Tag Archives: George H.W. Bush

R.I.P. Michael Jackson (and Farrah)

I’m going to start this post with a plain statement: I don’t believe that Michael Jackson was a pedophile at all. I don’t believe that he ever had any type of inappropriate sexual relations with any child whatsoever.

And I hope that the man, who I do believe was a tortured soul thanks to a traumatic upbringing, is finally at peace now in God’s glorious heaven.

Michael Jackson, the ‘King of Pop’ and a true American cultural icon, died yesterday at the age of 50 of what is believed to have been cardiac arrest.

Those who saw him in recent months have reported that he looked skeletal, emaciated, and unhealthy. A fan who got to watch him on Monday in training for a hoped-for comeback tour said that she thought “he could die.”

Michael lived a life mixed with blessings and curses. He was blessed with phenomenal gifts in his natural talents for singing and dancing. Unfortunately, these very gifts led to the curse of his father’s abuse.

The elder Jackson unmercifully whipped and beat him as a young boy in a misguided effort to push him to stardom. His father’s abuse, emotional and verbal as well as physical, would reverberate through the entirety of his life.

I remember as a young boy watching television cartoons of Michael and his brothers, their singing and dancing, and hearing their songs performed as the ‘Jackson Five’. Hits that he recorded both with the group and in his solo efforts in those 1970’s days included “ABC”, “I Want You Back”, “Rockin’ Robin”, “Ben”, “Dancin’ Machine”, and the gorgeous “Got to be There” as AM radio staples of my youth.

In the 1980’s, Jackson’s solo career truly took off into another stratosphere.
His emergence as a young adult solo artist, combined with his talents for dancing, made him a natural leader in the emerging video music industry being pioneered by the folks at MTV. His albums “Off the Wall”, “Thriller”, and “Bad” made him the biggest act on earth. “Thriller” remains the biggest-selling record in history to this date.

Jackson was involved in charitable efforts far too numerous to completely mention, but one of the highlights was his leadership along with Lionel Richie in the “We Are the World” song and video to raise money for battling hunger in Africa.

He moved into the 90’s still on top of the world with a Super Bowl performance, and recognition from President George H.W. Bush as the “Entertainer of the Decade” for the 80’s. But he also began to come under increased scrutiny from tabloid newspapers who reported on the bizarre (buying the bones of the ‘Elephant Man’) to the sublime (he slept in a hyperbolic chamber) to the ridiculous (a marriage to Priscilla Presley) to the criminal (child molestation charges.)

The scandalous child sex charges were either settled out of or dismissed in court, with the father of one 13-year old boy being caught on tape saying “If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever…Michael’s career will be over.” 

At every court proceeding he ever attended, Michael’s friends and family members were there fully supporting him, and he was never convicted on any of these charges in any incident. But as with most anyone who ever faces these types of charges publicly, he was never able to overcome their stigma.

Michael’s life began to deteriorate as he battled physical ailments with vitilio and lupus, the eating disorder anorexia, and body dismporphic disorder. Through all this, he was able to become the father of three children: Michael Joseph ‘Prince’ Jackson, Jr (son) and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson (daughter) with Debbie Rowe, and Prince Michael ‘Blanket’ Jackson II who he said was conceived through a surrogate via artificial insemination.

Michael Jackson was absolutely a lightening rod for controversy, some of it of his own doing, as when he hung ‘Blanket’ by one arm from a hotel balcony, and some of it imagined or exaggerated by the media. He was also a victim of child abuse, and of a lifetime of physical ailments that not only contributed to, but directly caused his personal deterioration.

Michael Jackson was also one of the greatest entertainment talents in human history. His dance movements such as the “Moonwalk” are legendary, the stuff that has been admired and copied by professionals and amateurs for decades now. His alternating strong and sensitive voice has recorded dozens and dozens of hit songs, including peak-of-career hits like “Billie Jean”, “Black and White”, “Man in the Mirror”, “Smooth Criminal”, “I Wanna Rock With You”, “You Are Not Alone”, “Beat It”, “Rock With You”, and many others.

Jackson will be remembered for generations to come as one of the greatest entertainers of all-time, but amazingly he was not the only big celebrity to pass away yesterday.

