AMY’S ANGLE: ‘Scary times’ to be the parent of a lovely girl

We went to a parent-teacher conference today with our daughter, Alicia, to check out how she’s doing in school.  It is a nice time to get acquainted with what her world is like on a daily basis in her school.  Most of her life for the next three years is going to be in a high school classroom setting, so we as parents need to see that part of our kids’ lives.

To start the day, I went out to be with my horses to show one potential student what great horses are like to ride.  It took time in getting them ready to ride, but the sad thing was that this potential student didn’t show up.  I do hate it when I work so hard to be at a place on time and ready, it takes a while to get horses ready and saddled, only to be stood up.  So then I decided to work on my horses by myself and enjoy my time with them.

Alicia with her dad.
Alicia with her dad.

Then I came home and we went to Alicia’s school to meet with her teachers.  After our many discussions with her teachers, we learned that she is doing great in certain classes and trying her best in other classes.  It is not easy with so many different classes, and there are classes kids like better than others.  A person’s natural gifts become more apparent in schools and certain classes spark interests, if you know what I mean.

Then we went out to eat with her to become acquainted with a fellow who wanted to take our daughter out on her first “real” date.  Letting a daughter date is a very scary time to me because it is hard to get to know what guys are like before we dare to let our precious girl go out.  Again, this is really a first “true date” for her, and I guess something to get used to is this period where we might pace floors to wait up for her to come home at night.  I am sure there is a lot of understanding on that among other parents.

Nonetheless, we really enjoy Alicia, she is a joy for us and great to be with and have around.  It is not a day for me to get excited about when she will someday move out and not live with us any more, just like our two sons have already done.  But we know this happens when kids grow up and then move out and leave mom and dad to their own worlds.  These are times when we wonder if we have raised them up the way we hope for.

If anyone would love to share their experiences with parenting please feel free to write.

AMY’S ANGLE: This Peeta can play his own version of ‘hunger games’

In our home, we have a cat who loves to talk to anyone who will listen to him.  His name is Peeta.  He was a foster kitten we took care of in a litter of six cute, colorful kittens.  They were a certain color and white, very colorful indeed.  All the other kittens went to “forever homes.”

I love helping kittens that come from pounds.   It makes me feel as if I am helping cats find homes in a small way.  There are so many cats and kittens who need help and I can help the kittens here in my neck of the woods.  Well, this litter of six little felines were a very colorful bunch of kittens, and they were a very cuddly bunch.  When it came time for them to go to the shelter to become spayed or neutered, one of the kittens — Peeta — could not go because he was not 100 percent with his eyes.  So he had to stay behind while the others left.  He cried and cried for his brothers and sisters.

When he became healthy and his eyes cleared up and he had his surgery done, we were told that Peeta was a noisy kitty who could be heard through the whole clinic.

Peeta is caught spying under a bedroom door. (Photo by John G. Miller)
Peeta is caught spying under a bedroom door. (Photo by John G. Miller)

We ended up with Peeta because a girlfriend of Curtis’ wanted to adopt him and she did but she didn’t have a place to keep him so he’s stayed here with us for about a year now.  He is an awesome, noisy kitty who is very demanding for attention.  His favorite thing is belly rubs and he really squirms on those because he loves them so much.

Another strange thing this cat does is on one piece of furniture, the love seat, he enjoys getting on his back and using his paws to climb along the bottom.  Instead of walking on his legs, he pulls himself around the love seat with his back on the floor.  It is so funny to watch and he always does it on this part of the furniture, not the other furniture.

Peeta also likes to meow a lot so we know where he is.  We talk to him a lot and he loves to talk as well.  He loves to beg for treats by laying on the kitchen floor and looking so pathetic, trying to make us think that he is starving, but he can’t fool us with his stomach as large as it is.  He looks so cute gazing up with his large green, begging eyes.  Usually we then give in and give him treats along with other cats who come running after hearing the treat bag rattling.

So if any of our friends came to visit, they have to put up with a visit from Peeta, the friendly, beautiful, green-eyed cat.

