Poor Little Snowflakes…

Poor little snowflakes. The election is over and Donald Trump, the underdog, beat the heavily favored Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for these little snowflakes, they can’t handle the outcome. They can’t get over themselves. All the tears and now the protests, many of which are violent and property damaging, are showing their true colors. The person they supported lost. This is the same person that represented the alleged party of tolerance and inclusion when in actuality; it is neither of these things. The snowflakes are resorting to name calling, screaming at the top of their lungs that Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynist and even a monster. It doesn’t matter that none of those things are true. The little snowflakes are simply regurgitating talking points by their defeated leader, their teachers and of course, the corrupt liberal media in the tank for their failed leader. If any of these snowflakes had an original thought of their own, I haven’t heard it yet. Oh, did I mention these poor little snowflakes are yelling “he is not our President”? Well my little snowflakes, that fact of the matter is, Trump IS your next President. Like it or not, he will be your President for the next 4 years. Now some of you have tweeted or posted Trump should be assassinated. I wish you were all as smart as you think you are. All you snowflakes that tweeted or posted that sentiment will be investigated by the U.S. Secret Service for threatening the President, which if you didn’t know, is a felony.
But, my little snowflakes, maybe you aren’t to blame. After all, you’ve been spoiled your whole lives most of you never having to earn anything in your life. You’ve never learned how to lose or win with class and dignity. You’ve been pampered with participation trophies and told your whole lives that you were special. Well maybe to Mommy and Daddy you’re special, but to the rest of the world, you aren’t. You’ve accomplished nothing. You don’t have a job, you don’t have a family you probably don’t even pay taxes but you sure now how to live in your parent’s basement. But you WANT free education or someone to pay for your student debt. You want FREE healthcare, you want a job that pays in 6 digits with 6 weeks paid vacation and full benefits, even though you’ve never accomplished anything in your life other than get a liberal arts degree from an overpriced college. Maybe you’ve developed the “me complex” because your parent or parents didn’t teach you anything about fighting for everything you have. Earning everything you want. Learning how to lose with class and learning to listen to other points of view other than your own narrow perspective. You see my little snowflakes, you don’t have any worldly experience to fall back on and then you have the audacity to declare that anyone that supported someone you didn’t agree with or a philosophy you can’t understand, you start calling them names. The problem with snowflakes is they melt under a little heat. And you little snowflakes, are melting, and you know what, there are about 60,000,000 Americans that couldn’t care less. They don’t care because you’ve not shown any respect. You are selfish, self-centered, inexperienced but think you have ALL the right answers and ideas. Well guess what? You don’t. And maybe someday, when you grow up and DO have some skin in the game, you’ll understand you’re not as smart and inclusive and tolerant as you think you are while you’re burning the flag and threatening the next President, who , by the way, won fair and square. If you want to live in a Socialist society, I suggest you get a full understanding about what that is before you try to take the rest of us down a path we know doesn’t work. Toughen up little snowflakes, you’re about to get an education about how Democracy really works.

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Nothing is FREE!

I am continually amazed to hear about people wanting free stuff.  Free education, free healthcare and free phones, just to name a few.  But that’s not all they want for free…. they want freedom of expression and oppression too.  The only problem with things that are free is someone else is paying for it.  Free education, healthcare and phones aren’t free at all.  Those things and services are being paid for by taxpayer dollars of hard working Americans that aren’t generally asking for free stuff.   Freedom of expression and oppression, or in the case of the United States, the First Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing free speech, isn’t free either.  Millions of men and women from our history have given the ultimate price to guarantee those particular freedoms.  So really, the free stuff isn’t free at all, is it?

I watch Water’s World on occasion.  He’s a reporter that walks around New York City and college campuses around the country asking people simple questions about our country and government.  It’s truly sad to listen to people that have no idea who fought in the Civil War or what the 3 branches of our government are.  They rarely can answer simple questions about who our first President was or who the current Vice President is.  But when asked about getting free stuff, oh yea baby, give us the free stuff, but don’t tell us that pornography isn’t art or if you don’t agree with us you’re a racist or bigot or a hater.  Most of the people interviewed on Water’s World don’t have a clue about much going on in our country now much less our history. The saddest fact of all, is they can all vote for our political leaders.  And their votes count as much as yours.  With no historical perspective or understanding of our country and the sacrifices that have been made to ensure their First Amendment rights, they continually want things for free.  Unfortunately, most of them aren’t willing to pay the price for anything they have already…but hey, give us more free stuff!

