Tag Archives: Nation

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.

**Please share this article on Facebook and Twitter using the share tools above the article and feel free to comment below. Also you can subscribe to get an email notification when upcoming articles are published. Thank you.

U.S. and the rest of the world

Most people around the world have heard about the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped on August 5thwhen their mine suddenly collapsed.

At the moment, their rescue is being watched live around the world as each miner is being brought to the surface via a small tube just big enough to hold each miner, one by one from nearly half a mile underground. Each miner is wearing sunglasses as they haven’t been in sunlight for over 65 days. This has been a day of happiness for not only those waiting at the site but also many around the world watching live as these events unfold.

People have sent words of encouragement, hope, prayers and support from all over the world to the friends and family of the miners.

Often times, it is said that the U.S. needs to concentrate on its own issues and not worry about what is going on in the rest of the world. People ask why the U.S. offers aide and assistance to other countries when our country is so in debt or why our news networks have such continuous coverage of disasters or even these types of stories in other countries.

These same questions came up soon after the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year because people didn’t understand the continuous news coverage being done or why the U.S. was encouraging fund raising efforts for Haiti when people in the U.S. were facing such devastation of their own due to an economic crisis.

When Hurricane Katrina happened, the coverage was shared around the world and the same thing happened after the attacks of September 11th. Other countries shared in our pain and offered their words of condolences and backed us up with aide after Katrina and support for the War on Terror.

One thing that was pointed out from others when seeing the footage after the 9/11 attacks was how those abroad were seeing Americans at their best in the worst of times. Americans were united together to help each other out, pull each other up and bring strength back to a nation that had been shaken.

It didn’t make a difference what a person’s race was, or their religion, nationality, beliefs or whether they were gay or straight. Nobody was asking those questions. They just wanted to help someone who needed help and move America forward from a bad situation.

Over the past few years, America has been in a bad situation. This wasn’t a small part of America or something that could just be cleared up in a day with a quick fix or an easy plan. This was an enormous and devastating economic meltdown that happened over years. First, without many people knowing and then without being properly managed to bring it to a halt which allowed an even broader, long lasting, economic crash.

Due to the housing and mortgage collapse and the stock market collapse in 2008, it felt as though the rug was pulled out from under many Americans who before that time had a sense of security in their homes, jobs and savings or some type of stock or retirement plan.

Many people lost their jobs due to company closings or cut backs, their health benefits and their homes due to the inability to make payments and with so many unemployed trying to find a job would become an opportunity so many would be seeking and few would find, only making the current situation that much worse.

At the same time, our country was going through presidential elections. These elections were being watched all over the world. Why are so many people concerned about the outcome of the presidential elections in the U.S.?

During the campaign, John McCain was saying he had more experience in Washington than Barack Obama and therefore would be a better president and Obama was running on the fact he would be able to bring change to D.C. and could bring hope to America when America truly needed hope and change.

Part way through the campaign, due to a serious downturn in the economy, a $700 billion bailout package for the financial industry was drafted and passed by both the House and the Senate. The country was desperate to elect someone who would get the country moving forward and back on its feet but many didn’t realize how much damage had really gone on for years within the financial industry and how much corruption had taken place.

In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected into office and from the beginning had started making changes and has continuously worked alongside his team to make things happen, moving America forward.

To see some of President Obama’s achievements, click here.

There are many people that question why more hasn’t been done, why it isn’t more obvious that America is on the road to recovery. Of course it would be best if everyone who needed a job had a job. It would be best if everyone who lost their home was placed back in a home with a suitable mortgage.

Aside from curing all the devastating diseases, making sure that people are able to have insurance, not be turned away due to pre-existing conditions or have their insurance company say they’ve reached their yearly or lifetime maximum payout is something that should have been an easy agreement by both, the House and the Senate as well as the American people. Healthcare should not be made into a political argument or slogan like “Obamacare”. It should be a human right.

If those in Washington were more worried about the people they were working for instead of themselves being reelected, much more would get done.

I asked early on in this article why should Americans be worried about what goes on in the world or other countries? Why should we get involved? Why does the world watch what goes on in the U.S.? Should it matter to us what other countries think about us?

The U.S. is made up of immigrants from countries all over the world. This country has been added to by immigrants, although some have family here that has been here for many generations, and others for a few generations or maybe some have just come here recently, roots go back to other countries. Many still have families in those countries and are very concerned on a daily basis for their family and their country. Their family there is very concerned for them here. That is how America is. That is what makes America strong. It’s diversity. With each person and their background, their heritage and their culture, America has gained a great strength. The land of opportunity has always had an opportunity to learn as well from every person that has come here just as they have had the opportunity to learn by coming here.

