Colin Kaepernick Isn’t a Villain…But He Sure Isn’t A Hero Either.

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Sports and politics certainly seem to have a strange way of intermingling. This is quite ironic to me because I’ve always viewed sports as an opportunity for people to put aside their differences and engage in a friendly form of competition. Unfortunately, professional athletes face an increased amount of scrutiny from the public, much of which has resulted from political statements and controversial actions.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly instances in which professional athletes should be held to a higher standard than the rest of the public. These individuals are expected to be good role models to the kids who admire them, and they have the responsibility to conduct themselves with integrity and respect when in public. However, while there are certain actions that should be scrutinized, we have to realize that professional athletes are people and they have the right to voice their opinions.

With that said, there is a specific topic that has been trending excessively on Facebook for the past few days: Colin Kaepernick. For those who may not know, Colin Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49rs, and he has been facing intense criticism for refusing to stand during the national anthem at a preseason game on Friday evening. This is not the first time that a professional athlete has refused to stand for the national anthem, and I am certain that it will not be the last.

When questioned about his decision to remain seated, Kaepernick cited the oppression of black people as the primary motivating factor. Kaepernick went on record saying: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

Personally, I think that Kaepernick is a complete tool, and I believe that his refusal to stand reflected a desire for attention rather than a genuine desire to do good. I mean, what do you expect from someone who wears a shirt with Fidel Castro on it? However, my opinion doesn’t matter in the slightest. Kaepernick has the right to have an extremely poor outlook on the American flag, and I support that right even if I strongly disagree with his attempts to justify it. Therefore, there is no need for me to further comment on the driving force behind his decision.

What bothers me most about this situation is how polarizing it has become. On social media, Kaepernick is either being condemned as a villain or hailed as a hero. In reality, he is neither of these. He is not a “godless commie”, and he certainly isn’t a valiant civil rights leader. He is a man who chose to exercise his 1st Amendment rights and, whether you agree with it or not, it is time to get over it.

I completely understand if you disagree with Kaepernick’s actions. He disrespected those who have fought and died to protect his rights. However, his apparent sense of self-entitlement doesn’t make him a villain, it just makes him ungrateful. The truth is, Kaepernick has harmed no one. The only thing he has damaged is his own public image. Although I personally disagree with his assessment, I recognize that he has the right to make whatever statement he wants, as long as he is willing to accept the potential consequences.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: The 1st Amendment was not written to protect the type of speech that everyone agrees with. On the contrary, it was written to protect the type of speech that some may find to be controversial or offensive. Yes, there are certain instances where speech must be scrutinized, but this is not one of them. Kaepernick’s actions may have been offensive, but they are protected in the exact same way that Donald Trump’s controversial remarks are protected.

If you support Kaepernick’s actions, that’s fine. You have the right to your beliefs, and there is no point in arguing about it. However, don’t get it twisted. Colin Kaepernick is not a civil rights hero. He is not Rosa Parks, nor is he MLK. He is not a selfless hero, but instead, a self-entitled individual who has experienced all of the “benefits” of “white privilege”. In fact, with a $25 million net worth, it appears that he is more privileged than I will ever be. If he wants to do some real good, maybe he will choose to dedicate his time and treasure towards enacting real change in the community.

Instead of focusing on real issues, we have directed our attention towards the actions of a man who is enjoying a few short moments in the spotlight. By preoccupying ourselves with his little publicity stunt, we are giving him exactly what he wants: attention. Like it or not, he is exercising his right to free speech. So let’s all just leave it at that and get back to the issues that really matter.


Your Protest Means Nothing If You Act Like A Delinquent

At a very young age, I learned that throwing a fit would not yield the results that I desired. Considering that most parents work hard to impress a similar mentality upon their children, it is actually quite embarrassing that I even need to be talking about the events that occurred in Minneapolis on Friday evening.

