Before Hitler was Anything – He was a Racist

 

I read an article in the Baptist New Global online magazine.  It was a dressing down by Miguel De La Torre dated Nov, 13 2017. In his scathing remarks, he addresses what has transpired in America concerning the support of the Evangelical Movement and their support for Donald Trump. You can read his article here. 

The article itself was bombastic – but I think De La Torre brought up a few good points. However, being a preacher’s kid a long time ago in the fundamentalist tradition – I am not as surprised to hear about the move of Evangelicals to Trump. I think they were waiting for someone like him to come along.

America’s churches are in a crisis. Some say, including the late, great, Phyliss Tickle, that we are actually at the beginning of what theologians and historians are starting to refer to as The Great Emergence. You can read about it in the books she published later on in life. You can also seek her out on youtube where she talked, at length, about the phenomenon.

Yet, as someone who is now on the outside of fundamentalism, I can’t help but think with their minds. I remember well the indoctrination, the wrath, and the judgment, but most of all I remember the hypocrisy, and the anger, and the bigotry.  Or, the stories about how a preacher took off the with the church’s money, ran off to Vegas with a woman he was having an affair with. Or, the daughter of the preacher getting caught having sex in the nursery with her boyfriend. Or, the woman who was pulled up on stage one night and called a whore because someone drove past her house and saw a man’s car in the driveway.

For those outside these movements, what goes on inside these churches seems almost patently absurd. I mean, it’s like Payton Place, if you know, Payton place had jean floor-length skirts and a cloud of Aquanet hovering above them. It was a political atmosphere to be sure and despite all the railing from the pulpit about morality and judgment, these organizations seemed to suffer terribly from their own lack of both.

It took me years to get away from that worldview. Because that’s what fundamental evangelicalism is.  Christianity is the faith, sure. But fundamental evangelicalism is the lens through which you view everything around you.  If naivete can shade someone’s worldview rose-colored, surely these people wear yellow-colored jaundiced ones.

The world didn’t change my worldview. Not really. I began to backtrack away from fundamentalism when looking into the legacy of the church. It’s not all pretty. Heck, the reformation was a terrible bloody event on both sides. Yet, I do believe there were great moments of triumph and terrible moments of failure.

De La Torre is right in his view of these people who’ve allowed the church to become so ill on its own ager and hatred – it can no longer see clearly. And while history doesn’t repeat itself, as Mark Twain pointed out, it often does rhyme. With people like Trump  and company having won such a big swath of this kind of believer – it’s worth noting that we’ve seen something like this before.

 

In the 1930’s, famed Lutheran Theologian and minister Detriech Bonhoeffer came to study in America. Upon traveling to the deep south during the height of Jim Crow law, Bonhoeffer was stunned at what he saw.

