America 101: Freedom and Responsibility

With freedom comes responsibility. We are free to choose our actions, but we are NOT free to choose the consequences. In other words, we are responsible for our choices.

As students, we are given homework. These assignments have due dates and they help us learn concepts and prepare for tests. We are responsible to complete our homework and return it on time to our teacher for a grade.

If we choose NOT to do our homework, we are not FREE from the consequences of our actions which include a poor grade, less prepared for tests and learning. Whether we like it or not, we are responsible for our choices.


Utah Valley University--A Fine Institution

Friends, I'm afraid I am guilty of not giving the other side of the picture with my experience as a post-baccalaureate student at UVU. Giving one side of the argument or perspective is the very thing I found frustrating and spoke out against.

Today, it became very clear to me that I was doing the very thing I found fault with in my some of my classes. To explain, I have five classes, 14 hours--a full schedule. One of my five English classes has been challenging and discouraging as I have expressed.

However, I failed to tell you about my other classes at UVU which have been excellent. The small class sizes and interaction with professors and students during each and every class period is truly unique and exceptional. UVU turns out excellent nurses, well-trained teachers, and prepared graduates.

In addition to hands-on experiences and close associations, I have enjoyed all my professors. Each and every one--including the ones I disagree with ideologically and theologically are intelligent, interesting, and at times, entertaining.

Along with fine professors, I have come to know smart, compassionate, and capable students who are my friends and support even though most are half my age. For instance, beautiful Meagan noticed me looking sad while I sat in the hall. Like Elf, she asked, "do you need a hug?" How cute is that? She is going to be the most excellent and kind teacher.

Then another student bravely approached me after class to apologize for some unkind things she said about--well, my daughter during class last week. I'm sure it was not easy for her to admit some wrong doing and I was moved and impressed with her maturity and humility.

My disgruntled feelings were not due to people disagreeing with me or because they did not share my world view, political ideas and beliefs. But rather due to the way I became a target and demeaned for expressing those thoughts in defence of America, her political system, and Capitalism.

Also, my experiences in one of my classes has opened my eyes to the importance of understanding true and correct principles in government and teaching our children what those are. As one high school English teacher in Utah Valley said, "I have students who don't know who the current President of the United States is."


America 101: "Forced Charity is Tyranny"

Abe Lincoln said, "forced charity is tyranny." Let's think about that. Many of us desire to give to others. While considering the following example, you may want to remember that we are NOT talking about your choice to be accommodating or nice. We are talking about other people forcing you to do something for them that violates or takes away your rights.

While at recess, four students begin a four square game on the school asphalt. After playing for five minutes, another group of students comes over and shoves them out of the court to occupy it saying, "its our turn to play four square!"

The group that had just started playing argues, "No. We just got here and we have the right to keep playing." In this example, the second group of kids wanted the first four square players to be charitable and stop playing so they could participate in the game instead.

With no school rules established as to the length of time a group of students may play on a four square court, is it the second group's right to decide when and how long the first group of students may play and enforce it?

No. The second group does not have the right to force others to do something or give them something--in this case, the four-square court, in the name of charity.


America 101: Equal Opportunity

In a republic, like the United States of America, the system is about equal opportunity NOT equal outcome.

Take Trick-or-Treating for example. We give our children the choice of whether or not to dress up, go out on foot with an adult, and go door-to-door to the neighbors's homes accumulating candy.

At dusk, with bags and pillow cases in bags, three of my five children are off for two hours of candy collecting. When the exhausted kids return, I carefully inspect the candy for anything suspicious, ask for a couple of my favorite chocolate candy bars, and leave them to their sorting, counting, and munching.

Now all five of my children had the opportunity to go trick-or-treating. Well and able, they were free to decide for themselves whether or not they wanted to walk in the cold, dark night to collect candy.

If the opportunity to Trick-or-Treat was about equal outcome, then when my three children arrived home with bags brimming with candy, I would survey the candy for anything suspicious, then combine the contests of all the bags into one big pile. After collecting all the candy, I would count and divide it by five so that ALL five kids get EQUAL amounts or equal outcome. 

Equal outcome required the redistribution of candy among all my children instead of those who went out trick-or-treating. When equal outcome is the aim, the people who worked for the candy were forced to give to those who did not take the equal opportunity to gather candy for themselves.

In this second example, the three kids went trick-or-treating were punished and the two kids who chose not to go out were rewarded. Fortunately, America's government provides its citizens with equal opportunity while NOT forcing equal outcome.


America 101: Introduction

When our friend was teaching a finance class at Provo College, he gave his students a short, multiple choice quiz on America's government. The first question was: What is America's form of government? a. democracy b. socialism c. communism d. republic e. none of the above. Not one single student got it correct. In fact, NOT one student chose the correct answer: d. republic. Not only did every student get the question wrong, some chose communism. These are high school graduates in America.

