Friday, August 27, 2010

It is all about the spin!

Obama gives your tax dollars to rebuild Muslim mosques around the world
While millions of Americans struggle to keep their homes and jobs, President Barack Obama can't give your tax dollars away fast enough.

This was the opening paragraph for an email I received yesterday from the American Family Association (AFA). If you know me at all, and you are wondering why I get email from the AFA it is because I believe that as a member of society it is my responsibility to listen to both sides of the story and to try and educate myself with different perspectives.
So back to the Email…..
It went on to detail dollar amounts, quote Hillary Clinton as saying this is money well spent, and ask me to write my representatives to condemn and investigate this use of my tax dollars. The total was $270,000 and there was even a link to a government website where this was detailed so I could see the outrage for myself. Anyone who knows me at all can tell you I did click on that link. They would know this because I often send them to in response to email they have sent me.
There it was in black and white – “The US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Awards for 2010” and it was all true. This is the point where most people throw up their hands, forward the email to everyone they know and post on Facebook about Obama giving our money to the Muslims.
I am not most people so I wanted to know more and went back to the root directory to learn about this fund that the Obama administration was using to give away our tax dollars.
What I learned was that this was not something new. Congress had established the Ambassador’s fund in 2001 as a new approach to US relations in other countries. I wondered why I had never heard about this before. It must be because this administration was misusing funds. The Republican controlled Congress under President G.W. Bush couldn’t have intended this when they created the fund or could they?
How had the Bush administration been spending this taxpayer money? I looked back to the report from 2007 and found that $266,000 of our tax dollars had been used for restoring mosques and then I skipped all the way back to 2002 and learned that even in the weeks after 9-11 the Bush administration was giving money to restore mosques in Kabul and Islamabad.
If you want to read for yourself
Why didn’t the AFA tell us about the Bush administration giving our tax dollars to the Taliban? Could it be that this whole fuss was about creating hatred toward our current President and that this Christian values organization wants our country to be divided? The United States became the most powerful country in the world because we were United. Does the AFA have an agenda to destroy the unity and bring down our great country? We’ve all been watching out for those Muslim terrorists but now I wonder if we haven’t been looking at the wrong group of fanatics.
Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? Modern technology has given us so much communication it is easy to become part of the problem. You see something on the internet or your favorite news channel that upsets you and you naturally feel the need to release your frustration so you send it to all your friends, tweet about it, and make it your Facebook status. These are all methods of communication I enjoy but at the same time, they are so dangerous. Please don’t rely on sound bites, Tweets, Facebook Posts or even your TV News as your only source of information. Learn the whole story before you form an opinion, forward an email, or tweet it out to the world. In the past few years, I have seen families or friends turned against each other too often – Remember that most of the world never learns the whole story behind the headline and be tolerant of those who have different opinions. If we all practice these simple steps, maybe things will get better and the USA will once again be United!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Racism or Just Ignorance

I saw a post from a friend of a friend yesterday that left me a little irritated and angry. So irritated in fact that I tried to take a nap and I dreamed of her in my home making racist comments and insulting my other guests. I guess that was more of a nightmare than a dream. The end result was I decided I wanted to have my own Blog with hopes that something I say might make a difference. Do I really think I have that much influence? Not really but I honestly do believe that most people are not truly hate filled racists. I prefer to think they are just poorly educated or thoughtless and that they really don’t mean to be insulting.
The Post was of a bunch of Confederate Flags and a very firm statement about her being “Southern” thru and thru and that her favorite was the “Bloody Flag” that is proudly displayed in the rear window of her truck. Is it just a flag? Southern Pride and all that? I hear about this controversy quite often living here in South Texas and I know many of these folks think that way but to me it is a symbol of hatred, racism , and slavery and when I see it I feel shame and embarrassment for the south.
Should I comment or even care – she is not my friend so I don’t have to see her posts but I do have to see her truck or others like it. I can’t help but think that the truck used in the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas probably had a confederate flag sticker or two on it. I can’t not care, and I can’t just shut up, we have done that for too long. This is just one small example of the racism I see and hear everyday, as I am sure many of you do as well. Does it make it less hurtful to our friends, neighbors, or family members who are African American just because we excuse these people as ignorant?
As I was writing, it occurred to me that in a few weeks a mutual friend is going to visit this woman and was going to have her give her a ride to my home. I can’t have that. I can not, will not ever allow someone with a symbol of hatred or racism on their vehicle to display it in my driveway. Do you know this person or someone like her? Probably! Do you ignore when you see or hear these things? Will it ever stop if we keep making excuses for them? Maybe if I tell her why I don’t want her at my home she will understand – maybe not but if not, then I misjudged and it really is hate and racism. Do I want someone like that in my life anyway? I think I would rather have the respect and friendship of those friends and neighbors who treat each other as human beings.