Have we become overly sensitive when it comes to judging patriotism?
A Facebook post about a U.S. soldier who was asked to take down his American flag has sparked a heated debate.
Staff Sgt. Brandon Weir and his wife Lauren of Huntsville, Alabama received a note from the owner of their condo complex requesting that they take down their American flag because it violates the condo rules. The post went viral and several veterans groups and concerned citizens went to the complex to protest in favor of the soldier. The Facebook had over 2,500 “likes” as of last night!
The manager of the property, Carol Coffey, said she has been bombarded with phone calls and emails supporting the U.S. soldier. Coffey said in comments to WHNT.com from an article at foxnews.com that the request is not intended to be criticism of America or the flag. She said, “I served in Afghanistan, I served in Iraq and I served in Kuwait. I am not anti-veteran and I am not a communist.”
I understand the initial reaction to any request to take down an American flag, especially a flag put up by a U.S. soldier, is outrage, but isn’t it also an indication that our judgment of patriotism can be misguided?
I don’t agree with many of the rules and codes that certain residential complexes or neighborhoods include in their bylaws, but the rules and codes are designed to protect the aesthetics of an area and prevent individuals from destroying the visual landscape with outrageous colors, items or architecture. Residents are usually made aware of the codes of the community and those codes are usually changed by a vote of the residents.
Carol Coffey said that the condo association is now considering changing the bylaws to allow a certain number of American flags to be flown outside of each unit. But until the bylaws are changed, is it really an attack on patriotism to request that the basic rules of a community are followed? Isn’t there something innately patriotic about abiding by rules established by a majority?
As a country, let’s focus on the things and actions that pose a real threat to our nation and our sense of patriotism. Requiring even a U.S. soldier to follow the rules of the community in which he resides is not un-American – even if the item in question is an American flag!
I love talking about the ‘feel-good’ laws that do nothing but make us feel that we have done something as a society to solve a problem, but in reality, that’s all the laws accomplish. Politicians praise themselves for taking action and proclaiming to have solved a problem for the purpose of enhancing their public image. But the laws are called ‘feel-good’ laws because the only purpose they serve is to make the public feel as if the right action has been taken.
I also love talking about laws that just don’t make sense. Again, the motivation comes from a desire to solve a problem, but the problem is not solved while leaders pat themselves on the back for ‘doing the right thing’.
In Lafourche Parish, the ‘saggy pants’ law is apparently seldom enforced. The law bans “indecent exposure” of a person’s “below-waist underpants.” In 5 years, only 45 individuals have been ticketed. Sheriff Craig Webre says that it is up to the discretion of his deputies to enforce the law. Sheriff Webre admits that the department does not have a “baggy-pants task force that spends its time looking for that particular violation.”
I disagree with the ‘baggy-pants’ law, but don’t pass a law if you’re not going to enforce it. Young people in Lafourche Parish are exposed to the same fashion trends as young people across the country. As the result of mass communications and now social media, young people around the world as exposed to the same fashion trends and those trends transcend boundaries. Young people in Lafourche Parish wear ‘saggy pants’.
It’s hard to image that more tickets could not have been written in Lafourche Parish over a 5-year period. This may be another case of responding to a complaint from the community with a law that makes everyone feel as if there will be change - when in reality there is no change.
Last year, in response to complaints about young people hanging out in the Quarter late at night, the City Council passed a strict curfew law banning anyone 16 and younger from being out in Quarter after 8:00 pm seven days a week unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The French Quarter is part of my neighborhood and I am in the Quarter every day. While I am not checking IDs, I can assure you that every weekend night and into the early morning hours there are numerous young teens on Bourbon Street without parental supervision. I don’t see them causing trouble and I’m not blaming NOPD for not doing more to enforce the law, but this is another case of a law being passed in response to a perceived problem without the law being strictly enforced.
