For God’s sake, leave Him out of it! 

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. This is the message that we share, the message we live, and the message we want others to understand. So why do we make Him bear the burden of our proclivities so often? Somewhere along the lines we’ve lost sight of justice, humility, and righteous anger, and we picked up convenient one liners that we can print on wrist bands and disperse out of a Mary Poppins style bottomless bag of excuses. The person at the receiving end of said bag is the topic of my blog post; his name starts with “J” and ends with “osh Duggar.”

“This is wrong!”

“Judge not. I’m a horrible sinner, who am I to cast the first stone? *Insert various bible verses that have absolutely no relation to the issue at hand, but make the person sound super knowledgeable and more Jesus approved than the other commenters who will soon shower this particular commenter in glorious accolades*”

The point? Well, the victims of said “wrong” act have now been silenced, and if you speak to their victimhood, well, you’re probably not as Christian as the person that used a Bible verse. Your mansion is not going to be as big as their mansion; your crown will not have as many gems. Listen, folks, I’m that kid with the sarcasm that I’m sure makes Jesus shake His head a little in disapproval, I know that already, telling me to stop talking about the Duggars while touting an out-of-context verse is just going to make it worse.

Now, in case you have been hibernating under a very large rock, last week Josh Duggar and his family came clean, and Josh admitted to molesting 5 girls – including 4 of his sisters – when he was 14 & 15. The family reported the incidents immediately to the police, Josh willingly came clean and repented of his actions, his sisters found it within their hearts to forgive him, and he and his victims received counseling. He accepted responsibility, they all prayed, wrote touching statements about God’s mercy and love, about His healing and forgiveness, and then they all rolled up a rainbow and smoked it while singing hymns.

No really, that all happened, just ask many of the (other) Christian bloggers.

The real story: Josh Duggar came clean after one of his sisters mustered the courage to tell her parents. The Duggar family eventually went to the police – after his misdeeds were reported to CPS by a family friend who found out about the abuse – but it was after the statute of limitations had expired. Shucks *snaps fingers*. The girls forgave their brother after the family had a heart to heart (we’ll learn more about what that likely looked like in a bit). They sent Josh to “treatment,” which actually ended up being a couple of months with an unqualified family friend, “hard labor and mentorship,” psychology be damned. The family then went on to mass produce children and earn millions of dollars, then after the news was leaked they came forward and made statements that mirrored the beliefs of Bill Gothard.

After. After. After. After. Catching a pattern? Christians, the fact that you are attempting to frame this story is, well, for lack of a better word; gross. Ridiculous, pathetic, sad, absurd, contemptible, grotesque, unbelievable, preposterous, foolish, nonsensical, outrageous, ludicrous, hair-brained, farcical, bizarre, insane, cockamamie, irrational, shocking, monstrous… well, imagine that, I wasn’t lacking a better word after all.

So what would a family heart to heart look like? Let’s look no further than their homeschool curricula choice. (DISCLAIMER: I was a homeschooler; I support homeschooling, and will probably someday homeschool my children. So haters, don’t hate.) The Duggar family lists the Advanced Training Institute program on their website, and openly uses them in their curricula. They attended countless events for ATI, and have even sent their children away to study various ATI programs. ATI was founded by Bill Gothard, this name will come up later.

Sexual abuse in the family? ATI has you covered with various documents that aid in the healing process. Yes. I am saying this all in my head rather sardonically.

One form in particular: Counseling Sexual Abuse (CSA for short). The CSA asks the question “Why did God let it happen?” to which they provide ideas: Immodest dress? Indecent exposure? Being with evil friends? I honestly wish I was joking.

Girls, that skirt is too short and you should probably fix it, otherwise God might allow your brother to sneak into your bedroom and inappropriately touch you. Just imagine thinking of God as The Father, “Hey daughters, button up that shirt a little higher or I’ll allow Billy to take your innocence.”

Another question asks, “If you had to choose…” and it then lets you pick between “No physical abuse” or being “mighty in spirit.”

Are you going to pout about what your father did to you, 5 year old child? Because that means you don’t want spiritual advancement.

But my favorite, above all, is when the form tells you to “cleanse with rhemes.” Lovely choice of words. Victims of sexual abuse already feel dirty and useless, let’s use the word “cleanse” when telling them to read the bible. That’ll work. Stay classy, ATI, stay classy.

Not only does this form then go on to belittle sexual abuse, minimizing it into something similar to a questionnaire you might be given by a used car salesman, but it condemns the abused by saying that any damage to mind is allowed, not forced. Not only does it force you to wonder if the abuse was invited, but it compares the abused to Daniel in a way that hints at the idea that the abused should almost be thankful for their abuse, and it forces them to choose their sexual abuse as an acceptable option compared to giving up the spiritual progression they might obtain through the abuse. It’s, well, pick one of the various words I listed above. According to Gothard, Dinah and Tamar were pretty much asking for it. Basically, Gothard does a fabulous job of putting the brunt of the responsibility on the victim, then pushes the victim to be thankful. That’s more than likely the ideals that have been pounded into the heads of the Duggar girls for years. The way it was handled by the family serves as proof.

So here are a few lines from Christian bloggers that made me do a double take, triple take, crawl into the fetal position, throw something against the wall, and finally end my spiral into utter disappointment by wondering if I should become Amish just so that I can shun stupidity:

“Is there a point where we say, “You messed up. You were a stupid kid. But you corrected your behavior, turned your life around, and we forgive you. Let’s move on.”

I know all about that point. When my sister was little she cut the hair of her siblings in their sleep. It was like The Last of the Mohicans, they would go to sleep with a braid and when they woke up it would be lying beside them. Jealousy? Maybe. I don’t know, none of us knew, we just figured she was a little freak who didn’t like her sisters to have longer hair. Then she got older, everyone’s hair grew out, and forgiveness was granted. Everybody moved on. You know, because it was just hair.

Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression as adults, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide, 2 times more likely to attempt suicide, 13 times more likely to become alcoholics. They often suffer from PTSD, anxiety, struggle in relationships, etc. Roughly 30% of children that are sexually abused are abused by family members, and about 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by a trusted friend of the family. “Children” under the age of 18 are responsible for 23% of child sexual abuse cases, and if the victim is under 6 years of age, that percentage rises to 43%.

