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The Impending Death of the United States Constitution

Yes, clearly the title itself will catch the attention of even the most non-political reader, but that is of course, the point. At the time this particular entry is being composed, the world is entrenched, probably more than it ever has in recorded history, into the American Presidential Primaries. On one hand you have the usual political puppets, who stand in representation of their chosen party, who act, speak, debate, and sling insults like all of the other career politicians of the past, then on the other hand, you have two very opposite far left/right candidates. These are the two I am focusing on at the moment.

For many years, we have seen a rise in extreme right/left wing candidates, usually showing a small spark of energy, only to fizzle out like a spent candle, but not this time. This time, we have two very ideologically different candidates, with one of which, openly states he represents a form of government (socialism) very different from the republic we currently have, and people are flocking to him, specifically that of the younger generation, which he openly targets. This should come as no surprise because that younger generation, statistically speaking, is completely tuned out of not only our own American History, but also how our Constitution, and form of government is designed to work. This is where I move for a moment to look at more intently.

Polls across the nation, across all age and demographic scales, show a remarkable ignorance when it comes to our history, and our form of government. It becomes increasingly worse the younger the age of the individual being polled, yet, these are the ones which the extreme left-wing Bernie Sanders has been targeting. Why? The answer is simple, they are the easiest to persuade and manipulate, due to, you guessed it, ignorance on the two topics mentioned above. What better way to revolutionize a nation than get the younger generation which will inevitably inherit it, on board with the policies you wish to promote. While it is highly inconceivable that a candidate like Bernie can win in this election, the fact that he has put up a good fight against an established candidate of the same party, should throw flags for any Constitution loving American regardless of party affiliation. Bernie is disconnected with our own history, how we became what we are, and with the Constitution itself. He clearly does not understand economics, nor the fundamental idea of capitalism and the free market, nor do his supporters.

On the other hand, we see Donald Trump. This is a man who has consistently gained momentum for acting in the same manner as Bernie Sanders, but instead appeals to mainly older voters (Boomers) who show a better (but still not entirely acceptable) understanding of our history or other factors as outlined previously. This is a generation which grew up under the watch of the greatest generation of Americans since the Founding Fathers. Those in the Boomer generation were reminded, if not taught, that food, shelter, work, and other things are not a certainty, that at any moment, any radical organization, foreign regime, or economic collapse may threaten those things. Their parents grew up during WWI and WWII, fought off the Great Depression, and watched a nation pull itself up by the bootstraps and rise to become the most successful nation on the planet simply by sheer will and determination. Trump has tapped into this excitement and perhaps reminded that generation of people that we can perhaps return to that, and we can. Just as Newton’s Third Law suggests, with every action, there is an equal an opposite reaction. Sanders’ rise in politics as a far left wing candidate, has sparked life into the rise of a far right wing candidate (Trump).

Essentially, what we see are two representatives battling it out over ideals, and the polar opposite beliefs of the two largest generations left in the United States. One has seen our freedoms threatened, and had to answer the call, whereas the other, has no idea such a threat could actually exist. The Millennials see all that is wrong with the nation, and blame politicians, corrupt corporate entities, and view law enforcement officials as enemies. They blame gun violence on the Constitution, a document they perceive as written by slave holding white men who “could not possibly have perceived the problems of the current day”. Yet, when one actually reads the warnings issued by practically every founding father, every one warned that the only threat to the freedoms they provided us, would be the ignorance and uninformed mass of citizenry we have today as the founding fathers warned of many things, all of which undeniably understood than human nature may evolve, it does not truly ever really change. In other words, humans are greedy, violent creatures and when left unattended, generally the worst of them rise to power unchecked. Millennials can barely explain on the spot who the the father of our Constitution is, believe Benjamin Franklin was a former president simply because his face appears on a piece of our currency, and can no more explain the three branches of the federal government let alone define their roles. This generation is so entrenched in social media, and technology, communication skills are suffering more and more. They see these rich, corporate CEO’s and proclaim that they should not be allowed to make as much money as they do, and that college education should be free, and minimum wage should be at least  $15 an hour because the cost of living is so high. This alone proves their ignorance of how economics work when the fact is, many of the wealthiest Americans in recorded history rose from dirt poor circumstances, overcame obstacles, educated themselves, and failed many times but never let this be an obstacle in the way of them achieving what they truly desired. This is also a generation that believes being made to recite the pledge is “indoctrination” and the phrase “In God We Trust” is offensive (along with a mountain of other things), and everyone should be politically correct even if it involves avoiding the ugly truth so as not to offend another. They believe that a private company should completely ignore choosing the better candidate and should instead opt for a lesser candidate based on gender, race, or religious preference. They believe open borders should trump (no pun intended) national security, even at a time when the United States has more open threats from other nations and terrorist organizations than it did leading up to WWII. This list could go on and on, but it should be known that this generation was not created out of think air. The environment for this generation was formed over years of trying to get away from the ideals, and the proven methods which worked for generations from parenting, to saving, to working to earn the things one desires etc.

