Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

The United States is never void of ideological issues that cause a division amongst the population. That is the great thing about America – the melting pot of different ideas, beliefs, and opinions. However, there really has only been one issue – the issue and institution of slavery – that has caused such a division that prompted a war…a war that nearly tore the country apart. Could we be on the cusp of another civil war fueled by another “slavery”…the issue and “institution of covid”?

The following is not intended to advocate for any ideological stance or position, political party or belief, race, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Nor is it intended to minimize or trivialize the events of the past or the repercussions caused by the institution of slavery to anyone or anything. Additionally, it is not my intent to diminish, disregard, or minimize the impact that the Covid virus has had on the United States and the world, more importantly to those individuals and families who have lost lives and loved ones as a result of the virus.

This is simply an observation and assertion of how an issue can be used to promote or further a particular ideological, economic, or political agenda or perspective. It is also to show the parallels between time periods and in our nation’s history and the issues that impact it.

I wish this was not the case but, given the cultural and political current climate in our country, I have no doubt that much of what is written here will be taken out of context and seen as insensitive, potentially even racist, or totally insensitive to the institution of slavery and to the fallout that has caused so much division and issue over the past 140+ years. In no way shape or form is that the intent or the purpose.

If you, the reader, have a tendency to fly off the handle or go into an ideological rage or rant spurred by CNN, Fox News, or any other media outlet or source, this may not be for you. Please stop here. It is not a slight, by any stretch as there are things that absolutely set me off. It is unfortunate, however, as the information contained is a heads up to a dead man’s curve that lies is in the road ahead for our country of we don’t take evasive action.

Before we begin, it is important to establish norms, a common framework, and understandings. To do that, I want to provide some definition of terms and concepts. Otherwise, the possibility of viewing this information scene through an intended lens increases exponentially.

From his 1991 Journal of Economic Perspectives article “ Institutions”, paraphrasing Mr. Douglass North, Institutions are ‘the rules of the game in a society, or, more formally, are the humanly devised constraints that structure political, economic and social interaction.’ Additionally, we can also juxtapose North’s definition with my own definition of institution as ”the introduction of a system, thought process, rule, or policy that is intended to influence action and further and/or establish a political, ideological, economic, or social agenda, platform, or combination thereof.” Using these definitions as a lens that we will call the “institutional lens” by which to view the assertion and comparison will seek to remove, as much as can be, the personal and ideological perspectives around the issues and allow the institutional similarities, using the definition above, to be realized.

Back in 2019, I did a video blog post and wrote about the new civil war in America. It is linked here – https://youtu.be/3u5ubXqBobl . Ideology and beliefs are always at the core of a civil war. Just as the American civil war was the culmination and deadly finale of a century’s worth of brewing division over an issue – slavery, the deadly impact on the economic, social, political, and psychological health of a still rather young nation, the war threatened the future outcome of the greatest experiment ever attempted…the United States of America. The eerie similarities of today’s national climate fueled and impacted by the many sides of the covid virus to the most tumultuous time in American history is uncanny…and real.

I will be diving into the issue here more in the future through analysis. However, I wanted to go ahead and put down some points by which to expand, consider further, and look at again once out in the light.

The following is the beginning and serves as the basic framework as it provides very basic and general points for the overall assertion. It is a work in progress due to the very nature of the comparison as these continue to unfold. The end of the story has not yet been written.

Again, the United States is never void of ideological issues that cause a division amongst the population. That is the great thing about America – the melting pot of different ideas, beliefs, and opinions. However, there really has only been one issue – the issue and institution of slavery – that has caused such a division that prompted a war…a war that nearly tore the country apart. Could we be on the cusp of another civil war fueled by another “slavery”…the issue and “institution of covid”?

The work in progress is below and is a true working document. Rarely does one work on a thesis and assertion that is such a potential ideological powder keg as this in the open and for public consumption. My hope and desire is that readers do not see this as a political or ideological stance but as an objective observation and analysis of two U.S. institutions and their similarities.

