3 Things About “Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos”

Maybe you have seen this blog post floating around Facebook… The one titled “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos.” It’s on a blog called “The Transformed Wife.” And like me, you might have even taken taken a few blindingly infuriating minutes to read it. Chances are good you’ve at least seen it — It has approaching 100k Facebook shares (which is a lot), but the hopeful part of me — the part that enjoys my sanity — insists that the VAST majority of those shares come from people who share it in the way someone might share a picture of two people being married by a minister in a KKK hood… or a story about finding an actual live stegosaurus living behind a Pizza Hut. You know, shared with a kind of Horrified, Hilarious, Outraged Fascination… Shared in a “Would you get a load of this crazy shit?” sort of way.

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One thing is for sure: “Debt-Free Virgin Without Tattoos” would look great on a T-shirt. Also, my favorite response to this craziness has been “Running out to get a tattoo now. I think I will charge it.”

Certainly, though, there are a good number of people who shared it because they actually agree with what the author was saying. The post was accompanied by a stock photo of an attractive, young, lily-white woman (whom we can only assume is debt-free, tattoo-free, and as virginal as the day is long), but the woman who wrote it is actually a grandma named Lori Alexander, who describes herself as a “Christian Minister and author.” And she has over 77,000(!!??!!) people who have liked her Facebook page. I, on the other hand, only have about 6000 people who have liked mine (which, by the way, you should like if you haven’t already. It’s RIGHT HERE). This fact alone feels like a direct attack on “the hopeful part of me that enjoys my sanity.” And again, maybe SOME of those 77k people might be there for the occasional horrified laugh… But no doubt there are plenty of people in the world who think the way this woman thinks, and whole-heartedly agree with her message.

I am not one of those people.

So here are three things I’ve been thinking about since I dipped my toes into the craziness that is “Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos.”

1) DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME
Here’s the thing: Anyone who is mired in a stage of human consciousness which allows them to read that article with anything but horror and hilarity and outrage is not going to have their mind changed by any sort of rational argument. The sort of person who agrees with an article like that (or the sort of person who WRITES it) is literally and necessarily YEARS away from the shift in their thinking and understanding that would allow them to comprehend how utterly asinine an article like that is. Trying to “debate” someone like that into rational thought is a waste of time. There are YEARS of work for them to do with deconstructing and deprogramming their harmful ways of thinking about who God is, what the Bible is, what it means to be human, and even the definition of a word like “Goodness.”

If you’re going to spend your time having a conversation about purity culture and misogyny and complementarianism, save it for someone who has shown you some signs of the ability for higher level thinking. When dealing with a person who has spent their whole life being brainwashed in a cult, screaming at them doesn’t help them. It’s a LONG process of getting them to a place of mental health where they can examine the foundations of their own flawed thinking. And when groups are interested in keeping people brainwashed, education is the enemy. Which leads me to Number 2…

2) THE REAL THING SHE WAS SAYING
When she talks about men wanting women who are “debt-free,” she’s really saying that men want UNEDUCATED women.
You know, women who are unsullied by college and higher education and liberal ideas of “gender equality.” In the article she writes, “The husband will need to take years teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possible way that is wrong.” And since most women can’t go to college without some sort of college loans, men want “debt-free” women (though something tells me she would not be in favor of free college for all). Basically she is saying that women shouldn’t educate themselves because men prefer submissive wives who they don’t have to go through the trouble of reprograming. Again, if the harmfulness of this sort of worldview is not self-evident to someone, you’re probably not going to be able to “Rational Conversation” your way into convincing them.

And that’s not even mentioning the harmfulness of the “Virgins” part of it. The title reads like a search on a porn site. I mean, you can literally only have sex with a virgin ONCE… Then she’s no longer a virgin. And this fundamentalist focus on virginity (or even lack of tattoos) is nothing more than fetishizing an unblemished offering to the man. And what THAT does is it teaches girls that sex is a blemish… Instead of something natural and beautiful and good. Then, women are forced to make the often very difficult switch from “Sex = Bad” to “Sex = Good.” This whole “Purity Culture” process is just more reinforcement of the lie that it is what we DO which makes us worthy, rather than the truth that our worth comes from WHO WE ARE — The inherently infinitely beloved children of a benevolent creator, broken and beautiful, and pulled toward goodness… Not out of fear of punishment, but out of the recognition the Image of God in ourselves and in all things.

3) THIS WOMAN IS THE VICTIM OF ABUSE.
One last thing to think about: The woman who wrote that post is the victim of ABUSE. Imagine the years and years of programming… Imagine the layers and layers of shame and self-hatred she was marinated in… Imagine how deeply ingrained a sense of misogyny and second-class-ness a woman must have been forced into in order for her to be capable of writing something like that article. If you look at her (and the people who believe the tripe she is passing along) as people in BONDAGE, it makes it a lot easier to not hate them. Because that is very easy to do. But a conversation is way more likely to be successful where the goal is not in “proving someone wrong,” but instead in SETTING SOMEONE FREE. And wow… There are so many people in the world right now who need to be set free.

Thank you so much for reading. If you believe in my mission to set people free, and if you value this blog as a place that gives you encouragement, and if you’d like to support it, I have some good news for you: YOU CAN! You can become a patron on my PATREON PAGE. You can LEAVE A TIP on PayPal (and you can specify a post you’d like me to promote on Facebook). Or you can just support me by sharing my stuff on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER or as a response when you see that awful blog post pop up. Either way, stay brave, stay hopeful, and stay sane. Love you all…

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Not Everything Is Crap. I Promise.

I know it can feel that way. I feel it too. It can be easy to focus on all the things that are horribly wrong with the world. Supreme Court Justices and demonizing immigrants and immoral, corrupt leaders… It can all feel like too much. I know we HAVE to focus on those things sometimes. But if that’s ALL we focus on, it can make us lose hope. And people who have lost hope are way less likely to vote. People who have lost hope stop trying. And when don’t vote and we stop trying, oppression and injustice and hatred thrive. So I just want to share a couple things to remind you that not everything is crap.

First, this video. In a game deciding which team would go on to the state tournament, pitcher Ty Koen struck out the final batter of the game… Who happened to be his good childhood friend Jack Kocon. Please, PLEASE watch this…

Sometimes the world can feel like it’s filled with videos of people falling down on a patch of ice, or guys getting hit in the nuts, or an overweight person breaking a porch swing, or some other garbage. People park their kids in front of a TV watching “America’s Funniest Videos,” and those kids are taught that the loss of human dignity is “funny.” But in the midst of that darkness, videos like the one above shine even brighter. Friendship is more powerful than any rivalry. One act of compassion is stronger than 100 acts of “win at any cost.” In an interview about that hug, Jack said that “Twenty years from now, I will think back to that game, and I will not remember the score, but I WILL remember what Ty did for me, and that’s really all that matters.”

