Trump Declares His Inauguration Day a “Day of Patriotic Devotion” #notajoke #notadrill

I’ve been arguing for months that it’s Trump’s intention to turn us into a Russian style oligarchy. So far, he’s done nothing to convince me otherwise. And now there’s this:

day-of-patriotic-devotion

Yes, that’s actually declaration, signed by Donald Trump, declaring the date of his inauguration to be “A Day of Patriotic Devotion”.

Honestly. I don’t even know what to say, except this is not a drill. This is really happening. I believe that if we the American people, who still believe in our values, constitution and way of life, continue to show up, we will stop this. But it’s definitely going to be a fight. Sigh.

Update: Apparently Obama also made a declaration regarding his inauguration day, except with a completely different, service oriented, non-fascist tone:

As I take the sacred oath of the highest office in the land, I am humbled by the responsibility placed upon my shoulders, renewed by the courage and decency of the American people, and fortified by my faith in an awesome God … On this Inauguration Day, we are reminded that we are heirs to over two centuries of American democracy, and that this legacy is not simply a birthright — it is a glorious burden. Now it falls to us to come together as a people to carry it forward once more.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation, and call upon all of our citizens to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

I wonder if this is going to be Trump’s tactic: to ape action’s Obama took while giving them a scary, fascist twist. His supporters are so far in denial that they’ll just point to whatever precedent Obama (or whoever) set and ignore the substance of the matter. I mean, I’m literally involved in an argument online right now with people advocating for jailing someone for sharing a dark fantasy, even in jest. Uuuuuuggggggghhhhhh.

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The Bad Habit You Must Let Go Of

Have you ever had the experience of telling someone that they are hurting you only to be met with hostility, accusations, shaming and ridicule? Yeah, me too.

Have you ever been the person who responded to a hurting person with hostility, accusations, shaming and ridicule? Yeah, me too.

There seems to be something very deep in us that reacts to even the mildest suggestion that we are less than completely perfect in all our ways by becoming defensive. I used to think that this was somehow related to being punished and shamed as children, but having been a mother to 6 kids for 19 years now, I’ve come to the conclusion that being defensive is our default position.

I suspect the issue lies in the fact that we humans are so vulnerable to each other. We are vulnerable to our parents who may or may not have the skills to raise us without causing severe damage. If they are willing to raise us at all. Humans have a long, pervasive history of infanticide.

We are vulnerable to those who we are in community with. If they tell us we are worthless, selfish, lazy and unlovable, we will absorb their ugly lies as our reality. Throughout most of human history shunning was a death sentence and our psyches still process rejection as a form of severe physical pain.

A spouse that rejects us could result in the loss of position, community and even our ability to survive. Being turned out by family can cost us relationships with those we depend on and even an inability to care for our own children.

All in all, it’s really no wonder that there’s something very deep in us that recoils at the possibility that we will be condemned or rejected. In fact, it’s one of those automatic responses from our reptilian brain, much like fear, anger and shame. All it takes is someone pointing out that your shoe lace is untied and you find yourself launching into a ridiculous litany of explanations about how you like having your shoe laces untied because unlike the sort of person who goes around pointing out untied shoe laces, you aren’t a brainless sheep.

The problem, of course, is that when we allow our reptilian brain to send us into a self-defensive frenzy, we hurt people. Continue reading

Raise Good Adults, Not Good Kids

I read a story a while back about an anthropologist who was studying some tribal group in New Guinea. He noticed that everyone had at least one odd shaped, irregular scar. When he asked what the scars were from, he was told that they were from falling into a fire as a very young child.

You see, this tribe believed that all humans, including children, have a right and a responsibility for making their own choices. So when a young child would get too close to the fire, that was their choice and no one had a right to stop them from making it. Of course, the judgment of children is generally less than stellar, so inevitably, each child eventually fell into the fire. At that point, the adults or older children would quickly pull them out. If someone needs help, you help them after all. The end result was that everyone had a scar from the experience and everyone learned at a young age to be careful around the fire.

While allowing a small child to fall into a fire without trying to stop or warn them is inconceivable to probably all of us, it struck me when I read this that there was great wisdom in this story.

We live in a time when the challenge for us as parents is raising our kids to live in a world where they have almost complete freedom. Not so long ago, various institutions held a lot of sway over our lives. People generally trusted the church, community norms, the government, schools, employers and even the media to show them right from wrong. In that kind of world, teaching your children to obey authority, starting with your own, was of primary importance.

Today, authority just aint what it used to be. First of all, authority has been completely discredited for most of us. Our churches, government, schools, employers and media have all been shown to be corrupt, self-dealing, untruthful and untrustworthy. There are those who would like to see the institutions and their authority rebuilt.

However, it seems unlikely that people who have experienced what it is like to make their own choices and create their own norms free from the expectations and pressures of authority will go back to submitting to any institution. And given the problems amply demonstrated by human history of people engaging in the worst sorts of evil at the behest of the powers and social norms that be, this is probably a good thing.

The destruction of authority does, however, create a problem for parents. When all of a person’s life was going to be spent submitting to authority, it made sense for parents to raise their kids to be compliant and obedient. But the reality of the world our children will go into when they leave our homes practically demands that we raise our children differently than we did in the past. Continue reading

Condemnation is One Curse Word I Won’t Say

When my oldest son was 2 1/2, we were driving home one day and from the backseat I heard a little boy voice say, “Fuck!” Thinking quickly, I told him, “that’s right honey – truck! There’s a truck over there.” He repeated “fuck” several times and I kept saying, “that’s right honey – truck!” Finally with a note of confusion in his voice he said, “truck?” Yup. Truck.

Now, where ever would a sweet 2 year old kid of mine ever hear such a word? From me, of course. I do try not to swear (much) in front of my kids, but it happens. Most days. I know you think I should at least have the decency to feel guilty about it, but I don’t really. I swear. I like swearing. Swearing plays an important role in every language that’s ever existed. Sometimes nothing but a well planted swear word will do.***

Although I’m perfectly comfortable with swearing, there is a verbal tick I used to have that I wanted to get rid of but just couldn’t seem to manage. I frequently used God’s name as a curse word or as part of a string of curse words. It was so automatic that I couldn’t seem to stop. It seems like a fairly minor thing, but it really bothered me. Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain being one of the commandments and all (yes – I know the command can be understood to refer to something different, but still). 

There was a time in my life when my inability to stop using God’s name as a curse word made me feel awful. Like a terrible, awful person of low character and lower self-control. Now here’s the thing about a person feeling like an awful, terrible person: that feeling never comes from a Godly place. Scriptures tell us that it is Satan’s job to accuse us – that is to offer an explanation for or story about our behavior which makes us look like terrible, awful people. Feeling like a terrible, awful person is what happens when we feel condemned. But “no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus”. 

The reason the enemy loves to use the tool of condemnation is because it hides the truth of who we are from us. You and I and every other human being is an image bearer – one who reflects God himself. And the enemy knows that if we ever discover this truth and learn to live out of it, the jig is up. All his work will be destroyed. But if he can convince us that our sin and weakness defines who we really are, then we may putter along, trying to fight our urge to sin but never really owning, much less living out of the glory which is in us. Now, sometimes the enemy will overplay his hand and the condemnation a person feels for their sin will actually lead them to seek God. But that’s fairly rare and it’s such an effective tool most of the time that it’s well worth the risk for the enemy to keep condemning us. (This dynamic is also why we are not supposed to judge. Even when we are correct about another person’s sin, when we judge, we are doing just what the enemy does. We are telling someone that their failure is a reflection of them. It’s not. It’s a reflection of sin which is not part of who we actually are.) Continue reading