Tag Archives: Donald Trump

What Do The Facts Tell Us About Ourselves?

A few Facts: (Not alternative facts or hopefully cherry-picked facts, but actual facts not meant to appeal to any one ideal or persuasion.)

  • In 2011, President Obama did enact a policy that seriously limited Iraqi refugees from entering the country. He instructed that all processing of new Iraqi refugees be halted for six months. However, he did not place any holds on current Green Card holders, people with current visas or refugees who had already completed the vetting process. (Jessica McBride, Heavy, Jan. 29, 2017)
  • The number of Iraqi refugees that came to the United States between 2010-2012: 2010 – 18,251, 2011 – 6,339, 2012 – 16,369. (State Department Records as reported and linked to by the Washington Post)
  • In 2015, President Obama did establish the list of seven countries that are considered “Countries of Concern” with regards to terrorist activities. President Trump used that list in his executive order and banned all “immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12)” In short, those countries are the list of seven.
  • President Trump’s executive order does include holds on current Green Card holders, people with current visas and refugees who have completed the vetting process but have not yet entered the country. (White House Executive Order, Jan. 27, 2017)
  • On January 12, 2017, President Obama ended the longstanding policy of the United States of “wet foot/dry foot” with regard to Cuban refugees. Previous to that change, any Cuban refugee able to make it to dry ground was allowed to stay in the United States and become a citizen without qualifying for humanitarian relief. As part of this change in policy toward Cuba, the US received no concessions from the Cuban government regarding how individuals returned to Cuba would be treated. Under the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, no Cuban refugee was required to undergo a vetting process similar to that of other countries. (Fox News, Obama Announces End To…, Jan. 12, 2017)
  • Mr. Trump’s executive order places a ban on refugees from Syria entering the country and that ban has no end date.
  • In 2017, the United Nations identified 4.86 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. Of those, about 10% or roughly 480,000 people, are in need of resettlement. (Amnesty International)
  • As of November 1, 2016, 13,210 Syrian refugees were relocated to the United States in 2016 alone. That is a 675% increase over 2015. Of those, 99.1% were Muslim (Christian News Service, 13,210 Syrian Refugees So Far…, Nov. 1, 2017)
  • High Income countries currently offering no resettlement opportunities to Syrian refugees (As of January 27, 2017): Russia, Singapore, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, South Korea, and The United States. (Amnesty International and The White House Executive Order, Jan. 27, 2017)
  • Through February 2016, over 470,000 Syrians have died directly or indirectly due to the on-going Civil War. (Syrian Center for Policy Research as report by PBS, A Staggering New Death…, February 11, 2016 )

Not Facts (Otherwise known today as Alternate Facts):

  • This is a Muslim Ban – This is in fact, not a Muslim ban. It targets specific countries that are predominately Muslim, but it does not prohibit the movement of Muslims to our country specifically. However, the Administration might understand how people could easily get to that belief due to the fact that Mr. Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigration during the campaign. Nevertheless, any media outlet reporting that this as Muslim ban is being disingenuous and providing “false news.”
  • This policy “is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”  – This is not really similar to what President Obama did at all.  At least not based on the information we have available to us today.  In 2011, the Obama administration, in response to the arrest of two Iraqi nationals in Kentucky who were connected to roadside bombs that had been constructed in Iraq in 2005, halted all new visas to Iraqi refugees for six months while they 1) investigated how these individuals had slipped through customs without being flagged and detained, and 2) created more extensive background checks of Iraqi citizens seeking asylum (Washington Post). Thus far, it does not appear the Trump administration acted this past weekend based on any kind of event or evidence that would have prompted this ban. Rather it appears that the Trump administration is seeking to keep a campaign promise. Also, as noted above, the Obama administration policy was much narrower and allowed for those already in the system to be processed. The Trump policy is much broader and does not allow for “pre-existing” factors.
  • This is an immigration issue – This is a humanitarian issue, not an immigration issue. To suggest such is probably unfair to the literally millions of immigrants who have gone through the standard process of naturalizing to this country. Furthermore, a nation can’t as a general rule just open its borders to everyone without some kind of process for providing legal status to those individuals. However, in times of emergency such as this, many of those provisions are often set aside to provide for the welfare of refugees in a timely manner. But again, that would be due to humanitarian concerns, not immigration concerns.
  • This is a terrorism issue – This is a humanitarian issue, not a terrorism issue. To suggest that we should not reach out to the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced and are without basic necessities because one of them might possibly down the road try to kill us is cowardly. Horrifyingly so! Including those who died on 9-11, 3,043 Americans have been killed during terrorist attacks committed on American soil between 2001 and 2014. During that same period, 440,095 American citizens were killed in non-terrorism related gun violence on American soil (CNN). 35,092 American citizens were killed in automobile related deaths on American soil in 2015 alone (NHTSA.gov) It is completely justifiable to suggest that a vetting process be in place to try and protect the citizens of the United States. Prior to January 27, 2017, such a vetting process was in place. In fact, it has been described as the strictest of its kind in our country. Mr. Trump has stated we need to increase that to include an “extreme vetting” process, but has, as of yet, failed to define what that extreme vetting process is above and beyond what we are already doing.
  • Christian refugees will get priority over all other faiths – The executive order does not allow for Christianity to be the deciding factor on whether or not a refugee will get priority. However, it does state, “…provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.” The problem here is that as near as I can find, no country that is currently exporting a large number of refugees is a predominately Christian nation. Therefore, this misconception could actually be argued as partially true because Christians from these war torn nations will get priority under this executive order. Furthermore, a large number of the nations exporting refugees are predominately Muslim nations and therefore, it can be surmised that Muslims will be denied any such priority.

