The National Anthem

Oh say can I see…. What does the Anthem mean to our nation? Remember people get things mixed up and often confuse meanings. Recently a NFL football player refused to stand during the National Anthem because he didn’t believe in the same idea most do about the Anthem. After I spoke with a handful of people off the street asking them what the Anthem meant to them. The consensus was it was a patriotic symbol. Some people said it reminds them they are free, others said it was a tradition they grew up with, and others said they just felt it stood for something good.

The National Anthem tells a story about the battle of Ft. McHenry. The meaning I take away from the National Anthem after reading the lyrics is a man of his time telling a story of one side verses another which we have attached a love of patriotism to. What I found in the Anthem was a story of men at war who survived a battle. I’ve always been taught from a young age how the colonies broke away from England. The reasons taxation without representation and the colonies being unfairly treated by England.

After doing some research from creditable sources I was reminded the way of life in the early 1800’s. The world was a humanitarian disaster. One population enslaved another from Serfdom in the middle Ages on up. The British slave trade brought an estimated 3.4 million slaves from Africa to America says historian, Professor David Richardson . The entire count from log books and insurance records of European countries total slave trade from Africa to America was 12 million. (Ref 5)

There are people angry over the wording in the Anthem. There is a lyric that says “No refugee could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” The passage suggests it is talking about hired help and slaves who help the British. As enemy forces attacked Virginia “negro slave populations sought out the British and aided them in return for a promise of freedom.” (Ref 4) There are reports of slaves defecting and fighting for the British and undeniably the slave reference in the lyric’s pertains to that situation. It is undeniable the situation for African Americans at the time was not humane or acceptable by modern standards. The National Anthem itself is not a racist piece of work. In fact the United States had begun its evolution to move towards ending slavery. Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution 1793 and was again supported by the Supreme Court in 1842.(Ref 6) Its unfortunate that slaves were mistreated and had to resort to switching sides for the prospect of freedom, but the side they ran to was no better. The British had a large part in developing the slave trade and established in American colonies.

The unfortunate wording in the Anthem pertaining to enemies of the United States doesn’t change the meaning that our country was still there. Our country is everyone’s country no matter what race or religion. Those who understand the importance of solidarity understand that is what brought the country out of slavery. The brave men who stood up for the 13th Amendment were Americans who understood the importance of solidarity. The  words written by Francis Scott Key were of inspiration to a united front facing whatever enemy fought against them.

I understand the feelings of some people who may think it is a tribute to an old terrible tradition, but that part of the Anthem has been taken out. I believe that is a testament of the progress made by the United States of America. The protest of refusing to stand during the Anthem says a lot to the people who believe in solidarity. If someone wants to bring attention to them self and stand out refusing to participate in tradition that is thought of as patriotic and united is a good way  to do that.

 

Bibliography

  1. http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2012/summer/1812-impressment.html
  2. http://www.ushistory.org/us/21.asp
  3.  http://www.stratfordhall.org/educational-resources/war-of-1812-exhibit-introduction/war-of-1812-stratford-and-westmoreland-county/
  4. http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc5400/sc5496/051200/051220/html/051220bio.html
  5. http://abolition.e2bn.org/slavery_45.html
  6. http://www.heritage.org/constitution/content/pdf/lesson-19.pdf
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Clint Eastwood 

Clint Eastwood is my generations John Wayne. His character always firm, strong, and just. He played the hero we all wanted to be. Doing things we all thought about saying or acting out and he got away with it. Of course that is the stereo typical hero character we love to fantasize about. There is a unique portrayal about Clint’s work. He consistently captures a sense of righteousness. No matter the means to the end we agree with his methods even though they are often harsh and politically incorrect.

In the movie Gran Torino  the war harden veteran exemplifies the don’t tread on me persona some of us remember our grandparents having. The persona that stands for I have fought for my country’s rights and liberties. He embodies the old school attitude I have sacrificed and I have paid my dues. He clings to the notion of entitlement that he is afforded to live in the country he fought for and has a say in how people around him act. The military man has a new strand of DNA. A strand that expresses the teaching his drill sergeant’s. The teaching that ingrains within him proper behavior, courtesy, and respect.

