Become A Family
I am an American voter, who has (like many in my age group) a myriad of “special interests”. I am an early retiree who is concerned about social security and Medicare. I was a civil rights activist during the 60’s, so as an African American I have vivid memories of the “olden days” of Jim Crow, separate water fountains, effective protest marches, afros, and Bull Connor water hoses. I am the recipient of both overt racial discrimination and “so called” racial preferences because of Affirmative Action. I am a conservative Christian, but abhor the depiction of most Christians as rigid, unyielding and unloving. I hate the idea of abortion and gay marriage. Yet, I believe that the greatest strides for Christianity will come when our very lifestyles affect others because they see in US what they may wish for themselves: peace, love, joy, peace, long suffering, holiness, and a real relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I respect the rights of others to practice their religion, while vigorously fighting for my right to practice mine. I am a neighborhood activist and I am a Republican. Many of my values and desires align with some key findings that pollsters summarized when they interviewed people of my generation (from ALL races). And my generation is very important. We will comprise 20% of US population in 2030. 89% of seniors want to age in place - or grow older without having to move from their homes. (ME too). I am concerned about social security and its financial health, yet I have contributed to it for over a quarter of a century! In my opinion, privatizing Social Security is a viable alternative. I believe that those who have not contributed should not benefit. So, illegal immigrants should not be on the roll. Here is what I believe.
- Seniors living at home are determined to maintain their independence, reporting that they require - and receive - limited support from their children or other caregivers. (ME too). My children live independent lives far away from me. Although I want more frequent visits, I have discovered that I am happier now that I have established my own routines, friends, etc and do not depend upon my children to supply all my desire for companionship. Half of seniors are open to using new technologies to enable independence, including having sensors installed in their homes to monitor their health. (Me too). Some of my apprehensions about the present state of affairs include:
Society’s indifference to the plight of others when courage is required Example: A news article describing where a whole bus full of people failed to intervene to stop a violent offender. A passenger got off the bus, was violently assaulted by someone who punched him in the head, kicked him to the ground, and then calmly got back on the bus and resumed his journey. No one said or word or took any action.
· Racial/age divide has become larger Race is still a big factor. But I do believe that we are at a crucial juncture. At least we are beginning to talk openly about the issues. · Lack of integrity in all areas (from pharmaceutical companies, business leaders, church leaders, government leaders, etc).
Lack of firm ideals that ARE black and White/Right or Wrong This is a big issue for me and I can’t trace when or how it happened. It seems that one day, we knew that God was good, crime was bad, and work was healthy. Now all of what I thought were foundational principles are questioned and even mocked. ·
Generalized fear of the future I see it in my companions’ eyes. We fear terrorists, gas prices, crime, deterioration of the family, etc.
· Lack of true patriotism Our pledge says that we are willing to stand up for and die for our country. I see deterioration in true loyalty to a country that has virtually fed and nourished the world and continues to do so, even while it is reviled and spat upon. Our citizens (ALL citizens) should reaffirm their loyalty to THIS country while enjoying the fruit of this nation. I do plan to vote for the Republican ticket, while also working hard to correct some real issues that I see INSIDE the party and here is why. First of all, I believe that the Republican Party aligns with family values more than the Democratic Party. Yes, I know that the party needs to work on truly translating those publicly touted “values” into private stances on integrity and honor. Family values mean loving and caring for our community, children and parents. Active supporters of abortion and euthanasia do not represent my idea of family values. Obama says that one of his biggest regrets was his vote to save Terri Schiavo. Since her death, we have seen a number of individuals who have defied doctors diagnoses and come out of long comas. Jan Grzebska came out of one after 19 years! Once we start on the slippery slope of defining when life should end by stopping feeding, we have lost our semblance of “family values”. On the other end of the spectrum, abortion does not demonstrate love of children. I believe life begins upon conception. Barack Obama would actively promote abortion and would take back all expressions by voters to limit late term abortion. In a speech to Planned Parenthood in 2007, Barack Obama stated, “I have worked on these issues for decades now. I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law. Not simply as a case about privacy but as part of the broader struggle for women’s equality. Steve and Pam will tell you that we fought together in the Illinois State Senate against restrictive choice legislation—laws just like the federal abortion laws, the federal abortion bans that are cropping up. I’ve stood up for the freedom of choice in the United States Senate and I stand by my votes against the confirmation of Judge Roberts and Samuel Alito [Applause] So, you know where I stand. But this more is than just about standing our ground. It must be about more than protecting the gains of the past. We’re at a crossroads right now in America—and we have to move this country forward. This election is not just about playing defense, it’s also about playing offense. It’s not just about defending what is, it’s about creating what might be in this country.”
