Monthly Archives: October 2016

Gettysburg

I am a liar. There’s no getting around it, I am a bald-faced liar. And this post is going to prove I’m a liar. Having said that, even though I’m going to go through with this post, I do want to apologize. I don’t particularly want to be a liar and so I ask for forgiveness for my lying. Now, based on recent national events, I believe a majority of people who read this will forgive me. Because really, don’t we all have skeletons in our closet? Aren’t we all guilty of imperfections? And hey, I did say I was sorry, so…that should cover me, right?

You see, in my last post, I promised that I was done commenting on this election. At the time, I meant it. Nevertheless, sometimes things happen that can change a person’s intentions. In this case, I was tagged in a Facebook post and asked my opinions on Mr. Trump’s recent Contract with the American Voter (which can be read here for those who are unaware of what I’m speaking about) that he unveiled in Gettysburg, PA. When I was tagged in that post, I must admit that I was completely unaware of the contract as I have been doing my best to stay away from election coverage. Anyway, I read it and realized that my thoughts could not be succinctly placed into a couple of sentences and that maybe a Facebook post might not be the best forum to share those thoughts. So, I thought to myself, “Hey, you’ve got a blog. Might as well use it, right?” And so I shall. Therefore this post comes with a warning. Election commentary ahead. If you wish to avoid it, stop now. I completely understand. This post is mainly for one individual anyway. On the other hand, if you are one who can’t look away from bad car wrecks and also can’t stop following this election despite your best efforts, Read On!

First and foremost, from a strictly strategic point of view, I think this contract is an incredibly good idea. I would even venture to say that this is the type of thing many Republicans have been waiting for from their candidate for months. In my opinion, the only criticism I have of the tactic is that it is being released woefully late. Nevertheless, it does give us an opportunity to discuss the policies at play with Mr. Trump as opposed to the man. And for me, that is a welcome discussion. So, if I may, I will begin at the beginning and hit each point, addressing them strictly from a view of how I feel about the policy, not the man behind the policy. And then I will sum up my thoughts on both at the end. With that said, Let’s Begin:

Part 1. Clean Up Corruption and Special Interest

  1. Constitutional Amendment to Impose Term Limits – I know going back to 1994 and the original Contract With America, that this is a favorite issue of conservatives. In 1994 I agreed with it. However, I have come to believe that term limits have an inherent flaw. They limit the freedom of the people. If the majority of the people believe their representative is doing a good job, they shouldn’t be forced to get rid of that representative. It is a limit to the people’s freedom of speech. Now I know the argument; an incumbent has built in advantages that are hard to overcome. True! So what? If you want another person’s job, wait until they retire or prove you’d be better at it than they are. Don’t force America to throw out good representation with the bad. Because if you think a corrupt political machine is dependent solely on long time incumbents, you are sadly mistaken.
  2. Hiring Freeze On All Federal Employees to Lessen Federal Work Force by Attrition – Admittedly, I’m pretty ambivalent on this one. I understand the concept and I am for shrinking the size of government. However, in my own experience of putting this action into practice, it rarely works the way it is supposed to. The people you would like to see go don’t go and the people who actually get stuff done end up overloaded and burnt out.
  3. No new Federal Regulation Without Two Regulations Being Removed – Again, in theory this sounds good and I am for the lessening of federal regulation, especially when it comes to job growth at a small business level. However, once again I have to point to the law of unintended consequences when laws are passed that are this broad and non-specific. Not every regulation is bad and there are plenty of people who would be happy to take advantage of situations where good regulation is removed without much scrutiny as part of a package deal.
  4. 5. 6. Lobbying – I am not crazy about the five year ban on lobbying for any White House or Congressional Official becoming a lobbyist. For example, if someone is truly passionate about stopping abortion in America and then either gets defeated or chooses to leave public office but then wants to work as a lobbyist for the Pro-Life movement, I think that is perfectly reasonable. However, with regard to the lifetime bans on lobbying for foreign interests and foreign interests raising money for American elections, I am on board with that. But if we do this, we need to be ready to stop meddling in other countries even if we see a national interest. Fair is fair.

