I have enjoyed hosting my Musings on Typepad for the past few years. However, with our new website in place, I will be posting directly on the website. Please join me there at www.rabbidaniellapin.com. See you!
“May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.” While many of us may echo the sentiment expressed as we contemplate the upcoming presidential election, our 13th president, Millard Fillmore, beat us to the punch. With the huge sums allotted to my Musings research team ($0), I didn’t uncover exactly what precipitated these words. But a cursory review of Fillmore’s career did remind me that this isn’t the first time that we humans are making a mess of things.
A favorite theme of science fiction literature imagines how history would have changed had certain things happened or not happened. What would have occurred if an assassination attempt against Hitler had succeeded? What if John Wilkes Booth had failed to kill Abraham Lincoln?
Millard Fillmore is one of our least known presidents. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of fans of the comic strip Mallard Fillmore have no idea of the word play involved in the duck’s name. While I would have recognized President Fillmore’s name a month ago, and probably could have even told you who preceded and followed him, I admit to knowing little about him. But one side effect of my year of mourning for my father is becoming a little more educated. Since I am not listening to music during this year I downloaded a number of podcasts, including one about our presidents.
I learned that although Zachary Taylor, the president before Fillmore, was a southern slave-owner he was leaning with sympathy towards the abolitionists. When he died in office, Vice-president Fillmore signed legislation that included the Fugitive Slave Act. With this act, every citizen of the country became responsible for returning runaway slaves to their owners. Imagine! A government demanding that people violate their beliefs and religious principles in order to remain within the nation’s laws. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)
In many ways, this legislation was one of the major sparks that lit the conflagration that became the Civil War. As passionately as many northern abolitionists felt, the reality of the sin of slavery hit home harder when they were turned into unwilling accomplices.
What would have happened if Zachary Taylor hadn’t died in office? Is it possible that he might have shown greater wisdom and understanding, possibly averting a tragedy that the founders foresaw when the United States declared independence and that is still making headlines today? We don’t know.
Both choices for president this year are so deeply flawed that, indeed, we must say, “May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.” Let us hope that like in the 1800s the country does survive, while praying that it does so with less devastation and death than took place previously.
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There we were in a Tom Thumb supermarket in Dallas, the city we were visiting last week. My husband was speaking at a number of venues, and we stopped at the supermarket, which has an expanded kosher section, to pick up a few things.
The weather was hot; it was over 100°. In my view, that is perfect ice cream weather. Now, my diet plan (admittedly, not a very thorough one, though it serves double duty as a budget plan) decrees that I only buy ice cream when it is on sale. Fortunately, there was an amazing sale on a kosher brand with a scrumptious sounding flavor. We (I) scooped it up and made our way to the checkout where we were informed that we needed a supermarket card to get the special sale price.
We do not live in Dallas. The supermarket chain does not exist where we do live. We did not want to stand at a customer service desk to get a card. The store, for a reason that eludes us, doesn’t allow the checker to swipe his own store card. I don’t pay full price for ice cream. Stalemate.
That is, until the checker turned to the woman behind us in line and asked if we could use her card. She immediately said yes and told us that she had been in exactly the same situation while visiting her daughter in S. Carolina. The problem was solved and the ice cream was delicious.
That should be the end of the story, but it got me thinking. That kind woman’s willingness to share her card would not necessarily be a universal response. A number of years back, researchers dropped wallets in shopping malls around the country. In some cities, almost all the wallets were turned in to mall security, in others almost none were. There are places in the world, and I daresay places in the United States, where people are trained to be wary of strangers. Instead of helping each other, the first reaction is, “Why is this person talking to me?” or “What are they trying to put over on me?” Unfortunately, there are enough rogues out there who seek to repay friendliness with theft, and as they increase, human interaction suffers. In addition to that, in socialist societies, a direction in which we are sadly moving, citizens are encouraged to betray one another even as the ruling class mouths platitudes of compassion and comradeship.
A few months back, I was shopping at Costco. I love Costco and have been a fan ever since I discovered it over twenty years ago in Seattle. Leaving my Issaquah and Kirkland Costco stores was one of the prices of moving to the east coast. I quickly found that my new Costco wasn’t quite the same. Not only did I no longer enjoy stunning views of Mt. Ranier and Lake Washington during my drive, but the shelves weren’t stocked as well and the employees weren’t as cheerful and solicitous. Still, what was on the shelf was familiar, trusted, and well-priced.
