There are those silent moments after a snowfall that I find most remarkable. I tried to place the feel into the following pictures from our home this morning. The stark gray and white images are the best to convey the serenity of the morning.
A young child on our block made a snow angel this morning on our front lawn. Had I been faster with a camera she would have been part of this blog post.
The last image is from our intersection looking to the statehouse and with the winds that kicked up every now and then the snow would spread out in thin veils of white from the tree branches and rooftops as seen on the left side of the photo.
What we are witnessing over the Syrian refugee issue is the separation of those motivated by a religious perspective who walk their talk–and the GOP candidates who wish to use fear and disorder to their political advantage.
For Republican presidential contenders such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who have been working hard at shoring up evangelical support in a crowded field, harsh words against refugees carries a risk of looking politically opportunistic instead of compassionate. Some advocates were particularly shocked when Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, said that the U.S. should bar Syrian orphaned toddlers if necessary.
“That was offensive. That was mean-spirited,” said one advocate with a Christian group that resettles refugees. He added: “it’s disappointing because there have been Republican senators and presidents who have strongly supported this program over the years. There’s a proud tradition in the Republican Party of welcoming those who are fleeing persecution, and this takes the party in a negative direction. It’s easy to pick on vulnerable refugees who have no voice. But there are immigrant groups who have voting power that understand what is going on. They understand that it’s an anti-immigrant message.”
Meanwhile, faith-based groups have also stepped up their advocacy efforts for refugees. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement expressing distress over calls by elected officials to halt the resettlement program.
“These refugees are fleeing terror themselves — violence like we have witnessed in Paris,” said the statement by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the conference’s committee on migration. “Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.”
I would be totally remiss if I did not post about a very special lady who passed away this week. Though this should have been on my blog days ago time and events did not allow that to happen.
On Tuesday, November 17th Ramona Jones, old time fiddler, vocalist, traditional country music entertainer, and wife of the late Grandpa Jones passed away at the age of 91. To put it mildly she was a gem of a lady and while not a ‘center-stage’ personality was noted far and wide to be just about one of the dearest persons anyone would want to be around.
What makes her special to me is that she was part of the first generation of Grand Ole Opry performers beginning shortly after she met and married Jones (Louis Marshall Jones)in 1946. She was 22 years old when she married Grandpa. The two were performing together on a radio show–does it get more nostalgic for those of us who gravitate in that direction? They continued working together professionally with Grandpa Jones often taking the top billing.
Ramona played fiddle, guitar, and mandolin on shows with her husband, and they often sang duets. Perhaps their biggest bit was their Bells routine where Grandpa and Ramona would strap cowbells to their feet and hands and use them to play familiar melodies. In this, and many other skits, Grandpa would joke and play the fool while Ramona maintained a dignified presence on stage.
She is remembered as a fine old time fiddler and proponent of the mountain and hillbilly music that characterized early commercial country radio. Ramona and Grandpa are again together.
Evangelicals are funny. Or should that be they are scary.
Pray for Ted Cruz.
That appears to be among the chief tasks to be undertaken by the Cruz campaign’s “national prayer team,” a group announced on Thursday and scheduled to begin its work next month.
Mr. Cruz, who has aggressively courted the support of evangelicals, said the creation of the team would “establish a direct line of communication between our campaign and the thousands of Americans who are lifting us up before the Lord.”
Group members will receive emails containing prayer requests and a short devotional every week, the campaign said. They will also be invited to take part in a 20-minute “prayer conference call” each Tuesday.
The other evening Bill Maher told Steven Colbert on Late Night that this nation is made up of a lot of dim-witted and slow-minded people. That might have seemed harsh to some but Lord knows I agree with his sentiments.
It only took two days to find another solid reason for why that point of view is shared by many.
Washington Post: “On Tuesday, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released a poll showing that a full 72 percent of Americans believe that the economy is in a state of recession… And Wednesday, Bloomberg News released a poll showing that a full 34 percent of Americans mistakenly believe the unemployment rate is now worse than it was when Obama took office, right after the economic collapse had already sucked up millions of jobs. For Republicans, that figure is 53 percent — a majority.”
Hat Tip To Rolf for sending me this link.
The thing is self-evident. Refugees fleeing ISIS are, by definition, refugees fleeing ISIS. These are families so terrorized by the brutalities of ISIS, or Assad, or the myriad other groups jockeying for Syrian power that they can see no alternative but to abandon their home country entirely. All the things ISIS has done against western citizens or western journalists are minuscule compared to the barbarism that continues to be inflicted against Syrian Muslims themselves.
Historically, however, turning away refugees fleeing possible death in their home countries has repeatedly been declared the “American” thing to do—if those refugees are deemed to be from an undesirable ethnic group. We indeed turned away Jews fleeing Hitler. We interned Japanese Americans under the purely racial presumption that terrorists or saboteurs could easily be hiding among their number, thus necessitating putting the entire population in fenced and guarded concentration camps. It was only months, not years ago that unaccompanied children fleeing Central American gang and drug violence were considered a potential occupying force so dangerous that critics insisted the National Guard—if not the standing Army—must be dispatched to make sure they could not cross our borders, and towns in several border states erupted in fury after rumors flew that those children might be housed somewhere nearby. Warning against the dangers of refugee children in particular has a long, long history in America.
My Mom always told me while growing up in our rural home in Hancock that too many people tried to buy their way to happiness. The more one had, many thought, the happier they were. But as she pointed out time and again those who had more than most were often the unhappiest folks in the area.
So it is that once again in the great chase for material things many people will decide to trek into the stores on Thanksgiving Day to trample over other people, fight to get into check-out lines ahead of others, and sneer at drivers who have gotten the treasured parking space.
If they were not hunting for a parking space it might have been because they were actually camping out with tents and chairs and sleeping bags for ‘the big deal’. Is that not that a sad statement about what has happened in the country? What a grand way to spend a holiday that is aimed at giving thanks!
Maybe it was due to how I was raised and also from the experiences of my adulthood that I sincerely hope my fellow Americans will do two things this season.
First I hope that we applaud not only in spirit but then also with our verbal thanks to those retailers and merchants who remain closed on Thanksgiving. There will be time for Christmas shopping after we give a day of thanks. Let us then shop at those places who observe our national holiday.
Second it is my desire that Americans spend their holiday with family and friends instead of shopping and amassing things. Let us stop trading in home time for mall time and again build up the tradition of why Thanksgiving was established in the first place.