Image Credited to

In the somber wake of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy last Friday, the country struggles to stay united in a respectful memorial to the victims lost.

A new week has begun, and while those closest to the shooting sit still in mourning, the rest of the country grapples with the natural resolve to problem solve.

Why did this occur? Is there a pattern? How can we keep this from happening again?

It was during a midnight screening of the newly released film Batman: A Dark Knight Rises, that a gunman stormed the theater, shooting all that crossed his path.

He carried in his possession two glock handguns, one Remington Model 870 shotgun, one Smith and Wesson AR-15 Type Rifle, and 6,000 bullets- all of which were purchased legally.

Naturally, the conversation has begun to shift towards an evaluation of the current gun laws and the recently expired ban on assault rifles.

While the NRA and other advocates of a constitutional right of access to guns argue that a policy discussion at this time only politicizes this horror story and distracts from the victims, proponents of gun reform say that we can honor the dead while addressing policy reform in the same breath.

However, former Primary Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee (R) has completely bypassed the matter of gun control; in fact, it’s a non-issue in his eyes.

Huckabee weighed in on the massacre during his program on the Fox News Channel this weekend. He concluded, “Ultimately, we don’t have a crime problem or a gun problem, or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem.”

He went on to say that the assault on religion in this country, specifically Christianity, is to blame for these reoccurring mass murders. He explained, “Since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, communities, the military and public conversations, you know, we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.”

But if there’s anything more inappropriate at this point in time, it’s not publicizing the gunman’s name, and it’s not “politicizing” the recent events by discussing whether stricter gun laws will hinder the frequency of similar events; it’s invoking an indubitably political assertion that religion is necessary to guide this country down the right, moral path on issues such as abortion, marriage equality and gun control.

As a Christian, I can definitively attest to the moral compass of too many atheists that I call my friends.

Some of the most good-hearted friends I’ve made live with zero influence of any God in their life, and amazingly, they somehow manage to resist the compulsion to commit such heinous crimes as those we witnessed in Colorado.

The Catholic Church has suffered through the plague of pedophilia, while churches in my own community have fallen victim to sexual exploitation, thievery, and a host of other sins that constantly fly under the radar.

The reality is no one is safe from the complexity of the human mind that can store and recollect memories from decades ago, or forget the most familiar faces and why they’re familiar in the first place.

A mind that is capable of processing powerful feelings of love but also grave notions of fear and loathing.

Whether you have God on your side or not, you can always be a victim, you can always get caught in the crossfire, you can always be hurt.

Instead of pushing some arbitrary, fundamentalist Christian agenda that offers zero intrinsic value in solving the grandest issue of where do we go from here, let’s remember the community of Aurora, the fragility of a moment, and look ahead in search of a true solution.


Watch Mitt Romney address the NAACP above [Video credited to NAACP]

Governor Mitt Romney was invited to speak before an audience of NAACP members at an annual convention on Wednesday, offering his plea for their support in November.

He was respectfully received and inspired polite, reassuring applause at first, but it was the pledge to repeal Obamacare that led to his swift demise.

The audience proceeded to “boo” him for 14 seconds, which I’m sure felt more like an eternity.

But the mere mention of Obamacare was not his only downfall- his controversial assertion that he would be the best president for the African-American community in light of the first black president earned mixed reviews.

NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn Brock gave a statement on the behalf of the organization, concluding, “Unfortunately, much of his agenda is at odds with that which the NAACP stands for, whether the issue is equal access to affordable health care, reforming our education system, or the path forward towards marriage equality.”

However, if you ask Romney, the hospitable standing ovation at the end of his speech, coupled with the support of an ambiguous group of “black leaders,” signify the start to growing his support among blacks.

There are conspiracy theories circulating that argue Romney wanted to get booed, spoke beyond his audience on purpose- that he was actually speaking to his conservative right base outside the room in order to show his policies won’t simply bend to the will of the black community.

But this theory is far-fetched, as he has no reason to rile up that base any longer- he’s got the nomination, so he’s got them already.

Mitt Romney clearly made attempts to portray himself as an inclusive candidate too often to validate such theories.

For instance, he implored the audience to “look into his heart,” to trust his good intentions for the country and for African Americans, specifically.

He explained, “I hope to represent all Americans of every race, creed and sexual orientation; from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.”