It should be up to the citizens to stop accepting passage of ‘feel-good’ laws as if they will be enforced and actually solve a problem. Politicians often receive the support of the community and are applauded for having the courage to pass laws that do nothing to make the community better. The main reason laws like the ‘saggy pants’ law and the teen curfew law are not enforced is because law enforcement has more important things to focus their attention on. And if that’s the case – why pass the laws in the first place?
Just a brief comment about a law that qualifies as a ‘feel-good’ law – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on selling sugary sodas over 16 ounces. The intent of the law is to curb obesity, but this law is a ridiculous and ill-conceived attempt to do something about an actual problem.
The loopholes that expose this law as absurd continue to mount. You can’t purchase regular soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, but you can buy two 16 ounce drinks allowing you to consume 32 ounces of the very drink that has been banned in larger quantities!
And it has now been learned that Domino’s is no longer stocking 2-liter bottles of soft drinks because the company will not be allowed to deliver a large pizza with a 2-liter bottle of Coke because of the law that is designed to fight obesity. A 2-liter bottle of soda contains from 700 to 1,000 calories – Domino’s large Classic Hand-Tossed pizza contains 3,120 calories!
We only have ourselves to blame for supporting politicians who pass laws that do not make a difference in our world. But that’s convenient for us because we feel like our voice was heard on an issue and a problem was solved. So we move on with our lives as if we have something to be proud of!
Do President Obama and the First Family spend too much time and money traveling?
Following a weekend golf trip to Florida where the President played golf with Tiger Woods and the First Lady and First Daughters went skiing in the mountains, I did look into the president’s travel. In his first 31 months in office, President Obama spent 61 days on vacation. Over the same period of time, President George W. Bush spent 112 days on vacation. It’s argued that Obama is taking more expensive vacations, but specific numbers on exactly what is spent on presidential travel is not concise – and that may be on purpose!
Today, Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, sent a letter to the White House budget office calling for a “hiring freeze” on non-essential positions, such as a staff assistant to answer phones at the Labor Department, which pays up to $81,204 annually…and to cut back on travel.
As the battle to change the fiscal course of the United States continues, both political parties have differing views on what is the best course of action – spending cuts or increasing taxes. Obviously, a combination of cutting spending and increasing some taxes is the right answer, but if this country doesn’t stop spending money in a wasteful manner, any increase in taxes will only be wasted by the government.
I have read different estimates on what it costs when the president uses Air Force One. The costs range from about $30,000 an hour to $50,000 an hour. And then there are all the expenses of security for the President and the first family, the traveling staff and accommodations. President Obama’s recent Hawaiian vacation cost about $4 million.
I’m not going to criticize presidents for taking time off, and I realize presidential vacations are also working vacations, but lavish vacations when Americans are forced to make difficult financial decisions does not set a good example.
This is a bi-partisan problem. Every president has taken trips and spent taxpayers’ dollars on trips that were not necessary. And members of Congress waste our money too. There are countless “fact-finding” trips to wonderful places around the world that could have been avoided with the use of today’s technology.
The President of the United States is primarily a figurehead. He is our leader. Leaders should lead by example. Even though every president has taken advantage of having Air Force One at their disposal - that is no excuse for a president to take trips that are designed to enhance the President’s political image and serve little or no purpose to enhance the United States of America. When I see this President or think about any president using Air Force One for the sole purpose of delivering a policy speech in person for public image, I get the impression that some presidential travel is non-essential and therefore, a waste of money.
When presidents/kings tell their citizens/subjects to sacrifice, but fail to make their own sacrifices then it’s easy to say that a president/king is out-of-touch with “the people.”
President Obama has an opportunity to do something I don’t recall any president ever doing – cut travel and be very public about it. Tell the American people what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Even though it would be mostly symbolic and in reality would do little to solve this nation’s fiscal problems, openly cutting travel is the responsible thing to do. It would also project a message that this President understands what so many Americans are dealing with during this long economic struggle.