African Americans have let Pro abortion whites define our family values. Even Martin Luther King Jr. fell into this trap. He stated, “The Negro constitutes half the poor of the nation. Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children. This is a cruel evil they urgently need to control. There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it. When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites. Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances.” I side with others who say that Planned Parenthood has a racist agenda. They take money designated for Black abortions, resulting in far more abortions for black women than our percentage of the population. Many leading Black ministers have stated that Planned Parenthood “has perpetuated genocide on the black community.” Students for Life America stated that “ black women are 4.8 times more likely to have an abortion than white women, while the black population in the U.S. is in decline. Black women account for 36 percent of those having abortions in the U.S. today, according to group, while black children make up 17 percent of live births.”
The third aspect of family values is the idea of “community”. In this area, I don’t like the track record of either party. We have had a large number of scandals during the Bush and Clinton administrations. When the nation elected George W Bush, we wanted a man of integrity in the White House and was not prepared for the large numbers of scandals that we have had during this administration, from Trent Lott, Enron, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, to the recent banking crisis. There seems to be a crisis of leadership and integrity. We have secret deals with Canada and Mexico; scandals in the CIA; secrets leagues with rogue foreign leaders who stash money in Swiss accounts, etc. We did not see good leadership during the Katrina Hurricane disaster. Clinton and neither Bush have been good leaders in terms of setting an energy policy that the nation can rally around. When someone says “family values” to me, I hear “integrity, honesty, basic goodness, owning up to mistakes, planning for the “family’s safety, etc. I don’t hear perfection. God knows I’ve made my share of mistakes. But neither party has a lock on family values that benefit our community/country. We should return to some basic values and foundational principals. For now, I must choose to look at the person who would best usher in a time where the “people” can be empowered to demand true “family values”. It is our responsibility to demand more from our leaders and ourselves.
I believe that I can impact the Republican Party because, although not perfect, their values are closer aligned to mine.
1. I see s
As I watch the election unfold I am saddened, not because we may elect Barack Obama, but because of what the election will mean for my beloved America. You see, for a large number of years we have needed corrective actions in our collective greedy American psyches. But I don’t believe that the change that President Obama would bring will be good for America.
But our need for change goes back many more than George Bush’s, Bill Clinton’s or the elder George Bush’s terms. It goes back to when greedy politicians worked with greedy bankers to pass legislation which allowed banks to grow like uninhibited pythons. It goes back to the large numbers of years since President Carter when we refused to pass legislation to deal with the tough issues of oil dependency, illegal immigration, social security, and medical care reform. Lobbyists, true blood suckers clothed in silk, looked good and even had an enticing message of offering homes to the poor and looking out for the interests of the old. But in their hearts they lacked moral fiber or leadership character and strength. In the housing industry, they were unchecked in chasing the mighty dollar. Both parties are to blame in allowing this to take place. And home buyers who lied or who were complicit in lies are also to blame. They forgot the messages of our parents who saved and worked to sit at the American table. Now, no one pays a price. No one is “responsible”. Our monetary system tried and is trying in vain to save us from ourselves and our greed, but it may be too little and too late.
