Backward

I have been hearing the rumbling of how the Supreme Court has ‘let us down’ or ‘failed us.’ I am not let down; I am not disappointed, and I am not surprised. Why would anyone be any of these things by this Court? When you consider the circumstances of how this court came to be, why in the world would anyone think they have been failed by this SCOTUS? They are exactly who we all knew they would be.

Truth be told, if you are an Independent or a Democrat and didn’t vote or vote for a Republican Congressional or Senate candidate during the Obama years, you are part of the problem. You own this outcome; SCOTUS did precisely what they were set up to do, what the GOP has been planning and promising their base since the PRO-LIFE movement became a thing. Mitch McConnell stacked the bench expertly, and Democrats are so fecking weak-willed they didn’t fight back; they haven’t fought dirty, and this is the outcome.

We now live in a nation where 51.1% of the population cannot claim body autonomy. They cannot abort the fetus of their rapist. Cannot access life-saving health care. Cannot choose what is best for their lives or the lives of their born children. All because strangers who have no genuine vested interest have determined their ‘faith’ and ‘religion’ demand compliance to their biblical interpretations. Not science, not medicine, but religious submission. Thou shalt not kill; unless it is with a gun and you are already a living and breathing child of someone who loves you, then by any God you worship, all bets are off.

With the fall of Roe, Justice Thomas has made clear he has his eyes on other precedents. Those of us who follow the Court and the terrifying super conservatives that sit on the bench for life, we know where they want to go. If you aren’t one of those, let me give you a quick view of his words:

“in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — as the Court had said in Roe.”

Thomas, considered to be the most conservative of the conservative majority, went on to say in his concurring opinion the following:

“For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,”

If you don’t know the three referenced cases, they are:

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), by a vote of 7-2, the Court established the ‘right to privacy’ of married couples to use birth control. This ruling struck down the Connecticut law prohibiting its use. The primary argument in favor is the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote a concurring opinion where the Ninth Amendment was also used to support the majority opinion.

Griswold laid the foundation for everything else.

Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972), extended the right to birth control to unmarried couples.

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), the Court ruled that the ‘right to privacy,’ even though not explicitly enumerated, was reaffirmed based on precedence. Lawrence ruled that criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy (any form of same-gender sexual activity) is unconstitutional.

Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015), the final case in the target area, granted the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Courts ruled based on both Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the fourteenth Amendment that all adults had the right to marry whoever they wished to marry, opening the door in all 50 states for Same-Sex Marriage without restrictions. As with Roe, the Court cited Griswold in the Majority Opinion.

One other case lands squarely in the realm of the fourteenth and Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). This landmark decision not only overturned the convictions of Richard and Mildred Loving, but it went further in a unanimous decision striking down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws and ending all race-based marriage laws nationally.

Of course, we know why Justice Thomas didn’t touch Loving in his sweeping view of what should be undone. Ginny Thomas, his seditionist White Wife, would suddenly no longer be his wife; his marriage would be illegal. He could no longer claim membership in that special and rarefied place he currently occupies because, despite his many accomplishments, his seditionist White Wife provides him a certain gloss he would not otherwise have.

The reality of this SCOTUS is that they are set to become the very first in history to strip rights away rather than expand them. They are the Dream Team of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, the country’s two most powerful conservative ‘think tanks.’ The confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all appointed during the Trump administration, gave the Court a Conservative Super Majority. Each lied during their confirmation hearings. None were the Best or Brightest, but each came with one recommendation; they were prepared to roll back all the Due Process and Equal Protection precedents and more. Consider other rights you and I enjoy today that potentially could be entirely stripped from us in the future:

Voting, we are seeing this already, state by state. The difference is now we will not have a court to turn to that will uphold our rights.

Access to Jobs, Education, Housing: all part of Civil Rights. This Court is prepared to strip hard-fought rights and turn back the clock. Make no mistake; whether you are a Woman, Black, Brown or part of any currently protected community, you are at risk.

Freedom from Religion: already the first of these have been decided by this Court. Kennedy V. Bremerton School District, 21-418 (2022), decided in favor of Kennedy. A coach who had been put on administrative leave for holding Christian prayer circles on the 50-yard line at school football games and ‘forcing’ team members to participate. This SCOTUS decided his Free Exercise and Free Speech of the First Amendment had been violated.

The other ruling that furthers the erosion of the Separation of Church and State, foundational to our Democratic Republic, is Anderson et al. v. Town of Durham, which built on a 2020 ruling in a Montana case. In both cases, public money is now available to fund private religious education from K-12. In Justice Sotomayor’s words from her dissent:

Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”

The list is long, and these Conservative Justices are salivating, calling out for cases that will allow them to achieve the goals of their masters. Listen to them as they speak at various engagements. Read their writings as they encourage new cases to be filed and make their way to their docket. They want these cases; they want to legislate from the bench. They know they can get away with it because they know Congress is powerless to stop them. They know the Democrats are feckless, disorganized and will soon lose what little power they hold. They know the people, that is, you and I, will not vote for what is vital to our long-term good instead, we will bitch and moan about whether gas prices are too high, whether we ‘like’ Joe Biden today, whether we are getting everything we want today, and whether our life is going well today. We, the people, are focused on our immediate gratification, which is why the minority governs us rather than the majority.

I have heard people say they are annoyed by President Biden saying in his speeches, “Vote, Vote, Vote.” Let me reiterate his statement, if you want to change the dynamics and see a change in this nation, hand this President an absolute majority in the Senate and House, and VOTE in November.

Murder, Mayhem and a Reckoning

Do you know how things change? When enough people say enough. When the pain is bad enough, all the small differences finally melt away, and people find common ground and say to each other, “this shall not pass.” Things change when good people no longer turn away.

That is how things change.

We are currently a nation ruled by a vocal, heretic minority. They are mean-spirited, illiberal, unprincipled, power-hungry, and terrified. They are also violent and growing more so by the day.

When we, the majority, stop being weak-willed and selfish, when we the majority, become the genuine ‘Big Tent’ rather than the fractious, tribal-focused standard-bearers of our own self-interests that we are today, things change. When the majority stop infighting, stop name-calling and demanding absolute adherence to bullshit standards, that is when things will finally begin to change.

