Oklahoma State House..

I need another ISOA post to take my mind off this very stressful week.

For this week’s ISOA (in search of America) post lets go to the Oklahoma State house in Oklahoma City and focus particularly on the paintings and sculptures there.  This was one of the most lavish state houses I have been in and it was also the most paranoid as far as security is concerned.  It was my feeling that they didn’t really appreciate people taking pictures. When a young Asian couple were taking pictures of the unoccupied House chamber a guard came up and confiscated their memory card from their camera.  I try not to let that experience blunt the memory of the great paintings there.  I guess I looked a little less threatening than those Asian kids did as he didn’t take my card…

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

Our Collective Futures…

Snippet Banner   I will be the first to admit that the last eight years have not been America’s best. We were far too entangled in partisan warfare to really accomplish what is needed to keeping America the envy of the world.  And then there was the election of an extreme egocentric narcissist to be our future leader.

As many are saying now the USA seems to always take two steps forward and one step back. We are definitely n the “back” part in the coming years. Attached is a letter from President Obama just two days before he leaves the helm of our country. I especially like these words from the letter:

slice1So our collective future depends on our collective willingness to uphold our duties as citizens:  to vote, to speak out, and to stand up for others knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us.  And for the rest of my days, I promise I will be right there alongside you, continuing to do my part to build a better, more prosperous, more diverse and inclusive America—an America with a future full of hope.


(click on the image to see a readable version of the letter)

These words were also echoed by a previous president about 55 years ago when he told us don’t ask what the country can do for you but what you can do for it.  The collective willingness to speak out, stand up for others as someone stood up for us in the past. America if it has been anything is that is has always been inclusive but that is now in threat for the immediately coming years where we are told we must build walls to keep this country to ourselves.

I just hope there is enough of us willing to stand up for others in the coming four years.


The Real Fear….

There is much to fear from a Trump White House but the most gruesome fear is someone pushing the nuclear button due to be dissed or having a strained bravado. David Brooks sums that up for me in his recent oped piece in the New York Times. Here is a portion of that:

2017-01-04_09-01-30.pngI’ll be curious to see if Trump’s public rhetoric becomes operationalized in any way. For example, I bet his bromance with Putin will end badly. The two men are both such blustery, insecure, aggressive public posturers, sooner or later they will get in a schoolyard fight.

It will be interesting to see if that brawl is just an escalating but ultimately harmless volley of verbiage, or whether it affects the substance of government policy and leads to nuclear war.

I was not a witness to very many schoolyard brawls as I was growing up but the ones I did see didn’t end very well. Given the makeup of these two guys who have their fingers on the nuclear buttons it seems very possible that a schoolyard fight between extreme  insecure egotists could result in some very irrational consequences. I can only pray that someone somewhere down the line has the courage to simply say no to turning the launch keys.

Mr. Trump is famous for attacking ANYONE who he sees as dissing him or questioning his perfection. A situation with Putin is certainly inevitable. If he goes off in a tirade because a local union rep said he was wrong with the numbers what will happen when he is really dissed by a world power? Will he be able to handle humiliation with just some early morning tweets? I kind of doubt it

I love David Brook’s description of these to guys as “blustery, insecure, aggressive public posturers”. I don’t think I could find a better description except to maybe add “narcissists” to the list.


Flowers In The Middle Of Winter…

Here we are in mid-January in the Midwest so there isn’t much growing. But that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the flowers I found in the Des Moines Botanical Gardens a few years back.  I haven’t had to deal with much snow so far but I still got the winter blahs…. so I need plenty of flowers. 🙂

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view 

Where’s the Outrage? Moral Clarity in the Age of Trump

It seems almost unheard of for one Christian organization to criticize another but that is just what my friends over at Red Letter Christians do on a regular basis. When we Christians move so far away from the principles of Jesus we should be chastised and that is what too many of the so-called Evangelicals have done. Yes, Jesus was most likely against abortion, although he never directly said so, but he was very verbally against so many of the things that the current crop of Republicans are trying to destroy.  Here are some words about that:

When Obama took office the stock market was in free fall. The bankers who had undermined the economy by betting against American homeowners were closing their institutions. Default on mortgages were in the hundreds of thousands and the Obama administration turned all these things around. Where’s the outrage?

Trump suggests that Obama did nothing to save the jobs of American workers when, in fact, he saved the auto industry from going under? Today, the stock market is soaring and yet Trump says that what Obama did to the economy was a failure. That’s a lie. Where’s the outrage?

Trump says that the Affordable Care Act is no good and must be abolished even though it has brought health insurance benefits to millions of Americans and Trump offers nothing in its place. Where’s the outrage?…

And when Trump demeans certain Mexican Americans, the physically handicapped and women, and when he calls for a registry of Muslim’s and threatens to close the door to Syrian refugees, where’s the outrage?

Given the passive reaction to these and other outrages, we have to ask whether Evangelical leaders are more committed to candidates of the Republican party than to gospel standards of right and wrong? As in Jesus’ day, our religious leaders remain silent in the face of moral compromise and injustice. When Donald Trump finally takes office, will Evangelicalism be the compromised court religion of the Republican Party or will its leaders finally speak up?

Source: Where’s the Outrage? Moral Clarity in the Age of Trump – Red Letter Christians

It was totally unfathomable to me that the 81% of the Evangelicals who voted for our soon to be president totally disregarded the blatant lies told by their candidate when they should have been outraged. The central tenet of the Christian community should be about loving your neighbor and giving him the shirt off your back if he needs it.  Instead the 81% enthusiastically put in office a person who has vowed to close the door and lock up the country and to disregard the suffering of its citizens.

Where is the outrage, indeed. I will go one step further than my friends at RLC and say that Jesus would be casting out these folks for their unChristian attitudes. They are disgracing the very meaning of being a follower of Jesus Christ.   WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE????