Saturday, November 3, 2007

Internal Cleansing of America’s Social Disasters

How can we fight an enemy when we are fighting ourselves? We must first cleanse the internal disruptions in our own government and communities to be able to successfully ward off the attacks of external opponents. We have to take the fight to ourselves first. Self introspection is often needed in security procedure evaluation.

There is so much good among our own people and in our own country, but when conducting a survey and consultation, the good things in place are rarely mentioned, if ever. So this blog will focus upon some things needing change as I see it. The media will be targeted here, as they spread, support and/or develop many of these social ills. It is good, however, to mention that there is also much good, educational and wholesome entertainment and news. News and entertainment media is the catacomb that leads to the heart and soul of American society, values, customs and all. This is how we view, and incidentally, shape ourselves. This is how the world sees us.

Foreigners I’ve personally met think no city in America is safe because of all the sex, doom and despair at times, unintentionally, but often, incorrectly shown on our screens and broadcasted to theirs. Muslim terrorists and their sympathizers, all of whom don’t really know the real America, are forced to agree with clerics who call America the land of the godless, violent, and sexually obsessed Christian. This ignorance, sewn through the media medium, infuriates them to action and fuels their apathy towards us even more, or at a minimum gives them one more hateful and supposed justification on their apathetic platform against the West.

(The suggestions for change below are in no particular order except as they come to mind.)

A genuine mistrust of law enforcement lurks among our free society. Too many question the badge and do not respect the authority or position of law enforcement. This leads to arguing and fighting of those confronted by law enforcement. The number of violent crimes against police has risen dramatically in the past few decades. From reality television showing police work to the hundreds of movies and sitcoms about police work, people feel a connection and, paradoxically a disassociation with law enforcement. The connection comes by way of alleged enlightenment of individual rights and a profound legal right to verbally attack police. Some feel they can defiantly object police orders.

The social condition of highlighting (filming) what in some cases are ‘minor’ problems in justified policing actions, or spotlighting the very rare but truly poor police decisions, and suing police for uncanny things is, frankly, thwarting the future ability for police to maintain civil order. It is good that police should be held accountable, but perpetually targeting police as the “bad guys” gives the criminal element an upper hand. Truly there is a misperception that one of every two is corrupt. In actuality one ‘apple’ cop in several hundred bushels are sour and rotten.

This same mistrust is directed at our government leaders and government agencies. We have the right to question their motives and policies, and to investigate records and actions; but at times the lurid focus upon the “poor government decisions,” whether they in actuality are really foolish or not as interpreted by the pundits and media tycoons, is occasionally nauseating. As long as there’s an ongoing defamation of character and decisions, and vengeful bipartisan contention, there will continue to be mistrust. When American citizens wholeheartedly mistrust their own government and its respective agencies (FBI, CIA, DHS, etc.) due to rampant calumny, corrupt and ineffective policies, the citizens won’t cooperate or be content. Such a lack of stabilization from the foundation of American government leaves the whole country on a wobbly and shaky foundation.

Interestingly after large-scale criminal and terrorist disasters we’ve tended to blame everyone and everything but the perpetrators themselves. As in every organization, there are clearly occasional foolish choices. The government is no different; the government is run by people with imperfections. However, while an investigation is most definitely needed and conclusions must be made, placing the full load of the blame on supposed negligence of people and things other than who is pointedly to blame, the terrorists themselves, sets a bad precedence for the future.

The corrupt politicians and pundits who curb otherwise meaningful, effective policies, and who shape American philosophies, do not represent the bulk of the American people, yet they get all of the attention. One problem is that politicians with poor ideas but popular names get to stay in office for too many terms. Another problem is money: individual, wealthy, political magnates.

Money separates every society. Politicians with money are no different. Just take a look at those currently running for office. Is their one non-multi-millionaire among them? How can a millionaire, who has most everything s/he wants, possibly understand what the lower and middle class individuals need? Where’s the candidate who’s been unemployed, who makes an average wage, who is scraping to get by, and who with every pay check must budget carefully and behave frugally? Does such a candidate get media attention or endorsement from a major party?

Rich Hollywood entertainers often use their clout to spawn their own webs of ideas, and do they get media attention? Absolutely. Hollywood television and movie producers and pundits, so far from normal Joe Everyone, show their ideas and values not only on the influential big screen, but also in real life (verses reel life). Sadly reel life plays a significant role in the shaping of our minds. Though accepted as make believe, many thoughts are nevertheless shaped, consciously and unconsciously, by what is seen on the big screen.

