“Can We All Just Get Along?”—Absent Debate Apparently Not!

“Can We All Just Get Along?”—Absent Debate Apparently Not!

—June 22, 2016

“Can we all just get along?” Great words from a man seeking calm in the midst of a tempest. This from a Black man who had received an unjustified severe beating from a gang of white cops. A man who likely had every right to harbor hatred and thoughts of revenge, but instead urged peace during the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

A man who, like all of us, was flawed. But, apologies, I digress. I just re-watched the video of the Rodney King beating and want to sidetrack into the minutia of his story—examine its nuances and fathom its meaning. But not now. No, let’s stick with:

“Can we all just get along?”

Given the current levels of animosity between all of the different competing factions—whether Democrat versus Republican, Left versus Right, Black versus White, Christian versus Muslim, Gay versus Straight, Pro-gun versus Anti-Gun, etc., etc., etc.—Probably not. Especially given that the extreme wings of each side are so intransigent and full of venomous abhorrence towards their respective opposition.

In fact, I don’t believe the level of anger between the various competing factions has ever been so high, as it seems to have reached “Defcon 1,” or the former Homeland Security “Code Red.” In short, too many of us, no matter from which faction, are one insult away from throwing that first punch. And, as seen in Orlando last week, the crazies among us might resort to bullets rather than a fist. 

But we should be able to get along…. 

So, it’s time to figure out how to get along.

Let’s start with a basic premise: We are all human, and thus deeply flawed.

Yeah, that’s a tough one. I mean, sure, I can see the flaws in everyone else’s positions, mindset, lifestyle, beliefs, etc. but I’m pretty much perfect…don’t ya know?

Wrong! I am human and deeply flawed. As are we all. It’s just very difficult to perceive one’s own limitations.

Try it right now. Can you pick yourself apart and honestly detail your deficiencies? And I’m not talking about what might make you mildly irritating, I’m talking about what might make you unsuitable for whatever heaven your chosen God lords over. 

Not easy is it? Keep trying, though, because unless you’re of the “Mother Theresa,” “Gandhi” or “Jesus” ilk, then you, too, are most likely deeply flawed.

So perhaps Step One in getting along while “arguing” with the competition, whoever they might be, would be to always keep in mind the fact that: “We are all human, and thus deeply flawed.”

5237fa14ca758cf188c479a15c3ad311Step Two might be to keep in mind that as “humans” we all have more similarities than differences. Consider your lifetime interactions with the “opposition,” whoever that might be. Do not the positive interactions outweigh the negative ones? Of all the competing groups I am most likely to have had a difference of opinion with, I have historically experienced more positive interactions than negative. Consider:

  • I am White, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with Black folks has been positive. Ditto with Hispanics, Asians, and people of all other races and ethnicities I’ve met over the years. 
  • I am Straight, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with LGBT folks has been positive.
  • I am Pro-Gun, and the majority of personal experiences I have had with Anti-Gun folks has been positive (and no, not because I was packing .357 caliber worth of heat).
  • I am Christian, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with people of other faiths has been positive (though would probably sing a different tune were I to visit Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria).
  • I am Male, and the majority of personal experiences I have had with Feminists has been positive (though I have yet to personally encounter any “ThirdWave” Feminists).
  • I lean to the Right, and the majority of personal interactions I have had with people on the Left has been positive, though I cannot state the same in relation to those on the far end of the spectrum.
  • When I leaned to the Left during my youth the majority of personal experiences I had with those on the Right was positive. Perhaps of note, interactions I had with the Far Left encouraged my movement to the Right.

Bottom line is that on a personal basis It seems that I can pretty much get along with most of these folks. Granted, this may not hold true for everyone else, but I trust—or perhaps, hope—that it holds true for most of us.    

Step Three would be to acknowledge that we all have grievances. Black folks have plenty of reasons to be pissed off. As do Native Americans. Muslims?—no doubt! Hispanics?—Yep! LGBT?—sure, they still have legitimate gripes. Feminists?—OK. And I could go on and on and on….

