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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…

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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.

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Dear Lord

In Recent Headlines on April 21, 2010 at 8:41 am

There is a new group on Facebook that at the time of this writing has 454,520 members. The title of the group is:

DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN

I saw this group as a handful of my friends had joined it. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, because the founder of the group insists:

… it’s a F[***]ING JOKE, people! for the last time, i seriously doubt any of the people who responded to me would have said a damn thing about the same joke being used on W (well, except maybe to agree with it and laughing).

I’m not quite certain where I want to begin with my criticism. I’ll start with something simple like spelling and typing in all CAPS. I would think if Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett were favorite actors, the group founder would know how to spell their names correctly.

People who don’t like President Obama also tend to take their prayer pretty seriously. I find nothing f***ing funny about invoking the Lord’s name to pray for someone’s death. I’m pretty sure God isn’t laughing, either. As to the favorite celebrities? Kinda hypocritical here, as well.

Patrick Swayze’s breakout role was as Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing. His character had sex with an underage virginal teenager and he helped his friend get an illegal abortion, while dancing to the fabulous music of the early 60s. In Point Break, he wore the mask of Ronald Reagan while he robbed banks. In To Wong Fu Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, he portrayed a cross-dressing drag queen that riles a homophobic small town sheriff. Favorite actor, huh? I assumed a teenager who didn’t abstain, a friend who got an abortion, a mockery of conservative hero Reagan and blatant cross dressing would be offensive to such folks.

Farrah Fawcett was a bit more believable as a favorite choice. She also portrayed a woman who killed her abusive husband in The Burning Bed. In Small Sacrifices, she portrayed Diane Downs, a cruel, abusive, and neglectful parent who had been in trouble with the law before. Further investigation on the 28-year-old woman uncovered a troubled home life, surrogate pregnancies, a messy divorce, and an affair with a married man. Favorite actress, huh?

Michael Jackson, really? Michael Jackson who died from massive illegal drug prescriptions? Michael Jackson who carved his God-given body up with plastic surgery? Michael Jackson who had countless accusations of child molestation and Michael Jackson who dangled his baby from a balcony? Favorite singer, huh?

I suppose I should celebrate the open-minded nature of having such celebrity idols. Who knew that the conservative faction in our country finds such portrayals of immorality so entertaining?

I suppose what bothers me is not so much the choices, because honestly, I’m a fan of all of them. I “had the time of my life” with Dirty Dancing, I wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels, and as teen, no dance was complete without several Michael Jackson songs. This is more a criticism of the conflicting messages. It’s in extremely poor taste to claim favorites only because they died last year, along with a snarky remark about a favorite president. It makes me cry more than it makes me laugh. To borrow from the founder,

… it’s not a f***ing joke, I would not have laughed about the same joke being made about W, I would have written something similar to this.

Like it or not, problems do not end with the death of someone. I’m more about figuring out ways to live effectively in each moment. Perhaps if the f***ing joke makers spent a little more time making change instead of jokes, they wouldn’t have to feel so ineffective as to pray for death.

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A Letter to Senator Scott Brown

In Recent Headlines on April 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

Today’s guest blogger is Kent Elliott, a frequent commenter on our Facebook page.  She and I met in a high school public speaking class. Kent is a working mother who has just completed a Masters program at Lesley University in Early Childhood Education and is specializing in English Language Learners (ELL). She is a writer, a gardener and artist. She was raised in Ft. Myers, Fl., but moved to Boston 22 years ago, fell in love the area and stayed. A lifelong Democrat, she voted for Senator Scott Brown in election that filled Ted Kennedy’s seat. When she shared a letter she wrote to the newly elected senator from her state, she graciously allowed me to post it for our readers here. Thank you for your thoughts, Kent!

Dear Senator Brown,

I just sent off a note to you thanking you for the job you are doing and telling you I voted for you, but I didn’t say why.

After all, I told you I am happy as a life-long Democrat who voted for President Obama and am happy the Health Care Bill got passed.

So what is it I like about you and the job you are doing besides not going to the Tea Party tomorrow? I like that when I read about you, you seem to go your own way and shock people who expect something from you. You seem to stand on your own. I respect that.

