Allen West: To indoctrinate a “liberal lugnut”

Is Allen West bigger than the Constitution?

No disrespect intended Mr. West, but neither you or I are bigger than the Constitution or the Bible.

This was sent to me.  I’m cutting and pasting from the gentleman’s public page for clarification.  Am I missing something here?

“I’m staying out here at a hotel in Hawthorne CA. After my usual morning PT (physical training – run, pushups, crunches), I came down for the buffet breakfast and got hit with the Liberal Stare. This time the fella said, “you look familiar” to which I responded with my name. He said his name was Vic and a former Marine. Then came this, “I respect your service but I don’t respect your views.” You mean he did not respect my view standing up against Harry Reid using Marine deaths for political grandstanding? Does he not respect my views on the Constitution, something ole Vic had once taken an oath to support and defend? Message to all you liberal lugnuts, I’m all about freedom of speech, but let me remind you of Proverbs 17:28. And have a great day, Vic.”  Allen West 28 March 2013

Just me:

In my lifetime, I have been blessed with a number of mentors and peers who I respect tremendously as individuals.  In many cases, if not all, I believe that respect is mutual.  That does not mean that I agree with 100 percent of their actions or 100 percent of their views, and I know for certain that they do not agree 100 percent with my actions and views.  I don’t find that strange or unique.

One example to which many can relate:

I’m madly and passionately in love with my wife and admire, respect, and am at times awed by her knowledge and commitments concerning an array of subjects and activities.  Even so we still disagree at times on personal and professional subject issues, but has anyone ever been married without a disagreement on something.  I don’t know when our great acceptance or compromise took place because it must have been casual and not accompanied by public declarations and days of celebrations.  That acceptance is that she will quietly pick up the empty peppermint candy, wintergreen, butterscotch, or cinnamon hard candy wrappers that I leave on my desk, and when the tube of toothpaste is about 80 percent empty I will stretch out all the wrinkles and flatten from the bottom and continue to flatten in the following days to achieve the maximum amount of brushings from the tube.

Of course we have encountered other issues of less importance in terms of marriage.  About two months into the marriage, she had major surgery and spent 9 nights in the hospital.  She recovered and to this stage has not had additional surgeries following regular checks.  Next, less than two years into our marriage my then undiagnosed vestibular condition left me bedridden for 1 year, and 3 years after diagnosis I’ve probably reached the 80 + percent stage in recovery.  Ultimately, I’ll be better than ever as this genetic condition which I never knew existed actually limited my physical and mental abilities since about junior high school age.  My wife endured, persevered, cried, never let me give up, and somehow grew more beautiful during the worst of my physical symptoms.

Before marriage, we both turned down multiple job offers and remained at an institution where neither of us felt appreciated. We remained, however, because we worked at the same place.  Even with my illness and her additional burdens, after finally leaving that school she is now a prominent faculty member at a more prestigious institution who is often referenced by higher administration for her work. Despite not being in the classroom currently because of my physical limitations, in many ways I’m in a better place professionally both in a strict discipline respect and with my forays and collaborations in other areas. I’m not really joking when I say that this Louisianaboy considers traffic and snow among the greatest adjustments still to make once full recovery is achieved.

Another Example:

On Facebook and with other communications, I most certainly support President Obama more than probably 90 percent of my friends.  Now my support is often less about the President’s personal position than it is in my knowing the actual powers of the Executive Office in relation to the other branches of the Federal government and levels of government.  Still from a historical opinion, I give President Obama credit because few Presidents have faced the same degree of change within the political landscape in terms of actions by the other Branches.

I admit that I engage in that professorial information overload in response to various political themed posts.  Personally, I prefer giving or receiving opinions and citations in one long typed message for the sake of context than in a constant back and forth.  Many of my friends and colleagues take the same approach, but I understand how some feel overwhelmed because that amount of material is not considered normal in their respective professions.  Face-to-face, I’m really different in that I prefer the exchanges going back and forth because any misunderstandings can be clarified quickly.  Many of my friends and colleagues describe me as quiet, but sure to be heard when I do speak.  Listening is usually more preferable to me than talking because that’s how I was reared.

