Patriots, Bears and Psychos…

Yes, I’m one of those psychos… I decorated my entire house with American Flags, along with a couple of “God bless this country” angels thrown in. My children’s friends enjoyed teasing them about our “Bearmerican” banner. I just laughed it off since in my mind the décor was fitting for a patriot (and bear lover). I believed in the USA. The land of the free and home of the brave, where everyone can pursue happiness. My country welcomed souls from perilous journeys and offered them liberty, opportunity and a safe place to lie their heads. U.S.A. was synonymous with Freedom in my mind. We were people that stood up for each other. The beautiful melting pot. Was I a victim of propaganda or was I an optimist trying to see the good around me? It was both. The country I believed so fervently in never actually existed.

Constitutions, laws, policies, declarations are meaningless without societal buy in. Powers that be ask their people to wear rose-colored glasses and defend their way of life. See the good, ignore the bad. Occasionally stand up for a cause (but don’t get too passionate).

It’s not a bad life, but it’s not real. Hate has become the name of the game in this great country and discrimination its calling card.

I am a person of faith who understands that historically religion and religious people have caused the greatest death and misery that this world has ever known. Religious insanity pokes up its nasty head every century along with the beliefs; my god is better than your god, my body is better than your body, my family is better than your family, my sex is better than your sex, my skin color is better than your skin color, my gender is better than your gender, my views are better than your views and my life is more valuable than your life. Granted, not every judgmental person is religious, but a majority of U.S. Christian fundamentalists have embraced bigotry on a new level and worked to dissolve our first amendment directive to separate church and state. This has brought hatred to our cities and brutality to our streets that has the ability to destroy this nation. God hasn’t forsaken us, but I have a hard time believing that he isn’t saddened and disgusted by us.

I was a fly on the wall in a conversation that defended a slave class. I watched a political convention that applauded decreased rights for women and minorities. I watched a church service that encouraged murder. I have watched us assault our Earth to a point that scientists aren’t sure that we can sustain life into the next century. Innocent until proven guilty has been replaced with street justice and heavily armed local militias are teaming with militarized police forces to quash the idea that all people are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights.

This nation was born out of slavery and subjugation and that seed comes from a tree that cannot bear fruit, so until we create justice for all then there will be peace for none. Not because anyone wants unrest but because freedom is not sustainable in its current state. Yes, I was naïve, but The American Experiment doesn’t have to be over. We have to be willing to fight for it.

Presidential talking points…

Under my administration alternative facts will be eliminated in favor of FACTS.

We will not be at war with the press and we will invite scrutiny. We will strengthen laws protecting our residents against libelous and inaccurate reporting while still preserving our freedom of speech. Entertainment and political commentary are not the news. Verifiable facts should be the goal of newsworthy journalism not spin or loyalist affiliations. I will work to restore public trust in the presidency by being forthright with the people of this country and welcoming the press. We will trust news agencies to disseminate accurate information about our policies and will encourage our citizens to do their own investigative research into those policies to keep us and the press accountable. The idea of news as entertainment must end and criteria for disseminating accurate reporting needs to be strengthened within legitimate news agencies. Again, opinions are newsworthy but are not the news.

I plan to unite specific cabinet heads so that joint efforts are strengthened and duplicate missions are cut. I envision our Attorney General and Secretary of State working together to ensure justice for all United States citizens here and abroad while showing leadership abroad that is worthy of trust and provides a beacon for democracy. Our Defense and Homeland Security will also provide seamless protection from internal and external threats and will work with Veteran Affairs to honor our armed services personnel and veterans with increased services and care benefits. We will have increased focus on infrastructure. There is no excuse for crumbling infrastructure, unemployment and lackluster trade within this prosperous nation so there must be a meeting of minds within Transportation, Energy, Urban Development, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor. It is long past time that we get our country’s interior in shape and rather than fighting for operational funds, these departments need to work toward common goals that increase building and road safety and that keep our people housed, employed and fed. We can and will streamline efforts.