Divided Over The Issue: We are a country divided and have been for quite some time. The ideological divide has been growing wider and wider, being spurred by many forces, agendas, and outlets. Covid, as was slavery, is simply a mechanism and tool.

Ideological : For this, I will use a designator that is a bit easier to understand and classify. Blue states and cities (run by Democrat governors, legislatures, and/or mayors) obsessed with covid, use the issue to justify actions, as do Red states (run by Republican governors, legislatures, and/or mayors). One uses covid to promote more governmental intervention and control while the other uses it to tout a position of freedom, personal choice/responsibility, and limited government. To at least 50% of Americans, (even though I cannot get absolute truthful empirical data, I would argue that percentage is more than 50% but admitting it for many on the left would be like admitting they are wrong or have abandoned a perspective they have been holding on to) the latter is much more preferable than the former. However, both Red & Blue states, cities, and legislatures use covid as a political vehicle to push and further an agenda.

States Rights Vs Federal Policies: The political, and frankly the Constitutional, battle between the states and the federal government, facilitated by the 10th Amendment, raged from the early 1800’s through the 1860’s around the issue and institution of slavery. Similar battles have been raging as a result of the federally backed and pushed lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, etc… Predominantly Red states are pushing back against the federal/ecxecutive orders and agency edicts from OSHA, the CDC, etc…while Blue states and cities are embracing and implementing the restrictions to the chagrin of some and elation of others. Following Lincoln’s election and his Emancipation Proclamation after the Battle of Antietam essentially freeing the slaves via executive announcement and the Reconstruction amendments to the US Constitution (13th – outlawing slavery, 14th – granting citizenship, and 15th – granting voting rights regardless of race) which were conditional on reinstatement of the southern states to the Union, thus making any act condoning the institution of slavery unconstitutional and illegal, states continued to battle the federal government by instituting Jim Crow laws of poll taxes, literacy laws, etc…. The current “Jim Crow” policies and pushbacks have two sides. One side are those implemented by the states and cities in defiance of the federal covid mandates while the other side are policies and regulations implemented by states and municipalities forcing compliance to the covid restrictions.

In a similar role are private businesses and companies that are either requiring covid restriction compliance (vaccines, masks, etc…) or not requiring them with both sides using the institution of covid to make not only an ideological but a political statement. Some also claim to be making a Constitutional statement. This, of course, is a topic that absolutely needs its own posting and discussion as there are many sides and layers to that argument. Nevertheless, when put side by side, the reactions by the actors at the federal, state, and local levels to both institutions – slavery and covid – the parallels cannot be ignored. In fact, when looked at through the institutional lens defined earlier, this should also be cause for alarm given the outcome and horrible “resolution” attributed to the earlier divisional actors of the mid 19th century.

Economic: The institution of slavery was a primary driver of the southern economy. And, despite the in-humaneness and absolute disregard for human dignity, rights, and freedom, it was a business decision. Even, capitalistic, in a sense – a profit driven use of scarce resources at the lowest possible cost of production (labor). Again, while it cannot be disconnected from the human aspect as the scarce resource being utilized was labor at the expense of human dignity and freedom, it was still a business decision. On the other side, the North is not absolved from promoting the institution because the northern factories that utilized the product of the south, cotton, never once slowed the production cycles in opposition to the issue (institutional slavery). Mouths denounced it while hands produced goods facilitated by it. Now, the government and its actors are using the covid issue to drive its economic endeavors and goals…on both side of the isle.

Free And Slave States: There was a clear and distinct difference in the early 1800’s between free and slave states. The distinction today is very similar. The “slave” states today are those placing restrictions on the people, business, institutions etc…The free states tout limited restrictions and anti-mandate rhetoric that facilitate personal responsibility and freedoms. The “free states”, however, are not absolved from using the issue to drive the conservative, free market, limited government stance. Both the Blue and the Red see the issue as a means to an end…ends that are diametrically opposed to each other.