Nonetheless, I was completely taken aback at my last visit. On a previous trip, I had purchased frozen peas. A few weeks later, I received numerous phone calls and letters telling me to please discard the (huge) bag as there was a health concern. I threw out the peas, and when I returned to Costco a month or so later, I put a replacement bag of peas in my cart. I told the checker that this was a replacement at which point he leered at me and sneered, “Right, yeah, you threw out a bag like this.” I have to admit that I was breathless at his insulting assumption that I was lying.
Now, Costco could have sent a certificate for a replacement bag in the letter informing me of the problem. But paying for a new bag wasn’t the point. The interaction drove home to me that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore (technically, Kirkland, WA where the company is based) and what I had perceived as the ‘Costco spirit’ didn’t travel to another location. Not surprisingly, I have pared back my membership and only sparingly shop there now in contrast to the Washington locations which served as pleasurable as well as utilitarian outings.
The two shopping experiences reminded me that much of what we take for granted, that makes everyday life enjoyable, rests on shaky foundations. Common courtesy can easily become a rare commodity and smiles can quickly transform into surliness. As more of us spend increasing amounts of time with technology rather than interacting with our fellow humans; feel betrayed by the government that is supposed to serve us; and obsess on our rights rather than our responsibilities, we take yet another step along a path leading to a less pleasant future.
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Wow! That was my reaction when I checked a week ago Friday morning to see if anyone had left a comment on the Musing I wrote about Ted Cruz’ speech at the Republican convention. There were more views to my page by 9 a.m. than I usually get within 24 hours. A few hours later, my husband mentioned that Facebook was going wild with comments about my words. So it continued. People were agreeing, politely disagreeing, grateful for and wildly upset by my words. What is my take-away and why am I going to stir the cauldron by continuing the debate as well as introducing the topic of Trump and abortion?
What I learned from the response to my Musing and from the conversation around our Shabbat table on Friday night when our guests happened to be involved, intelligent and articulate conservatives, was how passionately people feel about this race. What is different about the passion in this race versus past election cycles is that the divide is within the Republican/conservative side, not a function of Republican/conservatives vs. Democrat/liberals. I was not a Romney fan which made me miserable leading up to the 2012 election, but I didn’t think that those who loved him were unprincipled or destroying my country. I voted for him and never once questioned whether I should vote for his opponent.
Since I’m willing to state that over 90% of those reading my Musing and/or our ministry’s Facebook page are people with whom I share values and a love for our country, it is awe-inspiring that there is a wide range of opinions and a willingness to discuss and listen to different views. When I write a political column, it is often as a way of putting my own thoughts in order. I value intelligent feedback because it hones and shapes those thoughts. Most of the comments I received, on all sides of the issue, were thoughtful. For this reason, I’m going to continue laying out my thinking. I am not a prophet and I am not the smartest or most knowledgeable voter. I can certainly be wrong. My thoughts on this election are a work in progress. As of now I am steadily moving towards the view that not only do I need to vote for Donald Trump, no matter how much I wish there was a better choice, but I need to do what I can to see that he wins. At the same time, I carefully consider what others are saying, including those who say that they have vowed never to support someone who is ‘pro-choice.’
Years back, Dr. James Dobson told my husband and me, as I’m sure he’s told many others, of his commitment to never vote for someone who supported abortion. However important other issues were, abortion was his, ‘line in the sand,’ issue. A number of commenters to my Musings reflected the same idea as a reason that they cannot vote for Donald Trump. When I heard Dr. Dobson, his words made a great deal of sense to me. I’m not sure they are still able to be writ in stone. What happens if, as is the case this year, one party and candidate stand for activism on abortion while it is unclear where the other candidate stands, thought his party’s views are clear?
I’d like to play through the scenario we have.
Hillary Clinton stands for a pro-abortion stance on steroids. Her record suggests that she will use government power to punish those who disagree with her and to brainwash any youth whose schooling she can touch. Abortion is only one of the anti-Godly social messages she will do her best to promote.
