hmmm…

The things that make you go hmm

Things that make you go hmm

The things that make you go hmm, hmm, hmm…

 

More things.  Current events that make the Intramuralist go hmmm.  Truthfully, there are a lot of them lately…

 

… Yesterday — with all eyes on the Supreme Court, awaiting the ruling on the Patient Affordable Care Act/Obamacare/Mandated-Health-Insurance/Or-Whatever-You-Want-to-Call-It-Act — the justices passed on healthcare, ruling instead on Citizens United and the Arizona immigration law; they will release their ruling on the “all of the above healthcare act” Thursday.

 

The controversial Arizona ruling struck down 3 of 4 parts, but said the most controversial (and yes, popular) aspect was constitutional, meaning that it is lawful for state and local law enforcement to verify immigration status on routine stops.  What makes me go “hmmm”?  Both sides claimed victory.

 

Wait… if both sides feel victorious, does that mean the issue is finally done?  Ha…  Friends, an editorial note here…  There is a reason the first word of illegal immigration is “illegal.”  But we have to find a humane way to deal with the issue that doesn’t saturate the employment pool nor pave a path for terrorists.  Terrorism is still, sadly, alive and well on planet Earth.  Too much rhetorical spin is already involved in this Supreme Court ruling.

 

 

… Lest you are unaware, Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney are in race to solicit the largest stockpile of dinero.  Cash.  Money.  Etc.  What makes me go “hmmm”?  The latest gimmick by the Obama campaign is the Obama Event Registry.  “Got a birthday, anniversary, or wedding coming up?” asks the re-election campaign.  “Let your friends know how important this election is to you — register with Obama 2012, and ask for a donation in lieu of a gift.  It’s a great way to support the President on your big day.  Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate — and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.”

 

Geepers.  With all due respect to the Obama campaign, with my birthday arriving in a few short weeks, I’d enjoy a few gifts.  And I’m expecting far more than a gravy bowl.

 

 

… Venus Williams lost in round 1 of Wimbledon yesterday.  What makes me go “hmmm”?  The talented Williams sisters never lose that early.

 

 

… In the “Furious & Fast” or “Fast & Furious” gun smuggling mess, Pres. Obama has claimed “executive privilege,” thereby allowing Att. General Eric Holder the freedom not to turn over subpoenaed documents.  Holder has turned over approximately 7,000 of the requested 70,000 documents.  What makes me go “hmmm”?  70,000 documents??  Are you kidding?!  How could anyone want 70,000 documents?  How could anyone be expected to turn over 70,000 documents?  And what’s buried in those 70,000 documents that no one wants us to see??

 

Another editorial note here:  More respect and honor should be given to the family of Brian Terry, the federal agent who died on the opposite end of those smuggled weapons.  In all the discussions… in all the exertions of “privilege”… he should be remembered and revered.

 

 

Ah, current events…

 

The things that make you go hmm

Things that make you go hmm

The things that make you go hmm, hmm, hmm…

 

They always do…

 

… noting the lack of wisdom and integrity in this world…

 

Respectfully,

AR

on Wisconsin

Today’s the day Wisconsinites gather for more than a Packer game.  (Granted, Lambeau Field seems far more unifying.)  Today is the recall election for the state’s chief executive.  For more factual details on what has progressed to this point, please read our week old post entitled “Discerning What Is Wise.”  Today’s respectful opining focuses instead on what’s actually at stake.

 

In order to genuinely discern what’s at stake, step one is to whittle away the rhetoric.  If you read hyperbolic editorials or listen to the latest rhetorical robo-call, you may hear the following, actual claims:

 

“The Final Battle In The War Against Unions Is Underway”

“Wisconsin Can’t Wait”

“Governors Declare War on Nurses and Teachers”

“Governor of the Year:  Scott Walker”

“We Hate Walker!”

