The Peaceful Transfer of Power

Today is such a wonderful day! If you’ve read prior columns I’ve written, you know that I’m about as conservative as a Republican can be. But today is not at all about being a Republican. Today is far bigger than any political party can be.

Today, January 20, 2017, is Inauguration Day. For a political junkie, such as me, this is the equivalent to the football fan’s Super Bowl, and the baseball fan’s World Series. At my house, we will celebrate all day long. My son and I will stare at the TV much like football fans watch their teams. We’ll be out with friends tonight celebrating into the wee hours.

Of course, because I am a conservative Republican, and because my candidate won, I’m celebrating this day a little more than usual. You probably do the same when your team wins the World Series. But I hope you understand that I would celebrate this day regardless of who the winner of the election was. Today, every American was the winner, even if they don’t realize it.

Today, the peaceful transfer of power will take place in our nation’s capital. This is no small thing. To the contrary, this is a dream that people in other nation’s envy. Today in Washington DC, past presidents and their spouses, including Hilary Clinton, will be present to support the incoming administration. The men and women on the platform do not all align politically with the President-elect, but they do understand the process and importance of the inauguration.

Today, no one will be in fear of a rogue, and un-elected, general taking command of the government. There will be no hostile takeover of the White House. The incoming administration was elected in a free and fair process by the citizens of this nation. How many other nations in the world can celebrate those things? There are people around the world who have never witnessed the process of a free election, who’ve never had the opportunity to campaign for the candidate of their choice, who fear for their nation each time there is any conflict with their leaders. We don’t realize just how good we’ve got it as Americans.

Eight years ago, after drilling information regarding their government into their sweet heads, I wanted my students to see the Inauguration Day ceremony. Rather than meeting for class that day, we headed to one family’s home and watched the events together. It didn’t matter whether it was a Republican or Democrat. What mattered was that the American people had voted for a candidate and he was taking the oath of office to serve faithfully. Iraq, Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, among others, should be so fortunate.

Inauguration Day is a beautiful thing. While you are watching the ceremony, regardless of your political affiliations, I encourage you to pause for a moment. Consider how different your life would be as a citizen of another nation. Would you get to elect your government? Could ruthless leaders be recalled? How would you be treated as a minority? Would a disagreement among leaders result in a civil war or great economic depression? If you think you’d be better off there, Delta is ready when you are. Good luck and Godspeed.

America is far from perfect. There are so many problems that it’s hard to determine how to start of list of them. Social issues, financial woes, leaders who lack integrity, and families that are broken into pieces only scratch the surface. Yet, those are problems that every other nation faces, too. But we’ve got one thing that many other nations do not – Inauguration Day – the peaceful transfer of power. Happy Inauguration Day, America!

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

PS –  As I write this, I’ve just learned that the newly elected leader of Gambia, a republic in West Africa, held their Inauguration Ceremony earlier today. The former president refused to attend and will not step down from his office due to election irregularities. United Airlines can take you there.

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How High Do I Have to Count?

Respectfully, some people need to have the stupid smacked right off their face.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

That didn’t work one bit. Maybe I should have counted to 100!

I troll around on social media outlets fairly regularly and pay close attention to posts and comments concerning politics and government. It is here that we may have the finest example of “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” since the Clint Eastwood movie title was made.

I read a lot of the good ones – links to important news updates, conservative political positions, information on federal and state laws that have been submitted, and the like.

I even read some of the bad ones. “It is wise to know the ways of ones adversaries, is it not?” said the captain of the Russian submarine in the movie “The Hunt for Red October.” It is wise to know what your opposition is thinking and why. When you prepare to debate their argument, you will already know what it is.

It’s the ugly ones that are frustrating to me. These are the ones in which the writer says something so stupid that you have to wonder from where they obtained a high school diploma. The Wal-Mart, perhaps? Surely some educational institution somewhere explained the basics of logic to them. Surely they have a working knowledge of basic government procedures. Surely they ….Surely not! Allow me to offer examples.

A recent post by a political activist advised people to attend a local county commissioners meeting at least once a year. Everyone should understand that it is your county level government that determines how high your property is assessed and taxed each year, the other local taxes and fees that you must pay (think wheel tax and pet licensure), and whether or not there will be a traffic light at the new, well, Wal-Mart. However, one gentleman was apparently unaware of the importance of the local county commission. He said (I copied and pasted rather than attempting to type this horrible grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Please forgive me.),

“so i show up, don’t agree, voice my opinion, get arrested then what? call a lawyer who’s probably one of their cronies? ….i’m cofused is this a call to be involved or marketing?”

Well, sir, no, it is not an advertisement in support of you attending the county commissioner’s meeting. It’s a call to action, to be involved in the process. It’s an invitation extended to you to remind you that the work of local level politicians is important. If you think it is unacceptable for a student to graduate from your local high school without the ability to construct a sentence or paragraph that is grammatically correct, then you need to take it up with your commissioners!

Then there are the people who are under the misguided notion that politicians, apparently at every level, just pass laws on whims with the intention of destroying our nation along the way. There are simply too many examples to share them all.

One of my favorites, though, is when they find out that a particular disagreeable bill is about to come to a vote. I, and many others, will post information about it, advise people to contact their legislators to advise them how to vote, give them the links to find their legislators, and even write 5th grade level synopses of the bills so that the reader will understand it. Basically, I do everything for you except make the call or send the email. Yet, when the vote goes the wrong way, people will complain to no end about our terrible politicians even though they never bothered to contact them! How are legislators, at any level of government, to know how they should cast a vote if we don’t call them? The answer is: they don’t! So the poor representative simply thinks that his constituents will trust his judgment and he should vote his conscience.

