Tag Archives: “Tracy Solomon”

Repost from February 2013- Is there a solution to gun violence? 

Simply asking that question will not resolve anything but facing and making adequate and lasting changes can lead to actually saving lives.

Most recently, the focus from the media, political leaders, gun rights activists and many others have not been focused on long term needs or solutions but rather on short term story lines, misleading voters and pushing policies as well as allowing misunderstandings which have led to surges in firearm sales.

The story of the century would be a day without a death from gun violence or even more so, violent crime. Sound impossible? We are driven to think that way.

The sales increase of armed weapons proves this. There are many statistics on the amount of weapons in the U.S and the surge in sales but the fact is many guns aren’t registered. However, the increase in background checks shows the surge in sales and a lot is due to the speculation of what may change with new laws or regulations.

Although a majority of gun owners agree with the idea of stronger background checks, many loopholes in laws already in affect allow around 40% of sales to go through without background checks. If these issues were dealt with, would that resolve the problems at hand? No.

The majority of gun owners were well intentioned weapon purchasers. It was never their plan
to allow the weapon to get into the wrong hands, use the weapon in any way other than the
way it was first intended and certainly to abide by all laws when purchasing their weapon,
ammunition or laws pertaining to either.

This part is simple. At least it should be.

The 2nd Amendment is brought up in a great deal of discussions, arguments and as much as it is a part of this topic, it is also a big part of misguided discussions and a detour from what should be brought to the table in this matter. 

There is very little brought up about our responsibilities for our rights and freedoms and the effects of change over time. You see, it is clear today the person next door, at the office, in the church or at school may be planning something nobody could have imagined or possibly be the victim of the next violent crime. How are we to know? How can society better prepare or better prevent more deaths from these types of crimes?

Does it help when our congress continuously makes every effort to show their unwillingness to work together, compromise or communicate to efficiently get things done for those who elect them?

Does it help when people are looking for an end to gun violence in some way and a leadingorganization like the NRA comes out and takes no responsibility but instead points their finger at others? Why not accept some responsibility and work together? It is clear many NRA members do not agree with the NRA’s standing.

Does it help when our society is flooded with violence in its gaming and entertainment industry?

Do attacks on Facebook, Twitter and many of the Social Media websites help at all?

It has been made very clear bullying leads to aggressive behavior, violent crime and yes, massive shootings and often ends in suicide. So why add to that? Why attack those speaking out against violent crime and gun violence?

Does any of this help? Obviously not!

A crime very rarely starts at the moment of the attack, shooting, kidnapping, “random” event,
or murder/suicide. Our society has become self-centered and comfortable with shrugging of responsibility, passing the buck and expecting someone else to fix the issue. That is the issue. Our rights and freedoms should never cause others to live in fear. That is not freedom.

The reason gun violence is more an issue of violent crime is because that is what most often leads to it.

Life is very fast paced, more so now as many people must multi-task, never taking time to slow
down. As our economic tensions are high in the U.S., many people are financially over burdened. 

Personal lives, finances, work conditions, health conditions and the constant feed of
information can leave many people at a constant breaking point.

Emotionally, there are many struggling from childhood through adulthood, just to fit in or keep their private life out of the public eye in fear of rejection.

There is a major ongoing need to unwind in a society that is less willing and sometimes unable to allow that to happen.

As much as someone may be a responsible gun PURCHASER, there are many changing and unknown factors which come into lives leaving many gun owners unaware of how dangerous having a readily available weapon may have become. So many think nothing will ever happen to them to take them to the breaking point but the news tells the other side of that story. Nobody can be foolish enough to say something could never happen to them. That is someone that shouldn’t own a gun.

The only way to actually make our society safer is for everyone to take responsibility for our part. We ALL have a part. The idea of more guns and less regulation is not the answer. That breeds fear and fear breeds crime. This is not one side or the other, a political rival or even a statement for or against gun control.

It will take more than gun control, gun laws or regulations to see this through but isn’t this worth it? Violent crime death does not see race, economic status, neighborhood, political party, age or anything. That has been very evident as we have watched recent deaths in just this year alone.

Understand, this is more than gun violence. It starts before someone picks up a gun so everyone is part of this solution.

NRA, that includes gun control and regulations. Just because it starts before someone picks up a gun doesn’t mean a weapon should be laying there for the wrong person nor should any weapon be there that can commit mass murder because it was available.