Plain and simple… Foreign Policy is much more than a photo op. Allies are a valued and necessary part of a thriving nation. The importance of our association with countries that have similar values and commitments to democracy cannot be overstated. We will build on those relationships. They will not be disrespected, ignored or coerced any longer. We will negotiate trade and security commitments fairly and equitably without resorting to threats. As friends we can work out our disagreements respectfully. We need to do a better job of nurturing our relationship with longtime friends and allies. It makes us all stronger.

We will take an honest, multi-faceted look at immigration and asylum practices and create a system that welcomes hard working, diverse and law-abiding prospective citizens and also provides protection and safe repatriation for asylum seekers. We will identify and coordinate with cities and towns so that we can place new residents in areas where there are employment opportunities. I am not interested in opening our borders to all applicants, but I do want to put a fair system in place that values our country of immigrants yet limits municipal liability. Our new system will restructure how we hold undocumented people and provide expedited court decisions. The cost of increased and expedited judicial hearings will be offset by the elimination of long-term holding cells and the cost of care and maintenance for these facilities.

This fact is possibly the most important… Our country dies without an educated populace. We have neglected our schools for too long and it’s time to not only make college affordable but to increase the availability of a trade school education. Our skilled workforce is in decline and there are people that are currently unemployed that are only a few classes away from an internship. We have a plan to increase construction, manufacturing and automotive programs and put people in contact with employers who are willing to train and educate in their respective fields. We will work with businesses and universities to prioritize fields of study so that incoming college freshman know what areas of employment are thriving and opportunities can be identified through employers looking for a specialized workforce. While I don’t foresee fully paid college educations for our citizens, I do plan on expanding programs and financial aid in academic areas that are national and economic priorities. Increased financial aid and grant programs are an investment that has major dividends through higher employment and new business growth.

Environmental concerns will no longer be ignored. This is not a for or against topic. We need to encourage programs that educate us in leaving a minimized global footprint and increases environmental protections. There can be a meeting of the minds in regard to conservancy and development. Energy Projects don’t have to be an environmental nightmare or a money pit. We need real life solutions regarding climate change not gloom and doom predictions. This administration will encourage scientific research and solutions to environmental concerns while still protecting business and a growing economy. The two are not enemies of one another and together can boost economic growth through increased knowledge and joint ventures.

Our healthcare industry is not living up to its name. Our people are increasingly unhealthy and uncared for because of our broken system. When a majority of people are an illness away from bankruptcy, it’s time to restructure the entire system. Prescription trials cost money but outrageous executive payouts are preventing necessary trials. Insurance companies are dictating who gets treated and for what. Hospitals are overcharging for basic items in order to make up for losses from insurance and pharmaceutical contracting practices. Healthcare that promotes profit over human life is not healthcare at all and our countrymen deserve better. We will restructure the system in a way that actually ensures our people can see a doctor and get treatment without losing everything. We need a pricing system that makes sense and where medications, procedures and preventative aids are priced evenly across every community. In my mind, this is the most basic of rights and affects every aspect of a thriving community.

We are a nation of gun enthusiasts who value their 2nd amendment rights. While there will always be differing views about what those rights entail, the reality is that gun ownership is protected by our constitution. That said, no responsible gun owner wants to see gun violence in our schools, malls and movie theaters. They take ownership responsibilities seriously and want violent offenders off the streets. I will strengthen gun laws WITHOUT affecting law abiding owners. In an effort to get gun violence under control some states have adopted laws that are aimed at eliminating guns and penalizing individual owners. Unfair and seemingly retaliatory gun regulations will be addressed and eliminated in favor of common-sense gun laws that reduce threats while protecting owner rights.

