Supreme Court Decision – What’s Next?

SupremeCourt

It appears that no matter what the majority of the people in our country prefer or believe to be correct, the courts – in particular, the U.S. Supreme Court – are more in the business of making laws lately, than Congress. Consider that last year a key section of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Propostion 8 was also sent back to California, which ultimately led to the reinstatement of same-sex marriage in California. In a previous post I’d commented on the interesting fact that these two highly charged political and social issues were, at their inception, enacted with majority constituent votes. I’d also pointed out how what the majority of the people in California wanted was pushed aside in favor of what a very small minority wants.

I’m going to step out on a limb here and comment on my personal beliefs on homosexuality. Is it right or is it wrong? Is it natural or unnatural? Is it love, or is it disgusting. Is same-sex marriage the same as heterosexual marriage? I’ve stayed away from asking (and answering in my own opinion) these questions. Why am I willing to take the next step? I’m not a journalist, I am not employed as one, and I don’t postulate myself as such. I am a commentator, and the opinions and views I express herein are my own.

So, here goes my response to those questions: If you leave out religion, i.e.; The Bible, etc., then shouldn’t you also leave out the government? I personally believe that other than a perverse sense of pleasure, there is no direct or indirect benefit to society brought about through homosexuality. The mere act of a homosexual bonding implies there will never be procreation. Ok, so they can use technology and surrogates to have children, or they can adopt. People can also now receive near fully functional prosthetic limbs to replace lost ones, or take medication to control certain medical conditions that would otherwise kill them. Does that mean that we can now just throw caution to the wind and be reckless with our limbs or indulge in whatever activity it was that may have caused an illness we now have under medicated control? Certainly not. Just because an alternate method of conception is possible doesn’t mean that society should have to devolve into an unrecognizable blend of gender confusion, all for the empty pursuit of pleasure.

LGBT stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender.” Now, the words that matter in this context are: “tolerance,” “acceptance,” and “equality.” My purpose with this article is not to sound bigoted nor judgmental, but I honestly was raised by my parents to understand that homosexuality is just wrong. That was stronger than saying, “it’s just not right.” No, in this instance my folks were intensely engaged in teaching me right from wrong. In the “right” column: God, Country, Duty, and Honor – oh, and yes, Heterosexuality. In the “wrong” column: Anything demonic or “devil-worshipping,” Communism, anything that shirked responsibilities or duties, dishonesty – and that “other” thing – Homosexuality.

So I’m “old-fashioned” you might say. True – and my parents were not religious, so it had nothing to do with Biblical morality. It had to do with AMERICAN morality. I will not say anything bad about or to anyone who is LGBT because I do believe in every individual being held responsible for their own actions, and it does not fall on me to judge. I just don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to necessarily associate with people who live in this manner – whether they call it a lifestyle or they were “born this way.” I don’t really care. I’m not on the PC (Politically Correct) bandwagon; never have been, and never will be. I am, however, getting sick and tired of having all things PC shoved down my throat by others who claim to be “tolerant.”

I am irked beyond measure because my state, California, dragged its citizens through an insane and expensive process called a constitutional amendment, with Proposition 8. The discussions behind this amendment literally fragmented our society as a whole. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I firmly believe we have two countries living under one roof. Being as equally split a nation as possible, and just shy of being at war with each other, I’m convinced that two factions are fighting for control of the entire country. It seems to me that the Liberal side of things has got one up on the Conservatives: DOMA is out, ACA (Obama Care), and now Same-Sex Marriage, which is quickly encroaching every corner of our once great nation, are in.

My question is simple: when will the MAJORITY of the peoples’ voice have power again with their votes? When will we begin to stand up to the PC minority who have usurped our courts just to suit whatever their position is today?  As it stands, the entire electoral process has become a moot point, hasn’t it? Here is what I hold to be truth; The will of the MAJORITY of the people ought never be allowed to be overturned by a MINORITY of the people. Period.

What’s next Supreme Court? How about someone who wants to marry their dog, or their parrot? Sounds preposterous and far fetched, doesn’t it? So did same-sex marriage and open acceptance of homosexuality 30 years ago. How disastrous will our country be now that the “MINORITIES” have more political muscle and get their way over the MAJORITY? How about legalized incest? Maybe we’ll see “younger” brides – why not, if they really love one another? Why can’t all of these groups also have “equality?”

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — irrespective of what the REAL MAJORITY of the people want, we all know that he or she with the most money wins in a court case. What this has meant to us for quite some time is that the will of the majority will continue to be trumped by the will of the elitist and well-funded few.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy

Advertisements

The Will of The People vs. The Will of Some People

doma

Ok, so a key section of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Propostion 8 was sent packing back to California with no “real” legal standing – it is interesting that these two highly charged issues, both politically and socially, were originally enacted with majority constituent votes, and have now been pretty much dissed aside in favor of what a very small minority wanted.

