To Burn or Not to Burn: That Is NOT the Question

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We have no idea if the newly notorious pastor in Florida is going to burn the Koran on Saturday. He apparently hasn’t decided, but no matter. Having successfully reaped his 15 minutes of fame, and now apparently inspiring others to burn, as well, when tomorrow dawns, the situation has escalated into an international firestorm. Yet the actual burning is not at all the issue.

I personally find book burning abhorrent, whether the tinder be the Bible, the Koran, Mein Kampf, Harry Potter or Huckleberry Finn. I frankly regard this pastor’s showboating as either a publicity stunt or a death wish (perhaps both), evident in his announcing his intent long before 9/11 to ensure maximum media attention. But my country has taught me that it is within the rights of all Americans to burn a book or a flag, to behave stupidly and recklessly, or to speak out against our government — rights foreign to most other countries, particularly those currently criticizing our handling of our own internal issues, such as illegal immigration and the building of a mosque at Ground Zero.

What disgusts me most about this incident is not that a man of the cloth would protest Islam by burning its book, but rather the strident response of, among others, our own media outlets, elected officials, and President to the man’s threats to do so.

I think back to moments in our history — to the celebrated desecration of the Virgin Mary and the Star of David, to modern-day Nazis marching through a town occupied by Holocaust survivors, to a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine heralded as fine art, to the former President routinely burned in effigy — and I wonder, where were the protests from all those exalted authorities and institutions then? Where were the calls for restraint? We all know the answer to that one.

Which brings us to the fundamental difference between these documented incidents in our recent past, and the current threat of a torched Koran. Fear. That’s the difference. The authorities and institutions squawking in unison to stop Saturday’s burning don’t fear the Christians, the Jews or we the people. They know that those so inclined to desecrate and disgrace the symbols of these faiths, and of America herself, can do so freely and graphically without threat of repercussion. But these same authorities and institutions are terrified to the bone of those who follow Islam. Their resulting reactions, their policies, their censorship and their scoldings, are fueled by that fear.

This chronic hypocrisy is in turn fueling the palpable rage brewing in America right now: a rage at the tyranny spewing from our nation’s capitol, a rage at politically correct appeasement of those who wish to destroy us (whether or not a Koran is burned), a rage at punishing policies and taxes that cripple our childrens’ futures. This rage now boils over at a most symbolic moment in our nation’s history – the anniversary of a day we the people will not forget, despite the left’s attempt to rewrite history. It’s going to be a rocky ride.

What a Difference a Day Makes

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The song says: “What a difference a day makes.” Since January of 2009 we have experienced a constant barrage of events each and every day that have kept us worrying and fretting over the well-being and the very existence of our country. Indeed those of us who love this nation, and have no desire to see it “transformed,” have known no peace since then. The days I have been hobbled during this site’s re-tooling have been no exception. The highlights:

  • The President of Poland, his wife, the leader of the Polish military and virtually all of Poland’s top officials were killed when the plane carrying them to a memorial in Russia crashed in that nation’s countryside. Poland has been one of America’s staunchest allies, and the prayers of countless Americans have been sent their way. In an unfortunate PR move, Barack Obama, unable to attend the President’s funeral because of the volcano in Iceland, went golfing instead.
  •  Tax Day, April 15th, was commemorated by thousands of Americans who participated in peaceful Tea Party demonstrations throughout the nation to protest “taxation without representation.” Their actions were met, as expected, by lapdog media types and democrat politicians with derision and ridicule that only served to reveal once more how frightened they are of the Tea Party movement. More than one pundit commented that it’s never good for politicians and those seeking ratings to attack the American people.
  •  Joining his media and political minions, Barack Obama, displaying the heights of elitist arrogance, commented that he was “amused” by the Tea Party Americans who took to the streets on Tax Day. Regarding, as he does, we the people as a source of peasant entertainment, here’s hoping Obama won’t be so “amused” come November.
  • We witnessed the de-fanging of America, when Barack Obama not only signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia (displaying once again his naïve ignorance and useful idiocy), but also let it be known to all the world that they are free to attack America and her people without fear of retribution.
  •  When Sarah Palin expressed her disgust with Obama’s signing of the disarmament treaty, disgust shared by the vast majority of Americans, Obama responded arrogantly that “last I checked, Sarah Palin’s not much of an expert on nuclear issues.” The lapdog media representative interviewing Obama at the time, in a predictable effort to protect a President whose education has been severely limited, chose not to ask Obama to outline his own expertise in this (or any) area.
  • Obama puzzled proud Americans – including, no doubt, those who serve in our armed forces – when he said, “…whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military super power.”
  • Barbara Crabb, a U.S. District Judge in Wisconsin, ruled that the National Day of Prayer, established in 1952, is unconstitutional.
  • Democrats in the California legislature killed a resolution that would have honored the 100th birthday of the Boy Scouts of America and scouting in California. The celebration has proceeded anyway, without the blessing of California democrats.

 Sadly, this is only a drop in the bucket. But it’s enough for now. It serves to remind us that with every day presenting unwanted “differences,” we the people, amusing as we may be to certain individuals, cannot give up the fight. How it frightens our opposition to know that we have no intention of doing so.

Oh, Danny Boy

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Wednesday is St. Patrick’s Day. This is huge in my predominantly Irish-American community, and though I am not Irish myself, I have always found great comfort and warmth and inspiration in the influence.

Today in church I received that comfort and that warmth and that inspiration just when I desperately needed it, and I don’t think I quite realized it until it called me.

Our week ahead promises not only the annual celebration of St. Patrick, but also the hostile, vicious promises from our so-called leaders that they will do whatever it takes – the Constitution be damned – to make this atrocity of a health-care bill the law of the land. The American people have made it clear that they do not want it. Congressional democrats, along with the President of the United States and his administration, have spat back, “we don’t care!”, and at this very moment they are threatening the members of their own party who are considering a “no” vote and looking for whatever unconstitutional bypass they can find to shove it through without a vote. The capper came today when Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that by next Sunday, it will be the law of the land.

I am grateful I didn’t hear Gibbs say this personally. I was in church when he said it. Kneeling. Feeling confused and sad, and very worried as I thought about the week that lies ahead for us. But then I heard the soft, haunting introduction on the piano to one of my favorite songs: “Danny Boy.” This was soon joined by the voices of a bonafide Irish tenor in duet with a beautiful deep baritone. And at that moment, the words I had been struggling to find came to me: “Please don’t let them take our country.”

That was my prayer. It was just what I needed, all that I needed. And it was given to me by the beautiful Irish anthem “Danny Boy.”

I felt better after that. I still do. The Irish have always been warriors. They have contributed mightily to the warrior fabric and fiber of America – and why I find such comfort in their influence. Though I remain worried. I sit here tonight and wonder, is Robert Gibbs right? This time next week, as he said, will this atrocity be the law of the land, a jagged tear in our greatness? Please, God, don’t let them take our country.

In my heart, I don’t think it will happen. If it were left solely to the American people, I know it wouldn’t. But there are other, more insidious forces at play here, forces that defy openly what America is and what her blueprint has deemed she must and will be. There is thus a chance that those forces could win this one. They have vowed to do it this week, to subvert with hostility and arrogance our nation, our Constitution, our people and, as an open affront to the Irish, the spirit of St. Patrick. But even if they do take this round – admittedly a terrible blow to those who love this country — I still believe that the American people, and the spirit of the United States itself, will prevail. As I have said so many times before, there is no other option.

 In the meantime, I will keep the lovely strains of “Danny Boy” streaming through my head. And my prayer. Please don’t let them take our country. And with that I say good night, America. This week is going to be a rough one. It’s going to be painful. But as has been the case with all of America’s many righteous battles, we must keep up the fight and keep the faith. God bless us all.

I Always Knew God Had a Sense of Humor

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December 19, 2009 | Comments

Oh those poor climate-concerned diplomats, politicians and dictators. Here they take time out of their busy schedules to make the pilgrimage to Copenhagen to save our lives and the future of our planet from the perils of man-made global warming, and look what happens: record cold and blizzards thwart their noble mission! Our own President and Madam Pelosi had to schedule their carbon-heavy luxury flights to Europe around this pesky snow and wind, only to return stateside to more of the same. Does Mother Nature have no shame?