 

Scott Walker has been Wisconsin’s CEO for only 18 months, and yet, in that brief period of time, “America’s Dairyland” has been transformed into the national hotbed of polarized politics.  What’s synonymous with polarized, political hotbeds?  Rhetorical abundance.  Factual manipulation.  Limitless passion.  Record distortion.  And a total disrespect of dissenting opinion.

 

(Note:  more people in Wisconsin need to read the Intramuralist.)

 

Clearing away the rhetorical chaff, there exists no Wisconsin “war.”  Last I observed, while American armed forces fight bravely in Afghanistan, there is no war on women, no war on teachers, no war on Christmas, contraception, etc.  Let’s not disrespect our troops by claiming military conflict where it doesn’t exist.  Hence, there is no “war” in Wisconsin.  The origin of this conflict rests in the question of whether or not collective bargaining should be limited.  That is not war; that is a question… a question on which reasonable people disagree.

 

What is the long term impact of union contracts on state government?

 

And a secondary question that all reasonable people must also wrestle with:  do labor unions funnel money to their candidates who, if elected, then return the favor by approving overly generous contracts?

 

Stop.  Take a deep breath.  Refrain from emotional argument.

 

Our opinions on the appropriateness of collective bargaining limitations say nothing about how we feel about teachers.  That is an emotional argument simply serving to ratchet up the rhetorical volume.  I had some great teachers; in fact, thanks to clever Mr. Cunningham, I’m now consistently utilizing my genuine interest in current events!  And allow me to not speak solely of my own experience, as I’m also incredibly thankful for my sons’ educators, especially those who unselfishly empower my youngest, having special needs.

 

Yet how we feel about our teachers does not correlate to the relevant question.  What is the long term impact of union contracts on state government?  How have public employee pensions and insurance affected state budgets?  Those questions must be asked and answered without all the rhetorical and emotional interference.

 

Notice California — a beautiful state currently strangled by massive debt.  Public pensions have been a significant contributor to this noose. (FYI:  Be careful when researching this issue; many partisan writers will claim an inaccurate percentage, omitting the key accounting issue of underfunding pensions, with some state funds scheduled to run out as early as 2017.)   According to Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA), “Three times as many people are retiring as are entering the workforce. That arithmetic doesn’t add up. In addition, benefits, contributions and the age of retirement all have to balance. I don’t believe they do today. So we have to take action.”

 

Agree or disagree with the approach, the origin of the Badger political hotbed is a result of one state taking action.

 

Gov. Walker asked public employees (exempting law enforcement and firefighters) to pay 5.8% of their salary toward pensions and a minimum of 12.6% toward health insurance premiums.  Previously in Wisconsin, employees paid little to nothing for pensions and an average of 6% toward healthcare.  While the jury’s still out on long term implications, in these short 18 months, a clear majority of objective sources conclude that Wisconsin’s economic climate has improved.

 

Thus, the question:  what is the longterm impact?

 

If rhetoric stays out of the way, today Wisconsinites might be closer to answering that question.  The rest of the country will most likely also answer it soon.

 

Respectfully,

AR

discerning what is wise

One week from today a historic election will be held in the Badger state.  For those comfortably identified as a “political junkie,” it’s actually rather fascinating.  For those who prefer politics be kept far more than even an arm’s length away, it’s an event that will fly completely below all radars.  Yet for the Intramuralist, it reveals the wisdom — or rather, lack of it — in the established political process.

 

First, briefly, the basic facts:

 

  • Republican Scott Walker was elected Governor of Wisconsin in Nov. of 2010.
  • On Feb. 15, 2011, the “Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill” was introduced.
  • Details of the bill:  The stated purpose was to help fix unbalanced state finances by cutting benefits for most union employees (law enforcement and firefighters were exempt).  Union negotiations (for all but wages) became limited.  State employees were required to contribute 5.8% of their pay toward pensions and at least 12.6% toward health care.  (See the Green Bay Press Gazette for a more specific summary.)
  • On Feb. 17, 2011, Democrat state senators walked out and left the state, in order to prevent the bill’s ratification.
  • Large protests occurred; protestors hailed from multiple states.
  • In March, the bill was signed into law.
  • Efforts ensued to recall multiple Republican state senators who supported the legislation, costing millions of dollars.  When elections were held in August, most senators kept hold of their seats and Republicans thus kept control of the Senate.
  • A recall election was then pursued for Gov. Walker (state election rules require a governor to be in office at least 1 year prior to pursuing recall).
  • This coming Tuesday, June 5th, is that election.

