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…

Df_ul2IXkAEx5J8.jpg-large

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.

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

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…

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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.

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

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…

Posted in 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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?

image

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.

If you value this blog and you’d like to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. If you’d like to boost a post or leave a one time tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. And if you’d like to keep up with me ON TWITTER or ON FACEBOOK, that would be just fine too. Oh yeah… And support the arts! It’s not an accident that when authoritarian regimes take power, they defund and attack the arts. The arts remind us what goodness is… And hallelujah for that.

 

Posted in 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Easter Sermon From A Used-To-Be Christian

I almost never do guest posts on my blog, but I really wanted you all to see this. This was written by my friend Lars… A person I’ve never met in real life, but a person I respect and love. It is an Easter sermon for those of us who find ourselves feeling less and less welcome within the walls of traditional Churches. And it is powerful reminder of the distinction between the fake, Americanized, fundamentalist, self-serving, gun-toting, wall-building, poor-people-demonizing, diversity-hating “christianity” that continues to throw its support behind the immoral leader of this nation… And the sacrificial, empowering, liberating, neighbor-loving, badass narrative of Jesus of Nazareth. It fits right in with my usual “Jesus, Politics, & Bathroom Humor.” Enjoy!

Easter is weird, you guys. And this year marks an interesting milestone. I have now been “church-free” for 10 years, as many years as I was actively involved in the Evangelical community. During the first decade, people called me “Pastor Lars.” I forsook grad school and went into full-time ministry out of college because I had a white-savior complex, among many other issues I’ve been working through. Nine years ago I cleared the room and sat alone with my mom, who had taken her last breaths ~2 hours before. Multiple people had “prophesied” over me that I had the “gift of healing” and “would raise people from the dead.” So, I laid my hands on my own mother and begged God to raise her from the dead. Her body only got colder. Meanwhile, Evangelicals across the country, including in my own church, regaled their politicians that the proposed health care law that would eventually be watered down into the Affordable Care Act was a tool of the anti-Christ to establish “death panels” under the banner of “socialized medicine.” As if our broken health system needed any assistance in the former, and as if one’s health wasn’t an intrinsically social phenomenon in the latter. As if my mom’s uninsured life wasn’t worthy of saving.

Easter-Bunny-Resurrection-116610

And lo, Jesus appeared on the third day with eggs adorned in pastel colors, cleverly-shaped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and angelic Peeps for all his angelic peeps.

I have come to hate “Easter.” The stupid bunnies and eggs and “He has risen!” platitudes that are completely divorced from what the world would actually look like if followers of Jesus embodied the power of the resurrection in a world intent on imploding upon itself.

Easter, despite its appropriation of astrology and pagan fertility rituals (seriously, early Christians were either fucking snowflakes or syncretistic buttholes), should actually catalyze the restructuring of society as we know it, should Jesus’ followers give a damn.

You see, Easter, the resurrection, is rooted in the story of the Exodus, which is the controlling narrative of the Hebrew Bible and Christian scriptures. A people enslaved and brutalized by a foreign kingdom are liberated from bondage through a series of miracles that make their survival viable. Yet, rather than catch their breath and return to whoop the ass of the occupying empire, the former slaves are called by God to create communities where everybody has enough and nobody has too much. The post-Exodus followers of God are called to establish a society defined by equality. Organized into 12 distinct groups, this community of communities is called to be a beacon of a new way of life in the face of a brutal empire. When the life-sustaining manna fell from heaven, the greedy bastards who hoarded their culinary currency found their excess rot before their eyes each day. Those who could not gather enough – the poor, the blind, the disabled, widows, etc., miraculously had their portions filled. Every. Single. Day. The God that liberated this community reminded them ad nauseum that “You have been slaves in Egypt, don’t you dare do to anyone the horrors you’ve experienced yourselves.” Of particular emphasis in these messages was caring for the poor, orphan, widow, and immigrant. Everyone, particularly the outcasts, were to be welcomed, if not highlighted by the new society.

