Tag Archives: Michael Brown

A Positive message

With all of the negative rhetoric running rampant in this great country of ours, especially amongst the presidential hopefuls for 2016, I thought it would be refreshing to write something with a positive message. Therefore, I’m not about to mention the ludicrous protesting happening (again) in Ferguson, Missouri. It makes no sense to me why anyone would be against law enforcement protecting law-abiding citizens from people like Michael Brown. Instead, those protesting insist on honoring the deceased delinquent. What’s even worse is combining all White police officer shootings of Black men into one neat little package. Each incident is entirely separate from the others and deserves the respect of being thought of as such. Regardless, all lives matter, yet there are sometimes dire consequences awaiting those who choose to participate in robbery and resisting arrest.

In remaining positive, I also won’t divulge the fact that Donald Trump is constantly applauded as a “self-made” successful businessman, but in reality he came out of his mother’s womb a millionaire, and he has since owned four businesses that have gone bankrupt. Although there’s something to dislike about every candidate, vying for the presidency of the United States of America, I’ll attempt to solely focus on what I actually like about them. Of course, there’s at least one possible foreseeable problem with that; what I might choose to offer as a compliment may indeed be the exact thing someone else despises about the presidential hopeful. However, this blog is about me remaining positive. If a candidate isn’t even mentioned in this piece…I’m sure that speaks volumes as to what I must think of them.

Donald Trump says he’s in favor of repealing America’s birthright citizenship policy. I agree. I’ve been against rewarding newborns (of illegal immigrants) the automatic right to U.S. citizenship, simply because they were born here, for a very long time. I am also on the same page as Mr. Trump when it comes to his disdain for America’s incessant pursuit of political correctness. The Donald made headlines recently (what’s new?) after responding to a tasteless line of questioning, apparently in a politically incorrect manner, during the first Republican debate for 2016. The business mogul absolutely was singled out and attacked by Fox News commentator, Megyn Kelly, so I say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I’m not about to disagree with Trump’s unflattering comments about Rosie O’Donnell either. I’ve heard the former co-host of The View publically berate and belittle him, as well as many others, so I’m fairly unsympathetic when people tend to treat her in the same fashion.

Similarly, Kelly Osbourne was recently lambasted, while guest-hosting on The View, after she said what many perceived as being a politically incorrect statement. The irony is Ms. Osbourne was trying to put Donald Trump in his place, concerning his take on our nation’s illegal immigration problem, when she blurted, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?” I’m not a fan of Kelly Osbourne whatsoever, but I think her comment was totally correct. Every “day laborer” I’ve ever seen, at least in Arizona, has appeared to be of Hispanic descent. The majority of housekeepers in hotels, all across the United States, seem to be of the Latina persuasion as well.

It’s apparent to me many illegal immigrants are content working America’s less than glamorous occupations, at extremely low wages, just as long as they have the opportunity to continue living in this country. My point is I strongly doubt if Mr. Trump could find a White, legal citizen to clean his toilet unless he’s willing to pay a decent wage. People simply need to lighten up and cut Ms. Osbourne some slack. The other thing I appreciate about Donald Trump is due to his immense wealth he doesn’t have to pander to special interest groups to run a legitimate campaign. The Donald is his own special interest. Oops…I forgot…maybe that last comment wasn’t too positive.

Dr. Ben Carson has said he is not a fan of political correctness either. I admire his candidness, and I relish the fact he’s not a seasoned politician. Dr. Carson also boldly refutes the theory of evolution which is my sentiment exactly. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both have been defending Planned Parenthood recently in the wake of the “scandal” involving the family planning center. Videos have surfaced of Planned Parenthood personnel discussing, in a nonchalant manner, the harvesting of babies’ body parts. At a time when most of the other candidates are threatening to defund the agency’s clinics, across the entire nation, Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton are commending the organization’s existence. The released videos are definitely unfortunate, and maybe the government could reduce the institution’s annual funding a bit, but I think Planned Parenthood is a vital agency especially for the younger generation.

I know I was thankful for the family planning center, in the mid-eighties, when I was dating my girlfriend (aka lovely wife) and even after we got married. Fortunately, we were allowed to obtain birth control without parental consent. Who wants to hear their parents’ lectures (or worse yet – them saying no) when a young couple thinks they’re doing the right thing? After our wedding we were able to continue purchasing birth control from Planned Parenthood at an affordable rate. The clinic enabled my wife and I to responsibly start a family when we were certain we could afford raising a child without any financial assistance.

