POTUS

As we’re heading fast into the 2020 election season, I need to get something out there. I have been a relentless foe of this POTUS from the get go. I’ve blogged about him numerous times and daily attempt to use Facebook and Twitter to post truthful accounts of the realities we are living with since this man was elected and has attempted to lead our country.  I have simply refused to let go of just how serious I believe it is that we have elected someone like Donald J. Trump and that he is enabled to continue. I don’t think HE is actually doing the work of POTUS. I think instead, that other, more self-assured people in his orbit are.

In my opinion, the horror of a leader like Donald J. Trump is first and foremost that he has no locus of control, no center with which to govern from. I have a zillion issues with what has happened the Republican Party where I spent most of my years as an active citizen but nothing is as serious to me as this. President Trump literally has no sense of self possession. Though full of narcissistic bravado his real genuine sense of his own self is almost completely absent. In other words, when one thinks about the way healthy human beings develop, there is little there to imagine that his growth and development was healthy enough to achieve the milestones necessary to be able to direct his life based on maturely developed core values.  According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs we discover this central place of control in our lives as we begin learning from our parents and move into a place called self-actualization. (see below)

maslow

Of course, this process doesn’t begin in a sequential manner as if we’re jumping through hoops to get there. It’s more of a natural progression in a healthy person’s human development. Consider if a new baby experiences severe oxygen deprivation during birth.  That baby is likely to become a human being with little or no actualized sense of personal actualization. The person will grow and only want to be fed, to be safe, loved and to belong, but beyond that, a conscious sense of self control and self direction will be very unlikely.

I am not sure why it is true, but it is daily obvious that in spite of President Trump’s needs being met in the lower half of this triangle, the one thing he didn’t seem to reach maturity in, is the peace and security of life in his own skin. He continuously needs validation from his base and others in his circle to assure him he’s doing a great job. Do you believe that he genuinely knows that he’s done good work? That he knows he’s a smart, intelligent leader? If you do, what do you see that affirms that to be the case. Ask yourself, why he must say so out loud all of the time.

One of the most obvious conditions of someone without a developed sense of their own real self is that they are driven by the moment in an unhealthy way. They are not necessarily present in the moment, they are always, always looking for validation from others in the moment. If self assurance was an actual fluid, a person with a severe deficit would need a 24/7 IV infusion of it.

Most of us are on a journey of self possession. Knowing ourselves, understanding our core values, living self assured lives etc. is all a growth process. It has a lot to do with what happens to us from conception to the grave. There is no one size fits all approach. Some of us have had to do a whole lot of therapy to figure out why we don’t have comfort in our own skin and figure out how to grow into it.  Some of us work hard to parent our children to develop a strong sense of self in them.  When self possessed people face hard times, they look first into their own life, evaluate their own behavior, learn how to own it and how to alter it so that in the end they become better people. For whatever reasons, President Trump doesn’t know how to face his hardships in a mature way. Take a gander at his Twitter feed if you’re not convinced.  He simply cannot do it.

This is the single most important reason why I oppose this man being our POTUS. In a position like this, a self actualized person would be humble enough to seek counsel. He does not seek counsel. He seeks enablers. He does not have genuine friendships. When a relationship doesn’t hold him in high esteem and meet his deep need for validation in some way, that relationship ends. He fires anyone who opposes him. He copes with dissent through verbal abuse and mistreatment.

It is terribly sad that people reach the age of the Donald and haven’t figured out how to grow up, but more importantly, it is terribly dangerous when these people are in leadership. Cabinet members, lawyers, White House staff, a plethora of personal acquaintances and most of all the Press have been verbally beat to hell and thrown under the proverbial bus because they dared to stand up to him. Consider is this. If someone with this level of immaturity possesses our highest office  and becomes desperate enough,  what’s to say that throwing our entire country under that same bus is  beyond him?

I know that many of my Evangelical friends and family believe that if Jesus is in a person’s heart, the only self that is important is the Jesus self. The only way to growth as a human being is growth in Christ. I believe that this one things is blinding followers of Jesus to the reality that an empty soul is leading this country.  One can grow  in Bible knowledge, church attendance and/or missionary work but no one grows in Christ without facing hard truth about themselves, no one.

Luke 2:52 says, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” I strongly believe Donald J. Trump is incapable of this kind of growth and therefore, is a very dangerous man to hold the office of President in the United States of America.

Trump: What Some of Us Always Knew

Epstein, prostitution and underage sex trafficking isn’t out there in some other place. It is right here and has been for a long time. It’s interesting to me how many of us with a history of childhood sexual abuse knew at hello that 45 was very likely one of the worst offenders. We knew and felt his brand of creeper deep down in our collective soul. The night he stalked Hillary on the debate stage we felt it and wanted to throw up. We were in awe of her strength and ability to stand her ground. As he hovered, we shuddered.

Over and over again we have endured the very real PTSD symptoms that hit us out of the blue when we brush upon a sexual predator. We watch him spin one of his webs and tell a boldface lie to divert attention away from the horror of himself. As the men in our lives embraced him…and then the women in our lives did the same, we were speechless. How could they not know? How could they not see?

Many of us went straight to our therapists in tears seeking guidance during the 2016 election season. Every single day felt like someone was loading a gun and pointing it at us. It’s been a very long 3.5 years for us. Many of us have dropped out of political discourse of any kind because it’s just too damn hard. So much loss.

What our friends and families can grasp is that we can’t unknow our experiences. We can’t unfeel the gut tightening sense of danger we learned to know so well. Our rational brains couldn’t begin to grasp how someone so blatantly out there, so disgusting and dangerous could possibly be embraced by any sane voter. Then it got worse.

He did what so many like him do to put another layer of protection over his sordid life. He hooked up with “righteous” men who have also fallen in love with their own power to persuade and convince others that they are other than they appear. He became a Christian and surrounded himself with the religious…what better place to hide than in plain sight. We’ve experienced what felt like soul crushing betrayal as friends and family embraced him even going so far as to see him as God’s chosen deliverer for America. It felt like the sucker punch of all sucker punches.

