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Accusations, Reporting, and a lack of Consequences

Posted on by jtcopeiv

If you are going to accuse someone of something, you had best be able to back it up.  We have an epidemic in our country today of people both in private and in public positions making accusatory statements that can neither be proved nor in many cases even corroborated.  Thankfully, most of these accusations come out in the wash as false.  Sadly, some do not.  Almost as bad as the ones that are falsely accused and then convicted, are the ones who are falsely accused knowingly for the sole purpose of destroying their life or reputation.  They survive, but their lives are often damaged for years or decades.  There is also the larger case where statements are made to purposefully pit one group of people against another when those statements have little to no basis in reality.  In each scenario though, the truly criminal and insidious part is what happens to the accusing party or parties after the statements have been proved false and the dust has settled … nothing.

 

Three examples recently in the national news stand out: Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, the Duke Lacrosse episode (from a decade ago and still causing heartache), and a political commentary heard within the last two weeks on National Public Radio (NPR).

 

In the case of Judge Kavanaugh, he was accused of sexual misconduct and yet the claims were found to not be confirmable at best, to be blatantly unfounded at worst.  In this case, regardless of if you think Dr. Ford was being used or truthful, the evidence does not bear her claims out, at least not against Judge Kavanaugh.  There are no corroborating witnesses, there is no physical evidence, and contrary to supporting commentary or evidence, her testimony was found to have multiple holes (such as the reason for placing a second door in her residence, her fear of flying, and her lack of experience with lie detector tests).  And yet, what will happen to her?  Will she lose her job?  Will she face any legal consequences?  No, she has not and most likely will not.  So we are left with a situation in which one person is able to make seemingly false claims against another with the possibility of destruction of the accused person’s life and career, and no fear of legal consequences for themselves.

 

In the second case, three of the Duke Lacrosse boys’ team members were accused of gang raping a woman in 2006.  Only later did it come to light that the woman had lied, the “facts” had been made up, and the boys falsely accused.  Did the boys make a wrong decision by hiring a stripper in the first place; yes, without a doubt.  Did they rape the woman; no.  And yet, again, what has happened to this woman?  Has she been charged with any crime or faced any penalty for lying?  Certainly not in a timely manner.  Even worse, here again, the accuser was able to make false accusations with the probable outcome of destroying the lives of the accused and having them face jail with little to no possible consequences for lying herself.  The young men’s lives and that of their coach and teammates was turned upside down for a lie.

 

In the last case a late evening interview on NPR showcased the current ability of national figures, or figures with a national platform, to group individuals based upon false accusation instead of actual action.  A late evening reporter within the last two weeks interviewed a lady, asking pointed questions to which the interviewee was able to make blanket statements about supporters of a political candidate.  The person interviewed commented that not only were certain political figures misogynistic, racist, bigoted, and guilty of other various phobias, but that anyone who voted for that figure and any who even supported the legislation put forward by that figure were one in the same.  There was no proof offered.  There was no quantitative data put forward.  There were not even any quotes by the people who voted for that person to suggest support for any of the positions listed.  In fact, evidence submitted in fact supported the opposite.  And yet, what will happen to this individual?  What will happen to the reporter who agreed and encouraged the statements, despite having a claim of impartiality?  Nothing.

 

We cannot have a country where people are allowed to accuse individuals, and then those individuals are assumed guilty simply because they vote a certain way or look a certain way.  If our country is not based upon merit we will soon have no country left.  I will leave you with a quote by our second First Lady, Abigail Adams.  Hopefully we can find our way back to weighing men and women based upon their character and not their outward appearance or political party.

 

“Merit, not title, gave a man preeminence in our country … I did not doubt it was a mortifying circumstance to the British nobility to find themselves so often conquered by mechanics and mere husbandmen; but … we esteemed it our glory to draw such characters not only into the field, but into the Senate.” — ABIGAIL ADAMS, letter, Jul. 16, 1784

 

— JT Cope IV

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How Different Standards are Eroding our Country.

Posted on by jtcopeiv

 

You cannot have one standard for one group of people, another standard for a second group of people, maybe even a third standard for a third group of people, and then award them prestige and honor based upon the same scale.  Said much better by someone long ago, you cannot have different weights and measures for different people.  Yet this is going on in our country right now, in institutions from federal court systems all the way down to elementary schools.  These double standards are eroding the faith and trust that our people have in the institutions that are supposed to dispense both recognition and justice impartially.  In the end this will degrade the usefulness, potency, and character of the people of our country, and then after that in our country herself.   There are three examples I would like to touch on briefly: high school students, women in the military, and the current case of Judge Kavanaugh.