We, the majority, are always screaming bloody murder about one thing or another, the problem is it is usually directed at our own rather than those who are against us. Still, we can’t even put together a ‘true’ timeline of the crucial milestones, and how to define our messages of hope and victories. Nope, we only care about history if it suits our own beleaguered agenda, and losses that prove our point. We would rather attack our own President and those on our side, just to make a point. We would rather stand with the enemy, or stay at home because we didn’t get all we wanted then whine when we lose it all. 

The messaging is winning the day because those in the middle, the majority, don’t know how to confront the stridency of the Right or the Left and we are weary of both. Just some of the foolish things I have been confronted with since Buffalo:

  • Mass Shootings are due to a mental health crisis in America.
    • Oh, okay then. We are the only country in the world with crazy folk. So the solution to this crisis for the G.O.P. is to strip funding from Mental Health and put guns in the hands of the Mentally Challenged. Well, you know, that makes perfect sense to little ole me.

      Morals in America?

  • Mass Shootings are because parents are too lenient, children aren’t disciplined at home, there is a moral crisis with prayer being denied in school, Christianity is under attack, and schools have a leftist agenda.
    • Ummm, oh, okay. That might explain that whole Baptist thing with the entire conference sweeping decades of sexual abuse under the carpet, right? Or maybe it is the decades of proof that whooping your child with a belt doesn’t really do any good; it only makes the child resent you and grow more aggressive? The whole prayer in school? Yeah, you can still pray till your knees turn into a bloody pulp; you simply cannot force others do so in compliance with your selected faith. Despite your instance otherwise, America was not designed or intended to be a theocracy; it is not a Christian Nation; rather, it is a Democratic Republic with a citizenry that is a majority Christian, though this is rapidly changing.
    • I had to take this one separately because the entire issue of public schools and public school teachers having a Leftist agenda is both ignorant and insulting. Teaching true history, real science, accurate sex education, real social studies, and real political science all at the right time during a young person’s maturation cycle is not Leftist; it is called EDUCATION and Preparation. This education is vital for young people; it prepares them for the world they are entering; they are entitled to it, and your fears and bullshit stand in their way of becoming fully empowered and enabled adults.
  • It is our Constitutional Right to own Guns; we are a free nation because of this Right.
    • I think this might be one of my favorites. This one is close to an all-time high in the ignorance category. I can only shake my head at how truly myopic this sounds; these folks should get out of their Faux Hole more often. There are fourteen (14) countries that rank higher than the United States of American on World Population Review, Freest Countries. Guns make us free? This is by far one of the most asinine things I have read. Guns do not make us free; they force us to live in fear, our streets run with blood, and our schools are places of terror rather than learning.

There were so many more that I would spend the next week documenting them all and likely not even scratch the surface. Everything from the trite comparison between guns and cars to the regular refrain of “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” There is always a piece of me that wants to slap the holy hell out of these fools with their talking points that seem to slip between their lips with such ease; they run from the truth, staring them in the face, dead people calling them from the grave demanding answers for their failures.

We, the majority, are the only ones who can give our dead the answers they deserve. We can do this thing that we have failed to do for so long. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Congress did it in 1968 by passing and signing the Gun Control Act of 1968, driven primarily by the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The act prohibited mail-order sales of rifles and shotguns; it also banned most felons, known drug users and those found to be mentally incompetent from purchasing or owning guns.

“If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country. The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year. But the key to effective crime control remains, in my judgment, effective gun control. And those of us who are really concerned about crime just must—somehow, someday—make our voices felt. We must continue to work for the day when Americans can get the full protection that every American citizen is entitled to and deserves-the kind of protection that most civilized nations have long ago adopted. We have been through a great deal of anguish these last few months and these last few years—too much anguish to forget so quickly.”

Lyndon B. Johnson, Oct 22, 1968 upon signing the Gun Control Act

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence and Prevention Act updated the Gun Control Act of 1968. This amendment was a direct result of the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan. The Brady Act added Background checks and created a list of prohibited individuals:

  1. is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. is a fugitive from justice;
  3. is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
  4. has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  5. who, being an alien (a bunch of set-asides on this one I am not going to list);
  6. has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

What should we want? Where should we go from here? Honestly, we should stop with talking points to make all the crazy and fringe folks happy. We shouldn’t be taking all the noise into account; instead, we should be talking about reasonable solutions that make sense for the problems facing us today. I am a survivor of gun violence; many of my family members are gun owners and hunters. I argue with them about this issue because we talk over each other instead of listening carefully to each other. They sometimes forget I carry the trauma of gun violence every day of my life. I believe in my heart there is a common ground; if reasonable people talk with each other, there is a solution to what we face today on this issue. Here are my thoughts on the subject of Gun Safety and the incremental steps toward a safer Nation for all of us:

  • Raise the age limit to 25 for all gun purchases.
    • Exception: Honorable discharge from any branch of the military.
  • National Background Check database, with a minimum 24-hour waiting period.
    • Shut down internet purchases with the direct-to-home shipment. Must be shipped to a local handling agent who can validate I.D. and license.
  • Enact Red Flag Guidelines federally. This would trickle down to the state level, with states able to add to them, creating more effective solutions for their state. Federal Guidelines should simply provide minimums.
  • Safe Storage Laws this is critical to prevent the ongoing child accidents we see so often in the news. At a minimum, households with guns should have liability insurance against accidents.

For me, that is ground zero.

Today, in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen (19) babies are being memorialized, and two (2) teachers are being remembered. In Buffalo, NY, they are still burying their dead.

Today, we still don’t have the heart to do something. If not now, when?

Does the Devil Pray

Do you think the Devil prays? What do you think he prays for, more pain, chaos, weeping families, dead children in the halls of schools? Do you think he dances gleefully through the fire of hate and passionless ‘thoughts and fervent prayers’ after every mass shooting, knowing that he is winning the battle of ‘hearts and minds.’

Nineteen babies lay dead in their elementary school, and two of their teachers died with them. This may not be the final count of this latest tragedy. Twenty-one human lives lost forever, and even more victims when you begin adding all the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders who witnessed the violence in what should be a safe and happy place, their school. Then you begin to add all the parents, siblings, grandparents of those nineteen babies, all the aunties, uncles, cousins, and the circle of victims grows. Nineteen babies who will never grow up, never finish High School, go to Prom, attend college, fall in love, get married, or have children of their own. Nineteen babies, children under the age of ten (10), lay broken and bleeding, dead before they had the chance to live.