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Now, mind you Hitler is just beginning his ascension to power in Germany and although Jew’s had been treated badly the world over for centuries -the worst was yet to come for them.
Also, mind you, that the last Lynching on record in the United States was 1955 with Emmet Till, a 14-year-old boy, who was accused of winking at a white woman.
In grief and despair, Detrich Bonhoeffer declared that, “…Christianity in America is dead.”
That was until he was invited by a minister to attend another gathering at Abyssinian Baptist Church, a black church, in Harlem, New York.
It was the first time he’d ever hear gospel music. There, he recanted his statement and said, “…these people suffer and they are joyful. God is in Harlem.”
He would take that gospel music back with him to Germany and share it with his friends and fellow believers in what he called, “The Confessing Church.”
Now, Bonhoeffer was a pacifist, and he loved his country desperately, however – before the Allies could rescue him toward the end of the war he would be taken out and assassinated for his plot to kill Adolf Hitler.
My father was an evangelist for a time and I would, of course, ride the small circuit up in Michigan with him to various churches where he would go to preach.
Someone would give an altar call, someone would begin to sing Just as I am, or All to Jesus, or Amazing Grace. And here, these lily white folks would come streaming down the aisles hands raised to heaven to be saved or to ‘get right with God.’ Not knowing for a second – that the song they were singing, “Amazing Grace” was entrenched in Slavery.
The author, John Newton, was a slave ship captain, who would lose his eyesight, become a monk in the Church of England, and in turn would become one of the world’s first abolitionists. As a matter of fact, he along with Wilberforce would end the practice of Slavery in Great Britain years before the United States would.
There are so many people surprised that 85 percent of white evangelicals would side with Donald Trump despite the many flagrant and cavalier ways he stands for almost everything Christianity stands against. Yet, I don’t understand why you’re so shocked. This has gone on for years. This has been their M.O. for as long as I knew them. It’s been their M.O dating back decades since before Brown Vs. Board of Education.
I left the faith tradition over 15 years ago and while I was still there, I left it mentally long before that due in large part to it’s inherent racism. See, I grew up in a predominately African American City, went to a predominately black middle school and high school, and while the preachers preached AGAINST interracial marriage – due to inequality of the races – I wondered at who was actually unequal.
The Principle was Dr. Betty Hines. Exceptionally well dressed, professional, she ruled over that school with an iron fist. There was Dr. Granderson, a Chemistry teacher who could always be spotted walking up and down the hall with his lab coat and pushing a cart. He was also always smartly dressed and professional. They all drove nice cars and were this constant stable presence in my life while at home – my personal life was in shreds.
In the 1930’s, according to Charles Marsh’s ‘Strange Glory’ the biography of Bonhoeffer I highly suggest people read – the author makes it very clear that when Hitler began his ascent to power, the Lutheran Church in that era immediately abdicated to him. They wanted the power that Hilter promised them and he did grant it to them for a time. They even flew the swastika in their churches. Until he found no more use for them and unceremoniously cast them aside.
But by then it was too late.
Understand this: Before Hitler was anything, he was a racist and so is this 85 percent of evangelicals. All you have to do is look at case law after the 1954 Supreme Court Decision of Brown V. Board of Education. Bob Jones Sr. v The United States.
Before Donald Trump is anything – he’s a racist all you need to do is look back at his trying to get men put in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, his having to be sued by the Nixon Administration for not allowing blacks to rent apartment space in his buildings, his statement against Hispanics, Muslims, and the list goes on.
They can call themselves Christians all day long and twice on Sunday. They’re not. They never were. They’re anti-Christians since they do the exact opposite of what was told to them by Christ. That being, take care of the poor, the sick, the weakest among you, and pray in private.
I am a Christain. I don’t believe Christianity is dead in America. I think preachers like John Palvolitz, Bishop Barber, and Nadia Bolz Weber (this Emergent or Emerging Church leaders) are Christianity in America – and they’re struggling. And they’re not the only ones. They’re out there.

Is Christianity dead in Evangelicalism? In 85 percent of them, I’d say yes. Yet, again, I think they’ve been dead for a very long time.

 

 

 

My thoughts on Donald Trump’s Shithole Statement

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2017 was the year for irony and it looks like 2018 is going to similar in those regards.
Donald Trump’s “Shithole” comment about Haiti and other countries that are predominantly brown-skinned is another example.
Why is that?

Well, here in the United States we’ve had several mass shootings in schools since 1980 with a death tally of almost three hundred. Since then, there has been no legislation passed to prevent the murder of our nation’s children.

We are the last major industrialized nation on the planet without universal healthcare. Last night a man videotaped a woman, clothed in only a hospital gown, being dropped off in the middle of nowhere because she couldn’t afford to stay in the hospital any longer. She was dropped off in Baltimore, Maryland in the dead of winter.

Speaking of Universal Healthcare – the coverage we do have under The Affordable Care Act – provides healthcare for 13 million people. The Republicans are doing everything they can to repeal that and therefore leaving those 13 million people without adequate care.

This past summer, partygoers at a concert in Las Vegas were gunned down when a deranged psychopath who had no business owning weapons, opened fire on the crowd. 500 people were shot, and fifty-eight people lost their lives. Thoughts and prayers were distributed but no laws have been passed to prevent this from happening again.

From what my African American friends tell me, there are 0 places where they feel safe from being murdered by psychotic police officers.

Speaking of African Americans – it wasn’t until 1955 that this country stopped hanging them for arbitrary reasons in places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The last recorded lynching that I know of was a very young man by the name of Emmett Till. He was 14 years old and was accused of ‘wolf whistling’ at a white woman. She was offended. He was brutalized and murdered for it. To paraphrase FDR, it doesn’t matter how poor a white man is, if you can convince him that he’s better than any black man rich or poor, you can steal his money and he’ll thank you for it.

Here in the United States is a hatred of people of color so bad – that there is a phenomenon called White Flight. See, they’ll tell you that places like Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore all suffer because black people live there. What they won’t tell you is that when African American people move in – white people pack up and leave taking their tax dollars with them. Because you see, even though a court decision back in the 1950’s ruled against segregated schools – they’ve still not gotten used to the idea of little Bobby and little Suzie going to school with little Tyrone. They won’t say it outright – but whenever there is a shooting like the one in Vegas, they’ll bring up Detroit or Chicago as an example as to why guns are necessary. But don’t let that fool you as those cities are code for the word black.

