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Items filtered by date: June 2020

"Take a look at my record, man. ... I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I've run." -- Joe Biden, May 22, 2020, on "The Breakfast Club," hosted by Charlamagne tha God.

No, the NAACP has not "endorsed" Joe Biden for any of his races, let alone all of them. Following Biden's claim, the NAACP stated: "We want to clarify that the NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office at any level."

There's the Nelson Mandela lie Biden told in February at a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, a claim Biden repeated days later at the Nevada Black Legislative Caucus:

"This day 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid. I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto, trying to get to see him on Robbens Island. When he came to the United States, when he came to the White House -- to the Senate, I was chairman of the committee. ... He walked across in that private room with the big table we have in the executive room, and he walked over. And I said, 'Mr. President,' and he leaned out and he said, 'Thank you, thank you for trying to come and see me.'"


But Snopes, a left-leaning fact-checker website, said:

"Firstly, the former vice president claimed in South Carolina to have been arrested along with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a reference to (Andrew)Young, a Georgia congressman who traveled to Lesotho with

Biden in December 1976 before he became U.N. ambassador (and who later served as mayor of Atlanta during the 1980s).

"In February 2020, Young told both The New York Times and The Washington Post that he himself had never been arrested in South Africa, and he said he did not think Biden was either.

"Secondly, in the same South Carolina speech, Biden said he was arrested with Young 'on the streets of Soweto' while trying to visit Mandela on Robben Island (Biden repeatedly and mistakenly referred to the place where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years as 'Robbens Island').

"On its face, this claim appears utterly implausible since Soweto, a township of South Africa's largest city Johannesburg, is located nearly 900 miles northeast of Robben Island, which is off the coast of Cape Town -- the two locations are effectively on opposite ends of the country."


Then there's Biden's alleged civil rights record:

"When I was 17, I participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses. And my stomach turned upon hearing the voices of (Arkansas Democratic Gov. Orval) Faubus and (Alabama Democratic Gov. George) Wallace. My soul raged on seeing (Birmingham, Alabama Commissioner of Public Safety) Bull Connor and his dogs." -- Biden, 1983, at the New Jersey State Democratic Convention.

"As a young man, he took part in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants along U.S. 40 in Delaware," reported the Baltimore Sun following an interview with Biden in 1986. A Morning News article in September 1975 said that Biden "joined in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants along U.S. 40 before he joined the Senate."

"When I was 17 years old, I participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses of Wilmington, Delaware." --Biden, 1987, California Democratic Convention.

"Well, I got my education ... in the Black church. Not a joke -- because when we used to get organized on Sundays to go out and desegregate movie theaters and things like that, we'd do it through the Black church. I got to admit to you I'd go to my Catholic mass at 7:30 first, and then I'd show up in the Black church." --Joe Biden, Dec. 6, 2019, Iowa campaign stop.

But last year, The New York Times wrote: "In ... 1987 ... more than once, advisers had gently reminded Mr. Biden of the problem with this formulation: He had not actually marched during the civil rights movement. And more than once, Mr. Biden assured them he understood -- and kept telling the story anyway."

Biden and the race card have had a long, cozy relationship.

Recall that Biden, during the Obama-Biden 2012 reelection campaign, said to a racially mixed crowd: "Romney wants to let the -- he said in the first 100 days, he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, 'unchain Wall Street.' They're going to put y'all back in chains." And this year, in the interview with Charlemagne Tha God, Biden said, "You got more questions but I tell ya, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't Black."

What do these repeated lies illustrate? Biden sees Black people as pawns to whom condescending lies can be told with no fear of retribution, no matter how blatant the falsehood.


Larry Elder

Published in Politics

Chef Cristof Danzi of Cristof' on McGregor has been creating culinary masterpieces for over 20 years here in Fort Myers. He started his cullinary adventure in Lee County at the McGregor Grill back in 1999 when he took over the restaurant, after 12 years there he outgrew the space and found a new location nearby on the corner Royal Palm Square Blvd and McGregor Blvd in a cozy 1940's cottage home converted into a comfortable eatery with an open feeling but with private spaces and even a private dining room off the bar for special gatherings, with indoor and outdoor dining.... it really has a spacious feel.

