Beyond the Cusp

March 23, 2015

Never Seen the Problem so Plainly Stated

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Often we hear about how people are surprised when an obviously conservative candidate wins an election where nobody has ever remembered reading a pro-conservative editorialist or especially a news columnist. Nobody knows of any conservatives where they work, at their country club or social club, nor are there any in their union, bowling league, classic car club etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I found the problem which stands behind this situation described by Rabbi Professor Dov Fischer titled Conservative “Marranos” and the Absurd Charge of Racism. Below is the last part of the first paragraph which left me in shock and feeling a sharp pinch of sadness and emptiness as one might hope that such a respected Rabbi could hold conservative positions, especially on many social issues where Torah and the laws of Judaism would give him the backing and freedom to at least express such views with impunity and free from the affects others of us have suffered when speaking our minds similarly.

Throughout the West, we conservatives must be careful when we speak, toe political lines that are drawn for us, hide our true political beliefs and voting preferences, and basically live the life of political Marranos or Conversos. We must join unions that we do not wish to join, must advocate programs and leisure activities that we do not wish to advocate, and we must hide furtively until, once every two or four years, we can vote in secrecy.

 

Once my initial shock and sadness passed, I was left with a sense of anger as, oddly enough, I have always had the exact opposite reaction when presented with false boundaries and leftist expectations that, under peer pressures, all will wilt and obey the societal bounds and act as those self-labelled all-compassionate expect and enforce, lest one transgresses at risk of ostracization. I decided to read the remainder of Rabbi Fischer’s article where he described the reactions in the United States and especially in the great White House and around the world where Israel has become the great apartheid state replacing South Africa who having defeated the real apartheid now leads the anointing of Israel as the new enforcer of apartheid politics, after all did not the Bibi again win against the great reformers who accept the European credo and would blindly obey and follow their betters down the path to oblivion. The meat of the article went to explain how politics is a different animal in Israel than it is in the United States, Europe and other citadels of freedom of the Western world. There is the explanation that in Israel we allow a political party whose defined aim in their declarations of principles is to dissolve the Jewishness of Israel and expel or subjugate the Jews and put in place the very Palestinian Arab state which is at its very core not far distant from the same madness that engulfed the continent of Europe and almost the world in the last great conflagration. When at the end of a brilliant description explaining that the phrase Bibi utilized to rally any last vestiges of support from the Zionist, nationalist and right wing voting blocks to get out and vote as a measured grass roots effort financed and manned by leaders from outside of Israel were attempting to hijack the elections and seize power and influence in order to command Israeli obedience to their desires which would in short time mean the end of Israel as the one and only Jewish state, the last refuge the Jewish people have for a safe place, a refuge and blessed haven to which they will be able to escape as the world once again turns mad with red shot eyes and an inner rage for Jewish blood and from there who knows the next victim of the coming madness, perhaps religious Christians who remain dedicated to ancient and outdated parchments and even still believe that the Constitution and the Bible were written in stone and not living, breathing documents whose interpretations depend on the end desire to redefine all norms to fit their unholy societal demands. The article explains that there is a force in the darkness which does desire to squelch all opposition and extinguish the flames of freedom and compassion in the world and install in the place of liberating doctrines a religiously enforced straightjacket which will break the will and end the dreams of the millions who lead the assaults on the battlements of Israeli society as that is the identified instigator that has unsettled an old, dormant, expellent force which seeks dominance over all societal norms and the final implementation of their holy order, though which form is still being debated, by force of arms. The point was made that none of these paragons of all that is fare and knowledgeable were to expound their doctrines in any of the societies such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran or many others of similar ilk that they would soon be meted out their just rewards for thinking beyond their canonical precepts meant to place all societies under its order. Then he relates how after expressing our honest desires we will again have returned to our basements and reassumed our placid facades we use in our daily excursions in the public eye.

 