In the Republican Party we refused to change our ways, not in the moral ways that REALLY matter, but in unimportant areas like how we marketed our message and how intently and purposefully we listened to others who don’t look like us. We could have tried harder to really hear our young. We had too many leaders in our party who sold their souls and experienced sexual or other moral scandals, thereby losing honor and respect. We can’t blame the war and not even the economy. Other generations of Americans went through wars and depressions. But our greed said that we “deserved” to go through a war with every “Joe Blow” telling five star Generals how to conduct the war. We were the party on top so we did not lead in some vital areas as we saw ordinary Americans suffer. We’ve not marketed the idea of freedom to our own children, so even now they are willing to trade freedom for slavery/socialism in a heartbeat! In an attempt at relativism in our churches we sing “young” songs and forget the hymns. We’ve allowed our media (radio, TV, cable, newspapers) to forget its main goal of informing the public. They’ve taken on the role of persuading us, selling us, even lying to us. We have forgotten the value of establishing old land marks and the importance of reciting history so that it generates pride, honor and patriotism. Yet, in our OWN tight little Republican circles, women wear red, white and blue and men honor Vietnam, World War II, and other veterans. But how can we have our young and indeed all Americans feel the same sense of honor and American patriotism under an Obama Presidency or will we trade it all for the idea of “one world”? What will we get in return?
It is not Obama’s color that scares me. He looks just like me and it has taken a lot of years to generate pride for the texture of my hair and the darkness of my skin color. I am proud of his family and that he and his dark skinned wife are together and happy. No, it is not his color that frightens me, it is simply his politics. I am not afraid of whether he is a Muslim. I would not like it if it was confirmed, but that is not what scares me the most. And Yes, I’ve seen the videos and read a lot of the emails circling around. He may or may not have had a slip of the tongue, speaking of his being a Muslim. Michelle may or may not have called white people “whitey”. I cannot get into his heart nor can I purify my own thoughts enough so that I have perfect discernment. My connection with the Holy is not untainted by the world, so I cannot rightly judge Senator Obama based on what I think he would do or think he believes. But I can look at Senator Obama’s voting and personal history. I can look at the honesty (or dishonesty) in which the campaign is being conducted and I can draw my own conclusions.
We’ve bought into the fact that Senator Obama has impeccable credentials, while huge parts of his life are missing from public scrutiny. We don’t know how he really financed his education; and how he really achieved such meteor-like rise in influence as a Chicago politician. Our perception of Senator Obama has been carefully scripted and we like pigs, entranced and duped, are being led to slaughter. Even when facts are clear, we are sold are a bunch of goods, and we swallow it without flinching.
The media has sold the American public that Senator McCain’s ads are mostly negative But here are the facts according to “Fact Checker”
“Obama was wrong to state that "100 percent" of McCain TV ads have been negative. According to a survey by the Wisconsin Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin, 73 percent of the ads McCain has aired since the start of the campaign have been negative while 61 percent of Obama's ads have been negative. According to a Nielsen survey, both candidates had roughly similar numbers of negative ads between June 3, when the primaries ended and September 7. During that period, the McCain campaign ran 76,192 negative ads against Obama while the Obama campaign ran 75,246 negative ads against McCain.”
Obama promises changes in our educational system, yet when given the opportunity to dispense over $150 million to improve Chicago’s schools reports show that “little” progress was made. It was not the lack of money. It was the lack of experience and focus.
In a climate where Republicans were asleep at the wheel, Obama was making progress in a political vacuum. He surrounded himself with smart, savvy mostly young people who knew how to market his message of change AND address the areas that are important to them. He has been consistently liberal in terms of abortion rights and he has not been off task in communicating this message to those who are in their productive years. Yet, those who want to limit the numbers of abortions in this country have made progress. Late term abortions have been reduced. For the first time, African American women are beginning to speak of the genocide that we have participated in by killing our young in the womb. We have discovered that African American women are impacted to a greater degree by abortion than other women. Our silence has been deafening. No one has spoken of the impact that this has made on our spirits and the numbers of our race. Under Obama, abortion will be a foundational “right”, not just an alternative. African Americans may retreat back into our silence on this issue.