 

The first involves the fact that different students are given different testing and grading criteria, but then awarded the Grade Point Average (GPA) on the same scale.  This information comes from firsthand experience and secondhand knowledge.  Students across a grade will be given a test, but the tests are not all the same.  Depending on the accommodations they have, some students will have anything from questions read out loud, to highlighted words, fewer choices on a multiple choice test, larger print, or even other forms of assistance to varied and numerous to mention here.  The remainder of the class, those students who have no accommodations, will take the test the way it is written with no outside help.  Yet when the grades are tallied, both sets of students will be handed out a grade on the same exact GPA scale.

 

The second example involves the different standards required upon entrance to the military based upon gender, yet the same pay and rank are awarded to both genders.  This post will not discuss the much larger issue of the psychological differences and success or lack thereof of co-ed vs. single sex units.  Again, this information comes from firsthand experience and secondhand accounts.  Women currently are not required to register for selective service.  Their standards are lower across the board for physical tests whether that test is an entrance exam, a once yearly Physical Fitness Test (there are different names for the different tests across the branches), or random tests given in schools.  And yet upon enlisting or commissioning into the military, and throughout their careers, both males and females are given the same pay and rank.

 

The final example I would like to put forward is the case of Judge Kavanaugh, and his confirmation process leading to the Supreme Court.  This post is not trying to prove that he was innocent or guilty, nor to discuss any statute of limitations, but rather simply to make an observation and ask a question.  Judge Kavanaugh explicitly states that he is innocent of any sexual misconduct toward Dr. Ford, Dr. Ford says that she is positive without reservation it was Judge Kavanaugh who assaulted her.  I cannot tell you which one is being truthful and which is not, perhaps no one can, but it is apparent that one of them is lying.  If Judge Kavanaugh would indeed have been found guilty of sexual misconduct his nomination would have immediately been dropped, he would have had little to no future in his chosen profession, and perhaps he would have faced some further legal repercussions.  However, if Dr. Ford was dishonest in her claims, what would have happened to her; what will happen to her?  Will she be prosecuted?  Will she lose her job and any further chance of promotion within her chosen field?  Will she face any further legal consequences?

 

Whatever your opinion is on these subjects as far as who should be allowed to do what, you cannot make the argument that different standards do anything but erode the character and quality of our country and her institutions.  You cannot have one set of standards for one person, and another for another person, and then give them the same recognition.  It just won’t work, folks.  – JT Cope IV

 

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What is the worth of a person?

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Culture tries to tell us how to measure the worth of a person.  They tell us that their methods are the only ways to truly tell how much an individual should mean to society, which ones are most important, and which ones are least important, and the measuring stick changes from time to time to meet the current political goals.  The ironic part of this is, they tell us everyone is of equal value at the same time whilst telling us that certain people and their opinions are invalid.  The devious part of it is, they take just a smidgen of truth and then twist it so that there is just enough to recognize something true, but not enough often to see the falsehood as a whole.  These days they have a couple different versions of the “true” worth of a person.

 

The first goes something along the lines that “in order to be worth the same, people must be exactly the same.”  If you are different, either in your abilities, strengths, or weaknesses, then they say that you cannot possibly be worth the same amount.  In order to be seen as of equal value, you must be exactly the same.  Therefore for example, boys and girls can only be seen as being of equal value if they are exactly the same.  Otherwise one is worth more and the other less.  Never mind, that the differences the culture is trying to eliminate are strengths that make the country stronger as a whole.  Perhaps not the best analogy, but it is like a key and a keyhole.  They are both different in the extreme but without both functioning differently in the way they were designed you can neither lock nor unlock the door.  Both key and keyhole, and the door they were designed to open, simply sit there useless at best, an obstruction and detriment at worst.

 

The second “truth” western culture is trying to sell currently is that some people have opinions and feelings that are worth more, which make a person better, than people who have a different opinion or feeling than they do.  This fits well into their first line of reasoning, because we can only all be of equal value if we all have the same values.  The irony here is that in part they are right.  This goes back to the point of culture adding in just enough truth to cloud the issue.  Some people are better than others.  For example I know of few people who would lump Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler in the same category as far as quality and worth of individual.   The distorted part though, is it is not the opinions alone that make one person better than another, it is where those opinions are sourced from, it is their moral character, and it is how they adhere to those opinions.

