This Sunday, November 11th, is Veterans Day where we remember all of those people who have served our country and died for it, as well as those who served and are still with us today. Most of us are thankful for their service, and look for ways to express our gratitude, the simplest , just saying “Thank you.” I have often thought that “Thank you” seems so little compared to their sacrifice of time , talent, and lives given, yet that is all we have, right? Maybe if we buy a meal, or a cup of coffee for our veterans, that might be nice. The “Thank yous, ” and gestures are all nice and kind, but in this time in which we live, it seems to me that there is a greater gift we can offer the Veteran on every day, not just Veterans Day. It is a simple one, and one that I think they really need that is good for them and for ourselves. It is just to listen and to truly hear them.
This past Friday, I had the privilege to interview a veteran at the “All Vets to Gettysburg” Event that John Bailey organized where over 425 Veterans gathered to make day of it at Gettysburg. It started at Old Main at the York Expo Center, and I did my show ,” WSBA Morning News with Gary Sutton” there on site while they gathered. The veteran who I had the honor of talking to was named Collins. Collins was a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War,. His story were so poignant , and yet told with such simplicity and clarity. Collins talked about his life as a totally dyslexic child who saw everything backwards, and who struggled to read anything. He was sat in the corner at school, singled out for being different in that way, and ultimately was kicked out of his home. At Age 16, he attempted to join the service, but could not complete the written test because of his condition. Finally, a Marine Captain stepped into his life, and made it possible for him to be able to take the test orally , which he passed. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, then came home, not to “a ticker tape parade” as he called it, but to shouts of derision being called a “baby killer” and such. He spoke of a sense of betrayal by his country as he obeyed orders thinking that he was doing good, while reading of protests about him and the other soldiers who were a part of that effort. He spoke of the politicians turning this into a political conflict rather than letting the soldiers win the war, and ultimately, Collins came to believe that he had been lied to about his effort there, a feeling that brought both disillusion and anger as part of the baggage he brought home.
In this 9-minute interview, Collins spoke of his three marriages, and various trials and tribulations that he endured after the service, until he finally figured out that the common denominator to many of these negative moments was him. He sought help and counseling from others who would listen to him, and started to change his life as he became a supervisor in a custodial business for 36 years, and later was an adjunct professor who taught classes. He is now happily married, and continues to look for answers, yet he seems to have finally found a measure of peace in his life.
What a story Collins had to tell and how important it was to hear. At the end of the conversation, I asked him about the Ex-Marine, a veteran of Afghanistan, who killed 12 people in Thousand Oaks, California this past week, and the anger issues he had prior to the killing. Mental health officials and Police knew of him because he would be causing loud disturbances by punching holes in walls and destroying things in his home. His mother was concerned that he might hurt himself or someone else if this continued. Officials said his behavior was not at the threshold to detain him, so the behavior continued. I asked Collins about that, and he shook his head, and sighed, “Did anyone listen to him?”
No matter the conflict, veterans bring home a lot of memories and baggage that most of us cannot imagine. I learned that by listening to Collins for 9 minutes as he described a lifetime. He opened up a faucet of knowledge and had a story that everyone should hear. As I looked around the room at all of those other 424 Heroes who walk among us, I could only imagine the stories and memories that they carried with each of them. I wondered how many of those stories had been passed on to waiting ears willing to listen, and how many were still bottled up inside. I looked at the young people around the room who were there to volunteer for a local college, and thought bout whether or not they had benefited by even a short conversation that morning. When we think about the walking history lessons just waiting to be spilled out from veterans, this is the kind of real civics lesson that can be passed on, but only if we listen and truly hear. In a day and age when listening and truly hearing what each of us has to say to one another seems to have become a lost art, maybe we can start with the Veteran. Let’s take away the politics, and the anger we have for one another and just listen to the Veteran. Let’s listen with our ears, and our hearts and really focus on what they have to say. It might even become contagious as we deal with one another in our daily conversation. There are a lot of Collins out there waiting to tell us about a lifetime in order to find peace as the final answer for themselves, and a chance to lay down the baggage. All we have to do as fellow citizens, brothers and sisters is to offer them the gift of listening…………Gary Sutton
There was a belief in split government where competing ideas might offset each other on how best to govern. The compact here was supposed to revolve around the concept that we all believed in the Constitution as the Supreme Law of Our Land. What has many concerned today, and why they don’t want split government is the belief that we have become so tribal to our parties, ideologies, and beliefs that our common and shared values, love of country, and yes, our way of living is so divorced; one side from another. The concept of working to gain the best for all citizens seems to be missing, while politicians laser in on groups of people they can get to support them at any cost
As a result, the Constitution and its precepts have become an afterthought, or even worse an impediment to get what we want in an age of self-serving behavior. It is no longer President John Kennedy’s plea of, “Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country.” It has become, “What can my country do for me, and who will best give it to me in return for my blind allegiance to them as signified with my vote.” Yes, instead of shared values and beliefs in a common cause, we are a fractured society which operates on the here and now, ignorance of our history and our government’s founding, no sense of civic duty or love of country, and worst of all, no honor!
