Why we need to question our Government: Understanding the role of Media

2nd AmendmentOkay, so today I am standing up very tall on my soapbox.  I got this way because my wonderful boyfriend Kevin Henderson read this article to me.  http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Two-wounded-in-theater-shooting-4122668.php  This was posted on one of our high school friends facebook page with the question of why we didn’t see this splashed all over the country’s news.  Point was: An off duty policewoman shot and killed the man before he could rampage and kill a bunch of people at the diner and then at the theater.  Of course, world-wide coverage of this event would go contrary to the government’s agenda of gun control, and the ultimate aim of outlawing all guns.

I am apt to believe this falls in line with the slow and methodical turning of our country’s basic principles of democracy.  As a historian, I have been educated in research and pulling together of facts and events, and what I suspect is that the government plays on the emotion of the American people and uses the media to adjust its agenda, which is the total annihilation of freedom.

Let’s take for example the conspiracy theory of 9/11.  There are those who believe the government acted in such a way as to allow it to happen.  Many people suggest that the government knew it was going to happen and let it happen.  Why, you may ask?  Because it opened the door for the creation of Homeland Security.  The American People were brought to their knees with the belief that our country was going to be invaded by terrorist groups and we needed protection from them.  What we didn’t understand, is that this office is given a lot of room over our own personal freedoms and privacy.  Homeland Security can monitor individuals’ emails, cell phone calls, cameras in all cities, cameras in buildings, cameras everywhere….

It was also during this time that we see more of school shootings.  Now we have crazy young people shooting at our children.  I watched this show the other day on Discovery Channel about a professor who created  remote control of people.  I’ve linked it for you.  The show is called Dark Matters, Twisted but True.  It made me think of the sudden uprising of school shootings, and how this would be a perfect opportunity for the government to make people think guns need to go away.

I know you are probably saying what the heck Connie!  But let’s look at a fact in history about Hitler and Germany.  During the interwar period in Europe, inflation was rampant, people were starving, there wasn’t a lot of jobs (sound familiar).  Hitler came into power because he promised the German people stability.  But in doing so, he made them give up freedoms to his form of Fascist government., the first being the removal of personal weapons.  If our government (and I’m not saying that it’s true, but it sure makes me stop and ponder) wanted more power over its people, any forms of weapons which could be used against it ,would have to be done away with.  As well as making people feel threatened and attacked, the government needed  them to also feel that more policing should be done by itself and military.  I think we are there.

While I’m not purporting any rash behavior, I do want people to question motives.  Being educated about the consequences of events can help future decisions when it comes to voting.  Remember the constitution was put in place by our fore-fathers for the very fact of making sure the government didn’t have too much power over its people.  Have we crossed that line and is it too late to turn back?

In honor of our Military: An Essay on Memorial Day

Kevin, my daughter Calle and my son Chase after his graduation at Ft. Benning.

Kevin, my daughter Calle and my son Chase after his graduation at Ft. Benning.

A couple of years ago, I wrote this little essay about Memorial Day.  In honor of those in my family who have served and are serving, friends who have served and others I don’t know, I dedicate this blog post today to them. 

Memorial Day 2010

This weekend I was hunkered down under an umbrella watching the rain pelt the water of Lake Chatuge, waiting for the elusive sun to resurface so we could take the boat out again.  My boyfriend made the comment that it always seems to rain on Memorial Day.  I said to him, “Its a million tears for the millions of lives lost.” “Yes,” he replied, “that’s true.”  I suddenly thought of my mother’s father.  My brother recently sent a photo via cell phone of his cemetery marker in Houston, Texas.  He and my grandmother are buried together at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery there.  Grandma passed away a few months ago and my brother was showing me they had finally added her name to the marker.  It was strange but I had never known until I saw the photo that my Grandpa, Theodore Shellow, served in 3 wars: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

I always remembered Grandpa as the one who took us on vacation, made Christmas fun by stringing a zillion lights on his house, played Santa by jingling bells outside our window Christmas Eve, and always coming to our rescue for one thing or another.  Seeing that photo I realized he was something more than just my Grandpa.  He was a man who on three occasions gallantly thrust himself in conflict to preserve a way of life, freedom and American nobility. A detail I never knew about until I received that picture. 

 Grandpa told me once when I was younger that he was a first generation immigrant to America. A middle child of a Polish family who specialized in Trapeze acts (circus performers), they came to this country seeking something better, wanting a place where destinies could be made by their own hand, and lives could be changed by hard work and the American dream.  They settled in Connecticut and delved into assimilating themselves into American culture.

 Unfortunately soon after they arrived in their adopted new home, Grandpa’s mother died, and his father was forced to give his two younger brothers to an orphanage because he could not take care of them.  Because of the depression, Grandpa had to dropout of high school and work with his two older sisters to help support the family as his father slowly sank into alcoholism and soon succumbed to physical death. 

I note these misfortunes because many say perhaps what they expected in America never visualized itself, and the family only saw hardship and heartache, much more than if they had just remained in Poland.  But hearing these stories in my head, listening to the tone of his voice explaining these events, it was as if a light bulb went off, and at that moment in the rain, the million of tears falling on me, I understood with deep respect why he served this country by enlisting in three wars. 

Only in America could someone find an avenue out of dire circumstances, raise themselves like a phoenix out of the ashes to turn their situation around, making a better home for their children and grandchildren.  Enlisting was Grandpa’s proof that he had faith in the principles and ideas this country was built on, even when faced with so much adversity.  Defending his adopted America was protecting the memory of those before him who sacrificed themselves building a haven from persecution, fighting for the freedom in which to invent a different way of life, rising above bitterness and disappointment to create a unique path in this world. 