Part 2. Protect American Workers

  1. 2. Renegotiate or Withdraw From NAFTA and Withdraw From Trans-Pacific Partnership – Here is where we finally reach the point where the man and the ideology are shown to be two distinct things. Free trade is a conservative bedrock. Not only that, these alliances are crucial to our way of life. Should Trump follow through on these promises, our everyday trips to Walmart would become excruciatingly painful on our pocketbooks. Mr. Trump would likely preside over inflation similar to that of Jimmy Carter and would likely suffer the same fate. It is astounding to me that anyone who understands basic economics would get behind Mr. Trump on these trade issues. I won’t go into this any further, but for anyone wanting a more in-depth explanation on the problems with renegotiating NAFTA, please look here.

3. Label China a Currency Manipulator – China IS a currency manipulator. However, for one country to label a major trading partner as such, said country better walk into that gunfight with a sizable advantage or else have Denzel Washington and six of his friends handy. It would be a correct call, but at the same time it is another cavalier approach to the economy that could seriously hurt the day to day life of average Americans. Proceed with Caution.

4. Identify All Foreign Trading Abuses That Unfairly Impact The American Worker and Use Every Tool To End Those Abuses Immediately – Great rhetoric! However, completely unrealistic. Unless Americans are ready to give up minimum wages, employer provided health care insurance, 40 hour work weeks, Social Security, Medicare, and every other benefit afforded the American worker, they probably shouldn’t venture down this road. Unless our work force is willing to live like third world workers, this is a no win battle for us.

5. 6. 7. Lift Restrictions On America’s Energy Reserves, Allow Vital Energy Infrastructure Projects and Use Climate Change Money Sent To The UN For US Water and Environmental Infrastructure Improvements – Sign Me Up!

Part 3. Restore Security and Constitutional Rule of Law

  1. Cancel All of President Obama’s Unconstitutional Executive Orders – Rhetoric!!! Donald Trump is not the Supreme Court and therefore not qualified to determine what is or what is not constitutional.
  2. Replace Justice Scalia With a Conservative Justice – Sounds Good!
  3. Cancel All Funding To Sanctuary Cities – Uhhh…could be some constitutional issues here.
  4. Remove Two Million Criminal Illegal Immigrants and Cancel All Visas To Countries Who Won’t Take Them Back – Blanket cancelling of visas is a sticky venture, but nonetheless, I think the basic idea here isn’t bad. If an immigrant here illegally commits a violent crime, they should be removed. Period. However, in this contract he uses a number that is very flawed and therefore creates a mirage that depicts a problem which is much smaller than he describes it. Just use real numbers and ditch the fear quotient and I can get behind this.
  5. Suspend Immigration From Terror Prone Regions That Can’t Adequately Vet And All Vetting Will Be Considered Extreme Vetting – A blanket proposal like this, especially in the face of all the images of refugees fleeing for their lives, is wrong. I can’t support it from a religious point of view and I especially can’t support this from a human point of view. This is atrocious and again plays to the fear rather than the goodness of the American people. It also creates an environment that is more conducive to radicalization of refugees against the US.

