Sunday, December 30, 2012

E-mail from Beijing

I received an email yesterday from a good friend in Beijing. CCTV (the Chinese government's television network) was telling the Chinese people that 30,000 people per year died of gunshots in the United States.
He has good feelings about America and expected me to tell him those figures were inaccurate. Unfortunately, if you include suicides by gunshot, those are accurate figures.
At one point, before the opium wars of the 19th century, China not only was called the middle kingdom, Chinese believed they were in the center of the world.
Today Americans think they're at the center of the world. Since very few of us bother to learn a foreign language or understand geography, we seem to think we're not only normal but outstanding.
As I've said before, I'm descended from two Mayflower Pilgrims, and my great-grandfather fought for the North in the Civil War. I was brought up thinking America was the greatest country in the world.
However, to have 30,000 people per year die from guns is perceived as barbaric by other countries. It's truly something to be embarrassed about. But we don't seem to know that. Because we know little about other countries, and since few of us speak other languages we don't understand how we are perceived.
There was a tragedy in China this year where a deranged person tried to kill people with a knife, another when someone used a meat cleaver. Imagine if either one of them had owned a Bushmaster with a 100 bullet clip? We don't seem to know how bestial and abnormal that is.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

No Heroes in Washington

There aren't any heroes in Washington this year.
When Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, took to the floor today and demeaned John Boehner's ability to control the  House Republican caucus, he wasn't helping prevent the Fiscal Cliff. Instead, he was further undermining Boehner's position, and therefore the house speaker's ability to bring his members in line.
Over and over again, we've seen Washington leaders take cheap shots, further proving you can't run a country with people who care more about their party than they do the United States of America.
I've written on my blogs why I can't stand the attitudes of Republicans, but this shows again why I've chosen to be an independent. You can't run a country with slime balls who don't put America first.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wall Street, Guns and Empathy

I'm  sitting at a restaurant close to Wall Street as the following conversation goes on in the next booth.
"What trades are you working now?"
"Since those California do-gooders made Cerberus unload their shares in the Freedom Group, the big gun manufacturer, I'm going in and buying as much as I can," said Stuie.
"How can you do that? You've got kids the age of the children who died?"
"The wife looks after the kids. How many times have I told you that empathy is the enemy of business. I'm a free market capitalist and that's a noble thing," he said.
"Isn't the lack of empathy what defined the killer?"
"Because you think about those things is why you'll never make more than $400,000 a year."

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Many Children Have to Die?

How many children have to die?
The reports are still coming in, but authorities in Connecticut are talking about 20 dead children in a kindergarten classroom. This follows on the deaths in an Oregon shopping center. This is just one week in America.
I spent my early years on a farm, took a gun safety class, and have walked, after the harvest, through cornfields looking for pheasants.
But I taught at a university two blocks from Compton. In one classroom the woman on the far left's father had killed the sister of the woman sitting on the far right. I knew this one couple at school who shared something. Both of their brothers were in prison for murder.
Two days after John F. Kennedy died, a professor in my political science class told us more people were killed by guns in Dallas in one year then died of gunshot wounds in the entire British Isles. We have more guns per capita now than we did in 1900.
Every time a legislator supports gun control, the NRA, with all their gun manufacturer money, tries to destroy his career.
Our youth watch bloodier and bloodier movies until they are desensitized to gun violence.
God bless America. Some days it's hard to believe we're the greatest country on earth. When they finally get the body's counted in that kindergarten classroom, someone will create a prayer wall, or maybe a statue. Then we'll all go around, once again, pretending that our society works perfectly.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dole, the Disabled and Me

I've always respected Sen. Bob Dole. Unlike doctrinaire liberals, I admired him for his war record, his decency and his sense of humor.
His wife, Elizabeth, rolled him onto the Senate floor Tuesday. He was there in support of a United Nations treaty, which would ban discrimination against people with disabilities.
They say he sat there, shaking hands with members of the Senate, until his wife rolled him off the floor.
Then the Republicans voted against ratifying the treaty. The treaty needed a two-thirds vote to pass.
Because I'm disabled, I'm naturally supportive of such a treaty. I've been to many countries in this world and lived in Germany. If I wanted to travel, it would be nice to have some certainty that conditions might be more uniform.
I'm an independent who voted for Dole, but almost never votes for a Republican. Of course, when Dole was a senator, the party represented more than just rich people or anti-evolutionists.
I will never again vote for a Republican. My great-grandfather returned from the Civil War a Republican. My family always has been Republican. But Republicans are not the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt or Bob Dole anymore. I'm staying Independent, but the GOP is too heartless to get my vote, ever.