The culture of a corporation or a country is formed from the top down. Businesses and individuals, cut back on travel and non-essential expenses when money is an issue. Why shouldn’t we expect the same from the President and all of our political leaders?
Through my radio career as a morning personality on music stations and now as a talk show host, I have seen many incredible concerts with some of the biggest and the best at the height of their careers – Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Rod Stewart, Brue Springsteen, Duran Duran, Sting, Bon Jovi are just a few.
Honestly, the Kid Rock concert last night at the New Orleans Arena was one of the BEST concerts I have ever seen! I became an instant Kid Rock fan when I first saw him perform at Jazz Fest. I was impressed by his energy on stage, his musical talent and even the depth of his songwriting. So I went to the concert last night with high expectations.
Kid Rock-ed! Jazz Fest is a fun daytime venue that does not allow performers to hide any lack of talent behind an elaborate light show or sage production. Too often the stage production of a concert distracts from the talent of the performer.
Last night, Kid Rock’s lighting and stage production were elaborate, but did not distract from his talent. I was impressed. There are not many performers who can be described as ‘unique’. Kid Rock is one who deserves that description. He is rock, country and rap and he has his own distinct moves that make his stage presence awesome.
In addition to his remarkable talent, the content of Kid Rock’s music and overall message are different. Kid Rock’s love of America and his recognition of God during the show are similar to what you expect from many country music performers.
Kid Rock is a Republican in a world dominated by Democrats. He supported Mitt Romney in the presidential campaign, but made a gesture that he has no hard feeling toward President Obama. His candidate simply did not win the election. That should make Kid Rock a role model for many Americans.
The show opened with a video and a Kid Rock voice over. He thanked the Lord for America and asked for a blessing that he does not disappoint the audience. During the show Kid Rock voiced over another video about how America is the BEST place to raise a flag – a son – a daughter and expectations.
Toward the end of the show red, white and blue balloons dropped from the ceiling in the style of a political convention and as the balloons descended to the audience they began to bat them around. During a patriotic moment in the show, a giant America flag unfurled and draped across the entire back of the stage. It was electrifying!
There was not a lot of time between the opening act – Buckcherry – and Kid Rock. It wasn’t long after Buckcherry left the stage when the stage backdrop was filled with video slides of fans and a countdown to the start of the concert.
I first noticed it at 15 minutes and when it hit 1 minute to ‘start of show’ the crowd applauded and cheered in anticipation of what was about to hit the stage! I have been in enough backstage situations to know that performers often take their time and don’t start their shows on time. Recently, Madonna has angered many of her fans with obnoxious delays and long waits for the ‘star’ to start the show are common in the world of rock. But Kid Rock is different. He respects his fans enough to not put on what fans perceive as an egocentric delay. That was another thing that impressed me about Kid Rock.
I don’t recall a concert where I saw fans stand for the entire show! From the moment Kid Rock was launched onto the stage, the crowd stood and would not sit down.
There are always a few performers who get the label of being ‘great in concert’. Kid Rock is now one of those performers. If you EVER get a chance to see Kid Rock LIVE – do not pass it up! Go! You will be impressed!
With all the obnoxious rock stars in the world and the lack of respect they show for their fans, it’s really nice to see someone who looks like one of those rockers with tattoos and a bad attitude prove that you can’t judge people by the way they look!
I would now classify Kid Rock as a ‘superstar’...Great show, Kid Rock!!!
Picture this: A mother says to teenager leaving for school: “Honey, do you have everything you need for school today – your homework, your lunch money, and oh - don’t forget your gun!”
Gunfire erupted in a crowd of students wearing school uniforms yesterday afternoon at the busy intersection of Esplanade and N. Broad. The NOPD has not yet said if they have a suspect in the shooting of a student.
An NOPD spokesman told WWL-TV that “it all began with an altercation between several students wearing school uniforms, and then gunfire erupted.” However, an eyewitness tells WWL First News that the young male shooter was not wearing a school uniform.
