The 7 Best Things About Colin Kaepernick Not Standing Up

In honor of Colin Kaepernick’s #7 jersey, here are seven awesome things about him not standing up for the national anthem…

1.  Another black person didn’t have to die in order for us to discuss racism. We get to talk (for a couple days, at least) about the racial injustice in America without yet another black body lying dead in the streets. It’s kind of refreshing to have this topic being discussed on Facebook without having to try to figure out whether or not the person (whose name just turned into a hashtag) DESERVED to get shot six times after getting pulled over for a broken tail light. It’s a lot easier on the conscience to demonize a rich black athlete who is trying to draw attention to racism than it is to demonize some poor unarmed black kid who got shot while running away police. So that’s one cool thing…

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I’m so sick of “athletes” feeling like it’s their place to speak out on political issues. Kids these days are so disrespectful… Not like back when America used to be “great.”

2.  You get to watch cognitive dissonance happen in real time. Guess which people are the most angry about Colin Kaepernick sitting down while the Star Spangled Banner was being sung. Yeah, yeah– I know… White people. That goes without saying. But WHICH white people? If you guessed “The Ones Who Want To Make America Great Again,” you win a shiny new imaginary medal that says, “I’m respected by The Boeskool.” Now, see if you can follow me here–And I’m especially talking to those of you who are reading this post because the title made you angry, and you’re really just skimming through while you are thinking up a really hateful comment: 1) Trump supporters don’t think America is very “great” anymore… So they want to make it great AGAIN. 2) A man sits down to protest some things about America he thinks aren’t so great. 3) You are filled with such outrage and righteous indignation, that you angrily wonder how some spoiled brat could be critical of the greatest country in the world… Nay. The Universe!

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Just so we’re clear: White sniper aiming his gun at police and federal agents? Brave Patriot. Black quarterback deciding to not stand during national anthem? Cowardly Traitor.

3.  We get to learn about the racist history of the Star Spangled Banner. I’ve read two really informative articles about our national anthem in the past 24 hours: One HERE by Jason Johnson that was written before this whole Kaepernick hubbub, and one HERE by John Schwarz that was written after. You should read them both. I didn’t even know the Star Spangled Banner had more than one verse. The third verse is quite a doozy. Here it the second half:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

A lot of people know that Francis Scott Key (a slave-owner himself) wrote the song about the War of 1812, but most people don’t know that one of the reasons the British were successful in this war was because they recruited black men to fight for them in return for offering them their freedom… These were the “hireling and slave” that would shortly meet their doom in Key’s catchy tune. Turns out Francis Scott Key “supported sending free blacks (not slaves) back to Africa and, with a few exceptions, was about as pro-slavery, anti-black and anti-abolitionist as you could get at the time.” Think about THAT next time you’re taking off your hat and hitting that high note…

4.  This awesome quote from an interview with Colin Kaepernick. Think about it:

“You have people who practice law and are lawyers who go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months, and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. I mean, someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people who have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.

Here’s the video clip…

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Dip shits ironically exercising their right to free speech…

5.  Getting to watch white people get really, really upset. I know… I’m sorry. But I have to admit, it’s a whole lot of fun for me to watch white people lose their minds. And–full disclosure–I’m white. But I can’t be the only one who finds white outrage fueled by faux patriotism at least a *little* entertaining, right? That is, if you can get past how truly tragic it all is… And you don’t let the startling ignorance behind it get you down… And if doesn’t gross you completely out when they pimp out pictures of soldiers who lost their limbs or their lives as examples of “real heroes,” instead of cowards like Colin Kaepernick… Hopefully, if you can get past all that, you can maybe giggle a little bit at the picture of a couple of white dudes burning an $85 jersey of a young man who DARED to exercise his right to free speech… You know, that same thing that gives them the right to burn his jersey in protest of him not being patriotic enough? On a side note, how much do you want to bet I can guess who these two are planning on voting for?

6.  Getting a great look at the REAL religion in America: Nationalism. People talk about “Separation of Church and State,” but this is really an impossible task when the true religion of this country IS the State. To test this out, sometime just give this a try: Say something critical about Christianity, and then see what kind of reaction you get. THEN, say something critical about USA. Suggest that racism is at the very heart of this nation. Suggest that maybe soldiers are dying for nothing. Sit down while everyone else is standing up… See what happens. See which act of criticism is truly out of bounds. But it makes sense, if you think about it. The State has the ultimate authority–The authority to kill. If someone claims to kill someone else “for God,” they are looked at as a crazy person, but most people seem to be just fine with killing state-sanctioned killings. Killing in the name of God? Crazy fanatic. Killing in the name of the State? Patriotic hero. But I better be careful… Saying this kind of stuff can get me in really big trouble, right?

7.  That hair tho… I’m serious. If I had that head of hair, I’d be running for president.

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So keep up the good work, Colin Kaepernick. Keep speaking the truth, even when it’s hard. Even when it triggers people’s white fragility. Even when people call you a coward for being brave enough to speak up. And even when it feels like you’re the only one…

Listen. I know you like this blog. And that’s awesome, because I like writing it. If you like the stuff I’ve written, you should share it with the people you know. And if you value my writing, you can support it by giving a couple bucks a month. If all my readers did this, I’d be able to afford to buy my kids fancy things… Like food. So BECOME A PATRON! Or give on PayPal. It’s easy, and all the cool kids are doing it.

 

 

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When Christianity Becomes A Cult

Over the last few days, I’ve watched as some people on social media have attacked Progressive Christianity. And in doing that, they have attacked the Church community I am a part of, as well as attacking loved ones within our community as being “heretics”–A word I have grown to love. If you don’t know what “Progressive Christianity” is, I wrote a post about it (that you should probably read) called “Being A Progressive Christian, and Other Things That’ll Get You Sent Straight To Hell…” so I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time here defending it. Basically, there are some folks out there who seem to get very angry if people start suggesting that God might still be speaking, or that God might be radically inclusive (and we should be too), or that we might not be saved by our right theology, or that our brains and science might not be enemies of faith, or even that God might be way better than we ever suspected… And when Christians who are very certain of their own “rightness” see churches like ours embracing questions, doubt, and uncertainty, they often feel like our very existence is a direct attack on the idol they have made out of their own certainty. And then the names start flying. Names like “Heretic.” Names like “Satanic.” Names like “Cult.”

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The only appropriate worship is the kind that looks as though you are on a deserted island trying to flag down a passing plane.

And I get why people feel so strongly about this… They have been told that people who don’t believe the same things they believe are going to go to Hell and be tortured forever (AKA, the “Good News”). So they are willing to brave the normally uncomfortable situation of telling someone he or she is believing “a lie from the Devil that is going to result in eternal torment” in the hopes that, by telling them this, that person is going to be saved from that eternal torment. These people use phrases like “scripture is clear” very regularly (even though those “clear” scriptures have resulted in roughly 39,000 different Christian denominations). They also freely accuse people of “creating a God in your own image” and “leaning on your own understanding” instead of the “Authority of Scripture.” Though they also seem to be impervious to the irony that people using their rationality and “own understanding” is exactly what lead to the Protestant Reformation that birthed their own religious tradition… There is a deep tradition within the Church of people using their brains to figure things out. Though, after they used their brains to figure things out, they usually like to attribute their conclusions to “The Spirit.” But whatever… Let’s not split hairs.

