Archive for the ‘religion’ Category


Up front, I’m Catholic. This entry is about education and freedom of religion.

Darth Pence wants to do to “reform” our public schools. I bow to the fact that some changes ought to be made, the main one being to pay teachers what they’re worth and put more funding into education so that we don’t continue to have a nation that doesn’t value intellectualism or education. That’s not at all what Darth Pence plans to do in his reform of public schools.

Darth Pence wants to unschool our children and remove science classes. He wants to replace science with teachings from the Bible.

I kid you not.

Biggest headline: Darth Pence, with the help of Trump’s cabinet pick Betsy DeVos, plan to evict the Big Bang and Evolutionary Theories from the public school curriculum and replace them with Biblical Creationism.

This is offensive regardless of your political affiliation or religious affiliation. It’s offensive no matter the end of the conservative or liberal end of the spectrum you fall. In spite of the smoke and mirrors, this has never, ever been Democrats versus Republicans, nor has it been Liberals versus Conservatives. The value of keeping Church and State separate is a value of all major parties that are seen as legitimate except for one.

It’s a Tea Party value, the Tea Party who are a bunch of jokers that know nothing about politics and are trying to destroy it from the inside out (admittedly, especially since. A bunch of evangelistic biblical literalists who are destroying the christian faith and the reputation of all Christians.

For a person of faith, like me, it’s about being balanced, faithful to God, being a better mother, wife, person, being truthful in how I live my life, respecting the world I live in, respecting the people I share the Earth with, being in awe of the Earth my God created, and loving this life. And in order to do that and to teach my family how to do that, I don’t need some judgmental, creepy, selfish, criminal, vile, wannabe, fake-ass President and his sidekick VP dismantling our schools, our special education programs, and our religion.

 

How I choose to indoctrinate my children is my choice, with my husband. Where it occurs is our choice. I want them indoctrinated in our family church that we carefully chose, and in our home. Indoctrination is to be fully controlled by us. The separation of Church and State is to be held as a sacred value.

If my children wish to pray before a test, or they wish to pray during their free time, they’re allowed due to the freedom of religion. The key is that they don’t try to convert anyone or “witness” at school (well, as Catholics we don’t do that as a rule); during free time at school they can discuss each others religions to get to know each other, and they can pray together if they want. That’s fantastic. But no class led prayer. No indoctrination.

If children … students … are to learn about religion and their creation stories in a public school there are Humanities courses or World Religions courses, Social Studies, and they teach “This is what this religion is about, what they do,” ie. the facts of various religions without commentary of the validity of any of them. If it’s indoctrination and proselytizing, then that belongs in private schools.

For those who are devoutly Roman Catholic, there’s some good news

Numerous sources confirm that Pope Francis has stated that he accepts the Theories of Evolution and the Big Bang (go to article below, and then click it).

And that is awesome. Essentially, Pope Francis recognizes that behind the Scientific Theories, there is God. Behind all of the science, there is God speaking to us and guiding us. It means he’s continued to move the Church back into the light, back towards God and away from the Dark Ages that Benedict was so determined to plunge us into. Pope Francis is a beacon of hope.

 

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared. Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Source: Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’ | The Independent

 

 

Me again.

Science explains the “how.” Religion explains the “why.”

I’m sure some of you disagree with me. You might say,

“They’re ‘just’ theories. They can’t prove it. Science is its own religion, and you can’t trust it! You’re rejecting the BIBLE AND GOD! YOU’RE JUST A LIBTARD!”

When I’m feeling generous, I don’t assume that those people I hear that statement from are also rabid anti-vaxxers and give them the benefit of the doubt. 😉 I instead assume that they’re open to listening to reason. I don’t assume that they’re Sophophobic (have a fear of learning and being educated).

They’re actually not “just” theories. When someone dismisses a Theory out of hand, they’re forgetting middle school and high school science when they learned about the Scientific method and how to write a lab report. It was such a valuable experience learning those things, because it taught us how to approach the world. It was supposed to teach us how to be curious and question, how to touch things and be involved in the world. It taught us that we didn’t have to be scientists to value science.

