Both Current Presidential Candidates Are Serial Abusers of Women

Trump continues to embarrass his supporters.  None of this is either new or surprising about him, though.  He has always been crude, vulgar, and a cad.

It would be much easier to take the self-righteous pontificating of the progressives, however, if they had responded with similar outrage when a certain former president used the power of his office to seduce a young intern, suborn perjury to cover it up, and then himself lie under oath about it.  Let us not forget the frequent "bimbo eruptions" in which his wife used every weapon in her vast arsenal to intimidate, suppress, and demean the women who came forward to complain about her husband - the wife who is now the Democrat candidate for president.

When it comes to demeaning abuse of women, neither candidate escapes serious scrutiny.

While it is true that the Republican party establishment has never been a fan of Trump, it is also true that there would be GOP lawmakers and officials calling for the resignation of any GOP presidential candidate who behaved as Trump has and continues to behave.  But when a Democrat president (or senator - Ted Kennedy was equally notorious in his abuse of women) behaves this way, not a single Democrat in a position of power, not a single Democrat editorial page (New York Times anyone?) called for that president to step aside or resign.

The GOP isn't perfect by any stretch, but that difference right there is why I will never vote for a Democrat.  For the Democrat party, all morality must give way in the single-minded pursuit of power and retaining it.

I wish Trump were not a candidate for president.  I wish Hilary Clinton were not a candidate for president, either.  In a sane and rational world, neither would have ever come anywhere close to the nomination.  I would much prefer a race between the two vice-presidential candidates as neither of those at the top can be trusted with anything.


Vietnam Vets

Old men gather
To remember
When they were young
And stood so tall
Despite it all
Life but a song
To sing out loud
For they were proud
Of being called
To serve their land
To take a stand
To risk it all

They remember
These who gather
Those who paid it
And didn’t come
With the rest home
The dust they bit
“Never forget”
We try, and yet
Never is long
Years roll on by
And tears do dry
As youth is gone

But still they gather
And remember
The prisoners
And MIAs
Full fare they paid
On foreign dirt
So when they meet
To see and greet
Those who remain
They see it still
The bloody kill
Again, again

Stooped they carry
The memory
Haunt the nation
That would forget
And shun regret
To vacation
They won’t let us
Escape from this
Bright dream that died
In rice paddies
Where these laddies
Fought, bled, and cried

They will gather
And remember
What they did for
God and country
‘Neath canopy
Of jungle war
Now folks thank ‘em
Try to shelve ‘em
On dusty racks
Where none will see
This memory
Upon their backs

But that’s okay
Folks are that way
These remember
Who lives, who’s dead
What they all did
When they gather
To honor those
Who never rose
To come on home
But still stand tall
Despite it all
To those that know

I had the privilege, not long ago, of providing the invocation and benediction at a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony along with several veterans of Vietnam, and a couple from the Korean War.  There weren't very many in attendance beyond those who came with those having a part in the ceremony.  These veterans are obviously getting older, but they'll have their parade and their memorial even if the only people who show up are themselves. They don't forget.  They can't.  They know full well what they did and they're proud of it, even if their country is not.


Riots Don't Help

In Ferguson, MO, once the facts were known, it quickly became clear that the young man shot and killed was hardly the innocent paragon of virtue portrayed by some of his associates.  He had earlier in the day robbed a convenience store, had a history of bullying and intimidation both within his family and his circle of so-called friends, and not long before the shooting had physically assaulted the police officer in his squad car and tried to steal his gun.  He then thought he could run fast enough to tackle said police officer before that officer could pull the trigger on the gun pointed at Mr. Brown.

The facts didn't fit the narrative, but it didn't matter.

And the response of the ostensibly oppressed Black community in Ferguson was to loot their own town, destroy local businesses, and rampage through the streets.

That made the situation in Ferguson so much better than it had been before Mr. Brown was shot and killed, didn't it?

I do not know what, exactly, happened in this most recent incident in Charlotte, NC, but regardless of these specifics, there is some reason to believe that police have not always behaved as they ought in that area.  The suburb, North Charlotte, is home to an incident not long ago where a cop shot a Black man in the back as he was running away, then tried to make it look like the man had struggled with him and took his taser.  Was that a lone incident, or a too-common occurrence that for once just happened to get recorded on someone's phone?  I don't know, but it is not a good thing.  So even if, as I suspect, the current triggering incident is more akin to the Ferguson incident in its particulars, that doesn't mean the Black population in the Charlotte, NC area doesn't have some legitimate complaints.

