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Ronnie's View

"It is what it is."

Cause & Effect: The Action, The Amazing, The Aftermath

The Action

Over 500 days of campaigning, traveling, polling, challenging, advertising, and debating ended on Tuesday, November 8 with the 2016 General Election. There were hundreds of offices across the country up for grabs but all were fixed on the Presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Both sides did what they could to energize the voting population to side with their respective views of the direction for our country but numbers show that people were not particularly motivated to get out and vote for either candidate. It appears that voter turnout was the lowest in the last 20 years. This looked to hurt Clinton more; according to FiveThirtyEight.com, “[t]he drop in turnout was uneven. On average, turnout was unchanged in states that voted for Trump, while it fell by an average of 2.3 percentage points in states that voted for Clinton.” There are a number of reasons why eligible voters decided to not to cast their ballots but is probably safe to say that the majority of them felt that neither of the two major party candidates were viable choices to be the 45th President of this country.

The Amazing

We all were going to bare witness to something historic. Many were looking forward to seeing the first woman elected to the nation’s highest office with Clinton winning the Presidency. What we all got, instead, was the first candidate who had never held an elected government office nor served in the military in Trump. Both seemed to be improbable stories at one point or another but here we are with President-elect Trump.

Neither one of these candidates really received the full rallying of the parties they represented. Clinton endured a hotly contested primary with Bernie Sanders which split the Democrats; more moderates and establishment types backed Clinton while Sanders mobilized the more progressive wing of the party, including yours truly. Sanders implored his followers to get behind Clinton but the kerfuffle at the Democratic National Convention and the fallout with Debbie Wasserman Shultz kept the party fractured.

Even with the nonsense going on with the Dems, the GOP was an even bigger mess. Remember when the Republican primary had 17 candidates?…Yeah, 17 effin candidates! What I found astonishing in those early days was that this wasn’t (and still isn’t) a “big tent” party so, having 17 candidates saying varying degrees of virtually the same thing was just a big tent for a wild circus. Rick Perry and Scott Walker entered around the same time and exited around the same time in September 2015 and was at the dance for about 5 minutes (roughly 2 months for both) while Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki stuck it out just a tiny bit longer but not into 2016. Then for various reason, half of the remaining candidates dipped in February 2016–Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Jim Glimore, and Jeb Bush. All of this just gave Trump more fuel and the feuds with the remaining candidates appeared to get uglier and more personal. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio peeled back in March 2016 leaving just three candidates…until the first week of May. When Ted Cruz dropped out, the Republican party was at a major crossroad because Trump seemed to have grabbed the public while the establishment was still with Cruz. Maybe the GOP could get behind the last standing adult in John Kasich–Nope. He just shut it down less than 24 hours after Cruz did. Trump was the last man standing and the party went into the Republican National Convention fractured.

Whew…That was a bit tiring. But that’s how we got the two candidates. And yes, I know that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were on the ballot and I mean absolutely no disrespect to them or their campaigns (I actually like a good portion of Johnson’s platform) but they just weren’t going to get enough votes to be seriously considered formidable options for the White House against Trump and Clinton. It’s just the way our system is made up and it’ll be that way for quite some time–or the two major parties split like what happened to the Democratic-Republican party of 1824. Now, this could change if our country moved from the current “first-pass-the-pole/winner-take-all” electoral system in place now to a proportional representational system like Israel, South Africa, Greece, Japan, and Mexico.

But I digress…

The Aftermath

Donald J. Trump was elected President and will take office Friday, January 20, 2017. This week has been a difficult one for many people in this country. There are those who have basically been in morning because the thought of a President Trump pains them that much. There are those who are hopeful because of the prospect of an outsider heading to Washington D.C. to shake things up within the government. There are those who are angry and have been protesting either Trump’s election or the process or both. Some folks are legitimately depressed over this and are seeking therapy via the web. I will admit that I was sadden by the results last Tuesday (not just the Presidential results but locally in Indiana, too). I could not talk about the election results because they troubled me so much. It was hard to imagine that the next elected President just may be someone who is so completely opposite of my views for the country–but others probably felt the same way with President Obama was elected and definitely when he was re-elected.

