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I am a person of faith. I am a Christian, at least in so far as I self-identify as a "Christ follower". I believe there is a God; i.e. a single supreme being who created the multi-verse in which I presently exist as a physical human being.

As a citizen of the United States of America in good standing, this is my inalienable right. Isn't it? This is absolutely not a distinction in search of a difference.

Sometimes, it is only when a right is abandoned, surrendered or even taken away that its value becomes both clearly apparent and significant. Before assailing my proposition, first consider it. (I do actually know and understand the First Amendment and it's "establishment" clause.)

What I wish to highlight here is the sometimes tangential argument which follows from it; perhaps wrongly, but perhaps not. Focus is required here. I invite you to settle in, pour a cup and have a dialogue.

You are not required to agree with my beliefs (many "Christians" don't, in fact). You are not somehow required to ascribe to them, or recognize them. You do have the right to disagree with my beliefs; to challenge them (if you are sufficiently able). You do not, however have the right to disrespect me or my beliefs because I have them, to cast aspersions upon either my beliefs or myself simply because I, and they exist. To do so is a violation of my right to freedom of (and from) religion.  I may not require you to agree to, or with my beliefs, nor may you require me to disavow them, turn away from them, deny them, or either publicly or privately refuse to express them in the ways I choose. My expressions of my beliefs, likewise, cannot either purposely or incidentally, by design or accident, bring you harm (given the usual definitions of "harm").

Those things which I require of, or expect from you I must also extend to you. This is true because this is a right, an inalienable right which we, as citizens of the United States of America share; given to us by a piece of paper which we accepted long ago as the foundation stone of our national identity.

There is no room in this diary for debate about whether or not we are a Christian nation; that is neither its purpose nor its scope. There is no place in this diary for argument regarding the IDF, or a Two-State solution. These things are off the table here.

Any attempts to do so will simply display before the world your misunderstanding of this diary, and (dare I say it) your ignorance--if I present myself well and accurately. If I do not, have at it.  (Now, how's THAT for a preamble, citizen?)

Notice, please, the flow here. A notion, prescribed by others, extending to me as a member of the group the notion was intended to serve and/or protect. From the document to me. It has never, does not now, nor will it ever flow the other way. It just wouldn't make sense. And, to a very large degree, that is the fundamental thesis of this diary, so it is important to understand. Not even arguing that, this diary addresses a completely different point.

What if, by some particular and specific machination (say legislation, for instance), that were to change? Not, mind you, that the flow were to change, but rather the fundamental right itself were to change? Impossible to imagine, you say?

In Israel, in this past week, it did. Whether or not you support, defend, or oppose Israel is not specifically the topic, or the point here. But that there was a fundamental change in the definition of Israel, by Israel as a nation state IS the point. I believe it matters-- a very great deal. Your mileage may vary (YMMV).

If this is a subject of interest to you, I hope you will follow me below the squiggledoodlethingey fold, and let me tell you why.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 06:05 PM PST

WWI Today: Why?

by Bud Fields

I've been doing some rather intensive research of late for a project dealing with World War I. 2014-2018 are centenary years and many projects are being planned, or are currently underway. Anyway....

A good deal of my research has been necessarily focused on WWI as it pertained to Great Britain before, during, and after WWI (and even into WWII). Patience...it matters. I hope you will follow me just below the squiggledoodlethingey fold, and consider what I think about it. I'd love to know what YOU think about it.

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On this thirteenth anniversary of "that moment" which changed forever the landscape of America and her citizens, "Progressive Politics: Tennessee Style" (PPTS) will present a very special hour-long presentation.

Beginning at 7 PM (Central Time), we will take a look at the children and families of 9/11 who, from across the land, have been forever changed because of that day. We are looking for YOUR stories, and your remembrances led off by one from myself. There are shows, and times for discussion, debate, dialog and discourse concerning every possible perception of that day. This show is not one of them.

If you have a story you would like to share with our international audience, a memory which has great meaning for you personally, we would love to hear it. We would love to honor, and share it. While there will doubtless be numerous national media presentations, this one is meant to be intimate, and personal. You can call in to the live show at (516) 418-5867 to share your remembrance with our listeners. You can join us in our chat room to share your story if you wish, as well.

