Thank you, Donald Trump!

Trump has done at least one good thing I can think of.

He has exposed the evangelical Christian right as the charlatans they always were.
Especially the fundamentalist.

The cruelty of harming children, the cruelty of throwing one’s race at them, the cruelty of denigrating women, of associating with child molesters…


Those of us who grew up in it and had discernment and understanding the difference between what good WAS and something that looked or SOUNDED, good but wasn’t.

Image ruled everything.

Evangelical Christendom reminds me of an Egyptian Sarcophagus.
Gorgeous on the outside. Beautiful to look at.
But no matter how pretty it is – the corpse continues to rot underneath.
Growing up in that, we understood it. We could smell it.

The relief here is that this isn’t a new thing.

 

Since God left earth (the second time counts too if you’re not Jewish) mankind has done his damnest to try and control the narrative of who God is and what God wants and what God says and who may call themselves ‘good.’
There’s unparalleled power in that ability. Power to rule, to dominate, to possess bodies in ways that would make the fabled demons of old jealous.

That’s where we are today.

There’s a division among man, a term I use universally of course. On one end you have people who demand liberty. Freedom of Conscience. Freedom of Thought. Freedom of Movement. Freedom of Choice and Freedom things that threaten this.

On the other side, you have rich and powerful men who see anyone NOT as wealthy as they are as nothing more than serfs to be used, abused, and discarded without so much as an afterthought.

They don’t possess the numbers to make this reality by themselves – they’ve convinced the poor, the working poor, and the uneducated to do it for them.

As this era of our discontent continues, we see which side these pastors have chosen. They’ve chosen the side that stands against the cross, against the beatitudes, against salvation itself for the sakes of their own power and their desire to possess bodies.

 

Daily I see articles of pastors and clergymen taken down by the F.B.I in some sex scandal or another – the most recent is the investigation into Jerry Falwell Jr.’s affair with a Florida Pool Boy. Now, I don’t really care whether or not Falwell is gay or Bisexual since he’s married, but I do care that Jerry spent his life fighting for gay/ bisexual people to be denied equality before the law.
When no one thinks that being queer is sin anymore – it takes the fun out of the actual sin itself.

I don’t know if I believe in the ‘end times’ anymore. I think there’s a formula in the Bible that tells mankind about when his ‘world’ ends and does so in an almost cyclical pattern starting with Rome.

Imagine John the Revelator was saying, “Yeah, when the shit hit’s the fan at this fevered pitch. Y’all may want to move because it’s apocalyptic bad.”
And the irony is, among so many, is that we are indeed in an apocalyptic moment. The great reveal. The pulling back of the sarcophagus to get a real good look at the corpse rotting underneath.

It’s a season where preacher’s kids, who were never allowed to be Christians in the first place because it would diminish their political role in the church, become modern-day prophets warning the world about what they’re going to see and how to move on once the bloom has fallen off the rose.

Here’s the Truth:

These people soulless Godless monsters.

We’ve known it.
Now you do, too.
Thanks, Trump.

https://time.com/5615617/why-evangelicals-support-trump/

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-jerry-falwell-jr-miami-beach-pool-boy-evangelical-explained-850380/

 

https://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2013/Let-Us-Prey-Big-Trouble-at-First-Baptist-Church/

From a Veteran on Veterans’ Day

Thank you for the good wishes on Veterans Day.

I was thinking about it last night before I went to bed. With Donald Trump snubbing the WW1 veterans in the centennial of Armistice Day.
He couldn’t go, apparently, because it was misting outside.
Take that for what it’s worth.

Yet, I don’t want to talk about him. He’s everywhere, right now.
He’s sort of like the Spanish Flu that wreaked havoc on the population fo the world during the first World War leading to an unparalleled death toll.
I want to talk about heroes.

I’ve seen this quote passed around on the internet as long as I’ve been a veteran, as long as I’ve been aware of the burden veterans carry post service.
This quote goes like this:

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

I think this has the right intention, but I think it’s wrong-headed.

One of the things that I’ve observed about the veteran, myself included, is that they are everyday people. They are pulled out of the population of this country, or they’ve chosen to serve for various reasons. Sometimes it’s patriotism, sometimes it’s money for school, sometimes it’s just because they have no forward momentum in life and need some stability. Everyone serves for different reasons.