Cristof started his restaurant career washing dishes in Italy while attending college and learned all aspects of back house from the ground up, eventually cooking his way across England, Eurasia and Barbados. If you've ever worked in a restaurant as I have (in a previous life), you want a boss who is someone that has done every aspect of the business... they make the best bosses because they know each job and the challenges that they face... when overly busy, or understaffed etc.

With his vast worldly experience Cristof’s menu is a blend of Louisiana, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines, but all the dishes are made with an Italian accent but you'll find all the traditional Italian appetizers you would expect like Bruschetta, Caprese Salad, Fresh Mussels, Calamari ever so lightly cooked to perfection... and some new twists too like Tuna Carpaccio and even Fried Green Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Italian style Bacon.

cristof1christof2smchristof smcristof

In the spirit of something for everyone.... Vegan diners will be happy with the black-bean burger and the portobello burger.

My group didn't even get to the main dishes as we ordered and shared 4 apps and found them to be exquisite, we are all looking forward to returning with hardier appetites .

His love of cooking can be expressed best by his quote "With the passion I have for cooking, it’s like I never work."

As of July 15, 2020 for the safety of their patrons and their staff, they are mandating a mask/ face covering policy to enter the restaurant. When you are seated at your table, you may remove your covering.

Cristof on McGregor
10231 McGregor Blvd,
Fort Myers, FL 33919
(239) 791-8473

Published in Lifestyle

Do We Have A Cure For Civid 19? - I Do Believe…That Dr. Richard Bartlett of Houston Texas, Does Have a Cure For Covid-19!

How Many Times Does the Medical “Profession” Have to Be Hit over The Head…To Wake Up?!!

Dr. Richard Bartlett is a practicing Doctor, MD, Surgeon who has treated …now listen carefully…Hundreds of patients with confirmed Covid-19 and cured them…ALL!  Not a “few”, nor 10 or a 100, but hundreds…and he cured ALL that he treated!  How do I know because he said so and I believe him? There are some people who are truth tellers and in my opinion…he is a truth teller. He’s been practicing medicine for 3 decades. He has no reason to lie…like so many do.

I read his “paper” but don’t understand much of the medical terms but when a legit person who has little to gain and everything to lose by making a profound statement, that effects the lives of millions…those nonbelieving morons need to stick their pride, in their …back pocket, and listen instead of jump to the conclusion, “he did not find a cure” .That is what these Medical professionals, who didn’t think to try what he tried, are doing. These 15 year college graduates apparently didn’t learn a thing in 15 years of college and higher education and the “practice” of medicine!

The man says “he’…him, personally, treated hundreds of patients in various stages of Covid19 and he cured 100% with the same type of treatment as they treat asthma patients except he used a common medicine (Steroid) called Budesonide with a nebulizer, and an upper respiratory antibiotic. It cured, them in a few days… they tested negative after a few days of treatment, at a cost of $200 and they all lived!

So, let’s assume he told the truth and he cured those patents as he said …what does that mean?

To me…a Federal Investigator for 3 decades, with an education in Engineering (Math, Science,  Chemistry and such), I think we should drop whatever we’re doing and immediately, take the sickest people ( ventilator/ elderly) and see if we can save these hopeless cases who have no other hope or way to go. I believe we should put any other studies that seem to have good results and pour all our resources into Dr Bartlett’s protocol that so far, works 100%.

In Mathematical terms that’s a little better than …pretty good. Are there any other protocols that have cured hundreds of Covid19 patients and have a 100% success rate? If you, Mr CDC have one, where the hell is it?

Are we NUTS or what?

Instead of praising this guy’s success in saving lives…100%... these CDC experts will take a look at it in October, set up a study for 6 months and …get back to us!

Listen Mr CDC that is NOT good enough!

I say “bend” your freaking protocol, pull your heads out of the dark place you have them stuck, so at least your ears pop free and do away with Bureaucratic Regulations and do it NOW!  TRY HIS PROTOCOL…NOW!

