When Lives Matter

When Lives Matter

Ferguson…Baltimore…Brooklyn…Charleston…Roanoke…Houston…and, like the Energizer Bunny™ the list just keeps going and going and going…but where?…

Of all of the social movements that have grown out of the events referred to above, perhaps the most moronic, the most divisive, and alas, the most racist, is the “Black Lives Matter” movement which has taken a strangle-hold of the political left, with the blessing of the most divisive president in the history of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. Like no other president in the last two hundred thirty-six years, Obama has done more to divide people along racial lines than the sum total of all his forty-three predecessors, combined.

It is not without reasonable notice that the President of the United States has much to say about the evils of racism when a black man is killed by a white man, but when a white man is killed by a black man, either nothing is said OR the blame falls on the gun, rather than the assailant. Given the fact that 95% of all black men killed by guns are killed by black men, the president is woefully silent with regards to black-on-black crime, instead blaming this violence on the lack of gun control laws. Never mind the statistical reality that gun violence is greatest in cities which have the strictest gun control laws enacted. Better to blame the weapon than the moral depravity of the assailant, and this is where the president’s moral authority is most lacking.

A president is supposed to lead ALL of the people- not just the people who support him, nor the people whose race with which he identifies, nor even the members of his own political party, but rather ALL of the people. To do otherwise is to engage in the malpractice of the politics of division, emulating the modus operandi of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro and other megalomaniacs who sought power in precisely the same manner- conquest via division.

Do black lives matter, really matter?

Well, of course black lives matter, just as white lives matter, as do yellow lives, brown lives and red lives, and yes, even blue lives matter, too. In fact, ALL lives matter- and anyone who does not agree that ALL lives matter is the REAL racist. While a Martin O’Malley can apologize after saying that all lives matter, and while a Bernie Sanders can surrender his microphone to a black-lives-matter protester, and while a Hillary Clinton can exploit the black-lives-matter movement as a means to harvest a particular block of voters, these politicians are only serving to make matters worse, by giving legitimacy to what, in reality, is a racist movement- one that implies that black lives matter more than other lives. To suggest otherwise is ironically deemed racist, by the politically correct, when actually the opposite ideology is true… All lives DO matter.

We don’t hear chants that police lives matter, despite the fact that twenty-three law enforcement officers have been killed so far, in 2015 alone. We don’t hear that Christian lives matter, despite the wholesale genocide of Christians in areas controlled by ISIS. We don’t hear that unborn lives matter, despite the millions of babies whose organs are being harvested, for profit, by Planned Parenthood and other such organizations. The hypocrisy is quite obvious- and revealing.

Whoever is elected the next president of the United States will unfortunately be placed into the unenviable position of having to clean up this horrible legacy of the Obama administration – a legacy which has set back race relations sixty years, through pitting one race against another during the term of his presidency. Any candidate who lacks the moral courage to insist that ALL lives matter, has no business being elected President of the United States, regardless of who they are, or the party from which they are nominated. Anyone who does not agree with this premise should own up to being exactly what they are- inherently racist and would serve this country best by surrendering their right to vote.

-Drew Nickell, 31 August 2015

(author’s note- Energizer Bunny™ is a registered trademark of Energizer Holding, Inc., manufacturer of batteries under the same trademarked name.)

© 2015 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

The Slippery Slope of Cultural Decline

The Slippery Slope of Cultural Decline

Nobody wants to own up to it, much less discuss it. Yet, it seems so tangible that we can almost smell it in the air, taste it in our mouths, and feel it in our bones. It is the slippery slope of cultural decline that is painfully obvious- painful to the point of denial, and obvious to the point of certainty.

Think about it.

Our culture- collectively speaking, that is- has gradually, yet undeniably, been in decline for the last century, to the extent one could almost plot it on a graph. As time has passed, the culture in which we live has regressed to the point where we are close, very close, to hitting the skids.

Case in point- Times Square…

In 1900, a woman exposing her stockinged ankle- her ANKLE, mind you- could be arrested, as many were, for indecent exposure. Today, while we shake our heads at such draconian, such Victorian, attitudes and standards of decency, in 2015 women are parading around the same Times Square baring their painted breasts, and charging money for posed pictures- albeit without any censure or citation. In fact, Sunday, August 23rd was declared “National Go Topless Day” encouraging women all over the country to bare their breasts, under the rationalization and contrived aegis of “equality”. For those of us that came of age in the 1970s, such an initiative would not have been possible in our wildest and weirdest fantasies, and for our parents who disdained women trotting about in public, sans brassiere, not even considered within the remotest realm of possibility.