62,939 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012.

But you’re right. Let’s move on.

This same blogger went on to say that while other teenagers don’t molest their siblings, they are out getting pregnant, having abortions, and gallivanting away. This was in no way relevant to anything above, but in all fairness, it was never really relevant to the situation, nor to her article either.

Many have pointed out that while they’ve never molested a child, they too have made mistakes. Well, I’ve never cannibalized another human being, but I can say with confidence that Jeffrey Dahmer was wrong and deserving of harsh punishment. I can also say it without feeling guilty because I once flirted with a police officer to get out of a speeding ticket. Do murderers and I have the same offer granted to us by God? Yep. Are our sins comparable? Ummm…no.

I think the part to remember is that sins small and great, unpaid for, leave us in hell. All are offered the same out, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the “levels” of sin. Moses referred to “great sin”; John distinguishes sins; Ezekiel spoke of those more corrupt. Sin is separated as deliberate, premeditated, etc. and while we all have to shoulder the responsibility of our sins, we still have to call out a great harm, as was done in the bible. False modesty is often mistaken for humility. Humility is knowing that I desperately need Christ, no matter how big or little my sins are. I am just as helpless as ISIS, sexual predators, and the like when it comes to obtaining heaven. False modesty is acting like I believe I’m not above ISIS, sexual predators, and the like in my life, and refusing to speak against them. No one believes that, and if they say they do, it serves only as a Christian ego boost.

Now let’s talk about the ever popular one liner: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Many Christian’s say this as if they are ready to drop the mic, part the sea, end the war, etc… I truly do appreciate their intentions, and honestly can’t stand the overly judgmental attitudes towards those who are searching for answers. This, however, was a case fully befitting of judgement, and we have used these words dangerously.

Context, my friends.

Jewish law required that those who witnessed the crime of prostitution were the first to throw a stone, but they also had to be innocent. Now go back to how the entire debacle was set up in the first place: Jesus is teaching when along come the Pharisees trying to test Him. If He blatantly said, “Release her!” He would be violating the Law of Moses, and if He said, “Stone her until she stops flopping,” He would have been violating Roman Law. So, Jesus instead turned their game against them by saying a variation of the famous line. How do we know that they were just attempting to trick Jesus? Well, the Law of Moses commanded that both members of the love affair be punished, yet the man was missing. They were not interested in following the Law of Moses, nor the Roman Law, they were interested in a false indictment of Jesus, and thus were guilty of violating laws themselves. Hence, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” It was His way of making them eat their deeds, a way for Him to show them that He knew the game they were playing.

To the point, the passage represents a need for Christians and those who uphold the law to be consistent in order to judge, not perfect. So when you use that verse to justify why we shouldn’t bring a certain sin to the light and demand that it be acknowledged and dealt with, you are doing exactly what the Pharisees did by undermining the law. You are taking a sin and twisting the very words of Jesus to not only excuse, but applaud your dismissal of said sin. You are using the words of Jesus to receive accolades for approving of the disregarding of His abused children. Mull that over.

Regret, apologies, and repentance deliver the soul, not the body. We have no right to judge where his heart is with Christ, we do not have the right to condemn him to hell. We do, however, have the right to judge his actions.

What passages do relate to this issue? Well, look at the Samaritan woman. Jesus ignored the prejudices, the living and breathing ideal that women were no more than an item. He placed worth upon the Samaritan woman by simply being in her presence. In a world where talking to a woman brought about evil, according to rabbinic teaching, Jesus disregarded the expected treatment of women, and instead attributed worth and dignity. Throughout the Bible Jesus attributes worth and humanity to women, He uses them for great purposes, He allows them to follow his teachings, He encouraged them to be cultural misfits and to become more than the lowly beings their society had made them. You want to know the ideals that Jesus was fighting against? Look to the Middle East, look to the slave trade, and look to the bedrooms of little girls that do not rest in peace, but instead fear the physically stronger. Now tell that Jesus who you believe should be allowed to go unpunished, tell that Jesus we should stop talking about poor Josh Duggar, tell that Jesus that simply saying you’re sorry to His beloved creations whom you have defiled is enough. Tell that Jesus that women and abuse victims are not as worthy of the dignity, respect, and appreciation He bestowed upon them.

Josh Duggar did not steal a toy from his sisters, he did not trip them as they walked up the sidewalk, he did not leave his gum in the parking lot for innocent bystanders to step in. He molested 5 little girls. Then he didn’t admit what he had done, he waited for one of those terrified little girls to bring it up. Then their parents protected him, shielded him from the law. FINALLY when it was impossible to hide any longer, they admitted the crime after it was legally too late to be punished. They made him a hero to the Christian movement, put him in a leadership position, and allowed him to judge those who do not live by the Word of God…

“She is far more precious than jewels.”

If you believe that, then act like it.

Of Rubio, Republicans, and voting ‘right’

The political winds taunt some, depress others, and are a wonderful excuse to go do the dishes during commercial breaks for many. I, on the other hand, love nothing more than the sweet scent of political conflict in the air. It’s the breeze of responsible, the reminder that we can all make a difference in our world. I am ready for 18 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days of brutal campaigns, insults, and shouts of joy. That said, It’s only been a few weeks, and I’ve already experienced all of those things. I’m not one to shy away from opinions, nor one to defend someone to the death despite a clear difference in beliefs. I am, however, a realist…  Which brings me to the point of this post:

                                                              Who should you vote for?

 

WARNING: I’m about to discuss points and facts that I don’t, necessarily, even like. I’m about to tell you why some of my favorite people in politics can’t beat Hillary. I don’t like these facts, I despise many of them, yet I can’t get past them. So please don’t assume that I’m attacking your favorite candidate… Unless of course your favorite candidate is Hillary Clinton.

 

Despite the myriad reasons why Hillary shouldn’t be President, including the fact that if she were a Republican she’d more than likely be charged with a few crimes, she will most likely be the Democrat candidate of choice on the ballot in 2016. The woman could punch ducklings on live TV and still be worshipped by the left. They’re doing their best to make her seem human – “look, the elitist eats a burrito” – and they’ll succeed with those who really, really, really want her to be human…. Despite the fact that when she’s in public she looks like she’s either chronically constipated, or counting down the seconds before she is able to run to the nearest bottle of Germ-X so as to cleanse herself of commoner bacteria.

