In 1979 Jerry Falwell, with thousands of followers, started a new political party in the hopes of presenting candidates with good Christian morals. The issues that attracted followers: anti gay, anti abortion, anti school segregation, anti science teaching among others. The Moral Majority prided themselves as being pro Family and yet, many of the leadership were found to be having affairs or liaisons. So, despite strong evangelical Christian support, the party dissolved late in the 1980s. The people who supported Falwell waited silently for their next hero.
Perhaps they never really got silent but their more recent activities begins to beg the question about the basis of their Christianity.
Look, you know I’m Jewish but I would bet you that I pay more attention at church than cradle Christians whose memorized responses do not require any brain involvement. My Christian husband asked me to attend with him 10 years ago and I said I would as long as I was respected. My introduction began at Ascension Episcopal Church in Pueblo where I marvelled at the similarities; of course! this was a denomination not far off the Catholic shoot and that church was derived from Judaism. Funny how the symbolism, while morphed a bit, still exists. In West Virginia we attended St. John’s Episcopal Church in Huntington and once again, not only were people respectful, they sought me out at times asking if I would join a study group because they knew my viewpoint, being different, would spark more interesting discussion. And now in Oregon we attend the McMinnville Cooperative Ministries, a combined church of Lutheran and Methodist congregations.
I listen. I study. I ask questions. And you know what? The teaching of Christ in the churches where I have worshipped seems to be very different from what I see proclaimed by the evangelical Christians who walk a very different pathway.
They say they are pro-life but they have no tolerance for children who are hungry or homeless.
They proclaim their great patriotism but their pride in our veterans seems to appear only on two days of the year and there is little concern about the number of veterans committing suicide or those that are homeless.
They fight against bathrooms being used by people who identify themselves by their chosen gender, not their birth gender, and yet, we have a President who has happily walked in on young women in stages of undress during “his” beauty contest.
They argue against homosexulaity and then we find that some of the loudest voices have been arrested for inappropriate behavior in a public place.
Now we have this judge, twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court who is running to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he was named Attorney General in this administration. Roy Moore has been accused by several adult women that he inappropriately touched them sexually when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One girl was 14-years-old. And this morning, another woman has come forward who has announced she, also, was 14-years-old when this man took her innocence.
I’ve read a number of essays that this is not uncommon with evangelical Christian men. They want to have relationship(s) with women that they can mold, women who will not be mature enough to know that a healthy marriage is one based on mutual respect.
While this is also very common in other societies with fundamentalist religions, few more educated communities expect women to be subservient like this. Few educated societies permit children to become married. Fewer still think sex is an appropriate activity for budding adolescents.
As much as this angers me, what bothers me more than the men and women who believe this is a good way of life are the many people who say they will still vote for Roy Moore despite the behavior they don’t like. They will vote for him because he is a Republican. That voting for a Democrat is worse.
Now, before any Democrat starts feeling superior, the same is true in that camp. Here locally we have a woman beginning her campaign for a state house district. Personally, I can’t vote for her because I do not live in her district, but I have gotten to know her and I know she would have my vote if I could. Even though she is a Republican.
There is not much difference between the warring factions in the Middle East killing people because they do not agree on who was Mohammed’s heir and people who are so fixated on the NAME of their political party that they never put any effort into thinking about the person running for office. Or effort working for that party to help make sure it runs honest candidates who WILL represent the common people.
Look at the issues, yes. You don’t like abortion, I understand. But the clinics do more than that…..don’t shut your eyes to the good that is done. Don’t be so narrow in your outlook that your hate encompasses good.
Look at the experience the candidate has had to help you understand if they know the important aspects to do the job fairly. It is very clear that Trump meant it when he said he plans to shut several federal departments; his appointments for their secretaries were selected carefully so the most damage could be done. While many people like the concept of “small government” few people like the idea of letting corporate interests destroy public lands for private enterprise.
Look at their ethics and decide if they are like yours. You don’t rape little girls? Then don’t vote for someone who prefers his meat tender and juicy and well below the age of consent. And yes, “meat” is rude but surely you don’t think what Moore was doing was a meaningful relationship and one you would enjoy? He did NOT mentor these children; he raped them.
If you vote for someone who admits sexual predation like Trump, you have something missing in your thinking process…..or you also believe women are playthings. If you think the idea of children and unconsenting young women being sexual objects is not healthy, then you need to speak up when an abuser proclaims they want to represent you.
So, simply, I’m holding my “from the outside looking in” card and tell you that these people are not learning the teachings of Christ. Being an imperfect human being I can understand. I can understand that just about all of us have done things that have been unwise. But being proud of reprehensible behavior I can not understand nor support. And anyone supporting it blindly will only continue the deterioration of the American culture.
Yes, that will. Not the immigrants, legal or illegal. Not the LGBTQ community, not the NFL players who kneel to add their silent voices to the protest that not people of color do not have the same equal access to the law that is promised.
