Out There

“He’s Naked!”

Posted in politics by Pete on February 2, 2020

I’m late to this story. I’ve been keeping this tab open because Pompeo’s logic is irritating to me. I realize that many or most politicians (and certainly the Trump administration) engage in dishonest spin and dissembling on a continual basis. But this one was too much for me, and I couldn’t find anyone else pointing out the obvious. If you haven’t read the story, google it and read about it first, so my thoughts will make sense.

Pompeo’s private (apparently he thought it was off the record) defense to Mary Louise Kelly?

“He shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the [9-minute] interview itself had lasted,” Kelly told Shapiro. “He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.”

The shouting, the swearing, the obvious bluster and attempt to intimidate a female reporter, those things are all bad. But the part I want to focus on is this. “No one cares about _______.” This is what a person with power says when they know they are guilty, but they consider the victim to be inconsequential. That is, it is a bully’s defense, and it has no legal merit. I consider it an admission of guilt. For example, it’s the only defense offered up to explain the terrible rates of murder and sexual assault of indigenous women. “No one cares about Susie from Pine Ridge. Can you find Pine Ridge on a map? No one cares.” Therefore it’s ok. The fact that this is coming from our Secretary of State is a crushing admission that this administration is guilty as charged, and completely unrepentant because in their minds they actually believe they are above the law and Ukraine doesn’t matter. (As an aside, a video recording of this would probably force his resignation. It’s one thing to read about it, and quite another to actually see and hear an angry and guilty man with all the power abusing an innocent woman who was brave enough to ask him a question he didn’t want to answer because it touches a place where he knows his team did wrong. In church-speak, he was convicted by her question, so he turned to anger and “no one cares.”)

So here’s MY tirade. It’s not ok. God cares. I care. People matter! Countries matter (including Ukraine). Might does not make right. This is empire and imperialism and petty, foolish selfishness with huge consequences that this administration is puffed up enough to think they will avoid. Republicans!  You MUST offer up a legitimate primary challenge to Donald Trump, or acknowledge you have sold your soul. Haven’t you described yourself as the party where character matters? Trump’s impoverished character is inversely proportional to his wealth. He is lost without a compass, and yet republicans follow their naked emperor and say how nice his clothes are. Where is the courage to speak the truth? Where is the humility to put the country before your party and your own blind ambition? I would vote for a Republican other than Trump if there was a real candidate brave enough to oppose him in a primary. I wish Romney or someone else would throw their hat in. If it’s Trump or a democrat, then it’s an easy choice for me, and it won’t be Trump.

Maybe Andrew Yang. And today I gave money to NPR. It felt right to stand up to a blustering bully. I honestly wish I’d been in the room to do just that.

I believe there will, ultimately, be a judgement. Let us hope it comes sooner, not later. Coaches have a saying. “You’re either coaching it, or you’re letting it happen.” I think this also applies to all of us as voters and leaders. Is this the world you want? You’re making it.


Eve of the election thoughts

Posted in politics by Pete on November 7, 2016

The election is finally, mercifully, almost here.  This has been another brutal, bruising campaign season.  There is a tendency with age to say that things are getting worse and worse, but even if I compensate for that tendency…this one has indeed been the worst of my lifetime, haha.  One of the most interesting things for me has been to see Christians grappling with their vote.  Mister Trump is not the typical Republican nominee and has a well-known history of missteps including infidelity, a scandalous 2005 video, a fortune made partly from casinos, all kinds of crazy quotes, and is not exactly humble or meek in how he carries himself in public.  In short, he seems like someone that Christians would not support.  Not Christ-like.  And they didn’t.  In the primaries, Trump polled poorly with self-described Christians like evangelicals.  However, once he secured the nomination, the most loyal Republican voting bloc came around to his side.  The argument for this 180 seems to be largely about his opponent Hillary Clinton, abortion, and the supreme court.

This has me wondering if the end justifies the means, after all.  On Facebook I put up a post asking what Trump would have to do to make Republican believers not vote for him.  Or what Clinton would have to do to make Democrat voters not vote for her, in this election.  Because no matter what Donald Trump has been caught doing or saying, apparently he is still a better choice than Hillary Clinton in the eyes of many Christian conservatives.  My personal view is that is a travesty, and that we shouldn’t compromise our beliefs and that the end NEVER justifies the means.  But there is just a tremendous split among people of faith this election season, a huge diversity of opinion that we haven’t seen in a long time if ever.

Here are a bunch of editorials that I wanted to remember for posterity that address these various issues from many angles.

Ed Stetzer in Christianity Today, “Whoever you decide to vote for in this election, be sure you have made the decision with a heart set towards pleasing God, not man. And if you find that you have overlooked or dismissed many of the morals and values that you have held dear in the past, then it just may be that your character has been Trumped.”

Ed Stetzer again, this time on why so many evangelicals despise Hillary Clinton as a candidate.

FiveThirtyEight on the enduring support of evangelicals for whoever the republicans nominate.  Christianity Today on the same topic.

Here is one of my personal favorites, from Christianity Today opposing Trump, and not endorsing any of his opponents.  I posted about it in Oct on facebook, saying “The author is trying to be measured but also speak truth on an obviously explosive topic, and I’m sure he will get a lot of heat for it from different camps. I think this relates to ANY election season.”  Quoting the article:  “The true Lord of the world reigns even now, far above any earthly ruler. His kingdom is not of this world, but glimpses of its power and grace can be found all over the world. One day his kingdom, and his only, will be the standard by which all earthly kingdoms are judged, and following that judgment day, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, as his reign is fully realized in the renewal of all things. The lordship of Christ places constraints on the way his followers involve themselves, or entangle themselves, with earthly rulers.”

Here is James Dobson explaining the apparently majority evangelical preference for Donald Trump.

Christianity Today with an editorial urging to vote for neither of them.

Christianity Today with an editorial supporting Hillary Clinton for President.

The prominent leader of Sojourners, Jim Wallis, showing he strongly opposes Donald Trump.

The NY Times on the rifts within the “evangelical voting bloc.”

Third party candidate Evan McMullin did a long interview on Christianity Today.  “We have to understand that if we continually cast our votes for people like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we are going to continually get leaders like them.”

Bill Maher on the hypocrisy of religious conservatives.  Course and ridiculous, but painfully true.  This after I had an ad on my facebook “home” feed today from “Christian Women for America” that states:  “How sad:  Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners and other liberal “faith” orgs are funded by atheist billionaire, George Soros — to elect Obama & Hillary.  Soros is a felon in France but his money picks politicians and is destroying America.  Watch this (2) minute video.  Soros’s “Rented” Evangelical “mascots.””  I’ve been a supporter of Sojourners in the past, and I don’t know about the accusation that they have taken money from Soros and then lied about it.  This may be true, I don’t know.  I don’t even know anything about George Soros.  However, I do know that over the last 3+ decades, the religious right has proselytized itself for the GOP over and over and over and it is pretty rich for this ad to claim that the same thing is happening this time for the democrats.  I once worked for the self-described richest man in my state, and he was the worst kind of republican in the mold of Trump.  He was very politically active with large donations to the “right” candidates, and I saw in him how believers were propping up a system that benefited him and others like him by preserving the status quo and giving him little to no tax burden while his lifestyle was one antithetical to Christ.

This is a little different from the above editorials, but I stumbled on a link to it in one of those Stetzer editorials.  This is Hillary Clinton speaking about her own faith way back in 1994, and according to Stetzer she took a beating in the press for it.  “But it is my very firm conviction that there is a growing awareness of the need for a spiritual renewal in our country and a willingness on the part of many to act and work in good faith together to fill that sense of emptiness with the Word and with an outreach that is grounded in real Christian values.”  Obviously this was a long time ago, but I hadn’t ever even heard of this side of Hillary Clinton.  I admit I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but I’m intrigued.

So who am I voting for?  Still undecided, believe it or not.  Tomorrow I will vote though, if the half-frozen river permits travel to the new side of the village which is where we all have to go to vote.