 

Hillary has a really good shot at the White House, because the average American voter is a glutton for punishment. They’re like an abused wife, captive to the idea that they won’t survive without a particular party in power. Yes, I compared the Democrat regime to an abusive husband. Luckily, for some of them, that’s a step up. Talking to you, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner… I digress. So follow me on this journey, let’s chat about what kind of competitor we need on our side to go up against the only “Feminist” to remain married to a womanizer and alleged rapist. I’m going to break down my reasons against/for the current candidates, as well as a few potentials.

 

Ted Cruz – Don’t you feel American when you listen to him? You feel good, you feel like he’s the second coming of Reagan. You just get the feeling like he belongs on a Presidential flashcard. Sometimes you might even accidently say “Ted Reagan” because it sounds fantastic. Wait… Is that just me? This man should have a soundtrack, and it should be Lee Greenwoods’ greatest hit on repeat. I’m pretty sure he smells like Apple Pie and baseball. I love this man, and I love what he stands for, and so do the handful, albeit large handful, of those in the country that land so far right they’ve got a poster of George Washington holding an AR-15 above their bed. So, what’s not to love about him? Well, quite simply, he’s not going to get the votes from the middle ground. If we lived in a sane America, filled with fiscally responsible adults, they’d see that he is the best chance for lowering the debt, elevating the lower class, etc…. Now, the Libertarians might not vote for Hillary, but they also won’t vote for him, they’ll either stay home, or they’ll vote for an Independent… And voting for an Independent is basically like casting your vote for the rich white chick in the pantsuit. If he wins the GOP ticket, I’ll slap a bumper sticker on my car and preach the good word, but he’s not my first choice.

 

Rand Paul – Oh, my heart. I love this man too. He’s a genuinely good person with a heart for his country. I really love the fact that he fights against the militarization of the police. He sees what I see, what many common sense individuals see; it shouldn’t be an us vs. them system, militarizing the police just damages the relationship they should have with the people of this nation. He believes that the warrior cop mentality is toxic. He believes in accountability, regardless of what uniform you wear. I have found myself siding with him on countless occasions where this is concerned. But there are staunch Republicans (I know many personally) that throw anyone who dares to stand for the rights of all people, not just the uniformed, under the bus. So while I may love him, many staunch Republicans will go full liberal and anti-rights if he says Andy Griffith can’t have a tank. That issue aside, I believe foreign policy is one of the most important issues in a Presidential candidate. I also believe that sometimes blood must be shed for the good of the innocent (WWI, WWII, ISIS, etc.), and I believe that America should defend the innocent. Hashtag diplomacy, well wishes, and minding our own business doesn’t always work. Understanding this is not Rand’s strong suit. He sounds like he’s changing his tune a bit on foreign policy, but with everything going on in this world, is it enough? On the plus side, most vehemently Republican voters will not like voting for Rand, but if he goes up against Hillary they’ll smarten up and vote for him because they’re still a step ahead of the Independents who really, really just want their weed, man. Unfortunately, he will garner very few votes from the minorities that Democrats have owned in the last 2 elections. Once again, I’ll buy a cap with his name on it if he makes the ticket, but he’s not my first choice.

 

Jeb Bush – No.

 

Chris Christie – No.

 

No. Stop it. 

 

Seriously? I should not have to explain the faults in either of those choices. Have we not learned our lesson with McCain and Romney? Do we need to revisit the rich white guy camp again to play games with what might be the most important election our generation will see? Stop making me hate you, GOP.  Stop it. Now. You need my generation, why are you bound and determined to push us away? 

 

Scott Walker – Alright, this one pains me… I’m a Wisconsinite, and a proud supporter of Walker. This election is going to require more, it’s going to require someone with a story, someone with charisma, someone that relates. I support most of what Walker has accomplished, including his fight against union thugs. But Walker does not have the story, and he doesn’t  have the charisma it will take to beat Hillary. True or not, her supporters will paint him as a “typical white Republican bully.” This election is going to be a difficult one, and we MUST learn from the past, or we’ll repeat it. If we run the same old campaigns of McCain and Romney, we’ll be listening to a concession speech by our candidate on election night.  If he ends up running against Hillary, once again, I’ll be the first in line to support him… but… Scott Walker is not my first choice. Ouch.

 

Marco Rubio – Ready? Rubio is my first choice. And below is just a peek at why I believe he should be yours too (I will include excerpts from his recent announcement):

 

He’s not an old rich white guy. TMZ once asked him the difference between Lil Wayne and Tupac, and he answered by detailing the difference between the two rappers. He quoted Jay-Z on the House floor. This may mean nothing to you, because it means nothing to me, but it means something to the millions of new voters who can relate. He’s relevant. I know Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and the likes don’t agree, but guess what… this country followed the lead of the Conservative leaders for long enough. We may agree with them, we may have the same opinions, we may own their books and tweet their quotes, but their choices have not given us results for quite a long time. Rubio is not Reagan, but I tend to believe that Reagan would have a difficult time getting elected these days.

 

“Here in America, my father became a bartender, my mother a cashier, a maid, a K-Mart stock clerk.” His parents had to budget, he had to budget. He just paid off his student loans in 2012. Do you know how long it’s been since Hillary Clinton had to worry about a budget? A loan payment? A very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very long time. She can stand in Chipotle until the cows come home, and it doesn’t change the fact that she is still going to walk away with a net worth that the majority of us will never see in a lifetime. This year alone, she’ll spend more on restaurants and clothes than I’ll ever spend on a house. She’s out of touch. Drastically out of touch. Her daughter is out of touch. And her husband needs reminders not to touch. This is where every other candidate fails to compare. Rubio can shoot Hillary’s class warfare back at her via cannon. He can paint her as an elitist who is completely out of touch with the rest of the world, including himself, and then he can drop a quote from Public Enemy and bury her, no other candidate can offer that, and if they tried they’d just look like that weird 50 year-old neighbor who has “JUICY” printed in glitter across the butt of her sweatpants. You don’t want to hear that, Conservatives, but buck up, Buttercup, it’s a fact.

 

“They’re busy looking backwards. So they do not see how jobs and prosperity today depend on our ability to compete in a global economy. And so our leaders put us at a disadvantage by taxing and borrowing and regulating like it was 1999.” In case you didn’t get the point, Marco Rubio is young and relevant. Hillary isn’t. McCain preached on how he could help you, Romney preached on how he could help you, Rubio is not speaking down to you, he is one of you.

 

“If we reform our tax code and reduce regulations and control spending and modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace Obamacare.”

 

Taxes – I love the opinion of Cruz concerning taxes, I also love the opinion of Paul concerning taxes, and Reagan, and Coolidge, and, and, the list goes on. Guess how much good those views do if Hillary is in the White House? Wishful thinking is grand, and I’ll be a flat tax supporter until I die. *wipes away single tear* However, we are dealing with the struggle of earning votes from individuals who will give their support to a candidate based off of clips of Presidential debates between Lady Gaga and Katy Perry songs on the radio. If you asked the majority of the people in this country what “flat tax” means, they’ll look at you like your finger is glowing and wonder if you need to “phone home.” If Rubio gets in the White House and tax cuts take place, jobs grow, and people see that their livelihood improves, he can then run on even more tax cuts, and other Republicans will have the ability to tout even more drastic ideas without the majority disregarding them. Did you know that in a recent poll, roughly 29% of Americans believe that less taxes on the wealthy will help the economy? That’s it. So, if you and that 29% (which includes myself) think you can magically win an election by touting tax breaks for the rich, then have it. We will have much better luck using someone like Rubio to get our foot in the door and soften opinions.

 

Immigration Laws – Uh oh. There are Conservatives who jumped head first into a rather silly pool of pandemonium the moment that Rubio suggested that a path to citizenship for illegals already in America is the right thing to do, while also saying that the current laws need to be upheld, and that control is needed at the borders. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled myself, but at the time I failed to see how it would benefit him. While you have your breakdown and proclaim your refusal to support him, I’m just going to sit over here sipping my coffee and wonder how many voters the smooth talking Cuban Senator just stole from the Democrats by not fitting into the cold and calculated mold that the liberal narrative has built for Republicans. Go ahead. Pitch your fit, but ol’Marco gained votes that no one else in the GOP will ever touch, like a boss. Besides,  apart from a ‘wetback roundup’ (go ahead, support someone who pushes that ideal and pave the way for Hillary), giving established extended families a conditional chance at staying is almost the only tangible and conservative thing left to do. 

 

Obamacare – He wants to repeal it, most people hate it, and by the time 2016 rolls around even more people will hate it. I really don’t think more needs to be said on this. 

 

“I live in an exceptional country where the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams, and the same future as those who’ve come from power and privilege.” Oh snap. He went there. While popular Democrats have in recent year felt the need to remind us that without immigrants we wouldn’t have proper lawn care (no joke), and even our current President referred to them as “fruit pickers,” Marco Rubio is here to say that they can be President. 

 

He speaks fluent Spanish. “Not a big deal,” you might say? It’s a very big deal. Because while our President is calling immigrants “fruit pickers,” Rubio’s Cuban immigrant father came home from working as a bar tender after midnight most nights and told his son, in Spanish, that “In this country you will achieve all the things we never could.” That’s a substantial difference. “The final verdict on our generation will be written by Americans who have not yet been born. Let us make sure they record that we made the right choice. That in the early years of this century, thanks to the rapidly changing and uncertain world, our generation rose to face the great challenges of our time. And because we did — because we did there was still one place in the world where you — where who you come from does not determine how far you go.” This doesn’t move Ann Coulter, it doesn’t move Glenn Beck, it doesn’t move Hannity, Limbaugh, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, etc. but it does move the kid that grew up in Harlem, it resonates with the woman who grew up translating for her parents, it has the power to move the young voters who feel like the politicians and the media can’t relate to them. Scott Walker can attack the unions, Ted Cruz can tout the NRA and filibuster, and Rand Paul can support liberty like none other, and they all do an outstanding job, but not one of them can relate to the young minority vote in the way Marco Rubio can.

 

Other candidates tend to want to slide their arm across the table, knocking all of the dominoes down in one sweep, and in no particular order. I want to do the same, but what I want will not work. Rubio is very good at being strategic, he plants dominoes to fall at just the right time. We need that.

He’s being asked difficult questions and he answering them in ways that are making the MSM implode. For example, he was asked about Evolution (since he’s a Christian) and he responded with, “It’s a scientific theory that should be taught.” Another example: A reporter recently asked if 43 was old enough to be President, Rubio responded with, “I know 44 is, which is what I turn in May.” People feel that he is inexperienced, but I tend to wonder if those people have been paying attention to politics lately. That’s not going to hurt his chances in anyway whatsoever. Maybe someday when we are back on track we will live in a matured America where people do care about the experience of a Presidential candidate, but it’s time that we face the fact that today is not that day. The left is terrified of Rubio, not so much Cruz and Rand, and that is very evident, and it’s also something we should be watching. This tells us that they confidently have their arguments against Cruz and Rand locked and loaded, guarded by a trigger happy MSNBC lapdog. However, with Rubio they’re scrambling for something, anything!They’re shooting blind and hoping that something hits… And he’s just smooth enough to pull a Matrix and avoid any fatal shots. Unfortunately, many on the right are too busy applying their Ted Cruz bumper stickers to notice.  

Now, after noting all of the obvious pros, here are a few things that I would really like to see from Rubio:

The Republican party isn’t sexist, that’s a fact. I mean come on, the party labeling us as “sexist” has numerous affairs, alleged rapes, and a body count in the war on women (Thanks, Ted…). The important thing to remember is that with Hillary, we aren’t fighting facts, we are fighting a narrative. If Rubio wins the GOP ticket, he needs to pick a woman as his Vice. Nikki Haley, Suzanna Martinez, etc… He needs a calm, smart, and articulate woman who can speak to the importance of the most understated and misunderstood woman’s right; The right to carry.