Hillary Clinton has a reputation of reaching across the aisle to get things done. The same can be said of Jeb Bush although probably not to the extent of some other compromising Republicans namely John Kasich and Chris Christie. I’m an avid supporter of bipartisanship, so I have high regard for anybody who’s willing to negotiate, with the other party, to do what’s best for the United States. Mr. Bush, believe it or not, has sometimes been criticized, by members of his own party, for being too liberal. I admire how the former Governor of Florida dismantled affirmative action in his state. I also fancy how he’s a proponent of “three-strike” laws. I believe if a lawbreaker hasn’t learned to abide by society’s rules after already being convicted of two felonies then the miscreant will most-likely never learn. Therefore, repeat offenders should be subjected to harsher sentencing, on their third strike, and kept isolated from law-abiding citizens.

Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee both seem to have a major problem with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Mr. Paul desires to, at the very least, minimize the government agency, and Mr. Huckabee insists the stressful annual event, of filing tax returns, could easily be simplified. Both candidates are in favor of dismantling the IRS and implementing a fairer tax system. Mike Huckabee envisions a new tax system where all tax returns could effortlessly be completed and returned on a standard postcard. That sounds phenomenal to a guy who spends an enormous amount of time each year sifting through numerous tax forms. Rand Paul wants to eliminate foreign aid, and his non-interventionist attitude relating to war definitely tugs at my heartstrings.

Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker are adamantly opposed to transgenders serving in the United States Armed Forces. I would assume our nation’s military is busy enough without having to be inconvenienced with figuring out how to make a confusing situation (both literally and figuratively) like that comfortable for all concerned. I wish the former “Don’t ask, don’t tell” U.S. policy, instituted by the Clinton Administration in 1994, was still in effect today. I have no problem with homosexuals serving, but I don’t think their sexual preference needs to be identified nor celebrated.

I found out, while researching the presidential hopefuls’ positions, that Mr. Walker returned $60,000. of his annual salary, each year for many years, when he was a Milwaukee county executive. It was a promise he made to his constituents when he first ran for the elected position. He did so because he had previously been an outspoken critic of the pay level for county jobs. I commend the Wisconsin Governor for keeping his selfless campaign promise. Governor Walker and the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, have their fondness for the old Patriot Act in common.

The Patriot Act was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001; however, a key provision of the law that allowed for unlimited access to collected phone data (in essence spying), by the National Security Agency (NSA), was sadly buried in June of this year. The three of us would like to see Section 215 of the Patriot Act resurrected for the sake of America’s national security. To the contrary, Mr. Christie and I dislike famed hacker and traitor, Edward Snowden, for his cunning ways. Hacking into our government’s files and releasing private information is unacceptable under any circumstance. Another thing I like about Governor Christie is that he distinctively advocates for Social Security and Medicare “means testing.” That simply means if people do not need the money they’re receiving, from the entitlement programs, then they should stop accepting the benefits.

Martin O’Malley has a novel idea as well. The Democrat would like to see the Electoral College abolished. I too am in favor of our country’s president being determined by the popular vote instead. I’ve never understood why one person’s vote should be more important than another person’s vote, yet that’s the type of inequality the Electoral College election process promotes. Mr. O’Malley not only has a fine Irish name, but the former Governor of Maryland has stated he “proudly” holds an F rating from the National Rifle Association of America (NRA). I can’t help but fancy his sense of humor.

There you have it: a thorough synopsis of the things I like about many of the candidates who are hoping to occupy the Oval Office in early 2017. It wasn’t all that simple either. However, it’s refreshing to know there are others out there who actually think the same way as I do about certain things. I’m quite aware I offer a glimpse of where I stand, on an array of issues, when revealing all of the aforementioned candidates’ viewpoints I truly respect. I’m proud to be an Independent voter. I’m about the person – not their political affiliation. I’m James McCleary, and I approve this positive message.


Protesters (aka The Grinch)

What’s the deal with all of the protesters? The concept of protesting in public seems foreign to me, yet in this day and age organized demonstrations have been increasing in popularity. Sure, in the past I have protested a new experimental meal (or two) created by my lovely wife, and I certainly voiced my displeasure with some of the punishments handed down by my father while growing up. However, the thought of voicing my dissatisfaction, anger, or frustration (about anyone or anything) beyond the privacy of my own home has never even occurred to me. I simply haven’t had the inkling to take to the streets, for the rest of the world to see, on behalf of any cause.

The truth as I know it is people have the right to peacefully protest about anything in this country if they so desire. Peacefully! The problem is, more often than not, not everyone follows that simple rule, so those picketing and marching in protest usually come across to the rest of us as ignorant fools. I think they’d be much better off expending their time and energy elsewhere and in a more constructive way. Those who feel slighted or unheard could engage in a civil dialogue with the powers that be. The demonstrators should individually lobby for change at their local courthouse instead of disrupting life for everyone else.

