Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Monday, July 28, 2008

On Republican Fear

Why do those who call themselves "conservative" harbor so much fear?

I remember one member of our church where I did my internship who was very conservative. My intern supervisor described him as "a very fearful man." That was true. He was afraid of people who were different, afraid of the government, afraid of foreigners who received American foreign aid. Other than that, he was a good man.

I've noticed since then that fear is the driving emotion of the conservative movement. Jesse Helms made his career exploiting people's fears of blacks, Communists, gays, etc. Every campaign ad (with maybe one exception) slammed whoever was running against him as "too liberal"--exploiting people's fears of that bugaboo that Ronald Reagan came to power denouncing.

Now, "liberal" has become a dirty word, so much so that those who agree with liberal ideals and ideas call themselves "progressive" instead. Of course, this kind of name-calling is a short cut past the thought process, but that doesn't lessen the use of fear in the language people use.

They are afraid of "terrorists." This has taken over from "anarchists" whom Nixon demonized to exploit fear once "Communist" lost its luster as a bogeyman. So now they allow the government whom they claim is totally incompetent to run anything from health care to disaster relief to have total access to every secret of their lives. "Take my rights, take my liberties, take everything my ancestors fought and died for. Just don't let the bad guys hit me again."

A friend of mine said he was going to vote for whoever will keep this country safe. I said I was going to vote for whoever would restore the Constitution. I fear neither one of us will be able to do so. In the name of "national security" the Bush enablers have made us less safe, and in the name of the Constitution, the Democrats have buried the Fourth Amendment.

But I, as a proud, patriotic American refuse to be done in by other people's fear. I will not submit to threats of what terrorists may do if I stand up for my inalienable rights and God-ordained freedom. I will not yield my Constitutional rights. You can take my Constitution "from my cold, dead hands!"

True American patriots won't go down without a fight. That doesn't mean I'll take up arms in an insurrection, but I will express myself here on this blog, and in letters to the editor. We need more Thomas Paines, and I want to do my part to carry on his tradition.

Please join me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More on the FISA fiasco

So Bush and the Telecoms were spying on Americans BEFORE 9/11, and now Congress has excused that. Hmm. So how well did that illegal spying work to PREVENT 9/11?

I see.

Now, you also say the bulk of it went on AFTER 9/11, and no one has attacked us since. One word: Anthrax. Remember? So, how well has the illegal, unconstitutional spying program the Congress just gave its consent to worked to catch the terrorist(s) who perpetrated that attack?

I see.

Tell me again how valuable that program is, how vital to our "national security"? Show me how effective it is, and then I'll listen.

Meanwhile, can someone direct me to any way I can help support the ACLU and other groups who are mounting a court challenge to this monstrosity of a "law" before President McCain can appoint more Scalitos to the Extreme Court? I would surely like to know.

Note: I'm writing this before I have Googled it. So stand by for any possible updates.

Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On the Bugaboo of Taxes

Nobody likes to pay taxes. That goes without saying, but people are saying it over and over, usually as a diversion from the problems that are facing the country. To keep anything positive from being accomplished, they scream, "He wants to raise your taxes!"

Well, I want to try to throw a little different perspective on things, if I might. (Well, of course I might. It's my blog, isn't it?)

Taxes paid for the schools I went to, the police that protect my person and property, the streets and roads on which I drive, the traffic signals that keep me from being rammed at every intersection (even though I HATE red lights), the health inspectors that make sure the food I eat is safe, and myriad other benefits I enjoy. Plus, they allow my handicapped daughter to live as independently as she does.

Of course they also pay the salaries of politicians I voted against; waste, fraud, and abuse; and corporate welfare. But on the whole they are necessary, and there are benefits to being a tax-paying citizen.

There are other things that I need for my taxes to pay for, such as health care.

Once again: In countries where taxpayers cover health care costs, the people have more doctors per thousand population, they have a lower death rate at every age, so they live longer. The latest figures I have seen show that 98% of the population of England would choose their system over ours, and 95% of the doctors would. Yet they spend less than half what we spend per person on health care.

So the health insurance premiums go to pay the hyperinflated salaries of bean counters whose job it is to keep from paying our claims. Yet if you start talking about this, people will counter, "but they pay more in taxes than we do."

So *&^%-in' what? They pay less overall.

What it boils down to is that I would rather pay $50 in taxes to make sure my child has a nurse by his hospital bed rather than $100 in health insurance premiums that pay for fuel in the CEO's jet.

Let my taxes pay for my health care, for railroad travel, and for other things they need to pay for. Let my tax dollars pay to hunt down the criminals behind the 9/11 attacks. I don't want them paying for illegal spying, nor for an unprovoked war. Neither do I want my country's unprovoked war paid for on credit, enslaving our economy to Chinese bankers.

Would it be possible to have a sane and intelligent debate over taxes and the proper use thereof?

I didn't think so.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On Defending the Constitution

I have decided that I will try to give all I can to the downballot Democrats. I can't in good conscience give money to support Barack Obama.

I will gladly vote for him in November, and I will campaign against Flip-Floppin' McSame. But after he voted for the Bush Administration and against the Constitution, I can't give Obama any of my money. I replied to a fund-raising snail mail, pointing out his inconsistency in his rhetoric vs. his support of the FISA abomination. I told his campaign not to count on any more money from me.

Damn, I wish the media hadn't ganged up against John Edwards.

The important thing now is to take back the government that the Republicans have taken over, starting with the White House, then maybe we can also get the DINO's out of the positions of power in Congress and get some real Democrats in there. Sens. Dodd and Feingold must be getting lonely.

Next, we can work on the Supreme Court. We need more Ginsburgs and fewer Scalitos.

Thus, I will give my campaign contributions to the downballot Democrats.