Category Archives: Examiner

Views and Beliefs vs. Rights and Freedoms

I appreciate people’s views, opinions and concerns. I think those are what have driven America’s progress the most. Without those voices of the past, we would not have the freedoms to have our voices heard today.

However we share our voices, whether it be through writing, TV, radio or to those around us. The fact is, we have the desire within us to be heard and in this country, we have the right.

In many countries, that is not the case. Those rights did not come to us without fight and by others giving up their freedoms and their lives. How we use those rights and our freedoms should never be taken lightly.

I have always been one to see things through the eyes of many, not just myself. I believe that one’s freedom can not be enjoyed with another person enslaved. Justice is not won if an injustice is being done and ignored. I see that and I do not take that lightly. That is why I do what I do.

Choice is a freedom. Choice is the ability to make a decision. For someone to take that away is to take a freedom away and we have fought too long to earn those rights.

In today’s politics, it seems like there are sides. People are choosing or picking who will win this election. It is much more than sides or winners and losers. When people vote without knowing what they have to gain or lose, they have already lost. And, when people vote for a candidate knowing their win will mean freedoms are lost, what does that say about America’s freedoms? How easy is it for us to give up the freedoms of others when we feel it does not agree with our beliefs?

What if that were the way America started to work? No more separation of church and state? Church telling government how to make the laws and government telling churches to pay up taxes and what they can and cannot preach. Church and state getting into conflicts over schools. Haven’t we crossed that path?

It is called progress. It has enabled us to allow people to make choices, to find the way to move forward equally, allowing freedom of religions and freedom of speech in a nation that is more diverse than any other nation in the world.

Who would want to back up progress that has already been made? Who would want to repeat history when those times of turmoil have been fought and lives have been lost so that we can be where we are today?

We have chosen to move forward and live in a nation of progress that believes our diversity is a value and with freedom, we have more opportunity. Our country has shown how valuable freedom is and in turn, it cannot truly feel free until it is shared by everyone. Humanity is one.

 

Freedom – What is it worth?

Freedom
Photo by: Moe

More often it seems people are concerned about what is happening to their freedoms or one person’s freedom is standing in the way of another person’s freedom.

One person’s freedom of speech can become bullying or harassment to another which has been making headlines recently across the nation even inspiring the “It Gets Better” campaign.

Freedoms have been fought for throughout America’s history but when one person’s freedom has become a source of disrespect, intolerance, hate or the cause of a crime, this is no longer just someone exercising their freedoms but instead it is an act against someone else’s rights.

What exactly is a freedom and what is a right? Where should the line be drawn and who should draw the line?

A freedom is very difficult to just flat out define but it is being free willed, making one’s own choices, having liberty, not being physically bound or confined or not having one’s future pre-determined. Freedom is being able to have something that is yours and know you will be able to hold on to it.

A right is the freedom to do something or the justifiable claim or entitlement to something. Some may say a right is something you are born with and die with like the rights spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. However, this has been something that is argued that these are more a privilege because they can be taken away from you. For example, prisoners lose many of their rights. However, we are looking at this primarily as freedoms.

Can a person have too much freedom? Is it possible for freedom to be taken too far or to be misinterpreted?

If a person had 100% freedom to do absolutely anything he/she wanted this could and most likely would begin to infringe on those around them. Each person having their own freedoms would expect to have the same apply to them, 100% freedom for themselves. This couldn’t work.

It’s very easy to come up with a quick example that is not extreme but more or less a day to day example. Imagine a busy supermarket, long lines at the register and everyone is on their cell phones, talking loudly and in no hurry to get off. That includes the cashier, the person ahead of you and the person ahead of them. Everyone is just freely talking. It may seem rude but is it breaking the law?

Putting one’s freedoms aside to respect another person and/or their freedoms has made life not only tolerable but has made America a place where people feel safe enough to speak up, be religious or choose not to practice religion, pick and represent political parties, vote, chase their dreams or follow in the footsteps of previous generations.

But, is this America being pushed aside as more individuals are consumed by personal freedoms instead of overall respect, safety and equality?

