Larger Than Life

Speaking as someone whom has witnessed (not necessarily practiced) this first hand, I just had to share it.

The news cycles have pushed so many celebrity deaths as major headlines in the past few years.  Nostalgia sends ratings through the roof.  A lot of content is old content, reproduced.  If it works, why fix it?  The nostalgia of a hit song or the memory of one of your favorite movies growing up makes these celebrity deaths hit closer to home than any other stranger’s demise.  Celebrities are marketed so well that they often seem larger than life.  Due to the advancement of technology, an artist’s ability to touch such a large volume of people with their art is unmatched in all of history.  Often, their art is the link that two people have to identify common ground.

Then you meet someone like Chuck Hermann.  Assistant Fire Chief, Rochester, MN.  Everyone that knew him thought the world of him.  He was funny, fun, crazy, intelligent, Godly, consistent, loving and spontaneous.  He pulled you out of whatever place you were and brought you to him.  Any time you spent with him was an experience you didn’t soon forget.  The stories, the jokes and often the calamity of a day with Chuck made everyone better.  Things may go wrong, but they can be fixed and you’re definitely going to have fun doing it.  Chuck was indeed larger than life.

Or someone like Gladys Mulholland.  You don’t have to be outgoing to be larger than life.  You don’t have to be loud to influence other people.  Gladys was a board-gaming trash talker that was more faithful than the geyser at Yellowstone National Park.  She listened vehemently.  She enjoyed thoroughly.  She prayed faithfully.  She was a woman of taste.  Her beauty oozed from the windows and doors of her beautiful home and she blessed her community with the prettiest lawn and most magnificent flower gardens.  She worshipped God on her concrete patio and with her dirty gardening hands.  You were just simply blessed to know her.  Gladys was larger than life.


So I’ve put two and two together and come up with an outline of sorts.  I’m an imperfect man that wants the best for everyone.

Be something. 

You are more than a career or a familial status.  Define yourself with your passions.  God didn’t give you gifts to keep to yourself, use them to influence the world around you.  Aim your passion at something productive and just watch a masterpiece unfold.  (And remember, masterpieces have many layers of paint under the final product)

Embrace and harness emotion.

Feel.  Don’t be afraid of what your heart is telling you.  Don’t let what you feel make your decisions, but don’t make decisions without considering how you feel.  Emotion is the color to your painting.  Some things need to be black and white, but what is a masterpiece without its color?

Have conviction.

Live so passionately that you inspire others.  Identify what you stand for and do not cease forward progress.  Don’t be afraid of what others might think, just ensure you are always seeking the one truth.

Instill self-discipline. 

Search consistently for your strengths and share them.  Life is not linear.  You have the ability to set yourself up for connection success.  Good habits are not your enemy, routines are.  Do not fall into a rut, be purposeful about what you want to accomplish without boundaries.  Apply that purpose to all things, tangible, relational and spiritual.

Leave a legacy. 

Our lives touch people, it’s inevitable.  Who we are will remain here after we are gone.  We don’t need our names in stone, we don’t need heirs and those larger than life don’t need history books.  In a world full of people doing it wrong, it’s obvious we’ll all make mistakes.  Letting those mistakes define us or change our trajectory is the fatal flaw.

Be passionate and keep going.

Amendment #2

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

You’ve probably heard of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.  The NRA and other groups constantly bring the Amendment into the limelight.  It’s the pillar of security to gun owners across the United States.  It ensures that nothing like Australia’s buy-back will ever happen here.  It contributed to Japan’s decision to not invade the United States in World War 2 because, as widely reported, Admiral Yamamoto declared “There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”

What one side of the political spectrum sees as a glaring defect to the fabric of the country, responsible gun owners see as one of their last grips to any sustainable individual power.  Common sense would have you understand that criminals don’t follow laws, therefore, gun laws limiting the ability of law abiding citizens to procure and bear firearms only makes the guns in the hands of criminals that much more powerful.  When you write new laws, only those that are willing to follow it will be affected.  Gangs, thieves and other criminals won’t turn their guns in, ever.

The fact is, American citizens have a right to keep and bear arms.  Opponents of this fact have slowly eroded away at that right on state and federal levels for decades.  But for now, law abiding citizens are allowed to purchase firearms with background checks.  Just about everything else is up for interpretation and changes on a state by state basis.

