I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

diatribe | ˈdīəˌtrīb | noun. a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something: a diatribe against the Roman Catholic Church.

An encounter on Instagram yesterday motivated Mr Polite in Public (the_crossroad_saints on Instagram) to come here, to my blog, and leave a rather ugly comment on my “Who Is This Scribbler?” page. As is the case with his kind, he provided no context and completely misrepresented our exchange. His comment:

If you enjoyed her lovely little persona here, disagree with her diatribes on Instagram. Quite a different experience I assure you. Above all, worship Donald Trump or else.

Let me set one thing straight before we get into the meat of the matter: I do not worship Donald Trump. I am able to recognize his shortcomings and truth be told, I struggled with voting for him in 2016. I almost chose to abstain from voting altogether. My interaction with the_crossroad_saints was completely focused on his misrepresentation of the facts.

When did it become verboten to express an opinion, especially when that opinion is based upon documented evidence? Much like the frog simmering in a pot of water until it’s too late, I think our Constitutional freedom of speech has been slipping away from us at a barely discernible rate. Because of “feelings,” and the inability to discuss differing views in a civilized fashion, more and more restrictions are being placed on public discourse. Mr Polite in Public’s comment brings into question my “lovely little persona,” makes it sound as though I was forceful and bitter in our Instagram exchange, and even insinuates I was threatening with his use of the words “or else.” Nothing could be further from the truth. He was motivated to come here, to my home on the web, because he had no rational response to the presentation of facts. So here we are.

Social media makes it possible for participants to express their views via the written word, photographs, and video, and to do so quickly. Until recently, Facebook seemed to be the place for words, while Instagram was the place for aesthetics: foodie photos, makers’ masterpieces, selfies, and the like.

It happened gradually, but at some point Instagram began shifting from the platform of creative expression toward something increasingly similar to Facebook. Where it was once possible to escape the Facebook wars between the left and right by visiting Instagram, now political commentary, memes, activist rants, videos, etc. populate the Gram. Scrolling through all that to find the good stuff takes more and more time. Sometimes the posts are good–like a Instagram video of the president handing a White House pen to a little kid he noticed standing nearby. It’s a sweet moment. A human moment. A moment that doesn’t get reported on the regular news, because ORANGE MAN BAD.

I watched the video and thought, “How cool is that? Wonder if that kid will use that pen to do his homework? And tell all the other kids, ‘Hey! Look what the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES gave ME?”

And then I made the mistake of reading the comments. The majority of the comments are Trump supporters: people who appreciate the good that this flawed human being has managed to accomplish in spite of his flaws and in spite of his opponents attempting to block his every move, because their hatred of him is greater than their commitment to America.

And then there are comments from people like the_crossroad_saints, who made unfounded accusations regarding the roles played by the Trump “children.” I responded to his comment thusly, to point out presidents have surrounded themselves with family members since forever. Note the link to the not conservative HuffPo article:

You must be too young to remember Jimmy Carter and all his hillbilly relatives–his mama, Miss Lillian, and his brother, Billy, who came out with Billy Beer. And wasn’t it Obama’s mother-in-law who lived at the White House with them? If we go back further, Lyndon B. Johnson’s brother worked as an administrative aide in the White House, and before that John F. Kennedy appointed his younger brother, a completely unqualified Robert F. Kennedy as the U.S. Attorney General. More recently, Bill Clinton appointed Hillary to head up the White House task force on healthcare. Here’s an article discussing the issue throughout US history: Nepotism in the White House: It’s All Relative.

So the_crossroad_saints responded:

I don’t remember any of the Carter family being on the payroll do you? .And no, a president Kennedy did not bring in other family members into his presidential administration. Are you too simple to understand the difference?

As did I:

Get your facts straight. The Trump children volunteer. They are not on the payroll. President Kennedy made his BROTHER the US Attorney General before he was assassinated in Dallas. Read the article I linked (which is from HuffPo, so not a conservative source by any stretch of the imagination). Liberals like you just can’t handle facts, so you ignore them.

So did the_crossroad_saints read the HuffPo article? I don’t know. But here’s what he said next:

Yes, trumps trust fund baby grifter spawn are most certainly on the payroll. You don’t care much for objective reality do you.

I have to admit, I did get a little snarky, but I’m not sure it would qualify for a “forceful and bitter” attack:

Trump Derangement Syndrome is strong in you. So sad.

You probably didn’t even read the HuffPo article to get a more balanced view of presidential family involvements in administrations. It’s easier to ignore facts like the Kennedys, the Johnsons, and the Clintons, who proudly proclaimed they were a “2 for the price of 1” when Bill and Hillary Clinton won.

I have to admit, his next comment was pretty clever:

There are variant strains are there not, See your healthcare professional.

These grifters of Don’s have absolutely no experience in anything other than deadbeat trust fund baby grifting, and you know it.

