“Indelible in the Hippocampus…”

The Scouts of Boy Scout Troop #86 had, for many months as their leader, an older Scout who was a bit of a hard nose. He was a drum major for the Olathe South Marching Falcons, and he led our Troop with an emphasis on structure and discipline, with rigidity and order…

Needless to say, 50 or 60 high school kids on a Monday night weren’t exactly stoked to comply with his sanctimonious leadership style.

As his 18th birthday approached, we began considering who we wanted to be his replacement. It was more or less assumed that our new leader would be one of the older Scouts that had been with the Troop for a longer period of time. More than likely, our new Senior Patrol Leader would be one of the Scouts that were in his Patrol, the term for a group of Scouts within the Troop itself.

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The Senior Patrol Leader is the Scout who decides where the Troop will go for the monthly camping trips. One weekend a month, every month, the Troop spends a weekend learning important skills at various locations throughout the Kansas City area. Some locations are near facilities that can help Scouts earn Merit Badges that they wouldn’t normally be able to earn.

One weekend we camped at a park located near an airport, operated by the University of Missouri, where we spent the weekend earning our Aviation Merit Badge. Another weekend, we camped near the depot of an old railroad that once served the States of Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas (KTA) in the 19th century. We helped their museum change railroad ties on the still-operating line, and in the process we earned our Railroading Merit Badge.

 

But those trips had happened under previous leadership, and we wanted our new Senior Patrol Leader to plan future trips to places like those, to the places that we wanted to go. I guess that sounds about right for a bunch of adolescent teenagers. (NOTE: Back in MY day… teenagers were rebellious and self-centered. FYI)

 

At some point before the election, proposed as more of a joke than anything else, the name of one of the younger Scouts was recommended. He wasn’t part of the youngest group of Scouts who had just recently joined the Troop, he joined with the group before that. He had been with the Troop no more than nine months.

The argument was made that as a younger Scout, it would be easy to convince him to see things our way. In essence, we believed he would do as we said because he would be a “pushover”. A young Scout, wanting to fit in with the older Scouts…? Every camping trip would be where we told him we wanted to go.

 

No one in the Troop was excited to vote for any of the candidates… so the majority of the Troop voted for the “pushover”. One month later, our new Senior Patrol Leader subjected the younger Scouts to an “underware check”. It was the first camping trip with him as our new leader.

 

We enabled that to happen by electing someone we wouldn’t have chosen under different circumstances.

 

 

The Catholic Church.

The Boy Scouts of America.

The United States Military…

The United States Supreme Court.

 

The Movie Industry.

The Music Industry.

The Hotel and Service Industry.

The Fast-Food Industry.

 

Even in small businesses. “Ma and Pa” shops that only employ a handful of people…

 

Like the United States Senate.

 

 

Once the light pierces the darkness, it’s hard to go BACK to the way things were before. To do so would mean ignoring what has been seen, forgetting what has become KNOWN.

That is why the DARK AGES are part of our PAST… our HISTORY. Not our future.

 

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Wyandotte County Lake under quarantine- 03/27/2020

 

 

At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure THEY have a better shot at making it. That they start out with more opportunities than I had. By working to make sure their future is successful… MY future will be as well.

What will we leave behind when we go? In this moment, I’m thinking not so much as will I be remembered… but will anyone be around to do any remembering? Will they have the luxury of leisure, to sit and contemplate the past; or will they be so busy just trying to SURVIVE in the moment, that they’ll be unable to take the time to expand their horizons?

When you must spend every waking moment in a constant struggle to put food on the table, things like education take a back seat. You know… “When I get around to it.”

 

So much is up in the air right now as our nation stands watching… faced with a choice that is all too clear. There is so much that we must do, and so much of it must be done RIGHT… as we may not have this chance again.

 

What will our children make of this moment? How will democracy be judged by future generations? The political structure that we grew up with is now gone. It died with the passing of the Republican Party. All that remains is a hollow shell of what once was, held up only by our belief in it… a stiff breeze is now all that’s required.

 

When you SEE something… SAY something!

 

Because that’s how things CHANGE.