The reason I’m bringing up the 2nd Amendment surprisingly isn’t because of guns.  If you’ve read the news, the Democratic Governor of New Mexico publicly shamed a private militia group that was guarding the border (at a popular illegal crossing point) after they detained over 200 illegal immigrants and held them until Border Patrol could take over.  Governor Grisham stated, “It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone.”

Personally, I’m not convinced that Governor Grisham has read the Constitution of the United States or understands the dictionary definition of ‘militia’.  The Second Amendment clearly states that citizens are allowed to form militias.  The definition of militia is “a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.”  After President Trump declared a national emergency at the Southern border (to which many on both sides agree there is an emergency), it made it completely legal for a militia to detain suspected individuals that are illegally crossing the border.

The leader of this militia (The United Constitutional Patriots or UCP) was arrested by the FBI over the weekend.  Larry Hopkins is being charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  If these charges are true, under federal law he should go to jail.  However, that does not mean that the UCP’s mission in New Mexico is flawed.  They are well within their rights as American citizens to form a militia and act in the country’s interest during a national emergency.  I do not endorse the beliefs or backgrounds of the men and women that are members of this militia, but I understand what they are doing to be legal.

This morning, it was reported that 5-6 Mexican army soldiers disarmed 2 American soldiers on the United States side of the border.  Mexico’s military entered our sovereign soil and disarmed 2 of our US Army soldiers.

From the Mexican governments ineptitude in handling the huge migrant caravans to their inability to deal with the growing drug trafficking and cartel growth within its borders, they have proven to be untrustworthy and uninterested in helping the United States solve the illegal immigration problem.  Why would they?  Of the estimated 11 million illegals within the borders of the United States, many earn payroll and send billions of US dollars back across the border to their families in Mexico.  This illegally obtained (illegal immigrants cannot legally work in the US) money has kept the failing Mexican economy afloat for years.  Mexico has great interest in seeing the continued flow of illegal immigration into the United States and Canada as it benefits them greatly.

As a country, we have many problems at our southern border.  A well regulated militia legally formed and legally detaining (during a national emergency) suspected illegal immigrants until Border Patrol can verify identities is not one of them.

 

Sources:

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript

https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/No-Authority-New-Mexico-Governor-Tells-Militia-to-Stop-Arresting-Migrants-at-Border.html

https://www.google.com/search?q=definition+of+militia&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS797US797&oq=definition+of+militia&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.2903j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/2019/04/21/an-armed-militia-was-detaining-migrants-border-fbi-arrested-its-leader/?utm_term=.ac883dc491ab

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/mexican-troops-drew-weapons-on-american-soldiers-on-u-s-side-of-the-border

 

Civility

Social media and the internet have made so many people so much louder.  Cardi B is basically teaching young girls that if you just yell louder you win the argument, regardless of merit.  The Game calls Tomi Lahren a “microwaved carrot” and somehow that means he wins the debate about 21 Savage illegally staying in the US after his work visa expired.  On the internet, adults act like children.  If you don’t agree with someone, just comment with lots of exclamation points!!!!  No need to offer any proof or facts.  Just use a stereotype you’ve heard repeated over and over.  It’s kind of like a rap battle.  My insult was better than yours, I win!

Chris Evans (Actor famous for Captain America role) is in the news stating that he “might have to cut ties” with Quarterback Tom Brady because Brady and Trump have been friends for years.  This guy is famous because he pretends to be a superhero for a living.  I feel like I shouldn’t have to say more, but I will.  Chris has called Trump a “dumb s***” and been very political on social media.  Chris, a role model to many, is teaching those that look up to him to cut ties with anyone you disagree with politically.  Has Tom Brady done something to Chris Evans that would justify ending a friendship?  No.  Who here believes this is the mature thing to do?

In America we have the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Here there is no law stating you can’t be an asshole.  Unfortunately, if you scream at someone on social media because you disagree with their politics, you indeed are an asshole.  If you “cut ties” with a friend because of their politics, you might be more of a “dumb s***” than the idea or person you hate.

