There was a farmer who had three teenage sons. Each Saturday, while their friends were playing video games, or cruising through town in their pick-up trucks,
the three boys were required by their father to work his corn field. One of the farmer's neighbors took pity on the boys and suggested to the farmer that he could easily afford harvesting equipment to give the boys a break. "I don't know why you're raising corn that way anyway," the neighbor said, "You could probably buy it cheaper than what it costs you to raise it!" The farmer just looked out at his fields where the three boys were busy at work and replied, "I'm not raising corn; I'm raising sons."
"Oh, there is something I ought to tell you... I'm not left-handed either."
The Princess Bride
It would seem that after running candidates like Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry, that the Democratic Party discovered with Barack Obama that the safe, boring, traditional candidate is not always the best bet. Indeed, with the barely challenged coronation of Hillary Clinton, one wonders if the party will ever nominate a presidential candidate without some non-traditional gimmick again. The Democratic presidential nomination will likely be advertised as "White men need not apply", unless they are gay or transexual.
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."
Arguably, the most famous feud in American history was that of the Hatfields and the McCoys. What began as an argument over the ownership of a pig, eventuated in multiple murders, arson, injustice, betrayal, and even forbidden romance between the two warring extended families just after the end of the civil war. Hate begat hate and the feud climaxed in mass murder, involvement of the Supreme Court, life sentences, and a hanging. The end of a feud often comes with a bloodbath, but not so with the Hatfields and the McCoys; those who were left of the two families simply grew weary of the violence and stopped. In a typically American reconciliation, in just a few generations the descendants of the two families now share reunions, and have even light heartedly appeared together on the popular game show, Family Feud.
"We don't need no education,
We don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom,
Teachers, leave them kids alone.
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all you're just another brick in the wall..."
It may be true that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but it is equally true that it's architects are those with evil designs. The intentions of the Common Core standards might seem innocent enough on the surface, such as holding schools to be more responsible to adequately teach our children, aligning standards from state to state so that children who move won't be "left behind", and objectively measuring the progress schools, teachers, and students are making across the country; but "by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes"!
"I'll tell you what I want, Magic! Yes, yes, Magic! I try to give that to people. I misinterpret things to them. I don't tell the truth. I tell what ought to be the truth. And if that is sinful, than let me be damned for it! - Don't turn the light on!"
Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire
When Bill Clinton was caught in a lie about not having sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, a sympathetic media tried to lessen the outrage with articles about how, actually, we all lie, and how lying can sometimes be a good thing where honesty could be brutal. The byline for such articles could have been "Captain Obvious", but the thinly veiled ulterior motives were like excusing Jack the Ripper by saying we all can have violent thoughts. Never the less, we understood Bill's dishonesty, even if we didn't excuse it. Given the depravity of his character, it came as no surprise that he would be less than truthful in an attempt to cover it up. He was a liar, but he was a good liar, and a reasonable one. The same cannot be said for his lesser half.
I guess it was around the onset of puberty that I first realized I was different. Thinking back though, I realize that I was like that as far back as I can remember, it's just that I didn't realize then that it was what other people would consider abnormal. I wasn't like my friends; didn't really have the same way of thinking, different thoughts, different interests, different desires. I hid the way I was through high school, it was a different time back in the 70's, it wasn't really accepted back then, I mean even more unaccepted than it is now. Finally, in my second year of college, I just couldn't pretend anymore, and I came out.
"If you require force to promote your ideal, there is something wrong with your ideal."
What delusion of religion finds value in the forcible conversion of it's conquered foes under threat of death? What system of morality sees virtue in the gruesome destruction of any with whom they disagree? What bankruptcy of reason requires promises of murder, pillage, and imprisonment to win its converts; or to cleanse the land of those who disagree? It has unfortunately become the way of the world to find satisfaction in coercion instead of convincing, subjection rather than proselytism, and conquest over conversation. Think like we do, or die.
"... whoever refuses to obey the general will will be forced to do so by the entire body. This means merely he will be forced to be free."
For President Obama the definition of a free society contains an astonishingly frequent use of the word "mandatory". His latest foray into the concept that freedom is whatever the government tells you it is, was his comment during the week that it might be time to consider the idea of mandatory voting. To counteract the influence of big money in elections it would be "transformative" (here we go again!) if everyone voted, and that could be accomplished by fines or eventual jail time for those who failed to do so. It is fascinating how often the President finds the answer to protecting freedom lies in restricting it. Of course his suggestion is a thinly veiled desensitizing toward eventually finding a way to compel voters more likely to vote Democrat to get to the polls, even if it means giving them a shove. In support of his premise he cites the other countries that have compulsory voting. This has become a staple for progressives, to point to other countries to demonstrate how backward we are here in what we used to think of as the greatest nation on earth. "But other countries are doing it!" I think my Mom might say, "If Australia and North Korea jumped off a bridge would you too?"
"Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made."
Otto von Bismarck
Such reasoning is often the predisposition of most when it comes to the workings of government. It is assumed that it's an ugly process, and not necessarily something many would enjoy observing close up, CSPAN aside. And while I have little interest in watching my Johnsonville sausage links being produced, I do want someone to be watching what goes in the hopper before it's all ground up beyond recognition. The last thing you want is your sausage maker telling you "Trust me... it's all good!" .... Well, actually the last thing you want is a politician telling you that.
Momentous times sometimes turn good people into great ones. The man who might have been simply a good husband or father, caught in the right circumstances becomes an Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. The woman who may have been simply a good mother or wife might become a Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir. Indeed, the times often forge great men from those less suited for more mundane services, such as Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison. In times like ours men have always looked for the leaders and the heroes that Providence would raise up to yet again show that while the universe tends toward destruction and decay, there is always a path forward, a beacon of light that shows us that God has not destined His creation for darkness. No matter how strong the villains of the world appear, no matter how much at a disadvantage good men seem, always there will be a path forward, always the salvation we await will come like the dawn. It is not enough to proclaim that "We are the ones that we have been waiting for." Such arrogance is hardly what great men are made of. Leaders like Washington or Lincoln, if they had come to such a realization, would be humbled by it, and would doubtless admit such a possibility only from their knees, not from a podium.