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So that’s one good thing. And the second good thing I wanted to remind you of is Mr. Rogers. This year for HER birthday, my mother-in-law took our family to see the documentary about the life of Fred Rogers called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” I seriously cannot recommend this movie highly enough. This movie, much like Fred Rogers’ life, is an extraordinary act of goodness and hope. If you have ever trusted anything I have ever said, please trust me when I say this: You NEED to go see this movie. EVERYONE needs to see this movie.

There is a scene in “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” where Mr. Rogers meets Koko the gorilla. Last week Koko died. She knew over 1000 words in sign language, and understood over 2000 words. There is a story about how once Koko tore a sink off of the wall in the area where she lived (which is really nothing for a gorilla). When her handlers asked her about what happened, Koko blamed it on her kitten, Ms. Grey. She signed the words “Cat did it.” And as if that story wasn’t enough to make you smile for a very long time, listen to this… Koko was a huge fan of Mr. Rogers. His show was one she was allowed to watch. So when she got a chance to meet him in person, she hugged him and told him she loved him. There is a scene in the movie where she takes off Mr. Rogers’ shoes… Just like she had watched him do so many times before when he walked into his house. I honestly can’t tell people about that scene — with Koko hugging an old man and taking his shoes off — without tearing up with happiness. And I’ve tried many times.

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One last thing about Mr. Rogers, as we all look for light in the darkness and ways to stay hopeful. You may have seen the footage of Fred singing “It’s You I Like” with a little boy in a wheelchair named Jeff Erlanger. If you haven’t, you definitely need to watch it. But even if you have, please take a couple minutes to watch it again…

The love and attention and compassion displayed here are just extraordinary. Here are the words to the song “It’s You I Like,” written by Mr. Rogers himself:

It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.

But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.

Jeff went on from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood to grow into a man who was an advocate and activist for the rights of people with disabilities. And when Mr. Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, Jeff was there to congratulate him. His appearance was a surprise for Fred. Watch as an old man leaps onto a stage to greet an old friend and neighbor… And then listen as Mr. Rogers emanates wisdom and kindness and goodness and light and life and love in his speech.

Both of these men are gone now… Memories of goodness. And as I think about a Supreme Court Justice being nominated by a uniquely immoral and broken man, I feel like I’m looking around for a hero. But in times of great darkness, Fred Rogers reminds us to “look for the HELPERS. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there is HOPE.” And as we look for help, the words of a good neighbor speak from the past:We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people. ~ Fred Rogers

Please do yourself the favor of watching “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” It is self care for the soul. And then ask yourself what is is that you can give this world that no one else can. Because we desperately need the things you have to offer. As Mr. Rogers reminds us, “You’re the only one who can be you.” Anne Frank wrote “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” Be that single candle. Look for the candle in others. In times of great darkness, acts of love and light shine even brighter. We have got some hard work ahead of us. And we cannot do the work that needs to be done if we don’t have HOPE. My hope is not in the church… At least not the church in the way it looks today. My hope is not in moral heroes like Fred Rogers. My hope is that we can show the world that goodness is more attractive than selfishness and discrimination and hatred and bigotry and fear. My hope is that Love wins.

Stay hopeful, friends. Thank you so much to my Patrons. If you value this blog, and you’d like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON or you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. The other way you can help support me (or any writer) is just to share the stuff you love. Share it on FACEBOOK. Share it on TWITTER. Share it wherever. But most of all, stay hopeful.

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Calls For “Civility,” and Other Bullshit

When a woman asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her restaurant, people were so upset by the lack of “civility” you’d have thought the restaurant owner had gotten up in front of the nation on a daily basis and lied to the American people in defense of an objectively immoral, narcissistic, racist wannabe despot who regularly refers to the press as “the enemy of the people.” THEN, when Representative Maxine Waters suggested more of the same — That people “tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere” — people were so angry at the lack of “civility” you’d have thought she stood behind a podium and encouraged violence against protestors by offering to pay for their legal fees if they got arrested.

So now republicans are worried about a lack of civility. The party of “Fuck Your Feelings” is worried about civility. The party who is still chanting “LOCK HER UP!” a year and a half after the election is worried about civility. The people who dismissed it as “just locker room talk” when an immoral man admitted to sexual assault, claimed his accusers were too ugly to assault, and bragged about being able to “grab ’em by the pussy” are worried about civility. The folks who support a man who responded to athletes peacefully protesting racism and police brutality by calling them “sons of bitches” and calling for them all to be fired are worried about civility. And the people calling for “civility” are also the ones who voted for the man who did this…

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“And then a whole bunch of white people calling themselves christians went on to elect him president.” ~ A teacher, someday in the future, explaining the death of “civility” to students.

“Civility” is just political correctness for people in red hats. But — again — this post isn’t simply about pointing out republican hypocrisy… People who can’t even see that Trump is the villain in literally ANY story you could write are probably not very likely to be able to see their own hypocrisy. Anyway, it’s not just republicans who are worried about civility… Many democratic leaders are expressing concern at the lack of civility being shown by people. We wring our hands as Michelle Wolf jokes about how much of a liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders is while she sits right next to her. Many liberal voices are calling for more civility while tone-policing people who are rightly angered by the continued immoral actions of this GOP administration. But imagine someone taking your child, and then when you start screaming “GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING KID!” people start saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa… Calm down. There’s no need for that kind of incivility.”

These calls for some etherial concept of “civility” are wielded as weapons against people who would stand up to ACTUAL incivility, immorality, and inhumanity. This GOP administration has a strategy of doing things that are intentionally outrageous, and then acting as if people are “uncivil” when they respond to outrageous acts with OUTRAGE. The party in power is taking steady steps toward genocide, and then when someone says “Fuck genocide, fuck Trump, and fuck you for voting for him,” people are more offended by the word “fuck” than they are by the steps toward actual genocide. “Whoa, whoa, whoa… We can disagree without being disagreeable!” Well, YOU might be able to… Not everyone can.

For example, the man in the video below might be able to stand there and calmly take being taunted and insulted by a racist old woman… Other people might have already reached their fill of being demeaned and dehumanized, and they might decide to yell. Or call her a name. Or both yell AND call her a name. A name that rhymes with “schmignorant schmacist schmunt.”