I sure hope she doesn’t. And God either. Indeed I like to think that God, like so many of us out here in common-sense land, has gotten fed up with the nimrods speaking for him and believing that we mere mortals are somehow more powerful than the beautiful, powerful planet He made. And because I have believed since I was a tiny child that God has a sense of humor, I can’t help but giggle and believe that He has chosen a most eloquent way of expressing his displeasure with those arrogant souls who would deign to use him in this way for their own selfish goals.

Indeed God and Mother Nature have sent you diplomats, politicians and dictators, including the President of the United States and the woman we call the Speaker of the House, an undeniable, unmistakable message. What in record snows in Copenhagen, more of it in DC, January-like temps in the rest of the country and even snow in Australia do they not understand?

Yet still you drone on about the dangers, the melting, the burning, the inequity, the income distribution, the ultimatums –and without a shred of shame in the shrill voices struggling to be heard through the howling blizzard winds that swirl around you.

So, what will it take for our own voices to break through the cones of silence they have erected around themselves? Nothing, I suppose, because they simply are not listening. But we the people are listening. And, despite the rhetoric and propaganda that we can hear with crystalline clarity though the wind and snow, we know this has nothing to do with conservation or rainforests or polar bears. This is about power and control and a dangerous transformation of the fabric and fiber of our great nation. And though their drive to destroy us is downright frightening, we find it hilarious that God has decided to give them a spanking – and such an eloquently vivid spanking, at that. So enjoy the snow and enjoy the frigid climes, oh dense and arrogant ones. I can tell you we certainly are – and without need of embarrassment or manipulation, but always with a clear sense of humor.

Betsy Siino | Comments

While We Were Sleeping

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November 10, 2009 | Comments

On September 11, 2001, we were sleeping. And on September 11, 2001, we were attacked. As never before.

When we emerged from the fog, we entered our new world. We were changed. For a while. Some forever. We spoke of good and evil. We embraced our flag. And we were changed. For a while. Or forever.

But so were we told to relax. To close our eyes. To sleep. Like toddlers at bedtime. It will be okay, they said. We’ll take care of it. We will embrace them. Accept them. Be civilized. And they will forgive us. Just watch.

So we were. Civilized. And our country, she closed her eyes. Civilized. Yes, we were at war. Yes, some meant us harm – 3,000 souls attest to that. But they aren’t all that way, we were told. Still, those that aren’t didn’t speak up. Yet we knew, we were told, they aren’t all that way. So we weren’t to speak up either. Civilized, remember? Tolerant. Be that. Close your eyes. Sleep.

And while we were sleeping, they took hold. Eight years. They knew we were sleeping and they used it. More attacks came. Even more were thwarted. We weren’t told of those, but we found out anyway. And still we heard time and again: lone gunman, no affiliations, no suspicions. We said very little. We remained civilized. Quiet. Sleeping. They aren’t all that way. Close your eyes. Sleep. Many did.

But even more of us didn’t.

Like toddlers at bedtime, we watched, as though spying down the stairs, listening to mom and dad at the kitchen table. We heard a truth we knew already. In our hearts, we knew the truth, which always finds its way.

Some of us spoke of what we knew. What we saw. What we believed. They called us names. But still we would not sleep.

And now it happens again. Eight years later. And our soldiers took the bullet. On our own sacred ground. And again, those who are civilized tell us we are wrong. They tell us to relax. To sleep. Like toddlers at bedtime. It will be okay, they say. They aren’t all that way. And they won’t say the words. They hide behind “stress.” They hide behind “trauma.” They won’t say the words, even when honoring the dead. Again they tell us to tolerate. To sleep. To trust.

But we say no. We will not listen. We have seen our people die. Then.  And now. Many of us said no then. Even more of us say it now.

And again they call us names. But our pledge is to the truth, which always finds its way. And now, this time, even more stand with us. We will not sleep. We will listen to what is true, as it always finds its way. And we will trust those who live with honor, who love our country and our children. Those who took the bullet. And those who will. For us and for our children. Those who will say the words. Those who will not sleep.

