Peaceful Assemblies and Free Speech

After watching the despicable group of college students at Middlebury College in Vermont seemingly protesting a speaker, I felt it was time to address these protests again. The people who were protesting used planned phrases, turned their backs, shouted down any attempt for the invited speaker to talk. If they did not want to hear the speaker, no one was forcing them to come. Their best form of protest was to boycott or just remain silent and engage in dialogue afterward. They lost an opportunity to engage with another with controversial views and history and chose instead to remain inside their safe space and bubble atmosphere.

Protesters can become too resolute after their group becomes something else that does not fit the protester definition. Once that occurs, they become merely a one sided bullying gang without any chance for resolution or debate. They lose whatever message of grievance they have and also the support of others through their disgraceful actions. There is a difference having resolve for your conviction and taking resolute actions are merely unyielding, in your face to others with opposing viewpoints, and obstinate. A protest which devolves in this manner eliminates an assembly’s right of free speech and peaceful assembly given to all Americans within the Constitution. Remember that the right of free speech is not absolute and there are exceptions such as yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire.

A group who peacefully assembles and protests their grievances must then allow their grievances not only to be heard but responded to. Otherwise they are just shouting at themselves while others are shut down without any opportunity to provide either explanation or rebuttal. Citizens who exercise their right to assembly to address grievances need to then listen to the free speech of the other side with respect no matter how much they disagree. There is zero respect for this new group of disruptive “protesters” who merely want to shout down, demean, disrupt, or vehemently insult or assault others either verbally or, in many cases now, physically. They are no longer protesters by any definition, but disruptive bullies who would choose anarchic actions versus even attempting to find common ground to move forward.

I challenge anyone who support these reactionaries merely with the comeback of “they have the right of free speech” since these groups are clearly not allowing free speech of others themselves. It is not acceptable, not the American way, and many of us are getting tired of in your face versus genuine face to face cooperation and dialogue. Mere resolute radical anger without respect does not solve anything; dialogue does have that chance.


Gateway to Race Relations


When I view all the committed, passionate volunteers who choose to attend each nationwide race relations dialogues I lead with World Café settings, it is a profound sight to behold and I am very humbled. I created and have now held 24 race relations dialogue sessions over the past year with hundreds of participants in the cities of Portland Oregon, Vancouver WA, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Northhampton MA, Washington DC, and Columbia, SC.  Many more cities are scheduled for the rest of 2017.  Volunteers have been from all races, ethnicities, religions, and age groups.  Many are coming together, most for the first time for this type of event, having a dialogue they have never had before with race.

Sure, there is a little nervousness or trepidation as would be expected with attempting something of this relevance, given the past and now current climate in our country.  Added to this experience is an anomaly.  I am a white male, conservative Baby Boomer who has over 20 years of professional diversity experience in high profile settings.  No one has tried this in the federal government before and it has been a personally rewarding experience for others and for me.  I felt the time had come to move beyond saying we need a conversation on race to starting one.  People in this country need this conversation and truly want to start it but so many have told me after the sessions, they just did not know where to start.

What everyone experiences in these sessions should be reflective of all Americans who want to work toward solutions versus merely supporting divisions.  Those who want to have a dialogue to start the conversation and work toward common ground.  Everyone in the arena with me is respected for their views even if others’ views are miles apart from the other volunteers in the room.  Having the close intimacy and recognition of genuine visual cues in the process which is explained below is valuable to reducing tension and increasing awareness of each other.   It is so far removed from non-disruptive town hall settings we see today with incivility taking over with only a few not allowing others to speak or respond to protesting complaints.

In my dialogue sessions, there is no sitting on your hands, refusal to participate, hurling insults or refusal to listen as is the case with social media.  The World Café setting I use gives participants a genuine opportunity to articulate their views on a given race relations question that I pose and work as a group for twenty minutes.  Each table then reports out after 20 minutes what the group discussed.  Four – six tables of 4-5 people are typically the size and there are 3 20 minute questions.  After the first and then again after the second question, everyone at their tables move to a completely different table to gain perspectives from most the other participants in the room.

