Monday, November 14, 2016

Just call me an American first please



Hello, according to the ruling class I am a "non-college white Christian woman" who voted for Donald Trump.

What? Those words about me say so much without me.

I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton because,from  my reference point,she stands for the following things:

-The plundering of gold and aid money from Haiti

-The bombing and forced famine/genocide of Yemeni children

-ISIS

-Benghazi

-Spirit Cooking

-Sexual harassment victim shaming

-Partial Birth Abortion

-Name shaming people who don't believe in HER

-Antagonizing Veterans

-Blaming men for everything

-Gender entitlement

-Corruption

-Cronyism

-Personal greed and personal enrichment at the expense of others

-LGBTQXYZLMNOPQRST......a new letter every month (very confusing)bathroom politics

-PC Bullying

-Blaming people like me for the problems in the country


Now the election is over and I am being held responsible for losing the American Dream to a hate crime. Really ?

Yes really. The intelligentsia has packaged and shrink wrapped me, a "non-college white Christian woman" to denounce me as a hater,a bigot, xenophobic ,homophobic,racist,deplorable,etc. Other voters are relentlessly shrink wrapped too.We hear of "Latinos" and "non-college white men over thirty","millennials","college white men","college white women", "African-American women", "African-American men","Asian-Americans", and on and on.

Is this what we're about today? Categories?

There are some contexts in which racial,religious and economic designations make sense,such as addressing historic vulnerabilities and injustices as well as prosecuting hate crimes and working to correct inequality. But a hyper emphasis on categorical designations can pave the way for categorical designations becoming the primary way that we think about each other. That is dangerous.

Most people come to America because they want to escape identity politics. Around the globe,tribal,religious,cultural and ancestral hatreds run deep. If one is born a Bosnian Muslim one has significant identity suspicion to overcome in neighboring Serbia.If one is born a Sikh in Pakistan,one might have significant prejudice to overcome in neighboring Hindu Kashmir. If one is born a Jew in Tel Aviv ,one may encounter significant prejudice in neighboring Gaza.These deep suspicions create unsafe spaces for people to live,move,work and raise children.

Here in America we have prejudice but it is nothing like it is in other parts of the world. In cities and small towns across our country,people of different races creeds and convictions eat together,shop together, go to the same movie theaters and malls, visit the same hospitals and frequent the same civic celebrations such as Independence day picnics. It's not always perfect but most Americans live their lives under relatively less strife than clashing cultures create in other countries. We still have a lot of work to do but the overall progress we've made together is remarkable.

Some of our ancestors came to these shores to escape being shrink wrapped and labeled into categories by elites who saw them as politically threatening. Some were brought here by force because of being shrink wrap categorized by skin color.

Putting people into categories as the primary way of considering their significance or lack thereof is wrong. It always leads to group oppression of some kind.

If we are going to move forward improving on a common vision of equal dignity then identity politicians need find other ways of relating to us. Otherwise we risk losing that unique vision shared by so many which is recognizing one another as fellow Americans first.

Being an American first is what makes us a nation,...a people out of many, one.






Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mercy, Mary Wampanogue and The Big Yellow Taxi



I had a dream of a woman.She was the archytypal bad girl.The mother of all ill.The progenitora of mysogyny, whose names are bywords for contempt. She was mighty and majestic in her rebellion and by it she conquered nations.In my dream she trampled me with rage and with revenge. Incensed in my wounds I rebelled against her authority and raged back with words, sharp as a scythe, brutal as a hammer. My justice was right. I posessed in my body and in my soul, a litany of her crimes. My grievances anounced a need of redress. And so I hammered the woman,hammered her down.And so I cut into her strenghth. By my righteous indignation, I made her bend low.The redress felt mighty good. Down and farther down did she embrace the ground until she seemed one with the brown earth. She and the soil did blend so well that I could recognize her no longer. So I called out to her. "What is your name?",I cried."Where have you gone?". She answered me as her sad face turned up to meet my own."I am Mary Wampanoughue",she whispered."I am your Mother. She rose disabled and bent. "Come",she said."Let us sojurn together".

We walked by a great river. I tried to help her but I could not. I had broken her back with my justice. I could not make her whole again.
Suddenly a Big Yellow Taxi appeared. "Here", I said. "Let us climb in here to travel. It will ease your pain." And so we did. From inside the taxi, I could see that Mary was pregnant. I shouted at the taxi driver to hurry up and take us to the hospital. There was a baby in this mother who was dying. "Hurry! Hurry!",I cried, but the Big Yellow Taxi was slow. It was I who had broken the back of this mother and prejudiced her child.I began to weep a heaving. "Please",I pleaded."I take back what I said". "I'm sorry"."I didn't mean to break you".But I could not undo the damage I had done.The Big Yellow Taxi didn't have enough power. The baby was not going to make it.I cried out to God for help. In desperation I made an ultimate supplication to save the life of the woman and her child.


Then a great eagle descended from the night sky, with striped wings outstretched under the firmament that seemed to move the stars.The great eagle lifted the Big Yellow Taxi up from the muddy road. Secure in it's sharp talons we flew as thunder cracked through bolts of fire. Windshield wipers furious,we could not see beyond the pounding rain, but I was not afraid. I knew somehow we were going to make it.Me,Mary Wampanogue,her baby and The Big Yellow Taxi.
There my sleep was broken and I awoke. "Mercy",I thought. "That was a dream of mercy". Insofar as we envision justice for all, the American Dream is animated by mercy. Without it,justice alone breaks us and poisons the land in it's turning. Our children's hope rests on our willingness to forgive and surrender our entitlements. No one wants their child to enter a Kindergarten of grudges. Everyone of us has a grievance and a wound some more deep and numerous than others.It is how we have determined to adress those grievances that makes us unique among nations. Americans are one nation from many. Many being the ancestral hatreds left behind to begin anew. How can a Pole coexist with a Russian ? An Irish with a Scot? A West African with a Spaniard ? An Arab with a Jew ? It happens here.Why? Because we bear mercy in our train that each new dawn is truly new.


*On my mother's side I am a descendant of Mary Wampanogue (Mary Sarah Covell) and James Covell of Martha's Vineyard. They were married in 1650.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump: Best friend of Single Moms


Every woman knows how much we rely on good men to protect us from the baser male instincts. Most of us have been groped,howled at,made to endure lewd jokes feigning laughter, and demoralized by the epidemic objectification of women in pornography which lowers our status overall. Despite the current language of equality,we know well that our relative physical weakness objectified bears big league signifigance in day to day life. Stature, chemistry and hormones can prejudice women in social contexts that exceed the material world. This is our reality. We are the more vulnerable gender. So when a good guy treats us with dignity or shows up to champion our vulnerability, his status in our eyes grows exponential.
What is a good guy ? A good guy is a hero. A man who champions a woman's dignity against other men. This is the natural vocation of fathers, husbands and brothers. When a guy champions a woman outside his natural protective purview, especially a girl who finds herself alone in the room or in the world, then he assumes the rank of super-hero. Who is a super-hero ? He's Ken Cucinelli escorting a lady off the convention floor when her husband isn't by her side. He is the busy man who makes time to walk a woman to her car at night without asking for that hug in return. He's the policeman or the EMT who shows up when she's disheveled and exposed and,rather than degrading her accordingly, speaks words of kindness.He's the guy who draws a line in the sand and reminds a circle of executioners that she is a human being. He's the father that every girl dreams of and the husband that every woman cherishes once she's found that pearl of great price.He's the boss or co-worker who smiles at her face and listen's respectfully to her voice when she's talking. He's the patron who picks up the napkin on the floor so the waitress doesn't have to bend.He is the deep,resonating sound of chivalry when women and children are in distress because of other men. He is the exception not the rule. I had a super-hero once. My gratitude towards him will never see an end.
Today I have another. His name is Donald Trump.
Along with millions of my fellow Americans I have been watching the Trump children take center stage and share their remarkable intelligence and strength of charachter. They are a testament to Donald Trump the man. No dad can fake great kids and the Trump children are by all measure, emotionally balanced and exceptionally unentitled. What impressed me the most was a little noticed one line from Tiffany Trump's speech. Tiffany shared how her dad regularly inquired after the wellbeing of her relatives in Georgia. "What?,I thought agahst."  "Aren't those Marla Maples' relatives ?".Wow.
When a marriage ends badly, the kids almost always catch the brunt of their parents wrath. Usually, the custodial parent or the wealthier parent turns the children against the other, implicitly or explicitly through emotional manipulation, bribes or outright shaming. Both men and women do this. It is the rare but stellar exception when a parent who has more power shows deference to their child's DNA and alows the child to indulge in love of parents and other relatives without punishment. Parental alienation is epidemic in our society. The emotional devastation on children is only just being considered, and then barely enough. Last night the Trump family took a bazooka to this plague. Not by proposing new legislation and regulation, but by their example. The Trump family is ,like so many families, familiar with divorce and it's incumbant problems. Under Donald's leadership, they appear to have worked it out really well.That he shows respect for Marla Maples as the mother of his child is amazing! Now every dead beat dad,creep and lech who admires the Donald just got a wake up call. If you want to be macho,... if you want to be masculine, then do like the nouveau uber-mensch who loves his kids by respecting the women who gave them life. Step up men and rise to the occasion of fatherhood by treating single moms with decency. If you do this you will gain power not lose it. Your kids will be better not worse and you will revel in the glory of their admiration as you grow old. Donald Trump's iconic role modeling will absolutely play out in actual and real change on Main Street by the millions at a time of cultural crisis when young men especially need examples of moral behavior to emulate. By every measure, boys in America are being left behind in school and in life partly because dads are not embracing the challenging vocation of shared parenting outside of wedlock. Donald Trump's life does not highlight perfection. He has two failed marriages. His life models positive problem solving and a better way out of social conflict. Donald Trump models working solutions.
The Bible says that when God heals a nation and a culture He "turns the hearts of the father's towards their children." There are millions of fatherless kids in America today being raised by single moms who can't seem to catch a break. Donald Trump just gave us an enormous boost. He has established a much needed higher standard of what looks like ideal male behavior for tens of millions of American men by publicly elevating the role of fatherhood in and outside of wedlock. By default, Donald Trump has just become a best friend to single moms.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Transparency of the Trump Campaign and the Hypocrisy of the Left


