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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:53 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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@Skywalker2B: This is going to get off the topic of current events (i.e. the election and its aftermath) and this isn't in direct response to your post, but I think it may make for an interesting discussion. Hopefully this will be relevant enough to politics to justify being here instead of the religion thread. I think my religious beliefs inform my political views differently than yours.

I welcome the secularization of the West. The philosophy of Christianity is not to create Christian societies, impose Christian laws, or (Heaven forbid) wage Christian wars. That is the way of the world. Christ's Kingdom is not of this world. By that I don't mean that the Kingdom is "spiritual" or private, but that His Kingdom doesn't operate by the rules of the world. We are told to look after the sick, the lame, the outcast, to forgive, to believe in Him, and to spread the Gospel. That's how we are to follow our King and inaugurate the Kingdom.

It is also my opinion - and I know many Christians will disagree with me on this - but I think that politics is no place for a Christian to be. In the first place, the power that the position of political leadership gives is enough to corrupt the best of us and I would urge any Christian - or any person who seeks to live a good, moral life - to not get mixed in with politics. In the second place, as I said earlier, the politics of this world are one of the things that Christianity opposes. You can call a nation a "Christian nation" if you want, but that nation will not therefore be immune from the evils of worldly politics - greed, corruption, violence, oppression etc. The only difference is that those evils will now be committed in the name of Christ. Getting into politics, to me, seems like sleeping with the enemy. I put my head in my hands when Trump swore on the Bible during his inauguration. I wish all religious symbolism would be removed from civil ceremonies.

I also think that the American Constitution and other founding documents were based primarily on Enlightenment ideas - the separation of church and state, equality before the law, freedom of speech etc. Now, I'm not saying that Enlightenment ideas were not in some ways influenced by Christianity and that many Enlightenment thinkers were not Christians, but it was largely a secular movement. The original population of America was overwhelmingly Christian, but the principles of the Enlightenment could easily be implemented in a country without any Christians in the population at all.

So all of this puts me in an interesting position. I do believe that all will be right in the world only when Christ returns and so I do not put my faith in humanity or in politicians. That said, I will defend secular democracies because I think that of all the bad political systems in the world, they are the least bad by far. I don't seek a government that will lead us into utopia, but simply a government that will protect its citizens freedom and security.
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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:13 pm Reply with quote  
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  Alan Skywalker V
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Reep, Trump is not the candidate I would have chosen for the Republican nomination. In fact, I voted for Ted Cruz in the primary election. However, I went for Trump in the general.

Definitely was not going to vote for Hillary. I didn't particularly care that the Democrats were trying to make it 12 years in the White House - after all, they had the WH for 20 years before, during, and after WWII and the Republicans had the WH for 12 years under Reagan and HW. What I did not like was Hillary's political record, especially Benghazi, her stances on abortion and gay rights, and just a general feeling that she was counting on the coattails of her husband and Obama to get her into office.

If Bernie Sanders had won the Democrat nomination, I think the election could have gone either way. But the DNC (IMO) was so caught up in the idea of Hillary being the first female President that they shoved Bernie aside.

After Antonin Scalia died a year ago, it took me a while to figure it out, but I realized that the election results would tip the scales for the SC in either the liberal or conservative direction. My grandmother put it to me this way in October, "It's a choice between turning further away from God by ignoring His Word, or turning back to God and standing on His Word. If we make the wrong choice, we're cooked."


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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:42 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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@Alan: See, but now Trump has his own Benghazi-esque situation (his decisions have literally gotten a child and members of Seal Team 6 killed for no reason). He also employs white supremicist, someone who wants to shock gays straight (regardless of your religious stance on homosexuality that isn't ok), he employs someone with ties to the KKK, a secretary of ed who has no qualifications and is attempting to set it up so that fewer children receive a decent education (on taxpayer money), and I'll roll my eyes if anyone tries to theorize that Trump isn't pro-abortion since he's supported it in the past (only ditched it to run Republican).

America elected a monster, and he's got just as vile people beneath him. I was prepared to deal with Hillary and fight her on things I don't agree with, I'll darn sure do it with Trump. I just think we chose the candidate with more to fight. Despite his promises America is going to pay for a 21 billion dollar wall, not Mexico. That's stupid. He tried to deport a religion and include religious affiliation in the vetting process for immigration and temporary residency. That's unconstitutional, I don't care how excited Christianity got when they came close to being a state religion (again, against the constitution). Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause. The list could continue but I'm ranting.