People: Free and Slaves. As was done at the beginning of the post, I want to provide a definition for the term, slavery. While there are many variations of the definition of slavery, at the core of all of them are the restriction of freedom and essentially “ownership” of one to another. Mariam-Webster provides this definition: “: a situation or practice in which people are entrapped (as by debt) and exploited.” The slaves are those whose freedoms have been taken away by the institution of covid. For some, it is imposed upon them by the government. For others, the slavery is self-imposed, fueled by fear that is a fire stoked by the gasoline of a media machine that seems to want nothing other than to scare the masses into submission and to socialistic and authoritarian, even draconian and insidious, edicts and doctrines as well as into “inaction” of their own accord and thoughts. Unlike the civil war of the mid 1800’s, there are covid slaves across the country. We are also seeing infringements on the civil liberties and freedoms of citizens who are choosing not to comply with covid restrictions and policies. Jobs are being lost and people are being forced to comply or be fired. Economic freedom is a staple and pillar of a free market, a free nation. It is a foundational principle of the mixed economic and capitalistic system of the US. With economic freedom being defined as the individual citizen’s right to earn, spend, and invest as they choose, the governmental policies as well as those of some companies are forcing employees to choose between work and unemployment. While that is a level of freedom, the freedom not to comply, it does not necessarily coincide with the spirit of economic freedom. Similar to the Jim Crow policies of the southern states, civil liberties seem to be under attack. Again, we must view the former through the institutional lens as the obviousness of discrimination based on race (not determined by choice) vs discrimination based on one’s decision of whether or not to comply (100% determined by choice) is not lost here, some would argue there is a distinguishable similarity between the two as a similar option was afforded to those being discriminated against due to race as they could have made the choice to live in an area of the country whose policies were more favorable as opposed to challenging the policies of the states and localities that were less favorable to them.

Of course, there are so many aspects of that line of thinking that are 100% true as every situation has choices associated with it. And, every choice has repercussions…some being good and some being not so good. Yes, slaves could have made the choice to resist either in West Africa or when in the Colonies. Some did, I am sure. The repercussions could very well have been and that were inflicted on them were severe harm, sometimes resulting in death. The choice to comply was the better of the two, even though neither were optimal. The same could be said of those averse to governmental mandates related to Covid. Yes, those against the vaccine mandates and other policies could choose not to comply and/or move to another location. Some have moved and relocated businesses. Some, who made the choice to leave employers that mandated vaccines have found other jobs or even started their own businesses. For others, however, the means were or are not available for them to relocate or change jobs. Thus, a choice was/is to be made. Comply or resist. Despite the desire to resist, the repercussions could and have resulted in people losing their jobs, their businesses, their livelihoods. This could and has resulted in devastating outcomes. So, the choice to comply was made considering the repercussions, that not complying would be worse than the compliance. Yes, we all are free to decide. Even those who live in authoritarian countries and cultures have the freedom to choose. No matter where one lives or has lived from a geographic or time period standpoint, the freedom to choose is always there and has always been there…as are and have been the repercussions. The assertion here is not meant to ignite a war of perspectives but to show how similar these “institutions” actually are to one another.

Social: the institution of slavery created a pro and anti-slavery social order which pitted each group against the other because of their ideological perspective. The same has and is happening with regards to the handling and response to the covid virus and its variants. The masked vs the unmasked. The vaccinated vs the anti-vaxxers. The lockdown proponents vs the freedom marketeers. Those who adhere to covid polices are looked down upon and scoffed at while those who choose not to adhere to the covid policies are blamed for the spread of the virus and the cause of why the country is not back to “normal”.

Media: I would absolutely be remiss by not addressing the role the media played in both the development of the public sentiment during the 1800’s and its role today. Some would argue there is no comparison as today’s 24 hour news cycle demands a level of “infotainment” and audience appealing, otherwise it is show or media personality cancelation time. With that being said, one must consider the technological capabilities and context of the time periods being compared. Otherwise, it would be impossible to compare historical eras and event. Given the breakneck speed at which technology is changing today, it is difficult to compare one week to the next. Yes, there is a hint of hyperbole. But, not much. The media, the press, the advocacy groups, and the free marketplace of opinions were as formidable and as influential in developing, swaying, and influencing public opinion in early 1800’s and the years leading up to the Civil War as they are today. Content creators, news/information outlets, influences, etc…across all communication mediums know this. Something I tell my students often: If you control the message, you control everything. It is a reality that we, the public, must rely on them, the media and informational sources in order for happenings and news outside of our incredibly narrow scope of knowledge that is based on our first-hand interaction and experience. It is the goal and purpose of institutional advocates or opponents to influence the masses to their point of view. This was true in the 1800’s, in the 1700’s, in early Rome, in 400 BC, in 1941,in 1860, in 1960, and in 2021.

While this thought process and comparison will absolutely ignite all kinds of firey retaliations, backlash, and the like, if we take an honest and objective look at the two issues through the institutional lens defined earlier and what their impact on the country was and is through the actions, reactions, stances, etc…of the people and of the government, it is impossible, from an intellectual standpoint, to ignore their similarities and outright parallels. Of course, common sense is not so common anymore and intellectual courage and objectivity is about as scarce as a $1.00 gallon of gas. The $1.00 gallon of gas and the lack of common sense and intellectual courage are subjects that will have to wait. Until next time…keep it real.

Jeff Searcy is a servant warrior, husband, dad, political philosopher, strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, host of Servant Warrior™ Radio, critical thinker, educator, coach, US Marine no longer on active duty, and a sinner saved by unbelievable Grace. www.Jeffsearcy.net .

Hello, all. We are on the doorstep of arguably the most important elections in our nation’s history. Despite the normal party speak, political narratives pushed, and all too often doublespeak by folks on both sides, there is a clear ideological distinction between the dominant US political parties. I hope I am stating the obvious. Something tells me that might not be the case.

What we have before us is monumental. Not only the election but the potential confirmation of a Supreme Court justice.

I am not going into the talking points being pushed by both sides. I will, however, clarify a term that has a become a political narrative being pushed because far too many in our country don’t understand.

Before my SCOTUS comments, I do want to comment on a statement made by the Democratic candidate for President as it is 100% Constitutional what is happening with regards to the filling of a Supreme Court Justice vacancy. I am not going to get into the muck about it. I must believe that he does have an understanding of the US Constitution, given his lengthy time in the US Senate and that he has raised his hand to support and defend it on more than one occasion. However, regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the actions of an opposing party, it is concerning that a candidate for the highest office in the US and the most powerful office in the world would knowing attempt to mislead the American people and misrepresent the Constitutionality of an action. Both sides of the political isle like to stretch things. However, the Constitution is our governing document and thus should be known and followed. I will speak to this issue in subsequent posts.

What I will talk briefly about is the importance of Constitutional adherence and how anyone, if they do not support strict adherence to the Constitution in its judicial application of jurisprudence, it is wholly hypocritical and disingenuous to use it as a pass and/or misrepresenting it as a talking point in order to further an agenda.

Let me provide some definitions to terms that I think are incredibly important.

Court Packing: simply means to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices. FDR tried it in the 1930’s but was unsuccessful. The Appointment of SCOTUS judges is a Constitutional power found in Art 2 Sect 2 – appointed by the President and Confirmed by the Senate. It is much harder to confirm justices when the White House is controlled by one party and the Senate is controlled by another. It is much easier if they are the same party. Yes, elections do have consequences.

Judicial Philosophy: This is the underlying set of ideals or beliefs that shapes a Justice’s rulings on particular cases. This is ALWAYS the basis by which Justices are chosen. There are 2 distinct philosophies. One is a philosophy that means to go beyond the words of the Constitution or a statute to consider broader societal implications and influence public policy. This is known as Judicial Activism. Some may also refer to judicial activism as “legislating from the bench”. The other is Judicial Restraint, which is the judicial philosophy to not go outside the narrow scope created by the Constitution.

Why is this important? Well, if you will go back to a previous posting I made with regards to the correlation between the Bible and the US Constitution, The Constitutional argument: It’s all about choice. The direct correlation between the Bible and the Constitution, and the societal drift from both. Dismiss at your own risk, I stated that we, as a country and people in general – “don’t like absolutes. We don’t like to be told what to do. We like the rules of the game to change as we change…or as we want the rules of the game to change. The Bible, like the Constitution, provides absolutes and authority. The further we get away from its principles, its guidelines, its authority, the further away we get from allowing a single authoritative component, in this case: a document, to govern us.”

Again, why is this important? Here is why. The current judge who has been nominated for the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, has been attacked for her strong Christian faith, her values as a mother and parent, and to her strict adherence to the Constitution and to the intent of the Original Framers, which of course includes the Bill of Rights and the other 17 Amendments. With so many in our country, to include elected officials screaming that the confirmation hearings and the confirmation itself is unconstitutional (which is categorically false – see again Art 2 Sect 2 in the US Constitution), love to scream about the Constitution, more importantly the rights protected by the US Constitution, should absolutely embrace and celebrate a potential US Supreme Court Justice to the highest Court in the land who would not read into or stretch the text or meaning of the Constitution in order to impact or influence social policy or either side of the political isle, but to adhere to what it states and what its Framers intended. Very similar to the Bible, adherence to its principles and to the intent of the Author, would be a very welcome stance for the longest standing governmental document and set of governing principles of any country in recorded history.

The United States Constitution, like the Bible, is NOT a living breathing document. “The Bible provides absolutism…clear right and wrong. The Bible gives a clear set of guidelines to live one’s life by. And just as the Bible provides guidelines on how we, as people, are to live, the Constitution provides guidelines on how to govern.”

Adherence to the Constitution and the guidelines set within it is the only way that we can ensure that “…government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – A Lincoln.

Searcy, out.

Truth: We all see things differently. I see things from multiple perspectives, from multiple positions, and from multiple angles…encompassing much more than most would associate together or see the correlation. That’s not a slight on anyone. That’s simply the way my mind works and the way I see things…global picture to speck of dirt…75,000ft above the ground to a quarter inch from the pavement.

No names but I had someone provide some “humble” advice as to my delivery and to correct me on my usage of the term socialism. The response was to my OpEd from yesterday, “The Threat From Within”. And, the comment and a subsequent one came via Facebook. I don’t know know why this one pushed a button, but it did. The commentator provided me some pointers in a few areas and stated that “we” (funny… I didn’t realize “we” were doing anything. Sorry. I know the polite condescending nature of using the “we”. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve used it myself. It is almost like a “bless your heart”.) I digress…would do better educating people with the right definition of socialism as it is where the government owns the means of production.”

Ladies and gentlemen, government control of production and the supply of goods and services, whether by direct action, policy or legislation, by proxy, or by shutting down private business…is socialism and a threat to our constitutional republic and our way of life in America. Pure and simple. I am not going to get into a social media debate with anyone. I will be glad to turn on the microphones and we can have a discussion via Servant Warrior Radio. Like any American should be, I am ready to discuss this via the narrow-minded halls of much of academia or the ruthless by-ways of the streets. I’m well versed in both.

If I am perceived to be pushing a particular narrative, trust me, I am not. My perspective and opinion are mine alone. If my perspective is similar to others out there, good for them. Make no mistake. My thoughts and opinions are mine.

With regards to commentary on my blog posts, I am glad to get them. It means I’ve struck a nerve and sparked action. I’ve accomplished my goal. If the commentator chooses to comment on a blog post that resides on my website and make the comment via social media, I begin to question the motive. I wonder if the comments are for me or for others. I think it’s likely a little of both. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because every opinion is important. Every perspective is important. And all are free to share. That’s America. However, we all should be very careful when we direct our opinions to a specific person…especially when it is unsolicited. That is why social media is in the state that it is in and why there is so much strife and division in our country. Here’s my take: read my posts or don’t. It’s completely up to you. There’s plenty out there to fill the time. Regardless of what you decide, it’s all good. Searcy, out.

I certainly want to lift up the family, friends, and colleagues of the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Please be in prayer for them. Whether one agreed with her ideology or not, her accomplishments as a Supreme Court Justice and an advocate for her perspective cannot be underscored or diminished. She was a brilliant lady, an icon and an example for many.

With that being said, a seat is now open on the United States Supreme Court. This will be a major issue as we head into the presidential election. It has already begun with regards to those on the Left stating Trump should not appoint a supreme court justice before the election, even though President Obama nominated a potential supreme court justice after Antonin Scalia passed away mysteriously. The Republicans control the Senate now as they did then. The Democrats touted it as a moral or ethical issue then. I expect it would be one now. Why? Because the Democrats do not control the Senate and can do nothing about it. I won’t address the irony and utter ridiculousness of morality and ethics lessons from the Left. Additionally, the Democrats’ warnings of court packing if Joe Biden wins the election only shows their complete disregard for the rule of law and judicial restraint and clearly reveals their intentions to impact policy via the courts.

No one on either side will be happy and there will be quite a few people in DC and around the country that will be up in arms no matter how this turns out.

It’s going to a very, very interesting fall. It’s why I study and teach Government. More on this and so much more in coming posts at jeffSearcy.net.

So much more to come. Searcy out.

Many in the united states have this feeling in their stomach that our country is headed toward socialism. Nothing could be more true. The desire to rewrite, ignore, and/or destroy history is paving the way. All one needs to do is look back at early 20th century Europe…specifically Italy and Germany. The coordinated effort to remove competition within the economies in order to foster monopolies, monopolies supported by the government, that occurred in Europe then is now happening here in the US. Think about the shutdown of the economy…the shutdown of businesses in this country, many of them still closed now for 6 months, under the guise of safety and health due to a virus that has a 99+% survival rate. Think about the businesses that were allowed to remain open during the “pandemic”. There are enemies to our republic and to our capitalistic way of life on both sides of the political isle. One side is obvious. One side is a bit more covert. While I recognize the threat that China and other state-run economies pose to the US, neither the President of the US nor the US government should ever be brokering corporate purchases. Once again, a governmental action sought under the guise of national security. At what point does this stop? At what point, regardless of the political ideology that is in the majority in Washington DC or any state or locality, do we as a citizenry hold our elected officials and our governments at the local, state, and federal levels accountable? I will tell you when…when we as a citizenry are truly honest in our assessment of the state and condition of our society – regardless of our ideological beliefs – and the cause of its decline. When we become knowledgeable about our Constitution and our Capitalistic economic system, the ideals that provide the foundation of our country, and the limited government that was created by our Framers. That’s when. There is a serious threat to the future of this country and that threat is from within. The biggest threat to our country and our way of life is…America itself and what we are allowing to permeate our government, our schools, our media, and our lives.

“We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.” Benito Mussolini

Let that sink in and give honest thought to the applicability.

If you do not think American exceptionalism and the freedoms ensured by our Constitution and secured by the blood and lives of patriots are in serious peril by those entrusted to govern, to teach, and to inform, your lack of vision and/or your willingness to ignore the obvious, are only contributing to the American demise and to paving the dead end road to “serfdom”.

Searcy out.

The correlation between the Bible & the Constitution…and why, as a nation, when we continue to move away from the former, we move away from the latter as well. It hinges on foundational texture…rock or sand.
One of my all-time favorite television shows is NCIS. I love Special Agent and United States Marine (no longer on active duty) Leroy Jethro Gibbs…especially his rules. They have been a mainstay throughout the show’s 13 year run. I remember the episode where he was reflecting back on the first time he met his late wife, Shannon, and as she shared one of her rules, he asked her, “Do you have a rule for everything?” Her reply, “Working on it. Everyone needs a code to live by.” How incredibly poignant…and so true.

The famed knights of the 13th & 14th centuries as well as the mythical King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table had a Code of Chivalry. It was rock solid, unbreakable, unbending, and consistent…not to mention honorable, ethical, and when followed, bettered society and everyone they came in contact with..whether friend or foe.

Without a code or foundational set of guidelines to live by, we, and our priorities and foundational principles, are tossed about like a “feather in the wind” as public opinion, societal trends, and the “flavor or issue of the month” change.

