No, I did not just realize he was a democrat after four months of marriage. This is not something that has reared its ugly head during the last few weeks of a heated and critically important presidential election. It is something that other people find interesting about us and our long relationship, wondering how we are able to ‘get along’ so well. We met in a republican chat room during a previous presidential election when he came in to instigate arguments, but he didn’t know *I* would be there to argue back :-) And neither of us could have guessed that heated political dialogue would someday lead to marriage.
So here I am many years later with my liberal honey, whom I love dearly and whose opinions have helped shape some of mine over the years. And after the Clinton and Bush years, amazingly, we find ourselves on the same political page – and somewhat disoriented! While he is still a liberal, he is not, nor has he ever been, stupid, so it is as obvious to him as it is to me that Barack Obama is miserably and frighteningly inexperienced for the job of Postmaster General. Oops… I mean, President of the United States. (Personally, I would not want him for either job, but that’s another story).
It concerns me that he is the least experienced candidate in history, how he also has less experience than Sarah Palin (who is number two on the republican ticket, despite how the democrats vilify and dismiss her), how he is a blatant opportunist, how his social/political associations speak to the matter of his character – as does his behavior, causes, and what he has allowed his children to listen to in church every Sunday. I find the prospect of an Obama presidency off-putting, to say the least. Lying is nothing new in Washington, but media substantiated lying and having one’s own party cleaning up behind a candidate like the sweeper behind an elephant in the circus, is something I don’t remember witnessing before, or certainly, not to this degree.
Personally, the best thing about this election cycle is that my husband has finally seen for himself what I have been trying to get him to see for years: that media bias DOES exist. It’s really something when someone has a ‘light bulb moment’, when they see what you were never able to explain. Of course, with the majority of the media in the tank for Obama, one would have to be Helen Keller to miss it, but still…
It would be difficult to narrow down the worst thing about this election cycle to just one. On the personal side, though, it may just be the very thing that has always been so good (and entertaining) about previous elections: the fact that my husband can’t vote because he is a citizen of The Netherlands. It was always nice that he could not “cancel my vote”, but this year he would actually have voted for John McCain.
It’s just part of that irony I’ve experienced with this election – like when I found myself supporting a Clinton during the primary.
Today I think of how quickly everyone forgets the unity and singularity of purpose once known as the years increase between September 11th 2001 and the present. My sense is that we could not be more divided than we are right now and our enemies probably enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they have not only hurt us physically, but emotionally and politically as well. I wonder if they knew how quickly we would all turn on one another; I, for one, am appalled at such a realization.
But life goes on for all of us in all our cocoons. I am keenly aware that Americans are an impatient sort. Not entirely our fault, I’ll concede, but not always a beneficial quality to possess. While our desire to see things accomplished “yesterday” has contributed to our success as a Superpower, individually, we want what we want NOW… or sooner. And when it comes to war, we Americans have precious little tolerance for the unavoidable accompanying discomfort. Of course, as Americans, we also want THE best, 100% infallible plan that can be carried out neatly and quickly with little to no casualties.
Sadly, this is not a reality we can know and we all scurry for someone to blame. Blame makes us feel a little better and gives us a focus so moving forward is bearable. But what we all really want is for none of this dreaded ugliness to ever have touched our lives in the first place, for our fragile version of innocence to have been left in tact, for those terrorists to have been stopped before they boarded the planes on that fateful day six years ago. We want what we can’t have, and, heck, we’re Americans… we usually figure out a way to get it! So instead of acknowledging a pain that cannot be quelled, we collectively grumble, complain, name-call, and viscously blame easy targets.
And today I think: How many years before we figure out that our country’s dissension feeds our enemy while starving our ability to heal and triumph?
This is a picture of my son, Zachary… 16-years-old (at the time), 120 pounds soaking wet, and all of about 5 feet 6 inches tall. The picture was taken the day he was assaulted by a principal in his high school, who looks to be at least 250 pounds, as Zachary tried to leave the building after the bell rang. Apparently, this principal decided Zachary should wait, go sit in another principal’s office and miss his ride home. Why? The principal was under the impression that Zachary did not have permission to be in the hallway 5 minutes prior to the bell ringing, which he DID (indisputable).
Even though Zachary had permission to be in the hall, he had begun his walk to the office as instructed prior to the bell ringing, but once the dismissal bell rang, he turned around and headed toward a classroom to meet a friend on his way out, and this time, was cornered by the teacher who put him in a choke-hold and wrestled him to the ground because Zachary was “disobedient”. Once on the ground, the teacher put ALL his weight on my son, preventing him from breathing and causing him to struggle to break free just to try to get some air. Ultimately, Zachary’s body went limp (lack of oxygen) and the principal released his grip.
As evidenced in the above picture, petechial hemorrhaging is visible beneath Zachary’s eye, indicative of asphyxia, or strangulation. A visit to our doctor immediately after being detained by the police (where Zachary was charged with Disorderly Conduct), showed that Zachary had, indeed, been deprived of oxygen to his brain. The doctors, nurses and everyone who saw him for the next week were appalled by the marks on him, and that they had been caused by a teacher/principal at his school. Everyone except the faculty at the school and the police, that is.
Whatever story the faculty was offering – and they had offered me 3 different versions to prepare me for what I was about to see before allowing me in the room with my son – none of them sounded anything like, “Zachary came into school with a shotgun and was about to kill innocent people”. To me, that certainly would have warranted such a violent take down. No, ultimately, they put their heads together and agreed on a version that sounded like: “Zachary was in the hallway and when told to go to the office (after the dismissal bell rang and everyone else is allowed to go home), he pushed Mr. Principal, began flailing his arms and needed to be restrained.”
Now, while my son is no angel and not an ‘A’ student, he has never had an incidence of violence against a student, and definitely never against a teacher. His flailing began when he was being choked and that was in an effort to breathe, but, unfortunately, Mr. Principal was standing out in the hallway with a friend of his, Mr. Teacher (conversing outside of a classroom, instead of teaching), and his friend parroted every word he said in the “official” report. As a result, the police wouldn’t even allow me to file assault charges against this man. Neither Mr. Principal, nor his friend had any bruising, petechial hemorrhaging – not even a scratch – on them as a result of all the pushing and flailing Zachary did that needed such violent measures of restraint, coincidentally.
These are not scratches on my son’s shoulder in this picture – they are crease marks from his clothing, indented into his skin from the principal’s full weight and pressure on top of him after he pushed him to the ground and while he held his neck in a choke-hold, preventing him from breathing.
[Reminder: Zachary was charged with a crime, not Mr. Principal.]
But beyond contending with the issues of the school, the disrespect shown to me and to my son, the fabrications invented by one member of the faculty – then sworn to by another – that continue to cause trouble for him and great stress for me, I am haunted by bigger problems. Where does forgiveness come into the picture? I believe I have forgiven this man for what he did to my son, to the extent I am humanly able. But my question is this: Is seeking justice a sign of unforgiveness? Ten months have passed with little action on my part for two reasons, 1-because I have wrestled with this moral dilemma, and 2-because I have learned that most people get as much justice as they can afford… and I can’t afford all that much.
So I share this story via my blog, accepting opinions from wherever they may come. It will probably come as no surprise that the story has been somewhat condensed, but the pertinent facts are most definitely included… except for one. In the interest of full disclosure, I will add that Zachary did have a knife in his pocket during this entire episode, yet this was not known to anyone and he voluntarily offered it to a different principal after being assaulted. Naturally, I was appalled to find this out, but his excuse is, and has always been, “fear”. He has been bullied since grade school, since right after his father died when he was in fourth grade and began showing his emotions in school. Combined with his slight build, he was an easy target. Although the school district was no help to me in that situation, either (“Isn’t he over his father’s death YET?”), and he never used the knife, to me, this is still no excuse for carrying it… regardless of how much “safer” it made him feel.
Please feel free to share your opinion or offer advice. The stress from this situation is literally making me sick by exacerbating the illnesses I suffer from (Fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease) and I need to figure out what to do. It has been suggested to me that I just let it go and forget about the whole thing, to accept the injustice and go on with my life. But it’s not just my life, it is my son who was victimized and it is I who must stand up for him and show that I am his advocate. When he’s wrong, I throw the book at him, but when something like this happens, well….
Thanks for reading,
Merry Christmas to my children, to the man I love and to my family.
Merry Christmas to my friends and to my neighbors.
Merry Christmas to my Children’s teachers, and to all teachers.
To the salespeople who have been nice and helpful to me while Christmas shopping: Merry Christmas.
To the rude people in the mall during this Season: Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to the man who yelled, “Bush sucks” at me while stopped at a red light in response to my bumper sticker.
And Merry Christmas to the man who was driving in front of me with the bumper sticker that says:
Merry Christmas to those who are hurting this Christmas, and to those dealing with illness.
