Friday, January 06, 2012

Ron Paul and me at Flint's Tim Hortons

Hey, I'm trying to steer clear of politics these days! I have decided there are too many people I love who claim to be from one party or the other. It's hard to keep my thoughts pure when I discover just who they are supporting for President -- and we're a long, long way from the finish line, folks! 

Truthfully, I consider myself apolitical. And I have publicly declared to several different groups of people that my intention is to never again have a discussion about politics. I have privately been thrilled with the idea that I never again have to have such discussions - and that all judgments are off when I discover a person's loyalties. And I'm never going to again say for whom I am going to vote. The thought feels so amazing. So peaceful. 

But I ran into Ron Paul this morning at the Tim Hortons at the corner of Ballenger and Flushing roads. Go figure. 
Well, truth be told, a friend has been urging me to read his book Liberty Defined. The book has moved from room to room in my house - and finally out the door with me today as I determined I better take a look at the guy behind this third-place groundswell of Iowa Caucus support, an objective look into what makes this guy interesting - at minimum to my neighbor who proudly has a sign posted in his yard.
Because I am determined this year to write more often about the ideas that otherwise rattle around in my brain, here is my apolitical, objective reaction to Ron Paul's book. For what it is worth. This is what I have determined this book reveals about a guy who could maybe be the next President of the United States. I may or may not vote for him. But I wouldn't tell you now would I?
By the way, it's hard to get past the subtitle, 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom? 50?? And I did find it interesting - or strange - that envy is listed as an issue but none of other seven deadly sins!
The issues, by the way, are in alphabetical order. I skimmed abortion not wanting to talk about it because it is far too difficult to discuss without getting emotional. It's an issue that drives the vote of too many people on both sides of the aisle. I have friendships that have nearly been destroyed based on this one topic. Not going there.
I do agree with Paul's position on bipartisanship: Too few things the two parties agree on that would be good for country.

And tax-payer financed elections; financing goes underground. Yup I agree with Paul on this one too. Campaign laws won't solve the problems.

And I do like Paul's stand against capital punishment and empire building and aggressive wars. Abortion position? Not so much. (See?? I'm weak! Why must I even comment on abortion??)

Paul's CIA position - I have to say, "Preach it brother." We would probably all be safer without it and every other clandestine operation. How can anything be successful if it thrives on secrecy and lies?
Gheesh! I actually agree with Paul's thoughts on civil disobedience. We both think it is legitimate and an effective way to resist violence perpetuated by state. 
OK, I'm now thinking Paul is not in the right party. He is SO Independent. Why would Ron Paul choose to align himself with the GOP? It seems inconsistent with his independent thoughts. 
But I'm still reading.

Oops! Paul & I disagree on discrimination. And education! Local control by school boards? The thought is bone-chilling to me! Maybe good in Malibu but Flint, MI?? C'mon!

Oooo, I DO like his thought that the American Empire is an enemy of American freedom. Yup I'm with him on that one. He says it is every bit an enemy of American citizens as it is to the victims of world. Let us be reminded that leadership is so critical!
And so I ask, why would this person align himself with the Republicans when their system only seems to dilute his arguments. He seems to stand against necessary evils. Yet, why do what he must to get attention or elected? And yes, the system IS against him! I'm just confused about him injecting himself into that system. They don't like him there. It would seem more fitting for him to play at a different playground.

I like Paul's stance on the deadly sin of envy: In a true free market economy, gain does not come at any one's expense. I just wish we could trust one another!
Paul's argument regarding evolution vs creation seems opposing to his argument regarding education. Again he talks about local power deciding but admits it might cause problems. Ya think?? How does a blue collar, largely high school educated-only town even stand a chance in competing with the academic giants of Ann Arbor's school board? It wouldn't. It couldn't. Local power dictating the future? Gotta say, that sounds frightening - even as I am trying to relax as I sip my Tim Hortons coffee!

I like Paul on this though: Any disagreement with government is considered unshared love of freedom. He says, "And that is exactly how fear works." Word! WORD!
Paul quotes CS Lewis in his section on Insurance. Interesting.
Ok, now I get it. Ron Paul likes liberty and/or freedom. He really REALLY thinks it is foundational to our government - and I cannot argue that it isn't indeed a constitutional right but, BUT his steely-gazed focus on liberty raises some red flags for me. It's like one of those airhorns that people obnoxiously blare at an indoor sporting event - and they have the freedom to do that! But for me, and this is my rub with Ron Paul when all is said and done (I may or may not vote for him remember), one man's liberty can and I gotta say, DOES infringe on my other constitutional and unalienable rights of life and the pursuit of happiness endowed by the Creator. And while I do LOVE Ron Paul's position on war, America's empire building, and Executive Power, some of his other ideas seem a bit idealistic for a 21st century America. I do not share his confidence in the goodness of people or corporations or government to step up and do the right thing.

I hear more and more people say they are supporting Ron Paul. He and his thoughts are compelling no doubt!! I WISH many of Paul's ideas would work, but the American political system seems too far gone to me. He carries with him ideas that would seem much more effective for rebuilding after a collapse!
There is no doubt, however, no doubt at all that Ron Paul makes this race far more interesting!
But hey, what do I know? I'm apolitical!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Living lawlessly in Flint, MI

So get this: the folks in my neighborhood have started writing about the infidels in the neighborhood that drive too fast. They are beginning to flood the listserve with alt means of stopping the "growing problem." The first post I ignored, though a little sheepishly.

You see, they are talking about me.

Some have even written about those who do not stop at stop signs or blow through red lights. And while that is not EXACTLY me, I HAVE joked that all laws have been suspended in Flint due to the budget cutting our enforcers. The truth is, I rarely see a police car any more. When I do, I automatically think it is serious trouble in this wild-western town, that they are chasing after some cattle-rustlers or bank robbers.

It could happen!

What has the listserve jumping is a pretty serious accident occurred yesterday along the main drag. In fact, it was an entrapment that involved kids that were apparently just picked up from the neighborhood school. I saw the two little ones who looked a bit confused. I took the liberty to fill in the gaps on information and assumed that their mom was in the ambulance. That had to be confusing for those two kids...

Life can change so quickly.

Good Lord, now they are talking about installing speed bumps on the listserve!

So my guilt is getting the best of me here. The funny thing is I thought no one noticed how I drive! It's not like I have a memorable car - or do I? Could it truly be that as these folks are posting their passionate thoughts on this listserve they are envisioning ME nearly missing them as I pulled out of the neighborhood?

Dear God!

And so I am thinking about this principle I have long held with a fair amount of self-righteous pride. If left to their own accord, will people do the right thing? If suddenly there were no laws, would the goodness of people instead reign civilly and therefore create a safe, hospitable environment? After all, the law of our hearts is stronger than any law of the land! I mean, right?


Oh great, now I'm thinking about that Edmund Burke line, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.’

I think I've been playing for the wrong team...

And so how in the world do we apply this concept to the greater problems of Flint, MI? Can we? Is this now tested and failed personal principle indicative of an impending collapse as our hired enforcers become fewer and fewer? Do we even stand a chance with civility?

I'm turning myself in to the listserve! We may not be needing those speed bumps after all...