I do not consider myself an extremist.
Some say I am. As Barry Goldwater once said "Extremism in defence of liberty is no vice!"
Here is one man's opinion that sums up my patriotism:
I am the Democratic, Republican Liberal-Progressive's Worst Nightmare.
I am a White, Conservative, Tax-Paying, American Veteran, Gun Owning Biker. That's me!
I am a Master Mason. I work hard and long hours with my hands to earn a living.
I believe in God and the freedom of religion, but I don't push it on others.
I ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles .
I believe in American products and buy them whenever I can.
I believe the money I make belongs to me and not some liberal governmental functionary,
Democrat or Republican, that wants to share it with others who don't work!
I'm in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!
I think owning a gun doesn't make you a killer; it makes you a smart American.
I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to anything. Get over it!
I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac or any other item, you should do it in English.
I believe there should be no other language option.
I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to.
My heroes are Malcolm Forbes, Bill Gates, John Wayne, Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, and Willie G. Davidson, who makes the awesome Harley Davidson Motorcycles.
I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor.
I know wrestling is fake and I don't waste my time watching or arguing about it.
I've never owned a slave, nor was I a slave. I haven't burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks, and neither have you!
I believe if you don't like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and change your own country! This is AMERICA ...We like it the way it is and more so the way it was ...so stop trying to change it to look like Russia or China, or some other socialist country!
If you were born here and don't like it... you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have you. I believe it is time to really clean house, starting with the Congress and all those who oppose the POTUS.
I want to know which church is it, exactly, where the Reverend Jesse Jackson preaches, where he gets his money, and why he is always part of the problem and not the solution? Can I get an AMEN on that one?
I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you're breaking the law, regardless of what color you are, but not just because you happen to ride a bike.
And, no, I don't mind having my face shown on my driver's license. I think it's good....
And I'm proud that 'God' is written on my money..
I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works, I don't want you deciding who should be running the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years.
I dislike those people standing in the intersections trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me into making 'donations' to their cause....Get a job and do your part to support yourself and your family!
I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a man and woman .
I believe 'illegal' is illegal no matter what the lawyers think!
I believe the American flag should be the only one allowed in AMERICA ! If this makes me a BAD American, then yes, I'm a BAD American. If you are a BAD American too, please forward this to everyone you know...
We want to return our country to the values it was founded on, and prospered under for over 200 years!
My Country...I hope this offends all illegal aliens.
My great, great, great, great grandfather watched and bled as his friends died in the Revolution and the War of 1812.
My great, great, great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Mexican American War.
My great, great grandfather watched as his friends and brothers died in the Civil War.
My great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Spanish-American War.
My grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I.
My father watched as his friends died in WW II and the Korean War.
I watched as my friends died in Vietnam , Panama and Desert Storm.
My son watched and bled as his friends died in Afghanistan and Iraq .
None of them died for the Mexican Flag.
Every one of them died for the American flag.
Texas high school students raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole, other students took it down. Guess who was expelled...the students who took it down.
California high school students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.
Enough is enough!
This message needs to be viewed by every American; and every American needs to stand up for America .
We've bent over to appease the America-haters long enough.
I'm taking a stand.
I'm standing up because of the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the American flag.
If you agree, stand up with me.
And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.
AMERICANS, stop giving away Your RIGHTS! Let me make this clear! THIS IS MY COUNTRY!
This statement DOES NOT mean I'm against immigration!
YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally:
We've gone so far the other way . . . bent over backwards not to offend anyone.
Only AMERICANS seems to care when American Citizens are being offended!
WAKE UP America !!!
IN GOD WE STILL TRUST
GOD BLESS THE USA
I guess we are a new species. We must be because nobody understands our language. No matter who we talk to, they misinterpret everything. At least that is what I think is happening because when the media responds to me or others like me, everything comes out backwards.
