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Free Thinking: Taking Mainstream Media Off the Air

This election cycle revealed many troubling changes within America. We saw how quickly we as a nation allowed ourselves to become divided, how many on both sides of the aisle are extremely willing to turn a blind eye to the flaws of their candidate and just how fragile the psyche of the American liberal is – which isn’t really breaking news to anyone.

Perhaps one of the biggest things this election cycle revealed, however, is how out of touch with the average American mainstream media has become.

Last night and all day today the mainstream media expressed shock at Trump’s victory. They couldn’t believe that Donald J. Trump had actually won the election for President of the United States of America.

But it couldn’t be that much of a shock, right?

Logically, the election revealed the majority of Americans wanted Donald Trump for their president and, yet, the shock and dismay was clear to see on most of the networks as they reported on each new state won for Trump.

Why?

Because the mainstream media is biased and largely reports what they want Americans to believe, not what is necessarily true.

While the mainstream media is reporting real news taking place and presenting accurate facts in most cases, it’s the way they present these stories and facts that subtly change the way the consumer absorbs the information.

They tell you what they want you to believe in such a way you think they’re presenting unbiased facts when it’s really anything but unbiased. It’s so subtle, you almost believe you came up with the idea yourself!

Had the mainstream media actually been listening to the American people, instead of trying to push their own biased agenda, this election wouldn’t have been such a shock to so many Americans. Most of us were so caught up with the predictions of the polls and skewed samples, we missed what actual Americans were saying.

As a consumer, there are several lessons to take away from this election cycle. First, keep your eyes wide open when consuming information from the media. Don’t just accept what is presented to you as truth; verify what they’ve said is actually true.

Second, don’t be afraid to have a different opinion from the mainstream media. They’ve gotten it wrong before and they’ll get it wrong again. All you can do is stand for what you know to be true.

Lastly, take time to unplug from the media once in a while, including social media. Get out in the real world and try to get a pulse on public opinion for yourself – you might be surprised at what you find!

Remember, media corporations are businesses and the business of media can’t turn a profit without a little controversy to help sell stories. If the world was perfect, there would be nothing to report. If there’s nothing to report, they don’t make a profit. Sometimes the media can exaggerate what might indeed be true in order to create more controversy to increase their sales.

Don’t let anyone dictate what you should think, believe or say; exercise your brain and think for yourself!

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A Thought for the Day After the Election

For over a year, we’ve all been waiting for this day. The day that couldn’t come quickly enough to put us out of our misery. The day has finally arrived — tomorrow is Election Day!

We’ve been subjected to endless Facebook posts, the mud-slinging, the lies, the political pitches and the desperation. But now, the circus can finally come to an end! Tomorrow we will elect our next President of the United States of America.

But this past year has left many ready to just get this election over with, and not with excitement and anticipation for a new chapter in our nation’s history. Many, including myself, feel this election is a lose-lose situation for the American people. And in many ways, it is.

One the left side of the aisle, we have a corrupt liar who is under FBI investigation who craves power more than any other person on the planet. On the right side of the aisle, we have a narcissistic dingbat who doesn’t even have enough common sense and self-control to stay off Twitter at 2 a.m. Not to mention all the other scandals this year has brought us: emails, lewd comments, sexual objectification of women, covering up the accounts of sexual assault and rape victims, pay for play, corruption, slush funds and just plain old sheer idiocy.

It’s easy to see why so many Americans feel hopeless and are ready for this whole election cycle to be over.

But it’s important to remind ourselves, not just for this election but for anything we may face in our lives, of this timeless truth: God is in control.

Oftentimes, it’s easy to see the mess we’ve made or the chaos which surrounds us and begin to feel hopeless or scared. But in the midst of chaos, God has a plan. No matter what the results of the election are tomorrow or who our next president will be, none of that will change the eternal truth that God remains in control.

No man or woman can ruin God’s plan. No person is able to destroy the designs of YHVH. God does not need a Republican or a Democrat or in the White House for His purposes to prevail. He is Almighty and is able to triumph no matter who has control of congress, who is appointed to the Supreme Court or who sits in the Oval Office.

Let me clear, I’m not saying your vote doesn’t matter or you shouldn’t get out there and vote. I’m saying that He is unshakable and unchanging. After fulfilling your civic duty and voting, we must leave the election in His hands and trust that man, with all his flaws and shortcomings, will never overturn the eternal plan of the Father.

While we might be surprised, disappointed or even angry about the outcome of tomorrow’s election, He isn’t. He has a plan and a purpose for every twist and turn of life.

So as you get ready to vote, keep this truth in mind.

“A man plans his ways in his heart, but YHVH establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Happy voting!

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Election 2016: We’re Doomed

I have never used the phrase “we’re doomed” more than I have during this election cycle. We already knew Hillary would be the Democrat nominee – I’m pretty sure Bernie would have “mysteriously disappeared” had she not – but I really was holding out hope that we would have a real candidate on the Republican side to vote for this November. Unfortunately, I have learned my lesson: never put your faith in the American people.