The thought here would be for all in our nation to reflect where we are going, and if we like the direction. The problem is that we may well be unable to do so, because of generational differences and the fact that we are so far apart on what America should be . Our collective ignorance of not knowing who we are, where we came from, what we stand for, and our lack of respect for each other are ingredients for disaster which elections will not fix if they continue to take place in such a caustic atmosphere.
A. With regard to this Kavanaugh Situation, What Have We Learned?
a. We have learned that if you throw out enough unsubstantiated charges, it might be enough to keep him or her off the Supreme Court, or anything else for that matter.
b. We have learned that Democrats and many on the far Left are willing to trash 250 years of Law starting in England and all through our Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence to win no matter what the cost.
c. We have learned that much like Islamic Terrorism, anything you do to the Infidel is ok; Lie, Cheat, steal, defame or kill (in this case a reputation) is right if you are in search of YOUR truth, not necessarily THE truth.
d. We have learned that the mob can be swayed in this country by ignorance of the aforementioned principles and are willing to follow like lemmings over the proverbial cliff of truth.
e. We have learned that you can weaponized your virtue or lack of same no matter how far back it goes.
f. We have learned that in this case, the first 22 years of your life is what matter, and the total of 35 years of service and outstanding work in your field and personal life means nothing.
g. We have learned that hatred of Trump trumps all else.
h. We have learned that human decency is scarce in any of our political dealings.
i. We have learned that for the Democrats, there will never be enough evidence for Kavanaugh or ANY OTHER nominee to be nominated and approved to the Supreme Court.
j. We have learned that we are living in surreal times where fantasy and conspiracy theories occupy the bulk of our lives because we do not trust any of our institutions , except for the media with which we agree, or social media which preys on the ignorant among us. We take as gospel that which we hope will happen, so that every bit of information that wed process can be rationalized into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
k. At the end of the day, this is about controlling political power by making the Supreme Court the Second Legislative Body if you can’t win at the polls. If weaponized the way we have seen done in this case, the Least Offensive Branch of government would become essentially the Only branch of government.……Gary Sutton
Amidst all of the political noise in the United States today, it is often very difficult to separate fact, fiction, and perception. Political and Ideological leanings seem to have infected everything we view and hear. In that vein, it is my intent to try to make some sense of it here in my own small way. You, of course may disagree, but at least we will have something specific which we can discuss, if only it is my observations.
Number One. Donald Trump is not guilty of any campaign violations by paying off two women who said he had sex with them if he did it with his own money. Does it look good? Absolutely not, even though the President said it did not happen? Did it make him look better to potential voters as a result of paying them off? Absolutely, in fact that probably was the point, wasn’t it? What has not been said is that it is done all of the time by people who don’t want bad information out about themselves. If they do it with their own treasure and the other party accepts, the situation is settled. In the case of the President’s agreement with Stormy Daniels, she was paid not to discuss anything that may well have happened between herself and Donald Trump. She has violated that agreement by disclosing some of that information, thus violating the agreement. If that case went to court today, who would win? By looking at the situation this way, it is not to suggest that all of this plays well, but it is the truth nevertheless, even if we hate Donald Trump.