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If being in a cult means that I get hair like these kids, count me in!

So if you believe that when people believe the wrong things, they are going to get sent to Hell because of it, it can lead to folks being very passionate about converting people. But when you believe (as I do) that God is so much better than that, and that we are safe in the love of God–regardless of our sometimes errant theology–it makes “converting” people a lot less pressing. I’m not worried that if I don’t change your mind, you are going to burn in hell. Still, there is a place for defending your position… Especially when–as part of their conversion protocol–people are told that they are garbage, and not worthy of God’s love. I think that message is inherently harmful, so when I hear it, I’m going to speak up. I’m not saying that we are perfect, or that there is no such thing as “sin.” It’s clear that there is human brokenness all around us… What I am saying is that our brokenness is not too much for the love of God. And I realize that belief might be different than some of the beliefs you might have, but that is different than “Heresy.” That is different than “Satan-worship.” And that is certainly different than a “Cult.” So I’d like to address the difference between a “Cult” and “A Church who believes different things about God than you do.”

There are a lot of different characteristics of a “Cult.” I am going to make a list of some characteristics of a cult that I will be paraphrasing from information I got from the website of The International Cultic Studies Association (and the work of Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.), as well as from the very conservative Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, or CARM. It’s not exhaustive, but these are characteristics which appear on both sites.

  • Demanding unquestioned commitment to leadership and a particular ideology, belief system, and one idea of “truth.”
  • Questioning, doubt, or dissent are discouraged or even punished.
  • Exclusivity: Their group is the only group that gets it right.
  • An “Us versus Them” mentality. They build vehement opposition into the framework of their beliefs, so when people say “That makes absolutely no sense,” it is taken as validation of right belief. AKA, “If the world hates us, we must be doing something right.”
  • Controlling people’s thoughts, beliefs and actions with threats of curses, separation, and loss of salvation.
  • Isolating people from “non-believers.” If there are friends or family members who don’t believe, those people have to be cut out of your life.
  • Having “special knowledge.” If people start questioning issues based on reason or a differing interpretation, the leadership claims powers of special knowledge that comes from “discernment” or a heightened ability to “hear from God.”
  • The use of shame and guilt to control members.
  • Being overly focused on money.
  • Cognitive dissonance. They will avoid inconsistencies and logical impossibilities at all costs, and if they are forced to encounter them, they will explain them away by our inability to understand. “AKA, “God’s ways are higher than our ways.”
  • Being preoccupied by bringing in new members.

There are many more cultish behaviors–shunning people, making specific demands about appearance, strict enforcement of gender roles, etc… I encourage you to read the lists yourself. But more than that, I want you to think about the list I just wrote above. Look at it again. I’ll wait… Does this list sound at all familiar to any of you?

Does this list sound like it’s describing a place that is embracing the process of people having doubts and uncertainties? Does it sound like it’s describing a place that has lost over half its members by making a statement of belief about God’s radical inclusivity? Does it sound like it’s describing a place that welcomes questions about the inconsistencies we encounter in the Bible? Does it sound like it’s describing a place that has given up the very useful threat of looming damnation in order to raise money and coerce people into lining up with their beliefs? Who DOES it sound like? Let’s say two people are arguing over what they believe God is like–One of them professes openness, inclusivity, strives for intellectual honesty, and is okay with dissent, while the other demands everyone adhere to his strict and specific theology, with non-believers going to hell… Which of these two people is more likely part of a “Cult?”

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I’m still waiting on my sister wives…

I want to leave you with a video of an amazing song by the band Gungor called “Us For Them.” I really hope you listen to the words… They are so beautiful and true. And if you’re feeling like the place you’ve been worshiping has some practices that might skew a little “cultish,” you have a sense that there is something more, and you want to find a place to come together with other folks and explore the mystery and wonder of the love of God, I have written a post called “How To Find A Church When You’ve Given Up On Church” that might be helpful. Or, if you’re in the Nashville/Franklin area and you want to visit a kick ass Church who is crazy about Jesus, but also gets some people really riled up by how good we think God is, you can come visit GracePointe. But mostly, I just want you to really listen to this song:

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I’m A Man, I’m A Christian, and I’m A Feminist

I have two beautiful daughters. I’m not bragging–It’s just the truth. Sure… There’s a beautiful son running around here somewhere too, but this post isn’t about him. Our older daughter (almost 12) is our firstborn, and she embraces that role very well. Our younger daughter (almost 9) is the baby, and she also does a pretty good job with that role. They are very different people. The oldest has decided she wants to be a goalie on her soccer team, and she was one of about 6 girls who played in a flag football league this past spring… When I coached the youngest in soccer, she seemed very concerned with how her hair looked, and she would sometimes cry and tell me she didn’t want to play if I tried to put her in as something other than a forward. My oldest believes in practical shoes… The baby dreams of high heels. The big one takes a light sweater into restaurants in case the air conditioning is on too high… The little one walks around followed by a cloud of glitter. Both of my daughters are beautiful in every way–And not in a “proud dad’s opinion” sort of way. They are objectively beautiful. But they are very, very different people. When we mentioned that the older one’s name meant “Princess” and the younger one’s name meant “Industrious and Hardworking,” our oldest said, “Maybe we should switch names.”

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This is a look with which I have become very familiar…

Anyway, it turns out I’m a feminist. And listen–If that bothers you, don’t worry… I remember the first time I heard a man say that he was a “feminist.” I was so–what’s the opposite of “woke?” Asleep, I guess?–I was so asleep that I couldn’t even process how that was possible. Somewhere in my head, I was probably thinking, “So… What, like… You’re gay, then?” But these 14 years of marriage to a strong woman, almost 12 years of being a father to a daughter, and nearly 9 years of being a father to TWO daughters have definitely distilled the feminism that was already inside me. But before I go on, let me tell you how cool my oldest daughter is: A couple days ago, I was talking a picture of two Lego figures… Because that is the sort of crap I do. One was a female Lego mini figure from a Harry Potter set, and another was a female mini figure from the Lego “Friends” series, which Lego has branded to be more for girls. I was taking the picture because it pissed me off that the regular Legos had the regular stocky, wide mini figures, and the “girly” Legos that are aimed at our daughters have really thin figures… With curves… And friggin’ thigh gap. I was going to make a post on my Facebook Page about it. Here’s the picture:

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This could really have been its own blog post. Also, it looks like Hermione might be getting ready to give that girl a little wand upside her head…

A lot of Lego mini figures have heads with two separate faces printed on them so they can have two different emotions. Hermione’s head was one of these… One face smiling, and the other with angled eyebrows and the corners of her mouth turned down ever so slightly. Our youngest took Hermione’s Granger’s little Lego head and twisted it back and forth, saying, “Look… Happy, angry, happy, angry, happy, angry.” The oldest looked at the “angry” face and said something that made me experience one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had as a parent. She said, “Eh… Maybe she’s just concentrating.” I couldn’t wait to tell the world… But this is the sort of stuff that naturally flows from our oldest. She is the kind of person who naturally notices injustice, and then she very naturally  feels compelled to speak up when she sees it. I have no idea where she gets it…

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Maybe she’s just concentrating…