How many people will die by the time you get all the approvals, all the regulations, set up studies, read up on your protocols, see if there are any favored medicines(big pharma) that are close to being successful, that you and you colleagues have invested money in?

When a man says he has the cure, who is well respected…quit putting him down challenging whether he followed protocols…he did…he saved Lives…that’s the only protocol that matters!

Whether he did it in a study, at a college, clinic, in a hospital or on a battlefield makes no difference…100% is 100% …come back to reality!

Mr President his name is Dr. Richard Bartlett,Odessa Tex, area. His cure is Budesonide w/ nebulizer and oh yes…you are correct, according to him, Hydroxychloroquine does work too…his words, not mine!

One of Dr Bartlett’s patients was on a ventilator, dying and her Doctor held out no hope. Dr Bartlett applied his protocol and she was cured…from death bed to cure…in days and not weeks! Do we think he “faked” it?

Direct the CDC, to do an emergency study of the sickest who seemingly have no hope …if I had Covid19 and no hope, I would want my advocate to volunteer me to be treated and so would millions of Americans…we have hope!

gary small


J. Gary DiLaura


Retired, Extremely Dangerous

Published in National

Senate Republicans' latest COVID-19 stimulus package proposes another round of direct payments to Americans and more enhanced federal unemployment benefits for workers who lose their jobs during coronavirus restrictions.

The $1 trillion package, called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act was released Monday.

If passed by the U.S. Senate and House and signed by President Donald Trump, the direct payment to American workers would be similar to what was provided through the CARES Act passed in late March: $1,200 for workers making $75,000 or less, with diminished payments to those making more than $75,000 and up to $100,000.

"Just like in March with the CARES Act, Senate Republicans have authored another bold framework to help our nation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "So now we need our Democratic colleagues to reprise their part as well."


The enhanced federal unemployment benefits would be reduced from $600 a week as provided through the CARES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress in late March, to $200 a week. The CARES Act unemployment benefits expire this week. The federal enhancement would be in addition to state unemployment benefits.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and many Republicans said the $600 in additional weekly benefits discouraged some workers from returning to their jobs because they made more off unemployment.

Senate Republicans' plan also includes $105 billion more for schools, $16 billion for increased coronavirus testing, additional funding for small business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program that would be forgivable if businesses retain workers, and protections for businesses whose workers contract COVID-19.

Another stimulus package is being negotiated after the Congressional Budget Office reported that June's federal budget deficit was $864 billion, an amount greater than the entire federal budget deficit for the year of 2018.


​Dan McCaleb

The Center Square

Published in Politics

Speaking at Mount Rushmore, and from the White House lawn on Saturday, July 4, Donald Trump recast the presidential race.

He seized upon an issue that can turn his fortunes around, and the wounded howls of the media testify to the power of his message.

Standing beneath the mammoth carved images of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, Trump declared: "Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities."

These mobs are made up of Marxists, criminals and anarchists. Their cause is a cultural revolution. "Their goal is not a better America. Their goal is the end of America."

After reciting the achievements of his four predecessors, Trump added: "No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart."

Then he put it right into the basement hideaway of Joe Biden: "No person who remains quiet at the destruction of this resplendent heritage can possibly lead us to a better future."

Trump is calling out Biden's silence in the face of an onslaught against our heroes and history as manifest political cowardice that makes Biden a moral accomplice of the mobs.

One day, Basement Boy is going to have to speak out.

Where was Biden when Trump was standing up for America on Independence Day?

As his Party tweeted that Trump's trip to Mount Rushmore was aimed at "glorifying white supremacy," Biden was wailing about the need "to rip the roots of systemic racism" out of America.

Does that sound like Harry Truman or JFK?

So the lines are drawn for 2020.

On one side are those who believe America is a good country, the greatest the world has ever seen, and that the men who created this miracle should be respected, revered and remembered.

That is not the view of the left wing of the Democratic Party.

For even as the fireworks were exploding on the Mall, a Baltimore mob was tearing down, smashing up and dumping into the Inner Harbor a landmark statue of Christopher Columbus.