It is utterly amazing how much people really want to talk about race relations.  By creating a hospitable environment (which the World Café setting provides), respect reigns.  People share their experience and listen to others for understanding, reflection and further dialogue.  Only in this way with the elimination of resistance, blame, and disruption can we truly find common ground to work with.  Several hundred have so far chosen to make a difference with this dialogue and more than a thousand are signing up to do so in future cities across the country.

What begins from a single dialogue with committed volunteer with vision; more will want to be a part of the conversation; the vision is to become an unparalleled, powerful employee and community experience. Together, we can improve race relations with genuine action, commitment, and caring.  Choose to be with those of us in the arena achieving common ground through awareness and respect,  finding workable solutions, and a way forward.



Sunshine or Winter Patriots

Patriotism is not a fleeting moment in which one can merely summon on the 4th of July or at games or ceremonies where the National Anthem is playing. These are good things we all should do these acts of respect are only a part of the spirit that makes us Americans.

When Thomas Paine gave his speech about Sunshine Patriots, he was referring to those who felt they could just volunteer themselves for battle during the summer or for very brief periods without too much personal discomfort or sacrifice and then go home. Paine also wrote “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

America is experiencing divisiveness and hate from the Progressive left who refuses to even join in a dialogue and find solutions. Democrats now choose to disrupt, resist, and not show up which falls well behind even a Sunshine Patriot and more of a sunset anti American. They are using teir freedom of speech but now allowing others the same right by shouting down versus listening to understand others.

I cannot respect a position when there is no attempt for the other side to respect mine. Respect does not always mean agreement; it means that at least you know where the other person is coming from. Each may see a way to establish some common ground that will lead to a workable solution. With or without the individuals who refuse to listen, Americans will be experiencing a much needed course correction with President Trump. By keeping his solemn promises, he is an anomaly as a politician by doing so

I will support President Trump and also, as with all Americans, expect to hold him accountable if he is unable to either work toward or provide solutions for a myriad of problems he is facing now from prior administrations. I have confidence he will. As a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (the original III’rs), and retired military officer, my level of Patriotism is beyond being contested.

quote-these-are-the-times-that-try-men-s-souls-the-summer-soldier-and-the-sunshine-patriot-will-in-this-thomas-paine-308979Yet there are those who do anyway since I do not agree allowing open borders, deporting people who are criminals and are here illegally, increasing our military’s strength and capabilities, wanting to fix an imploding health care system, and not release any more terrorists from Gitmo in which a third of them have returned to the battlefield. I love my country and proud to be an American. All Americans must be winter soldiers and snowfall patriots in order to retain our freedom.

Civility and Moral Courage


Those who prefer to use hateful language to insult and refuse to listen to any other view than their own, have no intention to listen to understand.  Those who refuse to gain perspective have the intention of disruption, resistance, and disdain for others who have even a slightly different opinion than they do.  They are actually exhibiting incivility and, in their own mind, know they are doing so.   One is no longer protesting when they are not exhibiting moral courage and exchanging in ideas.

The definition of Moral courage is “the courage to take action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse consequences. Courage is required to take action when one has doubts or fears about the consequences. Moral courage therefore involves deliberation or careful thought.”  Deliberation requires one to know the facts and think about all of the sides before moral courage can develop.  How can one deliberate if one is stuck on their own view without even having the willingness to listen to others?  As Merriam Webster defines,  “it is a discussion and consideration by a group of persons of the reasons for and against a measure.”  If progressives do not allow others to voice their opinions, they are hardly having a discussion or dialogue but just shouting  down  and sanctimoniously lecturing others.  They prefer to be exclusive and have no intention of being inclusive that includes dialogue.  That is not moral courage but thoughtlessness and unrestrained behavior.

Civility seems to be non existent and class is a foreign concept for progressives and their offspring of anarchists.  They refuse to allow new coalitions to form which can lead to serviceable compromises to what previously was considered impossibly divisive problems.

Hunkering down in your own bubble or echo chamber may feel good but sooner or later you must exhibit moral courage and civility to understand that your way may not be “the” way to solve a problem.  It takes the strength of diversity.  Progressives dare to say diversity is our strength and they demand inclusion; but only inclusion of people who think and act like them.  They are the ones who do not “get it” as they are so famously known to say.



Federal Workers’ Pandemonium

All Federal government employees take the following oath:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Very simple, direct, and to the point.  The Washington Post’s article “Federal employees plan to express their opposition” published Wednesday, February 1, 2017 should be disturbing to all Americans who pay their salaries.  Not all of course since there are many great employees in the Federal government,  but a significant number of federal employees are already actively opposing the new administration through back channel communications and social media cites and share ways to leak critical information, slow down their work (as if that is possible for many federal employees), or openly defy orders they consider “objectionable.”

Federal employees who are “fearful” and have had their feelings hurt by the election of President Trump stated they are attending support groups to come to grips with their pain.   Others have signed up for a workshop to listen to instruction of how to be civilly disobedient.  One employee stated that “through leaks to news organizations and internal complaints, people here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable.”  As the Post stated the signs of resistance in federal government offices range from low-level grumbling and angry opposition posted online to promises of insubordination.  Two Twitter feeds @altUSEPA and @ActualEPAFacts are calling themselves “the Resistance” with over 200,000 followers.  It is somehow akin to an underground militia for federal workers.

So, let’s take a look at the oath.  Federal workers on their very first day of employment take this oath stating they will defend the Constitution of the United States.  Americans must realize that federal workers are appointed.  Although non-disclosure statements are signed by many employees in the civilian working world, non-governmental employees do not take an oath to the Constitution.  If federal workers are leaking information that needs to remain within the agency, then they are in direct violation of that oath.  Imagine the accountability if a corporate employee who signed a non-disclosure agreement, then leaked valuable proprietary information to others about the company’s product, and was caught doing so!  The person who disclosed would hear the words“You’re fired!” and more than likely, would be sued as well.  Not honoring your word is a very serious offense in the corporate arena.

Second, the employee swears that he or she is taking this obligation freely, without mental reservation.  If at the time of taking the oath, they had second thoughts, then they should have objected by not swearing to the oath to become a federal employee.  That is their right – to object but if the oath requires you to support, then that is your obligation is to the oath you took to be acceptable for a federal position.  Every active duty and those who are Veterans now took their oath which is basically the same as a federal employee.  And, as every Veteran like myself know, that Oath never expires!  We may grumble of course and disagree about this or that policy but that is the extent.  In combat, there is no room for “civil disobedience or acts of insubordination” as federal employee are considering doing.  All Veterans in the federal government know that that they have taken two oaths to defend the Constitution.

The other area of the oath that we see permeating throughout many agencies now is the “or purpose of evasion” clause.  Evading your duties or circumventing the system through civil disobedience, leaks of information, insubordination, or defiant acts of becoming part of an underground resistance movement should be a cause of alarm for all Americans.  The federal government employees who cannot honor their oath should resign since there is no possible way they can faithfully discharge their duties for the American people if they lose their honor.

Resignation is the most decisive and honorable means of resistance.


Sanctimonious Lectures and Malicious Labeling


I hope that more Patriotic Americans like me must be getting sick and tired of listening to Hollywood actors, singers, etc., who use their performances, and now even awards ceremonies, for these sanctimonious missives.  The cast of Alexander Hamilton Broadway show who hijacked an honored visit by the soon to be Vice President by lecturing on what I consider divisive messaging that did not allow rebuttal demonstrated a self-righteous air of supremacy of their views.  So much for inclusion or tolerance the Progressive Liberals speak so highly about.  Inclusion of thoughts and others is necessary our country, without a doubt, but it must include all views and freedom of speech which includes disagreement.

When the insufferable Lady Gaga stated she is giving a message of inclusion during the Super Bowl half time, that was past the red line for me.  Her message of inclusion is one of victim-hood and zero tolerance for others with differing views including deep seated religious values.  Some of these monetary charlatan elites are so off the wall that they are beyond the scope of “oh brother” type of reactions.

One positive has come out of this however.  Many have exposed their true selves and are no longer on my watch or listen list of their concerts, movies, or the like.  If they want to preach about inclusion, then they should listen to everyone and not blast our President for leading our country in the manner he said he would.    I do not care what they think unless they are speaking me in private.  If they did that, I would be able to respond.  Being captive to these smug pronouncements without any chance for rebuttal is not something any one should want to be involved with.

Which leads me to my next area of politicians maliciously applying harmful labels and reckless name calling to others without any accountability.  The people who say these harmful things cannot say now they are inclusive, tolerant, or even people who tell the truth.  For example, it seems so many accept the lunacy of Nancy Pelosi – the “we have got to pass it before seeing what’s in it” fame for her defense of the Affordable Care Act.  Now she is parading around and libeling Steve Bannon as a white supremacist.  That is an outright lie and she knows it.  Whatever one thinks of Steve Bannon, even liberals like Bob Beckel of Fox’s “The Five” show states that is not true.  Yet, zero accountability is applied to her; the person who actively seeks to disrupt, and not dialogue, with President Trump.

Even former Vice President Biden in a veiled statement “we will continue our work to ensure that everyone in this country is treated with dignity” referring to himself and wife Jill.  His statement on the surface is fine but he is of course pushing back against what he feels, without evidence, as the President’s intention to eliminate equality.  Joe does have a way with gaffes without evidence in his history!  Senator Schumer’s tears promoting fear and hatred instead of working with the President to ensure our country’s safety.  President Obama who fully supports protests directed against the President.  It is time for him to retire from the presidency and allow himself some dignity while adhering to time honored policy of withholding your opposing comments as a former President against the current one.  Senate Democrats who do not even show up at committee meetings for cabinet nominations to vote or to have their voice heard and then complain about the outcome should be fired for not doing their jobs.  Even if they could not persuade their Republican colleagues, they lost all chance of credibility by removing themselves from the process.

Which leads me to my next challenge which is the recent article from the Washington Post “Federal employees plan ways to express their opposition such as slowing.  As a federal employee, there are too many things to go into here so I will expand upon that much more in my next blog entry.

Petula Dvorak’s Call For Annoying as Hell Protests Against President Trump


Petula Dvorak’s column this week  “Washington’s new normal: A Trump protest spectacle a day” is an example of how the media has created its own new normal.  In her column she gleefully supports the protesters she says since she covered many of the failed protest in her past and says: But this time feels different. Keep it up, protesters, because this time, it’s working. You’re getting to him.”  Instead of wanting to engage in dialogue, Ms. Dvorak fans the flames of perniciously irresponsible name calling by stating:  “Here’s my protest prescription: Anti-Trump activists need go to every single Trump hotel in this country and around the world and set up legal, peaceful, annoying-as-hell vigils. Occupy them day and night. Take shifts, don’t leave. Make it really uncomfortable to stay there.”  Annoying as hell vigils?!

She is so sanctimonious it is no wonder why the media has only a 32% trust factor with the American people.  Ms. Dvorak can write what she wants and if the Washington Post thinks that rankling, distracting and doing annoying as hell protests is a perfectly acceptable way to honor the office of the President.

We now have a President who in one week has put ISIS on their heels and on notice, collaborated with CEOs of corporations including American auto makers and the Unions to create thousands of jobs in this country, opened the oil pipelines further decreasing even the slight dependence on Middle East Oil,  reigned in immigration by finally enforcing our laws and mandating arrest and deportation of criminal illegal aliens immediately, extreme vetting of refugees and suspending entry into the United States by those from known terrorist sponsoring countries, and generating final plans for finishing our border walls.  Not bad for the first week wouldn’t you say Ms. Dvorak?  Or would you rather annoy, district, and wave scathing signs at our President.

You know you would be spinning on the keyboard if Republicans would have done the same to former, yes former President Obama.  Every criticism of him was deemed racist and he could do no wrong in your eyes.  Ms. Dvorak and others such as Dana Milbank, and Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post who write basically divisive columns are contributing to America’s Diversity Meltdown.

People who refuse to recognize the will of the people; 302 remember?  That is in our Constitution with electoral votes.  If you do not like the outcome, fine.  You can protest about anything, Yet you should as an American, support the President as much even with your opposing views, while holding him accountable as well when things are not working. Those who choose to disrupt versus having a meaningful dialogue will get the annoying as hell protests nowhere.  By the way, the Right for Life march was not annoying to President Trump – it was music to his ears.