Not too long ago, in the top of the news was the Islamic Center in NYC. The issue originally stated that people were concerned with it being so close to Ground Zero.

However, once the media became more involved, the issue became more against Islam and the NYC Islamic Center wasn’t the only one having issues with people not wanting to see it built.

Another proposed Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee ran into extreme debates even though they had been in the community for two decades. Their plans were for a larger center than their already existing one. However, opponents went to court to try to put a halt to their plans.

This past week, Chancellor Robert Corlew III denied the opponents of the Mosque an emergency injunction that would block construction so for now, it looks like plans can move forward.

What happened to freedom of religion? Who decides where the line of freedom is drawn? Then, is it really freedom?

Remember the Florida Pastor, Terry Jones? He was willing to go against top brass in the military, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell and General David Petraeus, as well as multiple religious and community leaders who urged him to reconsider his plans to burn the Holy Book of Islam, the Qu’ran, on September 11th of this year.

Why would he do such an act? Because he felt Islam was of the devil and he wanted to express how he felt.

Once his story reached the news and the news spread worldwide what he was planning to do, safety for American troops in the Middle East was a great concern as well as the safety for Americans abroad due to retaliation for what Terry Jones was planning to do. However, with these details, Terry Jones did not want to back down.

Was he breaking the law or was he just exercising his right to free speech and to share how he felt about Islam?

Terry Jones changed his mind at the last minute after all of the attention and after a great deal of fear had set in due to riots in the Middle East. This was going on at the same time as the issue over the Islamic Center in NYC and the one in Tennessee was going on. Tensions were already high. In the U.S., many people were debating different views and politicians had become involved as the 2010 mid-term elections were approaching.

When does one person’s freedom hinder another person’s freedom?

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas have gone to military funerals across the country but not to pay respects to the families or say goodbye to a friend or loved one. They are armed with signs that say, “God Hates You” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”. They feel America’s war casualties are God’s wrath for tolerating homosexuality. Is this really the time or place for a protest or picketing? Again, are they breaking a law? Do they have the right to do this? Do these families have the right to peacefully say goodbye to their loved ones?

Freedom is something that has set the U.S. apart from many other countries around the world. Many countries do not allow near as many freedoms as the U.S. allows and although this sets us apart, this can also be a wedge that drives a great divide through the nation. The more one person’s freedom takes away from another person’s freedom, the nation loses its freedom and therefore what separates the U.S. from many countries around the world.

Freedoms lost today may not affect you, as it happens to one person or a group of people today it can happen to another tomorrow and then more people over time.

Americans must understand that every freedom we have today has come to us through someone’s great effort, fight and even death. Freedoms that have been gained over time can also be lost. They’re never to be taken lightly or for granted; not your own freedoms or someone else’s.

To be truly free requires the respect of the freedom of others and to know the limits of our freedoms. Then we, and those around us, can have a more meaningful and lasting freedom.

Proposed deficit reduction plan?

Actions speak louder than words, right? The question is, who is willing to stand behind their words now and which actions will be taken?

The nation has clearly had a problem with its rising deficit and President Obama and leaders of his deficit commission understand Americans want solutions much more than words and political maneuvering or campaign slogans.

Bipartisan leaders of the commission released a proposal Wednesday with suggested cuts and reductions estimating it could cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.

Although the full commission has yet to weigh in, there is already mounting feedback around the nation and of course, in Washington, but isn’t cutting the deficit what so many have been asking for?

Why is this causing so much of a debate? These cuts are not only looking to stop wasteful spending, fraud or end programs that are no longer effective or may be out of date. These programs are looking to make some big changes in programs that many Americans and politicians have tried to avoid making changes to.

The retirement age for social security would increase by one month every two years after it reaches 67 under the current law, meaning the normal retirement age would reach 68 in about 2050 and 69 in about 2075. There is a hardship exemption in place for those who are unable to work after the age of 62.

The proposal calls to gradually raise the gas tax by 15 cents beginning in 2013 and have these funds go toward the transportation trust fund.

There are 3 options of Tax Reform proposals; The Zero Plan, the Wyden-Gregg Style Reform and the Tax Reform Trigger. All three are after the same goals, some of which are to lower rates, simplify the code, make America the best place in the world to start and grow a business and reduce the deficit.