Now let me finish with a couple more facts of which I will make no commentary except for one final question:

  • Jesus said, “As I have loved you, love one another.”
  • Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.
  • Jesus said, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst of me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Does our current attitude as a nation toward our Muslim brothers and sisters who have been displaced from their homes through war reflect our declaration that we are country founded on Christian ideals?

 

 

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If Nero Had Only Had A Twitter Account

These are important days in our country.

Tensions are on the edge within the hallways of government as the balance of power begins to shift at the highest levels of the world’s greatest nation. There is much to be done. Laws to be written or rewritten, heads of agencies to be replaced, economic decisions that will affect every woman and child throughout the world to be made. One can only imagine how any man or woman faced with such responsibility could cope in the face of such pressure.

But thankfully, in today’s world we have a revolutionary advancement that gives us unique insight into the man who will lead our nation and represent us throughout the world. We can know exactly what overwhelming issues are weighing heavy upon his mind. Is it the future of Obamacare? Is it an economy that is growing but at such a stagnant rate that it is crushing the dreams and aspirations of thousands of Americans each day who can’t find a job that will pay their bills? Before 2016, one could only guess. But today, we are blessed with Twitter, a wonderful invention that allows us to know exactly which issues of the day our beloved Commander-In-Chief is focusing his priorities on. And the answer?


President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 6, 2017, 6:04 p.m.

Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine DJT.  So much for…

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 6, 2017, 6:12 p.m.

being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich and Hillary


Okayyyyy. Not exactly what I expected from the soon-to-be most powerful man in the world in the days leading up to his cabinet picks going before congress, but maybe it’s a one-off. Surely he has other things to worry about, right?


President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 9, 2017, 4:27 a.m.

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a…..

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 9, 2017, 4:36 a.m.

Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him…….

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 9, 2017, 4:43 a.m.

“groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!

———————————–

What? Let me speak to you directly Mr. Trump. I have no desire to get into the argument about whether or not Meryl Streep is overrated (she’s not, but her political rants do tend to get a bit loose with the facts, see: Walt Disney comments) but rather, do you realize she’s an actress? An ACTRESS! Hopefully I’m not the first to remind you of this, but hey, THE VOTES ARE IN! You won, dude! She can’t DO anything to you. So if she criticizes you on an awards show that is watched by less than 7% of the American public…here’s a thought…LET IT GO!

And Arnold? The man was brought in to fill a role on a “reality” show. That’s it! A show you are still listed as being an executive producer on, by the way. Which means that, in a roundabout way, YOU hired him! Okay, so he didn’t support you during the election, but does that really mean you have to take time away from preparing to run the free world in order to take a cheap shot? What in the name of Beelzebub’s french poodle is the matter with you? Four out of my five children have better sense than you are exhibiting, and the only one not included on that list is three years old.

But, wait. I should step back. Maybe these two examples are being cherry-picked. I’m sure since he won the election Mr. Trump has been under a lot of stress. Surely, as his many supporters have suggested over and over again he will, he is becoming more presidential and rational in his use of social media as the mantle of the office draws nearer.


President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 5, 2017, 6:25 a.m.

The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people….

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 9, 2017, 6:45 a.m.

to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against “Intelligence” when in fact I am a big fan!


Wait a minute. Again to Mr. Trump directly. As president-elect, why on earth would you be quoting Julian Assange at all? The man is currently living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in order to avoid being extradited to 1) Sweden, on charges of sexual assault and rape*, or 2) the United States, on possible charges of espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, theft or conversion of property belonging to the United States government, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and general conspiracy. And frankly, up until he decided to help you in your campaign efforts by releasing the hacked e-mails of your opponent, it was pretty much the consensus of the majority of American people who actually knew who he was, that Mr. Assange was an untrustworthy, vile reptile of a human being.

But secondly, I want to make sure I understand your logic. You use Mr. Assange’s words and state the same conclusions that he does, but you don’t agree with him? Or is there some nuance that you are trying to convey that just doesn’t come across well in 140 characters?

Nevertheless, this “lying media” or “dishonest media” line is one you like to use a lot. Take for instance this tweet.


President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed from January 6, 2017, 4:19 a.m.

The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!


Oh my Gosh!!! The “dishonest” media is not reporting that Mexico will pay back money spent on your precious wall because you have not provided one speck evidence that Mexico actually will be paying back any money spent on your precious wall. That’s called journalism. You report facts. You don’t report “Believe Me! They are going to pay it back because I’m awesome and I say they will,” as credible evidence. In fact, it would be dishonest of them to report that Mexico will pay back those funds because Mexico has stated unequivocally that they will, in fact, not pay back those funds or pay for the wall in any way. So, it would seem that by not reporting that any money spent on “the Great Wall” will be paid back by Mexico, the media is actually being honest in their reporting with the facts they have available to them.

