Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Racist!"- A Propagandist Appeal To Fear

People who throw out the accusation of racism out of propagandist motivation or pure ignorance, are not allowed on the ark.  By the way, neither are racists.

            It really isn’t a complicated concept.

rac·ism  (rā'sĭz'əm)  
       -1.            The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
       -1.            Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
rac'ist  adj.  & n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

However, in today’s discussion of many of the important issues facing our country, the term is flung around by the left with reckless abandon.  Actually, that is inaccurate; there is nothing reckless about it.  The term racism is carefully wielded to discredit anyone who may disagree with the leftist agenda.  It is a propagandist tactic called an appeal to fear.  If there is nothing real to discredit a person with conservative ideas, if the facts don’t support a true repudiation of the opposition, then the left pulls out their Scarlet Letter “R.”  99% of the time it is totally unfounded, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to matter.

Racism is a dirty term and the liberals count on that.  No one wants to be labeled as a racist, and unfortunately once ignorant America hears that term pinned on someone they lock on it, prejudge (how ironic), and refuse to actually hear the facts and opinions presented logically by the accused person, even though the accused isn’t a racist.

If people truly stopped and thought, or even better yet, listened to the actual arguments presented by the opposition, they might actually learn something and form their own opinions based on facts.  Oh the horror.  That is exactly what propagandists fear, but what we, as Americans, have to start doing again.  I’ll tell you, you can bet our great-grandfathers did not vote based on what someone told them they should think.  They listened, they evaluated and they came to their own decisions, right or wrong.  If contemporary Americans did more of that, America would not be in the mess it is today.

Just a few examples that I want the thinking individuals who read my blog to consider:

People opposing illegal immigration are called racists.

How is opposing illegal activity racist?  I have not heard a single Tea Party member denigrate any race, just the ILLEGAL activity.  As a group, they do no oppose Mexicans, Irish, Russians, or any other ethnicity that is currently represented by these criminals.   They oppose the criminals.  Perhaps you remember logical fallacies from high school English?  If not, I believe the term is inductive argument and there is an example of it here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).  Logical fallacies are used in propaganda to trick people into thinking something is true when it isn’t.  It is the tactic being used by those on the left to slander the right and try to discredit the movement to secure our borders.  No one is saying that most Mexicans are illegal, what is being said is that most ILLEGALS are Mexicans.  Do you see the difference?  The left hopes you don’t and so they throw out racist to blur your view.

People who oppose higher taxes are also called racist.

Apparently wanting to keep your own hard earned money is now “racist”.  What on earth does one have to do with the other?  The conservative argument is that American’s money is being taken from us, carelessly spent and often corruptly used, and that we have had enough.  Look back 100 years.  This country ran much more efficiently on a much smaller percentage of the American Worker’s dollar.  Even 30 years ago we did more with less.  Take education for example, my school offered gym, art, music, theater, after school sports all included in my parents tax rate.  Nowadays the same school has cancelled art and gym and decreased its sports program.  Those sports that are still around require the students to pay for their own uniforms and provide their own transportation.  Why is that?  They get more money now per kid than they did then? The answer is mismanagement combined with entitlement.  Just look to any teenager to see this principal in action.  If you give a kid $10 a week allowance, at the end of the week he will have nothing left over (the average kid anyway). If you give him $20, same thing.  Entitled entities are likely to spend anything they can get their hands on and then ask for more when they want something else. That is what our government does now because they know that they can take more whenever they run out of what they have already taken from us.

The right argues that we don’t work this hard so someone else can spend it with abandon.  Nowhere is black, white, brown, yellow, or blue mentioned.  In fact, I would argue it is the left that is racist because what they are truly saying is that the problem is not with their misspending, it is with the people of color in our country not contributing enough.  They are deflecting responsibility by calling the minorities the entitled entities.

All I am asking is the next time you hear the term racist tossed out to refute a position, listen carefully. Did the accused really utter anything racist at all, or is the accuser planting his own racist view into the argument and attributing it to his opposition?  Be wary of propaganda.  It can get you all turned around.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it.  Go to the source.  Look up the accused article, download the indicted speech.  And learn for yourself what that person’s points are, then evaluate them based on their merit not on your political affiliation.

And if you are interested in hearing true racism, check out this site.  You’ll see something I’ve been noticing for years now.  Most racism seems to come from exactly the individuals who cry “racist” the loudest.  But you be the judge. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Bandits

People who read the books at Barnes and Noble like it is a library will not have access to the ark. 