That statue stood next to the Baltimore neighborhood of Little Italy and had been dedicated in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan.

Do the haters of Columbus think that destroying Columbus' statues across America will not anger and alienate Americans of Italian descent who revere the explorer? Does Biden think Italian-Americans will reward a candidate and party that will not renounce the mob that did this?

As the left wing of the Democratic Party embraces the "defund the police" movement, how long will it hold onto voters who are today watching murder rates climb to new records?

During Independence Day weekend in Chicago, 80 people were shot, and 17 of them killed.

In New York City, the number of shooting victims has risen this year by 50%. In June, there were 250 shootings, an increase of 150 over June 2019. Mayor Bill de Blasio's response: cutting $1 billion from the NYPD budget.

Over July 4, an armed Black militia arrived at the reopening of the Stone Mountain monument in Georgia, which features huge carved images of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. They want its destruction.

Trump is charged with "dividing the nation."

But it is not Trump trashing cops or providing cover for "protests" marked by looting and arson. Nor is it Trump tearing down memorials and monuments to the great Americans of the past.

Where the Democratic Party has been a portrait in indecisiveness, Trump has been clear. He stands with the cops who have gone through a hellish six weeks. He stands against defacing statues and destroying monuments. He has denounced the rioting, looting and arson that have accompanied protests the media never cease to describe as "peaceful."

It is not Trump who is dividing America. He has pledged to resist the rampages with all the weapons in his presidential arsenal.

There are four months until November's election, 18 weeks until America decides: Do we want to continue an era of protests that revert to rioting, looting and arson? Do we want to see police departments further constricted and trashed as neo-fascist?

Do we wish to see statues of presidents from Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant to Teddy Roosevelt trashed by mobs that hate America, hate her heroes and hate her history?

Trump's stand for tradition and against mob rule is the only stand the president can take. And it is a necessary stand. For this culture war is going to last long after this presidency. And it is going to determine what kind of country we shall become.

Will it be the great and glorious republic of the past or the social and cultural Marxist hellhole that is the promise of the mobs? Patrick J. Buchanan

Published in Politics

Dear Doctor: My boyfriend laughs when I turn down the car stereo when I'm trying to find a new address, but I've seen his dad do the same thing when he's changing lanes on the freeway. Why does the quiet make you feel like you can see better?

Dear Reader: Your boyfriend may have fun teasing you, but we'd be surprised if there haven't been similar instances in his own life.
The scenarios you describe, which require you to evaluate incoming data and make split-second decisions, suck up a lot of mental energy. Researchers refer to this as "cognitive load." Eliminating a distraction such as sound can help with concentration by reducing the cognitive load. That's because, much like a computer, our brain's capacity to engage in multiple tasks is finite.
To understand why, it helps to appreciate the complexities of the human brain. It's made up of three major parts -- the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem. The largest and topmost part is the cerebrum, which is divided into left and right hemispheres. It deals with learning, emotions, reasoning and fine motor skills, and it interprets the flood of data from the five senses. Tucked beneath is the much smaller cerebellum, which oversees muscle movement, balance and posture. Acting as a relay center between the two and the spinal cord is the brainstem, which also oversees the staying-alive stuff we don't think about but can't live without. This includes breath, heartbeat, swallowing, sleep cycles and temperature control.

The three areas of the brain, plus the spinal cord, make up the central nervous system. It regulates movement, thought and emotion. It's why you're able to find that new address. But while it seems as though we can concentrate on multiple things at once, the brain handles tasks sequentially. It's just making the switch so swiftly, in mere nanoseconds, that it feels like we're multi-tasking. Once you're hunting for a street sign, though, or gauging car lengths in fast-moving traffic, all of the collecting and interpreting of data by the central nervous system reaches critical mass. That cognitive load we talked about earlier gets to be too great. Turning down the radio removes enough incoming data to make it easier to concentrate.

A small study in Sweden looked into this phenomenon several years ago. Researchers had each of 32 participants perform an easy visual task and a challenging visual task. They were also instructed to ignore the audio -- a random sequence of sounds -- that was playing. The subsequent MRI tests revealed that when participants concentrated on a visual task, there was a decrease in the responsiveness of the auditory nerves. Basically, the brain itself was turning down the volume.

The takeaway here is that when our inner mute button can't adequately remove the auditory distraction, our brain kicks in and we decide to turn down the car stereo. We're adjusting our environment so the most important task -- finding the address or safely merging onto the freeway -- has a better chance of getting accomplished.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, and Elizabeth Ko, M.D.

Published in General/Features

There are a number of unusual legal terms you may come across when preparing your Florida estate plan. One of them is “exempt property.” This term appears in a specific Florida statute that is part of the state's overall laws governing individual estates. So what does it mean? And is it something you need to think about when making a will or trust?

Understanding Exempt Property

When you die, your debts do not necessarily pass on with you. Your creditors may demand repayment of your debts from the assets in your estate. In order to ensure such demands do not leave your immediate family with nothing, however, Florida law exempts certain property from most creditor claims. This is what is known as “exempt property.”

Exempt property protections only cover your spouse–if you were married at the time of your death–otherwise they pass on to any children who outlived you. By law, your spouse or children may claim the following types and amounts of property under the legal exemption:

● Up to $20,000 worth of “furniture, furnishings, and appliances” in your primary residence.

● 1 or 2 motor vehicles, provided neither weighs more than 15,000 pounds, and they are used by your “immediate family as their personal motor vehicles.”

● Any money you placed in a Florida 529 Savings Plan.

● If you are a public school teacher or administrator, any death benefit your family is paid if you are killed as the “result of an unlawful and intentional act.”

You'll notice there are a lot of items omitted from the definition of exempt property. For example, it does not protect your jewelry. Nor does it cover your home or other real estate, although Florida law contains additional protections for your primary residence (or “homestead”).

You should also know that exempt property does not protect any property subject to a “perfected security interest.” In plain English, if you used any of the exempt property described above as collateral, the lender may still be able to seize that item from your estate. So if you had an outstanding car loan one of your vehicles, your spouse cannot rely on the exempt property rule to prevent the lender from repossessing the vehicle.

Exempt Property and Your Will

Now you may be wondering, “Does the exempt property rule override my will?” For example, say you own a car that meets the exempt property requirements. Do you have to leave it to your spouse, or can you give it to your brother instead? The simple answer is that any property you specifically dispose of in your will is not subject to the exempt property rule. So if your will includes a clause that says, “I leave my 2010 Honda accord to my brother,” your spouse or children cannot use the exempt property rule to override your gift.

Of course, that is only a hypothetical example. If you need more specific advice tailored to your own situation, you need to speak with a qualified Fort Myers estate planning attorney. Call the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team today.

Published in Business
Sunday, 19 July 2020 12:36

Stand Up For Freedom

If you support the Second Amendment, oppose mob anarchy and reject the monumental madness gripping America, then you stand with Steven Baca.

If you have been outraged by the persecution and prosecution of brave patriots across the country defending their homes, their families, our downtowns, our national heritage and history -- like the armed St. Louis couple, or the armed pregnant Michigan mom, or the armed citizens in the Fishtown suburb of Philadelphia, Boise, Idaho, and Provo, Utah, facing down the saboteurs of civil order, then you stand with Steven Baca.

On June 15, Steven and several other friends and neighbors gathered peacefully at Tiguex Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to protect a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate targeted by agitators identified as Black Lives Matter protesters. What does Onate have to do with St. George Floyd or any of the other clients of race hustler Benjamin Crump? Nothing. The coordinated violence and chaos unleashed by a toxic convergence of BLM, antifa, jobless college students and garden-variety cop-haters have nothing to do with black lives. Or with "justice."

Or police brutality. Or equality.

It's all about making money, securing power and reimagining this nation by eradicating every vestige of the settlers, pioneers, colonizers and founders who made America America.

Esther Rivera, a 14th-generation mixed Hispanic and Native American grandmother from Albuquerque, showed up to guard the memorial. "I wasn't there to protest," she told me: "I was there to pray for peace and the preservation of these statues and preservation of historical art... If we start pulling these down and renaming buildings and burning books, that's fascism."

During the melee at Tiguex Park, as agitators wielded pickaxes and strapped chains to the Onate statue, several belligerent women verbally assaulted Rivera. Some screamed falsely that she was a cop, stirring anger among the cop-hating BLM mobsters. In several videos of the toppling of the Onate statue, at least two of the thuggish protesters can be seen laying hands on Rivera. She told me one woman tried to steal her phone. As she was pushed to the ground, Baca tried to rescue her. A swarm of women blocked Baca and multiple videos show him trying to peel the women off of him and Rivera. He was a defender, not an aggressor.

Then the scene turned uglier. As the savages ripped the statue from its pedestal, unidentified assailants screamed falsely that Baca was a cop. "I'm gonna f---ing kill you," another yelled.

Baca can be seen retreating from the crowd, separated from Rivera. He ran into the street, where several rioters beat him in the head and body with a large longboard and other unidentified objects. At least one video appears to show an assailant wielding a switchblade or knife.

That is when Baca drew his weapon and fired several shots at his attackers. Initially charged with felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, Baca was held in jail for a week before the

Bernalillo County district attorney Raul Torrez dropped that charge.

Baca's justified self-defense is plain as day to anyone who watches the videos.

Here's the thing: This story is far from over. Baca still faces potential reintroduction of the felony weapons charge, as well as aggravated battery charges involving three women -- none of whom have come forward, none of whom the D.A. has located and all of whom can be seen on camera laying hands on Baca and Rivera first.

Here's another thing you need to know: Torrez is not just any run-of-the-mill D.A. He's one of dozens of George Soros-subsidized subversives who could put "social justice" above equal justice. A Soros front group called the "New Mexico Safety & Justice" PAC -- pro-criminal, pro-rioter, anti-cop, anti-Second Amendment -- dumped more than $107,000 into Torrez's campaign in 2016.

Tim Keller, the Albuquerque mayor who has spent the past eight weeks pandering to BLM, defamed Baca as the agitator. The head of the police union, however, condemned city leaders for creating an "operations plan" that tied the hands of cops, who were "spat upon" and had rocks thrown at them as they tried to secure the riot and crime scene.

I had the privilege of meeting Steven this Independence Day weekend. He is a gentle soul, overwhelmed by his predicament but grateful for the outpouring of grassroots support. "We now have to wait for the district attorney to complete the investigation. We do not know how long this will take," he told me. "I stand ready to have my conduct and the conduct of others at the protest fully and thoroughly reviewed."

If you stand with Steven Baca, I have created a crowdfunding campaign that you can donate to at:

This isn't just one statue and one armed American's freedom at stake. If you believe in the sacred right of self-defense and the sovereignty of our nation, then we are all Steven Baca now.

michelle malkin sm

Michelle Malkin

Published in Lifestyle
Sunday, 19 July 2020 12:34

Proud To Be an American

I am proud to be an American. Yes, I know that our system of government is not perfect, but I firmly believe that it is the best in the world. We are an exceptional country -- not because our people are exceptional but because we have a different -- and exceptional -- structure of government. I am grateful that I was born an American.

We declared our independence from Great Britain 244 years ago this week. It happened after years of overreaching rule by King George III and Britain's insistence on taxation without representation. We had had enough. We were pushed into action over time -- and act we did, finally.

The taxation began in the 1760s; the Boston Massacre occurred in 1770; the Boston Tea Party in 1773; and the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775.

Patrick Henry's call to action, "Give me liberty, or give me death," made in the spring of 1775, was the first strong public statement that if we were to be free, we would have to fight Britain.

Before that, we believed that we could negotiate with Britain -- that, somehow, we could make it work without confrontation.
It was not to be. Henry stated it clearly. Our choice was liberty or death.

Our founders chose to take the challenge and declared our independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. When they signed the declaration, they knew that they were putting their lives at risk.

They would be seen by the British as traitors. Yet they signed. They risked their lives for their freedom and for ours.

Our Declaration of Independence declares: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

The declaration of these so-called self-evident truths sets us apart. Other nations are founded on power belonging to an individual (dictator) or government (communism). That individual or the government then gets to determine what rights are given to people.

In our country, it is the exact opposite: All rights belong to the people, and we loan them to the government. But it is up to each generation to ensure that the government does not overstep and overrun individual rights. When our Declaration of Independence was signed, not everyone was part of the new political process. While we declared our country's freedom from Britain, it took a Civil War for President Abraham Lincoln to emancipate those held in slavery, a civil rights movement to ensure equal rights, and civil demonstrations for women to receive the right to vote.

Today, we are closer to perfection as a county than we were 244 years ago, however, we are still imperfect. But for some, this lack of perfection results in hatred of our country. This quest for perfectionism has led to a dismissal of those deemed not perfect, a censorship of speech, an inability to debate issues without emotions, and the stance that disagreement is treason.

We are not a perfect country, nor can we ever be a perfect country -- that's left to heaven -- but the goal of a more perfect union is important.

While our imperfect system of government might cause some not to feel proud of our country, I take pride in the fact that our structure of government allows each of us to participate in the governing of our country; we just have to step up and make sure our voices are heard. Today, when many are seeking to silence those who disagree with them, we should instead find a way to more clearly articulate why arguments are valuable, why freedom of speech is at the core of who we are as a country, and how we can learn how to disagree but still work together.

This hand-to-hand combat is not done through systems but through imperfect people -- one-on-one. To be successful, we must focus our eyes on the prize. Just as our Founding Fathers fought for our freedom over 200 years ago, we must continue to fight to ensure that our government remains ours and our freedoms remain intact.

Jackie Cushman

Published in General/Features

An article I read, followed by a friend’s email, spurred something in my memory that I’ll try to relate here. I realized that several unpleasant and threatening events that we’ve recently suffered through recall two fictional experiences many of us remember.

First, there was an imagined society in which people led dehumanized and fearful lives. It takes place in a wild and misery filled world following a catastrophic event that brought about societal collapse, murder, revenge, and intense fear. Desperate, unhinged people occupied both sides of the conflict. I’m describing what was going on in the series of “Mad Max” movies.

Next, do you remember the following statement of frustration from another book and movie? “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.” That was Winston, secretly talking to Julia about the “Big Brother” government, in George Orwell’s iconic novel “1984.”

I ask you to think about our own very real experiences with rewriting of history books, pulling down historical statues, violent and destructive riots, and “autonomous zones.” You’re probably thinking “those aren’t the same” as the situations depicted in those fictional enactments. Remember, I said they “recall” those experiences, not “reflected” them exactly – but they are frighteningly close.

It’s at least worth contemplating whether “law and order” will be something that’s totally redefined. If so, it concerns me. It bothers me less that we have disruptions and riots around the country, than the fact that a growing number of city councils and mayors seem to be unbothered by it all. Some even condoned and invited “gang occupation,” while smiling and calling these thugs “patriots.” Is it possible we’re on the verge of establishing “no go” zones in U.S. cities, similar to those in Europe, where police will not set foot? Yes, it worries me.

And will we eventually “cancel” all of our Founders and other historical leaders? These important forebears suffered from a common human affliction – that of being seriously flawed. If you consider all of the important people who were slaveowners or guilty of other politically incorrect sins, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, would there be anybody left in the history books? Some would predict that only Abe Lincoln, from among significant historical leaders, would be left standing at the end. But Lincoln’s historical cancellation would come eventually when these “crusaders” finally discover he had seriously negotiated the elimination of slavery by putting slaves on boats and shipping them to a newly created slave country/colony. We accomplish absolutely nothing by wiping away these names from our history.

I encourage serious thought and discussion about the implications of these current events. Are we living in a world in which far-fetched fiction is becoming, or has become, reality?

Are we learning that after all, truth is stranger than fiction?

We must control and eliminate the hysterical reactions we are now experiencing. Without that, there can be no hope for cultural peace and understanding, with financial stability and prosperity for all.

steve bakke small
Steve Bakke,
Fort Myers

Published in Lifestyle
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