Other examples of cuts in the proposal include a freeze of federal salaries, bonuses and other compensations at the Department of Defense for three years. Reduction of overseas bases by one-third, slow the growth of foreign aid, cut federal work force by 10 percent and the list continues.

The commission knew their proposal would be controversial but said putting it on the table would prompt a more realistic national debate.

So, that is where it stands right now. People are speaking out. Members of the House and Senate need to speak out and have dialogue and be able to work together to accomplish a plan to bring down the deficit and although this proposal may be abrupt and harsh, the deficit is climbing and the nation is falling deeper and deeper into debt.

Instead of a country being divided, the country and its leaders should be discussing ideas and working together because although our nation has separate political parties and is a very diverse nation, we must come together and if it hasn’t been made clear enough already that being divided isn’t working, then maybe an even larger debt and a more divided group in Washington will be the road of clarity this nation so desires. But, it seems so many in this nation have already reached the point of willingness to discuss, dialogue and work together to find solutions and work with each other to move forward.

Hopefully that is the feeling in Washington as well.

Votes for change, again

In 2008, the majority of voters made it clear they wanted change. In 2010, the majority of voters made it clear during mid-term elections, they wanted change, again.

The argument can go back and forth whether voters wanted to get rid of Democrats or welcome Republicans but one thing is for sure, things were not okay with voters the way they were going.

When a job is going well, many are willing to stand with their team and take credit but when uncertainties arise and plans either drag out or changes need to be made either to existing programs or benefits in order to set a long term goal or a fix for a broken system, people start backing down, changing sides or turning away, unwilling to have their name attached to an uncertainty.

Many times, this could be understandable or even a reasonable move, but in Washington, when it comes to an elected official whose job is to make tough decisions, many times with uncertain outcomes or no immediate gratification, this can be looked at as running away from responsibility.

An elected official’s job consist of making long lasting decisions on laws, taxes, wars, healthcare, education, immigration, national security and anything that may be put on the table at any time and has to be ready to stay with a task, see it through, until it is resolved whether that means long discussions, comparisons of ideas, hearing out conflicts and finding either a new approach or compromise to resolve the differences and therefore bring a conclusion to the job that was presented. There are no promises of easy answers, but coming out with the excuse no answer can be found is not acceptable.

To be a good representative of the American people, an elected official comes down to having the desire to do the job one was elected for. They can’t hide behind their party, their values, their religion or their future ambitions. Who they are, and what they stand for is what should have brought them to run for office and get elected in the first place, and was part of their character before they were elected. It’s not something used to stall votes, hinder discussions and therefore tie down the ability for America to move forward, holding back Americans from having the ability to see the necessary solutions to the problems facing America.

With these mid-term elections of 2010 behind Americans and changes coming to Washington, let the voices of the Americans be heard. Although there have been many different sides and views to the elections, the overwhelming sentiment is voters are seeking change. The change voters are seeking is in actions more than words, in the behaviors more than the people and in the nation, a country that so desperately needs to be repaired in more ways than many in Washington have been focused on.

Vote for more than a win

During these last days before the elections, each race is being watched and poll numbers coming are giving a glimpse into what could be expected on the evening of November 2nd.


Across the country, there are some very close races, some races that have been fought out using extreme funding and others that have really crossed some lines on what is acceptable when it comes to campaign do’s and don’ts with some inappropriate and misleading statements.

Most often, this is all said to just be part of “politics” but it seems politics has a lot of room for growth, change and definite improvement.

In advertising, if a company has a good product to sell and their company is legitimate, dependable and trustworthy then an advertising campaign and word of mouth is the best way to first have the product seen and ultimately get the product into the customers’ hands. From there, a good product sells itself and will continue to prove itself and therefore word of mouth will continue to boost sales as well as build the customers’ loyalty and trust in the product. The company will also stand behind their product as any concerns may arise and improve their product along the way.