Part 4. First Hundred Days

  1. Tax Cuts – As with any proposition to majorly restructure the tax code, there are pros and there are cons. I do think lower corporate tax rates would spur economic growth. I like a proposal I heard from someone who suggested the lower corporate tax rates but with the caveat that corporations be required to provide health benefits to all employees. Possibly a great idea. Although it does sound a little Obamacare-esque.
  2. End The Offshoring Act – You start talking tariffs of any kind and you start talking higher prices for American consumers. Full stop!
  3. American Energy and Infrastructure Act – Absolutely love this idea! I wish he had made this the bedrock of his campaign instead of The Wall.
  4. School Choice and Education Opportunity – Again, love this idea and wish he had made his campaign more about this than The Wall.
  5. Repeal and Replace Obamacare – I love Health Savings Accounts! However, for low income folks, they are not a good solution as they are currently structured. You would likely need Obamacare like assistance for the poor. I like the idea of increasing competition in the health insurance arena, but I get leery of shortening any safety testing when it comes to drugs. Too many side-effects. Finally, I am disappointed that tort-reform is not part of his approach to healthcare. Without tort reform, I don’t believe we will ever see insurance costs come down.
  6. Child-care and Elderly-care – I actually really like this idea. Really Really like this idea!
  7. End Illegal Immigration Act (The Wall) – I actually really hate this idea. Really Really hate this idea! Anyone who believes we should get serious about addressing deficit spending should also hate this idea. And saying that Mexico will eventually pay for it without any evidence to support that idea is…Yeah
  8. Restoring Community Safety Act – This sounds too much like creating a police state. The problem with police states is that they are fine as long as you are not on the wrong side of them. Militarizing our police and giving even more latitude to federal law enforcement just makes me a little queasy.
  9. Restoring National Security Act – Love the VA stuff! Long overdue. Again, we either want deficit spending reduction or we want massive military spending increases. Can’t have both. I also am very leery of the idea that we only let certain people immigrate in. It might sound innocent, but that language has the potential to quickly turn ugly.
  10. Clean Up The Corruption In Washington Act – This is great stump speech material without having any substance.

So there you have it. Again, I think this is a very good move strategically. Except that it raises the one question I have had about this campaign from the very beginning.

Why Now?!?

Why are we only seeing this with two weeks left in the election? Why would a candidate who is so concerned about the media being unfair to everything he says wait until after the debates (his only real opportunities to make these arguments directly to the American people at large) to issue this contract? Why, when the strategy of getting something like this out early and then staying relentlessly on point has been so clearly demonstrated in 1994 and 2000, would you not release this sooner? It’s mystifying.

Unless, as I have long feared, this campaign was never about the voter’s definition of winning to begin with.

Just prior to the third debate, reporters asked Mr. Trump’s campaign chief, Stephen Bannon, about the possibility of Trump starting his own news network should he not win the election. Mr. Bannon’s response? “Mr. Trump is an entrepreneur.” When pressed further, he responded again, “Mr. Trump is an entrepreneur.” He quickly clarified that they still believed they could win, but his initial response was telling.

And it makes me go back and evaluate Mr. Trump’s campaign from a new point of view. All along it has done a very good job of playing to the 30-40% of the Republican party that has made up Mr. Trump’s base all the while consistently making moves that alienate everyone beyond that base. It has basically thumbed its nose at Republicans who are queasy with his approach, in essence saying, “Screw you, get on board or get run down.” And outreach to moderate, or minority voters? None.

Furthermore, each time he has done something that resonates with voters beyond his base, he has quickly followed it up with a 3 a.m. tweet or something else that just as quickly alienates. No better example can be found than in the third debate when he performed admirably and then at the threshold, makes the statement that he won’t commit to upholding the election results. Now I know all the arguments in his defense. But this was not an off the cuff decision. His running mate had been asked about it the day before and stated without hesitation that the campaign would accept the results. His daughter had been asked about it earlier that day with the same answer. He knew the question was coming and he knew what the media would do if he failed to provide the stock answer. He did it anyway.

And the result?

His base is more behind him than ever and he continues to slide in the polls.

Donald Trump prides himself on being a winner. He also has a well documented past of doing what is best for Donald Trump regardless of the effects on business partners, his customers or the public at large. He is not a stupid man. He has had to know all along that his antics are not those of a candidate that will ultimately win an election. Which makes me ask: In this situation, how does Donald Trump define winning? I believe there is a strong possibility that winning to him was positioning himself for his own conservative television news network all along. A place where you have no responsibility and can be as big of a personality as you want. I further believe you can look across the conservative media landscape and pick out those who were probably hand-picked to join him. Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter. They have been all Trump all the time from day one.