Right now in our legislature, Republicans are working tirelessly to end health care for children under a program called CHIP. A bipartisan piece of legislation passed in the 1990’s provided health care for 9 million kids. Children. Speaking of Children, according to the Washington Post, America has the highest infant mortality rate all the wealthy countries of the world. We sadly boast a death rate of 6 children per 1,000 born.

Wages have had no real growth since the 1960’s. According to Forbes magazine, 65 percent of Americans cannot afford a 500 dollar emergency. With the steady decline of unions and the spreading of ‘right to work’ states – those wages aren’t expected to move any time soon.

America ranks 14th in Education, 24th in Literacy, and 17th in Educational Performance. The richest country in the world doesn’t know how to read very well. The top ten are:
Finland
South Korea
Hong Kong SAR
Japan
Singapore
United Kingdom
Netherlands
New Zealand
Switzerland
Canada.

And everyone gets mad when they call a helpline and get someone from India answering the phone. This is why.

According to the military times, The United States in hemorrhaging veterans. According to them, we are still losing 20 veterans per day to suicide. For as patriotic as we claim to be – that’s a national disgrace. Oh, by the way, the Republicans are also trying to do away with their healthcare benefits as well.

Here in the United States – we are in the midst of a terrible opioid addiction problem. However, studies have shown that medical marijuana and nonmedical marijuana use curbs people’s addiction to meth and heroin. However, as a response to brown vs board of education – those sneaky little politicians declared a war on drugs in the 1980’s which has disproportionately affected people of color. What? Really? Now how on earth did that happen?

We also have a huge fight in our country over conservativism versus liberalism. The conservatives claim they love to cut taxes, spend small, and allow businesses to create revenue. Yet, out all the states in the union, all but two are these deeply red states are referred to as ‘moocher’ states. They are, according to CNSnews.com:

Mississippi, 42.9% federal aid as percentage of general revenue
Louisiana, 41.9%
Tennessee, 39.5%
South Dakota, 39.0%
Missouri, 38.2%
Montana, 37.4%
Georgia, 37.3%
New Mexico, 36.6%
Alabama, 36.1%
Maine, 35.3

That means that for all the smack talk they do about liberals, they really don’t mind spending their taxes.

I know a lot of people were offended by what Donald Trump said. Rightly so. He’s a racist, ignorant, bigot. Among his almost daily outrages, he’s failed to help his own people – such as Puerto Rico who suffered a massive blow to their little island because of a hurricane. His supporters have laughed at them during their misery. However, the joke is on them. Puerto Rico is one of our biggest suppliers of I.V. bags. Thanks to the killer flu season we’re in – there is one hell of a shortage.

I love my country. I served in the Armed Forces after 9/11. Yet we have our flaws. Major, major flaws that should prevent anyone with any sense (I know that excludes the racist in the White House) from making fun of anyone or calling anyone’s home a shit hole. Keep in mind, however, that only 37 percent of the country approves of him while almost 60 percent thinks the shit hole is in the Oval Office. And of those 37 percent of supporters – a vast majority of them are too dumb to understand that they’re going to suffer the worst.

 

Johnson Amendment and the Poverty Pimps

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Lyndon B. Johnson was a Texan. A southerner. A Senator and then President.
He was also the last damn souther politician, democrat or otherwise, who attempted to address the root of poverty.
Johnson’s Great Society was the largest leap forward in education and in wealth this country had ever seen.
Upon visiting the Appalachians and swamps of Louisiana, he couldn’t understand how the wealthiest nation in all the world had such abject poverty in these places.
He was also the author of the Johnson amendment which barred religious institutions and tax exempt organizations from interfering in politics.
Republicans have hated Johnson’s great society and love to point to Detroit as an example of it’s failure.
But what republicans won’t tell you – is after all of this was passed – they went behind it and while they didn’t repeal the law- they just took they legs out from underneath it – causing an inevitable collapse, causing it to fail.
Donal Trump’s EO today, is right out of the G.O.P’s handbook.
Johnson declared a war on poverty.
Republicans declared war on the poor.
See, wealth is supposed to be owned by an elite few. Them.
Anyone possessing any sort of wealth is an affront to them. Anyone besides a certain demographic having success or liberty or freedom, is an affront to them.
They love to blame democrats for ‘keeping people poor.’ Ben Carson likes to tell poor people, especially poor blacks, that they need to ‘get off the plantation’ and lament people ‘being on the government teet’.
And people agree with him.
But the bottom line is thus: The republicans have convinced the working poor that they are middle class.
If you’re not making at least 100,000 dollars a year you are the working poor.
If a catastrophic illness, legal entanglement, sudden death of a loved one – mainly the breadwinner – if you plan on using social security when you retire, if your company doesn’t provide you with a pension, if you are not independently wealthy to survive any or all of these things – you have NO BUSINESS supporting the republican party because they DO NOT support you. And you and what little money you have – are their biggest targets. They want it for themselves.
See republicans – the wealthy top- are hoarders. There is no trickle down anything. That’s the problem. Unlike most Americans they can afford to stash their money. They put it in off shore tax exempt accounts. They won’t even pay what you pay percentage wise in taxes.
Why should they when you work for scab wages with the added bonus of paying for their corporations’ tax shortfall? They have it made in the shade.
But today – like all good republicans do – Donald Trump used religion and the Johnson Amendment to feed into the narrative that the working poor’s religious rights will be treasured by them. So now, you can refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple, sure. But you’re also going to be unable to provide for your posterity and the likelihood of you dying on your feet at your job just went up.
Yay – you!