But the response makes no sense at all.  Looting local businesses, destroying or attempting to destroy cultural and charitable institutions (United Way and NASCAR Hall of Fame among others), and generally smashing things does not do anything to improve the lives of Black citizens.  Indeed, it does much to make those lives harder.

Black unemployment is high.  Black youth unemployment is still higher.  Black youths looting a Walmart is not going to improve that situation.  It took decades for the Watts district of Los Angeles to recover from the riots there in 1965, if they can be said to have recovered at all.  After the Rodney King riots, most destroyed businesses were never rebuilt.  If there was despair and hopelessness and a lack of opportunity in South Los Angeles before, it was worse after.  And that is also what the end result of these Charlotte riots will be.

I'm not saying the situation isn't bad, but I am saying the response of the Black community in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Ferguson, and now Charlotte, has largely been to make a bad situation much, much worse, and not for the ostensible oppressors.  They'll do fine.  But for the Black community itself.



How do you know it’s God?
No. Really.
How do you know?
Just one little bullet
It misses me,
So I say “Thank God”
But one little bullet
Kills another.
Do I then blame God?

It could have been worse
So it’s a miracle.
Should have been better
So why does God hate me?
Is God the ultimate politician
Taking credit for the good,
Blaming others for the bad?

Or is it all a big gamble?
You make your choice,
You place your bets.
You roll the dice.
Sometimes the dice
Come up craps.

My father told me
At my brother’s grave
“Never underestimate
The power of God
To redeem.”

To redeem.

I’ve seen redemption.
I’ve seen craps win the game.
I’ve seen death inspire life.
I’ve seen evil bring justice.
I’ve seen shit turn into flowers.
I don’t understand it.
I can’t answer my questions.
But I will hope in
The power of God
To redeem.


Spirit Mound

Clouds stretch, spike, and roll
Like an EKG
Heartbeat of the world
Against a blue scroll

Mild day for August
Following the trail
Through milkweed overhang
Breeze stirring the dust

Birds sing in the grass
Insects resonate
Joyful prairie choir
Sounds as we file past

Climbing to the top
I see roads and fields –
Civilization –
But here it all stops

I try to picture
Before surveyors
And the mapmakers
Brought their strictures

When undivided whole
Through infinite space
Spread in its glory
Confounding my soul

Can’t make sense of it
I find I need lines
To cut the world to
Manageable bits

But I stop, wonder
Is this how God is
Sans theology
To break asunder

Spirit tied to ground
Tries contemplating
His infinity
From this little mound


My wife enjoys walking up to the top of the Spirit Mound here in South Dakota. We were there not long ago, and I was struck at the way we need to break up earth, sky, and even God into small bits in order to digest. Infinity is too frightening.



“Where’s home?”
How do I answer that?

An address?
Just a spot on a map.
Not home.

“What’s home?”
How do I answer that?

A town?
Just a name for the spot.
Not home.

“Who’s home?”
Yes. I can answer that.

She is.
My wife, my love, my life –

In my travels, moves, and changes of employment, I often get asked the question: “Where’s home?” I used to struggle with how to answer that. There is no homestead, no family farm, not even a “home town” in my past until you get to my great-grandparents. Even then, more than half of them were immigrants, so they didn’t consider that town or farm home. A few years ago, though, I finally figured it out.


Heading to a Country Church

Heading down the two lane,
Clouds are overhead,
Pressed against the glass;
Blue sky framing the pane.

I drive, navigate past
Corn standing tall
In neat, ordered lives
And beans in low, squat nests.

A fa├žade – all a show
That hides the dirt
And covers over
The chaos down below.

Up ahead, like pillars,
Beams of light strike
Through the breaking clouds;
Slough away the filler.

I’m told it all depends
On what you are,
Maybe who you are,
Before the story ends.

But I’ve no time to search,
So past the nests
And neat, ordered corn
I make my way to church.


I sometimes get asked to preach in nearby churches and, as my life is a bit higgledy-piggledy right now, it struck me how neat and clean it sometimes appears in church, when we’re really heading along in a fog hoping for a little light to clear things up.