success. And I dare say, he means to say that it’s because of the poor who worked on those roads and built your building, that you are rich.

This is another example of class warfare. Obama is trying to convince people that the rich and successful are only that way because they got lucky and their success is a gift. Since it is a gift, according to Obama, they are then greedy and heartless for not wanting to give back to the people that made them that way and pay more in taxes to fund the government.

Politics Explained: George Romney American Dream

George Romney: Fulfilling the American Dream

“But what about those smart kids in the intercity? Even if they work hard and are smart, can you really think that they can be as successful as the kids who went to prestigious public schools? It’s not the kid’s fault that he was born into a poor family.” I sympathize with this sentiment. I think that the way out of poverty is education. Why else do you think Mitt Romney talked so much about education reform in his speech to the NAACP. He realizes that this is an issue and wants to fix it, because it hasn’t been fixed. That being said, I say now back to you, what is the American dream anyway? The American dream is that anyone, from any walk of life, can come to America and make something of themselves. How many stories exist of people fulfilling that dream? Many.

George Romney, Mitt’s father, was so poor in Michigan that at one point he was selling paint out of the back of his car just to make a living. Because of his hard work and intelligence, he worked his way up the corporate ladder, became the president of a major American automobile manufacturer and then became governor of that very state. Was that luck? Was that because he was serendipitously handed opportunity? I don’t think so. I think he worked his tail off out of a love of family and a strong work ethic.

Obama wants us to believe that we are nothing without the government. He wants us to believe that just as God gives us everything so we should give 10%, government gives us everything so the rich should give 30%+. I don’t agree.

Politics Explained: Obama in Rain as campaigner in chief

Campaigner-in-chief speaking in Virginia

This kind of rhetoric is destructive, it’s divisive, and it’s the product of a master campaigner who know just what people want to hear, despite the consequences of such actions. I mean, watch the video again. Do you notice something different about our president. Hear that southern twang in his voice? He was born in Hawaii and went to school on the East Coast and ended up in Chicago. That’s not the South. But here him droppin’ the “g” as he’s speakin’? He knows his crowd (Virginia), and he’s riling them against a made up enemy…the rich.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the clip again, except this one is longer and gives more context. Listen for those things. Hear how he speaks, listen for the words he uses, and I think you’ll tend to agree with my analysis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=192oEC5TX_Q

So, in short: On the surface, this sounds like your run of the mill liberal rhetoric, nothing too radical. But as take the statement in a greater context, you’ll find divisive politics aimed at pitting Americans against each other in a case of class warfare that is destructive to our country. We should be trying to make America a place where all can prosper, and not take from those who were successful just to make people dependent on government welfare. We need a safety net for the poor, not a hammock.

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Q&A: Do I have to respect the president?

Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States of America

I recently had a conversation with a good friend about the office of the president. I consider this friend a great patriot and so I was intrigued when he expressed to me how he has completely lost respect for President Obama. “Years ago,” he said, “presidents were respected. They were more noble, they were stately. You may not have liked their policies but you respected them because they honored the office they held. Now we have somehow elected a man who never even finished one term in the senate. I’m not going to respect a man just because he won a popularity contest.”

After expressing his feelings, he asked my opinion about whether we should be obligated to respect the president just because he’s the president. Well here it is:

The thing is, there are two different types of respect that we are talking about here. Respect for the person, and respect for the office. Though they are connected, they should also be considered separately.

First let’s talk about the Office of the President of the United States of America. As an American, I feel it to be my duty to hold that office in the highest regard. No matter who is in the White House, I will always stand when he/she walks in the room and I hope that the band will never stop playing “Hail to the Chief.” No matter who is in office, no matter what the circumstance, if I was directed by the President to serve in the armed forces, I would. Because the Office of the Presidency is more than a person, it’s a symbol of the executive authority set up by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution, and I believe in the Constitution. That is how I respect the Office of the Presidency.

Respecting the person is a whole different story. I just deleted a long paragraph about why I don’t respect President Obama as a person, because though it is relevant to the conversation, I felt it distracted from the main point in my response. It will suffice for me to say, that I, like my friend, have little respect for Barack Obama, the person. I don’t like his policy ideas, I don’t like how he conducts himself, and I don’t like his attitude. To be fair, some of those things are probably compounded. You know, like when someone starts to really get on your nerves and then all of a sudden everything they do seems to be the most annoying thing in the world? Yeah, I’m kind of at that point with the President, but I try to keep myself in check.

But so what now? He’s the president right? Aren’t I obligated as a true patriot to respect him as the President of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief? I can remember in high school how annoyed I would get when kids, who knew nothing about politics, would constantly bad mouth Bush. I would say to them something like, “Come on guys, he’s still the president and we have to respect that.” Am I now a hypocrite every time I criticize the president? Well, it all depends on how I do it.

The thing is, one of the greatest things about being an American is our right to speak ill of our government leaders. We won’t go to jail for speaking against our government leaders as long as there is no actual threat of personal harm. A few months ago, I was on Twitter and the Official White House twitter account tweeted something about what a great job the President was doing at restoring the economy. I did not entirely agree and so I responded with some pretty sharp words. Think about that for a second. I sent a message to the White House telling them how I disapproved of their work. I dare you to try that with the Kremlin in Russia or the Imperial Palace in China, it just won’t work. I, as a citizen of the United States, have the right to speak my mind even if that means verbally attacking the man who holds the highest office in the land. I have that right, and I’m going to exercise it.

But at what point to we cross the line between disrespecting the person and disrespecting the office. Well, the line is quite blurred (welcome to politics). Some may say, well, you only have the right to speak against his policies, but no personal attacks. In general I agree with this statement. In fact, it’s one that I try to live by. But what about this, what if the president, by his personal actions, not connected with policy decisions, does something himself to disrespect the Office of the Presidency? There have been things which President Obama has done that I feel have been below the conduct required by the Office of the Presidency. It’s at this point where we have to ask ourselves again if it’s okay to attack the president’s personal actions. Because I respect the Office of the Presidency, I feel justified in criticizing anyone who shows that office disrespect, even if it’s the president himself.

Does that mean I should be morally allowed to point out every personal flaw that the president has? No. If I’m going to attack the president’s character, I should have a pretty good reason. Because he holds the office, he is entitled to, at the very least, informed criticism, as opposed to ignorant criticism. So going back to the kids in my high school, they, in general, did not know what was going on in politics. If you asked them, “Well, what has Bush done to disrespect the Office of the Presidency?” they probably wouldn’t be able to give a intelligent response.

I’m not going to lie; I at times have been guilty of unfounded personal attacks against the president. I realize my mistake and I am trying to do better to always respect the Office of the President.

So, in response to my friend who asked the question, “Do I have to respect a junior senator who went on to win a popularity contest to become the president?” I, in short, say, the beauty of this country is that anyone can lift themselves up from any circumstance to be elected president through this grand democracy that we have. So we probably shouldn’t use that as our main reason for not respecting the president. We may not like the guy, but as president he at least deserves personal criticism that is founded on something, and believe me, there’s plenty of that to go around.

EDIT 7/17/2012: Thanks to the comments that have so far been left on this post, I realize that I have left off a major point that must be brought up during any discussion of respect. The thing is, no matter what position or amount of success a person has obtained in life, there is always a certain amount of respect that should be given simply because they are a person. As Americans, we have the right to criticize our leaders, but we must always act in a civil manner. Even if we have legitimate cause to call into question the president’s character, we can and should still be civil. Because, at the end of the day, the president is still a person, and frankly speaking, a child of God. I have made the mistake before of crossing the line into giving unnecessarily harsh criticism and I have been rightly called out on it. Stay above the filth, stay civil, and you’ll find that not only will you be respected more, but your message will reach even more minds and hearts.

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Politics Explained: Romney & Bain Capital

Video

If you haven’t heard, quite recently, the Obama campaign released an attack on Mitt Romney which was then spread throughout the main stream media ( i.e. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.). The implication was that Romney lied about when he left his company Bain Capital. Romney has held to the claim that he left in 1999 to go run the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, but the Obama campaign presented what they saw as evidence to the fact that he was there 3 years longer.

There is a video posted at the very end of this post which is a report from CNN (which normally is seen to have a democrat bias) that debunks those lies which were spread by the Obama campaign. If you already know the back story, go ahead and skip to the end to just watch the video. If you still aren’t sure what this is all about, keep reading.

So what? Why should we care? Well, the Obama camp (“camp” being jargon for campaign) wants to use Romney’s time at Bain Capital to paint the picture of a greedy business man more interested in money in his pocket than creating jobs for American workers. Before I go much further let me explain briefly what exactly goes on at Bain Capital.