Also, you know this state and you know we are peaceful people here for the most part. I am in Somerville surrounded by colleges and immigrants. My town is full of artists and green thinking people.

It really hurts us and our spirits so much to hear the things people in the extreme right call us. The signs I see from the Tea Party, the language, it is very disturbing.

I grew up in the deep South and saw lots of racism down there. It traumatized me as a child and I couldn’t wait to grow up and move north. The Tea Party says it isn’t a White Power party, but I have yet to hear a good and articulate argument from a Latino group, or a Black group, or Catholic, or Muslim, or Jewish or Hindu that supports the Tea Party. I look in the audience and all I see are white people. The significance of this is that Sarah Palin wants to lead this country and we are made up of many groups, not just one.

We are ALL immigrants. Unless you are Native American, you and everyone else came from somewhere else. Xenophobia is not healthy.

They say they know God. God is love. Jesus did not lead an army or pick up a weapon other than the Word of God. It really saddens me that people use God’s name to hate on others.

I am a complex person and voter. My family is made up of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. I have a graduate degree but I am also a single mom that lives below the poverty line. I do not believe in abortion, and I do believe in job creation.

I do vote by party sometimes, but I am willing to vote for people who will bring chivalry and good manners back to the leadership of our nation. I was terrified of the Limbaugh’s and Gingrich’s and that ilk when I lived down South. I heard what people say when they only think white people are in the room. It is awful.

I don’t expect you and I to agree on every issue. I like to think that you are the kind of man President Obama is: A gentleman who is intelligent, reasonable, able to look for the good in each person, able to walk in peace.

We are all just people trying to get by in the world and make it as good a world as we can. President Obama isn’t evil. I am not evil. It really hurts to hear FOX go on about leaving social justice churches  and Obamanation spew.

I hear about militias rising up to wage war on their fellow Americans. I think back to something I read once: “They came first for the Communists, and I wasn’t a Communist so I didn’t speak out…” I worry that some poor family of color or some Muslim of Jewish family will be attacked down South.

I am more worried about terror inside the country than without. Plus, it will really be terrible if we end up in another civil war. We would not only destroy ourselves, but we would make ourselves vulnerable to any real enemies we have outside the country.

I don’t even know anyone who owns a gun. We are all peaceniks up here. It is beyond my comprehension how these folks can be so angry they are willing to start killing.

And how is it worse for people now than 50 or 100 years ago? Used to be Blacks and Jews couldn’t live in certain parts of town, belong to country clubs, go to Harvard…Poor people and children worked 6 days a week in sweatshops for 12 hours at a time, or in coal mines for company script or were sharecroppers. We had polio and other debilitating diseases. Blacks were separate but equal. The KKK was lynching. AND getting away with it.

I think many people think life is better today.

I voted for you because the Democrats seemed too smug and not to be moving on anything. Jobs weren’t happening fast enough for my taste. I hoped you would send a message to them, but it wasn’t that I didn’t want health reform. It was that I DID want it. They got a little scared and found their backbones.

I like Dems, but I do know some fine Republicans. Can’t we ALL disassociate with the militias with guns? Can’t we stand united that starting war within this country would be a VERY BAD THING?? Can’t we all agree that every person of every color, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation can expect to have the freedom to have their own thoughts and beliefs?? I respect Christians and Christian thought, but I do NOT think everyone in this nation needs to do what Christians say. They have to learn to live with people who are different. It is not OK to bully people into a belief system. Also, Texas textbooks are EXTREMELY disturbing too. God is the first scientist. God and science go together not apart.

Anyway, those are all the things on my mind lately. I don’t see in black and white. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt. Please work with my President to model appropriate behavior to the world.

Thanks so much.

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One Size Does Not Fit All

In Recent Headlines on April 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

A few interesting things have been happening on the way to my convictions. I have discovered that I don’t fit in with a straight party line.  I’m not even sure there is much of a party/celebration/festival. Currently, the outlook is somewhat grim, though I wrestle my rose-colored glasses on daily.

Supposing Internet quizzes are accurate, I took a quiz this morning that determined my political leanings. I’ve been labeled repeatedly and embraced the rhetoric that I am a “liberal”, sometimes qualified by “loony”. Imagine my shock to learn that I am a centrist. Yes, my plot mark is slightly to the left, but I am a solid, middle of the road centrist.

