“Uncle Sam wants you to stay a dummy”

fencesWe have all seen pictures of “the wall.”  Usually, the pictures are taken in isolated desert areas with no sign of nearby human activity.

But, the wall is not just a barrier, or a fence.  The wall between the United States and Mexico is creating a Stammlager (you may be more familiar with the shorter version, Stalag). These were the camps the Nazis used to hold prisoners of war. Of course, Germany was not alone.

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America is not inexperienced when it comes to fencing in prisoners of war.  This country illegally interred more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans whose only crime was their ethnic heritage.  Thousands of German-American “enemy aliens” were also arrested and interred in 1917, when the U.S. entered World War One.

But now, we are building the biggest fence against our enemies in history. Who are these enemies? Not terrorists – most of them enter the country through visas, or are homegrown; not the drug dealers – most of them arrive via plane or boat; and not most human traffickers – their clients are wealthy businessmen with plenty of money to protect their modern-day slaves from detection.

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So, who are the prisoners of war being detained in Stalag 1776? Not the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the Guatemalians, or indigenous peoples fleeing violence in their homes – violence too often funded by the U.S.  No, the prisoners are you and me, and every American who does not speak out in opposition to the growing police state that is America. We are prisoners of a war of fear, a war of capitalist imperialism, a war of racial bigotry.

The title of this posting came from the back of a shirt worn by one of the managed migrants paraded before the federal judge on February 12.  I honor this man’s courage to wear such a message while imprisoned by vast paramilitary forces of our country.  Uncle Sam does want you to stay ignorant, to remain complacent, to focus on the needs of yourself and your loved ones.  To hell with these u wanted illegals, with their diseases, their gangs, and their drugs.

I say, to hell with Uncle Sam – an outmoded symbol of American imperialism.  Let us return to the Statue of Liberty, who greeted so many of our own ancestors to these shores.

The Wall

20190213_155337Nogales should be a unique and attractive city.  After miles of relatively flat desert and mountains in the distance, you enter on Interstate 19, and are suddenly faced with hills covered with homes of many styles.  It is a vertical city without the benefit of skyscrapers.

Nogales should be a unique city.  I imagine that in years past, the cultures of Mexican Nogales and Nogales, Arizona blended to make a fascinating town.  Streets literally feet apart must have shared neighborhood shops, festivals, and community.

20190213_160203Nogales should be an attractive city.  But now, Nogales is a wounded city.  A horrible gash splits the American and Mexican cities and a militarized gate makes passage between the two a burden, even a danger.  The lumbering monstrosity dominates the landscape, looking for all intent making each city look like a  prison.

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We approached the wall having seen news reports of the wall, fence, or whatever we are calling it today.  But nothing can quite prepare you for the horror of it all.  The horror just a few feet away is unspeakable; America is enclosing itself in a concentration camp that would have made the Nazis proud.

And yet, as if to magnify the irony of such a frightening visage of fear and violence, we turned and saw an incredible sight.  Across the street was a dirt driveway leading to a house.  In front of the house were about a dozen peacocks strolling casually and obviously oblivious to our presence.  One had its tail feathers spread full, and another was completely white (something I didn’t know existed.20190213_162509

Such magnificent color against the silver barbed wire; such fragility against the cold steel pillars.  Would that we lived in a world where one was the norm and the other had no reason to exist.

The American Reich

20190213_101309Migrants entering the United States face an incredible array of personnel and technology.  Beyond the standard local police, county sheriffs and U.S. marshals, they must also evade the Border Patrol.

Close to 20,000 border patrol agents stand between a migrant and the dream of living and working in America.  Border Patrol trucks are everywhere in southern Arizona, some hauling horse trailers so agents can get to off-road locations.  Checkpoints – permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary stop vehicles on roads and highways.  Towers dot the landscape with motion and heat detectors.  Once located, quickly dispatched helicopters locate whoever is walking in the desert.  One must wonder how any migrant escapes their surveillance.

20190213_153319.jpgAnd what does it take to become a border patrol officer?  A six-month course (only recently expanded from three months) and passing a test.

In Nazi Germany, many men failed the entrance exams to become soldiers of the Wehrmacht.  Thousands joined Ordnungspolizei units – police battalions often stationed in the Eastern front.  There they traveled from town to town rounding up enemies of the Reich and shooting them, filling mass, unmarked graves in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere.  Report of Ordnungspolizei brutality only came to light decades later in Daniel Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s Willing Executioners.

The Southern Borders Community Coalition reports 83 deaths of migrants in the past eight years at the hands of border patrol agents, along with many reports of brutal treatment.

One must wonder how these vast resources could be used in a more constructive, humane, and moral way.

Here’s What You Can Do

Whenever I speak about social justice and social action, this question invariably pops up: “But, what can I do?”

20190212_111001This morning, we met Lois Martin, an 84-year old who moved to Tucson 10 or so years ago to work on immigration justice.  She is a member of No More Deaths, an initiative of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson.  No More Deaths is a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona working to end death and suffering in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands through civil initiative.  Their work focuses on direct aid (such as water drops in the desert), witnessing and responding, cons iousness raising, and promoting humane immigration policy.

Lois is an amazing person.  She has traveled extensively through Central America and has served as an election observer in Honduras and Guatemala.  She minced no words – the violence people are fleeing in these countries came about and continues because of American support of illegal regimes.  For the last century, groups like the United Fruit Farmers and a handful of wealthy landowners have terrorized the compesinos into fleeing for their lives.  And the U.S. has used these countries as staging points for immoral acoins in El Salvador and Nicaragua.

She taught us about our government’s goal to criminalize migration and to deter migration through death and imprisonment.  She explained how people caught by the border patrol agents (who perform police functions without proper police training) are remitted to the criminal justice system, not the immigration system.  Border patrol can hold migrants for 72 hours with no guarantee of even the basic services such as bedding. Claims of asylum are ignored and victims are processed through Operation Streamline, which results in a criminal record and immediate deportation.

Since the hearings take place in federal court, victims are not provided any translators but Spanish.  As a result, defendents (who may be members of many indigenous people’s with their own dialects) may have no understanding of what is happening to them.

We then spent the afternoon at the federal courthouse watching close to 100 people led into the courtroom in shackles.  Looking confused and frightened, shuffling because of the ankle chains, groups were led before the judge charged either with misdemeanor illegal entry or felony re-entry after removal. Pleading guilty to the former means immediate deportation and a criminal record.  All of the latter cases made plea bargains resulting in dropping the felony charge, but serving 30 to 180 days in prison.

20190212_161651Only after the hearing are migrants remitted to immigration services, where claims of asylum may be heard.  But, often the only person who may hear the claim is the bus driver taking them to Nogales, or an officer who simply chooses to ignore it.

The futility and inhumanity of this charade of justice was brought home by one man.  The judge asked if he had been in her court before.  He affirmed her recollection.  She told him, “I don’t want to see you here again, because next time it will be a felony.”  He replied, “Not anymore…what’s the point?”

What is the point?  What can you do?  See.  Think.  Plan.  Act.  Reflect.  And repeat.

Out of Sadness

I am out of sadness. I am numb, having used up all of my sorrow for idiotic and preventable gun-related deaths in this country.

I wish I felt surprise, even shock at the loss of life and the massive injuries inflicted by one man. But, since Columbine my shock tolerance has steadily increased.

I want to speak with the calm voice of reason. But the bile rises in my throat with the acid burn of rage. I want to look NRA backers in the face and tell them that they helped make this slaughter possible. By resisting even limitations on weapons of mass killing, opponents of gun control legislation helped Stephen Paddock pull that trigger.

I have no calm, no compassion to share with Second Amendment radicals today. I don’t care whether you think that is fair. Fair would have been Mr. Paddock failing a background check and being referred to mental health treatment before buying one of his many automatic weapons. Fair would be living in a world where civilians could not get their hands on guns that could fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes.

So yes, I am filled with anger, with rage, with white-hot fury. Sitting here at my desk, I find myself incapable of thinking about anything but my revulsion at a government unwilling to collect statistics about gun violence, let alone talk about gun control.

