Even a Strong Black Woman Gets Tired Sometimes

If we are lucky we currently know or have known strong Black women who can always be counted on when things get tough. What we fail to realize is that always is an awfully long time and that depending on that strong Black woman can be draining because it so often results in them putting others before herself. It would be nice to think she “don’t get no ways tired” but even the best of them have their days.

tired black woman good

Strong Black women are under assault, they are exempt from none of the forces systematically aligned against Black people and they have also assumed the responsibility of standing up for their children, their mates, their brothers and sisters whether family or not and have even extended themselves to other causes where the absence of justice and equality and rights threatens not just some but all.

tired black woman

It is easy sometimes to sit back and rely on the strong Black woman to fight the good fight, reaping the windfall of their efforts while doing little of the work. We roar at the slaughter of Black men but with Black women somehow not so much. We participate in judging and body shaming and trying to control what we ought not. Our own images sometimes depend on the woman being somewhere beneath us rather than at our side. It is no wonder that she gets tired sometimes.

strong black woman one

To the strong Black woman I would ask her to remember the good she has done and the lives that have benefitted from her presence. I would also ask her to deploy her own airbag first before attempting to help others because if you lose consciousness you’re of no more help. Feed yourself also if not first and look within and to your faith for strength because people are somewhat unreliable. Know your worth and use some of that strength to insist others respect it as well. Know when to cut your losses because all situations and relationships and causes may not be intended for more than a season.

sad woman

 

To those who know a strong Black woman, support her, assist her, make her welfare a concern because she may be so busy being strong she doesn’t take the care of herself that she should. Most of all appreciate her. It will go a long way toward giving her the strength to keep doing what we all need her to do. Love her unselfishly recognizing that she is not only supporting you but a whole universe of people who have needs as well. If she has chosen you your time together will be cherished because she’s that kind of woman. And when she needs it, let her rest because even she gets tired sometimes.

black woman resting

 

Michelle Bachman: On a Mission From God!

Preface: This was written four years ago but is still highly relevant. Except for some specific references you could substitute several of the Republican “leaders” trying to appeal to their Evangelical base by telling them what they believe they want to hear.

 

A friend and former high school classmate responded to an article I posted about Michelle Bachman titled, “Michelle Bachman Blames God For 9-11 And Benghazi”. http://samuel-warde.com/2013/05/michelle-bachmann-blames-god-for-9-11-and-benghazi/  He inquired if I thought it noble that she and her family provided foster care to children in need? He asked if I thought she was a woman of faith. He wondered if I thought a person of faith had to remain silent about their faith because they decided to become public servants. Does it mandate and “establish” a religion for the constituency just because they are faithful witnesses to their beliefs? He noted his thoughts that much criticism of her could be due to out of context statements and misinterpretation of her positions.

Because I was time constrained, I initially gave her credit for assisting children in need and promised to respond fully later which is now. I’ll add that my friend and I both grew up in Minnesota, I was about 10 miles from the District she represents and came from a completely different demographic. I’m not sure where my friend grew up relative to the district but we each would have at least a vague concept regarding the District she covers.

I’ll respond to one of the last questions first. Michelle Bachman does get misrepresented in the media, statements are exaggerated and positions unfairly characterized as is likely true of every politician with a national profile. I think it amusing but unfair to characterize her as crazy with a “glazed look” because she was looking in the wrong camera in her infamous Tea Party Response speech following a State of The Union speech delivered by the President. I try to limit my criticisms to her actual views and things that truly reflect on her character as opposed to those things with no meaning. I have no sympathy for her though because she goes out of her way to mischaracterize others publicly without concern for the truth or the harm she could cause. She has repeatedly called the President “anti-American” with some half-hearted denials between attacks. She’s associated people with the “Muslim Brotherhood” with no evidence and was denounced by her party for doing so. She makes statements on subjects like global warming and carbon dioxide levels that demonstrate either a lack of the mental capacity to hold public office or a willingness to boldly lie to gain a political advantage. She has repeatedly stated that because carbon dioxide occurs in nature, it cannot be harmful. All those that have died from carbon dioxide poisoning (which is rarer and different than carbon monoxide like released in a car exhaust) will be happy to know they must be still alive.

