Category Archives: International

twitter trump jesus lord

This is one reason I do not “trust in the Lord”

Today, I got up and did what has become a part of my normal morning routine, I checked Twitter to see what the most recent craziness has come out of the White House. This morning, I would not help but notice that “Trust in the LORD” is trending. Now, I know that the United States is one of the most church going counties on the planet but this image was just too much for me.

twitter trump jesus lord

This is from: https://twitter.com/nvrggivup

Now I know that when most people think of Donald Trump, they think about Jesus. I mean, who can forget that part of the Bible when our lord and savior extolls the virtues of “grabbing women by the pussy?” I know that was the part that kept me reading. That’s what it’s all about: rating, both for Christ and the Tweeter in Chief.

But then I was reading through some of the tweets telling me to “trust in the Lord” and while I am a big believer in karma, when people get too religious my mind goes back to Rwanda and the 1994 genocide. This is not because of its brutality and efficacy, but because of the role the church played. Like most of Africa, Rwanda is also a very church loving country.

The Ntarama Catholic church sits about an hour from Kigali. When the president’s plane went down in April 1994, people who lived near the church were scared. On April 15, the militia, known as the Interhamwe (those who fight together), ambushed area. Thousands took refuge in the church. At least five thousand people were butchered there.

I am not sure where the ideas that Donald Trump has ever given a thought to Jesus or the role of the Bible in his life has anything to do with the slaughter of innocent people in a Rwandan Catholic church but I have to just see the hypocrisy in both ideas. Trump has been divorced three times (though I don’t personally see an issue with that), has never seen marriage as a reason to not have sex with whomever and basically thinks that he has a right to do whatever he wants to anyone he wants. Take money from small businesses? Force them out of business? Sure, if it helps the Trump bottom line, why not? While I am no expert on the Bible of Jesus but if we were all wearing, “what would Jesus do?” bracelets, I am pretty sure sexual assault and fraud are not part of his repertoire.

And then the hypocrisy of the “trust in the Lord.” I get it. People like to believe in something and I do see the value in religion. The American civil rights movement got a lot of help and its start in churches. Having said that, blind allegiance to anything is just stupid.

But maybe the real connection between the Rwandan genocide, the stupid trending Twitter topic and Trump is that we seem to be on a path to genocide here and it is being led by people who claim to love Jesus. If that doesn’t scare you, it should.

 

 

https://vimeo.com/19089604

Diary of a disenfranchised Democrat

Ok, I published this a few years ago but with the pundits hopping all over themselves to write President Obama’s most recent obituary, I thought we could use a laugh.  Oh, how the 1990s were just an era of wonderful bipartisanship and hope…

 

There’s been a lot of talk about how President Obama is in trouble with his base.  The narrative goes something like this: liberals are disappointed with Barack Obama’s performance.  Maybe he has been too timid, too hands-off, too much of a law professor when what we neehttp://www.alysonchadwick.com/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?post_id=688&action=grunion_form_builder&TB_iframe=true&width=768&id=add_formded was a scrappy street fighter, willing to go toe-to-toe with an obstructionist Congress and the wiley John Boehner and Eric “Dr. No” Cantor.  Neither Bill or Hillary Clinton would have put up with this malarky.  No, sir.

My friend, Chris Rugaber (you know the AP business writer, if you don’t read his stuff, you should start), sent me this piece: When did liberals become so unreasonable? The idea being, that liberals are never happy with anything.  I dug through my personal papers and the following represent excerpts from my journal.

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Fall 1991:

Dear Diary,

My mom and I were talking about what Democrats will run for president next year.  Seems pointless to me.  George Bush is just so dang popular, what with that stupid Iraq war and all.  I like Paul Tsongas a lot but, seriously, another liberal, Greek from Mass?  That’s never gonna happen.  I said Bill Clinton is the only viable candidate.  She thinks his performance at the 1988 Democratic Convention will do him in, they did lower him off the stage and all, but I think he’s got a certain “je ne sais quoi.”  I cannot wait to move to France.  If Bush gets reelected, I am going to move there.