Uvalde Victims Identified

In the course of killing babies, this sick and twisted killer also took the lives of two teachers, women who dedicated their lives to the young of this small Texas town. Both were gunned down while trying to protect their students. Both with families and children of their own, they leave broken hearts and shattered lives behind them.

How do any of us reconcile the horror of mass shootings with the indifference of the Pro-Life response?

“Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it; you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.” Ted Cruz, to reporters Tuesday 5/24/2022

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“I’d much rather have law-abiding citizens armed and trained so that they can respond when something like this happens because it’s not going to be the last time.” Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General on Newsmax, Tuesday 5/24/2022

Consider what we have done in Texas since Abbott became Governor; we have the loosest Gun Controls in the world. In fact, Abbott has signed twenty-two (22) pieces of legislation that make gun ownership and gun carry laws looser. In Texas, anyone above the age of 21 can carry a handgun nearly anywhere in the state without training or a permit. In Texas, any person above the age of 18 can buy any type of gun, handgun, long-gun, semi-automatic gun. Then there is my favorite, the Sanctuary Act which FORBIDS local agencies from enforcing Federal gun rules; this act goes even further and bans government agencies at all levels from doing business with or signing contracts with any organization that discriminates against the firearm industry.

Babies, we are talking about dead children who are still being identified a day later because of the horrible damage done to their small bodies by one person with a gun. But these PRO-LIFE lunatics would have you believe that guns don’t kill people. These same lunatics, here in Texas and beyond, will be at the NRA Conference in Houston just two days from now. Who will be there? Good question, Raphael (Ted) Cruz (Senator, R, Texas), Greg Abbott (Governor, R, Texas), Donald Trump (2X impeached ex-President, R). There are others they aren’t worth mentioning; what is important is these men have one thing in common: they pretend to care about children, yet consistently prove they have zero compassion or empathy for the lives lost. They vote consistently for death; even their stance on Abortion is a vote for death.

I am broken-hearted by the failure of this nation to stand up for our most vulnerable. We watch, we wring our hands, and then we turn away. We wait for the next tragedy; we fail to hold accountable those with the power to make meaningful changes. We fail to stand up to the ignorance of those who make the most horrific public statements and tell the most baseless lies (e.g., School Shootings are Left Wing False Flag Events because they are losing). We fail to demand truth from the fourth estate (media) rather than the propaganda circus we have today. We lost the race before we even took the first step.

Does the Devil pray? Or does he dance gleefully through the bloodbaths we create with our indifference to the dead? Donald Trump gave an inauguration speech on Jan. 20, 2017, that, at the time, insulted many of us; I now believe it was simple precognition:

“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories, scattered like tombstones across the across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

In his four years in office, he enshrined Trumpism within the GOP. He uplifted the worst in us. He stomped empathy and compassion into the ground and what we are left with is nineteen dead children in Uvalde, Texas. Heartbroken families and a nation that hasn’t recovered from Buffalo, grieving again and asking, ‘Why?”

I have only one answer, why in the hell do you think?

Misfits and Miscreants

This is long and I hope you will take the time to read. 

The cadre of misfits and miscreants who have held power since the inception of this nation is not as large as one might expect. There have been a few over the years, those who believed they were more than their office, the bully, the pulpit pounder, the liar, and the thief. There have been those who have not met the expectations of the trust placed in them. Then there are those men and women of their times who we no longer hold in high regard, given the lens of history.

The problem is not in those we have the luxury of history to reevaluate based on our new understanding; it is in those who remain firmly planted in our here and now. History will always be a harsh mistress of our actions or inaction. We will never escape the judgment of future historians based on a new understanding of social and cultural norms. Some things however remain common, they remain standard across the years. It is these that we rely upon to evaluate historical and current figures of importance.

When we look at the past one hundred (100) years in this nation, what do we see? Is maleficence greater today than a century ago? Is it of a different nature? What has changed? Focusing only on the federal level, what is fascinating is how the level of corruption has expanded and changed in scope and sheer numbers.

William Harding (R 1921-1923), had some fascinating misfits mostly guilty of bribery and kickbacks. His administration saw a couple of members commit suicide rather than face scandal and also saw the first cabinet member to ever be convicted and serve a prison sentence. My favorite though is Thomas L. Blanton of TX, he was censured for inserting obscene material into the congressional record via a letter that was condemned as containing, “unspeakable, vile, foul, filthy, profane, blasphemous and obscene” language. An attempt to expel him from Congress failed by 8 votes, I guess some of them had a sense of humor, here is a part of the offensive letter in question, as it appears in the Congressional Record:

“G_d D_ _n your black heart, you ought to have it torn out of you, you s_n of a b_ _ _ _H. You and the Public Printer has no sense. You s_ _k his a_s and he is a d_ _ _ _ _d fool for letting you do it.”

There really were only small things until we get to Eisenhower (R 1953-1961). What came to pass during his years in office would lay the groundwork for many of the actions and continued beliefs of today. If only we knew then what we know now, Richard Nixon was the Vice President and Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) introduced us to McCarthyism. Oddly, the rest of the administration was squeaky clean compared to these two. If you consider the havoc McCarthy would visit on all corners of the United States, including military, government, and private citizens before he was done it is amazing he and we survived. It should be noted many of the foundations for what McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover did were laid during prior administrations, but McCarthy ratcheted it up. What he did then was an early form of Cancel Culture, without the immediacy of Social Media. Also during the Eisenhower Administration the motto on US currency was changed from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust, driven by a need to distinguish the USA from the Soviet enemy and communism during the Cold War.

Surprisingly we have to skip two administrations, Kennedy and Johnson, for our next rouges gallery,  Richard Nixon (R 1969-1974), where the real fun begins. This is our first taste of the modern administration in action. There is no way to even pick a favorite from this crew, but I am going to remind you that before the good stuff started the original VP, Spiro Agnew was forced to resign for Tax Fraud related to Bribery charges in Maryland; can I just say last I checked Bribery was illegal, I wasn’t aware people were required to claim their ill gotten gains on their taxes. As to the rest, we have Watergate which resulted in Nixon’s resignation prior to impeachment, 76 indictments, and 55 convictions. I am not going to name names, they are well known. The issue is, just how hard this president tried to hold power and the one lesson we should all take away, it was members of his own party who ultimately forced his resignation.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had administrations that looked more like the early 1900s, though there were a few odd miscreants that didn’t live up to what we would like to see in the leadership of our nation, they weren’t the worst of the worst.  So let’s skip to our next holy hell where did you get this stew, the administration of Ronald Reagan (R 1981-1989), 122 investigations and internal censures plus 16 convictions of Administration officials across multiple scandals. What were ya’ll thinking? Bribery, kickbacks, fraud, perjury, conspiracy to defraud the government, obstruction of justice; the list is long and sad. If there was a crime to be committed, they owned it. That was just the Administration, the Legislative Branch had its own hijinks going on ultimately being the most corrupt to date, with Abscam and the Keating Five being only one part of the whole.

