Monthly Archives: August 2010

Who is dividing our Nation?

Just this past weekend, Glenn Beck was holding a “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. which according to most counts drew just under 100,000 attendees. Why a rally? What was the purpose behind the rally? What were people supposed to walk away with or walk away feeling? Is Glenn Beck’s radio show going to take on a new “image” now?

This rally had been in the news and drawing quite a bit of attention as the day approached mainly due to the fact this rally was on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Glenn Beck said he did not know this when setting the date and location but when he found out, he did not make any changes which upset quite a large number of people and caused a lot of media attention.

A Fox colleague, Greta Van Susteren, said he should move his event for sensitivity reasons. Just because a person can do something doesn’t mean they should do something.

A similar argument is going on in New York and around the world about the building of an Islamic Center in New York City near the World Trade Center site, and whether by doing that would be insensitive. Although it may be legal to do this, it may not be sensitive to the families and others involved in the 9/11 tragedies.

Although these two situations are quite different, they both require taking other people’s feelings into consideration and looking at the overall end result. Is it really necessary to go through with the initial plans or would a simple change and some compromise bring the same end result with a better overall showing of tolerance and respect?

At the “Restoring Honor” rally, an organizer said it wouldn’t be about politics but to pay tribute to military personnel and others “who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.” There were funds raised for a group in Tampa, Florida – Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Nearly 5 million dollars was raised and more can be donated online for this Foundation by visiting their website.

The rally attendees appeared to enjoy the speakers and the overall event. There were people waving flags, wearing patriotic shirts and there were different times of applause including the playing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Glenn Beck talked about the fact that even though people have different political views, for the sake of the Nation, Americans should focus on their principles and values. He urged Americans to turn to God and reminded people that change begins with each individual.

That is what Glenn Beck was saying at the “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday.

In an interview with Fox on Sunday following the rally, Beck decided to go after Obama’s religion once again to claim that Obama “is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor and victim.”

“People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity,” Beck added.

Beck said that liberation theology is at the core of Obama’s “belief structure”.

“You see, it’s all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don’t know what it is, other than it’s not Muslim, it’s not Christian. It’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it,” Beck said.

As the Nation once again approaches another anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the U.S. seems to be more divided than ever.

As much as people talk about the need for the leaders in Washington to work together and children and teens getting along, it seems the average, everyday citizen is not passing along that message in their actions.

The problems of intolerance, hate and violence against those of different racial, ethnic and religious groups shows how this is not only a reoccurring problem but a growing trend. And, the fact a younger generation is showing these signs of intolerance as well, is a signal this will continue yet again into the following generations if nothing is done.

If a voter wants their leaders in Washington to be bipartisan, then demand that of them or don’t re-elect them. If they continue to get re-elected, then it shows them their constituents are okay with their behavior. It also shows the world that the Americans are okay with this behavior from their leaders.

If a person is showing unacceptable behavior such as bullying, racism, sexism or abuse of any kind, this is not okay and should be dealt with immediately. If it isn’t, then it appears to be okay.

If a child is seeing this from their parents, teachers, adults or those around them, then they are going to pick this up. If this is being seen through the television, then turn it off. Children have to know this is unacceptable behavior and it’s not tolerated.

When people in the media are daily insulting the President, the leader of our Country or saying demeaning things about people of different races or religions, belittling people in our society and it appears Americans are okay with this because they are tuning into their shows on a daily basis, they will continue the same behavior and sponsors will continue to pay for their programs.

Yes, there is a First Amendment Right for freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean people have to listen.

This is a country built on freedoms and rights for everyone and a lot of people have fought and died for those freedoms.

There is also the Second Amendment for the right to bear arms. The fact of a person having the right to have a gun is taken differently by different people. Some people want the right to have a gun in their house to protect their family. Others want the right to have a gun on them when they are out in public. The fact of a person having a gun in a public place makes people very uncomfortable and yet, this is something that the Second Amendment is looked to for a person to argue this case.

If everyone only worried about their freedoms and rights and not about what that did to another person’s freedoms and rights, then this country would not be free at all. People would be living in fear and afraid to say anything to anybody. Just because people have freedoms and rights shouldn’t mean they hinder or threaten another person or make another person feel demeaned or belittled.