Michele-Bachmann1

The first question related to her providing foster care for children. She and her husband have 5 children and have provided short-term care ranging from a few months to a couple years for 23 other children, all teenage girls for which she was paid by the State of Minnesota. Her home was legally classified as a treatment home. The Christian Counseling Center she now operates with her husband receives significant payments from the State and Federal government and has received several Federal grants. My willingness to credit her for her altruism is diminished somewhat by the fact it was a business. I know nothing about the profitability or whether or not she made personal contributions to provide care. I also wonder about what she might be teaching those girls given her penchant to at minimum exaggerate on topics and at worst lie and indoctrinate these girls with false beliefs.

I am not in a position to question her faith or that of anyone else. When she began her Presidential campaign she withdrew from the church she belonged to on paper (while not attending for over two years) and joined a new church closer to home. There are those who question some of her influences but I thought little of the attempt to criticize President Obama because of his relationship with others and won’t attack Michelle Bachman in that manner.

My title which includes the phrase, “On a Mission from God” was not chosen randomly but reflects something she often stated that “God then called me to run” for her House seat in 2006 and of the 3 day fast she and her husband had to “confirm it”. Now I’m all for fasting and praying, but submit that it is possible to draw a wrong conclusion about what one believes they are called by God to do. I believe there are tests that can help reveal whether something is truly God’s will. Is it consistent with His word would be among the primary ones and in my opinion many of the positions she takes have no foundation in the bible or any religion I’m aware of and therefore her statements whether she believes them or not do not appear to be faith-based but much more practical in appealing to a rabid base. Rather than refusing to cast the first stone she comes with an arsenal of attacks without factual basis which I will continue to point out whenever they occur.

Michele_Bachmann_by_Gage_Skidmore_5

To my friend, I would say that I actually weed out attacks on her that are without merit and don’t pass them along. There is no need to make up stuff about Michelle Bachman when the truth will suffice. I confess that I consider her representing a portion of my home state a blot on my record and will do what I can to keep the electorate informed of the facts regarding Michelle Bachman. I will celebrate in 2014 when she’s gone.

I don’t want to gloss over his other questions. A constituent is not bound by the faith of their elected official but neither should that official attempt to mandate that their constituents follow their faith. Michelle has what she claims are faith-based views on abortion and same-sex marriage yet she attempts to persecute those who believe or act differently than what her faith tells her. I don’t think it’s for her to judge (lest she be judged) and what her faith dictates she do need not be legislated to cover the rest of us. A politician can honor their faith and serve in government, I think she’s doing a particularly bad job of it and her faith seems to be quite changeable. A person of faith need not be silent, but to profess loudly your faith while advocating faithless policies just seems hypocritical.

 

 

Homosexuality and Gay Parenting

I wrote this about four years ago and stand by it now…

 

HOMOSEXUALITY AND GAY PARENTING

 

A short time ago I requested topics from my “audience” such as it were and I have received 5 topics thus far with the first on the list being “Homosexuality and gay parenting”. Being neither homosexual nor a gay parent, it wasn’t the easiest topic on the list or the hardest. I do have opinions on the subject and therefore, shall express them. I think of these subjects, the discussion of homosexuality itself is the far bigger issue and then several subtopics including gay parenting will come into play. My opinions are my own; they may differ from what some religions teach us or what society generally dictates. I encourage open discussion but please keep it tasteful and respectful.

Like most of us I think, my positions have evolved. I went to public high school in the seventies and was an athlete, meaning I spent a lot of time in locker rooms and showers in the company of naked boys. There were differing comfort levels with nudity and sexuality, those who tried to secret themselves while changing clothes while others needed no towel to hide. One could notice but not stare but honestly it was not a sexual environment and after a time, comparisons ended and with that a realization that parts are parts. Boy’s told crass jokes about homosexuals using the lingo of the day, in most cases not understanding anything about the acts and lifestyle of which they spoke. This was a learned behavior picked up in the home and from family, friends and peers. Homosexuality was mocked without understanding and the identifiable males were outcasts and their numbers were few. There existed no forum in which to discuss views on homosexuality, simply the community consensus that gay equaled bad. I was 17 when I left my tidy universe where life was simple and left to go to college to further my “education”, which covered far more than the curriculum. As my personal evolution is not really today’s topic. I’ll speed it up by saying that when having the opportunity to actually get to know homosexuals and consider them not as a group but as individuals. Much of what I learned was challenged and my views changed along the way. The main consideration that shaped my views was my answer to the question whether being gay is a choice and I come down firmly on the side that generally it is not a choice and people are born that way. I can think of exceptions but I believe the vast majority of gay people have no choice and therefore deal with what life has given them.

