Fear Motivates “Black Thursday/Friday” Spending As It Did With Obama’s Re-Election

Big box retail and the President have once again capitalized on the individual’s most dreaded emotion: the fear of not getting what you believe you can’t do without.  In the case of Obama, the fear was generated from the Biden false assertion that Romney/Ryan would re-enslave Americans of all races in a financial sense.  Big box retail succeeds every November by encouraging customer fear that their Commercialized Christmas will be a flop unless they grab Thanksgiving night bargains.

The success of each campaign ensures a tightening of the economic vise.  Instead of “looking up” to the higher things in life as I exhorted pre-election, many consumer/voters continue to narrow their tunnel vision.  They become increasingly worried that if they don’t look out for themselves, even if at the expense of their fellow citizens, they will suffer.  Damaging compromises ensue.

As a result, we have signed up for another four years of the accelerating intrinsic evils we believe are a necessary trade-off to survive.  We have abandoned the moral foundation which lifted us from colonial oppression and have replaced it with moral degradation leading to federal oppression.

We have succumbed to the fear that unless we accept a platform which promotes the murder of the unborn, we will have our retirement necessities taken away by the opposition’s platform.

The President duped us into thinking that we must go along with the legitimizing of disordered behavior contrary to natural law and to the destruction of the family , or we will not curry the favor of Robin Obamahood, the “only” one who can save us in the fight against unfair business practices.

Finally, we ignored the growing specter of foreign ownership of our monumental national debt in order to receive a national health insurance whose “benefits” reduce human beings to mere uncontrollably reproductive animals.  Of course, to accomplish Big Brother’s domination we must be willing to abandon our inalienable right of religious freedom.

So, how does this relate to Black Thursday/Friday buying habits?  By supporting the increasingly earlier store hours which curtail workers’ rightful time with their families, we encourage the big box retailers to ignore all decency in their scheduling.  It enables the “famously aggressive labor practices” of Wal-Mart (from The Atlantic, posted yesterday) which, in turn, leads other large retailers to follow suit.

In addition, every successful Black Thursday/Friday empowers the big box retailers to continue their legal, but unfair pay structures.  The same online article quoted median hourly wages for all retail employees to be $14.42.  However, for the perpetrators of earlier and earlier store hours, the average is much less.  While Wal-Mart claims an average hourly wage of $11.75, The Atlantic article said an independent study put that figure closer to $9.00/hour.  (As a former team leader with a discount retailer, I can concur with the independent study.)

The Atlantic stated that the federal poverty line is $19,090 for a family of three.  To reach that, a person would have to make $9.18/hour with forty-hour weeks for every week of the year.  This pay rate is above that of numerous retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s.  Not to mention that full-time employment is harder and harder to come by as well.

As a nation, we blew an opportunity on November 6 to make a stand for what is right at the polls. Every Christmas season we are presented another chance to “look up.”  By following the crowds every year, we are supporting an industry including the likes of Target, which “managed to put a more fashionable face on the same abysmal pay for its workers.”  However, to make matters worse, with each made-in-somewhere-other-than-the-U.S. label, we are also sending more manufacturing jobs overseas to workers who are mistreated in other ways.

The choice is ours.  Will our gifts travel to their recipients on the backs of downtrodden workers, or will we brings our gifts in the same way the Three Wise Men did, from the heart and with a clear conscience?

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What If?….. We Celebrated Thanksgiving For The Reason It Was Created

A few years ago, one could predict this inevitability.  The creeping vine known as “Black Friday” was going to move out of its boundaries and begin to strangle one of the few remaining uncontaminated holidays — Thanksgiving.

When I was still in retail, I remember feeling the nudge of insatiable commercialism as I spent the fourth Thursday of November 2004 glancing at my watch periodically instead of concentrating on the food and fellowship of that day.  And that was for just a 5:45AM start the next workday!  Soon, a competitor decided to open at 4:00 which encouraged others to begin at 3:00, then the feared jump to midnight and earlier.