In fact, you seem to question the honesty of any media person if their honesty happens to involve you. Take Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold. He bothered to look into whether or not you actually spent the money your foundation raised at an event supporting veterans on actual veterans. What he found was not very flattering to you. So what did you do? You called him “a nasty guy” and then went about covering your butt. Once you had done that to a level you felt comfortable with, you then blasted him and the rest of the media you continue to call dishonest for not being nicer to you. This “nasty guy” then went on to uncover the fact that your foundation spent money on…wait for it…pictures of you, that you then used to decorate the clubhouses at your own golf resorts. That’s priceless…aaaand also illegal. And to top it off, you totally validated this “nasty guy” who belongs to the “dishonest media” by admitting in your 2015 tax return that you had in fact done what he reported you had done.  When it comes to your use of the the word, “dishonest”, I believe quoting Inigo Montoya might be in order. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Bottom line, Mr. President-elect, I will end this post with some advice. 1) Toughen Up. You ran for the highest office in the land. People are going to take shots at you. Get over it. 2) Twitter is not your friend. In fact, at the rate you’re going, it could undo your presidency. You are putting far too many things “on the record” with your 140-character verbal diarrhea sessions that seem to occur at hours in which you really should consider sleeping. 3) Grow up! PLEASE!!! You represent all of us now. And frankly, you’re embarrassing.

If you can accomplish those three things…well, you’d still probably be an egomaniacal jerk. But at least you wouldn’t be proving it over and over again via an outlet that you can never take back and has no filter. On the other hand, if you’re not going to stop (which I fully expect you won’t), at least you will be the most entertaining president we have ever had. Which will be of great comfort to us all, I’m sure, when the whole nation’s economy implodes due to your YUUUGE border taxes and your best friends, the Russians, march in to pick up the pieces.


*The statute of limitations has run out and Julian Assange cannot be prosecuted on some of the charges he was facing in Sweden due to the actions of the Swedish prosecutor.

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The Burden of Being “America’s Choir”

I feel for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir today. I really do!

I mean I feel for their members, I feel for the organists and conductors and I feel for the leaders of my church who have to make tough decisions. Because the decision each of those individuals had to make in these last couple of weeks have been rough. And regardless of what they chose, it was always a no-win situation.

Now before anyone gets upset thinking this is going to be an anti-Trump post, hear me out. I’m not so much speaking about Donald Trump specifically as I am the situation the choir finds itself in.

I’m quite certain that when The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (we’re just going to refer to them as MoTab from here on out for clarity’s sake) accepted the invitation to sing at Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration in 1964, it was done so with much joy and appreciation. It undoubtedly represented an opportunity for the LDS church to be recognized and accepted, by the President of the United States at least, as mainstream. It was recognition that had been long, long overdue and I can only imagine the pride those choir members must have felt, as well as church members worldwide, as they sang in Washington D.C. those many years ago.

Unfortunately, they had no idea of the precedent they were setting that would come back to bite them so 50 years later.

You see, since that inauguration, MoTab has sung at four additional inaugurations. When they are called, they answer. It’s a very “Mormon” thing to do. It’s the same attribute I believe Mitt Romney was exhibiting, despite his obvious misgivings about our current president-elect, when he accepted the invitation to Trump Tower (and a high profile dinner in front of the cameras so that Mr. Trump could parade his defeated foe on display) to discuss the job of Secretary of State. If you call a Mormon to serve, more often than not, they are going to show up. It just is.

The problem now is that since LBJ, only Republicans have called. Richard Nixon called, Ronald Reagan called, George H.W. Bush called and his son George W. Bush called. Who didn’t call? Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Does anyone else see a problematic trend developing?

The LDS church has long maintained a stance of political neutrality. Yes, church leaders have weighed in from time to time on specific issues they believe directly relate to Church standards or teachings, but overall, they do not support a party, a candidate or an ideology. But when one adds this string of Republican inauguration appearances to the overwhelming support Republicans enjoy on a national level among latter-day saints, especially in the state of Utah, outsiders might be prone to take away the wrong message. Or even insiders for that matter who might be Democrats…I suppose.

Which brings me back to my feelings of sympathy for choir members and church leaders who had to make the decision on whether or not to sing at the inauguration of Donald Trump. For them, not good options existed. Had they refused, word would have gotten out and I am quite certain backlash from inside the church would have been fierce and ugly. But accepting has been anything but a cakewalk either.

Throughout the final days of the campaign, social media battles were erupting all over the LDS landscape regarding Mr. Trump. Members were arguiung right and left amongst themselves on whether it was right or wrong to vote for someone who personally had exhibited such great disdain for many things LDS members hold dear. It was not an easy decision and although it would appear the majority of LDS Republicans opted to vote for Mr. Trump in the end, for many, it was not an easy decision.

So now we are coming up to the inauguration. Should the choir travel to D.C. and sing? I personally think they should not. I believe that as the church becomes more diverse and more of a world-wide institution, taking part in any activity that might be construed as supporting one candidate or party over another should probably be avoided. And that view has little to do with whether or not the candidate might be considered moral or not.

It’s about trying to be non-partisan or non-political in 2016’s hyper-political environment. I mean, c’mon, let’s be very real with ourselves for just a moment. Do we honestly believe that social media wouldn’t have exploded with negative backlash within LDS circles if Hillary Clinton had won and the choir had been invited and accepted said invitation to sing at her inauguration? Maybe the majority of members wouldn’t have taken to Facebook or Twitter to express their outrage, but a very vocal group would have undoubtedly been infuriated that the church would send its most visible ambassadors to support “that criminal.”

Unfortunately, the opportunity to make the right decision regarding a performance at Mr. Trump’s inauguration was taken away from today’s choir 50 years ago. Despite all the positive press received by the choir (and by extension the church) due to their presence at inaugurations over the years, MoTab probably should have politely declined LBJ’s offer in the name of their political neutrality. It might have led to some negative backlash at the time, but I guarantee that having the opportunity to politely decline today would have been totally worth it.