We all need to step up.

America is a land of heroes and honor

Vigil held in rememberance of September 11th

How has our Nation changed since the attacks on September 11th, 2001? Did Osama Bin Laden’s death bring any closure for us?

I had often wondered how our Country would react when Osama Bin Laden was captured or killed and that day finally came.

Now the 10 year mark, or anniversary, of the attack on our Nation is just days away. This tragedy is often talked about and looked at on a large scale as something that happened to our Nation, as one, and in a way it did. Many parts of our national security have been changed.

However, the effects that linger on in our Nation are something that can be looked at individually. Life, for many has taken on new meaning. The individual security we once had, as well as a great deal of conveniences, has been changed. What was once thought to be a simple weekend get-a-way or business trip isn’t the same anymore.

Those passengers aboard United Flight #93 did not hand over their boarding pass knowing they would be called upon to make a decision to save countless lives and go down in history as heroes to so many. Was it a decision or did they just carry out a selfless act as they would have in any situation put in front of them any other day of their life?

At Ground Zero that day, the first responders grabbed their gear and set out to save lives as tragedy continued to unfold around them and around our Nation, yet none of us really knew just how horrific these moments would turn out to be even as they happened in front of our eyes. Like I said, this was unimaginable to us, at the time.

Alongside those first responders at Ground Zero were many everyday men and woman, now referred to as heroes, helping each other and doing whatever they could to assist the city’s firefighters, police and other rescue workers, offering a hug or an arm to someone who was too weak to walk or plenty of people who were consumed by dust. Were they trained to do this? How could they have known they would be needed in this situation? But, they helped in any way they could. That makes them heroes, to me.

On September 11th, 2001, something we never imagined could happen to our Country, the United States of America, did. As one plane after another flew into incredible buildings taking them down and thousands of lives with them, our lives were forever changed.

However, the response across America, overwhelming and almost instantly was brotherhood, heroism, united efforts, strangers reaching out to strangers, and people offering one another peace in a time of grief and utter devastation. In a time of chaos, when people could have been at their worst, the united response was to rise up and come out giving comfort and show that together we can get through anything.

America is a land of opportunity, a land of ideas and solution, heroes and honor. All of this goes together when we all come together, to stand strong, united.

On this September 11th, let’s keep our unity strong so America can flourish, strengthen and together, move forward.

Below is a song/video Tribute “America Stand Strong” – Tribute to 9/11 which you can use this link if the video area doesn’t appear. Please feel free to share your comments on the tribute or how 9/11 affected you, where you were on that day or how you live life differently now.




The song, “America Stand Strong”, was written and composed on September 12, 2001 by Myron Solomon.


Myron is a U.S. Army Veteran who now serves with the Department of Homeland Security


Past article on September 11th attacks written in 2010

“Looking back and moving forward on 9/11”

Step one-Topple the dictator!

Protests around the world want to see the end of Gaddafi's rule
Photo by: jetalone

Although the information from Libya has been a struggle to get and hard to confirm due to the communications lock-down set in place by the country’s dictator of 42+ years, Muammar Gaddafi himself, a few facts are very clear.

The Libyan people are standing together and want to see the end of the Gaddafi regime, immediately.

Gaddafi has also made it clear he does not plan to step away from the power he has held onto for over four decades while oppressing the people of Libya, torturing them, stealing from them and telling them everyone else is the problem and only through him can there be an ongoing future for Libya.

The problem for him is, times have changed and the nation and its people want to take hold of this change. They certainly have a strong grasp with no plans to let go or back down.

Many have called these recent revolutions going on in Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Yemen the “Facebook Revolutions” or the “Internet Revolutions”, due to the fact much of the organization and taking the idea from something a few could do to something a country could do together, happened online through social media websites.

However, these revolutions are the people showing they have had too many years of, too much and not enough. It shows that each of these protesters from each of these countries are coming together to bring an end to the decades of dictatorships and the abuses being done to the citizens of their countries, the economies of these countries and they are wanting to establish a better future for themselves and generations to come.

These protesters want to be able to speak up and be heard without the fear of being arrested, tortured or forever silenced for doing what we, here in America, are able to do every day thanks to those who have fought for our freedoms ahead of us.

There have been numerous voices on Facebook, blogs, and Twitter speaking out and sharing, not only what they want outsiders to understand, but also showing support for one another in neighboring Middle East countries as one country’s rise against their dictator shows others they can accomplish the same. They can stand up for freedom and focus on a future with more opportunities and long term goals with the hope they can see their dreams through and stop living in daily fear.

As these revolutions have risen up and the people have stood together
in these countries against the regimes, the message is not only being seen across the region but around the world.

The messages being sent out over blogs, Facebook and Twitter are being read around the world and these voices are finally being heard. Other dictatorships and those living under them have more hope today due to these current transitions, not only due to the violence but due to the realization the people were able to come together and no longer live under the fear that has ruled them for so long.

In the recent toppling of these dictators, there are a few noticeable facts that really drove people to the edge over the many years of repetitive abuse and oppression. Those words don’t seem to cover what truly needs to be said.

There was no respect for the people, understanding of the citizens’ day to day struggles or a genuine compassion for a better future for the country or its people.

These dictators are completely detached from everything but the power their position brings to them and they will do anything to continue holding on to that power.

Although it is a very difficult process at times to clarify certain facts or detailed information coming in, it is very clear who the international community should stand behind, the people.

It may not be a detailed path where the Middle East may be headed but when we look back over history and see how the regimes and their dictators have handled the past, it seems the future has a much better outlook without them, their ideals, deceitfulness and their disdain for anyone aside from themselves or those that can benefit them at the time.

In 2010 and 2011, that power and the longevity of the power of these dictators have been greatly diminished with social media as the people of these countries quickly found a way to unite, form their ideals, stand together and once and for all, topple these dictators!

Times are changing.

America’s best days are ahead

"Sea to Shining Sea"
Photo by: dgroup

In our homes, our neighborhood schools, local businesses, communities and across our nation there have been conversations about the need for improvements in many areas of day to day life and the future of America.

Although when traveling through American cities or the rural communities which link our nation together, things may appear at first glance to be different, most Americans have the same basic needs in life and many share the same values and goals; family, home and having a better future for their children.

However, it’s not the differences within these communities that bring the divide to the nation. The diversity of cultures, religions and race have made America a nation that stands out unlike every other country in the world. These differences however can also be used as a tool to bring weakness and divide.

Many issues our country continues to face have come about through history and in instances, such as slavery, laws have been enacted after many lives were lost and many injustices were carried out but also heroes came to the forefront of our American culture to show that good can triumph over evil if people are willing to get involved and stand up for what is right even when it may not be popular or have anything to gain for them personally or may possibly bring them physical harm even costing their life.

Through history, lessons can be learned and the worst possible thing to do would be to revert back to old ways or act as though they never happened.

History should never have to repeat itself to prove wrong doesn’t make right and to again show one human is not above another human, not by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or economic standing.

Instead, as American and World History are taught in our schools, it should include the fact these lessons in history can and should be what makes America a stronger nation and each culture and religion represented in America should be the ties that bind us as an even greater, more unique nation of the future with goals that represent our strengths and ambitions and look out for the humanity of everyone across our nation.

On Saturday, January 8th our nation suffered a tremendous tragedy in Tucson, Arizona when a 22 year old man opened fire at a shopping center, shooting a U.S. Representative, a Federal Judge, and 9 year old girl as well as countless others in a few short moments. In the end, 20 people were shot and 6 lost their lives including one of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ aides, Gabe Zimmerman, Federal Judge – John Roll, Dorwan Stoddard – who used his body to shield his wife from being killed, Dorothy Morris – who was there with her husband of 55 years, also shot but survived, Phyllis Schneck – a loving mother and grandmother who loved her community, and Christina Green – a 9 year old who wanted to meet her Congresswoman and someday participate in Government.

The news of this horrific event ripped through the media on TV, radio, online social media, etc. causing a great deal of grief, confusion, anger, unity, memories, panic, just so many different emotions.

An outpouring of prayers and wishes poured out across America for the families of the victims and those who had suffered injuries and were being rushed to nearby hospitals. So many questions were being asked but there were very few available answers.

Different news agencies were trying to gather facts and at times, there were reports coming in and then being reversed due to wrong information. There was also a great deal of information coming in that was being driven by emotion and reaction but not backed up by facts because the shooter hadn’t talked nor had enough time passed to give investigators an opportunity to put together the facts.

