Guest reply to last week’s invitation.

2020-07-04 Flag
I always wish to go to America.  I have seen your pictures of your home and Kentucky is beautiful.  The thing I admire most of your country is your freedom.  Here in . . . if I say bad things about our leader I and my family will have to go hide.  It would not be safe.  In the USA many people say bad things about your leaders even if the leader is good or bad.  Some of your leaders are bad but they still give up power when you hold your elections I think so.  Our elections I do not know if the one elected we really choose or he clings to power to stay in power.  I think it is the last.  He stays in power because after he gets in power it is very difficult for another to get in and we people cast ballots and we do not know if the count is real or not.  So I pray that America will solve your problems because it is great nation and best in the world for freedom.  You are blessed to call America home.  Pray for my country but do not say where I am from. RAS

Well, I am disappointed that so few responded to my invitation to write about what living in America means to you or about appreciation for police or other first responders.   The only response is from an international friend, similar to comments he made when we were both “strangers in a strange land,” away from both our home countries. 

But his view as an outsider is telling.  Like someone told me once, the USA is kind of like Noah’s Ark: some animals you wish were not on board, kind of smelly at times, noise that keeps you awake, rough waters bouncing you about, feeling like you do not know where or when you will land, but all things considered, it’s still the best ship afloat; better than any other option!

And another reply, better late than never, as my Mom used to say:
After living overseas for 40+ years, I appreciate the freedoms and liberties my home country [USA] gives. From the CULTURE of my host country, Bangladesh, I appreciate that they accept me, are always respectful to me (especially as I get older!!).
Blessings, Sharon

Larry and Sharon Smith
BANGLADESH: Rd. 71, Hs. 11, Apt. 303A, Dhaka
PO Box 493907; Redding, CA 96049
www.hopegeneration.com

Intermezzo: Condoleeza Rice for President? 😉

2020-06-08 Rice for President

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek as the former Secretary of State acknowledges at the end of this CBS interview that she is not currently interested in the political arena.  However, her demeanor, her unifying words and gracious acknowledgement of individual responsibilities to make a difference in our society raises my esteem for her, and raises the question of who I would like to vote for in 2020.  She would definitely be at the top of my list as a woman of color who speaks with wisdom, compassion and forward-looking vision.

“I would ask the president to first and foremost speak in the language of unity, the language of empathy . . . I’ve heard the president talk about the resilience of Americans. I’d love to hear more of that.
“Twitter and tweeting are not great ways for complex thoughts, for complex messages.  When the president speaks, it needs to be from a place of thoughtfulness, from a place of having really honed the message so that it reaches all Americans.
“And by the way, not just the president.  I would love to hear this from our leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle.  I would love to hear from mayors and from governors and from others.  Leaders at this particular point need to do everything that they can to overcome, not intensify our divisions.”

The interview with its transcription at the link here is worth your 13 minutes to hear.
https://news.yahoo.com/face-nation-condoleezza-rice-dr-162643202.html

Further, take a look at the excellent movie, Just Mercy, based on the true story of Bryan Stevenson’s search for justice for death row inmates in Alabama.

This movie does not condone those who are guilty of crimes, but addresses the reality that Ms. Rice spoke of growing up in Alabama during the era of Jim Crow:  “But I will tell you, as somebody who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, Jim Crow Alabama, when if a black man was shot by a policeman, it wouldn’t have even been a footnote in the newspaper.”

These are complicated problems and require more than a Tweet or photo-op to resolve.  We need more leaders like Condoleeza Rice with desire to unify, heal and advance conservativism in American politics.

So, Condoleeza Rice for President?  We can dream. 🙂

Why I Will Vote in the 2020 Election

The idea that we cannot legislate morality is untrue.  ALL legislation IS morality; it is only a question of whose moral compass will guide the laws we enact.  As a Christ-follower I am distressed that we have so little to choose from in the coming 2020 election: each of the candidates coming to the fore have shown clear evidence of immorality, lying or being significantly deceived by socialism.  So we who follow Jesus are faced with the same confusion the Israelites faced when they were deported to Babylon (see Daniel 1): how do we obey The God Who Is There when under a leader who does not believe in Him?

The answer is simple: as soon as the parties publish their 2020 platforms look at that of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and determine which one will support Judeo-Christian ethics and morals more closely.  This will be easy to do online once they are published.  It is difficult to imagine that they will be much different from the 2016 platforms, based on voting records (below) such as the one recorded on February 25, 2020.

We cannot seem to vote a man or woman into office that will adhere to Biblical norms to which Jesus calls His followers, but we should vote into offices the Senators, Congresspeople, and President/Vice-President who will most closely align with these principles.  Wouldn’t it be nice one year if we could choose between the “better of two goods” instead of always “the lesser of two evils?”  But this is our fallen world until Jesus returns.

Check out the link below for the vote on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
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The vote to proceed with a bill to protect aborted children who are born alive died in the Senate along a party line vote with the exceptions of Senators Casey (D) of Pennsylvania, Jones (D) from Alabama and Manchin (D) from W. Virginia voting with the Republican majority “to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.”  Every Republican voted FOR the measure.

Vote Summary
Question: On the Cloture Motion
Vote Number: 58
Vote Date: February 25, 2020, 04:06 PM
Required for Majority: 3/5 (60 votes to pass)
Vote Result: Cloture Motion Rejected
Measure Number: S. 311 Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Measure Title: A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

Vote Counts:
YEAs: 56
NAYs: 41
Not Voting: 3
(Senators Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren, all Democrats who previously voted against this measure.)

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=116&session=2&vote=00058

2020 Election