we have a people (not political) problem

So the initial part of this story is a little old — my apologies. But soon it should all make sense. I have also added a few creative, fictional details. The essence of the story remains in tact; we simply altered a few descriptors in order to remove some of the stereotypical impediments to reason. Hence, hear the story of one of our elect, Avery Blue, serving in the House of Representatives since 2021, loyal member of the Pooh Party…

Over a month ago the Pooh Party was knowingly maneuvering to delay a vote on legislation sponsored by their perceived polar opposite Robins. The Pooh Party was asking for more time, suggesting their team didn’t have enough time to thoroughly read the bill before the vote.

Coincidentally, just then Avery pulled a fire alarm in the Capitol, prompting evacuation of the entire building. Later that day, he would own up to what he attributed to an accidental error. Said Avery: “I want to personally clear up confusion surrounding today’s events. Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open. I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused. But I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote.”

Short video arose showing him pulling the alarm; it was clear he did it. Likeminded media outlets immediately jumped in to share the perspective they wanted most to be true (if they covered much at all). Avery was also publicly questioned repeatedly by many — and he consistently and adamantly shared how it was an unintentional, mere mistake. He was deeply sorry… embarrassed, too…

“I was trying to get to a door. I thought the alarm would open the door, and I pulled the fire alarm to open the door by accident… I was just trying to get to my vote and the door that’s usually open wasn’t open; it was closed.”

Fast forward to just some 10 days ago, a month after the incident; full security camera footage was released. It showed, dare we suggest, a little bit more… 

The footage shows Avery walking around an overt, free-standing caution sign, over to the exit doors and then actually quickly ripping down signs that mark it as an emergency exit. The signs read: “Emergency Exit Only! Push until alarm sounds (3 seconds). Door will unlock in 30 seconds.”

After ripping down the signs, Avery then swiftly goes over to the adjacent alarm, pulls it, and moves away; he doesn’t touch nor even glance at the doors he claimed he attempted to enter; in fact, the video shows him never touching the doors as if to enter. Avery leaves the scene with the wadded up emergency signs remaining in hand.

Simultaneously, Avery wasn’t done averring his innocence. He told reporters that he was “grateful that the United States Capitol Police General Counsel’s office agreed I did not obstruct nor intend to obstruct any House vote or proceedings.” But as Roll Call reported, “Capitol Police pushed back” on Bowman’s self-exoneration: “Our General Counsel did not, nor anyone in our Department, make that determination.”

Last week in court, no less, Avery pleaded guilty to “willfully or knowingly” raising a false fire alarm. Hence, let me be blunt. Avery lied. 

Such is no cause to castrate or convict. We have all been guilty of stupid things. The point here is simply that Avery lied. And lied some more. He is supposed to represent the people, making wise decisions on the public’s behalf. And yet he was willing to repeatedly lie to make us believe a better sounding account.

When confronted by BMM reporter Manu Raju this past week, Raju asked Avery why he initially said he “mistakingly” thought the fire alarm would open the door — yet later pleaded guilty to “willfully or knowingly” pulling the alarm falsely. Avery’s response?

“I was straight from the very beginning.”

Raju retorted, “You weren’t straight about what happened initially.”

Said Avery, “I was very straight. I was straight from the very beginning.”

Raju: “You said you didn’t know!”

Avery: “I was straight from the beginning.” 

Avery then answered another reporter’s question about the same matter with, “Yeah, whatever, man.”

So Raju asks again, “Can you just explain why you said that in the beginning?”

Ends Avery: “We already talked about this. Anything else?” He then signs off with “peace and love, y’all,” and walks away. Peace, love and a few lies in between.

Here’s the thing… Most of us learned long ago that if we lie in little things, we’ll lie in big things, as the testimony of a liar cannot be trusted. So the zillion dollar question is: what else is Avery lying about? What other emotion is an act?

Friends, we don’t have a political problem in this country; we have a people problem. We make excuses for character cracks and a clear lack of integrity. We turn the other way, vote for them, and even re-elect them… pending their party, that is. That’s a problem with us.

And yes, that’s with far more than the Poohs and the Robins.



scarier than Halloween: militance in our views

Yesterday may have been Halloween,  but I’m afraid there may exist something seriously scarier.

