The Dangers of Reserving Compassion For The Few And Not The Many


I see a lot of people writing about how we should, post-election results, allow ourselves the time to – and recognize the importance of being able to – embrace feelings of mourning, of anger and disappointment, of frustration and sadness. I couldn’t agree more. From the deepest recesses of my soul. These are real feelings attached to real human beings having a very real experience. It’s not only important to allow ourselves to feel these things, it is essential.

It’s also important to recognize when we don’t extend that same opportunity and compassion to others. When Bernie Sanders lost in the Primaries, the thing I heard the most from my most-avid Hillary-voting friends, was “Your candidate lost. End of story. Get over it. Shut up and stop whining.” This was followed by a barrage – both public and private – of Bernie Sanders supporters (and Independents) being shamed and derided, of being told they were “getting in the way” and, in no uncertain terms, to be silentI even had friends who mockingly shared a video of a young Bernie Sanders supporter crying when Bernie lost. They found it funny, absurd, ridiculous.

It is essential in breaking down the many actions taking place this election cycle, to comprehend the immense emotional and cultural need for a woman president in this country. The mourning happening now is real, as was the deep, deep desire that allowed many to see a monumental and long-overdue opportunity for healing and recognition and empowerment that should have taken place generations ago.

Continue reading “The Dangers of Reserving Compassion For The Few And Not The Many”

The Dangers of Reserving Compassion For The Few And Not The Many

When They Go Low, So Do We: The Final Presidential Debate

Campaign 2016 Debate, Las Vegas, USA - 19 Oct 2016

I came to this final presidential debate not looking for more proof that Trump was despicable. I came looking for more reasons to feel some measure of hope about voting for Hillary. And at the beginning of the debate, I got some of that. But it didn’t last long.

You see, this is where it all falls apart for me. It’s clear to most any liberal person that Trump is a liar, an egomaniac, a fascist-dictator wannabe, a misogynist, a racist, shockingly uninformed, and a serious threat. That’s what was obvious, has been, and continues to be. So for me it’s easy to post repeatedly about the horror-show that continues to be Donald Trump.

What seems more difficult and what I wish we would also see, are those same people posting about how Hillary wouldn’t answer the direct question placed to her about the contents of the Wikileaks emails. She turned the conversation, once again and without missing a breath, to the Russians. Forget for a moment that the new Cold War rhetoric being expressed recently is disturbing in its own right and needs to be watched closely. The truth of the matter is that these are two separate conversations. The question was about the content of the emails, not their origin. If you’re willing to overlook the content and her direct refusal to address it, that’s a problem for me. No one gets a free pass because Trump is despicable. And no one – and that includes Hillary’s most devoted supporters – should be okay with it.  Continue reading “When They Go Low, So Do We: The Final Presidential Debate”

When They Go Low, So Do We: The Final Presidential Debate



In the continued expression of ideals, values, disappointments and frustrations being shared and vented across the internet and elsewhere surrounding America’s presidential election, I have found many voices calling again and again for unity. But not unity as a country. Unity for the party.

The problem I see with this that I don’t think is being expressed or articulated properly – or is simply falling of deaf ears – is that the two major parties that represent the presidential race no longer speak for a vast number of this country’s citizens. I’m talking millions of people.

I’ve been told by friends that if Hillary is the nominee and I don’t vote for her and instead decide to write in “Bernie,” they don’t think they could ever talk to me again, that our friendship would be over. Understand, I haven’t made up my mind yet about my vote in the general if Hillary is the choice. And yet that indecision alone is SHOCKING, unforgivable even, for many.



Limbaugh Links School Bus Fight To “Obama’s America”

Picture 7An African-American boy beat up a Caucasian boy the other day on a school bus in St. Louis. The beating was caught on tape and made headlines. The reporting officer originally claimed that it might have been racially motivated. He took that back after it turned out not to be the case. The fight erupted over choice of seating.

Rush Limbaugh, however, never one to let anything negative happening in the world go by without stirring the racial pot and blaming it on Obama stated:

You put your kids on a school bus you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering ‘yeah, right on, right on, right on.’ Of course everybody said the white kid deserved it he was born a racist, he’s white.

And folks continue to deny that guys like Limbaugh are not motivated by racism in their accusations and fear-mongering against President Obama. How disgusting he and others like him are. How sad. But Limbaugh is the voice of many a conservative American. Not all, mind you, but many. And those already filled with hate and happy to take that hatred to the streets, soak his vile up like gospel. And it spreads.