As you may already know, Donald Trump made a brief stop in Minnesota on Friday evening to attend a fundraising event in Minneapolis. These events are typical of both parties and, like it or not, they are a common occurrence during an election cycle. Not surprisingly, Trump’s visit sparked an unjustified outrage amongst several individuals who felt it was their duty to publicly advertise their disdain with Trump’s politics.

Now, I am no fan of Donald Trump, and this is not an endorsement of his politics. I will not fault anyone who stands in opposition to him, nor will I insinuate that these individuals should refrain from engaging in a civil protest. As long as they remain civil, they have the right to voice their opinions. However, the events that occurred at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday evening crossed the line that distinguishes a civil protest from acts of delinquency.

Instead of protesting in a civilized manner, some of the protesters resorted to various forms of harassment, including pushing and spitting on Trump supporters. These tactics were meant to publicly intimidate those who have chosen to support Donald Trump, and they illustrate the childish attitudes that many have embraced this election season. Regardless of who you support, these tactics are despicable, and there is no room for them in a civil society.

We have become a society that is full of people who attempt to use their twisted view of righteousness to justify their obscene actions. These individuals preach tolerance, but show an inability to practice it when it conflicts with their agenda. They quickly become offended every time that someone disagrees with them, and they resort to childish acts to gain attention.

Here’s the thing. If you act like a child, you are going to be treated like one. Being an adult means accepting the fact that there will always be people who disagree with you. A failure to accept this is an indication that you are failing to accept reality. If you choose to engage in atrocious behavior, you are destroying your credibility and you deserve respect from no one.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to support the candidate that they think best represents their values. It’s fine to disagree with someone else’s choice of candidate, but you can still be civil with one another. If you think they are wrong, fine. If you think they are ignorant, fine. However, you will get absolutely no where by publicly intimidating or harassing those who disagree with you. This idea should transcend party lines and become a standard that applies to everyone.

Again, regardless of whom you choose to support for President, there is no excuse for acting in an uncivilized fashion. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you are a hero, because you are not one. In fact, you are a coward, and any self-respecting individuals can see right through your charade. If, on the other hand, you are able to remain civil, go ahead and stand up for what you think is right. I may disagree with you, but I will still respect your right to voice your opinion. Just remember, your protest means absolutely nothing if you choose to act like a delinquent.

When There’s a Moment of Silence, Please Shut Up

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On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, there was a brief moment that was meant to honor police officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Dallas County’s Sheriff Lupe Valdez was chosen to deliver the address, and she spoke about the importance of law enforcement and the selfless sacrifice that many have made.

You can watch her speech in its entirety, but it’s safe to say that there was nothing controversial about it. Sheriff Valdez spoke with pride about being a police officer, and put an emphasis on what it means to serve our communities. She also addressed the recent tragedies that have occurred, and the intense divisions that have emerged as a result.

Partisan politics aside, I thought that Sheriff Valdez’s speech was well-spoken. She touched on concepts that most rational individuals can agree upon. She didn’t seek to assign blame, but instead sought to bring about an environment in which we “start listening to each other”. She focused on the idea that it takes efforts, on both ends, to change the narrative and to improve relationships within a community.

Towards the end of her speech, Sheriff Valdez called for a moment of silence to honor officers that have been killed in the line of duty, as well as, their families.

That’s when the rabble-rousers seized the opportunity.

It should come as no surprise that, in the midst of a moment that was intended to show respect to the fallen officers, shouts of “Black Lives Matter” began to break to silence. Instead of heeding the advice that was offered just minutes earlier by Sheriff Valdez, the individuals responsible chose to further contribute to the divisive narrative.

I am all for protests, as long as the actions of the protestors don’t infringe upon the rights of others. I may disagree with your cause, but I will still support your right to protest, as long you do so with dignity and respect. However, please realize that, if you choose to act like a jerk, you are going to be treated like one.

