Here’s President Obama’s self-absorbed response to Mr. Trump’s self-absorbed bombas-ticary.
Assuming you don’t have 25 minutes to spend on the above video, I’ve done my best to clarify the arguments below.
Mr. Trump is arguing that
A – American leaders need to use the label “Radical Islam” in order to stop terrorism.
B – Implicit to Mr. Trump’s argument is the argument if we don’t label the enemy accurately (know who/what the enemy is) then we cannot possibly defeat the enemy.
C – If we don’t elect Mr. Trump as president, then no one will say “Radical Islam.”
A + B + C =
D – Without using the label “Radical Islam,” we cannot defeat the enemy (whatever the enemy is).
Since B and D are the same, then Mr. Trump is using circular reasoning. All Mr. Trump has actually argued is, “Without me, we cannot defeat the enemy.”
In response, President Obama is arguing that
A – If we use the label “Radical Islam,” we don’t really mean the adjective “radical”. In other words, if we say “Radical Islam,” people only hear “Islam.”
B – Extremists successfully recruit new extremists by telling the lie to young Muslim men that the West believes Islam is the enemy.
C – If the number of extremists grows, we cannot defeat the enemy.
D – If he were to say, “Radical Islam is the enemy,” then he’d be doing the recruiting for the extremists (ISIL/ISIS).
A + B + C + D =
E – If we use the label “Radical Islam,” we cannot defeat the enemy (whatever the enemy is).
Since C and E are the same, then President Obama is likewise using circular reasoning. All President Obama has actually argued is, “Without me, we cannot defeat the enemy.”
In sum, Mr. Trump believes we must use the label “Radical Islam” to defeat the enemy and President Obama believes we must NOT use the label “Radical Islam” to defeat the enemy. But each man clearly believes that without him, the enemy cannot be defeated. Can we agree that besides being self-absorbed and redundant, their argument is depressing?
For a different, encouraging argument, try mine.
I am arguing that,
A – I wanted to fight or I did fight terrorism (Wait. Terrorism? Who are we kidding? We’re at war with Allah) with violence from Sept. 11, 2001 until March 1, 2012.
B – It’s now 2016. 4 years after stepping off the violent path, it is apparent that terrorism (Allah) is still a growing threat.
C – Terrorism (Allah) cannot be defeated by violence because it is an idea.
D – Only ideas can defeat ideas.
E – Due to internal inconsistencies not much different than President Obama and Mr. Trump’s circular reasoning, neither naturalism, nor deism, nor Buddhism, nor scientism, nor atheism, nor Mormonism, nor Tom Cruise-ism, nor patriotism, nor nationalism, nor globalism can defeat terrorism (Allah).
A + B + C + D + E =
F – Christianity’s Triune God, in all of His mystery (tell me again, how was Jesus fully human and fully divine at the same time?), in all of His reality (the concrete resurrection of Jesus as proclaimed by the New Testament writers and its subsequent 2000 year witness of manifest grace) is the only idea that can defeat terrorism (Allah).
In other words, A + B + C + D + E =
F – We can defeat terrorism (Allah). And we can defeat terrorism (Allah) without me! We just need to submit ourselves to the will of Christianity’s Triune God.
In sum, my argument (Christianity’s argument), unlike Mr. Trump and President Obama, is, “Without me, the enemy can be defeated”–emphasis on “the enemy can be defeated” and “without me.” There is hope people. His name is Jesus.
Do you see?
The fact that it ultimately isn’t surprising is what proves that we all would have predicted it. I just can’t stop thinking about Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigrants. The idea of freedom of religion as one of the greatest achievements mankind has ever bestowed upon itself was so ingrained in me as a child that I cannot help but wonder how the country that guarantees this freedom is now fascinated by a possible presidential candidate who brings into the legal realm religion. And do not get me started on the fact that other candidates are rebuking him via their–I’m sure–personal social meeja accounts. Ooo, scary.