When a natural disaster happens anywhere, we have people here that are very concerned about their families who live in their countries not knowing whether they are dead or alive, homeless or if their home is okay.

We have many American citizens living abroad. Our concern for them does not end at our borders.

Our government also maintains relationships with other countries for diplomacy reasons and compassion is an act of humanity.

These are just a few reasons to care about people all over the world, to offer aide when possible and to lend a helping hand when needed.

Of course the U.S. has to take care of its home front, its people and protect its borders but that doesn’t require throwing in the towel on humanity and forgetting what other countries truly mean to us and our own citizens.

It’s been said, “The only time you should look down on a person is when you are helping them up.”

America is more than a country Pt. 2

Pt 2 of a series (see previous article)

As the GOP released their “Pledge to America”, many of its statements sounded good but go against what has been being said.

In Politico on August 18, 2010, Indiana’s Republican Rep. Mike Pence thought the Islamic Center in NYC was “not appropriate”, while John Boehner, Republican House Minority Leader called the decision to build the mosque and Obama’s support “deeply troubling,” and Cantor dubbed it “the height of insensitivity.”

Do they know there was a Muslim prayer room on the South Tower’s 17th floor of the World Trade Center? Do they realize there are over 600,000 Muslims living in NYC? Do they also realize there is a place for prayer at the Pentagon and services are held for Muslims multiple times each week? This has gone on without any issues. Why is that? This was also true after the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center which were carried out by the same type of extremist and took the lives of 6 people and injured 1,042 others. It doesn’t seem the politicians are trying to stop the building of any mosque or back up having it built for any reason other than to win voters. There are people that really do stand on one side or the other in sincerity but there are many others that are standing on the side of hate, discrimination or just standing without reason but doing so because the majority has taken a stand.

America comes first, before campaigning or popularity.

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

“America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.”

The statement is true. In America, a person can be many things if that person is willing to work hard, study hard, has ideas and some ambition. America has been built on these ingredients. This is what attracts so many people to want to come here and start a business, develop an idea or bring their family.

The question is are people able to come here, live here, be free here to raise their children and have a business, become citizens, go to school, practice their religion and truly be free as America and the Constitution says or are those words changing due to politics and fear being driven by a few and voiced over and over to more and more people? Or is that freedom only promised or offered to certain people?

Going back to pledge.gop.gov

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”

In November 2008, the country voted to set out on a different course. Prior to that vote, things were completely off course. At that time, the housing market and economic downturn was already being said to have been the worst since the Great Depression. It was termed as the “Panic of 2008”.

In 2008 the majority of voters cast their ballot for change because they obviously wanted something, change.

Barack Obama was not only campaigning about bettering the economy, bringing healthcare to more of the uninsured, adding consumer credit protection, building a higher standard for our country’s declining educational system and its young people’s ability to pay to attend college. He was also campaigning for America and its ability to see within itself the need to achieve greater, expect more and to once again, move forward.

Barack Obama was running for the office of the President of the United States. In November 2008, he was elected into office and in January 2009, he took his position in the White House.

From the beginning of his presidency, he has set out to meet certain goals put forth during his campaign as well as help dig a country out of a turmoil it had sunk into over years of bad management, bad choices and now he was surrounded by onlookers daily wondering why he had no quick fixes. To say President Obama has not accomplished a great deal during his Presidency so far would be completely false. However, there is still a long way the country has to go.

In an interview via telephone from the Clinton Global Initiative this past week, Clinton urged the Democrats to start coming back at the GOP’s claims with facts. Give them statistics and show them exactly what the current administration has done to avert a more severe downturn.

Clinton said, “I think the Democrats ought to stand up and say… You gave them eight years to dig this hole and double the debt of this country and not to produce any jobs, and then to have a financial collapse and all of this calamity. At least give us four to dig out of it. If we’re wrong, throw us all out. But don’t bring back the people that dug the hole.”

Recovery for America Pt. 3 – Is education a priority?

In the last article of this series, “Education Reform”, the different issues concerning education in America was looked at and some of the changes currently being made were focused on. Please take the time to read over the previous article. Is education a priority in America?

In the United States, nearly 6.2 million students dropped out of high school in 2007, according to a report by the center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, Illinois. Why?

Students across the nation drop out for different reasons. In some areas there is gang violence, racial issues or drugs. Other students lose interest due to poor grades, lack of incentive, situations at home, lack of teacher involvement or the loss of ambition and many times due to outside influence.

Many people believe the students dropping out are low achievers but actually quite often, they were receiving high tests scores and just felt unmotivated and uninspired. These dropouts could have been avoided by more challenging work and more relevant studies as well as more positive influences.

Of course, there are those that drop out due to failing grades but even then, the question is who is failing who?

The fact is education is a necessity for a productive and successful life. This must be a priority for everyone including children, parents, government and community.

