Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Slide to the Left; Slide to the Right. Take it Back Now Y'all!"

I'm going to be honest from the get-go here. I've really only been following politics for the past 5-6 years and now I wouldn't even go as far to say that I follow it closely or that I'm some kind of expert. Mostly, I don't tend to follow politics heavily because all of the child-like feuding that goes on between republicans and democrats gives me a fucking headache. That doesn't go for politicians alone because I see it happen between voters all the time as well, and don't even get me started on the media.So any conclusions I've made in my short time of trying to educate myself on politics are amateur at best. But I have made one observation; (and I could be completely wrong here) American voters in the past few elections have voted based solely on a candidates party affiliation.

In 2006, America was unhappy with the republican party. No progress had been made in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy was on a down turn, gas prices were on the rise, and the government was spending money like it was going out of style. Mutiny was afoot!! So to fix all of our problems we decided that it was time to vote out the republicans that were in power in the House and the Senate and give the majority to democrats. There. Problem solved. Americans can get back to business as usual.

Wait the presidential seat still belongs to a republican. Son of a bitch!

Enter the 2008 presidential elections.

In 2008, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were still going no where, the economy had tanked, gas prices were outrageous, and the government seemed to be hemorrhaging money. The country gathered in a small gym in Spokane, Washington and talked about making President Bush walk the plank with cement shoes on. After lots of delicious coffee and pastries provided by Starbucks and some deep discussion, we decided that this might seem a little harsh; what with him not being able to run for president again and all. So our plan of attack was to vote in a democratic nominee. Note that not all were on board with this plan; some still wanted Bush to walk the plank wearing his cement Air Force Ones.

I voted for Obama. I liked his enthusiasm and agreed with many of his ideas of how this country should be run. He was a fresh new face in a crowd of politicians who cared nothing of the general American public and who only cared about themselves, their party, and the organizations that handed them generous campaign contributions. I believed in change. Voting for Bush 2.0, a.k.a John McCain, and Sarah Palin was absolutely not an option. I could probably write up a blog on nothing but rants about Palin.

Note to self: start blog on rantings about Sarah Palin...

So we voted in President Obama, much to the chagrin of hard right winged conservatives, and everything was going to be hunkydory. The nation was going to come back from it's economic downturn, the housing market would bounce back, we would start winning the dual wars we were fighting, and gas prices would become reasonable. America would be back on top. Screw you China!!!

Fast forward to 2010.

The economy was slightly better than it had been 2 years ago. The housing market was progressing but still very much fragile. Job growth had improved but a good percentage of the country was still out of work. Major troop withdrawals had occured in Iraq, handing over the bulk of the operations there to the Iraqi government. Afghanistan was another story. Gas prices had improved but people still saw them as ridiculous. Government spending was still astronomical. All in all the majority of the country was not yet happy with the way the country was being run. So what was our answer?? Lets vote out the democrats!! My state alone saw fit to vote Rand Paul into the Senate. Cue facepalm. It wasn't a total political oust as the democrats still hold the majority in the House.

I think the point I'm trying to make has become clear. The latest Gallup pole showed that the majority of Americans would vote for an unnamed republican candidate over the incumbent. What does that say to me? The voting public is putting politicians in power based on party affiliation! Apparently right now it doesn't matter who's going to become the republican nominee for president, we're going to vote them in! Let's stop voting in parties and lets begin voting in people; people who are going to do good for the country no matter if they are republican, democrat, or whatever. Vote for the best person!

Hell maybe it's time for a real change altogether. Perhaps it's time to vote for someone who's ties belong to neither party. Perhaps we should vote in an unknown and see what happens. Is Ralph Nader running again???

Monday, June 20, 2011

One Nation Under God...Or So We Thought

This post (which also happens to be my first) was actually meant to be on here around a month ago. It was the same time that blogger was experiencing some technical difficulties and after they fixed their problems I honestly forgot about it in the midst of my crazy existence that I like to call life. It was based on an article I had read in regards to National Prayer day, but in light of the whole NBC "pledge debacle" I again find it relevant. Enjoy or don't enjoy whichever tends to be your pleasure!


