Category Archives: Personal Viewpoint

On Eloquent Liberalism and the Failure of Portland

On a recent trip to visit family in Burlington, Vermont something struck me.  There are a lot of refugees (my mom is active in supporting the refugee population).  According to conservative logic, that would equate to a lot of people living “off the system” and getting government checks for nothing. And a general downfall of ‘murica.

Fast forward a day or two and after a walk down Church Street I was amazed at the number of retail stores designed to sell the stuff the refugee population made.  Amazing textiles, baskets, artwork, and clothing.  It was refreshing to see an outlet for the cultural value this population brings to Vermont.

Another thing I noticed?  The abundance of community gardens.  These areas of open space are given by the city to people that want to raise their own produce.  The number of folks I saw walking these rows with baskets on their heads and vibrant clothing was a stark contrast to the old brick walls and green mountains in the distance.

It is no surprise that Burlington is a liberal anchor in a sea of liberal cities.  It has born the likes of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben and Jerry’s co-founders) and other liberal monoliths. But what was a surprise is how Burlington has pulled off something amazing – an eloquent version of liberalism.

Not once was I asked for money from a junkie.  Not once was there an ANTIFA protest blocking the streets.  Not once did a Prius sit in the left lane on highway 89.  Not once was a tent city of homeless even seen. And, more importantly, the refugee population seemed happy and engaged.  Almost as if the entire system was done the right way.

In contrast, I look at Portland, my local city.  The city that made me disavow my liberal identity.  It is a city where anger is the new cool.  If you are white and not angry about how “underserved” or “underprivileged” other people are, well, you just don’t belong here.

It’s a city where every morning, I walk past tent cities full of homeless people that shoot up heroin in safe centers. I step over sidewalk chalk with angry scribblings of last nights protest-du-jour, the pending rain our only hopes to remove it from our collective memory.

It’s a city where ANTIFA literally calls the shots while the police sit idly by, their hands tied by an insane mayor. Oh, and the same police refused to assist federal agents during a protest at their local facility, too.

The contrast of these two cities could not be any sharper.  And, while they share similar DNA (I have often called Portland “Burlington on steroids.”), Burlington has proven that liberalism can be done well, and done right.  And I am proud to say the liberal side of my political foundation was built there. Back when Vermont passed one of – if not the – first civil union bills in the nation.  A political anger that is kept in check and leveraged only when truly needed, which avoids Portland’s issue of crying angry wolf.

Maybe the conservative base should examine the areas where liberalism actually does win, as an example of what is possible.  And how it can be so eloquent.

 

What Happened in Vegas Does Not Stay in Vegas

Well, here we are yet again.   Staring down the harsh reality of yet another madman killing many people for no reason.  The videos I have seen, show it was in fact a massacre.

And, yet again, the media and the majority have shifted focus away from the madman himself, and put the responsibility of the event on the weapon – and the millions of Americans that own the same exact rifle.  Myself included.

Even on NPR this morning, people were barking the familiar rhetoric of gun control, and passing “tougher” laws to prevent these shootings from happening.

Want the reality?  You will never be able to pass ANY law that will prohibit these events.  They will continue to happen.  There are two primary reasons for this.

Continue reading What Happened in Vegas Does Not Stay in Vegas

My Take on the Impossible Foods Burgergate

Just a week ago, I was in new York City, staring across the table at 3 beautiful, vegan, Impossible Burgers.  I had waited years to try this meal, and it was finally in front of me. For me, a milestone, but for the two carnivores, I feel it was just something new to try.

However we all left stunned.  I, with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of veganism, and my friends with an interest in vegan products they never thought they would have.

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So I was a bit disheartened this week to see some media outlets raising ethical concerns with the Impossible Burger.

Continue reading My Take on the Impossible Foods Burgergate

Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

As many of my readers know, I am a strange blend of liberalist, centrist, and conservative.  While I voraciously support equality – marriage equality for one, I also advocate strongly for second amendment rights and smaller government.