Whether people want to admit it or not, the foundational principles of this country were formed from Biblical principles  (simply look at the Declaration of Independence…”We are endowed by our Creator…” – with a capital “C”). The solid foundational principles of the Bible, the code & foundational principles the Founding Fathers and so many colonial leaders lived by, were then applied in the creation of the Declaration of Independence and ultimately in the US Constitution. By the way, let me remind you that no other country, in recorded history, has been governed by a single document longer than the young United States of America. Obviously, they got it right.

Yes, there have been 27 Amendments to the Constitution. They are amendments that reflect the documental changes necessary to govern the country represented by and depicted in two of the greatest documents ever composed. However, they don’t diminish the authority of the Constitution…nor do amendments or the amendment process make it a “living, breathing document”.

The Bible provides absolutism…clear right and wrong. The Bible gives a clear set of guidelines to live one’s life by. And just as the Bible provides guidelines on how we, as people, are to live, the Constitution provides guidelines on how to govern.

So what is the correlation? We, as people, don’t like absolutes. We don’t like to be told what to do. We like the rules of the game to change as we change…or as we want the rules of the game to change.

The Bible, like the Constitution, provides absolutes and authority. The further we get away from its principles, its guidelines, its authority, the further away we get from allowing a single authoritative component, in this case: a document, to govern us.

Of course, it’s not the document but the interpretation of it…and the value choices/ideological filter and that are used to influence that interpretation. Those values and “ideological filter” are the product of what we hold, and allow to be, our authoritative source. That, however, is and will the subject for another conversation. Until then…keep it real.

Hello, all. I have held off commenting about the National Anthem kneeling and fist raising epidemic that has spread across the Land of the Free over the past few months. But, as I watch the 2016 Ryder Cup, I felt compelled to share just a few thoughts.

I’m not going to talk about the media’s role in this as it would become a very one-sided, politically and ideologically charged annihilation of the mainstream media and a scathing indictment of the erosion of nationalistic sentiment and virtual hatred for America. I will leave that discussion for another time.

I will preface my thoughts with this: As a prudent, pragmatic, rational, free thinking, entrepreneurial, free-market/capitalistic minded Conservative Constitutionalist and someone who has studied extensively and taught on the documents – The US Constitution and Declaration of Independence – that serve as the foundation of the greatest country in the history of the world, as well as being a US Marine no longer on active duty who has served to protect the freedoms expressed in and granted by those documents…especially those of speech (yes, to include those I don’t agree with), I definitely will not share the perspective of liberal minded. However, because of the fact that I am rational, pragmatic, and all those things I mentioned before, there’s a great chance that I will not agree with many on the right side of the politically charged ideological spectrum either on many issues. We’ll see if this is one of them.

Bottom Line: National Anthem kneeling and fist raising is not a free “speech” issue. It is a free “market” issue. Yes, the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution grants citizens the freedom of speech. However, like it or not, speech is always limited on stages and platforms provided by someone else. Case in point: the NFL players, a US Soccer player, and others who choose to express their personal perspectives and protests on stages provided by media platforms and stages funded not by them but by both public and private investors (companies) and stake holders (sponsors). Many of those who fund the airtime enjoyed by the NFL and its players do not share the protesting perspectives. Why? Because their customers don’t share them. That’s why. The reality is that without customers buying products, companies would not have the revenue to fund the airtime that has provided the worldwide platform and stage for athletes, many of whom who have contracts exceeding $100M in compensation, to share their “dislike” for the flag of the country that has afforded them the freedom and capitalistic platform to make those kind of salaries.

The argument here is NOT the protest around the fact that particular segments of our population are oppressed or face discrimination. Reality Check: Every segment of the American population – across the spectrum of race, age, religious affiliation, ethnic origin, sexual preference, etc… – have been discriminated against. Like it or not…accept it or not…that is fact. Red, white, black, and yellow males and females have faced discrimination and, if you want to use the word, oppression, based on some sort of characteristic or descriptor resulting from genetics, choice, circumstance, or a combination of the three. That is the subject of another posting and it is one that I could write volumes on. So, if you choose to embrace the inability to see past this point, you will likely struggle with the forthcoming logic and discussion.