 

If you espouse integrity, great, that is indeed better than a person who values lying … but do you tell the truth?   Do you value life …  Do you value courage … Do you value fairness under the law …  And most importantly to you act upon those values, or do you merely talk a good talk? – JT Cope IV

 

 

 

 

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Is Perfection a Criteria for Public Service?

Posted on by jtcopeiv

How long back should we dig into a person’s past in order to assess their current morality and character and ability to faithfully execute a job?  Five years?  Ten years?  Twenty?  The entirety of their life?  Should different actions be graded and investigated under different standards?  And perhaps, finally, most importantly, would we ourselves wish to be weighed and measured using the same scale?

 

We have a situation in our nation currently, in which an individual is being held accountable, or attempting to be held accountable for actions over three decades in the past.  This is not a post about whether the individual is guilty or not, that is a separate issue, but of whether the person’s actions from near forty years ago should be used as criteria for service currently.  Would we ourselves, in our current station in life be willing to be judged and hired or fired based upon actions from our teenage years?  Should we?  Again does it depend on the actions?  Does it depend on how long ago the actions took place?

 

If a person robbed a bank at gunpoint forty years ago, should that bear on their current adequacy for a job as a cashier?  As a college student?  As a high school teacher?  An electrician?  A state governor?  What if a person stole a candy bar in junior high; when they turn fifty should they be barred from promotion in a company?

 

If we are going to look at the bad, shouldn’t that mean that by default we must look at the good too?  If a person broke into a house as a teenager, but they served three hundred hours of community service and possible some time in jail, and have since had a spotless record, should that house break-in still have a bearing on their job promotions or opportunities when they turn forty?

 

Look, I am neither defending nor condemning the current situation, simply asking if we want a system of government that looks forty years into the past?  There is a huge, HUGE difference in a situation being executed within the last five to ten years, and a situation from forty years ago … with the massive, gargantuan qualifying statement that is that the record has remained clean and that there is not a continued pattern of criminal activity or abuse.  You cannot defend a person as adequate or qualified for good judgement in many if any professional (or personal for that matter, maybe even more) settings if they continually disregard common sense, decency, the law, and most of all morality.

 

Just some thoughts folks on the current state of our politics.  Whatever your opinion is, support it.  Be willing to have yourself measured and judged under the same set of rules and criteria.  And be insistent upon the same scale being applied across the political spectrum regardless of race, ethnicity, class, belief, or affiliation.  We are either a citizen of this country, or we are not, and that is the only issue that should determine how every single one of us is judged in this country.  – JT Cope IV

 

 

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What our Culture Tells us. (Mini Blog Post)

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Our culture tells us to focus on everything we don’t need to focus on, and ignore all the things we need to focus on.  It tells us we have to participate in everything, and do all the extracurricular events, and have all the right possessions.  It tells us that our marriage has to take a backseat to our job, and our kids, and our community, and (when it is convenient to their narrative) even our country.  And sometimes that may ring true as in the case of a war for the survival of our society or when you have a newborn at home for the first time.  But so so so often that is just a bald faced lie.  How can our kids, or community, or country, or even our job survive without our marriage being strong and coming before that.  What kind of home can we possibly have if the two people that are supposed to become one flesh and make a place a home aren’t on the same team, fighting the same battle, swimming the same direction, each day?

 

We can either call God master or culture master, not both.  We can either be called crazy by culture and focus on our marriages, or we can chase after culture and run away from God.  We can’t go two directions at the same time … and neither can our Country.

— JT Cope IV

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Do we put off living?

Posted on by jtcopeiv

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” — Dale Carnegie

 

We have a tendency as a culture to procrastinate.  I have a master’s degree in it.  And yet we all look up so often and complain that we spent too little time with the person who’s funeral we are attending, or that we can’t believe the politician made the decision they did who got elected in the previous election we didn’t vote in, or that we can’t believe how fast our children grew up while we were off working 10-12 hour days or away from home.

 

Our culture tells us to chase after money or fortune or fame.  To chase after good times or easy living.  And yet the vast majority of people whom I have observed or spoken to near the end of their life never decry having spent less time at these things.  No, what they miss or regret, what they inevitably say they value most … their faith, their spouse, their children and their family.  They talk about the people they helped or the people who helped them in a time of need.  So why do we focus on, and chase after things which so obviously do not matter to people at the end of their life, all the while ignoring living our life as it fly’s by?