I’m fearful that somewhere along the line, we’ve taught those who come after us that it’s good to be militant in our views… To be militant means to be authentic. To be militant means we’re convicted. To be militant means we know what is good and right and true…

Note what militant actually means…

mil·i·tant | ˈmiləd(ə)nt | adj. combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.

There is nothing inherent in its definition that speaks to authenticity nor virtue.

As eloquent author, former presidential speechwriter (and Intramuralist favorite) Peggy Noonan recently wrote, regardless of any articulated call for equity or justice, when militance is invoked, what’s on display is not authenticity; it’s a desire for dominance…we know what is good and right and true and you don’t. You thus need to think like me…There is a self-assumed posture that is ready and eager to fight. 

And let’s face it; when we’re in a posture ready and eager to fight, that means we’re also prone to be defensive… to take someone on at the earliest perceived infringement. That means our listening skills are nullified. Our sense of reason is off. And the idea of loving our neighbor as ourself is a nice sounding idea more apt to be thrown out the nearest window. We’re selective in who that so-called neighbor actually is.

Hence, militance in our views is a weakness that unknowingly obscures wisdom.

I read a scary op-ed in The Free Press this week (a news source that has provided especially keen and thoughtful insight in the current situation in the Middle East). It was written by contributor Julia Steinberg, and entitled “Why My Generation Hates Jews.” 

Steinberg is 21 years old, a junior at Stanford, and Jewish. (Read the entire piece HERE.) She talks about the lack of diverse thought encouraged and taught to her generation (at far more than Stanford… although tangent note: it’s fascinating to read the lengthy list of anti-Israel demands included on a circulating petition by Stanford Palestinian activists; “demand” is a kind word). 

Steinberg speaks of how her generation has been taught to “worship” identity categories and “the distinction of oppressor/oppressed.” “The oppressor is always wrong, and the oppressed are always right. Since high school, we’ve been trained to identify and slot people based on their identities alone.” 

Granted, this is only the perspective on one member of Gen Z, but it’s hard to ignore her insights, especially with the amount of support for the hatred and terrorism of Hamas seen on the college campus — and somehow not viewed as hatred and terrorism. 

“The cheering of Hamas among people my age on college campuses in the U.S. might seem shocking to older people. But it doesn’t shock me. For most of my peers, social issues are unanimous.”

Note the unanimous response to social issues — the lack of individual thinking. That eerily sounds way too close to one’s listening skills being nullified, sense of reason being off, and the idea of loving your neighbor as ourself as yes, thrown out that nearest window.

Sadly, as you read through Steinberg’s account, she says it a little bolder:

“It’s cool to promote hate.”

Sit with that for a moment. The actual promotion of hate.

That militance, friends, is scary. 

The Intramuralist has always supported the right for every person to believe what they believe. Indeed; none of us are someone else’s Holy Spirit. But we also simultaneously advocate for the wise act of always being open to learning more, realizing places where we may have knowingly or unknowingly allowed judgment, arrogance or foolishness to creep into our perspective. Judgment, arrogance and foolishness pave the way for hate — and for constructing that window that allows for the throwing out of loving our neighbor well.

Yes, this is scary, far scarier than any Tuesday.



OK. You’ve got my attention.

I admit. Sitting here this morn I’m still a little rattled by the death of Matthew Perry. For those not a fan, Perry was ⅙ of the infamous “Friends” cast. He was known for his timely wit, not to mention the huge unveiled heart, underneath. For those of us who ventured further into adulthood with the hit series, there was just something special about each of these actors, as they oft awkwardly walked through all sorts of drama, but made you laugh at seemingly every step in between.

While Perry wasn’t technically my friend, I felt like I could relate.

That goes for me. And for more.

Perry wasn’t known for being any kind of saint. In fact, in his less than year old autobiography, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, he is rawly honest about his so-called sins more than sainthood. As reviewed by Google Books:

“In an extraordinary story that only he could tell – and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it – Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humour, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fuelled it despite seemingly having it all.”

Perry struggled. 

Perry was human.