Now, I’m not going to get into whether homosexuality is right or wrong, and whether same-sex marriage is right or wrong – there are plenty of other places to read about these issues where folks can either form an opinion or reinforce their existing stand on these issues. My beef today is with our system of “law-making.”

If you’re going to drag me through the intensely expensive process of putting together a consitutional amendment, as we did in California with Proposition 8, and open such a heavy discussion that it literally fragments our society as a whole — because, believe me, we have two countries living under one roof — we are as equally split a nation as possible, and NOT be at war with each other. Perhaps if we’d been this vocal during the Civil War, then maybe there would’ve been a lot less blood shed, who knows?

The point I want to address is simply this: Irrespective of what law is being put on the books, once the MAJORITY of the people have spoken with their votes, when did we begin to start overtuning laws via courts just to suit whatever the “losing” electorate’s position may have been? Really?!

So, let me get this straight, the way it works now is that if something gets voted in by the majority, the losing minority can “rally” the media, and the courts to overturn or repeal whatever it was the majority originally voted in. This, therefore, begs the question, what is the point of an election? I mean, if we’re just going to take everything to court when we lose at an election, then the entire electoral process becomes a moot point now, doesn’t it?

Look, both sides of this issue are super-charged and overheated about it – of this there is little doubt. When I read the blogs on the “right” there is the constant complaint about the “liberal” activist judges, and likewise, the “left” blogs equally deride those “right-wing” activist judges. So, who is right in all of this? That’s not for me to say, nor is it my intent with this blog post to delve into my own personal beliefs, which I hold to be truth; what I am going to say is this: the will of the MAJORITY of the people ought never be allowed to be overturned by a MINORITY of the people.

I personally don’t like what the majority vote has brought us in the past, but I don’t believe that just because I am unhappy of the results, that I should go file a lawsuit, and recruit a ton of like-minded people to go out on rallys, and ultimately attempt to win over public support through media and on-line venues — all because I’m a sore loser.

Imagine for a moment, if Miss America’s 1st runner up wasn’t happy, and she rallied her entire state, and the media, and the online blogsphere, and took it to court — and the court overturned the judges decision and took the crown away from the current Miss America, and gave it to the runner-up. I know this sounds like an extreme example, but this is EXACTLY WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN AMERICA – and in California, where our “elected” representatives were not only too eager to re-start same-sex marriages, they were in visibly blatant HURRY to do so — all against the will of the MAJORITY of the people, so that the will of SOME of the people would be carried out instead.

What’s next? How about those “poor” teachers who have been having sex with their students? How about they get together and rally up everyone in their favor, and get the media going, and bring in the courts to enact laws that make it legal for these teachers to “love” their students. Sound far fetched? So did same-sex marriage and open acceptance of homosexuality 30 years ago. I hope I’m not being prophetic and live to see 20-30 years from now the disaster our country will be — all due to the fact that the “MINORITIES” have more political muscle and get their way over the MAJORITY.

I suppose if all of the important issues in our world are headed towards litigation and laws being upheld or struck down by the courts, then it only means that the most vocal on one side or the other, and with the most funding, is who will ultimately win — irrespective of what the REAL MAJORITY of the people want. Everyone knows, that he or she with the most money wins in a court case, and what this means to us is that now the will of the people will be trumped by the will of some people.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy

Marriage Equality – What’s it Really About?

Tags

,

supreme_court_doma_2013_03-27With all the hoopla surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic hearing of two cases this month, it has become quite apparent that the lines for battle have been drawn. The court is hearing both the DOMA arguments (Defense of Marriage Act), which restricts federal marriage benefits and required inter-state marriage recognition to only opposite-sex marriages in the United States. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.

The highest court in the land is also going to weigh in on California’s controversial (to some, at least), Proposition 8, which was passed by California voters in November 2008,  and became an amendment to the state’s constitution. In essence, the Proposition 8 measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

What is of note in this “debate” is that I have seen only positive coverage  of same-sex marriages in almost all media outlets – specifically, ABC, CBS, and NBC – along with CNN. Now, being a “regular guy” or, just an average “Joe,” I’ve walked around streets and neighborhoods and spoken with people in a passing manner. There is a LOT of opposition to same-sex marriage, and there is also a LOT of support for it. Likewise, DOMA has a similar number of people both for and against it.

The statistics don’t lie: if you are younger than age 40, you are 75% more likely to be opposed to both DOMA and California’s Proposition 8. If, however, you are 40+ (near, there, or older), you are mostly in favor of DOMA and Proposition 8. So, what gives? The only correlation I can see with this is the fact that people who went to public school back when public schools actually taught reading, writing, and math, were educated on social issues at home by responsible parents, and had little or NO government input in their early development. Those individuals who were educated in the last 30 years or so — the so-called “millennials,” have been educated (some might say “indoctrinated”) in a public school system that favors social issues vs. straight (no pun intended) academia.

Just to put things into perspective, the younger folks have been brought up to feel passionate about equality in this country. They’ve also been raised up and educated to believe passionately in our environment, kindness to animals, and that everything and everyone in our planet deserves respect and to be treated well — except people who disagree.

