I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.

Today was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Today pro-life groups held their March for Life in DC, and the Vice President addressed the rally.

Today the White House issued a statement recognizing Holocaust Remembrance Day which notably never mentioned Jews.

Today trump signed an executive order halting the admission of refugees from Syria, putting a 120 day moratorium on refugee admission from numerous other Muslim majority countries (but not the home countries of the 9/11 attackers), and said in an interview that Christian refugees will be given priority.

Republicans want to build a wall on our border, make health care unaffordable for millions of real live people while agonizing of the rights of the unborn, and put America first, despite our being the richest, strongest country in the world. And they want us to believe they’re doing it in the name of restoring America to a Christian nation.

Not a racist bone in his body

Why does trump believe there was massive voter fraud? Besides the obvious reason, which is that fewer people wanted him to be president than his opponent, he apparently also got some inside information from a friend, golfer Bernhard Langer. In his telling of it to Congressional leader, Langer told his good friend trump that he had tried to go vote fo trump in his home of Florida, but had been turned away, while all these people who looked like they shouldn’t have been allowed to vote, because they looked like Latin Americans, were allowed to cast provisional ballots.

Bernhard Langer should not have been allowed to vote, of course, because he is not an US citizen; he is a German citizen with permanent residence status in the US.

But a story from a friend about some brown people being allowed to vote is enough to push trump into believing that there was massive voter fraud. No, not a racist at all. I’m sure that the story would have been exactly the same had those alleged illegal voters been white, and trump would have been just as convinced.

Given trump’s relationship with the truth, I will withhold judgment on whether Langer is racist, and indeed on whether Langer is friends with trump, has ever talked to trump, tried to vote, and maybe whether he lives in Florida.

Maybe Langer was just trying to get a discount on initiation fees at Mar-a-lago; the initiation fee to join has doubled since the election. Hey, gotta cash in while you can; can’t let a business opportunity go to waste. If you wait until you’re an ex-president, it might be too late. You might have been impeached!

Why vote yes?

Is there something I’m missing? Is there any reason for a Democratic Senator to vote to confirm any of Trump’s cabinet nominees? Sure, you can’t stop them, and yes, it’s not normal,  but get used to it, nothing is normal. 

Why would 14 Democrats vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as CIA head, when Pompeo supports torture and is an Islamophobe? The least you can do is stand up for your values. Chuck Schumer was in no danger of losing his seat to a Republican because he voted against Trump’s nominees. 

For some reason, everybody but Kristin Gillibrand has decided that they can’t fight every nominee and they need to save their fights for the ones that matter. Do they really think they will get some “principled” Republican to break ranks and join with them to vote down a nominee? What planet have they been living on for the last 8 years? Susan Collins will tut-tut about her concerns, and maybe a few others will express a few misgivings, but none of them will cast a vote that would actually change anything. As long as their vote is necessary for confirmation, Mitch McConnell will have it. 

Washington National Cathedral 

The US does not have a state religion, even though many want to claim that it is a Christian nation. I tend to believe that a state religion is just as harmful to the religion as it is to the state, which is why I don’t even like having the US flag in the sanctuary of churches, as is common practice. That’s a battle I’ve chosen not to fight.

I joined the Episcopal Church 18 years ago after a long period of not attending church at all. I found the willingness to question, the openness to doubt, and the focus on faith as a journey a good fit. I wanted a church that took seriously a social justice mission more than just converting souls. 

But now I’m doubting the capacity of the Episcopal church to stand up to the challenges ahead. Are we a church that values peace more than justice? 

Washington National Cathedral has always been perhaps a little too close to the national part of its name. It has held state funerals and prayer services, and inaugural events. It has agreed to hold an inaugural prayer service for Trump, a man whose campaign ran counter to so many values Episcopalaleans deem important. As a National Cathedral, this would be an obligation. As an Episcopal church, not to do so would be an repudiation of all that Trump has promised to do, and a promise to stand with the vulnerable. Since there is no state religion, I think the choice is clear: Washington National should rebuke Trump, rather than legitimize him with the trappings of power.

I believe we should pray for Trump regularly, that he will, contrary to his campaign, serve as President to protect the vulnerable rather than enact racist, sexist, xenophobic policies and policies that shred the social safety net. I don’t think we should give him the pomp and circumstance he desires unless he shows such actions.

Peace without justice is a false peace. Do not seek it.

Not really satire

If you live in a relatively affluent area (though they would deny that they were affluent, because, look over there, that’s the affluent area), you’d recognize this woman as being all too real.

Meryl Streep and Donald Trump

Donald Trump and his supporters are angry this morning over remarks Meryl Streep made at the Golden Globes last night. Watch the speech, it’s powerful. But the part that got under Trump’s tissue thin skin was where she took him to task, though never by name, for mocking a disabled reporter. 

Certainly one of the many hurtful things he did and said on the campaign trail, Trump and his surrogates still try to spin that away. This is a grown man, making fun of the disability of a reporter he didn’t like, in front of cameras and a crowd of thousands, for laughs. It would be bad enough if he were just the reality TV star we could turn away from, but he did it as the candidate for the highest office in the land, and he won.

That is why so many of us struggle to accept the results of the election. It’s not just that such a disgusting human being will serve as president, but that so many Americans, so many people we know, saw incidents like that, shrugged their shoulders, and said, no big deal. 

I still don’t know how to deal with that. 

You don’t like what Meryl Streep had to say, turn off your TV, don’t watch her movies. What am I supposed to do about how the president treats people he doesn’t like, with the power of the office behind him? What am I supposed to do about the people who shrug their shoulders and say, no big deal, as long as they aren’t the target?

Ideas vs Votes

Republicans may win votes, but their ideas are deeply unpopular. That’s why they rely on white resentment and culture war politics and lies to win.

The latest example is in Tennessee, where a moderate Republican governor can’t get through the right wing noise machine to pass a modified Medicaid extension. Call it Insure Tennessee instead of Obamacare, tweak it a little, and 85% of the state favor it. But the Koch brothers roll in and plaster pictures of Obama next to it, and suddenly government run health insurance is terrible again, though keep your hands off my Medicare.

Trump and the Republicans told everybody that they were going to get rid of Obamacare, but the people who voted for them despite being dependent on it didn’t believe them. Too bad that the health insurance they want would never be proposed by people they vote for, and they hate the people who would propose it. It’s socialized medicine, don’t you know, and that’s unAmerican. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to, so I deserve health care, but those other people, I don’t think the government should be taking care of them, they shouldn’t be so entitled.