 

The people calling for “civility” are the same sorts of folks who were calling for “patience” when People Of Color were demanding their civil rights. In a 1957 interview on Meet The Press, Jackie Robinson was asked if African Americans should be more “patient” in their struggle for civil rights. Here is what he said:

“When they say that the NAACP is moving too fast, you know, I heard that… when I was out in Pasadena, California trying to get into the YMCA. ‘Take your time.’ ‘Be patient.’ Patience is fine. I think if we go back and check our records, the negro has proven beyond a doubt that we have been more than patient in seeking our rights as American citizens. ‘Be patient,’ I was told as a kid. I keep hearing that today. ‘Let’s be patient. Let’s take our time. Things will come.’ It seems to me that the Civil War has been over about 93 years. And if that isn’t patience, I don’t know what is.

It’s like when a man beats up his wife, and the pastor tells her to forgive him. Because forgiveness is good, right? WWJD? Jesus told us to LOVE our enemies, and divorcing your shitty, abusive husband isn’t very “loving.” And then imagine a woman with a black eye and an arm in a cast for the second time hearing that, and finally saying, “What a crock of shit. I am LEAVING that fucking asshole.” And then the congregation says, “We know that it’s not nice of your husband to beat you up… but it’s ALSO not very nice of you to use that sort of language!” Insisting that a person who is vulnerable, oppressed, and being abused needs to “turn the other cheek” isn’t love. It is simply more abuse. Turning the other cheek is an act of power and choice… These people have neither.

Patience… Forgiveness… Civility… These are all good things. But if you are using these good things to excuse or prolong abuse, you are doing it wrong. So. Very. Wrong. Don’t let people lecture you about being “divisive.” The goal is not unity… The goal is MORALITY.

I work in a restaurant. I serve people all the time who are Trump supporters. I serve people with rebel flags on their shirts, MAGA hats on their heads, racist bumper stickers on their cars, and hatred in their hearts. But if someone got on TV every day and LIED about the restaurant owner’s family, I’d be willing to bet you the owners would tell that person to find another place to eat. If a person was paid to spread lies designed to harm people whom the owners cared about, few would fault them for saying, “You are not welcome here.” So I guess the question is this: Who do you consider “family?” Who do you care about? Who is your neighbor? Do you care about immigrant families enough to tell a woman who lies to hurt them that she is not welcome in your restaurant? Do you care about families born on THAT side of the border as much as you care about families born on THIS side of the border? Do you care about people who speak Spanish as much as you care about people who speak English? If you did, you might tell a person (who knowingly lies to protect an awful man while doing actual harm to people you care about) “Sorry, Sarah… We don’t want your business.”

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You want civility? You want peace? Start treating “their” kids like they are YOUR kids.

 

Listen, I get it… I know what it’s like to feel bound by expectations of “civility.” There was a time, not so long ago, when I couldn’t bring myself to share articles from “I Fucking Love Science” on my Facebook page (no matter HOW cool or interesting they were) because of the presence of the F-word.  There are many, MANY people who won’t share this article simply because it has the word “Bullshit” in the title. I cringe when I see people yelling “Shame!” while someone is trying to eat a meal. But if anything, there is too MUCH civility in our reactions to the continued abuse and harmful rhetoric that oozes from this administration. There is a fine line between Civility and Complicity. And as Elie Wiesel once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

We cannot be neutral… We cannot be silent… Even if our refusal of neutrality and silence comes across as rude or angry or uncivil. “Civility” allowed Mitch McConnell to steal a Supreme Court seat. Anyway, I’ll leave you with one more example of sweet, sweet incivility…

If you haven’t already, please read the amazing article by Michelle Goldberg titled “We Have A Crisis Of Democracy, Not Manners.” She handles this topic with a grace and eloquence unavailable to me. Also, if you believe I’m doing something important with this blog and you’d like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s safe, fun, and super easy. Otherwise, if you’d like to leave a tip on PayPal, you can do that RIGHT HERE. And again, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter for even more Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor. Thanks again for reading and sharing!

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The Republican Party Is Morally Bankrupt. And If You Vote For Them, You Are Too.

It’s just the truth. I know people “don’t want to make this about a political party.” I know people want to be all “Not All Republicans.” I know that people want to say that “Saying stuff like this is how Trump won.” But it’s the truth… And if there is ever a time to speak the truth, it’s RIGHT NOW: The Republican Party is morally bankrupt… And if you vote for them, you are too.

If you find out that someone is racist and you still support him, that makes YOU a racist. If you discover that someone is sexist and you still contribute to his campaign, that makes YOU a sexist. And if you figure out that a president and the political party which embraces him is utterly and hopelessly immoral and you still vote for them, that means YOU are morally bankrupt as well.

And please know, it didn’t have to get all the way to “Taking away the children of people seeking asylum, and putting those kids in baby jails in an attempt to pressure democrats to vote for funding a wall” in order for me to make a statement like this… It has BEEN the truth. It’s not the truth just because the stuff that is currently happening is particularly awful… If there is one thing this GOP administration can be trusted on, it’s that they will soon do something even worse — Something so awful it will make “Forcibly separating kids from their parents and keeping babies in cages” seem like a time when things WEREN’T so crazy. It’s the truth because “morality” means something. And what we have seen these long last 18 months of this GOP Administration AIN’T IT.

If you’re like me, it probably seems like everyone hates Trump as much as you do… But that is not the case. There are many, MANY people who were cheering when he started his campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists and murderers,” they were cheering as he chanted “Build That Wall!” at his rallies, they were cheering when he talked about “many fine people on both sides” after a racist murdered a protestor at a white supremacist rally, and they’ve been cheering as he continually fans the flames of xenophobia and bigotry. There are MILLIONS of people in this country for whom these sorts of atrocities and human rights abuses are EXACTLY why they wanted a “President Donald Trump.” And sure, some out there might genuinely not know any better because they probably only watch the network that portrays these detention centers as “summer camps.” But for some of you out there, you are starting to question whether “an anti-abortion Supreme Court Justice” or “tax cuts for the wealthy” was worth the price of what supporting an objective monster like Trump is doing to your soul.

And here’s something important to consider: How shitty is it that it took tearing families apart and building tent cities with 20 kids per cage and literally imprisoning people for a MISDEMEANOR for you to finally say, “I think that’s a bit too far?”

