Browsing Tag: politics

    Miscellany

    Nobody Has a Monopoly on What’s Good/Right

    March 24, 2013

    good-idea-lightbulbMy son recently listened to a speaker at his high school who was there to talk to the whole school about boys, girls, love, sex and relationships … and what all of those things mean to teenagers. His message, which Cari and I learned about by attending a two-hour+ parent session the night before, is essentially to encourage kids to choose abstinence.

    An acquaintance of mine tweeted his opposition to the presentation on the grounds that a “faith-based organization” shouldn’t be presenting to kids in a public school.

    Nevermind that the speaker was brought in by the student body association, not by school officials.

    Nevermind that the same speaker has also spoken at every other high school in the area, except for one that only opened four years ago.

    And nevermind that the speaker doesn’t appear to represent a “faith-based organization.” There’s no mention on the speaker’s website about God, faith, spirituality, religion, Jesus, or anything related to any kind of “Christian agenda.” There was also no mention of any of those topics in the two-hour+ presentation that I heard.

    My acquaintance didn’t really have a clue about the content of the presentation, aside from what the local newspaper wrote about in an article that mentioned how some students didn’t want to attend because the ideas seemed “outdated” and didn’t take LGBT students’ needs into account.

    Despite his ignorance about what was actually being shared with students, my acquaintance said it was a “slippery slope” for this kind of material to be presented to public school kids because it reflects “non-secular” thinking.

    WTF?

    We shouldn’t talk to kids about the ramifications of their sexual choices, and encourage them to make smarter choices, because it sounds Christian?

    Should we just accept that today’s teens are gonna screw around willy-nilly before they’re emotionally ready, and not talk to them about the life-changing ramifications of that? Is that a Good Thing?

    Is it good that kids are taking nude photos of themselves and texting them to their boyfriend/girlfriend, then getting tossed in jail and labeled as sex offenders because they’re participating in child pornography?

    And that they’re taking these nude photos and posting them online for the whole world to see as revenge after the boy/girlfriend breaks up with the other?

    Are these Good Things?

    Is it good that teenage girls are getting pregnant and either having abortions or giving birth to babies while they’re still children themselves?

    Families are getting destroyed by this. Kids are killing each other and/or committing suicide over the bullying, threats and revenge that often accompany teenage sexual activity.

    And we shouldn’t have a speaker in a public school to talk about an alternative lifestyle — i.e., abstinence — because he and/or his message sounds Christian?

    I’m sorry, but shame on anyone that thinks we should keep an important message from our kids for a myopic reason like that. And I’m not writing this to call out my acquaintance; we already ironed things out. It’s all good. I’m writing this because there are way too many people that believe the same thing.

    As a Christian, I’m sick of being told that my beliefs don’t have a place in the public discussion, in public schools, in general conversation.

    If we’re going to keep Christian-sounding messages and lessons out of public schools, then

    • we can’t teach our kids to respect their parents, because that’s one of the Ten Commandments
    • we have to teach them the value of violence, revenge and how to use guns, because “turn the other cheek” is a New Testament thing
    • we can’t teach them to take care of the poor and care for the less fortunate, because those are key themes of Christian life

    Is that really how we want to educate our kids? Avoid any message that might sound Christian or like it’s tied to a faith-based organization?

    Today’s teenagers are dealing with stuff that no one in my generation could’ve imagined. They need more information, not less, and if the information can help or save even one kid, it’s a Good Thing … and it doesn’t matter who the information comes from.

    This is the problem with our society today. Too many people think that they have a monopoly on what’s Good/Right.

    They don’t.

    This is why I hate the two-party political system and what it’s done to our national discourse. Republicans think any idea from a Democrat is bad, and Democrats think any Republican idea is bad.

    We need more Good Things and Good Ideas in this world and it shouldn’t matter where they come from — Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists, people of any color or sexual orientation … you name it.

    Your tribe doesn’t have a monopoly on what’s good or right.

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

    Miscellany

    A McGee Family Election Night Tradition (AKA, Wolf Blitzer Is A Dork)

    November 6, 2012

    vote-republican-democratIt’s about 2:30 pm right now on election day. In just a couple hours, one of my favorite McGee traditions will resume after a long break: Cari and I will sit down in front of the TV, with Outback Steakhouse take-out food in front of us, and we’ll settle in to watch many, many hours of live national election coverage.

    It may sound boring, but we have an absolute blast together … perhaps primarily because we’re as interested in watching (and mocking) the news coverage as anything.

    (That part of the fun predates our marriage, even, when we would watch live “breaking news” coverage on Los Angeles television and make fun of folks like Harvey Levin, who famously shouted “GET TO HIGHER GROUND!” repeatedly during some serious flooding.)