Now employers think it’s perfectly reasonable and certainly justifiable to treat Thanksgiving Day just like other disregarded days of rest and reflection like Memorial Day and Labor Day…. or, God forbid, the antiquated notion that Sundays had a purpose other than paying employees straight-time for missing church.  I know, “we live in a very competitive economy” (yes, ongoing since at least the 1960’s).  “If we don’t do it, everybody else will and we’ll lose our annual corporate largesse (bonus),”  or something like that.  There are myriads of other rationalizations.

I suppose the spending addicts bear some of the blame for the increasingly invasive store hours.  After all, if nobody came, they wouldn’t open it.  A Field of Pipe-Dreams, perhaps?  Still, even though I’m in my 50s, I just can’t shake myself from some idealistic thoughts.  If even a country as secular in its policies as Norway is can have few stores open on Sundays, is there a chance we could break the enslaving bonds of Christmas-getting (aka Holiday-greedings) and return to a little more normalcy?

George Washington set aside this day for giving thanks to God whom we have since pushed out of our public awareness.  We need to adjust our values and start remembering that “we didn’t build it” (you almost got it right, Mr. President), but God built it!

Trying to Decipher Obama’s Descriptions of the United States

When the President announced today to the people of Myanmar (formerly Burma) that we, the United States, are a “Pacific nation,” it brought to mind a couple of other descriptions attributed to him while on the road in the past few years.  There are various ways of interpreting what he really meant by each.  By the end of this article, you’ll see why I must leave the conclusion to the reader!

1)  ”We are no longer a Christian nation…” and “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”  President Obama did make these statements.  Taken in their entirety, each could be construed as a diplomatic way of saying the U.S. is a diverse country not predisposed to imposing its Christian heritage over non-Christians.  Yet, in typical Obama fashion, he appears to contradict himself in the way he expresses it.

The first one was given in a March 2008 speech, currently posted on YouTube.  His actual words were, “Where we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation, at least not ‘just.’  We are also a Jewish nation, and a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.”  Granted, we are not officially a Christian nation in the same way which Sharia law is attempting to overrun Arab nations.  However, his obvious disdain for anything Christian could make this another subtle attempt at renouncing our Christian origins as he is prone to do.

The second quote is from a CNN clip of the June 2009 news conference given in Turkey with the leader of that country.  The segment is as follows: “ that one of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation.  We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”  His visit to Turkey was made to calm concerns they might have had regarding our commitment to fairness in the Middle East. (And his deft way of messing up international relations now has Israel very concerned about our commitment to them, but that’s a topic for a separate article.)  All of this aside, didn’t Obama say fifteen months prior to this that we WERE a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. nation?

2)  “We are a Muslim nation.”  President Obama did not say this.  In a June 2009 interview with French television channel CANAL+, he said, “One of the points I want to make is that, if you actually took the number of Muslims — Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”  While it’s true he didn’t say the U.S. is a Muslim nation, his stats are way off.  One post of the interview included Wikipedia data showing the U.S. to be 38th in its number of Muslims.  A Pew Forum report released later that year confirmed the U.S.’s Muslim population to be ranked less than 30th in the world… so much for having a significant Muslim population.

3)  “We are a Pacific nation.”  This previously mentioned statement by the President shall always be a mystery, I’m afraid.  The recent campaign exposed and rehashed the numerous serious challenges we face as a nation.  To these, we must add a lack of national identity.

 

“Christian” Confuses Obama’s Supporters And Many So-Called Christians

For a term which has existed for almost 2,000 years, what constitutes a “Christian” has somehow become confusing to outsiders and even to many who think of themselves as being Christian.  The recent election has made this painfully evident.

A specific example of this surprising misunderstanding appeared in a letter to the editor in the Monday, November 12, 2012 edition of the Bradenton (FL) Herald.  The writer, Carol Gazell of Bradenton, stressed that President Obama had won re-election because he appealed to a majority of many different demographic groups, which in fact he did.  But she he went on to say that, “We are no longer a nation inhabited by primarily white Christians.  As much as conservatives may not like it, that is the fact, and there’s no going back to those days.”  She would fit in with those who believe that the Obama win represented a victory over what they have named the “Christian right.”  Their rhetoric claims that those who hold these views are a minority who belong to an earlier time and are no longer relevant.