Case in Point- Popular Music and Dancing-

With the arrival of the “Jazz Age” in the 1920s, replete with flappers donning hemlines above the knees for the first time, much was made at the time about the perceived indecency of the music and new dances, such as “the Charleston”. In the 1940’s, men wearing oversized “zoot suits”, jitterbugging to the tunes of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, caused an actual and deadly riot in Los Angeles. In the 1950s, television cameras would not show images of Elvis Presley’s hips due to the suggestive nature of his gyrations. In the 1960’s, parents of baby boomers bemoaned the mop-tops of the Beatles when they appeared on “the Ed Sullivan Show” and this quartet was wearing dress suits! Go to a dance club today, and one can easily find young people “grinding” one another in a way their parents would describe “dry humping” in the back seat of an automobile, a generation before. One only needs to compare the lyrics of Cole Porter to the lyrics often found in rap music to see a vast difference in what is seen as appropriate for public consumption.

These are but two examples of cultural decline. There are many more examples, enough to fill a book, but the point is sufficiently made, nevertheless.

It is indeed a vast dichotomy to consider that, given all of the technical, scientific, medical and informational advances made since the turn of the century, our culture has taken an absolute nose dive into the abyss of acceptable behavior- and this dive doesn’t seem to be abating anytime soon. Just as the arrival of the internet promised to bring all of us closer together, it did the polar opposite as people today seem to be more isolated from one another than ever before. There are even cases of young people having “texting dates’” where they sit across from one another, texting back and forth, without a spoken word. Call us crazy but if that had been the norm when we were dating back in the 1970’s, there would have been no romantic progression past the first date- not to this writer, in any event.

History tells us that, time and time again, societies which have experienced extended periods of cultural decline have presaged their own eventual self-destruction, and anyone who believes that contemporary cultural decline will not repeat this eventuality, knows neither their history nor their destiny. As William Shakespeare once wrote in act II, scene I of “the Tempest”, “what’s past is prologue”, and we are speedily sliding down the slippery slope of our own demise.

-Drew Nickell, 28 August 2015

©2015 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved.

When Too Far Is Too Far

When Too Far Is Too Far

(author’s note- full disclosure- The author initiated into Sigma Nu Fraternity at Virginia Wesleyan College in February of 1978 and then affiliated with the Chapter at James Madison University in the Fall of 1979)

Most of us have seen the pictures of bed sheets hanging from the balcony of a Norfolk, Virginia Sigma Nu fraternity house. One says, “Rowdy and Fun- Hope Your Baby Girl is Ready for a Good Time”, while another reads, “Freshman Daughter Drop-Off” with an arrow pointing to the house’s front door, and the third reads, “Go Ahead and Drop Off Mom, Too”…

In a word, lame…

When the world was young, and we were both young and stupid, it was a tradition for college men to sit on a wall at Virginia Wesleyan College and watch the arrival of freshman co-eds as they moved into campus dorms. Occasionally, a whistle was sounded or a comment was made as to the co-ed’s looks, but never anything “over-the-top” as has been expressed in these bed sheets. Sometimes, as a means to break the ice, and draw some degree of favor from the young women, we would offer to help carry in their belongings, which generally delighted their parents. In other words while, yes, what we did could be construed as “ogling” by today’s politically correct mores, it really was an expression of curiosity, given the fact that Virginia Wesleyan College was a very small school back in the 1970’s, and everyone on campus knew practically everyone else. Still, it could be argued that the college men were “checking out” the new arrivals…

So be it…We’ll plead guilty…

The difference is that, back then, we knew where to draw the line…

Thirty-eight years later, we marvel at how times have changed and, in many ways, we fear for the worse. It is indeed ironic that in today’s culture, where sexual harassment (that wasn’t even a term in the mid-1970s) is constantly talked about, written about, “policy-ed” about, etc., etc., that some undergraduate men think that such over-the-top displays, as evidenced at Old Dominion University, are funny….

In a word, they’re not….

The problem is maturity or, in reality, the lack of maturity on the part of the miscreants. Let’s face it. Young college students caught in the cusp between adolescence and adulthood can and will do stupid things- like the time this writer kicked a football some thirty-five yards through a second story, plate glass window. We went straight to the building and grounds superintendent, told him of our “career place-kick” and we were rewarded with a reprieve for being honest- THAT time. (We never made a second attempt). Still, it was pretty stupid, to say the least.