Democrats are starting to come out of the woodwork concerning Marijuana legalization. They don’t care. Seriously, they don’t care. The only reason we are seeing this – most recently in Wisconsin – and will continue to see this, is because they want Conservative candidates to look old and distant. When questioned, Rubio should default to the Constitution. “It should be left to the states and has nothing to do with the Presidential election.” And then give the, “Why are you even asking me such a silly question” face. It won’t be long before marijuana is legalized nationwide, taking a hardline stance will only push the younger votes away.

When asked about women’s rights, I want him to speak to women. I want him to look at the media and say that he’s sick and tired of politicians and the media insulting the intelligence of women. That equality laws are on the books, and touting additional legislation, and pretending as though women can’t understand any of the real issues that have to do with the Presidential election, is an insult to women. Simply saying, “it’s already illegal to discriminate” only addresses the issue, it doesn’t address the stereotype that Republicans care little about women. We need to turn the tables. We need to show that they are attacking women by assuming that we will believe their nonsense. He needs to speak like an original Feminist. The original Feminists believed that women were an intellectual equal, and showed distain for those who thought we were self-indulged jackwagons that couldn’t handle the difficult topics. Well, we aren’t, and Rubio needs to fight on our behalf against that narrative. Rand Paul has started doing this, Rubio should take note.

I’ve heard the following since expressing my opinions of the above with numerous people: 

“You’re crazy! How can Hillary win with Benghazi in her past?” – How did Obama win reelection with Benghazi in his VERY recent past? Good rule of thumb: Don’t underestimate your enemy, and don’t overestimate the bleeding hearts of their voters. If Hillary Clinton went surfing on a pile of dead puppies, but was wearing a Planned Parenthood t-shirt, she’d still get a disturbingly large number of votes from those who claim to “care.” 

 

“How can Hillary win with Bill as her baggage?” – How was Ted Kennedy’s name mentioned at the 2012 DNC without the large feminist attendance all projectile vomiting as they went running towards the door? He let a woman die slowly in a sinking vehicle to hide his dirty little secret and avoided punishment, yet feminists still get joyfully verklempt when they get the chance to celebrate his glorious name. There really are stupid questions, and we need to stop asking them, and start embracing the truth. We need to all sit down and watch Karate Kid and learn to know the opponent. Embrace the enemy. Be the ignorant whiny underpaid contraceptiveless needy feminist with a degree in gender studies, Grasshopper. 

 

“How can Hillary possibly win with the server debacle?” – Because she has a vagina, and a (D) beside her title. No seriously, that’s why.

 

“Won’t people see her horrible foreign policy?” – This morning I read an article about the guy that served her a burrito at Chipotle, and it wasn’t satirical. The article is not important, hilarious, but not important. However, the existence of this article is important. This woman is a celebrity, and I guarantee you that the majority of the individuals that vote for her will know exactly what she prefers in her burritos, but they will have no idea if she even knows how to point to Iran on a map.

 

Now, we can listen to the Conservative voices that are praising every other candidate, and some are even throwing Rubio under the bus. We can pick one of the other candidates, and I’ll vote for them, support them, and even be positive about the fight… But I sincerely hope that people vote Rubio, because I believe he is our best shot. I hope we all research his position on issues without flying off the handle like we did on Amnesty. Heck, he may do something really stupid before November 2016, I doubt it, but crazier things have happened. If that’s the case, I’ll gladly sit down and cover my words in hot sauce before dining on them. I don’t know the future, and I may be forced to change my tune, but as of right now… well… Rubio has my vote, and he should have yours too. 


There. I think I covered everything. Wait. One more thing. Whatever you do, please don’t pick Bush or Christie, because if you do, this will be me during Hillary’s inauguration:






Vacation!!!

WARNING: NOT A POLITICAL POST!!!

For two glorious weeks I spent my days on the Island of Oahu visiting my Dad. I woke up with the windows open, fresh air filled my room, and I slept until 7am most days. My Dad even had coffee made before my feet hit the floor. I ate delicious food, I went on luxurious walks, and I developed a deep respect for the Hawaiian lifestyle. Who wouldn’t? Everyone is incredibly pleasant in Hawaii, and I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that they didn’t wake up to a -24 temperature like I did this morning.

I even got some color… 

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     Taking a vacation is a wonderful break from the day to day mundane work cycle, even if sometimes it comes with a few hiccups. Just a few…

Example #1:

     On Monday morning I slapped myself in the face. Why? Well, let me give you the breakdown. I have a difficult time adjusting to our normal meaningless time change, I hate it, even when people tell me that I’m gaining an hour of sleep, I don’t feel like it. Whether I’m leaping forward or falling backwards, I usually do a fine job of emulating the town drunk for the first few hours of the day until I adjust. My system appreciates sleep, nay, my system adores sleep. I’m like a toddler who needs structure; my brain needs to know exactly when it’s supposed to be running at 100%. I can’t stand hearing from night owls and early risers, because I am neither, and I firmly believe that at some point their sheer disregard for my most beloved friend, Sleep, will catch up to them, and they will become the zombie apocalypse we’ve all been dreading. So if the normal time change has that kind of power over me, imagine a 4 hour time change…

     Jet lag, or Desynchronosis for all of you wordy people, is basically what you have when your circadian rhythms are thrown off balance by long distance travel between time zones. Or, as I like to describe it, it’s that special place where you lay in bed at 1:30am and wonder, “Has my brain turned to pudding?” only to immediately thereafter think, “Mmmm…pudding. Where can I find pudding?” This is also the same place where you are suddenly shocked awake by the idea that you might not be fully dressed because you can’t remember getting dressed, but the truth is that you are fully dressed, and you’re also in the shower. Did George Washington deliver fresh pineapples and Caribbean coffee in a basket he weaved underwater? I don’t know, because I was suffering from jet lag. Yes, that’s how off my brain was.  Basically, if the coffee isn’t flowin’, the brain isn’t goin’.

