Goodbye…..Captain America

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It’s a little known fact that this previous Tuesday, May 19, 2015 marked the ten year anniversary of my father’s death. This year it hit me particularly hard. I fell off the wagon with sodas and training, telling myself this Sunday I would get back on it, and since about Monday have just had a general feeling of malaise. I tried putting my finger on it, because I think about my father on a daily basis, and even both of my grandfathers on a frequent basis. What was really bothering me was not that he couldn’t be here to see what type of man my son is becoming, or the young woman my daughter is becoming, what was really bothering me was I was realizing, it’s not even close to the same world my father left 10 years ago. Most of my father’s philosophy has been abandoned, and like Captain America in Avengers Disassembled, we have failed him. He hasn’t failed us.

What do I mean by that? I think of a lot of things when I think about my father, but the thing I think about the most is my father was a great unifier, he was not a divider. This was some innate, God given ability he had. Like the Steve Rogers Captain America, he made people want to be great. My father was a teacher and his teachings were to strengthen individuals. I don’t delude myself and think my father and I, if he were here, would agree about everything politically and morally but we would agree that what use to make America great, the greatest country in the world, was the ability of individuals to come together and be strong, but still be individuals. Over the past decade that is gone in America. We are rushing at a frantic pace to be like every other country on the face of the planet. We don’t want to be the beacon of hope and freedom and the place where you can be an individual and succeed. We want to be Europe West.

How is this happening? We have reached a dark point in our history. We have reached the point where division sells, it sells good. People have allowed “leaders” to manipulate them into clusters for those same “leaders” power. It’s no loss of irony to me that post-racial America is more racist than when I was my son’s age. And yes, I am going to say it, it isn’t all white heterosexual males fault. It isn’t all white people perpetuating racism. But race isn’t the only divisional factor in this country. Everything is sold as a divisive factor. Look at how “Christians” act about Christmas. I get so so so tired of hearing “I can’t say Merry Christmas.” Of course you can, but you don’t since your “leaders” say you can’t, whom you follow them as blindly as the sheep on the other side you chastise. I now say “Merry Christmas.” I have yet to offend someone and if I have do I really care? Nope. I am wishing you good will in the belief set I believe. It’s a kind gesture. Period, end of sentence. And that is how America used to be, before the dividers and one-worlders got their hands on America. Back when my father was here and someone could be Captain America.

How do we correct this? That is the part that really bothers me, that is the part probably giving me an ulcer or future cancer or something God awful. It bothers me because I wonder if it can happen. We go back, because maybe this change hasn’t been good. I think of a time for seven months I was a Vegan. Dedicated and true, I weighed less than I did at community college. I saw a friend at his daughter’s wedding whom I hadn’t seen in years; he and I had a private talk. He said, “You are thinner than I have ever seen you. You look awful.” Now, I am not attacking Veganism, but clearly it wasn’t right for me. Why? Because in my mad rush to lose weight (mainly to be smaller on my bike for pedaling and speed), I lost more than I should. That happens. It is the nature of Man. We aren’t gods. In attempting to correct real problems, like racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism, we destroyed too much.

My best memories of my father were spent at Barrie Day Camp. And I am sure this will give the race-baiters fodder for the destruction of this argument. I can count on one hand the number of times I knowingly saw my father lie, and was cognizant of the fact he was doing it. I saw him lie to his boss’ wife about one of my father’s personnel being late. The boss’ wife said she would fire this man the next time he was late. My father had built a relationship with this man, as he built relationships with all people based on the content of their character. But I am sure there is some community “leader” saying, “There we go he is playing the I’ve had black friends argument.” I have had black friends, and even more importantly I saw my father, my male role model treat black, Jews, homosexuals and even Arabs the exact same way as white heterosexual males. If he liked you, you were golden. And that folks is America, the content of your character, not whether you are a D or an R, or gay or straight, or black or white, or male or female. All those labels do is separate us. My father also used to play lots and lots of records, and they weren’t all good, but I remember a particular John Wayne spoken word album. The Duke says, “I’m an American…..and that says it all.”

Goodbye Cap, I hope we can stop failing you.

Ethan Grayson is a Free State Radio contributor. He can be heard on both the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and the Free State Happy Hour(though not in May, darn commitments).

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – #Waco Biker Shooting, #HillaryClinton, #Baltimore Violence, Ramadi

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The crew’s all together. We have an array of topics to talk about. Ramadi is now in the hands of ISIS, Sally Kohn thinks the media showed racial bias during the Waco Biker Shootout, Hillary Clinton campaigns hits another flub, Baltimore violence is on the rise, and O’Malley is set to challenge.

#Baltimore and #Welfare

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The following op-ed was originally printed in the Maryland Gazette on May 13, 2015.