Most people seem to think that a theory is vague and maybe possibly could be a fact if there were enough facts to support the idea… to support the opinion. They think that a hypothesis mean “to guess the result of an experiment.” I thought that maybe going back to basics would be a good idea for a minute or two.

A hypothesis isn’t an educated guess. It is a tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation. Once you do the experiment and find out if it supports the hypothesis, it becomes part of scientific theory.

http://www.sciencekidsathome.com/science_fair/what-is-a-hypothesis.html

A hypothesis doesn’t become a Theory, but can contribute.

Next we have Theories, with tested results that can be repeated and WILL BE repeated. A Theory is something that we know is true even if aspects of the Theory change due to obtaining new information, new interpretations, or a change in some information. A Theory can be voted on in the Scientific Community. A Theory IS NOT an opinion and takes precedence over opinions, as a Theory is in fact, factual.

A scientific theory is an explanation for why things work or how things happen. Scientists develop theories based on their observations of the world around them.Theories are based on ideas that can be tested. Theories are not speculative, or based on a guess.

kids.britannica.com/elementary/article-544886/scientific-theory?

 

Finally, we have the Scientific Law. A Scientific Law is so certain that it’s absolute and unchanging. You can’t vote on it, create a new interpretation of it, or change it in any way. It’s a description of observable phenomenon and doesn’t require explanation. It can be the basis of creating new Theories. Theories don’t become Laws, and neither do Hypotheses.

A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspects of the universe. A scientific law always applies under the same conditions, and implies that there is a causal relationship involving its elements.

 

If you’re Roman Catholic, and you trust in the plans of God and how he’s using Pope Francis, have hope. If you’re not Catholic, but Pope Francis is still a cool dude in your eyes, hopefully this gives you hope that Christians are not represented by those who claim christianity in the government. At least there’s something positive from 2016 moving into 2017.

The plans of Darth Pence for Education, and Trump’s cabinet pick for Education, Betsy DeVos, should upset you greatly no matter what. If you’re not upset, then you should at least be concerned or moved enough to want to write to your State Representatives, your Senator, your Governor. Be your own activist, be your childrens’ advocate. If you want the future of our country to be in the hands of godly, educated men and women then speak up. If you want your nation to be in the hands of educated men and women, speak up. We don’t have to just shut up and take it.

We don’t have to just accept it. We don’t have to just get over it. We need to do something, because he’s been following through with everything he said he would and he’s not even President yet. We’re not talking soundbytes. These are the “great things” and big changes he was talking about.

 

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I have a request. If your opinions and feelings are different from those of your friends, family, and neighbors please remember that they’re people just like you. I don’t care if they have a different political viewpoint; a different religion; different ethnic cultural background; a different parenting philosophy. Chances are that you still have something in common with those people.

People are not disposable. It’s so easy for us to click a button online and stop seeing them in our newsfeed; block someone; or “unfriend” them if we dislike them enough. It’s a lot harder in real life where you have to face consequences for your own contributions to the negativity in the relationship.

Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. It’s not a difficult concept. It costs NOTHING to be kind to other people. It costs nothing to cast a smile to someone who may be having a difficult day. It costs nothing to give an initial benefit of the doubt before turning your back.

I don’t really care if anyone has a differing opinion than I have. That’s great. Have it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that there are ideas, thoughts, emotions, opinions, ideations, needs, wants, wonts, etc. that are different. Other points of view are important. There can even be valid points on both sides of the same argument. Not everything is a competition. Choosing sides doesn’t mean one side is good and one is evil. I believe that most people are inherently good, and that only a rare few are actually literally evil.

There ARE times when we have to take a stand and do what’s right, but destroying relationships isn’t the way to do it. Becoming the very thing you claim to hate the most isn’t the way to do it. There are ways to stand up for yourself and your causes that aren’t harmful to others and make a good example to those others and to your children. Be kind and respectful in how you express your difference in opinion to others, and show respect for others’ differences. You don’t have to feel it, but you still need to show it. You live in society, and you therefore agree to live by the rules of society.