My last comment was this:

Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton. You ignore the truth because you can’t handle it.

And this is where our Instagram exchange ended. When I woke up at 6:00 am this morning, I discovered the comment left on my blog at 3:04 am Mr Polite in Public’s time, wherever it is that he lives.

I’m just dumbfounded by the conscious rejection of what is historical fact when it doesn’t fit the narrative. John F. Kennedy did make his brother the United States Attorney General in 1961. It was this appointment that became the basis for the The Federal Anti-Nepotism Rule (sometimes called the “Bobby Kennedy Law.”) More recently legal opinion has determined the law applies to federal agencies and not the White House:

Finally, we believe that this result—that the President may appoint relatives to his immediate staff of advisors in the White House Office—makes sense when considered in light of other applicable legal principles. Congress has not blocked, and most likely could not block, the President from seeking advice from family members in their personal capacities.
———-
A President wanting a relative’s advice on governmental matters therefore has a choice: to seek that advice on an unofficial, ad hoc basis without conferring the status and imposing the responsibilities that accompany formal White House positions; or to appoint his relative to the White House under title 3 and subject him to substantial restrictions against conflicts of interest.
———–
In choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office. Any appointment to that staff, however, carries with it a set of legal restrictions, by which Congress has regulated and fenced in the conduct of federal officials.

There are some interesting articles online regarding the role played by the children of a variety of presidents over the course of multiple administrations. Rather than remain ignorant of history (like my wee morning hour visitor), check these out and then form an educated opinion about the roles played by the hardworking Trump children and other presidential kids.

Behind the Law That May Keep Donald Trump’s Children from White House Jobs

Donald Trump’s Children Wouldn’t Be the First Presidential Kids to Work in the White House

It seems that in addition to concerns about possible conflicts of interest, people like our friend, Mr Polite in Public, get their shorts in knots because they think the Trump children are getting rich off the American taxpayer. Here are a couple of articles that disclose who gets paid what at the White House. The first article has to do with White House salaries and the second is a comparison between what Michelle Obama’s 24 staff members and Melania Trump’s 9 were paid. It seems to me with the president, Ivanka, and Jared working for free, and Melania having one staff member for every 2.7 staff members employed by Michelle, the Trumps are a bargain.

White House Salaries: Who Makes What?

Michelle Obama’s Staff

(Michelle Obama’s staff was paid $1.5 million in 2010. Melania Trump’s staff was paid $486,700 in 2017.)

Sister, Don’t Preach

A couple of decades ago Madonna released a song called Papa, Don’t Preach. The lyrics talked about a young girl “in trouble” who decided to stay with her boyfriend and keep her baby. She kept asking her father to not preach at her, reassuring him that they would be okay, even though they had to sacrifice their youth to become a family.

So in scrolling through Instagram pics earlier, I saw a post promoting a clothing store in Austin, Texas. Liberal “Keep Austin Weird” Texas. That geographic region of the Lone Star State, where Democrats congregate and castigate the rest of us for not sharing our “wealth,” for not caring enough about our fellow man.

The items of clothing I saw were a frumpy bit of plain sewing. A quick click to their website, and I was treated to a poetic explanation of their “process” from design, to production, to sale. There was some mumbo jumbo about multiple fit sessions to ensure the proper fit. I’m looking at these photos of a simple crop top and a shirt dress that have virtually no shape — how poorly must the designer be that requires multiple fit sessions to make sure a shapeless dress fits?

 

Anyone care to venture a guess on how many greenbacks each of these items will set you back? Hmmmm?

You can be the proud owner of a boxy top that resembles a short hospital scrub shirt, or the gym top my sister wore with culottes at the church school she attended in junior high for the very (un)reasonable sum of $150.

If you are more interested in the 100% cotton buffalo plaid shirt dress that looks like something my grandmother wore to clean house in, it will only set you back $268.

The Bible teaches us to be good stewards of that we’ve been blessed with and that which we earn through our labors. Part of our motivation for doing so should be our increased ability to help others with what we do not need for ourselves. If I ever plunk down $268 on a

sleeveless shirtdress that’s meant to be your summer staple. easy to throw on and dress up or down with slides or strappy clogs

please take me out to the woodshed and give me a good whipping for being so self-indulgent and wasteful.

As for those of you who don’t see anything wrong with this kind of wasteful spending, don’t preach to me about my fair share and what I owe my fellow humankind. Is it any wonder that government assistance programs are so woefully inefficient when people think it’s okay to spend almost $300 on a potato sack dress?

A Busy Day

It’s the early hours of the morning and I should be in bed. I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time going to bed lately. It’s as if my mind gets revved up right about the time I should be going to sleep. Well, tonight it’s going to have to get revved down because in a few hours my day is going to get cranking and not stop for quite a few hours.