I was taught at a young age that interrupting a moment of silence is not a courageous act. In fact, it is extremely rude and it speaks volumes about your character. If you’re mad that the DNC dedicated a moment to honor fallen police officers who had nothing to do with the recent shootings, fine. Just realize that you can rip yourself away from your agenda, for just a few minutes, and still be a decent human being.

When you interrupt a moment of silence that was reserved for those who were killed in the line of duty, you deserve absolutely no respect. You are discrediting your movement, and are providing a perfect example of why many choose to distance themselves from it. If you want your movement to grow, change your attitude and alter your approach.

Acknowledge opinions that challenge your worldview, even it you don’t agree with them. Instead of dwelling on the differences, focus on the common ground and use it to build a foundation. Yes, black lives matter, but so does every other life. If you show disrespect towards the loss of innocent lives (regardless of their status), you are no better than those you claim to stand against.

So, the next time you are present for a moment of silence, please keep your mouth shut. Put aside your ego, and extend the same respect towards others than you would like extended towards you. There is a pretty clear distinction between fighting for justice, and being an inconsiderate jerk. Don’t treat others how you are treated. Treat others BETTER than you are treated.

Elizabeth Warren’s Hypocrisy Continues to Shine 

As I was watching the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, I experienced a plethora of emotions, particularly during Elizabeth Warren’s touching speech. I found myself caught between feelings of frustration and disgust, which is not surprising considering Elizabeth Warren is one of my least favorite political figures.

My disgust with Elizabeth Warren was not spurred by my disagreements with her policy positions. Yes, I believe she is wrong on many issues, but disagreements don’t necessarily have to result in contempt for one another. Policy positions aside, my disgust with Elizabeth Warren came about with a single sentence from her speech that summarizes how big of a hypocrite she truly is: 

“We believe we must get big money out of politics and root out corruption” 

This sentence, in and of itself, it neither controversial nor hypocritical. In fact, I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. It is the context in which this sentence was uttered that illustrates Elizabeth Warren’s hypocrisy, which was in the midst of offering a glowing endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Let’s consider Elizabeth Warren’s political profile. She is best known, perhaps, for the crusade that she has led against Wall Street. She has consistently declared war on big banks, even though she has benefited from the lawyers who represent them. She is practically a messiah among the leftists who believe that free markets are the cause of all of our woes. 

Even though I strongly disagree with such sentiments, I still respect the rights of those to believe in them. However, my question is this: How can someone denounce big money and corruption, but yet continue to be a surrogate for Hillary Clinton? It simply doesn’t add up. Unless of course, Warren has chosen to forgo her principles in the wake of opportunity. 

In 2004, Elizabeth Warren fully acknowledged that Hillary Clinton had succumbed to the pressures of the Wall Street lobbyists. Now, as one of Hillary’s biggest surrogates, she passionately declares her support for an individual who embodies the opposite of what she claims to fight for. If that’s not hypocritical, then I don’t know what is. 

Initially, my theory about Elizabeth Warren’s public support for Hillary Clinton revolved around a potential bid for the Vice-Presidency. However, that idea was soon shattered when Wall Street shared their disdain about Elizabeth Warren as Vice-President. Ironically enough, when it came time to choose between Elizabeth Warren and Wall Street, guess who was crossed off of the list? You guessed it, Elizabeth Warren.

I will fully acknowledge that Warren’s support of Hillary could be completely independent of any opportunistic endeavor. For all I know, Warren could be supporting Hillary purely out of the “goodness” of her heart. Regardless of what spurred her to become Hillary’s most passionate surrogate, it is clear that she is violating the very principles that she defended during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

It’s not about motives. It’s not even about policy positions. It’s about consistency, and acting in accordance with the principles that you claim to support. By claiming to oppose political corruption and big money, and then actively campaigning with Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren’s hypocrisy continues to shine.   