We’re being divided. There are issues that are presented to us as black and white yet they require complex thought, historical knowledge and compromise. Progress and tradition both have value and we can find common ground. When we look at issues with a win at all cost mindset, we all lose. With that said, I plan to address these controversial issues and hopefully make inroads in securing fundamental rights for women, minorities, religious organizations and LGBTQ people. Freedom is synonymous with the USA and we can secure freedoms for all of our citizens while still keeping true to our beliefs and traditions. Compromise and compassion are not bad words and I aim to prove that.

Paying down our national debt will be a priority, not an unfulfilled political promise. Paying down our national debt allows us to commit funds in areas that improves our GDP, expands employment opportunities and keeps businesses open. It is irresponsible to ignore this part of our economy.

Taxes! Always a debate topic that creates interest in the people that are looking at a reduction and fury from people looking at an increase. We have created a system that average citizens don’t fully understand. Even economists can struggle explaining the regulatory quagmire. We need simplicity. Fair taxation for ALL citizens. We can offer business incentives that promote successful business expansion but the days of wealthy businessmen paying zero taxes is over. This country should incentivize companies willing to reward employees when their business is thriving and successful. My taxation plan can actually ensure that trickle-down works for everyone and is not a money grab for the wealthy alone. I believe our nation prospers when people can acquire wealth, but the current wealth gap is not sustainable. The growing gap between the haves and have nots has created a system where having one full time job is not enough to be self-reliant, let alone raise a family. Hard work and ingenuity is wonderful and should be rewarded but not on the backs of those implementing and maintaining the business. I want to encourage a symbiotic relationship between employer and employee that sees both succeed and prosper. A commitment to each other that seems more familial. I truly believe that by restructuring the tax system we can achieve a more balanced relationship not just in our country but internationally as well.

My administration will value faith and religion and I aim to protect both by honoring the protections of our founding fathers. The separation of church and state was put in place because our forefathers knew that politics in religion is catastrophic for the faithful. Politics creates false idols and earthly promises. Separation does not protect government and it does not protect religion; it protects the faithful from the schemes of those with a worldly agenda.

This administration will not be about me or for me. I surround myself with the best and brightest in their respective fields and my cabinet will work to strengthen every department within their purview while being ever mindful that taxpayer dollars should never be squandered. I look forward to serving this country that I love and earning your respect.

Shooting The Melting Pot

“MANY FINE PEOPLE”
The past two weeks have seen 3 major mass shootings with the attackers providing manifestos quoting propaganda from Trump rallies and proclaiming their white pride. Our current president refuses to take responsibility or take action to limit sales of military grade weapons, but instead continues to attack our darker-skinned state representatives that are trying to curb racism, bigotry and violence. He validates U.S. terrorists with his rhetoric and empowers them with his inaction. It is the beginning of August and we have already seen over 33,000 shootings (not including suicides), and more than 250 mass shootings with a vast majority of the weapons purchased legally. There are 600 million guns in circulation and registered gun owners average 9 guns per household. The argument that bad guys will be the only ones with guns doesn’t fly when faced with the above statistics. Average citizens are committing these crimes. We don’t want to claim our violent tendencies and hatred so we call the shooters “mentally ill” but it’s our gun-loving society that’s ill. White supremacy is our terrorist problem. Not immigrants not Muslims, but home-grown racists and murderers propped up by an incompetent and hateful administration.

“SEND HER BACK”
These are our president’s words aimed at a congresswoman who is an American citizen and angrily chanted at his rallies along with shouts of “shoot them” when he condemns immigrants. Since we’re “sending back” U.S. citizens to their countries of origin if they disagree with Donald Trump, I wonder which country I’ll be sent to. I’m not entirely sure where most of my ancestors came from but I’m pretty sure that my heritage is Irish, English and German with about a dozen other nationalities mixed in. I suppose I should expedite my genetic testing. Once we de-code my ancestry, do I get to choose the country I’m deported to and will they accept disobedient U.S. citizens? Do I have to be housed in one of the immigrant internment camps before deportation? Do I get to take all my assets with me and bring my relatives too? Do I get automatic citizenship with my new country including a passport? Interesting proposition, but I’m sure this opportunity is not suggested to people with my skin color.

“SHITHOLE COUNTRY”
While the president used that term to denigrate countries populated with people of color, I have to wonder if it doesn’t ultimately describe us. We need to again take pride in our culturally diverse communities and international diplomacy, but we currently have a government obsessed with bigotry, for profit-prisons and segregation by skin color and wealth. While I can’t ignore our history of racism, slavery, misogyny and violence, I had hoped that most of that ugliness was behind us. The country that I love is worshiping military grade weaponry, intolerance and white supremacy. White nationalism is the only type of nationalism that’s acceptable to our nation’s president as he attacks anyone who disagrees with his hate-filled agenda. We are being urged to fear people that don’t look and behave exactly like our most ultra-conservative citizens. If we have compassion for others, we’re told to find a new country.  Anyone that is not a white, straight, christian man is being persecuted and the laws of our founding fathers are being dismantled. Our courts are being packed with judges that are committed to restructuring laws and dissolving rights. Our legislators rarely accomplish anything of substance because of the infighting. This nation has not been so at war with itself since the Civil War and the causes are eerily similar. I pray for a return to national civility and governmental checks and balances but recovery is a long way off. This is the USA as we go into 2020. We must do better!

Forsaking Women and Children

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Iowa, Indiana & Utah have submitted unlawful anti-abortion legislation in an attempt to undermine Roe vs. Wade. Interestingly, these states consistently pay the least toward education, pre-natal care, healthcare, welfare, drug rehabilitation, mental health, child-care, adoption services, foster services and children’s programs. These ill-conceived laws condemn unwanted children to poverty stricken, unloving homes or state facilities. Future children will too often be born to drug addicts who pass that addiction to their babies because access to affordable pre-natal and drug cessation care is scarce. Many will suffer educationally, emotionally and physically for their entire lives and will be dependent on others for their care. These states have made it clear that there are no plans to aid their state’s forced human incubators or their fetuses and have repeatedly proven that they will abandon these babies once they’re born.

The suggestion that a few of these states care for females because they list the life of the woman as an exception to their law is disingenuous. Pregnancy by its very nature is life threatening to the woman in every instance. It should always be the choice of the pregnant woman whether she wants to put her life in danger and subject her body to the extreme trauma of pregnancy and childbirth.

I have seen this quote a lot recently, “women should just keep their knees together”, **insert eye roll here! I could certainly add dozens of demeaning quotes about male anatomy and sexuality but will refrain because attempts at demonizing genders or sexual relations is just stupid.

Birth control fails regularly and reliable methods can be expensive and hard to find depending on where you live. Not to mention, one in five women are raped. They should not have to worry about being forced into months of further physical and emotional trauma in order to give birth to their rapist’s child. It’s believed that only 30% of affected children report incest and studies show that there are at least 20 million survivors of incest in the USA. They need recourse. Rape or not, women are too often abandoned and left to suffer with unwanted pregnancies alone, without help or resources, leaving them in a state of lifelong poverty if they keep the child after birth.

There are also misleading statements about adoption. Most states have children languishing in foster care because there are not enough adults willing to adopt a child with the slightest mental disability, physical deformity or behavior issues. Some are never placed simply because their birth mother didn’t give them up as an infant and they enter the system as an older child. Without services, access to higher education, monetary allocation and caring adults these children too often end up homeless, incarcerated or dependent on government services. A considerable amount of taxpayer dollars would need to be allocated to give these forced-birth children a fighting chance.

My bible only mentions abortion once, Numbers 5-Bitter Waters, which says it’s acceptable. Additionally, Genesis 2:7, Ezekiel 37:5-6 & Job 33:4 all confirm life starts at first breath.  There are biblical references used to attack abortion but they are flimsy, cultural interpretations used to control women and have little to do with Jesus. Bogus biblical arguments mean nothing to women seeking abortions, and these already traumatized women should not be forced to conform to male-centric religious principle, especially false doctrine. Life does not begin at conception but at first breath. This is true scientifically AND biblically.