Bain Capital is a company that specializes in taking over failing companies and making them profitable. Kind of like flipping a house. You find a house that is run down, you buy it at a low price, you put time, effort, and money into it, then sell it hoping to make a profit. Bain Capital does just that, but instead of flipping houses, they’re flipping businesses.

If you’ve ever watched any of those house flipping reality TV shows, you will know that flipping a house is not always successful. Sometimes it happens that the house simply has far more problems than could be seen on the outside. Other times it happens that those doing the flipping really have no idea what to do and make a series of dumb decisions which leave them with leave them losing money. The Obama camp would like you to believe that Romney is like that bickering couple on TV that decides to knock down a wall that turns out to be a supporting wall, and in doing so, the entire second floor comes crashing down. It’s one thing when that happens to a house, but it’s another when the damage results in hundreds of workers losing jobs.

So back to this allegation about Romney being at Bain longer than he has claimed. If that is true, then the Obama camp will be able to point to Bain Capital failures and blame Romney. They are already trying to portray him as the dumb house flipper who haphazardly knocks down walls, not caring about the consequences. This would simply give more ammunition.

Romney, on the other hand, would like you to look at his record with the point of view that, “You know what? Business ventures aren’t always successful.” It is true that not every single investment made by the Bain Capital, under the direction of Mitt Romney, has turned out to be successful. He claims that it’s not because he was incompetent but that, just like some houses have more problems than can be noticed until you rip up the floor boards, there are unseen factors that have made it impossible to turn a company around to make it profitable. You have to understand, it’s not like Romney took successful businesses and drove them into the ground. These companies were on the verge of destruction and he with the resources of his company would come in and try to save it. It didn’t always work, but most of the time it did.

So that’s the essence of the debate. Obama wants you to believe that Romney is a greedy, heartless, Mr. Moneybags type capitalist, who will run a company into the ground just to make a buck. Romney would like you to believe that in the instances where the companies did fail, it wasn’t due to a lack of trying and in fact he worked until the bitter end to save the companies and the jobs of those employed.

Before I conclude, just one more thing about this Bain Capital business. The debated date of departure from Bain Capital revolves around Mitts decision to leave the company to go run the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City which were on the verge of bankruptsy after a huge scandal. When Mitt went to Salt Lake, he did it, not for profit, but out of a sense of duty. You hear them mention that on this CNN video. Romney was putting behind a very successful part of his carrear so that he could turn the Olympics into a successful even not only for Salt Lake City, but for America and the World. Not only did he go, but he succeeded. This man is a patriot and he’s good at what he does.

Romney with Olympic torch

Now who can think of a more run down corporation than the government of the United States of America. Who better to turn this around then a man who made a career out of taking ineffective businesses and making them profitable. Remember, profitable means more jobs. The more money that comes in, the more jobs that can be created so that even more money can be made.

Obama may attack Romney’s time at Bain Capital and refer to it as Romney’s greatest weakness, but I along with many other Americans see it as one of his greatest assets.

To end, I want to point out that this lie spread by the Obama camp is another effort to try and show the voters that Romney is a shady character that does not want to tell you the whole truth. Unfortunately every example I use to try and prove he is an honest man can be twisted by the other side to show that he is corrupt, so I’ll leave you with this thought. In his recent address to the NAACP, Romney stated, “I believe that if you truly understood who I am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of… American families, you would vote for me for President.” I also believe that to be true.

Now for the video where CNN points out the lies coming from the Obama Campaing.

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The Promise of America

Video

Politics can be complicated, but Romney explains everything in plain English so that we can truly comprehend the “Promise of America.” This video is inspirational and gives me hope for the future of our country.

I feel the key line in this video is “The President puts his faith in government; we put our faith in the American people.”

In the most recent State of the Union address, President Obama quoted President Lincoln, one of the greatest Republicans of all time, who said, “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.” Now, President Obama takes that to mean that the government can do everything better and therefore should. I join Mitt Romney in saying that you need to have more faith than that in the American people.

We, as a country, have accomplished many great things. Throughout our relatively short history we have become a world power, emanating the benefits of democracy and capitalism. We have not become that because the government made it so, but because American will power and ingenuity stepped up in times of need to make this country great.

Have faith in the promise of America.

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