Friday, May 24, 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Facing Facts

Where was the howling media when Maxine Waters proved her ignorance by grilling bank executives about student loans? She obviously was completely oblivious to the fact that the government had assumed control of the loans ten years ago, under President Obama. Despite the fact that Waters currently chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services and had made a complete fool of herself, the media couldn't move on fast enough from that news.

But Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, thought he heard "Oreo" instead of "REO" and he's the moron? I don't think so.

The blatantly left-wing mainstream media is "often wrong, but never in doubt." Talking points and favored narratives will be battered to death, despite the facts--which, as John Adams noted, are stubborn things. Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pronounced Carson "a disturbingly unqualified choice" to lead HUD, the fact is that Ben Carson grew up in poor and humble circumstances--a reality that earns him a rare qualification. Having spent part of his childhood in multi-family dwellings, Carson can understand the challenges that low-income residents face with an insider's perspective. He has walked the talk, an even more unusual qualification in Washington D.C.

Ben Carson has also surmounted his obstacles in life and achieved great success through his own intelligence and commitment to hard work. That fact may be the hardest of all for leftists to face.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Handling the Seasons

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
~ Fleetwood Mac

My mother celebrated her 68th Mother's Day today. She wasn't aware of it, but that doesn't change the fact.

How fortunate am I, a Medicare-eligible senior citizen, to have my mother still. She is now frail, no longer mobile or cognizant of current reality. But somehow, she is there. My siblings and I all see occasional flashes of her feisty personality and unique humor, and those moments remind us that Mom remains Mom--even at nearly one hundred years of age.

There are many life lessons to be learned in this final phase of our lives as her children. These are lessons of patience, of sacrifice, of continuously adjusting to the tiring length and challenging contours of a very long goodbye. There are lessons, too, of gratitude, of love, and of realization that a long life leads down a hard and demanding road that summons us to be stronger than we had imagined we were or ever could be. We find that we can do it, for our mother's sake. Only she, and God, know how many times she had to be strong for each one of us.

Her parents died in quick succession in their mid-seventies, when my mother was in her forties and raising a young family. I'm sure her grief was much harder for her to bear than we ever guessed, but she never wavered. She carried on and cared for us. My mother handled the seasons of her life with quiet, prayerful, steely purpose. She forged a road map through hardship for all of her children to follow.

Although the circumstances are very different for my siblings and I, it's our turn to do the same for her. We need to see her through her final season, knowing this is simply what Mom would do.

And for one more year, I get to whisper a "Happy Mother's Day" prayer across the miles to my Mom. Gratitude. It may be the very best lesson of all.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Even Closer

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
 ~ John Donne

Monday at work I learned that Lori Gilbert Kaye, the woman who was killed last Saturday at Chabad of Poway, was the wife of a physician at my organization. She had a close friend who is also one of our physicians, and one of the physicians I support at the office is in turn close friends with that grief-stricken doctor.

Thus the horrific ripple effects of this hateful violence have affected not only my home community, but my professional life as well. It’s a sad fact that there is no place to hide from the evil hatred that can corrode the human spirit. We can, thankfully, draw comfort from supporting one another.

In Monday's email at work, there was a company message to all employees that consisted of the following:

Aloaim iberch at akhila aihadit shlano
G-d bless our Jewish Community

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Too Close for Comfort

Chabad of Poway, CA

The synagogue shooting in Poway, California, was within fifteen minutes of my front door. It's about the only story being covered on San Diego's local news this weekend.

No matter how many times this terrible scenario of violence repeats itself, the shock and horror are always new and real. No one wants to believe this evil can happen in their own community--but it can, and it does.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Worshipping Spin

Catholic World News
Nobody can call nonsense on the media's avoidance of mentioning Christians in the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka's Catholic churches like Mark Steyn can. His "Taqiyya for Easter" piece is suitable for framing.

"Easter worshippers," really? That's quite a neutral spin, latched onto and tweeted by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I don't know any "Easter worshippers." Who worships a day of the year? I do know that scores of Catholic Christians died in those churches, including many children who were about to receive their first communion.

Communion. That would be the Holy Eucharist, one of the Seven Sacraments, which Catholics believe is the actual body of Jesus Christ. Now that would be kind of hard for an "Easter worshipper" to swallow, don't you think?

When a mosque is attacked--which, to be clear, is a terrible crime--nobody describes the dead victims as "Ramadan worshippers." You could get quite intoxicated playing a drinking game in which you must take a sip every time the words "Islamic," "Islam," or "Muslim" are repeated in news reports. The Islamic angle is hammered for days, on air and in print. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will very quickly specify "Muslims" in their tweets when a mosque is attacked. But Catholic victims? Christians? Either term is unmentionable. Listening to the media coverage of Sri Lanka, one would think the victims all had the bad luck to simply wander into those particular buildings on Easter Sunday morning to, um, you know, kind of worship.

Steyn's take on the "ten paragraphs of general throat-clearing" by the media is a must-read for anyone who is as disgusted as I am with their tortured attempts to completely ignore the fact that Catholic people, Christians, were the direct targets of this atrocity executed by Islamic terrorists.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Miracles Among the Ashes

Perhaps someday I will get to see the rose windows of Notre Dame, after all. Remarkably, they are among many priceless works of art and treasured artifacts safe after yesterday's inferno in Notre Dame cathedral.

The storied crown of thorns was rescued. The life-size marble statue of Mary and the infant Jesus stands unscathed. The golden cross above the high altar, the centuries-old grand organ, and the tunic of St. Louis all remain. Think about that--a piece of cloth almost 800 years old survived the conflagration.

Paris's mayor reported that firefighters and their chaplain formed "a human chain" to rescue as many treasures of art and history as they possibly could, risking their lives in the process. They also saved the structure itself, which was within minutes of collapse, The courageous firefighters of Paris are among the many miracles to be found among the ashes of Notre Dame. Merci beaucoup.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Au Revoir, Notre Dame de Paris

A good friend was in Paris last month and spent her birthday at Notre Dame. I'm so glad she got there when she did. I have always wanted to see the stunning rose windows, but photos will have to suffice now that the beautiful ancient cathedral belongs to history.

C'est une trag├ędie pour le monde entier.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Myth of Racial Discord

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

When watching the network and cable news shows (which are largely unwatchable), do you ever get the feeling that media elites are living in an alternate universe? Their "reporting" on President Trump, "white nationalism," and "racism" is bizarre and completely foreign to my personal experience.

Take "racism"--please. I grew up in a white-bread suburban East coast neighborhood and never interacted with a black person until I went away to college. We did fine, my black dorm-mates and I; in fact, they used to borrow my Smokey Robinson albums. When I moved to the West coast nearly 40 years ago, my neighborhoods were homogenized microcosms of Asian, Hispanic, and African-American cultures. I've never had an issue with any of my neighbors.

In fact, I've had the same next-door neighbors for over 30 years now. To the right of my house lives an African-American couple who I describe as the best neighbors I've ever had. Our kids played together while growing up. They watch my house while I"m away, bring me gifts from their vacations, and invite me to many of their family events. We are completely comfortable in each other's company. They vote Democrat; I vote Republican. So we tread lightly, if at all, on political topics. That is no matter to us, as there are so many other interesting and fun subjects to discuss.

To the left of my house is my Vietnamese neighbor, also for more than 30 years. We have been through so much together as neighbors and friends, and nowadays we support each other as widows forging our own paths in the world. She routinely cooks delicious Asian food for me and my family. When I'm invited to her feast-like Chinese New Year dinners, I bring along a baked dessert. Like most Vietnamese people I know, she is a conservative. Asians understand the dangers of socialism as Americans simply can't--for they have survived its crushing oppression.

My hair stylist is also Vietnamese. I've gone to her for many years, and I look forward to our chats while she works. She too is a widow; her police officer husband died in his 40s. She is also a diehard conservative Trump supporter, so we can talk politics freely.

Two doors down from my home is a delightful young Filipino couple with two beautiful little daughters. He takes my trash bins off the street while I'm at work, does small maintenance jobs for me, and keeps an eye on the property when I'm away. Needless to say, all of these neighbors are considered good friends and are on my Christmas shopping list.

My oldest chronological friend (since age ten) is Jewish. We grew up next door to each other and remain close friends, even though living on opposite coasts. We spent an hour on the phone one night this week, just catching up on life and family news. Today I'll have lunch with another Jewish friend of over 20 years. She has been there for me at my darkest times and is very dear to me.

At work, my best office buddy is a lovely woman whose parents were both legal immigrants from Mexico. She is a Trump enthusiast, and her political views are more conservative than my own (media machine, take note: Hispanic conservatives abound!). We talk about our grandchildren, bring each other little gifts, and support each other through the workday. She helps me with my Spanish, which I'm working to improve since my grandson is in a bilingual immersion program at school. On the subject of family, I have a Pacific Islander daughter-in-law who is part Chinese; I love her like I do my own daughter.

In relationships, I have lived by one rule that has served me well: If someone is good to me and mine, they are fine. Race, creed, color, nationality, ideology do not matter to me if one is kind and respectful, which I always try to be to other people. So it's impossible for me to accept the idea that, because I support President Trump's policies, I'm a "racist," a "white nationalist," or "deplorable." None of the friends described above would categorize me as such. And, quite frankly, I'm sick of the false accusations.

What is truly "deplorable" is that differences in world views are no longer tolerated on the left. That way lies totalitarianism. The drive to demonize all conservatives as "racist" is not only an evil undertaking. It is a lie, as the diversity among the friends of my life proves. The myth of racial discord is promulgated by the leftist media to divide Americans in order to advance their progressive agenda.

But I believe there are too many of us who, like me, know--and live--the truth. Regardless of our backgrounds, beliefs, or origins, we are all Americans--and we stand together.