Donald Trump’s views on abortion and other social issues are murky. However, at worst, they aren’t major issues on his agenda. Whatever his personal beliefs are, there is no reason to suspect that he will use his political capital or the hammer of government to force them on America. Furthermore, because social issues such as abortion don’t roil his gut, he will be open to listening to social conservatives and evangelical supporters. (One of the reasons I think Cruz was ego-driven rather than principled is that if Trump is president it is important that he feels beholden to religious Jews and Christians. Cruz could have had an opening to speak to a President Trump. He no longer does.)
If one candidate represents negative X on the social values scale while the second is negative X to the nth degree, would it really salve my conscience to proclaim that I will vote for neither one? Can I pat myself on the back if the result of my principled stand is that more fetuses are aborted, more elderly and ill people are murdered through physician-assisted suicide and teenage suicides increase as young people are indoctrinated from pre-school to be obsessed with gender confusion and sexual immorality?
Third-party and write-in votes
I have not always voted for the Republican candidate for president. In some elections, I have voted for a third-party candidate and once I left the presidential box blank. This time is different. Each time I chose an option other than voting for one of the prime candidates, my vote was not going to make a difference. Due to the state I lived in, the result was foreordained. I had the luxury of using my vote to try and send a message to the Republican leadership of how dissatisfied I was with the choice they were offering. (Had millions of others done the same and had the leadership taken their collective head out of the sand and recognized the just and passionate discontent of so many Republicans, I don’t believe Donald Trump would have been the candidate this year.)
I don’t believe the option of sending a message by not voting for either Hillary or Trump exists this time around. In my opinion, every state is in play. This election cycle does not have a historical precedent. That means that each of us must think of ourselves as the deciding vote. Whether we vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or whether we vote for a write-in or a third party candidate or we leave that box blank, we must be willing to live with the idea that we might be responsible for electing whomever wins the race.
The personal choice that I see myself as having is this: I can vote for Hillary and feel like a traitor to my country and beliefs. I can vote for a third-party candidate or write-in and feel like a coward. I can vote for Trump and feel besmirched. Right now, I am planning to choose #3. You may have a completely different calculation. I am not suggesting that if you do, you are either a traitor or a coward; that reckoning only works for my own thinking for myself. In my opinion, with full knowledge that God can step into history and override human choices, the natural result of a Democrat victory will be the demise of the Constitution. I don’t believe that freedom of speech, religion or 2nd Amendment rights will be anything other than meaningless words four years down the road.
This election is an agonizing one for many of us. Actually, the one point of view I struggle to respect is that of anyone who is convinced that either candidate is a great choice. In this election, voters’ largesse of spirit and mutual respect are needed in a greater way than other elections have demanded.
As it gets more uncomfortable to speak with people with whom we disagree politically,
let's use Bible study as a bridge and as a means to test our views to see how they ally with Scripture.
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This past Monday, I finished writing the first part of a Musing about the dilemma of the pro-life movement in dealing with Donald Trump. I am shelving it for the moment, because I must comment on this week’s Democrat convention, which is not going exactly according to plan. (I’m writing this Tuesday morning.)
The convention was supposed to show a contrast to a divided GOP by crowning Queen Hillary amidst adulation. Instead, boos and hisses are greeting mentions of her name. Outside the convention site, protesters are being held back behind fences, yet their jeers of, “Hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary,” aren’t exactly what Clinton fans were hoping to see on TV.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer party. Ohio’s Rep. Marcia Fudge, Chair of the Democratic National Convention said, “We are all Democrats and we need to act like it.” I would argue that the protesters are doing exactly that. Refusing to listen to anyone with whom you disagree has become a Democrat norm. Isn’t that how President Obama has governed? Rather than talking and listening to Republicans, he has simply governed by fiat. On campuses, the college-aged wing of the Democrat Party refuse to allow speakers of alternate views to be heard. Is Mrs. Clinton’s name being greeted by catcalls? Perhaps she should start a support group with Ayaan Ali Hirsi, Condaleeza Rice, and other conservatives whose ability to speak has been overruled by hecklers. Democrats seemed sympathetic when Occupy Wall Street demonstrators defecated on police cars and damaged businesses. Could it be that the protesters are being too polite here? Maybe the convention isn’t a ‘safe space’ for Bernie supporters and needs to be completely closed down?
