America in Name Only?

I hope the title got your attention. That was the intent. I know those who follow politics are aware of Republicans in Name Only or RINOs as they are less than affectionately called. This is not that but it IS related, sort of. They both end the same way – In Name Only.

I just finished reading If You Can Keep It, the latest book by Eric Metaxas. 41MVx69VbUL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_One of the central thoughts put forth in this book is the fact if we, as Americans, do not wake up and take control of our government and our country we are on track to becoming America in Name Only. I agree with his assessment. We have been heading down this path for many years now. Where we are headed is further and further away from the principles that founded this country and made America unique and the country all others want to immigrate to. Too many of us already here have taken our freedoms and responsibilities for granted for too long.

This is not a partisan book or blog post. It talks about America and that includes all of us who are blessed to live here. My purpose in sharing my review and thoughts here is a hope it would motivate some of you to rekindle your love for America and its heritage and share that love and heritage with others.

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Loving America

One of the points the author makes is loving America does not mean ignoring where we have made mistakes. We should acknowledge the mistakes, learn from them but not dwell on them. Recently the focus has been on emphasizing the bad at the expense of any mention or acknowledgment of the good. That lack of balance has led us to where we are today and is caused in part by the fact many of the stories, such as those shared in this book, are no longer taught in school or passed down from one generation to the next. This book was written as an attempt to help restore that balance.

Think of it like a friend or family member. You love them. They are not perfect. They have made mistakes, and will continue. However we love them and are proud of them in spite of the mistakes and faults. America is not treated with the same respect. All we hear in the news and from many leaders is what America has done wrong, in their opinion, or what is wrong with America. We need to shift that balance back to remember and pass down what is great about America. We need to rekindle our pride in America and being Americans.

That works individually and collectively as America as well.

Some highlights for me

I can really only scratch the surface here and what stood out to me might be different than what stands out to you. That is why I encourage you to get your own copy of If You Can Keep It, The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty today and evaluate the thoughts inside for yourself.

If you do you will be reminded the responsibility for keeping our government in check and functioning as it should resides with “We The People.” The government we have is the government we deserve. So if you are not happy with how the government is “working” it is your responsibility as one of “We The People” to change it. If we the people do not take our responsibilities to “keep it” seriously the America we once knew will soon cease to exist.

You may or may not have heard this before. I was taught this in Civics class in high school but I am not sure it is still being taught today.

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The author supports his case very well with stories from our country’s history, some you probably have heard but some you probably haven’t. One of those is the story of Cincinnatus and his similarities to George Washington. This was one I had not heard before. You will learn about William Wilberforce, George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley and the beginning of the Methodist movement, and The Miracle of Squanto too. You will also learn why Abraham Lincoln thought America was the “almost chosen people” and why he “felt that America had been called by God to fulfill a role and to perform a duty for the rest of the world.”

A few more quotes from the book

“In 1776, a nation was formed in a way that a nation had never been formed. It was something entirely new: the nation as idea…and the idea in which they believed was, in a word, liberty…So what is the secret of our success? You might simply call it the idea of American liberty, which might also simply be called self-government.”

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Alexis de Tocqueville said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor without faith.”

Os Guinness built on this when he described what is known as the Golden Triangle of Freedom which says, “Freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; faith requires freedom. If any one of the three legs of the triangle is removed, the whole structure ceases to exist.” 13315530_10153129847684364_3296217824547243332_n

Are you up for a challenge?

This book will teach, remind, inspire and challenge you. If you don’t want to learn, be reminded, inspired or be challenged this book is not for you. If you do enjoy history and do want to be inspired and challenged get your copy of If You Can Keep It today and rekindle your love for America and then pass it on!

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 06/14/2016

 

Doubts

Do you ever have any doubts? If you are being honest with yourself I doubt the answer to that question is no. We all have doubts but those doubts are as varied as our own unique personalities. We all face our own doubts in one way or another. We all either let our doubts affect us negatively or work through them and usually emerge stronger on the other side of our doubts.

What is doubt?

Merriam Webster defines doubt as to be uncertain about something, to believe that something may not be true or is unlikely, or to have no confidence in someone or something.

The motivation for me writing about doubt is I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. Hosted by Positive Writer.

All writers have experienced and worked through or crushed their doubt or have let doubt paralyze them and their writing. I doubt this post will catch on and be a social media sensation like Chewbacca Mask Lady but that is not my goal in writing. My goal is much less lofty but could be just as important as I will try to describe a little later.

We all have doubts

Doubts for writers are not much different than doubts others face every day, like Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? and, one of the most common, Is anyone else experiencing the same doubt as me? I am not sure about the first two but for the last one I am confident the answer is most often yes.

I have written over 100 blog posts in the last 38 months. That is about the pace I set as a goal when I started, about 2-3 a month. This is one of the hardest because its subject is me and my feelings, feelings of doubt. I have written about many life experiences, politics and religion but the topics are most often not about me and my feelings of self-doubt.

I don’t have to think very long or hard to write about a time when I have faced doubt about writing and crushed it. I have clicked the publish button 104 times counting this one on this blog and there has been some doubt involved each time. My doubt might not be what you might initially be thinking. It is rarely about the content but more often about how the content will be received by those who take time from their busy lives to read it. Will it be worthwhile?