What happened in Tucson, Arizona is an inexcusable tragedy and by no means can be something that defines who America is but what America, as a nation, is not.

For those who used their media outlet and time before this awful event to campaign Americans against Americans will hopefully see America is a United Nation. For those who look at our nation as citizens against their government, America is a civilized democracy.

People can have different ideas, different goals and debates but as a people, Americans should be looking out for the good of one person as much as for the good of another person, one family as much as for the good of another family.

Americans should look past each other’s party, race, religion, Ethnicity and to each other’s goals, ideas, needs and future and see it as America’s future, their future.

America’s best days are ahead. It is within this great nation, our great nation to accomplish what is needed to move forward and to move ahead into the future. The idea is to work alongside each other and alongside other nations, to draw on our strengths and not focus on the weakness of others.

Our nation is made up of our people, all of our people and for America to truly be as great as it can be, our nation must unite and work together for the common goals of everyone.

As different as many may be, that is also our strength when used correctly and for the right purpose.

In the face of tragedy, unity is often seen, but everyday unity can be shown.

Examiner link

112th Congress – Now what?

Speaker of the House, John Boehner
Photo by: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

This week marks the beginning of the 112th congress. As of noon on Wednesday, January 5th, the House of Representatives is now a Republican majority and Rep. John Boehner was elected Speaker of the House.

Throughout the campaigning in the summer and fall, many promises were made by the GOP as to what they would do if the American voters would just give them another chance. The American voters not only gave them another chance but the GOP has the majority vote, at least in the House.

In a speech made from his hometown in Ohio on October 8, 2010, Rep. John Boehner vowed the GOP would get people back to work. He told those in the crowd, “This speech is about jobs, because this coming election is about jobs.”

Was it just the election? Since the election and their big win, not much discussion has been about jobs and the desperate need of the American people getting back to work.

A major goal of the GOP going into congress seems to be focused on repealing healthcare, which for those who deal with healthcare, need healthcare and/or have taken the time to understand Healthcare Reform know this is a big mistake. If the GOP wants to do anything with healthcare, work together and build on what is there to make it better, stronger.

Just today, the CBO – Congressional Budget Office has said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) repealing healthcare will add $230 billion to the deficit over the next decade and leave 32 million fewer people with insurance and raise cost for those covered by insurance. See the CBO Director’s detailed report on his blog here.

Millions of Americans are driven to bankruptcy each year due to not having health insurance or their health insurance carrier working against them through “loopholes” such as saying their condition was pre-existing or they had reached their lifetime payout amount so the insurance company is no longer required to cover anymore costs.

These are just two examples of “loopholes” insurance companies have used. There are plenty of stories of how insurance companies have basically ripped off their customers after years of paying premiums only to leave them without coverage when it was time to pay a claim.

Currently there are millions of Americans needing jobs. They need jobs and healthcare. This will help the American economy, American families and help get America back on track.

Why is the new congress coming in and trying to undo one of the greatest advancements that have been made over the past few decades instead of helping the American voters as they promised? Is it due to not having a plan on how to do what they have promised?

Help create jobs. Help promote hiring of jobless Americans.

Instead of working to repeal healthcare, work to make things better for those who elected you into office, the American voters in the towns across America.

Start with improving Washington and the ability of its elected officials being able to work together and get things done in an appropriate amount of time, appropriate in the eyes of the American people, the voters. Have press conferences about solutions and advancements, not about conflicts, broken promises and how the other party is unwilling to work with one another. Make it work.

Make America work by getting Americans back to work.

Follow and subscribe to my articles over on my Examiner Page

TSA: Protecting America?

Over 600 million people fly each year <BR> Photo by: Andrei Dimofte

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created shortly after 9/11 as a part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act passed by the U.S. Congress.Prior to its creation, airport security screening was handled by private companies through contracts.



TSA also oversees the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). Air Marshals blend in with other passengers on boarded flights using their training to detect criminals and/or terrorists behavior and can react with precise firearm accuracy if needed.

Before 9/11, the U.S. felt different to most people and although time has passed, the desire of those wanting to do harm inside the U.S. and to American citizens has not. There are continuous threats.

As time has passed, there have been further incidents of people trying to bring things on board planes to bring them down over U.S. soil. Although these attempts have not been successful, some of them have gotten more media attention than others.