While it can be argued that the sheets hung from the frat house balcony, in and of themselves, caused no harm per se, the fact that they were hung at all speaks volumes about a general lack of respect that these fraternity members showed towards the young women, their parents, their school, their fraternity and, in truth, themselves. While suspending the fraternity chapter (as opposed to the actual guilty parties) may seem a bit draconian, the school’s president and the national fraternity were correct in bringing swift action against the chapter, which has besmirched college fraternities, in general, and Sigma Nu, in particular.

We would ask every young man entering college today that he be mindful of the way he treats the opposite sex, and that he would do well to remember his own sister, his mother and, looking ahead, his daughter as well, when expressing himself. Never would the ‘golden rule” have a more fitting place than in such a situation.

So, to our fraternity brothers, we’ll simply say, “Grow up and act like men- REAL men…Otherwise, your alumni are going to have to pull out the proverbial paddle and tan your hides!”

-Drew Nickell, 25 August 2015

©2015 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

Populism Reincarnated- The Rise of the Anti-Politician

Populism Reincarnated- The Rise of the Anti-Politician

All of us should have seen this coming from some time back- cycle upon cycle of professional politicians promising one thing and, if not delivering the complete opposite, delivering nothing at all. While the balance of power has shifted to and fro, in both the White House and in the halls of Congress between two major political parties, very little has changed- and what has changed has been for the worse.

When taken to excess, moderation breeds mediocrity and the excessive constraints on free speech, illegitimately bred from the demands of political correctness, has strangled and suffocated political speech to the point of utter silence. The professional political class has been emasculated to the point of irrelevance and what do they have to show for it? An electorate whose trust in public service has reached an all-time low, and the vacuum that has thus been created has resulted in the rise of the anti-politician.

The anti-politician is the candidate who is deemed outside the political mainstream. On the left, a Bernie Sanders fits the mold of the anti-politician- a self-styled and self-identified socialist who wants to end free-market capitalism in toto. Sanders is Barack Obama on steroids and has capitalized (forgive the term) on the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party that came into fruition with the nomination of Obama in 2008. Elizabeth Warren also fits the mold, wanting to take this country to a place it would otherwise dare not go. The only difference between these two is that the former, Sanders, admits he is a socialist and is officially running for the Democratic nomination, while the latter, Warren, admits nothing and is not running- not yet, anyway. Warren is just one Hillary Clinton indictment away from tossing her hat into the ring, for she is smart enough to know that neither Sanders, nor Joe Biden, nor Lincoln Chafee, nor Martin O’Malley, nor Jim Webb, nor an indicted Hillary have the goods to   ultimately be elected president. Were she actually a Native American, instead of pretending to be one, her Native-American name might be “Waiting in the Wings” Warren.

On the other side, there are several anti-politicians vying for the presidency. Most talked about is Donald Trump, the real estate mogul who has a history of patronizing career politicians from both parties in order to do his bidding- and, bravely, he not only admits it, he brags about it, to boot. Ben Carson, a noted pediatric neurosurgeon, and Carly Fiorina, a former business executive, have virtually no political experience at all, but these two candidates have elevated their respective standings in the Republican Party at the expense of established politicians like Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Lindsay Graham. Despite what all agree was a very poor debate performance, “the Donald” has managed to keep his dominance of the GOP field intact, and has miraculously enhanced his numbers over establishment rivals like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the latter being the “outsider inside Washington” whose unforgiving conservative credentials account for his solid standing in a soon-to-be-shrinking field of seventeen wannabes.

While the reporting class (a.k.a. the mainstream media) and the political class (i.e. Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, et al) collectively wring their hands and gnash their teeth about the prospect of a Donald Trump grabbing the nomination, the growing legion of Trump supporters couldn’t care any less. They continue to fill stadiums which ensure that their candidate will get the attention he seeks. The same holds true for the leftist loons who believe in their hearts that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren can lead them to the promised land of a European-styled socialist utopia- despite the reality that Europeans who live in such socialist utopias do not view their countries as utopian- no, not by a long shot. Sanders and Warren are merely trying to grab the baton from Barrack Obama and run us further down the road into mediocrity, a road that Obama has paved quite thoroughly, here at home and around the world.

The moral to the story, and the message to the political class, is simply this- just keep screwing around with the demands of the people, while you continue to marginalize their message, and eventually, the people will marginalize the politician and cleave to the anti-politician, instead.

-Drew Nickell, 24 August 2015

© 2015 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

Impotency and the need for Viagra™

Impotency and the need for Viagra™

One day recently, at a church whose denomination will not be revealed, a children’s service was taking place. The children, all of whom were under ten years of age, sat in the front row pews while their parents were sitting in the pews behind. The pastor, as is done frequently, asked the children if any of them knew the meaning of the word “resurrection”. After a few moments, one of the children raised his hand and said, “I know if it lasts for more than four hours you need to see a doctor…” Predictably, the parents roared in laughter and the pastor was beet red with embarrassment, until he too doubled over in laughter.

