Friday, December 29, 2017

The Last Growl

I started this blog over 8 years ago. Frequent readers may have noticed the number of posts has decreased during the last few years. I’ve been pondering the blog’s future for awhile, and after 719 posts, including this one, and over 240,000 page views, I’ve decided it’s time to close up shop, sign off one last time, and retire from the blogosphere.

It’s not because this heart transplant recipient’s health is failing. On the contrary - I’m approaching the 11th anniversary of my transplant and am still doing great. God continues to bless me tremendously.

The decision boils down to one thing – The Sheepdog is weary, and he’s weary for a number of reasons.

First, Google’s Blogger platform has become unreliable. More and more frequently, something doesn’t work correctly, some font has changed, a sidebar tool has been discontinued, a plug-in has failed, or some other aggravating issue has arisen whenever I log in to write. For example. when I wrote this post, the Zemanta plug-in I've used for years had stopped working .... again. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised, because Blogger is free. Therefore, Google has no incentive to keep it functioning at a high level. It’s the ol’ “you get what you pay for”.

Second, I’m not feeling the motivation to write the blog anymore, which is fueled somewhat by the Blogger issues mentioned above. I could switch to another platform, such as Wordpress, but I’m just not willing to build the site again, nor pay for the service. Sometimes over the last few years, I actually had to force myself to write just to keep the blog active. I’ve had enough of that, too. I’ve read a few articles and studies which have shown that blog readership is declining. Some of that is due to the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. People just aren’t as interested in reading blogs anymore. Based upon my pageviews declining and no comments on posts, it appears these studies are correct.

Third, politics. Ugh. I’ve written a number of political posts on this blog, but politics really suck now getting meaner and more vicious. More ridiculous, too. Common sense is now extinct, and it seems that politics is a drug to many and some are addicted to the junk.

We’ve allowed ourselves to get sucked into the angry rhetoric that the media spews into the airwaves. We then accept the crap they’re spouting as if it’s the gospel truth without doing any research to verify the accuracy of it. Then, we go back for more over and over again.

We sit and watch or read about Democrats insulting Republicans, and Republicans insulting Democrats as if it’s great entertainment. Others on the Left and Right insult each other, too, and all of it is reported by the media to make sure we don’t miss a minute of it. We then go and share all of that negativity with our family and friends, which keeps it circulating. None of it accomplishes anything positive.

I was part of it for a long time, but no more. One day a few years ago, it dawned on me that no one person is to blame for the mess our communities, our states, and our country are in. Not Bush. Not Obama, either. We all are – Republicans, Democrats, Independents – ALL of us. If anyone thinks that a political party is gonna “save the country" and fix everything, then they’ve either not been paying attention or are caught up in, and have been deceived by, the same blind party loyalty that I was for a long time. To many, party has become more important than principles and values. This realization is what led me to leave the Republican Party back in 2010.

Now, why do I believe we are to blame? First, it’s because we have fed the political media machine. Here's what few realize - we have allowed the elites in positions of power within both major political parties to divide us. They have fed us this lie, which we have bought hook, line, and sinker, that if you disagree with someone, then you must tear them down, because they are a "hater", "racist", or the "bad guy(s)".

We need to realize and understand that the elites, or establishment politicians (or whatever you want to label them), have used their powerful platforms and the media as their mouthpiece and propaganda machine to turn us against each other. The division within the country has been used by them to fill their campaign treasuries and the PACs with cash which they then use to fuel their machine and divide us further. We have allowed them to use us. Nickelback’s song nails it down - it’s all a “mass delusion” and “they’re (the elites) depending on mass confusion” (here). The PAC's make it possible for them to raise huge amounts of money with fewer limitations and make it easier for them to hide where those contributions come from.

The second reason we’re also to blame is because we keep electing and re-electing the same establishment elites who have created the problems. They do not represent us. They represent themselves and their corrupt cronies. It must change. Every election cycle incumbent politicians and challenger candidates tell us how much they support term limits. Yet we still have no term limits on Congress and others.

Why is that? In order for term limits to become law the same politicians who have to vote them into law are the same ones that would be term limited. It ain't gonna happen, because they love their power and perks too much. Once elected, they get addicted to them.

So, how do WE fix these 2 issues? It’s actually pretty simple.

First, let’s start by starving the media machine. Just turn it off. From ABC, to NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and all the other networks, just turn them off. Delete them from your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media feeds. I have and haven’t missed them. It’s no longer news, anyway. It’s garbage. “Just the facts” is not what they report nowadays. Instead, they report just what they want us to know with their own biased slant on it. They tell us what we should think, and what they want us to think. It’s pure propaganda.

Turning them off subjects the media to the “Law of Supply and Demand”. If we stop demanding their “product”, their ratings will crash, advertising dollars will dry up, and they’ll have to re-engineer their crappy product and supply something else, or their profits will dry up even further.

Second, WE have to institute the term limits at the ballot box. Starting with the 2018 election cycle, vote all the current sitting incumbents out regardless of party and / or who they are in all levels of government – local, state, and federal. Plus, don’t vote any candidate into a new office whom has served in any elected position before. They know all the political connections to the money and PACs. Therefore, they are incumbents, too. Then, every future election cycle, we do the same thing again. Even if a person is just completing their first term, vote ‘em out, because they’re now an incumbent. Doing this means that a bunch of "We the People" who have never ran for office before must rise up and do so. It also means that party loyalty must end.