The dilemma is that society has changed. The differences between people have become widened. The acceptance between groups with different views is minimal and has caused a tense situation in our country. Some say the American dream is dead, but the American dream has always faced adversity. People like Clint Eastwood’s characters are type that exemplify American perseverance. These tough rugged types of people are survivors. They endure and overcome by simply getting back up when knocked down. These people do not give in to the temptation of crying poor me. They acknowledge life is tough and sh#t happens. The temptation of stealing, selling drugs, or being dishonest to cheat people out of their money never applies to them. The dilemma is our morals have tanked to new lows.

In high school my teachers told stories of students who got in trouble and couldn’t behave being shipped to the army. In that time period the military took deviants and turned them into soldiers. They weren’t getting out because of their behavior. They would only make it harder on themselves. The military converted the unlawful, misbehaved, wild youth into a person with understanding of sacrifice and hardship. Maybe these are the key ingredients to appreciation.

World War II and Korean veterans came from a time period in the United States when America was experiencing growth and opportunities. The advent of assembly lines and advances in factory technology created an environment which people dreamed of an opportunity to have a house, two car garage, and white picket fence. Those moral and ethics were passed to the next generation, but increasing population dilutes the previous generations traditions and belief systems. The counter culture revolution exhibited a major change in America.

The movement most remembered now for hippies, peace, love, and happiness was actually the first anti establishment movement. Once again different sides clashed with a growing anti war movement Vietnam veterans experienced a harsh welcome home. The counter culture viewed the military as yes men and slaves to the establishment not free to think for themselves. Honorable men and women were wrongly accused of being America’s assassins killing women and children. The counter culture did not take into account for the situation soldiers were put in and the choices they faced.

Men and women who have conviction and belief of tradition often look at these changes as a deterioration of the America. Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino was complete opposite of embracing society’s changes. In the movie he made racial comments putting down gang members. He also befriended a foreign neighbor boy who had the attempted stealing from him. His character showed both the ruthlessness and compassion of humanity. He acted out in hatred towards the things he saw as wrong and criminal in a vigil anti way. Clint’s character held the belief of defending his life, liberty, and property with lethal force. Movie watchers cheered Clint on with his extreme portrayal of an American entitled to pull out a fire arm and stick it in the bad guys face.

The action of holding a person at gun point is a serious commitment. It means you are ready to take a life. A lot of consequences come with that action in reality. Whether the action be just or not it is bound to draw criticism and attention of law officers. It is always a scary thing when a person’s freedom is at stake and dependent on another human being to agree with their action. Where a person like Clint’s character may have been trained in the military to defend his person and property his instilled ideas of right and wrong may be disagreed with legally. On the opposite side of the spectrum there is a part of the population that believes carrying fire arms discourages crime. They believe armed citizens could minimize robbery, theft, mass shootings, and terrorism. People are easy to shoot when they are not shooting back. Once again the legal liability of that belief comes into play when a innocent bystander is killed because a citizen attempting to defend themself. That is were the establishment wants to be responsible for protecting people. Yet the truth is the authorities are not at every crime when it’s happening, but people are. Clint obviously portrays the gun toting citizen ready to stop terrible acts.

The problem with Grand Torino’s philosophy in general is people don’t stop at the issue being investigated. They dig through a persons life and they use things from the past against them. A situation may be completely just and legal, but the opposition to the incident hires a lawyer. The lawyer is paid to dig and paint a picture that wins their case no matter what the truth is. The prosecutor is looking for a win. Still we all have the urge to be Clint Eastwood, because Clint does what we want to do in a hostile situation.

The climate of the nation is volatile in present times. We have society challenging the nations police force. Terrorists commit shootings in the name of ISIS. Indigenous Americans are wanting to close borders to illegal immigrants. A liberal movement to disarm Americans is happening.  These issues divide people and create contempt for the opposite side and it is growing. It is the type of thing that put the grimace looking frown on Clint Eastwood’s face in Gran Torino.

We will always have the person who doesn’t pull their weight in society. We will always have wars with other counties. The economy will always change from good to bad. Democrats and republicans will always disagree the majority of the time and we will always want to be Clint Eastwood.

