Thursday, November 6, 2008
I feel a sense of happiness that change is on the horizon. Although I greatly admire those who are able to put their faith unequivocally behind the ideals of one political party, I feel I will never be able to do this. The needs of our nation as a whole are much too fluid for one party's ideals to always include the right fix. That's one of the reasons our democracy has prospered for as long as it has. One of the reasons America has always been admired by other nations, even if in secret, is that as a collective we always find the right way and the good way. When we were split on the issue of loyalty to the king, the voice of liberty eventually cried above all others. When the question over whether one man could hold ownership over another man, the collective broke the chains of oppression. Now, we stand at a crossroads that while it may not be NEARLY as monumental as those I just mentioned, it is signficant nonetheless. We stand as a nation polarized by a hard fought election. Many have come out dissappointed by the results. Now a man who claims to have the interests of the common man in mind is going to lead our country. Having come out of nowhere, many are legitimately concerned by the programs he intends to put in place. Some of us feel it goes against the capitalist ideals that our nation was founded on, and that it will create a sense of entitlement among those who have not earned it. Undoubtedly, this goes against what we as a nation stand for. But do our ideals today truly stand in the place of honor our forefathers envisioned when they created this great nation?
We talk of how Obama's policies will bring forth an air of entitlement among those who haven't "earned it." And certainly, many are right in that there are some in this nation that will molest and expose social programs our government puts forward. It has been happening for hundreds of years, and it is ludicrous to think there is anything that will stop it. The notion of teaching a man to fish instead of simply giving him a fish is an ideal we have tried to emulate so many times before, only to fail. However, when we talk of entitlement, let's not forget the truths of our nation today. If we are to blame the mother of 4 who lives in the projects and doesn’t work for taking a welfare check every month, why don't we blame the mother of 2 who lives in the high end suburbs as well? She and her family make 10 times that of others, yet we turn the other cheek while they live paycheck to paycheck, spending every penny on the fancy cars, the big house, and the private school for the kids. They max out credit cards, yet get more because of the money that they earn. Do they have the capital to live the life that they live? Most certainly not, yet we as a nation have become so materialistic and petty that these very people would be looked down upon within their community if they do not maintain this lifestyle. When our economy re-adjusts itself as it is doing now, suddenly they are left without a job and with a pile of debt they will never be able to pay. How is this any less of a drain on our economy than the mother on welfare?
We like to blame the father who used to work at an assembly line, but is now clamoring for help because he can't make his mortgage, and his unemployment isn't getting enough food on the table. He is a drain on our society, a leech on the money that many of us have worked so hard for. Yet we applaud the capitalistic ways of the businessman who has outsourced 80% of his labor costs. He makes all this money, and we congratulate him, for he is living the American dream. But since when does the American dream include making profit by paying people in India half that of what your former American worker earned? Since when is it the American ideal to remove yet another job from the American workforce, and the capital that goes into the economy with it, so that Joe Businessman can make sure his kids can have their Nikes, their Xboxes, and their new, shiny bike. We commend those who have worked hard to earn what they have. It is a cornerstone of our nation. But is there no problem with the fact we live in a nation rubbed so callous by the bottom line of profit that we may forget our American brethren all in the hopes of another dollar?
It is time for change. And the next administration faces a challenge in which few presidencies face, and even fewer have succeeded. But with all the talk of change and hope, one must wonder when we will actually see change. And one must hope that what we face can be defeated by a nation united, and not one divided. We see in front of us a vast mountain range abounding with blinding snows, jagged cliffs, and a peak beyond our vision at this time. We cannot scale this mountain with one leg dragging the other. Our new president must be able to bring everyone together in the spirit of the greater good. The only way we will sea the peak, and the majesty and beauty that comes with it, is with the left foot and the right foot working in harmony, pulling the other up with each step along the way. If we are unable to do this, we simply stay where we are, and in time the rot of stagnation will overtake us, and we will most certainly perish. Not the left, and not the right, but us all. We are the greatest nation to grace the face of this Earth. We will prevail, but only together.