The poverty pimps have won again, sucker.

Trump, Andrew Jackson, Civil War, and White People. Jumping Jesus Christ deliver us from stupid!

 

 

 

Bleeding Kansas
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Slavery – moral issues (Thanks to Uncle Tom’s Cabin which exposed how slaves were treated/living/ dying) as well as economic issues (free labor).
Dred Scot v Sanford
Lincoln winning all the northern states
South threatened to succeed since beginning of union – no one believed their threats anymore because the’d cried wolf so often.

These are the reasons why The Civil War could not be stopped you ignorant fuck.
And Andrew Jackson – twenty dollar bills y’all – was a mass murdering fuckhead of Native American peoples and someone who ignored the Constitution of the United States as well as a Supreme Court Case written by Chief Justice John Marshall which led Jackson to being a mass murdering fuckhead when he said, “They made the ruling now let them enforce it.”

The end result: The Trail of Tears. 1027011_1_0209-Andrew-Jackson.jpg_standard

Whites are not superior because of their skin color. There is no inevitableness of white superiority. No great world religion has been founded by them, including Christianity. Whites HAVE been great – no doubt – but greatness does not denote goodness as HITLER was in fact, GREAT, but got himself and his entire country punched in their babymakers because they believed in their superiority and the rest of the world explained to them – in great detail – how full of shit they were.

But it wasn’t just whites in Germany who thought that whites were all that and a bag of chips.

Here in America we supported Eugenics – great figures like Henry Ford supported the sterilization of peoples whom he thought ‘inferior’.
We practiced eugenics up until a court case called Skinner v Oklahoma.

And for all of you out there who think the slaves need to ‘get over’ 400 years of bondage and maltreatment by their white peers – should probably ‘get over’ the fact that you got your ASS KICKED in the Civil War.

Which, by the way, granted your retarded asses access to the 1st Ten amendments you wouldn’t have otherwise had access to before the passing of the 14th Amendment because of it’s Due Process Clause. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments being called “THE CIVIL WAR” amendments.

See, you would know that if your teachers taught you History and Government instead of your mommy and daddy trying to put prayer and bibles back in school.

But they don’t that either – not really – because Jesus would sound like a Socialist. All that feeding the poor, taking care of the weakest among you, healing the sick. We ignore that Jesus so’s The Saved of the Saved can sit on their dead asses and collect on the religious equivalent of a welfare check.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to this as CHEAP GRACE – and did so for a reason.

The problem with our world today is not Christianity not being taught in school – the problem today is Christianity IS NOT TAUGHT IN CHURCH!

The Stars in Our Heavens

 

Many years ago, when ships navigated the waters of the world without modern technology – they looked heavenward, Ship Captains looked to the stars to figure out where they were, where they were going, and how to get back home again.

At the founding of our nation, Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in The Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal. That they are endowed, by their creator, with certain inalienable rights. That among those rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Knowingly casting who we wanted to be – as a nation, as a people – high up into the night’s sky.

And while those words did not – in any way – guarantee smooth sailing, for this country was and still is wrought with conflict of race, religion, skin color, sexual orientation – those words became a focal point. A goal. Far-flung up to the highest point in the heavens and even though potentially unreachable – nevertheless was a place our country could cast it’s gaze when it felt like it was shifting too far in any given direction. Or if it was feeling lost, off course.

