I Hate Lifetime Politicians

Yes, I said hate.

I don't mean that I hate politicians as people—though I do think several of them are some of the worst people on earth. I hate the concept and current reality of lifetime politicians.

The GOP has been crying for term limits for years, but that's becoming more and more hollow with every instance of opportunism and "political expedience."

The problem is that term limits are only a part of the greater solution. However, they are possibly the best way to bring the current political system in check. The only way term limits for politicians will ever come to pass is if "We the people" force it upon them. Here's how I see it happening:

  1. Purposefully and deliberately electing new officials every few years.
  2. Restructuring how we bring worthy candidates to the forefront (fundraising, motivation for office, etc.).
  3. Instituting a 6 year limit for ALL politicians.
    • Senators and the President get ONE 6-year term ONLY.
      • Senate elections happen every 2 years for 1/3 of the senate.
      • The President will see almost complete legislative turnover during his presidency, forcing a more expedient decision-making process and (hopefully) avoiding some, if not most, of the in-fighting and political posturing that wastes so much time and money.
      • No time wasted on campaigning for reelection.
      • No pressure for politicians to prove their worth by the number of bills they write, but rather are incented to make the best decisions possible because they'll be joining the ranks of "regular citizens" with "normal jobs" in just a few short years.
    • House representatives continue with 2-year terms and a new maximum of 3 terms (6 years) total.
    • The same limits should be levied to all state and local officials as well.
    • No elected official should be allowed to run for any other public office at the same level of government within which they've already served (ex, no house to senate moves), and may only serve once in each level of government ever (city/state/nation).
  4. Restructure the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, including:
    • Implementing 12-year service limits
    • Allowing for a special vote of approval/disapproval by the American people after the Presidential appointment, vetting, and Senate confirmation (this needs more thinking through, but I like how it sounds so far...).

I could delve into all the different reasons I think things are all messed up in politics, but as my co-worker and friend so aptly put it in a recent conversation we had on this subject, there's only so much that problem analysis and hypothesizing can do for you. Sometimes the best solution is simply DOING something, even if the particular solution hasn't been fully run through the gamut of mathematical models and detailed vetting by all opinions and angles.

I guess Nike was really onto something. Just Do It.

What are you afraid of?

I'm a firm believer that the vast majority of people (minus verified, clinical phobics) aren't so much afraid of things that could happen to them, or even to those they love. What people are really afraid of is truth — not just some truth or someone else' version of the truth, but all truth, even when the truth is just in the eye of the beholder.


Because really wanting and accepting truth means constantly having to challenge your beliefs — or at least be willing to challenge them — including beliefs about life, God, politics, and (most importantly) SELF. This ultimately results in cognitive dissonance = a state of consciousness that is so strong and all-encompassing that it forces you into one of two choices:

1) Accept the new truth (hard to do) and change your behaviors to align with the newly accepted truth (harder still).
2) Reject the new truth in favor of previous perceptions of truth — or more correctly because modifying behavior is too difficult or painful — which actually causes a subconscious modification of beliefs and/or behaviors anyway.

  • Rejection requires renewed reconciliation with and reinforcement of existing beliefs (typically done subconsciously or mostly subconsciously) so as to drown out any leftover dissonance with the new truth (ex: drugs aren't that bad, global warming really is crap, etc.).
  • This idea reinforcement in turn leads to behavioral reinforcement, realized in the deepening of associated behavior patterns (ex: increased drug use, increased activity or affiliation with a political party or ideology, etc.) and/or assimilation of additional behaviors and activities that support the belief (ex: signing a petition, joining a movement, seeking out like-minded friends, etc.); or by ignoring, shunning, or actively fighting against the new truth.

Why then wouldn't I say that people actually fear change?

Because change is just the requirement or end-product of truth, and this because truth is a principle of agency. Sure, someone may say they want to know the truth, but deep down they don't really want to have anything to do with it. They fear the consequences of truth — which is why there are so many counterfeit truths being spun every day, each attempting to confuse, frustrate, pacify, or blind us.