Take both the candidates mentioned above out of the picture, as the article should not be addressing them as individuals, but paint a rather clearer picture of the ideas which have fueled their rise. What we see is the final showdown of the two largest generations in American history. One struggling to hold on to the principles which made us what we are today, which provided us the opportunities and the wealth which made the United States the strongest military and economical power of the modern world, and the other who has not witnessed any major threat to national security, never been made to work/earn anything, and certainly believes that nothing on Earth short of an asteroid/comet impact, could change what we have. This generation does not understand that the sole power of our Constitution is derived from the people to which it governs. The problems we face as a nation today, have been created by our own doing, for failing to stay informed, conduct the proper research, and to vote not according to party affiliation, but by the best candidate who can properly address the problems at the time. We have essentially set the stage for the demise of the very form of government, and way of life we love. For not only will the time come to where the idea of recreating an entirely new form of government come to the table, and the discarding of the United States Constitution be possible, the people will be openly and blindly begging for it.

As Benjamin Franklin warned following the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 “A Republic if you can keep it….”, we find that we have failed to heed this warning, giving rise to the monster which will inevitably threaten, if not succeed in killing this sacred form of government, even “with all of its flaws”. Those of us who love it and understand it, will watch its execution by a generation of people asking for something they know nothing about, nor with the thought of any consequences resulting from their request, and the history books will record the demise of it, in equivalent terms of that of the fall of Rome. This will further supporting the concept that those who fail to understand their own history, are certainly doomed to repeat it.

 

 

It should be noted that I am by definition a member of the millennial generation. As my discussion above may indicate a less than positive view of this generation as a whole, it is only an intended reference to the large amount of uninformed, uneducated members of our generation, which use only emotion, and not logic as a means by which to act. 

 

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Deciphering the Civil War

For many years following the Civil War up to the present, and likely to continue for generation henceforth, we have struggled to understand the causes of the Civil War. Depending upon which angle one approaches the event, and perhaps the geographic location one resided. The overall question many have reviewed, is why did President Abraham Lincoln decide to invade the southern states, which inevitably cost the United States a newly estimated 750,000 lives and completed destroy the 4th largest economy in the world? Secondly, let us discuss the overall assumption that the southerners were fighting to preserve slavery, which we know is a myth because official records indicate that less than 3% of the population of southern people even owned slaves. So what were they fighting for?

When Robert E. Lee made the not so quick decision to resign from his position within the United States military, he indicated once questioned whether he will join the rebellion. Lee responds very bluntly that he has no intention to ever raise his sword again, but if he must, it would be to defend his native state of Virginia, in essence, his family and friends. Lee cared not for slavery, and in many records spoke against the institution. He simply implied with his response that if in the worst case scenario, that United States raised an army against the southern states, he would have no choice but to defend his home, and this is the sentiment of many other southern people who knew at any moment, they would be invaded by the North. Historian James McPherson points this out in his book Battle Cry of Freedom “His captors asked why he, a nonslaveholder, was fighting to uphold slavery. He replied: “I’m fighting because you’re down here”.

The question of the rationale for going to war is probably the largest question at hand. Very similar to the decision by President Harry Truman to drop the atom bomb not once but twice on Japan killing many innocent civilians, Lincoln made the decision not only to go to war, but after 4 years and hundreds of thousands of deaths to continue the war even when the odds were against him, and report after report of Union troops desecrating civilian crops, homes, businesses and otherwise were pouring in suggesting this had turned into what is defined as a total war. Why? What is worth this large amount of lives, and billions of dollars of destruction within an area of the country the northern industry relied heavily upon for the raw materials in which it grew?