With all of our kids, we waited until the were born to find out the sex of the baby. From the moment our doctor looked at me and said those amazing words–“You have a daughter”–I have dreamed of the strong little feminist I was going to raise. Then we had a boy… Then we had another girl. I love being a father to daughters. In my head, I envisioned them rattling some cages and challenging the status quo. Sometimes, when I see inspiring YouTube videos and whatnot that are kid-appropriate, I’ll gather the kids around to watch it. A few years ago, I had them watch a video of a 12 year old girl speaking at a voting rights rally in North Carolina (the state which the Supreme Court just detailed how their recently enacted voting laws were aimed at suppressing the votes of people of color with an “almost surgical precision”). Here it is:

In case you don’t watch it, just know this girl is a rock star. She passionately called on youth to get involved, and reminded them that they can make a difference. So I’m sitting there on my couch–tears in my eyes–and I look at my sweet, powerful daughters, and I say, “What did you think about that?” The older one says, “That was really cool, dad.” I look at the younger one and ask, “What about you?” And she looks at me–straight-faced–and says, “That girl was wearing high heels.” And in my head, I cut to a Scrubs-esque cutscene where I shake my fists at the heavens and scream “NOOOOOO!” as the camera pulls back and I realize I’ve failed as a feminist father.

But here’s what I’ve come to learn– I haven’t failed. If there was any failure, it was in the fact that I came into fatherhood with my own expectations of what a feminist daughter needed to look like… Or simply what a daughter needed to look like. I had this warped idea that feminism was leaving behind all the things that seemed pointless and “girly” to me… But my youngest was ALWAYS going to be the sort of girl who loves “girly” and feminine things… And accessories… And glitter… And tiaras and “spinny” dresses and makeup and friggin’ high heels. This has always been who she is. From the moment she could stand up on her own, she has wanted a dress that flew out when she spun around.

This issue of feminism has come up a few times recently, with the Olympics being the catalyst. It started when I got so angry at those shitty Hardee’s commercials (which I have WRITTEN ABOUT BEFORE) with the barely dressed women talking about a “3-Way Burger” at 6:30 while my kids and I were trying to watch the Opening Ceremonies. Then I talked about it some more when I was interviewed on the “Same Differents” Podcast (You can listen to that episode on Feminism and other things RIGHT HERE… Or you can listen to another podcast I did with “Pancake House” about the creative process RIGHT HERE). Then it came up again as there were allegations of sexism in the way that the Olympics have been reported. But I suppose that kind of stuff is going to happen, right? It hasn’t been that long (less than 30 years) that they’ve even ALLOWED women to run in the marathon… Before the 1980’s, they thought it was “too strenuous” for those poor little girls–they might faint! So I guess it makes sense that there are still going to be headlines that put a man’s tie for second place in bigger print than a woman winning a gold medal, breaking her own world record, and crushing everyone else in the field so badly that she had to wait 10 seconds until the 2nd place finisher even touched the wall.

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Above: Nine year old Katie Ledecky getting a poster signed by gold medalist Michael Phelps. Below: Nineteen year old gold medalist Katie Ledecky returning the favor ten years later…

And–as often happens–all of these conversations and controversies bring me back to thinking about my own kids… My own daughters, and my own expectations for them. I wanted feminism to look like what I WANTED IT TO LOOK LIKE, but I think the point of feminism is that each of our daughters gets to decide for herself what being a girl looks like. Until fairly recently, for me feminism meant women leaving behind things which I considered “girly.” And in my own male-centric, male-dominant head, “girly” meant worthless. But feminism isn’t leaving behind “girly” things. Feminism is encouraging girls to discover who they are, and then equipping and empowering them to be that person with their whole heart… Whether that girl is a princess, or a tom boy, or walking around in a cloud of glitter, or fighting the power like my own little Hermione. And (as my wife reminded me) feminism is realizing that these things are not mutually exclusive.

“Young girls are told you have to be the delicate princess. Hermione taught them that you can be the warrior.”
~ Emma Watson

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It can look like a bikini, or it can look like long sleeves and a hijab.

Feminism can look like a lot of things. It can look like staying home with the kids, or it can look like being the breadwinner. It can look like being politically active, or it can look like not caring one way or the other. It can look like leadership, or it can look like encouragement. It can look like sensible shoes, or it can look like high heels (ugh… some of these are harder for me to write than others). It can look like Army boots and camouflage, or it can look like a spinny sundress, carefree, in the middle of an open field. It can look like cleavage, or it can look like a men’s sweatshirt. It can look like being emotional, or it can look like making fun of a husband that (some say) cries too easily. It can look at God as a good father, or it can look at God as a nurturing mother… Or it might not see God at all right now. It can look like happiness, it can look like anger, or it might just look like concentration… But whatever feminism looks like, it certainly doesn’t look like me, as a man, dictating what it “needs” to look like. It embodies all the magic and mystery and complexity that is humanity, and it doesn’t need your permission…

So here’s to women: To all their strength and beauty and wisdom. And here’s to your feminism and mine… To the ones who are just starting to think to themselves, “Wait, that doesn’t seem right,” all the way to the ones whose feminist fire burns as clear and bright inside them as the love they feel for their own daughters. To the Princesses and the Industrious, to the high heels and the sensible shoes, to the camo and the glitter and everything in-between… And still, at the same time, something tells me to be deeply grateful for voices like the voice of my oldest, who are able to look at female faces–faces that might seem angry to some… faces that that endure comments like “She should smile more”–and gently suggest the possibility that “Maybe she’s just concentrating.”

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Will The Rational Republicans Please Stand Up?

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Could you speak up? Because we can’t hear you…

I know you’re out there, but your silence is deafening. Enough is enough. Listen, I understand it can be hard–when you’ve identified as a republican for so long, and you hate Hillary Clinton so much–to stand up and say, “There’s no way in hell that I would ever cast a vote for Donald Trump,” but we’re going to need you to do that now. Okay? Because this stuff is getting crazy. You didn’t say anything when he insulted the Muslim family of a slain American soldier, you didn’t say anything when he shamed a mother for having a crying baby at one of his rallies,you didn’t say anything when he said that if his daughter was sexually harassed, he’d “like to think she would find another career,” you didn’t say anything after he joked about how being given a purple heart by a fan was “much easier” than earning one… And you really should have said something. But now it’s time for you to speak up now. I’m serious. Because this is not just about your tacit approval of the sexism, racism, and xenophobia that Trump represents and champions. That SHOULD be enough for you, but I get it–It’s not. But there are three things that highlight not just how amazingly unfit he is to be president, but how inherently DANGEROUS a Trump presidency would be.

RUSSIA

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Maybe when he said Putin wasn’t “Going into Ukraine,” he was speaking euphemistically.