 

Here’s what the Intramuralist finds foolish in this process…

 

First, I’m astounded by any adult whose means of dealing with undesirable circumstances is to run away.  I’m reminded of my 13 year old; he’s still maturing.  There are times when we have some tough conversations, and often, those are conversations he prefers not to have.  What’s one of his current coping strategies?  “I’m not having this conversation!”  And then he storms away.  I don’t care about party affiliation.  Have the tough conversation.  Stand proud and respectfully articulate your point when you disagree.  Otherwise, there’s great question for the need of maturing.

 

Second, the decision to recall Gov. Walker was made only a few months into his initial term.  I am struck by how partisanship so often trumps reason —  whether you are calling for Walker’s recall or the impeachment of a president.  Unless engaged in obvious criminal activity, give the elect their initial term.  If you are satisfied, vote for him again.  If you are dissatisfied, vote him out.  But don’t allow partisanship to masquerade as any sense of wisdom.

 

And thirdly, notice the massive amount of money by those desiring to oust Gov. Walker — and those who support him.  Estimates vary, but the reality is that Wisconsin has spent millions on these recall efforts.  For the 8 state senator recall races, an estimated $31 million was spent.  In the Governor’s recall election, that amount is expected to soar.  (Hmmm… wouldn’t those millions actually help fix the budgetary problems?)

 

Evidence of even more impurity?  Millions of the contributions opposing and supporting Walker are coming from organizations and people outside the state of Wisconsin.  In order words, non-Badgers are badgering the Badger elections.

 

Friends, whether you are engrained in a firm Republican or Democrat stance, if you believe your party’s establishment and the election strategy is pure, you are either unaware or ignoring the facts.  The fact is that too much money is involved in politics.  Money is polluting the system.  Without a doubt, it’s currently polluting the otherwise beautiful state of Wisconsin.

 

The fundamental question in the state of Wisconsin — the argument that the Intramuralist believes should be wrestled with and the argument over which good people will still disagree — is what is the long term impact of union contracts on state government?  Is there any truth to the belief that unions funnel money to their candidates who, if elected, then return the favor by approving overly generous contracts?  What is honorable?  What is good?  What is good for the economy?

 

While serving as the original impetus for the protests, the campaigns are no longer discussing the long term impact of collective bargaining.  The economic conditions in Wisconsin have been improving.  Yet due to the massive amounts of money distorting the political process, people and parties are now simply attempting to get “their guy” elected.  Hence, neither the Badger nor the watching non-Badger can easily discern what is wise.

 

Respectfully,

AR

frequently NOT asked questions

As FAQ’s are supposedly commonly asked in some context, the Intramuralist has determined that it’s not answers to “the common” that I desire.  My questions aren’t common in any context; that’s part of the problem.  I wonder what would happen if they were asked…

 

To those who claim it’s racist to vote against someone due to the color of their skin…

Is it not equally racist to vote for someone due to the color of their skin?  I mean, isn’t the primary idea that skin color shouldn’t matter, yet in both cases it clearly does?

 

To those who claim gay marriage erodes the institution of holy matrimony…

Hasn’t marriage been defiled for centuries — considering the societal acceptance of adultery, no-fault divorce, irreconcilable differences, etc.?  I mean, isn’t the primary idea that the earthly concept of marriage has long veered from what was historically presented as God’s design?