Being disappointed is okay but the time has come to get back up and continue to move toward progress. This is a moment where we should rise up and push for what we believe is right and for the good of all Americans. President Obama is absolutely correct in saying that President Trump’s success America’s success. That doesn’t mean that we don’t check him when we believe that he is not acting within America’s best interest in mind, like Senator Elizabeth Warren said. It is our duty to seek the best possible solutions for our country together.

The elections results have served as a personal wake up call to me. For many years, I have been talking about getting into politics and running for office. I have continued to sit by and wait for that candidate to bring about the changes I would like to see or champion the causes that I hold dear. The time of waiting and being idle has passed. For those who continue to follow my journey, you will see a more active individual in the process. It is my mission to do whatever I can to positively influence the policies of my community for the betterment of the people–all of the people. I owe that to my daughters and to everyone who has taken the leap before I was here to use my talent, desire, and body to do so.

Get ready.

-RCS3

Cause & Effect: Colin Kaepernick & The Right to Sit

On August 26, 2016, the Green Bay Packers traveled to Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA to play the San Francisco 49ers for a pre-season contest. The Packers beat the 49ers 21-10 but that wasn’t the big story. Not by a long shot. Before the game ever kicked off, 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick was noticed not standing during the presentation of the National Anthem.

As we all know, Kaepernick has been discussed and scrutinized every since his proclaimed protest and subsequent locker room interview with the media. Kaepernick insisted that his protest was to bring to light issues within this country that are important to him but believes that are not getting the attention they deserve nor the positive changed that is called for.

One of the strongest critics of Kaepernick in the wake of this was Tomi Lahren of The Blaze online network.

I’m going to be honest, I thought Lahren’s assessment was laughable and ridiculous–and I still do–but then I came across a response to Lahren. Ryan Davis gives us a dismantling of Lahren’s argument that is pretty damning for those who side with her. WARNING: He uses profanity. These aren’t my words but I do like what he says.

Many didn’t like that Kaepernick chose to use the National Anthem as his opportunity to protest. For some, The Star-Spangled Banner is the song that incapsilates all that is good about American and it represents the struggles and sacrifices made by our brave members of the armed forces. I heard a lot of “Show some f*cking respect” or “You’re not oppressed, you whiny rich brat” and some going even as far as burning the No 7 jersey worn by the San Francisco quarterback. But we also saw veterans come out in the defense of Kaepernick after so many had condemned the 28 year old NFL star. Some took to Twitter with hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick in support of Kaepernick and his right to protest in any format to bring attention to the issues concerning him. Even President Obama has backed Kaepernick right to protest saying that he is “exercising his constitutional right” and that he believes that he “cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about.”

Yes, I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan. I’m also a Colin Kaepernick the football player fan. I was also and have now become more of a Colin Kaepernick the conscious citizen fan and I’ll tell you why.

People are always talking about how public figures, whether it be an elected figure or a well know community leader or a sports athlete, should use their platform and celebrity in order to bring light to difficult subjects and help facilitate positive change. That is exactly what Kaepernick is trying to do in this situation but is being portrayed as a whiny and out of touch rich brat. This catch 22 is highly unfair because it dissuades protesters from speaking up–which I realize may be the actual point–thus causing the topic to not receive the attention that it needs to move people forward. Taking the stance even with the continued backlash is commendable and I would like to see Kaepernick continue while becoming more involved in those issues that bother him. Maybe he can find a way to be a bridge between the black community and local law enforcement to produce Q&A town-halls. I think his donating $1 million to community organizations is a good start.

Kaepernick isn’t just now trying to be a ‘good guy’ and stand up for something other thanimg_3338 himself or football. He’s been doing that. He has spoken out on social issues before, mainly via Instagram and Twitter. Take this post on Instagram from mid 2015 for example, where Kaepernick says, “Racism and discrimination isn’t OK [W]e are all human beings! Things need to change!” Anyone who has noticed this or taken the time to look into this will find that he hasn’t been shy sharing his opinions. Also, Kaepernick has hosted football camps for kids, including 2016 where he spent the majority of the off-season rehabbing from multiple injuries and surgeries. Kaepernick is also very involved with Camp Taylor, a youth program in California for children suffering from heart disease. This is a young man who is concerned for his local community and the country at large. We shouldn’t be discouraging activism like his because we simply just don’t see enough of it.