A lot of people are at least a little bit aware of Trump’s man crush on Vladimir Putin, but most people don’t know that the extent of his relationship with the Russian strongman goes way beyond complementary tweets and shirtless horse rides… Trump’s campaign chairman is a man named Paul Manafort. Manafort has worked on many Republican presidential campaigns… As well as working for foreign dictators like Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko. Another person Paul Manafort worked very closely with is former Ukranian president Victor Yanukovych. The U.S. opposed Yanukovych because of his close ties with Putin. So why does this matter? Because Donald Trump is a little too buddy buddy with Vladimir Putin. His campaign chairman also worked for a Putin puppet leader. Trump has said that “Putin is a better leader than Obama.” He said that Putin is “not going into Ukraine”–Even though, as George Stephanopoulos pointed out, Putin already went into Ukraine. And–perhaps most alarmingly–when the Republican Party had language in their official platform about providing Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons”, the Trump campaign insisted on changing that language to providing Ukraine with “appropriate assistance.” Now, normally I’d be just fine with taking steps away from “lethal defense weapons,” but that seems more than a little fishy for his campaign to insist on that. Especially when you consider what an itchy trigger finger Trump seems to have for using nuclear weapons. Which brings me to my next point…

NUKES

Joe Scarborough recently revealed that an unnamed source confirmed that during a foreign policy briefing, Trump asked THREE TIMES why–if we have nuclear weapons–why we can’t just use them. And listen… If that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, it should. I have seen no better response than the response of former nuclear launch officer and national security expert John Noonan, who (originally in 20 tweets) wrote the following scathing assessment of Donald Trump as a leader:

“I cant get this in one tweet. So bear with me as I air some laundry here on Scarborough’s claim Trump’s interested in nuclear First Use. Pulled 300 nuclear alerts, 100 ft under the Wyoming turf. Job is serious and full of serious people. When we went into ICBM training, we went through a battery of tests and interviews. Are you sane? Are you willing to turn your key? I see how those might sound at odds. But the whole idea behind nuclear deterrence is that you don’t use the damn things. So I thought the mission credible and worthy. There are a hell of a lot of bad actors out there who have nukes. They are restrained only by our ability to instantly lay waste to them. The nuke triad, which Trump doesn’t have a clue about, has been the single greatest contributor to global peace for decades. You heard me. I dont know if Scarborough is telling whole truth here. Anonymous sources suck. BUT… if he is… buckle the hell up. Because Trump would be undoing 6 decades of proven deterrence theory. The purpose of nukes is that they are never used. Trump disagrees? This would be the single greatest strategic shift in US national security in decades. In a Trump Presidency, our foreign policy would be this: “Leave our alliances, fall back on a nuclear first use policy.” Does he understand just how F’ing dangerous that is? But what really concerns me, as a former nuke guy, is the idea of a narcissist walking around with nuclear authenticators. I could sit 100ft underground, on alert, knowing that the POTUS would not make me do my duty — not unless it was absolute last resort, but imagine having to turn launch keys not knowing if we were under attack or if it was b/c foreign leader said a mean thing on Twitter. The power is there to kill millions. Permanently alter the geopolitical landscape. It is a sacred, sobering responsibility. [The] Idea that nukes would be used, say over Raqqa or Mosul, simply because we have no more allies and it’s a simple, easy fix is nauseating. Simply signaling that you’re open to using strategic weapons as a tactical solution rewrites the rule book. Russia, China, others will respond. Nuclear deterrence is about balance. Trump is an elephant jumping up and down on one side of the scale. So damn dangerous. But geopolitics aside, I can’t get my mind off the young officers on nuke alert right now. Wondering if they’ll soon answer to a madman. And be asked to do a duty that should morally be asked of no human being, ever.”

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This is what happens when a clown has the nuclear codes.

I know that quote is long, but you should probably read it. The author is not just some guy… He was the national security advisor for Jeb Bush. I don’t want to take a page out of Trump’s own playbook (“Everyone be very afraid!”), but that is some legitimately scary stuff.  And not in a “Muslim’s are trying to instill Sharia Law” sort of way, but in a This man does not have the temperament to have the nuclear codes” sort of way… And that’s a wholly other level of concerning. But as dangerous as this is, I think the worst thing he has done is…

CASTING DOUBT ON THE VALIDITY OF OUR DEMOCRACY

The moment his poll numbers started to slip (as if they wouldn’t after saying some of the recent things he has said), he said MULTIPLE TIMES that he suspected the presidential election would be “rigged.” He said, “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” and later said, “November 8th, we better be careful, because that election’s going to be rigged.” Think about that for a minute… Three months before the election, and without any sort of proof whatsoever, the republican nominee for president is casting doubt on the validity of our election process. A man whose narcissism has made him so delusional that he actually believes he can say or do anything without any political consequences (“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”) is so completely stunned by the fact that his asinine comments are costing him numbers in the polls, that he calls into question the validity of one of the building blocks of this nation–Our democracy.

So where are you, rational republicans? Stand up and be counted… And not just behind the curtained privacy of a voting booth. I know there are some fanatics out there who no one has any chance of reaching… People who fly Confederate flags on their trucks, people who are convinced Obama is a Muslim, people who would happily elect the love child of Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler if he promised to put a pro life Justice on the Supreme Court, etc… But you’re not one of “those” kind of republicans. Are you? Don’t be afraid. It’s not like you’ll be the only one. FIFTY (that’s 50!) of the top republican national security advisors just signed their name to a letter opposing Trump, calling him “fundamentally dishonest” and saying he would make America less safe.” They said he would be “the most reckless president in American history.” You can read the entire scathing letter RIGHT HERE. Even the Harvard Republican Club said they are ashamed of Donald Trump, and for the first time since their formation in 1888, they have NOT endorsed the republican nominee for president. Again, you can read their startling disappointment HERE.

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I’d be willing to bet who these folks are voting for, and no amount of rational arguments are going to change their minds.

So we need to hear your voices. We need to hear the sound of rational conservatism… Because right now it seems like only the crazies are making noise. You might not think that he has a chance. But he does have a chance. Nobody thought he had a chance to win the primaries either. He doesn’t just need to lose–He needs to lose by a gigantic margin. And yes, he’s probably going to lose, but even if he loses, you realize just about all this stuff is being recorded, right? In the very near future, this period of American history will be looked back on as a very dark time. It will be seen for what it is: A time when our first black president revealed the thriving, beating heart of America’s racism… And the anger, fear, and nationalism that resulted almost led our nation to turn to fascism and elect one of the worst men our great country has to offer. And you’re going to be on the record, whether you like it or not. People are going to remember the ones who supported this man. And they’re also going to remember the ones who knew better, but decided to stay silent. It’s time to speak up.

If you value this blog, you can HELP SUPPORT IT. Susan White just did. Because she’s awesome… That’s why. Also, there’s PayPal if you want to leave a tip, or pay to “boost” a post on Facebook. Here’s me on Facebook. Here’s me on Twitter. And HERE’S something for you to read if all this election BS has gotten you down. Peace.

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We Are Better Than This

I’m so sick of what this election is doing to my soul. I actually LOVE people. I really do… I love humanity. I am a lover. Even the parts of us that are broken are still so beautiful… So filled with potential, and the capacity to learn and change and grow. These daily stories of one man’s brokenness would normally evoke a sense of pity in me, but this sense that so many people are championing the darkest parts of our humanity… It’s just so draining to me. It’s exhausting. It’s affecting the way I see people. I find myself feeling suspicious… Feeling disconnected. Wondering if the person I’m talking to is one of THOSE people… Who supports THAT person.

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I am a lover.