To come together as a country, it isn’t about judging the other person and tearing down another person’s rights to make sure our own rights aren’t touched. There always has to be people looking out for the freedoms and rights of others.

It is about putting our Nation first which means looking out for one another. It means making sure the freedoms and rights that so many people fought for and died for are honored.

It means the Christian community needs to stop judging whether our President who has publicly said he is a Christian, really is a Christian. Do they judge each other in the same way or is that judgment reserved specifically for President Obama? As a Christian community, there are a great number of things that could be done with the time and effort they have put into trying to tear down the President’s faith. There are many people in need during these hard economic times. There are a great number of struggling families.

If Glenn Beck really wants to help “restore honor”, he can do it daily via his radio show and his show on Fox News instead of daily attacking the President of the Country he calls home. If a person wants to restore something, build on it. Don’t attack it and try to tear it down.

Life is not always about politics and politics is not always about Republicans and Democrats.

The focus needs to be put back on the individuals that make up this Nation, this great Nation, the UNITED States of America.

Is the Internet really safe anymore?

By now, most adults and teens own a cell phone and it isn’t uncommon to see a 9, 10 or 11 year old texting these days.

There’s a number of ways a person can reach someone. Anyone can text, tweet, message or email from practically anywhere they are to basically anywhere in the world and it be received in a few seconds. Kudos to technology, right? But, the days of sitting down and writing a letter, addressing an envelope and actually putting a stamp on to mail it (snail mail) just doesn’t happen very much. Do people still receive personal, handwritten letters in the mail? Those were nice.

Remember when two people “liked” each other and they exchanged phone numbers so they could call and talk endlessly about their heartfelt devotion and then spend ten minutes deciding who would hang up first? Silly, right? Now mostly, things are done through texting and chatting online.

Here’s one that most people deal with a lot. Remember when a company had a phone number for customer service that when a customer called for assistance an actual, living person answered it and could work with their customer’s concerns instead of people having to go through automated options answering, “yes” or “no” and pushing in account numbers or numbers for 10 minutes only to be disconnected and have to start over?

It doesn’t take too long to look around and realize how many things have changed over the last 20 years. A lot of these changes were done to make people’s lives easier, save time or make things more convenient and sure, some of them have.

The Internet for instance has made the world available at the click of a mouse. A person can basically find nearly anything through Google or Bing. Researching has become very simple and learning about places around the world, other cultures, medical information, animals, cars, architecture, languages, nearly anything is there if a person wants to find it.

However, along with the Internet came the issue of privacy concerns and it also simplified the ability for criminals to commit crimes like child pornography, identity theft and stalking. Law enforcement basically had to catch up with the times to keep up with the criminals.

As the Internet’s popularity grew, computers were becoming part of nearly every home. What these homes were not getting was the information about how dangerous being on the Internet could be, especially for children and teens and how easily children could be drawn in by a child predator. Many parents were unaware of the dangers online as they weren’t actively using the Internet.

As the social media websites grew more popular and crimes became more obviously connected to these sites, news stories started coming out about Internet safety due to sexual predators stalking kids and teens through websites such as MySpace first and then Facebook. Suddenly more parents were becoming aware of this growing concern over Internet safety and changes needing to be made.

Social media websites needed to keep their users safe and block users under certain ages from being on their websites. They were made very aware that sexual predators were going online, becoming friends with minors, chatting, setting up face to face meetings, getting their personal location information and planning sexual encounters with underage children. This was being done with children using their computers right in their homes, mostly unaware of who they were chatting with online and what they would be encountering when they went to meet this person.

Laws were not set up to prosecute this type of crime where stalking or setting up a meeting with a minor was done online.

The first sexual predator law was Megan’s Law, passed in 1994 in response to the rape and murder of 7 year old Megan Kanka.

President George W. Bush signed two laws to make it much harder for child molesters to lurk with anonymity on the web, especially at social networking sites. One law is called the “KIDS Act of 2008”, which requires registered sex offenders to provide “Internet identifiers”, including email addresses, to state sex offender registries.