Unsafe, back alley abortions have made a startling comeback in communities that have driven out women’s healthcare facilities. That breaks my heart.

Considering the lack of pre-natal care, pediatric medical services, child care facilities and basic children’s support, this proposed legislation is unbelievably inhumane for everyone involved. Instead of insisting that we bring more children into this world, these states should use their resources to improve the lives of children who are already born. There is no moral high ground here. These laws are about controlling women and taking away their rights, period.

The Truth is not a Lie…

IMMIGRATION:
LIE: Mexican immigrants are overrunning our country – TRUTH: According to Pew Research undocumented Immigrants from Mexico have declined since 2009 by almost 1 million. (8)

LIE: We need a border wall – TRUTH: A majority of undocumented immigrants are not coming over the border but instead overstaying their visas. (6)

LIE: Undocumented Immigrants don’t pay taxes and are a drain on society – TRUTH: They pay $11.6 Billion in taxes, (3) and add $2 Trillion to the nation’s GDP. They also pay into social security while rarely receiving benefits. Children of immigrants are 5% more likely to go to college than resident children. (6)

LIE: Immigrants increase crime rate – TRUTH: Actual numbers show there is NO increase in the percentage of crimes when comparing residents and immigrants and in fact crime rates have decreased 12% since 1980 even though immigration from non-border countries has increased. (5)

SEXUAL ASSAULT:
LIE: Women exaggerate the prevalence of sexual assault. – TRUTH: 1 in 5 women are raped. This number is not generally disputed, and often considered low. 63% of assaults are not reported and 90% of college student assaults are not reported. (4) A sexual assault happens every 107 seconds. (10)

LIE: Men are in danger of false charges. – TRUTH: Of the 321,500 (7) annual assaults that are reported, 2-10% are either unprovable or false charges, similar to any other felony. (4) (10)

LIE: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victim was “asking for it”. – TRUTH: The perpetrator selects the victim ~ the victim’s choices don’t mean they’re consenting to sexual activity. (10)

LIE: Sexual assault is an act of lust and passion that can’t be controlled. – TRUTH: Sexual assault is about power and control and is not motivated by sexual gratification. (10)

LIE: Transgender people commit sexual assault in bathrooms. – TRUTH: Transgender people are 3% more likely to be sexually assaulted. (7) There have been ZERO reported cases of Transgender people assaulting someone in a bathroom. (8)

FREE PRESS “in quotes”:
LIE: “It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.” ― Adolf Hitler
TRUTH: “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” ― Albert Camus

LIE: “One of the things I’m gonna do, and this is only gonna make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m gonna do if I win… is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws. “With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people…We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re gonna have people sue you like you never get sued before.” – Donald J. Trump
TRUTH: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

LIE: “The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” – Donald J. Trump
TRUTH: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

ABORTION Christian Viewpoint:
LIE: Abortion is murder according to bible – TRUTH: There is no such claim and in fact there is only one mention of abortion in the entire bible… Numbers 5:27 says that “bitter waters” were used to induce miscarriage which was considered just and necessary in certain circumstances. (1) (2)

LIE: Life begins at conception. Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-14 are often given to support the idea of life beginning at conception but are in reality shedding a light on the fact that our omnipotent God has known us since creation and His timing is not our timing. It’s a huge leap to make those verses anti-abortion. – TRUTH: Life begins at first breath… Genesis 2:7 & Ezekiel 37:5-6 God’s breath of life; Job 33:4 Breath gives life. (1) (2)

LIE: A fetus is more important than a woman. TRUTH: Exodus 21:22 While both have value, a woman’s life has greater value than a fetus (1) (2)

CHRISTIAN AUTHORITY and LGBT:
LIE: Fundamentalist Evangelicals are the only real Christians. TRUTH: There are 31,000+ Christian denominations with 5 major “families”; Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal and Evangelical. (11) The numbers are disputable but the point is that there is no church that can claim absolute truth in any matter without thousands of objections. There are often highly educated members of each denomination that claim to have insight into the true meaning of the bible and spiritual relationship, but there is absolutely no way to fact check this before our deaths.

