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Monday, July 22, 2013

Don't blame me!

Ever said those words?  I bet you have at some point.  Usually when someone is trying to include you into something bad that has happened that you had no play in. 

Don't blame me... I didn't vote for this
Don't blame me... I was on vacation at the time
Don't blame me... that happened before I started working here

etc. etc. etc.

As a white person, I often feel too that I am blamed for all it wrong.  For example, recently I watched a video of a black man yelling saying its the white peoples fault that they were brought here.  When I saw this, my first reaction was... Don't blame me.. MY ancestors came from Germany in 1870-1880 and we had nothing to do with slavery at all.

But this brings up an interesting thought.   How many white people currently here had ANY connection to slavery?   Millions upon millions came here in the late 1800's from Europe and had no say in what happened. Should we lump them into the same pot as the people back in the 1700's and early 1800's who did?   Is that fair to them?

Why is it okay for blacks to make derogatory statements against an entire race (actually skin color) and no one calls them on it?   To me, it's akin to saying "All blacks are lazy" when in fact they are not.   If it's wrong for a white person to say something like that ... then it should be equally wrong for a black to say that about a white.

This is also why those who believe in "reparations" are so wrong-minded.  Do you impose a "white tax" and distribute that money to a blacks with slave heritage?  If so, why should I be taxed for something I literally had no business with?  And who should get the money?   What if your like President Obama who is half-black and half-white.   Does he pay the tax AND get refund or does he only get a refund?   What if you are black, but your family moved here from Africa AFTER slavery ended?   Do you have to supply an ancestry document proving your heritage?  

When does it end? 
  • With this generation?   
  • With the next generation?   
  • Never?
Do you see how silly this all is?

We need to all just put race behind us... both white AND black.   It doesn't serve any purpose anymore.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Change ONE variable at a time

    As a computer engineer I have to often "debug" problems that occur at my work.   They could be problems with computer simulation models, or hardware models, or software programs that are not working like they should etc...   In "debugging" these problems, we often resort to trial and error approaches.  We may re-run a test on a different machine or with a different option turned on or off to "root cause" the problem.  The problem many engineers get into is that in their haste to "fix the problem" they try too many things all at once.   If the problem goes away, that is good, but now you have no idea what caused the problem in the first place and you are bound to hit the problem again later.

   The answer is simple:  CHANGE ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME.

   This will show you what the real problem is and then you can seek to fix it.

   This applies not only to technical problems but I believe it applies to social problems as well.

   Take, for example, the Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman case.  If you believe the jury got it wrong ask yourself this:  "What if Zimmerman was black and Martin was white?"   What do you think then?   Changing this one variable alone and leaving everything else the same... who's on top, who was following who, who punched who and who shot who.

   If THEN you say "The jury got it right." ... then I ask you this... "Who is the racist here?"

   The real definition of a "racist" is one who makes all of their decisions based on the color or ethnicity of a person and takes into account nothing else about them.  Strangely, racism itself is not racist at all for it has no skin color and it affects ALL humans regardless of their skin color.  

   My Challenge to YOU:


    The next time you hear of a white-on-black or black-on-white murder.... ask yourself this:
          "What if it was reversed?" 

     Maybe then we will all begin to seek REAL justice and not RACIAL justice.


2000 years and we have learned NOTHING!

   Watching the Trayvon Martin trial conclusion it deeply saddens me to see how many in the public have reacted.  To see people denigrate the decision of 6 jurors who sat through HOURS of testimony and were sequestered in a hotel for 22 days is deplorable.   Did they sit and watch every question and answer made in the trial?   Did they listen to the expert witnesses who showed that all the forensic evidence pointed to the fact that Trayvon was on TOP and Zimmerman was on the BOTTOM and this corroborated the eye-witness testimony of the person who say the fight and went to call the police?  What if things were reversed and Zimmerman was black and Martin was white (or hispanic)?  Would they still feel the same way about the ruling?