Having said that, I hope they do well. I hope they sound as good as they do every Sunday morning during The Spoken Word.

But I do have to add, there was some great humor to be found in the situation as evidenced by the hashtag that trended on Twitter following the choir’s announcement. And if you can’t laugh at some of the offerings found under #motabsetlist, then you simply need to get a sense of humor. Some of the best examples were as follows:

  • I Tweet Thee Every Hour
  • Oh Say What Is Truth (No title alteration needed)
  • Let Us Not Speak Kind Words
  • I Thank Thee Oh God For A Profit
  • Or the Primary song, “I Have Two Little Hands”

But my personal favorite was definitely:

  • Because I Have Been Given Much, I Need A Massive Tax Cut

C’mon, go ahead and laugh. You know it’s funny. And in the meantime, I believe I speak for church members everywhere when I say, Good Luck Choir! We love you and feel blessed that you represent us so wonderfully regardless of where you perform.

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Incoherent Strings Of Thought

For the last couple of weeks there have been multiple things I have wanted to write about. But for whatever reason I’ve resisted. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say. Heaven knows I could come up with 2,000 words on how much I despise the taste of regular NyQuil, but think that Cherry NyQuil should be made into its own soft drink flavor. It’s just…I don’t know.

Nevertheless, I’ve learned that after a while, I’d better put something down or my head will start to explode. I’m a little like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode where she gets stupider by the minute because she can’t declutter her brain. Admittedly, our avenues of dealing with this problem are very different (I need to write them out, she…does other things) but the end result is the same. After a blog post, I seem to be able to think more clearly.

With that in mind, I will now share multiple random thoughts that have very little in common other than they have been rattling around in my brain as of late. So, read on if you feel like it, agree with what you agree with, disagree with what you disagree with, or if you think this is the most asinine thing you’ve come across in some time, please resume your regularly scheduled activity and try to forget this post ever happened.

  • On-line shopping for Christmas is the best. It’s like everyday is Christmas morning for the whole month. Each time a package comes in the mail you get to open it and check it out for the first time and then you get to watch the person you are giving it to open it on Christmas day. Every gift is like a double gift for you and the receiver. AWESOME!
  • There are definitely some developments that I see as positive, but truth be told, Donald Trump as president still scares the living…whatever out of me. Are we absolutely certain we didn’t just sell our souls to the actual devil just so we could avoid one of his lesser minions?
  • Designated Survivor has captured our family’s attention and is one of our favorite new shows. But I hate to admit that this promising concept is starting to feel like it is taking the lazy approach to story telling. We’re getting more and more major characters making completely irrational decisions that no one in their right mind would ever make and the shocking twists are starting to feel a bit like my drive home. Very predictable and I can see every turn coming from a mile away. Here’s hoping the writers step up their game when the show returns in March.
  • Fantasy Football has succeeded in turning the NFL into the ultimate virtual reality game. Since Peyton Manning retired last season, I haven’t really decided who my new team to root for is going to be. Therefore, my only interest in the NFL has been the players on my FF team and the players I’m playing against week to week. What this has led to is a situation where I don’t know which teams are likely to make the playoffs. Truth be told, I don’t even know which teams win or lose week to week. The crazy thing is, I don’t even care. All I care about are individual player stats. That seems messed up.
  • Fox News has officially jumped the shark and shed any pretense of trying to be a non-biased provider of news. One of the headlines, THAT’S HEADLINE WITH A CAPITAL “H”, on their website this week was about the failure of the movie Miss Sloane. Movies fail all the time, but this was a major headline for Fox because the movie revolved around a pro gun control premise. Therefore, it would seem that if a movie advocating a political opinion opposite of what is considered conservative fails, that is now major news for Fox. To the folks at Fox News, please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself. When a movie costs $14 million to make and fails, that’s not news. Disney’s The Lone Ranger? Now that kind of failure is news. And devastatingly harmful to my Disney shares. Sorry, I digress.
  • My brother who is unabashedly liberal posted on Facebook that he has cancelled his subscription to the New York Times because it is conducting business in such a way that Mr. Trump’s claims of bias are getting harder and harder to deny. I don’t personally read the New York Times on a regular basis, but based on this development within my own family, it would seem Fox is not the only one struggling with how to be a legitimate news source in the post-Trump election world.
  • I’ve only seen three episodes, but so far I would have to say that This Is Us is one of the best written television shows to come along in a while. A tearjerker of a show that works hard to earn every single one of the Kleenexes it destroys each week.
  • I love and support police men and women. These brave individuals put their lives on the line every day as part of their job and they deserve our respect. Having said that, how on earth can we expect to make any headway in our country’s current issues with regard to race when a jury (made up of eleven white people and one black) can’t manage to convict former officer Michael Slager of the murder of Walter Scott. He is on video shooting the man eight times as Mr. Scott attempts to flee in the opposite direction. He was killed by a bullet that entered through his back. I believe we are putting the 99.9% of good cops in further harm’s way by refusing to acknowledge the .1% that we can see with our own eyes. As evidence, I submit the increasing number of fallen officers over the last month. We have a broken system that is leading to an unacceptable number of people being killed on both sides of the equation. The time to listen to everyone involved is now. Black Lives Matter and No More Dead Cops. There, we’ve gotten the slogans out of the way. Can we please sit down now and figure out a solution?
  • A pretty cool side effect of finding it impossible to support either of the presidential candidates in the last election is: Now almost every political joke is funny.
  • Notice I said “almost”. Kanye West getting a sit down with the president-elect during the very busy transition period is not funny.
  • Letting yourself get roped into a riddle challenge on Facebook where if you get said riddle wrong you have to replace your photo with a llama is not intelligent. Thus we can surmise that I am not intelligent.
  • Russian leader Vladamir Putin is a bad guy. Russia is assisting Syria in wide-spread massacre. Time and again, Mitt Romney has been proven right that Russia is our biggest geo-political foe. Having a Secretary of State that is “a friend of Russia” is a bad idea. I hope those GOP senators who are having heart burn about Mr. Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State have enough of a spine to reject him if his ties to Russia prove to be too strong. We need to learn from our own history of the 1930’s. Trying to play nice with people like Mr. Putin only leads to very bad outcomes.
  • How are we not doing more to help the millions of refugees pouring out of Syria? If we’re scared of them because they are Muslim, shame on us. I don’t think God is going to give us a pass on this just because we were concerned one terrorist might accidentally get into our country.
  • I hate that writing a second book is a trillion times harder than writing the first one.
  • I love Christmas. Even though it is absolutely ridiculous how busy we have made ourselves this time of year, it is still the best. The music, the kindness, the anticipation, the focus on others before ourselves, the focus on The Savior. Here’s hoping everyone out there has a very Merry Christmas and an enjoyable holiday season filled with family, friends and the stuff great memories are made of.
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Thank God I’m A Country Boy

