In spite of multiple court rulings demanding a halt to Trump’s Executive Order banning already-vetted muslim refugees from entering our country, the order is still in place and is still being enforced around the country, albeit unevenly. The Trump Administration, along with the Department of Homeland Security, has chosen to ignore the courts.
This provides an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the Constitution and the way its authors set up a balance of power between the three branches of our government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
A couple days ago, conservative students at the University of California at Berkeley invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. Not-so-conservative students launched a large and noisy protest, calling for the University to cancel his appearance. A few anarchists later joined the protest to add some violence to the mix. The University cancelled Yiannopoulos’ visit. President Trump threatened to withdraw federal funding from Berkeley.
Let’s get one thing straight to begin with: Milo Yiannopoulos is a nasty piece of work. He is an editor at Breitbart News, a major outlet for the so-called alt-right (the White Supremacist movement). He has made a name for himself by viciously attacking women, trans-gender people, African Americans, and pretty much anyone else who isn’t lily-white like him.
Having said that, there are a few points to sort out here:
Caveat: I am an evangelical Christian. This essay is addressed mainly to my fellow evangelical Christians, especially those struggling to find ways to love and accept people whose gender identities sit outside the norm they are used to (e.g., homosexual, bisexual, transsexual). For this reason, I am using language that evangelical Christians will relate to.
The Story of Max
Max walked into the women’s shower room at the city’s recreation center. When he started taking his clothes off, the several women there quickly dressed and fled.
A few minutes later, just as he was stepping into the shower, two male police officers entered and asked him to get dressed and come with them. When he asked them why, they grabbed him, handcuffed him, and took him out to a squad car stark naked. They booked him for indecent exposure and resisting arrest.
You don’t hear the term “the American Dream” much anymore. I used to hear it a lot. I looked it up on Wikipedia the other day, and found this:
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family a
nd children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.
The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
My eye was initially caught by the reflection of the trees on the surface of the near-still water along the opposite shore. But when I looked through the view finder to compose the scene, it was the yellow leaves that drew my attention. Autumn had arrived.
Early Autumn on Lake Padden, Bellingham, WA
Memento mori. “Remember your death.” Or, more poetically, “Remember that you are mortal.” In Plato’s Phaedo we hear Socrates say that the proper practice of philosophy is “about nothing else but dying and being dead.” In other words, the inescapable fact of our own mortality casts its shadow over every day of our life.
This sounds awfully glum. But consider this: In his book The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner tells of a conversation with a Tibetan Buddhist monk who declared that the secret to happiness is to think about death several times a day. We cannot fully embrace the here and now until we have fully embraced our own mortality.
The wind moves quietly among
soft-lobed leaves of chestnut oaks,
inviting them to join the dance
held at this time each ev’ning.