Larry Flynt

The first George Bush ran a tight ship, maybe it was that he was only a one-term president but both his administration and the other branches were fairly well behaved while he was in office, despite the Iran Contra Scandal. So let’s jump down to Bill Clinton (D 1993-2001), oh you without sin cast the first stone. Everyone knows about Bill and his womanizing ways, he was impeached by the House and subsequently acquitted by the Senate for lying about consensual sex. What about the rest of his administration? There were a few bad boys, but nothing on the scale you might expect. The Legislators, they were a fun bunch all the holier than thou, yes indeed many of them got caught with their pants down around their ankles, my favorite? Bob Livingston (R-LA), while busy trying hard to impeach the President for his immoral ways  it appears he was engaged in pornography and other nasty things, Larry Flynt of Hustler fame called him out on his hypocrisy. Mr. Livingston had to admit, that he “strayed from my marriage,” and subsequently resigned.

Come now all you bad boys, to the Presidency of the second George Bush (R 2001-2009). His administration and the legislative branch that operated during his two terms were tarred with so many scandals it is hard to know where to look first. Shocking there were only 16 indictments and 16 convictions considering what these scoundrels got up to. Karl Rove of course is one of my favorites, he had his fingers in every cesspool, being investigated for ‘improper influence over government decision-making’ by the Office of Special Counsel, this was the least of it. My personal favorite though, is Randall L. Tobias, a strong and outspoken proponent of abstinence, he was found to be a regular client of the DC Madam, he was forced to resign his position as US Director of Foreign Assistance in 2007.

Scott DesJarlais

The Administration of Barrack Obama (D 2009-2016), despite tales to the contrary, wasn’t filled with scallywags and ne’er do wells. In truth, most of the fun was down in the legislative branch during his eight years in office with a pretty even split between the D’s and the R’s on who could outdo themselves in bad acts and corruption. When they weren’t flagrantly breaking the law, they were trying hard to be despicable slugs. My two favorites have to be these guys though. First, Chaka Fattah (D-PA) was convicted of 23 counts including fraud, money laundering, and racketeering; what a seat in Congress wasn’t enough you had to get a second job? Then there is, Dr. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who ran on a Pro-Life platform until it was discovered he forced his wife to have two abortions, then his lover came forward with her own story of him trying to force her to abort her pregnancy. Did I mention she was also his patient? After that, the floodgates opened and he admitted under oath to other affairs. There were certainly more, but these two stood out for me mostly because they flew under the radar.

Finally, we arrive at the most recent Administration, that of Donald J. Trump (R 2017-2021), he led us down the path, didn’t he? The only American President to be twice impeached in the House, twice acquitted by a Senate with a majority of his own party.  The sheer scope of the corruption and scandals of the administration defies imagination. From abuse of power, money laundering, nepotism, spousal abuse, witness tampering, and tax evasion the list is long and littered with bodies. In the meantime, the Legislative branch had its own problems though not rising to the shenanigans of the Administration, they were certainly busy. While neither party was innocent, I hate to point fingers but the R’s had a leg up during the Trump years and except where there was no way out and the FBI stepped in with real criminal charges, it seems Congress does not police itself to the degree we might like. Certainly, the truth is, there is no true Ethics or Integrity in the Peoples House.

At the end of the Trump years, we were met with the first President in our history who refused to gracefully concede loss and turn over the reins of power. As a nation, we are still suffering the outcome of the divisions sown during the 2020 campaign and extending even to today. When we look at Administrations historically it is possible to not see how rot has grown over the years within the government. It is time for real changes, time to look hard at the privileges and ‘rights’ our legislators have claimed for themselves without our agreement. It is time for simple changes that will significantly change the balance of power now and in the future. It is frankly time for all of us to stand up and say enough with our voices, our money, and our votes.

Simple changes we could enact at both a state and federal level that would change the balance of power and begin to root out the corruption:

  1. Term Limits at all levels of government including SCOTUS.
  2. Ranked voting.
  3. Real Ethics and Standards at every level of Government with external review boards of comprised Citizens.
  4. Real legislative changes to Voting Rights including reinstatement of Section 5 pre-clearance.
  5. Legislative limits to campaign spending and rollback of Citizen United.

That is my top five. What are yours?

What It Means

Do you know sometimes you can go most of your adult life focused on the wrong things, working hard toward a future that in the end will not be what you planned or expected. Never mind as you sit and contemplate where you are and what you have done, your dreams have not been fulfilled. You can break yourself, physically and emotionally for that pot of gold at the end of that proverbial rainbow and find nothing but pyrite. You can give everything worthwhile up, sacrifice to the pantheon and what you will have in the end will be rooms filled with the chaff of broken dreams. In a world that values the trappings of success above nearly all forms of decency and compassion, far too many of us have fallen victim to the sales job. Now we are learning, there are no ‘do overs,’ for our failures and regrets.

What do we do when we look at life through the prism of our values, ethics, and standards? Those pesky things that are foundational to who we are and where we come from. Do we first question these as they are not a genetic predisposition but rather cultural and familial. As we enter the wider world, we are challenged more often than not, especially if we come from a more traditional culture or family experience. Do we question ourselves, our beliefs, our parents, our faith, our very foundation as we make our way through the maze of often terrifying new experiences? Many do, while some cling to what we know in an attempt to stave off the changes we see around us. The bombardment of information, especially social norms and expectations that may be significantly different from what we know is enough to make our heads spin and our hearts stutter to a standstill.

When we are young, we are sure to at least try some new things, maybe spread our wings in a few new directions. Most of us are brave, wanting to test ourselves against the world. Many of us believe we are both infallible and indestructible. We have worldviews that do not allow for any opinion but our own and rarely allow for facts that do not align with our ‘truths.’ When we are young there is one truth that is nearly universal, we have an unearned arrogance.  