Farrah Fawcett, the beautiful blond bombshell who burst onto the scene in the mid-1970’s with the original television series “Charlie’s Angels”, passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was just 62 years of age, joining the 50-year old Jackson as stars taken long before their time. May they both rest in peace.

Will April’s Showers Bring May Flowers?

April was a pretty rough month in any way that you want to size it up. Record spending, debt, unemployment. A major shift towards socialism by our government. Increased attacks on the sacrament of marriage by homosexuals and liberal thinkers. And then finally ending with an attack by a Swine Flu pandemic.

It’s all a bit much for a normally happy soul such as mine to take in for one big reason. There is no end in sight.

President Obama was only recently elected, and just took office three months ago. He still has more than three years at a minimum in office, and if the magnitude, scope, and pace of his ‘Change’ continues as it has thus far it will be an agonizing three years.

One thing that I have come to appreciate over the course of these past three months is the utter joy and euphoria that Obama elicits in his followers. It makes me jealous, because frankly I have never, ever had that feeling for a President of the United States.

Forget Kennedy and Johnson, I was just a baby. As a young child, Nixon and Ford certainly were not high on my priority list. I liked Jimmy Carter at first. He spoke to my youthful desire for progressivism.

Carter was a minister and brought a certain amount of credibility and morality to the office, which was important to the country after the dishonesty of Nixon’s Watergate. And he was intelligent too, a genius, at least that’s the rep that the media was passing around.

But it was also Jimmy Carter who began to ruin things for my early liberalism.

By the end of his term he was proving to be a major letdown, and I’m still trying to figure out that whole ‘genius’ thing. His and liberalism’s weaknesses were on full display in the face of the emergence of radical Islam, Soviet aggression, and America’s energy problems.

But still, politics and these major issues at this point were still only news stories to me, fleeting images on the TV set, and I would quickly change the channel to a ballgame or a comedy and go back to my own inner liberal feelings.

During the 1980’s, Ronald Reagan was king, but I didn’t support the kingdom. I didn’t vote for ‘The Gipper’ either time. Here was the first time in my lifetime where it was obvious to me that a large portion of America was feeling something for a President that I just wasn’t getting.

The affection for Reagan was disconcerting to me, because I was beginning in my 20’s to actually pay more attention to national and world affairs. I was a liberal Democrat and became a joiner, with paid memberships in ‘Greenpeace’ and ‘Amnesty International’, and with subscriptions to ‘Rolling Stone’ and ‘U.S. News & World Report’ magazines.

In those days, I enjoyed anti-establishment music videos on the new media outlet of MTV, sons such as “Land of Confusion” by Gensis as a great example.

But something slowly began to change inside of me. The optimism of the ‘Morning in America’ days led by Reagan. The return of outward signs of American patriotism. The general feelings of positivism were creeping into my psyche a little at a time.

President Reagan’s demand that the Soviets “Tear down this wall!” followed by that event actually happening was a watershed moment for me. It was a moment when I began to think to myself “Why are there so many millions of people seeing what I am not?” and I began to realize that these folks couldn’t possibly all be evil or idiots, and I actually began to open my mind to thoughts and ideas outside of my previously grounded liberal thinking.

But it still wasn’t a full-on change. I was more in transition. I still voted for Dukakis in 1988, because I simply was not ready to vote for George H.W. Bush for President. He was as establishment as you could possibly get, and a former head of the C.I.A. to boot, and I simply did not trust a former head of a spy agency to be my leader.

When the first elder President Bush eventually led us into the Gulf War, all his faults were on display in my mind. I didn’t understand the importance of the whole Iraq issue. My naive liberalism still had me being sold by those talking heads and celebrities who lamented our ‘going to war over nothing but oil’ and other such talk.

In 1992, with my own life going through major changes on many fronts, I remained a liberal thinker for the final time in a U.S. Presidential election.

Bill Clinton was elected, and it was the first time in my life to that point where my candidate had won. I was excited for the Clinton presidency. His youthful exuberance was infectious, and I genuinely believed that he would make things better.

But I also by this time was already in the habit of looking at issues deeper than the surface. I had begun reading and researching major issues beyond just what I was being sold by media outlets. I increasingly noted what appeared to be an obvious liberal bias in newspapers and on television.

I hated the idea that these folks seemed more like cheerleaders whenever a Democrat was involved, and like antagonists when a Republican was involved. It was all so obvious, and it was turning me off.

My personal research led me to the knowledge that all of the positive economic turns of the early Clinton years were going to happen no matter who was President. In fact, they had actually begun in the final months of the Bush administration. Yet the Democrats were trying to take full credit.

I began to experience my first bit of cynicism towards my party and its politicians at this point. By the end of Clinton’s first four years the transition was complete.

My own personal scales fully tilted towards conservatism over liberalism as Newt Gingrich led the ‘Republican Revolution’ of 1994. I was amazingly in tune with their message and supportive of this man who just a couple years earlier I would have viewed as a negative influence.

Though still a registered Democrat, I did not vote for Clinton in 1996. The second Clinton term, full of scandal, controversy, and ultimately impeachment, was what fully shoved me over to the conservative side. It was my final flip to an actual change of party to the Republican side.

With the election of George W. Bush in 2000, the second U.S. Presidential election vote in which my candidate had won, I was not excited.

Seeing Al Gore for the quack that he has turned out to be, I was tremendously relieved with the narrow outcome in Bush’s favor. Bush was not the conservative that I was becoming, but he was much more tilted in that direction than Gore and his followers would have been.

The attacks of 9/11 and President Bush’s outstanding leadership in the following months and years cemented my support for him. They also helped cement my growing conservative beliefs. But he never elicited that outright joy as a follower or supporter.

Obviously Obama will never elicit those feelings for me. And yet I look around at his followers and I realize something. His supporters are every bit as enthused and enthralled as Reagan’s were back in the 1980’s. They are as supportive of liberal politics as I was on the outside back then as well.

I don’t get it, but I am trying to learn more about Obama’s programs and ideas beyond what the media on both sides is trying to feed the public. So far, the more that I learn the worse it looks to me, but I am going to try to keep learning and stay open.

The showers of April turn to flowers in nature in May. We can only hope that the showers brought on our nation by the early Obama actions in April will bloom into flowers in May, but I don’t hold out hope.

That Obama “May” has not started well, with an announced SCOTUS opening and the specter of the likely appointment to the Supreme Court later in the year of what will almost definitely be its most liberal member ever.

The Swine Flu is still advancing, with a possible retreat for the summer, but a return in the fall. Chrysler joins the growing list of formerly private businesses in the auto, banking, insurance and other industries now controlled by the government.

It is still raining. But I won’t let it get to me. One thing that age and experience teach you is that if you wait, the sun will indeed come out tomorrow. There are signs of hope.

We have rid ourselves here in Pennsylvania of Senator Arlen Specter, a RINO (Republican In Name Only) who saw the writing on the wall that we were going to dump him in the upcoming primary and who then ran for Democratic cover like a coward.

I still hold out hope that one day I will have that President come along who inspires me and elicits that passionate adulation of feeling to go along with a support for their policies and direction that Obama’s supporters feel today. Someone like Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, or Sarah Palin. You gotta keep that smile on your face and in your heart, and keep your own dreams alive.

Turkey Tails

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in America, and at some point in the morning my wife Debbie will awake and unpack our turkey for the traditional dinner.

At some time tomorrow afternoon she is scheduled to slide the nice 17-pound Butterball out of our oven. I’ll move into position with the electric carving knife, and peel off nice slices and pieces of white meat. Then I’ll flip that bad boy over and go after the dark meat on the bottom.

We will then put the turkey out on our table with some veggies and fixings that will most definitely include mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, spinach, rolls, and gravy. Then we will join my daughter Kelly and her boyfriend Jay in digging in to the annual feast.

Ours will be a relatively small dinner, but there will be many around our town, region, and nation that will be much larger. Families will gather from far and near, taking days off from work, returning from school, going back home for the holiday.

At the vast majority of these dinner tables, the turkey will be the featured attraction. But why? Where did this all start? Why turkey and not roast beef, or pork chops, or spaghetti (no, my South Philly Italian friends, your pasta course does not count.)