It’s real easy to be vindictive about what’s wrong in our country and demand free stuff when you don’t have any skin in the game.  It’s real easy to demand your opinion be heard but really hard to listen to a different point of view.  Many of these people don’t have jobs yet, are not married yet, don’t have families to support and don’t pay taxes. When and if they ever do have skin in the game, I’m certain most of their attitudes will change and begin resenting all the people demanding free stuff.  But until they understand our history and our current events, they will have no perspective and certainly no understanding that nothing in life is free. 

 

 

 

 

 

Political Leadership-It’s Time for a Change, But WHO?

Over the past few weeks and months as I watched our country’s politicians make excuses about why we can’t come to the aid of oppressed people in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and the Ukraine, just to name a few. And then those same politicians refuse to close our borders to an illegal alien invasion from the South and yet provide driver’s licenses, social security numbers and our social welfare net, designed to provide for our citizenry, to people that have no right to those benefits.  I don’t think this is or was quite the change America was expecting during the 2008 elections.

There is clearly a political leaderhip void in our country today.  Politicians will say anything to stay in power.  They will lie, cheat and steal the American public blind for their own personal benefit.  They will say anything on the campaign trail to attract votes, but when the rubber meets the road and tough decisions need to be made, they make excuses about why they can’t do what they promised.  Yes, we have a leadership void in our country.  There are no humble, compassionate and understanding politicians.  Only selfish, self serving, corrupt and morally bankrupt people that never inspire much less lead.

Our current President won his first election because he was inspiring.  He was going to change Washington and our country.  He spoke in front of thousands of frenzied believers hoping, dreaming, begging and wanting political change in our country.  He promised to be a great leader.  Unfortunately, the inspiration quickly turned into “we won, you lost” and all the inspiration was gone with lie after lie.  “You can keep your doctor”, “The war is over”, and last but not least,  “The world is a safer place now than when I took office.” just to name a few.  Unfortunately, the man many thought would lead our country out of the political corruption turned out to be no different than any other politician then and now in our government today.  He is the “leader” but he isn’t leading….and the leadership void in this country from BOTH major political parties is having a seriously negative affect in our country and globally.  The President spoke of being a great leader but it turns out he is exactly the opposite.  But he is no different than the Senate Majority Leader or Speaker of the House!  It’s politics over the welfare of our great country!  It’s being part of a party first and being an American second or maybe even third.

Just recently a senior U.S. Senator stated he was ashamed of his/our country.  Really Senator?  You guys are the ones running things.  What does that have to do with the hard working patriotic citizens that have to abide by regulations set forth by unelected bureuacrats and unconstituional and unlawful executive orders?  The real shame lies on your doorstep Senator and all the rest of your crony politicians back there in DC.

Our country deserves to have a good leaders again.  They can start by telling the truth.  Now that would be REAL CHANGE our country could embrace!  Any ideas?

 

A New Beginning in 2015-“WHY?”

As we wind down 2014 and look into the coming New Year, it’s time to reflect on what we did and/or didn’t do.  What did we accomplish?  Which of our 2014 New Year’s resolutions or goals did we achieve and where did we fail?  What could I have done better?  Did I take control of my actions and my life and did I seize every opportunity I encountered or did I make excuses about why I couldn’t achieve or do something I’d hoped to do?  Did I blame others or did I accept the resonsibility for my own failures?  Did I take the time to enjoy my successes?

All these questions are important as we map out our 2015.  Unfortunatelly, most people won’t assess what happened in 2014.  They will turn the page over in the calendar and move seemlessly into 2015 without any idea about what they want to do to improve themselves or their condition.  The unfortunate thing is you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.  Most won’t look back to move forward.

Some people thrive on negativity.  They view life from a victim perspective.  Everything bad always happens to me because of this or that.  Some people feel helpless to change their surroundings or circumstance.  It’s a rut for some, for others merely a bump in the road.  The good news is we each get to choose which approach we take.  Some choose rut instead of bump.  It’s all about how you look at things.

