The Evils Of Valentine’s Day

I often contemplate how far we’ve strayed from the wisdom of our founders. I’ve talked about their distaste for political parties, how they’d be horrified by the shift of the power balance in Washington and the erosion of our liberties, etc. But today, I want to talk about the strawberry and chocolate flavored taste of fascism that we’ve been poisoning ourselves with for years. Of course, I’m talking about that state mandated day when we are forced to display affection or face the consequences for failing to comply to the will of the oppressive collective matriarchy that we live under.

In other words, Valentine’s Day.

I know that I tend to steer clear of controversial subject matter, but, dammit, it is way past time that somebody speak truth to power and stand up to the mammoth power players who’ve kept us in submission; namely:

Big Card

Lead by Hallmark, it was Big Card that started this travesty with their pre-written sentiment, indoctrinating us to express the thoughts and feelings that they’ve decided are appropriate. These cards trap men into a seemingly endless cycle of looking at the same cards over and over at a local grocery store/gift shop/convenience store/gas station. (By the way, the guy at the gas station is in worse trouble than he can even contemplate…at least, until he comes home with that card, wilted flowers that smell vaguely of gasoline and a bag of Corn Nuts and soon finds himself sleeping in the garage with the scratchy blankets. Incidentally, he’ll wake up in the morning smelling vaguely of gasoline, too.) The men shamble sadly around the card rack trying to find a card that says something that’ll make her happy, but won’t over-promise something that he’s not ready to follow through on…like a deeper commitment or promise to take out the garbage more regularly.

Plus, there’s those who are single on Valentine’s Day. You might as well label that group as lepers and shove them in a cave, like in Ben Hur.

I’m not even bitter that Hallmark refused to print my ideas for alternative V-Day cards that I pitched to them: the “It’s just one day…and at least you didn’t spend all your money on presents” card, the “If you’re single, you can’t be cheated on” card and, of course, the flirty yet non-commitment oriented, “You suck less than most people” card. I’m not bitter, but I could’ve been rich!

Big Flower

Lead by 1-800-FLOWERS and supported by pushers in every town across the nation (Seriously, we go after drug cartels for this business model, but not these guys!), they sell four times the normal amount of flowers on any other day for at least twice the price. If this was a pharmaceutical company doing this with a drug to cure cancer, we’d be calling for them to be publicly executed in the town square! Plus, they make sure that every color of rose means something different. If your wife wants to be assured that your relationship is multifaceted, you could throw her into an epileptic seizure from the splash of colors in a bouquet designed to tell her that she’s the love of your life, your best friend, your modest angel, your brazen hussy, unattainable, innocent, pure, gonna get some, always right…even when you know she’s not, doesn’t look fat in those jeans, etc. (Ok, I may have made up a few of those, but I’m not telling you which ones.)

Big Chocolate

Lead by…actually, let’s leave Big Chocolate alone. It may be shaped like hearts, but it’s still chocolate and not it’s fault what shape it’s been poured into. Besides, most vegans don’t get upset about chocolate being poured into the shape of bunnies on Easter. Plus, you can pick up Valentine’s Candy the day after for half price at Wal-Mart! That’s showing real love through action right there! Big Chocolate takes good care of us…all year round!

Big Hollywood

Lead by…well…Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Gosling, these monsters convince us that love comes from a storyline formula that you better follow if you don’t want to end up alone, ringing a bell in a tower for the rest of your life. That formula is: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl hate each other. Boy and girl torment each other instead of just leaving each other alone like most normal people who don’t get along would. Boy and girl find out something they have in common, like they both lost parents at a young age or they both like to eat at the same deli where the management is fine with them making loud orgasm noises during the lunch rush or one is a hooker with a heart of gold and the other likes hookers (I’m not clear on whether the condition of their hearts altered his affection or not). They give these movies names like “Sleepless In Seattle” or “Honeymoon In Vegas” or “Bound In Boston”. Actually, I think that last one doesn’t qualify as a romantic movie…unless you like whips, chains and people in cages. If you do, then Happy Valentine’s Day! No judgement here…

They even made a movie and called it “Valentine’s Day.” Hollywood: home of creativity and original storytelling! Hollywood goes out of it’s way with these movies to train us as to how to behave while injecting us with envy if we can’t get our crap together enough to find the kind of love that ends with you floating on a door in the ocean while your soulmate sinks to his death…in spite of the fact that there was CLEARLY enough room on that door for both of you. Personally, I like to watch “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” every Valentine’s Day. I challenge you to find anyone who demonstrates more love than those two do for their drug stash.

Quotes From The Experts

Finally, I talk a lot about our Founding Fathers, but, today, I’ll be talking about the wisdom passed down from our Founding Fathers and Mothers…of music. They warned us of the dangers of love and we should pay heed to their words in the face of this day that promotes it at the expense of our self-esteem, sanity and bank accounts. Listen closely to the wisdom of just a few of our greatest philosophers:

Starting with the elder statesman of subjects like this, Hank Williams illustrated the devastation love can inspire, “The silence of a fallin’ star lights up a purple sky. As I wonder where you are, I’m so lonesome I could cry.”