Free speech? It doesn’t mean what you think it does. Just as you may be able to speak your mind, so do others… and when you speak your mind, how you speak your mind matters and that means that other people have the right to respond to you. You have the right to speak, but you also have an obligation to receive whatever consequence comes from it from friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and others in society even if what you say or do isn’t illegal. There are still some things that are socially wrong, morally and ethically wrong… and sometimes that might actually mean that you should consider that your side isn’t the just, right, good side. I know that I’m not always right. Hey, I can accept that. We do all make mistakes. Not all sides are always valid, even in my world view. Some points of view shouldn’t be tolerated and yet… and yet there’s still a way for those points of view to be rebuffed.

If you want to change the world you live in, then you must enact change in a way that is meaningful. Violence, whether physical or verbal, is never an appropriate way to enact positive change, and it’s never a path to peace. What leads to peace is a change in conversation and a willingness to change attitudes and behaviors. Social change leads to peace. That starts within each and every one of us. For me, that’s maintaining a conversation and connection with God.

You may still believe anything you choose, but be peaceful. Respectful. Use meaningful conversation. Behave in a way socially so that others trust you. These things are so important.

So, you don’t have to be “with” me on several issues. That’s okay. I’ll still love you. We’ll likely agree on many, many other things.

 

Mahatma Ghandi quote

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Hmm. So Phyllis Shlafly has died at the age of 92 years. It’s easier to explain what she stood against than what she stood for, politically and religiously. Suffice it to say, she was against: feminism, Women’s Rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, bilingual education, abortion, religious freedom, Communism, equal pay for Women, and a few other things I forget at the moment. To give you an idea of how little I agreed with Phyllis and her politics and religious ideologies: The likes of Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Ted Cruz are mourning her death as a great, great loss to America and the Conservative Right.  

Of course there’s more to her than this paper doll figure I’ve set up for you here. She had far more depth, vicious all the way through, disguised as a Conservative who was an advocate for women, families, and children. I don’t really make it a habit to celebrate the death of anyone, but I’ll say that I won’t mourn her passing, or find her to be a loss to the world. Her passing isn’t a loss for America. I’m sure that this isn’t an appropriate response to someone’s death. After all, we’re taught that it’s poor form to speak ill of the dead even if they deserved it.

So while I won’t, or can’t feel sorrow at her passing, I also can’t celebrate her death, as so many on social media are doing today. Her voice brought about conversation, discussion, counterpoints, argument, and a thoroughness so that each opposing viewpoint was forced to look at itself. She was an extreme in her ideas, and she was fierce… and that fierce passion she had was something that I can actually admire. I don’t admire the great majority of her causes, but the emotion behind it… can’t we all?

I do feel sorrow for her family, that they’ll feel a loss without her, as I’m sure she was a good mother and grandmother. It sounds to me that she was an astounding advocate, and one that you would have wanted in your corner. She was a woman who felt passionately about a great many things, and not everything about her was terrible. Maybe she was a sweet grandma.

Yes, I found this woman to be a disgrace and a traitor to all women of America whether they were Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Christian, non-Christian, and anyone in between. She may have been a mean old hag, dangerous to our nation’s values, but celebrating her death is beneath us. This mourning period is not really for her but to pay respect to her family and those who did personally love her and will miss her.

As much as I despised her politics and how she twisted Christianity, I didn’t know her personally and so…. I’m trying to apply my belief that 99.9999% of all people have good in them. No one is all bad, just as no one is all good. We owe it to people to assume that there was something loveable about them. After all, the Catholic girl in me says that she was a child of God, and God doesn’t make junk. As a parent, I know that our children grow and make their own choices and we have to let them figure out the consequences as they go. Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes not. Free will and all.