Bush also signed the “PROTECT our Children Act of 2008” which requires the Department of Justice to create and implement a national strategy, as well as a new task force for tracking down predators on the web and prosecute them.

Although laws have been put in place and there has been more awareness drawn to issue of sexual predators being online, parents need to continue to be more aware of what their children are doing online, who they are talking to, what sites they are visiting and keep computers in an area of the house where it can be visible when children are online.

Recently, both Facebook and Twitter have added applications that allow users to opt in and share their actual locations with other users. This shows their current longitude and latitude location with other users and also allows advertisers to see this information as well. The user has the ability to change their privacy settings if they understand how to do so. As in the past though, this has upset both Facebook and Twitter users but some have come to like the service, others have learned to opt out of the service while others have chosen to cancel their accounts.

Sadly, most laws that are made to protect our society from online predators or online fraud do not prevent something from happening and only come into light after something has already happened and it is too late.

One in five U.S. teens, who regularly use to the Internet say they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. Solicitations were defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or to give personal sexual information.

25% of children/teens have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online.

Only around 1/3 of households with Internet access protect their children with filtering or blocking software.

With adults and children walking with a Smart Phone in their hands and “connected” 24 hours a day online, Internet safety is a must. By having that device in a person’s hand, there are certain responsibilities involved and those start by understanding Internet safety. For parents, when giving a child the “privilege” of using the Internet or having a phone that has text or Internet abilities, there are multiple responsibilities that go along with that for both the parent and the child.

Safety should always come first and if it questionable whether or not the child is ready for the responsibility, maybe doing without the data part of the plan or making other limitations could save their life.

Possibly moving a computer from a bedroom to the living room could save someone’s life.

Making laws and passing them to protect society is done in Washington D.C. but setting down rules and fulfilling a parent’s responsibility is something that should be passed down through each generation. The responsibility of protecting each child will never change even though life may continue to rapidly change.

To find more information on Internet safety or sexual predators in your area, please visit the following links.


National Center for Missing & Exploited Children



Locate sexual predators in your area



Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators



CyberSitter11



CyberNanny on Windows Vista


Is the "American Dream" still possible?

Sure, there are those that have opportunity made available either by family means due to inheritance or acquaintances, people that have opportunities come to them because of their looks (i.e. models or actors that are just approached at some point) and of course those very rare occurrences of a lottery win or hitting the jackpot! Who doesn’t have that dream?

However, the belief has always been that if a person had set goals, studied and worked hard they could accomplish the “American Dream.” Many people have grown up and done just that and have lived to tell their own version of the “American Dream” and many people have come to the United States from every other country for that reason and have accomplished their dreams as well.

Although the dream may be different for each individual, basically the idea was being able to get an education, find a career, buy a home, have a family and work toward a decent retirement at an age a person could still enjoy a retirement.

Between a retirement plan at a person’s job and social security, a person could plan on retiring as long as they had worked along the lines of saving towards their goals. The “American Dream” seemed to be within reach more and more through the years. Even when times were hard through the 80’s and 90’s, people continued to work hard and focus on what lied ahead because that is what they had been taught to do and it still seemed promising, enough.

 

As the younger generations have been raised, their parents have brought them up with the understanding to get an education, work hard at your job, set money aside and you can plan toward retirement. The question of whether social security would be around for retirement for the younger generation was causing concern so people were leaning more toward investments and attaining a higher level of education to move along further in a career. “Hard work pays off”, was said to be the key to success.

 

However, is this something to plan on? How solid is long-term planning? How solid are a person’s investments? Is the “American Dream” something to even strive for anymore? Is it possible?

 

Not to sound pessimistic, but here are some recent lessons learned.

 

Many companies let their long term employees go along with their benefits and pension plans. Financially, it saves more to keep those employees with lesser benefits and lower pay doing the same job.

A big investment for an individual or family is their home. However, if that investment suddenly depreciates at the same time a person has their hours cut at their job or loses their job and they find themselves unable to pay the mortgage, that investment is suddenly the hook, line and sinker that leads them to bankruptcy. The home that was once a part of their “American Dream” is suddenly a part of a terrible nightmare.

 

Unemployment or even being cut back to part-time from full time can take a person’s health benefits or for an employer trying to keep their employees but still cut back cost, an employer might just cut healthcare across the board. Health care cost for people without insurance causes more bankruptcies than most anything else. Bankruptcy can take everything away from a person they have worked so hard to attain. That definitely isn’t part of the “American Dream” and having this happen to a person isn’t something anyone would plan on.

Many people that have been planning for retirement, saving for retirement or putting aside for that “rainy day”, have either ended up having to use that money to replace lost income, increased bills due to possible loss of benefits, or possibly helping out friends or family that are facing financial crisis. It is a good chance that everyone knows someone facing a financial crisis due to the recent recession. The economy is still in a crisis and so are families, small business and therefore America.

The “American Dream” to those that have lost a job and cannot find work is simply to hear, “you’re hired”. Ask the 99ers. These are people that have been without work 99 weeks or more. To have a group, a large group of people that have formed a name and been on several news networks now because they have not been able to acquire work for that long shows how bad the job market still is.
For those that have been able to keep their job and benefits, the concern lingers about how steady their employment is and how steady the economy is.

For those still owning their home, the concern lies with how steady the housing market is, home values, property taxes and what will happen with homeowners insurance. What is around the corner?
People are concerned, very concerned. Voters are concerned about the choices in Washington D.C. and what the consequences of those choices will be. What will be the long term effects of today’s decisions and the lack of decisions? Who are the politicians looking out for, really?
 What is today’s “American Dream”?

 

What will it take to end hate?

The more often a story plays on the news or is written in the papers about discrimination, hate crimes, intolerance against others for numerous reasons, it should be opening the doors to more mature communications and closing the gaps of miscommunication.



It seems even though more people are talking and talking that less people are really listening. It appears to actually be fueling more hate and more intolerance. Why is that the case? Why is there so much division within the “United” States of America? Something has to be fueling the continued division and causing this to not only grow, but to become such an issue that even when the country is in such turmoil economically and suffering from tremendous job losses and countless crisis that needs attention.

Is this a political issue or an agenda of politicians? Does it lean from one party to another? Does the possibility of so much intolerance towards one another benefit one party over another to the point that this would be beneficial in the long run? That wouldn’t really make sense. Maybe in some illogical concept one could see it but in the long term, any time there is a period of hatred it will bring the downfall of any government or society.

 

Is this centered completely around typical discrimination? In many ways, almost everyone has some sort of discrimination in them. It may not be racial or towards another person’s religion. It may not focus on a person’s sexual orientation or whether they are rich or poor but there are many ways to discriminate against people by judging them before you actually know them. The more often a person draws conclusions, the easier and more acceptable it seems to be.

 

Intolerance is the unwillingness or refusal to accept people who are different from you, or views, beliefs, or lifestyles that differ from your own. Nowhere in the definition does is say a person has the inability to have tolerance to accept people. It says they are unwilling or they refuse to accept the person’s differences. Everyone can choose to become tolerant.

 

At this point, the U.S. is in a crisis. The crisis is not just economic or jobs. The major crisis is within America. Americans need to find the ability to work on these inner issues of discrimination, intolerance and hate. Without fixing the inner issues, the economy and job crisis, the educational issues and the energy crisis cannot to move forward. America is only as strong as its weakest links.

Americans vote for the leaders that represent them in each state and in Washington D.C. Americans vote for the President. Americans vote for a great number of things. These votes represent what each voter is saying they want to see done and who they choose to represent them.

 

However, for this to work, each voter has to start by taking responsibility for themselves in their everyday life. Each person has to take responsibility for their everyday activity and how they treat every other person they encounter. Everyone has to expect that from the leaders they chose when they are in their home state and when they are in Washington, willing to work together for the good of their state and for the good of their country. Unless someone is working for the good of others, nothing will move forward.

 

Hate, discrimination, intolerance and waiting for someone else to start the process to end these problems is just not going to work. It takes each of us starting the process to end this and end this now, right away.

 

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson

Is Obama’s faith really the issue?

