Archive for September, 2017

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American pride

September 26, 2017

AmericanFlagFor more of my life so far than not, I was never a sports fan. Then nearly 21 years ago, I married an avid sports fan and lifelong athlete. About 12 years ago, my husband’s love of sports and the rise of Tim Tebow (University of Florida) as a hometown celebrity in the Jacksonville area where we lived then, brought me to sports.

Before that, however, the one thing I did love about sports events was the roar of the crowd as our United States’ national anthem ended. That enthusiasm – yes, for both the musician/signer and the game’s start – is unmatched by any other venue.

Given recent national events (thank you very much #POTUS – read, sarcasm font), my fear is now that in typical American extremism fashion, we’ll move to no more national anthem performances or military jet flyovers at these events. That would break my heart.

America is not perfect. We are apparently slow learners when you look at our ongoing racial tension. In the greatest country on Earth, we have children and families who go to bed hungry each night. Gun violence is out of control and crime rates should embarrass and concern us all. Each one of us, should be better than that.

Right now, what I see and hear, is pouting and juvenile behavior on both sides. I don’t believe this tantrum will not result in positive change on any serious issues in our country. Kneel if you like, stay in the locker room, stand with your hand on your heart because, thank God, other Americans have been and continue to be willing to fight for our freedom to express our views.

For angry fans, I ask you to think about games you’ve attended and how many in the crowd also ‘disrespected’ America because they were buying a beer, chatting with their friends or otherwise also ignoring the national anthem. My guess is that most of us truly have no right to cast stones at the individuals now who choose to take other actions during the anthem.

I like this opinion piece statement from Martin E. Dempsey, retired Army general, Duke University Rubenstein Fellow and chairman of the J. NBA Leadership Council. “For those who don’t like standing because they disagree with what America has done, stand and pay it forward for what you think America should do. Then, as the last echoes of the anthem fade away, go back to arguing for change from that foundation of promise that is the national anthem.”

So, drop it and move on, please. If you are in a position with money and a celebrity-level platform, use it to effect real and positive change that continue to make our country great and greater. If you don’t have those resources, effect change from where you are in the ways you are able. Together, in our diversity when we remain civil and courteous, we are great.

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Follow the rules

September 5, 2017

As a 5th generation American, I accept and firmly believe that this country – this United States of America – was built on a foundation of immigration. Then, as now, if you want to live here, you must follow the rules, please.

My great-great grandparents immigrated, as did so many others back then. They followed the rules and took the necessary steps to do it legally. Similarly, when they homesteaded in harsh North Dakota weather extremes, they followed the rules to do what law required so they could be thriving citizens.

It seems to me, as long as any person has to hide because they haven’t followed the laws, they are not and cannot be thriving citizens. That resulting lack of freedom leaves them short of full participation. Mostly, it hurts them far more than it hurts the rest of the country.

Does it cost money to follow the rules? You bet it does. A couple of weeks ago, it cost me nearly $60 to renew my driver license. Something that I remember being free not too long ago. I had to manage my income and spending so I had the $60 for that renewal that allows me to keep lawfully driving. Driving allows me to get to my job to continue to legally earn money to support my needs and my family needs.

That’s how it works. I don’t have a $9,000 (exaggeration intentional) cell phone because I know I need my money for other expenses, too. Maybe if I immigrated here from another country, I would buy a cheap phone, eat ‘rice and beans’ as financial counselor Dave Ramsey likes to say, and whatever else it took to have the money necessary to attain legal US citizenship.

Easy? No. Who ever said it would be? If I moved to another country where I wanted to live, I would expect them to make it a bit hard – to earn it. That country would also expect me to follow their laws and rules.

Being a free country built by brave immigrants a couple hundred years ago does not negate the necessity of rules, laws and structure. All I ask is that you just follow the rules if you want to live here.