Sunday, July 31, 2016

Coming Out

This is one of the hardest posts I have written, and yet, it's one of the easiest.  I have written before of growing up in a republican home.  My parents' families were all lifelong democrats, but my parents deviated from that.  I'm not sure when or why.  I had been a lifelong republican as well until this election.  I voted for Bernie Sanders in the SC democratic primary.  At the time, I said I would never vote for Hillary because she's a liar and untrustworthy.  You know the expression, "Never say never."

Truth be told, ALL politicians are dishonest/untrustworthy to a degree.  Even my best friend, an African-American woman of nearly ??  who grew up on the South side of Chicago, suggested that President Obama had to step over some people to get where he is.  It's a given in politics.  I had planned to write-in Sanders' name on election day, but that is not possible in SC.  So, what are my alternatives?  Vote for Hillary or stay home and not vote at all (which my mother has suggested)..

This year I watched both conventions, the first time I can recall ever watching a convention.  I know what they are:  choreographed stage productions to sell the candidate to independents and the faithful who are not feeling so faithful this time around.

I was appalled at what I saw coming out of the republican convention.  Hate, hate, hate.  I was further appalled by Trump's suggestion/prompting this past week that the Russians should hack the DNC/Clinton campaign.  Does anyone remember Watergate???  Nixon had to resign over the same type of thing.  If Trump's remarks were not treasonous, they came pretty darn close in my book.  Every time Trump opens his big, unfiltered mouth and gets his hand slapped, he claims we misunderstood.  The next day, he claimed he was being sarcastic.  How many stupid people does he think are out there?  I, for one, am not one of them.

Is this the type of person we want as President?  Does anyone *really* believe he will "become presidential" after the election, if he is elected?  Give me a break!  What you see is what you get.  He would be firing off tweets to inflame even our staunchest of allies if it suited his purpose.

Now, on to Hillary.  I don't care for her, and I do believe she has been running for President since Bill did (at least).  However, I did learn things about her at the convention that have helped to make it more palatable to vote for her.   She did take time while in law school to go around the country to help the poor and disadvantaged.  That was in a time, the early 70s, where she was not doing it for herself.  Simply, she had no gain from this.  It was when she was working for Marian Wright Edelman, a South Carolinian who later founded the Children's Defense Fund.   She went down to Alabama and posed as a white, suburban mother to see if she could enroll her son in an all-white school.  Her goal was to see if Nixon were allowing tax-exempt status to discriminatory private academies.  Also, when working in Boston, she found a wheelchair-bound girl who could not go to school because there were no facilities for her.  Her work helped to expose private schools' clearly discriminatory practices and helped to pass laws for disabled children.  You can read more about her work in Alabama here:

Bernie's supporters fought hard to have some of their key points woven into the Democratic platform.  You can read about that here:

The only way Sanders' supporters have a chance of accomplishing any of his goals is to vote for Hillary.  In good conscience, I can not sit home on November 8 and risk allowing an unstable, hate-filled man to be elected as president.  This is the most crucial election in modern times, in my lifetime. 

Friday I whispered to my father that I thought I would have to vote for Hillary, and he understood. That is all that matters.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hatred In This Election Year

I have spent the last few weeks going through dusty, almost-forgotten boxes in my garage, purging in preparation for my retirement next summer.  I have a gut instinct (and we all know women's instincts) that I won't be staying in this house once my parents are gone.  I have also been bitten by the minimalist bug, albeit a slow bite..........and so, I purge.  

When I pulled down one high, filthy cardboard box and ripped off the yellowed tape (I've been in *this* house 14 years; I don't know when I sealed that box.), I found this doll.  You get a sense of her age both by her discolored appearance as well as the Reagan-Bush 1984 button.  I thought back on what the GOP meant to me in those bygone days.  

We were in the winding down of the Cold War era, and after a Jimmy Carter presidential fiasco, Ronald Reagan strode onto the political scene to save the day.  He represented power and a strength that intimidated our global enemies. (The US hostages in Iran were released on his inauguration day.  While Carter was negotiating prior to that, it is no coincidence that the release came as the reigns were passed.)  I was proud to vote for Reagan and continued to vote republican in every state/national election through 2015.

However, the current state of the GOP is not one I can support, and I have written about that before.  When I look at the GOP today, I see *nothing* but hatred.  Hatred for Clinton, hatred for President Obama, and even hatred for his wife Michelle.  I mean come on, what is there NOT to like about her?

Several years ago I began an "awakening," or a "revelation," if you will.  From my perspective, the GOP stands for inequality for all and serving as a global policeman looming over the affairs of other countries. That is pretty much it.  They don't believe in helping others; they don't believe universal health care is a right.  The republicans I know are pretty much middle/upper middle class who have no clue how life is for the poor, even the working poor.  Because they have healthcare, they don't care that others can't get cancer treatments equal to what they can get, because those poor don't have insurance.  I know because I *was* one.

These same republicans fill Facebook with posts about "Blue Lives Matter," but remain silent at the Orlando Pulse massacre.....silent when black boys and men are slaughtered by police.  Tell me that's not racially motivated.  If it isn't, then I am waiting for an explanation why the police are *more* important than the citizens they are supposed to *serve.*

 Many in the GOP wrap themselves up in their Bibles and quote the Old Testament, mostly making abortion the standard-bearing litmus test for all politicians; therefore, they portray the democrats as morally evil.  For this reason, I know republicans who will NEVER, EVER vote for a democrat....including some very close to me. 

