Friday, October 21, 2011

"Humans are not illegal" and other thoughts

Today I am disturbed because of the threat of persecution. This disturbs me, both because it exists in the first place and because of my cowardice in the face of that threat. My heroes are Deitrich Boenhoffer and Pastor Wurmbrand. My fear, but even more, my silence BECAUSE of fear, mocks me, as well it should. I claim to stand for more than this.

Now when I say "perecution", I don't mean mob violence or jail time- yet. The Tea Party is not yet in control of every locality, and I hope they never make it. But the level of vitriol out there coming from the right, and the religious right, intimidates me far more than I ever thought it would. I KNOW what will happen if I offer any public or vocal opposition to the current battle cries being used to whip the masses into self-righteous paranoia, leading them to attack an "enemy" in what the military calls "a pre-emptive counter-attack."

That was not a joke.

I am disgusted with myself, because I have never hesitated to share a political opinion in the past. I have always been a practical person, and I have always valued the ability to see both sides of an issue. I don't think compromise is a dirty word in politics. I think compromise and consensus are the foundation of democracy, and without it, you can't have a democracy.

I also have long considered myself a conservative. Heck, I was a subscriber to National Review since 1988! I only let it lapse after my husband got laid off, after the late great WFB had gone on to his reward. A conservative is not someone who holds any particular political position; a conservative is someone who keeps in mind the law of unintended consequences a la Jurassic Park's chaos theory. A conservative is not someone who ignores reality. In fact, I grew up politically believing that conservative's were the superior group because they did not try to work against natural human behavior, hence the support of capitalism and the skepticism about communism, and even the hesitation concerning socialism-leaning programs. When someone else is paying, we all have the tendency to run up the bill; it's just human nature. Witness the runaway costs in the major two-payer system in the US: health care and higher education. Actual consumers don't pay the bill, insurance companies, banks and parents do. It seems a tax-payer funded health-care and higher education could not do worse cost-wise, but cost is not the only consideration. Centralized decision making crushes innovation and would be deadly in that respect, so as a conservative, I still don't want only government health-care or only government-funded higher education. It would only replace one set of third-party payors with another, and stifle any dissent; dissent that is necessary for growth and progress in ANY field.

So that's where I sit now. As a long-time conservative because I believe in the necessity of dissent and competition in the marketplace of ideas, I am pretty ashamed of myself right now. I SHOULD be speaking up in my own political party, but I won't. I won't because the Tea Party scares me, the animosity of my fellows scares me, and I do not want to deal with the loss of friends and open disdain of people,formerly my close friends, who are at least keeping it under wraps for now.

I long for the ghost of Ronald Reagan to rise from the grave and slap the holy crap out of all these Tea Party posers using his good name to advance their facist cause. Did you know Ronald Reagan supported unions? Yes, he did. Did you know Ronald Reagan passed an amnesty initiative while in office, making citizens of thousands of formerly illegal immigrants? He did. He did so because he actually respected the determination and work ethic of people willing to do anything to make a better life for themselves and their families. That's the same reason he respected and accepted unions, and was formerly president of the Screen Actor's Guild. I am also pretty confident that he knew about the homosexual orientation of many of his fellow's in the acting world, and didn't care one way or the other. How dare the Tea Party keep quoting him, as if he would agree with them were he alive today! Unbelievable.

There was a reason he was elected by a landslide. He actually listened to people and valued them. He welcomed dissent. He and Tip O'Neil would go at it in public, as political opponents should, sharing dissent and making their case. But there was no ill will afterwards. The Gipper understood that at the end of the day, we are all Americans and we are all on the same team.

My fellow conservatives-turned-Tea Party have left that good will behind. An opposing opinion is not one that deserves consideration. They KNOW they are 100% completely correct on every issue, and they are convinced that they know exactly what needs to be done in this country. Judging by their rhetoric and behavior, what they think is best for America is to end the democratic process. Compromise is a dirty word to them, and they think building consensus is traitorous.