During the arc of our lives, we usually learn many things and most of us lose our arrogance along the way. We learn we are absolutely fallible, we make mistakes, we stumble, we fall down, and we are taught lesson after lesson about just how much we do not know. This is one thing that continues throughout our lives. Sometimes we need the proverbial kick in the ass, taking us down off our high horse but other times it is simply the cruelty of others who wish to see us fail. Still, you fall down, and you climb back up to your feet, learning the best lesson; you are fallible.

The next thing we learn as we step foot into the world? We are absolutely destructible and mortal. Sometimes we learn this through the loss of a beloved parent, or a friend. Other times it is someone within our immediate circle who is faced with catastrophic illness or injury shaking the foundation of our belief in our own indestructibility. Then there is that time we learn this terrible lesson by a close brush with our fragility, this lesson remains with us for the remainder of our years, we either become risk-averse or alternatively we become what is now known as adrenalin junkies. It is an important lesson to learn, our mortality put in perspective, our place in the world filtered down into more realistic terms, more digestible bites. Over time, there will be more masterclasses to embrace, more blows to our confidence and we will in most cases survive them to tell the stories to the next generation.

So, thinking about all of this, what does it really mean? We magically hit the world firing on all cylinders somewhere between 18 and 25 years old. We leave our parents’ protective nest and rush out to do grand things in a world waiting for us to announce our entrance, only to find there is no fanfare and no one really cares. We begin as dilettantes, so certain of ourselves and our personal greatness, so self-assured. Nothing can stop us; nothing can stand in our way. We pronounce, at every opportunity and with absolute certainty, our opinions as fact. We have no need for wisdom from those who have lived longer and done more. We are full of fight and ready for our march to the corner office, or wherever our ambitions are focused. We are insulted by the very suggestion that we might not be ready, or all the Gods forbid we may not know all we need to know.

We weep and rail at the unfairness of it all. The waiting and the hard work of it all, yet while we are doing that which we thought was so unfair and unnecessary something happens. We grow up, we learn, we mature, and we begin to see the reason and logic of it all. That arc between fresh into the world and “been there and done that” is long and in many cases hard. For too many of us, it is filled with heartbreak, failures, and regrets. Along the way, we learn, and we grow; we also try to pass on the wisdom we gathered and the things we know don’t change from generation to generation. No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, no matter your cultural or familial beginnings, some things are truly foundational, even universal.

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated, kindness and compassion never grow old.
  • Ethics and honesty in business and your personal life will always be the best strategy.
  • Put people before things, before money, before your work.
  • Never forget to tell people you love them; they won’t be there forever, and you may not get another opportunity.
  • If you have the chance to lift up another person, do it.

So simple, yet so many of us have a difficult time getting there. In today’s world of greed, myopic selfishness, curated ignorance, and the ongoing attempt to undermine core values as ‘weak’. We tout our faith, religion, and the Sunday-Go-To-Church faithful are quick to beat the drum of their godliness and goodness. Meanwhile, they are busily tearing out the heart of future generations, their children are becoming monstrous, and communities are disintegrating into viciousness, celebrating ignorance over learning, and meanness over compassion.

So, what do we do? We focus on what we can do to make it better and hope time will make a difference. Some of us, well some of us weep at the time we lost being arrogant shits when we still had the time and energy to truly make a difference in the world.

Dear God VIII

Dear God, have you been watching? The general fuckery down here is something to behold, isn’t it? I know it has been quite some time since we last talked, but I thought we should have a quick chat. I think perhaps my quiet, private prayers may be getting lost in the cacophony sent to you from the podiums of Congress, the pulpits of the prayers for-profit and State Houses across this nation called “Thoughts and Prayers.” I am not certain where to start, there is so much to cover, and I need to push it from my heart to your plate. I know, truly that you have much to take care of so I will try not to take too much time and only pick the big stuff, but God, really it is getting bad, and you might want to consider a lightning bolt or two just to get folks attention.

Dear God, have you seen what your believers are doing? In your name no less. It is shameful and downright terrifying. No matter where we look these days it seems those who claim you as their own are the most self-righteous, the most unforgiving, the most judgmental, the most violent; they are everything that I would think would be anathema to you, to your word. But damned if I can tell by their activities and seemingly ongoing success in this world that this is true. Meantime, while they seemingly thrive, the rest of us suffer under their heel. So, God, where are you while those who claim your favor are acting like early pagans on the day of Moloch sacrifices. What more must happen before you start with some smiting, or at least some assistance for the rest of us?

Dear God, it goes from bad to worse. It seems we cannot control our worst impulses. Everything from petty theft to genocide is on the plate for our consumption through everyday media. What is even more disturbing, at least to my mind and broken heart, where there is a crime against humanity there is a master pardoner for the perpetrator and inevitably your word is part of their patter. I guess I am old enough now where I can remember when all of us, entire nations came together regarding certain behaviors, where we all believed some things were wrong by any standard. Now? Well, now not so much. Now, seventeen (17) school shootings across this nation before the end of March doesn’t even make a blip on the nightly news. These days, seventy-nine (79) mass shootings with a total loss of life of ninety (90) human beings doesn’t even merit a comment. Nevermind the madman who is raining down misery and missiles on an entire nation’s civilian population, killing innocents in his drive to annihilate those who will not bow to his dream of a new Imperial Russia. God, if you happened to miss it, this lunatic claims a close alliance to you and your word through the Russian Orthodox Church. Not to take you to task for your current inattention, but really Lord so many of the recent batch of the truly bad have held up your word as a shield and it is growing tiresome.

Dear God, I think perhaps I don’t fit anywhere any longer. As I grow older, I also question too much the thinking of those who I once allied with nearly as much as I do those who have always been on the other side of the debate. This disease of extremism is destroying us all, making us fearful to speak up and speak our mind on any subject. Reasoned debate is no longer possible, and the ridiculous must be accepted as the new normal no matter how it harms others. Cruelty seems to be an acceptable alternative to civility. Truthfully? There is so much nuanced ugly to the past five years, political correctness combined with the legislative rape of civil rights, including voting and women’s autonomy it is hard to know where to even start. But God, you cannot possibly have intended for us to walk back every single gain we made, did you look down and say, “Nah, this was too much let’s make them suffer.”