The point here is that we can say whatever we want to say, regardless of where we are, who we are, or what we are. However, the flip side to the exercise of one’s Freedom of Speech is the associated and commensurate Receipt of Repercussion. Capitalism and the free market system allow for stages and platforms enjoyed and utilized by the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, MLS, etc… These platforms and stages are provided by the associated media outlets that broadcast them and the sponsors who provide the funding. These platforms and stages are funded by consumers through their patronage of companies, small and large, domestic and international. And while these stages are seen by audiences worldwide, they are no different than classrooms, board rooms, showrooms, or living rooms, or any other kind of rooms across the United States. In all of these, there are rules and policies regarding what can and cannot be said while in them by those who are employees of or who represent these “rooms”. With that, if one chooses to extend him or her self beyond the limits of permissible banter, repercussions will ensue. The repercussions are the unintended consequences of the intended outcome. The concept of Intended Results/Unintended Consequences, one that epitomizes and is a foundational component of US History (not to mention life as a whole) and one I discuss often with my students, will be the subject of future posts. The unintended consequences of the free speech exercise are often the source of the most complaints, disagreements, and commentaries. Why? Perhaps it is because we are fostering generations who have no concept of accountability or responsibility. Too many believe that there should be no consequences for actions taken and are absolutely flabbergasted, floored, and dumbfounded when they suffer 2nd and 3rd degree burns after repeatedly putting and holding both hands on those hot, red round things on top of that large white (sometimes another color) box with a door in the front that pizzas go into frozen and come out cooked.

I am not even going to address the feelings I have when I see high school students, bands, football teams, etc…kneel during the National Anthem. That could be the subject of subsequent posts.

In a capitalistic and market economy, those repercussions are usually monetary. We are seeing these capitalistic repercussions resulting from the choices athletes are making. For example, Denver Bronco Brandon Marshall has seen more than one sponsor choose to sever ties with him because of his “stance”. There is a good chance we will start seeing even larger capitalistic repercussions from larger NFL and NFL affiliated sponsors as more athletes, teams, and even front office NFL officials are supporting this freedom of expression. I will tell that the more the wallet is impacted and money/sponsorships are pulled, the less these protests are going to be supported.

The argument that is being made by many is that these athletes are free to express their personal feelings in relation to societal issues facing our country. There is absolutely no argument to be had. They DO have the right to express their perspectives…but not on the dime of sponsors, which is essentially the dime of the consumers – you and me. Yes, there will be athletes and personalities who share my perspectives, and yours. But there will be those who don’t. If I am honest…if I am a true Constitutionalist…if I am going to be true to my word, conviction, and commitment of honoring everyone’s right to free speech, I have to look at every situation in its totality and run it through the same filter as I do all others. Personally, I would love to everyone standing with their hand over their heart when the National Anthem plays…for a number of reasons. That’s not hat we are talking about here. What we are talking here is the expression of free speech, a right guaranteed to citizens of the Unites States by way off the First Amendment to the Constitution, but complaining when people don’t like your expression because it is either being done on the consumer’s dime via corporate sponsor or it violates the rules of the “room” or having refusing to accept the associated repercussions (the unintended consequences) of the action/expression.

Listen, if a professional athlete, or anyone else for that matter, chooses not to stand for the National Anthem…fine. I respect his/her right to express or not express a love or respect for the flag of our country. But, if you are a professional athlete and choose to make an expression that the media will certain go all gaga over and plaster it all over everything, be willing to accept the repercussions. That could include lost endorsements, public relations backlash (which could lead to lost endorsements), or even additional internal disciplinary action. If you don’t like the backlash, personally fund some television time, play a recording of the National Anthem, and kneel, belly bump, do the macarena for all I care. But I know you won’t. You don’t have to. Why? Because you know the media will cover anything that is anti-American or that will spark a controversy. That is the sad state of where the media in our country has come. However, that is an argument for another day. Today, it’s about the fact that free speech has limits…especially when the stage is being provided by someone else.

Until next time, keep it real.