 

 

 

 

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“Woman broadens claims…” NBC News (04/12/2020)

 

Right now the men on the ballot this fall are TWO SIDES of the SAME COIN, and I cannot in GOOD CONSCIENCE, vote for either. That worries me…

That should worry EVERY American Citizen.

 

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Shall we RATIFY equality… or must women wait ANOTHER 100 years?

The choice must always be ours!

 

“… with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

 

-JC

With the Rising of the Tide

Again I say…

The American People deserve a third option on the debate stage this fall.

 

The truly “Revolutionary” part of my candidacy is simply who I am… I’m just some guy from Kansas.

A husband. A stay-at-home dad. A home owner. A citizen who is concerned for the future of our Nation. A person who’s always had a strong affection for our political system, but could never bring myself to the point of being able to SELL OUT my moral values.

 

 

 

As a young man, I drank and ran with the wrong crowd. Being a musician, many of my colleagues believed that was a job requirement. But my experience with drugs and alcohol is one of the better stories. Many of my friends battled addictions and lost more than I have. Millions more across this Nation are not here today to tell their tale.

 

 

 

I consider myself blessed… in so far as that is under someone else’s control. My actions have always determined my fate, but I know my actions are influenced by circumstances beyond my control. I’ve made my decisions in life based on the options before me, framed in the context of the surroundings I’ve found myself in. As it is with music, if the options before me will not produce the vision I see in my mind… I seek better options. And I do not settle until I’ve realized my goal.

 

If we continue to use the SAME TOOLS, we will see the SAME RESULTS…

 

… and we will never know what SOUNDS we’ve been missing if we just hit REPEAT.

 

 

Who is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump? Which candidate is he truly afraid of facing this fall? Will either of the Democrats be able to crack 50%? Is that the option we want facing Donald Trump in November… the candidate who can hold on to his BASE?

If our decision is not CLEAR CUT, there will be DOUBT in the result. This will NOT empower the American People.

 

Party Politics of the previous era are now gone… TODAY. Because ONE PARTY is all that remains. The other has been hijacked by the current occupant of the White House, and now complacency and rot have started to set in.

 

The politics of FEAR and DIVISION. Quite literally. Don’t forget: WASH YOUR HANDS!

 

 

 

 

“… I would call out the military.” –Joe Biden

“… and we are going to pay for it ALL.” –Bernie Sanders

 

Whoa now! Why are we supporting Unilateral Presidential Executive Actions? Without Congressional support, many of these proposals could only be enacted in that manor…

Isn’t that what we’re fighting AGAINST?

Did we not learn what can come from Presidents who are willing to go it alone?

 

 

 

Let us find COMMON GROUND on ALL these issues, and not lose sight of the main objective that this Nation must secure if it is to SURVIVE.

 

The future of our Nation is SECURE when every citizen’s RIGHT TO VOTE is ensured.

 

ONE CITIZEN=ONE VOTE

Remove the corruption. Restore HONOR in governance.

I believe in EQUAL Justice Under Law.

 

End the Electoral College

 

JC

 

50/50

 

That was the vote in the Virginia House of Delegates on February 21, 2019, on a proposed rule change that would have forced a vote on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment…

… it failed.

 

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Kirk Cox, FRM Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates

A bill supported by over 80% of the people of Virginia. It would have PASSED had a vote been allowed… but it wasn’t even allowed out of committee.

 

ONE YEAR LATER, after the delegates were held accountable at the ballot box for their INACTION in the legislature, Virginia voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, thereby meeting the Constitutionally required threshold of 38 States.

 

 

Just last month, the United States House of Representatives voted to clear the way for final ratification by removing the original deadline, and now…

 

ONE MAN, in the United States Senate stands OPPOSED.

 

 

While it was shocking to see the Virginia Speaker of the House deny equality to more than HALF of his constituents, it was even more shocking to see the Democratic Presidential Candidates stand SILENT as it played out. FIVE WOMEN. 37 States. Only one more to go…

What a lost opportunity to educate the public… about Equality and the legislative process. About Income Inequality and Economic Disadvantage.

A lost opportunity to bring us closer to that more perfect Union.