At present, the daily struggle to wrap our heads around the reality in front of us continues to be no less difficult than it has ever been. Every day we continue to feel the ick that is our 45th POTUS. When this bomb dropped last week, we knew. We knew they would know each other.

Now, what we don’t know is…will it matter?

Dear Dr. Dobson

This letter was sent from Evangelical faith leader Dr. James Dobson. As a faithful listener to his program for 2 decades (80’s and 90’s), I am always somewhat interested in what he has to say. I nearly blew a gasket reading this and to you, my Evangelical friends who will likely almost blow one at my thoughts, I hope we can somehow stop telling lies about the other side and find a way to live in America with each other. I cut and pasted this letter in its entirety. The bold text is full of my thoughts on what he has said.

Dear Friends,

Several weeks ago, I was invited by White House staff to visit our southern border at McAllen, Texas, where federal agents are struggling to deal with a massive influx of poor and destitute human beings. They come in never-ending waves. Please believe me when I tell you that the media and leftist politicians have not been truthful about what is going on there. It is a human tragedy. 

The media and leftist politicians? Is this really what Dr. Dobson’s message must begin with? One visit, on one day does not equal a  complete understanding of “what is going on at the border” for anyone, anywhere at anytime. It’s a pretty LONG border with several points of entry and the situation at McCallen is just that, the situation there at McCallen.

To frame every treatis on a subject of Dr. Dobson’s choosing with “the media and leftist politicians” completely sets the reader up to understand that hundreds of journalists, camera feeds and interviews with those on the ground in multiple places along the border ARE leftist, liberal reflections. Dr. Dobson and others have said this for so long that their followers actually believe that anyone working outside of Fox News and Conservative Christian and mainstream Conservative talk radio are a plethora of things people of faith should be afraid of.

If the Bible is true and we are told that God does not give us a spirit of fear, we can be sure that Dr. Dobson and the other predominately white male leaders among him have taken on the mantle of fear promotion for themselves.

I promised the exhausted U.S. Custom and Border Patrol agents that I would go home and tell as many people as possible what I had seen “up close and personal.” Today, I am attempting to fulfill that commitment.

Clearly, were Dr. Dobson actually watching “the liberal media and listening to the leftists” he would have heard multiple reports of how exhausted these federal workers actually are. He would also have seen very similar faces like the ones he saw across the length of the border. He would also know that our President, under the direction of Stephen Miller, entertained the idea of using the military to shoot and kill those trying to cross the border – men, women or children. 

Approximately 5,500 people show up every day in districts organized along our southern U.S. border. McAllen is the site of only one of them, but it is the busiest and most besieged. The “refugees” arrive exhausted and ragged from walking hundreds of miles. Among them are large numbers of children, many of whom are unaccompanied by a caring adult. Last year, 382,000 aliens were apprehended for illegally crossing into this country and almost 100,000 of them were minors. Some of the kids have been abused along the way. Many of them carry lice, scabies or other diseases. Currently, the facility I visited is experiencing a flu epidemic, and there are no additional beds on which to lie. Some of the women have been raped. More than 70 people of all ages are sent to local hospitals daily along the southern border. Doctors and medical staff are overwhelmed by their patient load. Remember that word, “overwhelmed.” It describes every aspect of the effort to deal with the situation there.

This reality has evolved THIS YEAR and has never been the case in McCallen before. A “leftist” journalist I follow is from McClarren, Texas. On January 14, he returned home for a visit and spent time with a local journalist who has lived there for 15 years and recorded their conversation. The issue at hand was whether they needed a border wall there or not. AT THAT TIME there were no large groups of families coming in. The reporter gave a very well rounded perspective sharing thoughts from Border Patrol agents and there was no conclusion drawn at the end of the podcast. The listener was left to consider the conversation on his/her own. No condescension of POTUS just, “this is what the President wants to do, what is your perspective” I left with the assurance that my brain was quite welcome to think for itself. I don’t listen to this podcast daily, nor do I take what he says as gospel truth. He’s one of many journalists I read or listen to. 

The most heart-wrenching experience occurred during our tour of the holding area. It is a huge gym-like building consisting of dozens of fenced-in areas. Each one is crowded with detainees standing or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on benches. They stared out at us with plaintive eyes.

Again, if he actually watched the “media” from a variety of different sources, he would actually know that we have seen many faces like this too. Thus the reason we’re saying something about it. BUT the difference is that we’ve been talking about it for at least 3 years and some of us for much longer. We’ve also been fact checking from a variety of places whether the things the President has said at a given time are true or not. 

I noticed that almost none of them were talking to each other. The children looked traumatized and frightened. Tears flooded my eyes as I stood before them. They had no toys or dolls, except for a few items bought by compassionate border patrol agents. One tiny little girl clutched something that resembled a doll bought for her by an agent. There are few provisions made to accommodate the children. The week before we were there, a delegation of agents went to meet with members of Congress, and begged them for additional money to buy Pampers, toothbrushes, and other necessities. They were turned down flat.

These meager supplies have to be purchased with the border patrol budget, which is stretched to the limit. 

If he is going to make a claim like this he needs to tell us who was in that delegation so we can do our jobs as citizens and chew their butts out. If we knew which representatives he was actually talking about here, we’d know whether or not he was talking about the leftist liberals or not, wouldn’t we? Without that knowledge and with the way this letter is set up, it’s easy to assume they were leftist liberals (insert eye roll) 

As a liberal learning about a different place along the border where several NGO’s were “turned down flat” by the Border Patrol when they showed up with Pampers, toothbrushes and other necessities, I can tell you that I am deeply disturbed about this. The BP insisted that because the law stipulates that the only items they were allowed to use had to come from federally funded sources, they wouldn’t let them in. So, who do we blame for that? Of course the law makers but when your house is burning down, you could give a rats ass about whether it’s legal to use a certain type of hose or not to fight a fire! You do what is right, period.

I sincerely doubt it’s a policy that can’t be overridden in the name of human decency – “the only way for evil to triumph is when good men do nothing”. Complex problems like this take solutions that don’t fit nicely in law books. Seriously, do BP agents really want to hold this standard and live with the stench for one thing but do they want to live with the realities like they are? Who would even prosecute their transgression if they actually took those diapers, soap, toothpaste? Seriously! There are hundreds of stories out there where cops dig into their own freakin pockets and help a citizen whether the law allows it or not. It is the insane devoted adherence to law that allowed things like apartheid and slavery to exist. Jesus really had it out with the Pharisees when they bemoaned him healing someone on the sabbath. Maybe we can stop trying to save our own hides so much and just do the right thing. I think I said that already. Oh, well. 

I then walked up to a fenced area holding many skinny young men. An agent standing beside me asked if I would like to speak to them. He offered to translate for me, to which I replied, “Please tell them that God loves them.” Then I said, “Now tell them that I love them, too.” They smiled and waved timidly. 

Telling a thin, starving man that “God loves them” without doing anything to ease his suffering in the moment seems a bit hollow and out of touch. Maybe some kind of genuine empathy would be in order. I can’t imagine it’s easy to think a loving God would allow a situation like this.  

My heart aches for these poor people. Lest I be misunderstood, let me make clear that I am among the majority of Americans who want the border to be closed to those who attempt to enter illegally. There has to be a better solution than this. Really and truly MOST Americans know that according to the law the border IS closed to those who enter illegally. Dr. Dobson and others have been saying over and over and over that we want OPEN borders as if we want people to just come in anytime they so desire. I’m not sure how any intelligent, serious thinking person could believe that.

Right now with the asylum laws as they are, the only people allowed in and especially those in this crisis situation are coming in LEGALLY. Yes, the system is overloaded but the only solution to the crisis is to change the laws allowing people to arrive at the border requesting asylum. Until then, there is nothing we can do but take care of people the way Jesus would expect us to do. We liberals are generally devout humanitarians but that does not mean that we are eager to open the borders with no scrutiny. BUT if something is spoken often enough people seem to believe what they haven’t even intellectually processed. 

I’m personally working to help my liberal friends understand the situation LEGAL refugees face here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We do not genuinely serve them well. They live in poverty regardless of education, they work in jobs we won’t do and their daily lives are too often subject to some pretty hideous verbal and physical assaults. Those of us liberals who are aware of these realities know that WE NEED REFORM. ALL of the politicians I support are liberal and all of them agree that reform is necessary.

The harsh truth is that when the POTUS is demeaning the colleagues he cannot control and treats them like his subjects instead of his co-equals in government, the onus is first on him to change his ways and bridge the divide as much as it is on them. This is a Democratic Republic…not a theocracy or dictatorship. Really, it is. One very important task Dr. Dobson could undertake instead of joining him in the rhetoric and name-calling would be to encourage him to give up Twitter. He could also actually teach him to follow Jesus instead of just enjoy his perceived ticket into heaven. 

This is America – not Republica. We liberals are in fact American citizens whether you like us or not. We will be here for as long as there is an America. There are also many, many of us who are followers of Jesus even if we don’t interpret the Bible like you do. But more importantly, every person is a human being and deserves to be treated with respect, even if they don’t deserve it. 

I have wondered, with you, why the authorities don’t just deny these refugees access to this nation. Can’t we just send them back to their places of origin? The answer I received was “No,” for reasons I will explain.

Only 10 percent of the detainees are Mexicans. This year alone, people have come to our southern border from 127 countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Palestine, Albania, San Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and other nations around the world. They speak their native tongues, which means they can’t be understood by each other or the staff. What are we to do with them? The Mexican government will not take them back, and there is no place to send them. Our current laws do not permit us to repatriate them to their country of origin. This is a disaster with no solution or projected conclusion. 

Let me tell you how these desperate people come to be our responsibility. They are the lowest rung of many societies. They sell their shanties and any other possessions to scrape together $3,500 to $10,000 to pay “coyotes” to guide them. I don’t know what happens to those who can’t meet this demand. Apparently, most manage to pay the fee, and arrive penniless and profoundly needy. I was told that some of the vulnerable children are “recycled” repeatedly to help men gain entry to this country. An unknown number of these men are hardened criminals and drug runners, and they are difficult to identify. Most make their way across the border.

Here’s something else you should know. I have been under the impression that these would-be immigrants try to cross the Rio Grande River and outrun or evade the agents. That is not true of most. They come in large groups, from 100 to 400 people at a time. As I write this letter, a record 1,200 people arrived together at El Paso. The refugees quickly give themselves up to agents. That is why they have made this journey. They know they will be fed, medicated, and treated humanely, even if they are in holding areas while they are in our custody. Then they will be released on American soil. This is the system set up by a liberal Congress and judges. THIS IS A SCAPEGOAT IF EVER THERE WAS A SCAPEGOAT. Every POTUS since George Washington has had to deal with immigration during his time in office! 

It is a well-known fact that President Obama’s administration established many of these unworkable policies, and Congress is steadfastly unwilling to change them. Every effort at reform has been overridden or ignored. It is set in stone. Democrats want massive numbers of immigrants who will someday become voters. Some Republicans (YES a whole LOT of them do) support the policies because they want cheap labor for agricultural purposes. You could mention here the millions of tax payer dollars that have gone out to America’s farmers that these same workers have seen precious little of, but I digress. The border could be fixed, but there are very few in authority who seem to care. That is simply not true. History is clear that every POTUS since the founding of this country built by a plethora of immigrants who took the land away from the native people (and that really is a well known fact) has dealt with Immigration policy and reform. To blame this present situation on liberals or Obama would be as absurd as to blame it on either of the Bush Presidents or the Clintons. NOT ONE has dealt with hoards of families coming up from Central America! That is the reason these facilities are inadequate. How many border patrol agents need to say, “The facilities we have were built for single men.” Clearly we have a new problem that cannot be blamed on any one political party.