United We Stand, Divided We Fall: My Thoughts on the Orlando Massacre

I have spent a considerable amount of time gathering my thoughts in regards to the tragedy that occurred in Orlando. Due to various reactions on social media, I have been torn between speaking my mind and staying out of the matter altogether. However, I feel compelled to speak the truth, even if it leads to undeserved levels of alienation and ridicule.

In the wake of the massacre, there have been a ridiculous amount of divisive accusations being thrown around, especially on social media websites. Instead of standing together in times of tragedy, we prefer to resort to finger-pointing and name-calling. We are so desperate for something to blame, that we rely on our pre-conceived notions to make sense of such situations. This is nothing to be proud of and, in no way, does it solve any of the problems that face our society. So here is the truth.

The truth is, innocent individuals were brutally murdered for no particular reason. To our knowledge, they were targeted based on their sexual orientation. Despite what some may believe, ALL individuals possess an inherent right to life. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, black, white, man, woman, Muslim, or Christian. Regardless of classifications, ALL life is precious, and there is absolutely no justification for murder. Period. My heart truly aches for the innocent lives who were unjustly taken away from this world, as well as, the families that never got to say goodbye to their loved ones.

The truth is, the shooter was a self-radicalized Islamist who was bent on wreaking terror upon our way of life.In the midst of carrying out his massacre, he pledged allegiance to ISIS via a 911 phone call. He had been questioned in the past about possible associations with Islamic terrorists. To deny this, is to deny reason and logic entirely. Whether he formally belonged to ISIS or not, his intent was to kill in the name of a radical force. Unless we recognize this, we will continue to blame one another for the actions of deranged and radicalized individuals.

The truth is, Muslims are not to blame for this incident. It is harmful to generalize, and I refuse to engage in that sort of rhetoric. It is important to realize that there is a difference between a “Muslim” and an “Islamist”, just as there is a difference between “Islam” and “Islamism”. The actions of the shooter are in no way representative of an entire religion, and we cannot continue in our misunderstanding of this. It is important to realize that radical Islamism is a threat to the American way of life, and I would encourage you to do your homework on this issue. However, we cannot fall victim to the propaganda that attempts to classify the entire Muslim community based on the actions of its radical factions.

The truth is, Christians are not to blame for this tragedy. Those who are adamantly against Christianity have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit and defame the Christian faith. Despite the ignorant claims of bigotry, the Christian faith is NOT responsible for what occurred in Orlando. Those who are attempting to shift the blame to Christians are doing nothing but distorting the truth and, furthermore, proving that they know absolutely nothing about the teachings of Christ. Yes, many Christians are opposed to homosexuality for religious reasons. Yes, many Christians want to be free to oppose lifestyles that they disagree with. However, Christianity DOES NOT advocate for the murder of innocent people. Those who do, are not Christians. Period. Don’t pretend that advocating for freedom of conscience is equivalent to brutally murdering innocent lives. If you think it’s intolerant, that’s fine, but stop using this tragedy to justify your own contempt with Christianity.

The truth is, guns are not to blame for this tragedy. You want to have a real discussion about common sense gun control measures? Fine. I’m all for creating a balance between maintaining public safety, and ensuring that individuals have the ability to defend themselves. I could spend all day debating hypothetical situations, but there will be no real progress unless we acknowledge that focusing on guns does nothing but shift the blame. As I wrote in a previous article for Voices of Liberty, gun control will be ineffective as long we continue has disdain for personal responsibility. So yes, let’s have a reasonable discussion about measures that ensure that the public is safe. I agree. But understand that anyone who immediately attempts to shift the blame to guns is failing to acknowledge that there is a deeper problem that plagues American society.

The truth is, our society has developed a complete disdain for personal responsible. No one forced the shooter to carry out the attack. Guns do not function without human action. The shooter made a conscious decision to take the lives of innocent people, and he alone is responsible for his actions. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, shifting the blame does nothing but enable a society that acts without any consideration for potential consequences. Before we start playing the blame game, maybe we could start with analyzing our own hearts and identifying the role that we play in this world.