I hear people getting upset about Robert DiNero saying “Fuck Trump” because they feel like that is just going to upset people and push them further away. But honestly, I don’t know how someone can look at the news and NOT feel a giant “FUCK TRUMP” well up inside of them. PLEASE read this whole thread of the tweet below…

And if you are one of the people insisting that calling Racism and Bigotry and Hatred and Injustice and Immorality by their NAMES is “how Trump is going to win a second term,” I’ve got some news for you: If someone is so blind to the clear immorality of this president that they are swayed to vote for a racist, lying, dictator-praising, free press-attacking, sexual-assaulting, pussy-grabbing, pile of narcissistic immorality like Donald Trump (or any of the rest of the spineless legislators afraid to lose their seats for calling evil “evil”) just because people like me weren’t “gentle” enough with them when we pointed out how utterly repulsive it is to support these republicans, then THEY WERE NEVER GOING TO DO THE RIGHT THING IN THE FIRST PLACE. Imagine being so fragile and vindictive that you would vote for a monster like Trump just because someone used the F-word or pointed out your racism…

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This is one of the cartoons that got Rob Rogers fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after working there for 25 years… for being too critical of Trump.

Because he IS a monster. He is a horrible monster. If a person could end this “zero tolerance policy” at the border with a phone call, and that person chooses NOT to, that person is a monster. And just about every legislator with an “R” behind their name is supporting that monster… Other than a few folks who feel “emboldened” enough by their planned retirement from politics to actually be critical of a man who criticizes Justin Trudeau while praising a brutal, murderous dictator like Kim Jong Un.

Last night, Rachel Maddow broke down in tears while trying to read about toddlers being detained/imprisoned in something called “Tender Age Facilities.” Here is the video:

The reaction you just saw is an appropriate reaction for a human being to have when they hear the term “Tender Age Facilities.” 

And people are rightly focusing on the inhumanity of what this does to the kids… but it is also horrific for the adults who were seeking asylum. Once, when my oldest daughter was just a little kid, I spent roughly one full minute thinking someone had taken her. I had just read The Shack, so my imagination was on full Worst Case Scenario mode. We were at a playground/park with a bunch of people at it, and I thought my daughter was with my wife. When I walked over to my wife, she asked me where our daughter was. I immediately ran around the playground twice, yelling her name the whole time. There were maybe 60 seconds where I didn’t know where she was or who had her. It turns out she was hiding in one of the tube slides… But I can tell you that that terrified feeling of being separated from someone I love and not knowing if I’ll get them back is as close to an actual hell as my brain can imagine.

You might be thinking that you don’t want to share things like this post because it’s “too divisive” or because “you don’t like getting political.” Well, “not getting political” is a luxury people have who don’t have to worry about THEIR kids being forcibly taken from them and put into “tender age facilities.” You might feel a deep sense of “What’s the point? Everything sucks.” I feel that way sometimes too… But we must not lose hope. We must stay vigilant and committed to the truth. We must call immorality and hatred and cruelty buy their names. We must speak up for people whose voices are silenced. And please hear me: WE. MUST. VOTE. We must overwhelm the polls with people committed to getting rid of the immoral people who support the broken, immoral man who currently leads our nation.

Oh, I feel it too. I want to give up. It’s hard to keep caring when there is a tidal wave of despair every day. All I can say is THANK YOU SO MUCH to the people who support me on Patreon. It is such an honor and encouragement to have people who care enough about this blog to help pay for it. If you want to BECOME A PATRON… If you want to LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL… or if you want to follow me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER, that would be just fantastic. Thank you for reading, and thank you for sharing.

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Leave Ivanka Alone!

Samantha Bee has gotten herself into a bit of trouble this past week. While just about every person in the world who is both minimally informed and also possesses an ounce of compassion was flipping out over news of Trump’s abhorrent and inhuman policy of separating children from their parents at the border, Ivanka Trump displayed either a truly startling degree of tone-deafness or an act of intentional heartlessness, and chose that particular day to post a picture of herself holding her child. So Samantha Bee pleaded with her to ask her dad to stop tearing families apart. And as she so often does, she did it with a combination of passion and anger and humor… Here is what she said:

“You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say –one mother to another — do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless cunt. He listens to you. Put on something tight and low cut and tell your father to fucking stop it… Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes, OK?”

And with that, millions of people who had no problem voting for a man who bragged on tape about how his fame allows him to “grab them by the pussy” suddenly became very offended at a comedian’s use of a naughty word.  People who voted for the man who told Howard Stern that he didn’t mind him referring to Ivanka as “a piece of ass” were offended. People who voted for the man who grossly “joked” that he might be dating Ivanka if she weren’t his daughter were offended. People who voted for the man who has been accused by MULTIPLE women of sexual assault, and dismissed some of those accusations by insinuating that the women were too ugly to sexually assault were offended.

But I suppose different people find different things offensive…

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the word people got really angry about wasn’t the word “feckless.” And now, people within this GOP administration — still smarting from the news that their racist hero Roseanne Barr lost her job — are calling for Samantha Bee to lose hers. Once again, the hypocrisy is just more than anyone should have to bear: The folks who called for the firing of an NFL player for protesting racism and police brutality by respectfully kneeling during the anthem are the SAME folks defending the “first amendment” rights of a woman who made blatantly racist comments comparing a black person to an ape… The same Roseanne Barr who did this to the anthem, finishing her farce by grabbing HERSELF by the pussy, and spitting on the field:

It appears their hypocrisy knows no bounds. This same outrageous, now unforgivably-offensive “C-word” used by Samantha Bee was used by Ted Nugent in reference to Hillary Clinton not too long ago, and all it got HIM was an invitation to the White House for a photo op with Donald Trump, Kid Rock, and Sarah Palin… A photo so dense with awfulness that if awfulness was gravity, it would have formed some sort of black hole.

But if I’m going to be writing about Republican hypocrisy, I’ll be here all day…

If you’re anything like me, you might have Googled the definition of “feckless.” It’s an adjective describing someone who is “lacking initiative or strength of character,” and the synonyms listed are “useless, worthless, incompetent, inept, and good-for-nothing.” In contrast, the word “cunt” is simply a vulgar/slang way of referring to a woman’s genitals. And listen… if I’m choosing between being known as “feckless” or being known as a “cunt,” I’m going to go with “cunt” every time. Or, as two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, Forrest Gump’s mom, and American hero Sally Field reminded us…

And as my grandmother always used to tell me, when you find yourself absolutely owned online by Gidget and The Flying Nun, it’s time to hang up your Twitter and disappear for a while. No she didn’t…

Honestly though, I really don’t think it’s fair for people to pile on Ivanka like this. For some reason, she has taken on the role of “the conscience” of the Trump family. But I really see no evidence for her having any sort of better understanding of right and wrong than the rest of her family… And I especially see no evidence of her actually ACTING on that perceived moral clarity. Anyone who has the ear of Donald Trump and is not telling him on a daily basis that he is a villain who is actually working to hurt already vulnerable people is COMPLICIT in the harm he is doing. If I ever get within earshot of the man, I can guarantee you “cunt” will seem pleasant and proper by comparison.

Give her some credit — The fact that Ivanka Trump is even able to FEIGN compassion with that man as her father is actually very impressive. After only having had to deal with the horribleness that is Donald Trump for a couple years, I already feel a bit crazier, more hopeless, and like a significant part of my soul has died… IMAGINE HAVING TO SPEND YOUR WHOLE LIFE AROUND THAT SELFISH, AMORAL MAN. Imagine having Donald J. Trump as your image of what fatherhood looks like. Imagine having to deal with that level of narcissism on a consistent, life-long basis. Imaging what something like being publicly and persistently sexualized by your own father can do to your own moral compass. And then maybe give Ivanka a break… She’s had to deal with having a perverted, lying coward for a father.

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 11.56.15 PM

“Ivanka needs to know that people love her handbags, you guys!”

But also, for the love of God, please stop acting like she is somehow the member of the Trump family with a conscience or a sense of morality. There is no evidence for that whatsoever. She only appears compassionate when contrasted to an epically narcissistic megalomaniac. And it’s clear that she has no interest in stopping the all-out attack her father’s administration has waged on both morality and truth. Ivanka is not the solution for Donald Trump’s awfulness… She is a casualty of it. And she is as inconsequential as her stupid handbags. Leave her alone. She’s not going to “talk sense” into her dad… She’s part of the problem. And the way to solve a problem like this is to VOTE. THEM. OUT.

Thank you for reading! If this is your first time reading this blog, I can assure you this will almost certainly be the most I will ever use the word “cunt” in something I write. At the same time, I hope the word “feckless” becomes a way more frequently-used addition to my vocabulary. It’s hard to imagine someone reading this particular post and saying, “You know, I want to help financially support that dude.” Maybe read some of my older, less C-word-peppered posts? Anyway, if you’d like to become a Patron, you can do that RIGHT HERE. If you like to leave a tip on PayPal, feel free to do that RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for some stuff that is filled to the brim with feck. I love you.

Posted in 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ISRAEL: David Teamed Up With Goliath, and Now The Oppressed Has Become The Oppressor

My kids use entirely too much toilet paper. I’m not sure if they just wrap it around their hand about 30 to 40 times, until their hand looks like a boxing glove, or what is going on in there (I’m a folder, myself), but we go through a lot of TP in our house. My kids are actually smart people… But you wouldn’t know it by how terrible they are at replacing the roll when they use the last of it. And so, every so often, someone sits down on the toilet and starts going without noticing that there is nothing for them to wipe with. In these situations, invariably someone will make the appeal to the universe, “WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET ME SOME TOILET PAPER?!?”

The other day my oldest daughter found herself in this situation while I was still in bed (I got home very late the night/morning before). My youngest HEARD her, but she was refusing to get her another roll. Finally, I yelled from the bedroom, “GET YOUR SISTER SOME TOILET PAPER RIGHT THIS INSTANT!!!???” And yea, it was so…

Within literally the next fifteen minutes, the younger one was taking a shower. After the water stopped, she asked her older sister in she would get her a towel. I couldn’t believe my ears. “No,” was her answer. Not only “No,” but “No” followed by a long sermon about “needing to learn her lesson” and “personal responsibility.” And there is not much that gets me out of bed that early after getting home that late, but that kind of hypocrisy will do it. Next thing you know, I’m standing in the living room. In my underwear. Pissed. And pointing my finger at a child saying things like “You were just in this same situation” and “How DARE you” and “You know BETTER than this” and “So disappointed.”


From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the Spirit of God has spoken to humanity, “You KNOW what it’s like to be oppressed. You KNOW what it’s like to be the alien. You KNOW what it’s like to be mistreated and imprisoned and enslaved. REMEMBER! REMEMBER that feeling, and use that holy empathy to remind yourselves to treat others well.” So many times, the Israelites were reminded of how cruelly THEY were treated in Egypt, and reminded to not treat others the same way. Leviticus 19:34 says, “You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.”

And just in case you thought this idea of us “loving our enemies” suddenly appeared with Jesus, you should know it’s all over the Old Testament. Exodus 23:5 says, “If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load, do not walk by. Instead, stop and help.” It is a continuous theme throughout the Bible. And when Jesus depicts God as being angry, it’s almost always when people KNOW what it’s like to receive compassion, but they don’t offer that same compassion to others. He tells a story of a ruler who forgave a man’s huge debt, but then the ruler finds that same man beating up someone who owes him just a little… And the ruler grabs him and says, “How DARE you! You KNOW better! You KNOW what it’s like! REMEMBER!!! (by the way, you’re paying me back every cent you owe me now)”

This week, thousands of Palestinian protestors have been injured and shot by Israeli SNIPERS. On Monday alone, over 50 protestors were killed, along with some members of the press. The protests marked the both the 70th anniversary of the day thousands of Palestinians were displaced by the creation of Israel in 1948, as well as the dedication of the new U.S. Embassy, moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. One of the people killed by Israeli snipers was a man named Fadi Abu Salah. He was misidentified as this man:

katil_israil_fadi_abu_salah_i_sehit_etti_h142905_bd61a

If you can’t see David in this photograph, look a little closer…

But the man’s name who is swinging the sling is actually Saber al-Ashqar. The man who was killed, Fadi Abu Salah, was actually this man below:

I suppose it might be easy to get them confused… They were both about the same age, both had short, dark hair with trim beards, and both protestors were in a wheelchair because they previously had their legs blown off by Israeli mortars.

I don’t want to get into blaming Trump for this. There is way more to it than that. Besides, Trump couldn’t care less about where the Israeli Embassy is… The reason it got moved was because the Evangelicals who helped get Trump elected DEMANDED it. Because they believe it will play some roll in the apocalypse or the second coming of Christ or some garbage. But even the ones who know better are shockingly silent, as soldiers fire from a distance at men, women and children who are throwing stones… Though, the fact that he had his name in the same font size as “United States of America,” and LARGER than “Jerusalem, Israel” is just another example of how he is literally the worst…

Israel is a small nation. They deserve to have a country… But so do the Palestinians. The Jewish People have experienced some of the worst atrocities and oppression the world has ever known. But these are the actions of a People who have forgotten what oppression feels like. They have forgotten their stories. In the Bible, God was not on the side of Israel because of their name. Or their land. Or their DNA… God is on the side of the oppressed. Which is why, all through the Bible, God keeps telling them, “REMEMBER! Remember what it was like!” So now that David has teamed up with the Goliath Force of the United States Military, the voice of God is STILL crying out: “REMEMBER! YOU were once forced off of your land. YOU were once without a place to call home. YOU were once living in occupied territory. REMEMBER!” And there are few things that speak those words as clearly as the picture of a man with no legs, swinging a sling, throwing rocks at wall he could never climb. This week’s massacres are not the action of David… These are the actions of Goliath. And God has never been on Goliath’s side.