Slavery by every account was understood even by many southern leaders to inevitably be an institution which would die of natural causes. The expansion westward with the exception of perhaps gold mining required no use of servant labor. Much of western Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and other lands acquired through the Mexican War were too inhospitable for agriculture, thus no use for slave labor in any large form, and aside from perhaps small household chores, slaves would not be required. Many in both the North and the South wished to move west so as to avoid having to live in conjunction with “an inferior race” of people (keep in mind prejudice thought held no drawn lines of war as both northern and southern people made it clear that coexistence was not something either wanted). So we can reasonably conclude, that slavery was not necessarily the main cause of the war though at the time (1861) it was essentially the “engine” which drove the economy of the South much like it did for every major empire in recorded history even before the existence of the United States (which so many seemingly forget). Slavery, while a blemish to the nation’s past, should be understood that it was an acceptable method of getting things done during the mid 1800s and before. The generation of this time should not be judged by modern ideals of our advanced society of the present, but rather understood for the period of time in which that generation existed.

So let us fast forward to the present, a time which the dividing line separating the state’s powers and the powers of the federal government have been very muddied (for lack of a better term). Let us pose the hypothetical scenario of a president who makes the decision to wage war (or militarily invade) one or more border states in the south for adopting a strict immigration policy such as those Texas and Arizona have recently passed so as to reduce crimes being committed by illegal immigrants (I use the term illegal as it is the proper term to use for individuals who have bypassed federal laws and improperly entered into our country of which meet the definition of the term “illegal”). It is with great confidence that one would assume this would be highly frowned upon, if not the main reason behind the beginning of a new second Civil War. So the question remains as to whether or not Lincoln’s cause for going to war, resulting in the deaths of over 750,000 American lives, and the destruction of billions of dollars of property, homes, and livestock was warranted?

 

On the Issue of Bullying

As the nation marches on towards the focus of attempting to change those things within society which would be quite frankly impossible, one of those worth discussing is the issue of bullying. Let’s just admit it, we have all done it, been a victim to it, and know all well what the effects are from being on both sides of the table. Most of us now find ourselves hopefully as grown and mature adults watching our children wander down the same paths we did with this and similar life experiences. Our natural instinct as a parent is to help sway our children from the hurtful things we experienced, to coddle them as so to speak and shield them from such things. What good is this doing to our children? We all know the world, and society has bad, as well as good. Some may even argue that it has more bad than good but none the less, we could all agree for the sake of argument that there is a good chance each week, someone will say or do something which is designated to be hurtful towards us even as adults be it by friends, neighbors, church members, family, or co-workers. Our children, at some point, will have to embrace adulthood and enter into the world. We are expected as parents to raise our children to be respectable, law abiding, successful citizens who contribute and give back to society yes? So why would preparing our children with the confidence and ability to repel “bullying” not be a part of their upbringing?

Growing up in the 80s and 90s we didn’t have the technological advancements our youth unfortunately have access to today. There was no Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and there certainly were no cell phones. There was the US Postal Service, a land line, and if you could manage to not get caught you could write notes at school and pass them around. Television consisted of shows such as The Cosby Show, Home Improvement, Full House and other family based educationally comedic shows none of which portrayed the images modern television shows do today. Those shows addressed everyday issues from divorce, break-ups, bullying, school and otherwise. In fact, much of my parenting abilities came from the TV show dads I watched as a child, but today is much different. It’s easy for some to cave and allow their children to open a Facebook account even though the user agreement clearly states one must be 18 to open and maintain an account and for whatever the parents excuse is ignores this and goes on to allow the child access.It’s nothing to be sitting at a restaurant and observe multiple families sitting at various tables and every child at the table from ages 7+ have a cell phone in their hand completely disengaged from the world texting a friend, trolling through Facebook, or browsing the web completely unfiltered and subject to stumble upon God knows what or God forbid taking multiple “selfies” while at the table.  

