Tag Archive | "Sean Hannity"

A Nation Absent Civility

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On Saturday, January 8, 2011, as many of us on the East Coast were in the midst of weekend errands and events, reports from Arizona indicated that Gabrielle Giffords, Congresswoman from Arizona’s 8th congressional district had been assassinated during a political event outside a local grocery store.  Early reports proved false as the Congresswoman survived a shot to the head and remained in critical condition following surgery.  Nonetheless, at that event, 20 people were shot and 6 died of their wounds, including a 9-year old girl.

The gunman, identified by authorities as Jared Loughner, is a 22-year old who has been described as a social outcast and displayed prior behavioral problems as recently as September past when he was expelled from Pima Community College for causing disruptions in class and posting a bizarre YouTube video (see video below) in which he professes the College to be illegal under the U.S. Constitution.

Deeply distrustful of government and authority, Loughner apparently had been considering or planning the attack over the past number of weeks, purchasing a 9mm Glock handgun on November 30th, 2010 and posting a cryptic message foretelling the shootings on his MySpace page very early the morning of the assassination attempt.  Misguided and apparently deranged, Loughner fits the classic “loner” profile that has been the mark of so many individuals throughout recorded history who have perpetrated pernicious and deadly acts against their fellow men.

Yet, before we chalk up this tragedy to the actions of a sole lunatic, one must question in this instance whether the lack of civility in our political discourse and those who employ toxic rhetoric in branding legitimate political opposition as “extremism” bear some of the blame for the shootings.  We live in an age in which our nation has experienced sweeping change and political upheaval the likes of which have not been experienced since the Industrial Revolution.  Technology and the advent of the Information Age have increased the segmentation of American society and culture.  Today, individuals can view websites, read book and periodicals, and watch television programming that conforms strictly to their particular social, cultural, and political perspectives.

As Americans have become immersed in their own little worlds, they have become less tolerant of viewpoints different from their own.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of political thought.  Unlike a half century ago, political discourse is dominated by extremes.  Liberals (or Progressives as some prefer to be classified) and Conservatives battle it out on virtually every major issue facing our country.  To win the support of a more moderate electorate at large, they demonize the positions held by their opponents.

Does any thinking person really believe that either George W. Bush or Barack Obama ascended to the Presidency with the intent of destroying the United States of America or our way of life?  Yet, if you place credence in the discourse of the extremes of the political spectrum, you would conclude that either or both might be guilty.  It has been said that “you are what you eat.”  Well, if you consume a steady diet of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Fox News, it is likely that your worldview and political thinking will be radically different than those viewing Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC.  And, for a disturbed individual, a firm belief in the extremism spouted by many in politics and the media may be just the impetus needed to motivate him to act – from a deluded sense of righteousness or patriotism.

Perhaps in the wake of this latest tragedy, we should all – regardless of our relative profiles or celebrity – commit to restoring civility to all forms of communication, for none of us has a monopoly on the truth.  Doing so would be the most meaningful tribute paid the deceased and those who will suffer permanent scars from this senseless shooting.




Free Enterprise?

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Historically, America has always been known as a country with a system of free enterprise, but is this still true?  “Free enterprise” means that a private citizen is at liberty to establish, operate, and earn a profit from some type of business that produces or distributes products, or provides a service.  This capitalist system, as once protected by our government, enabled citizens to put food on the table and make a better life for their children.  Other countries have different types of economies and forms of government.  Interestingly, there is an old saying that claims the best form of government is a benevolent dictator, for he alone regulates his nation and provides for his subjects.


Although Robin Hood, a fictional hero, was never crowned king, he did turn the tables on a non-benevolent dictator, a pro tempis despot who ruled Merry Olde England, including Sherwood Forest.  Robin Hood was an earl who, without the king’s permission, had killed a deer roaming the forest.  Under the law, the king owned not only the forest, which should have been public land, but also everything that lived on it.  Robin’s act constituted a crime.  But instead of reaping a punishment, he fled into Sherwood Forest, became an outlaw, joined forces with, and eventually lead also others suffering at the hands of the greedy king.

Angered by the injustices of a system that forced people to starve while the king enjoyed the excesses of his wealth and power, Robin and his band of Merry Men stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  The story ended happily when the rightful king returned from the Crusades and Robin Hood was knighted for his vision and leadership.

This, of course is a fairytale.  In this nation, if you steal from the rich to feed and empower the poor, your ass winds up in jail.  Well, what happens when you try to go the legal route vis a vis free enterprise? Can you, as a free person living in America, start a business without permission from the government?  The answer is “No.”

First, you must apply and be approved for a business license.  Then you are subject to inspection regulations and taxes — all before you have even earned a dime!   In addition, the site upon which you choose to establish your business may require the approval of your neighbors.  You can’t even shoot a deer without permission.  I believe that you can still shoot a moose in Alaska … well, Sarah Palin, for one, does … in order to put meat on your table.  But the majority of Americans live in the “Lower 48.”

So where is all this freedom that our politicians claim that we possess?  Is it simply rhetoric, a bone tossed to the principles upon which this once-great nation was built?   Or is it a placebo, a sugar pill pushed onto angry taxpayers to keep the masses quiet?

The truth of the matter is, that true freedom, like the tale of Robin Hood, is pure fiction.   Freedom of choice and freedom from want exists only in the minds of poets, writers, and of course, the politicians who seek fortune, fame, and power, all at our expense.

The United States of America has changed drastically from what its Founding Fathers envisioned.  The land of the free and the home of the brave is now a caste system, with the tiers of power defined by the wealth that one accumulates.   Wealth has bought, indeed extorted, the keys to the kingdom.   The wealthy heads of Corporate America have bought off our greedy and immoral elected leaders, murdered our tenets, and made virtual slaves of our average citizens.

Between escalating taxes, rising unemployment, whole industries outsourced overseas, and benefits for illegal aliens for which native-born Americans are forced to pay, the average citizen digs himself further into a financial hole even as he works his butt off.

But, never fear.  As  Sean Hannity says at the close of his Fox News program, “Let not your heart be troubled.” 

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