My America

When Leaders Lie, And Supporters Embrace It

When you say you follow Jesus but support laws that hurt people Jesus helped – people stop believing you & you hurt Christianity. — Mark Sandlin

Regardless of where one stands on the Border Crisis issue, some facts hold up despite this era of dishonesty. The shift that created the crisis was the ‘Zero Tolerance” policy implemented by Attorney Jeff Sessions in April – a policy that has the earmarkings of Stephen Miller. And, as The Atlantic, reported,

…if the goal were simply to draw voters’ attention to the border, there are plenty of ways to do it that are less controversial (not to mention, less cruel) than ripping young children from the arms of asylum seekers and sticking them in dystopian-looking detention centers. But for Miller, the public outrage and anger elicited by policies like forced family separation are a feature, not a bug. 

As appalling as this tactic is, many Christians failed to stand up and reject the hate. It is reminiscent of the 1950s-1960s Civil Rights movement where, historians noted,

“Simply put, any suggestion that the religion of southern whites aided the civil rights struggle grossly perverts the past. While many evangelicals displayed kindness in their personal dealings with blacks, most also enthusiastically defended a system designed to advantage whites and to correspondingly disadvantage African Americans at every turn.”

(The article is an interesting read as it sheds light on the way evangelicals pervert the teachings of Jesus)

But, Trump, who less than a week earlier stated he could not solve the problem (a lie) — Tweeting CHANGE THE LAW — decided, in fact, he could. So, he signed an Executive Order on June 20, ending the process of separating children from their parents.

Congressman Warren Davidson, a self-professed Christian who represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District where I live, wrote on Facebook:

“I’m glad the President acted swiftly to resolve the crisis on our southern border today.”

He wrote this, despite knowing that the crisis was, at minimum one or two months old, and also knowing the Trump administration created the situation by implementing the Zero Tolerance tactic.

When Is A Lie, A Lie?

As NPR, reported, calling a statement a lie is a matter of determining intent, which may be splitting hairs, but it does speak to where we have fallen in our political discourse. In the essay for NPR, the writer takes exception to the organization’s definition and concludes,

More important is that the media and the public register a fundamental fact: Top people speaking for the United States aren’t telling us the truth — starting with the president.

Davidson, who held his cards close to his chest concerning his opinion of Trump, when Davidson ran for election in 2016, has proven to be one of the President’s loudest cheerleaders. Recently he posted on Facebook an article about how great the economy is doing (although none of this goodness has trickled down to Preble County), and when I posted an article with an opposing viewpoint, in response to his assertion, a reader immediately denigrated the article because it was from ABC.

So, in response to the man’s denigration, I posted some Preble County stats which demonstrate the economy is not so great here, followed by the same ABC article edited by Fox News. As a former reporter, I knew the article ran across all news agencies because it was not a commentary, it was just a ‘straight up, hard news’ story. Both versions of the article attested to the reality that many are not sharing in the economy’s ‘goodness’.

But, what I found most interesting, is the ignorance concerning information dissemination that exist in parts of the Trump camp — ignorance that politicians are exploiting. Even though small, rural communities are seeing little, to no, improvement as Wall Street rages – because Wall Street and Main Street are two distinctly separate economies — for fans, there is little faith in information outside their echo chamber. And, if these fans live in more affluent regions, that reality is projected onto all of America.

For politicians, as the saying goes — it’s like taking candy from a baby — making spoon feeding ideology to their base child’s play.

Afterthought

Some of the most comical news I read on Facebook this past week came from my local commissioner who seemed giddy with excitement after getting to shake hands with Vice-President Mike Pence. Pence was in Ohio on Friday touting the greatness of the GOP tax cut (and booming economy). On Facebook the Commissioner said:

My mind went immediately to the song choice because “We are the Champions” feels like an odd selection for the homophobic Pence. The man singing the song, Freddie Mercury, was bisexual and married to a man at the time of his death.

It feels like a Southern rock anthem with some subtle racism would have been a better choice.

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Categories: 8th congressional district, My America, Preble County, Religion | Leave a comment

Separating Children From Parents In Current Border Crisis Needs To End

Politicians love to keep things murky, it makes rallying people to a cause simpler.

It is why in the current Border Crisis there is confusion over who these people are. Are they: illegal immigrants, undocumented workers or asylum seekers? They all get lumped into one big group.

For clarification, these are asylum-seekers. These are families leaving violent regions of the world seeking safety for their children.

…..

Those who know me know I read a lot of history and I recall a story I read about some asylum seekers.

They lived in a region of their country where lawlessness existed. Children as young as 14 and 15 were gunned down in cold blood. Women were raped. Livestock was stolen. Houses were burned. Children was shot dead in front of their parents and parents killed in front of their children.

Some of the atrocities was committed by gangs. Some of it was committed by the local law enforcement community.

The asylum seekers were Alexander and Polly (Hull) Beaty my maternal grandparents of the Civil War era. They left their belongings in northern Tennessee and headed north with their children to save their lives.

But, like many asylum seekers, their story is not a happy one. Three of their sons, and a nephew, were captured by the CSA. One of the men escaped with his life — the other three starved to death in a CSA prisoner-of-war camp. Those men are buried in graves with only a number to identify them. Their parents were never able to properly grieve their deaths.

The current Border Crisis is about parents trying to protect their children, something any decent person would do. The United States is abusing the situation for political aspirations. The kids are human shields in some ill-conceived negotiating tactic by Mr. Trump to fund a border wall (that he promised Mexico would fund).

Call the Department of Justice at 202-353-1555 and demand they end this state-sponsored abuse. Let your elected official know — this is not acceptable.

For Genealogists

  • A more complete telling of the Polly and Alexander story can be found here.
Categories: 8th congressional district, Civil War History, My America | 6 Comments

It’s Time For Them To Go

I spoke with a young black man this week who is from New Orleans. Since I was in New Orleans a couple of years ago, our conversation drifted to the various statues and monuments in the region.

He said he walked past the statue of Jefferson Davis on his way to school. This is in the 21st century.

When a young black child has to walk past the statue of man who ‘if he had his druthers’ would have prevented the young man from being educated or having any opportunities in this country, it is an atrocity. That statue was there to remind the young black man that he hasn’t earned his place in American society. That he’s not quite good enough to be an American.

As someone who has studied a lot of American history, including my family genealogy, I appreciate history, but I do not worship it. History should be a teacher — not a tool for oppression.

White people, especially those who claim to be Christian, have a moral obligation to educate themselves on the impact that these statues have on the psyche of a young black child.

The statues need to go.

Categories: American History, My America