On election night earlier this month, a lot of people were shocked and stunned at the outcome playing out before their eyes. And as a very outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, no one could have been more surprised than I. However, I was deeply saddened to see the way certain individual’s frustrations began to manifest themselves. For instance, I was most disappointed to read about a tweet from former Saturday Night Live cast member, Taran Killam, which read:

“Rural = So Stupid”

Of course, as is the way of our world today, (unless of course you actually ARE Mr. Trump) Mr. Killam recognized that some damage control was in order and tried to non-apologize his way out of the mess he’d created. That didn’t work either and the next morning he offered an actual apology that allowed the vast majority of Americans who had never heard of Mr. Killam before to quickly forget him and move on.

But his statement is one that has been echoed repeatedly in the days since. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t stated with quite so heavy a hand, but it’s there. It’s there in every argument against the electoral college. It’s there in every reference to the uneducated whites who voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump. In the minds of many who live in our largest cities, the rural white American voter is stupid and therefore untrustworthy of having the vote.

Well, as a white American who lives in rural Arizona, I take exception to this way of thinking. Because first, as has been pointed out many times, we live in a representative republic, not a democracy, and therefore the electoral college makes perfect sense. And second, there is much about who I am that I owe to being raised in rural America. Things I like. Things I hold dear. And so, in honor of Thanksgiving this week, I am going to share a list of things I am thankful for that I owe to my rural upbringing and my current rural existence.

I am thankful I know how to work – My grandfather was a rancher and my father was a copper miner and a mechanic before his retirement. By the time I was 12 years old, my summer vacations consisted of getting up early and working eight hours a day on the four acres my father owned, at the rental properties my parents purchased for the express purpose of having something for their sons to work on, or on the farm surrounding our property that was owned for a short time by my mother’s father. When I turned 16, I went to work for a local farmer chopping the weeds out of his cotton fields from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. everyday, only to come home and then get to work on the chores my father had for me. At 14, my brother started running his own Sno-Cone business on the small main street of the town where we lived. That may not sound too bad except that he was required to get himself to and from work on his bike, sometimes carrying jugs of flavored syrup on the handlebars. By the way, we lived seven miles from town. I don’t share this to impress anyone, because the truth is, most kids who grew up where I did in the 1980s had similar experiences. It was called life. But oh, how thankful I am for those experiences. Today, I know the value of work. I know how to accomplish things. And I owe that to my parents and the opportunities afforded me by living in a rural area.

I am thankful for the power of community – While attending Arizona State University and for several years after, my wife and I lived in the east valley of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. I enjoyed my time there. I enjoyed the varied entertainment, culinary and cultural opportunities available to us. I enjoyed some very close relationships with good neighbors. But at the end of the day, I never experienced anything living in the city like I did this past Labor Day. On that magical Monday morning, over 50 individuals gathered to help an older couple in need of a new roof. No one was paid, no reward was offered and no press coverage was provided. I recognize what happened was partly due to the religious culture of which I’m a part, but during my time in the city, I never saw anything like this. It felt like a barn raising from days gone by. And I felt privileged to have been a part of it and more importantly, to have my son be a part of it. I know this is a generalized statement that could easily be argued, but I believe people care about their neighbors more in rural communities. Not just the neighbors next door, but ALL of their neighbors in town. Yes, that sometimes means that people are way too involved in each other’s business and yes, reputations are hard to change when everyone remembers what you were like as a teenager. But the support and love that manifests itself on a regular basis in the small town where I live is something you can’t understand until you’ve been a part of it.

I am thankful for religion – According to Gallup, rural America is simply more religious than urban America. By a significant amount. Reasons for this definitely include the lack of other cultural focal points for communities to rally around, thus making “the church” more influential. But whatever the reasons, I don’t care. I am aware of the failings of organized Christianity in America today. I know that religious dogma changes more slowly and allows for ideas that have lost their validity to hold on longer than they should. But here is what I also know. The positives religion provides to children, specifically my children, is immeasurable. I attended a meeting several weeks ago with my wife and my daughter that was specifically for girls aged 12-18 and their parents. The messages weren’t focused on women being subservient to men, or that girls should forego their dreams in order to take their rightful place in the home. Maybe those ideas are still being preached somewhere, but they weren’t being preached there. Instead, we were taught the importance of doing Simple Acts Of Kindness everyday. Now think about that for a minute. What if every teenager in America was having that kind of idea reinforced constantly, not just by their parents, but by a variety of adults who serve as role models. Wouldn’t our country be a better place? I suppose some might argue that such a notion is debatable. I, however, humbly but fervently disagree.

