Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ferndale's Human Rights Ordinance passes: 65% to 35%

A reporter called me Tuesday night asking how I felt about the ordinance's passing--specifically if it changed how I felt about the city. The answer is unequivocally, "No." Ferndale is a great city, filled with citizens and business that didn't need an ordinance to coerce them to treat their neighbors with respect. I'm unsure how anyone can be disappointed with that.

I had hoped Ferndale voters would have told the Wizards of Special Interests to take their ordinance back to Oz. I would have preferred Ferndale voters had not asked what their government can do for them. In the same election where the majority of state voters sided with Dr. King to judge Michigan citizens by the content of their character, Ferndale opted to measure people by the paisley of their sexual orientation.

Though Ferndale may have pinned a new brooch on its city charter, I'm proud ours is a precious stone--forged by our example of mutual respect, than the costume jewelry other cities wear that haven't our reputation.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Editorial update: Kerry should think more, talk less - 11/01/06 - The Detroit News Online

Editorial update: Kerry should think more, talk less - 11/01/06 - The Detroit News Online
"The Massachusetts senator and failed 2004 Democratic presidential candidate prides himself on his great intellect and likes to remind the voters who passed on him two years ago of the intellectual inferiority of President George W. Bush."
Rather than say you're smarter than President Bush, it's better to demonstrate you're smarter than President Bush, senator.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Monkey see monkey do: Part I

Back in August I had an interesting discussion with a gentleman from California who had become suspicious of what America has come to stand for. It was during our breakfast discussion that I realized that a lot of what we're seeing on the news and reading about how other nations view America is because other nations have been copying what we do for years--and making fun of America is no exception.

I had already started forming my thoughts into an article when I ran across a posting in Stone Soup Musings about a question that blog's author had posed to some Canadians: who's your favorite American president?

Admittedly, I must have been in a foul mood (I had quit smoking and even my wife thought I was more tense than usual--I've since been off and on the wagon a couple times) when I wrote this response, but I thought I'd use it to introduce a succession of articles I hope to post and will call the Monkey See Monkey Do series.

Inside them there will be some repeated themes and even some repeated sentences. Regardless, here's installment #1.
I've been cruising a few blogs lately and have noticed a theme. Canadians have been spending a lot of time America bashing.

This follows another trend which is Americans bashing America. Though the seeds may have been planted in Korea or Viet Nam, I believe its waterhshed was Iranian radicals invading the American embassy there and kidnapping 300 American citizens. Large and influential groups of Americans, primarily "progressive" politicians, authors, and Hollywood, became victims of an odd strain of Stockholm syndrome. Editorials, books, and movies have had a decidedly Patty Hearst flavor ever since.

One of America's greatest exports is its culture. In addition to MacDonalds, Burger King, Rock and Roll, movies, etc., our exported culture includes America's opinion of itself in newspapers, movies, and lyrics.

That culture used to inspire other countries and citizens to be more self reliant, take individual responsibility, be entrepreneurial, encourage liberty, promote education, all kinds of positive behaviors.

Now it seems we're exporting the opposite, and the rest of the world is copying our behavior much as they did for 100+ years before--except now the examples are dysfunction, neurosis, anti-social behavior, and hostility toward our own government.

And now I come to Stone Soup Musings and find a casual interest in Canadian opinions (you could have been in NY and gotten the same opinions--I'm not sure I would have "gone off" but may have) and Mike is wishing Clinton had four (why not eight?) more years.

Since when did America care what the rest of the world thought? When did "the rest of the world" become the standard barer for what should and should not be done--even regarding our puritanical reactions to our politicians' extramarital affairs?

When was character excused from the list of presidential virtues? America's leaders carry a heavier burden than the rest of the world's. So what if they will tolerate any number of character defects? In America there remains a large population that expects more.

If Clinton had abused the trust in him from blacks as he did the trust in him from femininsts, would he still be thought so kindly of? Maybe we don't take feminism as seriously as we do racism?

Can I Get an Amen?

I sent the following letter to Michigan's First Gentleman, Dan Mulhern. He publishes a weekly newsletter called Reading for Leading I subscribe to. This letter was in response to his article, Can I Get an Amen?
Dan, nice column today.

The problem with call and response is too often we are preaching to the choir. In politics we're often surrounded with like-minded people and categorize all the opposition's like-minded people together.

The even bigger problem for leaders is finding a voice with a unique perspective that we don't immediately dismiss as the opposition, or shout-down because they aren't towing our line. Would someone disagreeing with a minister be shouted-down by the rest of the congregation? Would the minister even be able to hear them?

How do politicians get out of their ruts to find less stereotypical ideas? What leader, in tough economic times, isn't surrounded by too many yes-men, and what does someone risk when they express dissent?

It seems reasonable to me the problem with our automotive industry in Michigan is it's a poster-child for too many yes-men. GM's Kerkorian and board member York were the first people to try pushing GM any course other than their Exxon Valdez-ish rendezvous with bankruptcy.

How do you know if you're Martin Luther King or Captain Hazelwood?