     Right now you’re thinking, “But why did you slap yourself?” Purely by accident. By Sunday night I had only been gifted with roughly 4.5 hours of sleep since Saturday morning. Marybeth doesn’t run well on 4.5 hours of sleep. Marybeth with 10 hours of sleep is like an Apple iMac with Intel Core i5 and 3.5 Ghz processor speed. Marybeth on 4.5 hours of sleep is like the old IBM Model 5150; sometimes you just need to kick me repetitively to get me going, and even then there aren’t any promises. I like to stay somewhere in between. So when I finally crashed on Sunday night, which due to jet lag was later than planned, I crashed. I crashed so hard that I missed the moment when my arm went from tingling sensation to full out paralysis after I slept on it in a way that cut off circulation. I lost all feeling from the elbow down. When I woke up to get ready for work I was fully inebriated on 100 proof sleep deprivation, and my mind was about as clear as a cloud. I started violently shaking my arm in an attempt to get the feeling back, only to throw my balance off and nearly tumble to the ground. Just kidding, there was no “nearly” about it. Once I was back on my feet and able to stay there without swaying, I lifted my arm up higher thinking that would help the blood flow, and in the process of shaking my arm I slapped myself in the face.

    I’ve had brighter moments.

    Not only did I slap myself, I then decided that the best way to gain back the feeling in my arm was to go about my normal routine. So I tried to pick up my phone, and then started laughing hysterically when I couldn’t even do that. I then picked up my phone with my good hand and placed it in the numb hand. It tumbled to the ground, putting the rave reviews of my phone case to the test. My extensive testing in the early morning hours of Monday prove that the Otterbox is indeed a remarkably fine piece of phone protection, because shockingly, this would not be the first drop of the day for my phone.

      In conclusion, Marybeth needs adequate sleep, because while the above was bad, it gets even worse. Every night since returning I’ve been lying in bed for hours before being able to fall asleep, and do you know what happens when someone like me lays in bed with the company of their own thoughts for that long? Suddenly I’m on Google and WebMD, and the stomach ache I’ve had since returning is either traveler’s stomach, or Trichinosis, a worm that has the ability to infest my brain. There’s no cure, there’s no fix, I just have to wait 5-8 days to see if the little devils hatch and mate in my intestines and make their way to my bloodstream. Then the YouTube video of surgeons extracting the worm infestation from my cerebral cortex will go viral, and the writers of House will regret not writing a story like mine. I envy the Koala, it gets a solid 22 hours of sleep every day, and it doesn’t have access to Google, it doesn’t have my fears, it doesn’t know my struggle, the adorable little creature just eats leaves and will never know the horrors of Trichinosis.

Example #2:

     Before going on my glorious vacation, I was awfully proud of my assumed abilities. Last summer I had gotten myself in shape, I was active, and I felt a little like Lance Armstrong. So I told my Dad, with confidence, that I would love to go hiking in Hawaii and get some photographs. Unfortunately, I forgot that it’s been winter in Wisconsin for numerous months, and I had been trapped in my house like a caged animal, or outside in freezing temps. It had been years since I had experienced a good summer. I thought Zumba was keeping me in shape. I thought wrong. The hikes were beautiful, and totally worth the near death I felt, but let me tell you, Zumba does not help with the change in temperature, nor does it help a 27 year-old jazzercise her way to keeping up with her extremely active father.

We had many adventures, but I’ll talk about one that might resonate with anyone that has been to Hawaii. Diamond Head, featured below:

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      On our drive to Diamond Head, my Dad spoke to the ease of the ascent. He said that the elderly who can barely move make their way up Diamond Head, I can’t tell you how many times I replayed those words in my head… Little did he know that for future house guests he will from here on out be using the term “Even Marybeth made her way up Diamond Head.” He told me about when my Grandparents visited, and how my Grandpa (who still runs in 5K races) had an incredibly easy time getting to the top, while my Grandma struggled. He said that she was so proud of herself when she made it that she purchased a t-shirt to celebrate her success. We laughed in unison while I tightened my laces, sipped my water, and prepared for a gentle stroll up a small hill. I thought about how adorable my Grandma is, and how I probably won’t even break a sweat… I was completely oblivious to that fact that within the next two hours I would be devouring my pride like a psycho turned cannibal, that I would have a nervous breakdown that resembled a Saw movie and compare myself to Chilean miners, and that I would crawl to the t-shirt shop at the bottom of the hill, me, myself, containing the collective insanity of the entire Donner party, and hand the man a twenty after looking like I had climbed Kilimanjaro.

I fully intend on inserting beautiful photos throughout this post, because I can…They might not even be from the same hike, but I’m going to post them. Because I want to.

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Like that one…It’s not even from Diamond Head, but I put it there anyway.

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That one isn’t from Diamond Head either… Soak up the beauty, Buttercup.  

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Okay, yes, that one was taken from the top of Diamond Head…

     We start walking up towards Diamond Head, and things are going great. We are holding a full conversation and my breath is still stable. Then it begins. 15 minutes later I look like I had been showered on, while everyone else is just traipsing up the hill like it’s a gentle stroll through a park. At this particular point I’m still walking, but the looming struggle has gotten into my head, and I have the sentence structure of a newly awakened coma patient, “this….beau…ti…ful.” Japanese and Chinese tourists – who look like they’ve had their sweat glands removed after training with Jackie Joyner-Kersee – walk up Diamond Head with their selfie sticks, and I, in the background, look like I’ve been mauled to death by the Sahara Desert. “White girl who was hit by train” is no doubt a label in countless Asian tourist scrapbooks and slideshows. Then suddenly as I’m puffing on my inhaler like it’s an oxygen mask that was dropped over my head in an aircraft plunging towards the earth in a ball of flames, a woman roughly 30 years my senior walks past…

      “Are you alright, Dear?” she asks with a genuinely concerned disposition.

      “Yes, I’m from a Northern state on the mainland, so this is just hitting me pretty rough…” I spit out my excuse.

      “Me too! Where are you from?” she says.

       I want to die.

       I convince myself that this active senior is clearly a former Olympic medalist, and I also tell myself that I can do this, and that I just need to push myself. Then the stairs came out of nowhere. Nowhere, I tell you. They appeared in front of me like the Grim Reaper, draped in death. I attacked them with my legs, and somewhere in the middle I must have convinced myself that my arms deserved a workout as well, because I started stabilizing myself with whatever body parts I had available.

      “Dad, where’s the next rest stop?”

      “After this tunnel.”