I am thankful for country – Regardless of how bad I might feel my life is at any given moment, I must recognize one thing; I am an American in 2016. The reality of that statement means that I am truly one of the 1%. If you take every human being that has lived since the dawn of time, I have it better than >99% of them ever had it or currently have it. I know that might not necessarily be true for every person living in America today, but it is for a vast majority. Unfortunately, in our zeal as a nation to address the inadequacies of our communities and culture, we sometimes forget how good America truly is. Patriotism on college campuses is often ridiculed. City celebrations, other than firework displays that are beautiful but don’t mention anything of our nation’s heritage, are almost forgotten…except in rural America. Here, we gather to remember just how blessed we are to live under a document like the constitution. Yes, some might take that constitution talk to extremes, but because of the constitution, they have the right. Now don’t get me wrong. I know full well that our nation’s history is pockmarked with a glaring number of slights, grievances and downright atrocities towards minorities and women. But so is every institution, culture, religion and society. That doesn’t mean we have to overlook all of the good. And in rural America, we are much less inclined to do so.

I am grateful for manners – This is something that probably doesn’t have so much to do with today’s rural America as it does with my own personal upbringing, but it happened in rural Arizona, so I’m gonna include it. My parents taught me to be politically active. They taught me to get involved and be a problem solver, not a complainer. They also taught me to respect everyone regardless of our differences and that there is a time and a place for disagreement and a time and a place to let disagreements lay dormant. This past weekend, our new vice-president attended a production of the new critically acclaimed Broadway musical, Hamilton. Following the performance, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon took it upon himself to address the vice-president directly and state that he, and many on the stage with him, were part of the community who now feared that the new administration would not protect and uphold their inalienable rights. Mr. Dixon’s statement on its own was not inflammatory. It was a reasoned statement. However, it was horribly mistimed and incredibly ill-mannered. Mr. Dixon’s statement would have been perfectly appropriate if tweeted, Facebooked, recorded as a public service announcement and played on national television or radio. It even would have been appropriate had Mr. Dixon made this statement from the stage at any other performance other than the one in which Mr. Pence attended. I mean, imagine if Mr. Obama had attended a performance at the Grand Ol’ Opry and been subjected to a statement from an artist stating that he or she was part of the community that lives in fear of losing their guns or religious freedoms. There would have been supreme outrage from all across the left leaning spectrum of political thought. Including, in part, from the very people who felt it appropriate to boo Mr. Pence this past weekend.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that Mr. Trump has brought much of this on himself and his administration. During the campaign, he was the epitome of bad manners. But another thing I learned at an early age that I am grateful for is that two wrongs don’t make a right. Now is the time when we need to start listening to each other instead of further degrading the rules of acceptable dialogue. Many on the left want to dismiss rural white America as being racist, misogynist, stupid…the list goes on and on. But they’re missing something. They are missing what rural white America was trying to say.

Now to be fair, not every liberal is missing it. Jon Stewart articulated it very well when he addressed hypocrisy on the left in a recent interview. Paraphrasing, he said that a majority of rural white Americans don’t fear Mexicans or Muslims. What they fear is the insane increases to their health insurance premiums, especially under Obamacare. And that’s true. But it is only one truth. The real issue here is that a lot of people voted for Donald Trump. And the reasons for doing so are as plentiful as the number of individuals who cast their ballot for him.

So, yeah, if you want to get right down to it, white rural Americans had a message for Washington. For each individual person, it wasn’t necessarily the same exact message as the person standing next to them, but at the end of the day, they could all be boiled down to a similar theme.

Don’t forget me. I matter.

It’s the same message every person tried to send on election day. So my suggestion would be; let’s not dismiss and ridicule those who voted differently than we did. Let’s stop calling names and degrading our opponents. And that goes for the winning side as well as the losing side. We should be better than that. Let’s start listening to each other. If enough Americans voted for Trump to elect him president, there must be a reason, and it likely isn’t because they are stupid. If that were the case then you would have to argue that many of those individuals were just as stupid when they voted for Mr. Obama four and eight years ago.

And that last bit of opinion on my part comes from one last thing I am thankful for when it comes to my upbringing in a rural town in Southern Arizona. Good ol’ fashioned logical thinking, otherwise known as common sense. May we take this Thanksgiving weekend and apply some in our own lives and then allow it to permeate our relationships with everyone else we come in contact with. And as a final prayer: please, God, let it happen especially on Facebook.

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I Prefer My Crow Sauteed

As a teenager growing up in Duncan, Arizona, I hated the Thatcher Eagles. I hated the town they came from, I hated the school they went to, and I hated the condescending way they would roll into our house, beat the living crap out of us at almost every sport and then walk out with an attitude akin to legionnaires of the Roman empire who had just pillaged and burned a peasant village. It was tough to take.

Then, when I moved on to college, I discovered that those people from Thatcher weren’t so bad. But still, that simmering resentment lingered. It lingered so much that when the Duncan/Thatcher football game came around, I let myself get deluded into thinking Duncan had a chance to win. I took it even further and made a bet with one of my new Thatcher friends that whichever of our teams lost, the supporter of that team would have to get up in front of the entire Eastern Arizona College choir and sing the opposing school’s fight song as a solo.