Winter 1992

Dear Diary,

Well, I don’t have to move to France.  Bill Clinton is our new president!  We have the White House, the Senate and House of Representatives!  I hear that means a lot!  There’s nothing stopping us now!  We are going to make health care available to everyone!  It’s a good time to be alive!  Diary, you had better not stop thinking about tomorrow!  I know I won’t!1

Spring 1993

Dear Diary,

This has been a sad time for Democrats.  We have a Dem in the White House and control both sides of Capitol Hill but President Clinton’s stimulus package went down in flames in the Senate, damn you filibuster! ( http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/22/us/gop-senators-prevail-sinking-clinton-s-economic-stimulus-bill.html) Weren’t they paying attention to the It’s the economy, stupid! message?  Hello! I remain hopeful that we can get healthcare reform through, Hillary Rodham, I mean Hillary Rodham Clinton (I keep forgetting she is using his name now!) is heading up the committee for that so I am sure it will go through.  She tried to soften her image with that cookie recipe and my mom swears by her turkey tips (hint: avoid basting by putting bacon on top — saves time and is delicious!) but she’s tough as nails. President Clinton’s lack of foreign policy experience is pretty clear, I sure wish we’d stop the genocide in Bosnia.  Slobodan Molosovic sounds like a dick.

Fall 1993

Dear Diary,

I just cannot shake the feeling that we are fucking up big time here.   If we cannot capitalize on the promise of Bill Clinton, we are totally screwed.  Does he know the damage he is doing to our party and system?  Bosnia remains a mess.  When are we going to help these people?  I hear there’s going to be a new Holocaust museum in Washington, DC, I sure hope they look into Bosnia.  This crap is unacceptable.  None of my friends will even talk to me about it.  And now the crazy “liberal” media seems obsessed with some innocent investments the Clintons made a thousand years ago, I think they’re calling it white-water?  I don’t know why they are so anti-rafting.  Seems like a good hobby to me.

Spring 1994

Dear Diary,

Am so depressed.  Hillary Clinton’s health reform looks to be headed towards disaster!  They say she didn’t consult Congress enough, as if!  What has happened to our party?  I thought we had some guts but I guess not.  Man, Bill Clinton sucks.

Winter 1994

Well, the end of the world is here.  Officially.  The Republicans just took the House back — after about a million years.  The Speaker was the first to lose his seat since we had a speaker.  Healthcare reform died a painful death.  Damn senators act like they should be consulted on policy issues, how rude!  Don’t they know Bill Clinton is a D?  Stupid “liberal” media is still into that rafting crap.  Have they no lives?

Winter 1995

Dear Diary,

Have been too depressed to write.  Bill Clinton has failed us all.  First no action on Bosnia, then health care reform failure and then he was all about welfare reform.  Says that will be his big thing should he win reelection, good luck, jerk.  Thank god for Newt Gingrich.  He was so mean/whiny that he made us look good.  Shut down the government because he was pissed about his seat on AF1.  I sure wish Democrats would grow a pair.

Winter 1997

Dear Diary,

Wow. It’s been a painful few years.  When did Democrats stop being Democrats?  Sure we had a few victories but that’s all because Newt Gingrich is so stupid. And whiny.  Bill Clinton totally caved to the GOP on the last two budgets and welfare reform.  Thank goodness he won reelection, though he seems more like a Republican.  That rafting thing ended up being more of a big deal than I had thought. And now, it looks like he may have had an affair with an intern.  Question:  If you know the world is watching you, can you keep your pants on for five minutes?  No?  Work on it.

