The Road is all the Rage

I’m not sure what the founding fathers would’ve thought about some of our modern problems. I’m confident, however, they would find much of it tragic.

Many of us have probably already heard the agonizing story of a 4-year old little girl who got hit by a stray bullet fired into her car. I have a 3-year old daughter myself, and the story just breaks my heart to pieces.

My chief concern, however, is that the father, Alan Garcia, somehow won’t own up to his own culpability in the crime, and that the family will be forced to live the rest of their lives with at least a partial rationalization blaming it all on someone else.

Now, no amount of ugliness deserves or should warrant the taking of a life–we do, after all, have the freedom to express ourselves as we choose and shouldn’t have to reckon with potentially losing our lives or the lives of our loved ones in retaliation.

But lest we forget–or get caught up in the one-sided representation being promulgated in the news–the father had a substantial hand in his own daughters downfall. How?

From all reports, he “gestured” at the killer–a euphemism for any number of crude messages people convey with their hands–with extremely ugly meanings. Then he “swore at him,” or in other accounts, they “exchanged words.” Here again, ugliness perpetuates the rage–on both sides.

In a final effort to be unkind, all because he felt slighted at the driver’s original inconsiderate act, he “tried to run” him off the road, and was “driving crazy.” And this with his own innocent family in the car.

Now, I want to reiterate that there is absolutely no justification (obviously) for firing shots blindly into another vehicle. And it’s clear that this father didn’t know who he was dealing with. For if he had, he would have known not to pursue the ugliness he was feeling. And he would have kept his family safe instead.

This is because the shooter had an aggressive, violent streak and had been found more than once on the wrong side of the law in similar circumstances.

But is this altogether the point of the story? Are we supposed to know about the background of any person we become angry with, before we act? Or should we “just let it go,” as one deputy indicated in the aftermath?

Those in the colonial age knew of and tried to practice a concept known as “Public Virtue.” It’s centers around the idea of being kind to those around us–somewhat akin to the golden rule.

If we were to return to this principle, we’d have fewer people calling one another ‘fools’, idiots’ or ‘jerks’. We’d have more people saying, “My bad,” and less expressing benighted thoughts born of malice.

I know it’s not always easy. Yesterday I was graciously allowed in line at a McDonald’s drive-thru. I thought it was so kind; I had been more than willing to wait my turn. Then someone got out of their car and walked toward mine with angry words for me. I found myself yelling back, not out of anger (at first), but just to explain my own justification over his rising voice.

But in retrospect, I could have let him have his say first. It would have been wiser. Seek first to understand, then to be understood, right?

What I want to say to this poor father is this: “Don’t let your grief and anger overshadow and blind you to your own blameworthy actions. Please don’t do this, or you chance injuring your remaining family anew. And you won’t be doing your beautiful daughter’s memory any justice.

“There were others in that car who saw and heard what you did–how you acted. Who lived the moment with you. If you hide behind the fact that the murderer was evil, and discard or attempt to hide any evidence of your own wrongdoing, you teach others that it’s OK to be ruthless and vicious to our fellow beings, just as long as you’re less so than they are to you.”

An eye for an eye just isn’t the way to live our lives in this day and age (it never was). And behaving so leaves it too difficult to see the road before us…


Thoughts on the Electability of Non-Politicians: Character Trumps Experience

David Frum, former special assistant to George W. Bush, has decided that Herman Cain can’t be president. And he tells us why in this CNN opinion piece.

Penguin LogicBut I beg to differ…

Oh, he does make some compelling arguments — at least for some people.

But Frum counts on the fact that We the People just won’t take the time, nor do we have the sophistication, to figure out what’s really being communicated. He thinks he can hide it (as do others, including the media) through the foggy logic of modern political argumentation that he employs.

Here’s the gist.

The crux of Frum’s argument is this: Cain hasn’t been in politics, so Cain can’t effectively run government.

Really…? [Continue reading]

The Protagonist of Primary Politics – And Other Fun Stories of Misadventure

Jon Huntsman, Jr.There are many thoroughbreds of character and honor who find stalls in our wonderful stable of Republican presidential candidates. But one stands above them all.

Just one man — a man of courage and conviction. One who sees the great contest for what it truly is. And today, this one man — the one with the finest breeding and most excellent, rigorous tutoring —

“called on his fellow candidates to join him in boycotting the [Nevada] debate and ‘avoiding typical hypocritical politics by paying lip service to New Hampshire, while campaigning in Nevada.'”

Oh the power! Oh the loyalty! Oh the humility of one who stands alone… [Cue the woeful, mourning strings and french horns]

Puh-leese! [Continue reading]

On Faith and Politics

Governor Mitt RomneyI don’t care much for the latest attempts to discredit Mitt Romney on the basis of his religious preferences.

From what I know, it wouldn’t have appealed to the founding fathers, either.

In a breaking story appearing at the end of last week on CNN’s Political Ticker, we once again hear that a few evangelical leaders seek to create a litmus test for the Presidency—and that according to one’s faith.

There are several problems with this… [Continue reading]

The Political Game – It’s a Sure Bet

Politics presents a very risky game of chance, but a game nonetheless. Trust me. Just like with counting cards you can practically always win.

MoneyConsider this. Barack Obama received record amounts of money during his 2008 campaign. But did you know that just four years earlier, the Bush campaign had set its own records in contributions during a presidential campaign?

By all accounts, Obama received most of his 2008 campaign cash through small donations. But PolitiFact checked that claim and found it to be false. Rather, it seems he accepted money from all comers.

With this in mind, it becomes genuinely amusing to witness the proposal for taxing the million-dollar-plus making members of our upper class. Why? Because many of those who will be taxed are those who put the President into office in the first place!

On the other hand… [Continue reading]

What Do We Want? How About Everything.

So many people are put off by the current state of the country, they’ve taken to public demonstrations in big cities across the land. They started in New York and are calling themselves “Occupy Wall Street.”

Like a page out of history, these demonstrations have the mien of some passionate peasant uprising, laying honorable siege to the oppressive nobleman’s castle.

But here’s the rub: Not even they are sure what they want to achieve.

In reality, more than anything, they just want their movement to gain enough steam so they can force everyone to begin a “dialog.” And they want that dialog to begin yesterday. [Continue reading]

Those Crazy Republicans and Their Campaigning Machines

Is George Washington rolling in his grave yet?

Though the rhetoric and spectacle of the most recent Republican presidential debates has died down a bit, it has left me thinking…

In watching the so-called “debates”, one almost gets the sense that a comedy of errors is taking place. Witness some of the following:

Everybody’s sniping.

  •  Michele Bachmann takes on Rick Perry‘s Executive Order mandating that very young girls be immunized against a disease associated with sexual activity. The only problem? It was voted down by the legislature and never took effect.
  • Or what about Rick Perry looking to smash Mitt Romney over the head with his “He’s been running [for President] for five and a half years” dig? As if. Romney was definitely out of the spotlight for most of that time, notwithstanding an occasional op-ed here and there. Not too egregious, but erroneous nonetheless. [Continue reading]