They know we do not sleep either. Not this time. For as we have learned, far too much can harm us and our children, far too much can harm our country, while we are sleeping.

Betsy Siino | Comments

God’s New Partner

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August 20, 2009 | Comments

So now God is the tool. The man tried velvet. The man called out the media, and he toyed with the race card. He tried threats, he tried guilt, and he tried civil rights in his unceasing quest for that magic bullet that will finally win the masses over to his side on the socialized health-care debate/debacle. As all else has failed, he now turns to God.

God has indeed played a prominent role in the characterization of Barack Obama. Our President has been likened to God by the news media he carries around in his pocket, jokes about his anointing are rampant, and he has been facetiously christened “the messiah” by those who object to his image as someone beyond criticism, beyond reproach, beyond media scrutiny, and beyond all human frailty. But yesterday, in a calculated quest for victory, he tried a new tact: He played the God card.

Yesterday for the first time, the President of the United States readily accepted the whole God connection that has long hounded him, when he stated to a gathering of rabbis that “we are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” Clever move. We can’t say no to God, can we? And if God speaks through Barack Obama, now apparently self-elevated to spiritual leader of the people, on such pesky matters as life and death, well, who are we to argue?

To say that I am horrified by such a shameless display of arrogance would be an understatement of explosive proportions (and I’m hoping God isn’t all that impressed either). While I personally believe that the President has gotten a charge out of the God/Supreme Being comparisons, I never dreamed he would so openly jump on that train. And to a gathering of rabbis, no less. Did they give him a pass?  I don’t know. I hope they didn’t.

 I can tell you that my family’s parish priest certainly would have called him on it. A veteran with a fierce love for America, our pastor has been quite honest and heartfelt in sharing his feelings about the prospect of the government deciding who among us should live and who should die. This, he has stated unequivocally, not only violates the Christian faith and all faiths that value the human spirit, but also the founding documents of our nation that grant us the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As someone who has also read these documents, I don’t remember seeing mention of government bureaucrats or czars determining how the first item on that list will be managed, distributed and controlled.

But it didn’t end there. Oh, no. After proclaiming his divine partnership on Wednesday, his newfound position as spiritual leader, the President today informs us – by way of yet another health-care campaign event with a gathering of clergy – that to oppose these promising health-care proposals is, essentially, akin to committing a sin. Peppering his prepared speech with biblical references, he admonished us to “be our brother’s keeper” (a mission he accused us of neglecting and failing to uphold), he referred to passage of his health-care bill as our “core moral obligation,” and he accused those who don’t support his agenda as “bearing false witness.”

As Dana Carvey’s classic Saturday Night Live Church Lady of Church Chat fame back in the 80s might ooze in her imitable nasal whine: “W…e…e…e…l…l…l, isn’t that special.”

Though the President’s media pals tried valiantly to underplay it, we are all well aware of the church that God’s new partner and his family attended over the past decades, and the incendiary messages that emanated from its pulpit (though the President apparently missed them). Those of us who have spent that same amount of time in, shall we say, more traditional houses of worship – Christian and Jewish alike – we are left wondering not only how and when God decided that the President of the United States – any President of the United States – would now be his equal partner in “matters of life and death,” but also how we missed the commandment that opposing the presidential/congressional agenda was essentially a sin. I never heard Charlton Heston read that one from those stone tablets.

I am reminded of the magnificent mini-series “I, Claudius,” when a crazed emperor Caligula confesses joyfully to his uncle Claudius that he has become a god. It’s good to be king, we have long heard, but according to John Hurt’s Caligula, and perhaps a certain president we know, as well, it’s even better to be a God – or at least God’s partner. The God-fearing men who wrote our country’s founding documents were guided by the desire to protect the grand experiment that is our country from monarchy. Methinks they never would have dreamed that someone would someday come along, bypass the lowly king level altogether, and grasp for the exalted deity ring instead.

Most who know God can recognize what is authentic and what isn’t, the first sign of authenticity being humility. It is downright embarrassing and disgraceful to see our God used as a threat, a tool, a club, for phony, political pandering. Even more disgraceful, would be for men and women of God to give such pandering a pass.

Betsy Siino | Comments