Nazareth said, “Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds and marks any heart not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain. Love is like a cloud; it holds a lot of rain. Love hurts. Ooh, love hurts.”

Def Leppard makes it clear that, “Love bites. Yes, it does. It will be hell.”

Joan Jett reminds us of the cycle of self-harm in love when she said, “I think of you every night and day. You took my heart, and then you took my pride away. I hate myself for loving you. Can’t break free from the things that you do. I wanna walk but I run back to you. I hate myself for loving you.”

Alanis Morissette asked her ex if he had traded up when she demanded, “Is she perverted like me? Would she go down on you in a theater?” By the way, she wrote that about Dave Coulier (yes, the guy who played Joey on Full House)! That’s enough to put you off love…and possibly dinner…for a while!

The J. Geils Band put it very articulately, “Love stinks. Yeah, Yeah. Love stinks. Yeah, Yeah.”

Amy Winehouse wrote, “Oh, what a mess we made and now the final frame. Love is a losing game.” (And we all know that if Amy Winehouse said it, it must be right. I can’t think of anyone who had it more together

Then there’s the heartfelt words of Robbie Hart:

  • “You don’t know how much I need you.

  • While you’re near me I don’t feel blue.

  • And when we kiss I know you need me too.

  • I can’t believe I found a love that’s so pure and true.

  • But it all was bullsh##.

  • It was a godd### joke.

  • And when I think of you Linda,

  • I hope you fu##### choke.

  • I hope you’re glad with what you’ve done to me.

  • I lay in bed all day long feeling melancholy.

  • You left me here all alone, tears running constantly.

  • Oh somebody kill me please,

  • somebody kill me plee-ase,

  • I’m on my knees,

  • pretty pretty please kill me.

  • I want to die.

  • Put a bullet in my head.”

  • Powerful and heartfelt stuff from an icon of ‘80s wedding pop music.

    Kelsea Ballerini points out the falsehoods of our Valentine mis-information: “I think cupid is stupid and violets are purple not blue…I hate catching bouquets, the honeymoon phase and letterman jackets don’t fit…your eyes can’t hold stars and you’d die if your heart really skipped…I hate pink hearts with glitter and Valentine’s dinner and roses just die in a week…we were drunk when we met so we don’t know our anniversary, whoops.”

    Finally the great Tom Waits clearly said that… Actually, never mind. Nobody ever understood a word coming out of Tom Waits mouth. He was never accused of being clear, but I sure he had something poignant to say about love.

    So, I’ll leave you with these final words of wisdom from the great philosopher, Bjork: “And if you complain once more, you’ll meet an army of me. You’re alright; There’s nothing wrong; Self sufficiency please! And get to work.” I don’t actually know what that means, but I think it makes you cool and cutting edge to quote Bjork…and I really want to be cool and cutting edge. Like Ray Wylie Hubbard would say, “Maybe that means I’m funky and cool…I seriously doubt that’s what it means.”

    So, to sum this all up…

    Honestly, I’m not really sure where I was going. I start talking about the oppression of Valentine’s Day and the Matriarchy and end up quoting Alannis Morissette?! If anyone expected this to be a serious article, this was just me getting weird and having a bit of writing fun. If you’re excited for Valentine’s Day, let me wish you a very Happy Valentine’s. If you have no plans and just don’t care for the pseudo holiday at all, let me leave you with this: Halloween candy will always be way superior to Valentine’s candy…and Halloween is only 260 days away!

    Defining The Real Woman

    By Randy Lynch

    Alright…I can already feel segments of the internet locking and loading in anticipation of placing me in front of a social media firing squad for this. I wonder how many are going to accuse me of ‘mansplaining’ (not a real word, people) or trying to put women in a box. The truth is, much of this applies to both men and women, but I’m focusing on women while Jesse Broadt focuses on men in a related piece.

    It’s hard to ask a man to define a real woman…mainly because our mindset is more like that of a dog than an existential thinker (ie. “There goes the ball! Get the ball! Bring the ball back! Aren’t you gonna throw that ball?!”). We spend a large amount of our lives not knowing what we want and DEFINITELY not knowing what’s good or bad for us. I’m no exception to that rule. I just got lucky and opened my eyes in time to recognize my real woman when I found her. Not all are that lucky so, guys, this is for you as much as the ladies. Figure out what’s actually important to you before you miss out on that real woman.

    So, let’s hit it:

    Real Women Can Leave The House Without Looking Perfect

    We all like to look good, but it can’t be what drives us. A woman with her hair and makeup ALWAYS flawless can be attractive, but a woman who can turn her back on the vanity of HAVING to look a certain way and instead focus on just getting the job done can be downright beautiful. I once knew a guy who bought a ‘79 El Camino with a gorgeous shiny black paint job but, when we crawled underneath, the frame was almost completely eaten through with rust in places. There’s nothing wrong with paint but, if what’s underneath isn’t any good, the only thing of value you have is the paint. On the other hand, a woman who knows her own worth and is confident in the knowledge that it’s not all found in her looks, is formidable on multiple levels and will turn the heads of real men without even trying.