Perry was, therefore, just like us. None of us, friends, are saints. We fit far easier in the sinners category. God love us.

When a life ends at an early age, it doesn’t make sense. That’s one of those things that I just have to trust the good Lord with, as it’s heartbreaking and hurtful and so #$&*@!! confusing. But I trust He will always know more than me. I plan to have a conversation with Him about that sometime. 

But for now what I know is this…

Lord, you’ve got my attention.

We fight about all sorts of things on this planet. We justify judgment, arrogance, bigotry and more. We even find good reasons for it.

We validate withholding forgiveness, not listening, and not loving our neighbor well. We feel like we get to choose which neighbors we love, somehow seeing ourselves exempt from one of life’s wisest commandments.

The beauty within the tragedy is that these are moments when we are rattled, that are laced with the opportunity to do better…

… to love… forgive… ask for forgiveness… listen… restore the relationship… give thanks… and so much more…

Rest in peace, Matthew Perry. You are loved and respected by me and many. You were indeed our friend.

May we be better and do better because of you.



why are they accepting of such obvious hatred?

So I’ve been trying to wrap my head around why people would willingly support a terrorist organization and the annihilation of the Jewish race. We’re speaking once more of Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization.

To be clear, a terrorist organization is one that is “directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting or fostering the doing of a terrorist act.” Terrorism, according to Britannica, is “the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.”

It doesn’t take anywhere near a rocket scientist to see the hatred, maliciousness and evil in such an aim. And yet, on the college campus, supposedly an established place of higher learning, with all due respect, the number of persons who can’t see that is astounding. 

NBC referenced a poll taken last week, finding then that 86% of college students are aware of the Oct. 7th attack on Israel. Of that number, only 67% see the behavior as an act of terrorism by Hamas. That means that 33% describe it as something else — many who go so far as to actually call the horrific attack justified. 

Note far more than the numbers; look at the actual protests. Colleges are clashing over the current conflict…

… students… and professors…

As Politico and The Washington Post report… a Cornell University professor called the Hamas attacks “exhilarating” and “energizing.” A Yale professor dubbed Israel a “murderous, genocidal settler state.” A Stanford University instructor reportedly asked Jewish and Israeli students to stand in the corner of a classroom.

This, my friends, is from higher ed.

Such thus begs the seriously sincere question: what are we teaching our future leaders?

There are far more than the above stunning stories coming from numerous campuses since this conflict began — and as evidenced, many come from those that consider themselves “Ivy League.” It makes a person wonder what “Ivy” in the “League” actually equates to.

So in seeking to understand and not in any way chastise, let us pose a more pointed question for this day, trying to wrap our brains upon how the seemingly highly educated could be so accepting of obvious hatred…

In the last few years, college campuses have been uniquely marked by a so-called “wokeism.” It’s a hot-button, sometimes controversial concept — and let’s be honest; it’s been a challenge for most of America to figure out — what it is and what it is not. Politics too often gets in the way.

The definition of wokeism changes slightly pending who you ask and what their primary political bent is. A respectful, working interpretation, no less, would explain wokeism as an emphasized attention on identity-based social issues where there exists perceived ongoing injustice, inequality and/or oppression. We then ask today: is there a correlation between wokeism and support for the hatred of Hamas?

Wokeism assesses the power struggle between an identified oppressor and a victim. With its identity-based focus, gender, ethnicity, religion, wealth, etc. serve as perceived identity hierarchal markers, markers which are believed to have previously paved or currently provide the way for said power of the oppressor.

So knowing wokeism has recently swelled, is the stunning acceptance of hatred based on an assessment of the perceived victim and oppressor?

… is it their view that Hamas is a victim?

… and Israel is an oppressor?

And if in reality this is a situation where Hamas really is a victim, then is the logic that it doesn’t matter what they do or what tactics they employ? It doesn’t matter what they did on October 7th?

Murders, mutilation… hostages… killing babies, children, the elderly…

It makes me wonder, therefore, if wokeism is a deceiving, dangerous way in which to view the world…

It makes me wonder if it’s yet one more way to make us unknowingly blind to hate.



it’s important: remember the day

On October 8th, the day after Hamas attacked Israel, there was one thought that resonated loudest in my thinking… 

Remember this day. Remember the horror that happened, who did it and why.