Right now, it seems campaigns have gone on continuously and between the parties a lot of unsettled differences, little to no willingness to work on bridging the gaps and a lot of expectations on the American people, yet again, to give them another chance based on the fact they have the right ideas now on how to do the right job. Why haven’t they been showing this instead of standing in the way of progress at every opportunity? There is such a thing as standing together as a party but there is also such a thing as standing in the way of moving in the right direction or blocking progress just to make a statement.

Over the time this administration has been in office, the ability to move forward has been delayed and blocked as much as possible. Still, since January 2009 a great deal has been accomplished, but with so much going on in our nation and with so much light being shed on the negative in Washington and on the fact so much still needs to improve in our nation, the understanding of these three reforms and their significance on the future of the U.S., not only our economy but our lives, has seemed to be overlooked.

These are just three examples of some historical bills that were signed into law recently.

Financial Reform: On May 22, 2009 President Obama signed into law the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act. This was to make credit card companies be more transparent with simplified statements, ban unfair rate increases, have more protection for students and young people and for more overall accountability from the credit card companies. Unfair and irresponsible credit had been driving many credit card holders deeply into debt and many could no longer pay. Credit card companies were taking advantage of this, charging ridiculous fees, extreme hikes in interest rates and this law was geared to bring a halt to those practices.

On July 21, 2010 President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The purpose of this Act, according to the house.gov website is to “create a sound economic foundation to grow jobs, protect consumers, rein in Wall Street, end “Too Big To Fail”, prevent another financial crisis.”

These two pieces of legislation can be further read by clicking on the provided links but the enormous effect they will have as they are fully implemented show a great deal of forward thinking, preventative measures and actions that protect America from a repeat of what could have turned into another Great Depression had measures not been taken when they were and still that many are recovering from the losses they incurred and will take years to recover from.

Health Care Reform: While running for president in 2008, part of Obama’s campaign was healthcare reform. On March 23, 2010, he signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 into law.

This made significant changes to a broken health care system that had been fought for over decades and hadn’t been able to be accomplished or had been put on hold. Insurance companies had been taking advantage of consumers in their worst moments, while they were sick or even dying and leaving their loved ones to have to make decisions no one should have to make. Paying out of pocket or passing on care. Why should this be a question when someone has insurance and has been paying their premiums to cover them for when they sick and need their insurance most? Why should an insurance company be able to exclude a person just because they have had an illness before? Why should an insurance company be able to say they will only pay a certain amount per year or per lifetime when the consumer has no control over the charges a hospital, doctor or pharmacy is going to be billing them or to be able to foresee an illness that may occur at some point in their lifetime? With the Health Care Reform, this was no longer something insurance companies could do. Insurance companies could not collect money and then not pay causing the insured to have to pay out of pocket causing millions of people to go into debt each year or having to file for bankruptcy simply because they became sick.

Shockingly but not surprisingly, no Republicans and even some Democrats did not support this Health Care Reform because it became such a fight nationwide. With all of the fighting going on in Washington, America became divided as well.

The votes: Each of these laws that have been signed in will protect the consumers, the American people; the voters. These were not geared to protect a certain class of Americans, a certain party or to help anyone more than another.

Much of what has been argued over, especially across the nation has been over a lot of hearsay and not facts. Before voting, understand who has been part of bringing changes that have helped bring America forward. Understand there is still much to do and this cannot be done by an unwillingness to listen, negotiate and work for the American people while putting aside campaigning and the worry of what a vote may mean to a party but be concerned about what the vote will mean for America.

Excuses and arguments have not solved problems. People solve problems with determination, ideas and solutions and the willingness to work together, putting aside differences and negotiate for the good of everyone.

This election is not just a race to the finish line to see who wins or what party wins the most votes. The people who are elected have to work alongside others to lead our nation, make difficult decisions in tough times with people that have different opinions and ideas. This country needs the right people for the job. Their jobs are not just day to day jobs. Their decisions affect millions of people both now and in the future.

Help move America forward with your vote. By not voting, your voice isn’t heard and now more than ever, your voice is very important.

Vote November 2nd.

Debates or "Blame Games"

In the Florida U.S. Senate race between (R) Marco Rubio, (I) Charlie Crist and (D) Kendrick Meek much has been said about the decision of Charlie Crist deciding to change from running as a Republican to running as an Independent.