It is true that the various groups of “minorities” are, as a whole, the new majority.  Fair-minded individuals are not paranoid about this reality because this is merely a continuation of the “melting pot” phenomenon which created our great nation.  However, the troubling point is her implication that white Christians have a different set of priorities from non-white Christians.  This is contradictory.  A true Christian must follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church He established to guide us until His second coming.  These teachings transcend race.  In fact, the equality of all races in the eyes of God is a key Christian tenet.

The real Christian strives for the good in this life and the hereafter for everyone, not just for him or herself.  To achieve “good,” the genuine Christian will, among other virtues:

1) champion the right to life of all human beings from conception until natural death
2) protect the sanctity of marriage which creates the family [basic unit of civilized society]
3) ensure the inalienable right of freedom of religion, which automatically includes its practice.

Such values will be encouraged in a just society, not disparaged.

This brings us to the dichotomy of the last two general elections.  How is it possible for so many “Christians” (and sadly, a majority of my “Catholic” brethren) to have voted for a ticket which:
1) promotes an intrinsic evil (abortion) in the U.S. and elsewhere
2) enables and legitimizes disordered behavior (“LGBT”) at the expense of the family
3) drives toward replacing the free practice of religion with a dominating State?

This is a sign of something definitely out-of-whack.

Let’s go back to the so-called “Christian right.”  The label implies that this group has become extreme in its views.  If this were accurate, they would be expected to push unconstitutional laws like mandatory church attendance for all Americans.  This has never been part of their agenda.  They might try to legislate the return to closing stores on Sundays in order to “keep holy the Lord’s day.”  They could attempt to levy mandatory donations to churches or charitable organizations as a tax in a similar way the Administration was able to convince the Supreme Court to save one aspect of the HHS mandate last June.  The “Christian right” has not attempted to do anything like this.

The “Christian right” passionately believes that “good” should be accomplished, but at the lowest possible level.  The Christian looks to the federal government only when all other means have failed.  In other words, the government should only be involved in helping people to do those things which they cannot do for themselves.  (The Catholic Church has a term for this: “subsidiarity.”  The site for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says: “The principle of subsidiarity reminds us that larger institutions in society should not overwhelm or interfere with smaller or local institutions, yet larger institutions have essential responsibilities when the more local institutions cannot adequately protect human dignity, meet human needs and advance the common good.”)  Therefore, it does not mean, as Obama’s supporters charge, that the “Christian right” believes in neglecting the disadvantaged.

The “Christian right” also does not believe that something must be condoned and accepted as inevitable just because it’s legal.  This includes an array of actions such as: discontinuing retirees’ health insurance, allowing speculative financial tools to be used which line the speculators’ pockets and cause hardship to millions, killing the unborn, same sex so-called marriage, etc.  The “Christian right” is just as much a defender of “the little guy” as any other voting bloc because this IS the little guy.  A quick look at the voting pattern of rural areas will attest to this.

So what is so confusing or dangerous about white Christians or the “Christian right?”  Perhaps “right” in this case doesn’t stand for an extremely conservative position (as opposed to “left” or liberal).  Maybe it’s really a matter of right versus wrong…. a very sensitive area for those desperately trying to ignore their consciences.

End of confusion.

In Retrospect: Perhaps the Church’s Tax Exempt Status Should Have Been Sacrificed

The Catholic Church has been diligent to ensure that its statements both inside and outside of church walls have been in compliance with the requirement that tax-exempt institutions are not permitted to endorse specific candidates or political parties.  In view of the terrific hit which basic morals and religious freedom received on November 6, perhaps it would have been better for the Church to have relinquished its tax-exempt status and address the educational needs of an obviously uninformed “faithful.”

HAMPERED  MISSION  WORSE  THAN  LOSS  OF  TAX  EXEMPTION?

To be sure, the financial loss which would accompany its change in taxation would be significant.  However, the re-elected President and the composition of the new Congress are likely to hamper the Church’s mission in far greater ways.  It is disgraceful how the “Catholic vote” has once again given our federal government the permission to continue: killing the unborn, undermining the family through legitimizing disordered behavior, and further relegating the inalienable right of religious freedom to the compost piles for politically incorrect ideas.

APPLAUDING  BILLY  GRAHAM’S  EFFORT

Billy Graham deserves much applause for his willingness to take a very visible public stand.  He published a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal and many local papers across the nation a couple of weeks before the election.  He implored all citizens to step up and support, via the voting booth, those time-tested values which have made this country great and which are necessary for any civilization to thrive.  He noted that the election would be the day before his 94th birthday.  Unfortunately, we didn’t give him the present he requested.

DIFFERENT  CHURCH  APPROACHES

Church leaders could have publicly endorsed the Romney/Ryan ticket with a clear statement declaring that, while the Republican Party does not entirely embody Catholic principles, a vote for President Obama totally contradicted our beliefs.  A concerted effort was necessary to assist Catholics in discerning the false prophets of today’s political scene (see 2 Peter 2:1-3).  A knowledgable faithful would have provided more than enough votes to thwart the relentless march of the intrinsic evils of Obama/Biden.

The Church should have taken a more “interactive” approach to counteract the grossly misleading ads of the Democratic party.  Our society has become so mesmerized by all forms of visual and audio stimulation that traditional means were insufficient.  This is not to absolve the Republican Party for also failing to use television and cyberspace more assertively.  However, in an age when too many do not respect or even consider the Magisterium (teaching authority of the Church) as “relevant,” it was a critical time for the Church to reassert its teaching authority which was given by Jesus to His apostles and their successors (and to paraphrase Casey Stengel, “You can look it up in Luke 10:16”).

FUTURE  OF  DARKENED  SKIES

Although China is the clear leader when it comes to religious oppression, the U.S. is now participating in the same league.  The results of this past Tuesday have given Big Brother more encouragement and greater means to continue making religion subordinate to him.  For the long term, more Supreme Court appointments by President Obama in the next four years will strengthen the anti-life tendencies for the next generation.  There are likely to be two retirements coming up and a Senate sympathetic to Obama and his distaste for decency will ensure his agenda.

Recent legislative trends, unbridled executive orders, and a society enamored with the excesses of the Roman Empire’s latter days will produce the following:

1) We will witness an accelerated demise of Catholic adoption and counseling agencies.  They will not be premitted to operate because they believe that disordered sexual practices are to be treated with loving care, but not legitimized.   The sanctity of marriage is being redefined by secular governments who have no authority to do so because they didn’t create marriage.

2) Unless the courts overrule aspects of the HHS mandate that violate the First Amendment, Catholic schools, hospitals and other care-giving organizations will close because of the draconian penalties for following deeply held beliefs, including the right to life.

3) Even if the Church’s institutions survive, there seems to be little to protect small employers or individuals such as this blog author from financial penalties imposed as a result of following God instead of “Caesar” on matters of faith.

4) The Church will come under attack under false charges of “discrimination” for not being able to ordain women and homosexual men as priests.  Public opinion will turn against the Church when so-called “Catholics,” who publicly contradict the Church’s core beliefs in their positions of influence, are denied the Eucharist.  A current example of this is China, which thinks bishops must have governmental approval before being installed.   This is from a paranoia that Church teachings, exposing the immoralities of government policies, will cause political unrest.  Consequently, it has become more difficult for the Church in China to carry out its spiritual mission because it is not bowing to political pressure.  The U.S. authorities could conceivably adopt similar sanctions for the previously mentioned reasons and with the same net effect on the Church’s ability to function openly.

5)   Some Canadian Catholic schools are being challenged for teaching that the expression of homosexual and other disordered tendencies are sinful.  Expect this to cross the border and infect us soon, especially since public schools in many U.S. cities are already usurping each parent’s inalienable right to teach young children about all matters of behavior and morality.

None of these concerns are far-fetched.  The spectre of an increasingly domineering federal government, emboldened by public ignorance and disinterest, makes the Church’s losing its tax-exempt status a relatively small price to pay for combatting the enemies gathering around it.