And as a Straight, White, Privileged, Conservative Male, I’m kind of pissed off that so many of you Far Left mo-fos spend so much energy blaming me and my cohorts for all the problems of the world instead of trying to address your own contribution to the problem(s). I am also fearful that proposed Far Left solutions for addressing their grievances lead to an Orwellian future.

At this juncture it would be easy to get into a pissing contest to see who has been most egregiously aggrieved, but I don’t think we want to go there as it would undoubtedly just exacerbate the animosity. 

We do, however, need to listen to and acknowledge each others grievances, as well as be willing to debate their significance and potential remedies. And yes, some grievances are petty and some ludicrous, but many are fully legitimate and worthy of being addressed.

Unfortunately, Step Three appears to be a zero-sum game with many of the issues that divide the Right from the Left. Pardon me while I turn completely partisan in order to explain:

Folks on the Far Left are unwilling to debate…period! As soon as anyone starts saying anything thatFree Speech conflicts with their creed regarding feminism, race, LGBT, multiculturalism, religion and other pet issues, they do everything in their power to shut it down immediately. They bully the opposition with cries of “Racist,” “Homophobe,” “Misogynist,” “Islamophobe,” “Hate Speech,” etc., and then shout louder and louder to drown out the words they find so threatening despite in many cases not even having heard what they might be. They refuse to listen to anyone who’s opinion might differ from their worldview and label most such opinions expressed as “Hate Speech.” Social Justice Warrior (SJW) Lefties are the most censorship-prone gang of political activists America has ever seen, far surpassing the 1980s/‘90s Moral Majority activists in their disdain for free speech and the First Amendment. This makes Step Three a non-starter because those on the Right are certainly not going to listen to the grievances from the Far Left absent some hint of quid pro quo. 

As for my friends on the Far Right, I suggest that they need to tone down the vitriol in their rhetoric, as some of it clearly does come out as hateful “Hate Speech.” While humor serves as a good foil of refutation within the context of debate, personal insults do not add validity to the points of view. There is no valid reason or excuse to use the “N” word, nor any need to disparage other marginalized groups with the many epithets used to insult them (yeah, I know, I’m sounding like a nagging old school marm).

For example, while I believe the transgender movement with its delusional beliefs about what comprises “gender” is full of goatshit, I will try to refrain from personal attacks on them as people, say by referring to them as “Its” or “Trannies.” I will even use whatever personal name a transgendered person might want to be called, though will continue to assert that because Kaitlyn Jenner still sports a Johnson and the Twins he remains very much a man. Also, there is absolutely no way I’m going to use one of those made-up pronouns like “Ze” or “Vre.” Thus, while I’ve toned down the vitriol, my argument remains intact and hopefully I have expressed it with a touch of humor.

Speaking of which, I am sorry dear Lefties but those of us on the Right are going to continue to make fun of you. And no, making you the butt of a joke does not constitute “Hate Speech.” Unlike you, many on the Right have a sense of humor, and Left-Wing antics, ludicrous demands and avoidance of legitimate debate opens you up to deserved ridicule. 

And for clarification, here’s a real-world example of the difference between “Hate Speech” and “Humor:” The current SJW poster child is Cora Segal, who was aptly named “Trigglypuff” after she tried to disrupt a Conservative panel—Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowder and Christina H. Sommers— of speakers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who, ironically enough, were discussing censorship.

The numerous memes, videos, Tweets, and satirical write-ups making fun of “Trigglypuff” constitute humor, and Cora is 100 percent responsible for making herself the butt of the joke. The numerous Tweets, Facebook posts and other comments calling for Cora to “kill herself,” “die,” “get raped,” etc. constitute “Hate Speech.” The latter is not cool, not funny, and totally unnecessary.   