Senator Obama wants to “spread the wealth around”. With this philosophy, those on the bottom rungs will not be encouraged to work hard to fulfill their maximum potential and those on the top will not be encouraged to lift up their fellow man. We will be in the era of rich people who are being “forced” to show charity and to give more. In that era, hearts will harden and the human spirit will suffer. The best plan is one which encourages individual achievement while not losing sight of humanity (reaching out to fellow Americans who cannot help themselves). The best plan has elements of self sacrifice and is not one which promises gold streets, no taxes, no war, chickens in every pot, a plot of land for all residents; medical care for all from cradle to grave for all in our borders (legal immigrants or not). We simply cannot afford it!! The best plan, during this time, might be one which does not put things in concrete but one which says that we must be resolute in having sound principles in our banking, social programs, and international policies. We must regain our American psyche and learn to treasure it instead of selling it or giving it away. We must become more charitable and promote kindness and humanity above greed and immorality. But we must honor individual achievement and not become so socialistic that we squash the ability to be creative.
No one wants war, but at what price do we want peace? We wage our wars in the media instead of in war rooms. The hodgepodge of war tactics show that we defeat ourselves by doing so. What war in history has been won by establishing a timeline of when you are planning on withdrawing? And yes, we need to pressure Iraq and other countries to step up and to lead in defending their own country and paying for their own war! But timelines only help the enemy and are an affront to the men and women who died serving their country.
Church and government
Churches are mostly silent during this campaign. It was a brilliant strategy to silence those who oppose abortion, gay marriage and other aspects of liberal government. Conservatives were attacked, belittled and labeled as rigid, mean spirited and hard. While BEING mean and hard, liberals labeled their opponents and treated fellow Americans as “the enemy”. Churches were and are afraid to step out, remembering past campaigns and an alignment with one party. We mostly our complicity in how this alignment was left unchecked, needing prayer, attention and even challenge to stay on the right path. Now, conservative Black Americans have been labeled and maligned. Their loyalty to race, not America, questioned. We have been cut to the quick and rendered ineffective. All of us have misunderstood the intent and purposes of our founding fathers. But it is so much a part of our “mis-education” that it seems pointless to try to reason together. When and where did church and state separation begin? What was the intent? Was it to keep the church out of government or the government out of church? Who cares any more when churches have been silenced and their influence killed. The strategy is still working.
Under an Obama Presidency, the media will follow a “fairness doctrine” which will further erode religious freedom and curtail the conservative voice. Programs which have decidedly conservative leanings will be forced to include programming which provides alternative views. We will no longer have market forces which govern what is provided. The government will rule another aspect of our communications and our lives.
God help us for our apathy and greed. Dear God, Have mercy on America!!
Often when we look at the bond woman (the closed doors that are hidden in our secret and INNER selves) and we see her son (the ugliness and under-performance that results from our guilt from poor choices in the past), When we look at the results we tend to let this “SON” and its guilt and shame STOP us from embracing the good future and enjoying even our present circumstances. Here is why we can and SHOULD… without guilt… let the past go.
· Trying to embrace the real son (our blessed and bountiful future) and the illegitimate child (our guilt) is physically taxing. We simply are worn down by trying to hold on to guilt, shame and yet embrace the future that God has in store.
· The “past” are those things which are clearly NOT the exact fulfillment of God’s specific promise to us. They are things which we created ourselves because we CHOSE not to trust God and thereby produced illegitimate and unsatisfying products. Anything that conflicts with God’s word and promises to us is “the past”. It could be sexual sin, compromises, lies, etc.. all the result of sin.
· God’s word is specific and exact. We tend to want shades of grey and as a result COMPROMISE and try to CONTROL that which only belongs to God.
· As a result we have piles of waste products (illegitimate children) in our lives.
· PHYSICALLY.. we are blocked up with wastes that provide little benefit to our present.
· EMOTIONALLY… although we can multitask…. Our design as humans cause us to be most efficient when concentrating on a smaller number of issues.
· SPIRITUALLY, we are told in the word of God that we cannot serve two masters. We are also told that we must FORGET those things which are behind and press (forward) toward the mark of the high calling of God in Heavenly places.
