I Am Finley

Politics

Truth matters. Words matter.

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Truth matters. Words matter. Without meaning, words are pointless.

When you hear “school shooting”, yesterday is what comes to mind. And yesterday was terrible. Seventeen dead. And it took just minutes for the media to start talking about ways to prevent this, both sides having their piece, their take. Before the bodies are even buried, before most parents even knew their kid was one of the dead ones, we are calling half the country evil for supporting gun rights.

The statistic being quoted by many last night and this morning is that in 2018, a year that we are only some forty days into, has seen eighteen school shootings, referring to the reporting from a group called Everytown for Gun Safety. That is truly an appalling number. 18 school shootings. When you hear “school shooting”, yesterday is what comes to mind. And yesterday was terrible. Seventeen dead. But yesterday is not what Everytown is calling a school shooting. They are counting all shootings at schools or involving schools. Truth matters. Words matter. Without meaning, words are pointless.

So what does this reporting from Everytown mean? Eight of those eighteen resulted in no injuries or fatalities. Two were suicides, one in the parking lot and one in the bathroom at a school. One was a gun fired unintentionally, no one hurt. Of these eighteen incidents, three people were killed— not including the two suicides— and roughly 30-35 were injured, according to The Daily Wire.

We all wish that yesterday was one bad day out of a million good days. We all wish we had a billboard that counted the days from the last school shooting and it had been at 30 years. But when “we include suicides, accidental discharges, purposeful shootings without injuries, and purposeful shootings without only ‘superficial’ wounds” as school shootings on par with what happened yesterday our words lose meaning. We become numb. Yesterday was just another school shooting. That was the new normal. But it isn’t. It isn’t the new normal.

Truth matters. Words matter. I hope that you agree.

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In the Shithouse

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As Republicans defend President Trump's language once more, I stand over here as a conservative without a party. These fake, ambulance-chasing Republicans are trying to defend a sitting president using language we wouldn't want our children repeating. I said after the election that I couldn't vote for President Trump because "I couldn't explain that to my daughter". I can't agree with them. This language is inappropriate for a world leader to be using to describe our allies.

But the Left wants this— too— to be about racism. It has to be about one of their -isms or -phobias. It always has to be. Why? Is it because victim identity is the new sacred? Had he called Norway, a predominantly white nation, a shithole, would so many Leftists be offended? Would they think he's talking about race?

I don't agree that this is about race. No, I think this is a case of a man that lacks control of his tongue. He described a poor, third-world nation as a shithole. He described a nation, not the people. Yes, there are, to quote a tweet, brown-skinned people living there. But it's a nation that you see no one aside from missionaries choosing to spend their vacation days on.

So you might read the above and think I agree with the term as an adequate word to describe these nations, if one is not the President of the United States. And you might be right. But my church sends a lot of money to these nations, bringing food, water, and the Gospel of the Living God to these people. My God redeems prostitutes, dines with tax collectors, and makes the poor rich. The shitholes are just as much His as are the bastions of freedom and wealth.

In my opinion, is not our government's job to raise these people out of poverty, clothe them, feed them, and give them water. But, Christian, it is yours.

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Tribalism and Roy Moore

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Roy Moore lost, not because Alabamans are stupid. Roy Moore lost because Roy Moore was a terrible candidate with child molestation allegations hanging round his neck. Moore should’ve been better vetted, one. But also abandoned when credible allegations came forth. Because it turns out some Republicans couldn’t stomach voting for a man accused of getting handsy with an underage girl. Yet this is somehow surprising to red-eyed morons convinced just being against the Democrats is a winning strategy. Roy Moore lost because too many egotistical Republicans in high places overestimated the power of tribalism: “Moore has an (R) after his name, ergo #MAGA and screw the libtards!”

Just “being against the other tribe” didn’t work in Alabama. It won’t work nationwide in 2018 either. Or 2020.

Courtney Kirchoff

Conservatives, you had better hear this. I know many that voted for Roy Moore did so because of the two-party system, because of the “lesser of two evils”. But many more did so because he was a Republican. But running as a Republican shouldn’t be enough.

We are a party of ideas. We are a party of ideals. This man had heavy allegations hanging from his neck. Same with Trump. It’s why Trump was close to not winning. Literally anyone could have beat Hillary. But we picked the most polarizing, most offensive, worst candidate in recent history.

We need to learn to vet our candidates better and when shit comes out, we need to push them aside. Trump’s famous recording should have been that moment for him. These allegations, once credible, should have been the moment we pushed Roy aside.

We will lose in 2018 and 2020 if we do not get away from tribalism.

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Fascism: Is it Right or Left?

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What Are You Doing to Stay Away from Echo Chambers?

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If you’re a conservative in tech, it is next to impossible to live in an echo chamber.

Over the last week, my Twitter timeline exploded with rage over the two big GOP topics of the week: net neutrality and the big tax bill. If I was to believe my timeline, these two items were doomsday-grade events. There was no way that a human could stand by this massive tax bill or against net neutrality. Not a single dissenting voice.

Sometimes this is a real sign that something is truly important and should be stood for or against. Sometimes this is a sign of a lack of diversity in thought or ideology in your news feed.

Seeing all these voices — voices that I greatly respect — freaking out over the tax bill, I started to wonder if the GOP had truly jumped the shark. So I went to a few major news sources and a few minor ones. I sought answers and tried to understand the facts from my worldview. And found myself agreeing with the majority of the included items, while also understanding how others would see these as bad.

Echo chambers exist when we surround ourselves with a homogeneous group of voices. As a conservative, it is next to impossible to live in an echo chamber. If you want to follow anyone in tech that matters, you’re going to hear opposing views on political matters.

What are you doing to stay away from echo chambers?

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Refusing to Relate

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Instead of learning a single lesson from Donald Trump’s upset victory in November, the American left has strapped on vagina hats and marched in the street, calling Trump supporters Nazis and ridiculing people of faith. The media has been positively enamored with it all and continues to refuse even to learn how to relate to the people who voted for Trump.

The Resurgence

I have a friend on Facebook. He, his friends, and I had an interesting exchange last week. He claimed to not understand how people could vote for Trump. I explained it and he still didn’t understand it. They could have voted third-party— like I did— he claimed. He could not see voting Trump, in any case, better than voting not Trump.

You have to live for the next four years with those that voted for Trump. Just like they have to live with you. Calling your opponents Nazis and insulting their religion is not how you heal America. It’s not how you end divisiveness. How about, instead of stonewalling half of America and saying you cannot understand them while you have your fingers in your ears, you shut up and try.

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Political Divisiveness Is a Vice

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If you look at this like a sport. If you look at this like a battle against your neighbor, you’ll choose anything as a knife against the other side. And that itself is a—what’s the opposite of a virtue? … That’s a vice. Political divisiveness is a vice. But like a lot of vices, it’s super seductive. So you indulge in it, until it bites you. And then you go, oh, darn, the wages of sin is death. And it makes you question having indulged in a vice … Picking sides is a vice rather than picking ideas.

I have to say that Stephen Colbert has been a guilty pleasure of mine for some time. As a conservative, I have often been in the sights of his jokes. But, his humility and willingness to quote Scripture and scriptural concepts rank him highly in my book. This interview, all of it, is a great way to spend your Friday morning. I could share a half dozen quotes from this, but instead, I’ll tell you to watch it too, as his delivery of those quotes is just as important.

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Stop Bigotry

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Yesterday, Kate Aurthur at BuzzFeed maliciously targeted Chip and Joanna Gaines because they are Bible believing Christians. Aurthur’s article at BuzzFeed attempted to harm them and their television success because the church they attend supports real marriage, which BuzzFeed’s editorial policy decries as bigotry.

The Resurgent

The bigotry against Christians has been discussed many times on this site, from Memories Pizza to Indiana’s Religious Freedom law. When business owners have to choose between their religious foundation or their financial well-being, the government needs to fix this.

Over the past several years, the gay mafia has specifically targeted Christian small businesses for harassment. Christian florists, bakers, photographers, t-shirt printers, pizza restauranteurs etc. have seen gay activists come into their businesses, made demands they gay activists knew would put these Christians in conflict with their religious beliefs, then turned to various state governments to punish those Christians who refused to violate their faith.

So what can we do? We have a representative government, so we can contact our congressment and demand that they represent us as much as they represent the 2-4% of the population that identifies as LGBT community. You can use this form to make it ridiculously easy to do so, and please do.

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No, Trump Isn’t Planning to Round Up or Register Muslims

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George Takai is fueling the flames of fear with divisive, partisan bullshit:

So when I hear Donald Trump’s transition advisors talk about building a registry of Muslims and his surrogates using the internment of Japanese-Americans as their model, I am outraged — because I remember the tears streaming down my mother’s face as we were torn away from our home. And I am resolved to raise my voice and say, loudly and clearly, that this is not who we are.

Stop Scaring People, George Takei

George is a man that had spent years of his youth in the absolutely deplorable internment camps of America. I hear his concern. Fortunately, it is completely unfounded in fact.

The statement in question was not made by a member of Trump’s transition team, but a spokesman for a pro-Trump super PAC. And he did not say that the internment of Japanese-Americans was a “model” — in fact, as even the New York Times reported, he said that he would not want to do it again.

Furthermore, there is no proposal to create a “registry” of Muslims, but to reinstate a post-9/11 policy from the George W. Bush and early Barack Obama administrations of tracking immigrants and visitors from certain foreign countries, including Muslim-majority countries, where terrorism is a concern.

The job of a government is to protect it’s citizens. Keeping track of immigrants and visitors from countries that have connections to terrorism is necessary to do so. But president-elect Donald Trump isn’t calling for a registry, internment, or deportation of Muslim American citizens.

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No, the Majority of American Evangelicals Did Not Vote for Trump

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A lot of numbers in this article, but here is the gist:

Indeed, if we add in the number of non-white evangelicals (about 20 percent), the number of evangelicals ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction (since 28.9 percent of Americans identify as evangelical and 6.5 million Americans have a felony conviction, we can estimate that nearly 1.7 million would be ineligible), the number of “culturally Christian” voters who identified as evangelical, and so on, the actual number of evangelical Trump voters would be even lower, likely between one-third (roughly 35 percent) and two-fifths (about 40 percent).

Whether you consider that final estimated number to be too high or too low, one thing is certain: it is substantially less than the 81 percent figure that is being touted as representing the voting figures for our faith community.

The Gospel Coalition

Don’t always trust exit polls, and remember that statistics are worse than damn lies.

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