It’s Not About You

My blogs are snapshots of what I am thinking at any given moment… sometimes they are clear and I really convey precisely what is in my heart and sometimes they are clumsy and are misunderstood…

This morning my blog must have been that… now, people who were not Christians did not read my blog as anti-Christian.. but some of my Christian friends read that very thing.  I have no hatred for people who follow Christ, who live by his teachings, or who live their lives with the love of Him in their hearts… I think that they are good people and many of them are people I care for and respect.  I actually don’t pay much attention to the beliefs of others.  I was brought up in a diverse community with Christians, Mormons, Jews, atheists, and more… I never thought much about it until I moved to a mostly Christian community.

My point is that IF you believe God has a plan and that everything happens for a reason and according to His plan then how do you explain mass shootings? How do you explain our country being taken over by a man like Trump? How do you explain people who hold up _________________ (insert any religion) as the reason they voted for Trump or will vote for Moore in Alabama.  But my main point was about people who profess to be Christian but voted for Trump because although he was morally vacant he was still their man, and those same people who fight against any shred of gun regulation and blame the gun violence in our country on mental health issues although they are unwilling to pay more in taxes to fund services.

Making things different will need to come from religious organizations in our country and it is my belief that actions not prayers are needed.  Church signs need to denounce Trump, to get on board with gun control, to support our LGBTQ  brothers and sisters, to open their doors to immigrants and promote healthy active lives.

So, as I write, I am writing from my perspective… if I write about being vegan and caring about not participating in animal cruelty you could be angry because you choose to eat meat, if I write about the value of college and you did not go to college you could be angry… perhaps you are angry because even though it is not about you or how you live your life, you may still feel challenged … maybe that’s a good thing

 

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Now We Know…

It does matter, now we know.  For years, decades even, I recall hearing the idea that it really didn’t matter who the president was.  Things remained mostly the same, relatively.  But that idea, almost lament, was shattered drastically when Trump took office.  When he took the American people hostage.  We now know that one very disturbed narcissist CAN change the lives of so very many people.

Those ‘Make America Great’ people have not seen the change affect them, yet.  They were hoping for something big… and when that change hits them, they will see it.  Sadly, it will not be the change they were hoping for. Our country will be united because we will all finally be suffering together.

The people who have already felt that change? The LGBTQ community where haters have been emboldened to strike out against an entire group of Americans, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, women who need health care, the free press, South Koreans, liberals, the Lokota people, Puerto Ricans, NFL players who take a stand or a knee, and many more have been affected by his hostility that lashes out in early morning tweets and in executive orders.

In the past, it might have been possible to just muddle through a four year term, muttering your displeasure as our illustrious leader makes policy that may or may not improve your life and the lives of your neighbors.  But THIS president, THIS president is holding America hostage, so many are dangling dangerously over an open cauldron of boiling oil, just waiting for his next ‘decision’.  By decision I mean a fleeting thought that pops into his head.

This time it really did matter… and because enough of us thought our country, our government, was too big for one man to make a difference, we are being ‘led’ by someone who is focused on himself and his close friends and family.  Never again can we stay home or throw up our hands at election time because we don’t like our choices…. the lesser of two evils? Well, that didn’t happen… I don’t like to use the word evil… but in this case, evil won.  Resist and hang on. It matters

Death And Taxes

I live in a state that has no sales tax.  Lucky me!  I can go to a store or restaurant and the state government does not get to add anything to my bill and keep it.  But, I also work for a public school, drive on public roads, and rely on public services like the police and fire departments.  Our town has lost it’s library.  Lucky me? Every bond that gets floated past our citizens is voted down… people don’t want to, or ‘can’t’ pay.

