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Foot Removal 101

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the prayer “joke” wishing for President Obama’s death. Today, I had a very personal reminder how “jokes” are not funny when they offend someone else.

I find it insulting to be told to lighten up or hear the patronizing words, “just kidding”. It takes a lot of courage for someone who has been offended to speak up, especially if the person who offended them is a friend or family member.

Today, I learned what it’s like to be the one doing the offending.  This shared post is from my personal blog. It’s a bit off topic from our usual politics/religion discussions, but I think it still applies to the forum we share here. I invite you to head over there and share your thoughts on Foot Removal 101.

Rolling out the Immigrant Welcome Mat…

In Recent Headlines on April 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I am writing this at the risk of alienating my core readers and commenters, but neither will I pretend to only see in blue and ignore red. I prefer to think I have violet colored glasses to view the world. 

I will start with the medicine. Open wide and swallow the bitter stuff I am about to serve you. 

  • I don’t have a problem with making English the native language
  • I don’t have a problem with requiring proof of citizenship 

That said, before the rebuttals start I will also say what I do have a problem with:

  • I think that we need compassion not hatred for new immigrants to our country
  • I think the propensity for profiling is immense and quite unsettling, because really, what DOES an immigrant look like? We need to be careful.  

It bothers me how often the finger is pointed at illegal immigrants for the problems in our nation. SOMEONE is giving them jobs. Let’s point in the right direction! If there were no cheap skate employers paying substandard wages without benefits so they could make a higher profit, there would be no motivation for anyone to come here illegally. If instead of border patrols and totalitarian regimes, we aggressively penalized the companies that gave jobs to illegal immigrants, we’d have a much more efficient border patrol. Worried about illegal aliens? Stop enabling incentives.  This is why I support citizenship papers. I realize those can be forged as easily as social security cards, and there always seems to be ways around a system, but at least set it up in good faith. It makes it that much more difficult to accidentally hire an illegal if they must provide proof.

As to the providing proof of citizenship when asked? I used to work at a grocery store. If we sold illegal items to someone underage, we were at risk of losing our jobs. I noticed that everyone who was legal to purchase tobacco or alcohol had no problem providing an identification card. Additionally, the folks who had fake IDs always behaved differently than the ones with genuine ones. The folks with nothing to worry about will not take offense. Much like flying today. As inconvenient as I find removing my shoes, emptying my pockets and having my bags rummaged through, I also accept that I have nothing to hide and it is worth the inconvenience to be safe.

Lastly, regarding the requirement to speak English. It makes sense. Were I to live in another country, I may not be called an immigrant, but rather an ex patriot, however, I would attempt to learn that language. I find it embarrassing that the United States is “mono lingual” but we are. Most of our citizens speak only English. That is not the case elsewhere, yet, if I traveled to France, I would still try to speak French. It may not be pretty, but if I were there long enough, I could converse with the locals. I would consider it a lack of respect for the culture to expect French to speak my language. I am a guest on their soil. As a guest, I would follow their customs. I feel the converse should be true on our soil. I think the problem arises is when the guests are treated as intruders and not guests. Sometimes we are so nasty to someone who does not speak English well. Truly it saddens me. It seems very uncharitable. I was taught to open my doors to guests and treat them graciously. I think that is our responsibility as a nation founded by outcasts. You are welcome here, but please respect our rules. 

Therefore, why not expect immigrants who want to live here to learn to speak English? Why not ask people to carry cards of citizenship?

The floor is open…


Playing God in Popular Culture

In Gratitude, prayer, Recent Headlines on April 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

Quite frequently as a writer and commentator, I am inspired by the news of the day. I read a lot and have opinions about many topics. Oddly, in the past week, I have been riveted to stories about Bret Michaels, the lead singer for Poison, and reality show star. Honestly, until I started watching Celebrity Apprentice this season, I had no idea who he was or any of his history, but I am now a fan and I am worried about his health. 

At first, I found myself embarrassed by my concern and absorption. I am not a huge consumer of pop culture, television even less so. I do not follow the shows, the stars, or the plots. I tend to pick about one show a season that grabs me. In the past, it was American Idol, but I have lost interest. I do admit, though, reality television entertains me. I do not know if it is seeing how people behave in unreal situations or it just appeals to my people-watching fetish. 

However, I realized my concern and affection for Bret Michaels goes deeper. He seems real. In the few weeks I have watched the show, I have observed a decent man who can cry or celebrate with genuine emotion. Probably one of the most telling characteristics about him is how he always recognizes the people he works with. He compliments them, thanks them, and genuinely appreciates their help. 

I learned to look past the surface. My first impression was that some stoner, head banging, hard rock, wild man was on the show.  I never in a million years thought he would be the one I’d be cheering for. He looks the degenerate part, indeed. Instead, I saw a man who loves his children, wants to earn money for his charity, and really behaves like a team player. He steps up to the plate week after week. 

I do not even know where his walk is spiritually. I realized it does not matter. He just comes off as a good person who loves life and the people in it. I watch Donald Trump’s antics with equal fascination. He does not know that he is a caricature for capitalism on steroids, I am certain of it. He has fascinated me for years, perhaps irrationally so. I just am amazed how un-self aware he is. Moreover, it does not affect him in the least. He is who he is and makes no apologies. Sometimes when he sits in his boardroom and uses the iconic words “You’re Fired!” I think he is playing God. I do not know where he is spiritually either. Then I consider the idea of “playing God”. 

Is playing God about sitting and judging people and pointing out their shortcomings at every turn? Is playing God about knowing you can determine the fate of going forward? Alternatively, is playing God a bit closer to the New Testament? Is playing God about walking with everyone, regardless of appearance, and assuming the best? Is playing God about remembering all you encounter and showing kindness to anyone who crosses our paths? 

Maybe, reality shows touch me on a deeper level. A place I juxtapose New and Old testament understandings. A venue to enjoy all the ways of looking at we who are created in His image, and see how they behave when under a microscope. Make no mistake; I know they are just shows.

I also know I am watching closely and I want him to be okay.

He has our prayers.