An absurd obsession with the famous thespians has stolen worthwhile heroes and heroines of yesteryear and has replaced even traditional value. No more are the ladies lady-like, but head shaven killers like GI Jane. Quality dialogue and story lines have been much replaced with the inane and callow, violent and sexual.

In movies and in life children have children and children kill children. Tempers and aggression aren’t checked. Discipline and order is replaced with chaos and anarchy.

The broadcasted sexual obsession among Americans is equally disturbing. But sex sells. The Middle Eastern Muslim population, in general, is quick to condemn making public what should be private. I would have to concur. Scantily clad women offend them as well as many Americans. Many modest and decent, monogamous couples abound in the U.S., yet it’s not chic, faddish or considered the norm by the popular media and trend setters.

Adultery, fornication, and in short, ‘Sex in the City’, may be popular, but it is not omnipresent or ubiquitous. To say ‘everybody’s doing it’ is a lie. Yet I cannot name one single Hollywood movie or one single television show where when propositioned for sex, the character says, “no, I have morals and standards.” All too often titillating bedroom scenes show adulterous affairs instead of monogamous ones.

Fidelity and trust in marriage makes that union more peaceful and loving. My conscious is clean and my heart is glad because I do not cheat nor am I cheated upon. The heart of my tender wife and the confidence of my children is intact and will continue to be. That tranquility, comfort and peace cannot be enjoyed by those who ‘cheat’—the biggest, most damaging lie with the most serious consequences that someone could ever engage in.

The perverted, lewd, and bizarre sexual behaviors, and the sexual obsession in America, has plagued and vexed our society. Yet infidelity, adultery and fornication, is often viewed as acceptable, excusable and justifiable, whether it’s with the same or the opposite sex. Sexual experimentation among small children and unnatural lust has clouded the true meaning of love, family and commitment. Violent sexual assault and hard core pornography has usurped the wholesome, tender minds of our young people especially. Pornography, in any degree, shouldn’t be so available to our children, yet it’s easily available; and further, they’re desensitized just standing in the grocery line looking at provocative magazine covers.

Those obsessed by pornography waste time. Time is used when police must react to the inevitable negative results of those acting upon their evil fantasies. Minds and lives are altered by infidelity, rape and rampant disregard for the sanctity of natural, monogamous intimacy.

Prophylactics are handed out to children while abstinence, chastity and virtue are sidestepped because they sound too religious. Is it a society of religious freedom or irreligion? Children have babies and cannot care for them. They usually drop out of school. One in four end up on government assistance. Often these children are left fatherless.

A fatherless America is perhaps one of the most destructive social disasters. What becomes of these young kids? Poverty, a lack of good education and good future employment, criminal involvement, aggression, drug use, abuse, and a cycle of similar behavior is not always the result, but often occurs. The lack of solid spiritual and emotional nutrition in the form of two loving parents has sullied us as a nation. Unhealthy music, video games, media and unrestricted access to the web have jumped in where chores, hard work, wholesome education and honest physical activity left off. Marriage is like a faddish event, and divorce is as common as water.

Families that endure and strengthen one another strengthen communities, cities and even nations. Families that take care of other family members, from troubled youth to the aged and forlorn, would save our government millions of dollars and add to the mental and emotional health of individuals. Surely Welfare and Social Security costs could be cut if families and neighbors would live together in love and selfless service. Instead we’re afraid to talk to our neighbors, afraid to pick up hitchhikers and afraid to stare too long at someone in a car right next to ours for fear we will offend someone who then may produce a weapon in violent road rage.

Like broken homes vex societies, a permanent dole cripples us. Welfare reform is badly needed. Perpetually giving something for nothing helps neither the recipient nor the giver. We ought to wisely follow the ancient axiom-proverb, which says, “Give a man a fish and he won’t go hungry, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” We ought to admonish them do civil service for their dole when possible, stopping indolence and begging and replacing it with self worth for having worked to receive.