We were given a choice between someone I disagreed with and a raging child with overcompensation issues who is racist, misogynist, cruel, and succeeded by a mixture of merely not being a democrat and appealing to the lowest common denominator.

No matter who won that election we all lost. It was just a matter of how hard we wanted to lose and I believe we chose horribly (actually the popular vote did NOT choose horribly, the electoral college did). Our president is trying to make sure no one reports when he makes a mistake, is offering "alternative facts" to reality and hoping people believe it ("alternative facts" are lies btw), and is backing Fox News, an admitted propaganda network with less credibility than most mainstream media (which is incredibly biased already, they're just further down the ladder). It's a mess and electing Trump multiplied the battles we had to fight.
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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:11 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Caedus_16 wrote:
No matter who won that election we all lost.

That about sums it up.

Honestly, I'm so burned out on politics. Over the past several months, I've fluctuated between being fascinated by the whole affair to wanting to get out of politics forever. Really, that conflict has been going on for most of my life. Every Canadian election, I'm on the fence between being a good citizen and voting for who I deem the least bad or skip the whole thing as a sign of protest.

As it stands, I'm very seriously thinking of dropping out of politics altogether. I mean keeping up with it, wading through all of the bias and misinformation is basically a full-time job and unless you essentially dedicate your life to it, you won't be making an informed decision on election day. I'm convinced that the vast majority of people who vote really don't know what they're voting for and, if I'm honest, that includes me.

When I was younger, I used to justify my lack of political involvement by saying that I had interests in things like literature, philosophy, and religion and not everyone does. Because of that I felt like I could take a pass on politics. I am very seriously considering going back to that. I don't think getting into politics over the past couple of years has made me a healthier or better person and, sure, you can say it's my democratic duty to be engaged in politics, but at the end of the day, it's one vote. It isn't going to make a difference.

As I said in my previous post, ultimately my leader is Christ and I'd rather just follow Him than be involved in this nonsense any longer. I'm going to start focusing some of my time on volunteering at homeless and/or crisis shelters soon. That can be my political action.

I don't know. Would it still be selfish or lazy to drop the whole thing if I re-focus my time and energy on other stuff?

Maybe I just need a long break...
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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:08 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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@Reep, I don't think that would be selfish. Your first goal should be to take care of your own health and well being. If it has a negative effect on you, it's not worth it.

I think that it's important to understand and know history, but also if you take a step back, there's commonality to everyday life that we share that has little to do with the machinations of the political process. That's something that I try to keep in mind and is comforting to me.
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 PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 2:15 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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So ya know, last month the US bombed Syria. I'm sort of amazed that there was no critical commentary on that, and I think it serves as a sort of microcosm of how screwed up American politics have become.

The mainstream Right supported it because....reasons? They either genuinely support the cause of human rights, or they just want to drop some bombs and shout USA! depending on your level of cynicism. Forgive me if it's more nuanced than that, I haven't heard it on the media.

I don't know what the so called "Alt Right" thought about it because I try to avoid that. They might have supported it because brown people got killed, but probably not because they weren't the ones that they wanted, or some other stupid reason.

The mainstream Left agreed with the mainstream Right, there was no real divergence of opinion on that.

Everyone I know was against it for reasons that they couldn't articulate but basically boiled down to "It's bad for the US to bomb anyone."

The more educated Leftists pointed out that the US doesn't care about human rights and they only intervened in order to further their economic interests in the region and to check Russia. That's true...but on the other hand, Assad is pretty much a puppet of Vladmir Putin, who has his own history of gassing civilians, and he only cares about Syria because of his own economic interests in the region.

Perhaps those on the Right pointed that out about Russia too, but if so, I imagine that they were as uncritical about the opposition as those on the Left were.
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:23 am Reply with quote  
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  Alan Skywalker V
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Thought I would post here and see what my fellow Americans in particular think of recent developments, though I would welcome anyone's opinion. I'd post this on TF.N too, but I'm probably considered persona non grata over there.

For those who may not know, on Saturday, August 12th, a rally known as "Unite the Right" was planned to be held in Charlottesville, Virginia, at noon. The rally was to be held to protest against the removal of a statue of General Robert Edward Lee from Emancipation Park (formerly Lee Park) in the city. Counterprotestors also showed up and things quickly turned violent, prompting the city to declare a state of emergency at 11 AM. VA State Police declared the gathering unlawful and ordered everyone to leave the area, but the clashes continued and culminated in the incident where a driver (I am NOT mentioning his name here because he does not deserve to be named) ran over a group of counterprotestors, killing one and injuring 19.

Personally, I am disgusted by the behavior of the people participating in the rally. If they had confined themselves to only protesting the statue's removal without all the other c***, the situation would not have gotten out of hand. That said, they did have a permit issued by a judge for the gathering and the police did have a responsibility to protect them instead of standing by when the violence first started.

Now, as for the issue which started all this - the removal of Lee's statue - I feel that the protestors who want all monuments to the Civil War removed are doing a disservice.

NOT because of the Civil War - the Confederacy lost, true enough, and the fact that eleven states rebelled against the Union is not anything to be proud of - but because they seem to forget that many of the officers who fought for the Confederacy served in the United States Army before South Carolina sparked the rebellion in December 1860. Stonewall Jackson was a professor at Virginia Military Institute until the war erupted. Lee was loyal to the Union and reportedly said he would free all the slaves to keep the Union intact, but he felt he could "not draw his sword upon Virginia, my native state."

The question I have is: is there anything on the statues of Lee and Jackson in Virginia and West Virginia that indicates they were raised to commemorate their service in the Civil War? If there is not, then why not let the statues stay where they are as monuments to two great soldiers and native Virginians who served honorably in the United States Army before the Civil War? Why should the events of the last three years of Jackson's life and five years of Lee's life dictate how they are remembered today to the point where all monuments should be erased?


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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:34 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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...I'd say the situation was out of hand when Klan members combined with Neo-Nazis to chant "Heil Trump", but I also find the actions of those who stood against them disgusting. This was a chance for one side to really prove it was above the other and instead they continued to prove that the whole thing is a mess.

I hate American politics.
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:36 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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I'll spare you the history lesson and just say that I don't have a problem with statues of Confederate soldiers. But on the other hand it's not like the City owes it to anyone to give them a statue. If they decide that they don't want a statue, it's their right to take it down. I think that is even less controversial then putting it up in the first place. If they took down a statue of MLK or George Washington I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Here's the thing, the "alt right" doesn't care about Robert E. Lee. Why would Nazis care about the American Civil War? They just hate black people and have decided that white supremacists should unite and put aside their differences. They knew that the klan and other southern racist groups would be there, so it was just a "good" convenience to hold a Nazi rally.

It's ridiculous that according to "free speech" the ideas of "I want to murder you and your whole family" and "I don't want to be murdered" are thought of as equally valid expressions. and it's not even theoertical. One of the nazis actually did murder someone here.

Caedus, yeah, I'm calling you out. I think you should be ashamed of yourself for saying that people who are against Nazism are just as bad as Nazis. You think the people who were attacked and killed are just as bad as the guy who ran them over with his car? That's what you said.

Has America lost it's mind? We called the people who fought the Nazis "The Greatest Generation", now people think that they are just as bad?

This isn't a political issue. This is people who are calling for mass murder. They are a terrorist group and they should be treated as such. Would you support the right for ISIS to hold a rally in the US and talk about how they want to chop everyone's head off?

The Klan lost it's power because the US government declared them to be a terrorist group and treated them like the criminal organization that they were. Today we think that they should be allowed to have that power again and actually be allowed to be thought of as a political group and given privileges to do what they want again.
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:42 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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I will state that I think my words were about violence on either side. I do NOT agree with nazi-ism or their unfounded hatred of anyone who isn't a straight, white Christian. I can see how my words could be misconstrued and I apologize to anyone who was offended by them.

I stand by my statement that this was a chance for those against them to prove they are better. The alt-right (let's just call them racists, that's what they are) disgust me but rioting against them isn't the answer. I think what happened is despicable and honestly this is one of the few places it's kind of comforting to voice that opinion. I wish it hadn't escalated but I can't blame the people who were mad about the statement, people shouting "heil Trump" are a problem and his meandering response is gross.

I didn't mean for my statement to come off as though I was justifying anything. Again, I apologize if what I said came off that way. That is not how I feel at all.
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:01 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
The Klan lost it's power because the US government declared them to be a terrorist group and treated them like the criminal organization that they were. Today we think that they should be allowed to have that power again and actually be allowed to be thought of as a political group and given privileges to do what they want again.

Does that mean that the KKK is no longer considered a terrorist group? I would assume so because David Duke is able to walk around (and even run for office) without being arrested on sight. What happened? Confused

Also, I just wanted to apologize for belittling the dangers of the far right earlier in this thread. I guess I was looking at things through my Canadian glasses. Things are extremely liberal up here - at least where I'm from - and for every person on the far right I meet, I meet 1,000 people from the far left. I couldn't quite believe that fascism is alive and well... until I saw it right in front of me.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:02 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Reepicheep wrote:

Does that mean that the KKK is no longer considered a terrorist group? I would assume so because David Duke is able to walk around (and even run for office) without being arrested on sight. What happened?


Not really. I think once they lost power and saw that society had moved on and rejected everything that they stood for, they realized that the South was never going to rise again and mostly gave up. Now all they do is get mad about stupid things like statues.

Now Fascism on the other hand is different. That's not something that is rooted in American cultural values from long ago, and it is much more mutable.

I think Totalitarianism is rooted in the very fundamentals of western democracy and is in many ways the logical conclusion of our whole social and economic system. I don't even know where to begin.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:10 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Caedus_16 wrote:
I stand by my statement that this was a chance for those against them to prove they are better.


How so? What do you think people should do? No judgement. I'm honestly just interested in your perspective. If you don't want to or are unable to answer that, it's OK.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:08 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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@DPW: I can answer it, but it probably won't be one you agree with. My view of this whole mess is that the Modern Nazis are justifying their behavior by saying they feel threatened, and attacking them justifies their behavior to them. They have the quiet backing of authority, they have no connection to reality, and they have an entertainment network that they take at face value, and they believe they have a deity on their side. I'm all for organized, loud, even raucous protesting but crossing over into violence gives them what they want. It gives them a way to say they are in the right for feeling minimized compared to anyone else. They want to draw lines and things like this don't fight their stance, it just gives them more certainty in what they believe.

Again, I know that might not sit with you. I'm actually on your side when it comes to statues (tear 'em down, build 'em up, they're just rocks) but on how to execute standing against them is where we'll probably just have to disagree. I'm completely against going outside of the law when there are very legal ways to pull off the desired outcome.

Plus, no one's mind was changed by this protest. people who supported the Nazis are just more riled up in their defense now, and people who hated them still do so. Attacking them accomplished absolutely nothing.
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 PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:54 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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The main reason I was talking about the Klan wasn't so much themselves as an organization, but about their tactics. That's the issue that I see here.

Their acts of overt violence were relatively minor, even during their heyday. Anyone willing to carry out ideological violence serves their group two fold, first because they directly serve the cause by giving the power of violence to all of their members, even the ones that don't use violence. Secondly because it gives legitimacy to rest of the group by allowing them to denounce that violence to the public as a outlier element that doesn't represent the intentions of the main group.

The Klan was able to achieve it's goals largely through political means. They were able to get into positions of political power to make and enforce laws. I don't think I can stress this enough, their object wasn't to commit crimes, it was to make racism legal.

Still, they didn't have enough popular support to always do that easily, so they used fear and intimidation to stop people from opposing them. To keep black people from voting they would go to the voting booth and just stand outside with guns. They didn't need to say, "we are going to shoot you if you vote.", because that message was clear. And if they were called on it, they could deny it. But if somewhere a black person was shot, totally unrelated of course, we don't support that, everyone else would know that it could've been them.

That was also why they burnt the crosses in people's yards. It was to send the message "this neighborhood belongs to the Klan, not to you. We don't want to hurt you, but maybe next time we will. Wouldn't it be best for you if you just moved along?"

So what I'm proposing doesn't require any new laws or changes to existing laws. Just classify hate groups as criminal organizations. That won't put you in jail just for being a member of one, or stop you from spouting hate speech on the internet and in private. But what it will do is recognize that a public assembly and speech by a hate group is a threat and an incitement of violence, and don't allow them to do it. This already a thing for groups that are classified this way.

Online harrassment or threats and other criminal activities can be treated just the same as they are now under the patriot act and RICO, and other laws that target such groups. Really the only difference is that you are allowed to be a nazi, but you are aren't allowed to be in the mafia or any other designated terrorist group, even if you do the exact same things that they are routinely investigated and sentenced for.
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