Charlottesville: Race and Terror

A lot happened while we were enjoying our time in the Pacific Northwest. I heard about our President antagonizing North Korea. I wasn’t surprised. I heard about violence erupting in Charlottesville. I was saddened, but I’d be lying if I said I was entirely surprised. Whether he means to or not, our President has empowered people of extremely horrible backgrounds to come forward and show their hatred and bigotry to the world.

What really shocks me is that when this came to a head, Donald Trump continued to fail as the leader of our country. When faced with violence and hatred within our own borders, he failed to condemn the root cause of it all. I am having a really hard time processing that.

This week, I’ve seen the following video posted by several friends on Facebook. I just watched it and had a really hard time getting through it without breaking down into tears because of the realization of what sort of evil lives among us.

Some of the worst fears we had last November when Donald Trump was elected are starting to come to fruition. The lack of leadership from our President is extremely worrisome. I doubt he’ll ever be the strong and compassionate leader we need. He hasn’t shown us any reason to believe he’s capable of that.

The existence of free will means that we’ll never eradicate all evil, but we can’t let it break us or stoop to their level either.

I believe in this country, and that most of us are good people. We must stay strong, and we’ll get through the next few years.

Hug your friends and family, work together with your neighbors to make your community a better place to live, and make your voice heard next time we step into the voting booth for the good of our society, and frankly – the world. We’re better than this.

Update: Thank you, Tina Fey. πŸŽ‚ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ ❀️

One Nation

“One nation, under God, indivisible…”

I know a lot of folks have complained over the years about the Pledge of Allegiance – that bit of prose many of us recited at 8:15am every week in elementary school.  The complaints, as far back as I can remember – had to do with the phrase “under God” and whether it was a violation of church and state.  Ultimately, yeah I guess it kind of is – and I’m not quite sure if they recite it anymore in most schools today.

What really gets me though, is that those other words seem to be more of a falsehood than “under God” – “one nation / indivisible”.  If you’ve seen the campaign ads this election season, it’s more apparent than ever.  Our society feeds upon garbage news like TMZ, and our leaders see that and take advantage of it.  Political messages aren’t about what candidates can do to help us grow as a city / state / nation – they’re about how horrible the other guy is or what the woman on the other side of the political aisle said that one time in haste.

unity

Tonight marks the end of another political cycle, and I hope we never see campaigning as bad as it has been.  Politicians have been nothing but bullies, name calling and finger pointing behind Super PACs – just because it didn’t come directly from their campaign doesn’t mean it’s not their message.

Maybe I just shut everything off and put blinders on, but I don’t remember it being so bad four years ago.  I do remember reading books by both candidates – Obama and McCain – and realizing how rational and reasonable both men truly are.  They both strive for teamwork, but as I’m sure Obama has found – it’s hard when everyone around you forces you to take a stand for every issue when most aren’t really all that black and white.  Transparency in government and destruction of Super PACs might help soften those pressures, but it will ultimately take time.  We’ve seen it with social issues (women’s rights, minority rights, and now gay rights) – the same changes will happen politically – or we’ll fail as a society – I sure hope for the former.

By the time most will have read this, the counts will be finalized and we’ll be heading down a certain path, for better or for worse, together.  I hope we can remember that.

Change? Yes, Please.

It’s easy to have a desire to maintain the status quo, when all is well for you.

That’s how my stance on health care reform has been for the past couple of years.  I’ve always had coverage through employers, and have never had to worry about anything drastic happening, because I have had group health care plans to take care of my medical needs.

If it works for me, why should we change it?  If I’m paying for my own coverage, why should other people get free coverage in some sort of crazy reform?  That’s the easy way to think about it.

All it takes is for one strong case to compell you to change your mind.  One blog post to come across your twitter feed and give you that visceral reaction and make you realize that there are a lot of people out there in distress.  This happened to me, and I was nauseated with the way the insurance company handled things.  And the worst part is that this happens every day to many people in a variety of circumstances, as the rest of us sit idly by wanting to keep things the way they are “because it works for me”.

Read the following blog posts, and tell me you aren’t moved.  Tell me it’s not time for some sort of change:

There are other models that work.  I hope our leaders in Washington get things figured out, and we can truly be a compassionate society. 

This isn’t about socialism – it’s about being humane.  I realize that many who read my blog have already come to realize this.

To the über conservatives who are fighting against changing the health care system (and to the rest of you – sorry for simply falling back on a cliché):

What Would Jesus Do?