In a roundabout way, Kaepernick taught me something that I didn’t know. It’s that The Star-Spangled Banner has a tired stanza…and that stanza mentions the death to slaves–American slaves. There have been some question whether our National Anthem itself is racist. I’m not willing to go that far, at least not at this moment but it did give me reason to pause and do some exploring. Kaepernick’s protest is working. Not only did he draw attention to the current hot button issue of police brutality against minorities but it caused us to look deeper into our nation’s coveted song–the one so many speak of with so much pride.

No refuge can save the hireling and the slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

A simple Wikipedia search would let you know that there is way more to our National Anthem then what the average American knows. There’s actually FOUR verses?! Hell, there are a lot of good ol’ Mericans that don’t know the first verse very well! Check this from Ben Swann.

Colin Kaepernick has every right to not stand during the National Anthem in protest. Wanting to do away with peaceful protest that is aimed to shedding light on issues that trouble our country does us all a disservice. My hope is that others join Kaepernick, maybe not in this specific type of protesting but in the quest for change and forward moving to get to a place where we can look at racism and unequal treatment as a thing of the past. Like Kaepernick, I love this country and I do my best to serve it in a positive way everyday. Think of the type of country this would be if we all tried to serve one another, protect one another, and stand up (or sit down) for one another.

-RCS3

Cause & Effect: An Editorial Series

After neglecting my blog site for some time and witnessing an outlandish amount of mess in news and media, I’ve decided to resurrect my page with some purpose. Cause & Effect will be an editorial series where I will post my thoughts regarding current trending topics. Let me make this clear from the jump: I do not work for a legit news source nor do I proclaim to be a legit news source. What I will attempt to do is to gather and report facts and add my own views about the circumstances discussed.

This was an idea that I actually had in early 2016 but tabled it. I anticipate some agreeing with my thoughts and others not; that is okay. What I will demand from everyone is respect when debating. The idea is to shed some light on things, bring a little clarity to what may be murky or touchy subjects.

-RCS3

Thankful: The Corner…

A boxer steps into the ring to battle. He heads to the middle of the ring to meet his opponent where they trade blows. He delivers some great shots but takes a couple himself. The bell chimes indicating the end of the round; he turns to his corner. The corner is the place where he recharges, refuels, and regroups. His coach and training staff feed him with water and strategy so he can go out to meet his opponent with the energy and knowledge needed to not be overtaken.

This is the same in life. We venture out to take on the world and we get dinged up and bruised from time to time. Our home is our corner. My wife and I just purchased a new house and are anxious to make it our home. This is a big deal for me because I am a first time home buyer. It’s also a big deal because I am someone that didn’t have his own place for a time period; I relied on the benevolence of others when I wasn’t able to keep my place. But to have your corner that you chose and is where you can seek refuge is huge. My corner will have my wife to help me stay focused on my goals, my daughters to keep me inspired to rise to higher heights, and my God to provide me with the strengthen needed to persevere no matter the circumstance.

It is exciting to have bought a new house that is primed to be made into a home. I can’t help but to wonder what memories our home will hold. My corner, my home is where my everything will come from that I need to handle what the streets have for me. I’m thankful for the corner–our new home.

-RCS3

Thankful: The Calling…


Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life–a mean a WHOLE BUNCH of jobs. I’ve worked in all sorts of different arenas and for most of my adult life I had multiple jobs at once.

In May of 2013, I embarked on a journey that is ever changing but always amazing. Being a firefighter is not the job I had in mind when I was younger. I wanted to be a lawyer. Instead, I tried my luck with IFD’s application process. The deeper I got into the prcocess, the more I wanted it.