What Boehner’s resignation means for the GOP

If you want to see the current and future state of the Republican Party, you have to go back in time more than 30 years.

House Speaker John Boehner (Photo via Wikipedia)
House Speaker John Boehner (Photo via Wikipedia)

The announcement this morning that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was resigning his position effective October 30 is a victory for ultra-conservatives.  Boehner is plenty conservative, but these days there’s a litmus test when it comes to GOP candidates.  It boils down to this: Are you conservative enough?  It’s like a never-ending competition.

If you’re willing to mutter or even think about using the word “compromise” these days, you’re not conservative enough.  These days, that means an eventual end to your career as a Republican lawmaker.  Utah Sen. Mike Lee was voted into office through that mindset.  So was Utah Rep. Mia Love.

Staunch conservative Bob Bennett didn’t even make it out of caucusing onto the primary ballot in 2010 to keep his Senate seat from Utah, won by Lee.  Bennett finished third to two Tea Party-backed candidates in that year’s state Republican convention — a senator with high ratings from groups such as the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union who wasn’t considered conservative enough.  Sit back and let that sink in for a minute.

Boehner is just the latest in the wave of not-conservative-enough chess pieces that have been knocked off the board.

It shows a trend that’s growing, and it’s powered by the Tea Party, which is powered by the likes of the Koch brothers.

I’ve seen the likes of this before, and it’s sickening.

It takes me back to the days of my youth, living in the beautiful and ultra-conservative area of central Idaho.  My grandmother was liberal in the love she offered those closest to her, a genuine sweetheart.  She was conservative in her politics.

She used to get all kinds of junk mail from politicians representing her.  After she’d open it up, I couldn’t help but look through the correspondence from time to time.  Some of it was enough to scare the crap out of anyone — telling how we’d be doomed if we followed the liberal agenda.

After working through the initial shock and fear portrayed in the mail, more often than not I’d shake my head and hope that my sweet grandmother wasn’t sending too much of her hard-earned money to support these crackpots like they wanted.

George V. Hansen was probably the biggest offender.

hansenHansen was the picture of the Idaho conservative’s conservative.  He represented the state’s 2nd District in the U.S. House from 1965-69 and from 1975-85.  He had a crew cut that screamed “conservative” before going to more of a “hippie look” for him that allowed some hair to perhaps touch his ears.

He was a leader in the fight against the Internal Revenue Service, writing a book in 1980 called To Harass Our People: The IRS and Government Abuse of Power.  He was a showboat, making sure cameras were there when he went to Tehran in 1979 in the middle of the Iran hostage crisis to try to negotiate with captors of American hostages through the fence of the U.S. Embassy.

He had his share of run-ins with the IRS, spent some time in prison which brought allegations of torture while he was behind bars.  Once his days in politics were over, he was convicted in 1993 of 45 counts of bank fraud for a multimillion-dollar check-kiting scheme.

He died in 2014.  His style of paranoid, one-world government-screeching, “make the people fear the liberal monster” politics lives on.  It’s become the majority of the Republican Party.  The late George V. Hansen is the current and future face of the GOP the way things are going.

If further proof is needed, John Boehner’s resignation provides it.

You really need to see more of George V. Hansen to understand just how sickening a thought that is.

A form of payment that goes beyond dollars

I drive transit buses for a living.  At the moment, my hourly wage isn’t all that much higher than what the push has been for a minimum wage across the country.

My job involves a bit more than being able to safely drive an oversized vehicle that can hold a bunch of people.  It involves multitasking and customer service in various forms.

I’ve dealt with people who are kind and people who are angry.  I’ve broken up fights.  I’ve dealt with drunks and druggies.

busI make it a point to greet every person who steps on to the “ship” that I captain, give them a smile, and thank them when they step off at their destination.  If I fall short in that, it isn’t by much.  I get a reward whenever someone waves and smiles and says “thanks” when they leave.  The majority of passengers do that.

