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Intended Unintended Messages



SEGMENT – GEORGE WASHINGTON WAS HERE

In Alexandria, VA, Christ Church was once the where George Washington himself worshiped. Today the Church still stands and has a plaque marking the pew where Washington and his family once sat to hear sermons about G-d’s love and mercy.

This week, the church has – more than two centuries after Washington’s death – decided to remove the plaque, as the church says that the plaque “makes some feel unsafe or unwelcome” in the church. The church says that it believes that some visitors get “an unintended message” from the plaques located throughout the church. Of course, there is both outrage and even mockery.

But the real problem here is that the church is making the worst mistake that anyone can make when looking at history, and getting exactly what they intended to get…

SEGMENT – THE SLANTS

It was one of those iconic moments. If the Astros go on to win the World Series, it will be in part because of Yuli Gurriel’s home run. It will also go down as one of the moments that remind us if two indisputable truths. First, that racism and racist behavior will never be fully eradicated. Second, that EVERYONE is a least a little bit racist…

Meanwhile Bruce Maxwell, the one-time Stockton Port’s player and current Oakland A’s catcher, was arrested over the weekend for assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly pulling a gun on a pizza delivery girl. This is the same Bruce Maxwell who last week was screeching about another waiter in Alabama refusing to serve him because he “was that guy who knelt and I am a Trump supporter.”

That story fell apart as quickly as a late lead in the wildcard Game for the A’s, when it was shown that nothing like that came close to happening. My question is simply, what happened to a kid who worked his rear end off to go from a Division III School to the Major Leagues? Did something really change? Or was this what he intended all along?

SEGMENT – SIXTEEN YEARS AND WHAT DO YOU GET?

The use of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force continues to be the basis for getting US troops into nearly every corner of the world. In the past few days, we’ve seen the death of more American Soldiers in a faraway place that most Americans had no idea even existed, let along how to pronounce. As some have noted, sixteen years is a long time. Most of us don’t really even think about it anymore. And with the all-volunteer military, the sense of all-out American sacrifice to gain the ultimate goal of victory and peace isn’t the primary focus.

Then again, we are so consumed, as a society, with the micro-aggression’s and who identifies as what, that how can we focus on something as important as an actual war?

Doesn’t it feel like that is what the powers-that-be intended for us all along?

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Kneeling

Once again, my very real concerns about President Trump and the 1st Amendment are coming true before our very eyes.

Let me say this, I do not believe that the NFL and MLB players “protesting” the National Anthem are doing the right thing. They are misguided and they are hurting their brand. They don’t care, because they earn in a year more than most of their customers will earn in several lifetimes.

Now, after a surreal Sunday of protests, boo’s, and even Jerry “No Kneeling on My Team” Jones kneeling with his players, the President has tweeted out once again his disdain for the idea of freedom of speech, particularly speech with which he disagrees. He demanded that the NFL put in place a rule to ban players from kneeling for the anthem.

Again, I oppose the kneeling protests, but nothing has made me more likely to join it than the one person charged with the faithful execution of our laws and upholding our Constitution telling people that they cannot freely speak their protest. The idea that the President of the United States would call – again – for the banning of free speech is something worth protesting in my view.

Sadly, this is not the first time Mr. Trump has called for limits on speech with which he disagrees. Nor will it be the last. The real danger is that he is playing to nationalism. Be careful in your inference of what I am saying. I am not saying that he is appealing to white racism. But he is appealing to the average American’s sense of nationalistic pride and reverence for those symbols of our freedoms, liberty and sacrifice.

He is using our feelings about those valuable and meaningful symbols to drive a further wedge between those who – for whatever reason – disagree. Which is, at the heart of the matter, why we need free speech in the first place, to resolve our grievances.

The 1st Amendment prohibits the government – at any level – from restricting speech (with some well defined exceptions which are not applicable here). Now, the leader of the government is calling for just such restrictions. Not that long ago, he demanded that Flag burners be punished and have their citizenship revoked.

He was wrong then. He is wrong now. I have said from the beginning that his callous disregard for the liberties our Constitution protects worries me. Now he has found an issue with which he can resonate with those who love this nation, and by speaking in sound bites and tweets, never face critical questions or be called upon to elucidate his reasoning beyond wrapping it in the flag and sloganeering.

Those of us who hold these symbols in reverence see one side denigrating them, and by extension, ourselves. The other side (the President) now uses them to emotionally manipulate us into believing that what we want is to simply force the other side to shut the fuck up.

As a Constitutionally minded conservative; as a veteran; as an American, is that what I really want? To use the force of government to shut the other side up? How can any person who says that they support the Constitution accept that?

Instead of using the forces of the free market, which the President supposedly supports, to correct this issue, he instead chooses to use the power of government to intervene and try to manipulate. Never understanding that he is actually only accomplishing three things. First, he is causing ever more resentment to the protesters, who now dig in their heels and make no room for compromise. Second, he further divides the two sides by playing on emotionally charged jingoism’s and nationalism which most of those who oppose the protests like, but struggle to articulate why they mean so much to them.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the President is distracting from the real issues that need correction and also divide us.

I say this again to be clear – I believe that kneeling for the National Anthem is insulting to those who served this nation and those who scarified friends, family, limbs and lives for the securing of liberty. I disagree with you for doing so and I will tell you that to your face.

You are insulting and offending me.

And the only thing that would offend me and insult me more than what the protesters are doing, is my government telling them that they cannot do so.

I will oppose that with my knee and even if need be, my life. Because my oath, my faith, and my allegiance is to the Constitution and it’s liberties, not to the President of the United States.

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