Think for Yourself

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Socrates once said “To Find Yourself, Think For Yourself” There is so much truth in that statement. The reason I started this blog was to provide an alternative to all the partisan screaming heads in the political realm also I was bothered with where this country’s values were headed. I never 100% agreed with any of it and found through conversation with others that I was not alone. So here I am to write about something that I agree with whole-heartedly, my own opinions. In the course of this blog I hope to provide a forum for discussion for everything going on in the country today.
     So what I would like to do today is start from the bottom floor. I feel it is essential in this world of “everything now” to keep true to yourself and be an individual. I see too often that ones opinion is not actually their own but the opinion of Fox, CNN, or MSNBC, etc.  Internet articles or opinions from 3rd parties should not be your direct source of information on a topic. Now I listen to Rush Limbaugh most every day due to the amount of driving my job requires. While I find him entertaining he also bugs me and rarely he even stresses me out with his huge slant on the going ons of the world.The two talk radio hosts I really enjoy listening to are Tom Sullivan and my absolute favorite John Mcginness because I feel that they bring a refreshing element of conversation on topics where everyone is open to their own opinion and intelligent discussion can pursue. That being said I don’t immediately take their position and make it mine. If the topic that they are discussing interests me or I feel like it would be an interesting conversation for later on with my friends or family I make sure to look up the facts about the situation not just the articles of interest about it.
      OK, let’s get into the meat of the subject on hand . First things first, in order to think for yourself  and take a position you must start looking things up for yourself , you must be knowledgable of what exactly you are talking about and not just what others say about it. I also try to take this to another level and once I understand the subject matter and background information pertaining to it I look up the articles on the subject that networks and companies with opposing views post so that I am able to get a very clear understanding of why and how each side feels the way they feel. Now I never used to do this, I would just take what I heard for fact but I soon realized that in having a conversation with another I typically was under informed on the matter and therefore unable to defend my view or expose weaknesses in another’s argument.
     So, this brings me to my final and arguably most important point. (pun intended) If you don’t know what you are talking about or you enter a portion of the conversation that you’re just not comfortable with the extent of your knowledge on the topic, just admit it! Because if you dont I guarantee you will be found out and brought down for it. Nobody likes “that guy” that argues just to argue if you admit that you’re not fully informed or invested in the topic it will go over a lot better than embarrassing yourself, I promise. There is nothing worse in a conversation that not only feeling frustrated but looking like you don’t know what you’re talking about. If people feel that you just regurgitate what they hear on the news or radio then why are they going to be willing to discuss it with you? They’ve already heard what you have to say from someone with more authority that you on the subject, you just look like a blind follower. Dont be a blind follower. Believe what you believe in. Just know why you believe what you believe. It makes life a lot easier.
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Forced Equality

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Civil rights, thats what this whole argument is all about correct? Ok, great I can understand that. But where do we get off forcing individuals to “come out”? Forcing “equality” on others?

CNN has an article about an individual who went out of his way to find a place in the United states where he felt that gay individuals were suppressed. He achieved this goal in the discovery of Franklin County, Mississippi. According to US Census data he found that this particular county “is home to exactly zero same-sex couples”. And there is NO way that could be true. So on he goes to Franklin County to sniff out a homosexual. But before he did, and he eventually did, he made sure to slander the name of Mississippi stating that he himself rated “the hospitality state” as one of the least hospitable states to the LGBT community.As it turns out this endeavor uncovered nine gay citizens in the county. “None answered the census,however, either because they were confused by the questions, did not receive a form or weren’t living together at the time of the survey”. Imagine that! So here this guy comes into a county to force equality onto others and it turns out there’s no evil forces behind the statistical data, just human nature! Go figure!