Today we are bombarded with advertisements for medications which treat erectile dysfunction, but that is not the subject of this essay.

The impotence to which we reluctantly refer is the impotence of the GOP House and Senate leadership, whose all-too-tepid and milquetoast moderate stratagems are marginalizing what should be a party of opposition to the president. Ever since the House leadership went from Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Republican Speaker John Boehner, and ever since the Senate Leadership went from Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid to Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell- both amidst promises to curtail the president’s over-reach on a variety of issues- the Republican leadership has acted more like Democrat wannabes, than Republican leaders. Their reluctance to lead has caused Republican voters to collectively ask “Just who are these guys trying to impress- the mainstream media or their Democrat counterparts?” It would be nice if someone, ANYONE would take a hold of these two, by the collar, shake them and scream, “Grow a pair for Pete’s sake !”

ObamaCare? It’s still alive and kicking, despite promises to end this unpopular program. Executive Orders on amnesty? Nope, no action on this, either. Planned Parenthood defunding? Yeah, hurry up and wait ‘til September. It’s absolutely nauseating to see the lengths these two clowns will go to just avoid offending anyone- except their own party’s base, that is to say.

Now, even with a few but growing list of Democrats who are rightfully opposed to Obama’s farce of a “deal” with Iran, and an all-but-unanimous Republican opposition to this deal, the Senate leadership seems to be dithering on the issue while the House Speaker mumbles something about appearing to have the votes to object to, but not block, the worst foreign policy initiative ever put forth by a sitting US president, and one which will just as surely escalate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and practically ensure the destruction of Israel, if allowed to be implemented. This deal, as has been recently learned, provides for Iranian inspections of Iranian centrifuges and enrichment sites. Has someone lost their friggin’ mind (besides President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and the rest of what can laughingly be called a negation team) ?!?

If the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader can’t seem to (excuse the expression) “get it up” on this Iran deal, then the two of them need to step aside and allow others- ones who are capable of “getting it up” – to replace them at once. No “little blue pill” will help these two, but maybe, just maybe, if their constituents start flooding the telephone lines at the US Capitol, demanding immediate and swift action on this deal (not to mention Planned Parenthood defunding) someone up there will get the message and start acting like they “have a pair”, after all. Otherwise, the President will continue to laugh at their “floppy jalopies” as he continues to march this country down the road to irrelevance.

-Drew Nickell, 20 August 2015

(author’s note- Viagra™ is a trademark of Pfizer, Inc.)

©2015, by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

 

Term Limits- an Idea whose Time has Come

Term Limits- an Idea whose Time has Come

Term Limits banner

Would-be and wanna-be constitutional “experts” will take issue with this, but the time for the imposition of term limits has come and, is most likely, long overdue. Not since the twenty-second amendment was enacted into law in 1951, has the United States Constitution addressed the issue of term limits, and this amendment only addressed the presidency, limiting a president to two four-year terms. Nothing has been done to limit the terms of U.S. senators, representatives or, for that matter, Supreme Court justices. Doing so would require constitutional amendments- and, given the seemingly addictive nature of holding congressional office, such action would most likely have to be initiated through state conventions- thirty-seven of them to be precise. After all, what self-respecting Congressman or Senator would ever support anything that would limit his/her tenure in office?

The “Whorehouse on the Hill” (a.k.a. the U.S. Capitol), whose members on both sides are … okay… we’ll call it what it is… bribed …by well-connected “johns” (a.k.a. lobbyists) to do their bidding, are merely plying their trade in the halls of the Capitol and in their own offices. That is the narcotic that keeps these political prostitutes from wanting to relinquish their office. As much as we would all love to believe this bunch is motivated purely by public service, only the naïve would truly believe this. As evidenced by their own recent rulings, it is not unthinkable that such malfeasance has even made its way into the sacred halls of the U.S. Supreme Court and, given its proximity to Capitol Hill, this is not surprising because any city’s red-light district always has more than one house of ill-fame located within its confines. Sorry to say, but the only real difference between this area of DC and the red-light district in any large city is the architecture.

So without further ado, let us put forth the following four points, as an idea for discussion and consideration:

House of Representatives – Members should be limited to three two-year terms and then ineligible for returning to the House for six years, thereafter.

Senate- Members should be limited to two six-year terms, and then ineligible for returning to the Senate for sixteen years, thereafter.