Yet, regardless of why they served, they served. It’s okay to call these people heroes. Most veterans you know today, have served in the middle east in some way or another since September 11, 2001. There have been many battles in both Iraq and Afghanistan that these young people, very young people, fought and died at.
However, again, as I age I realize not all soldiers wore uniforms and not all battles are fought on foreign soil.

Wars come in all shapes and sizes. Ideas are introduced into the mainstream of society and those ideas combat old, established, ways of thinking and have either bolstered the old ways or tore them down.
It’s a success if those ideas that are torn down are so without a shot fired. Without a fist raised. Without violence.
It’s a failure when the opposite happens.

See, war isn’t about success, about victory, war is about failure. As cliche as it is, war is about a failure of people to communicate their ideas in a productive way.
Whether you’re talking about the European theatre of operations in WW1 or the Bridge in Selma Alabama, those were battlegrounds. Those people who participated in those events were soldiers. Those places were where ideas clashed.

And it’s sort of unique, after the rockets red glare finally fades and those that remain to pick up the pieces of their lives and try move on. The love they’re shown and in some instances, the animosity they receive for being brave enough to challenge the old ways of thinking for the hope of something new yanks them out of their humanness.
The effect is the same. Isolation.

When we talk about those people in Selma, or in WW1 we forget or we never really admit that they are human beings. People. Just like us. Depending on who you are and what you believe you either put them up on pedestals as icons of glory or you throw them down into the dirt with pejorative names.
The effect is exactly the same. Isolation.

We extract them from or refuse to accept them into, the whole, into the body, from the tribe.

It’s a burden we veterans recognize, its a burden those in the various civil rights movements recognize, those in the marriage debates recognize, those in the struggle for gender equality recognize, those in the fight for equal wages recognize, those in the struggle for Trans rights, #metoo, all recognize, the journalists, the preachers, the founders, the teachers, nurses, doctors, voting booth watchers, social workers, those people on the bridge in Selma, immigrant organizations recognize, dreamers all recognize.

That heroes walk among us.

So, how do we take care of our heroes including those who fought in foreign theatres?

It’s quite easy, really.

Love one and you can love them by realizing that just like you, they’re human beings.

Happy Veterans Day

Work “Woke” or Perish

When the Supreme Court Decision came down in Obergfell, I thought that I would be jumping for joy, ready to go out and party, ready to fly a rainbow flag in the faces of those who said it, A) shouldn’t happen and B) won’t happen. Gay marriage would never happen inside of the United States.

For over thirty years I, and many in the LGBT community as well as their families and friends that supported them, lived with the pressure of a world where two people who very much loved each other couldn’t take their relationship forward and secure their lives in a meaningful way.

But I didn’t party. I didn’t run around screaming with a rainbow flag. I didn’t even have a drink, a toast, to the Human Rights Campaign and my people who immediately set about getting married by the hundreds.

I took a nap.

The pressure that was on me, that had been on me for years since I came out of the closet, suddenly evaporated in a text from my husband that declared, “WE’RE MARRIED”.

See, we drove 15 hours from deep in the heart of Texas (clap, clap) to Des Moines Iowa a year prior to get married.

I had received a little 500 dollar advance for my book, Objects in the Rearview Mirror, and that Saturday evening, at a gas station, I looked at him and said, “Hey, you want to go?” And we did.

I drove all night through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and finally into Iowa, arriving at a bed and breakfast so tired I was shaking.

My Army training kicked in. I was taking that hill. I was delivering my fiancee to the steps of the courthouse or wherever it was we had to and marrying the crap out of him. 🙂

When, on Monday morning, we stood hand in hand out on the lawn of the Bed and Breakfast and said: “I do.” (The owner had been ordained in that state specifically for the purpose of marrying gay folks) I cried.

After I woke up from my nap, I imagined a world that would soon follow. A world where we wouldn’t call it “Gay Marriage,” it was just plain, ordinary, marriage. The world was moving forward in a positive direction and everything would be fine.