Tolerance is highly advocated in this generations cultural makeup. What this means is that even if you don’t like it or agree with it, you MUST go along with it, otherwise, you risk being labeled “intolerant” – just about the only thing that the “tolerance” movement will NOT tolerate.

The real gist of the matter, however, isn’t about Biblical realities, God, procreation, or equality. Well, actually, there is an element of equality that the spotlight is being shone upon – much to the chagrin of the media – and that’s the ECONOMIC equality that homosexual couples want. I’ve read all of the stories in the newspapers and online about how same-sex couples that were “married” in one state, couldn’t receive benefits of a married couple at the Federal level when of of the “spouses” passed away. While this is a sad state of affairs, it goes to the crux of the matter, doesn’t it?

Civil unions were established for homosexual couples, so they’d be able to receive benefits, however, with DOMA in place, they’re unable to receive those Federal benefits that only opposite-sex marriages can receive. Now, let’s not forget about the millions of men and women who live together that also don’t receive any death benefits when a partner dies. Are they being singled out simply because they chose not to marry according to the definition of the law?

Folks, what we have here is a quagmire of illusions thrust upon our country by those who would blatantly obfuscate the true objective, and who have succinctly, effectively, and systematically perverted our nation’s values over the course of the last 30-40 years by using our own educational system, and news/media outlets to “change the perception” of our young generation. If this much effort had been placed into actually EDUCATING our children instead of indoctrinating them, the USA would be # 1 in the world academically instead of 17th.

The bottom line is that these issues have been turned into socio-economical issues at best, and at it’s worst, a demonizing and media flogging of those who look at these from a religious and humanities standpoint. It seems to all come down to money at this point, but I have to believe there is something deeper. Is it love? Well, even “married” homosexuals have been divorcing at a similar rate as heterosexual couples – gives a new twist on the phrase, “Gay Divorcee.”

Life isn’t perfect. I don’t expect it ever was and ever will be – so long as we have people in the world who are NEVER fully happy with their circumstances, and especially in today’s world where “everything” is usually “someone else’s” fault, we will never have a perfect world. What I’d really like to see is a REAL debate on the issue. From what I can tell, the reports, and TV and newspaper coverage tend to skew to the favor of same-sex couples, rather than remaining impartial –  this is NOT how the media should work.

So, I have to ask, with so many of the people that I’ve met who are opposed to same-sex marriage, why don’t they get to have a voice in the debate? Who appointed Diane Sawyer, or George Stephanopoulos – or anyone else, for that matter, in the mainstream media as MY REPRESENTATIVE?! These people do NOT speak for me and countless others who have very real and distinctly different opinions about these issues. I suppose that since the “older” demographic isn’t whom they’re catering to, they can choose to ignore that group.

They do so at their peril, for you see,  Wir schweigen nicht (“We will not be silent,” the slogan of the White Rose, the subversive German antifascist movement.)

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

Immigration Reform: Analysis

Tags

, ,

“Senators Unveil Immigration Proposal” – That was the headline that captured a lot of attention, and one very interesting way to kick-off the next four years of President Obama’s second term. What was noticeable about the announcement was that it was a bi-partisan announcement. They even had Hispanic Senators from both parties present and engaged in the discussion. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said that “reforming the U.S. immigration system to provide a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants is crucial to national security and keeping the economy strong.”

The Republican counterpart, Marco Rubio (R-FL), was also there to tout this new proposal as true reform. It may very well be – except that as in every aspect of politics, there are some who support the reform and others who oppose it. I would like to take a look at both sides of the discussion and approach it from a Hispanic’s perspective if I may.

For starters, I don’t really like any immigration reform that purports to reward the breaking of our laws under the guise of “fairness” or supposedly “making things right” for everyone. I am fairly certain that if I were to enter China illegally, and they found out I were there illegally, that there would likely be hell to pay. In fact, most countries – including the majority of those whom many U.S. “immigrants” used to call home – have tremendous disdain for anyone who would disrespect their laws. Why is it that we as American Citizens are asked to look the other way on the breaking of our immigration laws? And why should we so readily acquiesce? I think not.

I don’t begrudge anyone their desire for a better life or to go and seek better opportunities for themselves and their families; my family certainly did, but they did so within the legal confines of our immigration system. I remember growing up and being the kid in school who was always getting pushed back in line because the bigger bullies were always taking cuts. Well, that eventually stopped when I finally realized that I could be just as big and tough, and I stood up to them. Well, now we have people who would love nothing more than to take cuts, however, the immigration reform being proposed won’t necessarily allow that, which to me is a good thing.

The next cause and effect I’d like to address is that of the entitlement mentality that is prevalent among my fellow Hispanics. I’m not shying away from this topic, and neither should anyone else who wants to be honest and completely candid about it. The day after the immigration reform was announced, and the requirements to be eligible were made public, a swift and vocal opposition was made by other Hispanics – so-called “representatives” of those who “can’t speak for themselves” in this “oppressive” country – and they said simply, “why should there be taxes to pay and fines? And why should these people who’ve been here for years be sent to the back of the line to wait perhaps for another 15 years? This is not fair!”