Number Two: Can we ever call the Mueller investigation a fair one if we don’t give the same scrutiny to the Clinton Campaign and what they were doing through Christopher Steele (author of the dossier) and the Russians. We hear a great deal about the Trump team meeting with a Russian representative at Trump Tower to get potential dirt on Hillary Clinton, apparently unsuccessfully. We hear far less, though it was reported some time ago in the New York Times , about contacts high up in the Russian government made by Mr. Steele to try and get dirt on candidate Trump. We know that the investigation by Mr. Steele was financed by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign, yet there has been no Mueller -type investigation yet on that matter. Where is the equity in that. We hear about Candidate Clinton’s interview with the FBI, and find out that FBI Director Comey had already decided in that case regarding use of a government computer at her residence that she was already not guilty before the unrecorded interview took place. Is there not a double standard here?
Finally, and speaking of the Clinton influence, has it dawned on anyone that Lanny Davis, the number one spear catcher for Bill and Hillary Clinton during Watergate and since, is the attorney for Michael Cohen, the President’s former personal attorney.. Does that not look like a conflict of interest, or at the very least, a chance for the Clintons to get back at Donald Trump for beating Hillary in the 2016 election. Every night during the impeachment process, we saw Lanny Davis out there carrying water for Bill, then later on for Hillary on the Email question. He has been a Democrat and Clinton hack a long time, so here he is again trying to bring down the duly-elected Trump Administration through Mr. Cohen,
These are just a few observations, facts, and yes, even perceptions that are out there for conversation. As just a citizen on Main Street, I will have more of these in coming days, but for now, let’s just discuss, think about and chew on these…..Gary Sutton
In the daily noise that serves as debate in this country, it occurs to me that we have totally lost the idea of respecting one another enough that we can plan to have another debate in the near future. We are in an era of “Hit and Run” conversation where we throw down our viewpoint , then tread water for a few minutes while we ignore what you have to say in response. That is because we are feverishly preparing our next volley of opinionated facts that we have memorized, and are ready to spew no matter what you say. That, unfortunately, serves as debate in 2018, and never advances to the level of listening and lifting the conversation to a higher level. We see it in our politicians daily as they use their political “sideism” to go after each other, while they bend events so that their view might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are subjected to a base time of names being hurled at opponents, and stories thrown against the wall as the never-ending game of “gotcha” is played. Ignorance of fact is on a daily parade by many who can’t name the three branches of government, let alone explain how to pay for “Free” education and medical care. Social media is ripe with the horrible language and pettiness that hearkens back to a high school conversation when we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Now, we should know better, shouldn’t we? Large Media conglomerates are now looking to shut down one side of the so-called conversation that could be had on social media, while upholding another side’s right to say whatever they want. That shows no respect for another point of view, but attacks the very thought of free speech as laid out in the First Amendment. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What are each of us doing to advance debate, and discussion to another level that is healthy for the country and respectful of our fellow citizen?” How do we return to a passionate, principled, informed, yet respectful debate? Ground rules must be set. Number One, We do it by truly listening and hearing what is being said by the other person. We respect that they have a point of view that may be different from our own, yet we are willing to listen. Number Two, We must ask them to do the same, or no discussion/debate can occur. Number Three, We attack the points made, not the person making them. Number Four, We do not call the other person any kind of “ist” or “phobe.” It shows our ignorance to continue on in the conversation/debate. Finally, we agree to disagree , and to continue to talk with, not at, one another again, all in the spirit of making this nation “the more perfect union” our forefathers envisioned. When we do those things, we can start to respect one another again…..Gary Sutton
What a sad time we are in. People are happy because we are feeding on ourselves? That is a reason to be happy? A Memo comes out today which will accuse high echelon officials of the FBI and perhaps Justice Department in working on behalf of one political party to keep the other from winning, and later, even governing effectively. I hear people on the Right hyperventilating with smiles on their faces, licking their chops to hear the news today. On the Left, we have seen them manipulating the news, throwing everything they have at President Trump this past year to get him on something. The snide remarks nightly from late night talk show hosts to the hatred portrayed by Media, to the ridiculousness of the politicians who cannot even admit that this administration could have done anything right, we are treated to a daily tearing down of a president. It has been equally pathetic and sad watching the joy they have in doing so.