It’s in THOSE WORDS we find our truth once declared before God and the foundations of this earth, as well as a challenge to the greatest empire the world had ever seen as well as their king.

Our veritas, our truth.

The truth is not in the eye of the beholder, that’s a fool’s statement, words of a moral relativist. The truth never moves. It is constant. A truth is eternal. It may get covered up. Clouds may pass over – blinding us from the light of truth – but it cannot remove that star, that truth, from being. It is still there shining down regardless of whatever storm blows up obstructing its light.

Now, there may be those who wish to cloud up our skies to keep us from seeing it. There are pedants who strike at the hand that wrote those words demanding his name be eradicated from history’s texts. But in doing so they risk their own eradication as much as those that cloud up the skies do. Their purist arguments are often reductive.

Everything today feels wrong because it is. This throwing out of illegal immigrants without rational. This sudden movement shift to the right. This purist ‘America first’ mentality which harkens back to darker days of the early 20th century. This is all obfuscation. Donald Trump and his ilk, as well as his supporters, are nothing more than a storm that’s blown up.

As Americans, we need to look up and cast our gaze back upon our truth. Then and only then, will we begin to navigate these choppy and suddenly unsafe waters we sail today. We are off course. We are not living up to who WE said we were. And we do so, to our own peril. Regardless of where you stand politically. We have denied ourselves of OUR Truth. No immigrant, nor a terrorist, nor foreign power can remove that truth from us. That’s something only we can do. Something we’re doing to ourselves, right now.

And if we’re not careful, we’ll run her aground. Look up, America. Get your bearings. Get your sea legs back. Get YOUR TRUTH, BACK!

Semper Avanti.

Our Soviet State of Mind or WWRD (What Would Ronnie Do?)