Why the resonance?

Because when we get further from the absolute atrocity, we’ll forget what the atrocity actually was… We’ll forget the killing of the innocent. We’ll forget the murders and mutilations. We’ll forget that this was nothing short of a savage act of terrorism. 

Our forgetfulness will then result in ill-founded consequence. Most applicable in this attack is to come to the conclusion that there is any sort of moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel. Let us be as clear as possible: there is not.

Clarity is a gift, friends. So let’s answer the Q: who is Hamas and what do they want? 

Hamas is an Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorist organization. Their charter, established in 1988, states: “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” The river refers to the Jordan River. The sea is the Mediterranean. The stated aim is to annihilate Israel.

While it is true that some Palestinians desire a two-state solution — meaning Israel and a future Palestine coexist — Hamas does not. Contrary to the teaching that this issue is about land, it is wholeheartedly not. Make no mistake about it; this is about wiping Jewish people off the face of the planet. Hence, there is zero moral equivalency.

And yet, now that we’re over a week out, we forget. Not only do we forget, but some tend to even take their talking points from the terrorists, as opposed to the truth, ignorant of that complete lack of moral equivalency.

Last week, for example, there was a rocket that exploded in a Gaza hospital parking lot. Gaza is home to Hamas. Hamas immediately blamed Israel. Israel said they would need time (hours) to verify. Know who chose not to verify?

  • CNN
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post… and more.

Members of the mainstream press blindly ran with what Hamas said, that Israel just caused the brutal death of hundreds (500, according to the immediacy of the Times). 

But it was a lie. 

The destruction was caused by a failed rocket fired from within Gaza. It was not from Israel.

And yet, there is a current congresswoman from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, who even after the facts came out, led a rally, emphatically repeating the lie.

Please. Please put Rep. Tlaib on the list of congresspersons — Democrats and Republicans alike — who are not trustworthy enough to make decisions for our country. They are the extreme. They repeat lies. And yes, they are on the left and the right.

Lest I digress, herein remains the problem. The ongoing discussion of what should happen next/what’s a proportional response/should a ceasefire ensue is not accurate if girded by the inaccurate assumption that both Hamas and Israel are guided by the goodness of human character. Hamas is not.

As we watch the support of Hamas chanted far too loudly on some American soil — particularly, eerily on the college campus, topic of a next blog — I find myself sitting here, soberly wondering…

What have they forgotten?

So quick. So fast. And yes, so sad.



aligned in our questions about Israel and Hamas

As we and the world hold our collective breath in regard to what happens next in Israel, we scanned the net for questions that are currently being asked. Interestingly, the questions are fairly common from most sources, regardless of bias. The following seem to be what people most want to know:

  1. After Attack on Israel, Politicians Are Asked, ‘Which Side Are You On?
  2. Are terrorists trying to enter the U.S. through the southern border?
  3. As Middle East Wars Escalate, US Presidents Usually Rein In Israel. Can Biden?
  4. Can Biden Improve Relations With Saudi Arabia During Middle East Trip?
  5. Can Israel Really Wipe Out Hamas?
  6. Can the United States Equip Israel while Simultaneously Equipping Ukraine and Taiwan?
  7. Could the Attack on Israel Spell the End of Hamas?
  8. Did Hamas Attacks Have a Hidden Target?
  9. Did Hamas Behead Babies and Toddlers in Attacks on Israel?
  10. Did Iran direct the Hamas attacks on Israel?
  11. Did Tehran help with its attack on Israel?
  12. Did US President Biden give Iran $6 billion? 
  13. First Amendment Right or Aiding and Abetting Terrorism?
  14. Hamas Attacks Israel: Why Now, and What’s Next?
  15. Hamas’ hostages: What could happen next?
  16. Hamas hostages: Who are the people taken from Israel?
  17. Has Washington’s Middle East Policy Failed?
  18. How did Hamas manage to carry out its rampage through southern Israel?
  19. How did Israel miss what Hamas was planning?
  20. How does Hamas get its weapons?
  21. How many pro-Palestinian groups will admit that Hamas is evil?
  22. How Media Outlets Describe Hamas: Terrorist Organization or Militant Group?
  23. How ready is Israel for a full-scale invasion of Gaza?
  24. How was Iran involved in Hamas’s attack on Israel?
  25. Is a Saudi-Israel deal now off the table?
  26. Is a Two-State Solution (Israel and Palestine) an Acceptable Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
  27. Is Hamas Actually the Government in Palestine?
  28. Is Iran behind Hamas terrorist attacks?
  29. Is Iran helping Hamas attack Israel?
  30. Is pro-Israel left-wing or right-wing?
  31. Is the U.S. getting involved as Israel fights Hamas in Gaza?
  32. Israel’s Darkest Day. What Now?
  33. Should the US Accept Gaza Refugees?
  34. The US freed $6 billion in Iranian money. Did it help fund Hamas’ attack on Israel?
  35. Today it is Israel – who’s next?
  36. What are the roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
  37. What did Hamas achieve from the attack on Israel?
  38. What did Hamas aim to gain by its brazen attack on Israel?
  39. What do Palestinians think of Hamas?
  40. What Does a ‘Proportionate’ Response Look Like?
  41. What Does It Mean to Stand With Israel?
  42. What is Hamas, and what’s happening in Israel and Gaza?
  43. What is Hamas and why did the group attack Israel in 2023?
  44. What is Iran’s role in the Hamas attacks on Israel?
  45. What is the IDF?
  46. What was Hamas thinking?
  47. What’s Next After Hamas’ Attack on Israel?
  48. Where Are Israeli Hostages Taken by Hamas Being Held?
  49. Where does the $6 billion figure come from?
  50. Will US efforts to deescalate the Israel-Hamas conflict be effective?
  51. Will the United States Be the Next Israel?
  52. Will the war between Israel and Hamas escalate?
  53. Who’s Funding Hamas?
  54. Who or what are ‘the Palestinians?’
  55. Why are Israel and Hamas at war?
  56. Why Are Refugees Stranded in Gaza?
  57. Why are US-funded journalists defending Russia, Iran over the Hamas massacre?
  58. Why did Hamas attack Israel, and why now?
  59. Why did Hamas attack now and what is next?
  60. Why did Hamas invade Israel?
  61. Why did the US give Iran $6 billion?
  62. Why has Hamas taken hostages?
  63. Why is India supporting Israel in conflict against Hamas? 
  64. Why is the left-wing sympathetic to Palestine?
  65. Why No Jewish Lives Matter Movement?

Allow us to summarize… Outside the more extreme, polarized voices, there actually currently seems significant unity; much is centered around the “what’s” and “why’s”… (1) What is Hamas? (2) What were they thinking? (3) Why did they do it? (4) Did Iran help? And (5) what’s next? The also is tremendous concern regarding the hostages the terrorists hold. 

Sounds like there will be more questions. Let’s stay aligned. Let’s also learn to pray, knowing the scale, complexity and impact of what is unfolding in Israel and Gaza is beyond our control.



(Intramuralist Note: the questions above were asked by ABC, Al Jazeera, AllSides, Associated Press, BBC, Britannica, CBS, CNBC, CNN, The Economic Times, Forbes, Fortune, The Guardian, The Hill, The Messenger, National Review, NBC, New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, NPR, Politico, Politifact, Slate, The Spectator, The Times of India, Townhall, Washington Examiner, Washington Monthly, Washington Post, USA Today, Vox and more).

clarity on Israel/Hamas

[NOTE: The Intramuralist experienced some unforeseen technical difficulties over the weekend. Routine postings will resume as scheduled on Wed., Oct. 18th. Our apologies for any inconvenience.]

I’ll be honest. I don’t feel quite qualified to speak on this subject. I suppose many days such could be the truth. We speak purposefully and passionately about things upon which we have a limited perspective. And may not even know it.

This feels a little different to me. It’s simply that the horror is huge and pain is so poignant. It’s hard to wrap our heads and hearts around what happened in Israel last week. Let me be unmistakably clear: what happened was nothing short of evil.

Let us add two more sentences for clarity sakes. When we say “evil,” we mean a complete, utter absence of God. And if an act or event is notably absent of God, that means it is not good, not loving, not just in any kind of way. 