Political Centrist

If this chart doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what else does! (font = snarky)

The point of sharing this chart is quite simple, I have been told that I’m a “loony liberal” so often that it must be true. It reminds me of when I was pregnant the first time and everyone said “you’re carrying like you’re having a boy”. When the doctor told me she was a girl, I said, “Really?”

You see, I think a lot of us get caught in the label game of stereotypes and assumptions about each other. Because I believe in sharing my blessings, caring for the poor, protecting the least among us, I have been marginalized. The fact that I worry how to pay for it and wonder what can be given up instead so we can take care of each other is rendered irrelevant.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader who wanted to know what I thought about Star Parker’s book, Uncle Sam’s Plantation.  Ms. Parker contends that government assistance to poor families is akin to keeping them enslaved. She is a former welfare recipient. This week, she announced she is running for Congress.

Honestly, I find her categorization of poor people completely reprehensible. It is easy to stereotype. The fact that she was once a welfare recipient who now is a writer for the Republican party isn’t a likely career path for most inner city poor. It’s quite easy to be smug and attempt to incite indignation when you’re getting paid to do so. How many other poor folks have been yanked by their bootstraps out of poverty as Ms. Parker has? Frankly, I find her assumptions quite patronizing.

Who wouldn’t be angry about a bon-bon eating, non-working, baby-making, unambitious person on welfare? Except that isn’t what the numbers say. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of assuming someone receiving public assistance is lazy and unambitious, instead of really looking at the reasons. Almost as easy as labeling me a “loony liberal”.  We’ve been told repeatedly that is what people on welfare do (or more accurately don’t do), so often in fact it begins to sound true.

In actuality, working poor is more the reality. The points in Ms. Parker’s book are (to borrow from a review of her book), 

…a list of Republican talking points from a Sunday morning news show, NOT a manifesto for helping the poor and people of color in America today. The benefit of these steps would be to give more money and power to those who already have it, and make those without money and power the scapegoats for the system.

In an interview with urban studies researcher and author Katherine S. Newman,

Newman shows how the “family values,” so frequently invoked in suburban America are also fervently cherished by the working poor, who endure the trials and tribulations of hard, unremunerative work precisely to preserve their families. It’s become a commonplace to imagine the inner city as composed of multi-generational families sunk in dependency, fissioning into criminal fathers, dissolute mothers, delinquent teenagers, and abandoned children.

Sorting the facts from the emotion laden bullet points is no easy task. But a perusal of the numbers, not editorial pieces intended to tug heart-strings, ought to sober every critic of people who are forced to rely on some level of public assistance.

An unemotional breakdown of the numbers reminds us of exactly where our dollars are going.

11%

It’s interesting to me that only 11% is allocated to Safety Net programs…

…programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship [including]… the refundable portion of the earned-income and child tax credits, which assist low- and moderate-income working families through the tax code; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including food stamps, school meals, low-income housing assistance, child-care assistance, and assistance in meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.  A Center analysis shows that such programs lifted approximately 15 million Americans out of poverty in 2005 and reduced the depth of poverty for another 29 million people. [bold mine]

That doesn’t sound like slavery to me, Ms. Parker. It sounds more like helping our brothers and sisters.

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A Time to Heal and a Time to Build Up

In Holidays, Recent Headlines on March 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

Something occurred to me this morning as I scrolled the news of the day and read the comments on my Facebook wall.  It’s time to walk  forward.

It’s easy to conjure righteous indignation, it’s easy to hold a grudge, and it’s quite easy to judge another. But what really are the benefits of such behavior? What is the outcome of tearing another down? What is the net result of holding a grudge?

Energy that could be used to positively affect change is wasted. I contend that neither side likes waste.

I joined a silly group this week on Facebook, it gave me quite a chuckle, I must admit. It was something about “reminding Rush Limbaugh to leave the country”. This morning, in light of my suggestions for forgiveness as well as asking for it, I realized the folly of even so much as a click to join such groups. Truly, what would membership there accomplish?