But, God’s people fucked it up. As we do. So, God sent her kid to clean up the mess. And amidst the healing, and the miracles, and the radical teachings are these weird occasions where a bunch of people are hungry and won’t leave God’s progeny alone. And so this dude, Jesus, tells his 12 buddies to make everyone sit down in groups (see above), and proceeds to feed the undeserving masses from a ridiculously small amount of food on hand. Nobody “earned” it, none of it was “means tested.” If you were there, you were split off into a group and fed. Period. Until everybody had enough and nobody had too much. We know this because a ridiculous amount of leftovers were gathered, and of all the amazing things that occurred that day, this is one of the few observations that was documented. Think about that.

And then God’s kid gets in trouble with the law through no fault of his own. And yet he actively walks toward the state that wants to kill him for insurrection. He *literally* holds his hands up, and out, as armed agents of this state proceed to torture and execute him. As his mother watches. As his best friends watch. As the community watches. He is mocked by talking heads. He is murdered.

And then this miracle happens where the dude appears again and we don’t believe it, then we do, then we don’t, then we do. And the story of Easter stops here because we operate on linear Western chronology now and don’t have the capacity for hindsight and context that previous societies did, and we’re now “saved” because of this badass defeat of death that Jesus did. Saved. From what? You can’t be saved from something that isn’t oppressing or threatening to oppress you. Meh, most of us will carry on with our lives and tell this cool story over beers, pretending as if we were there and it was amazing…

And yet a few people were there. And they didn’t do that. They followed the guidance of this crazy-ass miracle dude and waited for his command for their next steps. Yet, when they came, these directions weren’t to kick the Empire’s ass. Weren’t to plunder the fuckers who oppressed them and their friends. What was the immediate response after the miracle dude blew through town? The dude’s followers sold all of their possessions and gave to those in need. They established radical communities where everybody had enough and nobody had too much. The dudes who lied about having too much got struck dead (kinda harsh, IMO), while those without were miraculously provided for.

This isn’t an accident. All 3 of these stages confirm the Exodus as the controlling narrative of Scripture. Folks steeped in the Christian tradition should readily recognize these 3 stages as “Father. Son. Holy Spirit.” though they aren’t taught that way. The idea that God’s purpose for society is to liberate those in bondage that they may then become agents of radical communities where everyone has enough and nobody has too much is completely antithetical to American society. We live with mindsets of scarcity. Of “Death panels” and fear of “socialized [insert something that helps others].”

Evangelical Christianity no longer looks anything like the Gospel. Like anything associated with Jesus or the badass narrative above. Which is why I left.

But that doesn’t mean the ideals are worthless. That the radical upending of society isn’t worth pursuing. Liberation from the clutches of empire catalyzing a new way of living where everyone has enough, nobody has too much, and everyone… *everyone* … is welcome is literally the point of Easter. Anyone who tells you differently can go squeeze a goddamn egg from a bunny.

Thank you, Lars, for these honest and challenging words. Thank you for a life spent working toward building the Kingdom of God. And thank you for giving me permission to share this with the people who read the stuff I write. Happy Easter!

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I Just Cried At A Walmart

One of the things which stresses me out the most is the inability to articulate what’s happening inside of me. So tonight — on the eve of my wife’s cancer surgery — I’m going to try to sort that out… And share it with you.

My kids didn’t want to go to bed tonight. Which is completely understandable — We are leaving before they wake up in the morning to head to the hospital so a doctor can slice into their mother’s neck. But as they looked for more and more excuses to not be in their beds, all I wanted to do was run to the store to buy some toilet paper. And deodorant. And some toothpaste. And maybe some yogurt and Eggo Blueberry Waffles… Partially because we needed those things, but also because that is something I can control. I didn’t want to leave her alone with those hyped-up weirdos the night before she goes under the knife, so I just wanted them to go to bed so I could leave.