So while I applaud this Gettysburg move by the Trump campaign, to me it looks like another calculated effort to show his base how serious he is, but timing it in such a way that it will have minimal impact on the rest the electorate at large.

And the worst part if I’m right? Winning in this case for Donald Trump will guarantee a continued string of losses for Republican presidential candidates for years to come. Which means the Republican party will get out of Trump just as much as those signed up for a degree from Trump University.

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Math And Other Things Just As Meaningless

Folks, it’s time to relax . With that in mind, I would like to get some things off my chest that have been bugging me for a while. But please, in this charged atmosphere we live in, I hope everyone would take what I say below with a grain of salt. It’s time to laugh. Even if that means at ourselves on occasion.

  • I’ve done the math on this several times and I keep coming up with the same solution. If two people walk into a polling place and one votes for Hillary Clinton while the other votes for Donald Trump, the outcome is a tie at 1-1. If both individuals vote for Hillary Clinton, Hillary wins 2-0. If one votes for Hillary Clinton and the other chooses to be sanctimonious, judgmental, unforgiving, short-sided and hypocritical and votes for neither one, the outcome is Hillary 1-0. Still a win but with 50% less of a margin. Which by my calculations means that if I am that person who voted for neither one, I am in actuality not giving my full vote to Hillary Clinton, but only half. So may I ask that in the future, for those who would use the argument that a vote for anyone other than Trump is a vote for Hillary, can we please get it numerically correct and call it what it actually is. A vote for anyone other than Trump is a Half-Vote for Hillary Clinton. Unless of course someone actually DOES vote for Hillary Clinton, in which case that would be…A Vote For Hillary Clinton is a Vote For Hillary Clinton. Admittedly, neither of these two slogans roll off the tongue as easily as the original. But it is important to be numerically correct in our assertions or else some might get the idea we’ve been educated by the Common Core.
  • A memo: To the advertising department over at GMC Trucks: Please stop abusing your Medical Marijuana cards. May I share with you a quote from one of your recent commercials: “A well put together man is said to be sharp. At GMC we get why people would appreciate that kind of precision. After all, precision is the kind of sharp that slices through a crowd. This is the precision of professional grade.” (And GMC’s logo appears on the screen during that last sentence.) My reaction when I saw this ad for the first time was…”WHAT?!?” Since then, I have had many, many, oh my goodness far too many opportunities to see this ad again because I enjoy watching sports. And upon my last viewing this past weekend, my reaction was…”WHAT?!?” The nonsensical stretches this ad makes are mind blowing. You might as well have said, “A free roaming feral horse is called a wild mustang. At GMC, we can appreciate why people would enjoy wild parties. After all, wild parties with Colt 44 have the kind of energy that gets the cops called. Colt 44 parties are the stuff of professional grade.” I mean seriously, I’m not entirely sure, but I think my ad makes as much sense as yours. So please, get a new ad consultant. Or call your buddies over at Chevrolet who have been nailing how to make a truck commercial for years. Ask if you can borrow one of them for an afternoon. Anything!!! Just do whatever it takes to keep this absurdity from showing up every five seconds during my binge watching of college football.
  • arpaio-picThe above photo was taken on the highway in the town where I live, Thatcher, Arizona. As proof, I would submit that the building in the background can be verified as the Thatcher Junior High School. Now, to the person who placed the sign that can be seen in the lower right of this picture, I would like to make a few observations. 1) Thatcher, Arizona is in Graham county. 2) The sheriff of Graham County is P.J. Allred. 3) Joe Arpaio is the sheriff for Maricopa county. 4) Maricopa county is approximately 150 miles from Thatcher. Let’s take a moment and let those different statements sink in…………………..Okay. So, by taking into account these multiple observations, I fear that I am left with only the following conclusion: Unless there are new findings that suggest the best time to affect voters with campaign signs is when they are miles from home on an open highway and therefore unprepared to resist the subtle manipulations of a striking visual that applies specifically to them and no one else for miles around, this may be near the top of the list of most ineffective sign placements in campaign history.
  • About a month ago, I had the chance to travel to Chicago. I have been there before and I have to say, it’s a pretty cool city. Anyway, one thing about the folks in Chicago is that they love their Cubs. Not just casually love their Cubs, these folks live and die by every pitch. Which is why it’s so sad that a guy like me, a true bandwagon baseball fan who doesn’t really care all that much about the game, has had the ability in my lifetime to root for and see my local team win a World Series. Because if I had grown up and lived in Chicago my entire life, not only would I have not had that opportunity, but neither would my father nor his father have had that opportunity. It has been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. Well last night, they got through their first round of the playoffs and are one step closer to finally breaking that curse. And for the first time in years, it looks like they might have the team to do it. So let me ask, in this year when our presidential election has got so many people feeling depressed about our country’s future, wouldn’t it be great if the Cubs won? I mean, yes, it would have been even better had they won last year, thereby making the Back to the Future trilogy prophetic, but if they pull it off this year, wouldn’t that make whatever presidential outcome we have just a little more manageable. I think so. So GO CUBBIES!!! No pressure, but just know that your nation’s ability to heal is totally dependent on you.