Now step back and take a breath for a moment. Think about this on a mature level without viewing it through the prism of “your side.” Who loses when both the Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal, Democrat and Republican are so invested in making sure their side wins while the other side loses? I’ll tell you who, from my perspective. THE COUNTRY LOSES! When people ask me who I am rooting for in the Mueller Investigation, or the House and Senate Investigation, I tell them that I am rooting for the truth. What do I hope? I hope that we have people representing us in those positions of responsibility who have not done wrong, whether it is an FBI official, a Justice Department Official, a presidential candidate, or a president. That is my hope. I want my representatives not to abuse the power to which they have been entrusted. Dishonesty does not know just one side, however. If there has been abuse of power, then justice in correcting those offenses cannot know any side except that of finding the truth and bringing abusers to justice no matter where they are found or what side they inhabit.
At the end of the day, we should all be sad in watching power corrupt anyone who represents us. There is no reason to be giddy, however, over this political feeding frenzy. Instead, it seems to me that we have to remove ANY official who would weaponize their powers to misrepresent the will of the government; yes, the will of the people of the United States. There should be no joy, but grim-faced determination in that unhappy task to remove those political cancers to truth. ……Gary Sutton
- ACLU says that the President mentioning Americans over 89 times in SOTU is exclusionary. He also said WE 129 times which is also exclusionary. Here is where we find the Great Divide in America. Difference between feelings for fellow human beings, and citizenship status. One does not justify the other. They are two distinctly different things.
- Hatred of and lack of trust for the President has totally clouded any ability to be fair in giving credit for achievements that his administration has made.
- It has also made people look silly in what they are saying, and they don ‘t even realize it. They are forced to go to the enth degree to justify why they think Trump doesn’t belong.
- How does congressional Black Caucus refuse to acknowledge that Black unemployment is lowest since it has been measured. What does that say about them? That they are disappointed by good news?
- If we refuse to try to be fair as we look at all that is happening, aren’t we lying to ourselves and others in our arguments and debate/discussion?
- Didn’t Trump preach independence for individual Americans in his SOTU address? Isn’t that what we should be doing in a society that espouses liberty and freedom? Doesn’t preaching dependence on government erode the very reason we began and involved as the United States?
- Peoples’ State of The Union: Biggest Questions from Here Going Forward:
- Will the Achievements of a Trump Administration outweigh the Distractions?
- Are there as many Americans opposed to the Trump Presidency as Media and Polls would suggest?
- Is Donald Trump too outrageous to be President?
- Is Donald Trump too potentially dangerous to be President?
- Is there anything that Donald Trump can do to appeal to the “Other Side” from him whoever that may be?
- Is there anything that Donald Trump could do to be a “popular” president?
- Congressman Devin Nunes is the Man of the Moment today. He is either a liar or is telling the truth in releasing the memo about the FBI. I will tell by the reaction to its release if it comes. If he were going to crash and burn in front of the nation, and I was on the other side politically, I would be getting the microphone ready for him to make a fool of himself. Just My Thoughts….What do you think?…Gary Sutton
Just A Voice on Main Street: Are We Looking for Real Justice with Russians? OR Do We want to Just Rid Ourselves of Trump?