Supreme Court Justices- Members should be limited to a single twenty-year term, and then ineligible to return for life.

Lobbying of any elected/appointed official, where an exchange of money or financial benefit is involved, should be henceforth deemed illegal, and punishable by imprisonment of no less than ten years, for both the lobbyist AND the elected/appointed official.

                                                                                         *                                   *

Such action would maintain the constitutionally-intended balance of power between the three branches of government, and would go far to clean up the cesspool that is our nation’s capital. Those aspiring to office would then be more likely to serve the nation’s interest, rather than lining the pockets of their pin-striped suits. Most importantly, we would be closer to that cherished idea of government of, by and for the people…

Any objections? …. Then write your congressman, as we are certain he/she will have plenty…much to our own chagrin and demise.

-Drew Nickell, 19 August 2015

© 2015 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved

Conservative vs Liberal and What it Means in 2016

Conservative vs Liberal and What it Means in 2016

Whether it is labeled “Conservative” vs “Liberal”, “Right” vs “Left”, “Tory” vs “Labour” or more ambiguously, albeit less accurately, “Republican” vs “Democrat”, it is shorthand for the eternal political struggle of one philosophy versus the other, as it relates to countries which allow partisan divides. History tells us how these determinations have been fluid during the last three centuries where people have had some level of say, more or less, in how their governments function. Political stances which at one time were labeled “Liberal” are now championed by the “Right”, and vice versa, and have been since the mid-twentieth century.

Since the 1960’s, these philosophies, generally speaking, have been static in that there hasn’t been much movement in how we define ourselves, politically. The anti-war, anti-establishment, socialist leanings of the 1960’s, finding root in the political “Left”, still reside in that arena, just as the pro-defense, pro-business, capitalist leanings of the 1960’s, finding root in the political “Right”, still reside in that arena, as well. In short, most who are old enough to have defined themselves as “leftist” in the 1960’s (and were honest enough to do so), would still find refuge in the political left, today. The reverse is equally as true.

What HAS changed is the degree to which the major political parties have shifted their respective “centers” when it comes to where they lie on the political spectrum. The Democratic Party which exists today is much more “leftist” than it was in the 1960’s, while the Republican Party is far less “rightist” today, as compared to where they used to be when Ronald Reagan left office in 1989.

What has ALSO changed is how individuals define themselves in terms of political affiliation, with fewer Americans identifying themselves as “Democrat” or “Republican” than their forebears did a generation ago. A higher percentage of people in the United States, today, classify themselves as “Independent” than ever before- reflecting a growing dismay with political parties, generally, and have given rise to the “anti-candidate”, most notable in the candidacies of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and, to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz, all of whom are basing their campaigns on common themes of being “outsiders” to the establishment politicians centered in Washington, DC. Such a trend has also impacted voter participation overall, with a generally downward slide in voter participation since 1960.

So, how does one determine whether they are “conservative” or “liberal” in the lexicon as it is generally used in today’s parlance? Generally speaking, it is this:

A “Conservative” generally advocates the rights of the many over the rights of the few- be they social issues, foreign policy issues, immigration issues, legal issues, and economic issues. The Republican candidate who can best tap into these advocacies will be best suited to encourage their party’s turnout. In short, this will not be Jeb Bush.

A “Liberal” generally advocates the rights of the few over the rights of the many- be they social issues, foreign policy issues, immigration issues, legal issues, and economic issues. The Democratic candidate who can best tap into these advocacies will be best suited to encourage their party’s turnout. In short, this will not be Hillary Clinton.

While Mr. Bush and Ms. Clinton can still win their respective party’s nominations, such nominations will no doubt leave their party’s rank and file “un-plussed” and will encourage either a third-party run, low voter turnout, or both- all of which will generally favor the Democratic nominee over the Republican nominee, as no third party candidate will ever get the requisite 270 electoral votes necessary to win.

Having said this, in such a contingency whereby no candidate is able to amass the 270-vote threshold necessary to win the election will throw the election into the House of Representatives for the Presidency, and into the Senate for the Vice Presidency, with each state’s delegation having one vote apiece, which presumably would elect a Republican, given the current balance of power in those two chambers.

Despite who wins, rest assured that the new President will have an extremely difficult time pulling together a country as divided as is the United States, today. With all of the current challenges Americans face in a fast-changing world, it will require a rare breed, indeed, to successfully lead this country out of quagmire in which we now regrettably find ourselves…all of which can only lead to one question- Just who is crazy enough to want THAT job? …to be continued…

-Drew Nickell, 17 August 2015

© 2015 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved