Ask Jonathots …December 24th, 2015

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Do you think it would be a good thing for the United States to have a woman President? Why or why not?

With no disrespect to your question, the issue of the Presidency of the United States has nothing to do with gender or race.

It requires a leader who represents all the people in all ways possible, keeping an eye on better choices which will progress our humanity.

It shouldn’t matter if it’s a woman, a black, a gay person or any particular inclination.

There are four things I think are necessary to consider in selecting a leader of the United States–a champion for our cause and a motivator for the free world. Is he or she:

1. Idealistic enough to pursue the heart of the Declaration of Independence instead of merely discussing the mechanics of the Constitution?

Let us never forget that the Constitution originally insisted that black people were less than whole individuals. But the Declaration of Independence said that all men were created equal. Without this kind of idealism, we will begin to believe that maintaining the status quo is ultimately better in order to keep peace.

2. Able to endure suffering.

If you’re going to be the President of a diverse nation, a certain percentage of those people will be angry with you at all times. To secure the freedoms and rights of a minority does risk being attacked by the majority.

3. Living a life of good cheer.

I’m not talking about being able to tell jokes at an expensive dinner. I’m speaking of a sense of joy about one’s own life and expressing great hope that things can become better instead of always focusing on the next torpedo which just might sink our dreams.

4. Non-partisan.

Our country is neither conservative nor is it liberal. We require the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, who refused to accept dividing the country simply because the North did not understand the lifestyle of their Southern brothers and sisters.

If you show me candidates who possess these four attributes, their genitalia does not matter, but rather, their gentleness. 

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Untotaled: Stepping 45 (November ?, 1968) Cobalt … December 13, 2014

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(Transcript)

I don’t remember the exact day.

I recall it was cold and November, which is standard fare in Ohio.

My parents had taken a trip to Columbus and my mother returned late that evening, without my father in tow. I didn’t think much about it. I was nearly seventeen years old and preoccupied with the status of my burgeoning sideburns.

She was sullen–my mother, that is. This was not unusual. She was given to fits of extremes, and I was fully aware that when she was in this condition, to stay clear–for everything about me was a potential object for attack.

I hid out in my room, and then heard a knock on my door. It was her.

She came in and sat down with tears in her eyes. She told me that “Daddy” was in Columbus in the hospital, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I never called him “Daddy.”

It was a strange sensation. I knew I was supposed to feel something. i really wanted to, and was aware that she expected me to, so I mustered some emotion.

I told her I wanted to be alone, and she complied.

When the door was closed I turned off the light, laid down on my bed and thought about the man who was my father.

We had never been close.

He was forty-eight years old when I was born so I am sure it was a little awkward for him to have a toddler, and finally a teen, jostling about the house.

He was a stoic man, not free with his feelings, leaving you wondering half the time if he had fondness in your direction whatsoever.

But now he was sick. That makes a difference, you know.

Two days later he returned from the hospital.

We were told he would begin cobalt radiation treatments the next week. He tried to smile and muster a brave profile but I could tell he was terrified, and once the treatments began it was even worse.

At that point in medical research, therapy was more or less an attempt to scorch the cancer, thus literally burning up the flesh around it. Cobalt.

He was red and swollen, but still desperately tried to connect with me to make amends for years of uncomfortable silence.

I was a jerk. I repelled him.

I was a teenager, and it was required of me to have a bit of aversion toward my father figure, but he really needed me to be more forgiving. I did not possess the capacity.

Christmas was sparse that year.

The nutcracker was down.

It was difficult to get our minds on “Joy to the World” when Dad was suffering and dying.

 

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Suffering Succotash… April 4, 2013

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succotashShe didn’t wear a hair net.

The health department had not yet enforced that particular rule, so Madeline would occasionally serve me my macaroni and cheese with a long red hair included within. It was one of the perils of being a ten-year-old, eating in the school cafeteria.

A second equally frightening concept was succotash. Somehow or another, somebody decided that succotash–the mysterious blend of corn and lima beans–was the vegetable of convenience to put on the plates of unsuspecting children.

Let us start out by saying that NO ONE likes succotash. I did meet one person  who told me he ate it and enjoyed it–right before the white truck arrived to take him back to the mental hospital.

Even though tons and tons of succotash were continually returned on plates and scraped into the trash can weekly, the school system refused to consider the possibility of finding a better vegetable to entice the young patrons. It was just assumed that vegetables were going to be hated anyway, so you might as well give them a cheap one that they could disregard, so you could stay on budget while piously maintaining that you tried to offer nutrition.

Yes, every child, in his or her lifetime, has gone through the indignity of suffering succotash.

Likewise, in the realm of the spirit, we are instructed by religion–fed in our churches an emotional and intellectual diet of doctrinal succotash. We are told that being a Christian is grounded in a certain amount of suffering. Otherwise we are not fulfilling the life of Christ. It doesn’t even take five minutes of gospel-hopping to discover that Jesus believed in abundant life, that he came to bring full joy, insisted that his burdens were light, told us we were the salt of the earth, said to rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and when faced with tribulation, to be of good cheer.

But if you base the entire message of Christianity on a twenty-one-hour period–from the Garden of Gethsemane to the death on the cross–as an illustration of devotion and lifestyle, you probably have missed the significance of thirty-three years of joy, victory, marveling, compassion and blessedness.

Why do we choose to offer succotash in the church under the guise of suffering, when no one is interested and every week, ends up scraping it off their plates, uneaten, into the trash can? Jesus never said that the door to heaven is through suffering. Actually, the door to heaven–or if you will, happiness–is through personal responsibility.

The world gives tribulation. My response is to be of good cheer. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world.

It’s really that simple.

While the world debates gun control, abortion, states’ rights and racial issues, I refuse to join in and comply with the misery, but instead, take stock of myself and decide what I am going to personally do about guns, abortion, states’ rights and racial issues. Once I discover my approach, I can rejoice and be exceedingly glad. If I’m worried about world events, I probably will work myself into a tizzy.

Children don’t like succotash. When you continue to serve them succotash, you not only are wasting time and money, but you’re turning them into anti-vegetable people.

Human beings don’t like suffering. When you continue to preach suffering and insist it is the only available path, you’re turning them into anti-spiritual people.

Fortunately for me, I grew up and discovered that succotash was not the only vegetable. Also fortunately for me, I read the Bible, and in so doing, discovered that Jesus promoted joy–and not suffering.

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