    Real Women Educate Themselves And Don’t Let Others Do Their Thinking

    “You’re a woman, so you should think/believe this.” “You’re a woman, so you should vote this way.” That’s the voice of our society, praising women for being empowered and strong…unless those women make choices it doesn’t like. After this last presidential election, Michelle Obama said that women who didn’t vote for Hillary “voted against their own voice” when your vote IS your voice. You can’t rely on others to empower you because all they really end up doing is indoctrinating you and trying to destroy you if you ever stray from their accepted narrative. A real woman decides where she stands on issues by using her brain and equipping herself to defend her positions. She empowers herself.

    Real Women Aren’t Bullies

    I recently watched a woman ask her friends on social media for help because she was having trouble with a project. One of her male friends offered her some advice based on his experience with similar projects and she turned on him in a heartbeat with anger and indignation. She accused him of ‘mansplaining’ (still not a real word) and proceeded to paint him as a sexist who was trying to push her down by…offering her the help she’d asked for in the first place. At the end, he was actually apologizing profusely to her. (By the way, a real man would’ve told her never to expect any help from him again and walked away instead.)

    Real women don’t build themselves up by tearing others down. Like the liberals who would accuse those who opposed them of being racist in order to cow them into shutting up and going along with their agenda, there are women who use the same bullying technique by calling men who don’t fall in line sexists. Real women don’t need to sink to that level. They’re secure in who they are and don’t need to beat others down to create that security.

    Real Women Take Responsibility For Their Action, Especially The Mistakes

    Believe it or not, women are human and, like the rest of us humans, they make mistakes. They falter and fail at times. They do things they’re not proud of. Real women don’t make excuses or blame others for their failings. They own them. They learn from them, become stronger and use them to choose a better path that they can be proud of. These are the women who I respect and admire greatly. Their integrity and strength of character is inspiring.

    Real Women Need To Be Their Own People

    They need time and space to define themselves as individuals, not just as someone’s daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife or friend. They have to find their passion and their identity as an individual. For my wife, she’s rediscovered her love for painting and, let me tell you, she’s very good. Beyond her skill, though, it’s the happiness and contentment I see in her eyes when that brush is in her hand that really makes a difference. A real woman makes time for herself in order to be herself.

    Real Women Aren’t Perpetual Victims

    This is a rough world with some horrible people doing horrible things to others. Women are often their targets. Many are stalked, kidnapped, beaten and abused by those who claim to love them, and even raped. Those on the receiving end of those actions are victims and the perpetrators seriously need to be hauled in and prosecuted. But there’s a disturbing number of women who spend years, if not the rest of their lives, embracing a victim status and defining themselves by what someone else did to them. That’s a sad way to live and it gives power to someone who was trying to steal your power in the first place because they had none of their own. I know this one sounds really harsh, but it’s all about recognizing your inner strength and not giving it away in exchange for a title that should never be permanent. I know it takes time to deal with these kinds of trauma, but you were created to be stronger than you can ever realize and there’s nothing you can’t overcome.

    Real women deal with the ugliness they’ve faced and put the blame squarely where it belongs: on their attacker/abuser. They recognize their own intrinsic worth, strength and beauty and they define themselves by that, not by the thing that was done to them. They grow and mature and reach the point where they become survivors instead of victims. They embrace their real girl power.

    Real Women Don’t Place Their Wants Over Others’ Rights

    Real women don’t let others walk all over them and they don’t let others dictate what they can or can’t do or what they believe or what they say or how they choose to live their lives. In other words, they know what their rights as individuals are and they don’t surrender those rights. There’s another side to that coin, though. Real women also respect the rights of others. They don’t try to shut down events where people are expressing views they don’t like (see nearly any event where ‘feminists’ come out to oppose male speakers who express a right-leaning point of view). They don’t attack other women who don’t agree with them as traitors to their gender in an attempt to shame them into silence. Now, here’s the big one:

    Real women embrace their sovereignty as an individual and their right to make decisions with what to do with their bodies, but they also understand where those boundaries are. They recognize that a baby growing inside of them is a separate person, endowed by God with the same unalienable rights they have. As they wouldn’t violate the rights of another adult or victimize a child outside of the womb, real women do not impose a death penalty on babies in the womb who have done nothing to deserve it other than existing. They do not choose death because of convenience, fear or the actions of others who have victimized them (see Real Women Aren’t Perpetual Victims). They don’t deny the personhood of those innocent lives in order to expand the boundaries of who they are while hiding behind a narrative of ‘choice’ while imposing their choices on those who cannot voice their own desires.

    Now, to be clear, am I saying that women who support and promote abortion are not real women? Yes, I am. There’s really no nice way to say it. Am I saying that any woman who has ever supported, promoted or had an abortion cannot be a real woman? Absolutely not. We all do things we’re not proud of; we all make mistakes and we all do things that are wrong. We don’t have to spend our lives being defined by those things, not even the ones that will haunt us (see Real Women Take Responsibility For Their Action, Especially The Mistakes). Most of us are on the same path, stumbling our way toward being better people. Your past never has to define who you will be in your future.