It is an undeniable part of our shared American cultural history that artistic ideas, songs,lyrics dance and humor have been cribbed  from black people by white folks many times over. Some of this has been acknowledged, but much of it has not.A recent blaring example is that of Mylie Cyrus and her twerking.This dance move was lifted from the black dance culure move for move.There was an outcry from black women but no one apologized.No one got sued for cultural  copyright infringement and none of Mylie's coreographers stepped up to acknowledge the infraction.Why not?

We as Americans are also familiar with what happened to the majority of Motown artists who were systematically robbed and exploited by their agents only to die in poverty and obscurity.In Bluegrass music history, Bill Monroe is acknowledged as the primogenitor of the genre.Little attention and almost no acknokledgement  is paid to his teacher, a black fiddler named Arnold Shultz.

That Melania was inspired by Michelle Obama's words is now an established fact.Today's admission from the Trump Campaign is a tribute to their ability and willingness to be transparent rather than manipulate and cover up which they also have the power to do.The admission serves to further contrast the character of the Trump Family from the anti-charachter of the Clintons who marshall every perk of power time and time again to line their pockets and absolve themselves of wrongdoing. Bill Clinton has openly and publicly said many things which are demeaning and patronizing to American blacks but he is never called on it. He plays the role of the white trash supremicist overlord stuck in the deep and dark entitlements of the unchurched South. The American people got another good and upclose snapshot of this when he recently bullied Loretta Lynch on the tarmac into exhonerating his wife.And after being made to bend over, the nation's first female African-american Attorney General was then made to lie about it. Loretta Lynch as well as the Justice Department got lynched that day by the Clinton machine.Who knows what's coming next from their Dixie Mafia ? If past is prologue then God help us all.

Will Michelle's speech writers now demand a formal and direct public apology from the Trump Campaign? They might. And they could.But doing so only raises the bar for everybody when it comes to plaigerism, the Clinton's their staff of 700 plus, the bloodthirsty media and Hollywood exeutives included. This new standard of scrutiny,I believe unfairly and singularly applied to Melania Trump, an ESL speaker unschooled in the tradecraft of wordsmithing, now points a mighty finger back at the establishment. "Cribbing" happens alot. If an innocent newcomer to the public arena is maligned by this then the eyes of equality are wide open to the patently un-level playing field where a big commupance is rightly due.

That Melania Trump sees Michelle Obama as a role model is inspiring.I hope the two women can ackowledge that privately without being shouted down by the current racial division conglomerate. We really need leaders to model repair as a counrty and a culture right now.