Dear God, I know you are busy and gave us that great gift of self-determination. Yet still, I would think just now and then you might want to take some of your children and nudge them, off a cliff might be good. A bit of discipline is not uncalled for in certain circumstances, even with self-determination. You and I know children without discipline become out of control, eventually turning delinquency and without correction into habitual criminality with no chance at redemption. Lord, I am afraid that is what we have today in this nation, and what is truly terrifying, they are concentrated in the halls of Congress, on the Bench of SCOTUS and scattered throughout the land, in legislative bodies simply working their evil, pursuing power with the thirst of a man who has walked across Death Valley without water to quench him.  

Dear God, I know you have a great deal to contend with. I am not without eyes to see. Human beings have generally screwed up the world. Every opportunity, we find a way to cheapen and destroy the gift you gave us, both for ourselves and the future. We are an unseemly and ungrateful lot. We are good at saying the words, “thoughts and prayers,” and other such nonsense. We are not so great at living by the words so many profess to believe in the book they use to batter others with. Day in and day out, your word, is used to abuse those who can least afford to give by those who have found a way to rob them of dignity, humanity, and a future. You must be tired of your creation by now. I am certain the angels must beg for reassignment when you tell them they are coming to earth, if even for a day. I know I would. But like Lot, I beg you to look down, I know there are still good people down here, maybe not saints but people who every single day do good and are worth saving, worthy of your blessing. Could you please just take a minute or two, send a message to all these terrible recalcitrant traitors of the people who deserve your concern and care. I am only asking for a strong message to steer them back to the path of the righteousness, you know maybe some focused bolts of lightning, thunderous messages of fury, specifically placed sinkholes might work.  Anything that will get their attention would likely go a very long way.

Dear God VII

Dear God, hello, it’s me again. I know it has been a while since I have appealed to your better angels as they say. Really though, it is getting pretty terrible and terrifying down here. It is to the point where you can’t tell the good guys from the bad anymore, and even the pacifists are thinking about self-protection in the form of rocket launchers. Does this seem extreme? Are you thinking to yourself that I am hysterical? Have you looked down here recently? I mean, really taken a close look at the state of this once shining experiment of a nation.

Just think God, these nonsensical, ignoramuses call themselves your servants. If this is the truth I would suggest you have a really bad management policy. Really, first Lucifer and now this.

Dear God, don’t get me wrong, we were never perfect. We got so many things wrong for so very long, and as they say, the chickens are coming home to roost. The problem is, even as those chickens come home, even as they call out and demand better, a big part of the nation strikes back out of fear. But I will not talk to you about chickens; I need to tell you about people, humans, and the horror being wrought by your creations and against your creations.

Dear God, I know you see us and shake your head in disappointment. I would be throwing bombs at this point, massive ugly destructive bombs. Maybe you are; it is just a huge part of our population who are too myopic to see them for what they are. I have watched for forty (40) years as everything once considered of great value has been devalued beyond recognition. All we once turned away from has been uplifted, even idolized. Those who once were considered sideshows and unworthy of our attention or time now hold high office, preach from alters, or network ‘news’ desks nightly. We demonize what is good, even our founding principles, and hold up the criminal as worthy of adulation and emulation. We reward evil while crushing kindness, compassion, and those who question are demonized for their counter thinking.

Dear God, surely you see us and wonder at our use of the free will you have gifted us. Do you turn to Michael and say, “what did I do when I gave my greatest creation free will and intellect?” Does he answer you with a shake of his head and, “I told you so!

Dear God, we are slowly dying down here. Our brethren are being murdered in the streets by police. Then insult to injury, their murders are replayed for our entertainment on what passes for the nightly news. Inattention, poverty, police violence, crime, inadequate healthcare, and a host of other socially violent acts are killing the rest as we watch. We did this. We founded this nation on a violent sin and perpetuated that iniquity through our laws and bad acts. This nation, founded on a promise, was in truth based on a lie. Maybe an unwitting lie, but nonetheless a lie, a lie that continues four hundred (400) years later. Knowing this, we compound the lie with half-truths, bigotry and jingoism. We are so intent on ignoring history and hard truths, we willingly place ourselves in prisons of ignorance and bind future generations to even further depravations.

Dear God, don’t you ever look down and simply want to smite entire swaths of this wholly corrupt and entirely ignorant nation? I know if I were sitting where you are, I would have a difficult time not throwing a few fireballs right about now. I get it, Lord, you didn’t actually write the book all these $2 preachers yell fire and damnation about from their Lear Jets and McLaren Elva’s. I know that book is the accumulation of eons of men’s ruminations of how best to engineer society to suit them. I even know, though you may be in there somewhere, it really has little to do with you and more to do with the evil men do to one another in their quest for power over each other. But really, come on, God, don’t you just want to fling one or two lightning bolts?

Dear God, one more thing, and then I will leave off for now except for my daily talks with you about all this terrible and terrifying. Can’t you please reach down and touch the hearts of those who claim alignment with you. They gather in one place much of the year; they call themselves leaders and have the power to change lives. These men and women, they are a constant boil on our national ass. They fan the flames and fail in their duty almost daily, yet claim you as their guiding light. The men and women of our political class, whether city, state, or federal; whether elected or appointed, have lost their way and failed in their duty. Too many have chosen a path that leads to our destruction, putting their own enrichment above all others.  Too many have agreed to a lie that will lead to division and ultimately greater human misery. Do you see it, God? Are you waiting for our implosion to see who is left standing?

Dear God, I know some of your misguided children keep saying we are a Christian Nation. You and I know this is a laughable claim, and we are not anywhere close to this, never have been. We both know this claim is made by those who have no clue what this means and would not want to live in the nation they claim we are. Logic has no place in discussion with these clueless illiterates. In their right hand, they scream Taliban when they see a woman in a Habib, oh my, the horror of it all. In their left hand, they cry, we are a Christian Nation; what do they think that would mean?  I would suggest, oh God, they refer to that Good Book and the six hundred laws contained within for how a Christian Nation would be ruled going forward. Someone should remind them, these cretins of ignorance, they live in a land of Freedom of and from Religion that happens to have a majority of Christians within it. However, this majority is slowly changing because of their immoral acts. The American Christian Taliban just needs a nudge, just a small one, so they can get back in their lane and leave the rest of us alone, get back to bothering you. Dear God, I am done for now. I am afraid for my nation, my friends and my family. I am constantly grateful you have kept those I love safe. I hope we live up to our potential; I pray, as always, we continue to seek reconciliation, truth, and peace. I am grateful for the gifts you grant me, and once again thank you for listening.

