All posts by jww1959

Worried and wondering…

In the spirit of complete disclosure, let’s start by saying I never believed someone as amoral, narcissistic, criminal, and ignorant as Trump could win the election to the presidency.

That said, I’m constantly looking at history to compare with the chaos we are living in today. I realize that many people are convinced that Trump is the savior they have been waiting for. I also realize that I will NEVER understand their perception.

I have long been interested in World War II. In particular, I have been consumed with the stories of holocaust survivors. How they survived, what they survived, why they survived. As part of this curiosity, I naturally wondered why they chose the paths they chose. It’s only natural, when looking back, to wonder if they could have done something sooner to save themselves and their families from the disaster that was to come.

I’ve read many accounts of families and individuals who watched Hitler come to power in shock and surprise. Then watched as the rule of law was changed to create an atmosphere that allowed for the murder of 11 million people, 6 million simply because they were Jewish, with the acquiescence of the general population. What made them believe it couldn’t happen? What made them stay when hindsight screams, “Get out”? What would I have done in the same position?

What would I have done is coming too close to reality for me right now. A demagogue, who fashions himself as a god, has been “elected” as “our” leader. A person who believes himself and his agenda to be above the rule of law in our country. Many people support this person simply because they have bought into his agenda and believe life will be better for them, damn the rest of the world. If this doesn’t bring flashbacks to 1930s Germany, I don’t know why not.

So, here I sit wondering when it’s time to throw in the towel and find a country that better matches my belief system. When is it time to say I’ve lost the fight to save my beloved country? Am I guilty of ignoring the truth as it seemed the people in the 1930s did when watching Hitler take over?

What options do I have and what choices should I make to protect and preserve my life, my family, my democracy, and my country? Is there anything I can do to save the future of democracy in the United States of America? Is there any hope for the best of America to win over the greed, self-absorption, and loss of empathy that has invaded our country? What can and should I be doing now?

I cry over these questions but still can find no sure answers. Perhaps those with more knowledge and experience can guide us to the truth and best of our great country? I pray that is so and cry until I find the answers.

 

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What will it take? Part 2

It’s been an interesting week. I was contacted regarding cross-posting my blog post called “What will it take?” that I posted in February. I have no problem with cross-posting since I really don’t have to read the comments unless I want to. Of course, I did read the comments and was not surprised however, I am still vexed.

Here is the link to the cross-posted article and the responses:  http://writerbeat.com/articles/18790-WHAT-WILL-IT-TAKE-

To summarized, I was, and still am, asking Trump supporters what it will take for them to decide he is an amoral liar who doesn’t care about the average citizen. After the cross-posting, I got lots of replies but none that answer the question. So, here’s my response and continuing question:

Saying that most people voted not for Trump but rather against Clinton doesn’t answer the question: What will it take?

Claiming that everyone lies or is corrupt, especially Democrats, doesn’t answer the question: What will it take?

Those from other countries, I respect your right to your opinions, but they don’t answer my question: What will it take?

Those who continue to support Trump and are delusional despite all the evidence contrary to their views are my target audience. However, the question isn’t why did you vote for him, why is he such a great leader/person, or just how stupid am I? The question is: What will it take?

Since the answers are so far from what I was asking, let me restate the question.

I want to know what, if anything, would make you, the Trump supporter, decide that his behavior is unacceptable in a civil society. Is there anything that would change your opinion of him as a leader or a person?

We’ve already determined that it is not mocking the disabled, not judging others based on their ethnic genealogy, not illegal and immoral business practices, not admitting to sexual assault.

How about murder? He once claimed he “could stand in the middle of 5th avenue and shoot someone and not lose voters”. What about treason such as taking bribes from a foreign government? What if he is caught raping a child? How about incest? Would any of these heinous acts be enough to convince you that he is amoral, ignorant, or unfit for the highest office of the U.S. government?

Please, feel free to comment if you can or will answer the question:

What will it take?

 

I find myself in the middle of great conflict within my head, heart, and soul.

I find myself in the middle of great conflict within my head, heart, and soul.

As I’ve written before, I’m still grappling with the reality that my countrymen elected an ignorant, racist, misogynist, selfish, immature, dangerous man to the highest position of our government. Since then, he has done nothing to reassure me and many, many (too many to count) things to reaffirm my conviction that he is not, in any way, competent to lead any country. My feelings on this range from anger to hope to despair to disbelief on an almost daily basis.

