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Mr. Rogers became famous for his message of treasuring uniqueness. His show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, started the late 60's and finished in the 90's. That's also about the time that conformity began to trump individualism.
The irony is that the 90's saw the rise of the Internet search engine, where uniqueness is the key to being found. For example, if you put yourself out there as a business consultant, Google yields over 14 million results. But if you're a business consultant who specializes in employee retention after a downsizing event, there are just 200K results. In that environment, the more niched you are, the more unique you are, the more likely it is that you'll be found and noticed.
The rise of social media pushed back against unique voices. The desire for Likes cut any drive for edginess. The Left found that they could shut the mouth of others by feigning indignity at the mere hint of slight.
Being "Liked" and steering clear of offending anyone became all-important.
For that reason, there's never been a better time to be an individual, deeply invested in uniqueness and unafraid to say what needs to be said. By doing so, you'll stand out in an ever-thinning crowd.
There's an idea floating out there that police officers should carry liability insurance.
That's the dumbest idea ever. It's like trying to hire a babysitter to watch over the bad babysitter who occasionally hurts your children. The right thing to do is just fire the bad babysitter. But with bad police officers come unions and the likely inept municipal government that hires them.
Forcing everyone to get liability insurance will only reward insurance companies. Can you imagine the rates? Can you imagine how much an officer would hesitate to do their job because proper action might drive up their rates?
Good God, no. Inserting a third party to solve crappy human resources issues is beyond moronic.
Root cause: we can't get rid of bad employees in government. Whether it's teachers, bureaucrats, cops...
All attention ought to be focused on stupid retention policies. Public sector unions ought to be eradicated. Bad managers in government ought to be fired and then the bad eggs thrown out with them.
But not the purchase of insurance.
Bonds for contractors, malpractice insurance for doctors, liability insurance for engineering firms... some would argue that these work, but all they do is jack up our price for doing business with these companies and their people. That cost is passed on to us, and these companies and people can raise their rates to cover these costs.
Police officers can't "raise their salary" in response to high insurance rates. Their salary is fixed - unless they get a second job or do something illegal.
Want better police officers?
1) Make firing the bad ones easy.
2) Take the issuance of speeding tickets away from them. It has ruined their relationship with the public.
These two things will better enable them to truly "keep the peace" and make them peace officers once again.
It's not hard to spot a bad idea. It's usually presented by someone who can easily play the victim card - and almost instantaneously does when criticized.
When Obama presented socialism to America, immediately he suggested that such criticism was born out of the fact that he didn't "look like other presidents" (his words). Never mind that socialism always fails.
Good ideas area exactly that - good ideas. The ideas aren't attacked, but instead their proponents are attacked - as racists, as fill-in-the-blank-ophobes, as privileged, and so on. You recognize an inarguable idea when the people pushing the idea are insulted and not the idea itself.
We've spent decades allowing people like Sheila Jackson Lee to get elected. As a politician, she has no wisdom. She has no love for the Constitution or its precepts.
No wiser is Paul Ryan. A self-appointed problem-solver for all of society, his machinations are as insidious as the obvious cluelessness with which She-Jack speaks. Neither constrains themselves within the constitutional limits of the federal government.
In fact, no federal politician limits themselves to the constraints of the Constitution. Every federal politician has voted for unconstitutional legislation. And that's your fault. And my fault. We allowed them to get into office and do unconstitutional things - without any check on their behavior. Worse, we then re-elected them.
So what's the solution?
Some suggest armed revolution. But if you look around your neighborhood, there is little desire or tolerance for violence. People want peace, both abroad and most certainly at home. Not a solution.
Some suggest that we try to influence today's politicians - but these politicians don't listen. Neither Jackson Lee nor Ryan gives a damn about their constituents. There is no bending them to the will of the people or the Constitution. Also, not a solution.
Which leaves one thing: voting in new politicians, at every level of government, to replace the bad with the good.
That's hard work, and frankly it's our due payment for a couple centuries of almost non-existent oversight by We the People. We've allowed the judiciary, the Congress, and the Presidency to spin wildly far from their constitutional limits.
To replace the bad with the good, I've suggested The 350 Plan. In a nutshell, it's the idea that 350 people in a district would agree to save up $300 over the course of a year ($25 a month) to give to a challenger at the start of their campaign to replace a bad incumbent. Together, they would fund the challenger with over $100K to begin the marketing necessary to beat the well-moneyed incumbent.
That depth of early organization has never happened. To succeed, it requires effort and discipline, neither of which today's Americans demonstrate in abundance.
Long ago, people walked in rags for foot covering in the dead of winter to win freedom. If setting aside $25 on a monthly basis is too much to ask, then yes - America and our Constitution are finished.
I'll be organizing for this because I love my children. Unfortunately, they will inherit the disaster that awaits them because of my generation's refusal to hold politicians accountable for their reckless deeds in office.