You might consider these sources if you can allow yourself to digress from your usual sources of information.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/29/bush-immigration-reform-1990-1014141

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Immigration_Reform_Act_of_2007

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_Immigration_Reform_and_Immigrant_Responsibility_Act_of_1996

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_reform_in_the_United_States

Getting back to my story, our group of national faith leaders and humanitarian organizations was taken to a grassy park underneath the international bridges where the “coyotes” bring the refugees. We stood 50 feet away from them and watched as about 200 people sat on the ground. Then buses arrived to transport them to Border Control. Agents have to work fast because another group will be showing up soon, and then another and another. The would-be immigrants are taken to the center and given cursory medical exams. Then they are segregated by sex and age and placed in the fenced-in areas to be held for the next 20 days until they are processed and given a Notice to Appear. If that sounds inhumane, what would you or I do? There is simply no other place to “house” them. 

Mismanagement of the border has a long history. A federal judge years ago issued a ruling called the Flores Settlement Agreement. It is still the source of many problems. It requires that any unaccompanied alien child must be released within 72 hours. This is now the law of the land, and poor people around the world know it. A single male typically seeks to find a child and a woman to help him “game the system.” Clearly, many of these are “fake families,” but there is no documentation in Pakistani or Bangladesh to challenge their claims. Lawyers at home have told them to claim that they are fleeing from oppression or seeking asylum. They are allowed to plead their cases to judges, but there are too few of them to keep up with the volume. These people are given a court case and released. The vast majority are never seen again. Most then become “anchor babies” who are citizens with rights to bring members of their families. Others are given transportation to an American city where they disappear into the culture. 

In addition to this influx of people from places around the world steeped in poverty and despair, Senator Chuck Schumer authored and helped pass a “lottery” system, whereby winners are brought to the United States. They become permanent residents, who then begin bringing their families to our shores. Thank you, Senator. And where did your ancestors come from? Who allowed them to come to “our” shores?? They came in droves from Europe and were given free land. They became permanent residents in numbers that would make the situation at the border seem like nothing.

Senator Schumer tried to bring a solution to a problem, the House, the Senate and a President chosen by Americans signed the bill into law. A new reform has to take place in a new time in History with new facts, new problems and new complexities. Vilifying Senator Schumer – is not doing anything but allowing Dr. Dobson to vent his own frustration. He is still there and will have to be worked with so I don’t know how this is at all helpful. 

Ten years ago, 90 percent of illegals apprehended at the border were single males, mainly from Mexico. Now, more than 50 percent show up with babies and children, and 90 percent of them are from countries other than Mexico with 64 percent being family units or unaccompanied alien children. Together, they claim to be “families” and within three weeks, they will be home free in America. Is there any doubt why there have been more than half a million illegal immigrants this year alone? 

10 years ago, the world was a bit of a different place, wasn’t it? 

Before I conclude, I must tell you about the agents who have to deal with this chaos. They are compassionate men and women, sworn to uphold federal law and protect our borders. And you think that we liberals don’t care about them because our leftist media reports on the bad hombre’s among them? Interesting.

They obviously care about the detainees, and I respect them highly. They work tirelessly feeding people three times a day and providing clean clothing. They must also maintain the portable toilets in the cells. It is a never-ending task. There are only two large showers in the facility, one for males, the other for females. Their capacity is for only 20 people at a time, which is insufficient.

The border patrol agents administer this program, but most of them didn’t sign up to be caregivers. Agents were trained to patrol the border and apprehend drug runners, traffickers, smugglers, murderers, and every kind of lawbreaker. This is very dangerous work. But, please understand this: the border patrol agents are so busy caring for refugees seeking entry to the United States that they have very little time to police the borders. It is so porous that huge quantities of contraband, including all kinds of narcotics, flow into this country every day. Then it is transported northward to America’s cities to be consumed by adolescents and millennials. Lawless gangs, such as MS-13, are also pouring into the culture, making violence for inner cities a way of life. There is one more aspect to the work of the agents that you should know. They are openly hated by citizens who resent the work they do. They are routinely vilified and mocked and demonized. Their families are also subjected to ridicule. These agents need our appreciation and prayers. They have one of the most thankless jobs in America. 

The situation I have described is the reason President Donald Trump’s border wall is so urgently needed. He seems to be the only leader in America who comprehends this tragedy and is willing to address it. This is so untrue I’m not even going to bother. I will say he’s the only one in America combining his delusional reality with a very real one and trying to make America think that his border wall will solve THIS crisis. Dr. Dobson himself, though not intending to, has explained exactly why this current crisis has nothing to do with the need for the border wall. That’s another argument entirely. 

Those who oppose him do everything they can to impede his effort. Dr. Dobson of the 1980’s would have never given a guy like Trump the time of day. In fact he and others would have been all over the indiscretions, the narcissism, the infidelity, the criminal behavior, the habitual lying, heck, along with Larry Burkett they would both be going ballistic over the increase in the federal debt and the continued deficit spending under Trump. They might have even challenged his bizare and lavish lifestyle (golden toilets, anyone). Dr. Dobson was always the first to let us know if he thought Hillary or Bill were lying, remember? Now he claims that we’re opposing a habitual liar!  The same Dr. Dobson who had program after program on teaching our kids morals and values, telling how to have strong marriages and basically teaching us all things thought wholesome, now embraces a man like Donald Trump? I. don’t. get. it. 

That is why I went to the border to see the situation for myself. I came away with an array of intense emotions. Your intense emotions were geared up and ready to find validation of your already skewed worldview. First, I was profoundly grieved over the misery of thousands of people. Second, I felt a deep appreciation for those who are doing their best to help in an impossible circumstance. Third, and frankly, I was angry at the political fat cats It’s so tempting to insert  a photo of the current POTUS in right here but that’s a bit too below the belt…who have deliberately allowed this chaos to occur for political or financial gain. Oh, that is rich coming from a devout follower of the man in power gaining millions day after day for his own personal empire because now he has Jesus in his heart! They, and their friends in the fake media have told the American people that there is no crisis at the border! Shame on them all. No, shame on YOU, Dr. Dobson. Because you only get your news from sources you agree with, you are grossly misinformed.  The border wall is one topic and that topic has nothing to do with THIS present situation – and you know that. 