We live in an America where it’s not surprising that a peaceful conservative activist got punched in the face at UC Berkeley.  We live in an America where colleges (a place ideas are supposed to be welcome) are blocking conservative speakers.  GCU did it this year, click here to read.  We live in an America where Don Lemon (News Anchor, CNN) speaks out against the 2nd Amendment on live television, but doesn’t know the difference between an automatic weapon and a semi-automatic weapon.  Check that out here.

In America you’re free to believe what you want and say what you want.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you should.  Sharing what you believe is encouraged.  Encroaching someone else’s free speech uninvited to scold them because you disagree is not.

I believe in an America of civility.  Where we can voice our opinions and respect each other’s differences.  I believe in an America where friendships are determined by content of character, not political views.  I believe in an America where an opposing opinion can be heard, and not heckled.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather see more actual babies on social media.

More infants, less crybabies.

The Truth About Trump

Opponents of the President have seemingly exposed themselves to the remaining Americans with brain cells swimming around in our heads.  They’ve gone from 2 years of “collusion” straight to delusion.  Rachel Maddow (MSNBC), everyone’s favorite meltdown artist from Election Day 2016 (I’ll leave this here…), has doubled down on collusion.  After her vehement faith in the almost 2 year long Special Counsel led by Robert Mueller with at least 14 openly liberal prosecutors have found no collusion and no crimes committed by President, she still believes it.  At this point she’s about as objective, biased and trustworthy as Alex Jones.  Do people believe that the media is unbiased?  Is that still a thing?

Policies have not polarized America.  Policies like talk of Amnesty for the impossibly removable 11 million immigrants.  Policies like prison reform, better trade deals, eliminating bump stocks and less foreign wars have not polarized America.  The way Trump has handled illegal immigration isn’t even polarizing, Congress has been talking about building a barrier for decades, and Obama deported more illegals in his first year in office than Trump did in his.  It’s not about policies, it’s about effectiveness.  Before Trump, no one had the balls to actually do something about the problem at the border.  It was all talk, no action.  I’ll leave this video of Obama speaking on illegal immigration here.  “We all agree on the need to better secure the border.” – Barack Obama

 Policies have not polarized America.  Blind hatred has.  Hatred for an eccentric, egotistical, successful, brash, “call it how I see it” public figure.  Trump is far from perfect, but he has exposed the stupidity and blatant bias in the media.  It’s nauseating.  Trump has committed two crimes since he’s been put into office; exaggerations and sarcasm.  People who can think for themselves understand that when Trump says “I will build the wall” it doesn’t mean he’s going to go to the border and actually build it himself, he’s being magniloquent.

Some have moved on from collusion and have started their “tax return” chants.  It’s like a religion, you know… hating Trump.  These imbeciles actually think they are going to find something illegal that wouldn’t have been already referred to prosecutors by the Internal Revenue Service’s consistent annual audits of Trump’s taxes for decades.  The man has publicly stated that he has “used the tax laws to my benefit.” and that “paying less tax makes me smart.” which is something that a majority of Americans would do themselves if they had the resources and wherewithal to.

Trump isn’t stupid.  He’s not eloquent.  He’s not polished.  He’s made poor personal decisions just like everyone else.  No stupid man becomes President of the United States.  A man can only be propped up by his aides so much.  It was Trump on that stage of 17 other Republican candidates for President.  It was Trump who handled them all, in his own way.  It was Trump who made the entire auditorium laugh when Megyn Kelly was trying to pin him on being sexist.  “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”  You see, when it comes to value, Trump doesn’t see black and he doesn’t see white.  Trump doesn’t see woman and he doesn’t see man.  His perception is based on his experience with the individual.  He has called men and women all sorts of names.  Is it Presidential?  It is now.  He’s the President.  There was outcry when Trump called Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man”, then they proceeded to have the first diplomatic summit in a decade.  His methods are unique, but all too often they work.  They always have.  I don’t know many people who could turn a 1 million dollar loan into 10 billion in assets.  Something like that takes intelligence, the ability to delegate and an eye for talented people.