In the Federalist #10, Madison tells us that while sections of a State may chase "improper or wicked projects" through their representative in government, the strength of a republic is that such poor representation can be beaten by a coalition of other wise representatives. We can endure the Sheila Jackson Lees and the Paul Ryans if we elect enough of the Thomas Massies and the Dave Brats into office.
The only way to do that is to commit yourself to early organization and fundraising. There is no other way.
I can boil my political philosophy down to a single sentence: I believe that everyone has the right to choose the direction of their own life, so long as they aren't stepping on the liberties of others.
God gave me my rights. A right, very simply, is anything I can do or provide for myself. I have the right to breathe. I have the right to work. I have the right to buy products or services with money I've earned. Those are all things I can do or provide for myself. My God-given rights are innumerable.
No mere man has the right to take my God-given rights from me, just as I don't have the right to take the rights from anyone else.
I don't have the right to stop you from working.
I don't have the right to stop you from living.
I don't have the right to tell you what you can or can't buy.
No one, regardless of their title, has the right to step on the liberties of others or take the rights of others away - though it sure doesn't stop them from trying. When personal interference doesn't succeed, people try to enlist the help of others. A gang. A majority. A government.
What's the proper response when someone tries to take what is rightfully yours? In the animal kingdom, it's usually violence.
We humans call this "self-defense." Taking what is ours is an act of aggression. Our aggressive response to that is only natural.
And so by gang, by majority, and by government, those who want to take our God-given rights and our property, liberty, or life use whatever means they can to eliminate our response to their aggression.
A docile mugging is always better for the mugger, so if it can be arranged, it will be.
This is why there is no compromise with the mugger or with the Gladys Kravitz' of the world. She was the nosy neighbor who always busied herself with the private affairs of her neighbor. If she was here today, she would easily be president of the HOA.
It's our job to remind those around us of our rights, and that we treasure those rights, and that we will aggressively defend those rights.
It's also our job to remind those around us that our aggressive defense is not offense. In response to our defense, we are threatened and we are labeled. "Troublemakers." "Deplorables." "Racists."
When horrible acts of offensive violence occur, we are blamed. But our use of violence is always defensive, not offensive. So to make us docile for the gang, the majority, or the government, the lines are blurred between offense and defense. Any violence is bad violence, they tell us.
A docile mugging is always better for the mugger, so if it can be arranged, it will be.
And because we've spent decades peacefully surrendering, the law has blurred the lines between offense and defense.
We're losing our right to self-defense. It will soon become a right we don't have.
But there is a proper response... and I'll detail that in my next post.
A few years back during Stovall's initial run for the Senate, I told people that word of mouth is the best advertising there is. I mentioned a phrase of mine: "Talk is cheap - so do a lot of it."
Our most powerful tool is always our mouth. Our words, shared with those we know, come across with all of the reputation we've earned when we speak them. And since we already talk about our life to those we know, it should be no big deal to talk to them about our political life as well.
Across your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, church family, businesses you frequent, and groups with which you're associated, you know 150 people by first name. (That's called Dunbar's Number.) You have the capability of being immensely powerful - influential and persuasive.
The question is whether or not you will open your mouth.
Ultimately, that's up to you.
I liken it to the Parable of the Talents. God gave you one mouth, just as in the parable He gave His servants one talent. Will you risk it or will you hide it? If you know your bible, you know how it turns out.
Whether you're a Christian or not, that parable is broadly applicable to many things in life. We have the capability of changing the world, but The Voice is on... or it was a hard day at work... or politics is the death of relationships, so everyone tells us.
If you're my friend on FB, you know like I know that the most salt of the earth people you know came to you through politics. Their conservative, family-oriented, liberty-respecting principles drive their actions and warm your heart whenever you spend time with them.
I've never found harm in broaching the subject of politics. It doesn't have to be divisive. If that door is open when the conversation starts, then push through. If not, no worries - move to something else. But at least they know where you stand.
In one year, candidates for the 2020 election will begin to announce their campaigns. We have one year to set aside money to help those campaigns. We have one year to speak to as many people as we can, to organize those we know into a brigade of savvy voters and donors.
I'm personally working to organize those in a few congressional districts and statehouse districts to raise money before the candidates announce. We have the opportunity to start these grassroots campaigns with $100K if we can find just 350 people willing to join us in a district.
Is that hard to do?
Not if we open our mouths... then it's not hard at all.
So this is my new home, where I will permanently house my thoughts. I've been using Facebook, but ol' Facebook's admins decided to start changing the way things are viewed and even whether content is viewed at all.
It's my website on my server, where no one can edit me :)
I've put an RSS feed in the header. If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it. You can also get to my Facebook and to my Twitter there. Whenever I post new content, I'll post on FB and Twitter.
I built the software for this website, and I don't know if everything has been tested yet, but I trust it will work well enough. If not, let me know.
In the next week, I want to add OG (open graph) features so that my posts will integrate better with FB. I'll also put share links on the website.
Anyway, thanks for checking it out. You can leave comments on the website or on FB.