What I’ve told you is only a glimpse of what is occurring on the nation’s border. I don’t know what it will take to change the circumstances. I can only report that without an overhaul of the law and the allocation of resources, millions of illegal immigrants will continue flooding to this great land from around the world. Many of them have no marketable skills. They are illiterate and unhealthy. Some are violent criminals. Their numbers will soon overwhelm the culture as we have known it, and it could bankrupt the nation. America has been a wonderfully generous and caring country since its founding. That is our Christian nature. But in this instance, we have met a worldwide wave of poverty that will take us down if we don’t deal with it. And it won’t take long for the inevitable consequences to happen. 

Thanks for letting me set the record straight. NO, you did not set a record straight. You spoke like you know the absolute truth from one day at the border and a lifetime of learning to de-Americanize anyone who thinks different from you. 

P.S. I want to conclude this disturbing account of the border situation with a suggested “action item” for the reader. There is one solution as I see it, which is for people of faith to pray for our President as he seeks to deal with this humanitarian crisis. And pray more curses on Nancy Pelosi and the other demonic liberals. He is facing enormous opposition from both political parties, the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, the judiciary, portions of agriculture, powerful lobbies, and virtually every dimension of the culture. Well, my goodness, one would think AMERICANS have issues with the pathological liar, narcissist, impulsive very ill man with mental illness-who Dr. Dobson should actually recognize being a psychologist and all. But agenda usually has more weight than reality for most of us. I know of no one with political influence besides the President who seems to care about the crisis at the border. It’s very sad that you know of so very few good people in government. Will you join us in making it a matter for concerted prayer? NO, but  I will continue to search for real facts, I will continue to pray every day for this situation and that Republicans return to sanity. 

This letter may be reproduced without change WELL that’s good to know.  and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright, 2019 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.

Sometimes Reality Bites Hard

About a month ago I lost a dear friend and mentor. My friend didn’t physically die. My friend simply ended our friendship in response to a boundary I needed to put into place where conversations about food restriction, increased exercise, clothing size changes and weight loss were concerned.

It’s been difficult. It’s been easy.

It’s been painful. It’s been soothing.

I’ve felt powerless. I’ve felt empowered.

It’s been incredibly confusing. It’s been equally clear.

Paradox: when two opposites are equally true.

It is utterly impossible in our western world to live a life free from discussions about the list of things I mentioned in the first paragraph.  We are a shame driven, perfectionist culture where success is defined first and foremost by our size. Nowhere is this more evident to me than it is knowing that there are little girls as young as five talking about dieting and how much they already hate their bodies. It is everywhere and as a result, it would be utterly impossible not to have conversations with others where some kind of talk ensues about all things related to the size of our bodies. Though I have made personal choices to change the conversation around these issues, I am not unrealistic about the reality that there will be talk that is uncomfortable for me. Unfortunately, in this relationship my coping skills and/or ability to articulate with enough grace and truth early on proved sufficient to end a very special friendship.

Months ago my friend started dieting in earnest in response to a medical test indicating she was nearing Type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, I have two friends who have made similar decisions in response to this issue. My take on both has been that I love my friends and that it is really none of my business how they choose to manage their health concerns. When affirmation is sought from me, I habitually redirect the conversation to something else unless I am specifically asked what my opinion is. If a friend chooses to  engage in a conversation in response to an advocacy post I put on Facebook I freely share what I think and sometimes, often times, we agree to disagree.  My belief is simply that life is complex enough without my direct interference.

All that said, like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings after he was stabbed by the Ringwraiths sword, I will always carry the wound of having been stabbed by an eating disorder that nearly took my daughter’s life on multiple occasions. The layers of personal trauma are going to be something I will carry for the remainder of my life. These traumas have and will continue to incur a cost for me. And there will be no cost greater than the impact this reality has on my relationships. Over time and thanks to five years of intense psychotherapy, I have learned how to manage my vulnerability pretty well but there are just times when it’s necessary to part ways. I never expected this would be one of those times.

Perhaps maturity is simply coming to grips with one’s reality and choosing to allow it to be what it is. I will miss this person in my life acutely and I will always be grateful beyond words for the impact made on my life as a result of knowing her but this is my sovereign path and tonight I just needed to write about it.

Discovering Talk Radio Again

I’ve started a new thing of late. When I’m out running errands, I turn the radio onto our local talk radio station.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do it but for now, it’s been very educational and enlightening. The Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity programs are often on when I’m out so that’s who I’ve heard the most.  Topics covered include but are not limited to:

  • Fake News
  • Liberal Media
  • Educated Elites
  • Leftist
  • Socialists
  • Obama
  • Hillary
  • Dems
  • Witch Hunt
  • Hoax
  • Hillary’s emails
  • Peter Strzok
  • Comey
  • Andrew McCabe
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Michael Avannati

If you aren’t aware of these terms or people, well, you must not be paying attention because they’re constantly in the news. Between Rush and Sean (Hannity) they are totally obsessed with Democrats and the tale they tell is genuinely from those on the far left. When you listen to their programs they honestly talk more about what they hate about Democrats than what they love about being Republicans. In fairness though, most late night comedian/commentators do the same thing using another forum. To the Republicans there is nothing funny about the leftist socialists out to take away all of their hard-earned money.

Today Hannity was all over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He was warning his listeners about her worldview and  that she was the face of the current Democratic Party. According to Sean, Pelosi and Schumer are terrified of this woman’s far left beliefs.  You would think that he talks to them as often as he does POTUS.  Limbaugh has no love for her either.  They are both equally unimpressed with all but a select few people under 30.

Yesterday, Rush was trying to convince his listeners to believe that there is no such thing as White Privilege because if there were, those who were “half white” like Obama would make much better use of their whiteness and claim that privilege, including President Obama. Not kidding.  It was such a bizarre way to frame it my head was spinning.

Rush spends a fair amount of time talking about the whole Russia Thing. Yesterday he was very strongly educating his audience that it is actually an elaborate hoax created by the FBI to cover up the real collusion between Hillary and the Russians. Gee, doesn’t the FBI have plenty of other work to do?

For now, I’ll keep listening and trying to understand these guys or whoever happens to be on air at the time.  I’ll continue to try know grasp how they took over the party I spent most of my life in. Oh, and I will try hard NOT to shout obscenities while driving along. No guarantees on that one.

No surprise here…just a huge ache.