I promised a shutter client that I would come put some temporary shades in her windows to provide some privacy until her shutters come in. After that, I’ve got to go meet with a client who ordered blinds from me a year or so ago. We didn’t do anything on his french doors, and he’d like to look at cellular shade options.

When I finish that, I’ve got to meet with someone at 1:00 pm to conduct an interview for an article I’m writing for Image magazine. And then I’ve got to book it home to write the article, because the deadline for submission is May 15!

Saturday, I’m hoping to make it up to Alvin to put flowers on my mama’s grave, since we’ll be meeting my in-laws for Mothers Day lunch on Sunday. My sister and I are going to decorate Mama’s grave for the Fourth of July next month. Mama wouldn’t be happy with the current political state of the nation, but one thing’s for sure: she was always a patriotic American.

What I Hope for in November?

A question was posed on Facebook earlier — “what do you hope for in November?” I didn’t know the person asking the question personally to know what his endgame was, but it got me to thinking about how this day has gone since Cruz and Kasich both suspended their campaigns.

I’ve seen terrible debates, vitriolic anger even. People able to look past the litany of his questionable behaviors (or sins for those of us who are more faith minded) are passionately entreating others to vote for Trump so Hillary won’t win. Guilt is used as a weapon — if those who take moral issue with Trump don’t vote, it will be their fault that Hillary wins.

It’s this high-pressured, anger driven demand for my vote that made me really examine the fact that it’s my vote to do with as I will. To use on Election Day, or to “throw away” as the Trump supporters would claim. Somehow in the examination of my vote, I started to think about what I would do in other high-pressured “my way or the highway” situations. Situations like this one:

In the last days, we will be forced to choose. Choose the way of man (the antichrist), or fidelity to Christ. Fidelity to Christ will not be a popular choice for those who don’t truly forsake all others, including themselves. Fidelity to Christ will mean suffering, persecution, even death. Most likely death. DEATH. And yet, I have people yelling that I must choose Trump. If I don’t, terrible things are going to happen. My taxes may go up (again). My guns may be taken away. I may not be able to speak freely and they may even tell me I can’t go to church. The truth is, these things may still happen, even with Trump. His claim to Christianity is thin and as the man who wrote The Art of the Deal, I’m pretty sure Trump says whatever Trump thinks he needs to say at that moment to gain his objective, which is the presidency.

Ultimately, whatever may happen to me under a Trump or Hillary presidency, it can’t be as bad or worse as the consequences for compromising my faith.

Unless I get some clear sense of peace about voting for Trump, I won’t be able to do so. A man who says he sees no need to ask forgiveness from Christ is full of pride which, if you’ll remember, is the same sin that led to Lucifer’s fall from the angels. Of course, I did read the article below earlier, which gives a more positive, although painful spin on what a Trump presidency might do for America. If my vote will help bring this about, hopefully the Lord will give me peace about voting for Trump. Of course, I don’t think this is what the Trump supporters have in mind when they say he’s going to “make American great again.”

7 Reasons Why a Trump Administration Might be a Good Thing

Our Best Hope

So you get two posts today! Or maybe more — there’s still daylight left before we leave the fourth behind.

This election mess has people crosseyed in their passion regarding #nevertrump and #neverhillary. It startles me to see family members and close friends so angry with each other over personal conviction regarding the sacredness of one’s vote. I’m trying very hard to steer clear of conversations that will provoke debate. Debate? That’s the wrong word. Barroom brawling is probably a more precise description of what threatens to break out as a result of opinion. Thank heavens for the internet, which puts a bit of distance between the opponents.

Chatting with a family member online, we agreed that whatever happens in November, ultimately our trust has to be in the Lord. No matter what happens in DC, God is who will see us through the times ahead. She gave me permission to share the following, which I think is so true:

Elections are important and they have consequences for supporters and dissenters alike, but our best hope of righting the ship is in how we live.

Our best hope of righting the ship is in how we live…

So we seek to truly live according to His word and in the process the ship begins to turn…

RIP, Grand Old Party…

As much as I miss my mama, I can’t help but think that God in His mercy took her home last August before the political mess became so… messy.

My mother was a passionate conservative, a proud Republican. She watched the news with her father when she was a teenager, as well as baseball and Gorgeous George, the wrestler. She didn’t carry her interest in baseball or wrestling into adulthood, but she always watched the news, and before her health declined, she was very active in the Republican political scene in her community.

As I’ve gone through the things at her house, I’ve discovered dozens of elephants, many adored in red, white and blue enamel. Lapel pins, earrings, buttons, stickers – you name it,  I’ve found it. She loved Ronald Reagan and the Bushes. We will not get into debates about whether they were good or not — she also believed in Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment:

Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

I know that she would be heartbroken by the condition of our nation, the travesty that our government has become – both sides guilty without question. I ran across the following obituary, which I think explains it pretty well:

The Republican Party, 162, has died