Obama Wins 2nd Term, Nation Chooses the Forbidden Fruit Again

In a previous article, I implored voters to follow my late father’s advice to “not be like the ant, but look up!  His hope was that I not be so consumed with the daily grind for survival that I failed to see the grand creation I was a part of and give appreciation and thanks to God.  This attitude would ensure that I rose above the secular tendency to look out for myself and that I become outward-centered rather than self-centered.  Unfortunately, the Democratic campaign was successful in getting sufficient voters to not look up and to support their fallen mission instead.  Too many voters became preoccupied with having enough crumbs thrown to members of their arbitrary voting block that they did not vote with concern for the overall welfare of mankind.  Here’s what Obama & Co. were able to accomplish:

1)  They were able to instill fear in enough people of or near retirement age that a vote for Romney/Ryan would severely reduce the Social Security and Medicare benefits which they and their employers had contributed to for so many years.  The campaign fog was able to cloud their ability to understand that the Republican plan was aimed to ensure the long-term viability of these programs.  They could not see that significant changes to the system would impact those 55 years of age and under, therefore not hurting them.  Voting for Romney would not be unfair to any generation and would not compromise the senior’s values, which Obama does daily.  Of all of the critical mistakes made by the various voting blocs, this one is so frustrating because it came from a group most likely to have the wisdom to see the big picture.

2)  The Obama mantra has always been that a vote for a pro-life candidate would obstruct a woman’s “right” to murder — I mean, “reproductive freedom.”  It boggles the logical mind that abortion is such an attractive issue to so many who profess Christian values.  Before someone has the arrogance to suggest “imposition of moral values,” let’s examine our belief and dedication to the right to life and all laws which reflect a moral position, whether or not we wish to acknowledge it.

3)  The Democrats have curried the favor of the “LGBT” crowd by convincing multitudes even not afflicted in this manner to believe that the Romney/Ryan ticket was “intolerant.” It has reached the extent that many erroneously equate this issue with the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements of the last century.  There is no similarity here.  Being born a woman or being born a “minority” is not a form of disordered behavior.  The compassion we are instructed by our faith to show those who are afflicted in any way does not include condoning or legitimizing any activity which goes against natural law.  Jesus was compassionate, but not an enabler.

4)    A majority of voters has accepted the socialist position that a generous Big Brother will provide every economic safety net we need, even monstrous bail-outs.  They bought the idea that anyone who stated it was beneficial for large companies to go through a bankruptcy restructuring was heartless at best.  They do not understand that this process is designed to make all stakeholders as whole as possible in the end.  Instead, the Obama Giveaway made the taxpayers (who funded his generosity) to be like the stockholders, being saddled with more risk than even the unsecured creditors of the corporation.  In other words, the private investors who participated in the bailout will get their money back first while we taxpayers might receive some, if there’s any left.  Therefore, this will add to the federal deficit which means more indebtedness to China — a country which used to be opposed to our way of life.  Unfortunately, the HHS mandate and its lack of an exemption for conscience ominously reflect our drift to the Chinese philosophy of government which believes the practice of religion to be an impediment to progress.

5)  Obama/Biden was able to convince enough people that they will somehow be able to improve the economy even though theirs is a system which creates great uncertainty among those who are really in the position to create jobs.  Perhaps it is their propensity to make the federal government a venture capitalist for “green” businesses which go under and leave taxpayers with additional losses, also to be funded by a foreign country near you.  It is very difficult to understand the voters’ reluctance to put their economic faith in a proven businessman unless, of course, one believes the litany of false implications of the famous ad which showed a man who lost his wife to cancer.

6)  Finally, the Hispanics (distant cousins of mine through South America and originally from Spain) traded the core beliefs of their spiritual heritage for the offerings of a man whose level of devotion to Christianity is unknown even to his pastor of twenty years.  In an interview with a national Catholic network a couple of months ago, the well-known Rev. Wright was asked how Christian he thinks our President is and he answered, “I don’t know.”

As a nation, we have in effect banished ourselves from the wonderful country the U.S.A. used to stand for.  We have severed the connection we had with our founding fathers whose moral principles made this nation the envy of the civilized world.  If we do not find our way back to the “narrow path,” we will be consigned to the long list of societies too smart for their own good and too unwise to follow good.

We may get another chance someday, recalling the comments made by Fr. Fausto Stampiglia (pastor of St. Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota, FL) today during the noon Mass: “Remember God has a plan.  It may be a punishment.  It may be a wakeup call…… God does not want the death of the sinner, but that he be converted to Him.”  Let us work and pray for our own conversion and for those who lead us.