It has always been my experience that it is best to exhibit those exact traits which best and most deeply depict standing on what is defined as the right wing, conservative or sometimes even Neanderthal behavior and risk the immediate recoil as if close proximity might cause them to be infected as if your political and societal beliefs are akin to a disease which one must quarantine for the health of their society. Does such an initial reaction make existence somewhat difficult initially, of course it does and must be expected. Once you have exhibited that you are quite comfortable existing within their space though an orbital radius is placed around you into which none initially and eventually only the brave dare be seen entering, let alone such trivialities as conversing or even sharing a joke or relating an anecdotal experience from the weekend as such interactions risk contamination. This cannot last indefinitely and slowly but inexorably your societal peers will find that you are not a monster and will not cause them contamination or other afflictions but that you actually share many of the beliefs they themselves accept as we are all raised in the same society which has rules which are universal, it is just that such rules are mostly about conduct and politeness which makes society possible. With extended exposure your fellow travelers will inevitably realize that what you consider right and just is very similar to those things they once believed but have since slid down that slippery slope which you have often warned about and upon realizing this some may even attempt to climb back from their proximity further down the slippery slope which actually will eventually be the death of their society as at the bottom of that slope nothing is worth defending and complete surrender to the great call of empty nothingness where every act no matter how perverse, iniquitous or reprehensible can be condemned lest you be condemned for the bottom of the slope is a society with no standards and nothing is enforced as being beyond acceptance. No society so defined can continue to exist as it becomes a society completely enthralled with self-indulgence to such an extent that even the idea of sacrifice of the self to raise the next generation becomes too burdensome that the idea that it takes a society to raise a child finally becomes simply the society must raise the child and children are given over to specially trained teams who know the best manner for raising the child and every child is molded or forced to obey the rules of inclusiveness and to abhor those who claim that some actions are beyond acceptable behavior as the self-indulgent new define morals and conduct such that nothing is too much or against acceptance except maybe having expectations that all have self-respect and a code of conduct which does limit behavior and set standards, real standards and not an anything goes unbounded limitless standards-free society. Those who are right wing are simply the morals which are necessary to restrain society from swinging so far from center that any hope of a return to those basic beliefs which once produced a society which was productive and functional believing in itself and the ideals which were worth extending to the next generation and knowing that it was the greatest of all accomplishments to raise children instilled with values which guided them to exceed the accomplishments you attained and built a better and more compassionate society which had structure worthy and even beyond what you might have hoped for. There is nothing more honorable than raising a child who exceeds your accomplishments and is making a better parent than you were when raising your child as they took those things that were right and true and took a different path avoiding many of the errors you committed and you realize they are in fact committed to doing what you had strove to do, be a better parent than your own parents and by producing a greater grandchild that they too can be proud and feel they too contributed to that wondrous hope for the future. Does such a society go off the rails, of course that is a possibility which is why as parents we never stop teaching and hopefully we never stop learning for learning is the first step to teaching.

 

The truth of being a right wing, religious and attempting to lead a righteous life is something which it is never too late to start. Many of us who are on the right were leaders of the charge down that slippery slope but had an epiphany and realized that the bottom of that slope was a waiting disaster and where we should be headed is back to the top of the hill. Of course we who have taken this path realize that the top of that hill awaits the fact that it is but a foothill and beyond is another slightly higher foothill and in the distance is a mountain that so very few of us ever even reach the bottom of its craggy and high cliffs which are seemingly impossible to scale. I am hopeful but unfortunately uncertain that there are those still alive today who are somewhere upon those stratospheric heights holding fast to those principles which all too many of us have little knowledge or understanding of such thoughts. The truth we do know is that to have such thoughts must be wondrous and fulfilling. It is that knowledge which guides those who hold conservative standards and believe in that higher truth which we have realized is atop the hill and not at the bottom of that grassy, wet, slippery slope no matter what the promises of ecstasy and unlimited freedom for even freedom must be limited by boundaries, even if the only boundary one recognizes is that their freedom stops at the next person’s nose. One can punch the air, punch the heavy bag, punch the light bag, but one may not punch the person next to them as that infringes on their freedom. Thomas Jefferson once stated about a neighbor’s religious beliefs but can be more generally applied very simple truism, “If it doesn’t break my arm or pick my pocket I don’t care which religion a person pursues.” If only everyone today could apply that to political beliefs instead of initially treating any conservative as a leper, a societal pariah, as for the most part it is all we would ask or expect as decent behavior of a group of people who pride themselves with their so-called acceptance of others with different beliefs for is that not exactly what a conservative is, a person who believes differently, or is it that we arise in you a twinge of conscience, a pang of guilt of something dear that is now misplaced or a hunger to be able to return to your lost values; whatever it may be, listen to that call and find a direction which leads more efficiently to that fulfilling satisfaction that you have a craving but have become lost in the direction to best for which to find it.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 11, 2014

Vote Your Conscience and Ignore the Polls and Potential Coalition Possibilities

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As elections approach there will be party primaries followed later by the general elections. How we vote in each level of the election cycle may surprisingly be a parallel to Psalm 26:2 and the different translations from the original to the modern day. The modern translation states something along the lines, while retained the flavor to the original and having the essential difference, “Lord, try me and test me; look closely into my heart and mind.” The original translation stated, “Lord, try me and test me; look closely into my heart and kidneys.” How this relates to voting in primaries and general elections and which goes with which, well read on.