 

To those who claim that we need to accept all people as they are…

Are you accepting of the persons who don’t believe we need to accept all people as they are?  I mean, if not, aren’t you contradicting your own argument?

 

To those who claim that “fairness” is a justification for economic policy…

How do you wrestle with the fact that the full manifestation of economic fairness equates to socialism and then Marxism?  I mean, are you comfortable with that reality — or do you feel government will always limit the extent of its control?

 

To Hollywood…

Do you really believe you’re in touch with the American values as to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable?  I mean, if so, how does that impact your movie content — and for those of you who are often rude to persons holding contrary opinion, do you believe that’s noble, too?

 

To those who believe George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch shooter of Trayvon Martin, is innocent…

Do you realize that reportedly, Trayvon Martin had only Skittles and iced tea in his possession?  

 

To those who believe Trayvon Martin is innocent?

Do you realize that reportedly, George Zimmerman had multiple injuries to his eyes, nose, and back of head? 

 

And to those who believe that either Zimmerman or Martin is completely innocent?

Do you realize that since none of us were there, we may never know exactly what happened?  I mean, could you… would you… be ok with that?  Are we as a public ok with not knowing all?

 

To Pres. Obama & Gov. Romney…

What are you planning on doing during a 1st or 2nd term that you’re not sharing publicly?  I mean, what kind of rhetorical spin are you utilizing that’s intended to make your desired policy more popular than it really is?

 

And our concluding, FAQ lightning round…

 

Washington:  why haven’t you passed a budget in 3 years?

Supreme Court:  are you ever politically motivated?

Pres. Obama:  if VP Biden & Co. hadn’t put pressure on you, when and what would you have said about same-sex marriage?

Gov. Romney:  how do you feel about gay marriage?

John Edwards:  what were you thinking?

Ron Paul:  will you ever stop running for president?

Hillary:  are you satisfied being Sec. of State?

Greece/California:  did you really believe you could continually spend more that you took in without ever experiencing a negative consequence?

U.S. law enforcement:  why are you using drones for surveillance on American citizens?

Mary Kennedy (estranged wife of RFK, Jr.):  why did you kill yourself yesterday?

Junior Seau:  why did you kill yourself?

 

Some questions will never be answered.  Others are just far too uncommon.

 

Respectfully,

AR

the pursuit

While May Day came and went last week, one movement is attempting to stay — to stay relevant, that is.  First taking their message to the streets last September, the Occupy Wall Street protest seemingly lost momentum and attention in recent months, as winter weather and erratic behavior obscured the message behind the movement.

 

Hence, the Occupiers are hoping to now recapture what was lost.  They called for convergence on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, a day historically associated with opposers to capitalism.  Yet with vocal but sporadic response last week, OWS is calling for more organized demonstrations next Saturday.

 

The Intramuralist believes it’s important to look at the root of the Occupiers’ pursuit.  As first discussed here last fall, here is the movement’s purpose — in their own words:

 

“Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants…

 

We demand, firmly but without violence: social justice, wealth distribution and an ethic of commons. We condemn poverty, inequality, environmental devastation and corruption as tools of subjugation by the powerful on society.”

 

In order to minimize the emotion of this movement, I will refrain from addressing the erratic protestor behavior — the violence, the destruction of public property, and the negative impact on multiple small businesses.  Allow me to address the following instead.  Here are my questions…

 

How can you assume that the so-called 1% is greedy?

Do you know their hearts?

How is the individual wealth of others an obstruction for you?

Are you not able to work or do you not desire to work?

Are any of the so-called 99% greedy?

Where is the value of personal responsibility?

What about hard work?

What role, if any, does religion play in your pursuit?

Is there any submission to the God of the universe?

Is there submission to anyone?

How do you embrace the Arab Spring concept but distance yourself from the violence that accompanied the approach?

What are the limits of wealth distribution?

Are your protests truly socially just?

What do you believe you’re entitled to?

 

Note that suggested entitlements have included college, cars, housing, medical and dental care, etc.  Many also desire a guaranteed living wage regardless of employment.  All debt also should be forgiven.