For example….let’s say you’re on your way to the store.  You have a dinner to prepare for and you need an ingredient but unfortunately you don’t have a lot of time.  You get into traffic only to find yourself following someone that is driving slowly and inhibiting you from getting to the store more quickly. This can be frustrating and its easy to blame someone else for your lack of time.  What if, on the way to the store, you’re about to travel through an intersection and you have to stop at the red light because of the slow car in front of you….but….you see someone run the light from the other direction.  Had you been in that intersection a second or two sooner, you’d have been in an accident that could have damaged your car and even injured you.  What you perceived as a bad thing happening to you was actually something good and lucky for you.

You see, it’s all about perspective.  We can choose to look at every obstacle, challenge or defeat as a rut or a bump in the road.  Most of these obstacles, challenges or defeats can provide an opportunity for us whether it be for our betterment or someone elses’.

When you think of 2015 and turn the page on 2014, how do you reflect on your opportunities and your reaction to them?  Are you honestly assessing what happened and how you reacted?  Are you taking control of your life or allowing yourself to be a victim?  If you find you took control and didn’t like the result, what are you going to do next time?  What actions or speech would you choose next time?  The problem lies in that most people won’t sincerely examine what worked, what didn’t and why.   The why is the most important piece because that is what needs to be repeated or fixed or thrown out.  Once you identify those 3 things, then you’re in a position to begin anew.

But just identifying those 3 things won’t do the trick.  The real rubber hitting the road is developing an action plan and then making the firm committment to make any changes or correctiongs you want.  That’s the hard part, isn’t it? Making the committment to action…that’s where we usually fall down.  So it really boils down to “why” doesn’t it?  Because if your “why” isn’t strong enough, you’ll never have the will to make the changes you’ve identified need to be made.

When you see people do good things, invariably someone asks them why they did it or were able to do it.  When people see, read or hear about bad things happening the question that soon follows is why did this happen or why did this person do this or that, right?  There is always a “why” involved.  But you can use your “why” for the proper motivation to change the course of your life.  When you connect your hopes, dreams and desires with your “why”, then your chances of achieving your goals, making you and/or your family’s lives better and not being sad about what could have been a reality.

Let’s try to take stock of our 2014 and make an honest effort to improve, achieve and live 2015 to the best of our ability to the betterment of everyone, knowing the whole while that your personal motivation and satisfaction was driven by your “why”!  Because it all starts there…

Happy New Year!

The Lost Generation

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I don’t like to watch Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel most of the time but he does have a segment titled “Waters World” where an interviewer named Waters goes into different venues of the general public and asks people questions about government officials and politics around the world as well as issues confronting Americans. It is interesting to hear some of the answers some of the younger men and women come up with in response to questions or pictures. For example, Waters held up a picture of Hillary Clinton and asked people to identify her. 7 of 8 people had no idea who she was. Several respondents didn’t even offer a guess. However, when Waters held up a picture of Beyoncé, all 8 were able to identify her picture. Waters held up a picture of Vladimir Putin and only 1 of 8 identified him correctly and several identified him as an American politician. But wait, there’s more….Waters asked people if they could name the 3 branches of government. Sadly, none of them knew. Zero for 8! As I sat and watched this segment, although I found it amusing at the sheer stupidity of these people, I was also very disturbed when it occurred to me that these must be the low information voters I’ve heard and read so much about. What was an even scarier thought is these people are old enough to vote. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I realized their vote counts as much as mine. How distressing is that?

Most of the people Waters interviewed, men and women, didn’t have a clue about issues or scandals facing our country. When quizzed about the scandals in the IRS, the VA or Benghazi or the situations in the Middle East, our Southern border or the turmoil in the Middle East and Ukraine, not a single person under the age of 30 had any idea what was happening in any of those situations. But when asked questions about pop culture, well, everyone knew what was going on there.

Isn’t it sad? What’s even worse is most of these people, when told the correct answers or were informed about tense world-wide situations, didn’t seem to care. To them it seemed to be business as usual. And in watching Waters interviewing people I was even more amazed that some of the people actually lied about what they said they saw or didn’t see or thought they knew. Their answers defied themselves. It reminded me of the old saying, “better to have everyone think you’re an idiot, than open your mouth and remove all doubt!” I thought maybe there were certain regions of the country where this younger generation of Millennials (those born after 1980) were under or misinformed but alas, it didn’t matter. From Manhattan to the beaches of California, those questioned of this generation were completely oblivious to important issues they will ultimately face when their generation is in charge of this country.