Dear God V

sad-angel-1Dear God, it’s me again and I have a small bone to pick with you this morning. I am certain you must be exhausted now with all the terrible down here, but if you could just take a minute or two, I think I can convince you we are worth saving. I know it seems as if we are intent upon our own destruction, determined to extinguish all that is good and raise up the worst within us. I look around and see this every single day. Nevertheless, I also see much that is good, much that is worthy of saving. I know, God, I know it is hard to forgive the terrible that lies within us, the horrible that continues to rise up and tear us apart, given even the smallest of openings. Yet, God, I believe there is so much that is good. If we simply crack that door, there will be a great awakening and the good will prevail.

Dear God, I am not saying that rising up will not be without pain and great upheaval. We are a nation founded on some terrible acts that, even today, we cannot bring ourselves to recognize and embrace as our real history. Many in this nation find it impossible to accept their ancestors’ acts, from genocide, slavery, Japanese internment, Jim Crow, Redlining, and all the other horrific crimes against humanity and nature. In stunning acts of ignorance and denial, entire swaths of our nation continue to worship at the feet of bronze statues of traitors and fly the flags of the losing side in a Civil War fought to preserve the enslavement of human beings.

Dear God, it is difficult sometimes to look at my fellow citizens with compassion. We need your help; we need your healing. No matter the outcome in a few days, angry people will likely take to the streets. This nation can’t take much more without implosion. Already armed citizens are claiming to be keeping the peace or supporting the police, depending on who you ask. Others march for peace, demanding an end to violence against their sons and daughters, and now they too are armed to protect themselves. God, we need peace and compassion; things are going badly down here.

Dear God, a pandemic sweeps our nation taking more of us each day and our leaders laugh at our sorrow. More of our families slip into poverty meme-the-invisibility-of-poverty-2every single day. Our leaders prance off on unearned and undeserved holiday, paid for by us. They laugh and joke at our misery, knowing they have created this maelstrom. Acts of brutality are committed in our streets, so many of us are numb. We turn away rather than be outraged; we blame the victim, searching for justification. We grow heartless because our leaders are heartless. We grow numb because we are full up and hopelessness seems to be all that is left for us.

Dear God, I want to believe we are not the terrible. We are not the White Supremacists, the Boogaloos, the Militants and Militias infecting our cities and our media today. I want to believe they are an aberration and will fade back into their hills, hollows and caves. But God, this time, I think it will take more; they are greater in number and have infiltrated all walks of life. We cannot ignore their toxicity; thinking they are not worthy of our attention, we turn a blind eye while they burn down our cities or plan government officials’ kidnapping and execution. They are the greatest danger to our recovery; they are the greatest danger to our children’s future. Our leaders create the great distraction pointing anywhere but there, to anything else but them despite their own Intelligence stating clearly this is the greatest threat.

Dear God, there is nothing down here that can’t be fixed with some willingness to reach across these great divides we have created. There is nothing we cannot repair; even the depth of the current divide can be bridged with perseverance and will. We are losing our perspective, God; we are losing sight of who we are and who we can be. We have failed our fellow citizens; our brothers and sisters are nearly lost to us due to our own acts of violence, whether direct or indirect. We have much to make up for.

Dear God, you probably think I am wearing rose-colored glasses with all my trying to convince you we can fix what has been so terribly broken. God, I shattered_glass_portraits_tbelieve there are enough good people, enough fair-minded people, enough willing people that with some time and focus, we can fix this and even make it better. I know we are terribly fragmented today; it seems we are almost irreparable in our brokenness. We chose the lines in the sand we have drawn that divide us today. We can choose to rub them out just as easily; it is a choice. It will only take a few to cross the great chasm of fury currently occupying our time, our minds and our hearts. This terrible fury taking over our nation is destroying us all.

Dear God, if you are there, touch enough of us and lift this fugue. Remind us the good we are capable of even as we remind ourselves of our imperfections and begin the work of building toward the promise of a better, more equal nation. God, I know how we got here. This wreckage is forty years of concerted effort, planning and nearly perfect execution to create an illiterate and angry population. Look where we are God, even those who claim to know and love you are filled with fury and hate; they no more represent your Son and his teaching than Lucifer did in the first temptation of Eve. Dogged determination and a willing population though got us here, to this crossroads. Will we fall the rest of the way, or will we prove we are not the terrifying and terrible we seem to be.

Dear God, I believe we can fix what is broken. Give us a chance to look forward, and I believe there are enough good men and women who are willing to try. I know we are broken and habitually, we fall from grace, yet I believe there are enough with compassion, empathy and eyes open to the truth. Do not allow what is the worst in us win this battle for our nation’s soul, Please God, from me.

What do you have to Lose

Barack Obama said in his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in April 2004:

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.

Barack Obama was a Senator from Illinois when he said these words, I think he might have still been idealistic and hopeful. It is a very different world today than it was in 2004. I hate to think just how different it really is.

Several years ago, on a stump speech in Dimondale, Michigan, Donald J. Trump stood in front of a crowd and appealed to Black voters specifically with these words, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

Well, now we know, everything.

Justice, Peace, Equality start there though these are more ideals than truth, we have to start somewhere.

The Constitution, The Republic, Voting Rights, The Right to Gather Peacefully in Protest. These are real and necessary if we have even one single hope or prayer in the world of rebuilding a tattered nation.

Finally, let’s add the simple things that we have taken for granted, even if they were at times spotty for some of us; economic security, health security, freedom of movement.

Everything, and if all that isn’t enough, let’s add some things that many of us never thought about until we realized they mattered: human kindness, manners, compassion, morality, ethics, values.

What did we have to lose? Every single thing that made us a great nation and sometimes great people has been stripped from us and we have left a smoldering wasteland. We are exposed to our very core. We are stripped bare for who and what we are. Now we have a choice, at once terrible and perhaps telling. Is this who we truly are? Is this what we truly are? Or instead, do we desire something more, something better? Do we finally demand what was promised to us in the Declaration of Independence in 1776;

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Scholars have long debated the source of Thomas Jefferson’s philosophical roots. Many believe them to be found within the writing of John Locke, specifically Two Treatises of Government and Essay Concerning Human Understanding. When reading the original text of the Declaration, it is easy to see Locke’s influence on Jefferson, both philosophically and later, in how he governed.

“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.” 