    Finally, here’s a simple truth so many are trying to obscure these days: While we share much in common due to our shared humanity, men are not women and women are not men…and there are not more than two genders, no matter what the social justice warriors want you to believe. Men and women are distinctively different from one another and those differences do not make one less or greater than another. When we embrace those differences, we all become greater by lessening each weakness and augmenting each strength, it becomes a little easier to become real women and real men.

    Defining The Real Man

    By Jesse Broadt

    I have heard so many ladies ask, “where are all the ‘real’ men?” However, in my experience, many women who claim to have finally met a great man, immediately set out to reinvent him, in an effort to design a fake version of the original. I do not understand this dynamic any more now than I did 30 years ago. I mean, did he enjoy going to the ballet before you were married? It may be time to analyze our perspective of “real.”

    A real man loves and respects a woman, and goes the second mile to make her happy whenever possible. He does not merely love her body, possessions, or status, he loves the whole person. Real men focus their attention on a woman’s true beauty, which is found in her character, not in her looks, wardrobe or bank account. Real men solve problems, take the lead when necessary, and protect their home, wife and children from harm. Now that we’ve gotten through the boring stuff that everyone already knows, let’s get down to it:

    Real Men do Not Turn Romantic Lines Over Breakfast

    Real men do not spontaneously turn flowery lines similar to those found in paperback novels–unless they’re gay. If I was single and looking for a “real man” and a gentleman approached me to tell me I “have the loveliest eyes he’s ever seen and since the eyes are the window to the soul, my soul must be lovely as well,” my phony meter would bounce off the graph and I would run.

    Real men rarely speak that way. That’s why they have a difficult time meeting women. They’re constantly trying to come up with great romantic lines, but it’s just not in their nature to be that complicated, theatrical and dramatic. Therefore, they usually either don’t talk at all, or they go whole hog eyes-are-the-window-to-the-soul deal and wonder why the eyes rolled and the gal walked away.

    I would definitely, however, befriend a man who says “wow, dude, she’s hot,” as I walked by–provided he turns around and studies his hamburger with undivided concentration when he realizes I overheard. In my humble opinion, that means he’s real enough to say what he’s thinking, but polite enough to be embarrassed if he knows I heard him. That’s a real man. Sorry if I destroyed any fantasies.

    Husbands are much more apt to say “you look really nice,” than “I don’t think you’ve ever looked more beautiful than you do this morning, my darling one and only love.” Of course, they can be trained to spit out lines, but in my opinion, you train a seal, not a person.

    I’d rather just laugh at the “real” foibles: “Well, honey, you said you wanted an exercise bike, so I got you one for Valentine’s Day. What’s wrong with that? ” That never happened to me, but if it did, I guarantee you I would be laughing too hard to get angry.

    Real Men Forget Anniversaries

    Real people forget dates. Therefore, real men eventually forget anniversaries, birthdays and other special days. In fact, they only remember Valentine’s Day because of all the advertisements. No, ladies, that does not mean they do not love you. People forget dates. Men are people. It’s wise to refrain from throwing temper tantrums when a man forgets something, because if you’re in a relationship for the long haul, you’re going to be throwing a lot of temper tantrums.

    Real Men do Not Have ESP

    Over the 47 years of my mad existence, I must have heard “if he loved me, he would know,” at least 10,000 times. ESP is not a factor in reality. A man can love a woman with all his heart, but it does not make him clairvoyant. It only adds fuel to the fire to tell him what’s wrong and then add “you should have known.” It’s what he does when he realizes you’re upset that matters, not whether or not he could read your mind in advance.

    Real Men do Not Over-Analyze

    Women say their husbands do not “think about their relationship enough.” Well, women are correct. Real men do not sit there scrutinizing relationships unless it’s obvious that something’s wrong. Then, they go ask another guy what to do. (Sigh.) However, they rarely get a spontaneous urge to analyze everything and fix what isn’t broken. That’s our department.

    Real Men Have a Life

    Real men pursue passions that do not involve their wives or girlfriends. This is because real men have outside interests. Women who are threatened by this should do some soul searching: no one should ever be wholly defined by a relationship.

    Real Men Need Personal Space

    The need for personal space never goes away. In fact, any woman who trolls her boyfriend’s Facebook page or grabs her husband’s phone to “check up on him” is taking her relationship on a shortcut to the morgue. Obviously, the same is true in reverse, but I’m picking on women right now.

    Real Men Are Not Doormats

    Real men do not live in a perpetual mode of “yes dear.” Naturally, the “yes dear” factor is always there: “No, honey, I’d rather you not hike up your pant leg to show off your tattoo at my cousin’s formal wedding.” It’s true that men usually take the path of least resistance if it’s something that’s really no big deal anyway. After all, he can show off his tattoo later and avoid being lectured on the way home from the wedding.

    However, real men do not hide their opinions, become whipping boys for their significant others’ bad day, or do something simply because the woman threw a temper tantrum. That last dynamic is another shortcut to the marriage morgue. In other words, real men respect themselves enough to refuse verbal or physical abuse, as should everyone.