LIE: LGBT people are an abomination and any association is implied approval of their lifestyle. TRUTH: Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice or lifestyle. The 7 bible verses that supposedly refer to “homosexuals”, a word not used in English translation until 1946, were for the most part referring to non-consensual relationships between a person of power and usually a child or effeminate male and are not referring to loving, monogamous relationships. Many Christian denominations support this hermeneutic and love LGBT people dearly and consider them valued and faithful members of their congregations. I acknowledge that this can be a controversial subject, however, we must draw the line when it comes to legislative endorsement of discrimination. A person should never be an outcast because they were born different from the majority and any effort to deny basic human rights is not representative of Christian thought or societal freedom. (1) (12)

 

Citations:
(1) Holy Bible- Verses from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Job (NSV English translation)
(2) The Bible Tells Us When A Fetus Becomes A Living Being (2012) http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/blog-home/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being
(3) The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (2016) – https://itep.org/wp-content/uploads/immigration2016.pdf
(4) National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2015) https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf
(5) The Myth of Criminal Immigrant (2018) – https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/30/upshot/crime-immigration-myth.html
(6) Facts on Immigration (2017) https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2017/04/20/430736/facts-immigration-today-2017-edition/
(7) Victims of Violence: Statistics (2015) – https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
(8) Pew Research Center/FacTank (2017) – http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/27/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/
(9) Statistics show… (2015) https://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.Yh7qkyMNp
(10) Sexual Violence Myths and Facts  https://www.ourresilience.org/what-you-need-to-know/myths-and-facts/
(11) How Many Christian Denominations  https://www.answers.com/Q/How_many_Christian_denominations_are_there
(12) The Trevor Project – https://www.thetrevorproject.org/trvr_support_center/lgbtq-religion/#sm.00001glpgmh8v4ekvqhtkoge774wt

I want to point out that I have much more documentation than is listed here but didn’t want the citations to be pages long. I chose the most relevant ones for each statement.

I do not understand…

I have been advocating for my child and LGBTQ people as a whole for a while. I love this community with all my heart. They know far too much about suffering, rejection, self-harm, damaging campaigns and calls for their extermination and yet can still manage to love, support and advocate for others. Many are attempting to break down closet doors, educate society and live in authenticity even though that can be dangerous. Others are simply trying to live their lives and want everyone else to peacefully do the same. They are united by an atypical bond, shared experiences and public dissection that too often includes ridicule, rage, discrimination and violence yet their motto remains Love is Love.

There is a section of our society that refuses to accept anyone who doesn’t look, sound or behave exactly as they do and no amount of truth or logic will change that bent. I have no words or time for them.

It’s the people of faith or those that consider themselves to be of good character. The ones that participate in society and help people in need. The ones that listen compassionately and try to have open minds. The people that claim to hate no one. The people that raise their families to be a positive light in this world and yet still refuse to acknowledge LGBTQ people’s basic human rights. How do I understand them?

Family members who are reluctant to welcome us into their home because it complicates their lives. Longtime friends who say they love our family and yet openly defend measures that exclude my child from society. Why should I trust my evangelical friends’ counsel on anything regarding God, faith and love knowing they are judging my child for how they were born and judging me for loving them unconditionally?

We live in an age of discovery, technology and innovation. How can generally well educated people completely discount studies in genetics, physiology, sexuality and gender? How can they ignore painstaking theological examination that suggests biblical clobber verses don’t hold up to scrutiny? I am not saying they need to agree. I am asking why, when there are so many lives at stake do they refuse to educate themselves? Why, when there is so much evidence to the contrary do they suggest that being LGBTQ is a choice and a lifestyle?

It is hateful to say or condone the idea that gay and transgender people are a public threat and should conform to societal norms or tenuous biblical standards.