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I was born April 12, 1981. On the day I was born, the shuttle Columbia was on it’s maiden voyage. And when I was a little guy – Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.
I was so little at the time I was really unaware of who he was – except that he would be on television from time to time.
I remember seeing his face, and his wife Nancy’s face flash across the television screen briefly.
But the memory that sticks out in my head the most is when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.
I remember watching it happen with my sister Sam.
I knew something really bad had gone on.
I also remember, later on, this man came on television, Dressed in a dark suit, as he addressed the country.
“My fellow Americans.”
I remember seeing his face and thinking he’s at least as old as my grandpa and not as young as Mr. Rogers – at least as old as Mr. Dressup.
It was January 28th, 1986.
I remember the comforting sound of his voice. The deep baritone timber as he honored Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Reznick, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and teacher Christa McAuliffe.
To the schoolchildren, myself included, The President said this, “And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.”
As he extolled the virtues of our space program and our quest to the stars – he comforted a nation, as well as NASA, that had been rocked by this tragedy.
With his final words memorialized forever, we heard this bit of poetry as he described the final moments of the astronaut’s final mission as they left us all, “….and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”
I remember being comforted by those words from a man who’s power I couldn’t quite understand at that age. The power that – until recently – has been for the most part, benevolent.
But a lot has changed in this country since he was alive. Some for the good but most recently, for the bad.
The biggest of Ronnie’s legacy – despite the AIDS epidemic that scared it, despite the recession, despite the assassination attempt on his life by a Christian fundamentalist with a weird obsession for Jodi Foster – was his staring down The Soviet Union.
Since WW2, the United States had waged what had become known as A Cold War with the far eastern nation – and growing up I knew in no uncertain terms, communism was wrong.
In the 1990’s the USSR crumbled and fell apart because of Ronald Reagan outspending the Soviet Union in military buildup – up to, and including, a missile defense shield and a project called “star wars” that was intended to protect our allies in Europe by striking down Russian nuclear weapons.
But while Ronald Reagan has been gone lo these many years – and a lot has changed in this country in just the beginning of this year – there is an old enemy out there who’s managed, somehow, to worm his way into our political world. His name is Vladamir Putin. While he may be the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation – as they call themselves today – he’s also the former head of the Russian Intelligence Agency known during the time of Reagan as the KGB.
Mr. Putin as said repeatedly that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the fall of the Soviet Union. Which I don’t doubt, since, under his leadership hundreds of Civil Rights Attorneys have gone missing, political dissidents have been found murdered, political dissidents in foreign cities’ like London, were poisoned and there is plenty of reason to believe that Putin hacked into our own Presidential Election to help bolster Donald Trump for President. He also participated in a propaganda war – inside of the United States – that was used to jerry-rig American sentiment regarding our democratic process.
Since Donald Trump has been sworn in – There have been bans on Muslims entering the country, there have been appointments of known anti-Semitic people like Bannon. There have been appointments of people like Betsy Devos who would tear down public education. There has even been an appointment to Attorney General – the highest law enforcement officer in the country – that is so outrageous if I didn’t see it on the news I’m so belligerently angry about – I wouldn’t believe it. That was the nomination of Jeff Sessions – an uber religious bigot.
But the biggest fear I have – and I think the country should all have – is that the once proud party of Lincoln and of Ronald Reagan has put a Soviet Sympathizer inside of our White House in our head of state -Donald Trump. And I am going to use Soviet as a descriptor as Russia is a democracy in name only and Vladamir is a Prime Minister – in name only as once a year Russia’s city Volgograd fights to become Stalingrad again.
Many years ago – it was hypothesized by Russian politicians that America would never fail because of its morality. It was assumed at the time that that morality was wrapped up in a certain kind of people here in the United States – and that once America allowed homosexuality to run rampant – then, and only then, would they (The Russians) gain a foothold in our territory.
But, Ironically enough it isn’t ‘the gays’ nor was it ‘the left’ whom McCarthy went after in the 1950’s so viciously – that ultimately handed over the keys to our kingdom to Soviet interests.
It was the ‘moral’ among us – who lacking any kind of personal heroes among themselves strong enough and powerful enough to bolster their voting bloc- who found a love for an old enemy through the vulgarity of this current administration.
It was this group of people, of baby boomers, evangelicals, degree holding white men, anti-feminist / anti- equality females, who – out of fear of losing their stranglehold on a country that was doing its best to grow up and out of a lot of old hang-ups it had, turned and smiled at a warmongering dictator, a known murderer of his own people, while turning their backs on a country their parents and grandparents and children fought so hard to protect. And found themselves inspired by him.
They – who had accused Barack Obama of every possible thing a human being could be accused of – from communist to fascist, from racist to a supporter of religious zealots – turned around and handed the country to Donald Trump and his posse who embody every accusation that laid at Obama’s feet.
There are plenty of reasons to be afraid right now. Just like those days when space flight was in its infancy – what to do next feels like the million dollar question. But right – is ALWAYS right no matter who says it’s wrong. And while America has had days when it’s been wrong, it’s always struggled and struggled hard to be the shining city on the hill.
Going forward, even in the darkness that has descended on our world, even amidst the uncertainty of this current administration – we should know that the face of God is still out there to be touched.
That bravery and patriotism and love of country are still there to be claimed and that light on the hill is still there to guide our way home. This land is still our land and we are still Americans. That still means something.
So, I encourage you all to reach back into your memory. Reach back to the days after 9/11 when our country rallied around itself, reach back to the days when Barack told us the enemy of our country – Osama Bin Laden was killed in a raid, reach back to when George Bush Sr. defeated Sadam Hussein’s forces in Kuwait, reach back to when the wall that divided East Germany from West came crashing down, reach back to when the forces for good triumphed over evil – go back to a time when clear lines were drawn in the sand and draw one for yourself now.
For ladies and gentlemen, despite the bluster of twitter, despite the ‘moral’ princes in high places being appointed for special task forces to take on and reforming ‘higher education’, despite the rash out hate crimes being perpetrated by cowards in the night – despite the ban on refugee’s, understand the biggest and most sincere threat to this country remains the worst.
There is a Soviet lurking in the shadows within our country – and his un-American president is sitting in our White House. To quote Ronnie, “I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”

We must be brave. God Bless Us All.

The Fundamentalist Inside Me.