I say all that to say this. Growing up, when one person chose to pick on you it usually consisted of them and maybe one or two friends who happened to be in the same vicinity and only lasted until classes changed, or school let out for the day. We had time to unwind, shake it off and move forward. With technology, those one or two people who intend to do harm, can mass communicate that hate through social media or by cell phone instantly reaching an entire class, grade or school population of which the social effects are extremely detrimental to the intended victim. There are no class bells to separate those individuals from the victim anymore, and the bullying can now carry on all day and night until something gives, either the bully gets bored and finds another target, or at worst case, the victim takes their own life. 

It is unfortunate to see children take their life over something as ignorant as bullying. It is even more unfortunate to know that the child was afforded every opportunity to have a social media site, a cell phone or other means of communication much above the required maturity level for an adolescent child. It really hits home to think that perhaps the parents could have in some way played an integral role in the outcome of the situation. Children simply do not have the confidence, nor the maturity to handle the consequences of modern technology and this could never be argued to any magnitude which would sway my opinion from its current position on the issue. Sure some would say they spoke with the affected child, tried to calm them, but were any efforts made to restrict or terminate the source of the harm? Was Facebook shutdown, cell phone removed? Probably not if I had to guess and I do ask why the hell not? 

The resolution to the problem at hand lies within the home, and the responsibility we owe it to our children to instill the confidence needed to handle the different forms of bullying they will encounter both as children, and adults. That confidence will come from the teachings we provide to those children. Bad people do, and always will exist. It will never change and I believe we can all agree on this. Our children must understand and be taught this throughout their childhood, but as in adulthood, confidence and integrity will always allow us to deflect bullying and move forward as better individuals. Keep your children off of social media, if a cell phone must be provided do so with great caution and care. Monitor it daily, set strict usage guidelines, and never be afraid to take it away in the event those guidelines are broken. Parents have a responsibility to protect (not shield and yes there is a difference) children from the harmful things of the world. Let them fall down and experience hurt, let them work through most social problems with friends with no interference, but never allow them the unrestricted freedom to become vulnerable to consistent and hateful attacks from those looking to inflict serious mental or physical harm. In short, we must be willing to be a parent and not a friend to our children.  We must be willing to set aside our “want” for our children s approval to remove them from a potentially dangerous situation even if it means cutting off cell phones, saying no to their demands to go to a school dance, local social gathering or other until whatever situation may be occurring passes. They may hate you for it at the time, but they will thank  you for it down the road or forget about it altogether. 

Some may say I am blaming the parents with my remarks above, and I will not argue that statement. In most of the cases of teen suicide, investigations show proof of harassment through social media, internet, and cell phone bullying. In almost every case, not one parent took the step to remove the methods by which those bullies choose to communicate their hateful remarks from the victim. So I ask you, should the parents assume some responsibility here? The answer should be a resounding yes. Irregardless of how you view my argument, we can all agree that until the child reaches adulthood, and graduates high school, we as parents are responsible for our children. 

13-Feb-2014

“There are no words to the song of the ocean, but the message is and always has been simple: not to forget where we came from. The melody is locked in the water that composes much of what we are. Most humans tend to ignore the song, but not all. You are one of the lucky ones who hold the melody in your heart. But be warned: it is a wandering song carried by the winds and the currents. It can turn you into a piece of driftwood that washes up on shore after shore, but one day, when you find the place that is meant to be, you will take root. Send me a postcard when you get there.” – Jimmy Buffett

The site has directed me to start this thing with a quote, something I figured would set the tone for the reason this blog was created. Most who know me understand that at any given point in time, anything can come out of my mouth. One thing is for certain, whatever it is, there is no question as to the tone. I chose the quote for two reasons, 1) Jimmy Buffett has been my favorite songwriter since I could remember. His life story is one many of us could only wish for, myself included. 2) The quote explains life. Most of us try too hard to force situations and lifestyles that simply aren’t meant to be, and in most cases find ourselves unhappy or the situation backfires altogether. The journey of life is not one that I believe is predetermined, but I believe we all wind up where we are supposed to in the end. I just keep my fingers crossed that at the end of my road is a sandy beach, and countless days where my biggest decision will be whether or not to wear flip flops.