I believe that if we do this for 3 or 4 consecutive election cycles the establishment will get the message and cronyism and corruption will be significantly reduced and maybe even nipped in the bud for good. The longer a politician stays in office, the more corrupt and addicted to power they become. Their objective is no longer to be a public servant – it’s only to keep getting re-elected in order to hold onto their power and perks, and they will do anything to get re-elected. They will sacrifice their principles and values, put their party before their constituents, and step on anybody who gets in their way.

Don’t think so? Well then, consider the following. I know a politician who has a vindictive reputation. People who have crossed this person have lost jobs, had other mayhem befall them, or just simply been put through hell for doing so. Another one, whom I first met several years ago, showed promise. Unfortunately, I watched this person align themselves with the money and influence power brokers who could get them elected and keep them elected. Heck, they even promised during their first campaign to term limit themselves, which was promptly forgotten once they took office and never mentioned again. Lastly, I know still another politician who turned their back on their long-held conservative values due to fear of losing their re-election bid. They told me so. Re-election and holding onto power became more important than principles. Such is the problem with incumbents and why they must all be replaced. Even though I can substantiate these examples, I’ll keep the names to myself. Most wouldn’t believe me if I divulged the names, and it’s not worth the hassle and brouhaha that would ensue. I suspect there are hundreds, if not thousands, of incumbents just like these 3 all across the country.

Most will balk at these suggestions of turning off the media and voting out all incumbents. Fine. That is your choice. Just as it is my choice to do so. I’m not allowing the garbage in my home anymore. I’ve unliked and unfollowed everything politically based from my Facebook feed. All political based emails now get automatically directed to my spam folder and deleted. When election time comes, my research will consist merely of learning who the incumbents are on my ballot and voting against each of them, and I will do so every election cycle going forward regardless of which party they belong to or who they are. Every. Single. One. Every. Single. Time.

If you choose not to do these two things, let me ask you 2 things:

  • If you had a friend who was an alcoholic, would you take them to the liquor store, give them a handful of cash, and turn them loose? 
  • If you were a cattle farmer and a pack of wolves found a hole in a fence and killed several of your cattle one night, would you go out the next morning and make that hole bigger allowing them more access to your cattle? 
What would you do in these situations? Not turning off the media nor voting out the incumbents is like enabling an alcoholic friend or a pack of hungry wolves. It doesn't end well.

As Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

The fourth thing I’m weary of is the needless dying. When I started writing this blog 8 years ago, approximately 20 Americans died every day waiting on a life-saving organ transplant. That statistic hasn’t changed. So, when I do the math (20 people x 365 days per year x 8 years), it works out to approximately 60,000 Americans have needlessly died due to the shortage of organ donors during this blog’s tenure. 60 THOUSAND!!

As a country, we should be ashamed. It’s inexcusable, because the solution to the problem is already available. It’s simple - every American should sign up as a donor. Every. Single. One. It only takes 2-3 minutes to do so. How is it that we can find time to watch, listen to, or read the political garbage, but we can’t make time to do something that could save the lives of our fellow countrymen and women?!? The reason we don’t is simple – we don’t care enough about our fellow Americans to do so.

Let me ask another question? If you’re NOT a registered organ and tissue donor, would you go through the process to get listed, and then accept a life-saving organ transplant if you needed one? I’m betting the answer is yes, and that my friend is what is called a hypocrite.

I know some in the organ donation advocacy community who want laws passed making it mandatory that everyone be an organ donor. Specifically, when one dies, he or she would be presumed to have consented to donation and their organs and tissues would be automatically recovered if medically possible. As a conservative, I don’t like the idea. I don’t want to force people to donate. I would rather each have the freedom to choose to do the right thing. However, when Americans continue to needlessly die from a shortage of donors, I understand why some support this idea.

Furthermore, it frustrates me when every year the U.S. sends billions of dollars in foreign aid overseas – which, by the way, seldom makes it to the intended beneficiaries. We could instead use at least part of that funding to increase organ and tissue donation education and awareness and / or to help Americans needing transplants pay for them. Our priorities are screwed up. We need to take care of own first then help the rest of the world.

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Once again, as Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

When I started this blog, the main goal was to advocate for and spread the word about the importance of organ and tissue donation and the need for more donors. I also wanted to open people’s eyes about the wolves among us, who some of them are, and what they are doing. I think I’ve accomplished both. I just wish more had listened.

By far, the best thing the blog has accomplished is that I know of 1 person who received a life-saving organ transplant as a direct result of connections made through the blog. I hope there have been others.

As I sign off for the last time, I know new and more important adventures await. One never knows what the future holds or where The Sheepdog may pop up next, but know this - even though I will not be prowling the blogosphere going forward, I will continue to be an advocate for organ and tissue donation, I am forever a Sheepdog, my fangs are still sharp, and I’ll continuously watch over the sheep.

Thank you to all who have read the blog over these last 8 years.

The 2nd Chance Sheepdog


Alice said...

I hope you are proud of yourself for all that you’ve accomplished with this blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it, and this last post is a super way to wrap it up. Spot on.

On to bigger and better things. Here’s to a great 2018!

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Thank you, Alice. You're very kind. I'm very grateful for your support during the blog's tenure.

Happy New Year to you, too.

The Sheepdog

Steve said...

Hey Dog, I’ve enjoyed the ride!

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Thanks Steve.