Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thoughts on the 2010 Mid-Term Elections

For a number of years I loosely associated myself with the Republican party, although never considering myself “a republican.” But around 2004, I officially disclaimed any part of the republican party, on the grounds that I believed the party had become every bit the party of enormous, centralized government that the democratic party was--the party of endless foreign interventions, and constant violations of the constitution. The only difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party became, not whether more unconstitutional federal programs should be created, but which new unconstitutional federal government programs should be created.

Until just recently, I was convinced that government could not be returned to within constitutional limits unless a third party arose. I bounced between the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party, but still maintained that I was an “independent conservative.” And so I still am. The difference is, however, that I see a glimmer of hope that the Republican party just MIGHT still be salvageable through conservative and libertarian activism through the Tea Party.

Now I must say, there are a great number of Tea Party candidates that I did not like. I felt Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell were unqualified. You cannot run on a platform of “constitutional government” but then not understand basic concepts under the Constitution. The obvious example was during the debate between Coons and O’Donnell, where O’Donnell didn’t even know about the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. Really? And you want to defend our constitution? Not that Coons’ understanding of the First Amendment was any better, but at least he cited part of it correctly. Another unqualified Tea Party candidate was Carl Palidino out of New York. I need not say anything much about the man except that I believe he is slightly deranged. Bringing a baseball bat to a concession speech? Is he auditioning for a part in Good Fellas, or is he running for public office? Come on.

But there were other bright spots among Tea Party backed candidates. Major bright spots. My favorite is Rand Paul. Unlike many other candidates running on the Tea Party, small constitutionally limited government platform, it is clear that Rand Paul has put a great amount of work and development into his political philosophy. He’s actually been thinking and studying these matters for years. Other Tea Partiers, by contrast, are new to this way of thinking. For years these people were just mindless lock step republicans, so becoming familiar with the constitution, founding fathers political thought, American history, and sound free market ideas, is a slow process. But we are glad, nonetheless, that “they have awoken to their awful state.”

New Senate members like Rand Paul have already put in the work to obtain the true Tea Party philosophy. Others, like Mike Lee in Utah, have done likewise. They are prepared with a developed political philosophy. I cannot say the same for people like Sarah Palin. She may have the instincts and desire for this philosophy, but she does not have this philosophy developed--she has not put in the work. This is why she cannot be trusted or supported for any reason but to publicize others who are much further along in the development of their political philosophy. This should be her only role.

But, nonetheless there are good signs on the horizon. Our gains have been small, but the fact that a few true small government patriots have made it into the Senate and the House means there is hope for future gains. There is still hope that we can take our government back from the clutches of the all consuming centralization of power into one body—the executive branch. If this mid-term election cycle showed anything, it showed that there is hope. And not the false hope of 2008.

And who would have thought…there is actually hope for the republican party of all places. Perhaps a third party is NOT the answer after all. As long as the Tea Party remains viable and works to produce candidates like Rand Paul and Mike Lee, there is still a chance to work within the republican party and return it to its true principles.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

So Long Old Friend

Well, I recently lost a dear friend of mine to old age (and some abuse). No, I am not speaking of old Henry down at the care center; I'm speaking of my dear old acoustic guitar. A crack in the neck of the guitar became a large gap, causing the strings to want to pull away from the fretboard.

For many reasons, I don’t really consider myself a true “guitar player.” First of all, I only know the guitar well enough to play rhythm guitar—and even then, I really only know how to play one type of rhythm really well: Jamaican based rhythms such as ska and reggae. What I know how to play, I can play quite well, but it is quite limited. In addition, I don’t know scales, so I can’t play solos. Also, I don’t know the names of the chords that I play. I play entirely by ear and memory. This was kind of hard for past band members that I worked with, but they got used to my unorthodox ways, and we worked great together.

But if this is all true then why, you ask, do I care that my old acoustic guitar is no more? Well, when I started playing guitar at age 18 (more fully at 21), I did so with the sole intent of writing music. That’s all I wanted out of the guitar originally, was a way to write music and play it, and not to play the guitar for the sake of playing it. In a way the guitar just served a utilitarian purpose. However, somewhere along the way I grew to love my guitar. I grew to love it because it enabled me to do what I love to do—write music and play it.

That guitar has been through a lot with me; I have written songs on it during the best and worst times of my life for the last 10 years, reflecting many aspects of my life. I am proud of some of the songs that I have written—not proud objectively, as in I feel that the songs compare well with the songs of others—but proud subjectively, as in I see some of my music as a personal accomplishment.

The death of my guitar is the end of a chapter. I am now taking over my wife’s old guitar. Hopefully it brings with it the same kind of inspiration that my old guitar seemed to.