This post hit all three: Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor. Well, maybe not “humor,” but at least there was a bathroom story in there. I just wanted to say again how deeply grateful I am to my Patrons. If you’d like to help support me and my writing, YOU TOO can BECOME A PATRON. Or, if you like to leave a tip of boost a post, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Also, you can keep up with me on Twitter and on Facebook. Last but not least, I’ll leave you with this song by David Wilcox. Please listen to it…

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Christians and Torture: Why So Many Don’t Have A Problem With It

Torture has been in the news a lot recently… Though it is usually referred to by it’s more palatable euphemism, “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.” The confirmation hearings for Gina Haspel (President Trump’s pick to head the CIA) have been focusing on the parts she played in waterboarding prisoners, as well as her recommendation that the tapes of those water boarding session be destroyed. Senator John McCain, a man who knows first hand about the inhumanity of torture after being tortured in Vietnam, just came out against her nomination, saying,

“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”

McCain is one of very few republicans to come out against Haspel’s nomination on moral grounds. I don’t know why it still surprises me that the party which saw 81% of white evangelicals vote for a man who is so clearly immoral wouldn’t have a problem with torture. During the debates, Trump proudly said, “I would bring back waterboarding… And I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

White evangelicals have warmed CONSIDERABLY to the idea of acts of immorality by their leadership, as shown by a study by the Public Religion Research Institute. In 2011, 30% of white evangelicals said that “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties.” By 2016, that number jumped to 72%. They might just be following the lead of hypocrites and charlatans and frauds like Franklin Graham, who in 1998 said, “The God of the Bible says that what one does in private does matter… If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?” This week he is defending Trump, saying that his affair with a porn star and his lying to the American public about paying her off is “Nobody’s business.”

So I’ve been thinking about HOW IT IS that people calling themselves “Christians” — people who follow a man named Jesus… A nonviolent messiah, murdered by a violent instrument of torture — have become so morally bankrupt that they are now okay with something as objectively immoral and inhuman as TORTURE. And I believe it has a lot to do with their concept of God and their ideas about Hell (I say “THEIR” concept of God, instead of “OUR” concept of God… Not because I don’t consider myself a Christian, but because a “christian” who condones torture seems so totally incongruent and hypocritical that we must be believing in different Gods). But here it is: They believe in the God who tortures. And when you have a God who doesn’t mind torture, why in the world would you think the people who worship that God (and call that God “good“) would have a problem with torture?

Trump_Jesus

This might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

What a terrifying deity I grew up believing in… The god who hands out a sentence of Eternal Torture for the crime of 16 years of non-belief… The god who sends almost everyone who ever lived to a fiery Hell… The god who gives us the “good news” that YOU might miss out on this horrific fate, if you just believe exactly all the right things… The god who is powerful enough to make the suffering stop, but chooses not to. That god is powerful, yes… Powerful enough to do ANYTHING, they say… Powerful enough to even mercifully make it so that people don’t exist anymore… But doesn’t, right? How could we ever call that god “Good?”  And yet much of Christianity believes in a God who sustains the existence of the majority of people who ever lived in order to keep them in an eternal conscious torment. And they call that god “Good.”

So it makes sense that so many of these misguided, deceived people would have such a skewed understanding of “Goodness” that they would cheer for a man who promises them “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” It makes sense that 81% of these people would vote for a man who lacks even the most basic human compassion. And it makes sense why they would vote to confirm a woman who participated in torturing prisoners, and then ordered the tapes of that abuse to be destroyed. They vote for a powerful monster who wants to be worshipped, because they believe that GOD is a powerful monster who wants to be worshipped… And they’ve been told that god is “good.”

And yeah, I know, I’ve heard it before — Many people will try to make the theological distinction that “it is not GOD who is torturing these people… It is simply the natural result/consequence of the sinner’s actions.” Basically, they’re saying that it’s the fault of the person getting tortured (the sinner/Muslim accused of a crime), and not the fault of the one handing out the torture. Which sounds suspiciously similar to an abusive husband telling his wife, “You brought this on yourself.”

hell-600x450

This is how I feel when I have to listen to the sound of Trump’s voice…

But God is not an abusive husband. God is not some sadistic deity who sends almost everyone to get tortured for the “crime” of not believing that a God who would do such a thing could ever be called “Good.” God is not a monster who sustains the consciousness of “sinners” to non-redemptively punish them forever. We were NEVER going to get it right… The Bible says we were made “a little lower than the angels,” and even THEY messed up. God is not a father who sends his son to get tortured and killed, because of rules the HE WROTE. THAT. IS. NOT. GOOD!

If Jesus knew anything about God, he knew that God is like a good parent… A way better parent than you or I could ever hope to be. Imagine hearing of a parent handing their kids over to get tortured. WHO WOULD EVER CALL THAT PARENT “GOOD?” It’s time we got our theology right. It matters. If you find someone with skewed beliefs about how there are “some very fine people on both sides” of a white supremacist rally, and if you find someone with some monstrous beliefs about the morality of torture, I guarantee you you can trace that back to some skewed, monstrous beliefs about the morality of God. When we call God “Good,” that MEANS something.

That you for reading. I sure love you people. If you value this blog, and you want to help support it, you can join a few other awesome folks and BECOME A PATRON. It means a lot. If you’d like to leave a TIP ON PAYPAL or boost a post, please do. Or, if you want to keep up with me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER, click the links and like/follow/whatnot. Remind yourself every day what Goodness looks like, and then work for it, and live it out.

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No, Trump Is Not “Withdrawing” From The Iran Nuclear Deal

Stop calling it that. He’s not “withdrawing.” He’s not “dropping out.” He’s not “pulling away from” the deal… He is simply BREAKING A PROMISE that our country made. He is breaking an agreement we made with another nation, and by doing so, he is damaging the credibility of the United States of America.

