Two New eBooks at Amazon Kindle!

FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponRSS Feed

It’s become commonplace for people who don't like a speaker or a public discussion in some other public forum to demonstrate their displeasure by disrupting the meeting or hearings or proceedings or event with the apparent goal of preventing, silencing, i.e., not allowing the other side to be heard.  

Some are now arguing this is their “right,” and that it is good and proper to silence opposing points of view.  We hear this argument on both the Left and the Right.

This is a dangerous trend.  It suppresses the First Amendment, and it is not what a free country is about - again, whether one likes or supports the speaker, or the points being shared.

Let’s take a moment for a much-needed Civics 101 lesson.

1—Is protest legal in the US? Yes, in this free country it is, as long as the protest is peaceful and nonviolent, i.e. not harming people, others’ property, impeding people’s progress on public thoroughfares, or otherwise creating a threat to public safety.

2—Do I have to agree with protesters to agree with their freedom to protest? No.

3—Should protestors (or speakers) with whom I disagree be silenced? No, this idea and now increasingly common tactic is at fundamental odds with the constitutional principle of freedom of speech or expression.

4—If the point of protest is to draw attention to something considered troublesome, isn’t it logical that the more outrageous the protest the more likely it will elicit response? Yes and No. Yes, outrageous is OK, as long as it fits within #1. No, outrageous may backfire on protesters, eliciting not a response to their views but to their methods.

5—Is protest “bad”? No, not really. It is part of what it means to live in a free, open, pluralistic, and democratic society.

6—Do American citizens have the “right” to protest anywhere, anytime, for any reason? Yes and No. Yes, as long as it fits in #1. No, if it violates #1, and No, in that protest is not ipso facto a right in private or even public places because along with a "right" comes "responsibility."

There seems to be an entire generation or more of the American public who evidence little knowledge of the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or case law about fundamentals of a free society.  They’ve grown up or are growing up with no instruction, or if they were taught about civics they were taught with a bias.  What’s scary about this is that older political leaders, many of whom know better and who do understand the fundamentals of our free society, are going along with or encouraging this new view because they think it translates to political power for their Party or viewpoints.  Some of them, particularly on the Left, are arguing the US Constitution and/or the Bill of Rights be revised or even thrown out and rewritten.

This is also threatening, trading principle and proven, reasoned and reasonable process for power.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019   

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Let’s talk 2020 presidential election realpolitik in a nonpartisan, non-ideological way, meaning no endorsements stated or implied. 

1—President Trump is very good at being who he is, whether you or I like that fact, like him, or not. 

2—If President Trump is breathing, he’s going to run again in 2020.

3—If Democrats want to win the White House, they must choose wisely, meaning Democrat candidates, or most certainly the Democrat nominee, 

     --Must be as good at being who he/she is as President Trump, 

     --Must have uber-thick skin, 

     --Must have off-the-charts communication skills, and 

     --Must have an actual set of new, worthy, better-future ideas that can be shared in 3-4 sound bites. 

4—Candidates Must not try to out-Trump Trump, emulating his style, nor should they simply run as the Anti-Trump.

5—Same goes for any Republican considering challenging President Trump for the Republican nomination.

If you doubt this, ask what happened to the other 16 good, decent, prepared Republican candidates who ran in 2016. 

Again, this is not an homage to President Trump. It’s realpolitik. Sentimentality, hubris, unwarranted optimism, “experience” no matter how impressive, are not enough.

If another Republican or Democrat is going to win election in 2020 he/she Must be someone authentically different from and more compelling than President Trump.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019   

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attributionstatement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events atwww.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

Every four years—or what increasingly is every two years, fast moving toward every year—candidates vying for the office of President of the United States proclaim their religious affiliations and affirmations to the voting public. It’s a US phenomenon and not a bad one, really.

A would-be-President’s religious convictions are interesting to know. As free-society voters we probably ought to know what a candidate believes about religious matters because in some way, small or large, these beliefs help define his or her character, personality, and possibly approach to leadership.

Then again, if history is any guide, we might be forgiven for asking whether a duly elected President’s religious views mean much to everyday governance.