That all said, I find it far more disgraceful and embarrassing to capitalize on her death. It’s shady and slimy. What am I talking about? Just check D. Trump’s Twitter account. Trump and Pence are cashing in on her death. They’re encouraging people to buy her book about D.Trump as a “tribute” to her life and death. Considering she was against free trade, I think she’d expect that after death people would do one of two things: vilify her as heathens do, or mourn her as good Christians do. 😉 And I’m sure she’d want her book to sell sell sell sell sell to help capitalize gains for her family fortune. I think that first and foremost, she would want a proper mourning period; she would want respect from those who actually respected her. For Christians, that typically means attending a wake, and a funeral, and bringing a casserole for the family to freeze or making a donation to a cause the decedent felt strongly about. Then later on, encouraging people to buy the damned book for her family’s gain and your own political gain.

I’m not sure how to close this one. I still have a lot of thoughts floating around, but I don’t want to flood a single post.

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I forget where I got it, other than Google

Candlelight Vigil

In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, a three hour nightmare, I’ve realized that the moment it occurred and was made public was a moment that changed America forever.

I hope that none of us loses sight of what’s really important in this tragedy. These people matter. The 49 who were massacred. They’re important.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 | Stanley Almodovar III, 23 | Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 | Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 | Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 | Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 | Luis S. Vielma, 22 |Kimberly Morris, 37 |Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 | Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 | Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 |Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 | Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 | Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 | Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 | Martin Benitez Torres, 33 | Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 | Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 | Amanda Alvear, 25 | Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 | Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 | Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 | Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 | Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 | Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 | Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 | Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 | Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 | Cory James Connell, 21 | Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 | Luis Daniel Conde, 39 | Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 | Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 | Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 | Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 |Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 | Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 | Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27 | Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 | Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 | Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 | Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 | Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 | Frank Hernandez Escalante, 27 | Paul Terrell Henry, 41 |Antonio Davon Brown, 29 | Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 | Akyra Monet Murray, 18 | Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

The 53+ people who were injured, maimed, and hurt matter and are important. Their families and friends are important. The first responders, the police, and the nurses and doctors at the hospital who interacted with them, tried to save them, watched them die, are important. The people outside the club who watched it happen are important. The 9-1-1 operators who answered those calls are important. The off duty officer who was outside and realized something was happening and was the first to engage is important.

As a Christian, as a Catholic, I believe that above all else, we need to remind each other to make it a priority to choose love, compassion, empathy, generosity, loyalty, humanity, kindness, open mindedness, duty to our family and communities. This is my call to Faith. This is my call to Action. The only way we can make sense of things: remembering those who have died. Praying. Giving blood. Giving hugs. Communicating with Equality Florida (click here). Letting our LGBTQI+ family and friends and coworkers know that we support them, love them, need them… ESPECIALLY when we’re Christian… ESPECIALLY when we’re Catholic.

We all have such a capacity for love that most of us are still learning to tap into the potential of it. Well, it’s time to put down the chisel and grab the wrecking ball. We need to break open the dam and forget about the flood gates; we need to forget about holding it all in.

We’re a nation that is filled with diversity, and therefore intersectionality. We all experience the same emotions and have the same needs.

Everyone has an opinion, and they’re clamoring for their voices to be heard about what they believe is the most important thing. I have some opinions. I’m not so sure they’re lining up with what other people are talking about. I don’t really care. It’s my blog. I can talk about what I believe is important, especially based on what I’m experiencing in my home with my children.

I’m trying to imagine how hard it must be for the people who were actually involved. But I imagine the people I love who are in the LGBTQI+ community. I imagine my daughter’s friends that in that community, and how she feels when they tell her about their fears and grief. I imagine them going on vacation to Orlando, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I imagine it happening here, in a place that’s supposed to be a safe zone for them when “out there, somewhere outside” isn’t so safe. Fear and grief clutch at my heart, and again, I try to imagine that feeling in someone with more ties to the community.  Those are the people who deserve the empathy and connection and consideration. Those are the people who need protection, love, generosity, caring, and a sense of safety equal to that of what anyone else feels.

I have a difficult time with the people who choose to identify with the murderers, to the point that they become apologists and empathize with them. In this instance, there are vile people out there cheering him on believing he should have been hailed as a hero.

I don’t want to empathize with the shooters or those assholes who do.

Most people in the world agree to live by the codes, laws, mores, and social systems established in the societies they live in. Most people who don’t enjoy the society and have the will to change it go about changing the system legally and without violence. Most people live in a world where they care about their community as well as their core family.