I love books.  I have purchased and kept every book I have read as an adult except for one novel by Sir Walter Raleigh (which I could not get through) and a couple of career related books that I took out of the library on subjects I don’t feel the need to host on my shelves.  I spend a lot of time (and money) on books and I know that I am unusual in that respect.  Many writers are.  I don’t want the Kindle or the Nook or any other computerized book system because I want to own the physical publication.  I have them all on bookshelves throughout my house.  That said, to all of you lounging around at the bookstore reading books you don’t own, for God sakes GO TO THE LIBRARY!
There is a difference between a bookstore and a library.  One is a public service and one is a moneymaking venture.  If you are unsure of the difference, please click on the links above.  It is one thing to leaf through the pages of a novel quickly, scanning the first chapter and occasional subsequent pages to see if you like the writing style and are drawn in by the beginning of the story, judging the book by its cover and a little more to determine whether you want to purchase it.  It is quite another to plant yourself in an oversized comfy chair with your cup of coffee, put on your glasses and read the book for an hour or so.  That is not perusing; that is stealing.
Perhaps it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you.  Perhaps dog-earing the pages of a book that can no longer be sold doesn’t bother your conscience.  I suppose you feel that copyrights, royalties, and other pesky laws probably don’t apply to you.  But they do.  So if you can’t afford the $7.99 or (I understand books can be expensive) the $25.99 for the book in your hand, put it down, step away from the bookstore, and slowly reach for your keys.  Once you have exited the building, drive to your nearest library where you are welcome to curl up with one of their books. They’ll even let you take it home at no cost to you as long as you promise to bring it back when you are done.  You can manage that courtesy can’t you?  If not, we’ll tackle that subject on another day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Mid-Life Crisis

No flood victims today.  It is Feel Good Friday.

Lately when people ask me how I am doing, my natural reaction is to say “great”, not good, great. 
 “How are the kids?”
 “Are you going crazy with your husband home yet?” 
My husband was laid off from work over a year ago, as was I
 “No I love having him home.”

It is great.  They are fantastic, and I do love having him home.  And I think it is all a result of my mid-life crisis. Yes, you read right.  When you find yourself laid off and your husband laid off with no prospects on the immediate horizon, you start questioning things, examining your life, wondering what you want to be when you grow up.  I have spent a lot of time soul searching this year. 
At first I was anxious, if not panicked.  We both spent hours on-line redoing resumes, checking employment listings, networking with colleagues hoping to find work.  But frankly, it’s tough out there.  It is getting better for the younger kids, but for those of us with experience, no one’s willing to take the higher salary hiring leap yet, at least not in our industries.
So I started reexamining my career path.  I’ve had a lot of different jobs.  I have two degrees.  I owned and sold my own company.  I could be something different.  But what would that be?  I looked, I considered new possibilities, I applied to new jobs, but still I found myself unemployed.  As time went on, I actually grew less panicked.  I’m a planner.  I budget, and I saved for a rainy day.  Thank God because it has been pouring for a year now.
But as we began cutting back, clipping coupons, adjusting our lifestyle, I began to grow more comfortable with how it was going to be.  I spent less time thinking ‘GET A JOB RIGHT NOW!’ and more time thinking ‘what an opportunity!  We have the chance to start it all over.  We’re not locked into the career paths we chose at 20 or even 30.  We can be anything we want to be.  Life dealt us a do over and the justification to take it if we want to. ’  And I spent a lot of time convincing my husband he should feel as optimistic.  The world is our oyster, so lets shuck it!
I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I am exploring.  I am learning Greek because I have always wanted to.  I am spending a lot more time with my whole family as a unit.  The kids are getting quality and quantity time with their dad that most children (and fathers) never get to have.  I think that is huge and something that all of them (dad included) will look back on some day with great appreciation.  I have considered all sorts of new vocations and I am really excited about the one I am researching right now.  So is my husband.
So my mid-life crisis has turned into an opportunity to reinvent my life, or at least the parts I want to recreate. There are quite a few parts I like just the way they are: my family life, my friends and the close relationship I’ve enjoyed by spending more time with my husband now than ever before in our 15 years together.
If that’s not something to feel good about, I don’t know what is.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From Behind The Bathroom Stall

The latest ark admittance rejection goes out to the anonymous woman in the bathroom at Chucky Cheese.