I know that both sides of the political fence have groups that mock and tear down the other side. We could spend all day discussing why the other side is wrong. But truly, is there a point? What if that same energy instead were used to promote why you believe your side is right, WITHOUT ever discussing what the other view thinks. WITHOUT denigrating them. What if we followed the rules of our grandparents, “If you can’t say something nice (and honestly, frequently, that’s a challenge for me), say NOTHING.”  To practice the art of being silent at appropriate times is challenging.

I am reminded of the viral news from last week’s health care protest in Ohio, involving a young father and a retired PhD with Parkinson’s disease. Yesterday, the poorly behaved man apologized and made a donation to his local Parkinson’s foundation. There has been a lot of debate about the sincerity of his apology, etc. It’s time to accept it at face value and move forward.

In the Christian world, we are approaching Holy Week and ending our 40 days of Lent. At the beginning of Lent, I issued a call to give up conditions on generosity.

At the end of Lent, I issue a different call. I would like to challenge all my readers to give up anger, give up negativity, give up resentment. I am asking you to rescind your membership in any negative, snarky group you may be affiliated with. Let. It. Go.

C’mon you can do it! We don’t have to publicly ask Rush to leave nor countdown to Nobama.  We don’t need to denigrate the other side to lift up our own views. We can join groups with a positive message and show the world we aren’t about petty infighting. 

Healing can start today.  The season is now.

 

 

 

 

 

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An open letter response to my last open letter

In Recent Headlines on March 24, 2010 at 11:42 am

Good morning, everyone.

I am going to start with an honest apology. I offended some of my friends who participate in the Tea Party movement with my open letter. While my intent was humor, the reality was it was offensive to some. Since the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I feel compelled to apologize.

I would like to rewind to the impetus behind my post. Perhaps this is viewed as closing the barn door after the horse ran away, but I still feel the need to expound.

It’s no secret that I lean left politically. That conjures all sorts of assumptions, some of which are true, but not all. I love the planet, I love my fellow-man, and I believe we should care for both with equal fervor. My life’s walk has shaped my belief system.

However, with last week’s landmark health care bill, it was not easy to slice through the sensationalism and into the true heart of the matter. I imagine it’s quite the same for a conservative. As a liberal, when I want to try to hear the other side, it’s really difficult for me to get past the insulting rhetoric. I don’t appreciate being told I’m an insane socialist, money waster, borderline communist because I have a different set of priorities than they do. Different is not right or wrong. It’s different. Again, we all prioritize things in our lives based on personal experiences.

One thing about my personality is that I live frugally and well within my means. Needless to say, the cost of the bill didn’t sit well with me. I know how to budget for my household, it upsets me that there isn’t a higher level of concern by our leadership. But truly, both sides escalated the deficit. Additionally, there were very few calls to control the costs. No incentives for doctors, pharmaceutical companies, or insurance companies to keep costs under control. Not to mention some tort reform. Another issue that bothered me was the lack if language about personal responsibility. It bothers me that people as a whole do not take better care of their bodies. When I read news stories about a 600 lb. woman whose goal is to reach 1000 lbs., to think that my taxes will pay for her horrific abuse to her body is insulting. I really wanted more information.  (actually I linked to both Huffington Post and FOX news for that story… YAY somewhere we agree!)

When I posted my tongue in cheek essay about what our taxes ought to pay for, I hoped to steer it towards dialogue that “since we have to pay for health care, where can we trim our budget?” I am sincerely grateful for the thoughtful input.

Now to the part I absolutely refuse, will not, cannot apologize for. There are people in this movement who are frightening and dangerous and I wrote about them. They destroy the credibility of the cause. When bricks are thrown, people are spit on, calls for assassination made, inflammatory words like n** and f** are used, all reasonable discourse is destroyed. I cannot believe any member of the movement who isn’t “like that” wasn’t equally horrified by what people were doing in their name.  I cannot believe the official news version is “that never happened, we never saw it.”

