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Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Remain, Fessler: Entry 11: The little man

I Remain, Fessler: Entry 11: The little man: April 8, 2014 Dear Friends Re:   Entry 11 He always pictured thoughts and feelings as a little man.   A little man, alone but not...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Entry 29 I Will Deliver That Pizza

May 16, 2015

Dear Friends

Re:  Entry 29

I wanted to write this a month ago, when it was a national topic of interest, and although it has somewhat waned in the popular press, it will come back with a vengeance if what I think will happen in the June does happen.  Regardless of that, I have been attempting to come to grips with how all of this fits in with what I know:  God works all things together for good, for those who love Him.  He can than that be possible in the face of what most believers and churches consider to be an existential issue?  I hope the following lays out my arguments as to why it is not, nor is it the most pressing issue for Christians.  That remains the Great Commission.

I have listened in on this gay marriage vs. Christianity debate (if there is or has to be such a debate), mostly filtered through two channels:  popular culture and the church.  I can’t help but to come to the conclusion that most of what I hear is warped in the case of culture and misguided in the case of the church.  Note that when I write “church” I am using the lowercase, as I am intending to imply the body of individual Christians and not a specific congregation.

For some reason I seem to watch reruns of Law and Order even though I never recall watching the original series.  And I’ve noticed, in watching these reruns, that “Christians”, “The Faithful” or “Believers”, as they from time to time appear in the series, often have a few relatively salient traits.  First, their dress is out of fashion.  They wear older clothes, usually very modest, but with all the buttons buttoned up to the collar.  White socks with highwaters (do they still call them that?).  Clean cut, out-of-place-looking.  They tend to speak without contractions and use words like “infidel” (a word I never recall hearing in a sermon), or phrases like “Thus saith the Lord…” even when making minor pronouncements like announcing dinner.  They walk around with the Bible, but often only quote the Old Testament and then heavy with the vengeance and the wrath.  They often look as mesmerized (or mesmerizable) zombies and cultists.  Southern or Midwestern more often than otherwise, hickish and backward.  All in all, it is very apparent.  You wonder if any of the writers ever knew a real Christian, or if this caricature is all they know.  What is more to this point is the current news media seeks out only these types, they stumble into some pizza parlor somewhere in the Midwest and trip up some unsuspecting young girl on what was really an irrelevant question—would you deliver a pizza to a gay wedding?—and then use the answer as proof positive of widespread bigotry.  In thus doing so, and having the broadcast platform for its propagation, they “define” the Christian as the caricature they have already created.

And what of the church (or, better said, of the people in the church)?  Well, if I hear one more “Adam and Steve” reference, I will want to scream.  It sounds so self-righteous, plays right into that caricature above, and completely trivializes the hurt and burden of homosexuals.  But it continues, if you ask most people the greatest problem facing the church, inevitably, gay marriage will come up as a topic.  The solution? Elect other people to office, as if changing Nero would have saved Peter. Or shun known gays.  Or my personal favorite:  “Take A Stand”.  This latter solution often takes the form of denouncing sin in some public forum, a rally, a service, or a Facebook post.  Where, I ask, are all those posts on adultery? Or on selfishness? Or on my personal struggle (among others, surely): Faithlessness?  I would be shocked to log into Facebook and find someone condemning me for having such weak faith as I do, exorcising me from the church, condemning me as an outcast.  Surely this sin with which I struggle does not rise to that level of punishment?  I fear it does.  I may like to think I am a lesser sinner, and take comfort in the fact that my sin isn’t as pronounced, or highlighted, or repugnant to some.  In the end that is cold comfort.  Jesus had to die for my sins as well as those I like to think of as worse off than me (remember the Pharisee “…thank you Lord, that I’m not like that wretched sinner over there…” is that how I feel is my justification as I write this?).  Maybe this is how the Pharisees got to be Pharisees, by losing track of the need of the church to be a hospital and not a courtroom, by foregoing every opportunity to show compassion and mercy and love and confusing that with fulfillment of our mission to spread the gospel.

Some months back I wrote, as a personal exercise, seven “pillars” of work behavior.  Perhaps someday I will share them in a post.  I found no new wisdom in writing these pillars, nothing really being new, as Solomon said, under the sun.  However, two of my favorite (Numbers 2 and 7) are applicable here in this discussion:

2.            Commit to learning, from yourself, from others.  Strive to be an early adopter.  You may have difficulty changing others but you can change you.

