Riff Raff: Observations, complete honesty, shifting politics, and independence stuff

by Michael Tilley (mtilley@talkbusiness.net) 545 views 

On the weekend we celebrate our freedom, law enforcement agencies around the country proudly boast of having more DUI checkpoints. Happy 4th of Jul-Irony. When’s that medical marijuana become available?

Speaking of irony, Arkansas’ Attorney General is not happy with them horrible awful shameless companies who promise one thing and deliver something else entirely. Arkansas’ top legal beagle Leslie Rutledge ain’t having it with the cable industry lying about internet speeds.

“Arkansans deserve complete honesty when it comes to any advertisement for goods and services,” Attorney General Rutledge said in a recent press release that may or may not have been written by hers truly. “The need for faster internet speeds and increased access to broadband is something I hear routinely when I travel our State, and my ability to protect Arkansans from misleading providers is something that must be protected.”

Complete honesty? Pretty tall order. Ever seen a Subway commercial. My sandwich NEVER looks like the sandwich the sandwich artist makes on the TV. Kids toys and easy assembly? Freaking never. And those skinny jeans ain’t gonna make your 40-year-old ass look 25 again. The last time I was alone on a beach a supermodel didn’t bring me a Corona. Not sure if AG Rutledge should sue the beach, the beer or the babe?

Please note the AG wants “complete honesty” with ads for goods and services, and not “complete honesty” with political advertising. We must be better served by requiring complete honesty with goods and services, but not so much when selecting governors and senators.

• Speaking of “complete honesty,” let’s look at local politics. In Fort Smith, the city’s chamber and city leadership encourage everyone to ‘Shop Local,” which means if you live in the city you should get most of your goods and services from businesses in Fort Smith.

For example, the city’s comprehensive report on improving the city notes: “Encourage a full-service array of retail and service opportunities, thus limiting the necessity by residents and employees to leave the community to purchase goods and services (i.e. leakage).”

The report also notes: “Expand shop local campaign and shop local campaign online.”

The encouragement campaign is so effective that one city director is using a bank and construction company outside the city to finance and build a project within the city, and another city director recently bought a new vehicle in Northwest Arkansas.

• The tide is shifting with some aspects of social politics. Pew Foundation research suggests a dramatic shift on generational views on same-sex marriage in less than a decade. In 2010, more Americans opposed (48%) than supported (42%) legal same-sex marriage. Fast forward to March 2016 when 55% favored same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed. And it seems the more conservative elements of the Baby Boomer generation are cycling out of the American demographic.

“For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage, while 39% are opposed. Last year, opinion among Boomers was divided (46% favored/48% opposed),” Pew noted in its report.

Let’s hope this is a precursor to a younger electorate more focused on a government that stays out of our bank accounts and our bedrooms. Better yet, as the influence of religion wanes, let’s hope facts and evidence prevail in politics.

• A note about our independence (Repeated from a previous Riff Raff.). Our metal, our collective self-awareness and our tangible symbols of collective commitment to country ultimately rest in an intangible faith in each other.

We are one people held together by fundamental principles, the most fundamental of which is our diligent and informed participation. Unchecked apathy and comfort can lead to sudden concern and discomfort, and then we may discover at what temperature our metal was formed.

While the fire’s heat is necessary, the flame must not become a torch. We have to draw our lines between vengeance remaining in the hands of the rule of law, and the knowledge that we have an obligation to follow laws that promote human decency.

Civil liberties are the alloys that form our metal. To reduce or dilute the mix, under the guise of protecting it, only weakens the basic metal. Patriotism, our greatest strength, is often our greatest weakness. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is preferable to limiting liberty and the preclusion of habeas corpus — even more so in times of national tragedy or hardship. When it comes to being governed, we must be delegates who possess a basic, rather than blind, faith in individuals and institutions. We’ve lost enough life. Let’s leave unmolested the liberty to pursue happiness.

Our existence as one people is now as it was that first July 4: tenuous. This country is held together by words on paper and by our faith in each other. External enemies have and will continue to blatantly attack our physical metal and subtly attack our basic faith in our fellow citizens and the government we allow.

They underestimate our resilience. We should not underestimate theirs.