Finally, the truth is, We are not enemies of one another. Our only enemies are those who will stop at nothing to exterminate the American way of life. We must acknowledge that evil exists in this world. We have allowed ourselves to become so center-focused that we allow ourselves to use tragedies to justify and advance our personal agendas. Until we reflect and look within our ourselves, tragedies like this will continue to occur. It’s time to stand up, accept that we will have our differences, but come together in defense against a common enemy.

So say whatever you’d like. Blame whoever you want to blame. Just realize it does nothing but isolate and divide. It’s natural to disagree on controversial political issues. There is nothing wrong with that. But I’d like to think that we can do it with respect for one another. I’d also like to think that we are bigger than blaming this massacre on one another. We are all American citizens, so let’s start acting like it. I will continue to pray for Orlando, the LGBT community, and all of those affected by this tragedy. United we stand, divided we fall.

Of Course Hillary Got The Nomination. What Did You Expect?

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Last week, the media “officially” declared that Hillary Clinton was the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. This sweeping declaration was met with a resurgence of the usual rhetoric that we have learned to expect from the Clinton camp: men are oppressive, Republicans are sexist, and Hillary is the epitome of righteousness. While the sentimentality is quite touching, let’s not pretend to be surprised by this outcome.

Before I am wrongly accused of being misogynistic, I will make it clear that I acknowledge the historic aspect of this moment. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party. I am proud of how far our country has advanced. However, this moment would be much more celebratory if the woman receiving the nomination was anyone other than Hillary Clinton. That may seem a bit harsh, but at least I’m not pretending to be surprised by this outcome.

In reality, Hillary was guaranteed the nomination the minute that she announced her candidacy. Bernie Sanders put up a good fight and, as an outsider in Washington, he certainly performed a lot better than I had originally anticipated. Although I refuse to #FeelTheBern, I actually enjoyed watching the 74 year-old “Democratic Socialist” attempt to dismantle the Clinton machine. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to win when your opponent is a politically-privileged liberal opportunist.

I know it’s difficult to imagine, but let’s pretend that Hillary is the altruistic savior that her supporters claim she is. Putting all politics aside, Hillary is (on paper) more than qualified to be the President of the United States. Just consider her extensive political resume: Yale Law School Alumnus. Former First-Lady of Arkansas. Former First-Lady of the United States. Former U.S. Senator. 2008 Candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Former Secretary of State. This resume has ensured, and will continue to ensure, Hillary’s continuous climb up the political ladder.

The truth is, Hillary Clinton is a prime example of the status quo. She is no stranger to the Washington establishment, and she knows exactly how to work the system. It is no secret that Hillary has made a fortune giving political speeches throughout the country. Averaging $210,795 per speech, Hillary has shown that she has the ability to effectively market herself. Don’t get me wrong, Hillary certainly has the right to give speeches, and to get paid for them. That’s the beauty of a free market. However, considering that many of these speeches were paid for by Wall Street, let’s not allow ourselves to buy into the notion that Hillary isn’t well-connected.

It just so happens that having access to an extensive network of well-connected Washington insiders is a prerequisite for success in a Democratic Primary. A basic understanding of superdelegates, and the role that they play, is all that it takes to realize that party insiders have a large amount of influence in choosing their eventual nominee. Let’s just say, it is by no coincidence that Hillary ended up with 92% of the available superdelegates.

I am in no way insinuating that Hillary won on the basis of superdelegates alone. Mathematically, she would have defeated Bernie based solely on her number of pledged delegates. However, there is no denying the pivotal role that superdelegates play in these contests. Superdelegates consist of elected members of the DNC, Democratic governors and members of Congress, and other distinguished party leaders. Since these individuals are not bound by the same rules as pledged delegates, they are free to support the candidate of their choosing.