On Saturday, Oct. 7th Hamas attacked Israel. Israel was wrapping up their Sukkot celebration, also known as the “Feast of Booths,” a 7 day holiday of great spiritual importance to the Jewish nation. In the early hours of the morning, thousands of missiles were shot into Israeli territory. In addition to the air assault, militants made their way through Gaza-Israel barriers and proceeded to attack, kidnap and kill. Let us be blunt in order to ensure awareness of what exactly happened…

Hamas took videos documenting their actions. They took videos of beaten, naked women. Kidnapped children. Beheaded soldiers. There are numerous reports of rape — young women raped right next to the dead bodies of their friends. There were rampant murders and mutilations. And sometimes accompanying the harrowing videos, there are lengthy laughs from Hamas members, abundantly gleeful of their own activity.

Hence, let us again be clear. Hamas is a terrorist organization. It was declared a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Dept. on Oct. 8, 1997. It had published its charter 9 years earlier, in which it called for the complete destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic society in Palestine. Note: while all of Hamas is Palestinian, not all Palestinians are aligned with Hamas. Palestine is not a terrorist group. Hamas is.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is complicated. It’s indeed one of the world’s longest-running disputes. The origin of the conflict (which if interested, deserves detailed reading in regard to a long list of acts of war and attempts at peace since Israel’s establishment of statehood in 1948), focuses primarily on the pitting of Israel’s demands for national security vs. the Palestinians’ aspirations for their own state. As reported by Reuters, a typically trusted, less-biased news source, the main Israeli-Palestinian issues are a two-state solution, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and how to handle millions of Palestinian refugees, who are said to wish to return to the area.

All that to say is that it’s complicated. It’s a tough issue. And for 7 decades, it’s been challenging to navigate, much less solve.

No matter the complexity, let’s continue to be clear.

What happened Saturday is no justification for “both-sides-ism.” This is not about being fair and balanced. This is not about examining what each did leading up to that fateful day; we recognize that both nations have contributed to conflict. However, there is simply zero justification for terrorism. Absolutely never. 

(If you can stomach it, feel free to watch the videos. I repeat: “absolutely never.”)

I have appreciated Pres. Joe Biden’s strong statements since the attack. He acknowledged the attack as a day when “pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world.” I have appreciated his affirmation of Israeli support and condemnation of the Hamas attack.

I have appreciated the solid, diverse, mostly united U.S. leadership, as represented by the 392 House of Representatives members who on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan resolution “standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists.”

I have appreciated the universal condemnation of antisemitism. 

With all due respect, I do not appreciate the manipulation of news, as grossly evident, for example, by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (and others) who’ve instructed their journalists to refrain from using the word “terrorist” in their reporting.

I do not appreciate the calls for an immediate ceasefire, demanding Israel not respond to the countless innocent who lost their lives.

And I do not appreciate those who boldly proclaim they “stand with Palestine.” Standing with Palestine is one thing. If averred in response to Saturday, that equates to standing for terrorism.

As we move forward, there are deep concerns… What happens next? Who joins in? How is Iran involved? What/if any did they finance or plan?… The $6 billion in Iranian funds that the U.S. unfroze in a September U.S.-Iran prisoner swap feels far more than fishy now.

So many questions. So many concerns going forward. It is sobering indeed.

But there are zero questions as to whether it was evil. 

God be with us. Let us be clear.



does it matter who the good idea comes from?

[Note: we will soon have something to say about the horror that’s happening in Israel. In the meantime, this is the best editorial that got our attention, about what’s going on and why it’s so atrociously significant. It’s from independent journalist Noah Pollak in the highly respected “The Free Press.” See https://www.thefp.com, “Today Is Israel’s 9/11.”]

Oh, aren’t we dysfunctional? To be clear, allow us to define the oft used term:

dysfunctional — adj.  [ dis-fuhngk-shuh-nl ] — not performing normally, as an organ or structure of the body; malfunctioning.

Allow us to rinse and repeat. To be dysfunctional means not performing normally — malfunctioning. In other words, not working. Friends, our government is not working.

