I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I consider myself far from it.
I am, however, a "things-are-far-out-of-sync-and-not adding-up" theorist who, like many adult Americans with common sense, can easily recognize.
As murder and other serious crime rates soar out of control mostly in Democrat-controlled cities some of which willfully slice their budgets for law enforcement.
Various prosecutors in these cities fail to prosecute many of these criminals when they are arrested for committing serious crime, instead setting them free on society, often without even requiring bail bonds.
A movement seeks to infest public education with needlessly inflammatory disputed theories about racism in society, as our nation slips to 38th in the world in math and 24th in science in the quality of childhood education.
As inflation catches fire, our elected representatives irresponsibly vote to needlessly add trillions of additional dollars to our nation's debt to achieve various purely political goals, fuel inflation and damage the value of our dollar, thereby placing impossible burdens on future generations.
The corporately owned mainstream media clearly chooses to ignore, or report (with obvious bias), stories to the benefit of one political ideology over objective, in-depth and fair-minded coverage.
Our president insists upon publicly alerting enemies to the date of our troop withdrawal from Afghanistan months in advance then botches that departure in such an incredible manner as to leave many Afghan citizens who assisted our troops facing torture and death, as well as stranding thousands of our citizens behind enemy lines while leaving behind billions of taxpayer dollars in sophisticated armaments and weaponry in the hands of our adversaries.
These are but a handful of observations that defy common sense and logic to at least half of America's fully sane, taxpaying U.S. adults who are far from being what I consider conspiracy theorists or radicals, regardless of what some behind so much of this national dysfunction might choose to call them.
Don't let the national media or anyone else with ulterior and self-serving motives tell you what you can easily determine for yourself is the way things truly are. What's easily dismissed by political interests as a conspiracy theory today might well be proven as truth over time.
To this end, I'm reminded of the following story told on social media:
"When I was in seventh grade, our teacher put on a video for us to watch and asked us to take notes. Ten minutes in, she threw the lights on and shouted at Steven Webb Sladki, telling him he wasn't taking notes and he should have been.
"But the thing was, Steve was taking notes. I saw it, we all saw it. The teacher asked if anyone wanted to stand up for Steve. A few of us choked out some words of defense but we were immediately squashed.
"Quickly, we were all very silent. Steve was sent to the principal's office. The teacher came back in the room and said something like, 'See how easy that was?'
"We were reading 'Anne Frank.' I started to understand.
"Don't ever let anyone tell you that what you see with your own eyes isn't happening."
To that I can only add amen, valued readers.
A father's pride
The rain was coming down in sheets when we pulled into the restaurant parking lot. Every spot was taken as we circled around until finally spying an open one. Daughter Anna, who was driving, sped up and was about to turn into it when she noticed another car that had approached from the opposite direction and clearly had the spot in mind.
Rather than doing what seems to be the predictable reaction in today's me-first society and rushing to claim it, Anna rolled down her window as rain splashed inside and shouted to the waiting motorist, "Were you waiting for this place?"
The driver waved her on in where we parked.
It was at that moment I realized just what a fine young woman, mother and retired Navy veteran my once pigtailed daughter had become at 44 years old. If we could only become a nation of citizens who thought as much about the needs and wants of others along with our own, what a grand world this would be.
I'd never been prouder of Anna than at that moment.
It also reminded me of son Brandon, now 51, who was an outstanding guard on his J.A. Fair junior high school team during the 1980s.
In the stands during one game, Brandon was one basket from setting the school's scoring record as he brought the ball down court. Already well ahead in the game, the coach had inserted a reserve player who seldom had the chance to play.
Suddenly Brandon reversed his direction and was wide open for an easy layup when he saw his novice teammate standing alone beneath the basket. Rather than taking the shot, he flipped the ball to that boy, who instead made his first two points of the season.
In this lifetime we share, it's unselfish moments like these from my now-grown children that stand out the brightest and make me feel proud about the way they both are today.
How many vaccinated?
I can't know how you feel about the extensive coverage of covid-19 infections. While I appreciate and admire all the effort that goes into compiling data and reporting on the effects of this virus, I find myself (in light of the ongoing statewide push to vaccinate) wanting to know within the first few paragraphs just how many of the newly hospitalized and those on ventilators had received their shots, also known as breakthrough cases.
Perhaps I've become too lazy to dig deeply for such relevant perspective in the latest stories about covid and its Delta variant.
Clearly, I'd have made a miserable president of these United States. For example, had I been calling the shots for how our country left Afghanistan after decades of American blood, sacrifice and trillions of tax dollars, my decision would have been to leave our soldiers in place until every American citizen had been airlifted out of that miserable place along with Afghan citizens who helped our cause over 20 long years of warfare.
Then I would have rounded up all our expensive weaponry and armaments to either systematically ship out or destroy so Taliban savages and adversaries in Iran and elsewhere wouldn't wind up with them.
Only then would I have closed our primary air bases and brought our soldiers home. You might call this approach putting the cart behind the horse.
Dang. There I go again, showing the world what I don't know about political "strategery."
Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at email@example.com.