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Monday, November 5, 2018

In the Tradition of A Fireside Chat

Tonight you will forgive me while I play President.  If your work experience is anything like mine, you know very well that often one must do a job long before getting it.

Here is what I take to be the true spirit of fireside chats.  Mother used to say that her father disciplined her in a way that she could never forget.  He did so by sitting her on his knee and plainly, calmly talking to her about the the basic difficulties raised by her offense.  He would discuss what she had done and its implications in terms of practical affects as well as in-principal considerations (like, what if all us did this?).  In other words, her father made it clear that what she had done had implication well beyond herself. It was his duty as father not to primarily swoop in as a grand inquisitor hell bent on enforcement, but rather to be the great communicator.  (By the way, his profession was that of a carpenter--a work far more complicated and challenging than having at the ready crowbar and hammer.)

Think about this for a moment, what presidents have died and people say “I can see in my mind's eye exactly where I was at the time on hearing the news.  For my mother as a young woman that was Franklin Roosevelt.  For me and many others, it was when JFK was assassinated. One was a natural death and the other a murder.  It then is not so much the cause of death so much as the loss death represents to us.  Consider why my mother stored away images of her father in his own “fireside chats". I think it has profound effects upon us when someone we trust deeply cares and THOUGHTFULLY shares with us their honest views of the matter (no pontification, off-the-rail anger, or bombast...please). It is my view that God blesses us with a "second sense" that says “focus and remember this for someone who truly loves you is concerned."  (I can see today though it happened many years ago when one of my teenage sons got into my truck and looked over towards me and saw in the console a dark bottle containing root beer but looking for all the world like a beer bottle. I swear to God I now know the emotive force behind the Greek mask of tragedy--dread that absolutely no good can come from this.)

As to abortion my view is based upon the assumption that extreme cases do exist, but usually it is unfair to make everyone comply with draconian measures designed for the most extreme occurrence.  In terms of abortion, it is surely true that a small fraction of  women get pregnant from glaringly irresponsible sex and choose to have an abortion because a pregnancy would be an inconvenience and interfere with their next sexual fling.   My view as your president is to expect the vast majority of Americans to consider abortion a decision indicating thoughtful and prayerful consideration and when felt appropriate a decision shared with other family members, trusted counselors, friends, the medical professionals, etc.  As Lincoln once advised:  let us seek malice towards none and charity for all.  Surely in my view, this decision should not be decided by Judge Judy, or flip of the coin, or the insinuations of patronizing professionals toting satchels stuffed with required government forms to be notorized and filed in triplicate.  This seems flagrantly and even weirdly inappropriate to me.

Now as to homosexuality, I am  convinced that there is much regarding sexual behavior that we simply do not know.  So out of fear that I might be hurting my brothers and sisters in profound ways as yet to be identified/explored by the creative and disciplined  studies and research of the arts and sciences, I choose to find no reason whatever to curtail sexual behavior in any way PROVIDED IT IS NOT HURTFUL/ANTISOCIAL (CRIMINAL) behavior .

Biblical objections are of course severe.  My only response is that there are many parts of the Bible that we find in some sense harmful if applied today.  For example, it is very clear that Paul tells women to not speak at all in church.  I wonder how many of us (including husbands and fathers) would find this plainly hurtful to the well-being of our family members.

We must remember that Jesus would say phrases on the order of "You have seen it written....but I say unto  you....... "  In other words, compassion and humility must be intelligently applied.    Every compassionate manager knows this.

One must finally come to the difficult conclusion that justice is hollow and mean if not  spiced with grace. And this very fact of discernment in tandem with the divine spark within and a loving Creator above beckons us not only to celebrate life each day as we find it; but to move on with hope, faith, and love.  Yes Virginia, it is REALLY true that God is real and looks upon us as a father gazing down upon his precious daughter resting with absolute trust upon his lap.

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