Nothing good can be said of illicit drugs and alcoholism. During a 9-year period of the Viet Nam war, there were 40,000 deaths of U.S. servicemen and women. During that same time, there were 250,000 deaths as a result of intoxicated drivers. (The figures are estimated as I do not have my library with me here in Iraq.) In sort of a nauseating irony, we still talk about what a quagmire Viet Nam was, but relatively speaking little was done then and now to stop the alcohol and drug related deaths on American streets! We still sell alcohol from drive up gas stations, and allow drunk or drug using drivers to get out of jail on bail after repeated offenses before the police can even fill out all of the processing paperwork.

Drugs destroy lives. The number of deaths relating to drug use and the drug trade are astonishing. From 1999 to 2002 there was over a 50 percent increase in drug-using gang related homicides. Finances from drug sales often go to terrorist funding and other illegal activities.

J. Edgar Hoover, the father of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, “Distorted, abused, cynically disregarded -the standards of conduct, once regarded as sacred and inviolate, stand tattered, torn and forgotten by those who disregard our laws.”

Any and all lawbreakers are ruining and wrecking an otherwise peaceful society. Theft, dishonesty and crimes against persons simply hurt the societies themselves. Millions of dollars are lost each year. Critical time is sapped. The lack of honest employers and honest employees has crumbled large corporations, burdened societies, and impaled ache and break into many hearts.

Pride, arrogance, and haughtiness destroys individuals and organizations. We cannot think we are better than others and expect to be favored. Humility and gratitude begets wisdom and success. Whether its individuals thinking they are better than their subordinates or vice verse, or whether it is organizations against organizations or nations against nations, pride will be the inevitable downfall of every great society or great person.

The skipper of the Titanic, the most qualified man among all the crew, said that the Titanic didn’t need rescue boats, as it would be inconceivable that they would ever be used. We must always conclude we have weaknesses somewhere.

America, the world’s superpower, is not better than other people or other nations. The FBI and the CIA were admonished to cooperate only after 9/11. Social stigma and awkwardness could be blamed, but so could pride. Traditionally, military units and branches of service have jested and boasted of their superiority to one another. This chest pounding has been taken too far in too many instances. We each have vulnerabilities and we each can learn from one another. Such a perspective will ensure evaluations and ongoing remedies in the future.

We must get along with each other. If we could get along with each other as a nation then we could do a more effective job in getting along with other people and other nations. Would this make the terrorists of the world stop hating us? Probably not, but it would help us unify our efforts against them.

We’ve sympathized with the strange one’s in society. We’ve allowed those with puny voices and terrible ideas to blare out their ideas—those who are fanatic and extreme. We’ve given into the demands of the irresponsible, decadent and indolent in our society too often. We have not supported the mainstream ideals and beliefs of the majority often enough. And usually the main body of a civil society is good, decent and makes wise decisions. The entertainment and news media looks to what’s unique and different rather than what’s actual and verifiable on a whole, and capitalizes on it. Truth is thereby surreptitiously distorted. Inaccurate pictures are painted. This has shaped our nation and will continue to do so.

Frivolous, ridiculous law suits are constantly filed. The most outrageous cases are heard. To top that, the final judgments are surprisingly outlandish. Where is common sense in the court? We need judges, lawyers and juries with personal merit and common sense, not deviance and so-called educational intelligence. Both criminal and civil suits are shocking and appalling in the precedence they’ve set. Case law has gone entirely too liberal, siding with the criminal while thwarting the rights of the law abiding, and tying the hands of those sworn to protect us. From the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the United States Supreme Court Justices, there have been too many decisions made barring societies’ best interests.

Too many supervisors and employees in law enforcement and intelligence agencies are afraid to act for fear of litigation. We need to stop suing each other so much and focus on stopping the real threats. Too much focus is put on the private attorneys who get paid much more than, and are often much more experienced, than county, state and federal government attorneys. Too many have become selfish. Too many have become sympathizers with those who break the law. We’ve embraced fashionable forgiveness.

Is the hand of justice, which grips the offenders and keeps them from further injury of the innocent to be severed by mercy as if it were a sharp sword? Can we continue to offend the victims of atrocities by placating the wrong-doers? We have over two million in our jails and prisons, and sadly, only two percent of those convicted of capital punishment are actually carried through.

And, oh, there is so much more…

Finally, how can we fight an enemy when we are fighting ourselves? We must first cleanse the internal disruptions in our own government and communities to be able to successfully ward off the attacks of external opponents. We have to take the fight to ourselves first. Sound familiar?

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