Posted in Inspirational

Memorial Day

For the second year in a row I have the honor of spending Memorial Day weekend on a military base. Last year my oldest son, Nathaniel Charles Buedefeldt joined the Army and finished basic training at Fort Jackson in North Carolina the week before Memorial day. My wife, Rhonda, son, Gabriel, and I flew in to attend his graduation. While there, we found that we were able to drive him to Fort Belvoir in Virginia for his advanced training and we arrived on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Due to a mix-up in his orders, he was unable to report until after the holiday weekend and rather than leave him to sit alone in the base hotel, we delayed our flight and spent the weekend with him on base. Being there among the soldiers and with our son now a soldier in his own right brought the meaning of the holiday into much sharper focus.

Nathan has wanted to be in the military, since he was old enough to play soldier. He always was the leader in the kids war games. Strategy and planning were like second nature to him. He always knew that he would be a soldier, like his grandfather and my grandfather before him.

Due to an undetected kidney infection at some point early in life, Nathan had a defective kidney removed when he was nine. Many people live with one kidney with no adverse effects and we thought nothing of it beyond the courage and determination that he showed during the preparation, surgery, and recovery. He endured it all with a stoic determination which gave a preview of the determination that he has shown in pursuing his goal of military service. Initially told that his missing kidney precluded his serving in the military, he refused to give up and instead wrote letters, made many trips to the recruiting office, and appealed to his congressman and anyone else who would listen and finally found that, with a doctors okay and the begrudging help of David Wu, who seems only readily available when seeking re-election, he was able to enlist. The joy in his eyes on that day defeated any trepidation that I felt in having him join in such perilous times. He was finally able to live his dream.

There I was, proud as heck and immersed in the mix of pride and patriotism that exuded from the fine young men and women who have chosen to allow themselves to be put in deadly situations that to preserve the freedom that so many of their brothers and sisters throughout the years have given their lives or their health to maintain. They put themselves in harm’s way to keep that harm from our shores. It is a truly humbling feeling to stand with these heroes and honor their fallen comrades.

This year I find myself visiting Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on this important holiday, once again among those who volunteer to make me safe. I sadly do not have the opportunity to be with Nathaniel as he is in Atlanta until the middle of June, but I am here in support of his wife and children as they carry on while he is away. Being on base and seeing the many families that are also sacrificing and living the commitment of their military Spouses, mothers, and fathers reminds me of the need for our country to commit to supporting these wonderful people in every way that we can and in every way that they need. Too often our veterans and their families are discarded and forgotten once their tour of duty ends; left on to battle the effects of the war on their own, isolated and disconnected from the society to which they’ve given so freely of themselves. There was a time when soldiers were honored and respected for what they do. In earlier years, the whole country was willing to share in the hardship and sacrifice, but now we are more interested in assuring that we are not inconvenienced by a war effort that has been demonized by the press and the anti-war crowd until our soldiers become an afterthought at best and subjects of derision and scorn far too often. Everyone is anti-war. That doesn’t say that you shouldn’t support those who answer the call when someone crosses the line and commits an act of war against us. Our military is just doing their job and their duty. It is the politicians and, by extension, us, who are calling the shots.

Today is a day designated to honor those that have died in service to their country; in service to each and every one of us. We should all honor the brave people who choose to protect us even to the ultimate cost. Those who serve deserve our prayers, our respect, and our support every day of the year.

My Grandfather, David Charles Buedefeldt served with the Army during the final days of WW I and my father was a Marine during the Korean War.  Two of the most honorable and courageous men that I have known in my life and the two greatest influences of the man that I am today.  I miss them both very much and though each of them returned to civilian life after their time in the armed forces, the lessons learned and the bonds that were formed served them their entire lives.  I honor them today and every day.

Though I did not serve in the military, in hindsight I believe that I missed a great opportunity to get a head start on the growth and maturity that has taken me a lifetime to achieve.  I see in my son’s eyes the man that I might have been with the kind of push to achieve that the military can provide to someone who is drifting without a sense of purpose.  It might have served me well, although I now would change nothing, as my life experiences have given me a wonderful wife and three of the finest sons that a man could have.  Add to that a daughter-in-law that is like my own daughter and two (soon to be three) beautiful grandchildren.  Our men and women in uniform have protected my ability to enjoy these blessings.

God bless the soldier, and God bless his family.