You can agree or disagree with Trump, that makes no difference to me.  But I can tell you with complete certainty that his intent is not to harm America in any way.  It is to strengthen our borders, help us compete internationally in influence and trade and protect our citizens from threats foreign and domestic.  He is not a Russian puppet, he is an American middle class puppet, a steel worker puppet, a coal miner puppet, and a good ‘ole boy patriot that loves America and all of its citizens.  So many have wanted to bring great change to our country, and Trump just wants America to stay America.  A place where people work, where all are treated equally and where the world knows we are nation of laws and a beacon of hope and strength in the chaos that is this world.

Trump is not the problem, hate is.
Facts are not the problem, feeling-based policies are.
Context is not the problem, bias is.

 

 

 

John McCain

The Maverick is gone, but with news headlines across the nation mentioning a continued feud with President Trump, you’d think he was still the Senator from Arizona.

Let’s agree to remember John as the war hero he was.  Let’s try to forget that time President Trump diminished that during the campaign – “I like people who weren’t captured.”  A stupid comeback and a gaff that hasn’t hurt him as much as it should have.

But McCain capped his career in politics (something no one should be proud of) with a decisive vote against killing Obamacare’s individual mandate (which despite SCOTUS’ interpretation as a “tax”, is obviously an infringement on our freedoms).

maxresdefault

He played poker on his phone while lawmakers were debating Syria strategies, then laughed it off on national news.  Everyday Americans understand that as something we would lose our jobs over.

130903191924-tsr-mccain-plays-poker-on-phone-00000703-story-top

Just a few short months after posing with Syrian rebels he had just helped broker an arms deal with, might I add.  A questionable alliance with people who had mutual interests with Al Qaeda (the group responsible for 9/11).

27342

He was so blinded by his hate for Trump (like so many others) that he was the perfect mark for Democratic operatives to use as a patsy to push fake intel to the FBI.  It wouldn’t have been taken seriously if it came from a Democrat.

ScreenHunter_893-Jan.-10-21.08

He voted against the Bush tax cuts.  He seemed to often side with the government taking and keeping more of your money.  He brought a conservative icon, Sarah Palin, to the limelight in order to procure the Evangelical base, then trashed her and blamed her for his Presidential Campaign loss in 2008.  He was a poor loser.  I think the loss had more to do with his disconnection from the reality of everyday Americans.  Everyday Americans know how many houses we own. Click here to hear him struggle to remember how many houses he owned.  Maybe that’s why he thought the government deserves to take and keep more of our money – because he was so wealthy it made no difference to him.

He championed legislation with Ted Kennedy (D – Massachusetts) which started the conversation about providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship.  Something that someone who breaks our immigration laws should never have.  Currently there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.  That’s literally like someone stealing a bike and then instead of punishing them, you just give them the bike.  11 million times.  And how do you explain it to the millions of people that worked hard and spent years saving up to buy the bike?  Rewarding illegal behavior is a dangerous precedent.  America is a nation of immigrants, that’s correct.  Legal ones.  The rest are not a part of our nation, they are by definition criminals that do not belong here.

John’s daughter, Meghan McCain has continued his feud with President Trump.  She recently said Trump was jealous of her father’s family.  Which makes very little sense since Trump has healthy, intelligent kids that are loyal and come to his defense often.  She has called him bizarre, low and pathetic.  I understand her need to defend a father that cannot defend himself, but with a track record like John McCain’s, she’s not doing herself any favors.

The Maverick will soon fade from the headlines once again.  He won’t be remembered for his service to our country and defiance as a POW.  He’ll be remembered as a little man, a lifelong politician that was out of touch with the citizens of his country, entitled to special treatment and so blinded by his disdain for our President that he harmed the Republic he claimed to love.  A waffling representative of his constituents.  Hardly a conservative.  History will not be gentle.  His service to our country should be celebrated, but the man himself, not so much.

 

 

Lea

Here’s the second blog in my series of people in my life worth writing about – hope you like it.

Lea Lancaster.  My co-worker and friend.

She’s the epitome of what it means to be genuine.  God made her with an inability to be fake.  She is passionate about her kids, her career and wine (I sometimes tease her about the latter).  Every problem she has ever had is because she cares so much.  She is such a great mom to her kids – they have no idea how good they really have it.  When she talks about her husband, Will, her eyes sparkle.  It sounds cheesy, but she really likes him – even on bad days, I can tell. 🙂

She is sweeter than anyone I know, but you better not mess with her family if you want to live (it makes sense if you know her).  I also kinda think at some point in her life she’ll need to be bailed out of jail (and the reason will epic).  She’s the kind of person you make memories with – every day is an adventure.