We need to accept that we belong to more than our simple family units; we belong to our towns and cities, our states, our nation and yes, we belong to the Global Community. We all need each other. We have more similarities than we do differences. No single one of us deserves more than another, or is worth more than another. We form closer bonds with our parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends, and that makes them important… but our value as human beings is all the same. Our needs are all the same. We’re all equal in God’s eyes, and so we should all be equal in each other’s eyes. We must be. God loves us all. Maybe he loves all of us enough for himself, but I believe that we were all put here to love and be loved. To respect and be respected. To learn. To build relationships. To see God in each other. To see ourselves reflected in others. To appreciate where we are, and the wonders of the Earth and the Universe and each other. To learn as much as we can before we look forward to the big pearly gates. Doing all of this while still honoring a relationship with Jesus, with God, while accepting everyone BECAUSE OF their differences can only fill our lives with more love.

I’m certainly not perfect. I have a hard time with this. I try my best to at least “not hate.” I may not love murderers or Donald Trump but as my daughters point out, “It’s not Christian to hate them. Jesus would say don’t hate anyone.”

So trust me, it’ll be hard for me to follow certain aspects of my own Call to Faith and Call to Action, but I beg you to try with me. Please. Let’s pay it forward with a kind act each day. It shouldn’t be a token act, but it doesn’t have to be a grande gesture all the time either. It SHOULD come from the heart and be genuine.

I’ve written far more than I intended to write. I had hoped to be much more succinct. My brain is just so full up. So sad. I don’t know what to do with it all.

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Navel Gazing, found on zuco.org

Navel Gazing, found on zuco.org

How does one go about simplifying their Faith? Gazing into their bellybutton, of course. 🙂

All of my life, in every variation of almost every religion there is, there are experts and elders and theologians who are there to explain what it all means to us… and rather than laying it out it’s often served up in riddles, rules, regulations, politics, and literalist evangelistic extremist shite.

I’ve been on this spiritual journey with a lot of, mmmm, reeducation. That meant that for a while, even as I remained faithful, I moved away from particular teachings and beliefs from my childhood household (bigoted, racist, homophobic, abusive, etc. directly against what Jesus spoke) and from the Catholic Church’s political stances. If I said anything questioning things with my many questions, I was shut down in Catechism classes. I couldn’t say a word at home because, well, it wasn’t safe. I knew that my answers weren’t going to come from individuals who came from my childhood or they would shut down my intellectual curiosity. As a girl, I was allowed to be intelligent and intellectual as long as it was book smarts and I toed whatever line was being cast that week.

I had to wait until high school and then college when I had the ability to do my own research with more resources at the ready. I had to learn to keep my thoughts and additional questions to myself. If I didn’t I was being disrespectful or blasphemous. Questions were a weakness of faith rather than a desire to learn of my faith and its history. Facts didn’t matter.

I committed to learning more about my faith and my Jesus, historically and factually, but I had to do it all on my own most of the time. It was a determined choice. At first I felt guilty and as if I were disobeying my father. I felt like maybe God would be disappointed and think I was being unfaithful. Imagine how delighted I was when I learned that Jesus commanded us to question everything and become learned and educated, like… about EVERYTHING!!! It is our duty to be educated in the laws of the land, politics, nature, society, as well as religion.

We’re not to be mindless sheep. We are, instead, to be part of his flock by choice so that he can be a proper shepherd to us, and we can still retain our intellect and curiosity.

Jesus knew that these things (politics, nature, society, religion, law of the land you live in) are mutually exclusive even though they are intertwined… and at that time when Jesus walked the Earth with us, religious law was their societal law. There were reasons for that, actually… practical ones. I won’t go into it here, as I’ve discussed it before. Likely will again.

And yet Jesus challenged their societal laws and religious laws. He challenged the self-proclaimed leaders of the faith he was born into. He challenged the politics of his society and of the Romans. He encouraged us to be rabble-rousers and to think for ourselves in all things from the perspective of an intellectual (imagine that, a religious man who was an intellectual and educated). He appreciated the Earth and what it provided, while teaching us to look forward to the Grace of God.