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The fundamentalist in my head – that little part of me – that ‘thing’ so wretched and vile, so unmerciful and braggadocious, has been whispering to me all day.
In that corner of my consciousness. In the back where I keep the memories of the past so malignant like cancer, that stinks like spoiled meat, has been echoing its angry voice through my head all day.
I see in my head truth becoming a lie. Facts have become fiction. Climate change is ignored for coal production and more fossil fuel extraction.
I see in my head the rise of authoritarianism. Conway is calling the media the ‘instigators’ of trouble – when her boss is the ultimate trouble maker. For having whipped a country into a feeding frenzy with the wretchedness of his speech.
Although, I see compassion blazing white hot. When a Mosque was burnt to the ground due to the encouragement by the sitting president to mistreat foreigners and strangers – Jews, the people Christ first went to, the most persecuted people in history, hand over the keys of their synagogue for their distant cousins to worship. And when I see people march for their rights, for their futures, and for their posterity – it is met with scorn and ridicule from a populace that’s been encouraged to bear its teeth.
I see the rise of white supremacy. “Go back home,” “We don’t want your kind here.” “Speak English.” “Build a wall.” “Turn refugees back.” “Make America Great Again.”
I see the rise of fascism. “The newsmen are all liars.” Denial of Russian Involvement in this election. Denial of the popular vote. The rising up of power hungry preachers into key positions in government ‘to investigate’ higher learning. The placement of a woman to teach children ‘creationism’ in place of good, solid, fact-based science. Someone who will eradicate history. The great agitators who speak of Christ out of one side of their mouth yet starve men in the streets, cut off workers compensation, make health care less affordable, while living in palatial splendor. Those who castigated the Popes of old and called the church “The Great Whore’ while wearing thigh high boots on television with their 1-800 numbers convincing old women to endorse their social security checks to them. Men, more in love with power than the God they pretend to serve.
While that Pope, seemingly powerless, begs the world not to head into the direction it is heading. While he tries – maybe in vain – to steer the world back from the brink by reminding them of supremacy’s failed history. While he tries to hold back the flood.
I see a nation teetering on the edge of oblivion. While the world shudders in horror and absolute fear. I sense a war on the horizon. The drums beating down from inside the bowels of the earth. Perhaps The Church was His church after all.
No, that little troll isn’t warning me. He’s celebrating. He’s basking in the glow of what he sees as this ‘world’s’ comeuppance. He is the one so filled with rage and contempt for the world that didn’t lock step into what he thought it should be. They didn’t believe exactly how he believed. He who thinks himself superior to all others. He who thinks he is saved of the saved and everyone else is damned. This is the voice of radical. This is the voice of a hatemonger. This is a fearful and loathsome creature who can never ever be satisfied.
And no – Donald Trump is not the Antichrist. No. To Republicans and their voters – he is revenge. He is justice. He is law and order. He is no longer having to bite their tongue when someone whom they consider lesser demands equality. He is no longer having to bite their tongue when cruelty and malice rage forth like bile. That turn a blind eye when they see someone on the street hungry and abandoned. When they blame the woman alone for becoming pregnant. When they call a soldier a hero but the veteran a drag on society. No, Donald Trump is their hero.
To us -who know better – He is the Beast.
We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

30 pieces none the richer

 

Dollman, John Charles, 1851-1934; Thirty Pieces of Silver

This is what makes me laugh about Donald Trump.

We had eight years of calm, thoughtful, and articulate governance by an educated well-intentioned man.

And for eight years we’ve had to put up with the blithering idiocy from people who swore up and down this man was going to do everything from allowing the U.N to take over the country to setting up FEMA camps for those who were ‘patriotic.’

When Barack Obama was elected president these people feared one thing.

Karma.

That’s it. Karma. They were afraid of what Barack COULD have done to them. They feared something that THEY felt guilty about. Something in the social consciousness of the body politic that knew AND UNDERSTANDS that racism exists.

That knows when an unarmed black man is gunned down by police – that man’s civil liberties were violated.
That his rights as a U.S. Citizen were arbitrarily dismissed. Because the color of his or her skin made them less in their eyes.

Essentially, like AIDS, the cops were ‘killing all the right ones.’

Barack was a threat to that mind set. To the continuance of that minds set taught to their children and grandchildren through the years. He stood in contrast to what they believed a black man was capable of.

Educated, articulate, successful, and they hated him for it. They hated his wife, for it. They hated their political impotence in ridding the country of him. He served eight years. If his polling data is to believed, he’d serve another four and perhaps another four after that if our laws didn’t prevent it.

The world is changing. And these people are afraid of that. They are afraid that in a couple generations the average American will look a lot different than the one today. They’ll have brown skin. Dark eyes.

The only constant in the universe is change. Something President Obama promised in his campaign eight years ago. Change.

And change did occur.

America is freer that once it was. 20 Million more Americans are receiving healthcare than once they were. Our economy is making record gains. And the world is safer now that Osama Bin Laden is out of the picture.

But over the past eight years, there has been a festering. Like a wound or a boil left growing. The bitterness and fear and animosity became infected. The hate that showed up in 2010 with the emergence of The Tea Party, turned vile.

And that nastiness found a replacement for Barack to mirror the infection. To bring it to head so to speak. Donald Trump is a joke that isn’t really funny. Right now there is a lot crass humor making its rounds but it’s a form of stress relief called Gallows Humour. Laughing, essentially, because if you don’t you’ll start screaming.