She never does anything to hurt anyone on purpose.  Sometimes, when people hurt her feelings, she gets angry.  But she always lets herself calm down before she makes things right.  She is self aware – she has made a point to be considerate of others at all times.  She knows when she’s having a bad day and she warns you.  She can’t help but smile at herself after she rants for a few minutes.

She’s professional, fun and loyal.  She’s an amazing Realtor.  She answers every call.  Puts out every fire.  Cares about every client, closes every deal.  She’s aware of how her clients are feeling, what they are thinking and what she can do to make the whole process go better for them.

She’s the kind of person that is always smiling.  Ready to laugh.  She sees the good in things.  Even when she’s upset, she finds a way to laugh at herself.

Everywhere she goes she makes better.  She lights up every room she’s in.

Happy Birthday, Lea (Forever 29, if  you’re wondering).  You’re the best co-worker I’ve ever had, a better friend than anyone could ask for and an exceptional human being.

 

 

 

Quiet

I’ve got lots to say, but no good way to say it.  I’m past worrying about disappointing anyone.  Like I’ve said before, you can care about people and ultimately not care if they disagree with you.  Political people need to learn this as soon as possible.

Wisdom isn’t always knowing what you should do, sometimes it’s understanding what you shouldn’t.

For instance, I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone.  Not fair to me, not fair to them.  It’s not about being “ready”, it’s about being “true”.  I’ve got enough fake in my life without that.  I don’t want to participate in today’s dating process.  It’s just not for me, never will be.  I’d rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t know what they want and it changes with each breath.

Knowing that doesn’t make being alone any easier. Sometimes I close my eyes for long enough while I’m awake that the last couple of years didn’t happen. You know, that moment when you get deja vu for a second and then it’s gone as quickly as it came. Redemption is as close as a heart change away.

What an absolute travesty this has been. It’s amazing how when a major piece of the puzzle goes missing, you can hardly tell what was there in the first place.

We live in a world where “How are you?” isn’t a question, it’s a greeting. I’ll never get over it. People really don’t want to know how you are, trust me.

And honestly, I’m sick of the optimists. You know, those people who nonchalantly skip into your life and say “It will all get better” without really knowing you, what you stand for or what you feel? Let’s get real. It might not be as sharp but there is no guarantee that means it’ll get better.

How many of you have heard it?  “Happiness comes from within.”

Bullshit.

People say stupid things when they’re trying to be profound. “You should smile more.”  Yeah, well maybe you should talk less?  You don’t know what I’m still going through. I’m sick of retail smiles and cliche phrases.  I’m not gonna smile just to do it.  That’s fake.  I’ve got enough fake in my life.  People befriend you with agendas nowadays, don’t you know?  The second you don’t agree on something, poof, the facade is over.

Happiness isn’t something I’m trying to find.  Consistency is.  You can be consistently anything, and I’ll be impressed.  Socially, I’m surrounded by fake.  Just float through life with no true commitment.  Nobody has any conviction anymore. “Just do whatever you feel” isn’t really gonna make things work.

Diagnose me all you want, but when I’ve given everything I have to something and it’s gone I’m not interested in doing it again. I’m not interested in this charade we all go through on the daily, either. I cannot for the life of me find a reason to persist. At this point it’s all just something to do.

I’m disconnected by fate and by choice.

I’m disconnected because it’s weird to tell people you care about them. I’m disconnected because doing nice things for others without an agenda doesn’t compute to people. I’m disconnected because everyone I’ve ever been close to has taken advantage of me.

I’m constantly being read by people that don’t speak my language.

There is no reward worth pursuing with risks like these.

So at some point you have to weigh what you really want from life, right? Well I’ve known for a few years, and now that’s out of the picture. I don’t want to 8-5 it until I’m gray (and that’s starting) unless there is a reason beyond self sufficiency.

I’d rather do it right and fail than do it wrong and tell myself I succeeded.

I don’t want to rewind, I just want something to happen. Anything, really. Until then, I’ll just be happy that I understand the silence.