To those who have allowed their sadness to turn to anger and then try to make everyone around them miserable: Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to those whose hearts have become so cold.
To those in our government who try and succeed: Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to those who try and fail.
To those in the media who don’t try hard enough: Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to Jon Stewart, John Kerry, Al Franken and Nancy Pelosi.
To the people who make our country great: Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to our brave and selfless heroes in the military.
To the people who constantly complain that our nation isn’t great enough: Merry Christmas.
To those who want to destroy us: Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to the Taliban, to Al Qaeda and to Osama bin Laden.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Christmas is a gift of love not given based on the merits of the recipient. God gave His Son to be born on this day so that He could one day die and provide the ultimate gift: forgiveness of our sin.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The Holy Bible
A Fall from Grace is defined as “a loss of status, respect, or prestige”, but is actually an idiom originally based on scripture:
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:4
Certainly Ted Haggard qualifies as one whose status, respect and prestige is now lost – I can’t even refer to him as Reverend Haggard anymore. As to the question posed by the idiom’s Biblical source, ahh… that is another question altogether.
I have mentioned it before, and will mention it here again: My faith is a simple one, you could call it fundamental, even. To complicate one’s faith would be to supply an excuse to disregard it. There are those who insist on complicating the definition of Fundamental Christian, for example, somehow linking the term “Christian Fundamentalist” with “Islamic Fundamentalist”… and the Christians live with the negative consequences. Truth be known, there is a very simple definition for Fundamental Christian, that being, they subscribe to the following 5 beliefs: the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Not all that complicated, really.
As an Evangelical, Ted Haggard also believes this. What comes as the biggest surprise to most is that Ted Haggard is, in addition to these labels – and ones he has newly acquired – (dare I say it)… human. In no way am I excusing his behavior, he was wrong. On that, we can all agree. But here is where it will get sticky – Where was he wrong, and why?
I have my thoughts, and they’re just my own opinions… so here goes…
To me, Haggard was most wrong for allowing the power of his position to blind him to God’s calling on his life. In a nutshell, he became full of himself. “Pride comes before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) This is something each of us is susceptible to, but perhaps not to the degree of someone who has risen to national prominence and occasionally has the ear of the President. If hundreds of thousands of people listened to and read my words, would I suddenly have an over-inflated opinion of myself? Would I think I was “all that” if GW asked my opinion on spiritual matters and then, maybe, decide I didn’t need to consult with God anymore. Gee, I hope not.
Betraying his wife and family is a biggie for me. It matters little to me that it was with a man, except for the added shame it brings on his family. It is the broken trust. He has also betrayed his church family, but they should be discerning enough to know how important it is never to “follow” a man in place of God. By taking drugs, engaging in homosexual sex, and then lying to cover up his transgressions, he has provided a duplicitous message to all eyes watching, but especially to his children.
And this brings us to hypocrisy. Anyone who knows me knows I have a big problem with THAT one. Oddly, though, in this case, I find I’m not looking for a stone to pick up and cast first. This is partly due to the fact that there are so few stones to be found after the media got their hands on the story. Granted, this story is noxious with hypocrisy, but for me, it illuminated a finer point about our society.
The problem with being a Christian, but especially a publicly, well-known Christian, is to announce to the world, “I have set a bar of morality by which I’ve chosen to try to live”. From that point on, there are people watching and waiting for you to fall short of that bar; they will trip over each other to point out when you have failed to meet that bar. In my case, when this happens, I can only respond with, “Why are you so surprised?” :-) Man, if I could always reach that bar, MY name would be Jesus! But I strive toward the example He set, the “bar”, if you will.
In the case of publicly known Christians, those who are tripping over themselves include the media. Camera crews and scurrying people with pads and pens chase down the sad person who has missed that bar. (I’m so glad a camera crew does not show up every time *I* mess up!) And, with Haggard, they hit the jackpot.
What has occurred to me through the Haggard situation is how each person has their own “bar” set for themselves, but it seems as though only those who set their bar as high as the Bible asks are the ones who get tormented this way when they fail. It’s easy to be successful when the bar is low – heck, it’s even easier when you allow yourself to keep moving the bar to suit your life! But let someone dare to take a stand, and fail… and we’ve got 24-hour news to keep us abreast of that failure.
For me, I am grateful that the grace this idiom is based on is not as fragile as that available in society… or as mutable as the morals found there, either.
You may remember a TV show from the 80’s called The A-Team – the show that pretty much made “Mr.T” a household name. At some point during the show, when the team was in the process of successfully completing their dangerous mission, many times the Hannibal character (played by George Peppard) would say, “I love it when a plan comes together,” with a cigar hanging out of his mouth and a wry grin.