I admit to getting great pleasure in watching Democrats getting eaten by their own, even as my more mature side recognizes the dangers for our democracy in hordes of idealistic, angry and profoundly ignorant and malleable young people. There is something I admire in Bernie supporters refusing to say, “You cheated, you won, so we’ll be quiet if you promise us you won’t do it again (and again and again).”
Hillary Clinton was a young activist when the phrase, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” was popular. It is only fitting that those who are now under thirty completely distrust her. And yes, I know that Sanders is over thirty as well. But applying inconsistent standards to different circumstances and people is something that many people, and Hillary Clinton in particular, are well accustomed to doing.
I urge you to share this Bible study with a young person in your life. Don't try and draw conclusions for them; let them do that themselves. They need to look at Socialism through a Biblical lens, and our country needs them to do so.
I get it. I really understand why Ted Cruz doesn’t want to endorse Trump. Donald Trump didn’t simply defeat him; he insulted and demeaned him and his family with crudeness, gutter language and lies.
I understand why other politicians don’t want to endorse Trump. The nominee has given no reason for people to trust him not to make foolish and disgusting remarks. Whether it is an act or reality, his emotional maturity comes across as that of a ten year old. Trump may be able to walk past his words, but those associated with him will find it harder to remove the excrement.
Nonetheless, I don’t respect the Bushes, John Kasich and Ted Cruz as much as I used to. On a personal level, Trump is reaping what he sowed. If I had a teenager prone to angry outbursts and to giving withering insults, I would use this as an educational moment. Bullying may make you feel powerful in the instance, but it is actually a show of weakness. While you may forget your words, your victims won’t. As my grandfather used to teach me when he addressed everyone from the janitor to his boss with respect and warmth, “You never know the twists and turns life will take and when someone who needs you now will be someone you need in the future.”
However, the Bushes, Kasich and Cruz should not be thinking on a personal level. Not only should they not be nursing hurts from the past two years, they should show that they care more for the country than for their own egos or political futures. If they don’t recognize the threat of a Clinton presidency, they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
What of the second worry? Will they find themselves tarred with the brush of an embarrassing and even despicable Trump statement? Guess what? The New York Times, CNN and the rest of the leftist media is going to tar them with that brush anyway. The only way they will avoid that fate is by converting to the Democrat Party and bowing obeisance to secular liberalism.
I wish these men instead would have taken a page from the Trump playbook. Trump speaks politically incorrect truths about terrorism, the economy and illegal immigrants even as President Obama and his devotees condemn Americans who want an honest conversation. This is a great part of Trump's popularity. Established Republicans did not understand how many Republican voters and conservative-leaning people yearned for a strong response to the past seven years and despised the tepid, lukewarm words of the Romney-McConell wing of the party that was supposed to represent them. The failed Republican candidates should have followed Trump’s lead and spoken honestly. They should have endorsed Donald Trump wholeheartedly as the only alternative to Hillary Clinton, while sadly acknowledging that his language and manner are often cringeworthy. By staying away they are looking like sore losers as well as missing the chance to acknowledge the pain of the electorate, for which they do hold more than a little responsibility.
Ted Cruz could have spoken at the convention of his conflicted emotions and internal struggle about Donald Trump — giving voice to many of his supporters’ feelings. The he could have explained why he is putting the need to defeat Hillary above everything else. Do everything you can to get Trump elected and then hold Trump’s feet to the fire to ensure that he makes the right Supreme Court picks and surrounds himself with wise, conservative advisors rather then sycophants. Encourage his supporters not to put blinders on, as so many Democrat politicians do when it comes to their extremely flawed nominee, but to realistically face their own flawed candidate. Instead, as my husband put it, Cruz, “ate another man’s food and then vomited on his table.” It would have been classier not to show up.
in 1939, a document known as the White Paper was issued under Neville Chamberlain’s government that severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine and reversed previous British promises to the Jewish people. That immigration restriction doomed Jews to death in Europe. At the same time, the British quickly became the leaders in the battle against the Nazis. David Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, encouraged people to fight the White Paper as if there were no Nazis while fighting the Nazis (by enlisting in and helping the British army) as if there was no White Paper.
