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Sunday, March 30, 2014

What it means to be a veteran.

“I am an American soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in all my warrior tasks and drills. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American soldier.”
When I went through training in 1999, that was a thing. The soldier’s creed. We knew it by heart inside of the first week. And when I say we knew it “by heart,” I don’t mean we had it memorized – although we did. I mean we knew it, we understood what it meant, and our actions backed it up. We lived the Army values. Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless service. Honor. Integrity. Personal courage.
We stayed up past lights out making sure that our boots were shined (this was back in the days of black boots). We helped each other with extra sit-ups and push-ups to boost our platoon PT scores. We policed our own. “Code Reds” were not as drastic or dangerous as they were in “A Few Good Men,” but they happened. When your battle buddy got dropped, you got down next to him and took the same punishment.
Today’s soldiers have been exposed to what the Army calls “low stress training.” And they’re losing their minds in war zones because they have been coddled and cajoled through training.
Every day in training drill sergeants told us about the enemy. “They want you dead,” they told us. “They want your families dead. They want your friends dead. They will march their victory parade through your blood before it is dried from the streets.”
Today’s soldiers get lessons that include the Founding Fathers and participants at the Boston Tea Party as examples of terrorists and extremists.
And when they come home, the landscape has changed as well. When I left the Army for the first time in 2004 (I went back in 2005), I went looking for a job in retail. The interviewing manager found out I was a veteran. He told me that there were two other girls who had applied for the same position, and neither of them had served. He then said that if he knew nothing else about us, that would be enough. He stopped the interview then and offered me the job. Being a veteran used to mean something. It was like being an Eagle Scout. When employers found out that you had spent time in the military, they knew something about you. They knew your work ethic and your willingness to work as part of a team or lead one, whichever the situation called demanded. They knew your values and your convictions, and how you would perform under stress.
But today, as evidenced by National Guard Specialist Kayla Reyes’ experience with an interviewing manager at Macy’s, being a veteran can be a liability. Why is it that the public views soldiers in such a different light? Personally, I blame Jane Fonda. Well, not her alone, but the people like her who bought into the propaganda and misinformation regarding American soldiers at war – particularly in places like Vietnam. I blame the 9/11 truthers who blame terrorist actions on Americans protecting access to resources. I blame the Ron Paul/Henry Wallace isolationists who try to convince people that power-hungry authorities like Stalin and Putin only attempt to grab for power because America involves itself in alliances and treaties. And I blame the American people who know better and fail to say so.

When the manager at Macy’s learned that SPC Reyes had served in Afghanistan, she should have thanked her rather than questioning her ability to fit in. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Government Owns Your Kittens. Seriously.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, I am not going to say that the Arizona law that caused all the ruckus should or should not have been vetoed. I will say that John McCain's insistence on a veto makes me think the law at least held a modicum of merit, but that's another rabbit hole to jump down altogether.

But this is not the first time this subject has come to the forefront, and if recent history is any indication, it won't be the last. By "this subject" I mean the notion that business owners can be forced to provide services or goods. The media wants it to be about the First Amendment. The left wants it to be about First Amendment. And we are catering to them at every turn, arguing that the business owner has the right to free expression and exercise of religion. All that is true, but that's not all that is true.

So let me ask you this: Do you own anything? Do you own a house? A car? A piece of furniture? A cat? Imagine for a minute that you do own a cat, and that cat has kittens. You take those kittens in a basket to a local park and post a sign that says, "Free kittens, but only if you aren't a ginger." Yeah, I know, that's stupid. It's bigoted. (It also made me giggle.) But that's not the point.

Should the government be allowed to force you to give your kittens to a ginger? And if the government can force you to give your kittens to a ginger - or anyone else - against your will, were those kittens ever really yours? Or did they belong to the government, with you simply acting as the middleman?

Now imagine you own a business. Everything you produce or sell is your individual property unless and until you choose to sell it. If the government can force you to sell it at a time or to a person that is not of your choosing, how can that property truly be yours? If your right to own and control your personal property IS NOT ABSOLUTE, then you DON'T OWN IT AT ALL. 

But they're not really criticizing you. They're criticizing liberty.

Sneaky, isn't it, the way they tell you it's bigotry if you don't give your liberty away? The way they try to tell you that your religious freedom doesn't trump someone else's civil rights. (By the way, it does - go check out which one is enumerated in the Constitution and get back to me if you don't believe me.) The way they tell you that you're small-minded and hateful if you don't believe in the agenda they happen to be championing.

They don't like liberty because it's dirty. It's offensive. It's crude, loud, obnoxious, and frankly, dangerous. Because when people have liberty, they often use it to do things that you don't like. They say things that offend you. They choose not to cater weddings that you believe should happen. And (merciful heavens, no) they take the Constitution at its literal word when they go about protecting their homes and their families. 

But the tricky thing about liberty is that if you remove the dirt and the danger, it CEASES TO BE. 

For people to be free, they MUST retain the freedom to offend others. For people to have liberty, they MUST have the liberty to defend themselves, violently if necessary. For business owners to have the same freedom as the gay couple who can choose whether or not to patronize their establishment, they must have the freedom to turn down business from ANYONE at ANY TIME.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

To Rage or Not to Rage

So. That pesky Coca-Cola ad. Was it beautiful? Was it outrageous? Was it only the racist and bigoted who found it offensive? Was the offense manufactured?

I didn't have much of a reaction to it myself. Granted, I didn't even see it until I googled it after the Super Bowl was over - mostly to see what all the fuss was about. And to tell the truth, after the hype generated and the outrage claimed, I felt that it was a little anti-climactic. Maybe that's just because, having cut our cable in 2009, I just don't have the exposure to commercials that I used to have. But then again...

Maybe it's because I haven't spent 5-10 years and most of my savings in an effort to become an American through proper channels.

Maybe it's because I am so very many generations removed from, "Son, we are Americans. We speak American now," spoken haltingly, but with immeasurable pride.

Maybe it's because I don't live in one of the growing number of American cities that are in real danger of a "press 2 for English" situation.

Maybe it's because I watched it without connecting it to the fact that we are about to be force-fed amnesty, and without thinking about the fact that the war begins in culture. Yeah, that's right: the war begins in...commercials. Was Coca-Cola soft-selling amnesty packaged as patriotism+diversity? Maybe. I didn't make that connection while I was watching it, but I bet someone out there did.

So I personally wasn't outraged. There are so many other things currently happening that are deserving of outrage that frankly, I didn't have time to add Coca-Cola to the list. But I'm not willing to dismiss the validity of the outrage felt by others. Yes, in the end we choose what outrages us. But there are occasions when outrage is a valid choice.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

No Favors Here

At first glance, this is amusing. As women, we like to think that we are the absolute end, the bees knees, etc. We revel in the notion that we don't need men to give us worth (which is true), and the idea that we give them worth (not true) is extremely attractive. Statements like this one allow us to feel that we are simply giving our role the importance society denies us, but in reality it opens the door for us to overestimate our own traditional roles at the expense of the equally important roles that the men in our lives play.

So I call BS. The man who asks for a woman's hand in marriage is absolutely, unequivocally, without a shred of doubt doing that woman a favor. Why? Because, in a society where women are almost expected to do most of those things for free, the man who asks is making the following promises:
I will give you my name, because when people see me I want them to see you as well. 
When you get fat, I will still love you. I will not stop loving you if you retain water or develop cankles.
When you bear my children, I will not just give them my name. I will also give them my love, my Saturday mornings, and my help with their homework. And if they are girls, I'll buy a shot gun the day they are born.
When you lay down with me, I will respect you in the morning. And every morning for the rest of my life.
So I ask you ladies out there to please STOP. Stop treating your husbands like you have done them a favor by saying yes. No one did anyone any favors. You made a deal, witnessed by family and friends. You entered into a covenant ordained by God, an equal partnership. Stop treating them like they owe you something more than their love, commitment, and respect - and take the time to remember that you promised them those same things.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dana Loesch on The View

When The View was first announced, I thought it was an interesting concept. I have always been a fan of spirited, rational debate. I am also a firm, sometimes forceful, advocate for free speech. I don't mind people who disagree with me - in fact, I believe that I learn the most when challenged. However, once The View rolled out it became clear that the "multiple perspectives" they had advertised were generally varying shades of liberal. So I stopped watching.

Several years passed. Enough years that when The View was mentioned in my Twitter feed this evening, it took me a few minutes to realize that "Babs" was in reference to Barbara Walters and not Barbara Streisand.

But I will be watching this Monday, and so should you. Why? Because after years of monochromatic gossip, The View is finally taking steps in the direction of its original premise: to give a voice to all perspectives. This Monday, my friend Dana Loesch will be sitting at that table. Finally The View has brought in someone who can represent home-schoolers, pro-lifers, and defenders of our Constitution and the God-given rights it protects. 

Join me in giving ABC a bump in ratings this Monday - a reward for taking this small step in the right direction.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yes, it Matters That Chloe Stirling is 11

By now you have probably all heard of Chloe Stirling, the 11 year old girl whose booming home cupcake business was shut down by the state of Illinois. Why? Because they stated that her home failed to meet the sanitation standards required of a "professional kitchen" by Illinois law.