It is a must for everyone to work together from the time each child begins their school years till they complete their schooling. A parent’s involvement not only helps to keep their student motivated but also helps enforce what goes on at school. Understanding what the school expects and what homework assignments are being sent home helps keep the student more on track and allows the teacher and school administration the ability to communicate any concerns or feedback to the parents or guardians. Communication is a key element and allows even more possibility for the student’s potential to become that much more attainable.

In a student’s high school years, many freedoms come their way with more activities, a different type of high school schedule and many students will start driving and possibly working a part-time or even full-time job.

However, it is during this time many students find their education and goals starting to collide or become unclear. Teachers don’t always have the time to personally interact with their students and in larger schools especially, a student can feel more in the background and unsure of what their future holds.

With less personal interaction from teachers, and parents becoming less involved due to their child seeming more independent now being in high school, grades and goals can begin to diminish. It is during this time when students need more interaction and help with setting up their plans and keeping up with their grades, school attendance and graduation requirements.

What about the United States standard graduation requirements? Over time, the U.S. has dropped in education throughout the world. Not only should our students meet the graduation requirements but our students should be able to face the world, head on.

In order to do this, we as a nation need to make education a top priority. Our students need to not only learn the basic requirements to graduate but also how to face a situation, think and resolve, form ideas and opinions and learn about the world and its people around them. Our students need to be inspired to excel in all they do and go beyond what is expected because they want to exceed in the world. The tools need to be there for them to live up to their full potential.

For students to achieve in school and regain our standing in the world, this needs to be a national priority. With voting coming up, let your candidates know where you stand. Let them know this is a top priority. Let your school know this is a priority and you plan to be involved starting this year. Education in America must return to a top priority for the sake of all students and the future.





Question…. are you subscribed to this blog yet??

Help for America Pt. 4 – Hunger in America

Hunger is a reality for many Americans across the nation. According to recent studies by the USDA, U.S. Census Bureau and put together by Feeding America.org,, 49 million Americans struggle with hunger, including 17 million children.

Locally, in Florida, with a population of 18,328,340 as of 2008, 12.2% struggle with hunger. The childhood hunger rate in Florida is 20.8%. Hunger is a nationwide issue.

These numbers increased by 4.7% from 2007 and with the nation’s economy having worsened from 2008 through 2010, hunger rates have not improved. As mentioned in yesterday’s article, “The working poor”, when families need to keep a roof over their head, the lights and gas on, groceries is something that is often where the money is held back from.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act by President Harry Truman in 1946.

For many children, the School Lunch received under the NSLP provides their only meal each day. Applications for this program can be found on their website as well as guideline requirements. Also, a person may go through their child’s school for additional information and assistance.

It is not always easy or even possible to point out or tell the difference of who is or is not going hungry in America. Going hungry can mean different things. It can mean missing a meal each day or two meals. It can mean doing without food of substance and living off things like rice or noodles or any food one can bulk up on for a very minimal cost.

Is it okay families to be living this way? Should it come as a shock that so many are having earlier health issues? Could this be why more children are having issues with diabetes and cholesterol? Is this possibly tied to economic hardship?

How can people help? There are ways to get involved and help insure Americans have access to necessary food and nutrition.

Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Their mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage the country in the fight against hunger. Please visit their website to help or to get assistance if necessary.

Stay involved with pieces of legislation going before the house and senate such as the Healthy School Meals Act of 2010 (HR4870). Please visit the link to read for more information. Getting involved with legislation not only makes a difference now but for years to come.

Find local food pantries in your area. Many places that help families in need rely on donations. These places differ for each area but many churches have food pantries, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and another good place to start is through FeedingAmerica.org as well as FeedtheChildren.org.

The only way for America to move forward to its future is to focus on the biggest issues at hand. These things cannot continue to be overlooked as though they will go away.

By each person knowing where to look for help and how to offer help, people can focus more on their abilities and their future and less on what may be holding them back.

America’s children are the future and deserve every opportunity to have the brightest future possible. For the United States of America to again be number one in education, productions, innovations, technology and science and rise above what anyone could imagine today, it starts with taking care of one another across each neighborhood, community, each state and the Nation.

The United States of America can go above and beyond any hopes one may have as long as the opportunity for growth and development, education and income and ultimately the ability for everyone to live up to their full potential is attainable.

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Feeding America Local Website for Tampa

FeedingAmericaTampabay.org

Ph: 813-254-1190

Help for America Pt. 3 – The "Working Poor"

Having a job in today’s economy and current job crisis is an enormous step toward solving a person’s financial hardships, right?

For many Americans, going to work every day, bringing home a paycheck and doing everything they can to support their family is far from enough. They find themselves in the category, the “working poor”.