Nope, those are all part and parcel of this great land with its wonderful Constitution. But the society will continue to circle the drain if all citizens don’t start thinking about how their actions affect everyone. Or lack of action. The time for Monday morning quarterbacking is over. Your choice to act or stay silent is your legacy to this American culture.
I start my mornings, when I have time, with a cup of coffee and the Internet. First, emails. Then, Facebook. I’m sitting here today in embroidered blue jeans and my tie dyed tee with fringes on its sleeves….about as “hippie” as my attire can get, I guess. I select something from Pandora and find my attention caught by this music. It got me thinking.
Thinking about the way our nation, our communities were in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We were as split and splintered as perhaps no other time since the Civil War. It was a time, like now, when a person’s political stance fractured families and friendships. Even in myself, understanding the sense of patriotic pride that pushed some guys I knew to enlist and go off to what was most assuredly a blood bath, I had trouble balancing that sense of pride with the horror of what the war was doing to the people in VietNam and more importantly, the people who came back damaged by their experience. We were cruel to our veterans who returned and many remain burnt out to this day. Others were proud of their service and resumed life. Still others were angry at the anger and so the split continued.
There has always been a crowd chanting
and others proclaiming
We talked about a generation gap but no one really worked on healing the other divide. And so we who were teenagers when college students who were peacefully protesting were murdered have now become senior citizens. And the divide seems to be greater than ever.
When I heard the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song Ohio playing on Pandora it made me pause and I then had a very disturbing thought…and that is why I turned here to try to find a pathway through it.
Today, if we had a similar shooting by a government ordered militia of four kids on a college campus who were peacefully demonstrating would it stop the atrocity that they were protesting?
And I don’t think the answer would be yes today. Not any longer.
When a man gets dragged out of his reserved and purchased airline seat and people start posting things that are not perfect about his life as a way to discredit HIM, someone has lost their values.
When grieving parents of a fallen soldier offer the Presidential candidate a copy of the Constitution and then they are attacked for not being perfect, someone has lost their values.
When Congressional Representatives refuse to meet with their Constituents during a recess when time to schedule town halls is normal, someone has lost their values.
When there is growing evidence that our President is focused on personal gain and benefits for his peers in the uber wealthy, and his supporters criticize the messengers, someone has lost their values.
When friends stop talking to long term friends because there are differences of opinion, someone has lost their values.
My mom called the Baby Boomers the “me” generation. From her view she saw a lot of young people who wanted to break with conventional behavior and do “their own thing.” She felt this kind of individualism would move us into a broken community and while there are many benefits for people pursuing their pathway even when unconventional, there is a truism that if the focus is ONLY on the individual, the community loses.
As I drove south last week to go to the Shakespeare Festival held in Ashland, Oregon, I passed through the beautiful green fields of the Willamette Valley. One town, Junction City is a conservative stronghold in this very mixed region. At the southern edge of town in front of a tire dealership, the owner often posts political statements. This one caught my eye and I laughed. “Snowflakes ahead” referring to the city of Eugene, a very strong liberal community.
Being called a snowflake is a trendy insult used by conservatives generally against anyone who thinks individuals have rights. They say we are responding this way because our feelings are hurt and so they belittle us. They don’t understand that it is not our own personal feelings that are hurt but an empathetic response for members in our community who have been hurt. To me it implies short-term issues and perhaps a lack of intelligence. I tend to feel irritated when someone refers to me as a snowflake because I have been this way for …hmmmmm at least 5 decades that I can claim to my own thinking and reasoning.
The problem, though, is not what my cohort is called, but the fact that people prefer to demean and detract instead of trying to understand.
It gets down to core values.
If you feel people who suggest you read something and think about it makes you feel dumb, you have a self esteem problem.
If you feel people who expect women/Blacks/Latinos/LGBTQ/handicapped to have equal access and equal opportunity are causing you pain, you have a vision problem.
If you feel that there is only one way that is right, you have a navigator problem.
If you feel that people who are not wealthy are better than everyone else who then is worthless and there for you to use, you have a humanity problem.
If you feel that the homeless have done something bad and deserve their hard times, you have a cardiac illness.
As a society, as a community, we are sick and most of all, it is our heart that needs to repair.
Can we do it?
All I know is that if something horrendous like Kent State happens today, I wonder if will we react as a unified community, realizing we ALL must move off our spots to work together?
The short answer is….no. We did not act unified about Standing Rock. We did not act unified about Flint. We did not act unified about how Congress is dismantling laws that hold corporations responsible to make sure the water they spill into and the air they emit into stay clean. We have not acted unified about the idea that our government has been influenced by anther country over an election (as we have influenced countless other countries’ elections). We did band together pretty well a few weeks ago about health insurance but the power mongers are still wanting more more more and this fight is not over yet. We have not acted united about how this President ignores rules and conventions of his office.
The longer answer is……perhaps we can. If we don’t lose our way even more first.
What do you think? Your comments show you are thinking…a very good sign.
I hate being manipulated. When I know someone is pulling some strings, I usually can maneuver around that, anticipating my choices before it comes to a final showdown.
However, there are issues we normal people never know…until the Freedom of Information Act opens sealed files. And so, we find out that we were puppets once again. Case in point is The United States’ entry into World War II because of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. We were righteous in our indignation and because of the Japanese-German alliance, thereby could also attack Germany. That we should have been on that moral pathway two years before is something for another discussion. But here is a presentation of the facts that lead up to the attack on Pearl Harbor as I never heard them before.
The desire by those in power to further strengthen their wealth through trade and commerce, through acquisition of raw materials, has played out time and again throughout history. Just as our American government had us manipulating Spain with the explosion of the Maine in Havana harbor to start the Spanish American War. The goal always was to open more trade with other areas, notably, the Philippines. World War I’s eruption has been told often about how major powers chose certain actions instead of diplomacy. And more recently, we remember the non-existent weapons of mass destruction that had George W Bush to convince many here that we MUST go in and take out Saddam Hussein. Look what that lead to. But Cheney got extremely wealthy, so I guess opening the Pandora’s Box of a loss of leadership is a trade-off the power elite accepts.
We have just weathered a campaign season where it became greatly apparent how easily people are manipulated. Few verify things they read and I have had more than one Facebook Friend tell me if it not her job to educate me. I responded that she needed to educate herself and she has stopped talking to me now. She did not appreciate my posting facts to refute her emotionally laden editorial writing she posted as truth. It is important that EVERYONE wakes up NOW and slows down with their reactions to how the news is given. We MUST demand more information before our leadership takes us into a situation that will be dangerous to us all.
I remember back to the Gulf War II time when I cautioned we needed to verify before jumping into war. I was chastised by many that I was not being patriotic. Au contraire! It is a true Patriot’s role to help keep us in truth, justice, and what we were told watching Superman was the American Way.
Maybe EACH of us SHOULD do this. Maybe each of us should listen to a speech and then get the transcript and talk back. And maybe we need to talk to each other also.
So, driving home from a bunch of work-related errands this evening, I heard Speaker of the House Paul Ryan rah-rah at the Republican Convention. I felt the need to retort….so here goes:
Speech by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Chair of the Republican National Convention:
Thank you all very much.
Delegates, friends, and fellow citizens: I appreciate the privilege of addressing this forty-first convention of the Party of Lincoln.
Oh, I really think the way they claim Lincoln to prove they are “good” is funny.I notice they do not claim more recent Republicans, which speaks a lot louder.
As part of my co-chairman duties, let me thank all the people of this beautiful city for looking after us this week. And above all I want to thank the men and women here from law enforcement for your service.
You know, standing up here again, it all has a familiar feel. Students of trivia will recall that last time around I was your nominee for vice president. It was a great honor, even if things didn’t work out quite according to plan.
But hey, I’m a positive guy. I’ve found other things to keep me busy. And I like to look at it this way. Next time there’s a State of the Union address, I don’t know where Joe Biden and Barack Obama will be. But you’ll find me right there on the rostrum with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.
“Postive guy”?????? Is that why the only word we’ve been hearing is “no”. No, we won’t meet to talk about the nominee for the Supreme Court.
Democracy is a series of choices. We Republicans have made ours.
Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have – and you know what I call those? Signs of life. Signs of a party that’s not just going through the motions. Not just mouthing new words for the same old stuff.
Hmmm, wait a minute here, Paul. Your co-chair shut down the protest within the Republican delegates pretty quickly. Guess muzzling people is a Republican choice, too?
Meanwhile, what choice has the other party made, in this incredible year filled with so many surprises?
Seems like voting fraud is not just a Republican issue. People in power do not like to lose it. Yes, that was a jab at Hillary also.
Here we are, at a time when men and women in both parties so clearly, so undeniably, want a big change in direction for America, a clean break from a failed system. And what does the Democratic Party establishment offer? What is their idea of a clean break?
They are offering a third Obama term, brought to you by another Clinton. And we’re supposed to be excited about that?
Personally, I think getting a “third Obama term”, while there are problems and I don’t like everything he has done, would be preferable to spending billions to build walls, splitting up families, and registration of members of one religion. Not to mention the probability of a new war, possibly one we will not survive.
For a country so ready for change, it feels like we had been cleared for takeoff, and then somebody announced we’re all going back to the gate.
For a nation that wants change, let’s look at who is wanting what kind of change. Let;s also notice who refuses to change in teh manner of equal access to the law.
It’s like we’ve been on hold forever, waiting and waiting to finally talk to a real person, and somehow we’ve been sent back to the main menu.
It’s as if you’ve been having to share equal access to rights and the law with all kinds of people and that just is not comfortable.
Watch the Democratic Party convention next week – that four-day infomercial of politically correct moralizing. And let it be a reminder of all that is at stake in this election. You can get through four days of it, with a little help from the mute button. But four more years of it?
I’m sure you can manage the same way you managed the last bit…doing nothing.
Not … a … chance. The Obama years are almost over. The Clinton years are way over.
Two-thousand sixteen is the year America moves on.
Hopefully, with a gun or two in many hands, the movement will not be bloody.
From now to November, we will hear how many different ways progressive elitists can find to talk down to the rest of America … to tell voters that the Obama years have been good for you … that you should be grateful, and now, well, it’s Hillary’s turn.
Oh, I LOVED this one! Hillary aims her speeches at a 7th grade level. Trump at a 4th grade level. Sorry if Hillary is talking down to you. Why didn’t you learn to read and understand when you went to school like we did?
But the problem is very simple. There is a reason people in our country are disappointed and restless.
The solution is so hard that no Republican has come up with one.
If opportunity seems like it’s been slipping away, that’s because it has. And liberal progressive ideas have done exactly nothing to help. Wages never seem to go up.
Yes, opportunity has slipped away as fast as the middle class has lost ground. The wages that never seem to go up….well, who has been fighting raising the minimum wage? Hell, who has been hiring people at minimum wage while CEOs are taking humongous bonuses and profits have shit out the roof along with the rise in the stock market?
The whole economy feels stuck. And for millions of Americans, middle-class security is now just a memory.
Yes, the middle class and the poor feel a loss of security. But the rich are happy…..well, maybe not. They always want more.
Progressives like our president talk forever about poverty in America. And if high-sounding talk did any good, we’d have overcome these deep problems long ago.
It sure must be annoying to hear that there are poor people everywhere. And you are very right. Talk does no good. And apparently you and the Congress decide that work is not your shtick, so talk is all there is.
This explains why, under the most liberal president we’ve had so far, poverty in America is worse – especially for our fellow citizens who were promised better and need it most.
No, YOUR lack of positive responsiveness to help creative jobs, improve the infrastructure, and build educational opportunities to retrain people who have lost their manufacturing jobs because there are incentives in place for corporations to go elsewhere for cheaper labor, often with children.
The result is a record of discarded promises … empty gestures … phony strawman arguments … reforms put off forever … shady power plays, like the one that gave us Obamacare … constitutional limits brushed off as nothing … and, all the while, dangers in the world downplayed, even as the threats grow bolder and come closer.
Discarded promises like yours and your fellow Republicans to serve? Like the Judiciary Committee who refuses to even meet with the nominee for the Supreme Court? You brought it up: shady power plays? Are YOU throwing stones? And you are blaming the fact that Congress voted to approve the ACA because you and so many never read the thing? Hey! That‘s why you have assistants! Are you telling us you don’t read OTHER bills? Is that why there is nothing being done by Congress?
It’s the latest chapter of an old story: progressives deliver everything except progress.
Ahhh, blocked by the Congress, not much could get done. But wait a minutes, complain about Presidential order again now.
Yet we know better than to think that Republicans can win only on the failures of Democrats. It still comes down to the contest of ideas. Which is really good news, ladies and gentlemen, because when it’s about ideas, the advantage goes to us.
Yes, appealing to fear and hate is always a reachable emotion. Much better than idealism like building community and helping the least of us…oops, forgive me, I’ve been going to church too much.
Against the dreary backdrop of arrogant bureaucracies … pointless mandates … reckless borrowing … willful retreat in the world … and all that progressives still have in store for us, the Republican Party stands as the great, enduring alternative.
Enduring? You think a Trump Presidency will result in a viable nation? We WILL endure if we don’t get rounded up for being subversive.
We believe in making government, as Ronald Reagan said, not the distributor of gifts and privilege, but once again the protector of our liberties.
Ah yes, the Constitution. Thank goodness it says ALL people. EQUAL access. We Democrats remember that part.
it says Let the other party go on making its case for more government control over every aspect of our lives – more taxes to pay … more debt to carry … more rules to follow … more judges who just make it up as they go along.
Excuse me, no Democratic government wants control of my vagina. No Democratic government wants to say love is not love unless it is between a man and a woman no matter how they cheated on their spouses and no matter how many times they betrayed those wedding vows. And o, by the way, those judges follow that Cosntitution. Sorry, like the Bible, it’s very apparent you Republicans seem to like some parts better than others.
We, in this party, are committed to a federal government that acts again as a servant accountable to the people, following the Constitution, and venturing not one inch beyond the consent of the governed.
If the Congress passes bills that over 80% of the nation’s population does not want, are you acting as a servant to the people? Seems like someone else is pulling the strings.
We, in this party, offer a better way for our country, based on fundamentals that go back to the Founding generation. We believe in a free society where aspiration and effort can make the difference in every life … where your starting point is not your destiny … and where your first chance is not your only chance.
