Friday, November 11, 2016

I sometimes forget how extraordinarily fortunate I have been.

Everyday, I get to speak with people of a color different from mine, and people who practice religions that differ from my own.
Even better, over time, I get to know them well. I get to call them friend.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is Muslim, where-in he told me how frightened his children are by the results of the election.

He has WAY more in common with you, my Nazarene or conservative Christian friend, than you seem to know. In every sense that would be evident to the casual observer, his beliefs are identical to yours.
  • Work ethic. (I’ve never seen better).
  • He never touches alcohol.
  • He’s against Homosexuality and abortion. (On this, he has more in common with you than do I.)
  • He is passionate about a strong national defense and a wise foreign policy.
  • He exudes loyalty to our company, devotion to this country, devotion to God and to his family.
If you left the divinity of Christ out of the conversation, there would be nothing to mark the two of you as different in any way, except, in all likelihood, that he puts you to shame on in all of the above things, by comparison.

He related to me, in our conversation, how terribly frightened his children are. He told me how he calmed his children, and reminded them that this country belongs to all of us. He pointed out the shops in the urban area where they live; how > ½ are owned by non-whites. He pointed to their white friends, who love them would surely remain their friends. He reminded them that, while there are surely people who would want them to leave, they are a tiny sliver of bad apples, and that there are far more people who love them and would want them to stay.

He also told me that he is hopeful. He doesn’t think Trump is a racist in any KKK, lynching sort of way. It will be fine.

He told me that every community he's ever lived in is full of really good people. Just a little wary of you at first. It’s just a normal, human way to act. Once you become truly a part of your community, people start to see you as a person rather than a brown person or a Muslim. Your qualities are known.

He told me that he’s hopeful. Now that Republicans have no excuses, maybe they will start to govern, and maybe some things will actually get done that I (Joe) was hoping for under Obama, since much of Trump’s message actually overlaps with what is wanted by progressives like Bernie and Senator Warren.

He agreed with me that Trump is hard to read because he will say pretty much anything, and has said pretty much everything at one time or another. But, our best guess is that he is less conservative in every meaningful way than is Hillary, and that it will be interesting to watch whether he delegates the real work of being president to Pence (in which case our government is very conservative, indeed), or forms a new kind of coalition, and makes deals with congress to get some actual help for working stiffs.

My Muslim friend is a good man, and he is a wise man. I’m fortunate to have discussed this with him.

In a larger way, I'm a far better person for having gotten out of my rural isolation chamber, and for having met so many wonderful people who are so very different from me, and yet who are so very much the same.

I've been extraordinarily fortunate.

Monday, November 7, 2016

But let's play the probabilities, shall we?

Remember the government takeover of the car industry?

The government takeover of healthcare?

Death Panels?

Remember how Barack Obama was a Kenyan? A Muslim? A terrorist? The Anti-Christ (literally, according to several at my former church)?

Remember how he was going to destroy America? Enact Sharia Law? Take your guns? Make you pray to false gods?

Yeah. Good times…

Look. It's quite possible that Hillary Clinton is such a brilliant criminal mastermind that she has successfully evaded prosecution for over 30 years while killing more than 90 people. Stranger things have happened.

It's quite possible that she just left people to die in Benghazi because she's inhuman, hates people, and hates America, and that in spite of being so smart as to do what I just mentioned, she is dumb enough to not realize how much backlash there would be against such an action, or inaction, or whatever. 

It's quite possible that those e-mails that she deleted contain something that matters and aren't just personal emails or others she deleted while being overly-cautious to prevent her political opponents from making hay in a witch-hunt that was obviously designed to take her down politically, like the investigations of Bill that eventually revealed that he was destroying America by being, in fact, a middle-aged heterosexual male who let a 22 year old woman give him a hummer.

Hell. ANYTHING's possible.
But let's play the probabilities, shall we?

Which is more likely:

A) that Barack Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Terrorist who decided he wanted to be President of the USA to take it down from the inside?

B)  that Hillary Clinton is a master criminal / murderer who's been rubbing the collective noses of Republican bloggers and radio shock-jocks in it for decades?


C) that Republicans are really good at what they do and like to throw sh*t against a wall until some of it sticks in an effort to defeat their political rivals?

Let's play the probabilities, shall we?

Which is more likely:

A) that there really ARE death panels in the health care bill and we just haven't noticed yet because we're too busy not noticing how they're invading our houses to take our guns while they make us say Muslim prayers several times a day

B)  that Hillary let Americans die because she's just that malevolent and evil


C) that Republicans are really good at what they do and like to throw sh*t against a wall until some of it sticks in an effort to defeat their political rivals?

Let's play the probabilities, shall we?

Which is more likely:

A) that the government takeover of the auto industry proceeds apace, and we just haven't noticed because we're actually dead because our death panel wouldn't approve our treatment for some horrible disease we caught from the chemicals the government is putting in the air to control our minds?

B) that Hillary's deleted emails contain some real smoking gun about how she's actually the devil, the little horn, bringer of the apocalypse, rather than personal information or political fodder that she didn't want falling into the hands of the people who were able to crucify Bill for getting a BJ?


C) that Republicans are really good at what they do and like to throw sh*t against a wall until some of it sticks in an effort to defeat their political rivals?

Look, you wanna vote for Trump, great. Go for it. I quit caring years ago for reasons that I'm not going to bother to explain unless you care enough to ask.

But can we just stop with the histrionics? Can we seriously just calm the f* down? Can we stop hurling pejoratives at people who think that the sins Hillary has probably committed are probably less egregious than the sins The Donald has certainly committed, and are certainly less egregious than the ones The Donald has probably committed?

You wanna disagree, great! Disagree. Let's stop with the name-calling, though. Fair enough?

Glad we had this talk. Hope we're still friends.