So, the other day I was looking at my trusty USA Today app ( which happens to be my favorite ), when I came across an article about National Prayer Day. I was somewhat intrigued (mostly bored) so I gave it a look-see. For those of you not from Kentucky, the phrase "I gave it a look-see" in this instance means that I read it.

The article as a whole was pretty uneventful, mostly talking about how different cities and towns across the country celebrated NPD.
However, there was one tiny sliver of the article that just happened to peak my interest, thus the need for this blog. Apparently in Rockaway Township, New Jersey, all 90 people that showed up for the NPD festivities (underneath a gazebo I might add) listened to a riveting speech from Mayor Louis Sceusi.

USA Today quoted Mayor Sceusi as saying, "...prayer distinguishes us from beasts." Interesting, I thought to myself. Pray, Mayor Sceusi, do tell me more. And he did so oblige me! The mayor was also quoted as saying that, "I'm certain it's [prayer] why our forefathers indicated we are one nation under God."

Holy freedom of religion Batman! Whatever could he mean?? Don't fret dear Robin, I will solve this riddle yet!

I seemed to remember something about the Pledge of Allegiance being wrote long after the founding of this country, so I decided to do some research. And research I did. What I was to find was somewhat shocking, even to me.

Thanks to www.ushistory.org and of course wikipedia, this is what I learned:

The original Pledge was written in 1892 by a socialist minister. Socialist minister you say?? Surely his name must be Lucifer! No, actually, it was Frank Bellamy. It was published on September 8th in the Youth's Companion. Below is the original Pledge as Mr. Bellamy wrote it in it's entirety.

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Wait just a dag on second! Where's the part about "one nation under God?'' Hell! there's not even anything about America in there! This must be Obama's doing...

Originally Bellamy intended this pledge not only to be used by Americans, but also by citizens in any country. It wasn't until 1923 that the phrase "the flag of the United States of America" was added. Yet still no God. Calm down. Take a deep breath. It will be okay, I promise.

Alright, all better now? Good, let's move on.

In 1954, President Eisenhower was convinced by Congress to add the words "one nation under God.” No, that's not a typo. The year was 1954 and the president was Dwight D. Eisenhower. He and congress decided to add the words in light of the Cold War and the threat from Communists all over the world. I'm sure it was a pivotal turning point in the war. We showed those damn commies!!

So, Mayor Sceusi, it seems it wasn't our forefathers that indicated we were one nation under God as you previously told us, but a more recent president in the very recent past. And you thought I wouldn't notice. For shame!

Ok, I'm coming off a little un-American here. I'm not. I love this country and everything it stands for, or at least used to stand for. This country was and still is a beacon of light for people who live in the darkest regions of this earth. It's a chance to flee from tyranny, oppression, and poverty. It's a second chance at life. But lately it seems that I'm seeing more and more oppression, bigotry, and hatred on our own shores. No matter what you say or what you want people to believe you can not refute the fact that this country was NOT founded on Christian beliefs. One of the main building blocks of this country was that church and state shall remain separate. Therefore, this country was not founded on any religious beliefs whatsoever. There's a reason for that. When you mix religion and politics, bad shit happens i.e. the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Burning Times, etc. etc.

Damn it. Now I sound anti-religion. I'm not. Far from it. I'm actually a very spiritual person. Religion can be a beautifully wonderful thing but it is an extremely personal choice that should not cause one to fear condemnation. Only you and you alone can say what defines you, religiously speaking. And you should definitely not believe in something for the fear of what will happen if you don't believe in it. That is not what spirituality is about. I do believe Obama had it right when he was quoted speaking of NPD. He called Americans to,"Pray or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences for our many freedoms and blessings."

I am of the mind that we have a choice to believe whatever it is that gets us through this long and often treacherous journey called life. Whether you believe in God, Allah, Jehovah, a Goddess, multiple Gods and Goddesses, the flying spaghetti monster, or absolutely nothing at all, it's your decision that comes from your heart, mind, and soul. That is our right as human beings.

We've come along way in this blog. Learned a little, laughed a little, even shed a few tears.  I fear the hour is growing late so I must take my leave. The message I'm trying to get across is do not distort historical fact to further your own agendas! I will end this on a serious note with a quote from one of our actual forefathers.

"Believing with you that religion is a matter solely between man and his god, that he owes no account to none other for his faith or worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of," thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
Thomas Jefferson