The Sin of Caring: Wisdom from Mark Etterling

The post-election exit polling proved that Obama got a big bump simply by showing up for a photo-op with Chris Christie after Hurricane Sandy even though he was only on the ground for a very short time.  The reply from most respondents was that they thought it showed how much he “cared”.  This commentary isn’t about bashing Obama for what he did or didn’t do.  It’s about bashing the ignorance of people who would ever vote for any candidate, whether Democrat or Republican, for such a stupid reason.  Personally, I don’t waste time concerning myself about how much any politician cares.  What I do concern myself with is if politicians are doing the right things regardless of whether they care or not.
It shouldn’t really matter if a politician is white or black, gay or straight, man or woman, or from any other type of demographic.  Nor should we be looking for exact perfection in any candidate’s philosophy or character.  The way I see it, the only way I’ll ever find a candidate that agrees with me on every issue is if I run for office myself and sometimes even I find myself conflicted.  As far as I can tell the only person ever to have had a perfect character ended up getting crucified for it.  For the rest, none of us are completely sin free, so why hold up unrealistic expectations about our candidates?
In the modern era of politics we find ourselves perpetually complaining about how terrible our government is.  The current congressional approval rating is floundering in the single digits.  Since the current Congress is evenly split on control both sides are equally at fault.  However, the real blame for all this mess actually lays with us the voters.  We tend to put far too much emphasis on the emotional aspects of who we vote for instead of considering the logical tools that are required for our politicians to find the appropriate answers to today’s issues.  To put it bluntly, we aren’t getting the right answers from our politicians because we’ve become so apathetic about the things that really matter that we aren’t even asking the right questions in the first place.  We allow the media to waste time discussing whether Obama is a Muslim or about Romney being a Mormon.  Who cares when we should have been demanding that both explain how their tax strategies would have worked.
We fret over political correctness when in truth political correctness is nothing more than a buzz word for censorship.  We waste time complaining about all the political discourse and whether our leaders get along, play nice together, and compromise instead of worrying about them getting things right.  Political discourse shouldn’t be cursed, it should be celebrated.  I could care less if our leaders don’t like each other and have disagreements.  What I do care about is that they find real solutions to real problems even if it does elicit some name calling along the way.  Besides, disagreements are actually a good thing in both business and politics because it means you are looking at issues from various angles.  As a business leader I don’t want to surround myself with a bunch of “yes men”.  I prefer those around me to give me their own thoughts regardless of if they agree with mine or not so that we don’t overlook any potential obstacles when formulating solutions.  What we don’t do is compromise on the right answer just so that we can all get along.
Two plus two equals four.  If someone tells you it’s five they are wrong, period.  It’s useless to settle at 4 ½ because that isn’t the right answer either.  I don’t want politicians compromising just so they can get something passed.  Instead, I want them to hash things out in the arena of ideas until they come up with the right answer.  Otherwise, the compromise typically won’t fix things and is likely to cause a brand new mess all its own.  Whenever I hear someone say that they are willing to reach across the isle, I only want them to do so in order to slap someone upside the head when they are wrong, not so that they can take the easy route of compromise.  I want to see politicians wise up, stand up, and put their middle finger up to the whole concept of conceding to an inferior solution just to get along.
Allowing any politician to slide by simply by taking the emotional cliché response to an issue not only lets them off the hook, but typically creates an even bigger mess than what the original issue started out to be.  For example, someone might make the emotionally compelling argument that we need to raise the minimum wage rate.  It’s easy for a politician to sign off on such an idea by simply claiming that they are only looking out for the poor.  However, what doesn’t happen is any attempt to look at the long-term effects brought about by such an idea.  Yes, those at minimum wage will get a raise, but what also happens is that fewer jobs get created, worker hours get cut, prices go up, and businesses go bankrupt.  If Wal-Mart is forced to raise its pay scale every politician for miles around will give themselves a big pat on the back while proclaiming that they played a part in making it happen.  What you won’t see is the same response when the layoff notices also start flowing.
We complain about politics without realizing that it is our own apathy that makes us part of the problem, not part of the solution.  We become our own paradox by demanding so much from our politicians while at the same time asking so little.  We want to exist in a wonderful world of entitlements, but never bother asking where those entitlements are coming from.  We spout talking points without any knowledge of what the adverse affects of those talking points might be.  We accept the promise without questioning the premise.  In the long run having Obama win a second term doesn’t really scare me.  It’s the concept behind why he won a second term that scares the heck out of me.  It’s easy for a politician to destroy a nation by making all the wrong choices.  However, no politician, no matter how much they care can save a nation.  Only the people themselves can accomplish that task, and even they can’t do it through apathy or emotionalism.  We can only save ourselves once we become part of the solution.  That’s when caring really counts.
Mark Etterling