In addition, my husband was in a class about government with a group of forty educated, middle-class men between the ages of 25 to 50 years. When the instructor asked the question above, only one man got the answer correct--my husband.

Fact: The American government is a republic.

What does that mean? Simply, a republic protects individual rights and personal freedoms as are stated in The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States of America.

You may be wondering what most students and men answered if not republic? Most people chose Democracy.

How is a Democtacy different than a Republic? Essentially, democracy is mob rule. In other words, the majority makes the rules. If eight out of ten students vote that I can own only one pair of blue jeans and I have two pairs, then they may take one of my pairs away and do what they please with it.

In a republic, if nine out of ten people thought I should not be able to have two or more pairs of blue jeans, my rights are still protected and I can go ahead and buy and own as many pairs of blue jeans as I would like or see fit. 


Defending Capitalism

Tomorrow, I make a case for capitalism and individual rights at my university. I find it interesting, that the last eight lectures from one of my English courses was all about "whatsoever a man doeth is right" specifically in regards to sexual affiliation and behavior including pedophylia, incest, sexual molestation, prostitution, etc. "They are just other ways of having sex. Prostitution is just another job," exclaims my professor with animation and emotion.

Now, we will lectured on the evils of capitalism--attacking the right of individuals in business, religion, education, etc. and exhorting the virtue of communism/Marxism all this is an American University. 

You can't have it both ways. The rhetoric is that capitalism is exploitation of individuals for the benefit of malevolent, greedy men. It de-humanizes individuals, de-skilling them, turning them into machines. In essence, they are exploited by their employers. Did someone put a gun to their head and force them to labor without an agreed amount of compensation and pay. Could they not quit and work for someone else--even themselves.

America is full of rags to riches success stories. Just look at the life and personal history of Milton Hershey. In my opinion, he was one of the greatest Capitalist, entrepreneurs the world has ever known. With his money and generosity, he started a school for orphans. During the depression, none of his workers lost their job or went hungry.

Because of Capitalism we have rail roads, cars, air planes, spaceships, television, computers, cell-phones, MRI machines, immunizations, antibiotics, artificial hearts, organ transplants, motion pictures, Hollywood, etc.

Let's talk about exploitation. My grandfather Theodore Schmidt immigrated from West Germany and met and married my grandmother Charlotte from East Germany in the beginning of the Great Depression in America.To feed three tall boys and one girl, my grandfather went to work at the Kennecott Copper Smelter.  Work conditions were harsh. Breathing the polluted air compromised his health. Most Kennecott workers died before many of their peers. We understood that work conditions cut my Grandfather's life short.

Some would say he was exploited. However, he never complained nor he ever way bitter or angry regarding his hard labor, blue collar job. In fact, he was grateful for work, a pay check, and the opportunity he provided for his family living in America.

His oldest son graduated from college and became a successful CPA. His second son became an airline pilot. His third son, my father, played offence and defense for the University of Utah, tried out with the NFL bears, got a masters in education, and became one of the winningest coaches in Utah. He was the defensive coordinator at BYU under Lavell Edwards. His only daughter is an award winning fine artist.

I only saw my German Grandmother cry three times, at my two young cousin's funerals and when the Iron Curtain was torn down in 1989. As I mentioned earlier, she was from East Germany--Zwikau, Saxony to be specific--President Deiter F. Uchtdorf's home town. If she had not emigrated to America before the first World War then she would have been trapped behind the Iron Curtain and in the grips of communism as many of her family members were. They went hungry and suffered great deprivation.

Living in 900 square foot house on the West side of the rail road tracks with a blue collar income was living well, living free, living happy and content compared to many of her friends and family under a communist regime. They loved America. In fact, my Grandmother refused to travel across the Atlantic to her homeland again. She did not want to step foot outside of America and never did.

My late Grandparents loved America and were grateful for all the freedoms she provides.


Live Original

Live Original. Sadie Robertson, Duck Dynasty Star coined it and I fully agree with it.

What does it mean to live original? Simply, it means to be true to yourself, your values and beliefs. It is about not having to follow the in-crowd and standing up for what you believe in.

After reading Sadie's book for teens, I thought about people who Live Original and my daughters came to mind, particularly Elle. Like Sadie, she is a middle child. In my estimation, Elle lives original by following her heart, striving to do good, and having and being true to high standards.

In regards to extra activities, Elle chooses a variety. She's in the elite orchestra, plays violin and piano, softball and tennis. In addition to regular class work, she squeezes in Shakespeare (acting) and school newspaper. 

However, it is not these activities that helps her live original. It is her compassion, caring for others, and earnest desire to do good and be good. You don't have to be a sports or reality television star to do that!