"On That Day..." is a very special memorial show which we hope will bring to our national conscience a reality that, perhaps more than any other single aspect, it was the children of 9/11 which solidified for us all a memory that cannot, and perhaps even should not be erased.

We hope you will join us. We're on the air.

We'll see YOU there.

Discuss

Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 03:31 AM PDT

On Death and Dying

by Bud Fields

I have been driven to write this diary because of two diaries I have read within the past two days.

The first was a kind of farewell to life by one Kossack, speaking for themself. The other was a farewell to a friend by another Kossack. It got me to thinking, and feeling.

It got me to thinking about death, and about dying. For more than 20 years, that was my beat, my job. For the past 8.5 years, these have been the twin barrels of a shotgun pointed directly at my head. I'm familiar with the subject. I have some thoughts on it that I'd like to write down, just below the squiggledoodlethingey fold. I invite you to join me.

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It's a bold project idea, I admit. As we propel ourselves toward what will undoubtedly be the most significant election in recent--and potentially forever--history as a nation this coming November, I thought I would go around the horn, and invite your participation in a conversation about what we, as citizen should be considering in our lives today.

The questions I have used to compile this list (you might surely create your own list, and share it as a comment here) are designed to begin an engaged civil discourse. Engage the questions, and help us, together to create at least possible solutions--or even better questions that lead to positive steps.

I'm told any such discourse is simply unreasonable to expect in July, 2014 among my fellow citizens. Of course, that simply required me to inquire as to the validity of the statements made. I admit that I am, and for some very good reasons I think, a "hope addict".

I hope the title of this diary might well stoke your creative imagination, and so tickle your fancy that you would choose to participate fully in an American political experiment with me. Let's call it "Citizen's conversations". Leave the politics at the door, and let's talk together about the most important problems we face in America (Or the world) today.

Follow me just below the squiggledoodlethingey fold, and let's begin.

Poll

I believe that global climate change is real.

64%9 votes
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| 14 votes | Vote | Results

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I read a comment tonight that really made me think. The diary of relevance to this response was penned today by fellow diarist Crashing Vor. There was a comment that got me thinking as a writer.

I disagreed with the two principle points of the comment made, but only knew the emotion of the disagreement and not the logic that would help me understand the disagreement. My thanks to Crashing Vor for a great piece of writing, and to MargaretPOA for an outstanding comment. You can find both here.

I believe that is one of the most important results of reading the really good writing of another writer: Engagement in the words from a personal perspective that elicit testing, thought, determinism, and finally accurate conviction of your own beliefs.

When it is really good writing, dialogue can be born. Civil discourse can begin. How wonderful is that?

Follow me just below the squiggledoodlethingey fold, and see how that turned out.

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"Progressive Politics:Tennessee Style" (PPTS) has been looking, for some time now, at "The War on the Poor!". I have determined eight "battlefields" upon which a majority of this war, from my perspective, is being waged.

On our previous show, I outlined the overview of the fifth battlefield: "The War For Reason!" As most Kossacks might readily approve, this battlefield seems to stay very, very busy. In fact, it is this battlefield that propelled me to introduce a new blog of my very own, so that I could safely state my own opinions about those things we discuss on the show. I wanted a forum that was not tied to, or limited by either my writing here, or my political activities.

For instance, my blog introduces the concept of rhetorical argument, with the average citizen in mind. Follow me just below the sguiggledoodlethingey fold, for just a bit of explanation.

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Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 03:36 PM PDT

Lamar Alexander's Beliefs

by Bud Fields

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander says that he doesn't believe in minimum wage.

For the record, I do not believe in Lamar Alexander being a Senator.

That is all.

Discuss

Progressive Politics: Tennessee Style (PPTS) works very hard for consistent accuracy. Sometimes, regardless of our attempts, the show is limited by the words of it's host: me.

On-air yesterday I stated that the Jewish Community Centers attacked earlier in the day were located in New York City. That was a factual error on my part.