Another altercation and another brazen shooting in public in broad daylight again bring us face-to-face with the depth of a problem we have in New Orleans and throughout America. I just wonder which of President Obama’s newly proposed gun laws would have prevented the shooting yesterday afternoon that left one teen in critical condition with two gunshot wounds.
The sad reality is that this is not a problem that can be solved with legislation. Proposing an immediate tangible solution, like legislation, satisfies our human instinct to protect society, but fails to address the deeper, more complicated problem of requiring parents to raise their children to become contributing members of the community.
Every senseless shooting is alarming, but when a shooting occurs in a group of high school students after school we are reminded about the magnitude of the problem. We were all in high school and we all remember hanging out with friends after school and that’s why it’s difficult to comprehend how much society has changed.
Teens with guns and the wrong attitude about life are generally the product of households that provide little or no guidance to their children. The most unfortunate aspect of this is the reality that it will take generations to manifest significant change.
The teens that are ‘armed with attitudes’ change the world of being a teenager. The ripple effect is easy to understand. If parents are responsible for teaching their children to be safe in life, the list of warnings has grown – look both ways before you cross the street, don’t touch the stove when it’s hot, don’t talk to strangers and don’t get shot!
Saturday Night Live has always been known for comedy that can be offensive, inappropriate and irreverent – yet some will still wage a war of condemnation in obvious hopes of changing the show. But condemning SNL only serves to promote the show and remind America that it is still a relevant medium for social and political commentary.
The most recent criticism of SNL is focused on a spoof on the controversial movie “Django Unchained” – the spoof was “Djesus Uncrossed.” Presented as a trailer for an upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie, “Djesus Uncrossed” featured Jesus rising from the dead…but instead of ascending into Heaven, Jesus goes on a profanity-laced rampage and violently attacks and kills those who were responsible for His crucifixion. The announcer says in the typical movie announcer style, “He’s risen from the dead, and he’s preaching anything but forgiveness.”
I understand how that comedy skit would be offensive to many Christians, but chances are those who are offended were not even watching SNL. This group would not have been enjoying the show’s sarcastic and irreverent humor and then suddenly become offended when “Djesus Uncrossed” came on the show. The motivation to condemn comedy that did not initially invade the privacy of someone’s world must come from a desire to protect the masses from comedy considered offensive.
When Tim Tebow was a prominent figure in the news, SNL did a skit where Jesus visited Tebow and the Broncos in the locker room. Christ has always been the subject of comedy - the question is whether or not Christ is off limits.
Early in my radio career as a morning show disc jockey, comedy was the foundation of “The Scoot in the Morning Show” and I achieved great success. Now, as a radio talk show host I continue to occasionally inject my sarcastic, irreverent sense of humor when talking about the top social and political issues of the day. I also did stand-up at a local comedy club and once at open mic night at the Improv in Los Angeles. I mention this only to establish that I do have an understanding of the nature of comedy.
Comedy is based on real-life and the subjects of comedy are often popular figures from history and contemporary pop culture – from any president to Paris Hilton. What makes us laugh are things that are a spoof or twist on real-life people and situations and that often includes a comic spin on morality. Comedy actually forces us to think about moral and appropriate behavior toward others.
Laughing at a joke or comedy skit we know to be offensive does not mean we agree with the actions or that we are offensive people. We laugh at the absurdity of the twist on real-life and real people.
No one should take comedy too seriously or fear that comedy has the power to corrupt the world. Comedy is the commentary of an already corrupt world.
Jesus was contemporary in the context of the world in which He lived. It’s possible that if Jesus were alive as a mortal man today, He might use comedy in His parables to communicate His message:
Then Jesus said to His disciples – “Hey did you guys here the one about the prodigal son and this fat calf?”
Keep Christ in comedy – that reinforces Christ in the real world.
‘Zero tolerance’ policies in America’s schools were originally applauded as a definitive approach to making schools safer for all young students, but the policies have led to the unnecessary suspension of innocent children doing innocent things.