But, at the same time, a sliver of my being still holds onto the emotion that will save me – the only emotion capable of saving us all. As the hours pass, the Love returns, pushing out the directionless rage, the unfocused fury. Love-fueled passion slowly displaces even the anger.

This is not the love of the healer and teacher, but the love of the agitator, the love of those who know that we must change our paradigms or die. This love tells me that we must enter the temple and overturn the tables again. We must chase the money lenders from our sacred spaces and reclaim the soul of the nation. We must stand up to the Pharisees who preach the status quo, as they line their pockets with bribes of gold and power.

A classroom full of school children wasn’t enough. A sitting congresswoman wasn’t enough. Is Las Vegas going to be the tipping point?

Capitalizing on Grief

I waited all week since our new President’s address to the joint session of Congress to see the reaction to the only truly memorable moment of his otherwise vague and unrealistic speech.  I waited for people to express outrage at the way Mr. Trump used Carryn Owens as a shameless public relations tool.  This woman lost her husband in Trump’s first military action as President, a disaster that also took the lives of dozens of innocent women and children. while the Commander-in-Chief could not even be bothered to attend in the Situation Room.

But, no outrage emerged.

I presume that most Americans correctly chose to honor her loss in silence – an appropriate response.

However, I could not help but recall a similar situation at the end of 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.  In the months following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, so-called “truthers” in the alt-right movement called the shooting a government conspiracy aimed at opening the way for stricter gun control laws.  They decried liberals’ “use” of the victims of Newtown as shameless propaganda.  Many of these same people, such as Alex Jones and others, are ardent supporters of our new President.

I cannot help but relive the sadness of every senseless loss of life from our gun culture when hypocrites take advantage of grieving family members for political gain.

The Elephant

Americans marched last week. Across the country, millions expressed fear of a neo-Fascist in the White House, and solidarity in seeking change in our political system.

ct-womens-march-national-pg-20170121People marched for many reasons. They marched for equal rights for women, People of Color, immigrants, LGBTQIA individuals, and others. They marched for our planet, recognizing that human action harms our global climate. They marched for a fair and just society that truly offers complete access to the American Dream for all.

And many marched for reproductive freedom – the issue that represents the key lynch pin to every political discussion in this nation. People will vote against their own self-interest when it comes to taxes, jobs, immigration, schools, the environment, even national security. But the one issue on which most voters will not compromise is abortion. Any candidate claiming to be “pro-life” running against another candidate labeled as “pro-choice” can count on thousands of committed votes regardless of any other political stand they take.

The majority of white American women just voted for a President who believes women are property to be mauled, who mocks the disabled, who opposes living wages, and who casually banters about nuclear war. But, he claimed to be pro-life, and he now sits in the White House.

“Pro-Choice” is a myth

In my experience, women who support reproductive freedom do not simply support abortion on demand. In fact, many would like to see the need for elective abortions reduced to zero. However, our laws and social systems remain heavily anti-woman. Abuse of women remains at shockingly high levels. The objectification of women in the media trains girls and boys from an early age that striving toward an unachievable norm of beauty defines a woman’s worth. The continued acceptance of our rape culture leaves women living in constant, daily fear of discrimination, molestation, assault, and worse.

American men take little responsibility for sexual relations. We routinely expect women to control the use of contraception and yet men often overrule women to suit their desire for sexual gratification. Birth control is expensive, hard to access, and has many side effects. We label men who bed many women as virile and desirable role models. We label sexually active women as promiscuous sluts and whores unworthy of marriage and motherhood.

planned-parenthood-about-us-who-we-are-mission-1920x1080Even when women take every possible precaution, this pernicious double standard too often produces pregnancies where the men bail out and leave the woman alone to bear a life-long responsibility with little if any support. The legal system does little to hold men accountable as equal partners in procreation, but hurdles mountains to control a woman’s body and medical choices.

Pro-choice does not equate to pro-abortion. Many women – and I believe most women – see abortion as a tragic last step necessary only because our country lacks proper education and affordable access to birth control. Most women accept the necessity of abortion only because our commitment as a nation to the rights of men over the dignity and worth of women leaves women without viable alternatives.