Fellow Catholic Voters: Living Our Faith Helps Society, Does Not Impose On It

In the 2008 presidential election, exit polls stated that “Catholic voters” favored Obama over McCain.  Poll pundits have used the so-called Catholic vote as one of many groups in their demographic analysis of voting trends and predictions.

But did a majority of Catholics really support someone who is diametrically opposed to key aspects of the faith’s foundation?  The confounding results of ’08 can be understood in light of the Administration’s most prominent “Catholics” and other supporters of the President who claim to be members of the 2,000 year-old religion.

As with any organization which has survived the test of time, the Church continues because it has a clearly defined mission.  The mission is driven by specific tenets in its foundation of beliefs.  The body of core beliefs is, by basic logic, to be embraced by anyone representing himself as a member.  Alas, the names of Biden, Pelosi and Sebelius are a disturbing contrast to Ryan who is committed to his faith enough to practice it, even in the face of ridicule.

In the half-century since the days of President Kennedy, the U.S. citizenry has generally graduated from its over-reactionary concern that any Catholic president would make executive decisions on direct orders from the Pope.  However, the secular ideologues have successfully transformed our nation from one guided by well-formed consciences to one driven by lower animal instincts.  In the process, any true Catholic in a position of political influence is labelled as against women, intolerant, insensitive, etc. which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The genuine Catholic holds several core beliefs including:

1)  the right to life for all human beings from conception to natural death

2)  the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman

3)  freedom of religion, its practice not just worship

#1)  Paul Ryan’s views are much more similar to Mitt Romney’s (a Mormon) than to the previously mentioned “Catholics.”  Opposition to abortion is not a “War on Women.”  If anything, abortion is the war on 500,000+ female babies every year who never get to see the light of day under the auspices of “preventive care.”  Ryan also knows that respect for the dignity of human life goes beyond ensuring a safe birth and a natural death because both are due to respect for our Creator.  He understands that the government should do those things which individuals cannot do for themselves.  It is not a carte blanche entitlement, but a responsibility to help without being an enabler.  It’s a responsibility that understands that any assistance given must not endanger the government’s ability to help future generations.  The Biden-Pelosi-Sebelius (BPS) trio and other influential “Catholics” misrepresent the faith entirely on these matters.  In the case of Pelosi, she has publicly claimed that the Church is not sure when human life begins.  Absurd!  The Church teaches anyone paying attention in the least that the sacred gift of life begins at conception.  In addition, the BPS has shown an unrestrained desire to implement any program to ensure loyalty of their followers.  The HHS mandate indicates not only a lack of respect for the dignity of human life via provided abortion and abortifacients, but a fiscal disregard for future generations by compounding federal debt.

#2)  Ryan’s opposition to granting same-sex unions the complete status of one man and one woman marriages is not intolerance.  Rather, it is a complete understanding of the basic unit of society — the family.  Marriage was instituted by God through religion. If one is an atheist or agnostic, he must still recognize that marriage originated from religion, not from the state.  Marriage is based on natural law and thus pre-dates civil law; consequently, civil law has no authority to redefine it.  To accommodate disordered behavior, even if from genetic aberrations, will produce an enabling society.  Such a society would, therefore, automatically be compelled to assist other “uncontrollable habits” such as alcoholism, other substance abuses, and even addiction to heterosexual desires.

#3)  The free practice of religion is another inalienable right.  That is, it is one which the state has no authority over, pure and simple.  To impose mandates such as the insurance plan offered by HHS, without regard for deeply held moral beliefs, puts the state over religion.

Following so-called Catholics like the BPS puts us on a dangerous track with numerous historical disasters.  The doomed societies of ancient times (the Roman Empire, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) have one thing in common with the failed ideologues of the 20th century (Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, etc.).  They egregiously discarded the three points above.

My final plea to all Catholics on this, the day before a momentous election:  Vote as if your faith means something — support the Romney/Ryan ticket!  The past could have benefitted from these values.  Let’s make sure the future has the same opportunities we’ve been given.