There are some riders who don’t say a word or give any form of acknowledgement of my existence.  That can include people I’ve made a special effort to serve and to please.  When that happens, I speak very quietly for them, in a way no one else can hear.

Thank you so much!  You are the most amazing driver I’ve ever seen!  You are so good, I’m speechless!

I cannot thank you enough for the service you’ve provided for me!  It was so wonderful, I’m speechless!

Etc., so on and so forth.

But, then, there are times when I can get a reward that goes beyond any monetary value.  There are times when simple acts of appreciation can make my entire day, and make what can be a thankless job worthwhile.

I was driving what can be a busy east-west route last week and could see a bus stop coming up, with a white-haired, elderly lady pushing a walker toward the stop.  She was maybe 100 feet away from it on the sidewalk with her back toward the bus.  I couldn’t tell if she needed a ride or not, so I slowed down a touch.  As I approached her, she turned and looked over her left shoulder, waving a hand at me to let me know she needed on.

It’s hard to stop a 40-foot bus on a dime.  If I could have pulled to a stop right next to her, I would have.  But I managed to pull up to the stop, and I could see the woman running up as quickly as she could.

elderlyI lowered the front of the bus to make it easier for her to get on.  She lifted her walker on, stepped up, put some money in the fare box, and I was about to hand her a transfer when she gave me the best reward I’ve had in the time I’ve driven one of these big machines.  Without saying a word, she looked me in the eyes — it looked like she had a touch of tears forming — and she reached over to give me a hug.  She didn’t speak, but her gratitude was evident.

From that moment until she pulled the cord to let me know she needed off, I kept looking back in a mirror to see if she was okay.  She folded her arms once on the handles of the walker and laid her forehead on her arms, looking relieved.  I wondered if she could speak at all.

As she was leaving the bus, she patted me on my right arm, looked me in the eyes again, and gave me what appeared to be words of thanks in a form of sign language.

Those are the good moments that make customer service worthwhile.

From too much attention to not enough attention

It was July of 2011.  I had a job making decent money, but I was starting to feel the pinch from several years of little or no pay increases to keep up with the cost of living.  We could feel our way of life slipping backwards.

I had taken some time off from work to make a trip up to Missoula, Montana, where my mother underwent heart surgery.  I was making a long drive back from there to my home in Utah and had pulled over at a rest stop about 25 miles north of Idaho Falls before getting on I-15 to head south.  My car had been running fine, but when I went to start it again after a quick break, it wouldn’t fire up.  The fuel pump went bad.

broke downI managed to get a niece and her boyfriend nearby to come pull the car to a shop at my brother-in-law’s auto dealership.  I wouldn’t be going back to work in the coming days like I’d planned.  Instead, I’d be staying at a home where my parents-in-law were at in Idaho Falls while their home farther south was being threatened with flooding from the Snake River, waiting for a fuel pump to come in and my car to be fixed.  It turned into a stay of close to a week.

I had plenty of time on my hands during that stay.  My father-in-law is deeply into political science.  He used to call himself a Republican, and then once he started getting deeper into studying politics he turned Democrat.  He has all kinds of books on politics, economics, foreign affairs, etc., from a variety of perspectives — both conservative and liberal.  Since I had plenty of time on my hands, I found a book in my father-in-law’s collection that looked particularly interesting.  I started reading it and didn’t stop until I’d made it all the way through.

the speechThe book was titled “The Speech.”  What grabbed my attention the most was the subtitle: “A Historic Filibuster On Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class.”  It was a published record of a speech given by independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders from December 10, 2010.

Sanders’ words hit home with me.  What he was saying was what my family was living.  America’s middle class was moving backwards.  My family was moving backwards.  My broken down car with well over 200,000 miles on it was an example of that.  I had a decent job, but what I had to show for it was dwindling.  There were fears then that the venture capital company that owned the business where I worked would be selling it off, costing people their jobs.  That fear was genuine, there was good reason for it.