One question is, does Rush Limbaugh believe his own gospel, or is he just using the very people that claim to be his audience to wreak havoc?

Limbaugh Links School Bus Fight To “Obama’s America”

Obama-Haters: Don’t Believe For A Second This Isn’t About Race

The first thing most anti-Obama people will tell you is that this is not an issue of race. They’ll tell you that claiming it to be about race is just another way in which the liberals are trying to distract the public from their “true” arguments. “Just because we don’t agree with the president doesn’t mean we’re racist.” True enough. And I would much rather believe what’s happening out there is more about ideological differences and not race-related at all. But the level of violent, repugnant, misinformed hatred that is swelling out there suggests much of it is.

You think Joe Wilson’s conduct unbecoming an adult, no less a Congressperson, has no roots in race? You mean the South Carolinian who belonged to the Sons of Confederate Vetarans who led a campaign in 2000 to keep the Confederate flag waving above his state capitol? The one who claimed anyone who said ’48 segregationist candidate for president Strom Thurmond had a black daughter was simply involved in a “smear” campaign? Even after it had been proven and admitted?

And let’s take a look for a moment at what it was that caused Congressman Wilson to yell “You lie!” at the President of the United States during a nationally televised address. Was it the suggestion that we should engage in a preemptive war against another country for a purpose that had no basis in truth or reality? A war that cost us thousands more American lives than the 9/11 attacks themselves? No. It was the misguided notion that illegal immigrants may be able to get health care coverage in the United States. That taxpayer dollars and/or federal funds may go to helping human beings that are here illegally. Human beings from other countries. But suggest spending enough money to create an unheard of deficit and rob over 100,000 human beings of their lives, and we don’t hear a peep from anyone in Congress during that Presidential address. No, it was the horrifying possibility that illegal immigrants may find a way to get health care coverage that caused Congressman Wilson to have his uncontrollable “emotional outburst” and interrupt Obama’s speech to call him a liar. And that’s just assuming Wilson even believes his own accusation. Which opens up a whole other can of worms suggesting a straight-forward attempt to delegitimize President Obama on national television while playing into the xenophobic fears of a segment of Americans already twisted by lies and accusations about our current president.

Folks like Stan, the friendly and well-spoken gentleman who commented on my recent post “Rep. Joe Wilson Of S.C. Calls Obama A Liar During President’s Speech To Congress” and stated that he wasn’t racist because he’d happily vote for Bill Cosby as president while simultaneously calling Obama a “joke of a president” and stating “this man has no business being President until he shows a copy of his birth certificate. He will not because he was born in Kenya.” Stan then went on to tell us how both Obama “and his wife have both quoted excerpts from Saul Alinskys’ book ”Rules For Radicals”.” While continuing to tell us how “not scary” he was and how much he was not a racist, Stan then went on to state that “God loves us all the same, but this man [Obama] managed to get to Harvard despite not having the grades or finances to do so.”

There’s a level of fear out there, a level of craziness that one hopes is just the death throes of a segment of America that the educated and grown-up had dreamed would no longer be a part of our culture as we moved into the 21st century. But it is. And having a half-black president has brought it bubbling to the surface for everyone to witness. This is both a frightening thing and a good thing. We need to see it. We need to face it and understand it and address it straight on.

From the loud-mouthed Rush Limbaughs and Bill O’Reillys, the juvenile and spoiled Glenn Becks and Sean Hannitys, to the “everyman” and “everywoman” out on the street with their signs held high demonstrating for the whole world how easily manipulated they are; how their own fears and hatred can so effortlessly be used to turn them into angry, violent pawns. Here are just a few:

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“This isn’t the Republican Party. This is just the fringe, the crazies,” some will say. Well, Joe Wilson has proven that to be wrong. This isn’t the mentality out on the street alone, this has made its way into Congress. And the support for Wilson’s 1st grade (not to mention completely incorrect) commentary shows us that this is, indeed, the new face of the Republican Party. Just in case Sarah Palin’s nomination for Vice President and her post-election fear-mongering hadn’t convinced you.