We made a commitment to Iran, that if they agreed to never “seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons” and to give access to nuclear inspectors, we would lift some of the economic sanctions that have hamstrung the Iran’s economy for so long. We made a deal with them, and with the stroke of a pen, Trump has gone back on that deal.

trump-sanctions-960x576

Maybe he should have written a book titled “The Art of BREAKING a Deal.”

But this man is no stranger to going back on a deal. There are long lists of people who made “deals” with Donald Trump, who found out that he doesn’t honor his commitments.  He doesn’t honor marriage commitments, he doesn’t honor business commitments, and he doesn’t honor national commitments. I honestly doubt he could tell you what the Iran Nuclear Deal even said. When a reporter asked him the question, “How will this make America safer,” the president responded: “This will make America much safer.” 

Which is a lot like being asked, “How do you explain Michael Cohen paying off a porn star YOU had sex with, with $130,000 of his own money?” and then answering, “Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels out of his OWN POCKET.” Umm… You didn’t answer the question. We already have your statement. The important part of the question is the “HOW.”

And now, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is saying that America “has never adhered to its commitments… We can clearly see which country is not respecting the international commitments.” Iranian leaders are saying, “It would be naive to negotiate with this country again,” and they are hinting at restarting their nuclear program. And what is worse is that this sets a precedent, where foreign powers can’t trust America’s consistency from one administration to the next. But that seems to be what Trump WANTS… He wants to turn the United States from a stabilizing influence in the world, into an unpredictable force that makes everyone else uncertain. Another way to say that is to say he wants to turn the United States into a country that can’t be trusted… like his businesses… and that is a shame.

And the biggest shame of it all is how so many people in positions of power just stay quiet as he ruins what’s left of our reputation around the world. He puts people in Secretary positions who are on record as wanting to dismantle the departments they are being put in charge of. And the press plays along by using euphemisms and passive language to lessen and normalize the offense… Just like he didn’t “reverse his position” about the Stormy Daniels affair… He LIED.

He totally lied. And many people in the press seem more offended that we would call a person a “LIAR” than they are offended at that person’s continued lying. The WHCA seemed to take Sara Huckabee Sanders’ side when Michelle Wolf rightly characterized her as a liar… But this is what happens when a man is elected who obviously puts no value on honoring commitments or on being honest. 

So if this sort of thing makes you angry and energized, use that anger and energy to encourage people to vote. Or help register them. Remind people that this stuff is not normal. And if this sort of thing makes you feel helpless and hopeless, SNAP OUT OF IT. That’s what they WANT you to feel… And you can’t let those assholes win. They WANT you to feel like you are powerless to make a difference, because people who feel hopeless are a lot less likely to vote. You, by yourself, might be powerless. But WE ARE NOT POWERLESS. We can vote these people out.

Thank you SO MUCH to my Patrons. If you value this blog and my writing, you want to help support it, and you want to feel good about yourself, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy and fun. If you’d like to leave a TIP ON PAYPAL or boost a post, you totally can. Or, if you want to keep up with me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER, click the links and like/follow. I love you people.

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Yes, I’m Being Condescending.

I have been known to get into the occasional online… well, let’s call them “discussions.” Not necessarily an “argument,” and not quite as civilized a “debate.” Is “brouhaha” the word?  If it’s not, maybe it should be. Anyway, I am not above a good old fashioned frank exchange of ideas on Facebook. A lot of folks have given up. I’m not one of them. My mind has been changed by a Facebook discussion. And I still hold out hope that a well-reasoned argument can change us in some way… Can wake us up… Can open our eyes to a better understanding. Even if I get the sense that the person I am talking to has no hope of ever changing their mind, I am still aware of the people who are watching the argument/debate/brouhaha unfold.

Plus, if I’m being honest, I like it. I like the back and forth. I like looking for powerful metaphors and similes. I like the strategy and the logic and the competition of it. I always have. I am a fairly good arguer. And I am no stranger to being called an ass. It used to happen way more than it does now, but it still happens occasionally. I freely admit I can be an ass. And if you, dear reader, were ever on the receiving end of me being an ass, I’m sorry. But there’s one thing that’s been bothering me, and that’s the overuse of the word “condescending.” I’ve been seeing people throw around this word more and more (not just at me). And I think its growing usage comes from this deep-seated “YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN ME?!?” that is the beating heart of anti-intellectualism. It is the faulty thinking behind why so many in this country don’t find it strange that people use a word like “elite” as an insult. So here’s the word…

 

con·de·scend·ing
/ˌkändəˈsendiNG/
adjective
  1. 1. having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority.

(And yes, the irony of providing the definition of “condescending” is not lost on me)

condescending

“I’m not being condescending… I’m too busy thinking about far more important things you wouldn’t understand.” ~ Jimmy Carr

There’s a difference between “patronizing” and “condescending.” Patronizing is more of a “Aww, you sweet ignorant thing… Keep working at it, and maybe you’ll get it someday.” Where Condescending has a sense of kind of looking down your nose at someone who you feel is your inferior. But here’s the thing: Sometimes people know more than me about things. Expertise exists. Sometimes we encounter better, stronger, more logical arguments. And this accusation of people being “condescending” has become a catch-all for people who don’t want to go through the difficult process of changing their mind.

Calling someone “condescending“ and is often the last desperate grasp at winning an argument by those who have been backed into a logical corner. And weirdly enough, the ones who toss this accusation around the most are, ironically, the same ones who like to call people “snowflakes.“ It usually comes out after someone doesn’t have a rational leg to stand on, and then the focus of their criticism is on the WAY another person presented their argument. Calling somebody else “condescending“ as the main beef you have with them is one of the most “snowflakey” things I can think of. It’s like saying, “Yeah, you’re right… But you didn’t have to be so MEAN about being right.” Seriously… Boo Effing Hoo.

Here’s the truth: Some arguments don’t DESERVE a response that validates them in enough of a way for you to avoid the discomfort of being wrong… You big fricking baby. And then people will throw out the “This is why Trump won” BS. 1) That’s not true. And 2) Imagine being the sort of person who — as a response to someone not being “nice” enough while letting them know they are wrong — decides to “get back at them” by voting for a man who is, easily and objectively, one of the worst human beings on the planet. There are these disturbing little acts of extortion, where people who are wrong demand that we put on kid gloves and we stroke their egos… Otherwise they are going to burn it all to the ground by electing the shittiest man they can find. It’s like mini acts of democratic terrorism.