The feelings of anger and resentment were so strong, that it caused the children of the Greatest generation to betray their parents and everything their parents stood against. When Hillary Clinton mistakenly yet accurately, described these people as ‘ a basket of deplorables’ she wasn’t lying. ((But let’s be honest here, she had no way of winning anyway. Because while racism is the depths of the ocean, sexism in this country is the Mariana Trench)) These people are deplorable and so is their president. We need to start calling it, and them, for what they are.

Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ for 30 silver. But Judas’ greatest sin wasn’t because he betrayed Christ but because he gave up hope. He lost hope in redemption, he lost hope in forgiveness, he lost hope in the idea that tomorrow could be a better day. And he never got a chance to use that money. When Christ was led away to his inevitable demise, Judas realized what he did and hung himself.

I think over the next several days, maybe weeks, America will realize what it did. It will realize that change is inevitable, it is the only constant in the universe. But it will also realize that while the change was inevitable, the change COULD have happened on its terms. It could have reached higher than the wickedness of its own heart, it could have banished the fear of the ghosts of times passed, it could have abandoned the superstition and did what it SHOULD have done. Instead, it will realize just what kind of change they bought for thirty pieces of silver.

I just hope – for all our sakes- that the noose, that symbol of utter hopelessness and despair, that was for so long a threatening symbol of racism, that while not held in the hands of those who hated our former president’s skin colour, certainly held it in their hearts, will not be pulled taut by a madman who is, quite simply, yet profoundly, unAmerican.

We have all been betrayed.

The Artists’ Job (Merlye Streep)

​The Artists Job – Meryl Streep – is to remind people of their humanity. That is why the arts have always been referred to AS the humanities. 

The Fascists job is to remind people how to get rid of their humanity. 

The President Elect is a petulant manchild who has exposed this country’s greatest weaknesses. It’s racism, it’s homophobia, it’s sexism, it’s myopic world.

Essentially, he’s a mirror held up to the American public to show it’s mediocrity. 

And it isn’t pretty. 

It’s petty. 

It’s slow, and slothful, and stinginess. 

Why do you think the klan backs him? why do you think the skinheads back him? 

Hell, the evangelicals? 

Sure –  his supporters are loud as fuck. 

But they’ve always been loud. 

Because their certainty is threatened by anything other than those who look, act, and live outside of what they’ve deemed as ‘acceptable.’

These people will target artists – because, well – we make easy targets. We don’t live in direct relationships to certainty. 

We are not addicted to the opiate of absolutism. 

We question the world around us. 

We are constantly in the world’s ear asking, “Are you sure?” 

We are doubt. 

We are their conscience. 

Their hesitation.

And when they tell someone to shut up and act, or shut up and sing, or shut up and write – they’re telling their conscience to shut up and stop reminding them of their shared humanity. 

No one ever runs into an abortion clinic shouting, “IM NOT SURE!!!”

No one flies a plane into a building shouting, “COULD BE WRONG!”

No one ever murders someone saying, “Things are kinda fuzzy but just in case….”

No, those who do – do so knowing with 100 percent clarity that what they’re doing is right. 

Those that that purports to have the greatest of faith usually have the least and the bravest person in the world is the one who stands in uncertain times and stands in truth. 

Even if it’s detrimental to them.
I’ve refused – in part- to accept this since the election. I’ve advocated for – and still do – calm. But the notion that my life and others lives are in a heightened state of danger given that this election went the way it has – makes me afraid. 
And I HATE being afraid. 
Meryl Streep was right, a democracy is only as strong as its media. We’re only as strong as those we send in to question the establishment. The writers, the journalists, are the ones who advocate for transparency. 
Donald Trump may have the most powerful position in the country – but he is still a servant of the people. And he WILL bow to the WILL of the people – all of the people- or he WILL be replaced. 
I will NEVER bow my knee to fear. 
I will NEVER allow anyone else to either. 
And I will NOT allow Donald Trump to assume that he’s free of the watchful eye of the fourth estate just because he thinks he ought to be. 
He’s in for a shock. 
Thomas Jefferson’s final line in The Declaration of Independence was thus: “… we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
A written DOCUMENT that has survived the ages. 
Our grandparents showed us fascism can be defeated. Our forebears showed us tyranny can be shrugged off. And as long as mankind has walked the face of the earth, the pen has always been mightier than the sword. 
Authors, artists, actors, singers, we have a sacred obligation not just to America, not only to each other, but to humanity. We’re the ones who’ve been left stewards of it. 
As Patrick Stewart once declared, “The line is drawn, here. No further.” 
It’s time we explain that. 
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