Turkey is the main dish at Thanksgiving, what we all look forward to so much on this particular day that we don’t have this dinner much, if at all, at other times during the year.

The turkey was a wild bird original to North America, native to the eastern United States and northern Mexico.
The bird was domesticated and brought to Europe in the 16th century, and it began to be raised much more extensively due to the high quality of their meat and eggs.

The first Thanksgiving is traditionally recognized as having taken place among the Pilgrims and the native American Indians. Though there is no documentation that turkey was served at this feast, it almost certainly would have been a logical option.

Some 22 years after that first celebration, William Bradford wrote his piece titled “History of Plymouth Plantation”, and in the piece there is a quote stating that the governor had “sent four men out fowling, and they returned with turkeys, ducks, and geese.”

Bradford’s work fell into the hands of the British during the Revolutionary War and did not surface in America again until 1854. On it’s rediscovery and dispersal to the public, the turkey’s roll at those early gatherings was recognized, and the bird began to turn into a symbol of Thanksgiving which simply grew and grew as the years and decades moved along.

In the years after the Revolution, America was searching for many symbols to associate with the new country, and talk turned to a national bird. The favorite and ultimately the chosen symbol was the Bald Eagle, but no less than Benjamin Franklin himself supported the turkey, saying that it was “a much more respectable bird, and a true original of North America.”

The respect for the turkey has taken a humorous turn at the highest levels of our government as well. Each year since 1989, when President George H.W. Bush “pardoned” the turkey given to him as a gift from the Poultry and Egg National Board, a turkey has been ceremonially pardoned by the sitting President.

This idea was originally begun by either Abraham Lincoln, who legend says pardoned his son’s pet turkey, or by John Kennedy who supposedly was given the holiday bird gift and said “Let’s just keep him.”

So the eagle soars through the skies as America’s symbol to this day, but it is the turkey to which we turn to celebrate the thanks that we give for this land, for our families, and for our freedom.

R.I.P. Tony Snow

There is plenty of coverage across the Internet and on television news programs on the death of Tony Snow, but to just let it pass without an entry here would be wrong. Tony Snow was that rare modern-day newsman who was accepted and respected by the mainstream media even though he did not subscribe to their usual liberal school of thought. Born in 1955 in Kentucky, Snow was raised in Cincinnati by his father, a school principal, and his mother who died of colon cancer when Snow was just 17 years old. He graduated from Davidson College in 1977, and began work as a newspaper editor in North Carolina for The Greensboro Record in 1979. His editorial career eventually led him to take over the editorial page at the prestigious The Washington Times from 1987-1991. Throughout the 1990’s he worked as a regular columnist at USA Today, made numerous television news appearances, and also was syndicated to over 200 newspapers throughout the country. He took a sabbatical from 1991-1993 to work in the administration of President George H.W. Bush as a speech writer and media assistant. In the mid-90’s, Snow took over as the regular substitute host for The Rush Limbaugh Show on radio, and in 2003 began The Tony Snow Show on Fox News radio. Snow had become one of the leading conservative voices in America, making numerous Fox News appearances and often substituting on television for Bill O’Reilly, but his professionalism and fairness gained him the respect from both sides of the aisle in Washington and from his media colleagues across the ideological spectrum. In April of 2006, Tony Snow was named as the new White House Press Secretary, the main face and voice of the administration of President George W. Bush, a position that he held until being overwhelmed by the same colon cancer that had taken the life of his mother 35 years earlier, that would eventually take his life yesterday. Tony was an avid musician who played the flute, trombone, piccolo, accordion, saxophone, and guitar. He was a part of a cover band called Beats Workin and got to play publicly with members of Jethro Tull, the Doobie Brothers, and Steely Dan. Tony Snow is survived by his wife of 21 years, Jill Ellen Walker, two daughters and a son. Not many come along like Tony Snow, who combine class, intelligence, humor, and a general overall good-natured demeanor that comes through no matter what your opinions of his political views. During a time of severe political partisanship in America, the loss of men like Snow and Tim Russert, who passed away a few weeks ago, is a serious blow to American journalism, and a loss for us all.