Trump is the nominee. It is time to fight Hillary as if there were no flaws in Donald Trump while opposing the vulgarity that Trump exudes and his confused understanding of some issues as if there was no Hillary.
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Americans seem to have a strange relationship with business. We extol Mom and Pop stores, love stories of individuals who have an idea and turn it into a reality and treasure the idea of entrepreneurship. However, when an enterprise gets too successful, we decry it as we patronize it.
Starbucks is successful because people get coffee there. People may ‘tsk, tsk’ when a local coffee shop closes but they appreciate features of Starbucks that are only available in a large business. We like Wal-Mart prices and variety even as we feel bad when the family owned general store goes out of business. We feel warmly about our local bookstore, but we still buy books online from Amazon.
At one point McDonalds and Wal-Mart, along with most other behemoths were small businesses. It is rather hypocritical for us to stop rooting for them (even as we patronize them) simply because they became super successful.
Large businesses that manage to retain a small business feel help us to overcome this dichotomy. Here is a personal story that reflects this:
My husband and I do a fair amount of shipping for our ministry, but a few weeks ago we had a large and heavy personal package that we needed to send cross-country. We took it into our local FedEx store and off it went with ground shipping, meant to arrive in Seattle in ample time for our summer boating trip. Foolishly, we did not insure the case, relying instead on numerous positive experiences with FedEx. The package contained a number of replaceable items, but others were low-cost and irreplaceable such as a pair of worn-in shoes. More importantly, the case included a fair amount of marine electronics to ensure our safety, communication and comfort while boating. These could theoretically be replaced, but not in time for our trip.
We were able to track the package for a few days, as usual, when it suddenly disappeared from the tracking screen. Pressed for time, we didn’t immediately follow up (if you’re counting, this was mistake number two).
After flying across the country to Seattle, we set about shopping for kosher food that would be difficult to find in small British Columbian anchorages. As we crossed the Evergreen Floating Bridge, my husband’s cell phone rang. Calling was a stranger from Oregon who had ordered a rather small item from a store, and was confused when it arrived encased in a huge box. Inside the box was not only his item, but our package as well. Fortunately, our name and number were visible.
A call to FedEx revealed befuddlement on their end with promises to pick up the box and get it moving. The next morning, when we checked again, we found to our consternation that not only hadn’t the package been picked up but there was no plan for that to happen. It seems our knight in shining armor lived in a small town, distant from any FedEx center and they didn’t see getting to him for a few days. By that time, of course, we would be aboard without necessary equipment or the ability to predict where we could reliably receive a shipment.
To say that we were annoyed is an understatement. We worked our way up the company’s phone chain ladder. Finally, they transferred us to the manager of the Salem, OR transit center. She promptly told us that she had no idea why they told us to contact her as she did not have the authority to order a pick-up or, what at this point needed to be, an overnighting of our case. We began to worry that the easiest thing for FedEx to do would be to send us $100 (the standard reimbursement for uninsured packages) and wash their hands of the problem. We seemed to be the victim of depersonalized corporate America, lost in a labyrinth whose goal was to make us throw up our hands in despair.
Except, at this point, one individual’s personal responsibility combined with the resources available to a behemoth company and set everything right. Instead of hanging up on us, the manager not only empathized with us, but she was embarrassed for the company she represents. “You are getting a run-around,” she told us, “this is not how we are supposed to treat our customers.” Accepting our dilemma as a personal affront to her honor, she guaranteed us that we would have our package where we needed it, when we needed it. And we did.
A small business wouldn’t have had the resources to so quickly fix their mistake; the large business could only do so because one individual chose to step above the rules and regulations. Between this manager’s actions and the kindness of our small-town patron who didn’t simply shrug his shoulders and discard our case, an irritating, inconvenient and potentially expensive mishap instead rekindled our faith in Americans and free enterprise.
This election cycle has already moved out-of-the-box so many times, that there actually is no longer any box to be seen. I’m not going to enumerate the plethora of examples in both the Republican and Democrat race. Unless you not only have your head in the sand but you are also wearing a blindfold and earmuffs, you can identify them yourself.
However, there is one strange out-of-the-box way of which I am increasingly becoming aware. I have no idea how many of my friends will choose to cast their ballot. Without talking to them, I can’t predict what my friends are thinking, even those with whom I’ve politically walked in sync, sometimes for decades.