Now, I’m also facing a crisis in my choice of church denomination. There is no doubt that I am a Christian and strive to live as Christ taught the apostles and disciples. My faith in God has not been touched by my current feelings of loss and anger. What is being damaged is my faith in the United Methodist Church.

I came to the UMC through marriage but  have grown to love and support the church through time and events over the past years. I’ve questioned and read and participated in the church. I’ve made a faith-home with Monumental UMC. I love my church family and support the many loving acts that we, as a church and as individuals, do.

But, now, the church is dealing with the very real fact that it’s rule book, “The Discipline” specifically excludes the LGBTQ community. Many UMC leaders and lay people have spoken out requesting a change in this archaic position. Unfortunately, in my opinion, many have spoken in support of the position. It was a hotly debated issue brought before the 2016 annual conference. A decision was made to create a commission to study the issue and determine the “way forward” regarding the issue. The “Way Forward” commission is currently working on this now. A date for a special conference has been set for 2019. I was not happy that it would take so much time to conclude what I feel is a simple choice for the future of the church but recognized that institutions move slowly (if at all) toward change and the future.

Now, I’m struck by the recent ruling from the United Methodist Judicial Council against the consecration and appointment of a gay Bishop. I see this as a sign that the church is comfortable with the status quo. I understand the “law of the church” as it currently stands. I understand that it takes time to change institutions. I understand that we have a special commission to study the issue and report at a called conference in 2019. So we have to wait.  Well, then, we should all be waiting. Waiting before any other rulings come down on this issue. Waiting until a final decision is made before continuing action based on a rule that is in dispute.

So, where do I go from here? I’m grappling with what God would have me do. The question I am asking is, ” do I stay or do I go?”

More specifically, “can I do more to support the LGBTQ community by leaving the church and going to a church that is more inclusive?” Does leaving, as many are wont to do, send a strong message to the United Methodist Church that they are “being left behind” due to their unwillingness to embrace love in all its forms? Does shrinking membership numbers indicate that they have become obsolete? Is this a meaningful way to make a difference?

Or, “should I stay in the church and work toward change?” Is it wrong to think I can make a difference if I leave? Is there anything meaningful that I can do as a member? Will my voice be heard?

The answer has not come to me yet. I will continue to pray and study until I know that my decision is based firmly on the direction that God is calling me to choose. Please, pray for me because I am struggling with my emotions and need all the help I can get.

What will it take?

With all the scandals and lies coming from Trump and his administration, I just keep wondering what will be the final straw? By that, I mean what will it take for his supporters to finally see him for what he is. And, perhaps more importantly, what will it take for the Republican held Congress to take action?

First I asked this question during the campaign. What would it take for people to turn on Trump? If mocking a disabled reporter didn’t do it, what would? If being exposed for his illegal and immoral business practices didn’t do it, what would? If accusing a judge of being biased based on his ethnicity didn’t do it, what would? If listening to him talk about assaulting women didn’t do it, what would? Obviously, nothing did.

Now, here we are faced with this amoral, ignorant person holding what should be the most respected position in our government and the evidence of his true self just keeps coming in. I try not to wonder anymore but keep thinking my fellow citizens have to have a limit that will be too much. What could Trump do that would make his supporters say, “Enough”?

I’ve joked with friends making suggestions of more and more heinous actions only to find ourselves shaking our heads sadly and saying, “no, not even that would do it”.  So, here I sit in complete bewilderment knowing that if any other professional committed even one of the egregious behaviors so common to Trump, they would be condemned and reviled.

Imagine, if you can, if your child’s school principal mocked a student, parent, or teacher who was handicapped? Fired! What if you learned that your doctor commonly refused to pay his bills and even cheated his patients out of money? Reported and sanctioned by the State Medical Board. How about if you heard your minister talking about grabbing women without permission? Shamed and dismissed.

So, why do some people expect so little from the person who holds the highest position in our government? This person who represents us to the entire world? This person who is a role model to our children? Why is it okay for him to behave in a way that we would never accept from anyone else, not even our own children?

I really wish I understood.

I just wish I could understand…

Lately, I find myself wondering what it would be like to talk with a Republican, more specifically a Trump supporter, about the current events of our country. I know we couldn’t change one another’s opinions but I wonder if we could even hear what the other has to say.