In a perfect world, elective abortions would disappear because the circumstances that lead to unwanted pregnancies would not exist. What would this world look like?

  • No man would ever dream of forcing himself on a woman.
  • Women and men would be true equals from birth through school to the workplace and into retirement.
  • Beauty would be defined by one’s character, goodness, authenticity, and conviction – not body shape.
  • Every child would know the facts of human reproduction, and learn the complexities of loving relationships.
  • Government would play no role in determining what any person chooses to do with their body.
  • Individuals’ personal religious beliefs regarding personhood would be respected, but no one would be permitted to discriminate against others on the basis of those personal beliefs.

So, “pro-choice” does not mean pro-elective abortion at will. Pro-choice means supporting a society with reproductive justice – the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.

“Pro-Life” is a myth

ireland17For years, Congressman John Moolenaar has staunchly defended what he calls the “sanctity of life.” This week, Harvard researchers revealed that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement program will result in 44,000 unnecessary deaths each year. It is irrefutable fact that more than 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance if Republicans repeal and do not replace the ACA, an action Moolenaar voted to approve.

Can a person legitimately call themselves pro-life if they only apply their moral standards of sanctity of life to fetuses? No. In fact, voting to repeal the ACA without a replacement represents an “anti-life” action. Other anti-life attitudes include:

  • Sending men and women into combat, but fail to provide them world-class mental and physical medical treatment once they return from the trauma of war;
  • Using drones that indiscriminately kill innocent men, women, and children in search of a possible enemy target;
  • Murdering prisoners convicted of crimes, given the inordinate number of mistakes that have been made in capital punishment sentencing, its inherent racism and classism, and the cruel processes used to take those lives;
  • Cutting funds for food stamps, school lunch programs, early childhood education initiatives, and public education of equally high quality for all, when more than enough is available in our bloated federal military budget to easily meet these needs;
  • Passing into law the most intrusive and medically unnecessary invasion of a woman’s body, while offering young people little realistic education about sex and obstructing their access to birth control;
  • Denying victims of incest, rape, and medical complications threatening the life of the mother with means to terminate those pregnancies;
  • Failing to speak out in opposition to “slap on the wrist” punishments for rapists and those committing domestic violence and sexual assaults on women, and excusing the behavior of beasts for violating a woman by blaming her for the crime; and
  • Failing to be repulsed that this nation has done absolutely nothing to create mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, or to limit access to weapons whose sole purpose is the mass murder of humans — and not pressuring you legislators to do so.

If these apply to you, then stop calling yourself pro-life. You are not pro-life – you are pro-birth and anti-woman.

Reclaiming American citizenship

The seeds of America spread wide through the soil of injustice and tyranny. Our ancestors fought for a host of freedoms and civil rights. They proclaimed those rights publicly in documents central to our national core. For the Founders, being American meant supporting the full American agenda, a social system unmatched in history.

How long would America last if citizens based their vote solely on a single issue? That kind of thinking led to a bloody civil war that decimated our nation. That kind of thinking condoned the genocide of millions of indigenous peoples whose descendants still suffer our oppression. That kind of thinking normalized the incarceration of thousands of Americans of Japanese descent, along with the theft of their property and livelihoods. That kind of thinking supported segregation, lynching, Sundown Towns, and continues supporting a racist criminal justice system.

Make no mistake; Donald Trump is unfit to serve as President of the United States. If you voted for him because Hillary Clinton supports a woman’s right to choose, then you have contributed to the possible decline of our nation and our way of life. I understand your feelings about the unborn. Most people do. But electing a President already committed to destroying our environment, eliminating key safety net programs for the poor, taking health care away from millions, and dismantling industry regulations is an act of social suicide.

If you marched last Saturday, I implore you to reach out to those who oppose abortion. Engage in dialogue with them on the realities of conception, fertilization, fetal anomalies, and religious belief. Help those seeking to defend the rights of the unborn understand that you agree with their cause as part of a larger package of social programs that defend the right of all persons to life.