7.            Stand in the gap.  Be the first in line for criticism, the last in line for recognition.

In asking myself how I can be a better servant to the Lord, I think the above are very important especially as I have been called to change myself, to subvert myself, my goals, my wishes, my biases, my perceptions.  I have no right to call others if I cannot call myself.  And then standing in the gap, for the Gospel, for sinners when I can, for believers as well, for the great charge Jesus gave us to enable the preaching of the of the Gospel to the world, as liberation and not as a jail.  To be a light in the darkness is to illumine when there are not other lights around you (again, if you only lift your light with other lights, do you really illuminate anything?).  Doing so doesn’t condone any sin, whatever it may be.  To go into all the world, among sinners, to take the risk of repudiation, to put yourself among those the Lord wishes to save is to be an instrument to further the Good News  It simply follows the Gospel, and trusts in the Lord for conviction or mercy or judgment.  My role as an indebted bondservant to deliver the message doesn’t permit me to be the judge.  Those are the two things I clearly understand about my duty in furthering the Gospel, all in one sentence.  Praise the Lord for that.

And what of standing the gap today? A poetic, soldierly phrase.  We like to think of taking a stand in large, profound ways:  Saving some life at the risk of our own, standing for the truth in the face of lies, standing in time past (and perhaps to come) and admitting to being a Christian, being a believer in times of great peril.  Those are the things our Christian forebears have suffered, persecution and earthly tragedy.  Those will likely come again.  We may all be called one day at the end of all things to stand in the gap in some great way.  Today it may be as simple as shining that light in the darkness, when no other light is willing.  It may be as simple as delivering that pizza.

I remain,


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Entry 28: Cool Change

March 3, 2015

Dear Friends

Re:  Entry 28

It had to be June, because I remember the chestnut bloom in the air.  I rode up along the road behind the ambulance and saw the smoke before I saw the vehicle.  Upside down, the wheels still turning, it had to be what—ten minutes?  It was hard to distinguish what make it was in this condition and the road near the upended top was stained but not wet.  It had been a Chevrolet, a Corvette and the stain was blood.

Pieces of fiberglass in long shards, more like chunks, lay all around, red metallic on the color side.  The frame looked like a crushed piece of burnt aluminum foil, twisted by giant hands.  The radio was still playing, I’m not sure how.  Time for.  A cool change.  I know that it’s time for a cool change.

There were two.  One dead right away.  The other a year or so later.  They were here and then gone. We had been playing basketball and they had stopped to ask one of the guys playing, their age, about four years older than the rest of us, to go along.  He hesitated.  Didn’t go.  Probably saved his life.

Thirty-five years passed, I wonder if their parents if alive thought of them. I would have, and did sometimes. 

If you only shine your light among other lights, how does that illuminate anything?

I remain,


Monday, December 29, 2014

Entry 27: Free Cuba For the Gospel of Christ

December 29, 2014

Dear Friends

Re:  Entry 27 (in English)

I used to have a list, it was really a joke, born in the realization of my late youth (in other words, my 20’s) when I finally realized that the party of my birth was not likely to be the party of my death.  I have grown more circumspect—read wise—about it now, recognizing that neither party really represents me fully.  The joke was a list, that there were three things I wanted to see in my lifetime:  (a) Bill Clinton impeached (and this was 3 years before that whole sad, sordid tale of woe); (b) Pete Rose in the Hall; and, (c) Cuba opened to America.  I didn’t say it was a consistent list, as it jumps from politics to sports to…well, religion.  The last better said as “Liberating Cuba with the Gospel”.

[As an aside, the fact that the most improbable on the list—Clinton’s impeachment—actually happened amazes me still to this day, I’m even more amazed by the warm nostalgia the press at least has for the Clinton years. Perhaps one day we will look back on that period as a sad chapter in personal morality, where it became fashionable to be, well, “kardashian”.   As to Pete Rose, well I thought that was the one winner on the whole list, but now I doubt it will ever be.]