So where are the true Republicans? The ones who also recognize that this is not the America anyone has fought for? That this is, by any world standard, backwards and embarrassing. I know they’re out there. There are many Republicans (and even some Democrats) who simply do not agree with Obama and are engaged in healthy debate and not interested in fear-based lies. And once in a while some Republican member speaks up and says, “That was wrong. You should apologize.” But that’s not enough. Where is the movement by the Republican Party to reclaim its own dignity? And in so doing return some dignity to the United States of America?

The roots of racism run deep in this country. And we are a fearful nation. And that fear has been worked on diligently, sculpted and fertilized by the previous administration and many administrations before it. And our country is filled with grown-ups who have yet to mentally or emotionally reach adulthood. We are still an immature nation. But we are not ALL children. And that is not meant as a separation of Democrat and Republican. There are children and adults on both sides. However, right now, the Republican Party has become the embodiment of that racism and immaturity.

Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times Maureen Dowd wrote a piece recently that I highly recommend. In it she observes:

I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

…But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

…Now [Obama]’s at the center of a period of racial turbulence sparked by his ascension. Even if he and the coterie of white male advisers around him don’t choose to openly acknowledge it, this president is the ultimate civil rights figure — a black man whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a loco fringe.

For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both.

The state that fired the first shot of the Civil War has now given us this: Senator Jim DeMint exhorted conservatives to “break” the president by upending his health care plan. Rusty DePass, a G.O.P. activist, said that a gorilla that escaped from a zoo was “just one of Michelle’s ancestors.” Lovelorn Mark Sanford tried to refuse the president’s stimulus money. And now Joe Wilson.

“A good many people in South Carolina really reject the notion that we’re part of the union,” said Don Fowler, the former Democratic Party chief who teaches politics at the University of South Carolina. He observed that when slavery was destroyed by outside forces and segregation was undone by civil rights leaders and Congress, it bred xenophobia.

…It may be President Obama’s very air of elegance and erudition that raises hackles in some. “My father used to say to me, ‘Boy, don’t get above your raising,’ ” Fowler said. “Some people are prejudiced anyway, and then they look at his education and mannerisms and get more angry at him.”

Call it what you want. Mask it behind any cause you tell yourself it is. But what’s happening in America today is clear for all the world to see. And history will recognize it clear as a cloudless sky. How we respond to it, face it, and move beyond it will also be recorded for all to see. And our children’s children will read about it. And some parts of it will be cause for shame. Let’s hope there’s another part to America’s future history that allows us to feel proud as well. And to finally grow up and properly enter adulthood.

Obama-Haters: Don’t Believe For A Second This Isn’t About Race

Author Frank Schaeffer on Obama

barak-obamaThe Right wish to discredit Barack Obama any way they can. And members of the Left have started squawking that they’re losing faith in Obama. All in the President’s first six months in office. I expect it from the Right, but I find it a sad impatience coming from once-strong Obama supporters. Are we really that shortsighted? Are we truly ready to fall victim to political naysayers and turn our backs on a man who has, for the first time in generations, offered Americans the opportunity to become the nation so many of us have dreamed about? And did we think that he would achieve this overnight? Or in Obama’s first six months of office? And do you think that whatever form of Health Care Reform gets passed this fall is the end of the conversation? That it won’t be amended and that a public option and single-payer plan won’t eventually be added if that doesn’t happen this fall?

President Obama is doing something no president in my lifetime has ever seriously attempted. He is trying to bring this country together. He is seeing the bigger picture, the long-term picture. It’s true, he may fail and that would be a sad thing indeed. But his chances of failure only increase when his own group of supporters start buying into the rhetoric and far-too-early judgments of the impatient and nearsighted.

headshotAnd with that said, I’ll hop off my soapbox and allow author Frank Schaeffer to get up on his. Schaeffer himself was a hard right, religious Republican. As the reality of the world and his party took hold, Schaeffer changed sides with a vengeance. He has since authored the books Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and the upcoming Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don’t Like Religion (Or Atheism) among many others. Schaeffer’s opinion piece in the Huffington Post says much of what I’ve been feeling and thinking. And he does it better than I might have, so I’ll simply forward you to his article Obama Is Right, His Critics (Right And Left) Are Wrong as I found it to be insightful and expressed my personal feelings quite well.

And remember, there have been rumblings recently of Dick Cheney for President in 2012, as ludicrous and unlikely as that may be, from some serious Republican figures. So if you don’t want to give Obama a fair chance to prove his worth, we can always go backwards again.

Author Frank Schaeffer on Obama