It occurred to me that one of two things will happen to these people. When their generation is in charge, they will either not be prepared to make competent decisions that will directly impact their lives and essentially be sheep or they will attempt to be relevant in a world that doesn’t consider our country as reliable or worthy of their trust because of decades of ignoring happenings around the world and in our own country. Since many of these Millennials don’t pay attention to important things happening within or outside our country, why would anyone pay attention to them when they’re in charge? Who will take THEM seriously when they’ve not taken anything seriously except who sings what song or what actor or actress is in some movie? It will be a lost generation. And unfortunately, unless these Millennials get their act together and do it fast, and start paying attention to important current events in and outside our country, not only will the generation will be lost but possibly our country as well. I only hope there are enough Millennials in the United States that actually have a grasp of the country and world they live in and understand the consequences for certain actions and inactions. I still think it’s part of the “selfie generation” where everyone is more interested in themselves and their own little universe than the one that will have the greatest impact on their futures….that is, if they have one!

Road Map to Greatness

Many young people hope to be great at something someday.  In this “selfie” and Facebook generation, people post photos of themselves and post every little detail of happening in their life.  It’s almost as if all these posters are looking for notoriety without accomplishing anything.  The idea of “look at me, look at what I’m doing” certainly doesn’t qualify as a hard-earned accomplishment.  Being present is not an accomplishment.  Greatness comes after a person or group of persons accomplish something particularly noteworthy.  It’s what comes when people differentiate themselves from the ordinary.

It’s a rare combination of being good at something and loving the thing you’re good at.  Lots of folks are really good at something but it’s not their first love.  There are countless stories of people who are incredibly talented in one area but their passion in life is something entirely different.  If you’re one of those people who are able to declare their life’s passions are in unison with their talent, you have a chance to achieve greatness.  But talent alone will not get you there.  Passion combined with talent won’t either….

Many people see talented people accomplish great or even spectacular things.  The athlete that makes a great play or the performer that plays a great role or singer that receives standing ovations.  The business man who turns around a failing company or better yet a person starting from nothing and building a successful company or organization.   People see the successful people and their accomplishments but rarely do they see the hard work that goes into being successful.  It reminds me of a time I saw Nomar Garciapara, a Major League Baseball All Star prior to a game in Arlington, TX one summer.  Nomar was taking about 100 ground balls to his left and his right in the 102 degree heat before the game.  During the game that night, someone hit a hard ground ball to Nomar’s right and he fielded it cleanly and threw the runner out at first.  He made it look SO easy!  It looked easy because every night before a game he was taking 100 extra ground balls in practice to make it LOOK easy.  Or how about the brain surgeon that saves a life?  Not many remember or even know the countless hours, days, weeks, months and years the surgeon worked in undergraduate and medical school not to mention residency and working on his fellowship…probably in the neighborhood of about 15 years of hard work to save a person’s way of life.  The list goes on and on about the amount of hard work it takes to be great.

Very few folks are willing to pay the price to be great and accomplish great things.  The committment to earning an opportunity to be great is tough.  But what’s tougher is the “no quit” attitude that goes with it.  Lot’s of people SAY they’re going to do something.  But how many do it?  How many are willing to work hard enough and not quit when things get really tough?  Quitting is easy.  Facing adversity and not quitting is a prerequisite of greatness.

Let’s not stop there….passion combined with talent and committment combined with NOT quitting is only part of the road map.  You see, people can be great and they can be jerks too!  Ty Cobb was probably one of the greatest baseball players of all time and yet people remember him as being one of the more unsavory people to be around his entire life.  Yes they will remember him as a great baseball player, but they will also remember him as a pretty unattractive person to be around.  No, to be truly great is to be remembered as a great human being that contributed to everyone they came into contact with.

To be truly great, a person must combine talent, passion, committment and never quit with graciousness and humility.  You see, the truly great people weren’t concerned about themselves, they were consumed with doing the right thing and what would help those around them.  Great people like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Greats like Walt Disney and Andrew Carnegie.