I no doubt offended someone because I suggested that their beliefs are hateful and yet they will continue to endorse governmental discrimination, religious exclusion and potentially fatal conversion therapy methods. There are few actions more hateful than rejecting a person’s humanity, insisting they live a life devoid of loving companionship and implying their death is preferable to their existence. Yes, hate is the right word.

I find the rebuttals “apparently diversity doesn’t go two ways” and “we’ll just agree to disagree” laughable. It implies there is an equal dichotomy in relation to gain and loss.

LGBTQ people can lose love, family, relationship, self-worth, mental health, marriage, employment, housing, legal and consumer rights. In the face of such loss and hate they can lose their lives by their own hand or another’s.

What is the other side losing? Their right to tell people that they will not accept them and that they are going to hell?

When they choose to reject scientific, psychological and biblical research to continue on a course that inflicts only pain and suffering, they are the ones making the choice. An ugly choice that I will never understand.

Thoughts and Prayers Rebuffed…

I feel fortunate not to have a petty, thin-skinned, retaliatory God. There is strength in knowing that he hears our rage, weeping, and lamentations with a loving heart.

We have witnessed children’s suffering, heard their frustration and cries for action. Why the incensed, shouting voices aimed at teenagers that have faced evil and survived while witnessing their classmates being slaughtered? Is it because we know that we have not done enough to protect them? Is it a personal affront to our belief in prayer? Does it feel like an attack on our faith?

God doesn’t need us to defend him. He is above insults and while he delights in our worship and praise, He also understands that we need to put our sorrow into words. His faithful are not listening but He is. He sees what we value. He sees the seeds that we have sown. He sees our fruit.

He is a God that saves us, but also asks that we honor him by serving those in pain without judgement and condemnation. I am a person of faith and I agree with the statement that thoughts and prayers are not enough.

Those of us that have been blessed need to serve. We need to reach out. We need to Love. Most importantly we need to make this earth – God’s creation – a place worth living in. A place where weapons are not used daily to kill and maim. If you’re worked up about your thoughts and prayers not being appreciated, then please ask yourself why. Why are they not received well and Why are you so offended because they aren’t? Some self-reflection is in order now more than ever. How are you revealing the love of Christ?

This is what I do know, the USA has made guns an idol. This golden calf goes on for miles and is made of millions of pieces of metal. An idol that kills God’s beloved children by the hour and yet we worship it above Him every single day. We ensure its continued existence, so is it any wonder that God is not moved by our prayers for safety from it? We have no right to be offended in the face of irreverence since we have set the example.

First, Do No Harm…

It has become increasingly difficult to find common ground with Trump supporters in the face of their vocal or tacit endorsement of the current administration’s attacks on women, citizens with disabilities, minorities, immigrants, refugees and LGBTQIA people. There are wide-ranging opinions about how to govern this country and its diverse population but there is a stark difference between attacking policies and attacking people. This country’s legacy of hope and freedom has been threatened by the continued assaults on individual rights. Most of my countrymen believe in responsible spending, curbing excessive taxation and dependable law enforcement, but this isn’t really about taxes, jobs and protection. Immigrants are not being hired over citizens unless they are significantly more qualified, our tax rate is lower than almost all industrialized nations and our incarceration rate, along with defense spending, is the highest in the world. There are states that have been hard hit economically and their suffering must be addressed, but blaming people that have not caused the problem is useless. We can make hard decisions, but the right to discriminate is never an acceptable objective. Those that claim that right in the name of political causes or religious observance are making a mockery of this country and their God.

Few people are in favor of unfettered immigration but arresting long term undocumented residents and tearing apart families is a heartless response to inadequate monitoring and inconsistent immigration policies.

Refugees often experience unthinkable atrocities and deserve compassion and assistance. Thorough screening and safe paths to repatriation should be required but blanket rejections should not.

Streamlining governmental assistance for the elderly and those with disabilities may be in order but defunding long term programs without impact studies is irresponsible.