It is this view which helps me align my religious views. I was a member of a church fairly recently which taught that homosexuality was a sin. We were encouraged to “hate the sin but love the sinner” and the pastor himself might make an occasional gay joke in private. This was not a subject he dwelled on but it would come up from time to time. Believing as I do that nothing occurs outside of God’s will and that homosexuals exist. I must therefore conclude that homosexual behavior is not a sin but is also part of God’s plan. Being God’s children we are commanded to love them as we are required to love all our “neighbor’s”, in the same way as we love ourselves.

This means that all of the “rights” we bestow on the rest of us should be available to gays as well. This includes the right to work without discrimination in employment, to marry and to raise families. Many gay people came to that realization later in life after they had already parented children. They did not stop being the parents of those children upon discovering or declaring they were gay. In other cases gay couples or singles may wish to adopt children, statistically presumed to be straight. Studies have shown that children raised by gay parents are no more likely to be homosexual than those raised by straight ones. Again because I believe that sexuality is not a choice, I don’t live in fear of gay people raising children. When we look at the number of children waiting for adoption. We should be happy for any qualified parents, going through screening like everyone else, willing to accept the responsibility.

So the question didn’t turn out to be that hard for me after all. I’m sure there are differing opinions. Love to hear what you think!

Boost

 

 

A Boy and a Gun

 

I grew up in a household with 4 boys and no girls. Without meaning to suggest that girls are not, I can definitively say that boys are curious by nature. There came a time when my parents brought home some Christmas presents early in December and it became our life’s mission to find out where those presents were hidden, what they were, guess who they belonged to and ultimately play with them long before Santa brought them down our non-existent chimney.

I was the second oldest of the 4 boys, the first three approximately two years apart. We were all quite different in personality. The oldest was quieter and had some nerdish traits preferring chess and airplanes to sports. I was perhaps the most reckless and got into far more trouble than my older brother. The one two years below me was able to learn from his two older brothers and got into less trouble while being slightly more devious and the youngest was but a baby at this time and not a participant in this particular story.

Because both our parents worked, we were home alone for at least brief periods most days. We had chores we were responsible for which should have taken up much of that time but there was always time to get into something and the mission to discover those presents was a top priority. The detached garage was eliminated early on, most everything was clearly visible and while there was an attic, a quick search utilizing the pull down ladder eliminated that as a possibility. Because we’d glimpsed the sizes of some of the boxes, many potential locations in our house were eliminated because they didn’t have the capacity to hold the items in question. We’d settled on my parent’s bedroom as the only remaining possibility which we’d pretty much saved for last as that was known to be forbidden territory. I don’t recall which of my brothers went with me but we eventually gathered up the courage and began the search. It didn’t take long to focus on the closet and we discovered bags containing yet to be wrapped presents including the ultimate prize a remote control Jaguar XKE. We were not deterred by the need for batteries as we were able to strip them from discarded toys from earlier times and we played with that car until we thought it no longer safe and then boxed it back up until the next opportunity.

Christmas finally came, the Jaguar went to my older brother who would never appreciate it as much as I would have. I got a model airplane which within hours of being put together, was destroyed by my younger brother who “wanted to see if it could fly”. The story could have ended there but another item discovered during the search of the closet was a gun.

We had no knowledge there was a gun in the house or for what purpose. Until Christmas passed it was sufficient to play with the toys and revel in our secret time but the knowledge of the gun was always there. My brothers and I didn’t discuss it ever and I have no idea if they harbored the curiosity that I did. It was fairly rare that I found myself home alone but on one such occasion I was determined to satisfy my curiosity about the gun. I slinked back to the closet; it was still there on an upper shelf behind some other items. It was unloaded but there were some bullets of different sizes in a box and I took one I believed would fit. I was dying to fire a gun and searched my brain for the best way to do it. I went down to the basement, where there was an approximately 3 foot x 3 foot closet containing the water heater which was the only spot in the home with a dirt floor. The plan that shaped in my then 11 year old brain, was to fire the gun into the dirt where it would no doubt go straight down leaving little evidence that I could easily cover up. I hadn’t calculated for the noise which would likely be heard at least a few houses away as there were windows from the basement to the outside.