God Bless America
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
There was once a time where God's people, the Israelites, strayed so far that God relegated them to walk the desert for 40 years. I will have to check up on my old testament, because today I would find no shock in learning that the idols taken were not golden cows, but golden Cowboys, and the Israelites had taken part in midnight yell the night before the beginning of their fateful trek. It seems that as this football season progresses, so does the misfortune of the football teams that I hold so dear.
Therefore, I ask you football gods, to take mercy upon a poor soul like myself. I now see the vastness of your wrath can bring down even the mightiest of quarterbacks by their little pinky. Much like the giants swarms of Locusts that descended on Egypt, on Saturday dirty sand fleas will fall upon Kyle Field, enveloping Aggieland in black and red masses of top 10 rankings, swash-buckling coaches, and tier 3 educations. Many say Tech could very well drop 100 points on A&M Saturday. I have seen Texas A&M football, and this is a team that has been cast from your light, o football gods. I turn to see the Dallas Cowboys, a team chock full of more talent than most could ever hope for. A team destined for glory in August, here we stand watching as this great entity crumbles and breaks upon itself, the future shaky and unknown. Men dropping like flies, Pac-Mans dropping like it's hot... well, OK, I could see where he had it coming. I beseech you o great 8 lb 6 oz. baby Tom Landry, help save my football teams from walking in nothingness for 40 years.
I have always followed the great game with utmost dedication. My faith has never wavered, even in the middle of purgatory..err, baseball season. I check my stats every day, I can name every Super Bowl winner in order from front to back. I have forgotten more about football than most will ever know. Despite the disturbing product that has graced Kyle Field this year, I have still been there every day 12th Man towel in hand, yelling at the top of my lungs surrounded by others who lost faith long ago. For the love of Vince Lombardi, I was there for every game Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Chad Henson, Clint Stoerner, and Methusela...I mean Vinny Testaverde played in! Grant me relief football Gods!
I haven't forgotten glorious days that have come before. I still remember the rush of seeing A&M beat #1 Oklahoma in 2002. I remember the electricity of Kyle Field. 90,000 Aggies yelling with such intensity that I would swear to you that the sound transcended people yelling in unison; I would more liken it to the shrill boom that occurs when one's eardrums have been pushed to the limit of their own integrity, as if they are literally just moments away from bursting. I remember that day vividly, the day a single bright ray of sunshine burst through the clouds of an otherwise stormy season.
My youth was spent basking in the victorious ways of America's team. Perhaps I was spoiled by Emmitt, Troy, and Michael. Maybe it was youthful naivete that led me to believe the Cowboys were indestructable. As the 90's progressed into the 00's, I watched as the Cowboys toiled in mediocrity. I stuck by them, as I always will. This is supposed to be our year, yet the next thing I know Tony Romo is hurt. And Felix Jones. And Mat McBriar. And Terence Newman. And Anthony Spencer. And Sam Hurd. Need I go on? The Cowboys are supposed to win the Super Bowl, and everything is supposed to be right in the U.S.A. I am convinced the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl would likely end any recession talk, place a chicken in every pot, and America could once again return to its rightful place of unending prosperity. It's really simple logic. Please, o football gods, think of the children!
O, football gods, I ask forgiveness for my sins. I have felt your wrath this year, it is apparent we Aggie and Cowboy fans have been forsaken. I ask you to bring us back into your good graces. The dark clouds of strife have hung over Kyle Field for too many years now. I ask you to open them once more, and allow good Aggies to do what they do best; be the 12th Man on that fightin' Aggie Team! We will make you proud. In the names of Bear Bryant, Tom Landry, and the galloping ghost Red Grange. Amen!
BTHO Texas Tech!
Monday, October 13, 2008
The first relatively "fall" feeling Saturday of the football season. Campus rich with the smell of autumn and 2005 grills cooking up delicious hot dogs, burgers, and briskets. There is always an electric feeling to this game, and with the way Aggie football has gone thus far, perhaps many Ags were going all in with what little hope they had left for this year. I mean after all, Kansas State, a fellow Big 12 dissapointment, at Kyle Field probably represented one of A&M's few remaining chances at a win this year. Ags headed in droves for their seats as we all looked forward to what many felt would be a great game. Four hours later, Ags once again left Kyle Field with their heads hung. Kansas State not only beat A&M Saturday, they also washed away what little hope most Ags had for a salvagable season.
Over the past few games, I have tried to maintain a positive attitude towards the growth of this team. I have not lost faith in the fact that this team could very well end up very good over the next few years. That said, one must be realistic about the situation. Here A&M stands, stuck plum middle in what will likely end up being one of the worst years of A&M football since Bear Bryant took A&M football out to Junction, TX and cleaned out the dead weight. Meanwhile, let's take a look at the rest of the Big 12 South.
texas: Very impressive win on Saturday against what most thought was far and away the best team in college football in OU. Now the number 1 ranked team in the entire nation, and once again right in the thick of the national championship hunt.
Oklahoma: Loses to Texas on Saturday, yet still one of the top 5 teams in the country. More than likely headed to yeat another BCS game in January, something A&M has't seen in what is now 10 years.
Texas Tech: A team that came into the season very hyped has not dissappointed to this point. Narrowly beat an improving Nebraska team, but they have maintained top 10 status for a few weeks now.
Oklahoma State: Top 25 team goes into Columbia to face top 5 Mizzou and gets a convincing win. It's beginning to look like Boone Pickens' is starting to get a lot more moving than just another wind turbine out in West Texas.
Baylor: Yes, even Baylor has shown marked improvement this year. This team seems to really get behind new coach Art Briles' system, and you have to credit Briles' play-calling for setting this team up to make a move at every opportunity. This Baylor team will not go quietly into the night like those of the past.
Which leads us to Texas A&M. Suffers another loss at home to what was thought to be an "inferior" team at the beginning of the year. The offense, while showing marked improvement from the beginning of the year, can't seem to get things going until the opposition is well out in front. Which leads us to the A&M defense. This team's inability to win this year will end up being tied completely to the ineptitude of this defense. The upperclassmen on this team have shown zero desire to improve themselves. They have taken the quitting attitude that we saw too many times during the Franchione era. It has gotten to the point where true freshman are not only playing, they are starting. Kids who were in prom suits and high school graduation caps just five months ago are being asked to suit up and start against grown men who are five months away from taking part in the NFL draft. These guys are getting valuable experience, and they will undoubtedly be much, much better for it next year. The question is at a time when every other Big 12 South program seems to be at levels rarely seen before by their respectable schools, where will this leave a Texas A&M program that is just having to learn to walk again?
I feel like it is unfair to lay the blame of this situation right now on the entire football team, or for that matter the coaching staff, although some decisions have been questionable. Instead, I would like to direct my venom at the upperclassmen of this football team, especially the defense. You know the ones who are supposed to be the "leaders" of this team? Instead, a large swath of the upperclassmen only infest Texas A&M with the lackluster effort and quitting attitude of the past five years. This week provided a great example. Michael Bennett, the one A&M defender expected to get some looks by the NFL and one of the alleged "leaders" of this teams, was suspended for the KSU game for deciding to no-show on a mandatory defensive meeting. Mike Goodson, another Ag expected to get some hard looks by the NFL, was also suspended for the beginning of the game due to his decision to stop attending classes this week. Goodson, who is surely a lock to bolt for the NFL after this year, seems to have already cashed in on his education at Texas A&M. Don't forget other upperclassmen such as Jordan Peterson and Danny Gorrer, who have shown such little ability to pick up Joe Kines' defense that they have been replaced in the starting lineup by true freshman Trent Hunter and Terrence Fredrick. On offense, senior WRs Howard Morrow and Pierre Brown have been so dissappointing that A&M starts two freshman at Wide Receiver as well. It is to the point that I would challenge you to findany upperclassmen who seem to truly care about the welfare of Texas A&M football. Arkeith Brown, Travis Schneider, Stephen McGee, and Jordan Pugh. That is about it by my count. Thanks Fran.