Some job cuts had already begun to take place at that time.  Jump ahead to the following October, and the big job cuts really started hitting.  I was among those hit.  We were among those hit … hard.

Before sitting down to read Sanders’ book that July four years ago, I’d seen some videos of Sanders speaking on YouTube.  He didn’t mince words, he didn’t back down from anyone, he spoke with a genuine sense of caring for the common person and a direction that he felt the country was going in, and he didn’t like what that direction at all.  He was like David going against Goliath.  Instead of rocks and a sling against the giants, he used words and hard facts.

I saw the same thing in “The Speech.”  As I was reading that book, I got a feeling that I’d experienced before.  The prior experience came when I watched a young senator from Illinois speak at the 2004 Democratic convention.  His name was Barack Obama.  I thought then that if that guy ever ran for President, I’d vote for him.

Obama hasn’t been perfect.  He started out trying too hard to please Republicans who had no desire whatsoever to be pleased.  But he’s come around, recognized his opponents’ games for what they are, and despite what naysayers would have you believe he’s taken what once seemed like an impossible situation and started turning it around against incredible fights.

There’s still a long way to go before we can honestly say that America as a whole is the greatest nation that it can possibly be, there are still too many issues that threaten our stability as a whole.  The greatest threat is to the middle class.  Income inequality is very real, and if something isn’t done to turn that around we stand to crumble.

Caricature by DonkeyHotey
Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Bernie Sanders recognizes that.  He’s been talking about that for years.  While I was reading “The Speech,” I thought if he’d run for President, I’d vote for him.  He is, and I still would.

There are still way too many people out there who don’t know him or have mistaken impressions because he’s a “democratic socialist,” with the socialist part striking fear in their hearts, like we’re becoming another USSR instead of the USA.  If you look at the things Sanders has to say, it’s plain to see that it’s returning America back to the days when things were more equal, tax rates better reflected how we needed to stay afloat before trickle down economics threatened to sink the ship.

It’s a return to the days before the term “greed is good” became a way of life.

But we’re not hearing enough of what Bernie Sanders has to say, and there’s something very wrong with that.  We’re fascinated by celebrities and oddball characters, like the current leader in the Republican presidential polling and his GOP opponents.  News channels break away from coverage of more important things to give live looks at speeches which say nothing, all because of that love of celebrity.

Donald Trump might get 40 minutes’ worth of discussion on Meet The Press, while Bernie Sanders might be lucky to get a quarter of that.

Bernie Sanders flatly rejects negative campaigning.  He talks issues and solutions.  These days, that’s old-hat.

The guy impressed me even more this week when he made the modern equivalent of a “Daniel in the lions’ den” appearance at Jerry Falwell’s conservative Liberty University.  He spoke words that are too much unheard these days, the biggest being “civil discourse” between people who don’t agree on many issues.

Liberty University is to be applauded for inviting him in.  And Sanders was received warmly.  He left an impression that was unique.  He got evangelicals to take a hard look at themselves and the message they’re sending out in the current political environment.  One pastoral counselor there in particular was very moved, as you’ll find in the following link:

An Evangelical responds to Sanders’ speech at Liberty U

Why are so many people so turned on by “freak shows” in politics these days?  Whatever happened to that “civil discourse” we used to see more of, back in the days when America seemed more … united?

This is why people like Bernie Sanders deserve more attention.

Feel the Bern.


The GOP field — Why are they there in the first place?

In wrapping up a review this week of some of the people I’m tired of seeing (just before touching on a discussion of at least one not seen enough) … how about that Republican presidential debate last night, huh?

To put it in perspective, if you count the “kiddie table” debate before Wednesday night’s main event, it lasted around five hours … over half of a typical work day … less time than the average marathon runner takes to go 26.2 miles.

Image via
Image via

And what did we get out of it?  A more-than-generous “baker’s dozen” politicians and business people who want to be the leader of the free world who mostly have no business being in that position and saying a whole lot of … not much more than you’d expect from a bunch of guys and one woman piling into a clown car.