Well…Duncan lost 42-0 and the game was called about three minutes into the third quarter.

I can still remember vividly that feeling of standing up in front of about 120 people and singing that song as about 25 Thatcher alumni stood and clapped along. IT SUCKED! Yes, I deserved what I got and yes, it was all done in fun, but it still sucked. Admitting you’re wrong sucks.

Nevertheless, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong and if you want to be a person of character, you have to sometimes take your medicine. So…

I was wrong.

In fact, I wasn’t just wrong, I was really, really, really wrong. And you know what? Saying that is not cathartic. Nope, it stings just as much if not more than having to endure that song some 25 years ago.

Now for those who are expecting me to launch into a diatribe trying to justify my views and about how this is the worst thing ever…it ain’t gonna happen. Dude won! No way around it. Dude won and both parties had better figure out a way to listen to that segment of society who is feeling left behind who elected him. Both parties also better figure out that the era of putting up the tried and true names is over, at least for the time being. No more Bushes, no more Clintons.

And with regard to Mr. Trump, I’m willing to give him a chance. When he spoke last night, I will admit that his speech was what I had been waiting to hear from a candidate for over a year. ANY candidate! Infrastructure? I’ll take it. I don’t know why we had to wait until election night to mention it. But I’ll take it.

However, I would hope that those who are celebrating a win today will think back to how they felt four years ago. There are people seriously hurting this morning. There are people seriously afraid. And anyone who has the nerve to say things like, “Well screw them, they should just leave if they don’t like it.” should be ashamed of themselves. Spiking the football in the face of those who disagree with you should be beneath us. Again, I have to give it up to Mr. Trump for not doing that. He had every right to hold up the copy of the New Yorker magazine labeling him a Loser on the cover and have his Harry Truman moment. He could have declared war on Hillary Clinton, but didn’t. He could have declared war on Paul Ryan and every other Republican that opposed him, but didn’t. His speech was classy. No qualifiers, it was just classy. I hope his presidency mirrors that speech.

Speaking of Mrs. Clinton, can we please just let her go. Demanding investigations and jail time and all that other stuff will just waste time and tax payer money. I mean, c’mon, is there really a worse punishment you could inflict on the woman than the defeat she suffered at the hands of Mr. Trump last night? She’s suddenly and completely irrelevant. Let’s leave her that way and not make her a martyr.

Next, can we take at least one moment to mourn what we lost to make Mr. Trump’s victory possible? The GOP no longer has the moral high ground from which to run. Maybe they never did, but now we can’t even pretend anymore. We basically told all of our kids that the anti-bullying messages we’ve been preaching to them are bogus. Whether we like it or not, we’ve sent very mixed messages at best to our wives, sisters and daughters. We have some very serious outreach to our Muslim brothers and sisters to do. And in my opinion, worst of all, we have to come to grips with the fact that one party was willing to overlook the direct and illegal interfering of an outside nation into our political process. Russia hacked one campaign’s private e-mails and then crucified a candidate with them. And the other side wallowed in it while blatantly ignoring the illegality and horrific precedent it set. I believe it was Juan Williams on Fox News last night that asked a really good question. What if it is the Chinese doing it to a Republican in four years? We’ve basically just said it’s okay. We’re all good with that. If that doesn’t frighten everyone, or at least cause them a moment of sober reflection, then maybe I’ve misunderstood what this country was supposed to be about all along.

To my Democrat friends, I would ask that you give Mr. Trump a chance on those things that might actually help fix the country. You have no reason to. Republicans didn’t do it for your guy. But at some point, one group has to be the bigger man, so to speak. Obamacare premiums are going to triple at the beginning of the year. Infrastructure is a MAJOR problem in this country that is only getting worse by the minute. We have multiple problems that need immediate attention and mafia-style turf wars will solve none of them. I know it isn’t fair to ask, but let’s see what we can get done, can we? Fight what you can’t accept, but come to the table on those areas where you can.

And finally to wrap up, let me reiterate. I have spent an entire year proving I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. I was wrong. I am leaving up each and every post I’ve ever written about Donald Trump as a testament to my ineptitude and naivety. I want to feel elated today. I don’t. But then I knew going into last night that I wouldn’t regardless of the outcome. I feel like religious ideals and common decency have been told they have no place in politics and so I feel like an outcast. I don’t feel like I’m represented. I’ve never felt this way before and so I don’t know how to wrap my head around that.

So I’ll leave it at this. Congratulations to those who are celebrating today. My condolences to those who are not. For the first time ever last night, I got down on my knees and prayed for President Trump. Not America, President Trump. I thought I could see on his face last night that the reality of the moment was hitting him and he was truly feeling the burden. I hope he is up to the task of accomplishing exactly what he said in his speech last night. And I hope he forgets completely about most of what he’d been saying before that.

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Some Equal Credit Where Credit Is Due

(Disclaimer: The following post contains trace elements of sarcasm. For those who are concerned about my level of seriousness, this entire article was written with a smile on my face.)

Oh My Lanta!!!

We’re six days from Election Day and Nate Silver is now saying that Trump has a pathway to victory. It’s not an easy path and it is still in the unlikely zone, but it’s a path where one didn’t appear to exist before.

And so now we have to prepare for at least the possibility of a Trump presidency.