Finally, I have to admit something that is difficult. To all of my friends who are choosing to support Donald Trump and have a difficult time understanding those of us who don’t, I have to say; I Get It! I get your frustration.

One of the most common complaints I have heard from those voting for Trump is that no one is talking about the negatives of Hillary. My answer to that has consistently been, “I don’t need to talk about Hillary because we all already know what Hillary is.” Well…I stand here, or rather sit here, humbled and corrected.

I’ve stated before that I have not watched the debates and I have no intention of watching the debates. But unbeknownst to me, my 14-year-old son has decided he is ready to be politically aware and on Sunday night, took the family iPad and pulled up the most recent debate for himself. And he watched the entire thing.

When I found him, I was stunned. But after that wore off, I asked him what he thought and I heard a lot of my most recent words being repeated back to me. Trump is rude, Trump is obnoxious, he doesn’t appear presidential. So I asked about Hillary. And I was taken aback by his answer. He said that she appeared so much more professional. He said that she wanted to talk about what she would do for the American people as president and all he wanted to do was interrupt her. Bottom line, he was much more impressed with Hillary than Donald. And I am quite positive that my unintended influence played at least a partial role.

The problem was, I had context he didn’t have. I was there during her trashing of Bill’s female accusers, he wasn’t. I was there when she made her famous “Right Wing Conspiracy” comment on the Today Show, he wasn’t. I was paying attention four years ago when four Americans died in Benghazi on her watch and she refused to authorize anyone to go to their aid, he wasn’t. I understand the ramifications of including classified information in your personal e-mails, he doesn’t. I understand the ugly implications of favors being granted to people who donate to the Clinton Foundation, he doesn’t. (Although, in fairness, it appears The Donald is equally guilty in this regard.) Bottom line, I know what baggage she would bring to the White House. He Doesn’t!

So I sat down next to him on the bed and we had a discussion about how the campaign process works. I explained how any political figure who is considered to be ahead during a campaign has the luxury of “being above the fray” and that if Hillary were losing, she would be the one interrupting and being rude. I then asked him, “So if you could vote, would you vote for her?” He replied, “I don’t know. Maybe.” And I thought, “My goodness, I have not done my due diligence.”

But then the next night, I had a long talk with my father who is avidly voting for Trump and I realized something else. Even if I did explain all the issues I had with Hillary, would it necessarily translate the same for my son? I don’t know. My father, in his wise way, recognized that my life experiences are not his. And therefore, even though we have access to the same information and that we have the same beliefs and ideals, we can still arrive at different conclusions.

Don’t get me wrong. I think if I explained well enough, I could get a 14-year-old who trusts me to be just as anti-Hillary as I am. But he won’t always be 14. And it will be interesting to see where he winds up politically, as it will all my children.

Nevertheless, back to my original point. To all of my friends and family who are Trump supporters or who plan on voting for Trump because they believe it is the right thing to do, I get you. I really do. After talking to my father, I am more convinced than ever that we are really after similar things. We just happen to have backgrounds and histories that have led us to different beliefs in how to get there. And what’s really ironic is that at the end of the day, I believe most Democrats and others who support Hillary want those same things. Safety, Opportunity, Happiness, and a Country They Can Be Proud Of. Call me naive, but I think that’s all any of us want.

I’m not going to be commenting on this election again. I have wasted thousands upon thousands of words on it and that’s more than enough. You know my views, and regardless of where you stand, I probably know yours. So how about we just root for the Cubs and then go into the voting booths across this nation and act according to our conscience. After that, I’m looking forward to the three month break before this entire process starts again 🙂

Good luck, America. Or better yet, God Bless America. We could certainly use it.

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The Conspiracy Theory To End All Conspiracy Theories

Typically, I am not a proponent nor believer in conspiracy theories. I really do believe most people and situations are what they appear to be. I know Hollywood would have us believe otherwise, but I think at the end of the day, most people don’t have the energy nor desire to deceive on such a grand scale. I mean, even the examples people trot out to prove the rule just make me roll my eyes a bit.

Watergate? I think this basically amounted to a political version of some kids toilet papering a house, getting caught and then scrambling like crazy to avoid getting into trouble…right up to the point that they all got in a lot of trouble.

Iran/Contra? I believe you had some people who were legitimately trying to get some hostages freed. End of story. They went about it the wrong way, but at the end of the day, if it was your family member, wouldn’t you want the government to do just about anything to free them?

The entire Bill Clinton Presidency? Horny guy and his wife who are neither moral nor ethical. But that’s it. There is no grand scheme to rule the world and its entire monetary supply. There is no goon squad that goes around killing everyone who gets on the Clintons’ bad side. They, just like thousands of people in Washington and in every state and every community in this country, like power. They just also happen to really like living in the White House.

I know some would say I’m naive. Maybe so. But constantly looking for the bogeyman wears me out.

Nevertheless, I now have one that has totally sucked me in. And it’s not just any conspiracy theory. This one is the BIG one, because it goes all the way to the top. The White House? Phhh, please! I’m talking THE top. As in, God!

Okay, calm down and let me explain.

Throughout this campaign, there has been a large contingent of Republicans (of which I am one) who have stated their displeasure with Donald Trump. We don’t like him. We don’t want him. And we won’t support him.

On the other hand, there is one issue that gets brought up by those who are either: a) strong supporters of Mr. Trump or b) those who cannot stomach the thought of a second President Clinton to such a degree that they have decided to back the GOP nominee regardless; that causes all of us to pause. And that issue? The Supreme Court.

I’ll admit it. There have been moments when I have seriously considered changing course and doing the unthinkable simply based on who will nominate Justice Scalia’s replacement. And it was in one of those moments that I got to thinking. And that thinking took me down some interesting paths. So for those of you who are not LDS or Mormon, hang with me. There may be some phrases or ideas that you don’t recognize, but I believe you’ll get the general idea.

This land we live in is considered the promised land. In Mormon culture we believe this continent to be reserved by God for those with whom he wishes to share it. And when things aren’t going as they should, we believe that He has on occasion stepped in and nudged things back in the direction they should go.