Many working families live below the poverty level. As inflation has gone up, the cost of gas, heating, mortgage or rent, electric and overall the cost of living, their rate of pay has not increased near the rate of inflation.

To leave one job to find another is just not possible and even finding a second job is not always an option or a possibility.

Many families are struggling to pay only the basic utilities, as well as rent or mortgage and taking away from items like clothing, medicine and even groceries. This is living in America as the working poor. More often, this is becoming a reality for more people in the richest country in the world.

In 2008 there were 39.8 million Americans who lived below the poverty level according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New data will come in from the new Census Data collected this year.

The 2010 Poverty Guidelines from the CMS.gov state that in order to fall below the poverty level a family of four would need to make below $1,837.50 per month or less to be considered fully at poverty level. For more or less family members, the income is adjusted and there are different levels of poverty. 39,800,000 Americans fell into this category in 2008 and since then the economy fell more into a slump. Did these numbers rise?

To look around a community, workplace, school, church or anyplace people are gathered a person may not be able to pick out the “working poor” families. They are everyday Americans working hard to support their families, keep their utilities from getting turned off, their children happy and safe and they have goals and dreams like anyone else. They watch the news and hear how the economy is changing both in good ways or bad ways and like everybody else, they want so badly for things to turn around and improve.

Many of these families were middle class families not too long ago. Due to the financial crisis, they have now found themselves living in a situation they had never planned on living. What they were planning for is now a distant memory.

America is a country that was established on opportunity and freedom. Working Americans want the opportunity to move ahead and live, providing for themselves and their children and plan for their future.
It is always said to “set aside for a rainy day”. The opportunity needs to be there to not only live each day and take care of a person’s family and responsibilities that day but also to be able to plan ahead for what may come up or just to be able to have a “nest egg” set aside, plan for a child’s college fund or take care of things to insure prevention of larger bills due to neglect (i.e. insurance on vehicles, rentals, dental, appliances, etc.)

For 39.8 million Americans, it has been a “rainy day” for a long time and although many are extremely grateful to have a job to work each day, they want to be able to take care of their families and responsibilities as well. In a great country like America, with so many resources, it doesn’t make sense to have so many families that are working to still be struggling and living below the poverty level.

America has always been a Nation to be able to come back stronger and show its resilience through tough times. But, for this to work, things have to work as a whole and not as a part. Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, America has to stand strong together and for each other through each community, state and Nationwide.

Part Four of this series will be pretty shocking to read. Stay tuned.

Help for America Pt.2 – Where are the jobs?

In 2008 alone, at least 2.6 million jobs were lost, the highest level in more than six decades. In January 2009, Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute said, “We’re seeing a complete unraveling of the labor market and are on track for getting beyond 10% unemployment.” That was a little over 18 months ago and unemployment has continued to soar.

CNN wrote an article, “Looking for work? Unemployed need not apply” This article was talking about companies that may be putting unemployed applicants aside feeling they may have been laid off due to performance issues.

Getting a job is extremely tough and having the fact of being unemployed held against an applicant is a crucial downfall. Possibly unknown to some employers and applicants is the HIRE Act which was signed March 18, 2010 and includes incentives for businesses to hire applicants that have been without work.

A petition is posted for people to sign and be heard that companies not wanting to hire the unemployed is just not right. Visit the Care2petition Site to sign.

On the well known social media website Twitter, a hashtag #99ers has been appearing next to tweets about unemployment and people looking for work.

Who are the 99ers? According to an article put out by AOL News, the “99ers” is a term for the group of unemployed workers who have been out of work for over 99 weeks and thus are no longer able to receive unemployment benefits.

Unemployment benefits and extensions are heard about on the news as they go to the senate to pass, expire or get pushed aside for a later date to vote on. Many people feel differently about unemployment benefits and the need for these extensions.

The unemployed want their jobs back and the ability to receive a paycheck, benefits and take care of their responsibilities and families. Many have lost what they worked years to gain. Across America the outcome of this has been seen in the alarming rates of foreclosures, bankruptcies and overall the continuing downfall in the economy. However, many employers are looking to put out the least amount of funds possible making the hiring process difficult for both the applicant and the employer.

Numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say there are currently 14,600,000 unemployed with 6,800,000 being long term unemployed.

To get jobs back, a lot of small businesses need to be able to build up their capital but also their confidence in the future of the economy and hire the unemployed. Larger corporations need to reach out and hire as well. By putting people back to work, more money goes into the economy and the cycle can begin to fix itself.

As people are able to go back to sufficient jobs, unemployment becomes less necessary for more people. The economy can grow, businesses grow, new businesses can open and therefore more hiring can occur. But, to see America’s economy grow and the deficit decrease, the businesses and employees that need to be supported have to be here in America.