The best analogy I offer is as a sports fan. I am a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. I say that with trepidation because there is a section of the stadium, the Dawg Pound, famous for its crazy fans. A few years ago, this section of fans threw projectile items at the referees, based on calls they didn’t agree with. I wasn’t in that section of the stadium, I wasn’t even at the game, so I never saw it happen. But I wrote a letter to the editor apologizing on behalf of the buffoon fans who made our city and the loyal fans look horrible on a national stage. Because I aligned myself with my home team, I felt it appropriate to apologize on their behalf.

Apologies and outrage are glaringly absent. It’s heartbreaking. When such fringe members are not called out on their disgusting antics, silence is considered endorsement. I cannot believe more tea party patriots are not concerned about their reputation as a grassroots movement. Extremism, wherever it comes from is terribly dangerous. I fear for the lives of those who disagree.  Truly.  This isn’t alarmist language. It only takes one crazy angry person with one bullet and good aim to kill someone.

My refusal to apologize for writing about the fringe members of the movement is a call for honesty, an open invitation for the mainstream members to speak up. Here is an opportunity. Denounce the extremists, speak about your real goals.

No humor, no satire, no tongue in cheek messages. Straight up.

The floor is open.

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Open letter to TEA party patriots

In Recent Headlines on March 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

Foreword: This essay is a bit of a departure from my usual voice, but it’s an attempt to open some much needed dialogue. I hope you take it in that spirit. The intent is not to offend but rather to gather some alternative views. Thank you in advance.

Dear TEA Party Patriots, 

You can breathe a sigh of relief that the Constitution is safe. Many of you offered reassuring words amidst queries as to your motives for the recent protests over the Health Care Bill. Still others offer the “Taxed Enough Already” explanations. Sorry to the Taxed Enough-ers, you still have to pay taxes. Even contributions to your own organization, Tea Party Patriots, Inc., are not tax deductible. That must be a real kick in the pants.

Take heart, as long as Americans pay federal taxes, you have a long list of causes to protest. 

Might I suggest you stage one of your next protests at Yellowstone National Park? Can you believe that tax dollars finance its operation? How many of you have even been there? I have not, so why should I pay for some place I may never visit. Were the park privatized, we could have a corporately sponsored National Park. That would not take away from the natural beauty in the least. In addition, nowhere in the constitution does it suggest we are to have beauty; it is a privilege, not a right. 

Do you have any idea how many hundreds of miles of pavement our tax dollars finance? There are bridges that I will never cross. Why should I pay for roads I do not use? Yet another opportunity for corporate sponsorship to finance the roads! Suppose you could only drive on a road that was sponsored by your brand of vehicle. Consider the possibilities if General Motors sponsored all the roads. No bailout needed for them, because anyone who wanted to use the roads would have to buy their vehicles. Killing two tax drains with one stone. 

The list goes on. Tax dollars pay for so many things most people will never personally use. Privatize it so that only the folks who use it will benefit from it.

Who would sponsor our schools? Currently only 7 out of 10 students graduate from high school, so perhaps the fast food chains could sponsor the schools, ensuring a steady flow of employees when someone dropped out.

It is unfortunate that much of your message was tainted by accusations not so thinly disguised racism and hatred. It is unfortunate that your concern for the nation as a whole seems to only be about the part of the nation you need. It is unfortunate that some of your followers have resorted to brick throwing, spitting, name-calling, and calls for assassination. Thank goodness, however, they guarded Freedom of Speech. Almost every admonition of such behavior I’ve read or heard has also had a disclaimer.

You simply do not want to be forced to pay for programs that do not affect your life. The good news is, this battle may be lost but the war is just beginning.  The list of things to protest has only begun. The opportunities are boundless for creative, free market capitalists.

Who would sponsor war?

More importantly, would anyone sponsor peace?

 

 

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Christian Boxing Match?

In Church and State, Recent Headlines on March 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

 Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you for joining us this evening at our boxing match. In this corner, we present Glenn Beck, in red shorts and mercifully wearing a shirt. In this corner, we present Jim Wallis, similarly attired, but with shorts of blue.
Face off, men.

Whoa! Wait one little Biblical day!

*Or less if you prefer since most of us may not live long enough to see an entire Biblical day if we believe the entire earth was created in seven of them.* 

Two Christian men fighting? Christians posturing and showboating to make their point. Can’t be. No, because when I read about Jesus, that guy who started this whole thing, this is about the furthest from What Jesus Would Do. Really. 