•At a Maryland elementary school, a 6-year-old was suspended recently for making a gun gesture with his hand and aiming at a classmate and saying “POW!”
•A father was arrested after his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.
•Shooting rubber bands in school have resulted in arrests.
•‘Zero tolerance’ drug policies in schools have led to the suspension of students caught with Advil or Midol on school grounds.
•In Portland, OR a high school expelled a student who ‘mooned’ a teammate at track practice after the act was defined as sexual harassment. On my show in Portland I was so critical of the school that the student was reinstated.
Following the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, America has again been plagued with an irrational fear that everyone is a potential threat. But the irrational fear that is running so rampant through our nation was growing long before that recent tragedy.
‘Zero tolerance’ policies have been robbing children of innocent activities that have been part of child’s play as long as any of us can remember.
A 3rd grader was suspended for drawing a picture of a soldier holding a canteen and a knife. Equating what was probably nothing more than innocent patriotism with some kind of potentially sinister plot against fellow students is an embarrassing function of a society that can no longer distinguish between fantasy and reality.
I remember drawing pictures of soldiers holding guns and knives in elementary school and making gun gestures with my hand as I simulated wiping out the entire school yard. But those actions were motivated by an innocent attempt at fantasy and were not interpreted as an actual threat. I’m sure you can recall countless things you did when you were young that, today, would be viewed as a threat that would lead to suspension.
‘Zero tolerance’ policies remove the human factor from judging human behavior, which can never be reduced to predictable mechanics. This ‘zero tolerance’ mentality that has spread throughout our society is further proof that Americans will desperately jump at ridiculous solutions to difficult problems and then develop a false sense of security that the problems have actually been solved.
Let’s work on solving the real problems rather than seeking ‘feel-good’ solutions that allow us to quickly move beyond tragic moments. America has lost something precious when kids can no longer be kids.
If you are a staunch Republican or a staunch Democrat, you may be brainwashed if you agree with your party’s position on every political and social issues.
All Democrats do not support the Democratic Party’s position on gun control and every Republican does not agree with the Republican Party’s stance on same-sex marriage.
A new FOX News poll shows that 14% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents do not support their party’s position on gun control and 14% disagree with the party’s stance on health care.
The same poll shows that 15% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents do not support the Republican Party’s position on abortion and 10% disagree with the party’s position on gay marriage, health care and taxes.
Overall, a majority of Democrats (51%) and a majority of Republicans (55%) say they agree with their party on “many” issues – but not all. Republicans were less likely than Democrats to agree with “all” of their party’s position on political and social issues.
Membership in the ‘club’ of either extreme conservatives or extreme liberals requires adherence to a myopic view of political and social issues. It should not be surprising that only a small percentage of republicans and democrats support all of their party’s ideology.
From my perspective as a radio talk show host, I have noticed, particularly over the past few years, that some listeners are desperate to define a radio host as liberal or conservative. Yet, most of America is not strictly liberal or conservative.
Since the nature of media forces the focus to be on society’s extremes, it is the ‘far right’ or ‘far left’ that consistently receive attention that is disproportionate to their actual percentage of the population. And there are many in the media who disregard the fact that America is not ruled by the ‘far right’ or the ‘far left’ in order to assume the path of least cerebral resistance.
Condemnation of any American who does not subscribe to the rigid ideology of either party can be traced to an insecure mind that survives by clinging to a group mentality.
In his book, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” author Jonathan Haidt quotes political scientist Don Kinder, “In matters of public opinion, citizens seem to be asking themselves not ‘What’s in it for me?’ but rather ‘What’s in it for my group?’” Haidt writes, “People care about their groups, whether those be racial, regional, religious, or political.”
Opinions on political and social issues are formed more by alignment with a group or party than with the self-interest of an individual.
If you find yourself never deviating from a strict party line all the time – you are probably brainwashed and might consider cultivating a mind of your own! Dare to become a radical moderate!