Taking a break, again

I have some decisions to make in the coming weeks and months, decisions about my work future, decisions about the direction of my life.

I have enjoyed writing post on WordPress and sharing my thoughts, hopes and wishes on this weird little universe. I have also enjoyed getting to know many of you and reading your responses to my thoughts, hopes and wishes. But after almost two years and 758 post I need to take a break, again. I am not so much tired as I am just brain-dead from all the crazy shit that seems to be circling around us.

Unfortunately I take some of this crazy shit too seriously and at times too passionately. It bears a weight that seems to heavy for me to shoulder and I get mad wondering why more people aren’t as pissed off about it as I am. That’s not healthy. It’s not healthy for me or for the people who I love.

I have a birthday coming up, 57 years old, just three years away from 60. I know 60 isn’t old, hell the closer I get to it the younger it seems to be but there is something about the number, 60, it’s a big number and I have begun to wonder if I am ready to handle the responsibility that comes with the number. Today, right now, I am not.

I have learned a lot from many of you over the last two years. Lessons of courage, of compassion and empathy. It has been interesting to hear your stories. Interesting to feel your warmth through a computer screen. Interesting to see your support as a footnote to what I have created with two fingers and minimal gray matter between my ears. I thank each of you for that.

I have also experienced hate, anger and intolerance from the words I have stringed together. I have never worried about what people think of me, I am very comfortable in my skin but it does hurt me to think that some of these same people who attack me are attacking others that might not be able to handle it as well as I can. Intolerant bully’s attack the soft spots of other humans that they perceive as being easy targets. Skin color, sexuality, and religion seem to be the most common soft spots targeted today. Sadly, we have a bully President that has embolden these people, giving them a voice to spew their hate. What hurts me the most is I can’t protect the people these bully’s or our President target. That is just the Dad in me, but it weighs heavy on my soul.

So I am going to recharge and enjoy the holidays with my family. I am going to think about where I am headed and hope I see some signs from God, Buddha, Brahma or Santa Claus along the way to help direct me. As I have done in the past I will respond to any comments that need responding too and I am happy to get into a battle of wits with any of you pious Christians who take personal offense to my positions about your beliefs (I said I was taking a break, not dying).

So to each of you, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate use this time over the coming weeks to love each other but most importantly, love yourself. There is no way we can love each other or love the blessings of this creation if you don’t begin with loving YOU!

Peace & Blessings

“Human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.” – Howard Zinn

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Hasta la vista Roy  

I was watching a panel interview yesterday on MSNBC talking about the Roy Moore and Doug Jones race for Senate. One of the panelist was a journalist from Alabama. He spoke about Moore’s previous ventures into politics and then stated if Moore was elected Senator he would never finish his term. You see, he continued, for Moore it isn’t about winning it’s about getting kicked off. Moore makes a point not by working for the people who got him elected, he makes a point by breaking the rules because that don’t align with his demented morals or values and getting fired from his job.

You see Roy Moore, like Donald Trump is smarter than you or I. But unlike Donald Trump, Roy has a secret weapon, God. Donald just has money, power and cotton candy hair while Roy has the power of God on his side and like God, Roy is always on the right, and righteous side of everything even in defeat.

We learned a lot about Trump’s base by watching Moore and listening to his supporters speak. I am still working through Kayla Moore’s, Roy’s wife, comment when she stated, from written notes I might add that “I just want to set the record straight. One of our attorneys is a Jew. We have very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis, and we also fellowship with them.” If you saw this little production you also saw Roy standing behind his wife beaming with approval.

“One of our attorneys is a Jew” is just the kind of backwoods, redneck, dumb-ass statements you would expect to hear from a piece of white-trash in rural Alabama. But to hear it from the wife of a man who wanted to be a United States Senator really took my breath away. I am sure the ignorance and the arrogance of “One of our attorneys is a Jew” statement wasn’t lost on the more educated, and sophisticated Alabamians. Honestly it had to be just another embarrassment piled on top of all the other Roy Moore embarrassments.

It has been my experience that when someone says, “I am not a racist, I have black friends” or “I am not antisemitic, I have Jewish friends” or “I am not homophobic, I have gay friends” that they are in fact racist, antisemitic and homophobic but lucky for us Kayla Moore didn’t need to tell us that about her husband. We already knew, and thankfully so did the majority of the Alabama people.

So what does Roy Moore do with the rest of his life? I can bet you a dollar to a doughnut what he won’t do, sue The Washington Post like he claimed he would. Roy disappeared from the campaign trail because he couldn’t afford to litigate the story in public and certainly a trial would be a very public forum, one that he wants no part of. I suspect Roy will disappear from public life for a while and then start speaking on the church circuit. He will probably write a book detailing how great God is and how screwed-up the rest of us are. I doubt I will add it to my collection.