The Republican Party did NOT exist at the foundation of this nation. But that’s okay, raise the flag, say some words that sound pretty but the Republican party as governed by many governors, does NOT offer better chances to people who want out of their starting point. In fact, some states with Republican governors are really hurting now.
We offer a better way for America, with ideas that actually work. A reformed tax code that rewards free enterprise, instead of just enterprising lobbyists.
Free enterprise sounds great and most of your 4th grade followers have little concept of the rules that the government has for those who want to start a business. And Paul, don’t try to BS us about the enterprising lobbyists will be thrown out of the Temple I mean the Congress.
A reformed health care system that operates by free choice, instead of by force, and doesn’t leave you answering to cold, clueless bureaucrats.
A health care system that is accessible to those that can’t afford it? That means something like 60% of the current population will be out in the cold, clueless of how to manage their choices of food or medicine. But I guess when you decide Social Security Disability is spending too much money you might begin to understand a population with managed health is better.
A renewed commitment to building a 21st-Century military – and to giving our veterans the care they were promised, the care that they have earned.
Let’s talk about waste here also. Let’s admit we have the largest armed forces in the world. Let’s hear you admit you perceive we need more because we will soon be actively at war.
And we offer a better way of dealing with persistent poverty in this country: A way that shows poor Americans the world beyond liberal warehousing and checkwriting … into the life everyone can find, with opportunity and independence … the happiness of using your gifts, and the dignity of having a job.
Has the Republican Party EVER come up with a way to help people out of poverty? I must have missed that.
And you know what? None of this will happen under Hillary Clinton.
And you know what? None of this will happen under Donald Trump.
Only with Donald Trump and Mike Pence do we have a chance at a better way.
A better way for you…..not most, including the poor suckers who believe you.
And, last, let the other party go on and on with its constant dividing up of people … always playing one group against the other, as if group identity were everything.
Ahhhh, blinder and memory loss apparently. WHO has been saying all Mexicans are rapists? WHO has been saying all Muslims are terrorists? WHO has been saying all Democrats want is more money?
In America, aren’t we all supposed to see beyond class, or ethnicity, or all those other lines drawn to set us apart and lock us in groups?
Do you, Paul, ever sit down and spend a day (not an hour) helping in an inner city school? How about harvesting crops? How about mining coal? Let’s talk about how YOU intermingle every day with the poor, the people of color, the disabled, the homeless. Then we can have a real conversation about the groups in this nation that have to be considered.
Real social progress is always a widening of the circle of concern and protection. It’s respect and empathy overtaking blindness and indifference. It’s understanding that by the true measure we are all neighbors and countrymen – called, each one of us, to know what is right and kind and just, and to go and do likewise.
Your neighbors are not mine. There is a class difference and you know it. You have gates on the streets that enter your neighborhoods and the only people of color who enter are for cleaning your houses, mowing your lawns, keeping your pool waters sparkling. The true measure is that made by those people who enter your pristine neighborhood, happy for the work, but ashamed and sickened by your attitude.
Everyone is equal … everyone has a place … no one is written off, because there is worth and goodness in every life.
Everyone has a place is a line that tells it all.
Straight from the Declaration of Independence, that is the Republican ideal – and if we won’t defend it, who will?
Once again, history lesson. Republicans were NOT there at the drafting or signing of the Declaration of Independence. The people most like you were Tories, sticking to the ways of the King. The upstarts, the rebels, were young and breaking the rules. But again, the 4th grade education level of your constituents pays off as they didn’t really pay attention in US History class.
So much that you and I care about, so many things we stand for, are in the balance in the coming election. Whatever we lack going into this campaign, we should not lack for motivation. In the plainest terms I know, it is all on the line.
Hey! I agree with this! It IS on the line…for all of us.
So let’s act that way. Let’s use the edge we have, because it is still what earns trust and votes. This year of surprises and dramatic turns can end in the finest possible way – when America elects a conservative governing majority.
You had a conservative ruling majority in Congress and we saw very clearly what you did….nothing for the PEOPLE. Nothing for the veterans, nothing for the teachers, nothing for the people who want to know what country their food comes from, nothing for the people. Plenty for the powerful. We see how the conservatives are.
We can do this, we can earn that mandate, if we don’t hold anything back, if we never lose sight of the stakes. Our candidates will be giving their all, their utmost, and every one of us has got to do the same.
Yes, you can earn the mandate. And next week we will hear something similar and I probably will be annoyed enough to do this again. The candidates of both parties start out pretty excited to help their constituents…and then along come deep pockets with how many trillions of dollars to help dish out more empty words and lies, yes lies.
So what do you say we unite this party, at this crucial moment when unity is everything?
There are still some sane people in the Republican party who recognize what a mistake Trump is. Good luck to all of you uniting.
Let’s take the fight to our opponents with better ideas – let’s get on the offensive and let’s stay there.
Oh, you’re plenty offensive enough.
Let’s compete in every part of America, and turn out at the polls like every last vote matters, because it will.
Except where you need voter ID that is new and different from the one you’ve been using for years. Then your vote doesn’t matter.