Social media responses were all over the map. Many felt bad for a little girl just trying to make a little of her own money and felt that the government was overstepping. Some (and these are the ones who concern me) felt that the government was well within its purview to step in, stating that "the requirements are the same for anyone who wants to sell food items - why should they bend the law for her just because she happens to be 11 years old instead of, say, 30?" They suggested that she rent space in a professional kitchen, since that can be cheap and easy. Right.

Have you ever tried to enter into a legal contract - rental or otherwise - at age 11? It's surprisingly less easy than you might think. It's no picnic for the business offering the lease either, since most business insurance plans refuse to cover anyone who is not actually employed by the business. Have you ever tried, as a business owner, to hire an 11 year old? Also surprisingly less easy than you might think. Those child labor laws sure are a constant annoyance, aren't they?

So you rent to her parents and have them sign a waiver, right? Wrong. The insurance company still will not cover anything. Because of the way child labor laws are written, even with a full-disclosure waiver of liability signed by her parents in the blood of their firstborn and notarized by the Angel Gabriel, the parents still have full rights to sue the business if anything happens to her while she is on the premises. Not only that, but the business also assumes responsibility for the child's product - meaning that if something were to go wrong with the cupcakes, the customer would be able to take legal action against the business instead of just the girl baking the cupcakes.

And here's the kicker: the "sanitation standard" she likely failed to meet was a three step sink. Most houses don't have them, and they are expensive to install. But I'll do you one better - many counties within the state of Illinois routinely grant temporary food sales permits to groups and businesses for events like an outdoor chili cook-off. They meet the "three step sink" requirement by placing three buckets full of water on the ground in the vicinity of the heat source. Any guesses as to how Chloe Stirling's home kitchen (lack of three water buckets notwithstanding) stacks up next to these guys in terms of sanitation?

The real problem here is not that the government regulates sanitation standards in food service (although it absolutely is a concern). The real problem here hinges on the fact that they go out of their way to halt the business efforts of children. (Lemonade stands are being shut down. Girl Scouts are being told that they can't sell cookies in their own front yards.) And yes, it does make a difference that she is 11 and not 30. Here's why: if you tell a child she can't do something enough times, by the time she is an adult she will STOP TRYING. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to discourage even the brightest of children. My uncle, for example, was five years old when he started learning algebra. Bored in church, he would copy problems from his brother (then in high school) and work them out on his own. But if you asked him if he was smart, he would say no - his siblings had called him "stupid" so many times that he actually believed it was true.

What happens when you beat the entrepreneurial spirit out of your children? You have a populace that accepts victimhood as inevitable and sits docile as the government takes over more and more of their liberties and their lives.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wendy Davis, Split Personality: Feminist Icon and Victim of Sexism

Politico posted an article naming Wendy Davis the "most judged woman in America." Predictably, Conservatives everywhere nearly imploded. Though I believe that most days Sarah Palin would beg to differ, I believe that Wendy Davis has indeed found herself under increased scrutiny in the past few weeks. I also happen to believe that she deserved it.

Politico "reporter" Liza Mundy speaks of a world that accepts the antics of a narcissistic male divorcee in politics but then nails a woman in the same position because of sexism. That explains the Jon Edwards Presidency, I guess. Wait, what? You mean Edwards basically got laughed out of politics when he cheated on his wife while she suffered from cancer and lied about fathering a child with his mistress? Where were the cries of "sexism?" Why did no one talk about the bias against men who use their wives to get ahead in politics and then leave them when they cease to be of help?

The article then goes into a tailspin attempting to explain why Wendy Davis should not be judged based on her actions because she's a woman, and society still looks down on women because sexism. So, Liza, you want us to "judge" Wendy Davis based on her gender rather than her actions? I'm not sure you and the rest of America are working with the same definition of the term "sexism."

But here is what I find *really* interesting: Wendy Davis is held up by the left as a feminist hero -she's the lady who rocked pink trainers while she spoke for hours on the vital importance of being free to kill our children in clinics that fail to pass basic safety and sanitation inspections. And the instant she comes under fire for lying to her constituents, she claims that it's because of sexism. (Make no mistake - we are not criticizing her for taking money for school from her ex husband. We are not criticizing her for choosing career over family. We are simply asking that she not marginalize working single mothers and fathers by dishonestly coopting their hardships for her political gain.)

On behalf of Liza Mundy, Ms. Davis, I have to ask that you make up your mind. Wendy, are you a strong woman who pulled herself up from the bottom? Or are you being held down by a male-dominated society? You can't be both, and you're confusing people like Ms. Mundy.