This kind of pioneering is running rampant in this society. It’s even infected the NFL. After continual poking and prodding into the behind the scenes of the locker room bearing the same rhetoric that the gentleman in the prior story campaigned with, there are now rumors raging that a current NFL player is soon going to officially  “come out”. Now Chris Clemons, a Seattle Seahawks defensive end, is officially against this action and for good reason. Clemons says that, while its ok to be gay in the NFL, if a player were to announce their sexuality publicly that that individual would in effect be serving only himself. The media circus that would ensue for that particular team would be distracting and counterproductive for the team’s ultimate goal, unity.

This relentless goal of liberating every single member of the LGBT community is preposterous. I cannot agree with this societal belief that we can leave no stone unturned, that every member of the LGBT community MUST come out and be public with their sexuality. What happens to those individuals who don’t want to be put on display? Who are fine with their day to day life? Who are comfortable with their sexuality and don’t feel the need for everyone to know it? Aren’t we doing an injustice to those people who just want to rightfully live their lives as a gay american? Haven’t we put enough pressure and magnification on Gay America?

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Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay agenda

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Last year this establishment garnered some major attention upon the Chief Operating Officer, Dan Cathy, announcing his opposition to gay marriage! By the way his right to do so can be conveniently found in the first amendment of our nations constitution. In the wake of this revelation there was backlash! Hell to pay. How dare this man express his views! The LGBT community in turn called for a boycott of this restaurant to teach it a lesson in human rights and empathy. Starve the franchise’s income so as to FORCE those involved to conform to their beliefs. The tables turned when customers showed up en mass to support Chick-Fil-A’s stance, not only that but to support someone who stood up for what they believed in knowing that their views did not mesh with the status quo. This turnaround hurt the LGBT community’s feelings, leaving them feeling as if those supporters disregarded their humanity completely. So, that being said, let’s come back to the here and now. Recently, there was a LGBT demonstration near a Rancho Cucamonga Chick-Fil-A that changed everything!! The store opens, the customers enter, and here comes the gay supporters. Uh oh. Enter the owner of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant, onto the stage where speakers are doing their speaking, grabs the microphone and announces to all in attendance “free meals to all gay marriage supporters”.

The crowd is stunned.

Did he just say free meals to gay marriage supporters? But wait, aren’t all those who are affiliated with Chick-Fil-A evil, hateful, discriminating, bigots? NO! Sadly our culture has accepted two huge lies 1) if you disagree with someone, you must fear or hate them and 2) if you agree with someone, you also agree with everything else they say and do. We have become so polarized that every issue is all or nothing you are not allowed to disagree with someone and still keep their respect. We can no longer civilly disagree. Our first response is not to argue our opinion but to attack the others character or education level. Agreeing to disagree has gone by the wayside. Why do we need to be right every time or feel the need to win every argument? This is such a selfish behavior. I believe the owner of this particular Chick-Fil-A, Corey Braun is his name, perceived this mentality of our society today and decided to do the right thing, to break the chains of status quo, to rock the proverbial boat. And he achieved his goal, and in turn, changed the views of everybody involved. Mr. Braun states “There were a lot of things said over the past year, I wanted to show that Chick-Fil-A doesn’t discriminate against anybody. We serve everyone. We’re happy to serve the community and this was an opportunity to have this group come in and show them our hospitality regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, or whatever. Chick-Fil-A has never been about hate. I think things were taken out of context. The COO Dan Cathy was asked about HIS opinion on marriage and he just supports a biblical view of marriage.” Needless to say the activists were appreciative of Mr. Braun’s kind offer and accepted. So lets learn from this event. We may never know Mr. Braun’s stance on gay marriage nor do we care because he has taught us a truly valuable lesson with his actions. That no matter what beliefs you hold dear you can still coexist with those who have differing opinions. You don’t have to be friends to be friendly.

