It’s Complicated

A Syrian refugee holding his son and daughter breaks out in tears of joy after arriving on the shore of the island of Kos in Greece.

Some questions have more than one correct answer.  Not every problem offers a simple solution.  For example, the ongoing debate surrounding Donald Trump’s executive order concerning refugees from certain nations.

Compassion vs. caution.  I’ve heard and read passionate arguments from both sides.  I tend to agree with them all.  Caution is good.  Compassion is obviously good.  But when it comes to a wise balance of the two, that’s where the wheels come off.

I’ve picked up just a few hitchhikers over the years.  Shouldn’t we all feel bad for the guy walking down the highway on a 10 degree day?  Sure.  But it’s always a risk.  The unknown.  But in the cases where I have given a ride to strangers, I never did so when I had my wife or children with me.  Why?  It’s one thing to choose to take risks for yourself.  It’s quite another to dive into the unknown and assume risk for others.  This is the problem that faces leaders of the USA.  How much risk is too much risk.  How much compassion is simply not enough?  Who can we trust when so many levels of “certainty” seem to exist.

My uneducated opinion is that Obama downplayed the potential risk involved in admitting refugees, and Trump simply undervalues compassion.  We are a nation made up of people who unquestionably have different views about how to properly balance the two.  But at the same time, people with opposing views mostly want the same things.  We want a safe country, safe from terror attacks.  And we want to do what we can to ease human suffering, especially in cases where the matter has an urgency to it, as it does in Syria. We just have different ideas about how to achieve these things.  Balance.

Some people lean toward the side of compassion.  Some people lean toward the side of safety.  I’m thankful to be surrounded by both types of people.  People care.  That’s a good thing.

I wouldn’t tell someone that they’re a bad person or a bad Christian for not being in 100% agreement with me on a stance of taking in as many refugees as possible.  I wouldn’t call someone a hate-monger if their position was that we should severely limit immigration from certain nations.

I’ve heard it said that the life of one American doesn’t have more value than the life of a person from another nation.  For an individual, especially for a follower of Christ, this is true.  But when it comes to our government, nothing can be further from the truth.  When we reach a time when our government doesn’t value our lives above the lives of those in other countries, then we may cease to have a country.

In the book, “All the Gallant Men”, USS Arizona crewman Donald Stratton recounts the horrors he witnessed and endured during and after the Pearl Harbor attack.  As his memoirs were put to paper 75 years later (at the age of 95, one of four living USS Arizona survivors), great attention was given to a burning question:


“What could we, as a nation, have done to prevent this terrible tragedy?”

Obviously, refugees aren’t the Japanese army.  But it does raise the point of the overwhelming responsibility of government to protect its people from danger, both seen and unseen.

How many people have looked for ways to blame our government for the Sept 11 terror attacks?  “They should have prevented it.”  I don’t buy that.  From the heartache, the conspiracy theories, and blame game arises a great need to learn from the past.


You can’t foresee every danger.  Every catastrophe cannot be prevented, but we have to do everything in our power to see that certain things never happen again.  We can’t downplay the presence of evil or of the hatred that exists toward our country.

I’m not saying we should let in zero refugees.  I’m not saying we should let in 2 million. But I am saying that some things are worth taking the time to get it right.  It’s a matter that’s worthy of swift movement, but diligence in our actions cannot be sacrificed for the sake of fear of inconveniencing a few.

“Never forget” really does mean “never forget” for some.

My hope is for a nation that’s safe.  My hope is for a nation that cares about humanity.  I don’t really know the best way to pull that off.  Maybe a good start would be for a lot of folks to stop pretending like they have all the answers.  They don’t.  When you take a look at the big picture…………

It’s complicated.


Trading Poop For Sh*t!

poop shoe


I owe some people an apology.  Early on in this ongoing bowel movement that has been the presidential election of 2016, I spoke freely and openly about the idiocy of Bernie Sanders and socialism in general.  At the time, I really didn’t grasp that some of my adult friends would actually be voting for Bernie in the primary.  Looking back now, I realize that my remarks probably gave the impression of calling people stupid for supporting Bernie.  For that I apologize.  My intent is almost always to be critical of thoughts and ideas without being overly critical of those who buy into them.  But I know it doesn’t always come across that way.  I apologize.