Most people have heard about the “Underwear bomber” and his attempt to bring down an American Airline plane over Detroit in December 2009. Al Qaeda took credit for this attempted attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23 year old Nigerian.

The bomb packet was six inches long and sewn in his underwear containing a highly explosive chemical, PETN weighing approximately 80 grams, enough to blow a hole in the side of a plane.

In December 2001, Richard Reid, also known as the “Shoe Bomber” tried to detonate a bomb in his shoes aboard his flight from Paris to Miami but due to the smell of smoke and his having difficulty lighting the fuse, he was subdued by several passengers, administered a tranquilizer and arrested upon arrival at Logan International Airport. The chemical found in his shoe was also PETN weighing about 50 grams, also enough to bring down a plane.

TSA continues to adapt in order to protect the nation’s transportation systems. That is not a clear or set strategy that can or should be spelled out and released because part of real security is the unknown and the inability for someone with a desire to do harm to preplan their moves through security measures.

It is understandable that people have felt uncomfortable with changes or certain parts of security procedures but blaming this on the TSA is not taking into account what they have already prevented from happening and continue to set out to prevent.

TSA officers have stopped countless weapons, chemicals, drugs and wanted criminals from boarding airlines. News coverage typically covers only the negative events as seen in these past few days and weeks and most recently since 23 year old John Tyner told a TSA officer, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.”

John Tyner had first checked on TSA’s website to see if the airport he would be flying out of had the full body scan machines as he didn’t want to go through one. He said the website didn’t list his airport. When he arrived at the airport and realized they did use the full body scanners, he tried to stay in a line that would use the metal detectors. But, he was called out to go through the full body scanner.

He then used his cell phone to record the rest and refused the full body scanners and as the dialogue went on he was told he would have a “pat down” instead. After speaking to a supervisor about not wanting the pat down and being told he wouldn’t be able to fly without one, he said, “I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying.”

Going to the airport and preparing to fly out does mean a person will go through security measures and can be put through random and continuous security searches. When buying a ticket and arriving at the airport, this is made very clear.

The point is security is more secure with not knowing every detail prior to the actual arrival at the checkpoint. TSA has been very upfront with the possibilities of what procedures travelers may encounter however. These procedures have been put into place for good reason and that is to protect America and every person flying.

Terrorists have figured out how to make bombs using things that won’t show up in standard metal detectors, wands or screening belts at airports.

Keeping America safe is a priority for everyone. It shouldn’t take another 9/11 or a single incident of a few lives lost on a flight to raise awareness of how important raised security is to be taken seriously and to understand it is for the benefit of every traveler, everyone family member of those traveling and every employee at the airport. Many lives are affected by decisions being made at those checkpoints.

In America, profiling is not an option in many circumstances other than by behaviors of odd ticket purchasing techniques, luggage check- in or the lack of, one way travel, cash purchases and many more behavior detection profiling that may cause concern but security works on many levels and a great number of officers are watching passenger behavior as well.

TSA also works internationally with many other countries to ensure international rules are clear and consistent to enable passenger clarity and therefore safer flying.

It is being said that the new full body scans or the new enhanced pat-down procedure is going too far and this is causing quite a bit of hype and anger.

Airports, across the country this week, will have millions of holiday travelers which is already a concern to security and families waiting for their loved ones to arrive.

On Wednesday, which is one of the busiest traveling days of the year, online groups are calling for a National Opt-Out Day in response to TSA’s new enhanced security techniques. Their idea is for people to opt out of the full body scanner forcing TSA officers to pat them down.
According to Jim Babb, co-founder of this National Opt-Out Day, this should cause chaos at airport checkpoints and deliver a message to agency officials, politicians and the airline industry.

This is unimaginable that anyone would want to cause any type of chaos at an airport especially with the intention to cause issues with security measures and even more appalling is the desire to do this after what happened on 9/11. This is putting peoples’ lives at risk intentionally or at least asking others to do so as Jim Babb has said he will not be traveling on Wednesday.

Over 600 million people fly each year along with millions of bags that go along with them. It is up to TSA’s officers at 700 checkpoints using the latest techniques and up-to-date technology to stop the unthinkable. However, what is unthinkable to one is in the planning stages to another.

Terrorists continue to threaten America and Americans abroad. One life lost is one life too many. Security is everyone’s responsibility.

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.