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Feel Free To Kill Yourself

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“you should quit those cancer sticks”

“those thing’ll kill you”

Yes, yes we all know. Cigarettes are unhealthy, even considered deadly. But does that give us free reign to single out smokers the way we do. To ridicule others and do our best to confine them into social solidarity; being left to uncomfortable glances, covered mouths, and bogus coughs while they they perform the perfectly legal act of smoking? How about covering the boxes with intentionally uncomfortable reminders of the act they are about to perform. When it comes time to find a way to generate more revenue one of the first ideas to present itself is to tax the sale of tobacco because “hey, if you don’t smoke, it doesn’t affect you…” I would venture to say that if this were any other social or political group today, the people would be up in arms as to how they were treated on a daily basis. Smoking is a constitutional right given to all men and women in this country and should they so choose to partake in the particular act or habit of smoking then that individual should not be condemned for their decision. Tobacco is a perfectly legal drug and therefore should not be exposed to the unnecessary and overbearing regulations imposed upon it.That is not to say that I do not believe in anti-smoking campaigns. Sure! Get The awareness out there SMOKING CAN KILL YOU!!! But you shouldn’t in turn infringe on the rights of tobacco companies to display their message also. Smoking advertisements used to be commonplace, no one thought twice about the Marlboro Man or Joe Camel, but cigarettes have become so demonized NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to go so far as to hide them from plain sight! California Assemblyman Marc Levine authored a bill that would prohibit individuals from smoking inside their own home! What kind of  “free country” are we living in? Now I am not here to say one way or the other on the health effects of smoking or even secondhand smoke for that matter. I simply believe that we have gone too far with the regulations that we have imposed on tobacco products, so much so that we are infringing on the constitutional rights of not only smokers but the tobacco companies themselves. The product is legal, the act is legal, the consequences may be deadly, but it is the right of a citizen of these United States to make that decision for themselves.

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Today and Yesterday

I understand this post may be a bit dated but I believe the lesson that is to be learned here is still authentic. I read this short article at my wife’s suggestion and it brought up one main theme that I think should be addressed.

http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2013/03/big-rig-crash-fire-snarl-northbound-highway-99-traffic.html

Gladly no one in this accident was seriously injured. But this whole incident started out because someone was in too much of a hurry to consider others in their actions. If this driver had demonstrated enough restraint  to consider his next move and the whereabouts of others he would not have created such a horrendous incident and would not have ruined the commute for so many others on their way home. What I believe this article clearly demonstrates is how impatient we have become as a culture. I believe this is almost, if not entirely, directly related to the growth of technology in our culture. We went from the postal service to email. We went from home phones to cell phones and now text messaging. Everything today is instant, no wait times, no disappointment and should anything get in the way of our end goals or does not meet our standards, then its on to Facebook or Yelp we go to express our dislike or distaste towards that particular subject matter to the world. I feel that these privileges have brought us to become a society of perceived entitlement and self centeredness, although not entirely, I think it does shine through in moments like these. Where has the concern for others gone? When did acts of common decency (ie: opening doors for another, going out of your way for others) become an infrequent pleasant surprise? Is this our set course or can we curb our everyday hustle? And if so, how? As much as I love keeping up with friends and getting the latest updates on the happenings in the world today I wonder if we could recreate or blend in the times of old in this fast paced world we live in. And I believe that social media sites have the intention to do such blending where you can be “up to date” on all your friends happenings whilst going through your day to day experiences.But what would happen if  when we read ones latest status update we slowed down and instead of responding immediately via hashtags, likes, or comments we waited until we next saw that individual again to have a conversation about it or, better yet, use that opportunity to call and set up a date to spend some time together. I understand that we get busier and busier as technology grows and life goes on and I don’t want to discount the advantages we gain over yesteryear due to those advances. But when I look back in my life I seem to remember the most meaningful and memorable times being when I was physically with an individual and we spent time together in each others company. Its never that post or that tweet but the trip we took or the face to face we had with each other that set those special memories apart from all others.

Anyways, that’s my two cents. What do you think? I would be delighted to hear your guys’ thoughts and opinions on the subject.