It doesn’t always work this way. Due to His policy of free will, when an entire population loses their way, He allows them to destroy each other and then He moves on to the next group who will hopefully do better. These beliefs stem from the history provided in the Book of Mormon. However, if you are not of the LDS faith, you can catch the same train of thought around 1776. Christians of all denominations came to this country with the belief they were led here by God. I think most Christians look at the Revolutionary War and see evidence of God’s hand. I mean a ragtag group of colonists defeating the greatest army on earth? The odds are worse than if Eastern Arizona College took their football team to Tuscaloosa and played the Crimson Tide. (For non-football fans, those are…those are not good odds.)

From there, we as a nation formed the idea of Manifest Destiny which stated that it was God’s will that we were here, therefore it must also be his will that we keep going west until we reach another ocean and keep everything we find in between for ourselves.

But along the way, we kept getting a few things wrong. For one, our ancestors realized the economic benefits of growing cotton and tobacco. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough of a workforce to actually harvest the crop at a level that would be truly enriching. So as a nation, we decided it would be a good idea to purchase people who had been forcibly taken from their home continent and then keep them as property. I don’t think God approved. Thus He inspired some to begin speaking out against this practice up to the point that things reached a head and…we compromised for thirty years.

You see, things between the north and the south were so bad in 1830 that the nation stood on the brink of war. However, the two sides managed to keep that war at bay for thirty years. Why is that important? Because during those three decades, the north’s industrial capacities increased to such a level that they were ready to win a war should one break out. Had the war started in 1830, the south would have had the decided advantage.

Did God play a role in that? Well, I suppose that is for every man to decide for himself, but I personally struggle to see it any other way.

Come forward a hundred years and we as a people still hadn’t figured out the equality for all men and women thing very well. Supreme Courts from the past had ruled that the races could be kept separate, as long as everything was equitable. One of the key problems with this was that nobody felt it necessary to police the equitable part.

But thanks to the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court who were liberal minded for their time, things began to change in the 1950s and 60s. Despite the overwhelming objections of conservative minded (white) Christians, the court in 1954, led by Justice Earl Warren, handed down the decision, Brown vs. Board of Education. This decision stated that the doctrine of “separate but equal” had no place in public education. In 1956, they affirmed a lower court ruling that the segregation of Montgomery, Alabama’s bus system was illegal. In 1968, the court ruled that racial discrimination by providers of public housing as well as private housing was illegal. And the rulings just kept coming from there.

Now the interesting thing is that hundreds of thousands of people had to be drug, kicking and screaming, into compliance with these rulings. Many of them were good solid Christian conservatives who saw their long held beliefs, and in fact their very way of life being torn down right in front of them. And although we as a people are all critical of those beliefs today, it is still important to understand how difficult it must have been for them. Important so that we might better understand ourselves.

Regardless, if one is so inclined to look for the Hand of God in all things, one in retrospect would have to acknowledge the role God played in putting those men on the benches of the Supreme Court. From today’s perspective, it’s an easy conclusion to draw. I suspect unless you were one of those disadvantaged, praying daily for a better life for your children, it might not have been so easy then.

So let’s come forward to today and let’s get into the conspiracy theory I spoke of at the beginning. By all the rules of politics, Barack Obama should have been a one-term president. The economy was incredibly weak at the end of his first term, he had recently suffered a shattering loss on the world stage (Benghazi) and his signature issue of Obamacare was still two years away from seeing any of the benefits while many of its detriments were in full force. For those who don’t recognize it, this is the same recipe that doomed Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.

But he won. And those in the political class have spent four years dissecting why. Was it the 47% comment? Was it Romney’s inability to connect with Evangelicals. Was is the Republicans lack of outreach to the Hispanic voters? The list goes on and on. And I’m quite sure every entry on that list played a role.

Yet there is one thing that occurred that doesn’ t get mentioned much anymore because there is no way to explain it nor calculate its effect. Hurricane Sandy.