The Problem with God

After listening to the argument does God exist between scientists and theologians I considered one idea that could be a harsh compromise between both sides. The premise of God rests on he is all powerful and all knowing. It is written he created the universe and lived out an epic tale from beginning to present. It is an amazing story with many good values and just deeds on his part. There is a several major religions in the world that comprise the majority of the population of the planet that put a God front and center of their belief. Few argue the goodness and the love God is said to have for his people. That is not the divide in the idea of the  omniscient presence.

Did the authors of religious text give God so much credit that it made him unbelievable? The problem with God comes from what he did and what he can do more than does he exist. Through out history fallacies about the creation and position earth holds in the universe have been unraveled . Beginning with Galileo Galilei astronomer and philosopher in the seventeenth century. His work ultimately would end up proving the earth was not the divine place holder and center of the universe. The trend continued discovering the rationalized arguments a supreme creator put us first and foremost in the universe were very unlikely. Science fought through tough opposition presenting comparative observable reproducible data bringing to light the establishments incorrect conclusions on astronomy, age of the earth, and superstitions. The first ideas about creation had met a scientific explanation which either disproved or caused theologians to revise their story of God and creation.

In defense of theology the hypothesis of a powerful entity that cannot be seen exist is an entirely different argument. If the idea God loses some potency such as he is not credited with the creation of the universe and all living things, we could start building a case for the unseen powerful entity. It is not far fetched that things exist we cannot see and it is not far fetched that different dimensions lie in front of our very eyes go unnoticed. The examples of inner space within molecules and atoms sets a precedent for unseen dimension. The bacteria that live inside our intestinal track experience a completely different reality. In fact when thinking about the break down of what we know starting at the universe we can see our galaxy inside it and the solar system inside that and the earth inside that and people inside that and bacteria or complex cells inside us and atoms inside them. The example goes on till we cannot physically see the presence of something that exists. If things exist that we cannot see it is possible life takes on other forms. Right now during this very moment neutrino’s are passing through us. They are  form of unseen energy that passes through all matter. We have detected them, but we have not seen them and yet we know they exist.

It is not unacceptable to theorize entities exist composed of energy we cannot see. I refer to the fact everything we know is made of energy and it is a reasonable assumption other forms of life exist unseen. Radiation, x-rays, radio waves all exist but we cannot see them. What if a form of life or intelligence exists within these unseen energies. We are all in contact with these different types of energy. We are exposed everyday to them. They travel through us. If energy can transmit information and intelligence is the understanding of information it could be possible the things passing through us daily are influenced by our thoughts and feelings.

We have a preconceived notion that once we reproduce an experiment we can confidently say we know the outcome even if we are not able to see it. The quantum mechanics double slit experiments shows a lot of different things are going on when they are not being observed. If we cannot soundly state results for unseen things then we cannot say our mere presence in time and space doesn’t shape our reality. If our thoughts influence or change reality in anyway then it is possible our mere belief in a God could be manifested through the energy making up the universe.

My point is leading to the power of prayer and faith. It is a proven fact thoughts are inseparable from the creation of electric pathways made of chemicals primarily involving Na and K. It is also known there is no space on the entire planet other than inner space between electrons and nucleus’s of atoms. Every molecule is touching another molecule or atom. When a brain is thinking or feeling it is producing measurable electrical signals. These signals like are like a ripple in a pond. There is a constant transfer of electrons from atom to atom. A redox reaction is responsible for this type of electrical transfer. These are all proven scientific truths. Imagine the fabric of space consisting of dark energy and things we haven’t even thought of yet are in a way absorbing our energy. What I am saying is not a new concept. The idea of karma works identically. My twist to the idea of karma is we could be experiencing healing from a manifested entity. We could be experiencing intuition from a manifested entity. We could be experiencing what we call miracles that are reciprocated actions because of the way we think.

It almost sounds like the explanation for guardian angels and in a way it could explain the unexplainable. Lets say the background radiation of the universe that exists everywhere is able to be manipulated into a consciousness by prayer and worship. This gives us a scientific hypothesis as a starting point to study. Undoubtedly a difficult and most challenging job to devise equipment to measure differences of every type of energy in a controlled environment. Yet the detection of neutrino’s is evidence that we can build equipment to detect the most difficult of things. If the data showed that our reality is changed by our thoughts and power of mind then it may also show the intelligent response of an unseen force. If the force is aware and conscious we can say it is an entity that exists unseen.

The discovery of such an entity would give credence to a metaphysical realm of possibilities. Most importantly in the observation would be the kind of behavior the entity exhibited. We would want to note it’s characteristics. Is it friendly, does it show signs of interest in us, determine what abilities it has, when it communicates how does it refer to itself, can it make itself seen, what other knowledge does it posses? Presuming such an entity would cooperate in this study we may determine how it’s previous interactions with humanity have shaped the role of God. Would an entity be able to give us information about the beginning of the universe or would it claim the title of God. If it did claim the title of God we would have an observable presence to learn from and possibly understand how our society developed the concept of God. Did humanity have encounters with the entity and create myths based on actual events?

All that is speculation of course. We have no workable theories in science about God. There are explanations for misconceptions of the past, but no good pieces of evidence for a single entity watching over us who ultimately decides whether or not we live happily in the after life or are punished for our short comings and lack of faith. We do live in a very fear oriented world. Where many even today use fear to achieve their agenda’s. When the question, are you willing to be wrong about God and face the consequences of hell is asked many accept the belief even if they don’t live by the doctrine.  Which is a testament to how fear influences the mind. We really have no reason to think their is punishment waiting for us after this life. An acceptable theory about the afterlife would be the transfer of your consciousness in the form of energy into the universe. It is unknown how that may turn out, but many would say they have a deceased friend or family member they can feel close to them. I can even say from my experience it does feel that way at times.

Joshua Scott Born

Omar 

The worst mass shooting on U.S. soil was perpetrated by Omar Mateen. Every media outlet has covered the emerging facts. All the questions are being answered and discussed. I have even heard guests on talk shows attempt to dig into the what caused it and why did it happen. With little effort most people can find out the facts, but facts are different than what if’s.

Its the speculation that scares me, not what Omar did. What he did was terrible! If I were there it would have scared me at the time, but only for the moment. The scars will stay with people but time causes a callus to cover the pain. Omar only caused fear for a moment, but he has planted a seed that our society waters. How can we stop this from happening?

When people ask what if and why did he, with the intent of finding an answer to stop future attacks they terrify me. What liberty will be taken from us? What Act will the be imposed to save lives and take away another freedom? How will a good thing be twisted to serve another agenda?

There are people who have thought this through from beginning to end and they know exactly how to manipulate the system. It all starts with fear, then people are angry. Angry people make quick decisions without thinking things through. When 9/11 happened congress and the President acted quickly. Looking back at the situation a few terrorist caused our government to start a war that is on going and spreading to other countries. Its easy to say we should have waited and had more information or we made the wrong decision now. Costly decisions that were not thought through. What is the cost to the people in lives of American soldiers? What is the cost to people taking care of the wounded coming back from war? What is the cost to America in diplomacy and image of a just and honorable nation?  Our leaders were fooled by the 9/11 terrorist into starting the war they wanted.

The second Iraq War was military blunder. The lives our friends and family gave in Iraq were unnecessary. The Bush administration talked about evil doers and retribution.  A decision that turned into a catastrophe George W. Bush is responsible for! President Bush choose to land ground forces and attack a semi destroyed Iraqi army. General Norman Schwarzkopf advised George H. Bush Iraq was a never ending war. It is a can of worms that should not be opened. Colin Powell told the 2nd Bush administration the same thing. The advice was ignored.

In Bill Clinton second term he responded to the attack on the U.S. Cole by finding terrorist camps, using special forces and sending tomahawk missiles to destroy those responsible. He only killed who the CIA could accurately report as to the responsible people. It was a responsible decision as commander and chief. This type of surgical attack was a well thought out response that saved soldiers lives avoiding putting boots on the ground and minimizing criticism from world leaders.