I really, truly believed that this was just a phase the American people were going through; that once they got Trump out of their system they, like an unruly teenager, would come to their senses and see reason and take the choosing of the President of the United States of America seriously. Alas, they did not. And now I’ve been bitterly disappointed once again. It’s my fault, really. I should have known better than to expect the American people to demonstrate common sense and good decision making.

So here we find ourselves – between a rock and a hard place – needing a solution to our dilemma.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and already know who you’re voting for. Congratulations! Unless of course you’re voting for Hillary and in which case, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.

But in all seriousness, for many of us who tend to lean to the right side of the aisle, we find ourselves in a tough spot.

If you’re like me I know who I’m NOT, under ANY circumstances voting for, but I haven’t quite figured out who I am voting for.

When it was first announced that Trump would be the nominee, I toyed with the idea of joining the “Never Trump” crowd and vowing that even a rock would make a better candidate for president. But that would mean voting for a third party candidate – and in the absence of a viable third party candidate, I was back to the rock and square one.

The reason I find it so difficult to vote for Trump is because, simply put, he’s an idiot. I believe the more PC way to put it would be “he does not have the political savvy befitting a presidential hopeful.”

Time after time we have seen political debates reduced to nothing more than petty mud-slinging, lying, personal attacks and outright bullying. This is who the American people want representing them to the rest of the world?!

Second, his policies are appallingly similar to any candidate on the wrong left side of the aisle. If you were to write the stance of both Hillary and Trump side-by-side on a piece of paper without attribution, the list would be almost indistinguishable! So it’s almost like voting for Hillary either way…and at that realization a part of my soul just died.

Third, I have no idea how he plans to address any of the problems facing America. Trump is known for saying he’s going to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic and it’s not going to happen. I’ve heard Trump supporters say that Mexico will be convinced to pay for the wall because Trump is going to block all illegal immigrants from sending their welfare checks back to Mexico. The problem with this logic is that Mexico is bringing in more money from the drug cartels crossing the border than any amount of money being sent from entitlement checks, so removing the welfare checks would hardly be enough to make the Mexican government concede to paying for the wall.

Trump also says he’s going to block all Muslims from coming to America. Again, anything is possible in the land of rainbows and unicorns but in the land of reality, I don’t see Trump being able to make that happen either. Congress would have to approve those measures and barring another major, horrific attack, I don’t see that happening. I don’t believe our country wants nor is in a place where we should start banning any specific group from entering our country.

So again, given the fairytale solutions to our real life problems, we’re back to square one. That rock is looking pretty good, isn’t it?

I’ve considered voting for a third-party candidate. There’s always Gary Johnson running on the Libertarian ticket. But after this stunt he pulled (which would have been hilarious had we not been talking about a presidential nominee) and watching this video (WARNING: some people are morons and do things that are stupid, gross and inappropriate and then put it on the internet) I decided I couldn’t bring myself to vote for anyone from this party. I also couldn’t bring myself to vote for Gary Johnson (even though he’s a New Mexican) after he didn’t know what/where Aleppo was and couldn’t name a world leader he admired. <insert major eye rolling and sighs of despair here>

But I also know that voting for a third-party candidate can be dangerous because we know they’re not going to win so why “waste” the vote. Now, I don’t actually believe that any vote cast after thoughtful consideration is ever a waste, but I do believe it can be strategically useless.

If you vote for a third-party candidate you know is going to lose and you don’t strongly believe in them anyway, you’re practically giving a vote to the candidate you don’t want to elect because you’re not ensuring their opponent wins.

Once I realized I wasn’t going to find a candidate I wanted to vote for, I decided I needed to shift my way of thinking. I’m used to thinking of voting in terms of who I want to see in office (which is how it should be) but under these circumstances, I’ve decided I need to shift my way of thinking. Instead, I need to focus on who I don’t want to see in office.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do not want to see Hillary Clinton become president. So now I need to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. What’s the best way to ensure Hillary is not elected? As much as it physically pains me to say it: vote for Donald Trump.

I was completely ready to do this until the last few weeks.

Watching Trump self-destruct during the debates and listening to him try to construct a coherent stance on issues has been painful beyond belief. I cringe every time I hear him speak. He doesn’t know how to control himself. He doesn’t know how to remain calm and level-headed. He doesn’t know how not to defend himself against every, single accusation. He doesn’t know how to stay off Twitter at 2 a.m.

To be honest, I’m not as disturbed by the accusations of sexual assault or the crude “locker room talk.” Not because I think it’s ok but because the same people who are exploding over the accusations against Trump are the same people who dismiss actual rape and assault charges against Bill Clinton and ignore Hillary’s bullying of the female victims.

For the first time since I’ve been able to vote, I have seriously considered not voting for either of the candidates this election – and that pains me.