    Real Men do Not Imitate Donald Trump

    Finally, real men do not act like Donald Trump. Everyone knows the picture that went viral: the pathetic narcissist holding the umbrella over his own precious hide, while his wife and little boy struggle along behind against the wind and the rain. Of course, that’s a bad example. The Crotch Grabber-in-Chief barely qualifies as a human being, much less a man, husband, father, or leader.

    Unlike Donald Trump, real men do the things feminists get angry over. They hold doors, tune up our cars, mow lawns, and lift heavy objects. They even change flat tires. In fact, I never remember my husband saying “do you want to hop out and change it or should I?” He really doesn’t even expect me to get out of the car, unless I want to stretch my legs. However, these things have a way of balancing out: he gets to say “what’s for dinner?” instead of standing there staring at the stove like it’s a Rubik’s cube. Yes, I do think some chores naturally fall toward one gender as opposed to the other. You can get violent and throw lizard gizzards at me for that, it’s cool.

    Nevertheless, regardless of our individual opinions on how to split up chores and other weighty matters, if a man simply models himself after the complete antithesis of that sad excuse for a human, Donald Trump, he automatically becomes the best role model in existence. This is because real men do what Donald Trump does not; they treat others–including their wives or girlfriends–the way they want to be treated. Whether or not it comes out perfect enough to suit the other person ultimately depends on her maturity level. However, if everyone treated other people the way they want to be treated, the endless, petty nonsense that most couples fight about would blow away in the wind.

    The Joe Arpaio Pardon: Unraveling A Career With The Stroke Of A Pen

    I’ve always had difficulty with the presidential power to pardon. It’s an absolute power that seems so out of place with the rest of our Constitution. Nevertheless, it was constitutional for President Trump to pardon Joe Arpaio this past week, but it really wasn’t very wise. 

    The former Sheriff of Maricopa County was convicted of criminal contempt of court for refusing to comply with a court order. A large part of the evidence against him was his own words on national television and radio declaring his intention to ignore the order and just keep doing what he’d been doing. Now, whether you believe that order was right or wrong, there is no question that it was issued by a legitimate authority and that it was ignored by Arpaio. In short, he was clearly guilty. 

    Then, without going through any of the normal procedures or the Office of Pardon Attorney or even waiting for sentencing to be completed, President Trump decided to pardon him. Many are talking about the procedural problems with Trump’s actions, of which there are many, but there is also a personal cost to Arpaio that I doubt he even realizes. 

    While many have tried to demonize “Sheriff Joe” as an evil, corrupt, racist cop, no one can deny that he’s always been committed to enforcing the law, no matter who’s involved. Among other saltier quotes, he’s said that, “I’m an equal-opportunity law-enforcement guy – I lock everybody up,” and, “I have compassion, I’ve told you people that over and over again. Enforcing the law overrides my compassion.” What he’s been saying, in essence, is that there are consequences for our actions and we all have to face those consequences. Most of us would agree with that sentiment and respect it. 

    It’s not a revolutionary sentiment. It used to be simple common sense. Pastor Charles Stanley has said, “One of Satan’s most deceptive and powerful ways of defeating us is to get us to believe a lie. And the biggest lie is that there are no consequences to our own doing.” Author Phillip K. Dick says, “This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance.” Finally, the great poet, Grace Jones, said, “Everyone has to make their own decisions. I still believe in that. You just have to be able to accept the consequences without complaining.” (Yes, I just quoted Grace Jones. You have to admit though; she is right.)

    The problem many seem to be missing here is that Trump just helped turn Arpaio into the “Do as I say, not as I do” type. With this pardon, Joe Arpaio’s message has become, “Actions have consequences…unless you know someone in power who can get you off the hook.” His image of integrity became one of hypocrisy with this single incident. Before you start shaking your heads and making that “tsk” sound at me, I do understand that the action of issuing the pardon was Trump’s and not Arpaio’s, but it was Arpaio who reinforced the pardon as a positive. He accepted it enthusiastically and gratefully, saying, “I’m very appreciative of the president issuing that pardon. It shows how he backs up law enforcement.” The thing is, this wasn’t backing up law enforcement. It was a message that cops don’t have to follow the same rules as the rest of us…as long as they’re friends with the President. It should actually be very insulting to every decent law enforcement officer in the nation.

    Beyond his appreciation, Arpaio has even asked the court to vacate his conviction. That is not the action of a man who is willing to accept the consequences for his actions. That is the action of a man who has no respect for the legal system whenever it fails to conform to his desires…a very similar attitude to that of President Trump. That is not the tough, principled man that Sheriff Joe Arpaio claims to be. That is a man who is only “law and order” when it suits him. 

    One last thing: Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio before the whole court process was completed…before sentencing. Considering Arpaio’s age and his long career of public service, it would’ve been reasonable for the President to commute his sentence had he received any actual jail time. In that way, the conviction would’ve still stood, sending the message that the law does matter and it does apply to everyone. Instead, we got President Trump issuing a full pardon where he didn’t even mention any specifics of the case, the validity of the charges or even the conviction itself, mainly because none of that mattered to him. 