It’s not just about today or next week. It’s not just about numbers, policies, or parties. It’s not about who is getting elected or even who says what in their campaigns when it comes to this. This is about Americans supporting America. Supporting it now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now and continuing to do so from one generation to the next. Helping America to grow and strive, to move forward as the great Nation it is.

Why vote?

Twitter users have been asking and answering that question for a while now under the hashtag, #whyIvote. A “hashtag” is a way of creating a group or a theme on twitter so others can keep up with a topic or add to the topic and #whyIVote has definitely caught on. It became a way of showing party likes or dislikes, candidate approvals or disapprovals and there are those that give the reason why they just don’t vote. Of course, there will be a wide variety of differing opinions and insights as Twitter users range in age from young teens to the elderly, they can come from the Tampa Bay Area, New York, from Europe to Asia and they come from all walks of life and backgrounds.

What really draws attention is an overwhelming amount of inspirational reasons why people vote as well as some common sense reasons behind voting. For those on Twitter, go to the search area and type in “whyIVote to follow this hashtag and feel free to continue adding on. Here are just a few example tweets.

@utbrp “I remember the Joy I felt when Obama was elected President. I cried like a baby. No one can steal that”. #WhyiVote


@isthisamerica “Because I think our best days as a country are ahead of us, not behind us”. #whyivote


@TheHarrisWalker “Because I want to make a difference and you have no right to pass judgment on what happens if you don’t”. #whyivote

So, why vote? Voting has been the way this country has run its democratic process. The locally elected officials go on to represent their constituents both statewide and nationwide but somehow this system seems to be breaking down. In press conferences, the elected officials often say, “The American people want…” or “The American people feel…” but is it really what the majority of American people want or feel? Are they asking the people or… who do they ask? What or who do they follow? What plan of action sets up their goals in office? What happens to the promises they make?

Are the best individuals running for the job? Or, is it a “party against party” vote? Do parties look for individuals to run that are well qualified or do they back candidates that will get more votes, more campaign dollars and overall just get elected, which will bring them more seats in D.C.? What is most important to Party Officials?

To be successful, this nation needs elected officials that are looking ahead to build, empower and design a newer America while focusing on bettering our nation. What America doesn’t need is more politicians taking office to tear down, blame or go back to a system that doesn’t work.

A person that is elected to office is elected by each voter that went in and cast a ballot. That vote doesn’t stop there. Voters can be just as involved following the elections as before the elections. They can show that compromising and dropping the ball is not acceptable and not what the American people want. When elected officials see that their voters want more than someone that can stand up during campaigns and make a good speech and make more of the same promises that are made each year but then afterward nothing happens until it’s campaign time again, maybe it will show them to either make changes to how they are playing their “political game” or actually see that Americans don’t see this as a game at all. This is life.

So, why vote? To be heard, have a say and make a difference. Vote because people have fought for the freedom to vote and the ability to be represented and because this country is a democracy. Vote because you can.

Feel free to leave a comment below sharing why you vote.

View this article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber when new articles are released.

One of our community’s biggest assets is our youth

If everything is going well and people are happy with the way things are in their community and Washington D.C., then campaigns and candidates should continue to run the same pattern they always do, right? But, if something needs to change then it should start at the beginning of the cycle. This means to start at the process of choosing the candidate, the style of campaigning and the effort put into researching each candidate as well as understanding the reasoning behind the choice of each person’s vote. Is the choice being made by qualification and belief in the person or is it based on party?

What goes on in Washington D.C. begins with local elections just as much as the presidential election, often times even more. What is going on in a local community on a daily basis has a substantial impact on everyone’s daily lives in that community and can greatly improve in a short amount of time once given an opportunity for advancements and growth. But, the opportunity comes from the community itself more than from anyone on the outside or their promises.

One of a community’s biggest assets is its youth. If you look around the Bay Area, there are a great number of talented youth off for the summer. Many may have jobs but due to the economy, those hours may be limited or they may not have been able to get a summer job for a number of reasons. Our young people today are extremely creative and talented and many are also very active within the world of social media. Social media is not just something for chatting but if used wisely, this can help a large number of non-profit organizations and businesses network and reach millions of people they may not be reaching. This is one way a young person, or anyone can touch a lot of lives in a little bit of time.

The more involved our youth are today, the more involved they will be in the future. Who will be running our country in the future? They will become our future leaders. Our young people are watching how campaigning is being done, how politicians are “following through” with their word and how our communities are utilizing its own abilities to participate and better what we are capable of bettering for ourselves. We don’t always have to wait for things to happen for us. There are many things right around us we can do for ourselves as a community.

The best step forward is the step we take on our own initiative.