In my posts I present facts I have either witnessed myself, researched to confirm their validity if I didn’t witness, or learned in my life experience so far, along with my opinions. The opinions cannot be wrong. You may not agree with them but they are mine. I do try to make it clear where the facts end and my opinions begin. I take pride in writing what is factually correct which often makes it not politically correct. Political correctness is not one of my goals.

So, what do I doubt?

My doubts revolve around how many people will view the post, if any, how many comments it will get, if any, will there be any negative feedback or will there be any feedback at all or will what I write resonate with those who take the time to read it. Is it really worth the time and effort?

To that one…

English: A live Sand dollar, species Mellita q...
English: A live Sand dollar, species Mellita quinquiesperforata (Leske, 1778), at low tide on the beach at Playa Grande on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica 23. February 2005 Sand dollars are flat sea urchins. When you find sand dollars on a beach, the white ones are the old empty shells or tests, having died, lost their covering of velvety spines and having been bleached white by the sun. The live ones are dark and completely covered in very small spines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may have heard this story. I think I first heard it from Zig Ziglar. A man and his son were walking along the beach. Every few steps the man would bend down and pick up a sand dollar and throw it back into the ocean. “Why are you doing that?” his son asked. The father explained, “Sand dollars are living organisms. The tide has gone out and if they are left here on the shore they will die.” The son responded, “But there are hundreds of them here in this section of the beach alone. How can you possibly make a difference?” The father bent down, picked up another sand dollar and threw it into the ocean and said,

I am not trying to change the world with my writing. If what I write strikes a chord with someone and encourages them to act in the face of their own doubt or just find comfort in the realization that someone else shares their thoughts then my goal has been achieved. That is why I push through any doubts I may have and click Publish. In the act of crushing my doubt I may be helping someone else crush their own.

I am not naive enough to believe they all do strike that chord but do believe if I keep writing and clicking Publish, some will, and those that do make all those that don’t worthwhile. There is no doubt about that.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 06/01/2016

 

Vindication

we-are-enterprise-logo-150x150When is an apology not an apology?

If you have followed this story for the past 19 months you know my take on it. If you haven’t or if you want a refresher you can see it at the links below.

Watch Your Back published 11/22/2014

YOU Are Not Alone published 12/01/2014

Watch Your Back (UPDATE)  published 02/23/2015

The Silenced Majority published 03/29/2015

The details of this issue were summarized very well in the article by Michelle Mann in the Southeast Sun on 05/25/2015,

ECS Superintendent apologizes to teacher

What is new in this story is the prepared statement called an apology that was read by the superintendent in the board meeting on 05/24/2016 which brings me back to my original question.

When is an apology not an apology?

Think about any apologies you have received or given as you read this one.

“The intent was not to cause embarrassment to Mrs. Dean and if this was done in error, we apologize.”

You can watch and listen to it being read on YouTube at

Enterprise School Board Meeting 05-24-16

She could have just said, “I didn’t do anything wrong but if you think I did then I am sorry.”

For that story you can see the story in the Enterprise Ledger,

School system resolves litigation with teacher; teacher responds

The “intent was not to cause embarrassment” part of the statement was not believable if you were at the meeting as I was. The fact Judge Clark let the lawsuit move forward based on, “exceptions are recognized when a state agent acts in bad faith or with malice or willfulness or under a mistaken interpretation of the law,” seems to support my interpretation and contradict the first part of the prepared statement as well.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Does anyone believe Sonya Dean would have gone to the trouble and expense of bringing a lawsuit against the board and superintendent if there wasn’t some embarrassment caused?

The “if this was done in error” also stood out to me. Any time I hear an “if” as part of a so-called apology that is a red flag for me and indicates the so-called apologizer does not believe they did anything wrong and are being forced to apologize out of some obligation so they need to qualify the “apology”. In this case a legal obligation was the impetus.

It wasn’t always this way

I remember a time when it was common for people to accept responsibility for their actions and offer a sincere apology when warranted. This was never universal but it did happen more often that it does today. Today, it is more common to claim victim status and try to shift the blame to someone else.

Is this the example the superintendent wants to set for the students? Would she accept an apology from a student if it was filled with qualifiers like “if I did anything wrong“?

Maybe I am just old fashioned and a minority in my thinking but I was taught for an apology to be authentic you have to take responsibility for your actions.

Questionable Advice

For the sake of argument if you take the Superintendent’s words as true, it appears the advice she said she received to name the employee and allegations publicly, even though it had never been done before or since, was not the best advice. In all likelihood the prepared statement would not have been needed if the original advice had not been given and followed. That makes me wonder about the quality of legal advice being received by the board and superintendent. Is it in their best interest?

Enough said

That is enough said on my part. I don’t want to belabor the story any more as I know Sonya Dean and her family are ready to put this chapter of their lives behind them. I am one of those who has much respect for Sonya for standing up to the bullying initially and now accepting the prepared apology and settlement and moving on.

Sonya shared the letter below with me after the board meeting and it expresses her side of the story she has been unable to share until now. With her permission you can see it below in its entirety. It is appropriately named, My Turn.

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Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 05/26/2016