When I hear statements like that, it makes me truly worry about what people believe is right vs. wrong. If anyone that wants to come to the U.S. legally goes through the normal immigration process, they know it takes time. The people who have been living in this country for more than 10 years, not paying taxes (at least not under their own names), some have purchased homes, others drive nice vehicles – yet, if they had taken the necessary steps to apply for citizenship properly, they might already be U.S. citizens by now – or very close to it. Now, I understand that not everyone who has come to the U.S. has been able to make such a great living. In fact, there are those who have been victimized and abused, but again this is as a consequence of NOT following our immigration rules.

The people who struggle and feel they have to “hide” and live in the shadows is because THEY have chosen to come to this country illegally and live they way they do. What most bothers me about some of the people who complain about the U.S. immigration policies is they they themselves don’t practice what they preach. In Mexico, their southern border with Guatemala is the most dangerous crossing any Central American immigrant can make. There’s not only the normal fear of being captured, but also the dangers of the bandits and thugs, and the uniformed police or soldiers always on the prowl for bribe money. Mexico is very strict with those who would dare attempt to cross its Southern border heading north into Mexico, yet it complains about the U.S. border policies.

I won’t sit here and preach to anyone, but I will say this: coming to this country illegally  living here for years without properly paying your fair share of taxes, and then complaining about a chance at proper immigration because there are fees and penalties to pay – and a waiting period – will NOT garner any support nor any sympathy from me and any Hispanic or non-Hispanic individuals or groups who consider themselves true Americans and who happen to believe in a real sense of fair play. America is a great country, and a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. We must remember, though, that nothing good in life comes easy – and certainly nothing as great as America.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

Benghazi – Will We Ever Know The Truth?

As taxpayers, we are entitled to a certain amount of transparency by our elected officials, are we not? During the Hillary Clinton testimony before Congress on the deaths in Benghazi, Ms. Clinton forcefully defended how she handled the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Additionally, she denied any effort was made to mislead the American people. These assertions were made by the Secretary of State after the comments made by Susan Rice, and after the inexcusable deaths of four Americans – who had asked for help but failed to receive it.

Ms. Clinton got so angry while defending herself, in fact, she blurted out, “”Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?” That is not a comforting statement from someone who should have been in charge of the situation.

While Ms. Clinton did state that “it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from happening again,” the question of the day – at least from my perspective is: How could this have happened in the first place?!

The problems with these types of Congressional hearings is that they seldom yield new information, and in particular from an administration that although promised to be “the most transparent administration” ever has actually turned out to be exactly the opposite. Fast & Furious comes to mind, and the “executive order” that prevents Eric Holder from being questioned on the matter. Again, more death, and less transparency.

In a very precise way of saying things, Ms. Clinton echoed the new mantra for those in power who wish to have their cake and eat it too – she took responsibility, but not the blame. Odd, isn’t it, that whenever the previous administration’s wrongdoings are brought up – and there were plenty of them – there never seems to be any problem whatsoever identifying who is to blame. The current administration, however, is loathe to admit certain things, let alone accept blame for anything.

Now, rightfully or not, Ms. Clinton stated that the buck stopped with her – despite the fact that in our country we’ve always believed that the buck stops with the President. Isn’t that why President Nixon resigned? He didn’t physically break into the Watergate offices, but he ended up taking the full responsibility along with the blame – and more importantly – the full consequences. Ah yes, consequences, something that today’s politicians just don’t want to have anything to do with.

You know what is distasteful in all of this? Four low level officials were put on administrative leave while the Secretary of State and the President face no other questions. Ok, so Benghazi, realistically speaking, was no 9/11 despite sharing the same date with it. Yes, a lot fewer deaths – except for one thing: the deaths in Benghazi were preventable. Why didn’t someone do SOMETHING?

The saddest part of this entire idiocy is that Ms. Clinton will be leaving office with her popularity at sky-high levels, simply because as other articles have pointed out, Ms. Clinton has mastered the art of damage control. Couple that with the fact that the majority of Ms. Clinton’s old colleagues in the senate went easy on her and were actually reluctant to press her and her subordinates on their shameful, yet obvious negligence.

The only part of this entire ordeal that I really couldn’t get behind the Republicans with was the insinuation that Ms. Clinton had somehow staged or faked her concussion in order to get out of testifying while the issue was hot. Sure, the timing worked well for her – things did cool down. I don’t believe, however, that even Hillary Rodham Clinton would stoop that low, but in that same vein that I look to her to be a somewhat decent individual, I’d like her to accept personal responsibility and most of the blame – because I’m absolutely certain that the President will not.