Somehow, those words… that voice… and that grin are exactly what played in my head this morning after learning the results of yesterday’s election – sans the cigar, of course, since it’s 2006 and we’re talking about Democrats with their worship of all things politically correct. But kudos to Rahm Emanuel for a well-planned strategy to deliver Congress to the Dems, and to his pal, Chuck Schumer, who worked to deliver the Senate. They both knew their only chance at victory would be to choose candidates who resembled Republicans, the so-called “Blue-dog Democrats”. In so doing, the “choice for change” was that much easier for disgruntled Americans impatient with the war.
The choice was basically: “same” or “different” and, at least in my opinion, many people just want something – anything – different than war. It matters not that the Democrats have yet to articulate a plan for Iraq, we have been promised that it will be different… and, apparently, for the slimmest of majorities, that was enough. Hardly a mandate, by anyone’s standards.
For me, I look forward to watching the Democrats try to accomplish all they have promised, AND within the timeframe they have promised to do it. The onus of performance is on them from now on and they will be under a microscope. No longer do they have the luxury of whining, complaining, pointing fingers, calling names and claiming they can do things better… it’s game time, boys and girls.
Nancy Pelosi has been quoted as expressing her desire to “drain the swamp” once she becomes Speaker after more than a decade of a Republican controlled Congress, with a hefty list of goals for her party to accomplish in their first hundred hours. According to an AP interview published in WashingtonPost.com, this is how she has broken it down:
I will wait with bated breath.
In the meantime, chances are, “Ms. P” may become as much of a household name as Mr. T. My guess is that the many people who did not really know who Nancy Pelosi was prior to voting, who allowed their emotions to dictate their decision, those who “voted for change” will be quite surprised at just what type of change they ended up getting.
“Withdrawal from Iraq would embolden jihadists” – WorldNetDaily
Senior terrorist leaders were interviewed by WorldNetDaily for an article posted on November 2nd, which stated their hope for a Democratic win in Tuesday’s election. They see this shift in power as beneficial to their objectives because it will ensure victory for the worldwide Islamic resistance. Not only would a Democratic win prove to the terrorists that Americans are tired, but Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the policy of withdrawal “proves the strategy of the resistance is the right strategy against the occupation.”
Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, was quoted as saying the Democrats’ talk of withdrawal from Iraq makes him feel proud: “As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk, very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance. This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal.” And then there’s Abu Ayman, another Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, who said he is “emboldened” by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.
Responding to the claim that the insurgents will stay in Iraq for as long as the U.S. is in Iraq, when terrorists became aware of Nancy Pelosi’s recent remarks on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” they dismissed her assertion completely:
Nancy Pelosi’s remarks: “The jihadists are in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean we stay there. They’ll stay there as long as we’re there.”
Muhammad Saadi, addressing those remarks in the WND interview: “Islamic Jihad’s Saadi, laughing, stated, ‘There is no chance that the resistance will stop’.”
And Jihad Jaara agrees. A senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group and the leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, he told WND: an American withdrawal from Iraq would “prove the resistance is the most important tool and that this tool works. The victory of the Iraqi revolution will mark an important step in the history of the region and in the attitude regarding the United States.” Jaara said an American withdrawal would “mark the beginning of the collapse of this tyrant empire (America).”
The far-reaching implications of a withdrawal are expressed this way by Jaara: Vacating Iraq would also “reinforce Palestinian resistance organizations, especially from the moral point of view. But we also learn from these (insurgency) movements militarily. We look and learn from them.” This viewpoint is shared by Hamas’ Abu Abdullah, who believes leaving Iraq would “convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance.” “The victory of the resistance in Iraq would prove once more that when the will and the faith are applied victory is not only a slogan.”
The terrorists have given us much to think about in this article posted by Aaron Klein for WorldNetDaily. Woven between all the quotes and all the malice are claims that they’ve found “the right strategy”, that they feel “proud” and “emboldened”, that they are “laughing” at us and our “tyrant empire”. They are learning “what works” and what is “efficient”, but perhaps the best advice from the terrorist’s for this Election Day can be summed up by a quote from Jihad Jaara. Although he is currently in exile in Ireland as part of an internationally brokered deal that ended the previously mentioned church siege, he gave the following quote to WorldNetDaily:
“Of course Americans should vote Democrat“.
*Some of this post taken verbatim from WND article due to the amount of quotes.