They think they have God on their side, just like the Taliban, and though they haven't resorted to violence yet on a mass scale, small scale it is already happening. Note the anger in this man's voice, standing there, holding a knife, daring people to fight him personally or give up their right to freedom of expression. He didn't call the police to report a crime, let the business owners be confronted with their crime and have the opportunity to reverse the order of their flags. No, this man is in a violent rage of self-righteousness. He can take the law into his own hands because he is right. This scares the hell out of me:

Reno NV Newscast

American "conservaticism" is not conservative at all. When you threaten other citizens with a weapon in one hand, and violent emotion in the other, that looks nothing at all like the Gipper good-naturedly smiling and waving at Dan Rather on the way to his helicopter. This is nothing I want to be associated with, and I am a stalwart patriot with a family history and continuing legacy of military service. They can't serve if they get all full of vitriol like this veteran. He would rightly be discharged dishonorably for breaking the law publicly like he did, threatening fellow citizens with violence and taking the law into his own hands.

I have to go back to studying. I want to write a highly personal post about the unethical practices of my pastor, how I got taken in by them, and have come to regret it. I want to share the political picture I am too afraid to put on my facebook, knowing if/when I do, it will come at great personal cost. The people I have called my own will at best isolate me and exclude me socially, and they are the only people I have. We all need social acceptance.

So here is a picture I do have the courage to post, and a facebook note I completely agree with on every point. At one point, a conservative was allowed to favor changing immigration laws to better fit reality, and even get elected president on the GOP ticket! Not anymore. What's a girl to do?

When I wanted to teach my children about immigration patterns, I had them look up the GNP of the countries of the Western hemisphere. Here's a link:
Where is all the money/opportunity?
I pointed out, see, this is where all the wealth is being created. These dark spots. Where is the most wealth in this hemisphere? Yep, the USA and Canada.

In the wild, if one region has all the resources- take water, for instance, or grazing land- that's where the animals migrate. Depending on how great their need, these animals will take more dangerous risks to get there. Remember those specials where the animals come to the river to drink, even though they see the lions and the crocodiles waiting for them in plain sight? They are so thirsty, they have to risk it.

If people are willing to risk the dangers of immigrating, and/or of being sent back once they get here, they must be in some pretty serious need. And they will keep coming, if their need is that great. We can increase the dangers, but they will still come if their need is great enough.

A friend has recently been to the Dominican Republic for a month, he gets it. He saw the many people with cut and bleeding feet because they have no money for shoes. Children are more likely to have shoes than adults, because they outgrow them sometimes before they ruined and that pair can help another child. But not the adults.

He made friends that live literally hand to mouth. Not paycheck to paycheck- they don't get paychecks. They get paid at the end of the day, and it's just enough to eat the next day and maybe some more for rent, bills. SERIOUSLY. He was so concerned when he heard one of his friends had a fever, because it meant he could not eat the next day since he missed work. Forget the doctor's visit. Forget medicine. He wouldn't have food unless someone just as close to nothing shared their food with him.

When I hear the Repulbicans talking about putting up a fence around all our wealth to keep out the needy and desparate willing to risk the theives, murderers, and cheating empolyers, just for the hope that maybe things will be better for them in America, it turns my stomach. It turns my stomach because so many Christians are GOP, loudly and proudly GOP!

How then can they advocate building a fence around our riches so Lazarus the beggar won't bother us with his presence at our gate?

Andif they say," Lord, when did we see you hungry or sick or naked?"

"Don't you know?", Jesus will answer, "You built a fence to keep me away so you wouldn't have to look at my naked, sick, starving self."

The ugly reality of mixing politics with religion is that Jesus no longer guides the American church. No one is praying or seeking the counsel of Jesus on any of hte contremporty issues. Why should they? Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the American Family Association, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain- they are your new messiahs. They tell you how to relate to people in your world (politics by another name) and who you should hate and fear and exclude.

And you buy it!!!

That's the most amazing part. You buy into it all: the fear and selfishness, blame the victim, denigrate the oppressed- and you claim it is the CHRISTIAN way!

People will emigrate to America because they are desparate for a better life, and I want that better life for them. Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to all who were willing to work for it, and many undocumented people took him up on it. They have been upstanding citizens, contributing good to our society. This generation of immigrants deserves the same opportunity.