Now, please, don’t get me wrong.  If the GOP would come up with a decent candidate, I’d spend more than a little time considering them.  I honestly don’t lean to one side of the political aisle so heavily that I don’t give any serious consideration to what the conservatives say.  But the last candidate who ran on the Republican side that I could find myself giving any serious thought to was Jon Huntsman Jr., and his run in 2012 was aborted when it was basically decided that he wasn’t far enough “out there.”

I didn’t watch any of last night’s debate.  For one thing, we had to give up cable and satellite TV years ago so CNN isn’t on our list of channels to choose from.  For another thing, there really isn’t one single candidate out of the whole GOP presidential mess field that I can even begin to get that interested in.

After already seeing so many of them through the years, I’ve seen enough of them to determine that they’re jokers unelectable.  I’ve seen enough, and I wouldn’t care if I didn’t see any more of them.  Unfortunately, we still have over a year left before their posturing is over.  I did read and see enough of the highlights and lowlights after the debate to confirm a few things, such as …

  • Donald Trump — as stated in a post here the day before the debate — is indeed a child, and more people are pointing that out including those who shared the stage with the dude.  When Rand Paul pointed out how much “The Donald” likes to point out people’s physical appearance as huge flaws (as he did with Carly Fiorina), Trump argued against that and wrapped it up by … pointing to Rand Paul’s physical appearance.  I was actually waiting for Sir Trump to say something about a hairpiece, but that’s too much of a pot vs. kettle issue in that particular matchup.
  • Caricature by DonkeyHotey
    Caricature by DonkeyHotey

    Speaking of Fiorina, most comments following the debate pointed to the former Hewlett-Packard leader as the winner on the night.  When you get right down to it, that’s a pretty sad statement all by itself.  She came across as being confident, strong, hit hard at Trump’s misogynistic style, gave what could best be described as thorough answers to questions without verbally dancing around.  But, at worst, if we really examine those answers, a question has to be asked: how truthful were they?  When her experience as a failed executive at HP was brought up, she talked about growth and increased revenue under her watch.  Sure, that’s going to happen naturally when you merge with a company like Compaq.  But it was also that merger that ended up costing a lot of people their jobs, including Fiorina’s.  Since then, she’s run an unsuccessful campaign for the California Senate and come across as a bit wacky as a conservative mouthpiece in the media.  No, thanks.


Caricature by Donkey Hotey
Caricature by Donkey Hotey
  • When it comes to Ben Carson, he has to be considered the most likable candidate among the Republican hopefuls, which may be why he’s risen to No. 2 in the polls behind the Towering Ego guy.  But that’s about it.  His intelligence can’t be questioned.  He was a brilliant neurosurgeon.  He’s pretty soft spoken.  In the circle of friends I run with, Carson being a Seventh-day Adventist counts for major points.  He pulled himself up from rough beginnings to a sterling career.  But is all that enough?  For all the intelligence Carson possesses, some of the judgment and “broader knowledge” he’s shown when it comes to the matter of running a country makes me hesitate with him in a major way.  How do you stand at a podium in a debate as he did Wednesday night and say that there are Marines who aren’t ready to deploy?  Uh, Dr. Carson, unless they’re in basic training, Marines are always ready to deploy.
  • That same question of judgment could be raised when it comes to Marco Rubio.  He might have come out of this debate in California okay if he didn’t feel the need to tell a joke about bringing his own water … in California … which has suffered through serious droughts … and is battling wildfires.  Presence of mind goes a long way.
  • Mike Huckabee — if Adventists ever needed a reason to have a real fear about “Sunday laws” and how it could affect them, Huckabee as President is as close a reason as we could find.  Yeah, separation of church and state should exist.  Huckabee’s a poster child for that.  The same could be said for …
  • Ted Cruz.
  • Jeb Bush — Can you say George W. Bush squared?
  • Chris Christie — If you like loud-mouthed, in-your-face, unrepentant corruption in your future, he’s your guy.
  • Scott Walker — One video when Walker was pranked into thinking he was talking on the phone with one of the Koch brothers says it all:
  • And for cryin’ out loud, if Walker isn’t smart enough to pick up on a prank like he fell for in the next picture, what kind of POTUS would he make?