He tried to talk to them and not beyond them and was successful for a time. But it was the hostile language of the word “Obamacare-” a derogatory term created by its opponents on the right that was an absent-minded, insensitive and personal dig at the president who most of the audience supported in 2008.

Had he stuck to the official title of the health care bill, continued on to say why it should be repealed and what bill would take its place, he would’ve garnered a much more positive response.

It was a matter of respect, not only to the president, but the representatives of a community that largely approve and benefit from the provisions implemented by the ACA.

Regardless of Romney’s language blunder, his speech left much to be desired.

In true Romney fashion, he stuck to vague generalities, leaving his speech empty of any specific policy details.

No details on how a replacement health care bill would function or how education in the impoverished communities would explicitly improve from his future administration.

Even so, at the very least, many would’ve appreciated some general comment on the subject of voter suppression in this country and how it’s disproportionately impacting black voters.

Or perhaps a vague mentioning that he’s aware of these voter purges going on in vital swing states across the country and has some half-hearted intention to put an end to it, despite the fact that such purges work greatly in his favor.

Maybe if he made this speech about respecting the black vote, no matter which way it goes, and not just about collecting it, it would’ve been a true success.

If the idea behind an NAACP appearance was to garner black votes, perhaps a brief discussion on their overtly challenged, constitutional right to cast a ballot is in order.

(Watch above as Mitt Romney explains the functionality of an individual mandate)

Video Credited to

A week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional, the Republican party found itself buried beneath a disjointed war of words over whether the consequence for failing to pay for health care is defined as a penalty or a tax.

President Obama used the term “penalty’ in a 2010 sell to Congress and the country, insisting it was not a new tax.

However, Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts surprisingly ruled the ACA mandate as constitutional under the tax code.

In the wake of this decision, Justice Roberts has taken tremendous heat from some of those in the right wing who feel betrayed, while others have zoned in on this new language defined by the courts, coveting the new phrase “Obamatax.”

Republicans now feel free to run on the talking point that Obama has in fact raised taxes on the middle class which he said he would not do as president.

But just as Romney’s representatives geared up to spread the wonderful news of “another broken promise” by Barack Obama, they were confronted with the counterargument rooted in the very language of their own beloved candidate.

In a 2008 debate, Romney defended his own tax penalties, arguing, “If people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. Don’t be free riders and pass on the cost of your health care to everyone else,” explicitly mirroring Obama.

And so Romney campaign representatives were continuously confronted with the parallels they tried to brush aside; if the mandate is a tax under Obama, and he has indeed raised taxes on the middle class, the same can be said for Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Romney’s Campaign Advisor Eric Fehrnstrom botched his party’s argument against Obama in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.

Todd asked Fehrnstrom to clarify that Romney agrees with the president on the terms “penalty,” “fee,” or “fine”- not a tax- to which, Fehrnstrom replied, “That is correct.”

No doubt problems for Romney began at the court’s declaration of constitutionality, as his Plan A of attack banked on Obamacare’s unconstitutionality.

Romney admitted hours before the decision was made that if the courts ruled the law unconstitutional, it would signify the ultimate failure of President Obama’s landmark bill and was a complete waste of this country’s time, semi-side stepping the comparison to his own health care in Massachusetts,

That was supposed to be the plan.

But the SCOTUS ruling has left Romney with the inferior Plan B which hones in on the semantics of a tax, penalty, tax-penalty, what-have-you, whatever.

Unfortunately for Romney, Plan B is far more problematic, as it directly gives way to quotes in print and videotape of his same “penalty” distinction that Obama has made.

In fact, Romney not only agrees with the language of the President, he agrees with the ideology behind the mandate and the concept of personal responsibility.

True, Plan B invokes the powerful and emotional word, “tax,” that has an extremely negative impact on Americans at the mere mention of it. And the opportunity to tie such an emotional word to Obama has proved to be too great for Republicans to pass up, no matter how hypocritical, dangerous, disingenuous or biased they may sound.

This tangled web of words and partisan politics was foreshadowed by highly conservative Romney opponent, Rick Santorum, who back in the primary days, asserted that Mitt Romney would be the worst Republican period to go up against Obama on health care- an assertion that may very well be the most bipartisan conclusion ever reached by the Pennsylvania Senator.