Now, I’m approaching my 3rd year with the department and absolutely love my job. I answer the call to assist people at possibly their worst moment. Serving my community in such an intimate way is an honor. I’m thankful for the ability to do the work demanded of a firefighter–I’m thankful for my job.

-RCS3

Thankful: My Pearl…

The girl name ‘Pearl’ means precious or treasure. We may not have named our daughter that but that is exactly what she is–a precious treasure.

Since her birth, my princess and taken over my world causing me to feel a joy that I didn’t even think was possible. Every moment isn’t easy–in fact, you parents already know that even your cutest and sweetest angel will test your last nerve but you still wouldn’t trade them for anything. They just have a way of bringing happiness and love in a way nobody else can.

I didn’t know that I would find someone to have kids with but I found the most incredible woman to share my life with. Our daughter is the manifestation of our love…and we have another on the way!

My baby girl means everything to me. There isn’t much that I wouldn’t do for her. She is the best thing that I will ever have a hand in molding here on Earth. She makes me want to be better at every role that I have–father, husband, protector, provider, counselor, friend. I’m so thankful for my lil munchkin!

-RCS3

Thankful: A Good Thing…

 This is how Proverbs 18:22 reads: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” I knew this was the case before Brianna assumed the title of wife–my wife–but she is what is good in me and why I feel that my life has received favor from the moment I met her.

This woman has taught me, stabled me, cheered me, put up with me, consoled me, scolded me, challenged me, celebrated me, and kept me. Brianna does all of that and so much more for me…and for others. Nobody has a bigger heart than her. She has a laugh that’s infectious and a smile that’ll brighten anyone’s day. I think Brianna can best be seen in her element when she is playing with our daughter; she is the best mother I could have hoped for my children.

I’m thankful to have a solid partner who loves me in spite of me and makes me feel like I can conquer the world just because she’s on my side. I’m thankful for Brianna.

-RCS3

Focus Series: Thanksgiving 2015

Life is pretty good for me. There isn’t much for me to complain about and if I do then it’s probably not really a big deal–but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve been blessed to overcome a number of very tough situations in life. There were a number of times when I just didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or understood why I was going through the painful valleys.

I like to share my testimonies with the hope that they give others hope. I know what it feels like to be in total despair and have complete hopelessness take over your heart and mind…but I also know what it feels like to come out on the other side of the darkness.

All that I have in my life is because of God so I first want to say that I am thankful for His love and mercy toward me. This Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), I will focus on four of my recent and treasured blessings that I am thankful for.

-RCS3

BLOG_Thanksgiving2_pumpkin

12 Hours Left

So I’m getting married today. What’s that about?! A year ago today I graduated from IFD’s fire academy. Within that time, I moved four times, gained my dream career, and became a daddy. Today, I get married. Wow.

I’ve always wanted to get married but didn’t always believed that it would happened. Anyone that has lived and experienced the ups and downs of love knows that it can beat you down emotionally–to the point where you want to throw in the towel and just accept that you are just going to be alone. I got to that point. Truth be told, I was there when I met Brianna. I didn’t think that there was any hope for me to find my life partner but the moment I saw her I thought, “There’s my wife.”

The next day, I told someone that “I saw my wife last night” and I still believed it. It was an odd feeling, like I’d been hit with the ‘thunderbolt’ that Michael Corleone got hit with when he saw Applonia the first time. I’ve been in love with Brianna every since.

It’s kinda hard to think what life was like before her but I remember and it just felt empty. Admittedly, we did know each other long before things got serious but it always felt right–we were meant to be together. Now, I can’t imagine life without her; I guess that’s why I asked her to marry me. Everyone seeks and deserves that special someone that makes life more enjoyable, someone that loves you in spite of you.

This past week has been tough for me because I just want to tell everyone how much I love this woman and how much she means to me. Words don’t do it justice but I try anyway and probably annoy people in the process…but I don’t care. I can talk about my Bree all day. She made me believe in true love again. She sustains and propels me. She holds me down and keeps me sane. She loves me in spite of me. She said ‘yes’ and that makes me 12 hours from being married to the best lady in the world.

-RCS3
 

Bree
My heart belongs to this woman
 

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