  • All the rest — Even bigger pretenders.

All in all, it’s a mighty sad story.

Is it November 2016 yet?  No?  Damn!

AMY’S ANGLE: Reaching goals and finding peace in uncertain times

I now put together articles for John’s blog on Wednesdays and articles for my own horse blog whenever I want to write them.  But I can’t write about just anything on my own blog, that is solely about horses.  That is why I write here as well.  However, sometimes I can cue you into what I write in my horse blog for those who don’t see it or know that I have it.

For me, the average American trying to make ends meet, there is another area I work to try and pull in more income to help this family besides horses.  My horse training and instruction is a newer business.  It takes time to build up a business for ourselves.  I have been teaching music for almost 30 years, so there is an outlet there that I can use to make more of an income while the horse business is being built up.

Sometimes, though, I wonder how people with a lower income and little or no savings of any kind — or those just scraping the bottom of the barrel — manage to get a business built up when there is little to no means to build it up.  That is where I’m at right now.  There is a lot of training I need in order to get where I want to be, but nothing to help me get there.  I wonder how many people are in the same place I am.

Amy and Cheyenne on the pedestal. (Photo by Randy Kroll)
Amy and Cheyenne on the pedestal. (Photo by Randy Kroll)

Let me give you an example.  I am training my horses to be trick horses for entertainment at parties, shows, etc.  I have taught myself from books I’ve found.  I do have a trainer to help me, however, I need to learn some marketing skills from a person who is doing exactly what I want to do.  The problem there is that person lives in Florida and it takes money to get her here or for me to go there.

Here’s what I want to do.  My goal is to get my trick horses fully trained and performing so well that they could appear on television through advertising or some such thing.  There is a concern that whoever uses my horses would have to have me involved so that we only use the horses in conditions in the horses’ best interest.  That is another subject, though.

My mares Cheyenne and Gypsy have both been on local television and seemed to enjoy it.  I would love to build on that and point them in that direction.  However, I am an unknown and I have no marketing skills in the direction that I need to go.  So a person who has a unique ability in my area — horses that paint, do music, soccer and basketball, etc. — needs to find the means to make this a reality.  How can I reach my goal without the funds it takes to do it?

When the instructor that I have now found out that I am struggling financially, she asked me why I am coming and investing in the lessons?  I told her that if I don’t I will continue to go nowhere with my horses and my business will flop.  However, it has a better chance when I continue my education.  She knew exactly what I meant.  I have a dream, and if I settle for the status quo through low-paying jobs, I might as well just give up.  But I know if I keep trying, something should come from it.

Reaching-GoalsAnyone who has seen my horses perform really loved what they can do.  As our dreams come but with little in the way to financially back it up, sometimes we need a little help.  I wonder how to get that without going into huge debt that really hurts us.  I am brainstorming here.  I hear how others make it work from the ground up and little to back them up.  I want to turn my dream into a reality.  As a religious person, I pray about this a lot.

I feel as though God is pushing me in this direction.  Even though there are times I think I am crazy to have horses, my gut instinct tells me differently.  My instinct says, “Maybe, Amy, you are meant to do this and reach out to people in a unique way through horses, since horses are therapeutic to people.  Maybe I am here for this very purpose in the trying times that we are in to help people connect with horses in a way that brings the stresses of this world down even temporarily to find peace with themselves.”

I would love to bring joy and laughter to people who are hurting when my horses point their nose toward them in a funny angle only to bring the biggest grin on the horse’s face, that makes people laugh to see them doing that.

Whenever I do feel as though horses should not be my thing and I should just stop and get rid of them,  John is a great person to have in my corner; he won’t let me quit because he knows how good the horses are for me.  Through all the stress I go through over this low-income problem, he knows that the horses are very therapeutic to me and help me through so much.  If I didn’t have them, I don’t know where I would be.  I get very depressed, I experience dark thoughts going through all this and the horses are a light out of that darkness when I see them.

I would love to help other people to see that light that the horses can bring when they’re hurting themselves.  They are my therapists.  I really mean that.  They are my light.  John knows this and he says that I need them and should never get away from that light that they provide.  They point me to God’s light in a way.  When I am with them, they help me feel God’s light because they are part of nature.  God speaks to us in nature, people, circumstances, anything He can use.  I feel as if God is speaking to me in people and nature, including through my horses.

I ventured a little off the path of where I was going with this, but maybe you needed to see a little bit where I am coming from, the direction that I am trying to steer myself down now.  Well, maybe I will make more turns before I get to the correct job for me and the people who might benefit from my help someday.  Let’s not forget about other horses I might help as well.  I am all about helping people as well as the furry critters who also have emotions.  Horses have very strong emotions themselves, so that is why they are so good for people.  They can read us like a book.  I know my horses can.

I think you have read enough chattering from me about where I am coming from for now.  But it at least gives you my perspective on certain things — dreams for certain endeavors or ways to help people or animals to find more peace in uncertain circumstances.  Please feel free to let me know what you think.  Bye for now!

Donald Trump — Just one of the folks who just won’t go away

Come on, now.  This can’t be serious.  It can’t last.  It shouldn’t last.  It’d damn well better not last.

There is no way Donald Trump should be running for President of the United States.  But he is, and he’s leading the Republican pack.  And no matter how many foolish, egomaniacal things he says and does, he won’t go away.

Image via Wikipedia
Gage Skidmore — Image via Wikimedia

What does Trump bring to the table when it comes to serious ideas on how to make America better?  He tells us all his ideas are “great,” “the best,” “it’s so good.”  And he says next to nothing when it comes to specifics.  He’s a salesman selling himself.  His pitch is filled with empty rhetoric.  Oh, he might come up with an idea to build a great wall like the one in China, separating the U.S. and Mexico as the solution to immigration and tell you that he’d make sure Mexico paid for it all, down to the last penny.

He lives in a fantasy world.  And he’s the leading GOP candidate.  Really.

We are turning into a nation where ratings rule.  Trump is bombastic, speaks nonsense that gets people riled up, and the major media flocks to him because the mention of his name brings ratings.  He’s a political monster created by Fox News who brings the shine of being a reality TV star thanks to NBC, where Meet The Press host Chuck Todd can’t seem to get enough of him.

That’s why he’s leading the polls.  He’s a media junkie.

Image by DonkeyHotey
Image by DonkeyHotey

He’s an immature brat.  He’s a Twitter troll.  What did he do after Megyn Kelly pinned him down in the first debate on Fox about his views on women?  He pouted and went on the attack against Kelly like a pimply faced school kid.  On the eve of the second presidential debate, it’s a pretty safe bet that someone will ask or say something that Trump won’t like and he’ll tweet some high school bully-type trash.

And what would he do if some foreign leader offended him as the POTUS?  Is he going to change his ways?  Does his style of behavior make America greater?

Did his method of dealing with Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos at an Iowa press conference in August show the kind of mature leadership we want out of a POTUS?  Prior to getting kicked out of that press conference (and being brought back in later after other reporters quizzed Trump about the incident), Ramos had written to Trump asking for an interview.  Trump didn’t just ignore the request, he posted Ramos’ phone number for all the world to see.  Ramos tried asking his questions at the press conference and was physically removed.  Trump supporters argue that Ramos didn’t follow protocol.  Protocol schmotocol, press conferences are more often a free-for-all for attention and getting questions in than they are a model of manners.  To me, seeing a journalist being physically escorted out of a press conference was chilling.  Publishing a journalist’s personal phone number because you’re peeved about Univision shows no class whatsoever.

And this is the GOP frontrunner.

Slamming veterans of foreign wars for being captured … saying he endured more grueling military experience than soldiers in battle because he went to an expensive boarding school … and this is the guy who wants to lead America’s troops.