 

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“ERA bill dies for good…” -Washington Post (02/21/2019)

 

I have NO DOUBT that if the Democratic Women running for President would have stood on the steps of the Virginia Statehouse in solidarity with the ERA activists, they would have swayed ONE MORE VOTE. With the national media bringing SUNLIGHT to the situation, we would now be standing one year CLOSER to equality.

 

Then again… we would STILL be standing right HERE, no closer than we are TODAY.

 

The Majority Leader of the United States Senate does NOT support equality.

The Majority Leader of the United States Senate stands OPPOSED to the MAJORITY of this nation.

The Senate Majority Leader is opposed to the Rule of Law, as conceived by the Founders of this nation, and will not move to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

38 of the 50 States… 76% of this nation now DEMANDS it.

It does not matter his rationale, the PEOPLE have spoken.
Equality should be the Law of this land.

The Senate must Ratify the ERA.

 

When storms rage, you cannot simply seek SAFE HARBOR, as your ship will be smashed upon the shore. You must sail headlong into the winds and face it, with full faith in the strength of your ship & its crew… and press ONWARD. Even if that means just treading water, because the alternative

… well, the alternative is no alternative at ALL.

 

In years past, leaders have spoken of the ‘Fog of War’. In this digital era with the adversary we are engaged with, the entire WAR is FOG. There is no battle. There are no physical sides being drawn.

When we forget who we are, and what we STAND for… our enemies win. When we begin to selectively administer Justice and forget that we are ALL created equal, we FALL BACK… being pushed closer to the rocky shores of our PAST.

 

We know where we have BEEN. We must remember where we are GOING.

 

Well-trodden paths are safe and familiar, but they will only lead us to where we’ve been… back to where we are TODAY. Even in the dark of night, even in the deepest fog… we know our path is TRUE when we listen to our moral compass, as it always points us HOME.

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Screenshot (90)We cannot allow ourselves to be complacent. We must fight to hold on to what we’ve already secured. The Constitution outlines a process for RATIFYING Amendments to the Constitution, it does NOT outline a process where ONE MAN can override the overwhelming majority of the PEOPLE.

Anyone who stands opposed to the opinion of 76% of this nation, should not be referred to as Majority Leader… and this fall, the PEOPLE will show him that.

Equal. MUST. Mean. Equal… or we will lose this fight before it’s even begun.

JC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Scout is Kind

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“Boy Scouts of America files for Bankruptcy”– Washington Post (02-18-2020)

I am heartbroken after hearing about the bankruptcy filing of the Boy Scouts of America. As an Eagle Scout, I know my life would not be the same without the lessons and experiences I had as a Scout. While I am hopeful that the storied tradition and mission of Scouting will be around for another 100 years, how this situation is handled will determine if that is possible.

HEALING the damage that has occurred and preventing future harm, should be the FIRST PRIORITY.

If that means this organization must come to an end, sadly… that is the way it must be. If they choose to operate in a way that protects or promotes criminal sexual abuse of any form, I would PROUDLY hand my Eagle Scout Badge BACK to the BSA before I would support them, and I believe EVERY Eagle Scout would do the SAME.

We must remember… the ABUSED are not the criminals here, the ABUSERS are. There should be NO TIME LIMIT against coming forward. Their stories help us PREVENT future abuse and we should welcome their stories. We must be focused on making sure it cannot happen again.

 

My Boy Scout Troop dealt with an experience of sexual abuse while I was an active Scout. During one of our monthly camping trips, our newly elected Scout Leader subjected a group of first year Scouts to an “underwear check”. I didn’t attend that camp out… I can’t remember why. I know at the time it was an important reason, but the events of that weekend seem to have overshadowed everything else around it.

As a youth organization, I believe the BSA must address two issues in order to prevent future abuse:

1.) Why did those boys not know that that situation was unacceptable and should have SPOKEN OUT about it immediately?

2.) Why did that boy believe it was possible for him to subject those Scouts to a situation like that without accountability?

 

Preventing sexual abuse requires SPEAKING about sexual abuse, which naturally means educating kids about what IS and IS NOT acceptable. At such a pivotal point in their development, the BSA should take a more active role in educating Scouts about these things, and clearly define expectations to actively promote a safe environment for all members… parents, volunteers, and Scouts.