I’ve followed along pretty closely through the primaries, with hopes of a candidate with true conservative values winning the Republican nomination.  Maybe someone who possesses wisdom, integrity, honesty.  Someone who understands the dangers of an ever-expanding federal government and the exponential rise of the nanny state.  Gee, maybe even just someone who has genuine leadership skills.  Someone that will be a president even for those who didn’t vote for them.  That just didn’t materialize.

Before our eight years of Obama, I was never overly concerned with who out president was. My main concern has generally been for what Americans believe and not so much for who our supposed leader is.  But it is now my belief that no American president has ever done a more masterful job of negatively influencing the thinking of an upcoming generation and effectively silencing and shaming dissenters.

From Obama’s ongoing narratives, racial division has been re-ignited and disrespect for law enforcement has been energized.  Climate change is a new religion.  Work ethic steadily dies along with personal responsibility, as he pushes for equal results under the disguise of equal opportunity.  Affordable care act has basically made healthcare more affordable only for those who aren’t paying for it anyway.  The “everybody deserves” movement has never had so much momentum.  It’s probably safe to say that no president ever has done more to lay the groundwork for outright socialism (Obama and Hillary both love socialism, but only Bernie has the courage to call it what it is).  So yes, my attention level has risen.

So where does that leave conservatives?  Between Hillary and Trump, it may be a race between socialism and free markets.  That’s enough to make me vote for Trump, almost.  I don’t feel it’s necessary to hash out a laundry list of what I don’t like about Hillary (being conservative should explain why I could NEVER vote for Clinton).  Suffice to say that both candidates face a continuous onslaught of negative publicity, simply because that is the true path their life has taken and the malodorous trail that is left behind.  Plenty of folks have done a fine job of laying out a case for not voting for either one of them.  Yeah, I get that loud and clear.

Can I vote for Trump?  At times I thought I could, simply because of what I was voting against.  I was undecided until today.

I don’t say this to get others to follow along.  And I certainly don’t want to present my position as the right position or one that Christians should take.  But I have a feeling that many others feel the same as I do.  Unsure.

I have 10 & 16 year-old sons.  I care deeply what the United States of our future looks like. I care deeply what our younger generation believes in and where they lay their hope and their trust. My hope is that they place their trust is Jesus Christ as a savior who gives them hope, strength, and guidance.  I have a family to raise and a family business to run… matter who is president.  And regardless of who our nation’s leader is, I can use my life and my words to make an impact for Christ.  We don’t need a perfect environment to practice Christianity or to raise our family in God-honoring ways.  We don’t need an intrusion-free business climate to keep the doors open and keep the bills paid.

Yes it’s wise to be informed and concerned.  But I refuse to resort to hand-wringing about who our next leader is.  I refuse to buy into the perspective of “we’re doomed if _____ wins.”  Maybe for Christians, we’re not doomed, but we are seriously distracted from the life that God desires for us when we allow ourselves to become overly distraught about election results.  Again, I’m not trying to shame anyone for a level of passion that they may have reached.  I’m just telling people where I landed.

As a business man, I’m thankful that I don’t conduct business and treat people the way Trump has a history of doing.  And as women, I’m just forever grateful that my wife and daughters are polar opposites of the person that Hillary is.

But still, I could vote against Hillary and vote for Trump.

Except that I have two daughters of voting age (18 & 20).  And if they ask me who they should vote for, I could not with good conscience tell them to vote for Trump. But they didn’t even ask me.  And perhaps that is the deciding factor that speaks loudest of all.  My girls spend their time in the Bible seeking God’s direction in their life instead of following the biased hysteria of CNN, Fox News, and social media.  They are more concerned with God than they are about political and economic circumstances.  Pretty sure my wife feels the same way. I’m following their lead.

For all you folks that have done such a fine job telling the world why we shouldn’t vote for either, I commend you for a job well done.  You win.  I will vote for neither.

Like a good friend of mine has always said when left with choosing between two bad options………..

“You’re just trading poop for sh*t.”

In the end, you can choose to call your prized pile of manure something else.  But it still stinks.

Don’t bother telling me I have to choose one.  No, I don’t.