Today when I (Jane) watched and listened to Senator Collins, I heard her. There is no black/white proof other than Dr. Ford’s testimony. I do think it was very shitty for the lowlife that leaked Dr. Ford’s letter to the public against her wishes. That lack of consent from her to release it only violated her further. Senator Feinstein should have brought it forward immediately, sought an investigation immediately. As a result it looks like a last ditch effort to sabotage the Administration’s Federalist appointed candidate.
The Democratic response from the get go was grossly too weak. It was only when we, the people – we, the women of America with horrors in our own memories used our brains and thought about the men that abused us and got away with it. We then thought about what it would be like if our abuser would have been a SCOTUS nominee. I guarantee you if any of those asses that abused me as a child were up for office, I’d be either shouting from the rooftops or considering suicide. And I do not over exaggerate.
Once we saw and heard Dr. Ford testify, there was no way in hell we were going to accept that a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land could even possibly have been her abuser. NO WAY. The stakes were just too high for us. Even so, we all knew this would be the outcome because for us, it. has. always. been. the. outcome. Always. Being sexually abused as a child literally changes your personality and for some it evolves into an actual borderline personality disorder. BPD is a horrid mental existence that thankfully we now have trained therapists for and excellent psychotropic medication to give us a way to live with it. THIS is what we experienced this past few weeks…we relived our abuse with her. The abuse from the perpetrator and the abuse from the authorities who either didn’t believe us or minimized its effect on our lives.
Until men really want to understand, which our current POTUS told them today that they shouldn’t even try to do, they will never know how utterly damaging and life-threatening it is to take over a woman’s body without her consent. What other recourse do we have but to fight with all that is in us. AND WE WERE NOT PAID by anyone!! That’s just absurd.
I know that many of you, Dean’s and my friends, voted for Trump because he was “pro-life”. What you really voted for was this. THE SUPREME COURT. Just like he said during the campaign, he could murder someone in public – and no one would call him to account for it. For the sake of reversing Roe vs. Wade, you have elected someone who has likely paid for an abortion or two. Trust us, we abused women (those who have actually dealt with it, that is) KNOW abusive men when we experience them in our lives. We know what their manipulative skills are and we know how they use their positions of power to overtake us.
What Republicans do not understand is that for every survivor of sexual abuse, the election of Donald Trump communicated to us very clearly, it’s no big deal if a man wants to “grab ’em by the pussy”. He pays off a porn star and one of his heavy’s threatens her and her daughter. You just choose not to believe it it seems. His ex-wives share stories of abuse and you don’t believe them. Because when comparing the issues of real value to this country, a Supreme Court Justice was just too important to you.
Many people choose to remain comfortably within the boundaries of what has been. Sexual abuse was 100% acceptable in the early Jewish religion. David saw Bathsheba and seduced her. She had a child. He killed her husband. The child died. He literally ruined her life without a care except for his own pleasure. Yet, even now, centuries later, he is not held accountable for what he did to her. He was considered God’s chosen, as all Kings are.
Apparently many modern day Christians believe that Donald Trump’s sexual promiscuity, his ruin of women’s lives matter little as well. What happened during this hearing wasn’t just about this hearing. It was about this president, his verbally abusive speech day in and day out toward so many people but even more about the embrace of his disgusting behavior as just a “so what” , it’s really about the Supreme Court.
When people do not believe they have genuinely been heard, they often resort to violence. Sexual abuse victims have not been genuinely heard. No one has to pay them to yell and scream in order to be heard. No one.

When Faith is Replaced by Power

Biblical examples abound, especially in the New Testament, of circumstance after circumstance where a challenge of some kind was presented to religious power. There are so many examples that it seems odd that Christian faith is about anything else.  Jesus was always, confronting religious dogma and power.  I honestly cannot think of one example where someone came to Jesus and was told to follow him in order to be exclusively right, morally perfect and most absurdly to take power over nonbelievers because of that rightness. Can you? If you can, please comment and enlighten me.

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Consider these verses in the gospel of John. Clearly, as a Jewish man, Jesus was very offended to find his place of worship and giving of sacrifice filled with buyers and sellers. It also seems that the whole idea of the Jewish leaders loving money was a really big deal to Jesus.

fullsizeoutput_1d49 How about these in the gospel of Matthew?

Can it be any clearer? According to biblical authors, Jesus spoke truth to power. I could find several more places where we see Jesus doing things this. There is one about a woman from a place that was “south of the tracks” and unacceptable to his own tribe whom he actually found worth his time and attention. The faithful among his own people wouldn’t have been caught dead with her.

There is an amazing story where Jesus tells  about one of the Pharisee’s heroes (Elijah) who actually couldn’t find anyone among his own tribe interested in receiving what God wanted to do so he left and when to find someone in Syria. He found an old woman starving and miraculously provided food for her without ever mentioning a thing about his own religion. If the physical Jesus looked at the modern forms of those who follow him, I wonder what he would do.  I wonder what he would say.

After nearly 30 years of devout faith* lived within organized evangelical churches, I can honestly say that many of those I knew in them, started out simply as people seeking something  more. Many times, especially among converts, we were broken and fucking up our own lives so badly that we felt it necessary to convert to Jesus or die our own slow death. As newly born again Christians, we couldn’t understand the complacency of so many of the lifelong “Christians”.  Complacency about church attendance, personal devotional time, and sharing the gospel seemed somewhat low priority to many. In the late 70’s Jesus movement, we newbies were sure that real Christianity was serious and devout or nothing at all.

As I look back, I also see that many of us were under the illusion that by our new conversion, we, like Jesus, were speaking truth to powerful religious people. We left our mainline churches in droves and committed our lives to full time Christian service of some kind. We sincerely tried to take the words of Jesus as literally as possible and live accordingly. We gave away our possessions, our time and our money simply because Jesus said to.  In community we saw ourselves as a unit: The Body of Christ on earth, led by male authority.  This was our Christian faith.  This is the faith of many today and thankfully in a free country people can practice as they see fit. It seems obvious that if the entire world this committed, it would seem that all of our problems would be solved, our diseases healed and our existential quests for meaning satisfied. It would seem.