What has been happening in the United States is a new type of violence. We have always had shootings. There has always been horrible crimes in society, but new crimes are being committed that are dedicated to a belief against America. Crimes that are meant to cause fear and anger. They want Americans to attack themselves. Omar played a part causing fear and dedicating it terrorists. He wants us to finish the job by changing America. Omar wants Americans to say it was guns, it was mental illness, it was Islam.

We do what they want. They want us to say mentally ill people shouldn’t have guns, then it changes to what are the sign of a mentally ill person. Then the profiling begins. We pick each other apart judging and labeling. Taking away and punishing mass groups of people by judging them on things something Omar did. Mental illness is everywhere its a part of our society. Everyone one is mentally ill and there are different degrees of mental illness such as the willingness to kill or commit acts of violence. But in all reality we find the most honorable, respected, and up right people displaying signs of mental illness. Robin Williams was a shock to the world when he killed himself. Mel Gibson’s rant to a police officer about Jews and his not so politically correct thoughts shocked the world. Multiple acts of violence from beloved movie stars and sports athletes support normal people have mentally ill moments. Depression, manic thoughts, anxiety are nothing new. People will always have these problems. But one person commits a shooting and that person was seen by a therapist or that person was on medication and they are labeled as mentally ill. If this is what people do to each other no one will have a gun.

Guns kill good and bad people. The only difference is a gun can be used in a expression of hatred. For instance a person can point and shoot because they hate another person that scares people and make them angry. They start t speculate how to improve the situation by removing the tool instead of addressing the grow discontent and contempt Americans are feeling for one another. Groups are forming of like minded people. Instead of everyone pledging allegiance to the USA they give their allegiance to different set of ethics. Different than the ones America was founded on.

At no point in history have we stopped bloodshed but we have developed a social contract with each other. One we understand without saying. I will not harm you and please don’t harm me. Its something we want for ourselves and others but anger can cause our minds to become ill. The type of illness Socrates spoke of. America can become a better place by working on being United again. The importance of solidarity and belief in the idea this country is free must be reiterated to our society.

Our nation must bring the pledge of allegiance. People who live here are granted the amazing freedoms and protections of our military and government. To be part of this union people have to be a member and to do that we need to take a oath. Another help other countries become there own nation not war torn and destroyed breeding grounds of hate for the United States. Omar hated people and truth is deep down we all feel that way sometimes, but we do not have a terrorist agenda to hurt people. We want to be Americans that means helping our community be something for our children. Omar wants us to destroy that. If we fight he will win and that scares me.

By Josh Born

 

Lifes Road Changes Directions

I’m not entirely sure why things happen, if its meant to be or purely coincidence. (Which I do not believe in.) Life can be heading towards the direction you want and bam! Out of no where it changes. Sometimes its horrible, sometimes it wonderful, but what ever it is it changes the direction life was going.

One person wins the lottery and another persons family member dies. Both lives are changed. How could everything happen for a reason and what could that reason be? I don’t have that answer, but it seems very apparent to me we don’t appreciate the past enough. I’ve listened to celebrities say they would like to live a quieter life, not to be bothered, not to attract attention, just to be a normal person who could enjoy life. I’ve heard people in wheel chairs say they didn’t start living till they learned how to live without being able to walk.

At this moment in my life I look back and would not change a thing. I have had friends die, family stop talking to me, my wife left me, and I accrued a substantial debt getting an education. Every one of those things made me who I am. I aged into a fine respectable person after a long road of mishaps and pitfalls. Each time one of those things happened to me it wasn’t easy, but I had to keep on going and I didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of my past.

Today I have a chance to make a difference in people’s life by sharing my thoughts. I see other people’s pain and I get it. Some time there is nothing to be said to make it go away, but I have felt it. I do know what it’s like. I admire people. Life is not easy. Everyone goes through a lot of pain and joy in life. We always hear about the people who picked themselves up and brushed themselves off. Some are soldiers, some are rehabilitated criminals, some are drug addicts, but some are just normal husband and wives, mothers and fathers who don’t tell their story. They were going in a direction and something happened that changed that. People are strong. We go through a lot. I respect people because no one knows the pain they have lived through.