   It pains me even more to see people like Juan Williams go on Fox News and argue that the jury needed to make an emotional decision rather than a decision based on the facts in the case.  Really Juan???   Should we throw out "reasonable doubt" too?   While we're at it, let's just throw out the whole trial-by-jury system completely too since obviously you don't think we are smart enough to decide cases like this anymore.

   2000 years and nothing has changed...

   Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate by a group of people who were through hearing what he had to say.  They trumped up some charges, whipped up the peoples fear that Jesus was a threat to their temple and their way of life causing them to cry out for the release of a notorious murderer.   Pilate, still feeling the pain of rebuke he received from Rome after he horribly handled a riot in the previous year, was in fear for his job as governor.   Even during his questioning of Jesus, he asks Jesus the amazing question "What is Truth?". A question of course he doesn't care to debate on.  After all, he had a riot in the making and now was not the time to debate. All that mattered to Rome was "results".

     What is truth today?

     Is it the evidence provided by the lawyers and decided upon by a jury of common people?

     Is it a nefarious scorecard, kept by political pundits and race-baters who say "It's one for the White team"  or "It's one for the Black team"?

     Is it the 5 year-old pictures used by the media to promote Trayvon as a "squeaky-clean" teen with nothing to hide rather than pictures of him as a 17 year-old, playing with guns, smoking pot and being in fights at school?

     Is it what brings you applause when your standing up on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans (like Stevie Wonder, or Bruce Springsteen?) 

     Is it what our President tells us when he tries to tie himself emotionally to the tragedy by saying "this could be him 35 years ago"?

    The Truth is ultimately what God sees. 

    Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't (it's not perfect, but it's the best we have).  Only Zimmerman and God knows exactly what happened that night.  The rest of us can only guess.  Zimmerman will have to walk through the rest of his life knowing he took a life and whether there was another answer or not.   That will be his "cross to bear".  

    It's been 2000 years and still people want "street justice" that is swift and easy.  They say, "Don't confuse me with the facts!  A 17 year-old boy was killed by a grown man".  They say, "Where is justice for Trayvon's parents?"   They cry out with pleas of  "No Justice! No Peace!"   Does this sound like "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"  ?

     It does to me.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sowing Democracy

   As I have grown and learned more and more about history, I have come to realize how rare and special this country of ours is.  At one time, I thought like President Bush that we can simply plant democracy in other places around the world but now I see differently.   One only has to look around the world today and see where democracy has flourished and where it has not to see it doesn't grow on its own.  The list of third-world countries where we have tried to make it work and failed is staggering.  So why is this?

   To illustrate let me use (hope I don't offend anyone here) Jesus' parable of the sower.
 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
    Like the kingdom of God, democracy falls on different soil.  In some cases, like the birds (who are
meant to symbolize the devil or evil in general)  who come in and snatch it away. Likewise, democracy has its detractors and people who do not want it at all.  They want the power for themselves and not for the people.  People like: Morsi in Egypt,  Assad in Syria, Kony in Uganda, Chavez in Venezuela, Muslim clerics in Iran, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao and the list goes on and on.  All of these men snatch the hopes of democracy from their peoples hands before it can even start.   

    Like the seed that fell on rocky soil (or soil with very little top-soil), some countries took in democracy and it grew fast but they lacked physical and spiritual resources to draw from and so when the bad times came, they abandoned it and went back to their tribal ways.  The best example of this today is Afghanistan.   We all remember the pictures of people voting for the first time and going to movie theaters (Taliban prohibited this) and flying kites (another activity prohibited by the Taliban).  But then their economy did not do well and corruption in their government (bribes) made the people lose hope and confidence in it and now some are going back to the Taliban.   We in America were BLESSED with an abundance of resources to pull from in bad times to sustain us.  We also were BLESSED with an abundance of religious faith that God was with us and would help us in our times of need.  Faith is the deep soil that holds the moister for us to draw from when times are bad.  It allows us to "keep our heads" and push through.  (Note: I personally believe that democracy cannot grow in Muslim countries for the very reason that it teaches God punishes you for your wrongs and does not love you as a person. To me, you have a different outlook on bad times when you believe God loves you and has paid for all of your sins).

    Like the seed that fell among the weeds,  both the good and the bad made use of the soil but the bad got the better of the good.  How often do we see countries who elect leaders who seem to say all
the right things but in reality they are not who they say they are.   Like weeds that look like good plants, they grow up among us with ill-will towards us.  Their intent is to "choke" us and "starve" us of the nutrients democracy needs to grow.  Unlike the birds, or the rocky soil, their destruction is slow and painful.   They do this by restricting their people, by taking away their guns, limiting their free-speech, prosecuting their press agents, increasing their taxes, regulating what they can do and how they can earn a living.   (Sound familiar?).  To weed them out is not easy.  Weed pulling requires people to discriminate between good and bad plants and we have been trained that "discrimination is bad".   But not all discrimination is bad for while discrimination based on surface issues like race, color or gender is wrong, discrimination based on known results is not.   For example, taking the car keys away from a person who has been drinking is not discriminating against "drinkers". Instead, it's calling a person out based on past experiences of outcomes.   But sadly, many today are taught that ALL forms of government are equally good in their own way.  They teach that socialism, communism,  and totalitarianism are all equally valid forms of government and we should give equal time to all of them despite the overwhelming evidence how destructive they are.  Reagan referred to this in his famous "Destiny Speech" as accommodation and he warned us that it will not end well for us if take that course (surrender).  But like giving the weeds in your garden the same amount of water and fertilizer as your flowers, you know what you will get in the end. A garden full of weeds.

    Our country however was planted in good soil.

  • An abundance of resources to pull from (land,trees,oil,coal,iron,water)
  • Found by people of religious faith, Christians and Jews, who were principled in their lives (not perfect by any means) and through self-control were free to live their lives under a limited government.
  • Provided with great leaders like George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to gave us stable and honest leadership in our early years and set the standard for future presidents so HIGH that it would take 232 years to deteriorate to the despotic level we have today.
  • Intelligent men like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin who through their education and knowledge of history and understanding of human-nature were able to frame for us a government that (until recently) has been one of checks and balances to limit its powers to harass and control its people. 
   This 4th of July, take time to acknowledge how special of a place you are living and let us all pledge ourselves to protect it for future generations to enjoy.



Monday, July 1, 2013

True men of courage

     As we approach the 4th of July let us never forget the courage our Founding Fathers had to put their name on a document that could possibly cost them and their families their lives if this revolution failed.   As Benjamin Franklin famously said after the signing, "We must surely hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately".   Meaning we must stick together or we will hang as traitors if we lose. Many do not realize that the penalty for treason was extremely harsh.  First you were hanged until almost dead, then you were taken down, drawn-and-quartered (cut in 4 pieces) and your head was placed on a pike outside the city for everyone to see.  Also, your family (for two generations) would be punished as well by losing all their property and they would not be allowed to own any property or businesses, thereby making them perpetually impoverished.

    These men showed us what it means to have courage and we are now beginning to see people today following their lead was well:

  • A Pastor in NJ is holding a worship service on a public beach even though the government would not give him a permit sighting separation of church and state
  • Colorado Sheriffs standing up and saying they will not enforce the states strict gun laws sighting the 2nd amendment
  • A boy in Colorado wears an NRA T-shirt to school despite being told he cannot because it violates their dress code.  He was arrested and charged with interfering with a police officer and risked going to jail.  The charges have been dropped.
  • People in Erie PA, challenge the cities open-carry-ban in city parks by holding an open-carry-rally in the park and challenge police officers taking names
  • People in Georgia are challenging some counties decision to forcibly draw blood as proof of a DUI using a rubber-stamp-warrant (remember the founding father's mention the King's use of "general warrants" as an abuse of power).  They tie down the person, put him in a head-lock and then draw blood. 
  • Several high school seniors have challenged their schools graduation speech restrictions and openly prayed at their graduations.  One had his microphone turned off and was threatened to lose his college scholarship by having the Principal write a letter to the school. 
    As Franklin said:  "We must surely hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately"