Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why the Third Party isn't Taken Seriously

Why aren’t Libertarians, aka the Third Party, taken seriously during presidential elections? In large part, it’s because they haven’t taken it seriously.

Exhibit A:

First, in early Sept of this year, Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, didn’t know that Aleppo, Syria was the epicenter of one of the biggest refugee crises in the world. Watch video.

Secondly, a few weeks later, he couldn’t name the leader of a foreign country that he respects. He actually said, somewhat dejectedly,

I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment…” Watch video.

You may not think this is a big deal because perhaps you would fail one or both of these questions, or you assume he was just caught off guard. But in both cases, he was being interviewed on television—a situation in which any serious candidate would and should be well prepared to answer questions both domestic or international in scope.

In these two examples, Johnson gave us a narrative of a candidate who didn’t seriously expect to answer real questions during a very real presidential election cycle.

Exhibit B:

The Third Party shows up once every four years on the national stage and expects to be taken seriously.

They are like some strange insect that only surfaces every four years. On off election years, we never see them in the public spotlight nor do we hear of their off election year accomplishments. They seem to be about dialogue more so than action. They appear to have no three-year strategy for ramping into an election.

Let me put this in perspective: If I wanted to break into auto racing and I told you I was going to head to the Indy 500 in May hoping to qualify—hoping to be taken seriously, you’d call me crazy.

You’d call me crazy because there’s no part of life that works that way. Be it sports, academia, business, the arts, etc.—everyone works their way to the top.

Everyone who’s at the pinnacle of what they do can tell you the story of how they started somewhere, then worked up to the next level and so on and so on. This is common sense; this is how life works. No one gets to the top by touting theories (well ok, maybe philosophers); we get there through bona fide experiences and successes.

If the Third Party were serious, they’d intentionally work at being successful at lower levels, generating a string of successful mayors, successful congressmen and the like.

If they would show they can win and be successful on smaller stages, to the point that people took note and to the point where Libertarians could earn public respect based on resume versus aspirations— then the Third Party would greatly increase the chances of being taken seriously at the presidential level.

And now back to my metaphor:

If I show up at the Indy 500 next May with some fresh new revolutionary ideas about open wheel racing—without having won any races, I’d never be taken seriously--nor should I. And so it is for a Third Party candidate on the biggest political stage in our country.

By the way, I'm very open to a third party, I've just yet to see it be compelling.

See you at the race track ;-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Six Reasons Why Democrats & Republicans Should Hate Each Other

1. Sorry, but there aren't any reasons why Dems & Repubs should hate each other. Instead, how about some fresh ways to interact with the current culture.

2. Compromise required.
Hating each other comes from an unrealistic expectation that our side should win or get whatever we want. That's not the way the system was designed nor the way it is supposed to work.

The two-party system is about compromise. You give some. I give some. It's like recess on the playground when you were in elementary school: share, trade, give in, now you go first.

The idea that "we're not going to compromise" is an idea that's directly responsible for why people are so fed-up with government right now. So you can keep on sticking to your immovable principles that only further moves all of us into the unhappiness zone, or you can be open to compromise

3. For atheists.
Please stopping acting as if there is a moral truth that everyone can naturally agree upon. If there's no god, no higher power, then I'm not sure where one gets the idea there's a common sense of right & wrong running through humans.

Nature demonstrates that if one is hungry, eat the next edible creature or thing regardless if it's a mommy-something nursing-baby somethings or endangered.

So if there's no moral truth that we can all cling to, let's be ready to compromise and agree to disagree.

4. For People of Faith.
Be nice. Politics isn't an excuse to treat people rudely or disrespectfully. Your God/god hasn't endorsed a political party. So if your faith is a real thing for you, be that first and a dem/repub second.

Let all your words and actions reflect the God/god you've entrusted your life to. Love and humility are fairly standard in the faith game, so give yourself allowance to not be right all the time, and love your enemy enough to cut him/her some slack. Again, be nice.

5. Realize that you are the media.
Ever notice that Sean Hannity and Rachel Madow aren't the ones whipping you into a lather when you're on Facebook? They aren't sharing their posts with you; it's your friends, it's you.

Did you also notice that the preponderance of "news articles" that you share that tell people how horrible Hillary/Donald is aren't bona fide news sources?

They look like NBC or CNN but look closer at the web address; it's probably a website that's hugely political, far from impartial, will have the kind of articles you love and will be a source you haven't heard of before.

So please know that we are whipping us into a frenzy. Sure, MSNBC and Fox News are helping, but it's you and me and all of our friends who have the social media power. Sharing kitten pictures would probably help our great divide more than any political article.

6. Run a New Play
Aren't you tired of the great divide? Aren't you tired of being mad at the other side? Aren't you tired of how it's been politically for far too long? You and I can stop being part of the hate at any time.

I didn't say you had to agree. Just try not hating the other side. Just so you know, hating the other side takes a toll on your insides. Try getting to know some people from the other side; get to know their stories. Do what politicians are doing a poor job of lately: value and befriend people despite their political views.

If you don't like how it is, choose to be how you wish it were and it very well may come to be.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bathrooms and Me

So in Kokomo there's a heck-of-a hullabaloo about the flood of lewd crime that will ensue in public restrooms if a LGBT ordinance passes.

