By now, many of you have heard about State Representative Barbara Norton’s comments about how the Declaration of Independence is “unfair” and “not the truth”, regarding her opposition to a bill mandating that schoolchildren in Louisiana be taught the Declaration of Independence.
Some have been understandably upset, to say the least.
And here’s why it matters so much:
Our elected officials can’t just show up and “check the box,” without the same level of careful preparation and practice that a musician requires to play a musical instrument well, or that a pilot needs to fly an airplane, or doctor acquires before performing a surgery. But that is what is happening now, more and more, with who we are electing to public office.
You see, our elected officials have a great responsibility. They can support legislation to encourage businesses to relocate to our community, along with good paying jobs for families, or they cause them to leave. Our elected officials can improve the education system, and help inspire a lifelong love of learning for our children, or condemn them to a lifetime of barely getting by. They can remain silent to the erosion of our liberties, and support resolutions that send our nation’s sons and daughters into harm’s way.
Yet, even with all of this opportunity to “make a dent in the universe”, not only are young people disgusted with politics, and are skeptical of its usefulness to make meaningful change, there is also now a reluctance of good candidates to run for public office.
In fact, only one out of three believe running for public office is honorable, and even fewer feel that the idea of working in some form of public service is appealing to them – and the number of candidates qualifying for public office show it.
And an electorate that is increasingly more unaware of our American history, and the principals upon which our nation, and the Declaration of Independence was written, only exacerbates the crisis we have in this country of electing competent officials to public office.
Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” That’s because knowledge is freedom in a democracy, and a responsibility.
Fewer engaged voters, and elected officials who are consistently not prepared for the job they were elected to do, will eventually reduce the pool of talented candidates interested in public service to a handful of those barely worth keeping in office at all.
You see, as voters, we must be in the “people” business. As Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric said, “We spend all our time on people,” and “the day we screw up the people thing, this company is over.” The exact same is true for our government, from the statehouse to the White House.
So yes, when Representative Barbara Norton says that “all men are not created equal”, it confirms what so many already believe: We’ve messed up the “people thing” in government, and it’s time that the voters start doing something about it – like a boss.
Louis R. Avallone, Chairman
Caddo Parish Republican Party
Dear fellow Americans:
Only 20% of U.S. adults say that they are very familiar with Memorial Day’s purpose. So, for those of you who aren’t very familiar, you should know that Memorial Day is to honor those who died fighting the nation’s wars, even though many of us may be most familiar with Memorial Day as signaling the “unofficial” beginning of the summer vacation season each year, not to mention crazy low sale prices on everything from mattresses to mini-vans.
Yet, while Americans do enjoy the three-day weekend that Memorial Day brings, most also understand the historical significance of liberty, and war. We understand our freedom is not free, but a gift from our soldiers. We understand that, since our nation’s founding, over 2.8 million soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat, or as Lincoln described it, “the last full measure of devotion”. These are the men and women, who have defended our nation’s liberty, and for whom the Memorial Day observance seeks to honor.
But maybe the watering-down of Memorial Day began when Congress enacted the National Holiday Act of 1971, making it into a three-day weekend. This may have had the unintended consequence of making it easier for folks to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. In fact, the VFW believes that this “contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
And yes, still, our children know only of backyard barbecues, swimming pools, family get-togethers, and mom or dad having a day off from work on Memorial Day. They know not of socialism or pacifism, or the doctrine of achieving peace through strength. They know not of car bombings in their neighborhood markets, air raid drills, religious intolerance, limitations on what news they can read or what subjects they may study, or how they may dress or express themselves politically, or otherwise.
They know not of these matters only because of the men and women who jeopardized their own well being to protect the countless millions of us who will likely never know them by name; nor know the last words of those who died in battle or the convictions within their own heart that allowed them to leave the safety and security of their home and family, so that so many of us can remain within ours.
And for these men and women, it was the quality of their character that defined our modern-day American way of life, brokered a peace that ended the Holocaust, won the cold war, and otherwise preserved the American dream for generations to come and all of this, for many, on a mere $25 dollar a month salary.
No, our children may not yet understand what it means to be free, but their lack of understanding is a testament to the achievements and selfless service of generations of our veterans.
Of course, freedom is not free and our children know only freedom because someone else paid the cost of admission for them (and for us). We simply cannot forget the men and women, who defend this nation because, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes, will not endure long.”
And to our veterans, again, “Thank you.”