The attacks occurred in the Overland Park, Kansas area, a suburb of Kansas City. I regret the error, and issue this correction personally, as I, and not the PPTS staff, made the error. Please accept my sincere apologies. It was a stupid mistake made as real time events were unfolding.

Bud Fields

Discuss

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 08:52 PM PDT

Know Thy Place!

by Bud Fields

Yes, it may call many of the Christian faith to immediately recall Scriptural reference...but, unlike Prego, it's just not in there. Besides, it has nothing to do with what I am talking about.

Across the landscape of my life are many connecting points which, seen en toto, describe the complete and often extremely complex reality of my present self. There are lots of dots to connect. I feel relatively sure I am not the only one who has to juggle multiple plates called a life. It is just that we have one, a few, or many plates.

Sometimes, those plates are lives. We are responsible for them. Sometimes, they fall in ways we would never suspect. They land in different ways, on soft soil. They survive, but are forever changed. Some call it growth, while others call it maturity. We find ourselves struggling to find things to hold on to. There's not much more than this, but there is just a bit below the squiggledoodlethingey fold that may help you.
 

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Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:54 PM PDT

Focus: What We Must Focus On!

by Bud Fields

I do not agree that debate, discourse, and / or disagreement among members of this site are, or should be a bannable offense, generally. As I have been known to say before, there is a time, and a place for honest, honorable, civil and decent disagreement among those who have the ability to do so without being, or becoming disagreeable.

Throwing respect out the window for no purpose other than to "win" a point is a political tactic we are not generally known for. I believe we should leave that (and many other) rhetorical fallacies to the parties opposite.

However, the time comes when such activities become more than meaningless: they become harmful. We, as reasonable people of at least average intellect should clearly know when that time arrives, and agree to withhold perhaps our most favorite passion, and focus on action. Polity and ideology should inform our discussion. Our actions however require decision.

If we do not make them, they will be made for us. I cannot think of any political reality more starkly apparent than this one, right now. If not in Florida's 13th Congressional District, certainly in Crimea.

It seems to me that we are focusing on either nothing, or the wrong thing with entirely too much frequency here. I'd like to urge a dramatic, and immediate change to that situation right now.

Follow me below the squiggledoodlethingey fold for some opinions.

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Sometimes, we mere citizens feel useless, and more often than not powerless to have impact on those important things which affect our daily lives. One of the principal reasons for such (and other) feelings is the perception that we can actually DO nothing about them, one way or the other.

We even sometimes admit our ignorance about those things which could have dramatic and lasting impact on us personally, or as community, or even as nation. Many or most of those things which give us these feelings do so because we do at least get a glimmer of understanding that we could feel (either positively or negatively) the impact for a very long time. That can be intimidating, fear-causing--or just plain something (like a really bad tooth pain) we really wish to avoid.

I wonder what the citizens of Kiev are thinking along these lines tonight. Actually, I wonder what the people of Kansas City are thinking about such things as these tonight. Or, to be very specific (because I have friends there, and just because I absolutely LOVE their name), I wonder what my target focus group in Lost Nation, Iowa are thinking about such things at the moment. (Waves at LN,I! Long Live Rustic Days! I love and miss you all!)

There is just such one of those things upon our visible horizon today. At some point during this term (between this second and some point during June, 2014), The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will release its decision in a quite very important legal case, "McCutcheon v. FEC". Many American citizens are hoping vehemently that this case is affirmed. At least an equal number of citizens in our land are hoping against hope that the Justices will overturn this decision.

You can certainly do a search on the style caption of this important case and learn why so many think their view should be reflected in the decision of the Justices. A lot is at stake here. Some, myself included would tell you that democracy itself is at stake here. That's because it is. Surely at a minimum, by any fundamental basic definition of OUR democracy, democracy is at stake here. Affirming the case would change that definition. Overturning the lower court could preserve that definition. Those are the stakes.

How can you, or I possibly do anything about that? Well, follow me just below the squggledoodlethingey fold, and I'll tell you.

Poll

Citizen: Will you accept this challenge?

83%5 votes
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