In the debate which aired Sunday, October 24th on State of the Union with Candy Crowley with CNN, Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek both confronted Charlie Crist on this issue.

One reason Charlie Crist gave for deciding to run as an Independent was the ongoing “ideological arguments without common sense compromising to do what’s right for the people.”

Charlie Crist stated that the reason he had left the Republican Party was they had gone too far to the right and he felt he needed leave to stay true to his heart. He went on to say Marco Rubio wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade and doesn’t support stem cell research.

Charlie Crist also said the Republican Party has extreme views that he did not feel comfortable with continuing to support. “When the party has those kinds of views and represents that kind of intolerance, that’s not the way my parents who are here today, raised me and my sisters. I couldn’t live with that. So here we are today as an Independent.”

As the debates continue and each candidate for each political office in Florida continue talking about the issues and where they stand or what they will do if elected, remember actions speak louder than words. Actions and progress are what need to happen in Florida and in our nation on many issues and it just seems many leaders and candidates are just spending a lot of wasted time talking, making promises or arguing and saying what the other candidate or party isn’t getting done.

Whatever party each candidate is running under or whatever party those in Washington are sitting under needs to understand a very simple fact. It is true, the parties have changed and each side has moved further apart on different issues with these changes. It also is evident at this time there is little to no compromising being done. Compromise isn’t giving in or making deals, it is working together for the good of all.

These are elected leaders and their job is to improve the lives of the American people both short and long term. This is done by listening to the people who elected them and working together. If the party is standing in the way of progress, then the party needs to take a look at itself. Times do change, people change and America needs to be able to move forward.

The “blame games” aren’t working and in fact they are growing old and making American democracy a process that is becoming more expensive, unreliable and less effective.

Democracy and the American future is not a joke nor are the issues at hand. This is not a preschool playground where continuous arguments or temper tantrums are understood and allowed to go on due to being part of a process or being reasoned with. The same stubborn arguments go on year after year and the American people are struggling year after year and are sick of hearing excuses.

Why continue to allow this when the vote is in the hands of the American people?

Vote November 2nd and have your voice heard.

Vote for America

Simply put, people are frustrated. People across America; neighbors, teachers, doctors, lawmakers, labor workers, the unemployed, underemployed, college students and the younger generation is frustrated.

There are a number of reasons why this is happening and for each person, it affects them differently. Our nation has been under a constant strain economically, we’ve had multiple wars going on and it seems the United States has been in constant “campaign mode”.

It’s not campaigning for an election all the time. It’s been campaigning to get Americans on the side of certain decisions over bills and laws. Things drag out over long periods of time while nothing is getting done in Washington and this is becoming almost acceptable to let time go by while nothing gets done and then blame it on “party differences” and the inability to resolve things until the next elections when everything can get fixed if Americans just vote a certain way.

It’s not the fault of the difference in parties. It is the fault of the people in office who are supposed to be doing their job representing the people that elected them and in some way representing their party and what it stands for (the good part).

It should never be acceptable for a group of elected leaders that are representing their people and their parties to be able to blame anyone but themselves when something is stopping everything and bringing progress to a halt.

A true leader that is actually there to represent those who elected would be able to figure out a way to work with anyone to achieve some type of a positive outcome for those they are representing. It doesn’t mean all in one day but progress is progress.

A true leader is a peacemaker who can still get others to hear them out by also listening and working with others.

Every representative in Washington should be discussing how to benefit every American, not just certain Americans or some classes of Americans because that will further divide America and today, America needs to be united and Washington needs to be united.

If the right U.S. Representatives and Senators are elected to do a job in Washington, it shouldn’t be that they represent their party first. Each of those elected, as they do their jobs each day or cast any vote should be representing what is best for each and every American now and in the future.

As each American goes to cast their ballot, it should be done to support their community, fellow Americans and country before supporting a party.

It’s America that needs to move forward at this time, Americans that have been hurting and everyone can be a part of being involved in solutions and not excuses.

Help Americans with your vote in either an early vote or on November 2, 2010. Together, we can move America forward.

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