Stay tune for more to follow on this topic. If you would like to know of local non-profit groups you can assist with, please feel free to email me with “Non-Profit Group Info” in the subject line or feel free to comment with info.

View this article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber when new articles are released.

What Divides Our Nation?

July 1, 2010

Is God merely being used for convenience or religion being as an excuse for intolerance?

More and more it seems God and religion are being pushed away but just as much the Bible is being used to back up laws and arguments but yet it is thrown out when it goes against a bill, group or even a campaign effort that is no longer desired. The same people that are standing up and using the Word of God as an argument are acting out in hatred toward anyone that does not act or live according to their beliefs which goes contrary to what the Bible, they claim to live by, teaches.

Before I decided to write this blog, I looked up different articles, news stories, blogs, past and present references and there were plenty of instances that are not only proof of this but also speak on just this subject. So, I find that I am not alone in how I feel. This blog is not something that I am going to back up with a lot of facts or dates in history. There will obviously be some but this is something I have wanted to touch on and write for quite some time.

If you watch the news, go to church, work alongside people of faith or of no faith, or if you go to school, the facts are alongside you every day. Most of the people around you are willing to tell you how they feel, what they think, what they “know”, etc. People will give you statistics, historical data, books to read, quote Bible verses, even bring you things they have printed out to make sure you see their reasoning is factual, at least that it makes more sense than the “other side”. But why is it always more necessary to prove the other side wrong? If things make so much sense, can they not speak for themselves? Why does everyone feel the need to be so “in your face”, “100% right”, “my way or no way” all the time?

Like I said, this is going to be an opinion blog by me. So, for that reason I am sticking to what I have been confronted with and how I feel. I urge you to comment and share your thoughts or what you have been confronted with and how you feel. You may or may not feel comfortable with that but, feel free.

First of all, let me put out some facts. I am a Christian. I am a registered Republican. This is the first time I voted for the Democratic Candidate. I am very much someone who follows the campaigns, the debates, the town hall meetings, does my research on the voting history, etc. I am not a person that gets caught up in all the forwarded emails, the negative publicity that goes around or the fact of which candidate is running under which party. I don’t vote for a party, I vote for a President. IF my candidate of choice doesn’t win (which has happened in the past), I support the elected President and I do as I would if the Candidate I chose had won, I keep our President and our Country in continued prayer. I am not someone that is only concerned about our country during the Presidential elections, I always keep up with what is going on. That is how I feel it should be. Know the facts. Know the person. Know the laws. But, never think you know it all. You can’t.

Yes, I keep the Country, our President, our troops, our world and a lot of things in daily prayer. I believe in prayer. I don’t just believe in prayer when I need something. I also believe in prayer for giving thanks as well. If you know anything about me, I have had many things to pray for in times of need but also many times to give thanks.

This takes me to one of my points, something continuously brought up and often times I wonder if people realize the history behind the words on our money. The words, “In God We Trust” first appeared on our paper currency after being passed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. He declared In God We Trust the national motto of the United States. Congress had required, in the previous year that the words appear on all currency, as a Cold War measure: “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper” to “remind all of us of this self-evident truth” that “as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.”

The words “IN GOD WE TRUST” did not come lightly. There is quite a history behind those words and our Country. The law Dwight D. Eisenhower signed in July of 1956 was done so after 90 years of inscribing “In God We Trust” on our coins a centuries old heritage of recognizing God’s sovereignty in our Nation’s affairs. It was the establishment of our Nation.

The next two points I am going to put together although they are really big points depending on who is looking at them. Depending on your age, you may or may not remember when it was okay for schools to have prayers said or passages from the Bible read in school. Whether or not you or your parents were religious or not, it was something that was okay to do. Now the fact that it could happen seems almost like an atrocity to some people. How dare they violate mine or someone else’s rights? Well, mind you just like they took that out of schools they have also taken a long list of books out of schools. Enough complaints come in, things go out. Either it can be in the name of religion or in the name of someone’s “rights”, one way or the other, things get done. It just depends what side of the aisle you are on as to whether or not you agree with it. When it comes to prayer in school, as far as I am concerned, I find it comforting at times. Let’s say a classmate has gone missing in the community (that has happened with me) or a classmate has suddenly died tragically (that has happened to me). Let’s say that missing student is found dead or let’s say that the school had one or more of its students come in and go crazy with guns?? What if a suicide happens on the school campus? What is appropriate then? Who makes the rules for times like those? Do we wait until it happens enough times for there to be statistics to go by or a congressional hearing to make a decision for us? Everything is not always cut and dry, black and white. Every community is different. Every school is different. Every situation is different.

In 1963 school prayer was the focus of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a militant left wing atheist with close ties to the American Communist Party, when she filed a lawsuit against the school board of Baltimore. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. Justice Tom Clark wrote, “Religious freedom, it has long been recognized that government must be neutral and, while protecting all, must prefer none and disparage none.”