Jesus had many dissenters. Jesus had plenty of folks who did not agree with his message. They feared change as much as the Glenn Becks of this world. This would be the entire premise of the Pharisee and Sadducee stories in the New Testament. Not really Fair, you see, and truly pretty Sad, you see

Never once did Jesus call for His followers to rebel or sign petitions or even assemble in His name. He wasn’t like that. In fact, the Jesus we love once was driven to a cliff and merely walked through the crowd. The magic of Jesus was that he never “got in people’s faces” he merely stated what he saw, what was truth, and invited people to listen. 

We Christians spend an inordinate amount of time disagreeing with each other. We disagree about Baptism, Communion, and Marriage. We find reasons to tell each other we’re right and you’re wrong on a regular basis. We embrace our freedom of speech as freedom to judge. Yes, we are free to speak, but just because we can say anything we want, should we? Is it wise? 

We can argue all day and night about fine points. I thought to put them in this post and dissect one by one, but rather, I’m going to attempt to do what Jesus would do when challenged. I trust you are scholarly. I trust you know a lot of verses and quotes to tell me why either is right.

I contend that we need each other. We should not be dividing our house. We are Christians and we walk in the name of Jesus. 

Instead, I will ask you three questions: 

Who do you say He is?

What do you think we should do?

Are we behaving as Jesus would teach us?

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Teacher’s union stubs toe in Rhode Island

In Recent Headlines on February 26, 2010 at 6:43 am

Lifted on Eagle’s Wings is honored to feature a guest blogger today. Our friend Jim Teeter has worked in the entertainment industry with teen performers on professional stages for many years in the capacity of a performer, a director, and a producer. He is writing a book on those experiences and also writes his own blog upon occasion.

He  has also worked in the construction industry for 35 years and owned a business for 25. We welcome Jim to our forum and thank him for sharing his views.
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Traditionally, I believe, those of liberal persuasion overwhelmingly support  labor unions in America while those of conservative bent find it easy to oppose them on many levels. I take my seat with the latter even though I have been a Teamster and a member of the Laborers. My opinions and my choices guided thereby have come from many years of working in and around labor unions.
 
Whereas the genesis of the unions, I believe, was of necessity and certainly benefit to the working force, their transformation into their present state fails the workers they are chartered to serve, the companies who are forced to “unionize”, the communities in which they find strength, and the nation at large. My perception has been that this failure has not come directly from the membership but from the leadership. They, almost unanimously, have failed to lead their membership in a responsible, fair, and profitable way, choosing instead a path of greed, power, and corruption destined ultimately to destroy American business, commerce, and by association, their own membership. 
 
Focus upon Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. The teaching staff and administrators of the entire school, about 88 in all (accounts vary) have been fired by the school board with a 5 – 2 vote. Interestingly, the most scathing denigration of the fired staff came from one board member who voted AGAINST the terminations. The reason?
 
It seems that despite teacher’s salaries averaging between $72K and $78K per year, half of the students were failing. One solution offered by the school board pursuant to Federal Law, was to increase teaching time, add tutoring, and develop more and better teacher training. The teachers union naturally stepped in to “protect” the jobs and demanded upwards of $90 per hour for “extra” work. Their stand, as usual, was more pay for the teachers. 

Here is where I am rubbed the wrong way. First and foremost, THE STUDENTS ARE FAILING!  Please do not come back on here and claim “it’s not the teacher’s fault”. Education is the only product teachers have. The teachers and administrative staff are the only ones there aside from the students.

Getting paid over $70K for nine months work and NOT producing is simply unconscionable. There is no room here for excuses. Either do the job you are being paid to do or get someone in there who can. Believe me! There is someone who can do it successfully. It is being done in private schools and in public schools in many cities.

Has it ever occurred to the teacher’s and their myopic union that THEY are failing as educators and perhaps a field trip to some successful schools is in order?  Whose interests are truly of importance to the teacher’s union, the members or the students, whose parents pay their substantial salaries? How can any union justify this quality of product from its membership?  Sadly, in my experience, ’tis all too common. 

I respectfully seek your opinions and constructive suggestions to benefit the students.

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