    I think tonight’s tradition began with the 2000 election, which was the first one after Outback Steakhouse opened up in Tri-Cities. We didn’t have nearly the amount of good restaurants in town then that we do now, so it was an easy choice to grab some take-out food and bring it home. We’ve followed this tradition each national election since, and I think even on most of the smaller election years, too.

    That first year, I remember us both trying to stake awake all night while votes in Florida were counted and re-counted. I outlasted Cari and stayed awake until about 2 am, I think, and the election was still undecided. As it would remain for the next 36 days.

    But probably our favorite moment happened last time out, in the 2008 election.

    We were watching CNN and Wolf Blitzer was leading their coverage, with a cadre of like a thousand analysts on set, too. Wolf was leading an interview — don’t recall who it was, maybe one of the party spokespersons or something like that — and he fired off a question that I also don’t remember. Just as the interviewee began to answer, Wolf interrupted with this:

    “I’m sorry, we have to cut away right now. But this is a great question and we’ll get back to it later.

    Yes.

    Wolf Blitzer asked a question then complimented himself on how good the question was!

    To this day, Cari and I often ask a question and then announce that our question is great. Cuz we’re kinda dorky. Like Wolf Blitzer.

    Here’s hoping tonight’s tradition brings more fun moments like that…..

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

    Miscellany

    Two-Party Politics Sucks

    October 8, 2012

    vote-republican-democratI agree with this:

    We are a two-party system — not by law, but because the Democrats and the Republicans have seized the mechanisms of government. They use their control to maintain power, and other parties can’t compete.

    It’s from a Newsday article that I think is worth reading no matter what your political affiliation is.

    I was out of town during the first Presidential debate last week. Here at home, my wife apparently made a comment during the debate wondering how anyone could still be undecided. To which my son replied that he thinks I’m still undecided.

    And he’s pretty much right. I have no idea who’ll get my vote for president … or even if I’m going to cast a vote in that specific race. I’m decided on this: I can’t vote for Romney (don’t trust him, don’t think he’s independent enough for me) and I can’t vote for Obama (has done nothing in four years).

    I’d like to learn more about the other candidates, specifically Gary Johnson — the Libertarian candidate mentioned in that Newsday article — but it ain’t easy to compare other candidates when they’re not allowed to debate the Republican and Democratic candidates.

    We need a legitimate third party. More importantly, we need a system that gives a third party the chance to become relevant.

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

    Miscellany

    WA Primary Voting Record

    July 29, 2012

    vote-buttonJust finished completing my ballot in Washington’s primary election, which is August 7th. We vote by mail in this county, so “election day” voting isn’t what it used to be … something that my wife doesn’t particularly like. I’ve never felt strongly either way about voting in person versus voting by mail, but maybe that’s just me.

    In any case, here’s how I voted by party breakdown:

    • Republican candidates: 5
    • Democratic candidates: 3
    • non-partisan race: 1

    So that’s 55% Republican votes and 33% Democrat votes. That’s about typical for me. (I would’ve guessed a 60/40 split if asked.)

    I didn’t vote in every race on the ballot. It’s a primary and, as was the case four years ago, we have a ton of people on the ballot including some real loonies. So, no, I didn’t bother to research every race and every candidate. I don’t think it’s right to cast an uninformed vote, so I skipped some of the races.

    But it’s still good to vote … even if I’m doing it from the comfort of my desk and dropping it in tomorrow’s mail.

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

    Miscellany

    I Would Totally Vote For This, Too

    January 26, 2012

    Me, too. Just as I said almost two years ago:

    If it were up to me, we’d toss out the president and every member of both houses of Congress. Tomorrow. And we’d start from scratch with people who want to lead a country, not people who want to win an election.

    Miscellany

    Open Letter to my Twitter Friends re: Politics

    January 7, 2012

    twitter-logo-squareDear Friends That I Follow on Twitter,

    If I unfollow you sometime this year, please don’t be offended. It will probably have nothing to do with our friendship and everything to do with politics.

    I respect you and your opinions on politics, candidates, elections, and so forth; I’m just not interested in hearing about them on Twitter. I’m not trying to stop you from bashing or making fun of Obama, Romney, Santorum or any other candidate — you’ve every right to do that. I just don’t want to see/hear it. There’s way too much political noise out there already, and I don’t care to suffer through even more of it on Twitter.

    This is not a threat!

    I’m seriously not posting this to make anyone quake in their boots about possibly being unfollowed; why should anyone care whether I follow them or not?!? Plus, chances are very good that I’ll follow you again when the election is over, just like I did with many friends in 2008 and 2010.

    I’m posting this because, when I did that in both of those years, I got more than a few angry emails/tweets from friends about being unfollowed. I’d like to avoid that this year, or at least be able to say “Hey, I’m sorry, but here’s why…” and point them to this post.

    Again, it’s not about you. It’s about politics.

    Thanks for understanding. Still friends. But if I unfollow, you know why. And I’ll see you in 2013.

    Matt