What we just experienced in Alabama will be played out across the country next year and again in 2020. Red states like South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas will fight an internal battle with their densely populated metropolitan areas filled with college educated, professionals, and minorities, people tired of moving backwards.

I had never heard of Roy Moore six months ago and I am okay with never hearing about him again. I am fine with the little cowboy remaining an Alabama delicacy and not a national treat. There are plenty of other positive exports Alabama can focus on now like Toyota, Mercedez-Benz, Honda and Hyundai. And honestly I hope the next time I write about anything associated with Alabama will be when Clemson beats them again on January 1st. Go Tigers, hasta la vista Roy.

  

 

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What does it mean?

“The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!” – Trump tweet 12-13-17

By 9:45 pm last night I was done. When I went to bed Roy Moore had a narrow lead over Doug Jones. For the last hour and a half I watched Jones close the gap and then the gap would widen. The MSNBC election guru was making a case for Jones’ path to victory but all I saw was the state of Alabama awash in red and a thin blue line.

Yesterday 22,000 Alabamians didn’t vote for the Republican nominee Roy Moore. They also didn’t vote for the Democratic nominee Doug Jones. Jones beat Moore by 21,000 votes while write-in candidates received 22,000 votes. So what did this election prove to me? That 22,000 Alabama Republicans realized Roy Moore is a dinosaur, a relic from the past and if the state ever had any intention or interest in moving out of the ice age dinosaurs like Roy Moore needed to remain extinct.

As much as I would love to say it was, Jones’ victory last night was not necessarily a vote against Trump and 22,000 Alabamians stated that loud and clear. It was though a vote against Steve Bannon and his brand of nasty politics but at the end of the day that decision really doesn’t have any bearing on us. I suspect, in the not to distant future, Bannon will be just another sad footnote, like Trump, in American politics. Historians will look back on this tragic period and wonder, “What were these guys thinking?” I hope they will offer an answer as well.

Today, Trump could still sweep Alabama in a reelection bid but these kind of defeats do show the effects of a 32% approval rating. What this win demonstrates, and the chink in Trump’s 32% approval rating armor, is a path to victory for Democrats namely, getting people out to vote who are tired of Donald Trump’s brand of ugliness. Trump is his own worst enemy and he is certainly the enemy of the “modern” Republican party. At this point, the best thing he can do for those of us you are ready for his departure is to just continue to be himself. Keep tweeting, keep lying, keep playing golf, and keep running his mouth.

At the end of day I am proud of Alabama. Hell I am even proud of the 22,000 who just couldn’t make themselves vote for a Democrat. I am proud of the Republicans who stayed home. Make no mistake about it this was a big deal but let’s not lose sight of the ultimate goal, sending Trump back to Mar-a-Lago for a permanent vacation. The sooner that happens the better off this country will be.

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What can I do?

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I am the son of two people who were born and raised in the segregated south. The North Carolina small town my parents grew-up in was replicated all over the South. From South Carolina to Mississippi, blacks and whites lived and worked together, but separately. There were black schools, black churches, and black stores. There were separate black entrances, and black sections in public buildings. Black water fountains, black bathrooms and black seating in the balcony of the local movie theater. The South existed as two separate society’s one black and one white and sadly for many communities that separation still exist today, but without the signs.

I watch the Donald Trump and Roy Moore rally’s and the truth is very clear to me and neither of these men even have to say it, Donald Trump is President because that separation between blacks and whites still exist and if Roy Moore is elected Senator it won’t be because God divined it, it will be because of white, rural people, the same people who elected Trump. If it feels like we are going backwards rather forward, I truly believe we are.

My parents, both who have worked their entire life for equality are very despondent about the direction this nation is headed in. They have not only spoken out about racial inequality but have backed up their words with actions. My father, in the early 1970’s, was interviewing a black man for a job. The man came into town on the weekend for the interview and joined us at church and for lunch on Sunday. Later that day my Dad got a call from the Chairman of the Deacons at our church, a board he was a member of. He was told that our family was no longer welcomed at our church. The Baptist had kicked us out for bring a black man to worship with us and I have been a Presbyterian ever since.

My mother taught for the majority of her career at a predominately black, inner-city elementary school. As she attained tenure over the years she could have had her pick of any school in the district, easier schools, more affluent schools but she chose to stay where she was. Years after she retired I asked her why she had devoted so much of her life teaching at that little school. Her response was simple, they needed me and I needed them.

Two people who had grown up in the segregated south, two people who understood that segregation was wrong then and is still wrong today. So when my parents watch Trumps rally’s on television. When they look at the make-up of his cabinet. When they see the people he is nominating for district attorney and judicial positions they see that Trump is not even attempting to move racial equality forward in America, it is an all out effort to move this country backwards and his base not only supports his motives but demand it of him.