In my recent jaunt out of the country, one of the many things I found fascinating was those who pay attention to our country and culture — including the current state of political affairs — and those whose attention is accompanied by the question of preposterousness — something along the lines of “why do you elect those that you do?” 

It wasn’t relegated to Democrats or Republicans; it was more a question directed to us voters. There were mentions of Biden, Trump and Harris to name the foremost few in their minds. And there was a clear contention that surely there are persons of indisputable competency and integrity who could better lead and serve us. Let me emphasize that they were not angry nor disrespectful in their questioning. They simply felt we as voters have made some poor choices in who we believe represent us wisely and well.

One of the ways such seems manifest is in our unfortunately robust inability to acknowledge who has a good idea…

Few will forget the chants in recent years to “build that wall!” Such was a signature policy of former Pres. Donald Trump, an approach believed necessary by his administration to help curb the challenges with illegal immigration.

It was controversial to some. In fact, when Pres. Joe Biden was inaugurated in 2021, one of his initial actions was to issue a proclamation pledging that “no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.”

But unlawful migration remains a problem. An increasing one, in fact. 

Let’s be sure to admit this is a sensitive and complex problem. As SMU Professor of Political Science James F. Hollifield, said: “For the last several years, the United States has been gripped in a sharp debate over the flow of immigrants into the United States. The fierce exchanges include squabbles over issues like what to do with a large population of unauthorized immigrants and how to manage refugee flows. And the debate comes complete with political landmines that make it difficult to modernize immigration systems to meet the needs of the times.”

Trump’s blunt approach was to build the wall. Biden’s blunt approach has been not to. The reality is the problem hasn’t been solved; it’s only gotten worse; and certain cities are becoming saturated. As The Washington Post and others reported this week, there is a record influx of families, and “the border plan President Biden put in place months ago is at risk of collapse amid a new wave of illegal crossings,” intensifying strains on the U.S. economy.

As governors around the country — Democrats and Republicans alike — attempt to deal with the escalating issue in their state, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pleaded with the President to help in a public letter last week. Noting that nearly 1200 new migrants come to Chicago daily, Pritzker wrote that “the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming our ability to provide aid to the refugee population.” He’s not alone. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said last week that “the migrant crisis will destroy my city.” He added, “Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City.” The reality is that Democrats and Republicans are calling on the federal government to do more in regard to border security. And so more they decided to do…

This past week the Biden administration made a seemingly stunning change. At least their initial response looked, smelled and quacked that way (sorry; the duck metaphor is just too good). They decided to construct a new, 20-mile border wall in Starr County, Texas, a high-trafficked area; they waived 26 federal laws regulating new construction in order to do so expeditiously. Said Dept. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, “There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas.” 

Yet when Pres. Biden was later asked about his approach change — and specifically as to whether he now believes walls work, he offered a very direct “no.” He insisted that the only reason they are building the wall is because he had no choice. Congress appropriated the funds years ago, so he had to follow through. He had to waive the law.  

Some days I wish politicians of all parties would just be honest. (Actually, make that many days.) Tell us what’s a factor. Tell us what’s not. Tell us, too, when you change your mind. That’s ok! But quit trying to manipulate the narrative so it looks like people, polling or politics were never in play. Quit acting as if you can’t acknowledge that a person from another party has a good idea. If we want to quit malfunctioning, we can start by acknowledging the good ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. 

Increasingly more, I understand my foreign friends’ question of preposterousness.



forks, fruit & friends

“You want me to eat that?!”

Sorry, it was green and sloppy. Kind of totally mushy and a wee bit dripping. 

Callaloo. That’s what they called it. It’s a vibrant, green leafy plant with supposedly so many good things in it for you. You stew it or steam it or even whip up some kind of creative salad. It’s a staple in Caribbean countries. In Grenada, where I spent last weekend, it’s a common popular side. Think kale or collard greens with a southern flare.

There’s only one problem — good for me, as it must be — I don’t eat much that’s green and mushy. And if I’m honest, it really has nothing to do with the flavor; it’s not that bad; it’s kind of tasty. But it’s a texture issue for me. Years ago, I made kind of an internal personal mantra that I would never eat something green, unless I was able to clearly stab it with a fork.