I admire anyone who lives out what they believe with integrity. What I find utterly distressing and beyond my intellectual capacity to understand is that in the 41 years since I embraced this theology, the evangelical church seems to have altered it’s focus to living more by political power than it does living by faith. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for participation in politics by people of faith. What I cannot figure out is how we can live in a religiously free country and expect the entire country to embrace one particular faith.

Jesus didn’t lead his followers to embrace Roman politics.

Jesus didn’t want to legislate morality to the point of controlling others because he knew that the best way to control oneself was through hard core self analysis and interaction with God. He knew that coming to grips with one’s own shortfalls was the only way one could really find ongoing redemption. Ironically this holds true for both believers and nonbelievers. No one makes positive changes in their personal life without intention and hard work. Saying a prayer, joining a church, tithing 10% means literally nothing if one is unwilling to do that. When faith is married to control and power, it is no longer faith but something very, very different. When religion is married to control and power it is even more terrifying and dangerous.

Jesus was said to be the “light that enlightens everyone” at the very least, the first commitment to living a Christian faith would seem to be a devotion to that enlightenment over and above all else. If that time spent in devoted introspection and resulting personal change occurs, I believe that faith is real.  If it is at all about being exclusively right and having authority over others…it simply is not.

 

 

 

 

*I no longer identify myself as an Evangelical Christian. I still think of myself as a spiritually driven woman but I have more questions than answers. Mental illness in a family member, thought provoking questions I can’t answer from another added to my own very long lasting questions exposed holes in the neatly packaged 4 Spiritual Laws version of the gospel I once took literally. The words of Jesus, as you can tell by this post, continue to be in soul and influence my life every day.

Truth

It would seem that one of the great debates of my lifetime has been that of absolute vs. relative truth? Thanks to Rudy Giuliani’s interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press last Sunday, we all get to revisit the concept yet one more time.  I believe the record is pretty clear that the President’s entire campaign and presidency have both been held up by a very intentional and relative grasp of the the truth. Truth is to Trump whatever he deems it to be in the moment. Mr. Giuliani’s words should surprise no one.

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is no exception to this idea that the truth is not the truth.  Of course he doesn’t actually realize that he sees truth as relative vs. absolute in most of what he says too.  He seems to have little self-awareness that his truth is as relative to his perspective as anyone’s. In a speech he gave at the National Catholic Prayer breakfast in May, he strongly challenged the audience he was speaking to to fight against moral relativism or the idea that truth is relative.

…Ryan, who is Catholic, lamented at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast what he sees as a deepening sense of “identity politics and tribalism” in the country, as well as a trend of “moral relativism” that is becoming “more and more pervasive.”

Is it just me, or was Speaker Ryan high on something and not able to think clearly?  He doesn’t seem to be aware that what he’s saying actually comes directly from his identity as a Catholic. Being Catholic is being tribal. Being Republican is being tribal. Being German. Being Jewish…um…we are a nation of immigrants and we will see things as true that really are not true for all of us living here.  It seems to me that he genuinely believes that Catholics are exempt from identity politics and tribalism? Is he really saying that in order to stop being morally relative, Catholics should combat culture with Catholic Social Doctrine implying that everyone should adopt it? How is Speaker Ryan’s truth not tribal or relative to being Catholic?

Objective truth is truth. Black is black, white is white etc.  The force of gravity is a truth we cannot deny. We need oxygen to be able to live. This is factual truth. In Giuliani’s situation, he isn’t really talking about whether a conversation did or did not happen because right now it is simply, Trump says one thing, someone else says the opposite. The truth isn’t provable at this point in that situation.

If we’re honest, humans, no matter how confident we think we are in our perception of what is genuinely true,  all too often we are assuming truth simply because it is what we know.  That’s what is meant by truth being relative. Here’s an example. Today Dean was told that he ate his banana the wrong way. He was told that monkey’s hold it with the stem and break off the top. He does the opposite.  The person who told him this is from England and that’s the way it’s done there. Is he right, is it true that there is just one right way to eat a banana? Of course not. It is his perception of reality and it is true for him but it isn’t necessarily the truth.

Enough for today…

My Dad

A few years ago when my parents arrived in Yuma, Arizona, for their winter stay, they arrived one evening and the next morning my dad was feeling pain in his chest and down his arm. He and Mom immediately went to the hospital where it was determined he was having a heart attack. It was considered the “widow maker” because of where the blockage was but because he got there very early in the attack, his life was saved. We have all been so grateful for the years we have had together since then. It’s been a difficult spring and summer of 2018 as we’ve learned that there is another issue with his heart that is irreversible.

At present my dad’s heart is functioning at 20% and each day has become a real struggle. In March we were back in Nebraska for our nephew’s wedding. I hadn’t seen Dad since his return from Arizona and when I did, it was very difficult. My dad has always been a tall, big man with unbelievable strength. He is usually the life of the party laughing and joking around. Always eager to play cards or another game of some kind but this visit was different.  He was quiet and tired, napping constantly and coughing a bit. Upon my return to Utah I learned through phone calls with my mom that his cough was worse, he was sleeping even more and incredibly uncomfortable. I hopped in my little red Escape and headed to Nebraska with my own heart feeling like it was in my throat the entire way there.

The day after I arrived, I began to walk alongside my parents in the quest for answers. The cardiologist appointment revealed that Dad’s heart had literally thickened over the last year and as a result the chambers of his heart have become much smaller. After his blood-work was inconclusive he was sent to Omaha for further tests. The end result was that he has amyloidosis, a protein build up in his heart that is very serious and irreversible. His doctor told him were he in his 50’s he would need a heart transplant. Dad turns 79 in September.  I’m really quite devastated and mostly numb knowing that my dad is in the valley of the shadow of death…for real.

So much of who I am is a result of my dad’s wrestling with his life. Dad wasn’t born into economic prosperity. He was born during the great depression to poor farming parents. He grew up working. Always working. At eight years old he would tear apart old cars and put the metal in his wagon and haul it off to be recycled. It earned him some spending money back in the day.  I grew up working. Babysitting, paper routes, cleaning houses, making pizza’s and waiting tables through college. I am my father’s daughter.

