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November 20, 2016

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Is the unreal really real?

Maybe historians will mark 2016 as surrealism’s takeover year. Nightmares broke into real life and roamed the streets.Related image

Think of it: Americans supposedly handed the twittering Donald Trump a “mandate,” which allowed him to tap an attorney general designate with a dubious track record on race relations to enforce our civil rights laws, among other things.  And then there’s Retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn.  He once tweeted: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions… http://youtu.be/tJnW8HRHLLw.” He could head national security. Let’s talk about Myron Ebell, the climate-change skeptic leading the EPA’s transition team … No.  Let’s not.

This is a dream, right?  A bad one co-starring Stephen Bannon.

The surrealism swells: There’s no mandate.  Americans didn’t favor Trump. At this writing, Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory stands at 1.5 million and may climb to two million.  Her plurality is far wider than Richard Nixon’s in 1968 and John F. Kennedy’s in 1960.  Our problem: We’re saddled with a mean-spirited octopus, otherwise known as the electoral college — established, in part, to protect the minority interests of the slave-holding South while fending off mob rule.  Tentacles from the antebellum era have groped from the past and strangled the Land of the Free for the second time in 16 years.  The American populace chose Al Gore in 2000, albeit by a slim margin.  He would have tried to tackle the climate crisis and, probably, avoided the Iraq war.  Americans also chose the more competent of the less-than-stunning 2016 candidates.

Instead, we get Trump, offered to us on the platter of a living anachronism.

More surrealism: Self-identified white evangelicals supposedly voted for this thrice-married womanizing strip-club owner 81-19, which  boggles the mind until we remember that evangelicals aren’t really evangelical anymore.  A recent study showed 71 percent believed Jesus was a created being and 56 percent believed the Holy Spirit is “divine force but not a personal being.”  Only 52 percent said sex outside traditional marriage is a sin.

I guess it’s all okay if you vote Republican.

And then there’s me and my own life.  My surreal nightmares often revolve around scenes in which I’m rendered speechless in the face of lies — even though I’ve always had a knack for public speaking.  Now I’m living it.  I awaken from those nightmares and find myself with a speech impediment because I lost much of my real tongue to cancer (reconstructive surgery replaced it, but it’s not the same).  And this cancer, which doesn’t normally spread, has metastasized.  I should be speaking and advocating; instead, I’m scheduling more treatments.

Will someone wake me up?

The best I can do is offer this Facebook suggestion:

For the millions that will lose insurance if Obamacare is repealed please call Paul Ryan. It takes less than two minutes and it literally is life and death for so many people.
Paul Ryan is conducting a [very biased] phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it. If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, call (202) 225-3031. Press 2 to weigh in on the issue. You’ll hear a brief [biased] recording about HR-3762, Paul Ryan’s proposal to gut the ACA, and President Obama’s use of his veto power to stop it. Then, you will have a chance to indicate your opinion with the press of a button.
Press 1 if you support Obamacare, 2 if you oppose it.
Copy and paste this, don’t click share.

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November 13, 2016

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Satyagraha on a Pennsylvania Highway

Image result for rust belt pennsylvaniaMark this: I’m convinced Donald Trump’s election is a national tragedy and bodes ill for the world.  Ring out the protests in the short term while plotting long-term strategies, please. As for those complaining about all the “liberal” cry babies and post-election whining: Your candidate hinted at “rigged” voting before the ballots were cast.

What’s up with that?

But I’ll pause and breathe deep.  I’ll be Gandhi-esque about my resistance and embrace his Satyagraha philosophy, which Martin Luther King, Jr. characterized as “love in action.” Such love views the scenery through the other’s eyes.  Pastor Leon Hebring of the First Baptist Church of Meriden, CT, practiced Satyagraha and posted his insights on Facebook. Here is his post, with no further comment:

I just returned from an exhaustingrag and fruitless trip through north central PA; the stretch from Scranton 90 miles northwest was beautiful but truly depressing. I quipped about meth labs and rotten teeth but also saw deep deep poverty, hard working folks, kind folks and ghosts of a past that must have been better on many levels than life out there is now. I also observed a very high concentration of Confederate flags and Trump signs and I think I am beginning to “get it” a little bit.