      Why? Why not before? I started to enter the tunnel and immediately panicked as my lungs tightened, and my brain started to function at 150%. I had 7 different outcomes fly through my brain at once, and only one ended with seeing daylight, the next best outcome ended with a movie in my memory that involved a dramatic film score and a bestselling novel. One outcome left me alive; the other six left me in the same predicament as the Chilean miners, but with a not so happy ending. “If I was alive, I’d buy both the soundtrack and the movie,” I think to myself. The Baby Jessica story comes to mind, and there I am, standing in the entrance of a tunnel and wondering how long it would take them to get that kind of equipment up here. I basically had my own obituary written, and while it sounded adventurous, I wasn’t sure if “they were unable to recovery the body from under the debris” was really the right wording for the sake of my family’s comfort.

      “I can’t do this…” I utter.

      “Do you have a cellphone with a flashlight?” some brave soul said to me on his way out of the tunnel. “That usually helps with the claustrophobia…”

      “Thank you, but I need air.” I’m like Oliver Twist standing before Mother Nature, “more please.” I walk back to the stairs and stand in the middle of the narrow walkway, fully intent on turning around and falling down said stairs, being knocked unconscious, and then being revived in an air-conditioned ambulance by a Polynesian EMT. Those ascending and descending take turns going past my frail, Sybil like state. I’m clogging traffic, I’m that person… Out of embarrassment, I fight my nausea and enter the tunnel. It’s dark, it’s hot, it’s dusty, and thankfully I make it out alive to the rest stop. My Dad comforts me, saying that it’s alright, that we can take our time. Meanwhile, he looks like he’s been spritzed with a little fresh spring water, while I look like I survived a tsunami and then just randomly decided to climb Diamond Head after exiting a pile of debris and water. The view from the top of Diamond Head is truly breathtaking; unfortunately, the trip up was rather breathtaking for me as well. On that note, now that I am not climbing it, TOTALLY worth the climb, friends. It’s one of the prettiest views in the world.

      We made it down, and yes, I purchased myself a t-shirt, and next time I see my Grandma we will wear them together – proudly – while we ignore all jokes from our fit family members.

Example #3:

      I was set to leave on Saturday night, and as I began packing my things and preparing for the journey home that week, my Dad said that we should spend the last couple of days doing my favorite things. Well, the North Shore happened to be my favorite place on Oahu. On Friday the 13th, (that should have been a sign) I stood on a secluded beach while my Dad ran back to the car for water. I stared into the ocean, mesmerized by its beauty. I watched the waves as they swelled and crashed, as the sheer power of the ocean filled my ears. My bare feet were inches away from where the water ended its visit on the beach, and then suddenly it reached my feet and the sand beneath them melted away. It was beautiful and perfect. Dad was back, and we were both just looking out at what God had created.

     “Is that guy naked?”

      Yep. That happened. My Dad’s question was like an iceberg to my Titanic. It was a valid question though, and upon further investigation, the man was indeed naked. Thankfully, he laid down and mooned the sun, secretly I hoped that he would pay for interrupting my moment by having to apply copious amounts of aloe to the whiter portions of his body later that evening. My Dad and I brushed this random moment aside like it was just some guy taking advantage of a quiet beach. Yep. That’s all. That’s all it was.

     Except it wasn’t.

     You know how a dog senses when a storm is coming? They are able to prepare themselves, run for cover, and bark mindlessly in your direction? The first thing that I plan to ask God is why humans were not gifted with this same endowment. Imagine how much we could avoid?

      My Dad and I sat on the beach, and we pushed the thought of the nude gentleman from our thoughts, moments later a kind fellow walked up and handed me shells. We had a short exchange, and he ended by saying, “You’re in paradise, you should be enjoying the water!” My Dad and I both looked at each other, and at our casual attire that was not suitable for swimming, and told the man that we’d probably go in another time. This chap then went to his car to fetch his snorkeling gear while Dad and I got pulled into our own conversation. Roughly 10 minutes went by before our new snorkeling friend reappeared with his gear, as he passed us he once again reiterated, “You’re in paradise! Don’t think about it, just get in the water!” Once again, my Dad and I brushed it off, chuckled in unison and decided the guy was a little odd for think that we would go swimming in the clothes we were wearing.

      Except that’s not what the guy had in mind.

      Moments later I was faced with a sight that would change me forever. I look towards my Dad, and about 20 feet behind him our snorkeling friend was wearing his snorkeling gear. Just his snorkeling gear. My Dad begins to swat at a bee, oblivious to the sight behind him, and I’m speechless, utterly without words. I felt like the little alien running my brain, we’ll call him Bob, was taking the elevator to all levels only to find that everything had been abandoned, and the place had been torched. “Words, I just need words!!!” he screamed through the halls of my frontal lobe as the alphabet letters ran around aimlessly on fire, and the floor started to give way. Finally Bob managed to track down a few letters to put together and all I can say is, “Oh my goodness…Oh. My. Goodness… No…” My Dad of course gave this confusing look as if to say, “Seriously? It’s just a bee…” I finally tell him to look behind and we both sit in a mixture of shock and laughter as our snorkeling friend takes nothing but his snorkeling gear and reflective posterior to the ocean.

      Obviously we decided to leave, but on the way out we saw a woman and her young child headed in the direct of the nudists. We stood and watched as the woman quickly turned her child around and walked with haste in the other direction.

      So what can we learn from this? Nudist beaches should always have proper signage.

      In conclusion – I had a blast, and I had a wonderful time with my Dad that we will both remember forever. I was able to see the entire island, as well as visit Pearl Harbor, eat Mochi ice-cream, and enjoy the foods of Oahu. I was able to visit his wonderful and beautiful church, and to meet so many of his lovely friends. It was truly a wonderful visit, one that I’m sure I will talk about more in future blog posts. My family back home took great care of my dog and house as well, they even did some much appreciated rearranging in my house. In closing, I feel incredibly blessed by all of those around me.  Except the nudists, definitely not the nudists.

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It’s time to stop vilifying our military…

I’ve always hated the labels that redirect the responsibility of misdeeds from individual accountability to life circumstance. Sure we all go through struggles, but why does society categorize those who struggle as individuals who somehow deserve a permission slip? 

She had a child out of wedlock at 16 – Yeah, but she has Daddy issues….