I attended a local conference on "Guns in America" and when I suggested it might be a good idea to have a gun to protect my family, friends, or anyone being threatened by a terrorist, I was berated and yelled at. Some said I am an angry, xenophobic and mean man. How can they reach that conclusion when I was suggesting I should make every effort to put myself between trouble and my friends? Isn't that a noble idea?
During an online video conference I suggested that everyone should have equal opportunity to get an education and improve their lot in life. Within minutes I heard angry attacks on my character, describing my ideas as divisive and racist. When I asked how what I said could be interpreted as divisive, I was told in no uncertain terms that "equal opportunity" is a phrase used by white men to restrict minorities from acquiring wealth. It represents the intersectionality of white privilege and devaluation of black subcultural identity and contributes to the atmosphere of repression black Americans experience everyday. Still others said "opportunity" is a "dog whistle" for restricting lower class access to wealth, because it has qualifiers that are subtly racist. They say, the only way minorities will get ahead is when healthcare, housing and education are provided free by taxpayers (which they euphemistically call government).
Did I just come out of a coma? I no longer recognize this place, this country, this culture or this "intersectionality" stuff. Somebody has hijacked the language and culture of the country I grew up in. It seems that everything I once held dear, that I admired about my country, community and my fellow Americans, is under assault. I can't put it any other way. I am a stranger in a strange land.
And when I express my concerns about this "intersectionality" stuff, I am ridiculed. I do not feel threatened by civilized discussion in the arena of ideas, and I do not take it personally if my ideas are challenged, but I do resent the implication that my ideas are designed to hurt other people or that my intentions are anything less than altruistic. So I dared to suggest, treating me and those who voted for Donald Trump like we are a threat to survival, or like we are vermin, is fascist.
The outbursts proved my point. Tolerance is in limited supply in our modern Progressive culture. Suppression of opposing ideas is rationalized by fear: Any idea that triggers an emotional reaction by an oppressed minority is subject to censorship or outright suppression. Discussion ends when someone is triggered.
I am often called a Trumpian. I guess I am one of a new species of homo sapiens, and because of my outgoing willingness to support nationalism, self-reliance, self-interest, and personal accountability and the only man in Washington who unabashedly stands up for those principles, I am looked upon as an alien species. A threat to the status quo, or at least to the status of "progressive thinking people" around me.
Funny, I used to be a perfect test-marketing client for survey professionals testing consumer goods and services. They liked me because I was right down the middle economically, educationally, and socially. I was a part of the majority white population and I am a male. I have been steadily employed virtually all of my life. I am married with two children. I am a third generation Californian, with a background in construction services. I have no criminal record and am active and healthy. I filled a demographic profile that consumer product manufacturers wanted to serve. If I liked the new product, the marketers were pretty sure there would be widespread acceptance.
Suddenly I am a threat to mankind? Maybe that's why the test marketers haven't called me in a while...
I got an early morning phone call today from my nephew. He said "Hi Uncle Rick, it's Ty." There was an ugly pause and then he said "I am calling to let you know Ron passed today".
Ron is my older brother. He and his wife live in Billings Montana. We talk on the phone often, but because of the logistics, I haven't see my brother in a long time. He has an extended family, most of whom live in Montana, so our families only see each other when there is a wedding or a death in the family.
I was speechless. Eventually I said "Wow, I am sorry."
Ty, my brothers youngest, is in many ways the patriarch of the Montana Elkin Family. Ron had three kids, a daughter who lives with her husband and three kids in Seattle. His oldest son Cory, also lives in Billings. Ron's daughter, Cameron, the oldest of the siblings, moved away years ago (presumably to escape the 'small town' atmosphere), has successfully carved out a niche for her family in the Great Northwest.
The circumstances surrounding the sudden and unexpected death of an otherwise healthy 73 year old won't be known for awhile. His wife Holly was away on business. When she couldn't get him to respond to phone and text messages, she asked a neighbor to check on him. Until a report is issued, we won't know what actually took his life.
But he had a great life. He and I had spent many hours reminiscing about our younger days. He was especially grateful for his loving parents and how supportive they had always been. Ron was the oldest son, and as we all know, first borns are often over-achievers. That is what he was, always a perfectionist, never satisfied with mediocrity. He had to be the best at everything. He was a clothes hog, always dressed well, always sharply creased slacks and penny loafers. He would wear a blazer to fly from Billings to Denver. He hated the way people wore sweatpants in airports.
I remember Ron wearing freshly ironed Madras button-down sports shirts to high school for years. Eventually the Madras ink-dyed fashion trend died out, but Ron never gave up his wardrobe. Twenty years later, the fad returned and he was back in business.
Ron never gained weight. I hated him for that. He could drink a six pack of beer a day and never feel bloated or gain a pound. I remember one time, when I was probably 10, Ron had his driver's license and had joined a car club. He had a bunch of the club guys over one weekend when the folks went skiing. I opened the refrigerator and low and behold it was full of Miller beer bottles!
Just then Ron came up behind me and said "You didn't see that!"
As kids, my brother protected me and shared adventures with me. Our family was very active and so we spent a good deal of time together. But as we got older, he went into high school sports, and I went skiing on weekends with my folks, we became estranged. When he went off to the University of Southern California in 1964, and I was becoming a high school hippie, we spoke less and less.
I was, on the other hand, avoiding Vietnam, voting for George McGovern and wondering off the proverbial 'white privilege' plantation. He worried about me.
But he was always there for me.
He was always the conservative lettermen, the successful businessman and the active family man, attending school and sporting events, birthdays and especially Christmas get togethers. When I graduated High School and was deciding where to go to college, he was the first resource I had. I didn't have any outstanding grades or achievements to get me into a prestigious school, but I wanted to go out on my own and live on campus. He told me to just go to Cal State Long Beach. It would serve my needs, be reasonably inexpensive and give me space to grow up.
He was absolutely right. I am certain I would have flunked out of any other school. I was able to stay in touch with my folks and local friends and still maintain my autonomy.
For the next eight years I immersed myself in the ski shop business in LA. Eventually I resented making the store owners lots of money so I sought to do my own thing. In 1977, when I moved to San Diego and we went into the ski business together, I was given complete autonomy to do whatever I thought necessary to make the business work. He provided the financing and the bookkeeping, but he trusted me to do the buying. I wonder if he ever really understood how much that meant to me…
Eventually he moved to Montana and semi-retired in a small ski resort community. He wanted to be involved with his kids as they grew up and also wanted to avoid the total, all consuming commitment required to be a top commercial real estate agent in Southern California. Most people thought he was crazy to walk away from such a lucrative market, but his instincts turned out be a good.
Rons marriage to Ann didn't work out, but I know they have maintained a healthy love for each other, and I know their kids all know that too. They have a great group of friends and family in Billings and around the country. Like our folks, Ron and I have always treasured our relationships with family and close friends.
So I lost my brother today, but I will always have a brother in life.
This is an excerpt from my book Trump's Reckoning.
"The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost."
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Ask any American what are the three most important things in their life, and most will list Faith, Family, Friends, Love of Country, or their marriage, or any number of things.
I am just as certain that for too many of us, Freedom won't make the list.
How can that be? Because without freedom, we may not be able to practice or express our faith. Without freedom, it can be hard to determine who your real friends are. Without freedom, all you have is family, and that can be compromised when authoritarians decide to split up the family because it threatens their command and control. Isn't splitting up the family of undocumented immigrants by immigration authorities one of the main objections liberals have to ending illegal immigration?
Illegals live in a state of fear because they are subject to law enforcement coming along and changing everything about their lives. Imagine if all Americans lived like that!
And the history of freedom is that once people lose it, it is near impossible to restore.
So for me, Freedom is number one on my list. It is the trunk from which all of the branches of our human experience grow. For me, freedom opens the doors, faith escorts us through fear of dying, and family escorts us through the fear of living.
As Americans, we are privileged to be free and prosperous. None of which was accidental. We paid a steep price in human suffering and sacrifice to achieve it. And we live under a burden because unlike every other nation or creed on the globe, we carry the torch of freedom. We have been given the gift of it by our forefathers, and since it has proven to be the most enduring and peace-nurturing idea ever invented by man, we feel compelled to share it. But we have to preserve it first, so it can be shared.
To protect it, we have to face the fact that other human beings hate freedom. They worship doctrine. They are uncomfortable with freedom and try to end it wherever they find it. And in our modern world, there are people who are determined to return everyone to a dark era of rule by theocracy.
I fear that too many Americans have become complacent about the need to fight for freedom. To better inform those of whom I speak, I suggest thinking about our country, America, as our family. If you knew there was a threat to your family, how far would you go to protect a parent or a sibling? I know, for example, that I would throw myself in front of a bus if I knew I had to to save my Mother. I would not hesitate. That is a tangible choice that offers me no alternatives, because she gave me life. She is me and I am her.
I believe it is the duty of all Americans to pass on the gift that we have been given by each generation before us. Thinking this way helps us to understand why we need to be patriotic. It is a condition we need to nurture in order to fulfill our obligations to promote the exportation of freedom, and to assure that our children have the same opportunity to live free.
As much as we love freedom, and the lifestyle it affords, we have a debt to pay, and it is something we all must, at some point, confront. Are we willing to continue to pay that debt, to lead the world out of depravity and servitude? Or are too many Americans under the delusion that freedom is now as free and natural as sunlight? And that the need to fight wars to preserve it is an outdated idea?
Will the average American embrace their duty, to do what is necessary now, or will we wait till the indomitable spirit of freedom is damaged beyond redemption? As Winston Churchill said, "Americans will always do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the alternatives."
Let's hope he was right about that.
I like to frame the discussions about our freedom as an extension of my family. I call the concept Familyism. What makes Familyism so important, and more illustrative is that it represents something tangible. Freedom is a condition, a state of being, but not something you can touch or hug. Unlike freedom, which is an idea, your family is real and close to you.
Familyism can make heroes out of us all. It can provide courage and strength just when it is needed. It is superglue for love. It is what drives our volunteer service men and woman to superhuman efforts, and to lay down their own precious lives if necessary.
We fight for four country, and sometimes we die so our family can live in freedom.
If only we could understand that it works for all Americans as we are all Family. There is no reason for us to suffer the indignities and pain of a dysfunctional family. We have too much in common, and though we have our internecine disputes, our jealousies, our resentments and our fears, when there is a threat to our existence, I have no doubt most of us would jump in front of that bullet without hesitation to save our Nation.
When Cathy and I went to New York City during the 15 year anniversary of 911, we learned to use Uber. One of the best things about that was speaking with the different drivers, all residents of Manhattan to get their perspective of the Big Apple before and since that tragic day.
One of our drivers was an Israeli national who was driving a delivery truck directly into the area when the first plane crashed into the South Tower. He immediately called his wife as she was working across the street from the World Trade Center and he wanted to see what she knew and be sure she was safe.
His story was incredible as he eventually raced to the scene to dig out survivors, while not knowing if his wife had made it out of her office or even escaped the explosion. She was not an Israeli national but was a native New Yorker, and although she did escape unharmed by the attack, he said she was ultimately victimized.
As we exited his car he said "I have no problem sleeping at night because I grew up in Israel with bombs going off everywhere all of the time. But my wife, having been so insulated from war living in America, is to this day traumatized by her memory of 911 and has serious insomnia. She watched people leap from the top floors to their death to escape the flames."
As we watch the bombing of Israel today it is frightening how insensitive many Americans have become to the anti-semitism and bigotry our Jewish allies have to endure every single day of their existence. And equally disturbing is the selective amnesia many Americans seem to have about 911 and the fact that it was an attack designed to ultimately undermine our unity and moral strength and solidarity with Israel.
Almost 20 years later and Israel is still under relentless attack and America today is more divided than at any time since the Civil War.