Back to Cuba.  This had its genesis in my love of foreign-broadcast short wave radio.  If you’ve ever listened to short wave, the 1980’s were an especially fruitful period, what with the Cold War and all still on.  Some of the most accessible broadcasts (by which I mean those that were powerful enough to reach me in my mountain hovel) were Soviet, Chinese and Cuban.  Cuba was especially prolific, on almost every major broadcast band, even some of the AM (medium wave) bands.  I really became fascinated with the music, the politics and the social commentary—I have very little practical Spanish knowledge despite having two college Spanish courses—so it was all in English.  The political discourse was laughable.  The Cuban government was and is so obsessed with the United States and the US knows so very little about Cuba.  Every event that happened, according to Radio Havana, was the result of, the fault of, or the plan of the United States trying to undermine the Castro regime.    The most amusing part of the whole matter is how little the people of the US, outside of south Florida, really know about Cuba.  Here was Cuba, at every turn blaming the US and the Embargo for its problems while most Americans not only didn’t know where Cuba was in relation to the mainland, but cared about it even less.  It was as if some obsessed would-be Romeo mailed letters, wrote sonnets, composed ballads that were never delivered, read or even heard by Juliet.  The United States and Cuba aren’t just in different spheres, they have literally been in different dimensions, and most Americans forget Cuba even exists (even worse than the way we act with the Canadians and Mexicans, which is unfair and wrong, because to me at least they are like brothers).  It must be vexing to the Cubans or more especially their government (it applies to Cuba what Mexico’s President Diaz once said about his country: “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so Close to the United States”)

I can give you all the standard arguments as to why we should lift the embargo, establish relations, and allow trade and travel. You likely have heard them all, and whether or not you may agree, at least you must acknowledge that our current policy (a policy we have had longer than the Cold War lasted) has not worked.  I could also try to defend my assumptions against all the anti-immigrant talk that is out there (sadly, among Christians as well as others), or the political calculations of the south Florida vote, but any of you still misguided enough to depend on cable news, any cable news, as your sole source of information can probably raise loud arguments against my views.   At the bottom of it all are people. Remember, we are talking about people, individuals.  Individuals who have the right to hear the Gospel—and we have the obligation to take it to them, Fox News or MSNBC, Republican or Democrat, all notwithstanding.  That is my reason for wanting Cuba opened and for being thankful that our President is doing what he is doing, regardless of whether his reasons are cynical political calculations.

We didn’t call it cynical when Paul co-opted the Roman court system, the Roman transport system, the Roman trade system, the Roman laws and practices, all to preach the Gospel to the heart of the Roman Empire.  The Roman Empire, built on the blood and backs of slaves and the brutality of the ruling classes, was overrun by Christianity.  If you think the Castro brothers, or their government, can withstand the Gospel being preached to the individual, it still does not matter or relieve the obligation to preach it.  The command, commission, of Jesus was to Preach the Gospel (it wasn’t qualified as to race, religion, government, country).  Do you really trust one day America, or its government, won’t turn on you?  One day we may need those Cuban missionaries, preaching the Gospel to us.

And where is it written that America is cannot change?  Indeed, there are two Communist countries with which have we have fought wars—all in living memory—and we have re-established relations (China and Vietnam.  Remember, the Korean War was really the Chinese War).  Come along now, preach the Gospel to every creature, not just those far enough away as to not upset the balance in the Electoral College.  It may not change your world, but I know it will change theirs.

Free Cuba For the Gospel of Christ!

I remain,


Entrada 27: Cuba libre para el Evangelio de Cristo!

29 de diciembre 2014

Queridos amigos
Re: Entrada 27

Yo solía tener una lista, que era en realidad una broma, nacido en la realización de mi juventud tardía (en otras palabras, mis años 20) cuando finalmente me di cuenta de que el partido de mi nacimiento no era probable que sea el partido de mi muerte. He crecido más de leer circunspecto sabio en eso ahora, reconociendo que ninguna de las partes realmente me representa plenamente. La broma era una lista, que había tres cosas que quería ver en mi vida: (a) Bill Clinton sometido a juicio político (y esto fue de 3 años antes de toda esa historia triste y sórdida de dolor); (b) Pete Rose en el Salón; y, (c) Cuba abrió a América. Yo no dije que era una lista coherente, ya que salta de la política con el deporte a ... bueno, religión. El último dijo mejor como "Libertadora Cuba con el Evangelio".
[En un aparte, el hecho de que el más improbable en la lista de Clinton-juicio político-realidad sucedió me sorprende aún hoy en día, estoy más sorprendido por la nostalgia caliente a la prensa, al menos, ha hecho durante los años de Clinton. Tal vez algún día vamos a mirar hacia atrás en ese período como un capítulo triste en la moral personal, donde se puso de moda a ser, así, "kardashian". En cuanto a Pete Rose, así que pensé que era el ganador en toda la lista, pero ahora dudo que alguna vez será.]