He’s a drug addict – Yeah, but he didn’t have many friends…

She sleeps around – Yeah, but she’s a child of divorce…

He’s a rapist – Yeah, but he was sexually abused…

I’ve known many wonderful and strong people who have overcome much, they know the statistics and refuse to be a part of the social expectations. They may struggle emotionally, but they’re determined not to let their suffering victimize someone else. I’ve also known many who let the social expectations dictate their life, it’s like having lifetime subscriptions to “but” and “because” for them. Those who are responsible shouldn’t feel like they have to prove their responsibility to the world because society tells them that their circumstances put them in the negative to begin with. Everyone is responsible for their own life. Which brings me to the meat of this blog post…

PTSD.

First and foremost, my heart goes out to those in Fort Hood. I’m heartbroken for the families that lost a loved one, those who are recovering in the hospital, as well as all of the families that experienced the terror of those life altering moments. Last Wednesday, we all watched the horror unfold like an all too common rerun of a horrific movie, the sudden stab of its reality reoccurring in our minds for days. 

We are human, when such acts of horror invade our world like an unexpected enemy, our first response is always to question why. Closure becomes the holy grail of healing. We want to know what would cause someone to do such a thing, we want to know how we can prevent such acts from occurring. In some small way, leaving the act so fully unjustifiable seems to prove the existence of unmitigated evil in its darkest form. If we can just get a grasp on to the underlying situation we’ll feel a little safer, right? How do you stop someone from wanting to hurt innocent people? Could this particular attack be stopped? How can we make sure that this doesn’t happen again? How can we keep a wife from having to pick out a casket because a madman snapped?

Answer: We can’t. Period. 

The sooner we accept this scary reality, the sooner we can make improvements that increase our ability to protect ourselves and our families.

Upon turning on the news this weekend I heard the term “PTSD” used roughly 10 times in 30 minutes by 3 different stations. I believe that doing so can be both unintentionally harmful, and sometimes meticulously orchestrated, dependent upon the deliverer of said news reports. 

In an effort to answer the “why”, we’ve placed millions of people who suffer from PTSD in a category labeled “Unstable”. Millions of abuse victims, dedicated soldiers, missionaries, car wreck survivors, etc. suffer from PTSD every day, and they aren’t dangerous or unstable. They’re victims of circumstance, but they know they are responsible for their own actions.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can leave you in fear for your own life, as well as the life of others. It can cause you to feel like you aren’t in control of your surroundings, and oftentimes normal everyday activities serve as a trigger for your memory, causing you to relive the specific events. It leaves some unable to speak about the events, it can cause them to avoid situations that they fear, which can become all consuming. Hypersensitivity, as well as addiction, are also possible. It’s very common, and those who suffer are far from alone.

There are also those who suffer from brain damage and severe mental disorders, and I believe that we can do more to help them and prevent tragedies by doing so. But the point of this post is to make it clear that using PTSD to justify the slaughter of innocent individuals is not only ignorant, it’s irresponsible, and it vilifies those who come home from war. It encourages them not to seek help.

They’re heroes overseas, yet suddenly untrustworthy with a weapon on U.S. soil. We’ll send them to fight for our rights, but then question their own rights when they simply ask for help. In blaming PTSD, we also tell them that they’re not responsible for their actions, and we fail the very people that fight for us. Many feel out of control, and so we reiterate to them that they are out of control by placing their decision making process fully in the hands of an anxiety disorder.

So, to make this perfectly clear:

PTSD did not go on a shooting spree. Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree.

A gun did not go on a shooting spree. Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree.

Millions of people suffering from PTSD daily did not go on a shooting spree, nor will they. Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree.

Which brings me to my next issue:

Danny Ferguson was engaged to be married. He’d just returned from Afghanistan, and he sacrificed himself while trying to save others. Danny obeyed the law and wasn’t armed on base.

Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez dedicated 20 years of his life to serving his country, in seven months he planned to retire. Carlos obeyed the law and wasn’t armed on base.

Timothy Owens was a counselor and had also done time in Iraq. He planned to make the military his career. Timothy obeyed the law and wasn’t armed on base.

Ivan Lopez did not obey the law, and he took their lives before taking his own.

A common misconception that spread like a vicious wildfire after this recent attack is that Fort Hood, a military base, should be well equipped to protect itself. They feed the idea that we must control guns, that we need to control those with PTSD, that we need to have more restrictions, etc. Yet they fail to mention that our Military bases are GUN FREE ZONES.Fort Hood is the liberal utopia! Guns must be registered, no carrying permitted, only police are armed, etc… Yet what was the first response when these policies failed?

We need more control.”

When are people going to realize that violence will always happen, and that the only response from leftist politicians will be to tighten the belt even more? I believe that even they know it won’t work. It’s the same across the U.S., they know the policies don’t work, we have the proof. Feeding the fear of guns is simply a glowing opportunity for Democrats to have more state control. Period. When it fails, they don’t care, they just push for increased control. The accompanying body count of defenseless victims is simply collateral damage for the common good.

My Dad served in the Army for 30 years. He was trusted in life or death situations, highly trained, level headed, etc… I hope I’m not the only one disturbed by the insanity that while he was willing to take a bullet for our country, our country turned around and put him in danger when he came back home. This fact is infuriating to me, and quite hard to stomach.

Is it just a lack of common sense? It’s simple: Those who plan to break the law and murder someone are not going to mind breaking the law to gain the weapon to do so. That’s right, out of the entire military, including millions of those that suffer with PTSD, .00007% went on a shooting spree this year, so that somehow justifies keeping the rest of our military in danger? Go back and recount those zeros so that we can bask in the unrivaled ignorance of gun control.

I often ask why law makers and leftists fight to unarm our military. The only answer I have is one that scares me: They are either dangerously ignorant, and are therefore incompetent to run a country, OR,  seeing men and women in body bags is not a cost they’re not willing to pay for their propaganda and control.

I see people fighting all the time on behalf of military benefits, and I’m not asking you to stop…But I find it equally important, if not more so, for us to fight for their right to protect themselves. Our soldiers fight for the freedoms outlined in the Constitution, then come home and get gunned down because they’re not allowed to have those same rights, then survivors get labeled as ticking time bombs because they have PTSD.

Come on, America…We can do better.