 

There is always the temptation to vote with our hearts which very few are capable of avoiding without, according to most modern thinking, the discipline of our minds. Ancient Jewish teaching may teach a different lesson which might also have its place in our modern world. But first how can we differentiate how to choose our votes between primary elections and our votes in general election. Let us first assume that we are choosing a righteous manner for our votes and not some cynical use where we attempt to damage a party we would never give even a thought of supporting in the general election, as none amongst us would ever choose such a deceitful path. There is a basic difference between primary elections and general elections. A primary election is where as a voter we are free to vote for anybody we desire as it is supposedly a measure of our most honest desire, especially in a parliamentary election where our choices will determine the order of the party card which it will present listing its representatives for office and if those you choose make it high enough on the list, then you get your own little piece of representation in the government. In the general elections you are not really voting for a person as much the party which you feel will serve you and the nation the best. Of course if you are fortunate to have any of the people you voted for in the primary elections head the Party ticket, then if your party is tapped to form a ruling coalition and they succeed, then your primary choice will likely be the Prime Minister and you get to feel vindicated, otherwise we must simply feel satisfied if we are able to get any of those we voted for in the primary elections seated in the government after the elections.

 

The primary elections is the place for voting purity where you listen to your heart and then refine your choices with the filter which is the kidneys which remove the impurities and assures that the blood carries sufficient red blood cells transporting oxygen to the body, assures that chemical and mineral concentrations are within the proper limits and are the organ which receives approximately twenty percent of the blood pumped by the heart from each beat. Thus using the heart and the kidneys we take our desires and refine them such that they perform the best in producing results which reflect the honest desires of the combination of everyone’s individual preferences in composing the tickets presented before the general electorate. Further, in most primary elections in a parliamentary system many parties allow for each ballot to contain more than one selection to be tallied and each party has their own manner for tallying the ballots cast. In some you receive a ballot with a set of positions for each member of the party to place the names of their preferred candidates’ names. Then the votes are counted and, where appropriate given weight depending on position if appropriate, and the tallies then decide the position on the party’s slate each candidate will be placed. If their party receives as many or more mandates than their position on the slate, then they will be placed in the government and if their position is beyond the number of positions, then they go home instead.

 

There are those parties where they have an established slate of members which stand and their primaries are scheduled independently from any election cycle but are held at set intervals. These parties thus do not hold primaries simply because a government has been dissolved but simply hold elections periodically and this can lead to them placing the same slate before the voters with the same leader at the head of the ticket thus allowing for the exact same presentation on the party’s slate to stand for more than a single election if the elections are held prematurely before the end of their scheduled term such as the elections currently being faced in Israel. Parties can also decide on new slates for each election having them chosen by a select committee which could be decided by ballot, decided by executive selecting committee or by any system which the elites of the party might choose as long as the rank and file members agreed to such a method for choosing the ballot and the steering committee no matter how unfair such systems may appear to outsiders. When the elections approach all parties slates are revealed to the public and then the elections are held and the people vote.

 

During the general elections we have only a single vote which we will most likely give to the Party we prefer or to the party whose person heading the party slate we most desire to be the Prime Minister. Whichever party is amongst the top vote recipients and with the greatest probability of forming a viable coalition, that party and candidate for Prime Minister is tapped to try and form a ruling coalition and if they succeed, then a government is formed, and if they fail then the next most likely candidate for Prime Minister and their party are given their opportunity. Should nobody be capable of forming a coalition, then new elections will be forced to be held and the entire cycle is repeated. When we vote in the general election, we are still given an initial impetus to vote in a particular manner by our hearts which is tempered by the logic and other mindful considerations from our minds, which places the deciding voices of the public before the separate parties of combined tickets such as the one be being formed by the Labor Party and Tzipi Livni and her party. What makes this a heart driven decision is that Labor stands to gain the equivalent of possibly as many as four seats but if predictions are accurate the presence of Tzipi Livni and her party will only produce at best three and most likely two additional seats. The Labor Party is likely to grant Ms. Livni as many as four or potentially five seats depending on the total number of mandates received by the combined blocks. This will mean that Labor will likely receive less additional seats than the number of slots they will be giving to Tzipi Livni and those in the leadership of her party. This will probably prove to be a great deal for Livni and not so much for Minister Hertzog and the Labor Party. Since there may be other parties reaching agreements where they combine tickets or agree to either both be included in any government or neither be included such as was done in the last election with Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett making an agreement that either both parties or neither party would enter the government forcing Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to include both parties in order to reach a coalition and may have been part of why the coalition failed prematurely. The different potential combinations and the fact that our usually favored party might decide to team up with another party with which we have a high degree of revulsion would make our support for our usual party problematic. This is why our vote in the general election requires more than just the heart, but the kidneys purifying the decisions of the heart is not likely to be helpful in choosing when the parties make agreements with those we refuse to give our vote to under any normative situations, thus instead of the purifying kidneys we substitute our minds to massage and shape the feelings of our hearts. By using our minds to shape and adjust the dictations of our hearts we might find we are capable of voting for our usual preferred party despite their compromising their purity and positions combining with some we do not honestly desire to prefer and reward with our votes. Thus in the general election we still initially choose with our hearts but use our minds to determine if our party will remain sufficiently pure no matter those they share power with in order to maximize their representation in the government after the elections. Thus we temper our hearts with the logic and power of our minds in the general election contrasting the purifying our primary selections of our hearts by filtering all with our kidneys and that is the major difference between the primary voting and our general election casting of ballots. So, which translation of Psalm 26:2 do you believe best represents your own election thinking for the primaries and the general elections and for what reasons?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 21, 2014