    If a decent person was standing next to a guy and nodding their head in agreement while he was talking about the importance of Freedom of Speech and how differing viewpoints should be treated fairly, but then he went into a tirade about how Jews are evil or throwing around the “N-word” or singing the praises of the Confederacy, that decent person would walk away and condemn that guy if they were truly decent. Similarly, the President, who’s pushed himself as a law and order guy, similarly went off the rails with this pardon by showing his true colors and Joe Arpaio, instead of walking away from him when he did so, not only continued to stand by him nodding his head, he openly endorsed his sentiments. 

    Your personal integrity translates into consistency in your actions and that consistency is what builds credibility with others. With the help of Donald Trump, Joe Arpaio has shown to everyone a major lack of consistency. As a result, he has shown that his level of integrity isn’t nearly as high as he portrays and, for that part of the American public who are still capable of critical thinking (i.e. not those who’ll automatically hate everything about him because he’s an “enemy” nor those who’ll automatically love everything about him because he’s a “friend”), he’s effectively lost his credibility. And that credibility is nearly impossible to get back once it’s gone. I hope Arpaio enjoys his pardon. By the time he realizes what it’s actually cost him, there’ll be nothing he can do to diminish that damage.

    We all need to toughen up when it comes to free speech

    Last month, the Pew Research Group released a study showing 40% of millennials polled believe government should be able to censor speech considered offensive to minorities. In the Las Cruces Sun News paper, a commenter in the Sound-Off section asked “why conservatives manage to make ‘politically correct’ and ‘compromise’ dirty words”. It also that claimed political correctness is the embodiment of “common decency” and those who oppose it are mean-spirited, slanderous and prejudicial. A Sun News contributor and publisher of a New Mexico political site, Heath Hausamen, wrote on his site recently calling for polite online discourse and condemning speech he implied leads to violence (“Online discourse should encourage understanding, not violence”). The implication here, while much of the media and the left are simply saying it outright, points directly to the killer in Colorado who recently went on a rampage in a block of buildings, including a Planned Parenthood. While it’s not clear if Hausamen is trying make this claim or not, the claim has generally been that the fact that those who oppose groups like Planned Parenthood inspired this murderer by exercising their speech rights and talking about the heinous acts that Planned Parenthood are engaging in. He, and others like him, are calling for speech to be regulated in order to do away with offensive and hateful speech. 
    It sounds enlightened on the surface, but it’s really a disturbing trend pointing away from the principles that made America great. It’s disturbing because so many young people are ok with allowing the government power over the second right mentioned for protection from that same government in our Bill of Rights. They’ve bought into a seductive narrative that truth is relative and opposition to what they believe is hate. The thing is, polite and popular speech wasn’t the reason for the First Amendment. It’s for the revolutionary, incendiary, offensive speech that makes people uncomfortable and spurs them to think and take action. Free speech is more than an individual right. It’s essential to human progress. 
    The men who enumerated this right in our Constitution are the ones who’d just finished fighting a bloody war for independence that had been precipitated by speech that was offensive to a great many and absolutely lead to violence. The revolutionaries who wrote and spoke backed up their words by taking up arms. The words of men like Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams were offensive and condemned by many as encouraging resistance and violent rebellion against the government. They were, of course. Thank God that they were. Even Thomas Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence, sadly, are still considered offensive by many today. After all, Jefferson talks about rights endowed upon us by God, not by any laws; absolute rights like Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Life, especially, is a right that most pro-choice people hate being discussed as an absolute and the idea of God being cited in a government document is horrific to many progressives today. Isn’t it sad to think of our founders being targeted to have their speech limited today?
    Throughout our history, revolutionary speakers and writers like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. have changed our nation for the better. Their words were inflammatory and created discomfort. Imagine if those words had been silenced because they made people feel bad when that’s what made them so powerful. But that’s what many want today. 
    I figure I’ll be accused once again of wanting to get rid of all laws regarding speech, but that’s just not the case. We do need laws prohibiting speech that solicits violence or creates panic, but we don’t need to be broadening those limits. For example, progressives are jumping on the bandwagon claiming that those who talk about the practices of groups like Planned Parenthood (the wholesale killing of babies, the selling of their corpses with all the dispassion of a n auto junkyard) are encouraging the sort of violence we saw recently in Colorado. This couldn’t be further from the truth but, for the left, it seems like we’re now living in a cable TV show: “Truth Is The New Hate Speech”. 
    We’re citizens of a nation founded on confrontational revolutionary discourse. We don’t shy from that or cry foul because we don’t like what is said. We combat speech that we find offensive or wrong with our own speech, which us equally protected. It’s the way things change. It’s the way those who are wrong or dangerous are ferreted out and identified. Speech is one of the main weapons that our founders left us with in order to defend and promote what is good and defeat and call out what is evil. But, to use that weapon properly, we have to allow for others to wield the same weapon and we can’t cry foul or run for a ‘safe place’ when we hear things we don’t want to hear. Let’s thicken our skins a bit and embrace the benefits of a society where speech is protected and countered with more speech. 