Louis R. Avallone, Chairman
Caddo Parish Republican Party
Okay, so you believe that socialism has its positive effects? Just to make sure we are comparing “apples to apples” here, let’s define socialism first. One definition of socialism is that it’s the transitional stage between capitalism and communism, according to Karl Marx, as further explained in his Communist Manifesto. You are okay with that? Socialism is also commonly referred to as a system of society, or group living, in which there is no private property. Still feeling the “Bern”?
Well, here’s the reality: Socialism is a “lose-lose” proposition because, in order to “spread the wealth” you first have to confiscate it from those that earned it.
And then all of the government spending you do, with the money you confiscated, does not create any wealth. Wealth is created from the industry of our fellow citizens. And even if you still feel the “Bern” about socialism, and believe that wealth redistribution (through higher taxes and a more centralized government) will create a more utopian society, what happens, as Margaret Thatcher said, when you run out of everyone else’s money?
Are Democrats on track to nominate the wrong candidate? Hillary Clinton has now fallen behind Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders edges out the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S.
Whether you are voting Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or not at all, this is why Bernie Sanders’ popularity has been so strong…he’s real. He’s wrong, of course, but he’s consistently wrong. He believes in what he is saying. Hillary, on the other hand, not so much (like you didn’t already know that). But this video boxes all of that up for you, and reminds us all of how disingenuous her public statements have been (and are).
This video exposes Hillary Clinton’s history of lying to get votes, her history in criminal activities, and her downright hatred towards anyone who disagrees with anything she does or says.
By Louis R. Avallone
Informed voters, they say, are essential to our democracy. Yet arguably, our democracy has thrived, for all intents and purposes, without informed voters. In 1850, only about 1 out of 2 school-aged children were enrolled in school – and for many of them, believe it or not, attended only one day a year. By 1870, emancipated blacks were granted the right to vote, by way of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, and their formal schooling was even less – 1 out of 10 were enrolled in school.
Fast forward to our modern day electorate, and you’ll see over the past 30 years year that states have begun allowing ex-felons to vote, adding nearly 1 million to the voter registration rolls – and studies have shown that incarcerated people are among the least well educated in our country.
And while 9 out of 10 Americans are highschool graduates today; in the 1950s, only 5 out of 10 were. In the late 1800s, it was only 1 out of 10.
So, as you can tell, formally educated voters have not always been part of our democracy, yet it thrived, nonetheless. By contrast, many would say that we are more informed, better educated today than at any time in our nation’s history, yet voter involvement is still at its lowest point.
But if our country’s formal education level is higher today than it has ever been, why is voter participation at its lowest level since World War II? The most recent, 2014 mid-term election, for example, saw only 36 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots.
It could be, for many voters, not so much that they are uninformed (although many are), but perhaps their “give-a-damn” about the issues is broken. And why wouldn’t it be? Most Americans say that elected officials put their own interests ahead of the people’s, and even more say that cannot trust Washington to do what is right – not even most of the time.
More than half of all Americans believe that government is almost always wasteful and inefficient, and most would NOT even like to see their child enter politics as a career.
And can we blame them? From one Executive Order after another, to a nearly open border with Mexico, to continued deficit spending by Congress, to our skyrocketing national debt of $19 trillion, to our federally controlled education standards, and the rising cost of healthcare, not to mention higher taxes on working Americans, and assaults on our religious liberty or the right to bear arms, it just seems that Washington isn’t listening at all to we, the people.
That gives us a sense that no matter what we do, as voters, we’re largely ineffective at policymaking, or making a real difference on legislation that matters – whether it’s in Washington or in Baton Rouge. So, why bother, at all?
Then, here at home, our Caddo Parish commissioners increased their own salaries 170% since 1995, without asking us. And then we matched their retirement contributions to the tune of almost 2 to 1; for every $1 they contributed to their retirement, the taxpayers contributed almost $2. Again, without asking us.
Also, here at home, our Caddo Parish schools are rated worse than any other school system in our state, as the state of Louisiana has declared that 63% of our schools are failed or failing, even though Caddo Parish taxpayers have spared little expense – contributing nearly $500 million a year towards educating our children.
For all these examples, and many others, as well, it suddenly becomes a question of, “Why bother paying attention?”
I can tell you why bother. Because freedom without participation is meaningless. Because we in America do not have government by the majority, as Thomas Jefferson said, “We have government by the majority who participate”. And we must participate.
The Bible teaches us that the failure to do something that one can, and ought to do, is sinful. James 4:17 reads, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
This means we cannot take the attitude of, “to each his own”. Or looking the other way when there is corruption in our community, or remain at home on election day because we’re too busy. And we shouldn’t ride people out of town on a rail because they propose a new tax or a new law, nor because they oppose the same. Instead, we should get involved.