We have certainly had differences before. But the differences have been ones of intensity rather than final result. I thought Mitt Romney ran an awful campaign (I believe you can draw a straight line between his campaign and Trump being the nominee) handing the election to the Obama team. I had serious misgivings about how good a president he would have been were he to be elected. Some of my friends thought he was the perfect candidate, running an excellent, if losing, campaign; a loss they blamed on not being welcoming enough to illegal immigrants. Yet, we all agreed that voting for Barack Obama wasn’t an option.
I have other friends who have been loyal Democrats since their first voting experience. I disagreed vehemently with their assessment of the Democrat and Republican parties, but I knew where they stood. They were solid Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama voters.
When I do speak to friends on both sides of this divide, I hear of people jumping ship. Staunch conservatives who are considering voting for Hillary and fervent liberals who are thinking of voting for Trump. I am in a continual state of surprise. It is entirely possible that twists and turns over the next few months will upend what these friends are saying today.
If the election was tomorrow, I would cast my vote for Trump. All the choices, including a third-party candidate or leaving the president box blank, make my heart sink. I see no option that makes me proud. I would choose Trump right now because the analogy I see is a doctor telling a patient that they have a 5% chance of recovery. They can continue the course they are on (Hillary) and almost certainly die. Alternatively, they can try an experimental (Trump) drug. It might cure them or at least keep them alive longer while scientists work on discovering a cure. Of course, it might kill them more quickly than doing nothing. Neither option has me sleeping peacefully; but I would go with the gamble.
I am also going to speak to my friend, N., whose knowledge of history and street-smart wisdom I admire. We are on the same spiritual and cultural page. Just yesterday she mentioned that she would vote for Hillary. She looked nauseous as she said that. I want to hear her thoughts as I work on steeling myself to make a decision that, whichever way I go, has the possibility of being disastrous for a country I love.
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Last week, when I was feeling overwhelmed by the mendacity, chicanery and overall incompetence of politicians and the press, I gave myself a challenge. The next Musing, the one I am writing now, will sound positive.
It would be easy to write of family, friends, health, the comforts of living in America in the 21st century or hundreds of other blessings that effortlessly spring to mind. All of these are crucially important and much appreciated, but as a Musing to contrast with last week’s, this would be a cop-out. I decided that I needed to find rays of hope on a national level. Here are some of the things I found:
Wow! When I started this Musing I thought it would only be fair to have seven positive bullet points since I had seven negative ones last week. I hesitated to declare my goal at the top because I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Yet once I started, I found the ideas coming easily. I hope they uplift you as they do me.
On occasion, I astound my husband with a rather unimpressive talent I possess. We can be in a hotel room, turn the TV to 'Nick at Nite' and after viewing a few minutes of an ancient sitcom, I will relate the entire half-hour plot to him.
The episodes were seared into my mind during childhood summers when I Love Lucy, That Girl, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, Family Affair and other cultural highlights (let’s not forget Green Acres, Leave it to Beaver and The Donna Reed Show!) filled my mornings before I headed out to bicycle and play outdoors for the rest of the day.
While those shows portrayed moral uprightness and scintillating entertainment compared to what’s on TV today, no one would mistake them for Shakespeare. Yet, it wasn’t until years —and many hours of TV viewing —later that I realized how inane so much of entertainment is.
My awakening occurred after spending a TV free year in Israel. Upon arriving back in America and turning on the TV, I was appalled at how shallow and uninteresting most sitcoms were. It took stepping away to really see what was in front of me.
Perhaps the fact that I recently spent a week not reading the newspaper or following any part of the news served the same purpose. All I know is that returning to the news cycle after that short halt has me wanting to run in the streets shouting, “The emperor has no clothes! The emperor has no clothes!”
What have I caught up on and read about? In no particular order, here are a few of the items:
Sadly, my list could go on and on. The duplicity, stupidity, evil and immorality striking me in the face after my news blackout leaves me convinced that even a government populated by the citizens of another ridiculous 1960s sitcom, Petticoat Junction, would be a vast improvement over what we have today.
Here is my challenge to myself: Next week write about something positive and uplifting. It is easy to get discouraged and important to fight against that.
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