In My BackyardBy Jim Gammon
In my backyard, things are different from the world we see in the media. Life in my backyard makes sense to me and my family, it's a simple place. Even strangers seem to fit into our ways quite easily.
My backyard is America to me, and maybe to you, too.
In my backyard, you don't lie, well at least you don't tell serious lies. First, you probably won't get away with it with my wife around, but secondly, it just isn't right. Lies tend to complicate things, so we try to avoid lies.
In my backyard, a bigot is a bigot. It doesn't matter if you're White, Black, Jewish, Native American, Hispanic or Asian. We know many people have a little trouble with those who are different from themselves and we understand, but if you expose yourself as a simple racist ass, we adjust accordingly. There are no exceptions or exclusions, an ass is an ass. Be cool and we'll all get along.
In my back yard, we respect grace, kindness and decency. We don't look down on those who are less intelligent, attractive or clever. We may kid one another unmercifully on occasion, but we do it with a smile and heart. It called having a sense of humor.
In my back yard, this is the United States of America. We are all on the same team, Liberal and Conservative, Democrat or Republican, all colors and all religions. We may disagree but we are all Americans and we all pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to one another. It's a tradition that goes back a long way for us. We don't forget civility to get ratings or stroke our egos.
In my backyard, we believe in the Law of the Land. We either choose to follow it or we accept the consequences. The central aspect of that law, what defines us as a nation, is the Constitution. If you don't agree with the wording of the Constitution, use the amendment process to change it or shut the hell up. It's as simple as that.
In my backyard, the UN is just an international club to which our country belongs. We have no obligation to follow anything the UN says. We started the UN to promote peace, fair trade and human rights, but it has failed in this regard and since most of the members think little of the principles that we believe in, we can ignore it.
In my backyard, religion is your own business. If you believe in anything or nothing, that's fine. If you say Happy Chanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, Sun-God Day or Ramadan, we'll return the greeting, or at least we won't make a stink about it. Everyone here respects your right to believe or not believe in whatever you want, just don't be an ass about it.
In fact, if you believe anyone deserves special treatment over anyone else for any reason at all, keep it to yourself in my back yard. We don't agree. We see no reason for special treatment for anyone in any way. It has to do with equality and some words you just can't mince. It doesn't matter if you are a certain color, a corporate president, a politician or belong to a union, we're all equal. The only exception is the truly in need of help and the handicapped, both of while we still expect to try their best, just like everyone else.
In my backyard, we see government regulation as something that should exist only to prevent unfairness or injury, not as a tool for social engineering.
In my backyard, the horse goes before the cart. People who work hard, save their money and achieve home ownership are to be honored, but we know that giving someone a home doesn't make them become a hard worker or cause them to save their money. We're not stupid, we work for a living and understand things in the real world that economists, scholars and academics don't know anything about, like human nature, simple economics and double entry accounting.
In my backyard, we take words seriously - or we kid around. There is no gray area. If you lie about someone or call someone a name, be prepared to have your nose bloodied. We don't accept BS excuses. We don't play politics with people's honor or frivolously throw insults around. Its about dignity.
In my backyard, a thief is a thief. If a shoplifter steals an equal amount from a store, or a politician cheats on his taxes or a parent puts their kid in for a free lunch program that they don't deserve, they should all be punished, with at least a fine and a suspended jail sentence - the first time. Charles Rangel should be in jail.
In my backyard, plea bargaining is considered to be the most unjust concept our legal profession has ever invented, which is saying something.
In my backyard, spin means lie, half-truth means lie and your word is only as good as you make it. Aside from little white lies and stupid boasts (usually inspired by drink), anyone who plays games with the truth is a liar and has to earn back our trust. Being a politician, political pundit, lawyer or cop is no excuse.
In my backyard, a promise is a promise. Your word means something. If you can't do what you promise, you make the effort to admit it and explain why. There are no excuses, and saying George Bush left a bigger mess than you thought simply doesn't justify your forgetting about a hundred unrelated promises. Politics is not an excuse for lying, and doesn't excuse you from apologizing when you are wrong. Its called honesty.
In my backyard, we admit our mistakes. We face up to them, we try to learn from them, and we apologize to anyone we hurt or even disappointed. Its what we call honor.
In my backyard, things are usually pretty peaceful and we respect one another. When we have a disagreement, we work it out. We sometimes have to accept something we don't like, just to get along. We sometimes have to do something we don't want to do, and we sometimes have to give up something we want, but we do it with an open heart. We accept what we cannot change, but then we try to make it better. Its called dignity.
If you don't agree, bear in mind that you'll never make my backyard resemble the mess you've made of Washington or our State capitals. In my backyard we'll never think or act like the crazy people you put on TV. If it takes us 100 years, we'll get America back, because in my backyard we know that the greatest country in the history of the world succeeded only because of good people in a free society with limited government. We know that social engineering simply doesn't work, no matter how well intended, because power corrupts.
But Liberal or Conservative, apartment dweller or a soldier in a tent, I firmly believe 90% of Americans would feel perfectly comfortable in my back yard - but just a half dozen at a time, it's a small yard!
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