I am a very tolerant person to another one’s rights and beliefs. I don’t believe in pushing anything on anyone. I think exclusions should be made for those that do not want to participate. I know as I was growing up in school (during the 70’s and 80’s), nobody was forced to participate in the Pledge or the National Anthem. Although when I was younger, I didn’t understand why they didn’t want to, it wasn’t pushed and I didn’t bug about it. Now I understand their reasoning. That doesn’t mean though that you just stop doing the Pledge or the National Anthem though. You can find a way to work around things. Everyone has to learn tolerance. This is the United States of America. UNITED!

The Pledge of Allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

There is a history behind those words. At one time, the part, “Under God” was not in there. Louis A. Bowman was the first to initiate the additional words, “under God” into the pledge. He said they came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. On February 12, 1948, he led a meeting as the Chaplain of the Chicago area Sons of the American Revolution and recited the Pledge of Allegiance with the words added, “under God.”

The phrase “under God” was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

So what is the problem? Is it the problem with a large amount of people not wanting to say, “under God”? Well, if they don’t want to say it but allow others to go ahead, then that isn’t the problem. The problem lies in the part just after. “Indivisible” or undivided. That is where the biggest problem lies with so many things these days.

Our Country, the UNITED States of America is so divided. Our Nation is divided. Our government is divided. Our schools are divided. Our workplaces are divided. Our streets are divided. Our families are divided. And over what? What divides us? What drives a wedge between us? Why did it take so long for congress to pass a HEALTHcare Act? Why is it so difficult to see where the problems are with our financial system in our country? Where is our focus? Why is it that elected officials are dragging out jobs while plenty of them are doing things that have nothing to do with what they were hired to do? Where are churches right now?

For a Country that was built on freedom, rights and limiting of the federal government (I am taking this from the US Constitution’s 1st, 6th and 10th Amendments) it appears that people want all of those things but don’t want others to have the same things. One group wants their religious freedoms by taking away another’s religious freedoms. There are huge groups that want to limit the power of the Federal Government but want them there and ready to make laws available to protect any right they come up with or knock down the ability for another’s rights. No secret here… I am talking about the Tea Party Movement. If the Tea Party Movement originally set out to do something positive, make a difference and stand up for something they believe in, it has not come across that way. Maybe to their own group they present themselves in an educated fashion and hold some type of overall point that has yet to be shown. To me and a large group of those on Twitter and Facebook as well as across the Internet, the Tea Party Movement is an unorganized group of people protesting a large number of things but not making any point or any sense for that matter. It was pretty clear where they were headed (or not headed) when they chose Sarah Palin to be their Featured Speaker at their first National Convention in Nashville Tennessee on February 4, 2010.

A good number of Christians have backed up Sarah Palin and what she stands for and many Christians are part of the Tea Party Movement, I stress this though, NOT ALL.

Do you watch Glenn Beck? Have you heard of the 9-12 Project? For a long time Glenn Beck was another one that it seemed so many Christians were following. Again, let me remind you, I am a Christian. I am not a Christian that just blindly follows anyone though. I am not saying if you watch Glenn Beck you are blindly following but I hope you are really paying attention to him, taking a second look at what he is really saying.

The 9-12 Project

9 Principles 12 Values

9 PRINCIPLES

1. America is good.

2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

12 VALUES

Honesty

Reverence

Hope

Thrift

Humility

Charity

Sincerity

Moderation

Hard Work

Courage

Personal Responsibility

Gratitude

Did you read those? Just in reading them I realized they don’t even go together. It seems that when one is uneasy about being “forced” to be charitable, they seem to not have a charitable heart at all. I think that is more being concerned about being taxed but he just didn’t want to say that and sound like a regular GOPer. Better to sound more honest and wholesome. But then he has charity in the values section along with sincerity. Overall the system is anti-government. It doesn’t even go with smaller government, it is anti-government and anti-authority. What is confusing is #1. America is good. If America is good then why is its government bad? Why is its charity bad? And #7 makes Glenn Beck sound like a selfish kid that doesn’t want to share his toys. What about #9, the point of the government working for us and we don’t answer to them? Well, the government does work for the people but since it works for everyone also means that it is there to protect others (i.e. the police department, the courts) so at some point, there could be a time you may be answering to them, literally. Also, there is the I.R.S., the D.M.V., Homeland Security, just to name a few. As much as you want to kick the government away, you also rely on them for your safety and well-being. When 9/11 happened, I didn’t see Glenn Beck pack up to go to war but he loves to insult our Commanders-in-Chief.

