Who and What is the Happy Warrior

The Happy Warrior is the title of a poem... and yes, I love this poem. I do not wish to be mischaracterized, for the most part poetry is not my bag. I am not an afficionado of literature nor am I a metro-sexual (I despise that term) but a dear friend introduced me to this masterpiece of prose several years ago... it has provided no end of inspiration. The Happy Warrior by William Wordsworth outlines the qualities of a magnificent soul. I aspire to possess even one or two characteristics that "every man in arms should wish to be."

This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.

(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving thanks for the abundance of my life

For the past decade I've engaged in an mental (as well as an emotional and spiritual) exercise on Thanksgiving. It is a simple thing that has enriched my life tremendously: one of those "small and simple things" that has large and profound effects.
I carry around a note pad from the moment I arise in the morning and set it beside my bed and I retire at night. In the interim, as my day unfolds in all the mundane and unique activities, I simply write down the things, people, circumstances and occurences that are blessings in my life. The things that make it onto my list are informative but so also is the larger process. For example, last year (2008) I made a goal to identify 1,000 blessings... Certainly I am the beneficiary of at least 1,000 blessings and could identify them. I live in the most blessed age of human existence, in one of the most prosperous countries on earth, and I enjoy health, friends, family, financial security, profound life experiences, etc., etc. Certainly I am aware and appreciative enough to identify 1,000 specific blessings I receive at the hand of God. Well, let me confess that somewhere around 500 I started to hit a wall.
Houston, we have a problem. Am I less blessed than I thought? Is the well of God's abundance running shallow in my life? ABSOLUTELY not! The fault lies within me. I simply do not recognize the bountiful favor I receive at his hand on a daily basis. I am infected to some degree with the plagues of our day: ingratitude, over-abundance, affluence and the cancer of unprecedented ease. As Abraham Lincoln said, "We have forgotten God". I would take it a step further: we have forgotten that we have forgotten God. How can I be thankful and express gratitude for blessings I do not even realize I possess?
That was the entire reason for my engaging in this process to begin with: to MAKE myself realize the abundance of blessings I have. This is a good first step, but I have learned that I have yet many more steps to take. I am thankful for this realization and thankful for the blessing of living another day so that I might more appropriately recognize my dependence on God for all that I have and all that I am (a situation which I am just now beginning to understand).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Questions every US Senator should answer

In the United States there is no elite class of rulers. To the extent that there is (either by bloodline, education, economic class or any other criteria) we have abandoned one of the most fundamental tenents of our republic. The United States was colonized and founded on the principle of "we the people", that no one is inherantly more priveledged or deserving to be in a position of authority than another. We are all endowed with the same quality of moral freedom and we are all equally bound by the law.

Among other things, this principle means that my state senator is no more important than I. In fact, he is my employee. I hired him or her to serve me, my neighbors and the common interest in general. As such, he or she is obligated to answer to those who have entrusted him/her with our interests. Here, then are two questions I demand my senators to answer (I demand this of all the men or women holding the office of US Senator):
1. did you read the recently passed health care bill? Let me be specific since politicians are inclined, lately, to parse language to conceal the truth and quibble about the definition of words like "is" or "read": Did you read every page, every word and did you understand it?
If the answer is yes, I immediately want these to be subjected to a comprehension test to prove that they both read and understood it in its entirety. If the answer is "no" or if they fail the examination I want them recalled, impeached or otherwise disciplined on the basis of gross negligence and violation of the public trust. Why such a drastic punishment? Because, as they readily admit, this is one of the most significant and far reaching pieces of legislation that will have profound and personal effect on the citizens of this country... to treat it so lightly as to not even read it through once is unconscienable.

2. what are the potential negative consequences of this bill? This question begs their ponderous reflection -something that requires time and sober thought. If they cannot devulge at least five potential negative consequences they are being disingenuous at best, incompetent and deceptive at worst. There has never been a bill, law or amendment that does not bring with it some negative consequences. If a senator does suggest some potential negative consequences than several additional questions naturally follow: "why have these not been addressed", "should we not slow down and refine the bill to minimize these negative consequences?", etc.

There is a more important version of this second question that should also be explored if, in fact, the Senate is serious about the impact of the proposed bill on the American people. It is, "what are the potential unforseen or unanticipated negative consequences of this bill?" As a citizen, this is the most important question and the one I want thoroughly considered before any further proceedural vote is taken. I expect to be alive in 50 more years and the most devastating eventuality of the healthcare bill of 2010 would be its insolvency (a potentiality that is all to real considering the state of current government administered programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicade).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Troubled Times

My apologies for my blogging sabatical over the past few weeks. So much has happened and continues to happen in the socio-political arena that I am overwhelmed -it is almost paralyzing. To move past this I am simply going to ignore some things and make quick mention of some events that are relatively "old news" and yet are very important.

The Attorney General appeared before a Senate Committee to try and explain the rational for brining captured war prisoners (who, by the way, have already admitted to their terrorist crimes against the United States) into US civilian courts. Aside from the core questions (i.e. why would we do this and what positive could come out of it), this video is deeply troubling for two reasons:

Reason 1: What type of incompetents are running the highest levels of the Obama administration? I am not the Attorney General, I am not a lawyer, I was not even admitted into law school BUT I know enough to anticipate that this exact question would be asked! The delay in Mr. Holders response is astounding.... you had to know that this was a question that would be asked! There is zero anticipation or preparation. Please don't tell me this is representative of our government's forethought and strategizing!

Reason 2: The answers lead me to one absolute conclusion: we are making this up on the fly. We are navigating an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS world by the seat of our pants. Are there any principles (based in reality) that are guiding our foreign or domestic policy? Almost everything the Obama administration is currently pursuing has either no precedent or is breaking tried and true precedent:
Health care: complete and fundamental change (instead of making obvious adjustments to a system that is the envy of the world)
Government debt/spending: far in excess of previous levels
Conduct of war (Iraq and Afghanistan): indecision
American exceptionalism: apologies, deference and submission to foreign powers
Size of government: nationalized private auto makers, strong armed financial institutions
Defense of Democracy: abandoned the rule of law in Honduras, failed to offer moral support to the citizens of Iran
The airplane that is the United States of America is being flown by a crew that is taking their first flight lesson. As we approach a massive storm system with lightening, turbulence, zero visibility our aircraft is showing signs of serious structural problems. To say that I am less than confident is an understatement especially in light of Mr. Holder's bumbling over an issue that we should not even be messing with.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NFL Chandler 2009 Season Conclusion

The 2009 NFL Chandler is now in the history books. The Kinda-Super Bowl took place last Saturday on a crisp fall evening that was perfect for playing football. (I will post some video as soon as it comes out of the editors office). Unfortunately our unbeaten run came to an end as the final seconds ticked off the clock and we fell just short of an unbelievable come back. We lost 18 - 13.

The game was really a tale of two halves. There is no way to describe my first half play than to say, "it was ugly". We dug ourselves into a 18-0 hole in the first half, aided by my three intercepted passes and a defense that looked like it was taking a siesta. With some half-time adjustments we clawed back into the game with two scores and a defensive stand leaving us about 45 seconds to drive the length of the field.... Nope, like John McCain's presidential bid, we fell short.

Now, since I am trailing Brett Farve by just one year, let me put to rest all the speculation about my retirement: I will be back to plan in 2010. Speaking of Brett Farve and the Vikings, I figure this is a good place to share some happier thoughts and highlights:





Thursday, November 12, 2009

A citizen's lament: one less freedom

The fundamental reason for my opposition to present versions of the health care reform push is because it reduces my (and every US citizen's) freedom. If this is not, by now, obvious and ominous, you are either blind or we do not share a common concept of freedom. My opposition is not about the money! Not because Medicare is or is not almost bankrupt and not because it is fiscually prudent or otherwise. It is about the core of what America was set up to be: a free country.

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that will take away a very personal freedom (and what is to stop them from legally and systematically stripping me of more freedoms in other areas of my life). According to the US House of Representatives I am no longer free to not carry health insurance. This is a right I no longer have, a decision I am no longer free to make. By force of punishment including the threat of prison or seizure of my treasure, I will be forced against my will to purchase health insurance. And to add insult to injury, who must I pay for this mandated product? Who is enriched by this law? Government, the very institution that forces me to purchase is themselves the vendor. This is an immoral and malicious situation. For all those anti-capitalists who have ever bemoaned "big business" and the evil for-profit sector, I ask you what company has ever weilded such power to imprison a consumer who refuses to purchase their product?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to destroy freedoms and strip a nation of their rights...