These complainers have no concept of the representative government that we have. I elect people to office, not because I trust their best judgment, but because I trust that they will listen to me when I call and email. I don’t trust their judgment, I trust mine. And if they repeatedly don’t vote the way I advise them, I work hard to find someone else to represent me in that office.

If you don’t think this way, too, you are part of the reason why our nation has fallen apart. I can’t elect a great candidate by myself. It will take the silent majority opening their mouths and getting up off their sofas to elect good candidates. To think otherwise and sit on your thumbs during the election cycle is a defeatist attitude. If you won’t be part of the process, then shut up and quit complaining.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

No, it didn’t work then either.

Temerity Dowell

Color-coded Easter Eggs

If you have a young child in a public school, you probably get a list of supplies that your child will need to have at the beginning of the year. Locally, our superstores place these lists in stands near the front of the store in late July or August. This way a parent can purchase the long list of supplies before school starts. These lists often include things like a pack of pencils, box of crayons, a ream of printing paper, erasers, glue, tissues, paper towels, folders, notebook, lined paper, etc.

What’s so interesting about school supplies? That’s found in what happens to them when they arrive at the school.

I wouldn’t have known about this had a friend not told me. We have homeschooled our children and never had to deal with this issue. According to my friend, she had purchased several pencils with her daughter’s name imprinted on them. They were cute and the young daughter really liked the pretty eraser on top. She was excited about the opportunity to use them at school that fall. Alas, it was not to be.

When the children arrived at school that morning, the teacher had place bins around the room with labels on them: “pencils,” “glue,” “tissues,” etc. Each child had to place the supplies they had brought in the appropriate bin. The young girl with the pretty pencils with her name on them placed her pencils in the bin along with all the other plain and ordinary pencils other children brought.

When she got home that afternoon, her mother could see her daughter was upset. “The teacher took away all my pencils,” she cried. Now, this may not sound like a big deal to you, but when you are 7 years old, it is larger than life. The wise mother knew this so she contacted the school.

She was told that this was standard procedure at the school. Some student’s families could not afford to purchase the supplies at all. Then there were others who could only afford to purchase the bare minimum and very generic supplies. By placing all the supplies in the bins, any student who needed something could grab it from the bin.

While this may not sound like a serious issue, it does have some serious long term effects. Before I discuss these ramifications, let me offer another example.

My sons participated in youth sports when they were young. I was very often the “Team Mom” and charged with planning the end of the year party and buying team trophies. It took me a while to see this for what it was, but each year, every child on the team was given the same trophy. It didn’t matter if you were a good player who practices a lot and, therefore, got to play a lot. It also didn’t matter if you were not very good or never made it to practices. All the trophies were the same.

When I was a teen, I also played youth league sports. I was an average, but not great, player. Our teams did often have a party at the end of the season. Very often, the players with the best averages or best performances were given an award. The others on the team left empty-handed. You know what I learned from this? If I wanted to get the award, I was going to have to work very hard to earn it.

While I simply do not possess the skills needed to earn a sporting award of any kind, there have been many things that I’ve done in which I could win an award if I chose to do so. I worked as a distributor for a cosmetics company. I was very good at selling make up, not because I possessed something that others did not, I was just willing to work harder than a lot of people. Because I worked so hard, I received many rewards in addition to the money I earned. Jewelry, handbags, clothing, and household décor were offered, but you only won them when you produced. There was never a time when everyone received a prize for just walking in the door and converting oxygen to carbon dioxide.

In a society in which everyone is treated the same, given the same supplies, live in the same type homes, allotted the same amount of money on which to live, all signs of excellence is lost. There is no reason to excel, give the extra time, or go above and beyond what is expected. There is no motivation because the rewards for your work would be the same that you would receive if you did nothing. This is called socialism and we are teaching it to our young children. In its extreme form, it is communism. The kid who is the fastest and willing to work the hardest still can’t get all of the Easter eggs if he is limited to only one color of them.

To be sure, most homes operate with a communist form of government when children are very young. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Since very young children aren’t capable of giving anything other than bodily fluids, and they require more fluids to replace those they give up, all of the burden placed on the parents. They give according to their ability while the child receives according to his need (and yes, the parents need love and snuggles, too, so the children are usually willing to give them).

As the children grow, the government form changes a little bit into socialism. Everyone has the same insurance and medical care, the same food, and the same clothing provision. Yet the children are required, most often, to do some household work. They don’t handle the big tasks, such as grocery shopping, paying bills, or scheduling, but they do have to clean their rooms and do other small chores. Some parents choose to give an allowance, or more aptly, a commission, based on the work they do. This, according to Dave Ramsey, is a great method to teach children that there are consequences for not working and rewards for doing a good job. Anyone who has ever been in the workforce knows how true this can be in the job market. The sooner you can teach your children this concept, the better. It will help them to better understand the free market and capitalism later on in their life.

What about the little girl with the pencils and the team trophies for everyone? If everything is equal for everyone when they are young, they may very well expect the same treatment when they are adults. Is it any wonder that employees of McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants have been striking in hopes of getting, not earning, a higher wage? They grew up being taught that everyone should be treated equally, so now that they are adults, they want to make the same wage as an electrician, office manager, truck driver, or factory worker.

When I teach government classes and we discuss the various forms of government, I make sure to explain to my students how important their education is. A high school diploma is most likely not going to get you a good job. Students need to know that higher education of some sort will be necessary to obtain a better paying job. If you are not interested in college, community college, a technical school, or some other training upon high school graduation, then you only need to learn one more sentence for the rest of your life: Would you like fries with that?