Observations of an Irishman: Two Warnings for Americans

Anytime you take a stand in life or speak out against injustice, you are going to get noticed, criticized and, most likely, ridiculed. In today’s world of social media and technology, it is easier than ever before to make a positive difference in society, but it is also a lot easier to become a target. I am sure many people reading this have dealt with their fair share of insults, ridicule and hate, and may have been the victims of threats of physical violence or even death.

Popular Criticism

One of the most popular criticisms I receive from both Americans and non-Americans is that I am biased toward America and its people. I get told a lot that the America I speak about never really existed, that the truth is it is no different from other nations, that it's not exceptional and at times that it really sucks. Sadly, many don’t see America the way I do or have the same mission or focus. While my duty requires me to study and know history, my focus is not on what America was or even is. My time is spent entirely focusing on what American can be, what it must be and what its inhabitants owe to themselves and their forefathers. America is man’s greatest experiment of freedom and individualism, and is a place where dreams can come true for anyone.

As you may imagine, my most recent vacation and speaking tour delivering 16 presentations across eight different states required a lot of planning. I had to book flights, hotels and cars for each location, ensuring I had time to get between each stop.

Everything was fitting together nicely until about one week before the trip, when I had an unexpected freakout.

I was feeling blessed with how everything was fitting together nicely until about one week before the trip, when I had an unexpected freakout. It had nothing to do with planning the events or missing flights or booking the wrong hotel. This fear was a lot worse. Let me explain.

I have had a 20-year love affair with America and I am so passionate about its principles and have a deep desire to give back to this wonderful nation. Having recently received disappointing news of my inability to qualify for a visa to live in the United States, I was emotionally hurting and my feelings were raw.

I had become very protective of everything in my life I was passionate about, and I honestly felt like I could not lose anything else that mattered to me.

My Bias

On this day, I realized I had a very biased view of America and it was not a positive bias. The only real-time view of America I receive comes from three sources:

  • Any media I consume (highly discredited on ALL sides, in my view)
  • Talk radio / opinion pieces which are largely political-based
  • Americans on social media where everyone seems to love insulting others, spewing hate and seeking their pound of flesh.

What would happen if I arrived stateside and America had become what I saw on the media and social media? What would the future hold if the American people were not the kind, loving, open-minded and optimistic people I grew up loving and defending? What if Americans started acting in everyday life, the way they acted on social media? What would happen if the American society had forgotten to see the human heart and today all they saw was the countless “labels” we have today that have broken down society?

  • Left v Right
  • GOP v Conservatives
  • Trump v Never Trump
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Money / Class
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Education

I could easily continue with the societal breakdowns, but I think you get the point.

I sat and reflected and asked myself, how could I make a difference? What was it America needed to hear from a crazy Irish guy? And was I the right one to deliver the message?

My Selfish Fear

As I continued to freak out I start to think in a very selfish manner. If America had changed, how would I feel? Could I really handle losing my dream job with Glenn, the prospect of never living in America and the idea America had stopped being good to each other all in the space of 6 months?

If you are reading this and thinking, "Why is this such a big deal to an Irish guy who will likely never achieve his dream?" The blunt answer is because I am stuck in Ireland and there is nowhere else for me to run to. It’s not like I can say my first option of America did not work out, so I will now move onto option two and try move to another country. I may only have a 1 percent chance of achieving my dream, but there is still a chance.

There is only one America, one country that is an idea, one dream to be free, one country that recognizes everyone has rights.

There is only one America, one country that is an idea, one dream to be free, one country that recognizes everyone has rights that come from our creator and it is government’s role to protect these rights.

Sigh of Relief

Thankfully all my worrying was for nothing. I was in 10 different states with different ideologies (New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Oklahoma) and I received a warm reception in each of those states. America's people on the street saw me as an individual and not as a label. Those I met were warm, friendly, outgoing, optimistic and always helpful.

I tend to be a very quiet and reserved person, but on this trip, I spent some extra time to speak at every stop including the gas stations and places I ate. I really wanted to see what the man on the street felt like and what their thoughts for the future were, but I never brought up any politician.

It’s clear to me that many Americans are worried about their future, they are hurting through price increases, wages staying the same and a sense of lacking opportunity for themselves and future generations. Oddly, the only time politics came up in our conversations, was when someone was trying to highlight how disgusted they were with both sides, and that neither party knew what was important to them, let alone how to fight for them.

It is not the role of an Irishman to warn any American. But for those interested, I have two warnings to share.

First Warning

My journey was truly amazing in so many ways, but I will admit I am worried about the future of the American people. The America I love and promote is based on the sentiments of Alexis de Tocqueville, who said America is great because Americans are good.

The people on this trip were truly amazing. However, emotions like anger and hatred are not like a switch --- you can’t just flip them on and off. If Americans don’t start reflecting how they treat each other on social media, it is only a matter of time until the people making the comments change how they act in everyday life. It’s inevitable.

I honestly don’t see any way America can exist or be great if its people are not good. I truly hope that day never comes, because truly as a nation America is exceptional because of its people, and its people are still amazing.

Second Warning

To those reading this who are thinking, "How can we win in the future?" Americans today know things are not right. Start having conversations with your fellow Americans about the principles of freedom that are for everyone and stop trying to get them to vote a certain way.

I firmly believe America does not have a single problem today that Americans can't fix. The question is, will you cast your political loyalty aside and focus on principles, or will you continue on the path of “my” party is better than yours?

Jonathon Dunne is an Irishman with a lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen. After waiting for over 13 years, Dunne received a job offer from Glenn Beck so he could achieve his dream, but unfortunately, he did not meet the requirements to apply for a visa. Unless laws change or Dunne decides to break the law (he won't), his American dream is dead. Despite this setback, he still loves America and seeks to be a positive influence on society by promoting the idea of America and God-given freedoms. While on a recent vacation, Dunne delivered sixteen presentations (for free) in eight different states across the U.S. During this time, he kept notes and we asked him to share some of his experiences. As you read the column below, imagine the words are being spoken in a thick, Irish accent. If you're having trouble imagining how that sounds, you can hear it for yourself by tuning into Dunne's free weekly podcast, "Freedom's Disciple," on TheBlaze Radio, available on SoundCloud, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Google Play and Stitcher.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?