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Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Different Direction

On July 15, 1979, Jimmy Carter gave a speech that most say was the most important speech of his presidency. In the midst of the Iranian Revolution, Carter delivered a speech of frankness from ideas he received from the American people. Holding a meeting at Camp David, he met a group filled with doctors, lawyers, ministers, and regular laborers to get the opinions from people in high positions to the average working person. Although we are not in an energy crisis, in my opinion many of the words spoken by Carter from the information he gathered can help us as people.

Carter has received mixed reviews during his tenure as president. I myelf am a Teddy Roosevelt man, though some of the issues Carter addressed are similar to Roosevelts. Our country has changed during my short time on this Earth, the economy has been up and down, we have new technologies, exposed to new and different cultures, and become a more efficient people. On the other hand we have been mistreated by our own government, financial instituitions, and each other. Many of these events, like the mortgage crisis and the Madoff's of the world have helped put this country in debt and in a very unfavorable position. One particular statement by Carter was, "Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy." Everyday I hear the people complain about the state of our country. I hear people not being able to do simple things, like eat, have health care, and more. The people running our country and our institutions are getting rich at the people's expense. They have lied to the people, used schemes that seem beneficial but are not in the long run. A woman from the group said, "The big shots are not the only ones who are important. Remember, you can't sell anything on Wall Street unless someone digs it up somewhere else first." Everyday something related to these issues arises, the more that comes out, the less faith the people have.

"In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption." Look around us, someone always has a get rich quick scheme, unemployment is high because people have been laid off but I also think it's because many don't want to work and collect welfare or think they are owed something. It also seems that people are so busy doing them that the family atmoshere has changed. What happened to having dinner at the table with no tv, having neighbors over. It happens in some households, but not as frequent as it used to be. Even with our kids, more time is spent inside in front of the xbox or computer than actual outside time. I remember growing up never wanting to be inside, even when I had an Atari, or Sega, it just wasn't happening. The images that are potrayed in magazines and television are not reality. Everyone is not rich, or flys on private planes, drive Ferrrari's, or makes it rain every night. People place more value on material things or there job than they do themselves or another human being. Clearly the definition of idolatry. I'm no different, there was a time I did that myself until I realized that is not what defines me or makes me happy as a human being. If a person works hard and is able to afford luxury things then so be it, but without over consuming and waste. If anyting pay it forward to someone that actually needs it. In some instances less is more.

To conclude, Carter stated, "We've always believed in something called progress. We've always had a faith that the days of our children would be better than our own." Americans have always strived to progress in different areas of life, whether it be for themselves, their families, or their race. This country, as great as it may be, is still not progressing in some areas. The only way that changes is if the people change it. Instead of being stuck in our ways,we need to think out of the box, modernize the way businesses are run, and diversify with people that don't fit the standard mold. Basic principles apply to everything in life, however using alternative means and incorporating them into the basics is how new ideas are formed. The only way progress happens is through adaptation and experimentation. Staying the course is good, but staying the course without an open mind, minimizes that chance of change.

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The Honor Code Or Speaking In Code

Brandon Davies, the sophomore forward on BYU's basketball team was dismissed after admitting he had "sexual relations" with his girlfriend. According to BYU's Honor code, students are not allowed to have premarital sex. I do not question the honor code set forth by the university, I more so question the manner in which it was handled. An article written in DeadSpin by an anonymous journalist, list actions and events that are clearly against the Honor Code. According to this individual, the Honor Code almost seems like a myth, or something put in place as a requirement than an actual law to live by.

The first statement of the Honor Code is "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. . . . If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." I think this is a powerful statement, and I think it is symbolic of God, or whatever God people choose to live by. However, were these behaviors used when Davies admitted his acts and was dismissed shortly after ? If you go on BYU's web site under the "Our Values" section, it explains how God gave us our agency and will always respect our freedom to make choices. It does also note's that we are accountable for those choices both good and bad, that God never approves of us using force, and in fact fosters the spirit of freedom to effectively serve and believe in him. It also states that everyone has the right to their own opinion and beliefs.

Fosters the spirit of freedom to effectively serve and believe in him is an interesting statement to me. From what I understand and believe, is that because God gave us free will, he understands we as humans will make mistakes. I also agree there are consequences, but he does forgive us and helps us learn from the mistakes. But why does what Davies did warrant a dismissal for the remainder of the year ? Why was this made a public spectacle ? A review is under way to determine if he will be allowed to remain in school and on the basketball team next year. So let me get this straight, the board is actually contemplating not letting this kid back in school because he had sex. There was no harm done to either party and it was consensual. Another part to the story is who was the rat in all this. Where were they being honest and of good report ? It sounds more like they are good at reporting someone else's business. My rule on that is when someone else gossips or tells your business, they themselves are hiding their skeletons or faults. Take that as you wish. Also, what is to really be determined in this review ? What about, in doing good to all men? I understand the rule is in place and he is to learn a lesson for breaking the code, but being dismissed for the length of time left is a bit much and the decision in my opinion was made to quickly. Furthermore, in other articles I've read, other students have come out and disclosed most of them have sex on campus anyway,which openly questions the validity of the code.

I am not preacher, far from a saint, and damn sure not perfect. It is not my place to judge, and what someone else does, especially when it does not directly involve me is none of my business. The conspiracy theorist in me questions the suspension, the motive behind it, and the person or persons who relayed the information. That's my opinion, however from the information I've gathered, students have come out and acknowledged that sex is a regular act on campus, fact. That's makes me question the code, and the people monitoring it. As I stated earlier, it is not my place to judge, it's their school, their rules, and their system, but mentioned in the "Our Value"section of the schools web site, I have a right to my own opinion and belief. I believe there is much more to this story than we are lead to believe, unfortunately we will never find out what the truth really is.

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