The DOJ may choose Special Prosecutor to investigate Clinton allegations on Uranium and other specific matters. What do people really want? They are tired of the Clintons operating on one moral plane while the rest of us must operate on another. They are the epitomy of misuse of power for themselves, deal-making, and enriching themselves while claiming to be doing service. While the Weinsteins, Spaceys, and Moores are condemned and being purged, not a whisper about Bill Clinton as an alleged rapist and serial predator using power to do so. We are told to ignore that because it is his personal business. How is Juanita Broderick different from any women now coming forth in America to tell their stories as victims? Why did Hillary Clinton cover up 30,000 emails and more with a separate server that no one else used? Why can the Clintons have a foundation that appears to be more of a money laundering operation than a place to help people? Why can Hillary Clinton tell parents of Benghazi victims that “we’ll get that filmmaker who was responsible, then claim she didn’t when they out her? How can she get away with fixing the Democratic nomination , buying the DNC, and paying money for a dossier that has yet to be verified from an agent who paid at least two people working in the Kremlin for information. Talk about a Russian connection. How do deals get made concerning Russian control of our Uraniam through a government-controlled company, then money ends up in the Clinton Foundation, and $500,000 for a 20-minute speech (Twice the normal amount) for Bill Clinton on the eve of the deal. People want to know that there is fairness in investigations for our leaders and would-be leaders in this country. It is not about the fact that since Hillary Clinton didn’t win she is absolved of all responsibility for her alleged crimes, and we only have room to investigate Donald Trump for having relationships with Russians before and after the election. For those of us on Main Street who want justice no matter where it leads, the Clintons are the Gigantic Elephants in the room that you must constantly talk around. Most are saying, “It’s about time they be brought out into the open.”…..Gary Sutton
We begin by gnashing our teeth and tearing our clothes apart over what WE need to do as a nation and government when yet another mass shooting happens. Some of our governmental leaders immediately rush to a microphone to tell the world that this wouldn’t have happened if WE had done something, like either restrict types of guns, or accessories, or if we had confiscated all of the guns from every citizen and non-citizen in America. Yeah, that’s it. If WE had done that, these senseless killings would not be happening every few days. WE continue to be simpletons by trying to plug every hole in a dam that seems to be collapsing. What is that dam that is crumbling, you ask? It’s the dam of decency; unity around what is right and wrong, the dam built around individual and group responsibility, the dam which consistently re-enforces the idea that freedom and liberty are “perfect concepts” and it is our individual responsibility to do our parts to guard our role in a society that claims to espouse it. The problem in the aftermath is that WE want to write a group memo to society and group everyone into the shooter and his intentions to do horrific harm to fellow humans. WE write that group memo by immediately screaming that WE must do something. What can WE do? Could we love each other more? Could we listen to each other better? Could we act kinder to each other? No, when we hear WE talk, it means we need to do something like take away some freedom from somebody because THEY don’t know how to use it. THEY by the way are fellow citizens, most of whom already abide by the laws. What would WE have us do? Register all guns? Outlaw devices which allow us to shoot more people more quickly? Should we strengthen laws which already tell us that it is wrong to kill people for no reason? Don’t we already have that? Don’t most of us already do that? What is ironic in the latest Church shooting in Sutherland , Texas is that after this shooter had killed 26 and wounded 20 more with his rifle, he was shot at and possibly killed by another citizen who saw what happened . Was this citizen wrong in his shooting at the gunmen? If it turns out his bullets stopped this madman from killing at another church service elsewhere, did he do the wrong thing? You see; it’s all about intentions , isn’t it. The gunman used his liberty to fire at and into a church. He misused his liberty to make that choice. Another man used his liberty to use the same kind of device to stop him from doing more. WE, the government, wants to somehow say that they can govern those intentions by restricting the liberty of all, when really all they will do is salve their conscience for a moment. No, WE can’t do anything about those who have the intention to abuse the liberty they have been afforded here in this country. The only way that they will be “safer” will be if WE thinks that liberty and freedom are no longer “perfect” and that building a more “perfect union” by respecting those ideals should end. Until then, we remain a very imperfect, but free society…..Gary Sutton
One of the great stories of the Presidential election was that many in the so-called working Middle Class rose up and let people know that they were left wanting in what their governmental representatives were providing. I find that we are wanting again in terms of wanting truth. If you are a citizen who desires it, you are probably disappointed. Under the guise of handing you truth each day, we find news organizations reporting that which fits their narratives by manipulating the real news that is out there. By massaging the wording, adding adjectives that fit their purposes, or by omitting key points which do not fit the narrative, these so-called protectors of truth delude themselves, their viewers, their readers, and their listeners into thinking they are providing a real service. This happens on right and left from news people, commentators, and the “experts.” By being so caught up in their own agenda, whatever that may be, they pass by truth like a train rolling by and missing a stop. They forget or miss the truth because they do not have a pure desire to find it. There are still people in our country who want this place to be a “City on the Hill” that was once a desire or maybe just a wish. For that to happen, we must first be willing to re-engage in a relentless reach for what is real; for what is true. For that to happen, there must be an awakening; a desire if you will that at the moment seems sadly missing in the United States……Gary Sutton