OK, So, there you have it, the nascent MJM code for how to get along. Perhaps not as succinct as Rodney King’s plea, but it’s a start. Unfortunately, that pesky Step Three appears to be a sticking point. I believe that those on the Right would be willing to acknowledge and listen to grievances coming from the Left; however, SJW Lefties are unwilling to debate or compromise and thus will continue their attacks on free speech. In turn, those of us on the Right will undoubtedly continue making fun of them.

Complaining About the Weather While Awaiting the Season’s Start

Complaining About the Weather While Awaiting the Season’s Start

—June 7, 2016

It has been a strange and slow-starting season. Already getting deep into June and I’ve only sailed once, one quick sail to bring the boat around from the marina to my dock.

Unheard of…. Well, at least in the fourteen years I’ve been living up here on the coast of Canada’s “Ocean Playground.” Normally I would have been out on the water at least a half-dozen times by now, and some years it was more than a dozen.

Heck, I haven’t even done my annual spring every-inch clean of the cabin’s interior, oiled the teak, washed the cushions or stowed the two truckloads of gear. In short, the boat might as well be up on the hard.

I could blame it on my especially heavy workload, but that would be a stretch as I’ve never let work keep me from slipping out on a fine day for an afternoon’s sail. No, it’s been the elusiveness of any such fine days hitting the shoreline. I think there have been a grand total of two this spring.

One was the day I brought my boat over from the marina, a rather quick and hurried journey due to having to spend most of that day trying to jury rig a fix for the floating dock in the hopes of getting one more season out of it. A jury rig that is now looking doubtful and will undoubtedly require more precious time away from sailing.

The other perfect day was devoted to the yard. Neglected all season due to work and weather—the grass was reaching near knee high. Sailing or yard work? It was a tough call, and yard work won out as the grounds have never looked so unsightly. Good timing as we’ve had nothing but rain and thick fog since, and the yard is already due another mowing.

Rain, fog and high winds. Oh, and cold. Very cold. So cold that the heating oil truck is still making the rounds. So cold that freshly planted annuals have been taken by frost. So cold that some of the hardy sailors who braved the foul weather of the first of the season’s Thursday evening racing series said it was the coldest inshore race they’d ever sailed. It was warmer here on Christmas day, a record-breaker by at least two dozen degrees, and a day truly suggestive of climate change.

But we should be used to the rain, fog and cold temperatures. Nova Scotia is known for them. Nevertheless, Nova Scotia is also known for the expression, “If you don’t like the weather wait five minutes,” because the weather generally changes so frequently. And yes, I’ve heard the expression claimed by New Englanders, too, but the weather here truly changes quite frequently at an instant.

Just not lately….

Seven-day forecast calls for six days of clouds, rain and showers with temperatures warming up a bit with a range between the mid-40s to one day in the low-60s; and one potentially sunny day with a possible high nearing 70 degrees.

Anyhow, don’t listen to me. My wife would tell you that I bitch about the weather every season and always claim that I don’t get enough sailing time.

I’ll admit to complaining about the weather too much, but truly do not get enough sailing time. I mean, there’s no such thing as too much sailing…that is, unless it’s blowing a prolonged cold rainy gale right on the nose. 

—This was supposed to have been published by slidemoor.com, but guess their southern readers didn’t want to hear about cold-weather boating. Oh, and am pleased to report that the weather has now turned beautiful and finally had a great day of sailing.

Nation’s Moral Fabric, Very Soul, in Peril

Nation’s Moral Fabric, Very Soul, in Peril

Ed. Note: The below blog is a piece I originally wrote in the 1990s when I worked for a small-town newspaper in North Carolina. As you can probably surmise from its tone and sarcastic content I leaned more to the left of the political spectrum at that time. I believed that the extreme right and adherents to the “Moral Majority” were a bunch of nutcases, and, to some extent, still believe this to be true. However, today, some 26 years later, I find the extreme left wing to be far more scary and apt to do irreparable harm to the country of my birth, as well as the world at large.