But I am not cynical. I am hopeful. I am a lover. Anger and suspicion and cynicism is not who I am. Those things are not who WE are. We are better than this. I am a person who believes we are BETTER than this. I am a lover, and I will say it as many times as I need to say it until I remember that it’s true. There are times when it is appropriate to point out how messed up something is… And there are other times when we just need to remind people (and ourselves) of the beauty of humanity. Even now, everything in me wants to make a case… I want to explain the absurdity of people who call themselves “Christians” supporting someone that… But this post is not about “making a case.” Not unless it is a case for the wonder and worth that is humanity. Unless it is a case for how truly beloved we are… ALL of us. We are loved.  And things like art and community and love and bravery and beauty and rational conversation and kindness and family–these things point toward a larger love in the world. They point toward a benevolent universe, calling us to realize our potential. Calling us to believe we are better than this. Calling us to trust that we are safe and loved. It can be easy to forget…

This morning I found myself (as I often do) staring at a computer screen through giant tears, as I watched a man reunite with a brother who he hadn’t seen in four years. He was overcome with joy… And a moment later, as he turned around to see his mother (who he hadn’t seen in TEN years), the beauty of it all was just too much for him. Please watch him crumple to the ground. And remind yourself that we are better than this. Remind yourself that you are a lover. And that you are beloved… Beloved with the same sort of love that can send a grown man to the floor at the sight of the face of someone he loves so dearly. Please watch this. Even if you watched it before, please watch it again.

Watch him drop his keys and take his hat off. Notice the way he grabs his brother’s head so he can see his face. Consider the fact that you don’t need to speak the same language (or vote for the same person) in order for the love in that room to change your heart in some small way. Listen to the sounds of happiness coming from the one who is recording the video. Let this man’s smile and his tears wash away the cynicism of the 24 hour news cycle. Take a deep breath, and remember that you are a lover. Remember that we are better than this.

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At Church this past Sunday, everybody’s kids stayed for the whole service. The kids were greeters, and they took collection, and they even helped with Communion. While our children’s pastor gave the message, kids meandered onto the stage with her. And it was just like humanity… Messy and beautiful. At the end of the service, she read a prayer that was from a liturgy from the Iona Community. Here it is:

With the whole church:
We affirm that we are made in God’s image, befriended by Christ, empowered by the Spirit

With people everywhere:
We affirm God’s goodness at the heart of humanity, planted more deeply than all that is wrong

With all creation:
We celebrate the miracle and wonder of life, the unfolding purposes of God, forever at work in ourselves and in the world

It was so what I needed. Maybe you need it too. All I could think about for a few days were those words, “planted more deeply than all that is wrong.” YES. YES YES YES! We affirm God’s goodness. At the heart of humanity. Planted more deeply than all that is wrong. Oh God, help me to believe those words… Help US to believe those words… And when we forget them, Oh God, remind us. Remind us of beauty. Remind us we are loved. Remind us we are lovers. Remind us we are better than this.

It you want to, when you find more videos and stories that remind you there is beauty all around us, that we are worth it, that there is hope, etc… Maybe use the hashtag #WeAreBetterThanThis to make it easier for other people to find those stories on Facebook and Twitter when they need a reminder as well. Also, if you value this blog and want to help support it, YOU TOTALLY CAN.

 

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Where Have You Gone, John McCain? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You…

John McCain

We didn’t know how good we had it…

Remember when the republican candidate for president was John McCain? God, what sweet times those were… Back when the choice was between two good people with ideological differences–Instead of what he have now: Where roughly half the country finds themselves defending the crazed remarks of a racist, bigoted narcissist on a daily basis… Or, more likely, just giving up on defending him and simply yelling something about eMails and abortion. Remember this moment?

The first part of the video, a man says that he is “scared” of an Obama presidency. Here are the words of an honorable man: “I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared [of] as the president of the United States.” After people start booing, he says, “I just… Now I just… Now look, if I didn’t think I wouldn’t be one heck of a lot better president, I wouldn’t be running, okay?” What a strange, dream-like scene that is after a full year of dealing with tinted orange craziness.

John McCain’s father and grandfather were both four-star admirals in the Navy. In the Vietnam War, he was shot down over Hanoi, seriously injured, and he spent over five years as a prisoner of war, enduring different kinds of torture. He spent two years in solitary confinement, and his dark hair turned completely white. His captors knew about his powerful military family, and offered him an early release in 1968… Which he refused. He was unwilling to let himself be used as a piece of propaganda for the North Vietnamese. He remained a prisoner of war until March of 1973, and the injuries he sustained there still affect him today.

After John McCain said things that were critical of the orange dumpster fire we have running for president, Trump responded by calling McCain a “Dummy.” No joke. When asked if calling a war hero a “Dummy” was very presidential, here is what was said:

This contains the now famous line, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured… I like people who weren’t captured. I hate to tell you.”

Now, this tiny-handed Oompa Loompa is one-upping himself again by being critical of the Muslim parents of a fallen U.S. soldier. Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan, the parents of slain Army capt. Humayun Kkhan, spoke at the Democratic National Convention. You have probably already seen the video (where the father offers Trump his copy of the United States Constitution, and tells him he has “sacrificed nothing… and no one”), but just in case you haven’t, or just in case you want to watch it again, here is a clip:

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Trump’s response was to shamefully suggest that the reason Ghazala did not speak was because she wasn’t permitted to speak as a Muslim. Watch this sadness…

 

And here was Ms. Khan’s response to Donald Trump’s bullying… HE PROBABLY WISHES SHE HAD JUST STAYED SILENT.

The depths of his depravity seem to know no bounds. And once again, we are left longing for the sanity of John McCain. Here are the words of an honorable man, with whom I often disagree on matters of policy and direction for our nation. Please read them…

“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates.

I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment, and I repose my hope in the promise of mercy and the moderation of age. I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.

Arizona is watching. It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.

Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.”

And for taking this noble stand, he will probably lose his Senate seat… Where have you gone, John McCain? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you… Woo woo woo. And yet, here we are… Stuck in a dystopian nightmare, where the majority of the Church continues to make a case for electing this ass hat. Donald Trump is objectively unfit for the presidency, and he stands in stark contrast to everything Jesus stood for. Please hear me, because  I can’t say this strongly enough: Anyone voting for this man exhibits the same startling lack of shame and human decency that he displays on a daily basis. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I’ll leave you with the words of the the prophet, John. Oliver…

Thank you to everyone who supports me! An extra thanks today goes to Lisa T, who just started supporting me on Patreon. If you value my writing, and you feel like supporting me, you can BECOME A PATRON HERE, or you can give on PayPal. Also, check out Facebook and Twitter. And I know, I feel like a broken record the last couple of weeks. This stuff feels important to me right now. Please forgive me. I’ll get to some other stuff soon… Thanks again!

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Dear Third Party Voters: If We End Up With “President Trump,” It’s On You

I have an honest question for you: Do you really think you know more about Hillary’s Clinton’s faults than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Think about that, for a moment, while I show you something.