So, the question now is What are you afraid of?

Switched Back to Blogger/Blogspot

So my domain renewal came up this year, and the price was five times more than what I paid for it originally. Ripoff...

So I'm back on Blogger and proud of it. Here's to free hosting and domains!

The Blog Is Not Dead!

I should call this blog post One Great Whole in the Time Line for all the months I've been silent. It's probably typical. Blogging is great when you first start, and then it loses its luster after life reminds you just how little time you had in the first place. Add to that my complete and utter laziness, and the deal is sealed. Well, this is my attempt at reconciliation.

I look at this blog title now after so many months away and realize just how precocious I've been. Assuming that somehow my perspective on life is going to showcase the glorious truths of the universe is down-right cocky and self-righteous (if I do say so myself). What I mean is that I'm feeling quite a bit different about things now, and a little humble pie has helped me put perspective into perspective (is that even possible?).

So, what I intend moving forward is to make this blog a place for my ideas and possibilities, rather than creating assumptive authority on anything within my poorly contrived gospel perspective. In other words, note to self: keep it simple, keep it real, keep it humble.

Practice, Exercise, Sacrifice, and Abundance

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:25)

"I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants." (Mosiah 2:20-21)

There are countless other verses like these in the scriptures, all pointing to the completeness of what the Lord asks of each of us. The sheer magnitude of these verses is overwhelming. Couple that with our inherent laziness, and you've got yourself enough guilt ammunition to last a thousand lifetimes.

I've looked at these verses dozens of times, each time wondering how I could ever come to do what is asked. My own nature leans me toward absolutism, forcing my mind into a destructive all-or-nothing mentality. I can tell you that nothing could be more detrimental to doing what is asked of us.

I woke up the other morning like I do most mornings, fighting myself over whether I would go to the gym or not. I lay in bed weighing the pros and cons, and the cons were looking to take yet another easy victory. I thought to myself that just a little more sleep at nights would make the difference I needed to get the energy to go and exercise in the morning. Such thinking has been my crutch for a while, and living with a wife that has been transforming me into a night owl like herself, I find it easier and easier to justify my not exercising in the mornings like I need to.

But I couldn't shake the question of how I was ever going to break the cycle. I'm in a daily energy decline, with the only end to this drought being my eventual and early death. Yeah, real positive stuff.

And then it dawned on me.

There are some pretty basic and eternal principles at play that reach across matter, time, and space. In physics, chemistry, and biology, it takes energy to make energy. Cellular respiration burns energy to make more energy. The tearing of muscle fibers makes more muscle. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Etc, etc.

OK, I know that is pretty much a no-brainer, but it was interesting to have that hit me the way it did. If I wanted energy I needed to spend energy, and I needed to do so wisely. I've been in this position before—under-active and under-motivated—and then gone gung-ho, overstepped my limits (severely), and ended up more sore and wasted than before. Typically that leads to my swearing off physical activity for even more extended periods of time, thus deepening the vicious cycle.

As I got out of bed to go to the gym, I kept pondering on this principle of spending energy to gain energy. I was reminded of the spiritual doctrines and principles that go along with it. The nice thing about truth is that it usually pops up in more than one place. I thought on the parable of the talents and how the wise and profitable servants went and increased their talents by using them, while the unprofitable servant buried his; and in doing so had it taken away and given to the servant with 10 talents.

I've always found that part of the story interesting. Why did that servant get the extra talent? Why didn't the man just give it to a different servant and give him the chance to prove himself?

The answer is based in the principle of abundance. "…unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him." (Luke 19:26)

The Lord gives more unto those that have proven themselves worthy, not because he loves them more than the unprofitable servant. He gives more abundantly to those that generously impart of all their gifts and substance than to those that fearfully or selfishly cling to that which they have and impart not thereof. That is a key principle.