I also believe unequivocally – that without our second amendment, we cannot protect the others.  That single right – to keep and bear arms – allows us, the citizenry, a poker chip against a future government that steps too far.  It was baked into our rights from a group of founders, that had just recently witnessed an armed citizenry resist an oppressive government – and succeed. It is core to our nation.

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That all boils down to the fact I am a staunch believer in concealed (and even open) carry.

Continue reading Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

Should Vegans Have Kids?

This question, oddly, seems to have been bubbling among vegan Facebook discussion groups and pages lately.  And I am not sure why.

From what I have seen, most people surprisingly say “no,” with their primary argument being that more people = more consumption and more pollution.  There is more to it, but that is the basic gist.

A few years ago, I too would have probably answered with something similar.  I was pretty anti-child, and vegan (not anti-child, really, just not into it for me).

But a few years ago I was blessed with a little boy and he has changed my life and my view on things.

Continue reading Should Vegans Have Kids?

A True Friend, Indeed

About fourteen and a half years ago (almost to the date) I turned my Jeep around in the middle of a busy Boulder, Colorado intersection.  It was a literal U-Turn in the purest sense of the word.  As I floored my Jeep, I raced back hoping he was still there.  This little brown chocolate lab mix, at the time, named MacGuyver.  He was at the Boulder Humane Society and we thought it was best to “wait” after meeting this sweet little pup.  Five minutes after leaving the lot and we were headed back to pick him up.  So fast, and deep was the connection with this truly beautiful spirit.

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Cooper at my very first Jeep offroad trip in Nederland, Colorado

After a quick rename to Cooper (aptly after a Cooper Tires sign after leaving the humane society the second time, with the dog in the Jeep) he was home and making himself a permanent part of my life.

Continue reading A True Friend, Indeed

My Manifesto on Gun Control

Like a broken record, it has happened again.  And, like a broken record, legal gun owners must mix defensiveness with their mourning for the victims.  And, I am pretty sure it will happen again.

Perhaps the one potentially positive outcome from these shootings, is that the national consciousness comes together for a discussion about guns and gun ownership.  That debate is often heated, and polarized with little needle movement from either camp.

In my opinion however, we do need to look at current and future gun policy with an eye to both rights preservation and compromise.

I submitted my thoughts to Vice President Joe Biden’s “Gun Control Committee” in the wake of the shooting in Newtown and was thankful to hear from his staff that my comments were included.  Most of that stance remains unchanged.

Continue reading My Manifesto on Gun Control

On the Gay Confederacy

A lot of surprising, ground shaking history was made this week, with the Supreme Court deciding that gay marriage is protected by the US constitution, and struck down all state-level bans.  This is a huge victory for millions of gay couples that can now celebrate their relationship with equality, and a victory for a society that bills itself as free.  And, many of my friends know I am a HUGE supporter of marriage equality.

But I feel a pang of irony in the celebratory news, as we also force the removal of the confederate flag from our collective psyche.

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It is About the Goddamn Animals

The Yulin dog and cat meat festival in China is gaining a lot of social and even mainstream media attention this week. And that is hopefully good news, as it shines a bright light on a pretty horrific “festival” that needs to end. These types of events, have been socially protected under the guise of “culture,’ yet now, with the news of the Chinese Government allowing the dialogue, that protection may come to an end.

Continue reading It is About the Goddamn Animals

What if I was Deserted on a Tropical Island?

When it comes to annoying questions Vegans are often pestered with, the “desert island” is probably the worst.

The question typically starts with something like this:

“So what if you were on a desert island and all there was is a cow/pig/chicken.  Would you eat it?”

And I get the allure of this question…vegans tend to be pretty militant in our commitment, so people want to test our limits.

But I want to tackle this question and put it to bed for all future vegans.

Continue reading What if I was Deserted on a Tropical Island?