Our family has retained Grandpa’s belief in our country with both my brothers serving in the Navy and Marines, and now with my son who is graduating this Friday at Sand Hill, Fort Benning to begin his career in the Army.  Upholding the ideals our founding fathers created when they drafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights, each one  of them was, and is, proud to serve for the American dream.  So today, as the rain fell, did my tears for Grandpa and others like him, who had faith enough in our country to make our home truly the land of the free and the brave. 

Since this was written, my nephew, Christopher Krahn has successfully graduated boot camp and is now in the Air Force.  My daughter Kelsey is planning on doing the same when she graduates high school in May of 2013. 

A Historian’s View on SOPA

Censorship!  Do you know that it’s been done in the past?  Yes, by countries like the USSR, NAZI Germany and Communist China.  Hitler Youth burned books, the NAZI media was staged and only what they wanted people to read was allowed to be published.  The same could be said for Stalin and the USSR after WWII, and of course, what else needs to be said about Communist China.

What I don’t understand, is how this country, one which is supposed to pride itself on Freedom, is now allowing Freedom to be a trampled word.  Fascist Government, an extreme form of government, (if you are viewing the political spectrum, go all the way to the left) likes to be a strict law and order state, fixed guidelines, small government, needs of those few who rule outweigh others, and those of the lower classes must follow along or else.  After 9/11 the introduction of HOMELAND Security was a means to adhere to that strict law and order stance, and the years following, we’ve seen in this country a move towards that far end of the political spectrum.  I shook my head when SOPA began popping up in the spotlight, because from a Historian’s perspective, I’m thinking here we go repeating a parallel highway, following along with NAZI Germany just before WWII.

While I am not a big Obama fan, I can say that while he promotes some platforms which resemble Socialism, he is at the other end of the political spectrum, and it may be that his administration is keeping the US from falling through the black hole of leftist government.  SOPA is another means of extreme fixed guidelines.  Wake up People!

Independence – Holiday and Way of Life

Years ago, and I mean many years ago, my dad (career air force) was transferred to McGuire AFB in New Jersey.  Always a southern child, moving up north was a pretty scary event.  For anyone who has lived in the south, the abrupt change from the slow south to the “all business” north can be a little disarming.  As we moved onto base housing, one of the first things that happened to me and my siblings was a trip that the base hosted for us dependents.   Chartering a bus, the higher ups shuttled many of us over to Philadelphia for a view of Ben Franklin’s home and business, and the Liberty Bell.  Nationalism was high on the list at this particular time, as the Liberty Train was still on the circuit ticket as an attraction from a few years back, so we were excited about seeing a place we studied devotedly in History class in middle school.  Up close and personal brought on a whole different meaning for me, as I touched the actual Liberty Bell.

The other day I found those pictures from thirty or so years ago, and was amazed at the difference and feel Fourth of July has come to mean for me personally.  My brothers, Scott and Tim, both enlisted in the military when they grew up.  Scott, the oldest of the two, became a Marine, and Tim, the Navy.  Scott saw much heartache during his service as he was sent to Africa in the 1990s to take a tour during the crisis in Somalia.  He manned supply caravans to those who were starving within the country.  He wrote me often about his experiences, citing the grisly details of how they fought to get food past rebels, and many times coming to drop off points only to find hundreds dead because they could not get there in time.  Burying the dead tortured his spirit, as he felt helpless, unable to save those who needed supplies desperately.

This memory made me realize that I take for granted the grocery store.  We gripe because ‘such and such’ went up a few cents, but we rarely see past our blinders to the rest of the world, and how grocery stores are pretty much a given freedom for us as voting.  Being able to get in your car, drive down the road, walk into air conditioning, wander the aisles of food products aimlessly, picking brands, throwing the product in your cart, paying for it with a piece of plastic and then taking it home to sometimes be forgotten in the back of your fridge, alas, and a science experiment, contributing to waste, is an act we take for granted.  I wonder how those Somalian people would fare if they had our freedom of grocery stores?  Would they surplus buy? Would they throw away about twenty dollars of product every week because they over brought? Would their fridges be host to many fungi experiments in pieces of Tupperware?

Independence is not only a holiday for us, but a way of life.  Americans should be the leader in this world, showing others how to become independent, not wasteful.  Our way of life should be an example, and yet, I can say with disappointment, our example consist of overindulgence, materialism and excess.

My boyfriend made a very poignant statement to me a couple of days ago as I was semi-complaining about the condition of our little Honda.  While its inner workings (motor and so forth) are in great condition, the exterior looks a little rough.  He looked at me and said, “I consider this vehicle a tool.”  His meaning – it did not matter what the outside looked liked, it got him to work and back with little gas use, and that was all that was necessary.  To be honest, I felt like a heel after that, because he was right.  I settled into that beast of materialism for just a moment.

Kevin and I are simple people.  We live simply, because in my opinion, the excess of money only adds new headaches.  We have what we need in our little yellow cabin in the mountains.  I have a garden which produces food.  We just planted more fruit trees, and the land has supplied numerous blackberry vines.  Independence to us means we can live just that way, simply, next to the land, with jobs and schooling, the ability to get to point A from point B, to share good times with our children, being rich in love, and the satisfaction that our bills are paid on time every month.

I am very proud of my family.  My son, Chase, is now enlisted in the Army and my nephew, Chris, is soon to be in the Air Force.  My daughter Kelsey is contemplating doing the same.  And what is so special about this, is that they have the independence and freedom to make this decision for themselves.