I also thought about the doctrines of sacrifice, obedience, and consecration and their direct tie with these principles. Energy, talents, and abundance do not come easily, nor are they meant to come immediately upon asking or doing. Each is meant to take time, even lifetimes to achieve. But that is the point. If bodybuilding was easy it wouldn't be valued. If faith, hope, and charity were easy we wouldn't be commanded at every turn to cultivate them.

Just as it takes years of practice to become great, or in some cases even just good, at some sports, it takes years of practice and doing to become good at being a disciple of Christ. Also, just as we aren't able or expected to become great at all things (we can't all be Michael Jordan, Pele, or Picasso), we aren't expected to become perfect in all gospel principles in this life. But, we are expected to try.

Just as diversity of activity, study, and interests are important to balance and well roundedness, so is diversity essential to gospel living. Each of us has been given specific talents and gifts, and those we have the unique opportunity to hone and perfect. But a one or two note song doesn't compare to the beauty of a full symphony. Just as our own lives are meant to become a symphony of characteristics and abilities, so is the Church meant to become the greatest synthesis of symphonic harmonies under heaven where all come and contribute of their gifts and special talents.

I could go on more, but I believe that this is more than sufficient to relay what I was pondering the other morning. What it has done for me is provided me with a much needed improvement in perspective. I now look at growing in the gospel, and in lots of other things, as a long-term commitment to becoming more than I could have ever hoped otherwise. I look forward to the process now almost as much as I do the end result. That, in and of itself, is a great accomplishment for me.

My Every Reason

I've sat here at my computer for the past half hour trying to come up with an eloquent way to tell my beautiful Kristen just how much I love her – and I'm literally at a loss for words.

For those of you that know me at all, that almost never happens. You may now stop snickering… that means you Jenny.

All joking aside, I want to tell you, Krissy, that I love you more than life itself. You mean everything to me. You're every love song, every beautiful poem, every smile, every happiness, every reason for living that I have.

I've got a lot to overcome to be worthy of you. I know that day is coming much sooner because of you.

You have made 2008 the most amazing year of my life. I only hope to make 2009 just as good for you. I love you!

The Greatest Gift

I wish that it wasn't almost midnight so I could spend the kind of time on this topic that I want, but I just couldn't go any longer without getting this out there.

I've always known that the greatest thing to ever exist is Jesus Christ. His birth, life, atonement, death, and resurrection are just a microscopic blip of time in the grand scheme of things, but they are the crux of everything that is good in this world. I definitely stand "all amazed at the love Jesus offers me."

And yet, as I sit pondering on my experiences during the past few weeks and months, I find myself feeling more blessed than before. I know that it is because of my Savior, but that hasn't stopped me from wondering what about these feelings and experiences is so different—so all-encompassing.

When contemplating the majesty that is Christ Jesus, it's hard to pinpoint just one gift or blessing as being the ultimate or sine qua non of His life and doings. The knee jerk response is typically The Atonement, as well it probably should be – for without which we would be lost forever.

But as I've been thinking about the atonement and what makes it so special, I've settled on one key gift that stands out to me like a desert oasis. The Savior himself said it best, and so I quote His words as found in the Gospel of John:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

And again to Oliver Cowdery, "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" (D&C 6:23)

Peace is everything. It is what this world lacks. It is what comes to the mind and heart of an individual who truly repents and learns their status with God. It is the sweetest fruit of the atonement. Knowing that we will not only live with God again in glory and love, but that we can have joy and love now because of the atonement brings a peace that cannot be described.

Peace is what is first to leave us when we sin. Peace is the most treasured of gifts because it is the one thing that cannot be obtained by our works alone, but is a product of our faith and the grace of God. That is why it is possible to have even in times when all around us is chaos.

I know that I am doing all I can with what I have when I am blessed with peace. That is a gift that I've been missing far too often in recent years, and one that I'm so thankful to be experiencing again right now.