Christian people are seriously freaked out about this. What I've mostly heard is they're ok with the LGBT community having their rights protected, they're just not ready for the crime spree of public restroom unspeakablness that they say will surely follow.

This is my personal response to that supposition.

I don't know about you, but from the time I was a little kid, we always heard that public restrooms were sketchy. Statistically, whether they were or not, we took care and were cautious. For instance, my brother and I were instructed to go together if we had to go to the restroom in a public park.

(For the record, growing up I never had a scary incident in a public restroom, nor did any of my friends or acquaintances.)

Much later, as a dad raising a family, my wife and I always escorted our kids into public restrooms, stood in front of their stall--you know, all that good protective parenting stuff. We did this in the mall, in town, out of town, wherever.

So my question is, if they pass that LGBT thing, would my behavior in a public restroom as a parent be any different now? No. I'd run the same play. My kids would be as safe as before.

Isn't that true for all of us? Do any of us send our kids into public restrooms alone now? No.

Here's where I'm at: I live in a world that has sketchy people in it. Sketchy people doing sketchy things includes all kinds of people. It's life. It's not a new phenomenon. Sketchy goes back to the beginning of time.

So do you know what I do? Every day I try to be careful and observant. When I'm in a parking lot, a restaurant, anywhere there are people, I pay attention. Why? Sketchy people exist. And do you know where the sketchy people are? Potentially, everywhere.

That's right. Sketchy people are everywhere, but we keep doing life.

It doesn't keep us from driving our cars even though sketchy people might drink too much and crash into nice people like us.

It doesn't keep us from going to the mall, even though sketchy people might try to make off with your wallet or purse.

It doesn't keep us from going to the bank even though sketchy people occasionally show up there with a gun to hold it up.

Do you know why we risk sketchy things happening to us?

Because there's way more nice people than sketchy people. We watch the news and know things like car accidents, purse-snatchings and bank robberies are rare occurrences and they aren't worth us obsessing over.

I'd guess right about now, someone reading this has pulled up a story about some guy who's done something bad in a restroom and that person's now feeling victorious.

If that's so, let's have a contest: you pull up all the bathroom crimes you can and I'll pull up all the people killed in America yesterday by drunk drivers.

In light of the grim statistics, I bet that doesn't keep you or me from driving tomorrow. (By the way that was 27.5 people a day in 2013.) My point is, let's not make bathroom crime a spree when it's far from it.

(By the way, if you Google "Crime in public restrooms" you won't get stories and statistics from credible news sources like CNN, Fox, etc, you'll get websites that look like news pages that are really propaganda either for or against this issue. Be leery of stats and stories on websites you've never heard of.)

As a pastor I am aware that our world isn't safe. Since we left the garden, it hasn't been. At some point, either at a national, state or local level, the LGBT community will be protected from discrimination, it seems inevitable. Whenever that happens, we need not fear taking our chances in the public restrooms, our cars, the malls, parking lots...everywhere. Since we left the garden, we're all risk-takers.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why You Can't Hate Brady or Manning

(This piece inspired by my friend, Sam, and his disdain for people spilling "hate-er-ade" all over his boy, Tom Brady.)

Just days after these two went at in their fifth AFC Championship game, my friends are all aflame in the social media-verse with the "I hate #18; I hate #12" folderol.

The truth is the greatness of each is forever tied to the other. And yes, they're both truly great and will both be touted and esteemed way beyond their time.

Nearly every historic figure we know by name, had an adversary--someone to fight against.

We wouldn't know the Hatfields without the _________ (you said McCoys, right?)

There was Larry Bird and ____________ (you said Magic Johnson).

There was Staubach vs _____________ (Bradshaw. You're getting good at this).

Ali and _________ (Frazier).

Chris Everett and ___________ (Martina Navratilova).

Nadal and _________ (Federer.)

Washington vs the British. Reagan vs communism. Palmer vs Nicklaus, Coke vs Pepsi, Gates vs Jobs, Ford vs GM. You get the idea.

If you're a Brady/Manning fan you have to be thankful for the other guy! Imagine for the last thirteen or so years if there was just ONE of these phenoms in the AFC: BORING!

Every great person needs other great people to bring out their best. Left to just ourselves and our goals, apart from an opponent, we don't do so hot.

This is true of individuals, companies and countries. In terms of the latter, consider that when we had a common enemy (USSR), we appeared less divisive as a country. Since the USSR disbanded, one could argue that America's enemy is itself, other Americans.

When did America most recently rally? During the recession. It was US vs recession and it brought out our best. Automobile companies that were arguably a little complacent, got serious, knuckled down, got innovative, paid off government loans and got stronger than before. Every segment of the public and private sector have been working on how to do it better and more efficiently.

Why? Because we had to. We had an adversary called the recession.

When it comes to humans, we're at our best when there's an adversary, So if you love Tom Brady, then thank God for Peyton Manning. And if you love Peyton Manning, then thank God for Tom Brady.

Manning and Brady are friends, rivals and men who know that they've kept each other on their toes all these years. I cannot fathom the inordinate amount of respect they have for each other.

So, don't be hatin'. Adversaries and adversity bring out our best.

Thank you, Peyton.
Thank you, Tom.