    A Call To Fight For Revolution In The GOP

    We’ve had a rocky year politically. At the federal level, we’re seeing the results of two presidential terms of “Hope and Change” that’s left so many Americans feeling hopeless and facing changes that have definitely not been for the better. Our society has been under near constant attack by progressive agendas that treat our Constitution like a nuisance to overcome or weasel around in order to limit speech whenever they decide that speech is inappropriate, trivialize and silence people of faith and attack our right to defend ourselves and others. Progressives push a false environmental narrative that does nothing but spend money with no discernible results. They downplay the importance of laws and securing our borders while painting those who break our laws as the victims. They promote the government taking more and more in taxes, spending more on their pet projects than it brings in and calling it all “charity” and “assistance”. 

    Most conservatives, be they Republicans, Libertarians, Independents or even Democrats understand that progressive agendas are wrong-headed and destructive. (And, yes, Virginia, there are conservative Democrats. There’s really only one organization that has the numbers, funding and political clout to effectively oppose it all. It’s effectively stood for liberty, equality and the value of life since its founding, usually in the face of staunch opposition from Democrats. It’s the Republican Party. While modern Democrats today push a false narrative of a “Party Switch” in order to distance themselves from their own party’s past and label Republicans as racist, elitist, homophobic women-haters, the real damage caused in the GOP comes within the party itself. 
    Leadership and many in office have become a disappointment more often than not. It seems we’ve gotten very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We create the image of being ineffective and unprincipled by talking big, then capitulating; giving in and backing away from initiatives like defunding Planned Parenthood and our leaders sign off on Obama’s wish lists like this latest Omnibus bill. Add corruption to the mix like Diana Duran’s gambling fiasco and Susanna Martinez’s attempt to misuse her authority…not an isolated incident for her, either…and we create an image of corruption that the left delights in hanging on all Republicans. 
    Because of this, so many conservatives shy away from the GOP and members decide to leave. I do understand their feelings. The problem is, there’s really nowhere else to go. There’s currently no other party that has the potential to embrace conservatism so fully and the ability to stand against the Democrat Party effectively. 
    The GOP is still the best party for conservatives to unite, but things have to change soon. The majority of Republicans are good people, but who need to actively oppose those who embody terms like “RINO” and “Establishment Republicans” and have been steering the GOP in the wrong direction for way too long. We still have many good officials and leaders and they’re easy to recognize. For the most part, look for the people who make enemies out of the Republican establishment as well as the left. We just need more of them and I know they’re out there. There was an awakening in the GOP with Ronald Reagan and the seeds of revolution were planted with the TEA Party movement. That was a great start, but now’s the time for conservatives to harvest those seeds and either reclaim the Party and restore the principles and integrity it once represented clearly or abandon it to fade into oblivion and create some new unifying force for conservatism elsewhere. For me, I’m not ready to give up. I believe the GOP’s worth saving, but it’ll require conservatives to stand together: conservative Republicans standing up to leadership to force them to do what’s right and other conservatives to step into the Party and add their voices. This is still the party of Lincoln deep down and most members know and embrace that, but we’re long overdue for revolution and reclaiming our Party is a vital step in reclaiming our nation.
    Most conservatives, be they Republicans, Libertarians, Independents or even Democrats (Yes, Virginia, there are conservative Democrats…although they tend to be devalued and bullied into silence.) understand that the progressive agenda is wrong-headed and incredibly destructive to our society. There’s one organization that, above and beyond all others, has the numbers, funding and political clout to effectively stand against all this: the Republican Party. The GOP has effectively stood for liberty, equality, personal responsibility and the value of all life since its founding in 1854,usually facing staunch opposition from Democrats. While Democrats today try to push a narrative of a “Party Switch” that is both untrue and fairly incomprehensible to follow in order to distance themselves from their own party’s past actions and try to paint Republicans as racist, elitist, homophobic women-haters, the truth is that the real damage caused in the GOP is committed within the party itself. 