In the story of Sarah and Abraham, Sarah went through several stages before she was able to finally put that BONDWOMAN out!!!
(1) She became ANGRY and as a result CONFLICT began to brew with the bondwoman.
(2) Even though the past and the present tried to seek COMPROMISE, they simply could NOT co-exist. The bondwoman (the ugly past) wants to have the same rights as the new person with a bright future.
(3) Sarai sought permission on what to do. and after consultation.. and a reminder of her HIGHER position…. she
(4) PUT the bondwoman and her child OUT WITHOUT REGRET!!!
She was then free to become the woman that she was originally designed to be!
We are not designed to compromise with the things that hold us down. If we are to be who God created us to be we have to put the bondwoman (the BOUND woman or man) out! Don’t compromise, don’t believe that you deserve to be limited. Embrace the fullness of a new person by facing that we have limited ourselves and we CAN do something about it. When we kill the hold that sin has on us, old things DIE and the new day of resurrected power and glory begins to stir us up; we arise from lethargy and begin to take BACK the ground given to others because of our choices. Let’s put the bondwoman out!!
Today, many siblings live far apart. It’s not just the distance, the miles and miles over mountains and various climates in hard to reach places of America. It is also the distance of time and too many holidays spent far apart and too many broken promises of “getting together” real soon. It is also caller ID where we can check to see if it is a relative who is calling at an inconvenient time. And it is also email and voice mail where you can have the “feel” of closeness without the ancillary things that come when someone is right there in your space, using your things, pushing those old emotional buttons, and eating the very thing that you wanted. It is the faded memories from childhood that were never discussed. In controlled social gatherings involving siblings, we know how to create emotional distance by using our arsenal of verbal weapons in preemptive strikes or in defense moves. It can be the fact that parents often served as “buffers” so efforts to resolve deeply felt resentments, in whatever fashion that could have taken, are delayed until the bridge is completely broken after both parents die. Many years may have passed. Sibling love may be gone or faded. In most of these cases, there are no big, really big issues here. No abuse. No jail time. No larceny. No stolen boyfriends who became spouses or lovers. We are talking of intelligent people who have built and maintained tall and insurmountable walls. Although there are some sibling personalities that one might not choose as friends, we lose sight of the benefit and "gold" in these sibling acquaintance/relationships because we have lost sight of reasons why sibling and extended family relationships are important. There just doesn’t seem to be a way or reason to build a bridge to adult peace and true friendship. So space is created to avoid the closeness of and the reality of looking at someone who knew you “when”. We avoid the the “real” us before education, view-points, marriage, lovers and faded dreams took place.
If we can avoid siblings and others who remind us of our past, it is possible to create a GRANDER reality and new (better)community. Control isn’t fought for. It is won and used. After all, when you can determine when a person enters and leaves your life, if you can make it (solidly make it) without the garbage of unwanted interference from people who owe nothing to you and to whom you owe nothing, then control is maintained. We create an alternative reality to true closeness and the intimacy of sibling relationships. Even if we have frequent contact, intimacy might not be achieved. It might look like closeness, but it lacks the qualities of true intimacy. One might be the controller and another sibling might be a “user”. One might be rigidly conservative, the other obnoxiously liberal. An enabler is sure to be in the mix. One could have a time-sharpened ability to push just the right button or to sling a zinger of teasing frenzy and to call it “just joking” all while putting the blame on others by saying, “Can’t you take a joke?” We have somehow locked ourselves into rigid positions and labels and lost sight of why we should bother loving someone or even relating to someone who has the same background but whose reality is so far different from our own.
It hasn’t always been that way. Fifty or more years ago we needed each other to plant crops and chop wood. Neighborhoods would gather at “hog killing time”. When crops were ripe to be harvested, everyone joined in and made it a family affair. The word family meant something then. It meant need and need fulfillment. It meant responsibility and everyone carrying their load. It meant equality but in the sense that you gave what you could give and that did not necessary mean the same amount. Women, who could cook, did so. But the men who could chop and do manual labor did so too. Children pitched in by running errands and shelling peas or corn. Communities often included a number of family members and most people in this circle shared the same values and simple life goals. In other words, everyone knew their place and the goal that lay before them: survival. When illness inevitably struck a family, the preacher and the doctor were called. Neighbors brought food and pitched in to help. Again there was some sense of value placed on the word “community”.