So, let’s take a moment and think that through. Over the last few months many on the left have stood by and watched the ugly back and forth on the right about moral conscience vs. the cost of losing. Accusations have been hurled back and forth about who would “own” a Hillary Clinton Presidency if Republicans refused to back Trump on moral grounds. Those discussions have happened here on this blog. And all the while, all over the media, Democrats have sat back and smiled at the inevitability of their candidate getting into office; while occasionally chiming in self-righteously about the moral pitfalls of voting Trump while never once acknowledging any of their own candidate’s character issues. In fact, they could often be found defending their candidate as a fine upstanding woman who has been maliciously maligned and castigated over the years by a…for lack of a better encompassing term, Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

Then a few weeks ago from stage right entered Julian Assange and his treasure trove of hacked and stolen e-mails. (Leaked words that were never meant for a wide audience, like comments about the 47% let’s say, aren’t so palatable now, are they?)

Now, before we go any further, let me acknowledge yet another disgusting turn in this campaign. The fact that the right is celebrating and dancing in the streets because a foreign entity hacked into an American citizen’s e-mail account and then broadcast those personal e-mails to the world is just another example of how far we have depart from any standards of civility and decency this election cycle. Marco Rubio is right in calling this out because today it’s a Democrat. Tomorrow it could easily be a Republican. And either way, it IS illegal. Just as illegal as anything Mrs. Clinton might have done with her private e-mail server.

Having said that, anyone on the left who is still reading this might want to stop because that is the last defense of anything leftward leaning you’re going to get. You see, for months I have been castigating an electorate on the right that I believe wasted the perfect opportunity. Hillary Clinton is the most beatable Democratic candidate we’ve ever seen and yet I believed, and publicly stated many times, that the only person who could lose to her was Donald Trump. It is still likely that he will. But regardless, she is doing or has done everything in her power to make a liar out of me and others who have claimed that Donald Trump is unelectable.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to aim a little of my moral high ground finger pointing at Democrats.

If Donald Trump gets elected, it is totally on you.

Yeah, Republicans may have nominated him, but you’ve proven in the past that regardless of who Republicans nominate you can beat them with a smooth talking candidate, a willing media (thanks for all your help in the second debate of 2012, Candy Crowley), and a get out the vote machine that is truly impressive. Many on my side of the aisle have suggested it might be TOO impressive, but I won’t go there. With a half-decent candidate, you enter a presidential election with a sizable advantage. In fact, I will point out again that Republicans have only won the popular vote for president ONCE since 1992.

If that weren’t enough, you have a sitting president with approval ratings that are as high as Ronald Reagan’s were when he left office. Those who think he’s the devil probably won’t understand how that’s possible, but it’s true. He’s sitting on 54% or higher. Mr. Obama has turned his legacy around, and in doing so, provided a sweet setup for whomever would be following him on the Democratic ticket.

And what did you do with all political capital? You nominated Selina Meyer.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I understand there were many of you, like those of us on the right, who didn’t want to give your nomination to such a lousy candidate. Heck, you tried eight years ago to let the Democratic machine know that Hillary was not someone you were comfortable with. But alas, this time around, your party machinery guaranteed there would be no charismatic savior named Obama to save you. Instead your only option was a caricature of the Walter Matthau character in Grumpy Old Men. And even he got further than should have been humanly possibly. Especially when you consider that the Hillary campaign was cheating the whole time. I mean, if we’ve been able to discover through a few e-mails that Donna Brazile was feeding the Hillary Campaign debate questions in advance, imagine what we don’t know. Sounds like Republicans shouldn’t be the only ones screaming for their establishment to be blown up.

Nevertheless, over and over again I have heard those who defend Hillary Clinton describe her as a strong, confident woman. That may be. But you have lots of those in Democratic party. I detest her politics, but Elizabeth Warren is the first one who comes to mind. And to my knowledge, not one of those other women are nearly as cavalier as Mrs. Clinton when it comes to disregarding the law.

Seriously, c’mon. If you plan on running for president, you have to be either be supremely stupid or hold the rest of the American population in such disdain to believe that using your own personal e-mail server for e-mails that contained classified information isn’t a bad idea. It’s not rocket science OR brain surgery. And when it was just Republicans making a big deal about those e-mails, yeah, it might have been easy to sluff off. Oh, but then the Wikileaks e-mails came out showing that her own staff was horrified at what she was doing. Acknowledging, as I believe they did, that “HC” has issues with that kind of stuff. What kind of stuff? DOING WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES HER TO DO!!!

And so what does all this boil down to? Simply this; you knew who she was from her time as First Lady. There is no mystery nor has there ever been when it comes to the Clintons. And yet you nominated her anyway. Now, because she is exactly what we all knew her to be, she is opening the door for the most detestable major party presidential candidate in our history to win.

May God Help Us All!

So next week if the final verdict rendered is that The Donald gets to take up residence in the White House, I’m gonna blame you Democrats. I mean, yes, I’ll silently rejoice for the Supreme Court implications, but on the flip side I’ll be sorrowing greatly on just about every other policy he’s advocated. You know to which policies I’m referring…the ones that will ruin us for decades.

And it will all be your fault.

Well, not just yours. It’ll be yours and the batcrap crazy 35% of the Republican party who think Mexicans are the new Jews and that comments on your genitalia are perfectly acceptable on a national debate stage who started this mess. Which is actually kind of funny if you think about it. You’ll be grouped with the very people you detest more than any other on earth. Ironic, isn’t it? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to the bathroom because just thinking about all of this has made me nauseous.

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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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