2013-02-08-perezIf you opposed the march last Saturday, I implore you to look at the broad picture of what it means to be an American citizen. Standing up for the rights of those who cannot defend themselves is courageous, noble work. But the defenseless include not only fetuses, but refugees, children of undocumented parents, innocent people dead due to excessive police violence, and victims of institutionalized racism, gender bias, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry.

Whether you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life, you are an American. Our American principles demand of us a high standard of citizen participation. We are called to resist authoritarian rule and defend the civil rights of all. We are called to expose acts of foreign agents seeking to undermine our most precious liberties. We are called to hold our elected officials accountable when they lie, obstruct the search for truth, hide pertinent information, and behave in foolish and reckless ways.

Resist those who would divide and conquer us. Refute the false dichotomy of pro-life/pro-choice. Replace stereotypes and unfounded generalizations with facts and grounded beliefs acceptable to all. Let us unite as Americans, agreeing to disagree when needed, but in solidarity regarding the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

One World

Kenneth Patton was one of my ministerial heroes. At the core of his theology lay the idea that all people share a common body of symbols and concepts. These shared icons, often articulated through art, unite us in purpose and community.

16145160_10211987048219858_1759818400_oWhen people seek to divide us, they treat those symbols as inviolate.  In reality, however, art is art and the symbols all represent the same human feelings and behaviors: Love each other; Do no harm; Respect the world; Honor the gifts each of us brings.

On this eve of leadership transition in the United States, the forces of disunity seem strong, almost insurmountable.  Our President Elect seeks unity through fear, acceptance through intimidation, and equality through benevolent despotism.  The challenge looms large.  We are justifiably frightened for the future.  The course of events leaves us bewildered – how did this happen?

Our new President happened because we allowed fear to cloud our reason. We failed to take a stand when oppressed neighbors suffered intimidation.  We confused volume with truth and celebrity with competence.

And so, we march.  Tomorrow, I join hundreds of thousands on a pilgrimage to our nation’s capital.  We march to take back the symbols of universal humanity from those who would desecrate them for profit and sustained privilege. We march for love, for kindness, for respect, and to honor our inherent worth and dignity.

Patton asked the question, “What is equality?”  He answered that nothing is equal since every creature is unique and unmatchable.  At the same time, everything is equal because every creature is equally unique and unmatchable.

America is already great.  Our wondrous diversity makes us strong.  Our commitment to democracy, freedom, and equality leads the world.  And our journey toward Beloved Community and a religion for one world offer everyone hope for tomorrow in spite of any setbacks.

Dear Mr. Trump

Congratulations on your upcoming inauguration. Many of us voted for you despite your lack of experience holding public office. So, on behalf of the hundreds of millions of us you now serve, I want to take this opportunity and offer you some advice as you enter the Oval Office. Please forgive us if some of these suggestions sound simplistic, even obvious. Given your public discourse to date, however, we have confidence that you will find value in them.

trump-meryl1. Think. Our mothers taught us, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all.” We Americans can be obnoxious, even rude. But, we look up to the Office of the President largely because it stands for the highest level of decorum and class in our society. Our President should be better than us, and should model for us the best human behavior. We all understand the satisfaction derived from beating someone in a war of words. But, we need our President to rise above personal pettiness and insulting retorts in response to criticism.

2. Listen. Like many of us, you have decades of life experience. But, you can now access thousands of people with unbelievable knowledge about every topic imaginable at a moment’s notice. You are smarter than most of us – otherwise you would never have succeeded in the election. You are still a human being, however, and we do not expect you to know everything. Please listen to people the way you expect us to listen to you.

3. Review. We admire your spontaneity. In a complex world, however, every word spoken by our President matters. When you tweet without subjecting your words to careful review…you frighten us. We don’t see grammatical mistakes, factual errors, and statements revealing a lack of knowledge of basic governmental functions as amusing signs of a delightfully quirky leadership style. They scare us. They scare us because they are mistakes that we would make – but we are not President. We fear the consequences of your unedited statements, and need to see that you understand our feelings and the power your words wield.