Finding the ‘Right’ way

Embed from Getty Images

On a brisk November morning back in 1996, I walked into a polling place located inside the H.A. Brown elementary school in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, signed my name in the register, and walked into the voting booth.

Though I was about to turn 33 years of age in just a few weeks, I was about to experience a first in my life.

As I pulled the handle and the curtain closed behind me, I faced the list of elective offices on the ballot, including that of the President of the United States of America, and searched the list for the one name that I was looking for above all others.

When I found the name of Bob Dole, I pulled over the small lever next to his name, forcing an ‘x’ mark into a tiny window, signifying that he would receive my vote. I pulled the handle back and locked in my first-ever vote for a Republican candidate for President of the United States, marking the beginning of a new era in my life.

It was the first time that I voted the Right Way.

Although the journey from ultra-liberal to conservative had begun earlier, this was truly a line of demarcation. Not Ronald Reagan. Not George H.W. Bush. It was Bob Dole who received my first-ever Republican Presidential vote.

Dole received my vote when just four years earlier I had cast my ballot for Bill Clinton, his opponent. Clinton had been someone who I enthusiastically supported in 1992. He was proving immensely popular with a large segment of the American populace, and had yet to experience the Monica Lewinsky scandal or the disgrace of impeachment.

How does one make such a long journey from true liberal to true conservative? What are the life experiences, the circumstances that take place to enable and empower such a drastic change of thought? How does one go from being a card carrying, dues-paying member of Greenpeace and Amnesty International in his 20’s to a Limbaugh Letter subscriber in his 30’s?

How does one go from thinking of President Ronald Reagan as a dunce former actor who was surely leading the world to nuclear war, to holding the Gipper in such high esteem that he is now a personal hero and icon, and possibly the greatest President of the 20th century?

It’s a long night’s journey into day, folks. The story of my journey from youthful liberal to mature conservative is in many ways typical. It’s the story of the immature, naive idealist young man being hardened by life’s often difficult lessons, becoming a mature, informed realist. But of course my personal story has it’s own nexus, it’s own turning points.

It probably begins with my coming into adolescence in the aftermath of the Watergate fiasco, Nixon impeachment, and the debacle of an ending to the Vietnam War.

I remember being attracted, as many young kids were, to the flowery, colorful “hippie” movement of the period from around 1968-1972, and the images of anti-war demonstrators and peaceniks. The guys all seemed smart and sensitive at the same time, with long hair and mustaches, and the girls were either very pretty blondes with flowers in their hair, or very smart brunettes with impressive vocabularies and fire in their eyes.

I remember watching on TV as many of the young characters such as Greg and Marcia Brady and Mike and Gloria Stivic seemed to support the causes of peace, love and togetherness. If I had known the terms back then, I wouldn’t have been able to understand why everyone wasn’t a liberal Democrat.

Born on November 20th, I had always felt an affinity for the Kennedy mystique. I share my birthday with Bobby Kennedy, and as a young teen I read as much as I could about him, coming to admire his and his brother John’s struggles to help rid the world of injustice, intolerance, and discrimination. I was a fan of Camelot a generation after it was dead, and this certainly helped shape my early liberalism.

What I didn’t read and learn until much later in life were that these men were not some new modern evolved type of individual, they were flesh and blood human beings with faults and weaknesses, just like the rest of us.

I even made my first-ever Presidential vote in my first-ever election for their brother, Ted Kennedy, during the 1980 Democratic Presidential primary. It was as much for brother Teddy to carry that idealistic torch forward as for anything that I knew about him specifically.

The word “Chappaquiddick” wasn’t even a part of my vocabulary back then. God help me, my Kennedy-lust lasted even into my conservative years, as I still thought that there was most likely a shooter on the grassy knoll, and a conspiracy to kill JFK, right up until early 2003 when I was introduced to the book “Case Closed” by Gerald Posner. Needless to say for those who have read it, that put an end to that, and the final nail in my own Kennedy mystique coffin.

So my liberal leanings were set early in my development, and as I moved into young adulthood they took root with even more conviction. I listened to Jimmy Carter speak and found him to be a good, honest, humble man who came across as utterly trustworthy, something that was important to me after Watergate.