When we speak about sad commentaries on our modern society, this will definitely come up as one of them. We can only hope that as our country moves forward, there will be less and less of this nonsense instead of more.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

A Contrast of Times

Many of my friends and family who know me well have told me how surprised they are that I’ve kept so quiet since before the election – and especially after the results. Well, truth be told, I decided this time around to NOT be critical of any of the candidates or get involved with the hoopla that surrounded the election. I did enough posting on FB, where my opinions were constantly shot down – so, I thought that my blog wasn’t the place to vent.

Now that some time has passed and a clear, logical discussion can be had, I’d like to offer my views on our country, and why I believe we’re headed in a direction that will impact us in ways we can’t imagine. First of all, I must say that when I was a young boy, one of the very first recollections I have is that of my parents instilling love of country – the USA – and a sense of fair play, hard work, and integrity to achieve success in my life.

That was a lot to sink in for a kid, but it was also character building, because my parents practiced what they preached. I had no excuses – none that would pass muster with them anyway. I had to work hard at school, at my first job, in college, and in my subsequent professional life. I also learned the value of having integrity in all those areas, but most importantly, in my personal life. This is where I learned that the hardest work would yield the most results. I’ve only been married for nearly 25 years – not much by some standards, yet quite a bit by others. A long marriage is NOT easy work, but no relationship between a man and a women is more rewarding if they both WORK at it.

Nonetheless, I see a tremendous contrast in how I grew up in Brooklyn, NY back in the 60’s and 70’s, and what is being taught to the majority of children in America now by parents and teachers. When I was in Elementary, Junior High (Middle for many), and High School, I HAD to respect my teachers. If I didn’t there were consequences for me. In our present world, it’s the teachers who face consequences if they dare attempt any discipline on their pupils. How did we get to this present situation? I can’t answer that question – maybe some of you can.

That mentality has propelled many in our country’s young generation to act without conscience or thought of any consequence. Disrespect is the norm – for their parents, teachers, and for authority in general. Now, don’t get me wrong, every generation has had their own misgivings with authority – as is clearly evidenced in the history of the hippie movement of the 60’s and 70’s.

I see a deeper problem, however. Young people – and the generation that immediately precedes them – are generally more apathetic, ignorant of history and current facts, and less appreciative of the hard fought freedoms we, as a nation, enjoy. The sense of pride and patriotism has been replaced with a sense of entitlement and dependency. Many more people, now more than ever before, are reticent to get up and go to work, rather than ask the government for “help.” This so-called “help” for many amounts to nothing more than a handout in exchange for their vote come election time. I call it being on the “dole.”

I suppose there’s always been this type of sentiment, but it used to be in the minority. If this election showed us nothing, it demonstrated that at least HALF of our country believes this is Ok. My suspicion is that the sentiment will only continue to grow. If you’re a middle-class worker getting up every day to work hard for you and your family, and you can barely make ends meet, but then have to pay taxes for support many of those who WON’T work, you eventually feel like giving up. This is insidiously true if you discover that you can do better by going on the government “dole” – it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Now, I mentioned those who “WON’T” work. I find it unconscionable that so many on the “dole” are able to work, yet find ways around the system to avoid working and continue to receive monies they’re not entitled to. Whereas, I have no problem with my tax dollars helping those who’ve tried to help themselves but can’t.

Another issue I see happening is the alarming rate at which VERY young people are getting on the “dole.” When I was a young man in NYC, you were not able to get on welfare or get food stamps if you even showed a semblance of being able to work. Not now. I have seen with my own eyes how people who just barely turn 18, and because they’re about to have a child, are given full benefits. How is this possible? These people haven’t held down a job or contributed to their communities, have never paid taxes, and are nothing but an immediate drain on the resources that could be better spent on those who really need the help.

It’s really a contrast of the times – and a shame. I grew up believing America was great, and I wanted to be a part of that greatness. Nowadays, many still think America is great – great to give them everything they want without any effort on their part. A shame indeed, and a true contrast of times.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

Political Gaffes – Fair & Square?

Let’s face it, with an election that is less than two months away, we’re in full political swing in the U.S., and it’s open season on anyone running for office. It is a known fact that seasoned and aspiring politicians can often times suffer from the occasional lapse in judgement – be it with actions or words – sometimes, both. The verbal ones, we refer to most commonly as “gaffes.”

Many gaffes are just that – a slip of the tongue, or a misstated,  misquoted, or inadequately worded sentence (or paragraph, dependent upon who is speaking). In fact, a gaffe ought to be taken lightly, and not become the basis of the particular “gaffing” candidate’s stand or platform. Imagine if we decided to use the “57 states” President Obama has visited with “one left to go” as the basis for his intelligence. Or even one more serious such as when the President stated that Sen. John McCain, “has not talked about my Muslim faith.” Hmmm…. people can get the wrong impression or worse – especially if we take every single thing said out of context.

I don’t really care to trumpet or echo the ongoing claim from both the left and the right about the mainstream media being biased one way or the other. I do, however, notice that when it comes to certain politicians, there are certain things they say, important and otherwise, that are either reported then immediately forgotten, or nearly perpetually reported on an almost daily basis – over and over again – it just depends on whom the politician may be.