I got to be honest, I am starting to feel overwhelmed by the ugly, hateful and racist tone Trump has set for this country. I hate that Trump has given men like Roy Moore, the Klu Klux Klan and white supremacist a platform to spew their hateful speech. Before Trump was elected the KKK hid behind a white sheet, Moore hid behind God and the white supremacist hid behind the internet. None of these men or groups have to hide any longer. Trump has made it okay to not only share but spread their hateful views in public, hell he does it on Twitter everyday.

What hurts my parents most is the progress they perceived we as a country had made on racial injustice appears to have not just stalled but moved backwards. And though we have made some advances we still have a very long way to go.

What can I do? What can we all do? Refuse to be sucked into Donald Trump’s and Roy Moore’s vision of America. Speak-up, speak-out and fight for racial equality. The generation of my parents had to build a better America, you and I will too and the time to start was yesterday.

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And the children sang

As empty nesters my wife is hell-bent on getting the house decorated “perfectly” for the arrival of our children and their significant others over the holidays. My jobs include getting the trees, yes trees, in their stands and in the house. Getting boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic. Putting lights on just one of the trees, not the “main tree” because I don’t put enough strands on it or arrange them to her liking. My last job is decorating the bushes outside with lights and around the front door. Apparently, at least according to her, I got a late start this year decorating outside because “everyone”, which after 30 years of marriage I now interrupt as the entire world, have their yards decorated and we didn’t. We do now. 

We spent all weekend putting the finishing touches on creating the “Perfect Christmas Masterpiece” and I spent all weekend telling her no. No, you don’t need that. No, you don’t have time to make that. No, we don’t need more lights there. No, I didn’t know where the wooden reindeer was……no, no, no!

At church Sunday the Pastor mentioned that a Repertory Theatre comprised of  underserved youth from our community would be performing a Christmas pageant in the sanctuary that night. Though the performance was during dinner time, and I had worked my behind off stringing lights and bending wires I told her I needed to go and hear the children sing. Even with all the trappings of Christmas scattered around the house, even with the beautiful snow we got all day Saturday, the holiday merry bug hadn’t bitten me yet. Maybe this would help I thought.

The sanctuary was packed with parents and grandparents, whites and blacks, rich and poor, homeless and privileged. We were all there for the same thing, but probably for different reasons. The couple sitting behind us were sound a sleep. I know them. They have been on the streets for years. All of their belongs were stored in two trash bags stuffed under the pew. It was 28 degrees outside and for two hours they could catch some much-needed sleep on a hard bench with the warmth of carolers whirling around them.

An older couple sat in front of us wearing their most festive attire. They had seen many Christmases come and go in their 70 or 80 years. I didn’t know their story but I guessed their days of creating the “Perfect Christmas Masterpiece” were well behind them. They could still have kids, and grand-kids that would make their way home for the holidays or they could be like so many families today, too much distances to cover for such a short amount of time. Maybe they were just looking for some much-needed Christmas spirit of old on a hard bench with the warmth of carolers whirling around them.

A young mother sat in front of the older couple. She had a child in the pageant, another one sitting beside her and a young child in her arms who wasn’t enjoying the festivities as much as the rest of us were. Over the course of two hours she had to walk to the back of the sanctuary several times to try a calm her fussy baby down while keeping one eye on the child she left in the pew and the other on the pageant. This young mother was juggling so much just to be there and watch her child perform. I could only imagine what she had to juggle everyday just living. Maybe she was just looking for a short escape on a hard bench with the warmth of carolers whirling around her.

For two hours I watched children twirl and sing. Bright eyes on bright faces that brought a smile across my very unmerry face. Sweet voices singing old songs with a jazzy, modern twist. I had a lump in my throat and mist in my eyes until I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing during a beautiful rendition of Oh Holy Night. The holiday, merry bug had finally bitten me. Maybe I just needed to see the magic and the possibility of the season on the faces of these people around me if just for a brief moment on a hard bench with the warmth of carolers whirling around us.

“Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices, Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born, Oh night divine, Oh night divine” – Oh Holy Night

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Dear Alabama Republicans

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Dear Alabama Republicans;

Tomorrow is your big day. The day you can prove to the rest of the nation just how Godly, moral and righteous you are. The day you can exclaim that you aren’t going to let anyone, particularly the left leaning media push you around. It’s your moment to stand on the mountain top and scream that you and only you knows who the real Jesus is and show your undying and unwavering support for his Old Testament prophet Roy Moore. Read your Bible today, drink plenty of cold sweet tea, and get lots of rest because if there is a Hell, and you believe that there is, after you vote yes for Judge Moore tomorrow that is where you are headed.