A teacher once told Dad that he would never amount to much because he was stupid. That right there made me want to become a teacher to push back against that type of thing happening. I am still mad about that and I’ve known about it since I was a child. My dad struggles to read, write and spell. He is brilliant in mathematics and physics. When I was a kid little blue booklets would regularly come in our mail and night after night Dad would be in our basement working through them. They were courses in engineering. As a result of that work he invented things and started a business that became very successful. To this day, I am always reimagining the world around me and trying to improve it by solving problems. I’d sure love to have words with that teacher and let her know how wrong she was. Dad’s one of the most intelligent people I know and it’s no thanks to her that he continued learning. He’s made me a life-long learner and I’m so grateful. I am my father’s daughter.

There are some really important moments from childhood with Dad that shaped my moral compass. One evening Dad came home after bowling with his league and told my mom within earshot of me that the guys wanted to go over to the bar and watch the go go dancer. He went along but as he sat there he couldn’t help but think, “That’s someone’s daughter.” He even told his buddies to think about that. Then he left and came home. I was never more secure than I was that night. I was proud of my dad. I had no desire to ever go into anything remotely close to go-go dancing and that experience made all of the difference in determining what kind of person I would choose to marry years later. I am my father’s daughter.

Another one of those moral moments was the discovery that after we’d just settled into a house in Billings, MT, Dad determined that he could not stay employed with his new employer. The boss was stealing from the company and he couldn’t tolerate that. We loaded up everything and headed back to Nebraska near his parents. All because Dad had a conscience. It was a wild time but one that really impacted my life. I am my father’s daughter.

Dad was a natural salesman but he wasn’t the kind that would do anything for a sale. He really and truly wouldn’t sell anything to anyone unless they really needed what he had to sell. He was incredibly honest and enjoyed what author Stephen Covey called the high speed of trust from his customers. If he broke it, he fixed it. If he designed it poorly, he redesigned it until he got it right. He was willing to go the extra mile and it paid off. I have been less motivated to work for money than he would have liked but it’s really his fault because I honestly just loved to work. Everyone I worked for knew that I’d go the extra mile too. I am my father’s daughter.

Growing up I watched my dad interact with other people and it was very evident that the color of a person’s skin or their economic status had very little to do with how he treated them. I’ve seen him with Sioux Native American friends, African American friends, rich and poor friends. We had many casual and I now know, philosophical, conversations about others when I was growing up. He was always thinking and challenging the status quo where other people were concerned. He recognized people for their strengths, their character and treated people so fairly. He always had a heart for the underdog. I am a devoted advocate for equality and justice for all because of him. I am my father’s daughter.

Honestly, I could go on and on about the way I’ve been shaped by my dad. I could also go on a bit about the hard things between us because there were a few. We certainly didn’t live a perfect father-daughter life and boy did we have our power struggles. I could push his buttons like no other and I did just that plenty of times. I’ve been so mad at him I could have spit nails more than once, but I’m pretty sure he could say the same about me. Yep, I’m my father’s daughter. Just ask my mom.

It’s so hard to see and experience this man’s struggle right now. He’s never been weak and tired like this. He’s struggling to breathe and sleep. I don’t know how much time I have left with my dad and it’s pretty much on my mind 24/7. My ache for my mom is constant and I feel so powerless. I suppose we all feel this way when the end of life seems to be coming at warp speed for someone we love so much.

I really am his daughter. His first born. The one he said looked like Doris Day growing up. The one who loved sleeping in his t-shirts as a nightgown because they smelled just like him and were so soft. The one who loved cats that he tolerated for my sake. Dad has been a rock in my life and I don’t know how I’m going to survive without him physically present. I will because…I am his daughter.

I love my dad.

 

Missing American

A Cache Valley, Utah, man disappeared while serving his Mormon mission in China. The Chinese government says that he disappeared while hiking. His family doesn’t believe that and wants our government to intervene to find him.  According to our local paper, the missionary’s  community held a fasting event to encourage God to intervene. In the article it quoted the man who organized the event as saying that he was now hopeful Trump would intervene because the State Department hadn’t done enough. He went on to say that these are much better times because the rest of the world now understands that instead of the State Department we now have Trump. Seriously.  I can hardly stop thinking about what that means.

The world consists of 195 countries. One hundred and ninety-five. Those who represent American foreign policy and other affairs in these countries must learn the language, study its history and culture and know actual people in those countries to do their jobs. Many countries in the world already do not appreciate America’s freedom, its wealth and privilege in the world and yet they allow our ambassadors residence there and a place at the diplomatic table. These people work very hard on our behalf day and night. Though not directly elected by the people, they are appointed by those who are. To even remotely imagine that any ONE person can replace the them is to imagine that we are no longer living in a Democratic Republic.

Unfortunately, with so many vacancies in the State Department at present, a vacuum of leadership continues to exist across the globe and as time goes by it seems logical that this puts our country at a genuine disadvantage as well as in real danger. No one man can possibly fill the shoes of this important department. It is very likely that with those positions vacant, when future Americans disappear, their families may find themselves totally abandoned with no one on the ground to investigate or engage in diplomacy of any kind to find them. President Trump will have absolutely NO idea what to do and likely won’t do anything unless someone within his inner circle will ask him to.

If one observes the president’s present means of intervening on behalf of others, it’s rarely done with respect to in depth observation or with a collection of data, but is instead done in response to the personal or political benefit he will receive by doing so.  Kim Kardashian was given audience with him and as a result he pardoned someone at her request. She’s a reality TV star who knows him personally. When it comes to acting on behalf of LDS missionaries, there will likely be more involvement from President Trump due to his connection and fondness for Senator Orrin Hatch rather than because he is at all interested in the situation itself.  Senator Hatch would never imagine being important enough to replace the entire US State Department, nor would he imagine any US President capable of doing so.

I sincerely hope this missionary lost in China finds his way home but if he does, it will be because many US citizens, both private and with the government, have done the hard work it will take to bring him home. It will certainly not be because one man declared it so and I, for one, believe it should never be.