 

There are a number of reasons, excuses, we make, some of them even legitimate in specific cases of hardship.  The reason that reverberates with truth and that most people will admit in their heart if not their mind or with their voice is a dire disordering of priorities.  We say that our relationship with God is our number one priority.  How much time do we spend each day with Him?  We say that our spouse is the most important human relationship we have on earth.  How much time and effort do we put into our marriage each day?  We say honesty and integrity are keystone traits of our life.  How many politicians or athletes who knowingly lie or cheat or steal do we continue to elect or idolize?

 

In order to get our country back on the right track we must first get our families and communities back on the right track.  For if we cannot control and manage our own households, how in the world can we manage our country or even more the Church?  Think about what you want your priorities to be.  Really be.  Write it down and then write down your actions, not only what you do, but how you feel you do.  Be honest and see if your actions match up with your priorities.  If they do, great!  If they don’t, how can you make incremental, but noticeable, changes to your lifestyle so that when your life is all said and done, you don’t feel like you have missed living chasing a fantasy. – JT Cope IV

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Why Politicians Don’t Understand America

Posted on by jtcopeiv

The following is not a direct quote, but it is very close, close enough that it needs to be cited as such.  The statement is also such a good representation of a large percentage of politicians it needs to be circulated.  Hope you’ll take a minute and check it out.

 

“The politicians in America, don’t understand America.  None of them has ever been in the military, so they don’t understand the men and women in uniform.  They aren’t religious so they don’t understand the deep antipathy so many feel toward abortion or gay marriage.  They never worked manual labor jobs, so they don’t understand those who do.  They think marriage and traditional morality are old fashioned, so yesterday, so they don’t understand those who believe in them.  Most of them have never worked in private industry, so they think business is crooked and contemptible.  Their political base is in the inner cities, yet they advocate policies that will keep people poor and fight policies that would give the poor a leg up.  They are the perfect hypocrites, con artists, traitors to the people who believe in them.  They willingly tell lies to advance their political agenda, and are amazed when that outrages people.” – Stephen Coonts, Liberty’s Last Stand

 

When we as a nation have a large percentage of politicians that are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to advance their own agendas, support and promote a flawed ideology that has never worked in the history of humankind, and are willing not only to ignore logic, but to persecute those who mention it, we are in deep trouble.  When there are also a large number of people in the country who knowing this are still willing to elect and endlessly re-elect these politicians, the country has a fight coming.  For you must either fight against corruption and, as overused as the word can be these days, evil, or you must lay down and call it master.

 

Fight folks.  Fight wherever you are, whenever you can, in whatever what you are able.  Resist the tide, not if it is merely going in a direction you don’t like, but if it is going in a direction that leads to dishonor and depravity.  Spread the Good News.  Discuss the positiveness of traditional morality and traditional American values at least as much if not more than you discuss the negativeness of corruption and dishonesty.  And illustrate with your life the benefits and encouragement that determined dedication to the morality and precepts laid out by an unchanging source can provide.  For what will you tell your children and grandchildren if the country continues to fail and you did nothing to stand in the gap?

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Seven Great Books to help kids get ready for Fall!

Posted on by jtcopeiv

There are quite a few great kids’ books and book series out there.  And with the upcoming months of fall and all the holidays that go with them, most of the series have a few selections for you.  This list is not even close to exhaustive and if you enjoy it I may put some more up, but here are a few, that might be a good fit for any of y’all out there with younger kiddos.

 

The Berenstein Bears

This may be our girls favorite series of all time.  It would certainly be hard for me to say too much good about the series.  And though I am not familiar with the Harvest Festival book, we have the Prize Pumpkin and read it multiple times last year.  This series overall is just a quality, character based series which still does a phenomenal job of teaching a moral with each story.  If you haven’t ever picked up a book in the series now is a great time to start.  They also have some Halloween books if I can squeeze a post in about them sometime coming up.

 

Fancy Nancy and the Fall Foliage

Fancy Nancy is another fav of our girls.  Which makes sense … since they’re girls.   The Fall Foliage is a fun read about most things fallish, not just the pile of leaves on the cover.  If you have little girls and haven’t tried this series out, this would be a good book to start with.