But, we got our tax bill this week.  We live in a modest home in an okay neighborhood… nothing fancy… really. Our tax bill, however, is on par with a house in Los Angeles worth three or four times what our house is worth!  So, those roads? I pay for them.  Those schools? I pay for them.  Those public services? I pay for them.  My neighbors, who are renters, get the benefit of all of those things.  My local library? Sorry folks, there wasn’t enough money…

We are not the most taxed people in the world.  Perhaps if we were taxed more, we would be a better country.  We could afford healthcare for all, beautiful roads, small classroom sizes, mental health facilities that kept the homeless off the streets, food on every table, after school programs free to the public and free college.  If you were not paying for health care and child care, if you were not having to save for your child’s college, if you were not fixing your car because you hit that pothole that never gets fixed, perhaps you could live on a little less money.

The tax reform coming from Washington is a joke.  In no way will it make my life or your life better… this is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul… and in this scenario most of us are Peter… and Paul? He is already making plenty of money… Robbing Peter means that HUD is cutting 2-3 billion dollars out of their budget, it means that money spent helping people pay for health care is cut, it means that the majority of the people who need help in our country will be on the chopping block and lose the benefits they depend on.

If our state needs more money to run the government and help our citizens they will try to balance their budget by increasing our property tax and cutting public education… both will slam our family… Lucky me

Trump Claps For Himself

Trump steps onto the stage clapping for himself, he is speaking to conservative voters… he likes people who speak well of him.  He is at the Values Voters Summit… I am going to vomit… we are a nation sustained by the values of prayer.  He quotes scripture…’The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.  His promise is to never leave the survivors’ side.  Mentioning the fires in California and Puerto Rico he stayed on script… we love those American’s and what they are going through…. it is hard to listen to his ramblings even when he stays on script.  His words are hollow, empty of understanding and true compassion.

He knows his audience.  An ovation for saying ‘We support our American Flag’. He thanks the crowd.  He gives a history lesson saying that our forefathers invoked the name of ‘Our Creator’ in the Declaration of Independence four times… Trump claims Ben Franklin wanted people to bow their heads in prayer, it is interesting to note that Franklin was arguably an atheist.  That will be one for the fact checkers.

His mostly white audience cheered for him being ahead of schedule in coming through on his campaign promises… protecting the unborn, protecting religious organizations, making a day of prayer official, tightening immigration restrictions, promising not to target religious groups, stopping the attacks on Judeo-Christian values… We’re saying Merry Christmas again… the room of Christians cheer.

He is proud of his kept promises: Getting out of the TPP and the Paris Accord, pushing through the Dakota XL Pipeline, our new Supreme Court Justice, and the recent EPA protection cancellations.  This is a list of thoughtless actions that will hurt people, our Earth, and our position of respect in the world… add to that his backing out of the Iran deal and the US just looks less and less reliable as a partner in global concerns.  So glad we can all say Merry Christmas again.

Trump is bringing back religion… and from the cheers of the crowd, they are thrilled to have him as their spokesman.

Trump is arguably the least informed voice in a conversation about anything: politics, race relations, international concerns, scientific findings and religion.  It continues to baffle me that so many are still cheering. At least he is proud of himself… hence the clapping….

 

 

A Message From God

Have you ever heard that God answers all prayers, sometimes the answer is no and sometimes you just don’t like the answer? Well, America, we have been praying a lot lately.  And if you do believe that God answers all prayers, you have to be wondering.

The list of tragedies in our country is growing rapidly. The media is being stretched thin as they send their reporters to dueling tragedies, both natural and man-made, across our nation…

Perhaps God is angry. Fires, floods, mass shootings. Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Las Vegas, Northern California, Puerto Rico, Oregon… we are being hammered from all sides… Maybe Trump isn’t ‘God’s Man’ after all… maybe God is sending us a message.

But, heck, the stock market is up

Don’t Make It Easy

If you live in Oregon you know this… we can not buy Sudafed at the pharmacy.  We can’t buy it here in Oregon because some people misuse the ingredients to make meth.  If you have to go to work and you have a cold, Sudafed is the best way to kick it for the day.   We have outlawed a medication because a few people can’t be responsible. We don’t want to make it easy for drug dealers.

