The results are in, and the real work now begins.

As the world now knows, the 45th president of the United States will be Donald Drumpf. The campaign trail was a long and torturous journey as we watched two of the most disliked candidates in U.S. history battle for our nation’s highest office.

Our nation is fractured and badly damaged. These last two years have only emphasized the divide that has pervaded our people. With the ease of social media, falsehoods abound and are shared without a second thought. Each political side thinks (and expects) the worst of the other side’s candidate and their adherents.

We have allowed the selection of one political figure to take the majority of our attention for the better part of two years, and in so doing, we have lost the best of ourselves. Speaking of the best… out of an estimated 100 million adults eligible for the office of President, we chose these two as our candidates? Surely we can do better.

I have good news. All is not lost. While it is our fault that we accepted the false choice of the two main party candidates, we can still do much to make our voices heard. We can right the ship and get to a safe harbor. The keys to this goal are to be the best people we can be and to be positively engaged in our political system.

We should be eagerly engaged in outlining the principles we expect our local representatives to uphold. We should communicate with them often.

We should hawkishly watch for failings in our leaders and speak out in support of good things they do.

We must understand that it is okay to disagree politically and that we should not shout one another down.

We should focus on the positives and promote the welfare of those in our circle of influence.

We must strive to see the best in our fellow humans.

We must be kinder toward each other.

We can be champions of freedom and justice.

We can build a more peaceful world.

We can do better than yesterday, every day.

Posted in 2016 Election, election, Trump, White House | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s talk about how to fix Climate Change.

I need your help.

I am an answers guy. I like to solve problems.

If you will, I’d like for you to journey with me on a serious discussion with clearly defined parameters. Will you help me?

Okay, here we go.

I want to save our planet from destruction.

Earthsource: http://thenextweb.com/apps/2012/10/19/collins-atlas/

For this conversation to work, we need to agree to:

  • Write our comments in clear English.
  • Put aside our biases with regard to the debate as it has raged thus far.
  • Assume the species Homo sapiens is a leading cause of climate change.
  • Assume that this climate change is headed toward catastrophic effects.
  • Avoid logical fallacies, and ad hominem attacks.
  • Avoid sarcasm and name-calling.

If you can assist with this conversation, keeping these guidelines at heart, you are welcome to participate.

I would like to begin the conversation by asking some questions.

1. Has anyone on record suggested the ideal mean temperature of the Earth?

2. What steps do you see as necessary to solve the climate’s change?

3. Given that we have the capacity to cause great harm to our planet, how much effort must we make to correct the harm?

4. What is our plan of action if we do too much to correct the climate change in any given direction, and there are unintended effects? (For example, there are some species that would benefit from cooler mean temperatures, and others that would thrive under warmer mean temperatures. How do we take these factors into account?)

Please continue the discussion below in the comments. I hope we can have a healthy dialogue, and come up with some helpful ideas.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Pope is Wrong on Freedom of Speech and Retaliation.

boxingPopeFrancis

“What did you say ’bout my Momma?!”

Imagine that you are speaking together with the Pope and you decide to say something terrible about his mother.

In this hypothetical situation, what does he do next?

He punches you.

Seriously!

In the wake of the attack on the satire publisher Charlie Hebdo in France, Pope Francis answered questions from the press aboard his plane, wherein he said that Freedom of Speech does not extend to ridicule of religions. On a flight to Manila on January 15th, he  stated, “Everyone has not only the freedom and the right but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good … we have the right to have this freedom openly without offending.”  He gestured to an aide and, “It is true that you must not react violently, but although we are good friends if (he) says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch, it’s normal.”

Somehow through amazing mental gymnastics, not reacting violently and punching people are advocated in the same sentence.

There is a quote I heard one time having something to do with turning the other cheek… I’m trying to remember who said this, but it is hard to recall…

Oh yeah, his BOSS said that!

Pope Francis’ boss, A.K.A. The Savior of the World, suggested that punching someone might not be the first way to respond to offense.

The good news is that as a man, the Pope can be forgiven for impulsive words, or even the desire to physically defend his mother’s honor.

Now that I’m done having fun with the thought of getting a ‘papal punch’, I want to comment on the deeper issue here.

The Pope also said, “I think both freedom of religion and freedom of expression are both fundamental human rights.” He is correct, they are fundamental rights, and this means they would have the least possible restrictions among any class of rights. Just as people have the right to worship as they please in spite of others’ objections, people can express their ideas in spite of the offense that others may take. We do apply minimal restrictions for time, place, and manner, as in the prohibition against falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. For the right to have any relevance, it must be largely unrestricted.

~~

If I were the Pope (let’s all pause for a moment to be thankful that I am not), I would have focused my remarks on exercising personal responsibility in our speech. Especially as Christians, people would do good to be gentle to each other. There is a great deal of power in exercising restraint and in using our freedoms for good rather than harm. The problem is in claiming that there is a broad limit on the freedom. Such a limit would nullify the right.

I don’t care for some speech. In fact, the things some people say is abhorrent. We must defend their right to say it, though, if we expect our own right to be meaningful. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite movie quotes, spoken by Michael Douglas’ character in The American President.

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours…. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the ‘land of the free’.”

Posted in First Amendment, Freedom Of Expression, non-violence, opinion, principles, religion, responsibility, The Pope | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments