A nation of immigrants

Ronald Reagan said

These families came here to work. They came to build. Others came to America in different ways, from other lands, under different, often harrowing conditions, but this place symbolizes what they all managed to build, no matter where they came from or how they came or how much they suffered.

They helped to build that magnificent city across the river. They spread across the land building other cities and towns and incredibly productive farms.

They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history.

They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace and freedom. They came from different lands but they shared the same values, the same dream.

Being Skeptical

I once listened to an interview with Dan Rather. He talked about the importance of being skeptical (and not cynical). That means learning to question things.

Now more than ever, we need to learn to question what we’re told by our governmental officials.

For example, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow announced that the federal budget deficit was decreasing because of President Trump’s tax cut.

The deficit is NOT decreasing. It’s increasing and quickly.

Don’t take things on face value.

Parallel universes

Sometimes listening to the media today feels stepping into parallel universes. It shows you how REALLY divided we are.

Axios has a fascinating story about the differences between how MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Fox New’s Sean Hannity covered the Nunes memo.

It underscores the importance of teaching media literacy. We need to ensure that the next generation is able to successfully parse through all of this.

When real life feels like House of Cards…

This last week Timothy Egan wrote an excellent column in the New York Times about the deal that you’re making with Donald Trump. It feels too much like House of Cards and it will soon all come tumbling down.

Going into the midterm elections, Trump is offering this deal to his supporters: Say nothing about the lies, the bullying, the accusations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women, the undermining of the rule of law, the abdication of basic decency — and in turn he will make you rich.

“True conspiracies are rare but stupidity is nearly universal.”

NY Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens nailed it…

The principal lesson of paranoia is the ease with which politically aroused people can mistake errors for deceptions, coincidences for patterns, bumbling for dereliction, and secrecy for treachery. True conspiracies are rare but stupidity is nearly universal. The failure to know the difference, combined with the desire for a particular result, is what accounts for the paranoid style.

 

We need to stop being comfortable.

We are a divided and broken nation filled with divided and broken people.

That brokenness isn’t something that can be fixed by policy. It’s fixed through the heart. That’s not an easy process. It’s hard and uncomfortable. Loving people amidst their brokenness isn’t easy.

How often do we worship at the idol of being comfortable? We do what’s easy and miss out on something more impactful.

I was really convicted by this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr...

“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.'”

Why I Care About Politics

Over the last year, I’ve found myself more interested in politics than ever before. You likely see it in what I post about on social media, which I sure caused a groan out of some if not most of you.

There’s a famous quote, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” If you’re frustrated with what you see in DC, state or local government, it starts with all of us and that should concern you. It concerns me.

Politics isn’t just government. Politics is how we go about living our lives together. Wikipedia defines politics as “the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group.” If the government is broken… if politics is broken, it’s not the government’s fault. It’s our fault.

Our broken politics is never more evident than over the last 48 hours. Half of America is appalled by a perceived lack of respect for the flag and what it represents. The other half is frustrated by the lack of understanding of protesting racial injustice in America. We’re divided and not listening to each other.

Something happens and we all retreat to our tribal corners. We stop listening. We stop thinking or being skeptical. If America is going to survive, we have to do something different.

By sharing more of my intellectual journey through understanding the politics of our time, I’d dream that I can somehow facilitate the awkward conversations, listen to each other, and dig deeper. This is how we learn how to love one another.

With what you see on the news day in and out, it’s easy to stick your head in the sand but that seems like a cop-out. It’s time to pick your head up and get active. Otherwise, I fear that things will just get worse.