I loaded the gun; aimed and pulled the trigger… and nothing happened. They say God protects fools and little children and he got two for one that day. The “dirt floor” was packed so hard that there would have been no possibility for the bullet not to ricochet. At best I could have killed a water heater, at worst me. I thought at the time it may have been the wrong size bullet. Later I wondered if there was a safety that kept me from accomplishing something very foolish. A warning to those that keep guns, whatever safety measures you employ, a determined child may have the means to overcome them. Others may not be as lucky as I was that day.

If Not For a Teacher

It was Dr. L.M. Collins who presented the challenge and got me to produce at least in his class at something close to potential. Although not an English major, I took every class he taught, asked for no special consideration and was offered none.

 

If not for a teacher, where would I be?

How wasted the knowledge, if I didn’t truly see?

Were I never inspired, how sad what a waste.

If not for a teacher, no wisdom to taste!

I have been blessed in my life to have had several teachers that made a difference. Miss Sorenson in 1st grade that encouraged reading and was responsible for my several trips to the public library to get books about a talking dinosaur in the desert which began my interest in Literature.

It was Ms. Archibald in 4th grade that on the exterior seemed the prudish stereotype but reminded the unruly class, “these are pearls of wisdom and you shall never hear them again!”

In 7th grade a science teacher whose name I can’t recall who got us to the school roof at 5 am to look thru a telescope and view the stars.

Second on my all time list would be Tom Keljik who with his creativity expanded my interest in other political systems, history and politics. I still look for opportunities to let people know about the Sino-Soviet Alliance of 1950 where Russia lent China $430 million worth of arms, cash and submarines which I learned of in his class. The day we took over another class proclaiming “Power to the Proletariat” was a highlight of my high school career.

I should back up a second and say that during most of my late high school and college days I considered myself an athlete first and student might fall somewhere from 2nd to 4th depending on the day. It was Dr. L.M. Collins who presented the challenge and got me to produce at least in his class at something close to potential. Although not an English major, I took every class he taught, asked for no special consideration and was offered none. Public Enemy had an album, “Fear of a Black Planet” which was ranked as one of the most culturally significant albums of all time. I assure you the fear of Dr. Collins red marker on a paper could be equally empowering. Dr. Collins encouraged me to enter a university wide essay contest on, “The Value of a Liberal Arts Education” which I won. Although my primary motivation was the $200 cash prize (big money back then). It was hard to distinguish which of us was most proud when he presented the award.

For all of us that can acknowledge that we didn’t do it alone. Remember the teachers that were part of your life and the sacrifices they made in order that we might achieve. Should you choose to comment, mention a teacher that was important to you and why? To my teachers I owe apologies to some but definitely thanks to all!

My Friend Donald Part 1 (2012)

 

I’ve met Donald Trump on two occasions, in the way that when you’re in the same room with a celebrity you feel like you’ve met them even though you never got within more than a few feet. The first was in 1992 at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. I remember the event far more for Doug Williams and the Redskins decisive victory over Denver than for having been in the presence of “The Donald”. He was with a mini entourage, one of his wives I think Ivana was with him. He was in a suit and a Kojak looking overcoat and she was in a full-length mink coat. The game in Minnesota was played inside in 75 degree weather in the Metrodome but I suppose one had to get from the limo inside and he had people to hand all his stuff. I thought how uncomfortable it must be to watch a game in that attire but I guess when you’re Donald Trump you have an image to maintain.

The second time was maybe 10 years later in New York on the grounds of the US Open Tennis Tournament. For anyone that’s attended that event. Inevitably during the first week the temperature reaches approximately 100 degrees every day, and at some time during the second week the temperature breaks and then it gets cold, catching the uninitiated unawares who then have to buy one of the fleece items sold on the grounds or go home. There is a lot of open space on the grounds of the Open and there is no way to get around and avoid the elements. Donald Trump was there when the temperatures were hot, yet he still wore a suit and was accompanied by a new wife who looked considerably like the first. His hair had acquired a new tint that I couldn’t really attach any color to that I knew by name. He was a bit larger, not larger than life simply larger and he had the feeling this time of having become a caricature of himself that got up each day trying to maintain the image he imagined.

