Monday, September 17, 2012

Moors S’Mores Summit

My Spanish ancestors fought against the Moors. THE MOORS!!! Before 711 A.D., the Greeks and Romans fought against their forebears in the pre-Islam Mideast kingdoms. Then as now, Islamic extremism cannot be pacified by empty rhetoric; most certainly, it should not be coddled and ignored as anything other than the threat it has been for more than a millennia. They are blindly fighting on faith a centuries-old conflict that can end only one way in their mind:  the eventual destruction of Western civilization, and the world under the rule of a restored caliphate. With the rogue proliferation of weapons of mass destruction throughout the unstable region, such a goal is more achievable than ever before.

Yet, as many including myself have stated, the majority should not be blamed for the few. In my opinion, Islamic extremists are no different than Christian extremists. They are fringe groups that make the whole look bad, each spewing hatred aimed at the other without compromise that neither reflects nor adheres to their overall respective religion. Any generalizations based on their actions are dangerous reminders of a society’s innate prejudices and xenophobia that can cloud our judgment and course of action.

But the belief we can sit around the campfire singing kumbaya and toasting s’mores in harmonious accord is a misguided one. Several past presidents flatly stated that the United States does not, and will not, negotiate with terrorists or their sponsors. Now, they are read their Miranda rights, locked up with three square meals a day and given an apology in an impotent conciliation effort that is steadily disengaging the U.S. from the battlefield and endangering allies. While might may make right, victory, and ultimately peace, can only be achieved by bringing it fully to bear – because you do not bring dialogue and diplomacy to a gunfight with fanatics unwilling to come to the table.

How dumb of a species are we, though, that we are still fighting the religious wars of our ancestors in the 21st century?

©2012 Steve Sagarra

Friday, September 7, 2012

Independent Republic of Bureaucrapistan

Well, this year’s hurricane season has come and gone. No, not the tropical storms – the Republican and Democratic conventions. Naturally, each had a different outlook and approach on governing and leadership. The election, exactly two months away in November, is really no different than any past ones; with healthcare and tax reform the main focus of both party platforms, it should be dubbed the vote for the certainty, indeed, of death and taxes. What was never openly stated, though subtly referred to by several speakers at the former convention, is that the problem with government is, well, government. The solution, even for ineffective government, as seen by some people attending the latter? More, presumably ineffective, government, mainly by way of expanded and additional entitlement programs which can only exasperate an already strained economy and out-of-control fiscal policies. And four more years to continue doing it. 

Frankly, the last thing needed, ever, is added bureaucracy on top of an already-bloated one, which only gets worse as you go up the chain. Between the local, state and federal bureaucracy, that is the true trickle-down of government – because by the time you finish with all three, there’s only a trickle of nothingness left.

One thing will dictate the outcome:  voting, blindly or not, strictly on principles; voting on the direction of the nation as dictated by principles; or voting for the best direction of the country, whether based on principles or not. If it is the first, you are voting for a candidate that best suits your principles no matter party affiliation. If is the second, the choice for the most part is between the two main candidates of either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, but could include a sleeper like Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. If it is the latter – which I believe to be the most important, particularly concerning those on the fence – then it only comes down to either Obama or Romney. In such a scenario, there can be no consideration of a third party candidate – even one as strong as Johnson – that can split the vote in favor one way or the other. It is a shame that our entrenched de facto two-party system has to be this way, but it is a sad truth.

What will really factor in, though, is the level of bureaucracy Americans want in our lives, and how much we want added or subtracted from it. Not to mention how much bureaucratic nonsense from it we are willing to withstand, and, more importantly, are able to sustain. 

©2012 Steve Sagarra