 

Now… my 17 cents…

 

While some of the demands and expressions of the Occupiers seem outlandish and arguably extreme, the reality is that there is a segment of society which has become disillusioned with capitalism.  I believe it’s wise to ask why.  From my perspective, some have equated “happiness” with its pursuit.  The Occupy Movement is the manifestation of this equity error.

 

“Happiness” is not a right; it is not included in the unalienable rights boldly outlined in our Declaration of Independence.  Rather, it is the pursuit of happiness which is our prerogative.  We are a free people.  We are free to pursue our individual callings, callings that allow for both risk and reward.

 

Capitalism encourages that pursuit… to be successful… to seek and thus find… to be responsible… to realize the value of hard work… to submit to a divine reality.  People have opposed capitalism — and instead advocated for increased entitlement (and less individual liberty) — because they have failed to realize that the pursuit of happiness is sometimes wiser and better and more life-transforming than happiness itself.  The pursuit is good.

 

Ok, make it 18 cents.

 

Respectfully,

AR

wonderful

Far too wonderful for me…

 

Recently I was struck by that phrase.  Perhaps you’ve noticed it embedded in a few semi-humble posts.  I must admit:  the concept is often a little inconsistent with how I think.  I mean, I’m not a rocket scientist nor student of microbiology.  But I do have 2 B.S.’s and a fairly decent grasp of contemporary culture.  The Intramuralist is a pursuer of wisdom.  And as a current events observer, I now concede that yes, there is much that is far too wonderful for me.

 

I pondered the meaning of wonder… wonderful…  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand…  stronger than me…  so high I cannot reach it…  beyond me…  lofty.  I can’t attain it.

 

We think of “wonderful” as good.  “Wonderful,” however, instead equates to the extraordinary — extraordinary and thus incomprehensible… too difficult to understand.  As I survey the news of the day, that could be good.  Sometimes tis not…

 

From the most recent headlines:

 

“Former NFL star Junior Seau was found shot to death at his home Wednesday morning in what police said appeared to be a suicide. He was 43.”

 

Seau was well-respected and had young children.  He was the founder of the Junior Seau Foundation, established in 1992 for the purposes of educating and empowering young people through the support of child abuse prevention, drug and alcohol awareness, recreational opportunities, anti-juvenile delinquency efforts and complimentary educational programs.  And yet yesterday, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his chest.

 

It’s incomprehensible to think of what actually drives a person to kill oneself.  A life with no hope.  Period.  It’s grievous.

 

“Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed Ex-Rutgers Football Player LeGrand.  Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers University football player who was paralyzed from the neck down during a 2010 game, was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 90- man offseason roster by coach Greg Schiano.”

 

Playing in the NFL was once LeGrand’s dream.  The dream was shattered instantaneously.  And yet yesterday, one coach had the gracious compassion to reach out in an unprecedented way.

 

It’s incomprehensible to think of how much that had to mean to the former football player.  Great love.  Unparalleled grace.

 

And then in what can only be described as a slow news week, I observed the Bin Laden brouhaha, the on-again, off-again, who’s using what for political gain…

 

Obama’s campaigning… Obama’s not campaigning… He’s using Afghanistan as a campaign backdrop… he’s not…

 

Geepers.  Sorry, but the back-and-forth wears me out.  It’s too wonderful for me; it’s hard to discern between fiction, fact, and valid perspective.

 

The reality is that we live in a country in which politicians are constantly engaged in impression management.  They go to great lengths in order to be well-liked by a clear majority of voters.  Hence, they use what they can to create the impression they can.  Hence, if there’s fault with the Afghan political backdrop, there’s greater fault with the evolution of the system.  Impression management is never pure.

 

Just a few musings this day…  an observance of current events…

 

Many, which yes, are far too wonderful for me.