Volver a Cuba. Esto tuvo su génesis en mi amor por la radio de onda corta de difusión extranjera. Si alguna vez has escuchado de onda corta, la década de 1980 fueron un periodo especialmente fructífero, lo que con la Guerra Fría y todos en pie. Algunas de las emisiones más accesibles (y me refiero a los que eran lo suficientemente potente como para llegar a mí en mi cuchitril montaña) eran Soviética, China y Cuba. Cuba fue especialmente prolífico, en casi todas las bandas de radiodifusión importante, incluso algunas de las bandas de onda media (AM). Me quedé fascinado con la música, la política y lo social comentario-tengo muy poco conocimiento práctico español a pesar de tener dos universitarios españoles cursos-así que fue todo en Inglés. El discurso político era ridícula. El gobierno de Cuba ha sido y es tan obsesionado con los Estados Unidos y los EE.UU. sabe muy poco acerca de Cuba. Cada evento que ocurrió, según Radio Habana, fue el resultado de, por culpa de, o el plan de los Estados Unidos tratando de socavar el régimen de Castro. La parte más divertida de todo el asunto es lo poco que la gente de los EE.UU., en las afueras del sur de la Florida, de verdad saben de Cuba. Aquí fue Cuba, a cada paso culpando los EE.UU. y el embargo de sus problemas mientras que la mayoría de los estadounidenses no sólo no saben donde Cuba fue en relación con el continente, pero se preocupaba aún menos. Era como si un obsesionado aspirantes a Romeo envía por correo cartas, escribió sonetos, romances compuestos que nunca fueron entregados, leer o incluso escuchadas por Julieta. Los Estados Unidos y Cuba no son sólo en diferentes ámbitos, que han sido, literalmente, en diferentes dimensiones, y la mayoría de los estadounidenses olvidan Cuba aún existe (aún peor que la forma en que actuamos con los canadienses y mexicanos, que es injusto y equivocado, porque a mí por lo menos, son como hermanos). Debe ser irritante para los cubanos o más especialmente su gobierno (que se aplica a Cuba lo que dijo una vez que el presidente Díaz de México sobre su país: "Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios, tan cerca de los Estados Unidos")

Te puedo dar todos los argumentos estándar en cuanto a por qué debemos levantar el embargo, establecer relaciones, y permitir el comercio y los viajes. Es probable que todos ellos han oído, y si está o no estar de acuerdo, al menos hay que reconocer que nuestra política actual (una política que hemos tenido más tiempo que duró la Guerra Fría) no ha funcionado. Yo también podría tratar de defender mis suposiciones contra toda la charla anti-inmigrante que está ahí fuera (por desgracia, entre los cristianos, así como otros), o los cálculos políticos del sur de la Florida voto, pero alguno de ustedes todavía lo suficientemente equivocada a depender noticias por cable, cualquiera de noticias por cable, como su única fuente de información, probablemente, puede elevar argumentos fuertes en contra de mis puntos de vista. En el fondo de todo esto son las personas. Recuerde, estamos hablando de personas, individuos. Los individuos que tienen el derecho de escuchar el Evangelio, y tenemos la obligación de llevarlo a ellos, Fox News o MSNBC, republicano o demócrata, a pesar de todo. Esa es mi razón para querer Cuba abrió y por ser agradecido de que nuestro presidente está haciendo lo que está haciendo, sin importar si sus razones son cálculos políticos cínicos.

Nosotros no llamamos cínica cuando Pablo cooptado el sistema romano tribunal, el sistema de transporte romana, el sistema de comercio romano, las leyes y las prácticas romanas, todo para predicar el Evangelio al corazón del Imperio Romano. El Imperio romano, construido sobre la sangre y espaldas de los esclavos y la brutalidad de las clases dominantes, fue invadido por el cristianismo. Si usted piensa que los hermanos Castro, o su gobierno, puede soportar el Evangelio se predica a la persona, que todavía no tiene importancia o aliviar la obligación de predicarlo. El comando, comisión de Jesús fue a predicar el evangelio (que no estaba calificado por motivos de raza, religión, gobierno, país). ¿Usted realmente confiar el uno en Estados Unidos de hoy, o su gobierno, no se convertirá en su vida? Un día podemos necesitar esos misioneros cubanos, predicando el Evangelio a nosotros.
Y ¿dónde está escrito que Estados Unidos no se puede cambiar? De hecho, hay dos países comunistas con los que tenemos hemos luchado guerras-todo en la memoria viva y tenemos relaciones restablecidas (China y Vietnam. Recuerde, la Guerra de Corea fue realmente la Guerra chino). Ven ahora, predicar el Evangelio a toda criatura, no sólo aquellos lo suficientemente lejos como para no alterar el equilibrio en el Colegio Electoral. La apertura de Cuba al Evangelio puede dejar estadounidense ha cambiado, pero el Evangelio cambiará para siempre las vidas de los cubanos.