I like to picture myself sitting down over coffee and sharing our opinions, ideas, and feelings about what is happening in our world since Trump took over. I’m sure I’d be shocked by the opinions and view-point of the other side. Could I maintain my civility when faced with false “truths”? Are there Trump supporters who see the truth but still find a way to support him?

It’s all pretty unlikely but sometimes I really wish I could just ask a few questions and then listen to the answers. Here’s what I’d like to ask:

  1. Do you think Trump really cares about the working person? If so, on what do you base your conclusion?
  2. Do you think Trump has the necessary education, experience, and character to be President? Do you think it matters?
  3. Are you concerned that he hasn’t surrounded himself with experienced, knowledgeable people?
  4. Do you think he is hiding anything in his tax returns?
  5. Do you think Trump will make our country better economically? Do you care that he has never provided any solid evidence of a plan?

There are many more questions I have but these would cover a lot of time and probably move into other areas in discussion. I guess I’m still just trying to understand how intelligent, loving, compassionate people could support someone so self-absorbed, immoral, and dishonest to lead our great country.

 

Pro-Choice and Pro-Life

There always seems to be an adversarial relationship between “pro-choice” and “pro-life” but I don’t believe that is always the case. If you really think about what these labels are supposed to mean, they’re not so far apart. Of course, deeper investigation might reveal that the labels don’t actually fit the movement to which it is applied.

I am old enough to remember the 70s when the labels were a little different. Pro-choice was once referred to as “abortion-rights” and Pro-life was known as “anti-abortion”. In time it became clear that those labels didn’t really represent the true feelings of the movements. Thus, the evolution in the labels.

So, here we are with opposing movements wrapped up in “choice” and “life”. But, I find myself asking do I really oppose “pro-life” or “pro-choice”? The answer is, not on the surface, no. So I have to think deeper and examine what I really feel to try to put the “right label” on myself.

First off, I believe a human being (man or woman) has the right to determine what happens to their body. A person has the right to say who they are going to love, with whom and whether they have sex, when and if they have a baby, and when and how they die. I guess these beliefs make me “Pro-choice”.

I also believe that people deserve basic “life” rights. I believe every person has the right to food, shelter, justice, and equality. I believe that a moral nation supports those who need help with basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care and education. These basic needs are necessary to life. So, these beliefs seem to me to make me “Pro-life”.

So, what am I? Pro-Choice? Pro-Life? Neither? Both?

Here’s what I have decided and it’s my own decision and opinion for myself.

I am both. By my definition of “pro-choice” and “pro-life”, I am both.

I believe in the right to determine what happens to my body in all instances AND I believe in the right to live with basic human rights. I will support and fight for all “pro-choice” rights including abortion, sexual choice, and the right to die. I will support and fight for all the basic human rights of those living on this earth including the right to shelter, food, medical care and education and justice.

This is my quest!

Stop the illegal inauguration!

Russia manipulated the presidential election in the United States of America. That fact is incontrovertible. Trump openly invited Russia to hack into servers of United States’ citizens. Trump was elected because that is who Putin wanted as the next president of the United States.

All of the above are facts! Nobody involved is really disputing these facts. The only discussion is what, if anything, will be done. From what I’ve heard and read, the only focus is whether we can/should prevent such interference in future U.S. elections. That isn’t enough for me.

I want to know how and why we should accept the candidate that we know was put in place by Putin. I believe if we let this crime go unchallenged, we have handed out country over to Russia. Why would we let this illegal election result stand?

Since no one seems to be taking the fact that Trump won the election illegally, I am not hearing much about what can be done to correct the result. My sense of fair play says that Trump should be disqualified and Clinton should be made President-elect. Of course, I know that a lot of people would protest that choice. Still, if in a competition, one team cheats and is caught, the other team wins. Why should an election be treated differently?

More importantly, why should we accept the choice made by and installed by Putin? Isn’t this a clear degradation of our democratic government? Can no one see that accepting this behavior is the same as saying, “take over, we give Russia control of our government”?

Perhaps someone out there can explain to me the reasons that this travesty can’t or won’t be corrected. If there is no precedent, let’s not make a precedent by allowing the crime to go unpunished. If there is no known method of making this right, let’s create a method that is just and true to our fundamental principles of democracy.

I don’t know where to go or how to do it but I know that someone has to stop the inauguration of Trump. We can not accept a president that we know was promoted by outside sources to the point of manipulating the election.