And let’s not even address that which is mushy or moist.

But alas, we digress. Let me slightly share about Grenada. If you fly down the Caribbean curve, it’s pretty much the last large island before you hit Venezuela. Perhaps the more technically correct way to say it, is that it’s the southernmost island in the Antilles archipelago, bordering the eastern Caribbean Sea and western Atlantic Ocean. From my house, it’s approximately 1,702 miles away (not that I Googled it or anything).

It’s known as the “Spice Island,” known for its nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and more. Cocoa, fish and fruit are additional exports (check out the golden apple and soursop).

It’s also known for its waterfalls and even an active volcano (Kick ’em Jenny!). How wild it was to walk alongside, still (thankfully) at the moment.

But for me it’s not known for any cinnamon nor spice. While beautiful— coastlines, beaches and more — for me the greatest beauty is found in something more.

Oh, how I love the people!

It’s amazing how dear our friendship has become…

We’re from different places.

We’ve been raised maybe a little differently.

Our cultures are different.

It would make sense that from different places, raised a little differently, from different cultures, we would look at some things differently. We would believe some things differently… we’d have some different convictions.

So why does it work? How can it really be so dear?

Because we focus on two things…

One, we know we were each created by the great big God of the universe.

And two, we know one of the key ways we love Him back is by loving one another well.

We pay too much attention to differences, friends.

We justify allowing lesser things to get in the way.

Ok, I’ll try it… no matter the mushy…

Please pass the fork.



biased. just news?

Friends, I’m sorry. I think we’ve made a mistake. As we watched a few more news sources fall prey to the skewed idea last week that presenting more than one angle of an issue is no longer necessary nor good (while simultaneously suggesting all reporting on any incumbent being too old to run again immediately cease), I think the mistake made is that we sometimes suggest we should be tuning into non-biased sources. That’s not necessarily true.

That point was brought home for me not via CNN nor FOX nor even MSNBC. That point rang clunkily true during ESPN’s College GameDay, one of my family’s favorite fall pastimes. 

On Saturdays we tend to sit a little longer, take in a game, and pay attention to what’s happening on the college gridiron. Last weekend at day’s end, I noticed top billing/more attention paid to a few select games. What did they have in common?

In each scenario, at least one team was a member of the SEC, the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference, a notable powerhouse of collegiate athletics. While prominent, what’s also true is that there exist multiple other powerhouses deserving of our attention, such as the Big Ten and ACC (and well, the Big 12 and very-deleted PAC 3 or 4). ESPN just seemed to pay the most attention and be the most excited about the SEC.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But why would we mention GameDay when speaking of bias?

Great question. Guess who owns the SEC Network.

Yes, ESPN. It benefits ESPN’s bottom line if they report on the SEC in a favorable, more exciting way, so that more viewers tune into their other-owned network. 

Friends, let me be clear. It’s ok and even a wise practice to tune into biased sources. Says one of our fave sources in AllSides: Center doesn’t mean better! A Center media bias rating does not mean the source is neutral, unbiased, or reasonable, just as Left and Right do not necessarily mean the source is extreme, wrong, or unreasonable. A Center bias rating simply means the source or writer rated does not predictably publish content that tilts toward either end of the political spectrum — conservative or liberal. A media outlet with a Center rating may omit important perspectives, or run individual articles that display bias, while not displaying a predictable bias. Center outlets can be difficult to determine, and there is rarely a perfect Center outlet: some of our outlets rated Center can be better thought of as Center-Left or Center-Right, something we clarify on individual source pages.

While it may be easy to think that we should only consume media from Center outlets, AllSides believes reading in the Center is not the answer. By reading only Center outlets, we may still encounter bias and omission of important issues and perspectives. For this reason, it is important to consume a balanced news diet across the political spectrum, and to read horizontally across the bias chart.”

Balance is more important than bias… a balanced news diet, a balanced sports diet. It’s thus ok to tune into ESPN; it’s simply wise to know the bias.

Hence, let’s provide an updated chart from AllSides. Are you aware of what you’re watching?

We’re in this together, friends.

Let’s be discerning conveyors of news…

Well… and sports, too.