It’s a tough decision for people like myself who know we will never vote for Hillary, yet find Donald Trump unpalatable and ridiculous. He’s not conservative. He’s Republican only in name. He was a Democrat until about five minutes ago and his stance on many issues hasn’t had time to catch up yet. I know many conservatives, particularly among evangelical voters, fully support Trump because he says he is pro-life and will appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. But I have serious doubts about his intentions to actually do this.

He’s terrible. She’s a criminal. We’re doomed. How is anyone supposed to make a real decision?!

Ultimately, the main thing he has going for him, in my opinion, is the fact he’s not Hillary Clinton. That has been Trump’s saving grace this entire election. She has bullied her husband’s victims of rape and abuse and she led the charge on covering up her husband’s infidelity, rape and abuse. Through the FBI’s investigation we learned that Hillary was guilty of “gross negligence,” which is a conscious decision to disregard the need to use reasonable care.

Wikileaks revealed in the Podesta emails Hillary has “begun to hate everyday Americans,” there was concern from Chelsea Clinton about “compromised” technology during visits to China and information revealing her campaign had paid protestors to stir up trouble and violence at Trump rallies.

As Secretary of State, she claims she didn’t know what the “C” indicating “Classified” meant. She ignored requests for help that resulted in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, including an American ambassador. She set up a private email server on which she did official Secretary of State business. She has been paid obscene amounts of money by foreign countries through the Clinton Foundation to grant favors in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

Even through this past weekend we learned the FBI was reopening the investigation into Hillary’s emails because of a connection found in the Weiner investigation. One can only imagine what raunchy mess they found there.

I’m still on the fence on if I’ll vote for Donald Trump or not. There’s a 99.9% chance I’ll be voting for him but I’m still holding out hope on the .1% chance there will be some political savior who will fall from the sky, riding a white horse that will save me from voting for Donald Trump.

But I know that’s probably not going to be the case.

So how will you be voting this year? Hillary? Trump? Will you be voting your conscience? Will you be voting for the lesser of two evils? Will you not be voting at all this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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September 11: Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years have passed since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Fifteen years have gone by since our nation, and the world, stood by helplessly and watched as planes hit the two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and the fourth plane, destined for the White House, crashed in a Pennsylvanian field.

Our world has changed since that moment in time. None of us were ever the same after that day. The world as we knew it was gone forever, never to return.

This year is the first time since the events on 9/11 that high school students will learn about the attacks as a historical event they were not alive to witness. These children have no idea what life was like before the attacks; no idea how much has changed and how much has been lost. A post-9/11 world is all they know.

And what do they see?

Athletes sitting for the national anthem. College students demanding “safe spaces.” Gender neutral language so as not to offend anyone. Protestors in the streets, burning down businesses and destroying cities all in the name of “Black Lives Matter.” People in the streets burning the American flag and disrespecting those who give their lives for our freedom.

What has become of our nation? What has become of our people?

Every year on the anniversary of September 11, I take the time to re-watch the documentaries and listen to the stories all over again. I believe it’s an important part to never forgetting. This year, as I watched “15 Septembers Later,” I saw a clip of President Bush visiting Ground Zero. As he stood on top of the wreckage of a fire truck and rallied the spirits of first responders and rescue crews, he bellowed into his bullhorn, “I hear you! And the people who did this will soon hear all of us!”

As he said this, the people at Ground Zero erupted into thunderous chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!”

In the days following 9/11, people all around the nation were proud to be American. I remember that an unquenchable spirit of patriotism swept the nation. I even remember french fries being called “patriot fries” for a time. Everywhere you looked our rallying cry was “God bless America” and we were proud to be American.

But I fear those days have passed.

Young people today are growing more and more apathetic towards our nation; towards anything that doesn’t directly involve them. They don’t know or don’t remember what it was like on that day — when the world went from being a safe place of innocence to one where terrorism is daily threat.

They don’t want to vote. They don’t want to be informed about our nation or the world. Or they only want to vote to get free stuff and get a free ride from the government. Many of them don’t even identify themselves as Americans; they don’t want to be American anymore.

We, as a nation, have lost sight of how incredibly blessed we are to be American. To have the freedoms we have and to live in a nation where you can be anything you want to be. And as we lost sight of and began to take our freedoms and blessings for granted, we lost sight of our Creator who gave us these blessings. And in turn, we taught our children that mindset. That is what we have made our legacy.

If there’s anything the attacks on September 11, 2001, showed us, its that life is precious. Today, as we reflect on the sacrifice and horrors of that day, take time to reflect on your own life. What is your legacy? What will you be remembered for? What will you do to make the world a better place? What will you pass on to the next generation? What will your message to the world be?

We can’t do a disservice to all who gave their lives that day and in the days that followed by giving up our freedoms. By not protecting and defending the rights we have. By becoming apathetic or embarrassed to be American, we allow all those who wish to destroy and eradicate freedom around the world the upper hand. We make it easy for them because we destroy our own freedoms ourselves.

We vowed on that day to never forget. I pray we never do.