It takes a government to run a country. It doesn’t help anything for a bunch of anti-government people to rally around with signs or to go to meetings and stand up shouting and interrupting. It certainly hasn’t made our country any better to have a person getting paid to speak at conventions and meetings where she really has no idea of a set plan other than to go against the current administration and in the meantime make as much money she can wasting legitimate time from what could be, possibly a chance for the GOP party to find a legitimate person to come up with some new ideas.

If they want to complain about our current administration, find someone worthwhile to run. Stop playing games and just cutting down everything in the House and the Senate that is trying to be passed for our Country. This isn’t a game we are playing. It isn’t who has the most points or who is the most popular. It isn’t about poll numbers or who has the lead story in the news. This isn’t about who can kick out the other’s religion or get the other’s rights get taken away.

As I highlighted earlier, this is the UNITED States of America.

United: formed by or resulting from the union of two or more person or things

We are so much different than any other country. That should make us special. As I see it, we should take advantage of a wonderful situation we have been granted. We have the union of many cultures. We have combined influences. We have the combined efforts of many lands, beliefs, roots, educations, backgrounds, and customs. We have people that have been through foreign wars, triumphs, defeats and due to this have come out changed people with either a higher level of tolerance and yes, in some cases a higher level of intolerance. But, with all of this we should build knowledge, bridges and understandings. We should create our own ties and levels of understanding. Of course we should always protect ourselves and the best beginning to protecting ourselves is by being united but that doesn’t mean by cutting off the outside world. Remember, we were the outside world. Our strength comes from who we were and who we are. Our future comes from who we can be and the acknowledgement this requires growth and change from everyone. None of us can say we know it all, we have it all or we have done it all. None of us is better than anyone else. To say that means someone can say that about you. And to believe you don’t have anything left to learn or anything to give is ignorant. We all must learn and we all must give.

As people go around protesting and fighting against those that are different from them or over laws they haven’t even taken the time to read, nothing is getting done. Nothing is moving forward. To say you don’t like our current administration but you have no reliable source to send of your own and your own party can’t get organized to get anything done within the House or the Senate says they are only out to fight and not resolve. If you have a problem, come with a solution.

I asked earlier, where are the churches in all of this?

When I was growing up, churches used to go out on visitations, door to door. Not much of them do that anymore. I think I can guess a few reasons why. Partially, it may be because people are busier now. It may be more difficult to get people that are willing to go out and knock on a door. Fear as to what people may say or do when they answer.

I have seen the way radical Christians have been yelling and screaming at different anti-abortion rallies, tea party rallies, anti-Obama rallies, anti-Health Care rallies and Town hall meetings, etc. The way they were presenting themselves were giving Christians a bad name. People don’t look at Christians in different groups. They don’t see Radical or non-radical Christians. They see Christians yelling and screaming holding up signs and acting like a bunch of judgmental and hateful people. I personally don’t want to fall into that group. I don’t use God’s name or being a Christian as an excuse to throw away tolerance but instead I believe in being kind and respectful of others. That doesn’t mean I must toss my morals and beliefs out the window and just join everyone either. I find a medium ground without losing my morals or demeaning them or being rude and disrespectful.

Acting out that way doesn’t seem very Christian like. If a Christian wants to share Christ with someone, the best way to do that is through their actions. This is one of the biggest moments I can think of where actions definitely speak louder than words. Being a Christian is to be an example of Christ.

As much as America was built on religious freedoms, more and more people want freedom from religion. It is as though God is there for a need-to-use basis. An example of this was on 9/11. When that horrible act of terrorism happened, churches were filled. I mean think about it. Everything that people held sacred had been stripped away in a single moment. People didn’t think that could happen. There are going to be people that say they knew it was coming but overall the majority of people felt stripped that day and the place many sought refuge was church and each other.

When bad things happen, people turn to God. Some people hate God when something bad happens or a loved one is lost but still, they turn to God.

How sacred does this Country really hold God? How important are certain words? I mean is it the words or is it the sentiment? Is it the fact of who says it or is it something else? Is God merely being used?

I know where I stand. I am not here to judge anyone personally. But I am talking about in our Country, our Government, in our Political Parties? How far has it gone?

I will leave it with this.

What would happen if President Obama had a meeting with a group of 5th graders and the beginning of their meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance. I mean, he is the President of the United States of America, the Commander in Chief of U.S. Military. So it goes like this, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

No “under God.”

Think people have a problem with President Obama now? What then?

Or, what would happen if Congress put forward a Bill to remove those words from the Pledge of Allegiance? Then, where would people stand? Would it make a difference if Congress was pushing this instead of our President leaving out the words?

Is it the words being left out, the person who is leaving out the words, or a law that would be removing the words permanently?

Or is it God? Would it be different to know that our Country, our Nation is deliberately and decisively choosing to leave God out?