Case in point: GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney. Everyone is talking about Mitt Romney’s latest gaffe (and when I mean everyone, I refer almost exclusively to my higher paid counterparts in the mainstream media). Apparently, Mr. Romney’s comments about 47% of the country believing they are “entitled” to receive everything from the government has more than inflamed a few in the news circles. Odd. I’ve yet to meet anyone who is upset, bothered, angry, or otherwise feels disenfranchised at what Mr. Romney said in what was supposed to be a closed meeting. It’s also odd that this was supposedly said and taped back in May, but has just now been revealed.

Ok, come on, we all know that politics can be dirty, conniving, scheming, and more underhanded than a fox in a hen house, but with that said, I couldn’t help but wonder at the timing of this “release.” I am sorry for those individuals that feel anger over what Mr. Romney says, but it was never intended for their ears. I also wonder if these same individuals that feel outrage over Mr. Romney’s comments likewise feel outrage over Mr. Obama’s comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he famously whispered to Mr. Putin, “After the election I will have more latitude.” This, of course, implied that Mr. Putin wanted some type of concession and/or assistance from Mr. Obama that would’ve been construed by the American people  as something unpopular and/0r undesirable.

The meaning behind that whisper was that if the President were to comply with Mr. Putin’s request – whatever it may have been – it could and would likely prove to be so unpopular as to cost the President votes – so, in essence, the gist of the President’s comments to Mr. Putin might be interpreted as saying something like, “I can’t do this for you now Vladimir, but after the election, I’m going to be able to pretty much do whatever I want, so just hang in there.”

Now, to use a favorite presidential phrase, let me be clear – I don’t believe that President Obama expected that anyone would hear this private conversation between him and Mr. Putin. I’d also like to point out that this presidential gaffe was not tucked away for some time, and then brought out at an opportune moment. Likewise, Mr. Romney was speaking to a group of like-minded individuals about CAMPAIGN STRATEGY – NOT NATIONAL SECURITY. And also, like Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney did not expect his words to be heard by the public at large. Unlike the President, however, Mr. Romney’s comments were “saved” for just the right time, weren’t they? Let’s see, what would that time be?

Ok, for starters, we are in the middle of turmoil yet once again, in the Middle East. We’ve had daily protests on American embassies, and assaults on the same, including the most recent attack in Libya, which cost the life of four U.S. citizens, one of them being Ambassador Chris Stevens. Couple that with the embarrassment of our economy, which has had so many false starts, it is beginning to feel like a depression rather than the “great recession.”

I understand the need for distraction in a political campaign, but I honestly believe that the only individuals who will be offended by Mr. Romney’s comments are those whom he aptly described during those comments – people who live – no – THRIVE on government “assistance.” Let’s be real for a moment – those of us who have to work AND pay taxes, are not unhappy about helping others who need help to get back on their feet. No, what we’re unhappy about is the fact that a large chunk of the taxes we pay go to people who are NOT trying to get back on their feet. Many individuals on government assistance believe in perpetual assistance. They don’t want to get a job and go to work – and ultimately pay their fair share of taxes. Nope. Too much contentment can be found in those individuals who love the handout, and who prefer to NOT give up the “freebies.” I also realize that there have been many individuals who received government assistance in their lives, and have gone on to become productive, self-sustaining members of society who only needed government assistance for a period of time. Sadly, this is the exception, not the rule.

Here’s one last issue I have with the coverage the mainstream media has on the Romney gaffe, and the president’s quick response. The media has reported, and the President has retorted, that Mr. Romney has decided to alienate “almost half of the U.S. population with his comments.”

Well, I decided to look up U.S. Census data to see how many people really would be upset with Mr. Romney’s comments. Based on the U.S. Census Voting and Registration Report for the 2010 census, roughly 50.2% of the ENTIRE U.S. population is registered to vote. So, based on the same census figures for population – roughly 300 million, 150 million of which are registered to vote, 70,500,000 are the 47% who would be upset by Mr. Romney’s comments – or 24% of the total U.S. population – NOT “almost 50%.”

While I don’t believe in taking things too far out of context in either camp, at the end of the day, objectivity must prevail. Comments that hint at class warfare – be they perceived or real – can skew the perceptions of many. There are blogs out there saying that 47% is still less than 51% – or the number Romney needs to win an election. I find those comments to be both true and frivolous. I would hope that the presidential candidates would care more about ALL of the people in the country than the numbers required to win an election. If that is what our elections have become about, then we have a lot more serious problems than just the middle east and our economy.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

Who Decides “My Party?”

This past Tuesday, August 28, 2012, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when speaking about diversity – or lack thereof in the GOP during their convention, said, “You can’t just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect that people are going to vote for your party, or your candidate.”

