An Anniversary with Two Related Meanings

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

April 4 on any year’s calendar has two meanings to me. Both are important and both are related. To the rest of America April 4th is the day in which Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated on a motel terrace in Memphis, Tennessee, 45 years ago today. While his greatness is undeniable; his martyrdom sealed with absolute certainty that he would never be forgotten.

 

April 4th is also my wedding Anniversary. The best day of my life was when Miss Sonja Fleming agreed to love me and keep me and honor me and wear my ring for the rest of my life. Twenty-six years later we have enjoyed lots of love and traditions, made our own traditions, raised three kids and stayed together. The staying together part is wonderful and a blessing. But I think my wife would agree it wasn’t a fairy tale. As with all successful marriages we’ve overcome some challenges; though we had more than many.

 

Our 1 and only brief moment to sit during our wedding & receptionThese two anniversaries are related in that Sonja is black, and I am white. At the time of Martin Luther King’s death such a union was extremely rare, and socially unacceptable in the eyes of most Americans. In 1958 only 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriage. By 1968 that figure had only grown to 20%. At that time it was only one year removed from the U.S. Supreme Court making it legal for people of different races to wed. Remarkably there are still 16% of Americans who don’t approve of my marriage. Something I share with my children all the time is the fact that in 1987, when Sonja and I said our “I do’s”, interracial marriage was still rare and still disapproved of by most Americans. I tell my kids this, and they nod, but I can tell they haven’t a clue. How could they? But even those who are my age or older have forgotten what pioneers we were and what obstacles existed as late as 1987.

 

I maintain Martin Luther King’s death made our marriage and it’s longevity possible. His death was so horrible and so universally scorned that even the hateful racists or the indifferent idiots were forced to shut-up over changes that happened far too slowly.

 

Much to my embarrassment and frustration my father was one of the majority who didn’t approve of the marriage of a white man (especially his son) to a black woman. Eight years later my brother married a woman of Philippine decent. And my Dad showed no signs of disapproving. At the time I asked why it was wrong for me to marry a black woman but OK in his mind for my brother to marry a woman with darker skin, and asian. To his credit my father said , “You were Jackie Robinson. You showed that it’s OK”. I loved him for saying what was possibly the very best thing he could have said.

 

Funny how that happens. Things change in society. Some are decidedly bad. But some things we only think are bad at the time change is occurring. Time and example prove the changes were OK at worst, good at best. In other words, the masses are often wrong.

 

I was only four years old at the time of Martin Luther Kings death. But by the time I was 19 Ronald Reagan had signed a bill into law creating a national holiday in his name. Funny, that was opposed too.

English: Photograph of President Ronald Reagan...

President Ronald Reagan and the Signing Ceremony for Martin Luther King Holiday Legislation in 1983.

Race in this country is sadly still a huge issue. And being on the front lines of the issue for more than 26 years I can tell you how sad I find it. For there can be no denying that the ugly face of racism still exists. But I don’t believe it hampers the advancement of most African-Americans from achieving their dreams and goals for success. I do believe the belief, in and of itself, by many blacks that racism holds them back is in fact what holds them back.

 

The fact that I’m married to a black woman for 26 years and the father of three kids who society calls black does not insulate me from criticism from some in the black community for holding this belief. One need only look at the fierce attacks

Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson 

Dr. Benjamin Carson received for speaking of Conservative Christian values at the National Prayer breakfast in front of President Obama to know I’m somewhat doomed.

 

Race in this country can live up to Martin Luther King’s dream when and only when African-Americans collectively recognize that racism will never be fully eradicated. Idiots and hate have existed throughout history. But to point accusatory fingers at every person and incident and scream “racism” at every slight only frustrates everyone and keeps innocent people on the defensive and pushes them away. For instance, today’s higher rate of poverty among blacks is less the result of societal racism and more the result of the astounding rate of single-mother and teen births.

A graph showing percentage of single mothers by race.

A graph showing percentage of single mothers by race.

As of 2010 72.5% percent of black children are born to single mothers. It’s 29% for whites, 53.3% for Hispanics. Not one single white person, racist or not is responsible for this horrible fact. And it’s horrible because 64% of single mothers and their children live in poverty, regardless of race.

 

Progress has been made in race relations since the death of Martin Luther King and since the 1987 marriage of Sonja and I. A black President with a traditionally Muslim name is fair evidence of this fact. But on this day every year, I want more and better. And from this non-racist white guys perspective the African-American collective bares the burden of making this happen. Not entirely, just most of the heavy lifting.

 

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Understanding the Democrats

English: Number of self-identified Democrats v...

Number of self-identified Democrats vs. self-identified Republicans, per state, according to Gallup, January-June 2010

 

 

 

Every survey I’ve seen in the past decade or two indicates that most women consider themselves Democrats politically. Likewise, every survey I’ve seen in the past couple decades indicates that most men consider themselves Republicans, politically. Nobody should make the huge leap to argue that I am saying all women are Democrats and all men are Republican, or that Democratic men are somehow less manly. But I know some will. It’s inevitable.

 

Still, I do think some psychologic conclusions can be reached through these facts that will allow us to understand each other a little bit better where we disagree. And if you understand your political opponent more I’d like to think you are more likely to be able to find common ground.

 

Women crave security. Men crave independence. There. I’m done. These two statements sum up why Democrats and Republicans fight so much. If you don’t quite get it…allow me to explain.

 

In spite of Women’s Liberation, increasing freedom and less male dominance in the past 40-50 years woman still through nurture and nature have a strong desire for security. They don’t want to be fearful. They are averse to risk. Financial security is far more important to women than it is to men. The security of affection is stronger in women. A warm blanket to snuggle under on the couch while watching TV is cliche`. Knowing this, is it any wonder more women identify with the Democratic party? The Dems are the ones who want to provide you with everything you could possibly need, including…these days…cell phones.

 

Romney

Mitt Romney 

 

Also, with this in mind, it’s not surprising that President Barack Obama has been leading in polls over Mitt Romney among all women, (…at least until recently. More on this in a moment.) while Romney has been leading Obama among married women. Married women have far more security in their personal lives and have less of a need for security from the government. The converse can be said of single women.

 

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

Barack Obama 

 

If women crave security, what is it that most men desire? Men desire independence. Men don’t want to be told what to do. Men want to be men. I realize that I’m falling back on cliche` for some of this. But ultimately I only know what I know and no more. It’s instructive to realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Men and women are different, no matter how much Democrats want to insinuate that they aren’t. And men are more comfortable with risk than are women. Let’s face it, some men crave risk more than they crave independence  And at least since the time of Ronald Reagan and possibly as far back as Barry Goldwater the Republicans have rallied under the banner of less government and more freedom (also known as “risk” in many aspects of life) and independence. For men, it’s as if the GOP were some tall, leggy blonde in a tight sweater constantly winking at them. It’s too hard to resist the lure of freedom and independence…and risk.

 

So what’s wrong with women and Democrats seeking security while men and Republicans seek independence? Can’t we co-exist under such dissimilar desires? The answer is no because if you desire security then you desire someone giving you that security; because to provide that security yourself would require independence, and risk. And if you only get security from someone else, you give up some independence. When you’re single as a man or woman you have freedom. You can have drinks, dinner or sleep with whoever you want. When your married you can’t…or at least shouldn’t. Being single you have more independence. Being married you have more security. It’s the same in politics or government. So by desiring security through government Democrats are telling Republicans, and most men, to relinquish some independence. They’re telling single men to strap on the old ball and chain. Something men and Republicans are reluctant to do. It’s not in our DNA.

 

As it turns out President Obama is beginning to lose the argument for security. In polls released today by USA Today Romney has moved up into a tie with President Obama among women in the ten swing states that will determine our nation’s next President.

 

Romney and Obama tied amongst women 3 weeks before election.

 

It appears our nation’s women are beginning to understand that a better job, and better economy provide better security than can Obama’s government. Certainly, I agree.

 

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So You Think Obama had it Tough, huh? What a Whiner!

U.S. Presidential flag, 1960-present (not usua...

As the 2012 election draws near a recurring theme from supporters of President Obama is things may be bad but they were made bad by President Bush four years ago and they were so bad that our current President hasn’t had time enough to fix all the problems. What a krok! What a load of BS! 

Never in my life have I heard such a whiner who is supposed to be a leader and I am utterly amazed Democrats don’t hang their head in shame every time their leader or his surrogates speaks on this subject.

If you think Obama had it tough, just think about the circumstances other Presidents inherited and how they responded.

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan

The closest in terms of time and circumstances was President Ronald Reagan. Do you remember how bad things were in 1981? The U.S. was in the worst recession since the Great Depression, many aspects of which were much worse than the circumstances of the past four years. The unemployment rate was at 7.5% when Reagan came into office in January 1981 on its way to a post-war record high of 10.8% in December 1982. Average mortgage interest rates were over 13% and on their way to a high of 15.8% in November 1981. Rates were THAT high in order to combat the staggering inflation Jimmy Carter’s administration had failed to control: In 1980 it was 13.58%, 10.35% in 1981, and 6.16 in 1982. To put that in perspective only one year in the 30 years since has inflation crawled over 5%.