When we stop being a victim of our circumstances, or otherwise convincing ourselves that that there is nothing we can do to make a difference in Washington or Baton Rouge, our lives will change, and so will our country.
And the best part – you don’t need any formal education to figure that out.
Originally posted: January 25, 2010
The Republican Oath
Monday, Jan 25, 2010 9:52am
I believe that the proper function of government is to do for the people those things that have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people.
I believe that good government is based on the individual and that each person’s ability, dignity, freedom and responsibility must be honored and recognized.
I believe that free enterprise and the encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second to none.
I believe that sound money policy should be our goal.
I believe in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin. I believe that persons with disabilities should be afforded equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity as well.
I believe we must retain those principles worth retaining, yet always be receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying points of view.
I believe that Americans value and should preserve their feeling of national strength and pride, and at the same time share with people everywhere a desire for peace and freedom and the extension of human rights throughout the world.
Finally, I believe that the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.
Originally posted: January 25, 2010
The Origin Of “GOP”
Monday, Jan 25, 2010 9:51am
A favorite of headline writers, GOP dates back to the 1870s and ’80s. The abbreviation was cited in a New York Herald story on October 15, 1884; “‘ The G.O.P. Doomed,’ shouted the Boston Post…. The Grand Old Party is in condition to inquire….”
But what GOP stands for has changed with the times. In 1875 there was a citation in the Congressional Record referring to “this gallant old party,” and , according to Harper’s Weekly, in the Cincinnati Commercial in 1876 to “Grand Old Party.”
Perhaps the use of “the G.O.M.” for Britain’s Prime Minister William E. Gladstone in 1882 as ” the Grand Old Man” stimulated the use of GOP in the United States soon after.
In early motorcar days, GOP took on the term “get out and push.” During the 1964 presidential campaign, “Go-Party” was used briefly, and during the Nixon Administration, frequent references to the “generation of peace” had happy overtones. In line with moves in the ’70s to modernize the party, Republican leaders took to referring to the “grand old party,” harkening back to a 1971 speech by President Nixon at the dedication of the Eisenhower Republican Center in Washington, D.C.
Indeed, the “grand old party” is an ironic term, since the Democrat Party was organized some 22 years earlier in 1832.
Originally posted: April 15, 2007
Origin Of The Republican Elephant
Sunday, Apr 15, 2007 3:00pm
This symbol of the party was born in the imagination of cartoonist Thomas Nast and first appeared in Harper’s Weekly on November 7, 1874.
An 1860 issue of Railsplitter and an 1872 cartoon in Harper’s Weekly connected elephants with Republicans, but it was Nast who provided the party with its symbol.
Oddly, two unconnected events led to the birth of the Republican Elephant. James Gordon Bennett’s New York Herald raised the cry of “Caesarism” in connection with the possibility of a thirdterm try for President Ulysses S. Grant. The issue was taken up by the Democratic politicians in 1874, halfway through Grant’s second term and just before the midterm elections, and helped disaffect Republican voters.
While the illustrated journals were depicting Grant wearing a crown, the Herald involved itself in another circulation-builder in an entirely different, nonpolitical area. This was the Central Park Menagerie Scare of 1874, a delightful hoax perpetrated by the Herald. They ran a story, totally untrue, that the animals in the zoo had broken loose and were roaming the wilds of New York’s Central Park in search of prey.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast took the two examples of the Herald enterprise and put them together in a cartoon for Harper’s Weekly. He showed an ass (symbolizing the Herald) wearing a lion’s skin (the scary prospect of Caesarism) frightening away the animals in the forest (Central Park). The caption quoted a familiar fable: “An ass having put on a lion’s skin roamed about in the forest and amused himself by frightening all the foolish animals he met within his wanderings.”
One of the foolish animals in the cartoon was an elephant, representing the Republican vote – not the party, the Republican vote – which was being frightened away from its normal ties by the phony scare of Caesarism. In a subsequent cartoon on November 21, 1874, after the election in which the Republicans did badly, Nast followed up the idea by showing the elephant in a trap, illustrating the way the Republican vote had been decoyed from its normal allegiance. Other cartoonists picked up the symbol, and the elephant soon ceased to be the vote and became the party itself: the jackass, now referred to as the donkey, made a natural transition from representing the Herald to representing the Democratic party that had frightened the elephant.
–From William Safire’s New Language of Politics, Revised edition, Collier Books, New York, 1972