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Posted in Political

Scary Place

Am I the only one getting tired of a president who reacts to longstanding and complicated issues with a “no compromise, my way or the highway” attitude as with health care and rich corporation bailouts (as long as they gave to the Obama democrats during the elections), and then sits on his hands as Arizona is overrun with drug dealers and ILLEGAL immigrants, and Louisiana is being covered with oil by his buddies at BP? It is becoming almost pathetic the way that Obama holds in contempt those who disagree with his extreme partisan positions. More than half the country disagrees with the way that he is governing, including necessarily many who fell for his charming but vacuous campaign rhetoric. At some point you would think that he would have to get back to representing the people and not just the people who he agrees with.

He has been telling anyone who will listen how he has been there from day one, but he actually sat on his hands and allowed the foxes to guard the hen-house until the situation got so bad that he had to swoop in with the “I’m angry” look (he would do well to work with “The Rock” to get that eyebrow thing perfected). With all his talk, the oil has continued to pour into our oceans. Could he be waiting until everyone agrees that oil wells should not be drilled in U.S. Territory? Kind of suspicious.

If we are going to let foreign oil companies come in and drill and in sensitive ecological areas in our territory , we should not rely on them to police themselves and should not expect that they will be spending their money to ensure our safety and the safety of our land. The technology is already there to clean up this mess before it went this far, but our government, instead of having a contingency plan to enact immediately, our government prefers to sit in Washington and tell us how angry they are and how they will make BP pay. Why don’t we have the ability to handle this ourselves and then charge BP or whoever makes the mess? Maybe if we were not so busy changing our entire societal structure and throwing our money at companies who should be suffering the consequences of their own foolish actions we would be able prepare for the kind of man-made disasters that assail us now.

How can we not be appalled when our president stands with Mexican president Felipe Calderon and derides Arizona for a law that is in complete accordance with the federal law.  Obama keeps talking about the federal government’s authority, but he wants that authority without the responsibility or compunction to use that authority for the observance of laws that have been put in place to protect the people who elected our president.  Instead, he seems to see the illegals that are here and those yet to come as future democrat voters.  Do you know what they do with illegal immigrants in Mexico.  certainly not amnesty and free benefits.  Try wandering into Russia without a visa.  We don’t even need to mention what will happen to someone who accidentally wanders into Iran.

If everyone is coming to the U.S. simply looking for a better life here, why are we so intent on changing to accommodate them?  They are coming here because of what we are now, not what we’ll be when we have adopted all their customs, languages, and social structures.  If those things were so wonderful there, they would not be coming here.  We need to be that shining example to the world, not just a smorgasboard of third world ideals.

My view is that the federal government should stop worrying about maximizing executive power and focus on their constitutional responsibilities of protecting our borders, overseeing interstate commerce, and preparing our military to defend our interests against those foreign powers that seek to eradicate our system of individual freedom and ability to improve our way of life and the situations of those around the world who are in need. Instead they are removing any semblance of strength or character in an attempt to bring us down to a baseline where we are struggling to care for ourselves, let alone those in need around the world. Our strength was largely due to our generosity and example. What kind of example are we now to the world? How can we be generous when our own prosperity is being harangued and dismantled in a headlong rush to mediocrity, or worse, subjection. The world is passing us by as we wallow in our own government’s self-loathing. I would like a president who is proud of our country, not one who constantly derides and attacks it.

Rather than doing his contitutionally mandated duty with regard to securing our borders and applying the law that already exists, Obama instead criticizes a law that exactly reflects the law that he should be enforcing.  He didn’t bother to read the law, but ignorance has never stopped him from expressing an opinion.  His buddy, Calderone, needs the illegals to continue to cross the border because they depend on a flow of tax-free U.S. dollars to continue to prop up their own failing economy.  We have to print meaningless money in order to pay our own way.  How can U.S. citizens be expected to pay for our own bloated government and still prop up the economy of a dysfunctional country while also paying to change our culture to be more welcoming for those who would come here only to take.  True immigrants come here to add to our society, not to transform it.  Arizona has been crying for help for years and with the recent spike in violence and drugs, have asked for National Guard troops to help seal their border.  So Obama sends 1200 unarmed troops to do paperwork and observe.  What a great way to send a message to the drug cartels.  They must be shaking in their boots.  He is looking at bringing action against Arizona while refusing to do his constitutional duty. Once again, if you don’t agree with Obama, you have lost your status as a citizen. Does he feel a greater affinity with people who were not born in our country? I’m not a birther, but when someone challenges me on something that I can easily prove, then I have no problem producing said proof. I usually find that people who choose to hide things and act offended usually have something to hide. Just thinking.

I’m sorry to sound so negative.  Like I’ve said, I viewed Obama’s election with some trepidation but with a lot of hope and optimism. I didn’t like his views on a lot of things, but I liked what I thought was the man himself. I am seeing now that the man that he posed as during the election is a far cry from the man who is now leading our country. The direction in which he tries now to lead us is a scary place, where all the glory and strength is being brushed away in favor of grasping onto the mistakes of the past and calling for some kind of retroactive national shame and subservience to the very countries that we were able, through our strength and our freedom, to hold accountable. Now we are reduced to being chastised by China, Russia, Iran, and their ilk. What an out of whack world.

Posted in Political, Uncategorized

Hope Has Changed

I did not vote for President Obama but did not have a lot of faith that McCain would have been a good choice either. I didn’t vote for Obama because I did not think that his political and life experience was sufficient preparation for the highest office in the nation. I was also concerned about some of his associations and the basis for his ideology. I didn’t want to vote for McCain because I thought that he had been rather inconsistent on some key issues in the past and was aligning himself with some views that I thought were simply ideologically driven. If he had not chosen someone to run with him with integrity and the ability to go against the party grain in Sarah Palin, I would have left that section blank.

Thus, when Obama won the election, rather than be dispirited, I was hopeful and optimistic that this choice of president, with the historical and potentially socially healing aspects of the election, would be the boost that our country needed to become more united and accepting and to move forward with regard to everyone’s dreams and ideas and views. I, with the whole world, held the election of the first president of color as a leap toward the eradication of race as a dividing issue in our country. As the most influential nation in the world, that effect could have carried outward, effecting the whole world in a positive way.

A year and a half later, I have to say that my fears have been fanned and my hopes have not been fueled by the heavy-handed and secretive way in which Obama does his business. While declaring that the age of racism and intolerance had ended, he has used a racial shield to deflect any criticism, whether or not legitimate and then to demonize the critic. Republicans, and shockingly after this long in office, George W. Bush, are brushed aside like so many spent peanut shells and blamed for any and all of the delays quite often caused by infighting by the democrats. They call secret meetings to offer bribes and threats and push through anything that they want, ignoring even the voice of many who elected him. They hold staged press conferences with predetermined questions and select questioners.  Our debt is skyrocketing, (Bush’s fault) people are angry, (Rush’s fault), and President Obama, who apparently cannot read a new law, is bringing in foreign dignitaries from dysfunctional nations (Mexico) to gang up on our own citizens for trying to get the federal government to pause in their rush for radical social change long enough to enforce the laws already on the books and protect our borders and our citizens from the onslaught of new welfare recipients along with the drug dealers and their thugs.

What a country. Our once proud nation is reduced to being scolded by communist dictators and extremist theocracies for our human rights violations. Greece wants to sue us for our inept financial acumen, and Obama just agrees with them and apologizes and asks for their help in turning our dysfunctional society into something more resembling of the euro-Asian model of social engineering. And all the while we wag our tails and sing WE ARE THE WORLD while the world treats us with scorn. We were once the most respected and attractive nation in the world. “The shining light on the hill” that was a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. The decline has been long and has encompassed many leaders of both parties, but this administration seems hell-bent on dousing the light and moving us down off that hill as fast as they can. The scary thing is that they would seem to be succeeding. Chicago style politics has become the rule of the land, and the chickens seem to have indeed come home to roost.

I had high hopes that this administration could do some real good, regardless of whether or not we agreed on everything. Now all I have left is prayer.

Posted in Political

Adrift

 

I want to apologize to those of you who have been checking in and finding nothing new for several weeks and to assure you that I intend to devote more attention to the blog in the future. I have been wrestling with the direction to go with it. I have lost my passion to comment on the politics of the day. It just seems that our political discourse has become so nasty and convoluted that it is hard to make head or tails of any of it. No matter what the issue or who the politician it seems that if you take a stand on anything half the country hates you and the other half thinks that you are too weak. Is there any place in our country anymore for someone who is against abortion as birth control but has a deep interest in protecting the environment? Or for someone who thinks that guns DO kill people when they are to easy to get and can be fired more rapidly than a man can pull the trigger but also believes in secure borders and illegal being illegal? How about someone who would gladly pay more taxes to help our schools and our elderly and our handicapped citizens, but only if I can do that without paying more taxes to subsidize those who can earn for themselves, or businesses that have a connection to a senator or a representative or the president? Where is the part of the government that represents me? And aren’t there some others out there who could join in to work on the things that we agree on without rejecting each other because we don’t agree on everything?

As you can see, I am feeling a little adrift, politically, and with the Blazer season over and football still a distant glimmer in the fall, I need to refocus and come up with something that will keep you reading. Should I focus the blog more narrowly, and what should that focus be? What would keep you coming back? I’d love to hear from you.