Upcoming Midterm United States Elections, a Slightly Different Look

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Who is ahead in the different races depends on the state and even on the political leanings of the news or talk shows one follows. If you go to polling it gets even more confusing. Not only are the polls often slanted depending on who ordered the polling but it also depends on what the subject the poll is covering. Here are a few examples from some polls. A CBS poll recently showed that fifty percent of those responding said the Democrats are the party that “cares more about the needs and problems of people” while only 34 percent chose the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Republicans have a nine point lead concerning the economy, an eleven point lead on foreign policy and a twenty-one point lead on addressing terrorism in an October CBS poll. So, who wins; the party of the people or the party which appears to be more competent? These numbers are nothing new as often the Democrats have polled well on sympathy and feeling the people’s pains while the Republicans historically win on foreign policy and confronting threats from the outside world. The fact the Republicans are polling slightly ahead of Democrats on the economy is not nationally definitive enough to be applied to every race. The probability is that in the traditionally Democrat leaning states the Democrats will probably poll even or ahead of the Republicans while in traditionally Republican states the Republicans will poll ahead. The place where that mere nine point lead for the Republicans becomes evident will be in what is often referred to as the ‘purple’ states where the parties have split the wins between them would thus likely give the Republicans a slight lead on the economy. Unfortunately that may not transfer to votes as there is also the personality of the candidates as well as the effectiveness of their campaigns and whether there are third party or independent candidates on the ballot and from which side they will draw away votes. Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates tend to take more votes from Republicans while Green and sometimes Libertarian Party take more votes from the Democrats. But other than their campaign, their affability or their campaign commercials and use of media and social networks, the most important determining item will simply be which party gets the voters to the polls, period.

With this year not being a Presidential election year, the national party machines are operating but there are far fewer volunteers and fewer funds for them to make a large determining difference. This means that it will be up to the State and even more local party machines and the candidate supporting campaign staff which will make up a significant part of the get out the vote efforts. States with Gubernatorial elections this election will have more party influence than those without. What makes these midterms so difficult to make predictions is because there is no real enthusiasm evident in the electorate and it is very possible that both of the major parties will suffer from miserable voter turnout and thus calling the elections near impossible. There will be some states where polling data is so skewed to one candidate that there is almost no challenge to picking the likely winner short of an unseen stumble where the leading candidate is caught in a criminal act or other compromising situation. They do not even need to actually be guilty as that will depend on a court of law, but such accusations can sway the court of public opinion and that is exactly what elections are, the court of public opinion choosing those they feel are less guilty of potentially bad leadership. That has been the truth in all too many elections in the United States in recent times where people are literally trying to choose which evil is less harmful. Some have gotten to the point that they have finally refused to vote for the lesser from two evils and they refuse to ever again vote for evil no matter how slight. These voters are demanding the parties to put forth candidates who are capable of leading and representing the people with integrity and virtue. This might even lead to making a third party or independent candidate to have a real possibility to take elections and possibly change the American political landscape once again. Perhaps it is time for a new political movement as the last great movement was the Abolition Movement which birthed the Republican Party and the Whig Party was laid to rest. The more likely bet is that the two major parties have so slanted and poisoned the election laws throughout the United States that it has become next to impossible for any third party or independent candidate to make the ballot, let alone have any funds remaining should they manage to make ballot, and trust I know from where I speak. This is really a sad problem as this may prevent a new direction to be proposed and placed before the American electorate and instead continue forcing them to choose between two toxins, progressive Democrats who want to double the size of government every decade, or the progressive Republican who wishes to slow government growth so that it doubles only four or five times each century. Since both the major parties are in favor of growing government and the sole difference is exactly the rate of growth the American people can rest assured that over time the Republicans will seem like the Democrats of a few decades back while the Democrats will be breaking new ground which the Republican will fall in love with a few decades hence. Should this trend not be reversed soon the United States will continue in decline and only accelerate with time.

Beyond the Cusp

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