On top of the terrible economic news Reagan inherited a world where the threat of nuclear war was real.

English: President Reagan and General Secretar...

President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. Français : Ronald Reagan et Mikhaïl Gorbatchev signant le Traité sur les forces nucléaires à portée intermédiaire dans la salle Est de la Maison Blanche.

The Soviet Union was occupying Afghanistan and still posing an ominous presence in Eastern Europe. OPEC was still only a few years old, we were only a few years from having lost the Vietnam War, and Iran had just emerged as a new and real enemy having only released the American hostages on the day Reagan took office.

So you think Obama had it tough?

Under Ronald Reagan by 1984 unemployment was down to 7.2% on its way to 5.3% at the end of Reagan’s term. Inflation was only 3.22% in 1983, 4.3% in 1984. The Soviet Union threat had been largely diminished and Reagan was soon to meet and begin peace negotiations with their leader Mikhail Gorbachev. And while those negotiations failed, so did the Soviet Union, driven into the ash heap of history thanks in large part to Reagan’s tough stance with them.

So you think Obama had it tough?

George W. Bush inherited the dot-com bust and recession and 9 months into office faced the tragedy of 9-11; a plot hatched and put into action long before he became President.

Richard Nixon inherited a war, the Vietnam War, and ended it. He also stepped into the most divided nation socially and politically than at any time since the Civil War.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, official portrait as Pre...

Dwight D. Eisenhower, official portrait as President.

Dwight D. Eisenhower inherited a war, the Korean War, and ended it. Also, 6 months into office Eisenhower had his own Recession to deal with. The Recession of 1953 lasted 10 months and saw the nations Gross-Domestic-Product fall to -2.6% at its worst.

There have been approximately 47 recessions in the United States since 1790. The most recent one may have been one of the worst. But so what. According to economists our current recovery is the slowest in U.S. history.

So you think Obama had it tough?

George Washington not only inherited a Presidency following a war, he inherited a presidency with no precedent. He was the first. He also ruled a country that as yet had no Bill of Rights, or Supreme Court.

Since Washington the United States has been in the following wars:

The War of 1812

The Mexican-American War

The Civil War

The Spanish-American War

World War I

World War II

The Korean War

The Vietnam War

The Persian Gulf War

and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

So you think Obama had it tough?

Never in my lifetime have I heard a supposed leader continually blame his predecessor to the degree President Obama and his supporters have blamed George Bush. And what saddens me is that they are teaching our country’s young people this is how it is supposed to be.

I reject that idea. America has been made by fine statesmen and leaders who didn’t whine about their circumstances, they worked to make them better. I pray this November Americans decide the whining has to stop and elect Mitt Romney to at least act like a leader.

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The Conservative Purity Test.

“When a guys on the ground and another is dancing around the ring with his hands in the air, the guy dancing is the winner.” -Unknown

Like most people I like to win. Which is why I have always been troubled by the Conservative Purity Test so many who vote Republican feel they must apply to their candidates. It’s a scenario I call the “Take my ball and go home” method of choosing our leaders.

Rush Limbaugh - Caricature

Rush Limbaugh is a very vocal enthusiast of this flawed manner of leadership. The mega-popular radio host is almost as tough on Republicans that fail his Conservative purity test as he is on Democrats.  And he is tough on Democrats. (BTW – Side note- Why is it that Democrats don’t recognize that Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh are in the exact same business? Entertainment? Hello!) He says too many Republicans “settle” for what he terms “moderates” because we’ve been told we have no other choice. He says nominating a “true” Conservative is the only way to win. Limbaugh is not the only one who feels this way. It gives me no joy in saying that these people are idiots. By Limbaugh’s standards the only true Conservative nominated by Republicans in the past 30 years is Ronald Reagan in 1984 when he was re-elected President. No one since has passed the Conservative purity test.

This Purity Test has the following requirements of the candidates:

1. Be Pro-Life; NO EXCEPTIONS!

2. Never once raise taxes, ever.

3. Be anti-Gay marriage.

4. Never make a deal with any Democrat at any time.

5. Be a devout Christian (Mormons not included).

6. Don’t be a flip-flopper; never change your mind at any time in your life.

There are probably a few others that I’m forgetting. But these six are the hard-core rock solid minimum requirements necessary to pass the Conservative Purity Test.