I wrote about this once before, but it seems timely to bring the issue back to the front. In an odd turn of events, I have had the pleasure of attending undergraduate courses in two different decades at two different colleges. Within the liberal arts departments at least, the theme of my two experiences or the ultimate goal of American universities seemed to be Holocaust prevention. Specifically, the history and social science departments spend tremendous time and energy explaining how something as horrific as the Holocaust could even occur in generally civilized society. The Stanford Prison Experiment. The Milgram Experiment. We’re taught about these social experiments which were conducted after the war ended and even then–in a controlled setting–they had to be administratively stopped because things got so out of hand. Furthermore, to illustrate just how fully these experiments permeate our culture, a movie (not the first) was released earlier this year called, ta da, The Stanford Prison Experiment about the very same thing. The professors teach these lessons under the guise that if only we prove scientifically that people are violence-prone sheep, then people are not violence-prone sheep. To me the experiments have only proven that another holocaust is very possible.
And this whole discussion illustrates the problem with the progressive/liberal/leftist worldview that dominates academia and therefore society. (Yes, I’m lumping Trump–a republican–in the group.) Philosophically, quantum-something-or-other-ly, and really, there actually only exists the present. So if you do wrong in the present, in hopes of improving the future, then you can’t escape that you are doing wrong. But Trump wants to do wrong by banning Muslims. Only for a short time, though. Until things get better. And the President wants to do wrong by stopping the sale of guns today, not because he has any evidence that this stoppage will stop gun violence today, but because maybe it will curb it in the future. The trouble is that it is wrong to make a legal decision based on religion. The trouble is that it is wrong to disarm a nation. These things are wrong. They were wrong a couple hundred years ago, they are wrong today, and they will be wrong in the future. By wrong, I don’t mean these two notions go against trending political correctness, I mean they are wrong. Just wrong. Google it if you have to. Wrong.
The conservative, on the other hand, strives to do right today. And the conservative recognizes that one measure of righteousness is its practical, predictable consequence of more righteousness. I, as a man who loves his ability to be a Christian without being a martyr, won’t support a man running for government office who wants to use religion as a legal definition because I don’t want to be around when he changes his mind regarding which religions are good and which ones are bad. I, as a veteran (which means I’ve seen first-hand how people with guns are sheep), don’t want the government to be the only one with assault/combat weapons because I can plainly see that if the government has all the guns, then the government has all the guns! My pink body explodes when shot. And given my disdain for authority, guess who gets shot first?
Even the event of the Holocaust itself was based in liberalism/progressivism. Life will be better in the future if we do this action today. How about we try “Life will be better today and in the future if we do this act today”?
Ah, but it doesn’t matter. Many of you (obviously it’s you. I know it’s not me.) love progressives. Obama, Trump, Clinton, the whole lot of them. You and I are very similar in that we don’t care about politics and don’t have time to get involved. Where you and I differ is that you are going to vote for the lesser of two evils. You are going to cast a vote under your name that will have the effect of taking one more step towards our asking, “Who would’ve thunk it?” during whatever atrocity America (that’s you and me) is bound to commit before too long if this dream of a better future holds.
Looking for a call to action? Here it is. Don’t vote for people you don’t want to hold office. That might mean not voting. Or that might mean voting for people who won’t win. Either way, we’re at the point in history where instead of admitting, “I didn’t want to waste my vote so I picked the better of the two,” we can declare, “I didn’t vote for this fool.” Not voting is voting.
Happy New Years people.
Black People does not exist. Black People is not an organization. Black People has no leader. Black People has no agenda. Black People has no logo. Black People is not looking to increase its membership. Black People has no bank account. Black People has no buildings.
Black People does not hate White People. Black People does not believe in looting. Black People does not encourage lawlessness. Black People does not teach its young members to ignore policemen. Black People does not fear for its life.
Black People does not align itself with views held by Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, or Bill Cosby. Black People does not have a dress code. Black People does not believe the dream is deferred.
Black People is not responsible for Ferguson. Black People does not support Michael Brown’s family. Black People is not angry at Darren Wilson. Black People is not angry, period. That’s because there is no Black People.
You may wonder where Black People came from if it does not exist. You may be curious and ask, “Did Black People ever exist?” The answer is irrelevant to the universal goal. The goal is to get there. And no, there will never be defined more clearly than as an abstract place that I want to arrive at safely–with you.
The only way to get there is together. It’s the slogan of this blog. It is by no means an original concept. Air Force pilots and flight crews say it in the negative or inverse, well, they say it this way: “You don’t crash in compartments.” It is a stark reminder that aircrews use to eloquently express the concept if you know something is wrong with the flight and choose to let an outside pressure–real or perceived–prevent you from sharing the information and consequently the aircraft crashes, you die too. In this case, the mechanical problem is the widespread belief of a falsehood–that Black People is a real thing.
Crew, Black People does not exist. This has been true for some time, but it is now clear that the safe landing of this flight depends on you believing it. Black People does not exist. There is no Black People. Believe it.
1. First, nobody likes people who try too hard. And a good eye-catching headline, such as, “Did Michael Jackson Secretly Confess to Janet That He Was Guilty?” or my favorite one from LinkedIn of late, “10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job in 2014”, these types of headlines that really beg the reader to point-and-click reek of strong cologne before a big date. Rather than trying too hard, it’s better if you try just the right amount.
2. Second, your reputation is worth more than the ad revenue generated by clicks. And readers often feel let down when they discover (again) that Michael Jackson didn’t confess anything to Janet, and that there is not one good reason, let alone ten, to quit working in 2014. After time, people will question your integrity and motivations.
3. Third, and finally, the most enticing headlines are always one mistake away from pissing readers off.
“This is the last transmission we received sir,” General Moberly informed the President.
“I feel so immature, but if you must know, my last thoughts here are of the ending of the most recent War of the Worlds film. The one with TC. You know the part I’m talking about, right? The part when nature does what man couldn’t do. Yep, that’s what I’m thinking about right now. It’s kind of funny really. Three nine-month one-way trips to a distant planet. Three successful landings. And we’ve been here for six years, nearly thriving. All twelve of us. And now this.
“No, it’s not martians that are going to wipe us out. No, it’s not bacteria. No, it’s not a lack of supplies. What’s killing us is an asteroid that’s arriving in a few minutes. Of course, it’s not going to hit us directly. Instead of a nice clean death, we’re being told that we’ll see it, feel the Mars shake beneath our feet, and then within minutes the aftermath of debris and shock-wave will rip apart everything we’ve worked so hard to build. First, the dust will erode the domes, then our suits, then our skin, and finally our bones. Apparently the cosmos doesn’t like us humans squatting wherever we damn well please. Well, I say fuck the cosmos. Sorry ma. But whoever’s listening needs to know that everyone here knew the risks and is content with this end. Don’t stop exploring. You can’t let this change anything.
“Okay, this is it. Wow. It’s so bright. I didn’t expect it to be for another two-minutes. I’m sorry for everything! I don’t want to die!”
“Is that it?” asked the President, “Everyone’s dead? The base is destroyed?”
“Well, then. It seems to me there’s only one thing to do,” the President continued.
“What’s that sir?”
“We’re going to honor their wishes. Get me NASA. And schedule a press conference. We’re going to Mars.”
To the Victims of the Aurora Theater Shooting:
“If I had my way they’d take metal altogether out of this world. Every blade, every gun,” says Natalie Portman’s character in the classic film “Cold Mountain.” Maybe I’m just a sucker for movies, but when I watch that one–and that scene in particular–an “Amen!” or “Preach it!” escapes my lips before I know it. I can only imagine that you feel the same way.
I’m writing this letter to you today because I want you to know that I do not believe a letter like this is what is needed at the moment. But, at the moment, I have to write a letter for a class and I wanted to write to you. I’ve been taking undergraduate courses in writing recently, and a large part of writing is rhetoric. Rhetoric is the term used to describe the tools writers use to affect their audience. I’m told a writer uses rhetoric—these tools–to persuade people to agree with him. Sometimes the use of rhetoric isn’t deliberate, sometimes it is very deliberate. Like I said, though, I don’t believe words, especially not the words on this page, can help me persuade you to believe anything at the moment. “So why the letter?” you may ask.
As you know, Colorado, in large part because of the tragic events of July 20, 2012, is currently in the spotlight of a larger movement across the nation. I’m talking, of course, about the state legislature’s recent revisit to its gun policy. There’s no denying that without guns July 20th—more importantly, your lives–would never have been tainted by this unbearable act. Just the same, I can’t help but wonder if changes are being made too quickly.
Here’s what I’m proposing: For the last year I’ve been hosting a dinner series of sorts at my home. I’d like to invite you over to the one scheduled for July 20, 2014. If you can believe it, July 20th is my birthday. As July 20, 2012 approached I’d been excitedly anticipating the movie for a year, knowing it was coming out on my birthday. My brother can confirm that I bawled on the phone that morning as I heard the news. I had called him to discuss whether we should still see the movie that night. He was on I-70, driving to Denver from Kansas City so we could see the movie together as a birthday present. This July 20–July 20, 2014–I’m inviting you to a dinner at my home. The dinner will be a place where we will share ourselves. You don’t know me yet, but rest assured that disrespect has no place at my home. I want to know what you think, and I would like to share some thoughts with you as well.
So, what do you say? I have a little saying that I stole from the Oracle of another blockbuster trilogy: “The only way to get there is together.” I believe my time in the Air Force allows me to own this phrase as it’s essentially the positive way of saying, “You don’t crash in compartments.” I feel like you and I are separated by more than space, and I don’t think that’s necessary or valuable. Please contact me if you agree and would like to join me for an event that your presence will enhance substantively.
On Wednesday, in what can only be described as a stunning and devastating admission, GOP leaders took full responsibility for the recent controversy last weekend’s release of “Anti-Rape” underwear caused. The party, clearly in no position to risk alienating women voters, is yet again doing an about-face after choosing the wrong side of an issue. This time, however, the demand for an explanation has elicited an even more shocking revelation than simply owning up to having created the controversial AR underwear itself.
Speaking under anonymity, one leader shared, “Times are tough. The rules seem to be disappearing. We just care so much about America that we were willing to try anything. We made a mistake.”
Karen, a local feminist leader, went so far as to claim, “The creation of AR underwear is the single largest setback in the struggle for gender equality. Ever. Rape is not a woman’s fault. Period. Historians will record this as the straw that broke the GOP’s back.”
The details are still sketchy, but we now know that the GOP is, in fact, the creator and sole financial backer of the AR underwear. Constructed out of blade-resistant materials, the AR underwear is nearly impossible to remove without knowing the combination to a special locking mechanism in the waistband. Had the public blindly accepted them at face value the story might have ended there. Unfortunately for Republicans everywhere, the public didn’t accept the underwear. Public pressure mounting, one of the creators finally came forward with an explanation yesterday.
A high-ranking party member confessed, “You want to know the truth? The truth is we need liberals to stop breeding. That’s it. It’s a numbers game. To achieve this, we created a ridiculous pair of underwear that can’t be removed. Everyone involved loved it–until we realized we still needed to give liberal women a reason to wear them.” Clearly agitated, the informant then bemoaned, “Liberals are so damned captivated by the infantile desire for a life without consequences that we thought this “Anti-Rape” marketing campaign might be a winner. Boy were we wrong.”
The informant further lamented, “Everyone knows we’re desperate. We were thinking of our children. We had to try something to put them back in the majority. Regrettably, it looks as though this will be the final nail in our great party’s coffin.”
In what seems little more than a swan song, the informant assured this writer that all remaining GOP congressional and senate salaries will be donated to organizations dedicated to reducing sexual assault in America.
I don’t like President Obama. Can I still admit that even though in doing so I might offend a “sizable group of people?”
Here in the purple state of Colorado, expressing this opinion–my opinion–gives me pause. It can be difficult to tell if I am speaking to someone who agrees or vehemently disagrees. Discovering the answer is always an adventure.
Here’s why I don’t like the president: The president pretends to not know his own influence.
From the moment he took office, it was made known that he would be a very accessible president. “Ask him anything and he’ll tell you,” they said. The unthinking American loved his openness. His openness surely attracted positive popular sentiment. But make no mistake, it is a very calculated move on the president’s part. Think about it. What would happen if your boss started voicing that he or she really liked a particular camera…right around Christmas time? What would happen if your boss started describing how much he or she disliked the color blue? In my experience, in the first situation the boss would likely be given that camera as a gift at the company party; in the second, the color blue would be avoided in the office where possible.
The credible boss, the boss with high character understands the economics of his or her language. He or she understands that there are only so many hours in a day and many things have to be attended to. The boss knows, therefore, that he or she cannot afford to communicate for forever. They have to offer their guiding leadership eloquently, and rely on an able-bodied workforce to carry out the plan. This happens every day. Even the most micro-managing boss has limited time–thankfully–to communicate all that he or she wants to.
Likewise, when a president offers his opinion on something, it starts a chain reaction. Decisions are made based on the opinion. Take this together with the way our country’s political sphere has unfolded–the president being viewed as newsworthy celebrity rather than public servant–and there is a problem.
Bob Costas attempted to use his power to persuade the Washington Redskins owner to act. So far, it has been ineffective. Bob Costas is a virtual nobody. He is a talking head. Generally a pleasant to listen to talking head, but he is as effectually powerless over another man’s actions as the next man. The same is not true for the president. No matter what he’d like us to believe, it is not just “his opinion.” And he knows it. But he pretends not to. He pretends like he really is one of us. He isn’t. It’s categorically impossible. The us he is attempting to fit in with know their place.
For example, I know that this blog will have no appreciable effect beyond providing momentary pleasure for no more than 10 people. It’ll receive 1-2 ‘likes’, if that. More likely, it will irritate some people and be a stumbling block to my professional possibilities as I’m publishing it on LinkedIn.
Don’t buy this argument? Just wait. History will prove my point. Like the boss receiving a camera for Christmas, the Redskins will change their name. When they do, to deny the president’s influence will strain even American credulity.
In the end, I really don’t wonder what President Obama thinks about me. I just want him to stop pretending that his opinions are inconsequential. I want him to stop using his limited time to weigh-in on ridiculously un-presidential matters. I want “more work, less talk.” Is that too much to ask for?
Do you listen-in on conversations? Do you hear the same things I do? Do you hear yourself talk? If, like me, you answered “yes” to these three questions, do you ever continue down the rabbit role and analyze the conversations?
42 words and a few minutes ago I intended to write, essentially, a sermon about how all that each of us do is talk ourselves up, a sermon about how all we really say is, “I know better than (fill in the blank).” That seems silly now. Instead, I’d like to simply share.
By now, most of you have guessed correctly that I am an American thirty-two year old white male. A constant criticism I have received most of my life is that I am a know it all. While I was a hot-shot special operations Air Force pilot, I happily let my profession answer the accusation.
I’ve been without my proof-is-in-the-pudding profession for a year and a half.
How do I answer the criticism now? Yesterday I took the “integrity test” at a Labor Ready storefront in hopes of being able to work for pay soon. The fella next to me asked the receptionist if he could use his “dee-ooh-see card” as his second form of identification. Unfamiliar with whatever he just said, I looked towards him. He was presenting his wallet for her to see. In his wallet behind the protective plastic, he had a Department of Corrections ID card. The picture was of him in the orange jumpsuit that America loves to see on TV.
Until yesterday I would laugh really hard each time a friend wittily observed that too many people are “educated beyond their intelligence.”
Yesterday, beginning with the alternating tobacco/marijuana smell that infused the air as I waited with others for the receptionist to return from a break and ending with the sight of the orange jumpsuit, I confirmed what I’ve secretly suspected all along: I don’t know shit.
I do like to write though.
The last time he unquestionably believed something because of the proponent’s position in society he was a child. This is not because he thought position, rank and/or authority were easily gained, but because he wanted to keep ever sharp his ability to think for himself.
And because there is that point, increasingly difficult to identify over time, when trust becomes foolishness–itself only a few steps away from danger.