To my friends, family, and fans you will change directions in life and it will change you undoubtedly, but cherish the moments you have lived through good and bad. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but they are wrong. When I die I will be able to look after everyone I love. I’ll be watching and helping when I can. All because of the life I lived. The life that made me the person I am today.

In Memory of Joe Dodge  April, 2016

My Child

 

I Want a President That Will…

The 2016 Presidential race, wow I think secretly Vince McMahon from the WWE is behind this years election. Maybe we would get a better feel for the 2016 candidates if they put on spandex and locked up in the squared circle.

Let’s face it Donald Trump as unlikable as he comes off has said what a lot of Americans are thinking. Why are illegal immigrants being given a pardon? There is a large percentage of Americans who are angry and they are making themselves known. Trumps numbers took many by surprise. Politics has been a game of saying the right thing and offending the least amount of people possible, but Trump did something new. He said what a large part of the population was thinking. He didn’t sugar coat it or spin it. He came right out and talked like he was sitting on a bar stool at the local Pub. Surprisingly it worked in a way. Those who are tired of politically correct got their candidate.

The other side of the coin isn’t as glamorous though. Trump has a childish mentality even when given a chance to smooth over a situation he shrugs his shoulders like a child and says they started first. He consistently defeats himself. It is as though he intentionally sabotages himself. Surely Trump has an advisor wise enough to coach him around these pitfalls he constantly throws himself into. That means either he does not listen to advise or people are too scared to give it to him. Neither one is encouraging to think about for the next president of the United States.

I am amazed how many people support Donald Trump. Americans are so angry at the government for letting jobs go out of the United States, cost of living, no wage increases, race conflict, gay rights, abusive authority figures, and mass shootings that they are willing to go a completely different direction in voting for Trump. In a way its a wake up call to the government. Time to start getting the job done. This divided government is causing a divided country. Republicans and Democrats should lead by example. Show the American people how to work together. Otherwise you are showing them we are not United.

I’m not giving up on our politicians yet though. I think this has been a learning experience for them. They are seeing people willing to vote completely against the norm to change things. That is your wake up call representatives of the United States of America. People want the fighting to stop. They want progress to be made. Give it to them and work together. It’s impossible for every politician to be as bad as we think they are. The problem is we don’t know who the good ones are and the bad ones are? As far as I know there is no litmus test or golden standard to compare politicians to. We often are left judging them by what their opponent says about them or even worse what they claim they have accomplished. The fact checkers usually report how truthful debates and speeches were within 24 hours of the event. I have ben shocked to find out how false some speeches are. I want my representatives to be correct with their figures and percentages when they tell me something. When I find out by a fact checker (which usually cites a reference that proves the speech was false) the information I got from a candidate is not true it leads me to think they are intentionally trying to deceive me or their staff is incompetent in getting the correct information to their boss.  As the 2016 circus has unfolded I can say from an objective perspective it appears Bernie Sanders has said what he has always said from the 1970’s. Hands down he looks to be the most honest candidate and has avoided the trouble Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump have found themselves in by sticking to what he says. Clinton has said the same but when her record is checked it is a roller coaster of back and forth flip flopping on issues depending on their popularity. Trump also has felt the heat of past comments in interviews he gave, but it doesn’t seem to stick to him as badly as Clinton. Still Clinton continues to be popular.

In defense of Clinton’s flip flopping I believe it is the job of a representative to do the peoples will in a way that is not damaging to the country. Looking at the situation like that it is her job to do what the majority of the people want. Its her job to find a feasible way to make those desires work. It is also her job to let the American people know if such changes would be harmful to the country. From that perspective changing stances is doing her job. The problem with Clinton is she doesn’t run on that explanation.  She consistently says if you check the record you will see she has remained firm on her stances, but that not the truth. That is the number one issue that I have with Hilary Clinton. If I can find holes in your story now what will happen in the future when Americans want the truth from their president. I found it difficult to listen to George Bush and Dick Cheney as they forced into Iraq for a second time. I would rather not repeat what happen during their time in office. My hopes are for a president who can rally every American to be united. I want a president that will be smart more than look tough. I want a president thinks in terms of best ways to accomplish goals and most of all I want a president that cares about the future of the United States that my daughter will grow up in.