Despite the fact that the majority of A&M's defense was apparently replaced this week by the Navasota Gnats of the Brazos Valley PeeWee Football league, A&M's young guys once again showed improvement and had some very impressive numbers. Jerrod Johnson had a great day, throwing for 2 TD's, 0 interceptions, and a new Texas A&M school record for passing yards in a single game. Over 200 of those yards went to freshman Ryan Tannehill who is looking more and more like Johnson's go to guy every day. The offensive line, while still showing a complete lack of being able to open up a hole in the running game, provided decent blocking for Johnson when A&M ran their 5 WR spread formations. On the defensive side of the ball, Trent Hunter and Terence Fredrick finished among the top 5 A&M tacklers. Linebacker Von Miller also had a good game getting after KSU QB Josh Freeman, including 1.5 sacks. Sophomore Billy Chavis, who many expected to redshirt this year after moving from Linebacker to Tight End to Defensive End and back to Tight End, saw his first action of the year at, you guessed it, Linebacker. Here is to hoping we see the big fast Chavis playing with his hand on the ground next week against Tech in an effort to slow down the explosive offense of the Red Raiders
I have typically tried to preview the upcoming game in these recaps. To be real honest with you, I am finding it to be real tough to spin any positive opportunities against Texas Tech. Much like their plethora of air-borne sand, there is an ever-burning desire to hate everything A&M that wafts through the breeze in Lubbock . They are going to walk into Kyle Field Saturday knowing where A&M stands, and they are going to do their damndest to destroy the Aggies. Having seen a bit of Tech's offense and alot of A&M's defense, coach Mike Leach may be better off saving money on the plane ticket it would cost him to get their punter to College Station. I have a sick feeling he may never be needed. If A&M comes out of the gates against Tech the way they have against Miami, Army, and Kansas State, Tech will go to the locker rooms at halftime with 50 points on the board. I know alot of Ags like to say that Texas Tech is not a rival. We like to thumb our nose at their school, their football program, and their women(followed by an immediate visit to the doctor). The fact is however, that Tech has spent the last 10 years kicking A&M's ass, whether we like to admit it or not. They have grown their program the right way, by not always trying to buy success with facilities and a sense of "rightful" belonging. Instead, they have a program that develops young men into football players who fit their system and who give 100%. Whether we want to call them a rival or not, Texas Tech will look at this as on opportunity to come into Kyle Field and kick in the teeth of the A&M football program. Ags and Red Raiders can go on and on until we are all blue in the face on whether this is a rivalry. But if the Aggie football team is unable to not only match, but exceed the intensity level that Tech will bring Saturday, then we will see just another in what is becoming a long line of blowouts at the hands of the Red Raiders. I'm sure those folks out in Lubbutt could care less what the Ags think about the "rivalry", so long as we let them keep stomping us.
Nonetheless, I will be in the stands at Kyle Field, yelling for my Ags just as I have all year long. This weekend, I had the pleasure of enjoying the company of my good friend Art Waterman and his family. Art and his wife Megan are truly salt of the earth kind of people, and sitting amongst he and his family on a beautiful Saturday night in October was one of those moments in which life truly shows its beautiful side. Art is currently in the process of moving to Louisville, KY, where he will be taking part in the contruction of the University of Louisville's massive new basketball arena. It will be tough not having them only 4 hours south of us, but I have no doubt we will find times to get together. This coming weekend will be just as enjoyable, as my best friend Wes and his wife Kristen, along with Wes' Pa and friends, will be making the trip up to College Station for the game. I am really looking forward to seeing both of them. Wes' seats will actually be sandwiched between Tech's cheerleaders and their fans and band. As we all know, Tech students aren't exactly infamous for their classy behavior at home or away. I will not be half-surprised to see poor Wes body slamming that Yosemite Sam mascot of theirs before all is said and done. Hey, us Ags gotta enjoy this football season somehow!