When it comes to winning over superdelegates, the more connected you are the better. With 92% of the superdelegates rallied towards her cause, there is little doubt that Hillary was the top choice of the Democratic Party insiders from the very beginning. Considering the support she received from Washington insiders, the donations from Wall Street, and her ruthless ambition, it is absolutely no surprise that Hillary has received the nomination. Period.  

So congratulations. You nominated an establishment-friendly, politically-privileged opportunist who will stop at nothing to get the power she believes she deserves. This is neither an achievement, nor a victory for the American people. Hillary is a politically-privileged opportunist, and her ruthless ambition is nothing to be proud of. If Hillary is your candidate, that’s great. However, please don’t insult the American public by acting like this is an odd-defying moment.

Trump May Be Racist, But Most Conservatives Are Not

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Well, Donald Trump is at it again! Last week, Trump criticized U.S. District Judge Gonazalo Curiel, claiming that the judge was exhibiting bias while presiding over the “Trump University” litigation. The resulting backlash has led many to wonder if Trump is, yet again, resorting to the brash behavior that has become the theme of his presidential campaign. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Judge Curial is the son of Mexican immigrants, which Trump claims presents a conflict of interest due to his pledge to build a wall along the U.S. border. There is no substantive evidence that Judge Curiel has been motivated by bias, and it appears that the litigation will continue as scheduled. 

Now, I usually refuse to play the race game, and I am strongly against the politically-correct rhetoric that attempts to classify any controversial conversation as “discriminatory”. I will say that Donald Trump’s comments were irrational, and I personally disagree with his choice of words. However, I am not going to try to make this into another “TRUMP IS RACIST” piece.  

You can decide for yourself whether or not Trump is a racist. What I care about is the effect that Trump’s actions are having on the conservative movement. By consistently trying to exploit and manipulate the frustrations of the First Amendment supporters, he is providing the left with ammunition that can, and will, be used to slander, criticize, and demerit conservatives of all backgrounds. 

It’s important to understand that Trump is an exception to the rule. A man like Donald Trump will hurl insults and accusations at ANYONE who disagrees with him. When his ego is threatened, he has a tendency to respond in the most offensive ways imaginable. While there is a stark difference between an egomaniac and a racist, it is important to realize that perception is everything. 

In the eyes of the progressives, Republicans and conservatives are already made out to be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Christian, white males. I may have missed a few, but you get the idea. Donald Trump’s behavior does nothing to improve this image, on the contrary, it feeds into it. Hillary Clinton has, to no surprise, already capitalized on his comments, referring to them as “dangerous” and “bigoted”. Unfortunately, considering the facts, it becomes increasingly hard to debate her assessment. 

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, MOST conservatives are willing to be tolerant of others, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. However, we believe that tolerance cannot be one-sided, nor does it mean that we need to accept or support things that we disagree with. I will be tolerant and respect you, as long as you don’t try to FORCE me to support your views.

Despite accusations from the social justice warriors, it is possible to be anti-political correctness, pro-free speech, and pro-tolerance. There are many rational individuals who oppose the politically-correct agenda, not because they want to intentionally hurt others, but because they desire the freedom to express their views without experiencing vicious backlash from progressive hypocrisy. Most of us just want the freedom to live our lives and to be left alone.

Donald Trump does not represent a true conservative attitude towards free speech, in fact, he represents the antithesis. Although he has gathered many followers in his crusade against political correctness, we have to be honest about what his main goal is: to crush any form of speech that bruises his ego. By exploiting the well-understood frustrations of the free-speech advocates, he is able to utilize his signature bully tactics to discredit those who oppose him.

My plea for the American public is this: don’t let Donald Trump define your opinion of all conservatives. We do not use speech to intentionally hurt others. We use free speech to stand up for our beliefs and values, and we refuse to bow down to political bullies. Instead of falling victim to schemes designed to discredit us, we need to stand together and show that we do not condone speech that is derogatory and divisive.