So, this takes me to the current political climate in this country.  I have never seen such venom spewed from ANY political party as I see it from the republicans.  There was a lie circulating yesterday on Facebook that the dems had not hoisted Old Glory at their convention.  Now, *I* am not one to believe such rubbish without checking and double checking.  Sure enough, they did (and I promptly posted it on Facebook), and the young African-American boy who had sung for the Pope last fall sang the national anthem.  Yet, people who are supposedly very smart did not check their source and kept passing the lie around.....because THEY WANT TO BELIEVE IT!   I can't stand injustice, no matter the party affiliation, and I WILL call it out when I see it!

Years ago I was a staunch Fox News watcher, as are others close to me.  However, in my "awakening," God opened my eyes to the hate they spew.  It is now banned in my home, not that the cats can turn on the tv anyway.  While I do agree that mainstream media is leftist, Fox has gone too far to the right.  When I see the people on there (and at times I can't escape them if I am elsewhere), all they do is yell over each other and repeat the same hate-filled rhetoric ad nauseum over and over and over. (My redundancy here is deliberate for illustrative purposes.) 

So, unlike my republican christian counterparts, I can not embrace Donald Trump "because he is better than the alternative."  

*My* Jesus tells me to love my neighbor as myself, do onto the poor and I will have done unto Him.  There is no hatred in *my* Jesus, and I strive to emulate Him.  Therefore, I have to follow Him and His model for how we are to live.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Racism Unmasked

I am one of the privileged class in America; I am white. I have never experienced being followed when I go into a store.  I have never feared being shot if stopped by a policeman.  I can't even begin to imagine what any of that is like.  As a mother, I never had to worry about my son ending up dead in a traffic stop, shot by a policeman.

Throughout the South during most of the twentieth century, lynchings of black men were a common practice.  The name Emmett Till readily comes to mind.  He was a 14 year-old Chicago boy lynched in Mississippi in 1955, reportedly for whistling at a white woman.  After being beaten, shot, and having an eye gouged out, his body was tossed in a river.  In order to show what had been done to her son, his mother had an open casket at his funeral.....for all the world to see.

Fast forward to the 21st century:  South Carolina.....Maryland....Louisiana....Minnesota

Walter Scott.....Freddie Gray......Alton Sterling.....Philando Castile.....

all killed by policemen.  Walter Scott was shot in the back multiple he was running away. Freddie Gray was left paralyzed after a ride in a police van and eventually died.  Alton Sterling was tackled to the ground by two policemen, one of whom shot him repeatedly in the chest and back.   Philando Castile was reportedly getting his ID out at a traffic stop when a policeman pumped him with bullets.

America has changed little since the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s.  Yes, we have African-American governors, Congressmen, and President.  Yet, what the election of the first African-American President has done is expose the hidden racism that many thought we as a nation had conquered.  There it is, revealed in the fear, the abject fear, that many white officers have of black males.  That is the heart of it:  fear, fear of a group of people they can not relate to, don't know. Fear born of preconceived ideas.  Many police organizations do a fabulous job integrating into the communities they serve, but there are those who don't.  Until local police organizations honestly examine their culture, the culture of rallying around the police brotherhood at all costs, this slaughter will continue. Police are supposed to serve the community.  In order to serve, they must have relationships with the people in the community. It takes work to build that trust and those relationships....but it is vital.  Today, a Congressman asked FBI Director Comey to do something.  I pray he does.  This has got to stop.

Where does this racism come from?  It is taught; no one is born a racist.  It can be taught at home, by peers, and even by politicians.  Mainly, it is born of fear--fear of people/ethnic groups/religious groups one doesn't know....and doesn't want to know.  

Look at this precious little boy.  I'll call him "I."  "I" is the son of a former student of mine.  She has to raise him to fear police officers.  Maybe "fear" is the wrong word, but he has to be cautious........cautious simply because of the color of his skin.  The Walter Scotts, Freddy Grays, Alton Sterlings, Philando Castiles....they are all sons of all black mothers.  They started out just like little "I" here.

Don't be part of the problem.  All the little "I's" deserve to grow up without fearing law enforcement. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Jesus Weeps

I often feel things too intently.  Things bother me that most would not understand.  I read the news associated with each terrorist attack---Orlando, Turkey, Bangladesh (for example)---and I seek out profiles of the victims.  They had families, lives, future dreams.........They were people....part of humanity....part of the "Love your neighbor as yourself" that Jesus commanded.   Jesus commanded....""  He didn't mean literal neighbor; He meant humanity.  We are all in this world, in this life, together.  

The vast majority of terrorist victims outside the US are Muslims.  That is lost on so-called Christians, or perhaps it isn't.  Maybe their response is, "Good for them.  That's what they get for being Muslims."  I am always at a loss when I see Muslim-hating posts on Facebook by avowed Christians, particularly when it is someone I know very well.  How can people who claim to be a follower of Jesus spew such hatred?  Was that what Jesus taught?  The more I see these postings, the more I wonder what He thinks, up there in heaven looking down at His creation.

The Bible tells us many will claim to know Him, but in the end His response for many will be, "Depart from me; I never knew you."  

If you claim Christianity, what will His response be to you?