Fellow Republicans, what we have begun here, let’s see it through … let’s win this thing … let’s show America our best and nothing less.
I’m still waiting to see your BEST for all people.
Thank you, and God bless.
And now, we will see. Get ready for next week’s version and then three and a half months of …… empty promises and probable lies. Equal opportunity no matter the party affiliation, I’m afraid.
Almost all of us are immigrants. Do you know your family’s heritage or is the trans-ocean story so many generations back that you have no real connection to that Old Country place? No stories?
Many people don’t remember so can’t even reach for empathy with this issue, but a recent short discussion with someone who recognized the nationalities of his grandparent immigrants made me think about what was different between his experience and mine. Because there was one.
The big difference was that my grandparents were part of a discriminated group when they came and for decades after, and my family education was full of stories of that experience. During my childhood I was carefully taught. I have struggled with that, trying to accept all people as equals, knowing full well they may not feel the same about me. I have been the brunt of discrimination myself and yet I recognize it is not bad compared to so many others.
It is perhaps because of my heritage and this discrimination that I have supported the fight for equal rights and equal access under the law for all people. For gays. For the transgendered. For people of color. For people who may even sneak in, mostly on visitors’ visas and overstay their permitted time.
Now, with Trump’s massive acceptance by an angry mostly white population that generally is not highly educated, we see just how dangerous life in the United States can be for people who are different. Not white. Not the right religious expression and practice. Not men, although there are many women who are part of that angry group thinking they are okay. You’re not okay, women. Your turn will come.
All of our turns will come. It has happened before and we are seeing the start of a horrible eruption.
It has to be stopped now.
We are ALL Americans. It took a nation of immigrants for over 150 years to build this nation. We called it a “Melting Pot” for years but that has changed. Now, more than even before, new immigrants stay isolated from mainstream society. Because of this, the language barrier persists. Because of this, the education gained is less. Because of this, fewer and fewer than even 20 years ago feel that have to fight for a place here.
The United Sates used to be a beacon of hope and opportunity to the world. Not now. Now we are getting a worldwide reputation for being a country of hate. And of stupidity.
The hyphenation has to stop. I don’t need to know if someone like Bobby Jindal is an Indian-American. Saying that makes me realize he is “different”. I don’t need to know if the judge in the Trump University case is a Mexican-American. Saying that makes me wonder what the “problem” could be. I don’t care what your heritage is.
I DO care about your ethics and your activity in being an active productive member of the community that makes up a strong nation that believes in freedom and liberty. I DO care if you are accepting that others in your community have equal access to education and opportunities. I DO care if you are a loving person or a jerk.
Did you read Orwell’s 1984? It has been years since I read it, but something is very much happening in today’s society that called it to mind. And we need to be aware many of us are guilty of falling for it.
George Orwell introduced the concepts of Doublethink and Newspeak. Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and the Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.
Today, in America, we definitely have DOUBLESPEAK, what some suggest is a combination of these dystopian concepts. With Doublespeak, we have gotten used to names of things without realizing they actually are about the opposite of what they seem.
For example, in reaction to the horrible events of 9/11 the United States established the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act was passed. The Patriot Act, in the name of protection, limited numerous personal freedoms we were used to. If you, like me, raised concern, you were also told you were being unpatriotic. Now, so many years after just about everyone waved the flag in solidarity, we are beginning to get pretty uncomfortable. The Patriot Act comes up for renewal again in 2015. You will not be unpatriotic if you look into the restrictions it will continue and decide enough is enough,so contact your Congressional representatives. But overall, because the war is not won, society may tell you that you are unpatriotic just because of the name.
Another word that seems to have doublespeak usage is “tolerance”. Not too long ago, American society defined it as living peacefully with people who may disagree with you. This grew out of a biblical context of humility before God and the command to love your neighbor. Now, a large group of American society believes it means concepts are being forced down their throat giving equality to groups who do not deserve that. Tolerance has become a dirty word for some of our community.
In the last week there has been a new movie called American Sniper and many people are lauding it as a well directed effort by Clint Eastwood commemorating the actions of Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Texas has declared a Chris Kyle Day and many say he was a hero. I have been watching the comments as they show up on my Facebook feed, first laudatory, then damning, then kickback. So, what’s the problem and the tie-in to doublespeak?
Our society has had a continuing deteriorating war on many levels in the Middle East and against Muslim terrorists who want the world revised to their way of life. We got into one war to chase the man who we were told masterminded the 9/11 attack on the United States. We got into another war to destroy the weapons of mass destruction we were told might be used against us. Any discussion in those days, when I urged people to think carefully about the clarity of that information was turned against me and others as unpatriotic.
We sent our young people to fight there. We hoped to turn those nations around, to instill in the people there a sense of opportunity for democracy and fair treatment. Instead we have more tribal and religious flighting and a overall all consuming hatred of the people as a group. We have become a mirror to what we were trying to fix.