I saw Carter’s opponent in the 1980 Presidential election, California Governor Ronald Reagan, as someone who didn’t care much about the little people. To me, Reagan was someone who cared mostly about big business at home, and flexing the muscles of the war machine in international dealings.

I would hold these views about Reagan throughout his Presidency. When Carter lost, I simply couldn’t understand how a majority of voters didn’t see what I saw exactly the way that I saw it.

There was one thing that I did notice though, something that was a foretelling of my switch to thinking the Right Way. I remember as Reagan was being sworn in, the American hostages in Iran were freed after a year in captivity.

Even a young, hardcore Lib like myself saw the connection. Things were going to be different in America now with Reagan in charge, and the Ayatollah Khomeini and his radical Muslim extremist followers knew it. They likely knew just how different things would be long before I knew.

The key development in my life at this point was my early marriage. My high school girlfriend and I had gotten pregnant, and rather than go on to college, I went out into the working world, where I would toil in lower levels of the banking industry for just over a decade. When my girlfriend and I got married in November of 1979, we were both just 17 years old.

The marriage lasted longer than many thought it would, almost 13 years, and produced my two eldest daughters in 1980 and 1981. In fact, it was they who I couldn’t leave, and who held the marriage together as long as it did.

The struggles of trying to raise a young family in a low level job with little opportunity for advancing very far made me look at the supposed pro-rich policies of Reagan with even more negativity.

As I moved through the 1980’s, I was also moving through my 20’s. I regretted not having gone to college, being stuck in a dead-end job, and seeing my once-promising youth pass away without much to show for it. I wasn’t going to church, was barely taking my marriage seriously, and solidified my liberalism with votes for Mondale in ‘84 and Dukakis in ‘88.

During the 1980’s my liberal ideals were being fueled by the birth of the MTV network, and the anti-establishment and/or pro-humanity efforts of efforts such as Band Aid and Hands Across America. The mega-concert to benefit and battle African hunger, Live Aid, came to my hometown of Philadelphia in the mid-80’s and pushed those ideals further along.

I became a dues-paying member of both Amnesty International and Greenpeace, and proudly displayed stickers for both organizations on the inside of my work briefcase. Add it all up folks. Voted for Kennedy, Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis. Card-carrying member of leftist organizations. I was a Lib, plain and simple. And then everything changed.

The change didn’t happen overnight, but was radical just the same. It started with my change of careers.

In 1990, I left the bank where I was working, and the industry that I had been a part of for over a decade, and joined the Philadelphia police force. The experiences that I would have as a cop would be a huge influence in my personal change.

Then in early 1992, my first wife and I separated. It was difficult, and I do not advocate that anyone should end a marriage lightly or on a whim. The dissolution of any long-term relationship where children are involved is a serious matter. But this one needed to end, and it finally did.

With it didn’t come bachelor ‘freedom.’ On the contrary, just months after my separation, I met my wife Debbie, along with her daughter Melissa, who would become in actuality my youngest daughter.

My relationship with Deb would be the other major influence in my change. She was a single parent trying to raise a daughter in a tough neighborhood, and was herself moving to a much more conservative set of personal values. We would complete that journey of change together, but not immediately.

In November of 1992, President George Bush was running for re-election against a little known Arkansas Governor named Bill Clinton. I had voted against Bush in 1988 when I was still solidly liberal, but even now as I was drifting inexorably towards conservatism, there was something that I just didn’t like or trust about him.

On the other hand, Clinton was youthful, vital, handsome, and charismatic. He turned on the liberal populace, and both Deb and I got caught up in his uplifting campaign. I even found it especially amazing that his campaign took up a song by my all-time favorite band, “Don’t Stop (Thinkin’ About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac, as his campaign song. In fact, his election reunited the band, another feather in his cap at the time for me.

Deb and I each cast our votes for Clinton, our final votes for a Democrat in a Presidential race, and our final votes against a Bush. In short order after the election, excited that we had picked the winning candidate in our first election together, we saw Clinton as ‘our’ President.

