Just as Christmas to me is a culminating celebration of the year, the week leading up to New Year's Day has always been a time to reflect on the year's events, accomplishments or regrets. Most of us usually classify our year as good, bad or even ugly (take that Susan Ladd) and can point to events in totality that help form our opinion. Some years have a lot more ups with relatively few downs. Every now and then we have a year such as my 1996 where when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve I took my pocket Hallmark calendar that I carried throughout my career to my apartment patio and symbolically burned it. This year for me has been an interesting one that included "diverse" and new experiences. Writing this blog has been one of them and I am extremely appreciative to everyone that reads it. Running for elective office was enlightening though I was unable to overcome what I knew going in were tough odds. My golf handicap started at 21 in January, dropped as low as 12.4 in July and currently resides at 14. My family is healthy.
New Year's resolutions are goals set that are often ambitious in nature. Most of us make the mistake of setting a long term goal that we try to accomplish in a short term time frame causing us to get frustrated and give up. Lose 30 pounds in a month! Sure it can be done but rarely maintained. Never the less, here are my thoughts for 2016.
I want to take this blog a bit further. One thing that I have observed over the past few months is a pattern or strategy that has been consistently used by left wing extremists. This country for better or for worse has two political parties. At the moment it seems to be viewed by both that if you are of a "moderate" mindset you are (sorry again Ms. Ladd) the devil! No progress is currently being made in this country because extremists have bogged down the system. Add to it a general gross mistrust of government and politicians and it's easy to understand why the economy, jobs, poverty and median income still struggle to improve despite voodoo math numbers presented by our politicians and their stats folks. At the moment the left wing extremists are calling the shots in Washington, in the media and yes to a certain extent right here in Greensboro. My goal is to discuss their strategy and how to recognize it, especially with regards to their demands of "police accountability". In my opinion, accountability is a two way street and I have challenged some folks recently that not only refuse to answer specific questions but refer to the extremist's playbook to counter my questions.
How has the extremists in Greensboro affected our city government? We will begin with this topic in the next article. I have promised a certain person in Greensboro that I will create an avenue for him to express his views so that all can see that a very dangerous point of view has infiltrated city politics. Our city politicians (all of them) have used this as a smoke screen to attempt to hide their other dealings in town. The effect that these views have had and the fear and bullying that our voting populace have endured has caused the large majority (88.5 % to be precise) to give in and adopt a position of apathetic hopelessness. Not only do you see it in the voter turnout percentages, it is plainly evident in our census numbers the past 30 years.
What do left wing extremists have a hard time dealing with? That would be people that do not back down, who deal in facts and research topics. People that demand accountability in making accusations, reporting issues as well as offering solutions. This accountability must extend to the media and especially those who seem to get the majority of the "air time". It must extend to local politicians who do not take aggressive stands preferring to not make waves in lieu of risking future election results. It must come from aggressive advertising of FACTS, matching the aggressiveness of the extremists.
Thanks to my 9 year old's reading assignments over the holidays I have adopted a policy of reading with him to ease the anxiety of school work during vacation. After 29 years of reading reports I have not "enjoyed" recreational reading. I have rediscovered some enjoyment and have been reading Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Patton" which I was given as a gift last Christmas. One of the fascinating things about Mr. O'Reilly's writing is that he gives credit to the primary characters of the day regardless of their political affiliation. He is definitely a fan of President Roosevelt and the job he did while in office. One of the facts he cites is FDR's reason for changing his three term Vice President Wilson to Harry Truman for his final election. FDR realized that Wilson was too "extreme" to the left (too closely affiliated with Unions) and would not be a good fit for the U.S. at that time. FDR also realized that his chances of living through four more years were very remote and that whoever his running mate was would likely ascend to the Presidency. In other words, one of our recognized greatest Presidents realized that extreme politics were not good for the country as a whole.
I think we can agree that Bill O'Reilly is a target for left wing extremist's attacks yet he has the number one rated cable news show on the planet. He sells books, sells out auditoriums and speaking engagements and is a frequent guest on TV shows representing both political party's views. Why does the extreme left despise him so much; because he doesn't back down, he doesn't accept vague and general claims and he usually backs up his opinions with examples and numbers. He cannot be "bullied" by name calling into retreat, even when he sides with the liberal point of view; not "extreme", liberal. His books display that ability to see both sides and give credit either way.
That is my resolve. To be fair, to demand details, to give credit where it is due and not allow an extremist's view to stop me from making observations and allow their tactics to prevail unchecked. Until Greensboro is taken back from the political forces that currently control it the numbers will continue to go in the negative direction they have been trending for the past several years no matter how many performing arts centers we build.
Allen Johnson wrote an editorial a few months back comparing Greensboro to Baltimore. Though not in the way he meant, that is precisely where we are headed if changes aren't made.
See you in the New Year!!