As for MSNBC, CNN and the other scandal dependant anti-visionaries... do your job and talk about the bigger racial story affecting regular people instead of just crafting political narratives to suiit and confirm your own bias in order to score political points on the moment.We the people are sick of it!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Thelma the Buddha at the Golden Corral


This weekend I met Thelma,a waitress at The Golden Corral



The Golden Corral is an all you can eat feast for 8.99. They have steak,roast turkey,pot roast, collard greens and steamed zucchini,endless real mashed potatoes with two kinds of gravy,a taco bar,honey mango chili chicken wings, vanilla soft serve ice cream,a chocolate fountain for strawberries and fresh baked bread pudding. You pay first which is where I was introduced to Thelma.The manager, a hefty guy with really black shiny skin and really bright bright eyes asked my son if he liked the Red Sox,pointing to the familiar logo on his t-shirt.



"Looks like a little Tom Brady doesn't he " I said , "doesn't he?". "He Tom Brady son...?," the manager asked all poker faced in the question 'til he cracked a neon smile and let out a ginormous bellowing laugh."He do,he do look like Tom Brady son! I just messin' wit ya'.Hey Buddha,you done wit yo' table yet?" The manager was talking to Thelma. She had a drink in one hand and as she passed she poked him with her other one. "That's Thelma.She da' Buddha 'round here. She de whyyy..ze one." I burst out laughing with a deep spontaneous belly roll right along with the other two brown girls facing me getting our drinks. Thelma looked asian-ish. But the whole thing was really funny. It just was. My thoughts stopped in a jolt as I realized how taboo my laughter was by so many accounts in so many places, but it didn't stop me. Our laughing was not a taunt or a jab, neither was it a micro-aggression. It was a celebration. And Thelma was the center of our happy thing in that moment.There is a quirky, funny joy which springs from the hearts of regular people who haven't been schooled at the Ivy League and aren't easily offended by life. Aren't we all just starved for that ?

I thought of Cambridge and my last morning walk through Harvard Yard. Heads on moving bodies down, ears plugged, the students measuring their steps with precision in perfect single file.All seem steady in their surety not to offend anybody or anything, not to molest even one sacred blade of grass on the push forward to class.Then flashback further to 1986. I see my brother Henry calling my name outside his yellow window at Wigglesworth."Over here sis"!" There was lots of meandering in the yard back then.Students ran back and forth across the grass and rarely followed the paths.There was unpredictability. There must have been micro-aggressions too but in and around a beauty and vibrancy which accompanies human spontaneity and it's open-ended precariousness of assumptions. There were so many jokes. Lots and lots of jokes with him and his friends. I don't recall ever being saddened or offended in the way that makes one's heart sink down.I do remember that being with Henry and his friends meant laughing all the time.It was joy guaranteed.

After we sat down I asked Thelma how much someone can make at the Golden Corral.She looked at me with that quick and steady evaluation common to women who've seen it all and don't judge."You lookin' for a job?",she queried. "Maybe",I said as I surmised the deep lines around her dark slanted eyes."I make 3.39 an hour. On the weekends the tips are good and some day I make more dan twenty five,twenty six". I felt ashamed as I realized that I didn't have any tip money in my purse."Can I pay the tip with this?",I asked as I held out my red piece of plastic."No, dat ok if you don't got.You enjoy wit your boy",she said. "Alotta people come here wit kid dey don't have no money for tip,but I like my job." By then we were on our second helpings and third drink refills.Thelma was serving us with enthusiasm knowing that we probably weren't going to tip her.She was serving us for 3.39 an hour.

I wondered if I could wait on family after family with sometimes crying kids who leave really big messes and stay so positive hour after hour. Could I keep my composure doing so much for so little with so few guarantees and have enough left over to actually share joy with people ? Could I be a Buddha like Thelma? I know I could not. Feeding people is deeply spiritual.I'm not that spiritually evolved.

I thought about the many happy Buddha statues we've all come to know.



 Buddahs come from Asia.
I didn't ask Thelma where she came from because I guess I already knew. Thelma comes from us and I'm with her.





Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Milwaukee, Poverty and Presbyterianism



 I love Book TV. There are so many brilliant writers featured on CSPAN. Today I watched Professor Matthew Desmond talk about his book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City:,in which he looks at public housing and poverty in America through the prism of eight families from the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Eviction is devastating.Pictures,electronics,dishes,the spice collection,irreplaceable mementos and sheets disappear.The experience is totally de-humanizing. It's not just your stuff that you lose,it's whole parts of your life-every piece of energy,happy and sad breathed into the walls,every conversation you had there on the couch is somehow ripped from you and thrown to the street. You have to start over from scratch which costs money you don't have.and getting new stuff is the easy part.Recovering from the humiliation is a process ongoing.What productive measures are Milwaukee churches doing to help the evicted who by circumstance of accident or abandonment or despair, find themselves desperate? This question led me on a Google search of Churches in Milwaukee, the city highlighted in Desmond's book.What were they doing about it.I landed here. Wow! nothin'- I mean, at least for the Presbyterian Church USA and specifically the Milwaukee Presbyterians, the eviction crisis and subsequent homelessness problem does not even register on their disaster assistance map.Presbyterians built so much good in this nation from the ground up.From the the Bill of Rights,to the Abolition of Slavery,to great hospitals and colleges, Knox and Calvin's theologies are woven into many of our institutions.So why are the American poor, all fifty million of them, not registering star wattage for disaster assistance on the Presbyterian radar at this critical time in our nation? Well, the trend du jour seems to be about divestment rather than investment , about tearing down rather than building up.The church of my ancestors is not building schools, colleges and hospitals anymore.They are focused on the Middle East, more specifically on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Really?

We have so many social problems right here in the United States.Especially problems concerning the urban poor which could and should be solved if people of faith with resources were living out the gospel mandate.Government can only do so much and the housing crisis is massive with many layers of fallout which will reverberate for generations.We have work to do here folks.It's time to ditch leadership conferences and roll up our sleeves.Helping the poor in our own communities is our obligation.If you belong to a church,you are not exempt.No act of individual charity goes uncounted. Loan someone a utility bill.Drive someone to the DMV. Babysit for a single mom.Lend an ear to a prisoner.Just imagine if millions of capable Christians gave sacrificially without counting the cost. Black, white and brown,we could change our cities one family at a time and rebuild.If we don't focus on healing this land,one city street at a time, our nation will not survive in any form worthy of our children.

All of the mainline Protestant Churches who have focused resources on political campaigns in foreign lands that do anything other than announcing the gospel should be ashamed of their silly hypocrisy. Why does it take a secular academic ethnographer to highlight the plight of the American urban poor? Where are the preachers to proclaim social redemption  in the streets ? Where are the banking vocations of old to build a greater society by uplifting the poor ? Your funds should be used to build low income housing and make interest free loans to the poor not to divest from international corporations in the name of Middle East peace. What about divesting from corporations who take our jobs to China? Finance, in the American Church tradition,should be a vocation to build, not a licence to political critique of other nations when our own is bleeding out hope.Where are you Presbyterians? Remember who you once were.Milwaukee is calling.






Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This is why Apple is tanking:



Here's why Apple Shares will not hit 200$ in 12 months.

-The ifone is too expensive starting at "from 549-"

-The ifone is not water proof
 If you have kids or you do laundry,your device has a good chance of ending up in the wash,the sink or the toilet.This happens more than once.

-Apple insurance is a scam that does not pay

-The ifone screen breaks/shatters easily
 If you have kids,you probably use your device to babysit or just get a quiet 15 minute break to watch TV or stare out the window.Kids drop phones and they break.Most people can't afford the replacement costs.

-The constant updates are annoying

-The video feature trumpets, "We are terrified that you might use your device as a pitchfork,so it must becut, curtailed and controlled!"-which says...."we don't like you or trust you."

-With enough gig and a decent data plan to really use apple features,the overall cost of an ifone plus the necessary accessories like screens and waterproof cases is over one thousand dollars.That is un-affordable.

-CHINA

So are the rumors true about Apple factories being really horrible places to work ? Are the employee suicide stories worse than what gets reported ? Probably.

If I were an "emerging consumer" in China who knew someone who knew someone who makes Apple products I might not be inclined to jump in line for those greedy bosses, especially not if I have to go into debt to have what I can find elsewhere for about 50 bucks.

As the tongue wagging hedgers wax orgasmic about potential gargantuan profit margins from one billion Chinese consumers, the Chinese consumers, as well as our own might just be reminding Wall Street that we are human ,not droids after all.Some respect would help you as much as it helps us.