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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tolerant Conservatives?

Hey Gang,
  Well, it was springtime for Republicans this week at CPAC. For those of you not familliar, Conservative Political Action Conference.  Most of the rock stars were there, Pauls, both of them, Romney, Gingerich, et al. A few no-shows like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. I am sure there were some great speeches. I heard that Rep. Allen West (R-Fl) brought down the house with his closing speech. I am definitely planning to watch it later when I get a free minute. But the one thing that stood out for me was the boycott by certain Conservative groups like Concerned Women For America, Family Research Council, and the Heritage Foundation in response to the invitation to a group called GOProud, a Conservative Gay group.
  OK. as human beings, much less Conservatives and Republicans, we are not going to agree with one another on everything Conservatives espouse. We don't in my own house. But my gut reaction was "Are you kidding me??!!" For decades Liberals have painted Conservatives as, what does Rush Limbaugh like to say, racist, sexist, bigoted homophobes. Are we helping them now? I understand that these groups are idealogically opposed to each other. But as a Conservative Wiccan my first question was, "Where do we draw the line on who are going to boycott?" Because I do not pray to the same deity as these groups does that mean I am not welcome either? I can go to any Pagan gathering any day of the week and be told in no uncertain terms that I CANNOT be Wiccan and Conservative.  Is that who we have become? Who gets to decide who is boycotted and who is not? See where I am going?  I thought as Conservatives, we were very proud of our inclusiveness. That we wanted to show people how wrong Liberals are about us.
  We have differences amongst ourselves it is true. I am not minimizing those differences. Let's talk about them and debate them. It will only make us stronger as a party.  But the stakes in 2012 could not be higher. Let's focus on what we have in common, and not sacrifice what could be great ideas for the sake of moral purity.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Unrest In Egypt

Hey Everyone,
  I know everyone is getting ready for their Superbowl parties, so I understand if you don't have time to catch up on your favorite blogs. I'm sure all eyes are turned right now to what is going on in Egypt.
  I think that a lot of Americans are a little unsure, myself included, just exactly what is going on.  What I can tell you, based merely on observation, is that it is a very volatile situation.  Americans always have at least a passing interest when there is anyone protesting the government in their country. We are encouraged when people make their voices heard, it is practically in our DNA.  Egyptians as a population are young, the majority under 30, so Hosni Mubarak is the only leader they have ever known. They also know that about 90% of them are out of work, and that many people are living on about two dollars a day. The level of poverty and the disparity between the upper and lower to middle classes is widening. The one very troubling and dangerous aspect with this particular protest is the very real possibility of a radical group like the Muslim Brotherhood getting into power.  This group is very anti-Israel and very anti-US, and could foment other protests going on in places like Tunisia.
  Today the Vice-President of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, was involved in talks with opposition group leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood included. The Military is a very well respected institution in Egypt, so right now, they could be the best hope for any governmental transition. I don't hold out much hope that our State Department or President Obama will have little if any influence in keeping the Muslim Brotherhood out of the Presidential Palace. The next few weeks could determine just how much influence the United States still has when people in other parts of the world start to whisper to each other, words like freedom and democracy.