Before you read, I want to make a few points
I wrote this because I care, more so than the race hustlers and faith hostelries in these communities. I’m tired of excuses. I’m tired of politicians. I’m tired of the divisive words spoken by “community leaders” and those who want to apologize for every last thing. We ALL share part of the blame as Americans, NOT as separate groups based off the pigment of our skin but as a country.

Though I may only change a few minds, it’s a start. Yes, it’s a touchy subject, one that may cause some people to label me as a racist. Those people are close-minded and afraid to face the truth. I use facts. I use data.

I sincerely believe the welfare state IS the major problem facing the downtrodden today. Yes, there may be other factors that contribute to the welfare state, but it’s not all about the government and people around you.

Note that I used the term “welfare culture.” It’s a culture we’ve fostered. People have been swept to the side in the name of a “safety net” or a vote. It needs to be changed, rolled back. That’s the way I feel.

 

What Maryland witnessed last week in the Baltimore was a powder keg waiting to explode.

Since President Johnson’s War on Poverty in the 1960’s, Baltimore City has been held hostage by policies heralded by politicians like Congressman Cummings, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, and Senator Pugh. They play the flute of more economic investment to combat poverty while leading their constituents off a cliff.

Those of us in Anne Arundel County should care. Baltimore City is not an island unto itself in the not-so-vast sea of Maryland. From education, to taxes, to work, we are all invested in Baltimore. Those who commute for work allow the same corporations the aforementioned politicians routinely condemn to supply a majority of Baltimore’s tax base.

The dismal education system in Baltimore, one that spends the third most per pupil in America, affects students across Maryland. Students who score well on standardized tests are judged against their peers, including those enrolled in Baltimore’s abysmal system. The weight of their scores is meaningless when compared to a system that graduates two out of three students. This provides a false sense of success and undercuts the entire education system.

I’ve heard excuses from institutionalized racism to social mobility. Those who would trumpet the “legacy of slavery” as the reason Baltimore’s inner city youth have no chance to succeed are victims of race hustlers. Poverty knows no color. I would direct the reader to Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom, which highlights the travesty of welfare in the white slums of London, or perhaps take a visit to Appalachia.

While politicos pander to their constituents, we should look no further than the real culprit behind Baltimore’s issues: the welfare culture. Since the War on Poverty’s genesis, we have witnessed the escalation of crime, expanded access to welfare, and the deterioration of the nuclear family wreak havoc on Baltimore’s youth. With a poverty rate of 31%, an unemployment rate of 21%, an incarceration rate of 3,000 per 100,000, and teen birth rates of 108 per 1,000, the area known as “Sandtown” is a microcosm of the problems welfare causes.

Expanded welfare increases crime. In 1994, the Maryland NAACP released a report stating, “The ready access to a lifetime of welfare and free social programs is a major contributory factor to the crime problem we face today.” Since the 1960’s, the murder rate among black males has doubled. A crime problem will most certainly escalate tension between police and its citizens.

Increasing welfare benefits also encourages single parent households, increasing them by 150%. These arrangements often leave children without a male role model, as a government check now usurps a father’s role in the family, leaving him emasculated. This has a snowball effect on employment. Since the mid-90’s, married black households have maintained a single digit unemployment rate. The same cannot be said for those children raised without a father figure, who often gravitate towards gangs for influence.

The most destructive part of welfare – the mentality that individuals cannot succeed without the help of the government – is one I take the greatest issue. To receive help without implication, without personal responsibility, is a life devoid of meaning and hope. While there is no doubt inner city youth face bigger hurdles to success, they are simply hurdles meant to be overcome, and the lessons they learn during their path will help them teach future generations.

Baltimore has suffered long enough with such irresponsible policies. It does not require more investment into its schools. Compare Dunbar High in the early 20th century with Baltimore’s schools. Both operate in impoverished areas with comparable socioeconomic struggles. Dunbar produced excellent students with subpar funding while Baltimore schools struggle to produce students with more than enough funding. It requires accountability.

Until those who live in Baltimore are ready to change their culture, nothing will change. No amount of guilt or money will alter the course of Charm City.

Free State Happy Hour -George #Stephanopoulos & Hillary #Clinton, #Larry Hogan and #Baltimore Education

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Jimmy is solo today. He’ll talk about (briefly) George Stephanopoulos and Clinton Cash, Larry Hogan and Baltimore City Education, and give a review of his article in the Maryland Gazette

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – #SummerMovie Preview 2015

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Title says it all. We’re reviewing Avengers: Age of Ultron, Before I Wake, Hot Pursuit, Mad Max: Fury Road, Poltergeist, Tommorowland, Aloha, San Andreas, Entourage, Insidious; Chapter 3, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Terminator: Genisys, Ant-Man, Pixels, Mission Impossible: Tom Cruise is Short, The Fantastic Four, and more

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – Wrap up on #Baltimore Riots, #Thug, #Garland Shooting

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We’re back for another ridiculous episode of VRWC. Today we wrap up on Baltimore Riots, Is Thug the new “N-word”, and Garland Shooting