Women are equal contributors to our nation and deserve equal opportunities, pay and respect. It should go without saying that officials that make inappropriate remarks about female appearance or behave in lewd ways are not acceptable representatives.

The foundation of our country has been laid by the blood of immigrants and on the backs of slaves. The injustices of the past should not be continued into our future. Opportunity and justice should not be dependent on a person’s heritage or the color of their skin.

Lastly, People that are born LGBTQIA deserve every right accorded them as human beings. Sexual orientation and gender identity is not a choice or a lifestyle. Those are words used by groups wanting to perpetuate their hateful and exclusionary biases. Humans have been born queer since the beginning of recorded time. Misusing biblical verses about sexual immorality and applying them to people who were born sexually different from the majority is wrong. Creating legislation that takes away rights and punishes them for who they are is an insult to the loving God who created them and flies in the face of Christianity’s greatest commandment.

Every person is valuable and deserves to be represented and protected. Our government should never be on a mission to facilitate hate and intolerance. Focusing on personal achievement and promoting legislation that fosters individual success is the only way to improve this country. When we take away the hope of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we no longer have the United States of America.

One year ago today…

I lean fiscally conservative and socially liberal, ~ Yes, that may be an oxymoron.

Our two-party+ system can be acrimonious and impotent, but we once respected each other, living together, wanting the best for our neighbors and ourselves. It was okay to disagree on how to achieve balance between differing agendas, and our elected officials at least pretended they were fighting for all of our country’s people. The snail’s pace worked well for a long time.

Somewhere along the line both sides of the aisle were allowed to re-draw political checks and balances which created a palpable hatred amongst our representatives that has expanded into our neighborhoods. “The other” has become larger in minds and hearts. We have fallen into an us against them mentality that is killing our nation and our current administration is only partly to blame, but make no mistake, over the past year things have gotten so much worse.

Our president is not being held accountable for his actions against humanity and is inexplicably being given cover by alt-right evangelicals. The national displeasure with our current administration is more than a liberal vs. conservative crusade. It is a fight for America’s heart.

It is time to say and support the idea that just because someone is different from ourselves, it doesn’t make them bad. It is time to accept the fact that the indigenous people of our country are the ONLY ones that are not immigrants or descendants of slaves. It is time that every person regardless of pigment is treated uniformly under the law. It is time that women are respected equally in the workplace and at home. It is time that we embrace the truth that being LGBTQI is not a lifestyle – It is how they were born. It is time that people of faith are allowed to worship and not be tormented because their faith may be different from their neighbor’s faith. To my loves, the people of my faith, we must continue walking with our Savior by living His greatest commandment. Our example makes a difference and is immensely more important than our politics.

This may be an oxymoron too, but FIGHT FOR LOVE.

Know what you’re fighting for…

It has been disheartening to watch friends loudly pronounce “facts” that are misleading or untruthful because they saw it somewhere online. We blindly follow groups of people and we state their truth because it’s similar to ours without considering their motivation and end game.

Discussions regarding racial justice, historical preservation, equal rights, fair taxation, healthcare, employment, minority empowerment, religious authority, commerce and constitutional interpretation are all honorable debates. They have been part of a healthy dialogue for centuries but when wars are started over them, you can bet that it’s not for their advancement. It is about power and profit that only a select few will benefit from.

Education doesn’t guarantee agreement but it does strengthen our ability to appreciate what makes governments and social structures work. It spurs debate, empowers citizenry and enables reconciliation.

The polar right and left are blinding us to reality. Without truth there is no law, no justice, no government, no education. A land without those things does not serve us, it makes someone else rich and powerful. We follow along on someone else’s path thinking that it is our own. The only way to make our own decisions and fight our own wars is through knowledge and education. Media talking points are not education. Social media is not where we find truth. Both are being manipulated by people with sinister agendas and we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. We are being pitted against each other and we are the dogs being wagged.