Everyone must feel SAFE, and the BSA must create an atmosphere where Scouts feel comfortable SPEAKING OUT when they are not. The experiences of the Boy Scouts are not an isolated incident. Many organizations are beginning to open their eyes to abuse within their ranks, and we are learning that many lives have been affected. Many people live their entire lives without speaking of it… and some are affected by it everyday.

SILENCE will not fix the problem in the future, and it will not help victims heal.

If the goal truly is to protect CHILDREN, then we must give them the TOOLS necessary to someday do so for themselves… they need KNOWLEDGE.

What better group is there to provide that knowledge than the BSA?

 

JC

The Eye of the Storm

THIS is how it begins. Someone takes a STAND. One soul brings forth from the ether, a vision of something not seen before. How or where it comes from… religions are established to investigate such thoughts! But once it appears, it brings joy and excitement, and an unstoppable passion to give it LIFE, to share that joy with all who will listen.

I never considered that it was possible to do such things for the benefit of my country, as opposed to creating the merely decorative or aesthetic. Being a writer and composer is similar to that of someone who earns their degree in the History of English Literature… That’s great, but what do you DO for a living? Every artist is in search of their fifteen minuets of fame… but now, the artist realizes the very canvas upon which he creates, is threatened by what we see.

That which was unimaginable just a handful of years ago, feels closer than ever before. What once was brewing “over there”, now comes ashore, imported and repackaged, FOR SALE here in our own backyard. The HISTORY of those who fled, seeking SAFE HARBOR on our shores, now gives pause to their grandchildren, forcing them to consider doing the SAME…

 

As the Light of Liberty has begun to turn against them.

 

Our HISTORY has not changed, yet it is being rewritten as we speak. The lessons we have learned from our great- and grand-parents, flies in the face of “truths” being sold to us today. Wrapping them in the flag, embracing ideals espoused by regimes who have, in the past… done exactly the same.

Illegal actions undertaken by ONE MAN can be corrected, they can be forgiven. They can be seen as an example, taught to others as a lesson of what we should not do. Once those actions become certified, given approval and allowed ascent by the highest legislative body in the land, they will become CANON.

Through active affirmation… OR passive SILENCE.

Let our arguments STAND or FALL on their merits! No one’s position is so strong that it should not be challenged in open debate. An innocent man does not FEAR the facts… he EMBRACES them. He DEMANDS them. And he is outraged when he is denied them.

 

There is NO HONOR in SILENCE.

 

 

The hard part has already been done, over 200 years ago. So that their children may have the right to study painting, poetry, and music. TODAY it is entrusted to us. Shall we do the SAME… or will ours be the LAST?

CAST ASIDE ALL DOUBT! Let the principles of our forefathers guide us now. In these days of historical gravity we must walk with sure footing, as we will surely leave precedent-setting steps. What will we leave behind? Will they remember, IN HONOR, our words and our deeds? Or will they be remembered in disgrace… will they even be remembered at all?

 

If not for ourselves, if not for our children and those of others, then for whom? As we make our STAND here inside the eye, we can find the answers within the CALM… as we brace for the inevitable conclusion of this STORM.

 

Will our actions stand to honor THEM?

Would our decisions in this moment, ever be seen as so honorable they could be remembered in the same LIGHT as theirs?

 

Is ours a future of Liberty or of Oppression? Will this be a Nation of Justice or of SILENCE? The Politics of FEAR and DIVISION must end if we are to succeed! In-congress, incongruent, yet indivisible, we STAND… these, the UNITED States.

 

… with Liberty and justice for ALL.

 

The eyes of the Nation focus on our Senate. The Nations of the World STAND and listen. In the balance we are, being weighed against ALL TIME. At stake is nothing short of the LIGHT for which our Liberty STANDS…

 

The HOPE and PROMISE of Equal Justice Under Law.

 

It is not OURS to do with as we wish… nor should we ever be so ignorant to believe that we could.

It is for THE PEOPLE. May it be so for all time.

 

JC