Yet, I had a deep down fear in my gut. Something from our (and by our I mean the World) history that reminded me that one step forward for mankind was often met with a fierce push and a stumble.

Enter Donald Trump.

Since the 2016 Presidential Election a great big, black, shadow has descended over our country. Rumors of Russian involvement in our elections, ongoing Federal Investigations, Vice President Mike Pence and his anti-LGBT record as governor of Indiana, the removal of the thin mask of conservative Evangelical Republicans, and soon thereafter – the deportation of “Illegal Immigrants”, the separation of families, the forced psychopharmacological drugs on children, and according to NBC News reported tonight: Their brief saying that the Civil Rights Law does not ban discrimination over sexual orientation. Of course, the head of the Justice Department is a known racist, sexist, misogynist dinosaur by the name of Jeff Sessions. A relic of Southern Aristocracy, of Slavery, and Jim Crow, and the dehumanizing aspects of a repressive and violent time.

As a writer, as an artist, as a human being, these past two years have been very difficult to say the least. My country doesn’t feel so much like it’s taken a stumble back. It’s more like the shove landed America flat on its ass.

It’s been difficult watching the rise of violence against minorities of all walks of life in our country. From those murdered in Charleston, to those NFL players who being of African American descent kneeling at football games to bring attention to the arbitrary murder of people by rogue policing, to the videos of violence, verbal abuse, and recorded phone calls of white people calling the cops of others because this is their time to shine.

All the things that they wanted to say, do and put out there toward those who are different, whereas in the past the culture of America had kept their mouths shut, now parade boldy into the light of day.

That pressure has returned. Ten fold.

The fear is excruciating.

I am now on benzo’s and Zoloft just to make it through the day without shaking apart, recently diagnosed with a panic disorder, I feel every single minute of every single day.

Yet, I cannot NOT work.

It’s impossible for me.

It’s impossible for me as a queer writer to not do what Nina Simone said we should do and that was to reflect the world around us.

Angela Rye, a CNN commentator, and activist, said something that stuck in my brain since the first time I saw her speak. In this era of ‘wokeness’ the backlash of Donald Trump, you might say, in many different areas in our socio-political culture. She said it wasn’t enough to ‘be woke’ but to ‘work woke’.

She says, “It’s pointless for us to use our talents to understand what’s going on and not apply what we’ve learned to action,”. You can watch her explain it here.

Now, she’s referencing Timesup, Metoo, Black Lives Matter etc. but it makes me think, especially with all this added pressure, that this should be applied everywhere.

It’s not enough to know what the issues are, we have to do something about it.

Recently, I wrote a blog about the way gay men are viewed in a segment of literary fiction called M/M or Male/ Male Romance and received ten kinds of holy hell from people, some of them my friends, most of which aren’t gay – talking about how wrong I was, or how misogynist I was, or whatever they had to use to defend not their writing per se, but the way they depicted gay men in their work.

It amazed me how fast the backlash was. It amazed me, the think pieces people wrote to defend themselves, and either aggressive or passive aggressive messages I received telling me, a gay man, what was up from people who loved to proclaim their ‘wokeness’ and their progressiveness.

It’s also amazing to me that should shit get as bad as it potentially could, “they” aren’t going to care whether those writers are gay, bi, lesbian, trans, straight or otherwise when all hell breaks loose.

They didn’t like the idea that I objected to a subgenre of books that relegates gay people to animals or animal-like behavior such as dogs. Or, that I object to the types of books akin to Holocaust porn, concerning gay people and conversion camps.

I have felt isolated before, I’ve been and have felt cut off before, discriminated against, etc. but after that blog went live – I’ve never really ever felt my minority status that much before. Ever.

I think it’s essential for gay people, black people, any sort of minority to reclaim their power. Artists, it’s essential to use #ownvoices to authenticate the work that you do. I think if there were a time publishers, magazines, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hollywood, to let themselves be flooded by these minorities and their stories – it’s now. It’s time for us artists on the fringes to not just be woke, but to do like Angela said, “…and work woke.”

Tell our stories the way we know they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

BPK 10.016.073
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

kristina-flour-185592

 

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

37_Lyndon_Johnson_3x4

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.