Cuba libre para el Evangelio de Cristo!


[note:  thanks to Google for the translation]

Monday, December 8, 2014

Entry 26: Random Memories on Turning 50

December 8, 2014

Dear Friends

Re:         Entry 26

Dodge Trucks with their squashed front ends, almost like they were squinting at you.  My neighbors who could build or fix anything, and who I thought were cool because they wanted to end the war in Vietnam, and they played Led Zeppelin and John Sebastian and all other kinds of wonderful and weird stuff.  I didn’t realize how close they were to going to Vietnam, or for that matter, my own brother.  I used to tell my dad I was going to Canada—I was like 7 or 8.  He would always say “don’t join the army”.  Hearing the John Denver song “Country Roads” in the summer of 1971, before I started first grade.  My brother Mike came out on the front porch and said “Hey, A.D., there’s a guy on the radio singing a song about West Virginia!”   And it was one that did not make fun of us.  The wonder when Channel 4 in Pittsburgh, or better yet, ABC or NBC, said the name of the state on the national news.  It wasn’t until later that I realized most of the world didn’t know this was the center of the universe.  The slate pile burning in the winter, the snow never staying on it.  Red dog roads.  The smell of coal burning.  Train horns, the slack-slack sound of the locomotive starting and pulling the cars, you could hear it jump from one car to another all the way up the valley.  Going to Fairview for the Homecoming parade.  And the bonfire they would build on the side of the football field.  Every once in a while, I will hear a combination of sounds, especially in the fall, or smell dried leaves and for some reason it takes me back to the Fairview High School Homecoming Parade, around 1972.  USA-1 plates on the Chevy Camaro in the garage showroom.  Underwood Deviled Ham sandwiches on Kettering’s bread while watching Sesame Street sitting with Anna, my neighbor, in her house the year before first grade.  I didn’t realize until later her teenage son had died from leukemia.  Maybe I helped by being there. I hope. She was such a nice lady.  She could bake bread, any kind, and would always bring us some.  Agnes, who every two days or so would send me to Junior’s for a box of barley and a can of corn beef hash (I did this for her until the day before I got married). My dad never let me take her money, at least when he knew.  When I got older, I wouldn’t take it on my own accord.  Mary Kitchen Corn Beef Hash.  It’s like 50% fat.  She lived to be 99.  Charley, her son, would say “Hey boy, go down to Junior’s and buy me a pack of Luckies.”  I think I was six.  Myrtle would say “these aren’t for you now are they?”  He had a tattoo; I think it was an eagle, with dates on it.  I asked him when I got older why he got it.  He said he got drunk on leave in Paris after Bastogne.  He later got called back up for Korea.  I always thought that if you were going to have a tattoo, you really needed a story like Charley’s.  Not anymore, someday, somewhere, I imagine some 75 year old explaining the little duck tattoo on her calf. I bet it won’t be about being surrounded by the Germans.  When my other neighbor’s house burned down, the night they both died, I ran outside and it was 2 a.m., the house was fully on fire.  Charley picked up a section of a wall that was like four concrete blocks and threw them through the front door to save them but the fire exploded out.  He couldn’t have weighed more than 150 pounds.   He taught me how to sweat copper fittings. I think about him a lot, I wish I could talk to him now.  My grandfather used to bring me home a 5 cent candy bar called a “Chunky”.  Sometimes the one with nuts or raisins.  I saw one a few years ago, it was like twice the size, and I didn’t try it as I liked the memory better.  Walking down to the Esso station to get a Coke in the summer, hoping it would be frozen.  Six ounce glass bottles.  My Uncle Sam getting a stereo and playing records on it.  My cousin Junior who was deaf, but you could always hear him coming because he would play the radio very loudly and put his hand on the dashboard speaker to feel the vibration.  I can’t imagine not knowing what it’s like to hear music and only to feel it.  Meline who was crazy and lived across the street, who would go down to the railroad tracks and fill up a coal scuttle from cars sitting on the siding.  My dad said that he was in the war and lost his girlfriend and he was never the same.  Sometimes he would talk to me, and he seemed normal.  Later I realized this was probably mental illness, but no one said that then.  Ziggy who had a German shepherd, a very nice pleasant dog even though he looked scary.   And my dog, Johantz, who was the opposite.  Once he ran away for four days and I thought he was dead.  Then I saw him coming up the street all alone, his ear tore a little, thinner. He acted as if he hadn’t been gone.  Anne the cook at the school and the biscuits she would make. Winter plays before Christmas and the smell of the curtains in the auditorium.  The smell of the oiled floors in the schoolhouse.  Mrs. Davies playing the piano in the third grade. Tony, my neighbor, had a Willys Truck with knobby tires.  Once paid me two dollars to climb his pine trees and tie a rope to the top so he could cut them down without them falling over the hill. I can’t write about my dad without crying, I have at least one dream a week when I get to talk to him.  I can remember it all like it was yesterday.  It was.
I remain,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Entry 25: The Unravelers III