As I walked around the aisles, I kept getting messages from people who were telling me they were thinking of us. And praying for us. And sending us good vibes. And asking how they can help. And just being the sweetest human beings on the planet. And being our friends. And the next thing you know, I’m looking for a non-populated aisle where I can cry without making the rest of the dip shits at the Walmart feel uncomfortable. I picked the “ethnic food” aisle, but there were still quite a few people around. A man walking past me pointed at me and said the word “Niñita.” Which I assume means “manly.”

giphy

I stood there for a bit, next to the colorful bags of Takis, and tried to figure out what I was feeling. I guess I’m nervous? That’s part of it. There have been multiple people asking if she has a Living Will. Neither of us do. She asked the nurse what it is, and she explained that it basically details who makes decisions if something goes wrong, she’s hooked up to a machine, and someone has to decide when to “pull the plug.” Except that the woman doing our pre-surgery check in referred to it as “turning you off.” I explained that I am “usually only responsible for turning her on.” Anyway, now people are staring at the man walking around in Walmart, voice-to-texting into his phone about “turning her on,” crying in a super manly way… So that’s where I am.

I’m in an IN-BETWEEN PLACE. I’m not at peace. I’m somewhere between being feeling thankful for everyone’s prayers, and feeling a compulsion to want to explain to people the How and Why behind my belief that God is not in control of this. I am at the same time relieved to be free of the God who gives us cancer for a reason, and nostalgic for the time when I believed that if I said the right prayer or believed hard enough, God would work some sort of miracle. I want to hug the people who care enough to tell me that they are “sending good vibes my way,“ and I also want to scream that their “vibes“are every bit as superstitious as the prayers to the old God who sends a drought to punish people for being bad… “The God who can, but doesn’t.” I am equal parts feeling sorry for myself for being poor enough that this toilet paper is so expensive it makes me think about our cell phone bill, but also feeling blessed beyond my wildest imagination. I am angry that the person I love the most in the world is going through something like this, and at the same time so infinitely fortunate to have a woman like this to love. And to love me back. 

I’m a big bald of emotions right now. If you know anything about The Enneagram, you should know that I am an Enneagram 4… The “Individualist.” I feel ALL THE THINGS, and I feel them deeper than you. In fact, I might be the ONLY person to feel things this way. Ever.

dawsons-creek-tears-how-to-cry-acting-advice-interview-backstage.jpg.644x593_q100

On a manliness scale from Zero to Dawson, I register somewhere between a Joey and a Pacey…

I asked Lillian what needed to happen tonight, and she started talking about needing to finish a “few more things” for the program for the play that our oldest daughter is working on. And I was like, “I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE FUCKING PROGRAM FOR THE PLAY… I’M TALKING ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN BEFORE WE LEAVE FOR YOUR SURGERY IN THE MORNING!” But this is who she is… If you don’t know anything about my wife, that is a small part: She loves helping out, and she enjoys being needed. She still needs to pack, and she has to do some pre-surgery body wash thing, but she’s focused on helping out with our kids’ middle school. Because she’s awesome. Or maybe she TOO just wants something she can control. Probably both.

I’m uncertain. And that’s okay. “Uncertain” is a scary place to be. I think this is why many people find comfort believing that God knows what’s going to happen… Because at least SOMEONE knows how things are going to go. But I don’t. I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. I am HOPEFUL… And within the definition of hopefulness is uncertainty. One thing’s for sure, though… Well, actually TWO things are for sure: The first is that I’m having trouble catching my breath. And the second is this: Even though I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow… Even though I am scared and stressed and uncertain… Even walking the lonely aisles of this depressing place, I’m sure of this: We are surrounded by love.

And maybe that’s enough…

 

Thank you for reading. If you’ve given up on praying for miracles, I feel you. If you’re now a “good vibes” sort of person, send them our way if you’d like.  If you’re a “praying for a miracle” type of person, feel free to pray for us. I happen to be a person who believes that God isn’t somewhere else, waiting to be cajoled into “showing up.” God is here. God is everywhere people are awake enough to open their eyes to see. And I am hopeful. If you want to read more about prayer, you can read THIS (skeptical), and also THIS (embracing the mystery). If you’d like you can LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK, or you can FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. Or you can SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG by entering your eMail near the top of this page. Either way, THANK YOU!