I’m about to show you two of the most damning videos you could watch if you are against Hillary Clinton being the next president. This first one is a video of Bernie speaking at a rally just under four months ago, where he was responding to claims that Hillary Clinton had referred to him as being unqualified to be president (though she never actually said he was “unqualified” to be president… She just refused to give a yes or no answer when asked if she thought he was qualified), and it marked one of the biggest escalations in rhetoric for the 2016 democratic presidential campaign:

For those of you unable or unwilling to take the 126 seconds to watch this video, here is what he said:

“And she has been saying lately that she thinks that I am ‘not qualified’ to be president. Well, let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don’t believe that she is qualified, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. I don’t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC. I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don’t think you are qualified if you have supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent paying jobs. I don’t think you are qualified if you’ve supported the Panama free trade agreement, something I very strongly opposed and, which as all of you know, has allowed corporations and wealthy all over the world people to avoid paying their taxes to their countries.”

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“They never give ME and shit about what I wear…”

For me, these are some of the most damaging criticisms of Hillary Clinton that I have heard. I admit that I care very little about the fact that she used her Blackberry to receive emails that were LATER classified while Secretary of State. Benghazi was tragic, but what happened has–multiple times–been proven not to be her fault. And I don’t think she is to blame for the way the DNC is run. But I DO care that she has taken so much money from Wall Street. I care that she seems more hawkish than I would like. I care that she has voted for policies that make it easier for billionaires to dodge their taxes. I care about ALL of those things. Bernie Sanders cares about them too… But he still endorsed her as a candidate. Do you know why? Because he understands that right now, it is either going to be Hillary or Trump.

Here is another absolutely damning video… This one of Elizabeth Warren criticizing Hillary Clinton about voting FOR a bankruptcy bill as a Senator that she convinced her husband to veto as a FLOTUS:

The video is from a 2004 interview with Bill Moyers. It seems to show a principled Hillary Clinton while Bill was in the White House, and how she was later able (or forced) to compromise those principles as a New York Senator. Again, this video is troubling to me. It smacks of a lack of integrity. I want someone who represents the interests of the little guy over the interests of the big banks. Someone like Elizabeth Warren! Someone like Bernie Sanders! And yet BOTH of these people, who have been openly critical of her in the past, have decided to endorse her for President of the United States of America. Why do you think that is? Have they both “sold out?” Are they “in on it” too?

This “everyone is in on it” mentality is KILLING rational discussion in this country.

Listen, do you really think you’ve got more dirt on Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren do? Do you think that because you watched that one YouTube video, you now know more than a dude who has been in Washington for 30 years? Do you think that because of that eMail forward you read 20 years ago about people close to the Clinton family dying mysteriously, that you are now–somehow, magically–more informed than SENATOR Elizabeth Warren? I guarantee that THEY KNOW MORE of her garbage than you or I EVER will, and they are still standing up and saying, “I’M WITH HER.” They didn’t suddenly stop caring about these issues. They didn’t accept a giant bag full of money from Goldman Sax. They just understand the reality of the situation… And so should you. And not just the REALITY of the situation (that situation being the fact that one of two people is DEFINITELY going to be president, and neither of those people are going to be named Gary Johnson or Jill Stein), but the GRAVITY of the situation.

THIS. SHIT. IS SERIOUS.

Please consider this quote by Sinclair Lewis from 1935, and think about what was happening in the world in 1935… “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

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They are dropping the elephant, and replacing it with this new mascot…

If you are a person who looks at the the flaming orange dumpster fire of a candidate that is Donald Trump, and you actually see a man who has the temperament and character to lead this nation, then there is probably nothing in the world I could ever say to you to help you see things differently. You’re beyond help… Hell, if you think Trump has the temperament and character to lead an Arby’s franchise, you’re probably beyond help. But if you are a person who is similar–as far as ideology and policy are concerned–to Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren), and you are convinced that Hillary’s shortcomings are too great for her to receive your vote, you are basically giving half a vote to each candidate. And half a vote for Donald Trump is WAY too much. I have a lot of respect for Jill Stein… But Bernie is a better candidate than her, and Bernie couldn’t even manage to win the democratic nomination.

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I like Jill Stein. She is more in line with my values than Hillary Clinton. That doesn’t change the fact that she’s definitely not going to win. Bill Nye the Science Guy might be EXACTLY in line with my values… It doesn’t mean I should vote for him as a write-in.

Even people who are voting for her will admit that Jill Stein has no realistic shot of winning the presidency, but they are planning on voting for her as an act of protest. Well, your act of protest could very well end up putting a man in the presidency who has suggested killing people’s families to show terrorists we mean business. A man who has suggested making a registry of Muslims in this country. A man who has called for the use of torture like waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” A man who won’t rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East or even in Europe. A man who has talked about changing libel laws to make it harder for people to criticize him. A man who has been accused of sexual assault and rape three different times (settling twice). A man who calls himself the “law and order” candidate in a time when law enforcement continues to end Black Lives with impunity, and a man who thinks that allowing young black women to use a privileged person’s microphone is a sign of weakness.

A while ago, I took one of those silly “Who Should You Vote For?” quizzes on Facebook, where you answer a bunch of questions, and then they tell you what the percentages are for how well you line up with each candidate. For me, Bernie Sanders was about 98% (and so was Jill Stein, for that matter). Hillary Clinton was about 94%. I am not pissing away my vote over 4%. Because that’s what you are doing if you vote for someone who doesn’t have a shot to win–Pissing away your vote. You might think I’M the best candidate for president, but I’ve got as much chance of being president as Jill Stein. This blog post might go viral, and there might be a grass roots campaign… “The Boeskool For President!” But I can’t win. And neither can she. Now right now, anyway. With a lot of hard work and organization, maybe she can win in four or eight years. But right now, the race is between two people. The only thing a vote for a third party candidate can do at this point is make it easier for that candidate’s ideological opposite to win the election. And yeah, maybe “That’ll show ’em that they need to take us seriously.” But in the meantime, President Trump is installing policy and SCOTUS Justices that will hurt minorities in this country for decades.

And it’s not because I’m cynical… It’s not because I’ve lost hope… It’s because I’m living in reality. People tried to say that Bernie could never win the nomination… That didn’t stop me from voting for him. But this is an entirely different situation. We haven’t done the ground work, we haven’t put the systems in place to make a win by a third party candidate a possibility. Bernie couldn’t win the primaries… If you think Jill Stein can win the general election, you are living in a dream world.

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And this is what I want my house to look like!!!

And a lot of these people who are calling for third party votes have been acting like Trump and Hillary are equally bad. Again… DREAM WORLD. They are not even in the same ballpark… Not even on the same PLANET of bad. She’s a good leader who understands how to navigate a flawed system. She is a leader who is willing to compromise at a time when compromise is looked at as a character flaw. There is no perfect candidate. Even Obama has let me down in so many ways… Drone strikes, and lack of aggressiveness when something substantial could have been done about healthcare, and lack of movement on issues of policy that affect black lives…  But it’s about trajectory. Trump’s trajectory is backwards. It’s longing for a time when America was whiter. And manlier. And less welcoming to other religions. As evidenced here, when Daily show correspondents ask Trump supporters the question, “When exactly was America great?”