    Unfortunately, GOP leadership and many Republicans in office have become a disappointment more often than not. It seems that the Republican Party has gotten very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They talk big, then capitulate; giving Democrats whatever they want, from backing away from efforts to defund Planned Parenthood of federal money to simply signing off on Obama’s wish list with the latest Omnibus bill. They create their own image of being ineffective and unprincipled. Add cases of corruption to the mix that, while pale against the corruption of those on the left, still cause damage to the GOP. Here in New Mexico, we had Diana Duran’s gambling fiasco and Susanna Martinez’s attempt to misuse her authority to punish people she saw as making her life difficult…not an isolated incident for her, either. Their actions are deplorable and do need to be condemned. They create their own image of corruption that the left delights in painting all Republicans as equally corrupt. 
    It’s because of all this that so many good conservatives shy away from joining the GOP or decide to leave if they’ve been members…and I do understand their reasoning. The problem is, there’s really nowhere else to go. The Libertarian Party only embraces some conservative principles and many that are clearly liberal. As such, they will probably never be able to gain the numbers necessary to stand against the Democrats. The same numbers problem exists for other smaller parties, like the Constitution Party and the Conservative Party. And those who become Independents are simply throwing away any chance they had for presenting any kind of unified conservative voice. 
    The Republican Party is still the best place for conservatives to unite to affect positive change. The majority of Republicans are good people who are truly conservative and who need to become active and oppose those in the Party who’ve created the need for terms like RINO and Establishment Republicans and have been steering the GOP in the wrong direction. It’s not too late to repair the Party. After all, we have many good Republican officials and leaders and they’re easy to recognize. For the most part, look for the people who make enemies out of the Republican establishment as well as the left. There was an awakening in the GOP with Ronald Reagan and the seeds of revolution within the Party were planted with the TEA Party movement. That was a great start, but it seems that now is the time for conservatives to harvest those seeds and either reclaim and reform the Republican Party and restore the principles and integrity that it once represented so clearly or abandon the Party completely to let it fade into oblivion to join the Whigs and start something new to become a unifying force for conservatives to stand proudly together again. For me, and I’m not nearly ready to give up on the GOP. I believe there plenty that’s worth saving there, but it’s going to require conservatives to stand together. Conservative Republicans need to stand up to leadership when it’s wrong and force them to do what’s right. Conservatives who aren’t Republicans need to step back into the Party and stand with their brothers and sisters to make their voices stronger and louder. The Republican Party is still the party of Lincoln deep down, but in order to bring that greatness out again, we need to once again stand united on the principles that the party was founded on and that we still believe in. America was built with a system in place to allow for constant revolution without the need for resorting to violence in the process and we’re long overdue for revolution…first within the Republican Party, then within the nation. 

    I’m going to miss B.B. King

    bb_kingEveryone’s doing it right now. Normally, that’s reason enough for me to let something be and focus elsewhere. Today, though, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and talk about B..B King, partly because writing is cheaper than therapy. So, for the next few paragraphs, you, the reader, gets to be my therapist.

    My heart is broken. My whole life, I’ve been into music that had others my age rolling their eyes at me. I love all kinds of music, but I tend to gravitate toward sounds that just further labelled me as a weird outsider to many. I was into 70s Rock at the end of the Disco craze. I held onto Punk Rock when New Wave was pushing it out way too soon. I listened to Alternative bands long before they became chic. Through it all though, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for blues. I love the sound of Bobby Bland, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker and so many others. I mourned the death of Koko Taylor in 2009…with only a few other friends who even knew who she was. But, last night, we lost someone who’s name is known by everyone. The King of the Blues, B.B. King has died.

    Just looking at that sentence, I want to delete it, somehow take it back and make it not true. I’m not stupid. I know we all die, but something about B.B. felt immortal to me. In spite of his health problems, in spite of his age, when I got a new alert late last night about his death, I couldn’t even process it. I got out of bed and just sat in the living room in the dark for a while before pulling up his music on my iPod and just losing myself in it for a while. The funny thing was, like so many other times in my life, listening to that music made me feel better, more at peace.

    I know. It sounds strange, but listening to blues raises my spirits and B.B. King’s music is a great example for why that is. Blues is not just about crying, “Poor me!” Like so many other performers, many of whom were profoundly influenced by him, King’s music was about embracing the pain in life, but doing it with humor and sarcasm and a huge amount of joy. If you don’t believe that, just pull up some videos of him performing. When he was sitting on stage playing Lucille, there was boundless joy shining in his eyes. The message I got from B.B. King’s music: Life can be hard, but it doesn’t have to beat you down. Of course he’d sing about giving up on life to go shopping  for a tombstone instead (All Over Again), but he’d also sing about a woman doing him wrong while making fun of her in the song (How Blue Can You Get). Then he’d sing about a woman with big feet and a big hard head (“Caldonia”) or he’d record a cover album of Louis Jordan classics like “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”.

    In later years, he had plenty of health problems including diabetes. The last time he came out to the Blues Festival in southern New Mexico, he slowly shuffled out onstage and sat after performing only one song while standing, but even though he was clearly no longer even close to being the young man he once was, he never stopped performing for as long as he could physically show up and play and he was always wonderfully friendly, gracious and giving of his time to others, especially the younger musicians who came up idolize get him. He played the role of mentor so comfortably to the likes of Eric Clapton and, of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Plus, he could rock the house like no one else!bb_king2

    B.B. King was a man who, like we all will, finally succumbed to the frailties and failings of his mortal body. As a man, his life left us with an example of how to live our lives with joy in the good times and bad and how to treat others with humbleness, compassion and respect. As a musician, he remains a giant, a legend, whose music will never fade or lose its impact and whose influence will help mold countless generations of musicians yet to come.

    For those of you who took the time to read this, thank you for witnessing me trying to temper my grief with all the positives that a man I greatly admired without ever getting to meet left as his legacy. Tonight, I’m going to listen to B.B.’s music. I’ll grieve his absence from our world and immerse myself in the treasure he left behind. Tomorrow, I’ll get up and try to live according to a very simple sentiment:

    Better not look down

    If you want to keep on flying

    Put the hammer down
    Keep it full speed ahead
    Better not look back
    Or you might just wind up crying
    You can keep it moving
    If you don’t look down”


    Rest in peace, B.B. King