One of the greatest people I ever knew was my brother Mark.  He retired from the Metropolitan Opera Chorus last May.  He combined his passion for music with an incredibly talented baritone voice and with hard work, a committment to excellence and a never quit attitude, he achieved at the highest level of his profession for 23 years providing enjoyment for all who attended the opera.  But the best part of Mark was his gracious demeanor.  His passing just a few days after his retirement left all us that knew and loved him a deep sense of grief and loss, but we will all remember him for his humble greatness…

 

Losing a close friend….

In November 2013, I lost a dear friend.  Fr. Ralph Librea was in his 80’s when he passed.  I first met Fr. Ralph when he was an Associate Pastor at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Omaha.  Two of my sons served as altar boys while Father was there.  He was one of the kindest, most gentle and holy people I’ve every met and known.  As he watched my 3 sons grow up, Fr. Ralph was always very interested in their studies, their activities and their Catholic faith.  As parents, my wife Geri and I were happy to have Fr. Ralph influence our boys in their formative years.  Getting to know Fr. Ralph better we discovered he had no family in Omaha but did visit his sister, Mercedes, in San Diego once or twice a year usually during the summer.  However, we learned Fr. Ralph had been spending Christmas and Easter by himself in the rectory.  We began inviting him to spend the holidays with us and eventually that turned into having dinner with us on a fairly regular basis.  We learned Fr. Ralph enjoyed being with us so much that he turned down many other invitations he’d received to join others during the different holidays.  I think he enjoyed being with us because he was just one of the family.  We told him how much we loved him and how he always had a place to stay with us whenever he needed or wanted to.  He never took us up on that offer though because there was always a Parish in Omaha where he was offered to live in the Rectory.  When we would get together, Father would just enjoy the conversation.  No one would made a big deal about him being there, he was just one of the family and he participated in the conversations that ranged from not just religion but also politics, television shows, sports and movies.  Oh my goodness did Father Ralph like the movies.  Imagine George Burns in “Oh God”…that’s how I would describe Fr. Ralph.  He would go to matinees on his day off and the more action in the film the better.  We would ask him about the latest movies and he’d seen all the latest action films.  He always liked the good guys winning.  Never a romantic comedy though, always the heavy action stuff.  We always laughed about that with him…this little Philippino Priest in his 70’s and 80’s strolling into an afternoon theatre to watch a movie.  When you consider Fr. Ralph being this gentle soul going to these movies, well it’s just funny.  I think some of the best conversations we had was when Father would talk about growing up in the Philippines and running away from the Japanese prior to WWII.  He would share stories about his family and how he came to the U.S. and became a Priest.  It was fascinating.  He knew all about us and where we came from and of course, had watched the boys grow up and become the professional Catholic men they are and so it was only appropriate for him to share his life with us.  And that’s what we did.  We adopted Father Ralph into our family and he often times told me how he felt a part of our family.  I know he was sincere, but in his final weeks, his sister and niece came to help take care of him.  Those were some hard days.  Geri and I would go to the rectory to help take care of him.  He loved hamburgers and french fries so we would take food to him but unfortunately he could only eat a little because he’d completely lost his appetite.  We would watch the NBA with him in the rectory and we would pray with him and would just try to be there for him and with him.  His passing was a blessing but was still very hard.  I wept when he died….we all did.  A family member had passed away and we are all sure he was going straight to heaven because he was a devoted Priest that was warm, personable, selfless, caring, charitable, loving and respectful.  I can still remember him always greeting me as Mr. Dawson.  No matter how many times I asked him to call me Todd even after over 20 years, he still called Geri Mrs. Dawson and me Mr. Dawson.  Isn’t that amazing?  A few days after Father passed, Geri and I met with his sister, niece and her husband and they wanted to hear all about Father’s life in Omaha and all about us.  Apparently, Father Ralph had told them about us being his family in Omaha and they wanted to know all about us and our interaction with him here.  We spent 2 hours with them as they were returning home the next day.  It was good for them and us as we laughed and told our stories about Father….very therapuetic.

We all miss our friend very much.  All of us.  But we learned lessons from Father about being kind and compassionate.  I will never forget him.  None of us will.  We stay in close contact with his sister and niece as we don’t want to lose the friendship we’ve now developed while honoring Fr. Ralph’s life of humble service.