January 1998

Dear Diary,

Just got a job in the record industry (publicist for RCA Victor).  All my friends were surprised that I would pick music over politics but it has been hard to be a Dem.  Fr weeks, every day, reading the paper has been a challenge.  But then I was walking down the street and had a thought — why am I upset with Bill Clinton?  He has been a good president.  We have had a near unprecedented period of peace and prosperity.  That has been a good thing.  I am tired of being unhappy with him for stupid crap that doesn’t matter.

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Ok, those aren’t really from my journals, though I am sure I wrote similar things back then.  I remember worrying that Bill Clinton was going to squander the opportunity to do some truly spectacular things with his presidency.  I could not understand why Congress resisted working with him, did they not understand that he and they were in the same party?

It is easy to criticize President Obama for being too hands off when dealing with Congress, his absence from the conversations about the debt ceiling or the super committee’s failure only reinforces the narrative and it is easy to forget that he accomplished more in his first year in office than Bill Clinton.  He also managed to get health care reform, as imperfect as it is, passed.  I would like him to be more of a fighter, to het his hands dirty a little — politics is a dirty business — but that’s not who he is.  That’s also not the person many people voted for.  I am going to try to remind myself of how I felt during the Clinton administration whenever I am tempted to buy into the narrative that says I am supposed to be disappointed in President Obama.

Please stop blaming Obama for Ukraine

 

President George W. Bush and Russia's Presiden...

President George W. Bush and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin take a sunset walk on a pier along the Black Sea during a visit by President and Mrs. Bush Saturday, April 5, 2008, to President Putin’s summer retreat, Bocharov Ruchey, in Sochi, Russia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To many on the right, all bad things that happen are President Obama’s fault.  More than a few see what happened in Benghazi has the cause of anything that happens anywhere in the world. In that context, it is surprising the missing Malaysian plane hasn’t been blamed (yet) on Benghazi.   The theory is that Obama’s weak foreign policy has emboldened Vladimir Putin to the point where he thinks he can do whatever he wants, wherever he wants.  How do they know this?  Because when their guy was in office, they say Putin backed off.

The theory of this comes from the US response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008.  The theories I have heard are that after Russia sent troops to the area, George W. Bush sent war ships to the Black Sea, trained the Georgian military to fight Russia and airlifted troops from Afghanistan home to fend off the invaders.  What really happened? Georgia is part of the international coalition that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As such, the US did train their forces and agree to get them home in the case of an emergency.  The invasion was viewed as a qualifying emergency and the US transported Georgian troops from Iraq to Georgia but not to areas where the fighting was occurring and the administration made it very clear that was part of the agreement we had with all members of the coalition, not a response to the crisis.  As for the US ships in the Black Sea, they were full of humanitarian supplies and again, the White House went to great lengths to show they were not there to engage Russia in a fight that everyone thought could lead to a nasty conflict between the two nations.  US military action was never an option.

What did President Bush do?  Here is his official response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1Men9v2tNg

Oh, the (W) Bush administration also levied sanctions on Russia.  Sounds pretty similar to what Obama is doing now. Putin did not take over Crimea because of anything Obama has done.  This move is very popular inside of Russia and the leader clearly wants to re-litigate  the end of the Cold War.     The US needs to be a part of any action to end the takeover of Ukraine but to assume it caused the situation or that it alone can end it is naive and misguided.  This world we now inhabit is far more complex and integrated than the one we lived in during the Cold War.  We are all better served by not applying simplistic causality (Obama is weak therefore …) to complicated situations.

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When we said “never again,” we were kidding

“One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic,” Joseph Stalin

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide.  In the span of 100 days, 800,000 people were murdered with machetes.   That is the official death toll but it could be as high as one million.  I wrote about that here.  As this is the anniversary, I am watching Hotel Rwanda.  I have been lucky enough to have met Paul and Tatiana Rusesbagina and they inspire me every day.

A lifetime ago, I climbed Kilimanjaro.  After the climb we went to Odulpai Gorge, the site where the first human footprints were found.  Looking over the gorge gave me this great sense of connectivity — we are all from there.

One of my heroes is astrophysicist, Neil de Grasse Tyson. He has said, “We are all stardust.”  I love that idea and it sits at the heart of my atheism.  Looking up at the stars gives me the same sense that looking over that gorge did.

One of the advance trips I did for President Clinton was to Norway.  He was there to commemorate the life of Yitzak Rabin (side note: when he was assasinated I was in an Emily’s List press training, name drop alert: Chuck Todd was in my group, when they told us the news, it took my brain about ten minutes to comprehend them, it was weird, I knew all the words but could not grasp what they meant).  I watched Clinton give a speech about our DNA.  We share 99.99 percent with every other person on the planet.  This is what makes DNA evidence so powerful in criminal cases.  During that trip, Clinton met with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. Like soap in the shower, peace in that part of the world often feels so close only to be lost in a short time.

We are unique and that is special.  When we celebrate our uniqueness, we celebrate our species.  When we use the tiny spaces that make us unique to divide us, we all suffer.  We are in this boat together.

Hutu, Tutsi.  Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist (or atheist).  We are the same.

Paul Kagame led the revolt that ended the Rwandan genocide but he is not the savior he has been made out to be.  He didn’t really end the conflict, he just moved it next door to the Congo.  Dear President Kagame: please learn from Nelson Mandela.  Step down and prove you have created a real democracy.  Learn from George Washington who stepped down after one term.

And to end on a happier note, watch this.

Us vs. them

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

The recent shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teen armed with nothing but candy and iced tea, has got us talking about a lot of things; the “stand your ground laws,” the danger of wearing hoodies and even the fact that we need to talk about race relations in 2012 America.  That’s not to say we are really talking about race relations in 2012 America, we are talking about how we should be.  There’s a big difference.

Personally, I think David Brooks had it right on Meet the Press this week.  We need to talk about race for sure but we need to broaden that a bit.  We need to talk about how we all view each other.  More to the point, how we view people who we perceive as being different from us.  That feels like a really obvious statement but sometimes we miss the things that are the most simple.

I am going to talk about some things that may or may not seem related.

One of my passions is stopping and preventing genocide.  I also have intractable insomnia.  The extra free time the latter gave me the chance recently to reread the book Machete Season; the killers of Rwanda speak.  If you are unfamiliar with it, it is a series of interviews with some of the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.  Now, I will set aside for a moment my complete horror at the fact that they seem to sleep like babies whereas I can go weeks without sleep (yes, people who butchered their neighbors and friends with machetes sleep better than me).  The main thing that sets genocides in motion is the ability to look at people of a perceived different culture as bad.

Closer to home the things that come mind for me are the shooting of Amadou Diallo, a man shot 41 times because when the police asked for his ID he went to get it out of his pocket.  I was living in New York City when that happened and I am not going to lie, that made me fear the police  Rudy Guiliani may have become “America’s mayor” on 9/11 but when I lived in his NYC, police brutality had gone up by a whopping 30 percent and his administration’s response was basically “shit happens.”  Ok, he didn’t say that exactly.  After one instance where the police burst down the wrong door (because they wrote the address down wrong), his response was that if you want less crime, you have to expect this sort of thing.  There was no apology for scaring the crap out of an innocent family.

These attitudes trickle down.  Maybe Ronald Reagan had a point, there is such a thing as trickle down bigotry.

The Trayvon Martin case could not have a clearer racial overtone than the killing of Matthew Sheppard was homophobic.  But our prejudices extend beyond that — we judge others based on their religion, culture, weight, gender — anything we can use to classify someone as different.  This sets the stage for violence on the micro and macro level and it needs to stop (I know you knew that).

Brooks mentioned a great project.  It’s called the Implicit Project.  They have several tests on there where you can measure your attitudes towards people based on a number of criteria.  It takes a few minutes and is well worth your time.  I did a few.  I will post my results if you post yours.  Go here to complete them.