Even when he laid out the pathway to God and Heaven, simplified and with Grace, he felt it incredibly important that we know we are to question anyone who claims religious authority of any kind. I know I’m harping on this but here he was, with the Word, spelling it out straight for those with education and then softened for those not as learned as he was, using parables just as Abraham did in the OT. He straight out stated that the Old Laws with the only exception being the Ten Commandments were to be done away with. Only his teachings mattered now.

Jesus simplified. He directed us to challenge. He directed us to educate ourselves. He directed us to simplify. He directed us, therefore, to be Conscientious in our Faith and Belief.

I wonder if I can summarize?

  1. I believe in the Apostle’s Creed
  2. I believe in the Ten Commandments
  3. I believe in Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit
  4. I believe God is there for me and every single one of us in every single moment of my life
  5. I believe in Heaven, but I’m working out my concept of Hell based on biblical parables, discounting all other writings
  6. I believe God loves every single one of us as we are, as we feel, as we think, in our efforts to live good and balanced lives

 

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Good morning, Loves! I know it’s belated, but I hope that you had a wonderful Easter weekend. I hope that you have an equally wonderful Easter week.

It was wonderful seeing most of our immediate family. We missed a couple of my husband’s sisters, since they took their families to Florida, but we’ll see them this coming weekend for my eldest girl’s Confirmation.

It’s been hard for me to get to Church lately due to the pain, but it doesn’t reduce my spirituality or love for Jesus at all. It doesn’t reduce how amazing Easter is for me. It’s my favorite holiday, actually. It’s my favorite not just because it’s in the Spring and usually there isn’t a hint of snow (every now and then, there’s snow on Easter in Connecticut).

It’s my favorite holiday because of all of the typical reasons we usually give, the reasons that sound trite and cliche. This year we have two babies that are a year old running around, and baby that’s a month old. We have a four year old giving my three girls a run for their money. We have teen and tween nieces for my girls to get in trouble with. We have each other.

More than all of those things,  Easter lets us know that there’s… what’s the word… potential? promise? We have potential and promise to make the difference in our lives that we want to make. We can make changes that we need to make. We have get to be the ones to make the decisions if we choose to make them. We have the potential to affect change in others’ lives if we change our behavior and attitudes. Just as Jesus died and came back, every Spring we have the chance to remember what he did for us and grab onto his promise and take advantage of it. We can look at life with a more positive view if we choose, and slow our lives down even for just a few days.

We can reassess our schedules, routines, budgets, friendships, entanglements, careers, diets, etc. We can simplify our lives. We can choose what makes us happy, but is also considerate of and is a positive change for those we live with and have very close relationships with. We can choose which relationships need more attention, and which are toxic and need to be released without anxiety.

Easter is a release in so many ways, as well as a chance to focus, eh? It’s a reminder for us to take care of ourselves, our families, and friends. It’s a reminder to tend our relationship with God. God is in every positive change we make. He’s in every bit of potential, and every single promise. He’s in every lift of attitude and release in simplification. He’s the strength in the chain that holds our relationships to family and friends together.

Take good care of yourselves and Happy Easter. If you don’t celebrate Easter,have a beautiful day and take care.

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Did you know that people choose their candidates in very similar ways? We do. We all think that we have a system, the best system, and we’re so eager to share it so that others can try out our system and we just KNOW that if they use our system they’ll vote the way we vote. They’ll choose Our Gal/Guy.

It turns out that My Way is a very typical way to choose a candidate:

I think it’s important to learn about the candidates platforms and policies; think about the individual’s histories and how they treat their friends, spouses, and coworkers; consider how they treat individuals they dislike and are in competition with; look at their experience and voting history; examine employment/employer history in tandem with leadership skills; examine their skills in how they choose their advisers and their decision making process; weigh personal character; fact check them with reputable, unbiased sources, whose job is not entertainment but to inform with truth in order to educate.