DTA5ZuRU0AAFBz8

I am certain that I have been the man in this comic far too many times in my life…

So yeah, I admit it. I am often condescending. There are times when I feel superior to people… at least I feel like my reasoning and research is superior. Sometimes I literally can’t wrap my mind around how people can be so obtuse. I’m not smart enough to understand how people can call themselves “followers of Jesus” while supporting and objectively awful person like Donald Trump. I don’t have enough patience to endure some people’s willful ignorance. I’m sorry. If that’s you, I don’t know how to say it other than that I am beyond you with some things. There are many, MANY people who are beyond me… You get used to it. Just because you have this deep seeded anti-intellectualism and resentment toward expertise, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t experts out there in the world that might know more than you about some stuff. But fine… I admit I can be a dick about some things. I ADMIT IT!!!

But here is the important part. If you don’t hear anything else I’ve said (because I haven’t been gentle enough saying it), PLEASE HEAR THIS: Just because you feel like someone was being a little too condescending, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change your mind about the things you were wrong about. When you are presented with a better argument, CHANGE YOUR MIND!! I apologize. I apologize for making you feel dumber than me. But what kind of person refuses to acknowledge a valid point because the person making it wasn’t gentle enough with your fragile wrongness? Feel free to call me an ass if I was being an ass. But then please, for the love of God… CHANGE. YOUR. MIND.

Thank you for reading these words. Thank you for the people who help support me and this blog. Thank you for being patient with me while my family goes through a difficult time. Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you value this place, and you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy, and it’s makes you feel good. If you’d like to leave a TIP ON PAYPAL or boost a post, you totally can. Or, if you want to keep up with me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER, click the links and like/follow. I hope you stay hopeful enough to believe that we can still change each other’s minds…

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What “The Sound of Music” Taught Me About Neighborhood Schools. And Nazis.

Last night I watched our Middle School’s performance of “The Sound of Music.” And today, as I think back on that truly amazing performance (and as I struggle to get the “Lonely Goatherd” song out of my head) I am stuck by a couple things:

First and foremost, this performance made me feel proud. I am SO PROUD of our little community. I am proud of our neighborhood school. I am proud of the diversity and talent of these kids. I am proud that my kids are part of a school that still values the arts as an important part of education and learning and figuring out what it means to be human. I am proud to see a rainbow of colors represented  in the actors on that stage, and of a multi-racial von Trapp family. I am proud of all the adults who gave so much of their time to help create something truly inspiring and beautiful. I am just proud of the good thing that was created, and the good people who worked to make it happen. Proud, proud, proud… I teared up TALKING about it today. It was genuinely beautiful, and it conveyed the heart of the story to me better than the movie. Honestly.

And the second thing I’ve been thinking about since last night’s performance is this: I genuinely can’t understand how so many in this nation have regressed to a place where they can’t understand something as simple and self-evident and “Nazis are bad.” I mean, how hard is THAT to get? Nazis are so bad that during the standing ovation, I even found it difficult to even clap for the kids who had ROLES as nazis. Nazis are the bad guys in EVERY story there is, and the hateful, fearful, bigoted, white supremacist ideology behind the nazis is objectively and RIGHTFULLY characterized as what it is: Evil. And yet we have a growing number of people — ALL OF THEM SUPPORTERS OF THE CURRENT PRESIDENT — who are embracing this evil. This picture (taken by Spencer Platt for Getty Images) is from a Neo-Nazi rally outside of Atlanta, about four hours from where I live… All while police brutalize COUNTER-protestors.

White Nationalists Hold Rally In Georgia

Maybe they’re not Nazis… Maybe they are just all asked, at the same time, how tall their dad is.

There is this adage called “Godwin’s Law,” that goes something like this: “As online discussions grow longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.”  It’s meant to caution people away from making frivolous comparisons to Hitler and the nazis when discussing and debating things. I get that Hitler did horrible things, and no one in this current GOP administration is advocating for gassing and mass murdering whole ethnicities. No one seems to be planning any giant acts of genocide… But as I watched a bunch of wildly talented middle schoolers dance and sing on stage last night during “The Sound of Music,” I couldn’t help ask myself these two very strange questions:

 

How in the WORLD did we get to a place where “Nazis are bad” feels like a political statement? And how, dear God, did we get to a place where a play saying “Nazis are bad” feels like a political statement AGAINST the President of the United States?

So it’s a weird feeling, this one I’m having today — To watch a performance, and to be at the same time inspired by and proud of our local community… While also feeling the shame so many of us carry at being reminded of the continued support (almost all of it coming from white people calling themselves “christians”) of such an objectively immoral, bigoted, and corrupt president. This past week, a substitute teacher (in that same middle school) invoked the name of that objectively immoral, bigoted, and corrupt man to a 6th grade classroom.  They were diverse and energetic and probably a bit disrespectful, but this woman (before leaving the classroom and quitting her sub assignment early) swore at the kids, told them they made her want to “spend her summer volunteering to work on the wall,” and made a comment about “the good old days when there was slavery,” and, of course, brought up Trump. Which makes sense, because he is TOTALLY racist…

Just IMAGINE all that 45 would have to say on Twitter if the shooter had had a Muslim-sounding name. And he knows that this is a criticism of him… But he is silent. He doesn’t even care enough to throw out a half-hearted tweet to appease the critics. And listen — It SAYS SOMETHING that if a person speaks of “the good old days when there was slavery,” you can know FOR SURE who that person voted for.

And all of this backdropped by some right wing nut job killing four people of color with an AR-15 in a Waffle House. This happened in my town. Antioch is where I live. When I started writing this, he wasn’t caught (he is now. And — Surprise, surprise! — they managed to bring him in alive! In fact, the police were more rough with a black woman who wanted plastic utensils at a Waffle House than they were arresting the white man who murdered four people of color), so all after school activities were cancelled because some highly armed murderer calling himself a “Sovereign Citizen” was still at large.

But seriously — What kind of a person watches “The Sound Of Music” and roots for the nazis? What kind of person sees a diverse cast or a diverse classroom, and chants and votes to “Build that wall?” What kind of person sees diversity as a problem instead of a strength?

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Bless our homeland forever…

Anyway, I am both encouraged and disheartened. I am both proud and ashamed. I am proud of the ideals this diverse country stands for, but I am ashamed that there are so many whose privilege feels so threatened by that diversity that they are willing to vote for a pile of awfulness. I love that this is a nation of immigrants, and I’m so sad for the way that immigrants are being demonized… Especially by people who claim to follow a man who, when asked how to love, told a story about caring for an outsider (that’d be Jesus… Not Trump). I want to tell everybody about our sweet, diverse neighborhood, and I want to apologize for the recent turns America has taken when I meet people from other countries. I am hopeful for what this country can be, and I am afraid of what this country has become. All of this from a Middle School play… Welcome to my brain.

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