Gig Em and God Bless!
Monday, October 6, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
As for the recent political hullabaloo back in the Great Ol' USA (I miss that place!), I'm struck by the dichotomous relationship between the Republican and Democratic nominees...they're near perfect inverses of eachother:
One on side we have a presidential nominee that is an old, white male with strong foreign policy credentials and years of Washington experience and a VP nominee that is a young, attractive political neophyte, a "political minoritee" (female) with little foreign policy experience but a great deal of appeal to the core of the Party.
On the other side we have a presidential nominee who is a young, attractive political neophyte, a "minoritee" (he's half white) with little foreign policy experience but a great deal of appeal to the core of the Party and a VP nominee who is an old, white male with strong foreign policy credenitals and years of Washington experience.
For the "nation of undecideds" that don't really make decisions based on passionate views of the issues (else they would not be undecided) it really comes down to this: who do you like more--the black guy or the white girl?
I realize that I may be one of the few people who actually "likes" John McCain in and of himself, and even though I pride myself as an issues-based voter, I admit it's largely based on the fact that he was a POW and a war hero...however his credentials as a reformer are admittedly hurt by the fact that he's been in Washinton for about six hundred years. A lot of people are uncomfortable with his age; but twenty-eight years ago they were uncomfortable with Reagan's age too...so who knows if it will matter.
Obama is an idealistic academic; idealism in politics can be a great thing, but it has to be painted in the tones of the real world, as policies based in ideals often end up bureaucratic nightmares down the road (Social Security, the Great Society, etc)...As a fellow half-minoritee, I also take issue with the way the media, and Obama himself, have "decided" that he is black...I cannot simply decide to be Mexican (why would I want to), because that is only ONE PART of who I am...more over, the racial categorizations that the media clings to only furhter serves to artificially divide us based on non-existant factors. We are all Americans...hell, we even let Arabs in this country (sorry Taylor, it was too easy)...our greatness comes not just from our diversity, but our ability to mix that diversity into something larger, stronger, and greater than just the sum of its mult-ethnic parts.
I could wax philosophic about the issues for hours, but fundamentally it doesn't matter...for one, Washington doesn't really address issues so much as it talks about them until the People rise up and force their hand...which WE THE PEOPLE rarely do, two, most American's who vote in November will not vote based off of any one or a dozen issues, but off their gut sense of the person they see on TV...yes, TV...
That Americans don't much care is demonstrative that the Status Quo, as bad as it sounds, isn't so bad at all...deep down we know that our economic woes and windfalls are not magically manipulated by Washington, but it's nice to have someone to blame. I think most Americans are content that NOTHING get done in politics, because no one wants to shake up the good things we already have going...this is nothing new either, for most of American history we preferred our politicians to stay out of matters unless explicitly outlined as a constitutional role.
Another indicator...most Americans prefer the President and the Congressional majority to be of opposing parties...why? So that nothing too crazy gets done. Congressional approval ratings clearly show that the Democrats voted in to end the Republican-control congress are no more popular than their GOP predecessors, but Americans felt more comfortable with Dems in place to offset Bush's policies...vice versa in 1994 with Clinton and the "Conservative Revolution;" the swings in power are not mandates, but merely ad hoc preferences toward how things should be...its like America adjusting the AC in their house when it blows too cold; they don't want to be HOT, just not so cold...
Call me foolishly idealistic, but maybe American politics was better back when our Congressmen used to get in drunken brawls on the House Floor...Not sure if it accomplished much more, but it had to be entertaining...That's how we Scotch would do things...so vote SCOTCH 2008...its a good year.