As Donald and I (now having met twice and on a first name basis) don’t really run in the same circles we haven’t had occasion to get together again. Of course, he is on TV from time to time and I might stop to watch my friend but it was during this election season with his myriad appearances that I began to see him as if for the first time.

Donald had become shrill in voice and was constantly calling out for attention. I was now finally able to understand the phrase concerning Don Quixote tilting at windmills. His obsession about the President’s Birth Certificate was clearly much more about his vanity and desire to stay in the spotlight than anything else. It was at the White House Correspondents ‘Dinner that he reached rock bottom I thought. When the President of the United States on national television having released his long form birth certificate days earlier, took the time to publicly humiliate my friend Donald with the camera’s pointing at him slinking in his chair. And when it became known that he did so while Donald occupied only a minor portion of his thoughts as he was involved at that moment with the raid to get Bin Laden. I wondered who near him would step in with an intervention.

Donald disappeared for a time, but obviously his crack like addiction for attention still needed to be fed so he got back up off the mat and inserted himself back into the public eye. He took credit for having been the one that “got the President” to release his birth certificate while at the same time doubting its authenticity. He stood by Mitt Romney and endorsed him in his own hotel which has more to do with the shamelessness of Mitt than the significance of Donald. And as the election wound down and his name seldom mentioned, Donald knew he had to do one last thing to throw himself into the spotlight making his big “announcement” less than two weeks before the election.

Being his friend I don’t even want to talk about the aftermath. I can usually associate life scenes from old or obscure movies and this time, two came to mind. The first was from “Sunset Boulevard” at the end where the aging Gloria Swanson let Mr. DeMille know she was ready for her close-up when the only interest in her was for her car. The second was from “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” again at the end when Betty Davis was being driven away from a crowd and reporters, smiling when all around her just thought her sad. For those who haven’t seen those movies, just understand that Donald has become what he would have least desired… the joke. Fortunate is he that he has been spared the shame of the depths of his fall. I don’t want to watch this story’s conclusion when he’ll inevitably start approaching strangers and asking “Don’t you know who I am?” I brushed away a tear while writing this because the Donald I once knew is alas no more!

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Even a Strong Black Woman Gets Tired Sometimes

If we are lucky we currently know or have known strong Black women who can always be counted on when things get tough. What we fail to realize is that always is an awfully long time and that depending on that strong Black woman can be draining because it so often results in them putting others before herself. It would be nice to think she “don’t get no ways tired” but even the best of them have their days.

Strong Black women are under assault, they are exempt from none of the forces systemically aligned against Black people and have the also assumed the responsibility of standing up for their children, their mates, their brothers and sisters whether family or not and have even extended themselves to other causes where the absence of justice and equality and rights threatens not just some but all.

It is easy sometimes to sit back and rely on the strong Black woman to fight the good fight, reaping the windfall of their efforts while doing little of the work. We roar at the slaughter of Black men but with Black women somehow not so much. We participate in judging and body shaming and trying to control what we ought not. Our own images sometimes depend on the woman being somewhere beneath us rather than at our side. It is no wonder that she gets tired sometimes.

To the strong Black woman, I would ask her to remember the good she has done and the lives that have benefitted from her presence. I would also ask her to deploy her own airbag first before attempting to help others because if you lose consciousness you’re of no more help. Feed yourself also if not first and look within and to your faith for strength because people are somewhat unreliable. Know your worth and use some of that strength to insist others respect it as well. Know when to cut your losses because all situations and relationships and causes may not be intended for more than a season.

To those who know a strong Black woman, support her, assist her, make her welfare a concern because she may be so busy being strong she doesn’t take the care of herself that she should. Most of all appreciate her. It will go a long way toward giving her the strength to keep doing what we all need her to do. Love her unselfishly recognizing that she is not only supporting you but a whole universe of people who have needs as well. If she has chosen you your time together will be cherished because she’s that kind of woman. And when she needs it, let her rest because even she gets tired sometimes.

An Open Letter to 100 Black Pastors

 

 

I understand according to some sources that the actual number may be 106 of you that met with Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump but it seems verification regarding any aspect of your meeting is lacking I’ll just go with the round number of 100.I should say that I have no concerns about pastors taking an activist role in politics and in fact encourage it as pastors have traditionally been advocates for their communities and found that politicians and elected officials often were the key to making meaningful change. I don’t object to your having met with a Republican candidate although I question the timing in that I might have personally waited until they had an actual nominee and not injected myself this soon. Republicans have total control of the State legislatures in dozens of states and they need to be included in any meaningful discussions of change and there is always the possibility of a Republican President in the White House in the not too distant future so relationships are not necessarily a bad thing.

I wish to be clear that I have a great respect for the institution of the Black church and feel it has a contemporary role as well as a historical one in many aspects of our lives. As a disclaimer I note that my pastor was on the list that was originally announced to be meeting with Mr. Trump although I have not ascertained if she was included in the number that rejected meeting with Donald Trump after his campaign categorized their meeting as an endorsement or whether she did meet with them. I also am unaware of their intended purpose in meeting with Trump, what transpired in the meeting and what if any result was achieved in their minds. In my pastor’s case after listening to many sermons I’m aware that we have slightly differing views on a number of subjects but I don’t expect total agreement with anyone and despite any differences she remains my pastor. I scoured her Facebook pages for some insight as to her rationale or any feedback regarding the meeting and have yet to see any. I’ve watched news coverage and scoured the Internet regarding the meetings and except for the press releases from the Trump campaign (and postings from Omarosa) there is nothing to help explain not only your actions but your collective silence.

As previously stated I know not your intentions. While God acts in mysterious ways, pastors really should not. There was a time when pastors spoke to the people, often for the people but now it is time for you to speak with the people. I’m fairly clear on what Donald Trump got from your meeting which was cover from all the charges of his clearly racist comments and behavior on the campaign trail. He can now repeat his claims of getting along well with “the Blacks” and remind all of the love you all had for him expressed in the meeting you won’t talk about. He has found a few of you to tell us that they have discerned his nature, he is not a racist and we should disbelieve our own lying eyes and ears while the great majority of you remain silent. I won’t say this meeting has enhanced Trump’s credibility but has given him a tool to deflect criticism and continue the tone which has led him to the top of the polls.

The meeting has diminished your credibility not only individually and collectively as your group of 100. You have damaged the black church entire by creating at least the appearance of being pawns, sellouts and weak. In these times, almost every leader that takes a stand on something is subject to criticism and condemnation, even from those on whose behalf they serve. It may well be that there is no consensus among your group which probably should have been considered sooner than later and there may be no statement that represents you all. If not then you individually have the responsibility to speak out and express your views as opposed to allowing them to be defined by others. It is time to speak out because your silence is deafening.

The Republican Nomination Process

A friend of mine asked me my opinion on the state of the Republican Presidential nomination process. I’ve been relatively silent thus far, not because I had no opinions but because I thought I’d wait until the feeding frenzy ended and they whittled themselves down to one.

Of course the entire process has been dominated by Donald Trump and his naked appeal to racism, xenophobia and those who feel better about themselves by finding others to feel superior to. Oddly I am less distraught about Trump than the hordes that blindly follow him no matter what. He wants ban all Muslims and they don’t care. His supporters include every manner of right wing hate group and they don’t care (neither does he). He laughs while he lies and they still don’t care. He has no policies and they don’t care because “he’s not politically correct”. Trump has tapped into an anger among a certain segment of the populace, but what they’re really angry about, what they’ve been angry about since Barack Obama was elected President, most of them won’t admit although several will.

By comparison we’re offered Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich. Cruz and Rubio aren’t as buffoonish as Trump but cling to a set of extreme values that they had to adopt to get a Republican nomination. Cruz is a true believer that would impose his values on the rest of us and has no interest in compromising with those who disagree. Rubio has no personal values and is constantly contorting his views to accommodate the latest poll or think tank. He’s a puppet of others who know they will manipulate him to their needs and he hasn’t the will or set of values to resist them.

John Kasich appears reasonable when compared to the others but is he a man of the people as opposed to only some of the people. In 2012 he stood in the way of reforms that would have alleviated the voter suppression his state was pilloried for in 2008 when pictures of the long lines in “urban” districts made national news. He may have grudgingly agreed to expand Medicaid in his state yet he also wants to “repeal Obamacare” taking back all the gains Americans have experienced. He wants to deny background checks to purchase guns, take away a woman’s right to choose, and take us to a ground war in Syria. If this is the reasonable alternative, I’ll pass.

So I’ll wait and see who they choose. If they truly go off the deep end and choose Trump they will deserve the destruction of the party they may richly deserve after their steady race to the right and attempts to maintain power through gerrymandering and voter suppression. Perhaps from the ashes something better will arise although I’d have to see it to believe it. It they somehow supplant Trump at the convention the party blows up anyway. I’m content to have a ringside seat.

 

 

A Boy and a Gun

 

I grew up in a household with 4 boys and no girls. Without meaning to suggest that girls are not, I can definitively say that boys are curious by nature. There came a time when my parents brought home some Christmas presents early in December and it became our life’s mission to find out where those presents were hidden, what they were, guess who they belonged to and ultimately play with them long before Santa brought them down our non-existent chimney.

I was the second oldest of the 4 boys, the first three approximately two years apart. We were all quite different in personality. The oldest was quieter and had some nerdish traits preferring chess and airplanes to sports. I was perhaps the most reckless and got into far more trouble than my older brother. The one two years below me was able to learn from his two older brothers and got into less trouble while being slightly more devious and the youngest was but a baby at this time and not a participant in this particular story.

Because both our parents worked, we were home alone for at least brief periods most days. We had chores we were responsible for which should have taken up much of that time but there was always time to get into something and the mission to discover those presents was a top priority. The detached garage was eliminated early on, most everything was clearly visible and while there was an attic, a quick search utilizing the pull down ladder eliminated that as a possibility. Because we’d glimpsed the sizes of some of the boxes, many potential locations in our house were eliminated because they didn’t have the capacity to hold the items in question. We’d settled on my parent’s bedroom as the only remaining possibility which we’d pretty much saved for last as that was known to be forbidden territory. I don’t recall which of my brothers went with me but we eventually gathered up the courage and began the search. It didn’t take long to focus on the closet and we discovered bags containing yet to be wrapped presents including the ultimate prize a remote control Jaguar XKE. We were not deterred by the need for batteries as we were able to strip them from discarded toys from earlier times and we played with that car until we thought it no longer safe and then boxed it back up until the next opportunity.

Christmas finally came, the Jaguar went to my older brother who would never appreciate it as much as I would have. I got a model airplane which within hours of being put together, was destroyed by my younger brother who “wanted to see if it could fly”. The story could have ended there but another item discovered during the search of the closet was a gun.

We had no knowledge there was a gun in the house or for what purpose. Until Christmas passed it was sufficient to play with the toys and revel in our secret time but the knowledge of the gun was always there. My brothers and I didn’t discuss it ever and I have no idea if they harbored the curiosity that I did. It was fairly rare that I found myself home alone but on one such occasion, I was determined to satisfy my curiosity about the gun. I slinked back to the closet; it was still there on an upper shelf behind some other items. It was unloaded but there were some bullets of different sizes in a box and I took one I believed would fit. I was dying to fire a gun and searched my brain for the best way to do it. I went down to the basement, where there was an approximately 3 foot x 3 foot closet containing the water heater which was the only spot in the home with a dirt floor. The plan that shaped in my then 11 year old brain, was to fire the gun into the dirt where it would no doubt go straight down leaving little evidence that I could easily cover up. I hadn’t calculated for the noise which would likely be heard at least a few houses away as there were windows from the basement to the outside.

I loaded the gun; aimed and pulled the trigger… and nothing happened. They say God protects fools and little children and he got two for one that day. The “dirt floor” was packed so hard that there would have been no possibility for the bullet not to ricochet. At best I could have killed a water heater, at worst me. I thought at the time it may have been the wrong size bullet. Later I wondered if there was a safety that kept me from accomplishing something very foolish. A warning to those that keep guns, whatever safety measures you employ, a determined child may have the means to overcome them. Others may not be as lucky as I was that day.