The GOP debates sicken me. I can't believe I supported them for so many years. To my Christian friends still enamored of the GOP, I offer a challenge. Fast from all you right wing political emails, junk mail, radio programs- the whole thing, for thirty days. During those thirty days, pray and ask the Lord to show you His will for your life, your brief life, here on earth, and how you should live in relation to your fellow man.

If the Lord leads you to stay exactly the same as you are, supporting all the same people, so be it.

He is leading me to advocate for liberty and justice for all.

Peace and good will,


  1. I don't even agree with Reagan so much as I used to (I think trickle-down economics has been manifestly shown to not work, for instance), but I agree that he represented a more congenial political age that I'd like to return to.

    It's a terrible pity that you can't disagree with some people without being labeled a pariah. Everything's about us vs. them. Jesus wasn't like this. The Pharisees hated it that He refused to look on tax collectors and prostitutes as "them." People who claim to be Jesus' followers should look more closely at who they're really following.

  2. I agree with Kristen's comments about the lack of toleration of dissent in our culture. Society is getting very fragmented because people only want to hang out with other people exactly like themselves.

    I have a differing view on immigration and I was 3 in 1988 so I don't have much of an opinion on Reagan, but I thought you'd find this interesting:

  3. And, now I know for sure! Posting support for OWS on my facebook has resulted in being reamed out by my pastor, once in pm on facebook,and now in a series of phone calls in which a) I could not get a word in edge-wise and b) I was credited with outrageous statements I never made and then slapped with, "oh, you are such a liar!" when I honestly declared I never said any such thing.

    So now you know, world. This is what Christianity looks like in America today. This is the conduct of my PASTOR, who himself recently posted on facebook a quote from Sean Penn declaring that tax-payer funded social programs are defined as the government robbing citizens at gunpoint for "charity"!!

    Yes, a PASTOR agrees with this point of view! A Lutheran pastor! A pastor of a church that used to be open to all people, including a fair number of homeless and disadvantaged persons.

    Of course that number is being replaced by middle class whites with real money, so I guess the switch makes sense by worldly wisdom.


  4. Oh, good grief. Since when are your views of charity any of his business anyway. Doesn't God call us to use OUR OWN abilities to help other people? There is no one and perfect way to help people.

    What he's doing is harassment.

  5. Just realized another financial reason for the switch in my pastor. He pushed the congregation to leave the ELCA, so now it's an "independently owned and operated" congregation. I don't know if denominations guarantee salaries; maybe that is still a local expense funded by parishioners.

    But I know for sure it's that way in independent churches! So, of course, it is in his personal best interest to cater to the well-off now. His salary depends on it. And honestly, he makes (at least on paper expects to make) a damn fine salary!

    His salary seems to me to be a lot of money for such a small congregation. My guess is that his former salary will not be sustainable in the new independent church he has created.

    So, that may explain the change in personality. Perhaps he thought that since he was taking a stand for what he believed God wanted, that God would pay him handsomely for his loyalty. the truth is, the people he called in from out-of-town to vote on "God's" side may have helped him win his election, but they are not paying his salary. I have noticed that his stand has attracted white professionals from other Lutheran churches who share his point of view. They respect him, AND have money.

    I don't have much of either at this point, and so it is perfectly understandable why I am expendable, and also why he is jealously wanting to control the public's perception of his church, even to the point that he is compelled to angry diatribes when he feels that it is threatened in any way.

  6. Haha, how time changes things!

    I would never vote for the GOP today. There is not one righteous, no not one.

    Everywhere I share my political opinion, I am considered a liberal. Not because my opinions have changed from the 80s, but because political rhetoric has shifted so far towards The Right/Facism.

    And, people are no longer willing to take the risk to come to America. America's economy has been systematically robbed by the guys at the top for the past 30 years, and now the writing is on the wall. Plus drug violence due to US policies makes the journey through Mexico less and less safe. The resources are shifting: all that dark red abundance that was once in our country is moving out, to offshore accounts of the wealthy elite.

    And as for my former pastor, I ought to thank him for waking me up to the farce that is American churchianity. I am so much happier and more successful WITHOUT church!! Woot!! Can I get a witness? ;-)