A significant % of people who voted for Trump were not embracing his racism, hate, moral bankruptcy, greed and sexism; they are so desperate, so abandoned by the neo-liberal hypocrites who still sell the lie that they are on the side of the “common man” and minorities. So fed up with Democrats turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the fracking destroying their water and economic policy that only adds to their problems; so fed up with the utter B.S. spewing from Hillary’s mouth that I am convinced lots of Trump voters simply said “What the hell, he’s not an insider, let’s kick the bums out.”

Sure, the hate-filled trolls always lurking in the underbelly of American society, only poking their heads out for moments of cowardly bravado have been emboldened and have crawled out into the daylight, but they were always there.

I am still very concerned because I think the Trump we saw for 18 months, or 50 years, is the Trump moving into the White House, NOT the one that pretended to be human for 10 minutes after he won. But I think I “get it” a little better, and for those poor desperate souls, so disenfranchised they somehow found a way to live with a Trump vote, I think I get it and I wish you well.

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November 10, 2016

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When don’t-worry-be-happy rings hollow

Some somber reflections two days after the 2016 election – from a white, male, traditional Christian exhausted from rowing up the political stream, perhaps helpful to Trump supporters who don’t understand all the angst: First of all, I could do without the spiritual bromides.  Many of my dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ jingle the […]

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October 13, 2016

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Liberty University Students Protest Their President’s Support for Trump

Once more, with feeling this time: Evangelicals are not a political monolith.  Witness a petition signed by about 250 Liberty University students protesting President Jerry Falwell Junior’s Trump endorsements. They call the Republican nominee “one of the worst presidential candidates in American history” and assert, “Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want […]

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October 11, 2016

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Questions linger as leaders disavow Trump

It’s only Tuesday, yet this week already ranks among the creepiest in US political history. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump did not hide in shame after the revelation of his vulgar comments in an Access Hollywood video. Instead, he stalked his Democratic opponent in a live television debate and threatened to send her to jail […]

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October 5, 2016

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A vaguer kind of denial

A more subtle form of doubt has crept into the climate debate even as government agencies confirm what we already know: It was a hot and soppy summer. NASA said global temperatures broke all-time records in July and August; NOAA said all the lower 48 US states sweltered in those two months, with records shattered […]

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October 2, 2016

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Michael Gerson’s Facebook post

The 2016 presidential campaign plunged from the surreal to the truly bizarre last week, with Donald Trump collapsing into a crude, oily pool in the first presidential debate and sinking in it when he assailed a former Miss Universe in pre-dawn twitter rants. Creepy. But not as creepy as two other prevailing, more foreboding features in the […]

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June 24, 2016

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Illusory power’s seduction

Perhaps power is the flame wooing some “evangelical” moths. They can’t help themselves – even when the flame is a bona fide proto-fascist liar, wife dumper, misogynist, strip-club owner, narcissistic megalomaniac, and Muslim and Mexican hater. Such is my takeaway after sifting through the news of Donald Trump’s newly-appointed evangelical advisory board.  The Donald gushed: […]

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June 17, 2016

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While the brash GOP explodes, the quiet Dems sink into oblivion

The earsplitting 2016 GOP presidential calamity is veiling another, slower-moving political meltdown that’s only made the back pages of a few news outlets.  It seems the Democratic Party is shriveling.  A few voices point out that the emperor has no clothes and call the party to shake hands with former constituencies – liberal pro-life voters […]

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June 16, 2016

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Russell Moore slaps down slammer of religious freedom

Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, repeatedly shows he’s a gentleman and a scholar. Watch and listen as he responds to a pastor who, apparently, knows little of his own Baptist history and theology (Baptists have always advocated religious liberty). The question was posed in this form: I […]

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