Let’s take a look:

 

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2014

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com.

 

During the 2008 presidential campaign then Senator Barack Obama’s website “won” the beauty pageant with other candidate’s websites hands-down.

And it wasn’t just “beauty” in the sense of a good style and look. It was a fantastic landing page that brought you immediately into a backstage video one on one with the candidate. Then you heard him announced, got a glimpse of the raving crowd, and “followed” him up the stairs to the podium. You were there. You experienced the excitement. How could you not get enthused and vote for this candidate?

President Obama’s 2008 campaign also set new standards in using the Internet to raise funds and get out the word. In 2012, the current crop of Republican Party presidential candidates is pushing the Internet’s political envelope again.

Clearly, one way to get to know presidential candidates is to visit their websites. Obvious enough.

But you learn more than what the candidate thinks about given issues. You learn something about either their creativity/vision or perhaps the creativity/vision of their webmasters. Of course some of this is a function of available resources. But whatever the source, presidential candidate websites are a lot alike yet can vary dramatically.

Of 7 Republican candidates (counting Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman who’ve now dropped from the race) and President Obama, 5 websites used Landing Pages, 6 offered a Store where campaign items can be purchased, and 3 presented some kind of blog.

Most Interesting:

--Ron Paul’s site features a large inset box in which a counter works continuously before your eyes tallying gifts to his campaign. In addition, donors’ names and residences are listed as in Rex Rogers, Grand Rapids, MI. Both the dollar total and the names change rapidly. Eye-catching.

--Another Ron Paul distinction: his site includes a fairly lengthy Statement of Faith, like one might find on a preacher’s, author’s, or Christian college president’s website.

--President Obama’s site not only asks for volunteers to host events, the site lists numerous examples of the kinds of events a Vol can sponsor. Good seed-sowing. And, like 2008, the site is classy and well organized.

--Mitt Romney’s site uses a landing page, features more space as opposed to overwhelming text which makes the site more visually appealing, and creatively uses icons.

Most Uninteresting:

--Rick Perry’s site, Rick Santorum's website, and Jon Huntsman's site are for me least attractive. Rather basic and not visually exciting.

--Newt Gingrich’s website is text-heavy…which is to say, wordy. Surprised? So is the candidate.

Most Self-Promotion:

All candidates promote themselves, of course, but some candidates promote more than their political experience. Some promote their books.

--Michele Bachmann’s now suspended campaign website is basically selling her book.

--Newt Gingrich’s site features his wife in a section called “Callista’s Canvas.” Actually, Newt has a couple of sites marketing both his campaign and also his books and their company called Gingrich Productions. 

Most Kids:

--One interesting thing about this bunch of Republican presidential wannabes is the number of children the candidates have:

Michele Bachmann, 5 along with 23 foster kids;

Rick Santorum, 7;

Jon Huntsman, 7 including 2 adopted;

Mitt Romney, 5;

Ron Paul, 5;

Newt Gingrich 2;

Rick Perry, 2.

That’s a lot of kids. The Obamas have 2 girls.

Candidate videos telling their personal stories range, at least the ones I identified, from about 1:00 minute to well over 5:00 minutes.

So, when it’s said and done I give the website creativity prize to Ron Paul. Stands to reason, I guess. He is the maverick in this campaign.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

If you listen to most conservatives you’d come to the conclusion that government can do no right, and that it’s a generally bad thing or at best a necessary evil in life. I’ve probably sounded a similar note at times. But when we do we betray an unrealistic if idealistic view.

Conservatives would do well to remember that government was ordained of God in the first place. If it’s a “necessary evil,” than it is so because real evil exists in the world and government is there, or is supposed to be, as a means for limiting the extent or impact of evil, thus protecting the collective good. And government defends and when required exercises coercive force in criminal justice (law and order) or international relations, including war. This is government’s negative function—drawing lines when it must to assure certain things don’t happen.

Government is also a positive invention. It’s not just a divinely ordained institution to stand in the gap between good and evil but is also a means of promoting the general wellbeing. At its best, government maintains an environment where all may experience liberty and justice, and government is a means by which people may work together for the common weal.

The Founders recognized government’s potential for limiting wrongdoing and providing an environment in which freedom may be freely exercised. They also recognized government’s potential for advancing the good, what later was called positive or progressive government.

In the Preamble of the US Constitution it says: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

 The debate today turns on how government should “insure domestic tranquility” or “promote the general welfare.” Conservatives argue government should establish law and order internally, protect borders externally, and pretty much let it go at that. Liberals tend to argue in favor of activist government—a “do something” government to “make things happen.” I’m somewhere in between.

Last December the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, sponsored by Representative Anna Eshoo (D, CA), was signed into law. The law goes into effect a year from now, but in the meantime it’s already making a positive impact. It sets limits on how loud (decibels) television commercials can be relative to the programs underwritten. In a quite useful way the law deals with a problem that affects the general public—ridiculously ever-louder advertisements. It’s a problem businesses would not likely have resolved on their own. Actually, businesses created the noise “arms race.” The law empowers the Federal Communications Commission to assure a reasonable auditory standard is maintained.

In my estimation this is government getting it right. Sure, businesses could have eventually toned down their advertising decibels. Maybe consumers would have reacted away from loudly advertised products. Maybe, given enough time, laissez faire would have worked its magic without government engagement. But somehow I don’t think so. In this instance, at least, government’s positive action created a common good.

The trick in government getting it right is not No Government versus Total Government. It’s maintaining limited government of, by, and for the people. In the end, it’s not about government for government’s sake. It’s always about the people and how government can best contribute. Government is servant, not the master.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

People get tired of the presidential primary election season. They get tired of pols (politicians) and polls, innumerable debates, campaigning, and the actual primaries, the political equivalent of “running for the Roses” (Garden).

I’ve read a number of articles proposing a reduction in the current number of primaries and caucuses. Some call for a limit on the time candidates can campaign. Others want to put all the primaries on one day. Still others yearn for a national primary, get it over in “one swell foop.”

But there’s value in multiple primaries over several months leading to national nominating political party conventions and ultimately the general election.

A long primary season wears us out, but more importantly it wears candidates out. We, therefore, get to see candidates under physical and emotional duress. How do they handle the stress? Are they healthy? Do they lie? What really is their character like? Do they have the stamina, the intellect, the experience to lead? Can they raise sufficient support? Are they likeable, trustworthy? Do they have a vision for the country?

In 1972, Sen. Edmund Muskie gave a speech during the presidential campaign defending his wife and demonstrating a high degree of emotion and even tears. The latter, though possibly understandable, nevertheless effectively ended his campaign. In 1992, Sen. Paul Tsongas dropped out of the Democratic primary race due to ill health. He died in 1997 at age 55, days before his first term as President would have ended had he been elected in 1992. Sen Bob Dole ran for President in 1996 as the Republican nominee. During the campaign the American public discovered the war hero and effective senator with an acerbic wit did not possess a temperament especially suited to the presidency.

In 2004, Gov. Howard Dean celebrated his good showing in the Iowa Democratic caucuses by issuing what became known as the “Dean Scream.” This bit of emotion made Dean look like a wild man and quickly eroded his support. Prior to his run for the presidency in 2008, Sen John Edwards conducted an affair, denied it when it became public, had a baby with the other woman, denied this too, and eventually admitted everything. His political future hit a dead-end. He’s still under indictment for allegedly misappropriating campaign funds to pay for the woman’s expenses. In 2011, Herman Cain suspended his campaign due to a growing list of women alleging sexual harassment and affairs.

These negative samples represent only a few examples of things we learn about candidates during presidential election primary campaigns. We also learn positive things. In 1980 and 1984 we learned even more about Ronald Reagan: that he was a leader, that he had moral courage, and that he held a well developed vision for the country.

Presidential primaries may be many and at times mundane. But they serve a purpose to democracy. They help us figure out who is who, what we want or are willing to put up with, and who might—hopefully—be a good person to whom we can entrust the future of the body politic.

Presidential election primaries are messy, but other non-democratic countries should be so blessed.

I like the primary season. It’s political theater and political sport. It’s like a long political playoff leading to the political Super Bowl every four years on Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.