Years ago my mother was running late for work.  An animal like sound came from across the street… it became a tortured scream.  The neighbor boy had tried to kill himself with one of their family’s guns.  He was lucky, my mom was there and he lived. Years later, in the early morning my phone rang. I sat in my kitchen as my boss told me that my coworker’s 16-year old son had committed suicide with his father’s gun. Then there was an early morning meeting to tell us that a student had accidentally shot and killed his brother.  Of course there was Columbine, Sandy Hook, UCC and many, many more… but those were the big ones… The small ones are the ones we, as a nation, never hear about.  They are the hunting accidents, the suicides, the accidental shootings, the children picking up guns and the sudden bad decisions made in anger that take only one or two lives.  

As a nation we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our people safe.  We have laws about wearing helmets, wearing seat belts, using a phone in the car, how much medication a person in pain is allowed to receive at once, where we are allowed to carry our glass of wine or bottle of beer in public, how high we need to make a railing, and the age we are required to send our children to school.  

We may never be able to foresee the acts of a mad man or the lengths he is willing to go to do harm… but we can prevent accidents, curb successful suicides, and stifle something done in the heat of the moment (think road rage), and make it extremely difficult to commit mass murder… either way we don’t have to make it easy to hurt someone.

If you own a gun you and your family are far more likely to be injured by a gun. Period. If you own a gun you have to realize that YOUR gun may be used to commit a crime.  A gun really has one purpose: To kill something. You can say it is for protection, for hunting, for target practice, for sport… but it really is just to kill.  We need to care more about keeping our society safe than about owning guns.  Owning a gun does not make you safe… it makes you part of the problem… I know that is harsh, because no one wants to admit that something they believe is a right may need to be restricted or even eliminated…  Let’s not make hurting each other easier than it has to be.

Quick To Anger

Many of us are jumping up and shouting that ‘those people’ are what is wrong with America.  I would argue that it is not ‘those people’ it is their attitudes.  Our town is very conservative, very Republican, and very Christian.  Our town is making changes, improvements as it were, to roads, bridges, streetlights and our downtown. Our local leaders are trying to revive and improve our little corner of Oregon. We have several Facebook pages where new ideas are shared with the community.  

 

If you have taken a look at any of these public forums you have seen the barrage of ugly comments left by our neighbors. They are comments that are filled with such anger, hatred and vile language that seems so out of proportion to the idea or statement that spurred them on.  If someone said even the more mild of these hate comments out loud, to my face, I would be fearful for my safety.

 

Somewhere along the way we have lost our respect for one another, a filter of decency, and the ability to control what we say and do.  It seems that we are looking for things to be outraged over, reasons to swear at hard working people, and ways we are being wronged by anyone who crosses our path or looks to change the status quo.

 

Our local government has been implementing road improvements for the past couple of years, and the roads and bridge to our downtown have been under construction for that long. Perhaps it has taken 5 minutes to get through that area rather than the one or two it usually takes… on a really busy day it took ten.  There were road workers helping with traffic during this time. I usually smile and wave because…why not? Those road workers received so much verbal abuse from members of our community. It was sad and they couldn’t wait to get out of our town.

 

The improvements are not perfect, they make it more dangerous rather than less dangerous if you are riding a bike across the bridge and into downtown…but I don’t need to yell or get angry about it. I don’t need to call names or send hateful messages to our city planners. I can write an intelligent, helpful letter offering ways to fix the problem and offer suggestions.

 

We need to step back and think before we jump to anger. Our town is a microcosm of what is happening in our country.  We need to seek to understand what is happening and why it is happening. We need to respect each other before we join the conversation. That is what will make America great again… lack of respect ~ that is what is wrong with America. If you don’t have respect for others, you don’t need to get out, you need to open your mind and better understand the situation.