Most political junkies agree, in the days leading up to this natural weather event, Mitt Romney was on fire. The polls were trending in his direction, the enthusiasm for his campaign was electric and all signs pointed to good things on election night. And then Sandy hit. And for three days, Romney (in what I believe is one of the classiest moves by a politician who understands how valuable those three days would be) chose to step back and not campaign. Meanwhile, President Obama was on every American’s television set arriving in New Jersey, hugging Governor Christie and in every way looking presidential. It was his right to do so. He was the president. But for his campaign, it was a…for lack of a better term, a Godsend. He hadn’t had the opportunity to appear presidential for months. But he got it then. And everybody paying attention tends to agree, Hurricane Sandy sucked all of the wind right out of Mitt Romney’s sails.

Again, how much did this actually impact the final results? No one knows. But here’s what I do know. In the middle of what was shaping up to be one of the closest elections in history, we had a LITERAL Act of God that by all conventional wisdom helped President Obama and hurt Mitt Romney.

Now, four years later, here’s where we’re at. Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative standard bearer on the Supreme Court, has passed away. Unexpectedly I might add. If a liberal judge is confirmed to take his place, it will affect the balance of power on the Supreme Court for decades to come. Meanwhile, Democrats have nominated one of the most unpopular candidates for president ever in our lifetime. Her negatives are unbelievably high. Republicans could have nominated just about anyone and they would have likely had a cake walk defeating her.

Instead, they nominated Donald J. Trump.

To be fair, he could win. It is possible. But I believe all the signs point to an outcome where he will not. The rise of Trump is inexplicable. It has defied all the rules in the game of politics we have ever played by up to this point in our history. So if he loses, what does that mean?

And here’s where my conspiracy theory comes to its full fruition. What if God is trying to pack a liberal Supreme Court?

Okay, okay. Everybody stop yelling. Just hear me out.

You see, as I have stated before, I believe Mitt Romney to be one of the finest men who could have ever served as president. Those who know him best only echo these thoughts. But there is no doubt what kind of justices he would have appointed. They would have been in the mold of Justice Scalia. Donald Trump has come out and told us who he would nominate and they are, I believe, even more conservative than Justice Scalia.

So what if there’s something about our nation, that in God’s eyes, needs to change. And what if it’s something that we the believers aren’t getting? Couldn’t the logical conclusion be made that in His infinite wisdom, God could once again step in and provide a way for His will to be done?

Now I know the immediate clamor from the religious crowd on the right is that liberal justices will do more than has already been done to tear down religious freedoms. Possibly. But ultimately, who’s really in charge here? And why does it seem that at every opportunity where He could step in and make a difference, the outcome seems to illogically go the other way?

So here’s my suggestion. If I’m wrong and Mr. Trump wins, disregard everything I’ve just written and then feel free to ridicule me mercilessly. On the other hand, if Mrs. Clinton wins, maybe all of us who hold strong religious and conservative convictions should take a moment and reflect on our religious and our political beliefs and see if we can find a place where maybe they don’t exactly line up. See if there’s an area where the new liberal majority on the Supreme Court might lean that sounds closer to the teachings of Christ than do our closely held temporal “truths”. Do I have any ideas what those differences might be? No. I’m not going to even begin to suggest that I know the mind of God. I just wonder if I ought not ask for His opinion a little more fervently.

But here’s one definite conclusion I’ve come to. I know in my heart that God wouldn’t expect me to vote for Korihor in order to save Zarahemla. (For my non Mormon friends, insert Judas Iscariot and Jerusalem.) Something is at play here and maybe, just maybe, it’s incumbent upon each of us to look deep into our hearts and find out what it is.

Or maybe this is just a crack pot conspiracy theory. In fact, the more I think about it, that’s more than likely what it is. I mean, this is almost as unbelievable as thinking that Hillary Clinton’s sole plan once she gets into office is to mobilize the military and come confiscate every living American’s guns.

I mean, that’s crazy right?

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