During the 2008 campaign, even earlier, Obama was questioned multiple times about his religion. Now it is all over the news again as the November 2010 elections near. Is it because it is truly a concern or because it is a campaign tool?

It is true, President Obama’s father was born in Kenya, raised as a Muslim but Obama’s father had lost his faith and become a “confirmed atheist”. Later, his mother married an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro, a “non-practicing” Muslim. None of this makes President Obama a Muslim.

For over 20 years, Obama has professed to being a Christian and has spoken publicly of his “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”


Video – Obama’s Christian Faith (unedited)




Anyone who comes out and makes a public statement on their religious belief and faith and then has numerous people turn around and say otherwise has just been called a liar. This is what has continuously happened time and time again, not only by individuals but by different journalist, religious leaders, radio commentators, talk show hosts and news organizations.

Also during the campaign, one of the churches Obama had attended, Trinity United Church of Christ, was the center of much controversy due to Reverend Wright and some of his sermons and statements made to the press. The issue came up whether his radicalized views would have had any effect on Obama during his time of attending Wright’s church. There were mixed reactions but the more Wright spoke out, the more negative the reactions became. After multiple statements of Wright’s were released, Obama stated,” I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit.” He went on to say “Let me repeat what I’ve said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.”

On May 31, 2008 Obama resigned his membership from the church.

U.S. presidents throughout history have chosen to attend churches in the D.C. area and during the time prior to the Obama’s arrival, churches in the area and even outsiders were eager to learn where the Obama Family might pick to choose as their place of worship.

Although Ronald Reagan did not attend church during his presidency, he had different spiritual advisors, one of which was Billy Graham. Reagan said it was a hassle for the church to set up security screening for all of its parishioners. The Clintons drove down the street every Sunday to Foundry United Methodist and Chelsea sang in the youth choir.

George W. Bush was never a regular member of any local church. He preferred to mostly worship in the chapel at Camp David, Evergreen Chapel.

At this time, President Obama has been following George W. Bush and worshiping at Evergreen Chapel as the primary place of worship with his family. After a 5 month search by Obama, White House aides, family and friends, this seems to be the best place. Due to security issues and the fact even longtime members were not able to get into their own churches because of long lines and feeling as though a person was worshiping on display was all part of the decision.

Although, it has been said, the search for a D.C. church continues.

When it comes to a person’s faith, it is a personal choice that is made by that person at a time when that person feels lead to make the decision. When asked what their religion of choice is and an answer is given, calling them a liar or questioning them seems senseless and Christianity is faith-based. For a Christian to question another person’s Christianity shows a lack of their own faith and for the Christian Community to continue to stand up and question the presidents walk with God after he has publicly said he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” shows a lack of faith within the Christian community. Does one Christian typically question another Christian?

To become a Christian, it doesn’t matter who your Mom is or who your Dad is. It doesn’t matter where you were born or where you were raised. It doesn’t matter what your past is or what your job is. But by faith, you can ask Christ into your heart to live within you and forgive you of your sins. It is having a personal relationship with Christ.

You see it doesn’t matter if you were Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Islamic, Atheist or whatever. A person can always become a Christian. A Christian doesn’t have to be someone that is wearing a sign saying they are a Christian or out yelling at others that they are a Christian and someone else isn’t a Christian. That doesn’t make someone more of a Christian or a better Christian. Going to church every Sunday doesn’t make someone a better Christian. What matters is the person you are and how you are treating others and living as Christ would want you to. Being full of hate and causing others to be the same way doesn’t seem to be a very Christian thing to do.

If someone says they are a Christian, who is someone else to say they aren’t or say they are lying?

God?


Video (34 minutes unedited)



This video is very worth viewing, especially with the way things have been recently.

In 2008 Obama spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He spoke about Unity, deficit of morality, empathy deficit and about the problems with people looking too much at the differences of others and not their likenesses. He spoke about politicians and media exploiting these issues. He goes on to say in this 34 minute video to say we each carry the challenge to change this. “We can’t build ourselves up by tearing each other down.”

Americans want Social Security answers

As Social Security just celebrated its 75th birthday this past week, politicians have not denied themselves any golden opportunity to use this as a ticket to get more votes even if it means telling half-truths or flat out lying.

To current Social Security recipients, this is a very serious matter and to people paying into Social Security this is becoming an all too familiar issue, parties saying different facts and figures but rarely back them up with solid proof or anybody answering the questions being asked.

In President Obama’s Saturday Radio Address he stated, “Seventy-five years ago today, in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, laying a cornerstone in the foundation of America’s middleclass, and assuring generations of America’s seniors that after a lifetime of hard work, they’d have a chance to retire with dignity.”

He went on to say, “One thing we can’t afford to do is privatize Social Security – an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.”

As usual, the different parties and their constituents have different opinions on whether Social Security should be privatized or paid into the Social Security Trust Fund maintained by the U.S. Treasury.

Many Americans believe that Social Security is broke or going broke. According the Congressional Budget Office Projections, Social Security can continue to pay 100 percent of promised benefits for more than 25 years, until 2037, with no changes and three-quarters benefits for 75 years, until 2085. With modest changes, Social Security can pay our children and our grandchildren.

A question that has come up is another program Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a government program that provides to low income persons who are either aged (65 or older), blind or disabled. This program can also be provided to children. Although administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is funded by the U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security Trust Fund. SSI was created in 1974 to replace federal-state adult assistance programs that served the same purpose. Today the program provides benefits to 7.6 million Americans.

With so many questions and rumors going around regarding Social Security and other programs that sound as though they fall under the same Social Security Trust Fund, it is not surprising that politicians try to use this as a campaign token to draw voters in by either just confusing their constituents or making their campaign ads in a way that either lie or bend the truth. Often, when asked straight forward questions, they find a way to avoid answering the question directly because when a vote comes up, they don’t want to be caught voting in a way they said they wouldn’t.

One question is will the retirement age be raised to receive full benefits (100%) of a person’s Social Security? A very good tool to use at the moment is on the Social Security website. There is talk of this changing and at the moment, that is just what it is. But, the age limit has recently changed. Using the tool is as simple as putting in the year of a person’s birth.

The breakdown is this.

Prior to 1942 – 100% at age 65

1943-1954 – 100% at age 66

1955 – 100% at age 66 yrs + 2 mos.

1956 – 100 % at age 66 yrs + 4 mos.

1957 – 100 % at age 66 yrs. + 6 mos.

1958 – 100 % at age 66 yrs. + 8 mos.

1959 – 100% at age 66 yrs. 10 mos.

1960 and later – at age 67

Over the years, there’s always problems with fraud and people taking advantage of “the system”. This uses a lot of tax money unnecessarily and takes away from those who do need the funds to live and have earned the money. One of the best ways to prevent fraud is to report fraud and of course to never be a part of the problem but always a part of the solution. To report Social Security Fraud, call 1-800-269-0271 or use this online form.

Social Security is not only paid to those who qualify by age as some may think. Children can be entitled to receive Social Security Child’s Benefits if a deceased parent was fully insured by Social Security and meet the necessary criteria. A spouse may also qualify as long as they also meet certain criteria as well.

Social Security is a very important part of everyone’s life, both now and in the future. It shouldn’t matter if a person is a Democrat or a Republican or too young to even vote at this moment.

This is something that has worked for 75 years and was put together with very admirable reasons and very well thought out. This should still be looked at as a goal for all Americans and by all Americans.

Many statements are being made by candidates running for re-election or office. These cause rumors or confusion but nonetheless, they spread. Most often if a person goes to the candidate’s website, that statement is not there because it wasn’t substantial enough to post next to their name due to it being unfounded, weak or compromising. Social Security is too important for games, lies, deceptions or costly mistakes.

In his weekly address, President Obama said, “We’ve been talking for a long time” about how to fix Social Security’s issues, “and I am committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security.”

Mr. President, so are many Americans.

Recovery for America Pt. 4 – Intolerance, inequality and discrimination

Everyday there are more stories, news coverage, talk between friends and families about issues that are not only dividing the nation but are also dividing people, even causing arguments between complete strangers. The discussion is over the building of the mosque (Islamic Center) at Ground Zero.