I know you don’t care what I think because you know you are right. You have spoken with Jesus and He told you if the choice was between Adolf Hitler and a Democrat vote for Hitler. Sure Hitler was a “bad hombre” if you believe the history books, which I suspect you don’t, but at least he wasn’t a Democrat.

At this point your vote is about spite. You voted for Roy Moore over Luther Strange out of spite and by god you will vote for Roy Moore again despite what you know about the man deep in your heart. You simply don’t care. You would rather be right in the eyes of your neighbors. Jesus will forgive you if you get it wrong, Jesus always forgives you. That is the beauty of your faith. Screw-up, get forgiven. Screw me, get forgiven. Do something you know is wrong, get forgiven. You’re good. You have a divine get out of jail free card in your back pocket which at this point I would imagine is pretty tattered and torn. Just remember to take it out before you wash those blue jeans.

You say this world is morally corrupt, you’re damn right it is. Look at the people you have elected and support to run it. You couldn’t have picked a more morally bankrupt individual as President, the antithesis of your Lord and Savior. In my mind the only way you could justify your vote for both Trump and Moore is by ripping out every page of your Bible that has text written in red, the words of Jesus. But hey you don’t need them, you know all the verses by heart. Even if you do get one or two of them wrong here or there you always have that get out of jail free card in your back pocket. Lucky you.

So go cast your vote for Roy Moore Mr. and Mrs. Alabama Republican. Prove to the GOP establishment, The Washington Post and the rest of us Obama loving, left leaning liberals that you won’t be pushed around. Remind us again about how much you love Jesus and that a vote for Moore is a vote for God but keep that card handy and hope that it has a little magic left in it. Me personally, I am betting it doesn’t.

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Images on the screen

I remember the images that filled our television screens in the 1960’s and the 1970’s, images of children in Northern Ireland and the West Bank of Palestine. Images of walls, barbwire, and automobiles smoldering in the streets as kids did what kids do, playing amidst the rubble, destruction and chaos. Adults caused these scenes and children paid the price for it.

This morning on television I watched the Israel military police push a young Palestinian teen up against a wall. I imagined that was one of my kids simply headed to Starbucks to meet their friends for a Latte. I saw the fear in this kids face as grown men in full riot gear pushed his head up against a stone wall. Maybe he was a protester but maybe he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, another kid paying for the poor decisions of adults.

Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital proves to me just how detached he and his Kool-Aid drinking followers are from reality. At this point I am convinced Trump realizes his days in office are numbered and his intent is to slash, burn and destroy everything in his wake. For me it was bad enough that he wants to destroy our environment and turn the clock back on social and racial advances but now he wants to put his fat thumb print on other society’s like Israel and North Korea in the name of fulfilling “campaign promises”. Trump reminded us this morning in a tweet;“I fulfilled my campaign promise – others didn’t!” Don’t tell us dumb ass, tell that kid with his face pressed up against the wall, tell the kids in North Korea who fear your “fire and fury”. You can’t and you won’t because your small mind can’t comprehend that your words create actions, actions that produce violence in the lives of the innocent.

Trump’s latest Pew Research Center approval rating has hit a new low. The poll finds that just 32 percent of Americans polled approve of how Trump is handling his job as president, while 63 percent say they disapprove and like clock work he has scheduled an ego rally in Florida. “Big crowd expected today in Pensacola, Florida” he tweeted this morning, “for a Make America Great Again speech. We have done so much in so short a period of time…and yet are planning to do so much more! See you there!”

32% of Americans are still buying his bullshit but guess what 63% aren’t and 6% don’t know what to believe. These 32% wear their designation like a badge of honor but the last time I checked 32% is less than 63%. When your Senator or Congressperson says they are working to advance the President’s agenda because that is what the “majority” of Americans want ask them which “majority” they are talking about, better yet, ask them which “majority” they are representing.

Will there be a “Big crowd” in Pensacola, Florida tonight, a city just 20 miles away from the contentious Roy Moore senate race in state of Alabama? Probably, Florida is filled to the brim with old white deplorables. But what these ego rally’s afford the rest of us, the 63%, is the opportunity to hear Trump off script at his unhinged best. He will do his best convince his base of white faces that he has accomplished more in eleven months than any other President. He will call Hillary crooked and Obama weak. He will deride the Russia investigation as a witch hunt, sour grapes for the Democrats losing and remind us that he won by the widest margin “EVER” once again, but watch his energy, watch the energy of the crowd and see if they can muster the same enthusiasm they had a year ago. I am betting it has waned a bit, even in Florida.

“LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already. The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time. He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military. VOTE ROY MOORE!” – Trump tweet 12-8-17

  

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