Look–I get that you believe that the system needs to change. I agree. But that change is going to take work. And time. And SCOTUS Justices that aren’t crackheads. And that change is going to be a whole lot more difficult with an authoritarian, quasi-fascist meathead in charge. In the system we have right now, ALL of a state’s electoral votes go toward the candidate with the most votes–That is not going to change before November. I live in a state with such a thick cloud of racism that Trump will probably make my vote irrelevant, but especially–ESPECIALLY if you live in a swing state, it is absolutely necessary for you to understand what I’ve been writing about. You can call it “standing with Clinton,” or you can call it “Standing against Trump.” Either way… STAND. Even if you look at her as “the lesser of two evils” (which she 100% is), consider the fact that another way of saying “the candidate who is the lesser of two evils” is this: “The candidate who is better.” We need to vote for the candidate who is better. And I agree with Bernie Sanders, I agree with Elizabeth Warren, I agree with Michelle and Barack Obama… That candidate is Hillary Clinton. If you sit this one out… If you vote for a candidate who has no chance to your state’s electoral votes… Even if you write in “Deez Nutz,” and then Donald Trump ends up in charge of our country… It’ll be on you.

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Leslie Jones, and What To Do When Racism Makes You Want to Give Up

Last night I sat in a packed out Church in Nashville with about 500 others–mostly white folks–and we talked about racism. The event was put on by an organization called SURJ, which stands for “Showing Up for Racial Justice” (You can learn more about SURJ HERE). “Showing up…” Woody Allen said that “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” and even though it was encouraging to see all those people come together for a cause we believe in,  I’ve got to admit that most of the time I feel like the problem–Racism, White Supremacy, and the Systems which support it–is just too big to make any sort of actual difference. It’s the air we breathe. And no matter how much people work, there’s always another person responding to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter.” There’s a steady drumbeat of lifeless black bodies, without any consequence for the ones who took those lives. Freddie Gray’s death was ruled a homicide, and yet no one seemed to kill him… And when it was announced that the final officer was acquitted of any wrongdoing, the crowd at the Republican National Convention cheered in celebration. At the SURJ event, we talked in small groups about the barriers to doing something, and I said that a lot of the time, fighting racism feels like standing at the edge of the ocean with a Dixie Cup… Wondering how you’re going to get all that water out.

So this morning, I woke up and read this post on Facebook from a woman named Taylor Alex. Please, PLEASE read it… 

I hadn’t heard anything about Leslie Jones being harassed by people on Twitter. I knew that there were a small, vocal group of confused and privileged men who were very pissed about Ghostbusters being remade with women… Probably the same small, vocal group of confused and privileged men who were angry about a female lead in the new Star Wars movie… And that sort of misogyny usually goes hand in hand with racism.  But until this morning, I hadn’t heard about the racially charged attacks that happened to Leslie Jones. This is Leslie Jones…

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And here is some of her hilarious work…

She is from Memphis. She grew up as an Army brat. Because she was tall, she gravitated toward sports, and she ended up getting a basketball scholarship. She figured out she was really funny, and–at age 46–she landed a job as a writer on Saturday Night Live. At 47, she became the oldest person to become a cast member on SNL, and she ended up getting a part in this year’s reboot of Ghostbusters. A couple of days ago, a “conservative writer” for Breitbart named Milo Yiannopoulos led a targeted attack campaign of his racist Twitter followers (over 300,000 of them) against Leslie Jones. While enduring distilled hatred, Leslie tweeted this:

She then posted some pics of the attacks. Here are a few of the results… Brace yourselves.

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And at the end of a long day of enduring hatred and evil, she understandably left Twitter…

As a result of a pattern of targeted abuse, Twitter permanently suspended the account of this Milo Yiannopoulos person. A little bit later, Milo showed up at the Republican National Convention wearing a bulletproof vest, stood behind a “Trump/Pence” lectern, and let the world know that “I just got banned from Twitter,” saying that it was “for getting in a fight with a black Ghostbuster.” Here’s what that looked like…
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Here’s some of what he had to say on his Breitbart column:

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives… Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans. We’re winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot.”

“This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

So… Just to recap: 1) Joined with hundreds of others at an event working toward racial justice, 2) Left encouraged, but overwhelmed at the enormity of the problem… wondering what we can possibly DO about it, 3) Woke up today and listened to yet another black voice talking about the constant messages she receives telling her that her black life DOESN’T, in fact,  matter, 4) Grieved over acts of such cowardice and hatred, as seemingly endless waves of racist, faceless people publicly attack a woman because of the color of her skin,  5) Watched as an accepted voice in the republican party calls TWITTER “cowardly” for trying to protect its users from abuse… While he ignorantly claims his right to “free speech” is being infringed… By a private company… Who doesn’t think people should be targeted for bullying and harassment… All while he is cheered on by “conservatives.” These folks SAY they love the free market… Right up until the market determines that their hate speech is not welcome. Then they cry about “free speech.” Here’s a news flash: Free speech does not mean free from consequences. GAH!! And 6) I considered shutting it all down and moving to a shack in the woods.

Which leads me back to this very important question: WHAT CAN WE ACTUALLY DO ABOUT IT? Is it just part of us? Is the system too ingrained? Is the problem too gigantic? Is the ocean just too big? Sometimes, while watching an auditorium full of white people cheer the news that no one will be charged for the killing of yet another murdered black man, it feels like there is nothing we can do… Maybe there ISN’T anything we can do about about problem this big. Maybe that’s what Mother Teresa was talking about when she said,  “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” So here’s what I did: I sent Leslie Jones a tweet. Here is what it said:

I don’t know if she’ll see it. I don’t know if it will matter. Sometimes–despite our best efforts, sometimes the ass holes of the world drown out the sound of our voices with their fear & pain (which presents itself in hatred). And I certainly don’t think that taking a moment to remind one person she is beautiful and valuable and loved is going to solve a problem the size of systemic racism… But here’s what it DID do: It reminded me, for a moment, that everything isn’t going to crap. It reminded me of beauty. And love. And it reminded me of the Cherokee man telling his grandson the story of The Two Wolves:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Maybe we are not making a dent in a problem the size of systemic racism… Maybe we’re not even making a difference to the person we are trying to be kind to… Maybe we are just feeding the good wolf inside of our own hearts. If we focus only on the enormity of the problem, any action we take seems hopelessly insignificant… But sometimes we are planting seeds of love that won’t bear fruit until long after we are gone. So what do we do? Something. Do SOMETHING. And make it loving! I get it… Sometimes the world is a big mess. We don’t have to clean the whole thing, but if we see something on the ground, we should go ahead and pick it up. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” So grab your Dixie Cup, and head back to the ocean… We’ve got work to do. And while you’re at it, send Leslie Jones a tweet to remind her “what human means.”

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Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Something We Can All Agree On…

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This post will be very short and a little bit crazy… Not unlike Tom Cruise.

The world is a very divided place right now–Just about anyone can see this. In these divided times, I feel like it is important to focus on the things we can all agree on. Here’s one: No one should ever try to dance to the song “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll” by Bob Seger. I mean, I get it–You’re at a wedding, and you’re just trying to have some fun. But PLEASE hear me–I don’t care how many drinks you’ve had. I don’t care if you know every word. I don’t even care if you’re wearing a pink oxford and nothing below your waist but a pair of tighty whiteys and some slippery socks. Don’t. Do. It. It will not turn out well. There is no amount of alcohol that can make you look good while doing this.

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“Today’s music ain’t got the same soul.”