            First of all, understand I have done pretty much everything in my power to avoid going to Chucky Cheese.  My eldest son has been asking for years (darn those commercials!).  But fortunately for me, the closest Chucky Cheese is about 45 minutes away and we never have occasion to be in that neighborhood.  So, as far as my kids knew, Chucky Cheese was just a place on TV. 
However, after a four hour car ride to our vacation destination with three children, two of whom had behaved okay although one or the other had talked incessantly throughout the whole trip, and one of whom had been exceptionally well behaved (using the bathroom when his brother needed to stop instead of making us stop again thirty minutes later, being absolutely silent when one or the other of his younger siblings was sleeping, handing things to those same younger siblings to help keep them occupied and happy and not once, no not ONCE in four hours ever asking are we there yet?  or complaining in any other manner) I decided to reward my oldest with dinner at Chucky Cheese. Ugh.
            So we went in and spent an exorbitant amount on a mediocre pizza and more tokens than three children 6,3 and 2 can use in an hour.  It was fun for them and it was nice to reward my six year-old for his good behavior.  I find that goes a lot further toward procuring more good behavior than yelling at the bad behavior, which unfortunately is my far too frequent disposition.  
Anyway, as we were getting ready to leave, it dawns on me that my two year-old needs a change.  My squirmy, strong willed, and devilish little girl needed a clean diaper.  What she really needs is potty training but that is a post for another time.  So, I take her in to change her and do my best to balance her on the courtesy changing table while securing the clean diaper and wipe container from the diaper bag.  I balance everything very strategically and start taking off her sneakers so I can get off her shorts and subsequent diaper to begin this oh so fun chore when she begins to squirm and turn and try to get off the 4 foot high table.
If you haven’t noticed from my posts, I am prone to venting, so I begin telling my two year-old that she needs to stop squirming and that this would be much easier if she would hold still. While trying to prevent her from wiggling her way right off the table onto the floor, I sternly say her name to get her attention and remind her that she could fall, and that on top of that, she isn’t making this any easier.  I am not angry nor have I raised my voice, I am merely talking my way through an otherwise frustrating situation.  I talk like this with and to my kids all the time. And despite what some well meaning people have told me, they do understand the word cooperation at two, they know what I mean and they can obey if they choose to.
 However, I talk my way through these situations more for my own sanity in order that I don’t grow so frustrated that I become angry.  It is my coping mechanism.  Anyway, I am talking my way through this very squirmy diaper change and what do I hear from the peanut gallery outside the door?  (yes someone felt the need to comment)  Someone outside a closed door, who could not be identified and therefore felt comfortable voicing her unsolicited opinion, shouted out “By the way, you sound like an idiot in there.”
My response?  “I’m sorry, I don’t remember asking your opinion.”  I was fuming.  Here I was talking with my daughter, not yelling, not saying anything inappropriate, but obviously struggling.  Instead of offering help like I might have done, this low rent buttinski decides to insult me.  I mean really?  Who asked you?  And where do you get off?
Now I have no way of knowing who this woman was or I assure you that I would have gone out and in as polite a tone as I could muster approach her and say something along the lines of  “I am terribly sorry if my telling my daughter to hold still in a diatribe that entertains her long enough to actually effectuate a diaper change sounded idiotic enough to you that you felt the need to comment, but perhaps in the future, you might consider holding your own counsel and making yourself useful instead of being so rude an ineffectual.”  I so wanted to say something like that to her.  I mean hello?  Have you BEEN to Chucky Cheese?  The whole reason I didn’t want to go there is because the non-parenting population frequents the place.  By that I mean, the parents that you hear me complain about regularly who do not watch or discipline their children but rather sit at their tables obliviously filling their faces while their children wreak havoc and they pretend they are not responsible for it.  This place is full of kids who are off the wall and parents that don’t bother to even TRY and control them and I am the one she feels the need to say something to? Please!  So to that obnoxious woman who must have been an employee not a mom (because any mom would understand the struggle I was undertaking and feel sympathy, if not relief that she wasn’t in my position) hush up. And while you are at it, get some courage, because if you feel strongly enough about something that you need to share your opinion with a perfect stranger at least have the fortitude to do it face to face not from behind a bathroom stall.
Whew!  I may not have gotten to say it directly to the offending person, but it sure feels better to get something like that off my chest.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Not Feeling So Good This Friday

Ugh!  This post was entitled I Need Work and it started with an apology for my absence followed by an explanation about how I have been out of town for ten days.  It told you that I did bring my laptop in order to keep my posts current.  But, that despite the best of intentions, I found myself with no internet service at my location. Oops.
The main body of the rant was all about a self-important twenty-something who was directing traffic and deliberately caused gridlock just to flex his ego. It addressed the lack of customer service and the bad attitude more prevalent today in an economy with the highest unemployment rates we’ve seen in decades, which seems counterintuitive.  If there are more people looking for jobs, you’d think those with jobs would work harder to keep them, but that is just me.  Anyway, it went on to chastise the ferry company for employing this jerk and other jerks like him because they are known for their workers with bad attitudes.  Then at the end, when we finally escaped the parking lot this egomaniacal twenty-something controlled, it juxtaposed the narrative of this very annoying abuse of power with the image of the middle-aged man in jeans and a t-shirt who was positioned just outside the parking lot holding a sign that read; I need work.  It suggested that perhaps the ferry company could look into hiring someone like the sign holding gentleman over the entitled college kid and everyone would fare better. 
            But after writing that post filled with what I hope were entertaining witticisms and laugh out loud sarcastic moments, I decided to make a dent in my next post, a rough draft that I saved over my finely crafted final version of I Need Work.
            Yes you read that right, I saved it OVER my finished post, which because I have exhausted my frustration with that particular situation is now nothing more than this summary.  So after a week away and two hours spent crafting my return, I apologize, but I just can’t write it again. 
            I will say to the twenty-something that stopped the mini van full of vacationers and blocked him and the rest of us in with a car that could not board the ferry for another five full minutes (I timed it), I hope your inflated ego helps you float.  To the ferry company that supports this jerk and others like him, I suppose you have your own boat, which is a good thing because it means the likes of you all won’t poison our ark.  But today’s flood victim is the idiot that caused me to lose a perfectly hilarious post…wait that would be me!  Can I give myself a pass?  Still I’m not sure I deserve one.  What a bonehead!