The American Sniper movie is partially appealing because it says things many think-that these are not really people but “damn savages.” It offers a glorification of an extreme skill that traditionally we have not discussed in a laudatory way but anyone who shoots can admire.
The people who are distressed by this movie indicate the book itself includes inaccuracies. They are also concerned that while Chris Kyle saw the world as good versus evil, Clint Eastwood has many shades of partial right and wrong throughout the movie, and the typical proponent is not discussing much of that.
Life is not all good nor all evil. And when you jump on the bandwagon and condemn anyone who raises a different point of view, you are adding to doublespeak. My questioning the loud support for this movie does not make me unpatriotic. I am a person who is very concerned about the mental state of our military and vets. My questions show I am a citizen of a wonderful country where the right to speak truth clearly and with full understanding is our right and also our obligation.
If you get sucked into something because it appeals to your sense of outrage, take a step back and a deep breath. Do some thinking, not just emoting. THINK. Then speak your truth but remember, there are many experiences out there, so many different viewpoints. When you try to shut them up, you are contributing to making this a nation that is very narrow minded.
Later this week the nation shares a holiday that Abraham Lincoln set aside as a national day of celebration. Take a moment and read his Proclamation. The timing of it is significant.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Amazing, even in the midst of a war that had torn the country apart, this beleaguered leader was able to express how much we had to appreciate. So, I ask you, how do YOU celebrate Thanksgiving? Many people plan a feast, gorge, and then watch football, with no apparent moment of thought to any of the blessings they have experienced, even in the midst of turmoil.
Several years ago our Thanksgiving table was full. We always make sure to invite others to join our family to add to the celebration. As I tend to do, I asked the people to take a moment to speak of what they felt had happened to them during the year that was noteworthy of appreciation. It was sad for me to hear several adults say “this meal”. Perhaps they were just saying thank you for the fellowship, as it was unlikely that they had not eaten all year. More likely, they were ducking the thought process. As for the child present, she had no idea how to develop the thoughts. This lack I place on the parent, for not teaching values and ethics. Without appreciation for achievements, how do we learn to make the effort in the first place?
Why is this so difficult? For those of us who daily take a moment either in prayer or meditation, this lack of connection with the Universe is a startling absence.
Start thinking now…you have a few days. Think of the entire year, not just the plate in front of you. Remember the hard times, yes. Remember the passage through them. Recognize the stresses do not go away, but recognize the ease that comes at times.
To me, this exercise is not limited to Thanksgiving but is one of the easiest days to express it openly. Tell us what you gained this year.
Karma…..many of us know the pretty relaxed concept…..what goes around comes around. You actions, good or bad, will come back to you later in time.
Taking that concept…let’s look at some of the things I saw on my Facebook feed today.
Now this one is probably a concept many agree with. This person is expressing to the best of her ability her fear with the President’s announcement last night to define, by Executive Order, part of the current immigration policy that the House of Representatives failed to work on. It is an important concept and one many support. While I personally don’t see the need to have an “official” language in this country, I do think it is smart for immigrants to learn English in order to achieve the best success they can. I also urge native born Americans to learn English as well.
If you agree with her message, does her misspelling disturb you or do you think the message is more important than the method?
Many of the undocumented workers keep themselves apart and do not mingle but there are many people of all kinds who may be working at low paying jobs and just have a hard time making ends meet. This is food insecurity and it exists in your neighborhood. Here in McMinnville we have soup kitchens that operate that provide at least one hot meal a day.
The local food bank recently reduced what food the soup kitchens could purchase. This leaves their budgets strained. If you can, give. If you can’t afford to give, go help.
Related to the latest political wrestling match I still saw a number of these today.
The reminder was not only that Republic Presidents had gone ahead to clarify immigration issues through Executive Order, but they also had done it legally.
And speaking of Republican Presidents who used Executive Orders, I suspect the one that used it to make the largest change in our American history was Lincoln. Although Mathew Brady and others were beginning to use photography in the days of the Civil War, it was assumed no photograph of Abraham Lincoln existed until a plate was found and examined closely.
Almost 90 years after the Gettysburg Address, Josephine Cobb, the chief of the Still Photo section at the National Archives, discovered a glass plate negative taken by Mathew Brady of the speaker’s stand at Gettysburg on the day of its dedication as a National Cemetery. Her perseverance and dedication to the task helps us get a better feeling for the events of that charged time.
In the midst of difficult times, some people hunker down. Others feel rules don’t apply to them I heard a lot yesterday of the difficulty the Buffalo area was having because as streets were cleared, people broke the travel curfew, ventured out and got stuck, needing to be rescued and their cars cleared from the streets. It is hard to repress curiosity, for sure, but I hold this person in high esteem.
Not only did he or she venture out, but they left us something to enjoy. Art wins.
I’ve started hearing a lot of people using a term recently and I sincerely doubt most people understand what it means. I wonder if they can remember, if they are old enough, or imagine, if they are less than 40, the horror we felt when we first heard it.