Česky: Oficiální portrét amerického prezidenta...

I got news for you Conservative ideologues…Ronald Reagan would not have passed this test. And more significantly neither would ANY of the current GOP Presidential candidates. Mitt Romneyis a flip-flopper.

November 8: Republicans gain control of Congre...

Newt Gingrichembraced health care mandatory requirements AND endorsed Cap & Trade.

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Rick Santorum has voted in favor of tax hikes. Ron Paul is an idiot (while true…more significant than he’s an idiot is the fact that he’s irrelevant).

The nominee of the Republican party will be Mitt Romney. Simple math tells us this. So I felt it was time to get something straight about our next President, whom I have chosen to support. He is a panderer. The more politically damaging term “flip-flopper” may apply to Romney but I choose to look at the simple fact that he is pandering to his electorate for votes. SHOCKING! No politician has ever done that before have they? Obviously I jest.

Congressman Poe and Governor Mitt Romney

What ought to concern those considering voting for Romney, especially as it applies to the Conservative Purity Test, is who or what is the TRUE Romney? Is it the Massachusetts’ Governor who had previously taken positions that were not purely Pro-Life and passed a health care law that include a form of the individual mandate? Or is it the rock-hard Conservative who now professes an entirely Pro-Life stance and claims he would repeal Obamacare? Who is he specifically? Well, I tend to believe he’s a lot like Bill Clinton only Conservative. Bill Clinton never seemed to have a conviction that couldn’t be swayed by the latest opinion poll.

Still, giving Romney the benefit of the doubt and keeping my eye on the ball…I want to win…I just have to employ a little common sense. What’s more likely that this life long Mormon with a family heritage that goes back to the beginning of the LDS Church is really a liberal rejecting nearly all the tenets of this church;OR that while serving as a Republican Governor in the most Liberal state in the Union and dealing with a legislature that was 70% Democrat he had to bend or twist or possibly ignore the Conservative Purity Test in order to…1. Get elected…and 2. Govern effectively? Isn’t it obvious? Say what you will about the LDS Church but their dogma is most definitely Conservative.

Come November I want to be dancing around the ring with my hands in the air. And since neither Gingrich or Santorum pass the stupid Conservative Purity Test either; and since Romney will be the GOP Presidential candidate I strongly suggest the “my-way-or-the-highway” Conservatives realize that the ultimate Championship Belt isn’t found in the nominating process. The hands are raised and the champion’s belt is rewarded in November. So come on board. And lets win.

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Where will it Stop? Obama has crossed the line.

“The growth of government occurs in direct opposite proportion to the decrease of individual liberty.” ~ Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America

Barack ObamaIt’s a simple concept Democrats never seem to grasp, and this week the line drawn in the sand representing “TOO DAMNED FAR” has been moved once again. It is becoming standard practice for this line to be moved every few years.

In a letter to churches around the country the Obama Administration informed them that not only does the new Obama care health care law require them to provide medical insurance coverage for all their employees in every church, and archdiocese around the country but that coverage MUST include contraception coverage. Not going far enough the dictum from our new overseer says that such contraception coverage must be free, with no co-pay charge to the recipient, and it must include the so-called “morning-after” pill, RU486, which abort any fetus up to five days after unprotected sex leads to conception.

English: a catholic cross Français : une croix...

It’s bad enough that our government led by Nanny-in-chief Barrack Obama feels we MUST buy healthcare coverage from private industry vendors and the only qualification for such a requirement is that you are breathing. Now his continued attack on Christians, and Catholics in particular, is abusive and nasty and seemingly hateful. Catholicism is the religion practiced by more Americans than any other religion. And it’s teachings are that contraception is wrong and that abortion is murder. And before all you Pro-Choice advocates get your panties in a bundle settle down. I’m not advocating for Pro-Life, contraception, Pro-Choice, or any other life decision. I’m telling Obama to get out of my face and more specifically my religion.

English: cross catholic Pontevedra Français : ...

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
             The anti-religious zealots have had a remarkable time reveling in the very first phrase in the most important of all amendments. But they continuously overlook the second phrase which I have put in bold. In establishing Obamacare and in interpreting the law to require Catholics to provide contraception to their employees President Obama and his team of “I know better than you” is telling the Catholic Church, “we don’t care about your free exercise of your religion. We’re telling you what we believe and YOU will follow.” It’s clearly unConstitutional.
              Those many of you who blindly defend all things Obama realize this, if Obama can require Pro-Life, or Catholic employers to require that health insurance provide contraception, including RU486, what’s to stop a future Conservative Pro-Life President from prohibiting contraception from being offered? 
President Bush signing the Federal Funding Acc...