[START SOAPBOX]

Really? Isn’t that what both sides of the political aisle have been doing during the last 30 years or so? Now, I am Hispanic, and I am a conservative – I make no apologies for what I believe and why I believe it. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, NOT the land of freeloading. There are those who believe, as I do, that if you study and work hard and do the right things, you will be rewarded with some modicum of success. There are others, with whom I vehemently disagree, who believe that you don’t have to work if you don’t want to; that everything should be handed to you by the state if you don’t feel you can take care of yourself.

Anyone who disagrees with the last stance is apparently subject to ridicule – anyone! Case in point, Utah City Mayor Mia Love’s Wikipedia page was vandalized this week with racial and sexist epithets. Why? Is this how the one side that calls for “tolerance” acts whenever someone disagrees with them?! Behold the intolerant ones who yelled loudest for tolerance! Behold the exclusionary behavior of those whose mantra was inclusion!

I don’t know who Mayor Villaraigosa thinks he is, but he does NOT speak for all Hispanics/Latinos. We are NOT all liberal democrats who are waiting in line for our handouts. I don’t want welfare, and I don’t want food stamps! What I want is a job provided by as U.S. company on U.S. soil – not owned by a “foreign concern” OR some other foreign entity. I want jobs to stop leaving the U.S. and money to STOP flowing into China. If that makes me incur the ire of the “tolerant” ones, then so be it.

All I want is what is true to our American heritage. I just want to point out one last thing while I’m on the topic of Americana – when did we go from being “America” to being a “multi-culturally rich society?” I am all for celebrating where you came from; that’s a sign of respect to your former country. Trying to shove that culture down peoples’ throats here in the U.S. is a LACK of respect to your current country! I am NOT a “Hispanic-American” and I don’t like those who say they are “Mexican-American,” “Italian-American,” “Irish-American,” etc. The same things goes for those who would divide us by class or race or political party. I am not simply a democrat or a republican! How about this: we are ALL simply “Americans.”

My party isn’t decided by anyone else just because of who I am demographically. I decide. I also decide that I am an American. Period. No hyphen, thank you very much. I love my Hispanic culture, but as an American, I choose to speak English in public with as perfect a pronunciation as I can muster; I also choose to respect American history and values, because this is my home. The U.S.A. is not perfect, but it is my home. I am going to do whatever I have to do to make it a better place for me, my family, my neighbors, and anyone who seeks to live the American dream – NOT the “Mexican-American” dream, etc.

[END SOAPBOX]

Ok, I’m done with my soapbox. I hope you understand I am very passionate about America and the values that made this the best country in the world. I just can’t stand to see her dragged down, and I hope if you’re reading this – whether or not you agree with my views 100% – that you feel the same way too.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

Fact Checking – Is it Equal?

Tags

, , ,

I love to stay involved in the political process. After all, this is America, where we are supposed to have the freedom to voice our opinions without any fear of government reprisal – unlike so many other parts of the world. Add to that the fact that this is an election year, and you get a lot of blood boiling on every topic and issue from healthcare to taxes and everything in between, especially jobs.

Today, while doing some research on where our country is job-wise, I ran across an interesting CBS News article online  entitled, “Fact-checking 6 claims in Paul Ryan’s convention speech.” As I read through the article I noticed just how much minutiae Lucy Madison, Stephanie Condon, and Paula Reid, the articles authors, dug their collective journalistic heels into. Now, I realize that for every article by a non-conservative media outlet, there will be similar opposing articles by those on the conservative, non-liberal side; that is no mystery or surprise.

As I continued to read the article, I began to see a pattern emerge of really nit-picking every detail of what Mr. Ryan said vs. which way the authors wanted to skew the readers’ opinions. It stuck me that I’d like to find out just how many times CBS News has published “fact-checking” articles against what President Obama has said in speeches – either since he’s been in office, or when he was a candidate.

Well, I used the following search criteria on ALL the relevant search engines: fact + checking + Obama + speech. You know what I found? Almost all of the media outlets, with the standout exception of Fox News (no surprise there) were all asking whether Paul Ryan’s speech got Obama’s GM speech right.

At the heart of the matter is the speech that then candidate Barack Obama gave at the now defunct GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, where Mr. Obama said, “I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your President.” This was a poignant stop for candidate Barack Obama; jobs were at steak, and these people were hopeful this candidate might save theirs. Well, he couldn’t – and it wasn’t his fault. The plant was going to close no matter what George W. Bush or Barack Obama may have done – it simply just wasn’t meant to be.

What Mr. Ryan said in his speech as he quoted President Obama was, “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” It was an encapsulation – not a paraphrase. Somehow, the authors of the CBS News article, and apparently most of the others, believe that Mr. Ryan took the President’s words out of context. Because of this I decided that I wanted to review a video of that campaign stop, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online. Odd, isn’t it?