 

Ladybug Girl and the Dress-up Delimma

Although not my favorite of the books my girls pick, it was fun, and it had lots of pumpkins and corn and fall things in it, so that made it better in my book.  Don’t know much else about the series, but I can recommend this book to you.

 

The last three books are some that I have not read but that have been recommended multiple times.  If you have read them I would be interested to see what you think about them.  I can vouch for the Little Critter series all day long though.  Mercer Mayer created a fantastic world in both the pictures and his understanding of life with small children.  I would very much recommend the series.  And you can’t have a fall book list without something about the pilgrims in it.  Although my favorite fall pilgrim visit is always with Charlie Brown, these books have been recommended often.  Let me know what y’all think and any books y’all would add to the list!?

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Neutrality an Option?

Posted on by jtcopeiv

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:15-16

 

We seem to ride the fence quite a bit these days in America. No one wants to hold a line for fear of being judgmental, or even worse as being seen as judgmental. There are many subjects about which neutrality is fine. Who makes the best coffee? What brand of toilet paper feels the best?  Would you rather be too hot or too cold?  Which football team is the best?  Who makes the best shoes?  Shockingly, these are the things which everyone seems to comfortably take a side on. However, neutrality on moral issues is deadly. You can’t do it and keep your character or your country intact. And saying that you were trying to be nonjudgmental will be an empty excuse when the bill comes due.

 

Saying that everyone is right from their own perspective isn’t sustainable.  Eventually you end up with two people you like who both have viscerally opposite thoughts on a subject.  Not on the kind of subject like blue is a better color than red for a sweater, but on the kind of subject like Jesus Christ is the son of God or he isn’t, or abortion is wrong or it isn’t.  You can’t square those kind of disagreements and say everyone is right from their own point of view.

 

At some point you have to pick a side folks, as uncomfortable as it is, and as many enemies as you may make, some even in your own close circle of friends and family.  You have to decide what you think, and then “ride for the brand”.  Now, I’m not saying that you can’t change your mind, or that with age you don’t gain wisdom and some perspective, but if the wisdom and perspective you are gaining is to live and let live to the point where you don’t disagree even when a situation is morally wrong … that is not kindness or wisdom or understanding, that is simply cowardice.

 

This is not the most comfortable of subjects, but I feel like it needs to be talked about these days.  I’ll leave you with a couple quotes here.

 

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.” — (Attributed to multiple sources)

 

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1755

 

– JT Cope IV

 

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Seven Great Middle Grade Reads

Posted on by jtcopeiv

 

Well, it happened … Pinterest finally sucked me in.  So sad.  At least they have lots of great book lists there; right???  That’s my excuse anyway.  So I thought I would make up some of my own and see what y’all thought; if y’all agreed?  Here is a first attempt, with the books in no particular order.  One particular note to any parents out there who might read this.  Although I don’t always screen everything I post about, when I have I want to make that abundantly clear.  Now, none of these books is perfect, no book is, but for the most part I think almost any parent should be comfortable if they see their child has picked them up.  At least that is my hope, but tell me if you disagree; I really am interested!

1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe – My all-time favorite series and one of my favorite books in the series. This is a fantasy following the Pevensie children through a wardrobe door and into a magical land of talking animals and a cruel witch.

2. The Hobbit – Completely different in my opinion from The Lord of the Rings, but a great piece of literature. Much more light hearted and just a fun read.

3. Treasure Island – A classic boy book. Pirates and stowaways and treasure in the end.  Can’t beat this for any young lads.

4. Little House on the Prairie – A great book for anyone but especially for young girls in my opinion because it focuses on the strength of girls as they are, not trying to make them plastic models or turn them into boys.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorceress Stone – Now I can see some parents having issues with the “wizards and witches” part of the books. I understand that position, but barring that, they are fairly clear of violence and sex and are written very well.

6. A Wrinkle in Time – Wonderful book written back during the cold war that is still as prevalent as ever in its discussions of communism and socialism and what disasters those are (but in such a way that most kids won’t understand it is political but they will very much see the difference in results), and just a fun read.

7. I won’t put anything about the last one. Y’all can fill in the blank there however you would like, good, bad, or ugly.  J

 

At any rate, I hope y’all enjoyed my first foray into the world of book list making.  Let me know if you have questions or comments of any kind.  I am game.  Hope y’all have a wonderful rest of your day and week wherever you are.  – JT Cope IV

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