Bush signed Patriot Act, Obama renewed it.

Just like the Patriot Act violates our right to privacy and our right against illegal search this step by the Obama Administration goes way to far into violating our liberties and our right to self-determination. The Patriot Act was enacted by President George W. Bush as an over-reach following the horrible terrorist attacks of 9-11. But as I feared at the time it’s now become standard and practiced law in this country. Obama renewed the Patriot Act, leaving it increasingly likely it may become permanent.

               To all Democrats I beg you. Stand up to your chosen leader and lets help roll back these government intrusions into our liberties, our rights, our beliefs, and our ability to pursue happiness. For if you turn a blind eye towards another man or woman’s injustice, the next injustice, the next infringement might be against you. Move the damned line back!
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Economics for the Long Run- Wall Street Journal

Česky: Oficiální portrét amerického prezidenta...

President Ronald Reagan

In this short article by Stanford Economics professor and senior fellow John Taylor it’s correctly pointed out that continuous short-term government intervention in the economy produces more bad than good, no matter the intentions, and no matter what party is in the White House. These policies have been most effectively and dramatically illustrated by Ronald Reagan, and continued with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204468004577166842399752720.html

Not mentioned in the article is that these hands-off principles originally were put forth a long time ago by 18th Century Economist Adam Smith in his seminal book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, better known as “The Wealth of Nations”.

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Poor Rick Perry. No silver foot but he seems to keep putting something in his mouth.

Texas Governor

Last night Perry had no answer.

And you thought Rick Perry couldn’t get any worse. You thought his awkward, stumbling, bumbling debate performances in September and October were pretty bad. They were the primary reason for his rapid decline in the GOP Presidential nomination polls. And then…there was last night when Perry pulls off a gaffe of such historical proportions that it will be played again and again on tv and the internet as long as they have Presidential debates.

Remember Lloyd Benson‘s bitch slap of the weak and smallish looking Dan Quayle in the 1988 Vice Presidential debates? Quayle’s image and reputation never recovered. Do you remember Ronald Reagan dismissing Jimmy Carter so easily and classically dismissing the President, Jimmy Carter, in a 1980 debate by simply saying, “There you go again”. My favorite is when Reagan was debating Mondale in 1984 and he dissed Mondale’s age and inexperience when the question to him was about his advanced years. It was brilliant.

Last night’s Perry blow-up may not rise to the level of those and other memorable debate moments for the simple reason that last nights was just a party primary debate two months primary to the first official vote being cast and because Perry is soon to become an afterthought in the Presidential Primary elections of 2012. If you didn’t see it Perry was enunciating his own economic plan and listing the three Federal Government cabinet level offices he was intending to eliminate. He quickly named Education, and Commerce then blanked completely on the third. He hemmed and hawed for a few minutes. He plaintively looked at Ron Paul, seemingly for assistance. Then finally gave up. The moderator was proper and incredulous in asking him “You can’t remember the three offices you want to close?” (Or words to that effect); and after feebly trying to come up with it one more time Perry admitted, “No I can’t. I’m Sorry. Oops”.

Three months ago I was eager for the man who had led Texas for over ten years and presided over the largest job growth amongst the states during the course of our deep recession to come into the Republican Presidential race. Now, I can’t imagine voting for him. It disappoints me because the list of who I would consider voting for is quickly diminishing.

I won’t vote for Bachmann, Cain, or Paul because they are either unqualified, nutty, or both. Rick Santorum couldn’t even win his latest election in his own state of Pennsylvania; besides he is seemingly so snotty. That leaves Romney, Huntsman, Gingrich and Perry. Ahh….Perry? No. That leaves Romney, Gingrich and Huntsman. Jon Huntsman isn’t going anywhere. Though I do believe he deserve consideration. He’s accomplished, knowledgable, and likable in many ways. I don’t understand why he is absolutely dead in the polls. Gingrich is GREAT! Yes I believe he is great. He’s utterly brilliant. I believe in most of his policies. And he’ll probably get my vote. But he has so much baggage, real dark and dirty baggage too? Personal stuff that is quite unattractive. But I guess he’s gonna get my vote because Romney says and does all the right things, NOW. But he seems to be too much the Republican version of Bill Clinton. Too slick, too wishy washy. I can’t trust him.

Still it’s very, very early and Perry has a fine record as Governor so I’m hoping he can somehow redeem himself. I leave room for having my mind changed again.

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