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves: How would you strip a free people of their rights and freedoms?

I would bring about a condition, carefully and slowly, where they would not notice the erosion of their rights. I would confuse them about the very definition of rights, priveledges, entitlements, obligations and responsibilities. I would never speak of their individual responsibilities but of the governments responsibilities TO them. I would convince them that they deserve more and better and that the government's job is to provide them both (more and better). I would confound concepts of liberty, equality, sameness, justice, oppression, tolerance particularly with reference to the role of the branches of government in each of these. I would convince them that the matters of governance are too large for the individual citizen to concern themselves with and they are better left to professional politicians whose purpose is the beneficient oversight of the populace. I would construct a facade of freedom while undermining the foundations. I would find a way to dismiss the logic and arguments of the original framers as "out of date" or "from a fundamentally different era" or I would simply water down the education regarding those original framers so that their principles were lost or become spectulative assertions subject to interpretation. The main object would be to create a citizenry that is so dependent on the government that it would happily surrender some of their freedoms or rights for some supposed benefit (most preferrably a financial benefit that could only be provided by the government).

Eternal vigilence is not a condition that is concordant with our contemporary cultural characteristics of apathy and leisure. Indeed, a realist (those who are now dubbed "pessimists" or even "fanatics") might declare that our current social character is ripe for fundamental political transformation. Some might call this transformation "real change".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Down but not Out

I rarely get sick. Perhaps this is largely a matter of semantics... I really don't consider myself sick unless I throw up or have a migrane (and therefore can't see anything except bright lights that are not UFOs). This rules out nagging colds and coughs. Those, like runny noses are simply par for the course of mortality as far as I'm concerned. "Buck up Cowboy" and get to work. But I've got to admit that I have a monster cold that has knocked me on my perverbial buttocks. Contrary to how the media and county health workers would classify my current condition, it IS NOT the swine flu (seems like "swine flu" is the classification de jure this year).

No, I simply have a cold that is tearing up my throat, rendering me hazey in the head, causing me aches in my muscles, bones and even on my skin. I am "out of it". Accordingly, I've been negligent in my blogging. Don't worry, I'll be back!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Rare Prediction: When will Pres. Obama finally decide on Afghanistan?

I usually do not like to open myself up to the potential of being wrong. I HATE being wrong! It is not that I am so smart that I am right a large percentage of the time. I am very cautious and take great pains before I speak, act or make a decision. When I am wrong I feel like I've let myself or others (particularly the person I may have wronged) down -I'm sure there is some kind of mild psychopathology about this reaction. I know it has a negative effect on Mrs. Wicke since I have such a difficult time saying "I'm wrong" and its confessional cousin, "I'm sorry" (since this, by inference, also means "I screwed up").

But enough about me and my personality faults. I am going to make a bold political predicition. We've been hearing lots of "we must act quickly" in regards to health care reform and, ironically, "we must take our time" in regards to our military strategy in Afghanistan. Really..., in the latter issue people are dying NOW due to inaction but in the former, no one is going to die in what is the world's most charitable medical system.

So why the rush on health care and "dithering" over a military policy? These two are clearly entertwined because they are both political issues and President Obama is fighting for his political life. If he does not succeed in his efforts to enlarged government and extend de facto socialist policies he will bring down the ire of his liberal base. If he follows the battlefield informed recommendation of his own appointed General he will bring down the ire of his liberal base. BUT he has to follow the military recommendations or he will lose a war he himself has identified as vital to our national interests. So it becomes a matter of timing: pass health care reform quickly (to soothe the left) and then bolster our troops in Afghanistan.

Hence the feet dragging on the military decision and the fast tracking of the health care plan both make perfect sense. The question of when will President Obama finally decide (more precisely: "announce") his Afghanistan military policy? This finally brings us to my prediction: President Obama will announce his plans in Afghanistan (a troop buildup) within one or two weeks after some version of health care reform passes.

I will be my health care on it (which will be insolvent within 10 years after it passes anyway).