On my birthday in 1993 we got engaged. We bought a house, the first home ownership for each of us, and moved in together at Christmas of 1994. We began to plan our wedding in early 1995, and did the deal that fall. There is no doubt that the responsibilities of home ownership pushed us further to the Right, as did the experiences in raising our combined daughters as they began their teenage years.

But it wasn’t just our personal experiences that drove us finally to the right side of the political and social spectrum. There is no doubt at all that the result of and reaction to the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict was huge, as were the developing scandals surrounding the Clinton’s: Whitewater, Vince Foster, Ron Brown, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky.

On and on it went. All capped by Clinton’s lying under oath and his subsequent impeachment. The man simply became an embarrassment to our Nation.

No two people did more for our final shift to the Right Way of thinking than Bill and Hillary Clinton. While the popular media toasted them as progressive, vital leaders, and downplayed their often joint scandals as either hoaxes, aberrations, or outright fabrications by their political enemies, the truths for any reasonable, thinking person became undeniable.

The Clinton’s were proving to be a couple of lying, conniving, political animals who would do anything, possibly up to and including the most unthinkable of deeds, to preserve their power. Deb and I may have started out naive and blind to the Clinton’s, but the more any person with a brain got to know them, the more you knew there was something seriously wrong there.

Another major development for me during the mid-1990’s was the emergence to national prominence of Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a U.S. Congressman from Georgia, and the “Contract With America” put forward as an alternative to the agenda that my Democratic Party was pursuing.

I decided to intellectually challenge myself with this approach: these were bright, reasonable people. How could they think and feel about major issues in so fundamentally different a way than I was thinking and feeling?

I began to read books and other publications by leading conservative thinkers of the time, trying to understand their viewpoint. That intellectual education was, for me, the process of true awakening.

So it was that on that brisk November morning in 1996, we walked into that voting booth and pulled the lever next to the name of Bob Dole, Republican, for President of the United States.

It was Bill Clinton and Hillary. It was the O.J. Simpson trial, the Anita Hill fiasco involving SCOTUS justice Clarence Thomas, and other major news stories of the day. It was our kids and our role as parents. It was our pocketbooks and our role as homeowners. It was that opening up of our minds to another way of thinking.

Finally, it was our movement closer to God, our faith, that clinched the deal for good. My wife and youngest daughter were baptized and received their Sacraments in the Catholic Church.

I was already a Catholic since birth, though non-practicing for most of my adult life to that point. But during their conversion we completed the spiritual journey together. Over the next few years, as I began to take matters of faith, spirituality, and morality into greater weight when evaluating things, the move to the Right Way was completed.

In the summer of the year 2000, the Republican National Convention came to my hometown of Philadelphia. Much as Live Aid had been a hometown celebration of my liberalism a decade and a half earlier, the RNC was an even greater celebration of my conservatism.

Myself and my Philadelphia Police Department colleagues were determined that this convention, even though it was being held in one of the greatest remaining bastions of liberalism, which is what Philadelphia is, would absolutely not be taken over by the radical leftists who were threatening to both defeat George W. Bush and takeover the streets of Philadelphia.

Philly cops did themselves proud on the streets and behind the scenes during that convention, perfectly protecting the convention and the city as the radicals tried their hardest to disrupt and cause chaos to both. We took no prisoners, figuratively, though we literally took many. It was a great time for the city, the country, and lovers of peace and liberty.

For my own role during the convention, I had the honor of working on a 4-man team comprised of myself, another member of the PPD, and two members of the Capitol Police in providing dignitary protection for Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma. It was during one of the events that he attended, an amazing evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that I first got to see and hear the wonderful Martina McBride perform.

And so there you have it, the journey with some highlights of one man’s transition from liberal to conservative, from misguided youth to mature adult, from idealist to positive-thinking pragmatist.

To any Liberals out there who may stumble across this, my first-ever article for the website, I hope that you enjoyed it, and that it may inspire you to understand that you can indeed grow and change. That you can indeed begin to write, speak, and live the Right Way. As I like to say here at RW, don’t be afraid. Afraid? Get a dog!

NOTE: this blog was originally known as “Right Way” until changed to my own name a couple of years later. Videos for this piece were added at a later date.