My honest belief in a situation like this is that all things any politician says may be subject to interpretation. Some will believe what is said, lock-stock & barrel. Others will denounce the same exact words as “horse-puckey.” Either way, it’s true that most politicians end up eating their words at one time or another. What strikes me – actually irks me to a certain degree – is that the same scrutiny that is being applied to Mr. Ryan’s speech, and you can add Mr. Romney’s speeches for that matter, is NOT being applied to anyone on the democratic side of the house.

If I were a political analyst, and I am absolutely not, nor do I claim to be, I would probably try to focus the issue at hand to the greater – some would say “key” – factor that the economy is recovering much more slowly than originally anticipated by all – including the President and his people.

I will be watching the Democratic Convention, and listening carefully to the speeches. Afterwards, I will look to the same outlets to see if their “fact-checking” is going to be as fair as they claim to be. I have always believed in a free press – free to REPORT the news, not free to DISTORT, CREATE, or MANIPULATE the news.

Let’s see what happens.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

NYC Shooting – What’s Going On?!

Tags

, , ,

We’ve all heard, seen, or read the new: A gunman opened fire right at the Empire State Building. Not only did the gunman kill his intended victim, but decided to “go out in a blaze of glory” by shooting innocent bystanders, most likely with the hopes of committing suicide-by-police. It’s become too common a tale hasn’t it?

Of course, this is going to spur the usual arguments over gun control, and security, etc. Not that I’m trying to downplay the importance of those two topics, because gun control and security are by and large two things that are on many peoples’ minds. So no, it isn’t my intention to minimize these topics, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about today.

What I want to dig my heels into on this day is the importance of life. How is it that with the history we have at our disposal to read and study, that every generation seems to spawn people who seem to have a total disregard and disrespect for life. Human life to me is at the highest level of the totem pole, but don’t think for a minute that I don’t regard animal life important as well.

Generally speaking, much of our human sustenance and well-being can be directly attributable to animals. And let’s not forget our beloved domesticated pets – dogs & cats – these little guys help bring so much to our quality of life, it sometimes goes beyond what words can describe.

Today, though, I’m focusing on human life – even though there are some of you who feel that some people are less deserving than animals. Nonetheless, human life is something that should never be taken for granted – the same as life in general – but I focus on human life because if you believe, even in the smallest degree that we were created in God’s image, then there’s something to be said about the sanctity of human life.

This is why I don’t believe in abortion for convenience. If a woman is victimized by rape or incest, however, she ought to have the right to not remain in a pregnancy that wasn’t caused by her own actions or acts of irresponsibility. I still struggle with any “pregnancy termination” as it is sometimes scientifically referred to, but I certainly understand that if a woman has been already so heinously traumatized, why should she have to go through any further trauma? It’s the callous disregard for human life that truly bothers me. Whether it’s a couple who’ve discovered they’re pregnant, and the baby “doesn’t fit with their plans,” or a gunman who shoots people in a public place at random, these are all acts against humanity.

I always believed in “an eye-for-an-eye and a-tooth-for-a-tooth.” So, as a younger man, I was a staunch supporter of the death penalty. I can’t honestly say that’s where I am any longer. It’s still a human life – no matter how wretched the individual, and what horrendous crime was committed, I believe the death penalty lets them off the hook to a great extent. They’re going to die anyway – eventually. People like this who are imprisoned for the rest of their lives don’t ever know joy or happiness. Sure, prisons aren’t necessarily as hard as they used to be, but they’re still no cakewalk.

My belief that human life – in fact all life – should be respected is shared by many, but in differing levels of application. While some agree that respecting human life is tantamount to loving God, some of these individuals would think nothing of killing animals for sport.

But, I digress… what is driving so many people to lose respect for others’ lives? It’s when they lose respect for their own. If someone feels they have lost everything and they have no hope, and nothing at all to live for, then something in their psyche snaps and they just lose it. What are the tell-tale signs of someone who is susceptible to this type of aberrant conduct? No one, apparently, seems to know. Usually, most of the individuals in recent memory weren’t the kind of person that anyone thought capable of committing such a crime.

So, where do we go from here? Treat each other with as much respect as possible. In the past when I’ve lost a job – as the NYC gunman did – the people who did the “termination” were courteous and respectful and truly sorry to see me go. I don’t think that’s how it went down with Mr. Johnson, the NYC gunman. I’m not saying that if someone deserves to get fired that they shouldn’t, or if you’re going to break up with someone that is unhealthy for you that you don’t. What I’m saying is that there is always a better way to handle any given situation. It’s not always easy to deal with so many other personalities. It’s been said that inside every head is a completely different world – and world view.

The major difference between our modern society and the past is that we seem to be so wrapped up in our own little worlds, that we seldom take time to take notice of others’ suffering or problems. Sure, we’re generous when there’s a great earthquake or a disaster that’s all over the news, but what about someone in our very own back yard? How about our neighbors, co-workers, and family/friends that typically form the fabric of our daily lives in one way or another. We need to stop being so disconnected from each other in our quest to have “the better life.” We need to stop being so busy, and pay attention to life again. Not just the limited scope of life that we’ve become accustomed to – but all life.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.