Seriously?  He’s the GOP frontrunner?

I could go on and on and on about why I’d like to see this national nightmare known as Donald Trump fade away, but he won’t.  He might not win the presidency (heaven help us all if he did), but his universal ego would never allow him to fade away.  My reasons listed here are just the tip of the iceberg.

For another tip of that iceberg known as “The Donald,” there’s a documentary from the early ’90s that Trump didn’t want people to see, and somehow he managed to successfully keep it from being shown.  It’s an eye-opener, but — given what we know now of the guy — none of it is surprising.

It’s worth the hour and 22 minutes to see.

And this is the GOP frontrunner?  Come on, get serious.

Kim Davis — Just one of the folks who should just go away

There are some people I’m really getting tired of seeing.  There are some people I don’t think are seen enough.  Let me take a closer look at just a few of them, because the ones I’m getting tired of seeing the most just can’t seem to fade away fast enough.

Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis is one of those people who’s getting way more attention than what she deserves.  To cut right to the chase, she needs to either resign or face a recall vote as of … well, yesterday actually wouldn’t be soon enough.

Kim Davis' booking photo. (Image via Wikipedia)
Kim Davis’ booking photo. (Image via Wikipedia)

Instead, Davis is sticking to her guns in defying the United States Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious beliefs.  In the process, she’s being compared by some to Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Abraham Lincoln — ironic as all get out, because they were champions of civil rights while Davis fights to withhold them.

Is it any wonder she’s being looked upon by same-sex marriage opponents as a martyr?  When she was released from jail for defying the Supreme Court — on the condition that she give up her stand — it was like a church rally, including sermonizing.  What made it comical was the sight of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz being blocked from getting to the stage where Davis and Cruz’s GOP opponent — at least one of more than a dozen — the former preacher Mike Huckabee were going to appear — kept away by one of Huckabee’s handlers because, damnit, THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HUCKABEE’S TIME TO SHINE!  And all while this little game of political one-upsmanship was going on, a choir was singing a gospel tune.

What makes it even funnier is that you have staunch Republicans like Huckabee and Cruz using a Democrat like Davis to get an edge.

Davis’ stand is based on her religious beliefs, the thinking that goes behind the “sanctity of marriage.”  Given her own marital history with more than one marriage and a remarriage and a child born from her second or third husband shortly after divorcing her first husband or some such convoluted track record, she’s a bit on shaky ground herself when it comes to defending that “sanctity.”

Please, spare me the rhetoric about Christians being persecuted today.  Go through this checklist and see if that’s true.

It’s the belief that governments and courts shouldn’t be redefining the biblical word on marriage.  Well, there’s some shakiness there as well, as a billboard posted in Davis’ hometown by the organization Planting Peace so bluntly points out:

Image via
Image via

I still consider myself a Christian.  I’m still holding on to my own faith and religious beliefs as much as possible.  I understand Kim Davis’ reported desire to stick by her beliefs … if that’s what she’s really doing.  Where she goes off the rails is in trying to force her beliefs on everyone else, whether they believe themselves or not.  She could make just as strong a stand by stepping down and continuing to speak out, and she wouldn’t be breaking any laws of the land in the process.  Instead, she insists on maintaining her “holier than thou” stand, and it’s another example of how Christians are being made to look foolish.

There’s at least one pastor I’ve read of who agrees with that.

“She can have any private opinion she wants about gay marriage, but as a representative of the state she cannot impose that view on others without violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment,” Urbanna Baptist Church Pastor Jonathan Davis wrote. “As a government employee, Davis is free to exercise her religion, but not when it interferes with the liberty of others under the law of the land.”

This is where the separation of church and state is so important.  And that’s the crux of the problems we’re seeing as with Kim Davis’ case.  That separation is eroding.  It’s eroding to the point that presidential candidates climb all over each other to use people like Kim Davis to come across as the “holier than thou” hopeful.

Kim Davis needs to fade away.  She’s doing Christianity no favors at all.