I wonder why people use it now, so very wrongly…but first the phrase, then the context and then the reality of why using it the way it is being used today is so very very wrong.
Drinking the Koolaid.
Religious freedom, notwithstanding the attitude of some who think it means their way is the right way for all, here in the United States means that you may practice ANY religion or NO religion without any concern for discrimination. That is the law. It is not the reality.
From time to time there have been groups that call themselves churches who appeal to some, but alienate most because the belief system is challenged. Such as a leader who regularly expects sexual favors. A hierarchy that seems to expect everyone to kowtow to the strict rules except themselves.
When a group forms that classifies itself as a church but in reality is a political statement, it has a hard time meeting certain requirements for tax free status, for example. One such was Jim Jones’ People’s Temple. After forming the group in Indiana, Jim Jones then moved to California, in late 1960s, thinking its attitudes would not be that outlandish there. The People’s Temple expanded into social activities including building an agricultural project in land purchased in the northeastern South American coastal country of Guyana.
The things that attracted people to the group were part of the times: freer concept of private ownership, a concept of equality among people no matter their skin tone and more. But Jones’ activism started alienating him from former supporters in other religious and political communities and it soon became clear to him that he should move the entire Temple to Guyana. Over the next few years more and more concerns about the group were raised and several people, who had originally been strong supporters, left the community.
They actually considered it an escape and as the view of what life was like there, parents of young adults started to raise concern. As head of the Congressional sub-committee that deals with Americans living overseas, Congressman Leo Ryan (D-CA) arranged a visit, encouraging people who wanted to leave to come with him. He was attacked at the community, but left for the airfield where people from the People’s Temple attacked and killed Ryan and many in the group.
Following this attack, out of fear that he would be invaded by the government and held responsible, Jim Jones lead the 910-member group in a mass suicide, drinking Kool Aid laced with cyanide.
So, when I write a statement, usually something political, and someone writes back that I have been drinking the Kool Aid I am immediately concerned. It is apparent that my critic believes, despite engaging me in continuing dialog, that I am a dingdong with no ability to reason through issues that are not comfortable. That critic, besides me offering countless sources from various ends of the political spectrum to show I researched and can back up my opinion, believes only in what s/he believes in and see no reason to discuss anything. It just falls to a put-down.
If you believe that someone with an opinion different from yours is mislead, develop a persuasive discussion to lead them (me?) step by step, little by little, to your position. In sales training, I was taught to get the small agreements to make the final “sale” easier. The final sale (agreement) will never happen if you have not brought people along, using their position as much as possible and then moving towards yours incrementally.
If you fail to be persuasive, rework it in private. If you fail to see the need, then YOU may be swallowing something your party line is telling you. What flavor is yours?
About 25 years ago my family was one of two which helped a new immigrant family get settled into their new life in Connecticut. Jane and Igor, along with their daughter and his parents, were Russian Jews who seized the golden ticket to the United States when Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, decided to try to encourage its Jewish population to emigrate. Israel and the US were the major players in receiving these people, who often had had no exposure to the religion.
Jewish communities around the country worked to help these newcomers get settled. Apartments were located, furniture and furnishings were donated. We were asked to contribute about $100 and were given a list of toiletries to purchase and place in the apartment. The other family bought some food staples.
Over the next year we worked together to tag team so we would remain in steady contact without overwhelming them. Over the months they started to show us places they had discovered in our own town. That was when we realized the system worked. “Adopting” an immigrant family was a way to help them get settled without a huge burden on any one of us or society overall.
Igor and Jane both got jobs as computer programmers within 6 months of their arrival, accepting positions below the level they had last worked in Russia but soon were making progress as their English skills improved. The young girl went to elementary school and within a few years had no trace of a Russian accent. The older parents were retired, slow to learn English, but made efforts to participate in activities at the Jewish Community Center and received a small monthly stipend that was part of the government’s immigration program for this group.
I remember an early discussion with Jane. I realized no one had discussed birth control and we knew that in Russia, abortion was used pretty regularly as a way to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Jane’s English was pretty good but she did not have the vocabulary that you can imagine would be used in this kind of discussion. It went somewhat like this:
Me: Jane, I was thinking that you and Igor might want an American baby.
Jane: (turning red) Oh yes, but not right now.
Me: You know how not to have a baby right now? (handing her a Planned Parenthood pamphlet)
Jane: I will read this with Igor!
A couple years later, when I moved from Connecticut to Tennessee, the family had purchased a home and Jane was expecting their American baby. In time they received their American citizenship and were active members of their community.
Today we are amazed and horrified at the number of children who are coming over our southern borders. The United States has always been a magnet for people all over the world who want a better place. While many people here are stuck in economic stress, the tolerance for these illegals is low.
The contrast between the organization that helped the Russian immigrants get settled and the current system is dramatic. Surely we can develop a better system.