This, though, gets us back to our dilemma of the here and now, the dilemma of 2020 and Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America; con man, shyster, dilettante, liar and thief. The Founders of this nation, imperfect though they were, attempted to place safeguards into the Constitution to prevent a Donald Trump from ever rising up to the position of President. They created the two houses of Congress and gave them specific powers, the check and balance against Administrative overreach. They created The Judiciary, with powers of their own and not beholden to any other branch of government with power extending over all controversies, whether between branches of government, states or persons.

Finally, in 1804 they created the Electoral College. Love it or hate it; this was an attempt to create a more balanced means of electing the President and Vice President separately, ensuring those in more rural parts of this new country had a voice. It wasn’t until the Civil War under Lincoln that it became common practice to run a single-party ticket, thus preventing the President and Vice President from being from different parties, creating divided administrative branches.

Yet, despite all the safeguards, here we are today with Donald J. Trump as the 45th POTUS and a Senate so firmly in his pocket it is hard to tell where he ends and they begin. With an Attorney General so deeply corrupted, those of us with any sense of history or love of country are so profoundly outraged we are finally and wholly at a loss for words. With a Federal Judiciary overrun with lifetime far-right appointments carefully chosen by the unholy partnership of Mitch McConnel and Don McGahn. With a Congress at a bi-partisan standstill, doing no business for the people and close to another government shutdown.

What do we have to lose he asked, do we know now? Everything, we have the soul of a nation to lose. This election isn’t just about whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins; it is about whether we remain a Free Democratic Republic or a Fascist state under a Dictator and his sycophantic minions. The issue we have today? It is the same one we had in 2016, understanding how the system works and how to win. For four long years, I have heard the same whine from those on the left, Hilary Clinton won the popular vote she should be our President. My answer is always the same; that isn’t how it works. She isn’t our President because she and the DNC failed and they did so miserably. Nothing is guaranteed, but one thing is damned near certain in Presidential elections and that is whoever wins the swing states wins the Presidency. Kellyanne Conway, in her role campaign manager, knew this and focused all her attention on those states; it is how she drove Trump into the White House. The fact of the matter is Clinton lost the election on her own, Clinton lost Michigan along with several other Battleground states and thus she lost the election.

We do not have the luxury of arrogance in 2020. We don’t have the luxury of ignoring the battlegrounds, nor do we have the luxury of believing the polls. This is war and if we are not careful, it will be bloody and long, not just a war of words shouted in the streets but a genuine conflict with lines drawn and innocents lost to ideology, classism and American against American once again. This America we are living in today, this is Trump’s America.

So what do we have to lose? Everything.

What do we have to gain? Not everything, but a start toward something new. Just like when you or I find ourselves cleaning out our garage, electing the Democratic ticket and the Blue down-ballot, we are saying to our government, we want a new start. We need a new conversation and a change to the old ways. Is Biden the perfect candidate? No, absolutely not, but we all know he is a transition candidate. He will be President for four years and then retire. Will Harris be the next President, maybe if she proves herself in her role as Vice President. Then perhaps this nation is still not ready; we will have to see. What I do know, the Biden/Harris ticket gives us the best opportunity to start having much needed and long overdue conversations about the things that have simmered under the surface and corrupted our national progress for four hundred years. It is time to rip that scab off and let it all out, time to begin to truly address what is going to burn us to the ground if Trump wins four more years.

What are you going to do? Stay home because Biden isn’t your guy, wasn’t your pick? Maybe you will throw your vote away on the Green candidate in a protest vote. Here is my only word for you in 2020:

Not Voting or throwing your vote away this year is not an act of Protest; it is an act of Surrender.

Dear God, III

Dear God, it is getting pretty awful down here and I think you might be ignoring us. Have you finally had enough of our pettiness? I know so many of us are acting like children with our favorite toy taken away. Unfortunately, our favorite toys can kill and I think we need more than a nudge in a better direction if we are going to save ourselves and the world. God, I just don’t see it getting better soon; do you?

Dear God, it doesn’t seem like we know how to talk to each other. I don’t know that we ever really knew how to talk to each other without the veneer of ‘polite’ society, but that veneer has cropped-1960-lindabeen ripped away. Now what we have is fury, hurt feelings and offended people everywhere. You can’t turn on the television or read the news without hearing about it, you know what ‘it’ is, right?

Dear God, I have to tell you right now I am gutted my heart stuttering, barely finding a rhythm each morning to lift me out of my bed. Though I try to find those moments to gladden me, to raise me up and thus offer up to you my gratitude, it becomes ever more difficult the longer this goes on. I think I and so many others have terrible sensory deprivation and we shrink ever inward. God, I think we need you to give us a path out of this, show us the way or we will lose ourselves. Truthfully, what we hear from these TV fakes, they are terrible and those of us with discerning hearts we know they are not speaking in your name yet so many are listening to them it is terrifying.

Dear God, I am afraid. I know many of us are scared right now. Certainly, you hear from people you haven’t heard from in decades beseeching you for help, money, jobs, maybe even salvation, and a host of other things right now. Likely you feel like Santa Clause at the mall with children lined up to sit on your lap and give you their wish list. I am sure the “Oh God” prayers sent your way every single day sounds like a cacophony rather than the pleasing sound of true worship.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3 ESV

Dear God, it is terrible and terrifying down here right now. I have watched friends turn into enemies at the drop of a misplaced word. I have watched fools say stupid things and bring low entire communities. I have watched children die for nothing and not a word be said, not a word. I have been crushed reading the words of those I thought I knew, sometimes even loved as they repeated the bigoted tropes from one side or the other, accused me of merely trying to ‘fit in’ angelweep2when I simply act on my conscience. God, I don’t think my moral philosophy has changed even in the midst of these trying times; how, though, do I remain detached and not take personally all these terrible over-simplifications and attacks coming from ‘friends?’

Dear God, it is growing more lonely by the day. People are becoming meaner without the ability to touch, I think we are learning physical touch is vital to our very humanity. People are losing their connection to one another, forgetting we are, in truth, part of one great, diverse and beautiful family. We may not always agree, hell we all too frequently do terrible things to each other for petty reasons. But, now God, we are so very disconnected from each other we are forgetting even those we claimed to love, nevermind the stranger on the street. I fear what and who we will be when this is over. So if you wouldn’t mind a nudge is all I am asking, just a reminder for those who can still hear your voice. I fear those who can’t hear you it will require something far more calamitous and I don’t think we could bear that right now.

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