Rich Hoffman


Obama in PEE PEE: Glenn Beck shows he’s not a ‘Coward’

Finally a media personality with testicular fortitude, and rightfully it is the author of the recent book COWARDS who illustrated wonderfully the progressive hypocrisy so evidently on display in American society.  Glenn Beck came under predictable fire when he dropped a bobble head representation of President Obama into a container full of metaphorical piss to exercise his First Amendment rights, and I applaud him for the stunt.  Obama is a symbol of progressive politics and it is time that progressives get back some of the antagonism that they have dished out for years.  See the stunt below.

Conservatives have been losing a public relations battle with progressives for decades because they have always taken the high ground, and such strategic positions are not enough when the enemies are soulless radicals hell-bent on American destruction.  So force must be met with force.  Rhetoric must be met with rhetoric.  I know well what Beck experienced and why he did what he did, as I have my own experience with such things.  CLICK HERE FOR A REVIEW.  Progressives do not like it when they are given back the kinds of harassment they conduct on a regular bases against American traditionalists who despise progressivism and they scream like babies when acts like Beck performed are shoved back in their faces.  Progressives have been doing such things for many years, and it is time to give them a dose of their own medicine.

It is also time to recognize that we are not in a peaceful exchange of differing opinions—we are at war—traditionalists against progressives and progressives were the ones who fired the first shots with their multiple desecrations of traditional American beliefs—everything from the harassment of housewives to “fight for equal progressive rights at the expense of their families” to literally defaming religious icons that founded The United States.  Progressives have done everything in their power to rip to shreds the firm and knowledgeable family father, the solitary cowboy, and the enterprising business tycoon with the bumbling Homer Simpsons on modern TV, the homosexual activist, and the altruist who sacrifices their lives for the sake of mankind.  The war is well documented, and is raging with a fury.  And it is finally wonderful to see a media personality who represents traditional American value with an old fashioned swagger that is needed worse than a drought laded country needs water across a harsh, scorched desert landscape.

Bravo Glenn Beck!  I’ll fight with you any day.   Sadly most everyone else are COWARDS.   Read more, CLICK HERE.

After all, will we let liberty go with politeness and a negligent whimper?  I’m not.  That’s why we have the first and second amendments—to defend liberty from domestic enemies like progressives.

Rich Hoffman


How ‘Star Wars’ Can Save Society: An Ewok Village Birthday Cake

It is highly likely now that Barack Obama is president for a second term that I may make more Star Wars comparisons since much of what is happening reminds me of a list of books that I read from that popular film series.   Increasingly my friend Matt Clark and I have been using Star Wars metaphors to discuss current events in a way that young people can understand since they have been taught to dislike the American Revolution in their public educations and media culture.  So to provide the proper context that is needed for a voting republic, Star Wars is an excellent reference of why responsible participation in government is necessary.   Below is the bumper clip that WAAM Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been using during their broadcasts of Glenn Beck, Denis Miller, and Laura Ingraham featuring a recent discussion that Matt and I had on his radio program. 

Star Wars is not a political party driven philosophy.  I would doubt that Star Wars creator George Lucas would call himself a Democrat or a Republican or even a Libertarian.  I would say he is a story-teller with an excellent grasp of history and technical innovation.  And I see Star Wars as an offering that can redeem society in ways that are currently unimaginable.  For my daughter’s 23rd birthday she wanted a special cake, something that really meant something to her personally, so my wife made her a Star Wars cake complete with an Ewok Village created out of all edible elements.  Only the Lego Ewoks were parts of the cake that couldn’t be eaten.  Star Wars many times in my family’s past has served as a backdrop for unlimited imagination and teaching values that were family oriented.  The trees were made out of ice cream cones, and also the huts.  The trees were made out of pretzels.  The bridges were made out of candy and graham crackers.  Of course she loved it. 

A message to my Tea Party friends and social reformers deserves mention, no matter how dark things may seem it can always get worse or better depending on the quality of the people who make up a republic.  In fact I look very forward to Disney’s ownership of the Star Wars franchise because there may come a day real soon that the series of books spawned from the movies may be made into television or movie formats in the future similar to how today’s Clone Wars series is presented on Cartoon Network—which my wife and I watch—religiously————and I mean religiously every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.   I find them visual beautiful to look at, but at the same time intellectually stimulating.  I disagree emphatically with the clip below of Adolf Hitler’s assessment of the Disney acquisition of Star Wars from George Lucas.

The following books tell the story better than anything available of religious peril, the invasion of a galaxy by a very hostile unknown species, political upheavals, family tragedy, scientific mystery, social redemption, life after death—(in great detail), personal conquest, spiritual enlightenment, galactic civil war, quests for freedom, the origins of evil, justification for violence, and in essence the entire meaning of life in a span of books that runs 42 novels long each about 500 to 700 pages in length.  I consider them to be the most encompassing gathering of literature ever done on a subject of any kind and I say that with my hand on one of my favorites, Leo Tolstroy’s War and Peace.  While the Star Wars books are not the most artistic as they are designed to be read by young people from the 7th and 8th grade on up, the content of the stories is truly significant and beneficial to anyone who takes the time to read them.  They are in order:

Vector Prime, Dark Tide 1: Onslaught, Dark Tide II: Ruin, Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial, Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, Balance Point, Recovery, Edge of Victory I:Conquest, Edge of Victory II: Rebirth, Star by Star (one of my favorites), Dark Journey, Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, Traitor (one of my all time favorites), Destiny’s Way, Ylesia, Force Heretic I: Remnant, Force Heretic II Refugee, Force Heretic III: Reunion, The Final Prophecy, The Unifying Force (an absolutely stunning story), The Joiner King, The Unseen Queen, The Swarm War, Betrayal, Bloodlines, Tempest, Exile, Sacrifice, Inferno, Fury, Revelations, Invincible, Outcast, Omen, Abyss, (very spiritually bold in that half of it takes place in the afterlife), Backlash, Allies, Vortex, Conviction, Ascension, and Apocalypse.

I believe with all my heart and soul that because those books are not politically motivated, and they take place in a galaxy a long time ago, far, far away, that they have the chance to shape our society in a unique way that is yet uncharted in human existence.

Let me explain—most of the work that shaped the American Revolution consisted of small works, such as the literature of John Locke, Adam Smith, Plato even Shakespeare—all of which I’ve read.  The thoughts about communism that are so prevalent today were shaped by Karl Marx’s little book The Communist Manifesto and the left has used the methods of Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience to organize support during the Civil Rights Movement.  That is another small book that has had a big impact on the world around us.   All those works combined do not equate to the amount of work and effort that Lucas Publishing has expended in telling the marvelously epic story of Star Wars described in the books mentioned above.  But the story doesn’t end with just those books—not even close–there are over 100 books that take place during a 6000 year span of time that displays vividly the violent rise and fall of many generation’s governments and how different species of beings interact positively and negatively against each other.

When I think of the book burning rituals that took place whenever dictators rose to power to assert their strength over the previous cultures, I think of the attempt by those despots to erase from the minds of mankind the knowledge they need to question reality—which is the point of burning books.  Most of the time because of the cozy relationship business often has with government out of the necessity of survival books like the Star Wars series could never have been even conceived let alone achieved, but under George Lucas he has pulled off the feat and done human kind a tremendous service.

It is only a matter of time before the young people who have read these Star Wars books are in a position socially to act on what they’ve learned, and I can say that when that day arrives, the world will be much better off.  Star Wars is about fighting and winning personal freedom in the context of social responsibility.  It’s a big concept that has tremendous potential philosophically, and socially and the best of Star Wars is not in the films, which simply plant the seeds of story for curious minds to follow, but is in the books which takes readers deep down the Rabbit Holes of life for a journey that holds many of the keys to all the possibilities that exist.  The impact of this literature has yet to be felt, but in time it will.  The literature of Star Wars is the key to understanding many of the complex issues of our modern age in the context that they must be taken in—and within that knowledge is a security that can only come to an increased intellect.  For that, I will always be a fan—and be eternally grateful.  It is for that reason that I suggest to all those feeling hopeless and desperate in their lives to take a few years off life and read all those books in the order that I presented them, and you will discover within yourself a life of unlimited potential and everlasting joy that cannot be taken by any government or social parasite.

George Lucas has always been much more of an advocate of education than a mindless capitalist like he’s been accused of.  He used his money to educate the world in a way that was so cleaver that the worst of the tyrants never knew what was happening, until it hit critical mass and entered the subconscious of the world in an unstoppable force that now has a life of its own.  The first of that education miracle is Angry Birds Star Wars, the game of time, distance, trajectory and impact strategy!

Rich Hoffman