We need to do all of this with ALL of the candidates, with the knowledge that with candidates we may have disliked or even “hated” in the past may actually be candidates that line up more closely with what we believe in. I also believe we may need to go into this with the humility that previous dislike and hatred of an individual candidate could have been misplaced due to deceit copiously placed in news media by opposition over the years.

These are the things that I believe opinions should be formed from.

Even before all of that, I think we need to commit to something more important. We first ought to commit to learning about ourselves and what matters to us BEFORE we actually choose a candidate for office. How can we know who should stand for us if we don’t know what we stand for?What issues are important to you? How strongly do you feel about them? What do you think about issues that other people find extremely important? There are dozens of topics we think about and research for ourselves and in our candidates. For instance, what do you think about:

  • Medicaid
  • Income Tax Revision
  • Cost, Availability and Quality of Clean Water
  • Minimum Wage Laws, and increase in mimimum wage
  • Prescription Drugs and Specialty Drugs
  • Aging and elder issues
  • Pensions
  • Higher Education
  • Employee Compensation
  • Moving American Jobs Overseas
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of Speech on Government Land
  • Transportation Funding
  • Disability issues & Disability rights and Human Rights
  • Hospital funding and staffing
  • Fracking
  • GMO’s
  • Funding CHIP
  • School Testing
  • Common Core (yes, these are two different things; one is tests, one is teaching methods)
  • NASA
  • Stem Cell Research
  • Scientific Discoveries
  • Gun Control
  • Overcrowding in Prisons
  • Scientific research funding for curing diseases, disorders
  • Mental Health, Emotional Health, Physical Health Issues
  • Medical Insurance and what you would like ideally for yourself
  • Funding Social Service agencies that would save the state agencies millions of “your tax dollars”
  • Social Security
  • Privacy Laws
  • Immigration Law & Immigration History
  • Social Inclusion Laws
  • Emergency Disaster Preparedness (did you know there’s actually a Zombie Apocolypse Plan?)
  • Funding our state and national infrastructure (Highways, byways, streets, railways, bus-lines, etc) for repair work and new systems
  • Carbon Emissions
  • Cleaner and Less Expensive Energy Sources for Cars; more efficient and cleaner cars
  • Cleaner and Less Expensive Energy Sources for Home Heating and Cooling
  • Green Living Initiatives and Legislature; Not just “climate change” but the stuff that directly affects you every day such as the quality of the air you breath and the water you drink
  • Regulated food industry promoting healthy eating and living
  • Funding education, both primary and secondary
  • Relations with other countries
  • United Nations
  • Political Parties working across the aisle
  • Gender Equality
  • Marriage Equality
  • Human Rights, Equal Rights, Civil Rights
  • Section 8 Housing
  • Public Housing
  • Unemployment Benefits
  • SNAP Benefits
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • The right for anyone to eat, drink, and have a roof over their heads
  • What constitutes war crimes
  • The Draft
  • GI Bill
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Terrorism
  • Profiling
  • Torture
  • Homeland Security
  • Racial Politics
  • Free Trade
  • Homeschooling
  • Military and Defense
  • Abstinence Only Education
  • Women’s Health Protection
  • Maintaining the Freedom of Choice Acts (FOCA) (only 7 states have codified a woman’s right to choose, making the protections of Roe v. Wade part of state law: CA, CT, HI, ME, MD, NV, WA)
  • Freedom of Religion, to practice as you choose in the religion you choose
  • Freedom from Religion, to be able to choose to refrain from practicing any religion at all
  • Freedom to choose your own healthcare, doctors, hospital, clinic, services without interference
  • Freedom to parent your children regardless of disability whether physical or mental health
  • Defunding of social services and human services that would help disabled, women and children, elderly, and veterans
  • Police Brutality
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Corporal Punishment and the Death Penalty
  • School Prayer
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Intelligent Design
  • Pardons in the Court System
  • Judge Appointments

Honestly, right now my head is swimming, yet I know there are dozens upon dozens more topics and subtopics to consider.

Things that we don’t really consciously consider when choosing a candidate can be unorthodox, for lack of a better word, and aren’t helpful at all. In fact, people end up voting against their own best interests if they use the below “methods” to vote with. They do it because they’re not really voting issues, platforms, policy, or even history.

  • The pleasantness of a candidate’s face
  • The pleasantness and pitch of a candidate’s voice
  • The taller candidate tends to win
  • Personal charisma
  • A nice smile
  • The appearance of being kind
  • The appearance of caring about doing their job well
  • The appearance of caring about their constituents in general as well as the people who are immediately in front of them
  • The appearance being a peace-keeping, even tempered individual
  • The appearance of being competent, educated, qualified, and capable
  • Individuals who behave and appear Presidential
  • The appearance of truthfulness and trustworthiness
  • A calm and even temperament

There are worse methods than this, I suppose. I’ve actually heard people explain that they use these methods in choosing candidates:

  • Mix it up a bit locally. We may not know who the candidates are, or exactly what their platforms are, but we vote a mix of Republican and Democrat to shake it up and we can try to make sure to “keep them in check” and keep things even
  • We play Eenie-Meenie-Mynie-Moe and we catch that mousie by the toe
  • We close our eyes while in the polling booth and click like mad at the little levers and then just yank that huge one or, if you’re back in the stone age like some towns, you close your eyes while filling in dots on what looks like a multiple choice test sheet
  • We pray right up until it’s time to choose and listen for God to whisper in our ear
  • Our minds are already made up, it’s easy peasy, because it’s made for us: we vote party line
  • The Candidate who “wins” the debate based on how many insults they can hurl
  • The Candidate who seems strongest based on their willingness to sling mud

Those particular methods don’t work, and to be honest they’re insulting.

And yes, to get a bit personal:

Can I help it if it matters to me when a candidate tries to impress people with his business savvy and know-how and insists he’ll get the nation out of debt in no time at all when in fact he’s declared bankruptcy four times and every single venture he’s ever attempted has failed? Every. Single. One.

It matters to me when he is not only proud to be a bigot and racist, but he plans to legislate bigotry and racism.

It matters to me when he has absolutely no education of value at all (since the education he does have hasn’t worked for him), doesn’t have a mind to hire advisers to help educate him as he believes he’s his own best adviser, and doesn’t know the first thing about U.S. or domestic history.

It matters when he doesn’t care about education of others, or about science, or the state of the world or its ecology.

It matters when the most benign emotions he elicits from his supporters is apathy, but the most frequent and dangerous emotion is rage and as it happens, rage is the emotion that he uses the most in order to attempt to gain supporters by twisting them up with fear of Other.

It matters to me when he is anti-disability, anti-women, anti-non-rich-non-white, anti-government and anti-American in every single word and action, anti-education, anti-generosity, anti-kindness, anti-human rights, and has a very tenuous relationship with the truth including his own documented history.

It matters to me that he’s anti-vaccination and believes Autism is a disease that is caused by vaccines; and that Autism needs to be eradicated.

It matters to me when he beat his ex-wife and then intimidates her to drop the charge and lie to the press; calls women disgusting names; bullies reporters for asking typical questions thinking they’re “too tough for any reasonable candidate;” says he’s going to prosecute every single person who says anything negative about him at all during the campaign once the campaign is over, even if he’s President; is anti-American military especially those who are disabled and/or are MIA or captured; makes fun of disabled people; lies about his personal connections to the KKK.

This is a man that has widened the fracture in America, and other countries in the world as as terrified as the majority of Actual Republicans (conservative or middle of the road or liberal-ish) and All Democrats (liberal or conservative). In fact they’re even more terrified because they see him with a clearer lens than we do. It turns out that the horror we’re feeling isn’t quite turned up  high enough.

This matters. People can claim that President Obama is responsible for the current fracture, and that may be partially so except for the fact that it’s because he hasn’t allowed himself or the Democratic Party to be bullied as much as the Republican Party has tried to bully over the past eight years. And I’m thinking that in the state the Republican Party is in right now, they’re wishing they had their own Barack Obama right now.

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