Posted in 1) Jesus, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tennessee Legislators Just Refused To Denounce Neo-Nazis

Yesterday, a subcommittee in the Tennessee State Legislature was presented with a resolution denouncing neo-nazi, white supremacist, and white nationalist groups. The resolution was filed on August 17, 2017… just five days after the “Unite The Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left many people injured and took the life of Heather Heyer. It was introduced by Rep. John Ray Clemmons (Democrat, Nashville), and has been working its way through the legislative process ever since. You can read the resolution in full RIGHT HERE, and you can see its history RIGHT HERE. It died in subcommittee for lack of a “Second” just a few days after a white supremacist group its “national conference” here in Tennessee, and marched through Nashville’s Centennial Park. I know most people don’t click and read through resolutions, with their copious use of the word “Whereas,” so just in case you don’t read it yourself, here are the Cliff’s Notes version of what it said:

  • Charlottesville has shown us that white nationalism and neo-naziism continue to be very real threats to social and racial progress.
  • They promote violence and intimidation against people based on race, ethnicity, and religion, and these forces are attempting to reinvent themselves as the “Alt-Right.”
  • Free speech is important, but it’s also important to state that these harmful ideologies and groups are antithetical and irreconcilable to our nation’s founding principles of “liberty and justice for all.”
  • White nationalism and neo-naziism continue to grow, and their hatred and intolerance has led to senseless acts of violence, which terrorize minority communities.
  • SO, we want to say in the strongest possible terms that Tennessee, as a state, denounces the hatred, violence, bigotry, and xenophobia represented by these groups. We want law enforcement to recognize and pursue criminal elements in these domestic groups in the same way they do with other terrorist organizations.
  • We’d also like to say that we don’t tolerate discrimination and hatred in this state, and we “resolve to promote and ensure equality for all Tennesseans.” Let’s let everyone know this…

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the “controversial” stance that could not manage to get even one “Second” from ANY of the republican members of the House State Government Subcommittee. These hearings are recorded, but they are long and hard to get through. I recorded the 40 seconds it took to kill this common sense resolution basically saying “We think naziism and white supremacy are dangerous and incompatible with our ideals as Tennesseans.” Please notice how they can’t even make eye contact…

In a comment to The Tennessean, Clemmons said, “I would love to try to pass a resolution denouncing white nationalists and neo-Nazis, but if I can’t even get a second in a subcommittee, it evidences this Republican supermajority’s refusal to denounce these hate organizations, for what reason I cannot begin to imagine.” Well… I CAN begin to imagine.

You may have heard about this story already. It was initially reported in THIS ARTICLE by Natalie Allison in the Tennessean. The story was later picked up RIGHT HERE by The Hill, and that post has been shared more than 16,000 times as I write this. It turns out people get a little bit angry and frustrated when their elected representatives refuse to say something as simple and self-evident as “We think nazis are bad.”

The 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville

White supremacists in Charlottesville yelled, “Go the fuck back to Africa!” and “Fuck you, n—–!” and “Dylann Roof was a hero!” But, as Donald said, “You have some very fine people on both sides.”

An important piece of information that was missing from both of the above stories was this: The NAMES of the subcommittee members (all of them republicans) who sat in silence as their colleague looked for a “Second” on this resolution. I contacted Natalie Allison and asked her about the decision to leave out the names of the republican members of the subcommittee, but to include the name of Rep. Darren Jernigan, the only member of the subcommittee to lend his support to the resolution (and also the only democrat on the subcommittee). She told me that the names of the other members were included in the article she submitted (along with her attempts to contact those members), but the names were removed in the editing process. I contacted Duane Gang, the political editor at The Tennessean, to ask why this was done, but as of yet, he has not responded to my requests for clarification on this (Update: Mr. Gang responded and let me know the article was updated with the names of the committee members who stayed silent. The updated article is HERE).