 

Respectfully,

AR

bin laden

Osama Bin Laden died one year ago.  Kudos to the Obama administration for leading the efforts which seized the terrorist leader.  Kudos to the Bush administration for implementing the effective strategy.

 

On this day my desire is to revisit why Bin Laden attacked us.  I must tell you now, this will not be politically correct.  We will water down nothing, but we will also be respectful and factually accurate.  The Intramuralist believes that political correctness often evades wrestling with the complexity of the truth.  Hence, that will not happen here.  Wrestling is wise.

 

Let’s allow for little interpretation.  Here are Bin Laden’s own words:

 

“Every Muslim, from the moment they realize the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews and hates Christians. For as long as I can remember, I have felt tormented and at war, and have felt hatred and animosity for Americans.”

 

Osama Bin Laden pursued the obliteration of America and Americans based on his Islamic faith.  Not all Muslims believe that.  Bin Laden did.  He hated Americans, Jews, and Christians.  His hatred was directly tied to Islam.

 

“I’m fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans.”

 

He believed that his efforts were blessed by God, that God would look upon his intentional, vengeful killing as appropriate and necessary.  He believed he would go to heaven, meet God, and that encounter would somehow be good.

 

“In today’s wars, there are no morals.  We believe the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans.  We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian.  As far as we are concerned, they are all targets.”

 

He considered Americans terrorists.

 

I have no insight into the intelligence of the fully-named Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden.  He studied econ, business, and possibly also civil engineering and public administration; attainment of a college degree is disputable.  Regardless, the Intramuralist will continue to assert that wisdom and intelligence are two totally distinct attributes.  I do not see any semblance of wisdom in Bin Laden.

 

Bin Laden advocated hate, vengeance, and murder; those are not compatible with wisdom.

 

Allow me to say that first part again:  Bin Laden loudly and vocally advocated hate, vengeance, and murder.  He justified that support based on his interpretation and application of Islam.

 

Hence, I ask the following:

 

Does the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, encourage violence?

 

How far-reaching was Bin Laden’s interpretation of that violence?

 

And as Americans, does our political-correctness in how we currently address insane acts of violence prompted by any religious interpretation impede our ability to wisely wrestle with the truth?

 

In July of 2009, 4 men in the Bronx plotted to bomb 2 synagogues and shoot down an American military aircraft with a missile.  When authorities and then media became aware of the criminal machinations, very little attention was publicly articulated in regard to the religious background of the 4 men.  While in prison for either theft, drug-related, or other charges, each converted to Islam while incarcerated.  There was significant evidence that “Islamic fanaticism” stoked their strategy.  In other words, their religion was relevant to their crime.

 

The question that our country continues to struggle with this day, is:  how relevant was the religion of Osama Bin Laden?  And if relevant, is such still in fierce opposition to the serenity and stability of America today?

 

The war on terror, dear friends, is not yet over.  That’s what we need to remember today. Sadly, we also need to remember that still tomorrow.

 

Respectfully,

AR

at war

Sometimes my penchant for sarcasm must be suppressed.  Sorry.  I believe in transparency.  Can someone please share with me why in the last 2-3 years, our nation continues to go to war?  We keep engaging in brand new “military conflict.”

 

There is the war on drugs, war on labor, war on terror, and war on teachers.  Not to mention the war on education, war on guns, war on Catholics, and war on Christmas.  Lest we forget the war on poverty, war on Wall Street, war on faith, and war on freedom.  Ladies and gentleman, we are a nation at war!

 

I have wondered for some time why the verbiage has regressed to such sensational standards.  Interestingly, after the shooting of the congressional representative in Arizona 15 months ago, many called for the ceasing of rhetorical combat; however, many of those who called for the cessation have quickly learned to reload and refire.  I therefore conclude that there exists something unique in the utilization of war terminology that stirs the emotions to a level that prompts action.  In particular, it prompts votes.  Sadly in this society — more than adhering to a nonporous standard of integrity — when words prompt votes, the appropriateness and exaggeration of the words seem irrelevant.

 

Our newest war?  A war on women.

 

My sarcasm is again tempted, folks.  A war on women?  A war?

 

Last I knew a “war” was when 2 different nations or states picked up their arms, attempting to blow one another up, because they had different desires for what the end result should look like.

 

The roots in the latest round in this feminine “war” began months ago with talk of contraception.  Should the government provide it for free?  Should one taxpayer subsidize it for another?  Women were divided.

 

The “war” advanced again this week when one powerful pundit, strategist Hillary Rosen, referred to Gov. Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, as having “actually never worked a day in her life.  She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why do we worry about their future.”  Ann Romney, a survivor of both multiple sclerosis and breast cancer, was a stay-at-home mom, raising 5 boys.

 

Let it be known that Rosen later apologized for her “poorly chosen” words.  Prior to that apology, however, she initially reaffirmed her claims via the world of Twitter.  (My keen sense is that most likely, the pundit failed to initially recognize the unpopular military conflict she was just responsible for escalating.)

 

Thus, the Intramuralist is left with 2 questions:

 

  1. What are we doing?  And…
  2. Why do we keep acting as if this is “war”?

 

What are we doing?  We are dividing people.

 

As best I can discern, we are challenged as a nation to respect those who are different than us.  Hence, most either accept all difference as equally good and healthy (when it might not be) — or we look down on others, thereby creating division.  Rosen — albeit arguably unintentionally — was communicating in a way that gave the impression she looked down on Ann Romney.  I don’t know Rosen nor Romney’s hearts, but we would be wiser if we wouldn’t minimize the perspective of another primarily because their circumstances are different than our own.

 

So why do we keep acting as if this is “war”?  When Rosen apologized — no doubt also motivated to move past her personal role in the “war” escalation — she said, “Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.”  Amen.  I agree.  There is no war against stay-at-home moms in this country.

 

But there also is no war against poverty, against labor unions, against education, or Christmas.  Remember that “war” means picking up our arms and attempting to blow up one another.

 

We could thus better “focus on the substance” if people would quit acting as if this was war.

 

Respectfully,

AR

bye, Rick…

Everyone brings something to the table.  A passion perhaps that he or she uniquely brings that’s quickly embedded into the conversation and thus impacts the emotion and dialogue going forward.  Such is true whether your last name is Goldwater or Gore, Sharpton or Nader, Clinton or Quayle.  Today my focus is on the contributions of former Pennsylvania senator, Rick Santorum.

 

This is not an endorsement; that’s not the Intramuralist’s calling nor desire.  Just as Ron Paul prompts us to consider the limits of constitutional government — or as Ronald Reagan reminded us of a national sense of renewal and “Morning in America” — or as Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama each embraced the inspiration of “change” — Rick Santorum has left his mark on the table and on the progression of our dialogue going forward…

 

Santorum reminded us that family comes first.  The involvement of his family in his decision to both enter and exit the campaign seemed genuine, more than a convenient, political photo op.

 

Santorum caused us to wrestle with the reality of life.  What’s most important?  When is life viable?  How as a nation do we desire to move forward with the government’s involvement in this deeply, divisive and sensitive issue?  While opinion varies, as a nation, we need to extinguish our infighting and discern how to best move forward.

 

Santorum modeled that quality of life is not always ours to assess.  All one has to do is look at his precious Bella.  Ok. True.  As a special needs parent — the parent of one considered “on the margins of society,” as the former senator said — Bella touches my heart immensely.  I never voted for Rick Santorum, but when I witnessed the authenticity of his love for that beautiful, almost 4 year old girl, never did Santorum catch my attention more.  He never treated Bella as if her life was somehow lesser… a judgment the most intelligent among us sometimes feel free to make.

 

Santorum challenged the standard economic thinking when he suggested that “the bottom line is we have a problem in this country, and the family is fracturing… We hear this all the time:  cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine.  No, everything’s not going to be fine.  There are bigger problems at stake in America.”  While his words were unconventional and not necessarily garnering of votes, Santorum brought attention to the perspective that not all of the ways the American family is evolving are healthy.  Not all societal development should be celebrated.

 

Santorum taught us that money isn’t everything.  While the election bank accounts of both Romney and Obama continue to boom, Santorum began his campaign with very few financial resources.  He had so little money and momentum, that few thought he could make a splash in the presidential pool.  So Santorum instead focused on individual contact and face-to-face meetings.  Piquing at seemingly just the right time, he won the first caucus of the year.  For years to come, historians will examine Santorum’s strategy, what he did well and what he did not.

 

Don’t let me act as if Santorum never irritated any of us.  Whether it be how he articulated passionate social issues or proudly donned that sweater vest, that’s not my point.  Most all candidates irritate us somehow, in some way, about something.  In fact, if we ever feel a candidate agrees with us 100%, then we probably haven’t realized that candidates sometimes share different words in different circles, attempting to “be all things to all people” or at least generate future votes.  I appreciate that Santorum didn’t attempt to be “all things.”  Like him or not, I appreciate that he didn’t change his words as much depending on the circle.  I appreciate what Rick Santorum added to the conversation at the table.

 

Yesterday, after his official exit, Santorum was asked, “What’s next?”  To which Santorum responded, “I’d like to get some sleep.”

 

Get some sleep, Rick.  Regardless of who’s elected in the fall, thanks for adding to the national conversation.  I appreciate your spot at the table.

 

Respectfully,

AR

humility

Call it question day… a few thought-filled, brief ones…

If the Supreme Court rules that the healthcare law — and specifically, the individual mandate — is constitutional, will all those who have declared otherwise acknowledge that they were wrong?

If the Supreme Court rules that the healthcare law — and specifically, the individual mandate — is unconstitutional, will the President and all those who have declared otherwise acknowledge they were wrong?

If concrete evidence is found that George Zimmerman was unprovoked in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, will his vocal supporters acknowledge they were wrong?

If concrete evidence is found that Trayvon Martin did indeed physically attack George Zimmerman, will Martin’s supporters acknowledge they were wrong?

Oh, how the arrogant grieve me.  They pour out words, full of boasting, crushing those with whom they disagree.  When will they become wise?  We aren’t good at admitting our wrongs.

Chances are likely that in most (if not all) of the above, instead of humbling oneself and acknowledging potential mistakes, those on the opposing side of the proclaimed truth will do one or both of the following:

  1. Attack the judge.
  2. Politicize the judgment.

Dare we ask:  why?  Why is responding wisely so hard?

In Sunday’s blog identifying the prevalent motives for all those interested or involved in the Trayvon Martin investigation, the Intramuralist proposed that justice is an innate human desire.  We desire justice.  We seek justice.  We believe in just consequences.  However, we are often conflicted when someone else’s judgment contradicts our own view of what exact form justice should take.

Note that I did not argue that the need for justice was the only motive for those interested or involved.  Other motives are most certainly in play…

For some, to avenge an eye for an eye… the motive to get even.

For others, to be on camera… the motive to be noticed.

For still more, to make political strides… on the right…. on the left.  Both.

For more still, to be personally satisfied… to fight for something greater than self, to find a purpose bigger than you and me, as that can be satisfying indeed.

And for still others — again on the right, left, or somewhere in between — it is not so much about fighting for justice or injustice, but rather, about responding to a perceived prejudice.  Don’t let me act as if prejudice isn’t alive and well on planet Earth.  I would only add that there exists prejudice on all sides of the equation.  In those who fight for… and in those who fight against.

The only way we can react wisely to all situations when we disagree with the judgment — be that with the healthcare law, George Zimmerman, or simply any messy dispute in our daily lives — is to be humble first.

To be humble first.  To embrace humility.

Did I mention we aren’t good at that?

Respectfully,

AR