Recently, the right to protest trumped my right to the pursuit of happiness. My mother-in-law wanted her daughter, grandson, and myself (her handsome son-in-law) to accompany her to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City once the tribute, to those who were lost during the attacks, was open to the public. She preferred not to visit “The Big Apple” on the actual anniversary of 911, so I suggested going to New York in December because talk show host, David Letterman, has said time and time again on his popular nighttime show that there’s no place like NYC at Christmastime. My family thought that was a good idea, so my wife scheduled our trip so we’d be there during the nationally televised Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center.

I even prepared myself for the glorious occasion by watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on the airplane ride to New York. Kevin McCallister, the “lost” kid in the movie, adores Christmas trees almost as much as I do, so it’s not all that surprising when…SPOILER ALERT…Kevin is eventually found standing in front of New York City’s tallest lit Christmas tree which of course is located at Rockefeller Center. We intentionally were staying at a hotel only a few blocks away from the site, for convenience’ sake, but what transpired the night of the annual tree lighting ritual turned out to be anything but convenient. After venturing out towards the famous event we immediately encountered a horde of people retreating from where we were intending to go. Our carefully thought out plans, for a fun filled evening of Christmas music and festive lights, were changed in an instant.

We suddenly found ourselves trapped amongst a sea of riled protesters, police donned in riot gear, and hundreds of confused tourists (not unlike ourselves). Wooden barriers were being put into place, by the local police department, in an attempt to contain the escalating situation, and to keep protesters away from the nearby renowned tree lighting ceremony, although some of the demonstrators were leaping over them. Everywhere we went, no matter how many streets over or in what direction we trekked, we found ourselves blocked off and unable to continue our jaunt to Rockefeller Center. The new experience was chaotic, unsettling, and extremely irritating. We were able to duck into an Irish pub for dinner and drinks (I know I needed one), and adding insult to injury the establishment was showing the tree lighting event on all of their television sets.

After dinner and arriving back at the hotel I noticed the all too familiar scene from outside, I had barely survived, up on the hotel lobby’s jumbo television screen. It was only then when I became fully enlightened as to what actually was taking place on the city’s streets and the magnitude of the situation. A Black man, Eric Garner, had been killed by a White police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, back in July; however, the news that the jury assigned to the case had decided there was not enough evidence to indict had just been released; hence, the reason for the angry mob outside. I only mention the skin color of the victim and the New York City police officer involved because apparently the majority of the protesters think the unfortunate death of Mr. Garner was racially motivated. I do not. They are also profusely trying to connect the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown (and now others) with the Eric Garner case as if they are one in the same. They are not.

In fact, I think it’s a travesty to mention all three of the aforementioned Black men in a single breath. Each case is entirely different and should be treated as such. I was not a witness to any of the killings, mind you, nor was I privy to any additional information that may have been provided to the juries, but I would like to offer the following. Eric Garner’s life ended when Officer Pantaleo applied a chokehold while trying to restrain the large man. The use of a chokehold is a clear violation of NYPD policy, so obviously Mr. Pantaleo deserves to be punished in some capacity for the infraction. I really don’t know if Officer Pantaleo was purposely abusing his authority or not. I’m also not so certain that maybe the police department needs to revisit their current policy.

Michael Brown, on the other hand, has been portrayed by many in the Black community as a loveable guy with a promising future that was negligently cut short, but his actions on the last day of his young life would suggest otherwise. A video shows him manhandling a store clerk, while stealing from a convenience store, shortly before a police officer fatally shot him. The Trayvon Martin incident happened almost three years ago, but he hasn’t been allowed to rest in peace since his name is continually resurrected anytime a Black man is killed by a White cop. The problem with linking Trayvon Martin to the others is quite evident considering the high school student was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman (not a police officer). The shooter, George Zimmerman, isn’t even White. He’s Hispanic.

The only real correlation I see between them is that in all three occurrences the victims were resisting authority figures which ultimately enhanced the situation and led to their demise. Tragic? Yes! Is there some sort of conspiracy amongst cops going on against today’s Black man? No! Obeying the commands of law enforcers, whether one feels denigrated or not, is sound advice for everyone to follow. At least then the accused would have their day in court, and at the very least they would live to see another day. Therefore, the rash of demonstrations currently taking place around the country would not have even been a consideration, and law-abiding families could have attended a once in a lifetime Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center.

Imagine the disappointment of not being able to partake in something so unique when you’re only a measly couple of blocks away. Instead of seeing a giant Christmas tree lit for the first time I saw a throng of enraged minorities and “New York’s finest” trying to keep the peace. Instead of listening to the soothing sounds of Tony Bennett I was forced to hear the chants of, “Black lives matter,” by the surge of protesters taking over the city. I concur with their sentiment that Black lives matter, but White lives matter too, as does every race on God’s green earth. As I previously stated, “people have the right to peacefully protest,” but the protesters in New York City will forever be known to me as The Grinch who stole my family’s Christmas.