This is something I notice quite a bit: News outlets publish a story that is noteworthy because something that SEEMS like a common sense piece of legislation is stymied by the members of a committee… And they list the names of the people trying to get the piece of common sense legislation through, but they LEAVE OUT the names of the people who are effectively killing the legislation. I think this is bad journalism. They want the buzz (and clicks) of publishing a story that makes people feel outrage, but they don’t provide the names of the legislators causing that outrage. If these people are going to shamefully sit in silence, looking down at their papers, as one of their colleagues asks them to stand up and say, “Naziism and white nationalism are incompatible with the ideals of Tennesseans,” then those people need to feel the sting of the public backlash for their cowardice and complicity. 

So here are the names and contact information of the members of that subcommittee (all of them coincidentally republicans) who refused to back this resolution:

  • Bill Sanderson (Chair), Kenton, TN, District 77 — Bill’s number is (615) 741-0718, and you can email him at rep.bill.sanderson@capitol.tn.gov
  • Bud Hulsey, Kingsport, TN, District 2 — Bud’s number is (615) 741-2886, and you can email him at rep.bud.hulsey@capitol.tn.gov
  • Bob Ramsey, Maryville, TN, District 20 — Bob’s number is (615) 741-3560, and you can email him at rep.bob.ramsey@capitol.tn.gov

Mary Littleton is the other republican member of the subcommittee, but she was not at the hearing, because she is recovering from surgery. I contacted her office to ask if she would have supported the resolution… I have not heard back from her. I reached out to ALL the people on this list to ask about the reasoning behind their refusal to give a “Second” on this resolution. As of yet, none of them have responded. One staffer seemed to indicate that it might have been the reference in the resolution to these groups as “domestic terrorists,” and that this language seemed a bit strong. He also mentioned something about free speech. And before I finish writing (and you blast the elected leaders who didn’t feel comfortable saying “Nazis are bad”), I’d like to speak to this…

The KKK is America’s original terrorist organization (The O.T., if you will). These new groups — whether they are calling themselves “White Nationalists” or “Neo-Nazis” or “Alt-Right” or any number of other monikers denoting white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, xenophobic,  bigoted, hyper-nationalist views — are pushing the same hate-filled message. As Shakespeare said, “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as racist.” And they are TOTALLY terrorist organizations. When they march, when they pick up their torches, when they open carry their guns… They are doing this to intimidate and threaten and terrorize. If you are a person of color, or an immigrant, or a Jewish person, and you see a group like this walking through Centennial Park, you are being terrorized. You don’t need to strap a bomb to your chest or have brown skin to be a terrorist. Of the 34 extremist-related murders in 2017, EIGHTEEN of them were committed by white supremacists. Over the last ten years, only 26% of the extremist-related fatalities have been the result of Islamic terrorists… but white supremacists account for 71% of the terrorist deaths in the United States. If you are worried about getting murdered by a terrorist, you are 273% more likely to get killed by a white supremacist than a Muslim. And we’re having this conversation while someone in Austin, TX is killing People of Color with bombs in packages.

But here in Tennessee, it seems the majority of our legislators don’t want to call white supremacists and neo-nazis “domestic terrorists.” And that is shameful. It is cowardly. And it is beneath us… As Tennesseans, as Americans, and as human beings.

Thanks so much to the people who have decided to become Patrons… To those who have been for a while, to those who just started recently, and to those who used to be, but decided to not be Patrons anymore. I realize people can’t support some blog writer indefinitely… I totally understand. If this blog is a thing thing you value, and if you’d like to support it, you too can BECOME A PATRON. If you just want to leave a tip or boost a post, you can do that ON PAYPAL. Or I’d love it if you’d follow me on Twitter or Facebook. The other way you can support my writing is by sharing this post with the people in your lives. Now go get your phone, and call some legislators…

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment