October 22, 2020

The IM Saturday Brunch: July 1, 2017 – America First Edition

THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH

”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

Providence River Sunset. Photo by Craig Fildes

Photo by Craig Fildes at Flickr. Creative Commons License

Greetings from New England! Let the fireworks begin!

If Robert Jeffress can set them off in church, well then why in the world can’t we have them at a Saturday Brunch?

“Worship” at First Baptist Dallas last Sunday

Today, as this nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, we’re going to have a special “America First” edition of the Saturday Brunch.

By that, I mean I’d like all of the comments and discussion today to focus on your sense of the state of things in the good ol’ USA.

Let me explain:

As carefully and clearly as possible, give us some of your thoughts about what you see happening in our country today — good or bad, moving in the right direction or not, better off than before or worse off, things that give you hope or things that give you ulcers, etc.

I really don’t want this to become a piling on contest of criticism about any one particular aspect of American life today. So, for example, state your perspective on something, say, the state of the economy, your hopes and fears for young people growing up, what the present and future looks like for our rural areas/small towns/cities/different regions of the country, your thoughts about the health of churches, schools, the arts, civic organizations, and other institutions, what you have observed people of different races, ethnicities, language groups, cultural experiences, and lifestyle patterns are feeling and saying these days, and the role the U.S. is playing in the world or the role we should/should not play.

Statue of Liberty from Red Hook. Photo by Dan Deluca

You who live outside the U.S., please contribute your perspectives as well.

Let’s not focus our attention, say, on President Trump or another individual, or one specific piece of legislation, even one political party or group. I want this to be a more general exercise of observation and discussion about hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, things you love and cherish and things that drive you crazy and make you feel like we’re driving off a cliff. Of course, we will certainly be drawn to mention some specifics, but do your best to use those to bring us back to the bigger picture you are trying to describe.

I will be in Providence, Rhode Island, accompanying a group of young people on a mission trip to serve some folks in the city today and throughout the week. I may not be as able to participate in the conversations much, and it may take a little longer to clear held comments from the filters. Please be patient.

The table is yours. Use your opportunity well.

Let the following anthem set our theme today. Note: in using this song, it is not my intention to draw attention to Bernie Sanders or his policies! ????

• • •

Statue of Liberty Photo by Dan Deluca at Flickr. Creative Commons License

Comments

  1. Robert F says

    First?

    America first?

    The fact that I’m American is an accident of history, albeit one in which my parents and grandparents conspired by emigrating here from Italy a generation and two generations ago. I don’t belong anywhere but in America, and I would be completely lost in Italian culture (I haven’t even kept up any of the traditions that were somewhat important to my family), but I’m a merely a conversant pretender in this country. I feel no strong patriotism, I don’t subscribe to American exceptionalism, and I’ve losing the little bit of belief in America’s unique goodness that was inculcated into me by public school education and American civil religion ceremonial.

    I see that America is a nation that has waged war of one kind or another in every decade of my life, and now for the last 15 years. I see that America came to global dominance as a result of a war, WWII, but the wars it has waged over the decades since have killed millions of people without securing that dominance. America is slowly losing its position of dominance, and war is not preventing that loss. So be it. I don’t want America to be first globally by being first in war; better to fall behind than to lead, if we lead by exercising violence. Let our violence fail, I say. I pray that America will be maximal in love, and minimal in violence.

    When I die, my identity as an American will end. That’s temporary, and I feel no enduring loyalty to it. It’s unfortunate, and a moral weakness, that I have grown accustomed to America’s mostly undeserved and frequently ill-gotten affluence. I trust that that will be stripped away from me by God in the dying and rising that he will bring me through. Being American is temporary, belonging to Christ is enduring.

    • “When I die, my identity as an American will end. That’s temporary, and I feel no enduring loyalty to it.”

      C S Lewis wrote somewhere about two hypothetical Christians, one English, one German, who meet just after death in a big battle in the world wars. He imagined that they would have a bit of a laugh together about what fools they were for killing each other over such ephemeral things…

      • Robert F says

        Yes, that’s in an address he gave, later published as an essay, that opposed pacifism, and commended the idea that the Christian should serve in the wars of the country to which they belonged, at the command of the civil authority. He thought it was not such a bad thing, certainly not the worst thing, if two “innocent” Christian soldiers on opposing sides should kill each other in the course of fulfilling their duty to fight for their respective countries.

      • Robert F says

        In the essay, when he talks about the innocent life taken in war, he mentions soldiers, but not what we today call “collateral damage”, civilian death. It seems that the loss of civilian life in the crossfire was not really a concern of his when assessing the legitimacy of Christian participation in war.

  2. Khazidhea says

    As I’m not American, and I pretty much don’t follow the news at all I’m probably not the best one to start off the conversation. But I’ve just scanned the headlines from recent weeks, and have found a few to make up for my ignorant outsiders perspective.

    http://babylonbee.com/news/man-searching-bible-part-says-americans-made-gods-image/
    http://babylonbee.com/news/nation-adds-checking-world-war-3-started-yet-comfort-morning-routine/
    http://babylonbee.com/news/trump-takes-twitter-viciously-attack-white-house-step-stumbled/
    http://babylonbee.com/news/local-mom-claims-vaccines-caused-sons-calvinism/

  3. Robert F says

    Ironic that in one of the photos from the “Worship” at First Baptist in Dallas last Sunday, some kind of banner or graphic above the stage reads: This land was made for you and me. I wonder what that old Communist Woody Guthrie would have to say about his words being used by these people for these purposes….

    • I don’t think they sang this verse:

      In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
      By the relief office I seen my people;
      As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
      Is this land made for you and me?

      Woody wrote the song as a counter to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” That guy.

    • Seeing the indoor fireworks was also unnerving. Did they learn nothing from the Rhode Island nightclub fire in 2003 that killed 100 and injured more than 200? That fire was started by indoor fireworks which caused insulating foam to erupt in flames.

  4. Susan Dumbrell says

    I have a comment to make but I fear I will be moderated, as I am sometimes on a Saturday as I am just too early.
    I will post later,
    Enjoy your day, may the sun shine on you all.
    Blessings.
    Susan

  5. Susan Dumbrell says

    OK, Robert got through, I will try now, wish me luck.

  6. Susan Dumbrell says

    God’s Son is our dawn
    The sun rises to warm us
    God bless all our Earth
    …………………………..
    Make mine a rare burger with a bun and coleslaw please, Spare the mustard.
    I might be little late there but I am there with you in spirit.
    It would be my wish.
    May our universal God bless USA and the rest of the World and His Creation.
    We await God’s establishment of His Kingdom when ethnic boundaries and cultures are without mention.
    We are under His love and rule regardless of nation or heritage and may we all live in peace under God’s rule.
    Life is so hard. We are not alone behind our computers and / or tablet or Iphones. We get too much information.
    Christ’s message gives us all hope and peace in a troubled world.
    We just need to live His message of love. Get out of your books and academic phrases, live the Gospel.
    Lift your eyes and look above, our God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier is with us. The world is His Creation. It is His to share and enjoy with us. We must share His Good News with the world.

    Our Risen Lord,
    Alleluia,
    He is still risen today and will be ever more. Let us rejoice and share His Good News, – though the world would have us do otherwise.
    Take strength in His Gospel.
    Blessed be God.
    Susan

  7. Susan Dumbrell says

    Hurrah.

  8. I’ll let Kyle Marquis give my observation for me…

    “Unless you’re over 60, you were not promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go.”

  9. Steve Newell says

    I have an assignment for everyone: Who and what is the focus on worship tomorrow? Will your pastor give Jesus the day off and preach about the US and politics?

    Also, should Christian churches display the national flag of the nation that they are in as part of their worship space?

    • Either display all of them, in recognition of Jesus’ lordship over all – OR display none of them. I prefer the latter option.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Will your pastor give Jesus the day off and preach about the US and politics?

      Priest, not pastor, and extremely unlikely.

      > Also, should Christian churches display the national flag of the nation that
      > they are in as part of their worship space?

      No.

    • I will not attend a church that displays an American “sacramentum”.

      I will walk out on a pastor/preacher/priest that devotes the homily to an endorsement to Americanism.

      It would be very unlikely that will happen tomorrow morning where I’m presently attending. However, most anything is possible in the freak-show world we live.

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Tom , go with God. He will go with you.

      • As a follow-up…

        Yesterday morning was fine. No national anthems, no flags. The homily followed from the lectionary–Rom. 6:12ff. My take-away from it, and it was quite pointed by our newish and young (30’s) Pastor, our identity is “in Christ” and any other attempted identity is a return to slavery in the domain of Sin.

    • Robert F says

      My pastor has more than a little liberation theology in him, and he’s a globalist to boot. He might venture into liberal politics in one or two sentences of his sermon, but only in a vague way.

    • Clay Crouch says

      Our Episcopal priest will preach, as he does every Sunday, from this week’s Gospel reading. Thanks be to God.

    • Josh in FW says

      If a flag is going to be displayed on church grounds, I think it should be outside the sanctuary.

      • flatrocker says

        Which brings up a related observation. When the US flag is displayed outdoors on church property, it seems that it’s always on a very tall flag pole with the US flag at the top and a christian flag in a subordinate secondary position. I understand the accepted flag protocol for the US flag occupying the dominant position on a flag pole. What I find interesting is what message a church is sending in knowingly placing their christian flag in a subordinate position?

        • Robert F says

          What I find interesting is what message a church is sending in knowingly placing their christian flag in a subordinate position?

          The wrong one.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            If it wants to fly the American flag, and doesn’t want to get into a legal squabble, that is really the only choice it has – well, other than not flying a flag that has nothing to do with it’s mission.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Remember the Beast (corrupt political system) and the False Prophet (corrupt religious system).

            Which is the Boss and which is the Sidekick?

        • It’s not only outdoors. Indoors, the U.S. flag is properly displayed to the right of the speaker/preacher—that is, to the left of the audience/congregation. So the Christian flag is in a subordinate position even within the sanctuary.

          I don’t make a fuss since nobody else has made a fuss. The flags are merely sitting there with the rest of the equipment, like curtains and electrical outlets. We don’t worship them. But if we do, I’ll walk out.

        • In Australia no flags are shown in churches, i.e. as a normal display. There would be exceptions I guess, but thankfully they are rare Older cathedrals/churches may show some as part of a commemoration of war for those who died, but they are few and far between. We are lucky in Aus that the separation of church and state is more defined despite the efforts of some Christians among us. What on earth is the “Christian flag”?

          • All the ones I’ve seen look like this:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Flag

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Little report from the front lines — specifically, AnthroCon in Pittsburgh.

            Yesterday was one of the main events of the con, the Fursuit Parade. So long my camera batteries pooped out about halfway through. After they went dead, I noticed one of the minor suiters in the parade — guy called “Crusader Cat”, used to be on a Christian Furry Yahoogroup I was on several years ago. Recognized him by his fursuit.

            Well, he was wearing a red T-shirt over his fursuit:
            TRUMP
            MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
            and was wearing some sort of white capelet. After he passed by, I saw it wasn’t a capelet.
            It was The Christian Flag — white, with red Latin cross in blue canton.

            And that says it all.

    • Patriciamc says

      I have no problem with an American flag over in a corner, and speaking as a patriot, I think that church services should be reserved for worshipping God only. Yeah, I don’t agree with patriotic music or sermons in church. My church might play patriotic music before church tomorrow, but I can’t see them doing it in the service, and they certainly wouldn’t do an American-centric service.

    • Dana Ames says

      We have a flag. It stands in a corner in our hall; you have to look really hard to locate it. It’s there among other images: the Hodegitria icon of Mary and the Christ child on the east wall, which has a vigil oil lamp burning in front of it and is the focus of the room; beautiful color drawings of old Russian churches; photos of our bishop, archbishop and Metropolitan.

      The sermon will be 10-15 minutes in length and will be on one of three topics, or possibly a mix of them:
      the epistle reading, Rom 6.18-23 (being slaves of God),
      the Gospel reading, Matt 8.28 – 9.1 (Christ healing the Gadarene demoniac),
      the life of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, one of our local saints, whose feast day it is (on the new calendar).

      During the Litany after the sermon there may be a one-off prayer for our country inserted; that’s where we pray for things we get reminded of by what’s on the civil calendar. We pray more than once during the Liturgy for our President and all civil authorities and the armed forces, saying only “Lord, have mercy” (God, please act according to your character in this matter); we don’t tell God what to do about them. Right now, this is the only way I can pray for the President.

      Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Same with my WESTERN-Rite Liturgical Church.

        Long-established liturgy tends to damp out such things.
        No indoor fireworks, no zip lines, no Hymns to the Donald like Evangelical July 4ths.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      This subject’s been done before on IMonk.

  10. Automobiles are much more efficient and comfortable. House construction has been simplified somewhat by new materials and tools. For the most part our air and waterways are cleaner and despite Tweetster’s symbolic exit from the Paris Accord our the US is steadily moving toward “green” energy.

    I find it appalling that we’re still engaged with empire building in the mid-east and that our involvement in Afghanistan has been longer than the fiasco in Vietnam. It’s stupid that we don’t have 1st class single-payer health coverage for every person in The Home of the Free, instead we have the Senate debating how little they can get by with and still give a humongous tax break to the 2%. Congress should be allowed to enjoy the “average” health coverage that the median income American enjoys, AND experience how coverage decreases or cost go up each year. This kind of shit makes me wish for a return of a successful Guy Fawkes….

    My children are doing well. They have made good choices and experienced some good luck. I’m enjoying grandkids–who will experience some interesting times as they grow up. I look forward to connecting the dots with them from my childhood into their present. Heck of a lot of change. My mother’s mother was born in 1897 and died in 1997 — the changes she saw!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Agree, and congratulations.

    • +100

    • My mother’s mother was born in 1897 and died in 1997

      My grandfather was born in 1885, the year AGB invented the telephone. He was born into something a bit above a log cabin where coal oil lamps were the lighting technology. When he died in the shuttle had been flying for about a year.

      Change indeed.

  11. I love my country. I’ve got the aches and pains, and puncture wounds, of times under arms to prove it.

    But…as one of a darker hue than most who probably meander onto IM…this “America First” time of year…has, and probably always will, feel a bit “weird” to me.

    This weirdness that I, and folks that look like me, sense comes from a place of knowing what folks like Frederick Douglass knew… I’ll let him explain, why our relationship with this “America First” time of year…is a bit different from most of yours.

    “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.” – Frederick Douglass

    A bit of a different perspective, yet my perspective is still one of hope. Hope, because the Arms of the LORD are not short.

    • Ditto, Birdman. Appreciate and concur.

    • Damaris Zehner says

      Gosh, that man could preach it. I wish he were here today.

    • Robert F says

      It should be quoted in sermons all over America this weekend, but it won’t.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Pre-empted by the new SCRIPTURE of Presidential Twiiter Tweets.

        This Sunday, I’d like everyone to give an after-action followup of how it went down at your church. Also give your denom and general location so we can check any patterns that might emerge.

        • Patriciamc says

          It didn’t come up in mine, and we certainly didn’t punch anybody out, fake any magazine covers, and call anyone dumb, stupid, etc.

        • Robert F says

          ELCA, PA, No mention of politics, just a sermon and hymn/music selections based on the lessons for the day, Holy Communion, a special Independence Day prayer for the country and its leaders just before the dismissal, and “America the Beautiful” as the concluding recessional hymn.

    • Josh in FW says

      Powerful, this reminds me of why Juneteenth is a bigger celebration among many Black Americans than 4th of July. The last 15 years have been a personal journey of learning how sanitized and incomplete my knowledge of the history and present Black experience in the US was and is. Thank you for sharing this quote.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Junettenth is something to celebrate: The end of Slavery in this country.

    • Patriciamc says

      I think Douglas’ words are profoundly pro-American in that he holds us (or well, them) to our own ideals and reminds us that if we preach freedom for some, then we need to preach freedom for all. To me, the US truly became a democracy when women and people of color were allowed to vote, when the Constitution became theirs too.

    • Patrick Kyle says

      Mr. Douglass speaks a bit of hyperbole.
      “There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

      What about the African tribes and nations that plundered their brothers and raped their sisters for fun and profit to provide slaves for the market?. Or the Arab slave traders who dealt with them and the Americans, or seized ships on the high seas, turning all the crew and passengers, regardless of race or color, into slaves for sale in Africa or the Middle East? There is plenty of guilt and barbarity to go around. Apparently the sin of slavery has not been washed away by the blood of 620,000 people that died in that war on both the North and the South. Nor has it been expiated by the great strides in Civil Rights in the last 50 years. Or the fact that people of color now reside in the highest levels of government,business, medicine and education. Apparently for some sins there is no forgiveness. It remains fashionable to denigrate and flog this country for past sins as though there has no effort whatsoever to rectify those sins.

  12. Susan Dumbrell says

    Hmm. I am the Lord your God you shall have no other gods before me??

    Something about bowing down to other gods etc. hmm

    Your call
    I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes, sorry.

  13. Susan Dumbrell says

    goodnight all,
    Play nice!
    Susan

  14. Adam Tauno Williams says

    I am in agreement with the general tone of my little corner of the nation: Grumpy Argumentative Unsettled Optimism. I’ve been here when we had all the worst problems: unemployment, blight, vacancy, crumbling .. . well . . . everything. We have successfully traded those bad problems for all the best problems: employers complaining about the lack of workers, rising rents, neighborhood fights about developers, people complaining about all the road closures due to new water and sewer pipe installation, etc…. I will take these kinds of problems; thank you very much.

    Grumpy and Argumentative works well when people generally agree on what the problems are. As a political consultant commented recently: “””city leaders here regularly use terms like “systemic racism”, that’s uncommon”””. We’ve got big problems, and we are besieged by a state government that wavers between incompetent and suicidal – – – just means we have to be that much more the plucky upstart.

    There used to be shrubbery growing in the railroad tracks through the city. Now the beast is back to lumbering back and forth multiple times a day. The sound of its whistle is like an anthem: “Here Be Jobs!”.

    Once upon a time I could sit on my porch and it was an eerie silence. Now there are people, and those people are having children, lots of children [children make a lot of noise]. We were the first urban public school district in the nation to have **rising enrollment**.

    Even the disgusting Affordable Housing project [which I pass ~4 times a day] – that the previous generation dropped into a swamp next to a rail yard as a ‘gift’ to citizens of color – got bulldozed, the whole site raised 8 feet, and rebuilt.

    I am enthusiastic about our future. But I am a citizen of a city, which has the misfortune of being in a nation. Nations are fictions which fools obsess about. I worry about all those fools with their ignorant juvenile ideologies; but for now we are winning in-spite of them. Winning should always be celebrated.

    • “Grumpy Argumentative Unsettled Optimism.” I identify with that.

      Yes, those are the right kind of “problems” to experience. I would say much the same about my locale.

      Your last paragraph is perfect.

    • Robert F says

      In my pessimistic way I hope all you say is true, Adam. I hope we do win, and that we win so much that “we’ll get sick of winning…”

      But regarding the foolishness of national obsessions, in comparison with the concrete reality of your and every other city: Before there were nation states, their were city states, and they were also full of fools obsessed with the special character of their own city and the people who lived in it…

    • Josh in FW says

      Thanks for sharing a comeback story. Which city are you in?

  15. Ah, only in America would we promote America First on Canada’s National Independence Day. Happy First of July to all you Canucks up there!

    • Thanks for the reminder Charles. My Canuck family will be impressed that I remembered ;o)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Dear Canada,

      Please invade.

      Thank you.

      P.S. Canucks rule!

    • When I was young back in the olden days, Canuck meant French-Canadian specifically, and was a derogatory term. When and why did things change ?? It is not a term of endearment.

      • Right. Here in Maine, Senator Ed Muskie got in trouble for making a “Canuck” remark about Mainers of French-Canadian descent, many of them right in the middle of his part of Maine—and he was running for president.

        Note to candidates: never do that.

        Side note: I asked a Jewish friend about Jesse Jackson’s “Hymie-town” remark about NYC. “Did he lose many Jewish votes?” I asked. “No,” my friend said. “ALL of them.”

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      And a special one too! It is Canada 150!!

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Which sounds like a name that should be on an excellent bottle of bourbon.

    • ? You say it’s your birthday
      …Well it’s our birthday, too, yeah!?

      Click my name above for some of Canada’s spiritual history (July 1 blog post).

  16. “schadenfreude”

    That is all.

  17. CM, although I haven’t lived there in a very long time, I was born in Rhode Island (Pawtucket, to be exact, which is just outside of Providence — but then everything in Rhode Island is just outside of Providence). In retaliation, I am getting up a mission team to serve the people of wildest Indiana. If I remember correctly, one gets to Indiana by going to either Birmingham AL or Nashville TN, turning north on I-65 and stop when you see David Letterman souvenirs. ?

    • Damaris Zehner says

      I think all the major roads entering my state have a giant robotronic Jim Nabors programmed to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” as soon as your car gets in range — that’s how you’ll know.

  18. I have never been more hopeful and optimistic as to the prospects of America and the world at large, tho outcomes are far from certain at this point. There is every indication that behind that big screen featuring the Wizard of Oz, the oppressive world system that has been in place at least since Babylon is being toppled. Quite naturally this is not being reported on the big screen, but highly intelligent and knowledgeable and perceptive and discerning people all over the world are not only observing and reporting on this, but actively working for the liberation of this planet. Yes, there are also an assortment of crazies and intentional disinformation agents working hard as well, but that is where discernment comes in.

    What pleases me most personally in this is that an old man can make a small but perhaps crucial difference in this ongoing battle for the planet. I’m too old for most active combat but most of this battle isn’t being fought at that level, tho some is and lives are being lost. At bottom this is a spiritual battle for the spiritual control of the planet, and my daily prayer and meditation can help tip the balance. What is most difficult for me in this personally is the scathing laughter and scorn and contempt from cynics and scoffers transfixed by the Punch and Judy show on the big screen.

    One main tactic of the enemy of our souls is to promote rancor and division, and I have never seen it worse. We’re pretty good at promoting that here, but there are also people here waking up and looking around and understanding that if love and unity are to win, it needs to begin within ourselves. America raised a flag for the world when it declared for independence and liberty. It didn’t take long for that to be attacked and hijacked over the years by that old world system of the 1%, but we are at the crossroads again today and victory is in sight. We’ll see.

    • I don’t suppose you could share some of these data points you’re observing? Because the data points I’m seeing point to worldwide Mad Max by 2100 at the very latest.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        No. I’ve asked him before.
        Usually it’s some variant on “Let Him Who Has Eyes to See, See; Let Him Who Has Eyes to Hear, Hear.”

        And he’s already written us off as sheeple, i.e. “the scathing laughter and scorn and contempt from cynics and scoffers transfixed by the Punch and Judy show on the big screen.”

        • There is a smile in the making. Thanks HUG….I think I’ll go look in the mirror want to join me.

  19. Robert F says

    Here is something I love about America: The diversity of its people. I live in one of the most ethnically homogeneous places in the country, Lancaster County, largely inhabited by descendants of German and Swiss immigrants from a couple centuries ago, and yet, there are people from all over the world here (much to the credit of the Mennonite Central Committee, which has helped many refugees to resettle in the county). And my place of employment is a veritable Pequod of people. Diversity of people is what we should expect to see in the City of God, and the New Jerusalem, and in this respect, America reflects what we can expect the Kingdom to look like.

    • +1

    • All part of a grand experiment by William Penn. His father thought it could keep him out of trouble. Died a penniless man. The story I have heard the deal was struck with 2 native Americans that what would be sold to the Penn family what could be traveled by two men in two days. Hired were the best runners that could be found and what they traveled in two twenty four hour periods is now Penns woods …Pennsylvania. Native Americans had no concept of land ownership and it is even doubtful that the two were in authority but just walked away laughing at how stupid we are. William a Quaker and to his father a trouble maker decided to invite all the sects of the time to Pa.. Come to the capitol and look at it’s mosaics and sayings. Eye opening. My father and I worked on the new section added in the eighties, He won an award and our pictures are in a time capsule as my uncle is in the photo too. One of the most interesting projects I ever got to work on. The trades and what they did most amazing. From gold leafing to custom made plaster, to the granite work and marble work. The tile work was great too, there are initials from some in the black tile which was of a mix of many different tiles. I’m done

  20. For all that our media focuses on the dramatic and sensational, I feel like on the ground, the US is a much better place to live than the version of it I grew up in. There are actually existent things that are worse, but in terms of things that affect my actual experience, they are far outnumbered by the things that are better. For a country stuck with two political parties that agree on 80% of the stuff I’d like to vote against, we are doing suprisingly well, really.

    In terms of negatives, I dislike the rise of casual surveillance, civic things outsourced to companies and then turned on their people (red light cameras, for instance), and the obsession with safety and liability it feels like our country has embraced. Airport security theater is a standout on this, but there are tons of little ways it affects things, down to HOA’s closing their common greenspaces just because the liability insurance is so high. In general, I’m not a fan of the nigh-open direct rule of corporate overlords I have no way to seriously push back against.

    There are some things that haven’t changed – healthcare rationed by a combination of spare cash and economic class level, constant militarism, a mysterious belief that our people are and should be cool/more important/whatever just because they live here. The concept of pushing impoverished people away from your region, as if everyone else wasn’t ALSO doing that and how that just turns into punishing the poor everywhere, etc.

    The social air, though, feels free to breathe in a way I would’t have believed if you’d told me in the 80’s or 90’s. Most of the daily struggle of being queer has receded to only within the walls of church culture. What was once this razor edge to live on is now more populated by the funny stories of waiters bringing romantic plate setups for me and my totally platonic friend having lunch. Young people ask me what my pronouns are rather than saying offensive things about that being a question, more often than not. It feels like people judge on attire much less now, and overall casual wear is much more accepted everywhere from churches to fancy restaurants and night clubs. It is easier to get to know like minded people from far away and become part of vibrant communities that then progress to real life intereaction and a zillion people all around to visit. Disability access has BLOOMED, and I mostly assume I can go somewhere unless it has specific warning signs that I can’t! The sheer joyful crazy mix of people I see everywhere is neat, and it is no longer weird to have muslim friends. My pagan friends don’t feel as much need to be closeted.

    The price of sushi has come down to a point it is barely more expensive than fast food, and the diversity of “ethnic” foods is huge. I can have avgolemeno soup one day and tom kha gai the next day, and that is both delicious and not weird, and not strange to have friends on board. I don’t have to live near an ethnic neighborhood to go to shops that sell the ingredients for them, either.

    There’s no stigma for being divorced, few societal consequences lumped on top of the already difficult natural consequences. The rise of interest-based regional Meetups and chosen families and the like means you can be single without being lonely. Multigenerational houses are coming back, with grandkids watching their parents care for their grandparents. Owning stuff is a less necessary right of passage. Interracial marriages don’t attact as much attention, and it is weird when they do.

    Some of this is obviously more rooted in where I personally live, and I’m sure it wouldn’t match a rural person or even truly urban person’s experience arc, but yeah, it is just easier to breathe in so many ways. I have a ton of hope. =)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > US is a much better place to live than the version of it I grew up in.

      Heck yeah; I came-of-age in the 1980s. When the best outcome possible seemed to having the best bomb shelter. What a dreadful craptastic decade.

      > they are far outnumbered by the things that are better.

      Yep

      > For a country stuck with two political parties that agree on 80% of the stuff I’d like to
      > vote against, we are doing suprisingly well, really.

      Ditto!

      > the obsession with safety and liability it feels like our country has embraced

      Oh yea! Preach it. And if you don’t spend anytime in transportation wonk land you don’t know the half of it. Our Safety Obsession is beyond madness – and FABULOUSLY expensive – for nothing at all. Goodness, we have regulations about rear collision of trains that never go backwards; it is blisteringly stupid. But maybe someday somewhere this might possibly happen – and so we ignore solving real on-the-ground pressing problems. ARGHH! it is like we have a caste of professional paranoids.

      > Disability access has BLOOMED

      +1,000

      > The sheer joyful crazy mix of people I see everywhere is neat,

      +1,000

      > Owning stuff is a less necessary right of passage.

      Yes. This is very visible in the antique/classic car market – you can buy a old-fashioned car cheap these days. Younger people aren’t buying stuff – and part of that is cultural.

      > Interracial marriages don’t attact as much attention

      They are nearly the norm in many places.

      > it is just easier to breathe in so many ways

      Totally agree. I wouldn’t go backwards for anything.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Oh yea! Preach it. And if you don’t spend anytime in transportation wonk land you don’t know the half of it. Our Safety Obsession is beyond madness – and FABULOUSLY expensive – for nothing at all.

        Oh, but it IS for something:
        doublepluswarmfeelies for the Safety Activists and doublepluskaching for their Lawyers.

      • Heck yeah; I came-of-age in the 1980s. When the best outcome possible seemed to having the best bomb shelter. What a dreadful craptastic decade.

        I know your feelings are yours and to be respected but to those of use a bit older the 80s were just great compared to the 60s (OMG) and 70s (what were we thinking).

        I was born in 54 and have the transistor radio my dad bought for the Cuban crisis. People were actually BUILDING bomb shelters. I remember looking at potential damage maps based on likely nuclear hits and resulting fall out patterns. We were going to be toast. In our far western KY town we were the first step in uranium refinement for 1/3 to 1/2 of the US supply. And due west (up wind) were SAC bomber and missile basses. So if they didn’t take us out with a blast the fallout would get us. Just more slowly. They military was full of generals still pissed we hadn’t taken out Mao and Stalin. (They seemed to think 3 atom bombs a month was all they needed.)

        The 80s seemed great by comparison. Well expect for shoulder pads and big hair.

        At least to some of us who lived through both decades.

    • “I dislike the rise of casual surveillance, civic things outsourced to companies and then turned on their people (red light cameras, for instance), and the obsession with safety and liability it feels like our country has embraced”

      That’s half of the reason for my allusion to cyberpunk dystopia above. The concentration of wealth and good jobs in huge tech corporations, and the hollowing out of the middle class, is the other half.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Don’t forget the high-tech types (“COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS! COMPUTERS!”) becoming a separate caste of Priestcraft and Esoteric Wizardry in all but name, totally indifferent to Mere Meat in Meatspace as they gaze starry-eyed towards The Singularity.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Another trope of Cyberpunk Dystopia is that it is an inherently unstable state, the last gasp of a crumbling civilization about to collapse into Road Warrior where “the most plentiful food source will be human flesh – prepare to Do What Needs To Be Done to SURVIVE”.

        And those with the resources and power who could stop the collapse are the same One-Percenters who personally benefit from The Way Things Are. In the words of the prophet Glenn Frye:
        “I Got Mine,
        I Got Mine,
        I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
        NOW THAT I GOT MINE!”

  21. I spend a lot of time on both coasts (live on the west, visit kids on the east), as well as a lot of travel abroad. All I have to say is:
    1. The more things change, the more they stay the same (nothing really changes except names, places, arguments, etc)
    2. I have never lived in fear, and still don’t – considering I grew up in very fearful evangelical/fundie home (think Hal Lindsay and co.)
    3. America, with all its issues and problems, etc…is still my home, God placed me here, not an accident, and I want to be Jesus’ hands and feet wherever He has me
    4. As much as I like to travel–I am always grateful to be back in the US of A (those ever-stoic customs agents?)

    I just wish we could be kind while playing in the sandbox together…whether that is church (universal) or country. We’re all made in the image of God–let’s treat each other that way. Alas, but we don’t.

    We’re in the process of obtaining our Italian citizenship, mainly due to facilitate smoother travel when abroad; but also, cuz it’s kinda fun to have (soon). We already have two foreign nationals in the fam, why not?

    Our Lutheran church pastors will NOT be doing an America first sermon, but teaching right from the readings…as always!! There is no American flag in the sanctuary. Yep.

    It does crack me up though: the east coasters have way more flags on display all year round, than almost any place I’ve been to, and last 4th we spend in Massachusetts on the beach, and saw the best fireworks displays on the 3rd AND the 4th!

    Do I have hope? Sure! Why not?

    And so it goes…

  22. I’m grateful that we still live in a free nation despite its many problems. The divisions bother me quite a bit, and the divisions go beyond current officeholders and political parties. For example, there seems to be a very large urban/rural divide; I wish we could find some way to bridge that gap. And there seems to be a generational divide between aging Boomers and Millennials.

    Am I optimistic? Sometimes yes,sometimes no. I would be a lot more optimistic if both major parties would come together and begin seriously addressing the $20 trillion national debt, structural problems with Social Security and Medicare, and other serious issues affecting not only the near-future but the long-term future as well. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road, so to speak. I hope our country’s best days aren’t in the past. I also hope it won’t take another world war or some other major crisis to bring everyone together.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Remember, Concerned Kiddies:
      NUCLEAR WINTER SOLVES GLOBAL WARMING.

    • Actually, we currently live in an incipient, would be kleptocratic authoritarian state. And it’s really dicey whether or not we will be able to stop our descent into full-blown authoritarianism. I strongly recommend finding and reading people like Sarah Kendzior who have actually spent years studying authoritarian states and how they function.

      Even at our best, we’ve only ever been a “free nation” for some of our inhabitants. In the past, we have been marked more by our ideals and our general desire to strive to be better than by what we have truly achieved in reality. We often set a high ideal and still pushed for that ideal even as we failed to achieve it. Now we appear to have abandoned even the pretense that we strive for something better.

      It’s also not the case that our structures and systems have failed us. They were specifically designed with the weaknesses we’ve now seen exploited from the very beginning to allay the fears of the slave-holding states. Slavery and its resulting systemic and structural racism are built into our DNA as a nation, a truth those of us in the white majority have never been willing to fully acknowledge and confront. And that evil has truly come home to roost.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Actually, we currently live in an incipient, would be kleptocratic authoritarian state. And it’s really dicey whether or not we will be able to stop our descent into full-blown authoritarianism.

        To all the “AAAAAAAMEN”s of Christian Leaders salivating for a seat at The Trump’s right hand.

        “WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP? WHO CAN STAND AGAINST HIM? AAAAAAAAAAAMEN!!!”

      • Robert F says

        Scott Morizott,
        Here is a song that speaks to our condition as a country (please, if you are offended by the f-bomb, or the s-bomb, do not listen to this; it’s rough language is necessary to the rough message it expresses):

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbhYqV17CoQ

  23. Christiane says

    “Die Sonne ging auf. Die Nebel flohen, wie Gespenster beim dritten Hahnenschrei. Ich stieg wieder bergauf und bergab, und vor mir schwebte die schöne Sonne, immer neue Schönheiten beleuchtend.” (Heinrich Heine)

    ah, the beauty of German poetry at its loveliest!

    I read something somewhere (can’t recall the origin of this) ……. a question as to how such a magnificently accomplished scientific and cultural country could turn itself ‘over to a madman’

    and then I realized ………

    dear God, after it all settles and the troubles are finally worked through, will it still be for us that the sun also rises???

    ‘Die sonne ging auf’ 🙂

    God have mercy.

    • Dana Ames says

      “The sun rose. The clouds fled, like ghosts at the third cockcrow. I again climbed up and down the mountain, and before me floated the beautiful sun, continually illuminating new beauties.”

      D.

    • Robert F says

      This is infinity here. It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — it has to be something, right? — the POTUS recently contemplating the nature of space and its exploration

      For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that it was necessary that we be led into the abyss by someone. Okay, maybe we could learn to live, or die, with that. But why was insult added to that injury by the fact that we are being led there by an idiot, a man incapable of even the most elementary profound thought? Why is the Destroyer Chauncey Gardiner’s malicious brother? Is the drama of nations, is the cosmic drama itself, nothing but a cheap farce?

      • Iain Lovejoy says

        Be glad! Would you want a competent President successfully implementing the programme of Trump and his backers? If you have to have a leader leading you into hell, better a clown than a ruthlessly efficient tyrant.

    • Robert F says

      Our president is a character out of some unwritten absurdist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel. I may not be able to stop myself from laughing as the apocalypse he could witlessly usher in happens. I used to think that humor on the gallows would require a special kind of courage; I’m beginning to see that all it really requires is an irresistible perception of the absurd.

      • Christiane says

        absurd indeed ……. I tried to think passed the German debacle, but then this comes to mind next:
        a modern ‘Vladimir Harkonnen’ in full regalia ……. today demanding all of our private voting records from the states ……. sinister, much

        http://s017.radikal.ru/i408/1202/ba/1bdff1eae24c.jpg

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Then who’s Beast Rabban and “Lovely, Lovely” Feyd-Rautha?

          • Christiane says

            take your pick
            is a cast of characters who are available for assignment and would see it as an honor 🙂

            • Robert F says

              Today the man tweets an image of himself beating up a figure representing CNN. There is no depth he won’t go to, and the danger he presents, despite his idiocy in so many areas, is that he has a cagey instinct for how to play and manipulate his audience of reality-denying followers. It’s almost like he has some form of savant syndrome. He is incompetent at helping legislation to get through Congress, but he is uncannily prescient in how to wield the most fanatical of his followers like a WOMD. He is dangerous, despite being a clown.

        • Vladimir Harkonnen and Beast Rabban…perfect metaphor! Hadn’t thought of it.

          • Christiane says

            I HOPE with all of my heart that SOMEONE in the administration or the Pentagon is looking out for our country regarding oversight of the nuclear code business. I cannot ‘know’ if this is being done, but surely the strange behaviors are now getting so extreme that there must be real concern by patriots who would guard our country and the world from the worst that might happen if, God forbid, there was some kind of psychotic break.

            Such care happened when Nixon was about to leave office:
            President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and – in 20 minutes – kill 60 million people. He was over-heard and the right people were informed. This was during the Watergate crisis and Nixon was extremely stressed. A watch began and patriotic oversight was initiated so that a nuclear crisis would not happen because of a whim of an upset and distressed President who might suffer a breakdown.

            I can only hope. But I know there are patriotic people who keep watch over our country even in these most strange of days. God help us all.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Officially, when nuclear launch orders come down from above, the only thing each level of the chain of command are supposed to do is authenticate whether the orders come from the Commander-in-Chief. If they do, obey orders and launch.

              That said, military planners always have a lot of contingency plans. I cannot believe they would NOT have one for “What if Commander-in-Chief President Jack D Ripper gives the order to protect his Precious Bodily Fluids?” As happened with Nixon, I’m sure there is some sort of double-check contingency plan.

              Back in their book 13th Gen, Strauss & Howe wrote that “of the four generations alive at this moment, which is most likely to blow up the world just to Prove I Am Right? It may be that some Gen-X slacker will be the one to keep some Righteous Old Aquarian from turning the world’s lights out.”

  24. Dana Ames says

    I was oblivious to a lot growing up; I had a stable family and lived in a rather isolated small town. Comparing then to now, I think in general the greater openness of society is a good thing, as is hearing more from people who express the things that F. Douglass did in the quote above. I think the political polarization is a bad thing, although for the most part we so far have avoided the group expressions of violence like what happened in the ’60s and ’70s. I wish I detected the larger willingness of people to really care about one another and make laws that reflect that, looking to the long term. However, on a smaller scale the care is still there; just heard a news report following up on some homeless college students in the San Francisco area, who were offered financial and other help by people who heard the original stories about them and their struggles – very heartening. Community fund-raising dinners still exist, along with the newer ways to help financially like GoFundMe. Church people actually help a lot on this level, but that doesn’t make the news.

    I’m not as much of an optimist as I used to be. I am alternately fascinated and repelled by reports from Washington DC. I don’t trust capital-B Business at all anymore and I hate that greed is so openly rampant and that so many of our legislators can be bought. I hate that our society is more and more in the grip of corporations; “buying local” is nearly impossible except for what can be had at the Farmers’ Market, because all the stock in stores is produced by conglomerates. Like Tom/Volkmar, I hate that we are constantly at war; I am astonished at the lack of protest about it. Working as a substitute teacher, I am dismayed at the level of screen addiction I see among teenagers. It seems to be a lot harder nowadays to be able to move up the economic ladder.

    I love that we’re a big mix of lots of different ethnicities and that we can appreciate our differences on this level; I don’t find that has changed much since I was young. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but I so wish we could take what is good from the Old World and apply it, in terms of at least trying as a society to care for all our people, including the least and the marginalized, and of appreciating a slower and more localized lifestyle.

    Dana

    • “I don’t trust capital-B Business at all anymore and I hate that greed is so openly rampant and that so many of our legislators can be bought. I hate that our society is more and more in the grip of corporations”

      Cyberpunk dystopia – it’s not just for RPG nerds anymore. :-/

    • The all volunteer army has destroyed the need for people to actively protest American Empire-building Militarism. God back to the Draft and just the soccer moms of Amerika will shut down “the war against Terrorism”.

      Look what’s happening out in the streets
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      Hey, I’m dancing down the streets
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      Oh, ain’t it amazing all the people I meet?
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      One generation got old
      One generation got soul
      This generation got no destination to hold
      Pick up the cry
      Hey, now it’s time for you and me
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      Hey, come on now we’re marching to the sea
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      Who will take it from you, we will and who are we?
      Well, we are volunteers of America (volunteers of America)
      Volunteers of America (volunteers of America)
      I’ve got a revolution
      Got a revolution

      Look what’s happening out in the streets
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      Hey, I’m dancing down the streets
      Got a revolution (got to revolution)
      Oh, ain’t it amazing all the people I meet?
      Got a revolution, oh-oh
      We are volunteers of America
      Yeah, we are volunteers of America
      We are volunteers of America (volunteers of America)
      Volunteers of America (volunteers of America)

      Written by Marty Balin, Paul Kantner

      • “get” back to the Draft…rather.

        • Christiane says

          oh Tom, the rich and powerful can get their sons out of harm’s way if they choose to use their money and influence,
          but then the rest of our dear soldiers are cannon-fodder for heaven knows is to come.

          And look at some of the ‘excuses’ that worked for the rich. Dear God, there are no words for what has happened to so many of our fine young men and women who died for their country while those rich boys played golf and socialized at their country clubs in luxury.

          I’d like to see a mandatory draft. That might actually save us from the whims of people who are chicken hawks who ‘have never sacrifice anything for anyone’.

  25. How’s America? She’s sick. She’s divided more than I’ve seen her since maybe the 60s.

    How’s the American Church? Also sick because large parts of it worship someone they call Jesus, but who bears little resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible. American Jesus roots for America first. American Jesus roots for walls to keep out the “other”. American Jesus doesn’t care about the poor or disenfranchised – he just wants you to be blessed with more stuff. American Jesus is fine with violence as long as the American agenda is furthered by it. American Jesus doesn’t care about the earth because it’s all gonna burn up in the end – American Jesus has no problem with you tooling around in your massive SUV because, by God, you’ve got a right to it.

    Maybe America is sick at least in part because the American Church is sick?

    • I should add, that American Jesus isn’t anything new. He’s been around since at least the days of Manifest Destiny. He’s been around since the genocide of the Native Americans. He’s been around since the days of slavery. The White European “Christians” who arrived on these shores brought him along and used him to justify these atrocities.

      Don’t ask why the former days were better than these, for it is not wise to ask such a question. The pendulum swings, and right now it seems to be swinging very much in the bad direction, but it’s not like we haven’t been here before.

  26. I fear the damage that the human who resides in the President’s office is doing to our international standing. I think most of it will be ameliorated when a sane person reoccupies the office.
    I live hot dogs and baseball.
    I’m the grandson of Irish immigrants which means I’m a sap. I get emotional and I tear up easy. I feel patriotic when I hear things like the Simon and Garfunkel tune.
    I have mixed feelings about the temporal future but am feeling pretty good about the eternal one.

  27. Rick Ro. says

    It’s been nice reading people’s comments on this kinda open-ended thread. Amazingly civil!

  28. From an outsiders point of view America has us scratching our heads at this particular point in history. What is going on we ask wonderingly. How can such a man be elected President? We look and see a broken system, where sides are so polarised they can’t have a civil conversation. America is tearing itself apart, where a person of the left thinks it’s okay to shoot at a group of Republican legislators because that’s what they are. The America that most of the world would recognise is disappearing it seems. The inability to provide a decent health care system and the continual gun violence because of the unwillingness to challenge attitudes on gun ownership baffle us. The American republic founded in the 18th century was an amazing accomplishment and the world looked in wonder at the growth of this creature. It was an inspiration for oppressed people the world over, not so sure that’s the case anymore. I’m not sure America can be a world leader while it’s so divided. America has given the world so much, good and bad, it’s hard to imagine a world without it. But who knows…

  29. Read a lot of comments today. Some really good ones. At one time in the states of this union the states themselves had power to do what they wanted in regards to its people and if you didn’t like it you moved. I would blame a bare knuckled fighter from an old log cabin for what we have today. I would blame others that hid their real Identity as best they could and being one who just skipped being elected only twice. The one who chose to have so many Americans killed over diplomacy I happen to think the worst of all our leaders. Not being smart enough to find a way without bloodshed and the aftermath would have been way above his head as it was for so many others.

    Federal power grew its fastest from the depression and war which was the only luck the man in the wheel chair had and getting into bed with Stalin….oh my….The real reason it was even possible was the Civil war where the table had been set. We have so many people who want to rewrite history. D-day where my grandfather’s brother is buried in Normandy was a result of Stalin and had we not landed and been successful Europe might still be under Russian rule and Stalin wasn’t even Russian. He was evil.

    Oh well you can’t change what has happened because what happened ….happened. Frankly I’m tired….really tired. The only things that make sense to me any more are term limits and consumption taxes instead of income taxes that were promised to come off at the end of the last world war. Think even those who make money illegally would pay taxes…….There will be all this fanfare that isn’t real about the birth of a country who couldn’t stand to pay taxes even when a King gave his aide to help them. Many paid that tax from a King in time and blood and love. His men.

    Now what do we got. My wife pays 13 grand a year with a 5 grand deductible for medical insurance and I’m not on the house because I would rather die then contribute to a medical system broken. I thought we were called to be who we are. My son had a baby last year and it cost 80 grand. He cut his finger with a carbide tooth blade and it was 14 grand and they never put a stitch in. I just find duct tape and napkins and ride the storm out on a full moon night in the rocky mountain winter. Golden country. Maybe I’ll stumble down 157 riverside avenue.

    • Yep, well, after that bare-knuckle pugilist got done we might as well have scratched the 10th outa the Constitution…

      • Well as far as the 10th goes we might well have scratch it out by Lincoln’s hand which later lent that same pen stroke to many more. Fact for me and will remain a man had the opportunity to reason and be smarter than leading hundreds of thousands to a horrific death. The war needed never be and the time for reconciliation was at hand.

        At worst with the north’s capability it could have assembled a navy able to shut the south down. Not a good idea only leading to where we are today. When I look at Obama’s opportunity to draw us together and how it was squandered I have found sadness to the same I find in Lincoln. Martin Luther was In my honest opinion was the leader who was the best to go beyond anything we have ever seen. How my heart mourns.

        This country needs our brothers no matter of race to pick up and go past what has kept them down. I want this with all of my heart and God has been the answer. His sayings and more of what He will do is the answer and what will make us great. Our answer is in the diversity and the embracing of such is an answer. We need change……every damn penny. Can We? Why not?

    • D-day where my grandfather’s brother is buried in Normandy was a result of Stalin

      Sorry. But WWII was the continuation of WWI after the truce fell apart. And in many ways it fell apart because the ones who ran out of food first (in WWI) got such a crappy deal from those who still had 6 months of food left.

      Basically the victors of WWI (such as they were) tried to keep the world that had existed since Napoleon intact. Not realizing (admitting?) it was a broken egg and would never go back together.

      • I know all that and Wilson was not in favor of such a treaty. I’m sorry it took such a tone in my first comment. Stalin was as evil if not more so than Hitler. If we had not invaded France Stalin would have not stopped and had we not had a bomb that he already knew about he wouldn’t have stopped where he did. Patton read the man right and wanted to keep going knowing full well what a man Stalin was and what an enemy.

        What happened happened and you can’t change it by rearranging words. Germany was falling to Stalin way before our great D-day. If we hadn’t supplied Stalin with fuel and steel and what he needed he would of fell. IMHO would have been great because it would of fully occupied Germany with to much making it unable to keep going. He couldn’t even take a small island and our jumps in technology would have won out in the long run.

        My intention was to show the real side of what was happening. Does anyone really think that our leaders where so inept not to see who Stalin was? Why even Hitler thought we would and join him in the fight against him….always was crazy as not to see his own evil on the world.

        Anyways…..Washington redecorated his mansion during the war of independence. People in the streets of Philly were eating rotten potatoes. How many common men signed the Declaration? Blood always has been a price paid to start empires as far back as man ever was. The fourth to me is the pride of man and life and well I just stop there. I wasn’t trying to cut anyone down I’m just tired of hearing the stuff that wants me to roll up my pant legs.

        Out of all the countries that had slaves we seemed to have been the best at killing our people. Sorry Tom Lincoln was over his head and always was as far as diplomacy and healing wounds. Unfortunately we have many of those. We are still dealing with what happened way back then and still will be for awhile and yet we built a memorial……..Oh my……what was started then because a man had not the skills

        • W, all of us are “over our heads”. However, some are over deeper than others.

          I suspect that you’re right that the economics of negro slavery would have collapsed the system in 30-50 years. However, most slave owners were not willing to see the writing on the wall. Lincoln didn’t have to do anything to start that war–except get elected.

          The pox of slavery’s racism still festers and pusstulates. I’ve lived south of the Mason-Dixon all my life, and where I presently live in NE Tennessee is the worse I’ve experienced. I cringe when I hear Jeff Sessions speak.

        • Hitler killed his several millions, but Stalin killed at least 56 million.

          If we’re scoring evil by death metrics, then yes, Stalin beats Hitler.

        • Stalin was as evil if not more so than Hitler. If we had not invaded France Stalin would have not stopped and had we not had a bomb that he already knew about he wouldn’t have stopped where he did. Patton read the man right and wanted to keep going knowing full well what a man Stalin was and what an enemy.

          The USSR army in Europe mid 1945 was way stronger than the allies. And much more hardened to casualties than the allies. We would have been lucky to to have survived with another Dunkirk at best. I have to wonder if only the people at the very top (above Patton) knew this. Go study the numbers at the end of WWII and we were just in no position to fight the USSR. Patton was talking foolishly or ignorant of the true situation. Roosevelt and most of the top of the US government was very concerned about the population supporting another year or two of fighting Japan, much less changing the aim of the war to now defeat the USSR.

          What happened happened and you can’t change it by rearranging words. Germany was falling to Stalin way before our great D-day. If we hadn’t supplied Stalin with fuel and steel and what he needed he would of fell.

          Again, you have to look at the numbers. We definitely helped the USSR hold the line at Moscow, Stanlingrad, etc… But even if those had fallen many who have looked at the numbers don’t think that Germany would have held. Once the USSR decided that war in the east was not going to happen and all those divisions got to go west with all the tanks and other things being built on the eastern side of the Urals it was over for Hitler. And I say Hitler, not Germany, because it was he and not the military that was making all the bad decisions that would lead up to this.

          Not to say Stalin was someone we wanted to survive. We just didn’t have a way to take him out. Or how to build a new USSR if we did. [See Iraq.]

          Of course most IM readers have moved on and will likely never read this.

      • Exactly DavidL.

        I would add one word to your description of the Versailles Treaty; VINDICTIVENESS.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Basically the victors of WWI (such as they were) tried to keep the world that had existed since Napoleon intact. Not realizing (admitting?) it was a broken egg and would never go back together.

        Just as the Council of Vienna in 1815(?) tried to keep the world that existed before the French Revolution intact.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Now what do we got. My wife pays 13 grand a year with a 5 grand deductible for medical insurance and I’m not on the house because I would rather die then contribute to a medical system broken.

      She should have become a Government bureaucrat. Free medical care for life, 100% pension at 50 with unlimited COLAs (even for Zimbabwe-level inflation). All paid for by the Lowborn.