What I also find interesting is how prescient (albeit by accident) some of my thoughts were back then—the moral fabric of America is truly getting torn asunder….

—Originally published in the Johnstonian-Sun, Circa 1992. 

According to all right-wing radical groups, many conservative groups, the “Moral Majority” (which is neither), many religious leaders, Jesse Helms and most other Republican politicians, the moral fabric of our nation is under attack by various enemies and is in danger of being torn asunder.

Do you know what will happen if the nation’s moral fabric is torn asunder?

Well, depending upon whom you listen to, the following scenarios are likely to result from a torn-asunder moral fabric:

—Communism

That’s right, Communism! Once the moral fabric gets ripped up America will become a nation of Godless Communists. Half of us will be working on the collective farm and the other half in the collective factory. Red will be the predominant colour of our nation and Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel will be the equivalent of Gods. This and all other newspapers will carry only Communist theology and official news releases from our great Politburo up in Leninton (the former Washington, DC).

—Sex-Crazed Deviance

You betcha! We’re gonna become a nation of sex-crazed deviants. Once that moral fabric that has protected us for so long is shredded, sexual deviation will become the norm. We will all indulge in sadomasochism, fetishism, pedophilia, necrophilia, bondage, homosexuality, bisexuality, voyeurism, bestiality, cross dressing, sodomy, incest and a host of other warped sexual acts that would make even the most hard-core porno dealer cringe. 

—Godless Heathenism

Once the moral fabric is gone we’ll become a nation of Devil-worshipping Satanists and other religious deviants. Those of us who aren’t worshiping Satan will be bowing down to the altar of Belial, Beelzebub, Eros, Dionysus, Bacchus, Odin, Vulcan, Isis, Thor, Spock, Batman, Anubis, Captain Crunch, Ishtar, The Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh, Apollo, Zeus, Tribbles, Golden Calves, Silver Goats, Aluminum Kangaroos or any number of other Gods and Idols.

—Foreignerism

Once that moral fabric is torn up this nation will lose its white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage and culture and become a nation of Nigerians, Vietnamese, Mexicans, Sudanese, Albanians, Algerians, Chinese, Japanese, Palestinians, Israelis, Bolivians, Burundians, Burmese, Cambodians, Columbians, Cubans, Gabonese, Turks, Gambians, Hondurans, Haitians, Indians, Iraqis, Koreans, Lebanese, Liberians, Malaysians, Mongolians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Omanians, Senegalese, Vulcans, Somalians, Taiwanese, Tunisians, Arabians, Yemenese, and every other un-American non-white, non-Anglo-Saxon, non-Protestant race infesting God’s great earth.

—Drug-Crazed Lunatism

Yep, once the moral fabric is all in pieces we will be a nation of druggies. Yeah boy, we’re gonna be popping pills, smoking crack, toking dope, shooting heroin, snorting coke, freebasing embalming fluid, smoking banana peels, shooting speed, snorting tranquilizers, popping downers, eating quaaludes and ingesting all kinds of chemicals and substances not lawfully prescribed by a doctor.

—All-of-the-Abovism

That’s right, all of the above. Some folks are convinced, heaven forbid, that once the ol’ moral fabric gets torn asunder all of the above will come true. Of course, the majority of these folks relate the destruction of the nation’s moral fabric with Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.

Now that we all know what will happen if the moral fabric of this great nation gets torn asunder, we need to determine who, or what, is responsible for this dire threat to national security.

The list of potential moral fabric destroyers is long, and the roster of enemies entirely contingent uponimgres which purveyor of “Right” you might be listening to.

Most right-wing, Moral Majority, conservative and religious leaders would undoubtedly put a scissors-wielding Bart Simpson high on the list.

Heck, Bart could probably shred the fabric in record time.

So, there’s one for the roster! A complete list of potential moral fabric enemies will be included in next week’s Biting the Bullet.

Closing Ed. Note: Not sure if I’ll be able to find that follow-up column, but sure would be interesting to see who I listed.