Now we can create our community in a number of places. There are online communities to which you can “opt in” and “opt out”. We can choose on-line friends whom we have never met, yet who know more about the details of our lives than our birth families. There are families in our neighborhoods that are physically close to us whom we don’t know and often choose not to know. The warmth of even the best birth families can grow cold and ritualistic when not stroked with face to face meetings and sharing of some deep (though possibly limited) intimacy. We don’t really need each other any more. We can control and design our community of family. We drive ourselves to the doctor and we suffer (if we allow ourselves to feel) alone. We even die with the help of hospice, morphine drips, social security and Medicare and not necessarily family. Consequently, it is possible to be related to, and occasionally socialize with, but not really know your siblings.
If relationships have been damaged by neglect, rigid control of information and sharing, or inattention to the number of years that have passed, the bridge back is hard to build. First you have to have DESIRE, but also there has to be a requirement or real NEED for the bridge. After all, if one has other ways to create community then why would one work through the emotions of forgiveness and maintaining peace? Why bother when miles, distance and Caller ID can help erase the need to incorporate a siblings “drama” into your world? Closure can’t be the only reason. It has to be deeper and to be directly tied to your own sense of emotional well being. In choosing to lose a sense of community with our siblings, we lose sight of some part of ourselves but that is masked by an “alternative-family” that is a better version than our birth family. How do we answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
There is something about the respect that a brother can give to an adult sister that says to her, “I am worthy because someone who knows me well, says that I am worthy”. The acknowledgement from a sibling of the opposite gender serves as validation and confirmation of a person’s sense of worth. There is something deeply satisfying about watching a brother sip coffee the way you do. It warms your heart to hear a brother use the same terms and speech patterns that you do. It validates you to see that life has moved on but some things in your sister are vaguely familiar and can even present a better version of who you are. It stretches you to care, truly care for the younger brother who has far more material goods than you do, but with whom you can find common emotional ground. It helps you grow as a person when you choose to put down the cloak of teasing and hurtful zingers so that you can truly know a quieter, more introspective person who looks just like you. It helps when differences in temperaments and personalities are truly respected, not just tolerated. It announces that you are really grown when you choose to love, like and even respect your greatest competitor, your jealous rival, and the bane of your existence as a child. There is something special about the love that can flow between sisters or sisters and brothers.
Why bother with birth family? Because we don’t know who we are unless we see ourselves healed in terms of the past and present. If we can’t be “real” with those who knew us as children, how can we learn to be truly intimate with anyone? A truly wise spouse will encourage his or her mate to CHOOSE to incorporate healthy birth and extended family relationships into nuclear family life. One of the siblings can become a bridge builder, putting down the gauntlet that says, “I want you in my life and I am willing to bear some amount of discomfort to achieve that”. I will learn to draw proper boundaries. It is more than just the fact that I need you, but I have something to give you too. I require respect for what I can offer to a relationship that is important to me. But I can help you to learn some deeper things about yourself. I can reflect different shades of who you are. I am a version of you, but I am not you. I have made life choices and have achieved some things that elude you. You have achieved some things that elude me. There is no need for jealousy or animosity. There is no need to rehash and rehearse those things that only bring hatred, fear and arguments. There is no need to buy my love and respect with gifts or the presentation of a historical version of you that is not current. I forgive you and I ask that you forgive me. I choose to have good boundaries that let you in but help me in respecting myself. I choose to share enough so that you know me as an adult, but not so much that I make you the star of all the drama in my life. I choose to recognize our present development and maturity while not reverting to useless techniques from the past that were and are still counter-productive. I choose not to control the outcome of the relationship or the process of reconciliation. I choose you as Family and need to know that you choose me too.