The online social media website such as Facebook and Twitter show these divisions as well. On Facebook, soon after a ”hot topic” news story runs, the headlines or video clips will post and the comments themselves become a place for open arguments going back and forth, lines drawn down the middle. On Twitter, “hashtags” which typically are names to form groups, can often be used to make a clear point or in 140 characters or less, a clear confrontation can take place back and forth for all to see or jump in and join.

What are the issues? The arguments are more often about things that have nothing to do with things that a person can change or have control over and more about things that fall into a person’s constitutional rights, religion, race and a person’s national origin. What’s different about these arguments is the social media and the internet’s ability for things to swell up much quicker into larger groups of both support and hate, so both sides seem to grow much larger overnight. Both good and bad information gets passed around much quicker and what is said on the news, on a website or in an interview makes its way around the world in a moment. However, most often good things don’t go “viral”. Bad news travels fast.

As each new generation begins, it has been a new opportunity to bring up a more open-minded generation. That does not mean a generation of people that “give in” or a generation that does not understand its culture. It means a generation that does not carry with them the burdens of intolerance but a generation that has the ability to see each other as who they are and not what they are. A generation that sees people for what they bring to society and not what a group of them has done or what has been done to them. It is okay to understand history but not let history control the future but to learn from history and not allow it to repeat itself.

With the U.S. having such a diverse people within its borders, there is only more to gain, more to grow and more to learn. By having so many adverse feelings against each other, it is only hurting the nation as a whole and many opportunities are being lost for everyone.

In NYC, many people are upset about the idea of the Islamic Center near Ground Zero. This has been an extremely sensitive subject for so many.

President Obama released a statement on a person’s right to practice religion this past Friday.

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country,” Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has risen in New York City and the nation.

“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

The plan now is to turn the property into a 13-story, $100 million Islamic Center. This is being developed by a group call the Cordoba Initiative. The Cordoba Initiative says on its website that its goal is to foster a better relationship between the Muslim World and the West, “steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions.”

The Center’s board will include members from other religions and will explore including an interfaith chapel at the center.

The Center will include a basketball court, swimming pool, auditorium and culinary school as well as a mosque and mediation rooms.

We believe it will be a place where the counter momentum against extremism will begin, “the Imam’s wife, Daisy Khan to the Associated Press. “We are committed to peace.

Across the U.S., different towns have rallied against mosque being built as well. This isn’t just in NYC near Ground Zero. In Temecula, California, opponents brought dogs to protest a 25,000 sq. ft. mosque that would sit on 4 acres. Opponents say it would turn the town into a haven for Islamic extremist, but mosque leaders say they are peaceful and just need more room to serve members.

A proposed mosque in July is raising concerns in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Proponents allege the opponents are displaying religious intolerance while people fighting the mosque say zoning issues and worries about Islamic radicalism are their chief concerns.

Several hundred opponents faced off to counter protesters. The rhetoric was heated. Protestors bore signs with slogans such as “MOSQUE LEADERS SUPPORT KILLING CONVERTS.”

Mosque leader Essam Fathy, who helped plan the new building in Murfreesboro, has lived there for 30 years. “I didn’t think people would try that hard to oppose something that’s in the Constitution,” he said. “The Islamic center has been here since the early 80’s, 12 years at this location. There’s nothing new except it’s going to be a little bigger.”

Zuhdi Jasser, president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit that advocates for reform and modernization of Islam, said opposing mosque is no way to prevent terrorism.

A study by professors at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina back up Jasser’s statement. The study found that mosque, religious bookstores, and other communal associations that bring Muslim-Americans together, prevent radicalization.

By taking the time to learn and understand a person, their religion and culture, it gives more of a chance to grow and develop in one’s own life as well as allowing one to accept a person more for their character and who they are and not judging them by who one thinks they are by their appearance, misunderstandings or what may have been heard by someone else.

Today it may be someone else being unfairly judged, someone else’s religion, race or culture. The hateful words may be directed at someone else. Those tables can be turned. Intolerance is never okay. Hate is never okay. Discrimination is never okay. Sitting by while a hate crime happens is never okay. Embrace our diverse Nation and learn about others, their culture and religions. Practice tolerance and pass it down to the younger generations.