4. Respect. We respect the Office of the President like no other position in the world. Likewise, we need the person filling that office to respect us. We elected you. So, we logically expect you to respect our intelligence and wisdom. When we feel disregarded by our President, we can delude ourselves with false hopes; we begin forming unrealistic expectations of a nation already responsible for unprecedented historical achievements; and we allow our fears to override our reason. The American people will follow your example. We need you to display the respect for us that you expect from us in return.

5. Awaken. Citizen Trump owned every privilege available. Unlike most of us, you were born a white, straight, male, Christian, healthy and wealthy American citizen. But we need President Trump to represent people of color and women; gay and transgender people; Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Atheists; and people suffering from physical and mental illnesses. We need our President to serve all the people, whether they live in mansions, houses, apartments, or packing crates. Whether we work as executives or lawyers, nurses or plumbers, cashiers or migrant farmers, we must feel that you empathize with our lives and acknowledge our inherent worth and dignity.

6. Mature. To be honest, many of us voted for you because you acted like us. You said things we might say and acted in ways we might act. But we know that we don’t always say the right things, or act in the right ways. Candidate Trump was an adolescent – a malignant narcissist and expert self-promoter. And many of us loved that persona. We now need President Trump to heed the lesson we learned on TV from that great philosopher Spock of Vulcan, who said, “Having is not nearly so pleasing a thing as wanting.”

You wanted our ultimate position of celebrity and we gave it to you. But with ownership comes tremendous responsibility. Billions of lives across the world now depend on you owning every attribute of a great leader, qualities such as wisdom, integrity, and humility. Perhaps most important, we need you to show the courage to make decisions that might make you unpopular, but that are morally correct choices. Sadly, there isn’t a kinder, more gentle way to say this. Now that we have entrusted you with the most important office in our nation, we need you to grow up.

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Every one of your constituents – regardless of skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, theological persuasion, ability, or legal, social and economic status – can agree with these sentiments.

His letter continued. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

7. Love. Mr. Trump, on the morning of January 20, you will gaze into that golden mirror you caress so often. Our nation, all of us living and yet to be born, and the planet Earth that sustains us need you to see the full reflection of a President. We need that mirror to reflect a thoughtful, considerate, careful, respectful, aware adult. We desperately need that mirror to project an image of love. We know you love yourself and your family. We know you love your fans and supporters. As President Trump, we need you to share that love with every person equally.

trump-reporterWe need you to love every Black man looking in the rear view mirror at the flashing lights of a police car; the woman entering the Planned Parenthood office for a cancer screening because her insurance won’t pay for her to go to the local hospital anymore; the young gay man cast out of his parent’s home because of who he loves; the woman wearing the hijab being berated for her religious beliefs; the man publicly mocked for his congenital disability; the mother living in her car because her employers pay poverty wages; and the hard-working, courageous man seeking the same American dream for his children that our own ancestors sought.

We Americans can love deeply. But we will emulate our President. If our President displays impatience, arrogance, rudeness, and resentment, we will do the same. So, Mr. Trump, please model that love for us, for our nation, and for our planet as you become President Trump.

The Need for Resolve

2016 was a tough year on many of us. It remains to be seen how the events of this past year will influence 2017.

I view this coming year as providing us with two opportunities. First, we should look on the past year not with sorrow and regret, but with a renewed sense of resolve. I realize the temptation to hunker down and ride out the almost certain coming storm appeals strongly. I also realize that the events of 2016 have left many of us emotionally shaken and intellectually bewildered.

Take the time to mourn, to lick your wounds, and to regroup. But, don’t linger in a state of hopeless victimhood for long. We must adopt a long-range strategy to pace ourselves for what might be an extended period of immoral actions and senseless attacks on logic and common sense. This means that we must get up, brush ourselves off, and get back in the game.

Related imageThe second opportunity before us in 2017 is the invaluable gift of passionate engagement. The past year left no one untouched. Some gains in equality and justice now stand on the brink of a reactionary chasm of patriarchy, privilege, and power abuse. Not for decades has the challenge to freedom and democracy been so strong in this country.

Robert A. Heinlein’s characters often use the phrase TANSTAFL – there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. In 2017, we must pick up the tab for a Trump presidency. The task won’t be easy, but I am confident that people of faith and vision have the resolve, with enough left over for a good tip.