September 30, 2014

Dear Friends

Re:         Entry 25

Someone once told me to never confuse the American People with the American Government; they are not one in the same.  In recent months, on several fronts, we have come to the point of the question I never thought I would seriously pose:

Do you trust these clowns with your lives?

A few points of distraction:  They want to disarm you while dismissing terrorism all around.  They surveil your calls, your computer habits—this blog—and record everything.  They collect your taxes and use some of them for purposes the mass of people would never countenance if given the direct choice.  They decry “climate change” and forego vital domestic energy assets in the name of world climate leadership, while Russia holds Europe hostage over energy (and Europe likes it, apparently).  They have their agencies act as arbiters of free speech, in violation of the founding principles.  They welcome immigration without scrutiny in the name of compassion, but with the cynical knowledge of its effect on electoral politics.  They let Americans rot in foreign jails.  They coddle enemies ([tell President Putin] “… This is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility”) while demonizing and ridiculing and stereotyping half of their citizenry (“…And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations..”)  They seek to limit what you can eat, drink, choose—unless that choice is to kill an unborn child.  They divide us.  They dominate us.  They dictate to us.  They tell us what to think, to believe.  They watch terrorists roam our streets and care more about the world’s opinion than their citizen’s safety.   They spout their insolent sophomoric nonsense from their juvenile teenage-wise spokesmen and women, and expect us to fall in line.  They turn our military leaders into their personal lapdogs.  They indulge in the arrogance of the idolizing of their own ability and intelligence yet are incompetent in actual leadership and execution.  They open the borders and in walks Ebola.

Do you trust these clowns with your lives?

There are things out there, that are truths, and we know they are truths because, well,  they just are.  One of them is that men and women are equal and that in that equality, God gave them rights that cannot be denied—rights like the ability to live, and to live free, to choose to do as it pleases you so long as that right does not infringe on the rights of others.  One of the reasons we even form governments that last—and last all over the world—is that the people bond together and voluntarily consent to the government, and not the other way around.  In fact, whenever the government becomes too strong and begins to destroy the reasons the people put it in place to begin with, the people have an unfettered right to alter or to abolish it and to put in its place a new government, one that has as its foundations the original principles and organizes itself in such as way as to protect the people, their lives and their happiness.  And it isn’t just with the drop of a hat that such decisions and changes are made—to be prudent, no people should just change their government because of some correctible problems—people will suffer much and should only change things if it is the last resort.  But at the end of all of this, when any government becomes more important that those that granted it power, and when it in and of itself derives its right to govern from itself and not the people, that is the same as tyranny.  When this happens, the people have an absolute duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.  Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Now, dearest reader, I am loathe to tricking you, but by now you probably realized that most of the last paragraph was a poor paraphrase of Jefferson’s prose, the italicized part verbatim, from the Declaration of Independence.    For you see, we have been here before.  I believe the choice is coming, and I am not advocating anything but peaceable change in the way things are done to restore freedom to the consent of the governed.

I ask again:  Do you trust these clowns with your lives?

I remain,