What about respect?

Still, my respect for the person making a post or conversations to which I respond in either nature does not change.   Often I agree with the actual contention, but simply want to direct the feelings to the source which actually has the power to address the issue.  Sometimes I disagree with their position, but my knowledge and experience can save them from waiting longer periods of time by referring them directly to where the bureaucratic process will ultimately lead them.  It’s really no different from when I encounter an electrical issue and ask a friend who is an electrician for his advice.  It’s no different from asking the Registered Nurses for medical opinions and advice which I often do because nurses really do keep doctors from killing you in many situations.  Long haul truck drivers, elementary school teachers, accountants, people with more time to fish, and just those who have been someplace similar and done something similar to what I expect to encounter or am experiencing can save me a lot of time and hassle with their knowledge and expertise on different matters.

My response to Mr. West given my feelings written above:

Mr. West, you are not an all knowing deity to be placed on a pedestal and worshipped for your views.  Neither is “Vic,” Harry Reid, me, or anyone else for that matter.  Nobody needs to agree with anyone all the time.  That has nothing to do with respect.

In my opinion, the problem in politics today is that too many people like you believe that your interpretation of the Constitution is more important than the Constitution.  In my opinion, if a law applies to you that same law should apply to me and vice versa.  We can have our own views and opinions. I certainly have mine and have expressed those opinions and the reasons I have them  in numerous public presentations over the years.  Others have that same right, and my primary criteria on how I agree or disagree with their positions are the sources which they cite as influencing that position.

Just some observations here:

Individuals do have different levels of knowledge and expertise in various subjects and activities.  What if the goal by those in the public eye was to assist those with less knowledge and expertise by teaching them how and where to acquire additional knowledge?  Despite this new definition I sometimes hear, teaching is not about giving someone information, it is about sharing the knowledge on how and where to find information and to apply existing tools and ideas and create new ones.

Why in today’s political climate have we started to accept more freely that the person is more important than the action, and the messenger more important than the source?  That’s not new, but to me at least it seems to be more of a norm.

Perhaps I learned more as a kid than I realize:

I learned a long word as a little kid, and it scared me so much that I still remember the exact moment.  I asked what it meant then, and I looked it up in the dictionary as soon as I went across the field and got home.  The word was indoctrinate.  Whether defined in a strawberry packing shed or in a dictionary, the word still frightened me then and today in the same manner.

Mr. West and the Bible:

“Message to all you liberal lugnuts, I’m all about freedom of speech, but let me remind you of Proverbs 17:28. And have a great day, Vic.”

When I read that passage, I read this:

Proverbs 17:28  “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” (KJV)

What I’ve learned from Mr. West and many of the commentators to his posting:

I guess a “liberal lugnut” is someone who feels that source of the Bible is more important than someone who only reads and quotes from it.  A “liberal lugnut” must be someone who cares more about the Constitution than what another individual says about it.  A “liberal lugnut” must be someone who wants to work and learn for them themselves.  A “liberal lugnut” must be a person who does not blindly follow and accept what another person says.  A “liberal lugnut” must be a person who believes freedom of speech applies not just to themselves but to others as well.  A “liberal lugnut” apparently does not demand and strive for indoctrination by any and everyone.  A “liberal lugnut” apparently is someone who respects themselves and others.  A “liberal lugnut” not only speaks but practices some version of The Golden Rule.  A “liberal lugnut” is not a narcissist.

My Final thoughts:

Should we embrace Indoctrination or the Golden Rule?  My opinion differs from that of Mr. West.  My hope is that “We the People” do not succumb to these desires to indoctrinate hidden beneath a veil of conservative values or any individuals’ opinion for that matter.  When that veil is removed, “we” are not represented.  “We” simply become followers or “We” become those “Other people.”  I doubt it takes a history professor to realize how successful indoctrination philosophies have been in the past.  This incorporation of indoctrination is not teaching.

Indoctrinate:  “to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle” (Merriam-Webster).

Is that what we as a country desire?  What are values and freedoms then?