Listen, we’ve all been fooled before. Some songs are not to be danced to. If you’re like me, you’ve learned your lesson from the cruel teacher that is a high school dance floor. I remember it well… Hearing the familiar intro from Use Your Illusion’s biggest hit, with Guns n’ Roses’ whining about how “Nothing lasts forever. Even cold November Rain.” So I walked up to a girl and asked her to dance… expecting to sway softly back and forth to the strangely soothing sound of Axel Rose trying his hardest to get his crappy, nasally voice to sound like an electric guitar. Then–six minutes into the song–all of a sudden you realize the song you’re listening to is no longer a “slow dance song.” And there I was, staring at a girl who was as horrified as I was, as Slash increased the intensity of his guitar solo… Both of us wondering how the hell we are going to transition from the standard high school slow dance to… WHAT?!? Some sort of gentle head-banging? And a deep sense of WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW? gives way to a genuine anger that someone would play this sort of joke on people. I imagine long-haired millionaires sitting on expensive couches, laughing as they decide to write a song that will leave millions of skinny white kids like me standing in the middle of a school gymnasium, unsure of what to do next.


When the rain starts falling in this video is when everything stated falling apart on the dance floor.

But of course they did! They had that joke played on them as well. They were out there slow dancing to “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago, and four minutes into it, all of a sudden the horns come in, and some damn fool starts screaming about “When we get there gonna jump in the air!” And they closed their eyes, shook their fists, looked to the heavens, and cursed the day Peter Cetera was ever born.

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CETERAAAA!!!!!!

But here is what I want you know: Familiarity with a song does not make that song a good song to dance to. Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” is a great song to sing while you’re sitting in a car, but only a fool tries to dance to it. Just because some random wedding DJ doesn’t know a good dance song from his own ass, and just because you recognize the beginning piano part to Old Time Rock n’ Roll, it does NOT mean you should run out onto the dance floor like an idiot. The carnage will begin with uncoordinated white people attempting to slide across the floor, and it will eventually and inevitably devolve into people playing awkward air guitar. There are some lessons that can only be learned by going through the pain and humiliation of the people you love laughing and pointing at you… But this doesn’t have to be one of those times. You know what? I’m going to go ahead and just say avoid ANY Bob Seger song… Just as a rule of thumb. But the thing is, no one is going to hear “Night Moves” or “Against The Wind” and run out onto a dance floor, you know? They’re going to sing it at the top of their lungs on a road trip, but dancing? No way. But “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” can trick you if you’re not careful. People’s minds go straight to “Risky Business.” But Tom Cruise had choreographers, a cinematographer, and a director… And even with all of that, they still couldn’t manage to make him look like he knew how to dance. And he ended up playing air guitar… Just like you will.

This public service message has been brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood The Boeskool. Remember kids: Friends don’t let friends make an ass out of themselves by dancing to “Old Time Rock n’ Roll.” It is important to talk about issues that matter in times such as these. Thank you to Shannon Godbold for giving on PayPal. If you value this blog and want to buy me a coffee (disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee) every month or so, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy, you can get fun stuff, and it really does make a difference. Also, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or whatever. MUCH LOVE!

Posted in 3) Bathroom Humor, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

You Can Think We Need Guns To Protect Us From The Government, Or You Can Have Respect For The Troops, But You Can’t Have Both

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This is the sort of tyranny the “founding fathers” were protecting against.

If you talk with people about changing gun laws, it won’t be very long before someone shows up and explains that one of the main reasons we have the second amendment is to “protect us against the tyranny of our own government.” Believe me–I have had enough of these conversations to know… If you ask why people feel like they need to have weapons of war, they will invariably attempt to explain to you that the Second Amendment (which reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”) was written so that we could be armed to fight against our own government… When Obama comes to enslave the American people, I assume… Per the diabolical plans that he is obliged to carry out as a secret Muslim.

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It couldn’t… Could it?

Now… Forget, for a moment, that the words of the 2nd Amendment are a jumbled mess of a sentence that could be interpreted any number of ways… Seriously. A jumbled. Mess. Try to diagram that sentence–I dare you. If I wrote a sentence like that in middle school, there would have been red lines all over it. And forget, for a moment, that when someone tries to get gun regulations passed in Congress, people point to the 2nd Amendment as a sort of proof that regulations are unconstitutional… Even though the words “well regulated” are right there in the text. Regulations. As in, “well regulated.” And forget, for a moment, that if refers to a “militia.” Which is something completely different than every jackass with a $1000 in a PayPal account being able to buy an assault rifle online, without a background check, and carry around that assault rifle on the street. Or in a bar. Or in a school. Or in a church.

And–if you can–even forget that the military (if it wanted to) could TOTALLY destroy any sort of civilian-led rebellion. Your red neck uncle and his AR-15 would never stand a snowball’s chance in hell (if hell were a real place) against our trained, well-equipped military machine. They have artillery, they have mortars, they have machine guns, they have .50 caliber turrets, they have RPGs, they have armored transports, they have tanks, they have smart bombs, they have stinger missiles, they have hellfire missiles, they have bunker-busting missiles. They have DRONES… Remotely controlled, flying robots that rain down death from the sky! They have a freaking Air Force, with Blackhawk helicopters and F14s and all kinds of other ways to kill a whole lot of people at once. They have microwave cannons and sound cannons and lasers and God only know what else. And they have nukes, you guys… NUKES! If you think the crappy gun you bought from Dick’s Sporting Goods is keeping the government at bay, you are living in a dream world. Wake up.

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Turns out police departments also have “bomb robots” that can kill you remotely… So that’s a little disconcerting.

But even forgetting all that–How low of a view of our troops do you have to have to think that they are going to turn on the American people? Have you people ever even MET an American soldier? Do you think that they are such conscience-free, mindless machines that they would train their sights on American civilians, just because some bureaucrat points his finger? Most of these people who are hell-bent on keeping military-style weapons in the hands of everyday citizens (and kids as well) are probably people who profess to “respect the troops.” They cheer at airports, they tear up when people post those videos of soldiers coming home and surprising their kids, they stick their yellow ribbon magnets on their cars… But when it comes down to it, they really don’t trust those men and women to do the right thing. They think we need as many high-powered, semi-automatic assault rifles as possible–Just in case those same men and women they pretend to honor decide to… what… Put them in chains? Take away their freedom? Tax their tea too high?

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Be careful… When she gets done hugging her kid, she’s coming for your guns.

So here’s the thing: If you are demanding that there is a need for people to have weapons that can kill a whole lot of people in a very short time (sometimes known as a “weapon of mass destruction) because of some perceived threat from our tyrannical government, please stop acting like you “respect the troops.” You don’t. You think that soldier in the airport is in on the conspiracy. You think that parent coming home from war is willing to enslave the American people. You think those troops represented by that yellow ribbon are not defending us… You think they need to be ended AGAINST. And that is a lot of things–paranoia, fear, ignorance–but it’s certainly not respect.

Thanks for reading. I seriously love you guys. Thanks to my newest patron, Sarah. All it took was me saying I’d hold my nose and vote for Hillary…🙂 If you’d like to be a patron and help support this blog, you can do that RIGHT HERE. That or PayPal. Or you can just share this and let someone else read it. Either way, I love writing for you, and I’m going to keep on doing it.

 

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments