You Oughta Know - The Senate

Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education yesterday; she has a lot of problems coming into a role for which she is wholly unqualified. However, two firsts occurred during her hearings: the vice president became the first VP ever to case a tie breaking vote and two Republican senators voted against her confirmation, which is a first for the current administration. Here are a few resources on the subject:

Elizabeth Warren

The Senator from Massachusetts was silenced yesterday by her GOP compatriots in the Senate after quoting Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote a heated ten-page letter regarding then-lawyer Jeff Sessions when he was being nominated for a lower federal court judiciary position. After my initial confusion regarding why I did the following research on the subject. From the Washington Post:

The mechanism used to silence Warren is known as Rule 19, an arcane and seldom invoked provision in the rules of the Senate. The rule states that senators may not “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”

Read the whole article and you find out that the rule was put in place due to a fist fight that broke out in 1902, somewhat different than what occurred on the Senate floor yesterday. In an appeal of the rule, the Senate voted 49-43 along party lines that Senator Warren be silenced. Elizabeth Warren then took the letter and read it to all that will listen through Facebook (Source). Almost immediately, a movement began behind the LetLizSpeak and ShePersisted hashtags. Seems like the GOP might have set off Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential bid.

For good measure, Bernice A. King (daughter of Coretta and Dr. King) posted some advice to Facebook about dealing with this regime.

(UPDATE: Senator Tom Udall of New Mexicotook up the charge. Also, read this 29-part tweetstorm regarding the pro-slavery origins of Rule 19, written by a law professor at Cornell.)

Here are a few more resources of note:

History, on Repeat

Back in January (feels like ages ago), Dr. Drang wrote about history repeating itself. The article does a great job of collecting links and quotes from recent news, so I won’t go into much more detail than that. Here’s the lede:

America has a poor collective memory and it’s getting worse. It took about 50 years for us to forget the lessons of the Great Depression and decide that deregulating financial institutions was a good idea. That led to the savings and loan crisis of the 80s and—because we didn’t learn from that—the huge meltdown of 2007–8. The lessons of Vietnam took only 30 years to forget, leading to Iraq. The irony there was that Colin Powell, of the Vietnam-inspired Powell Doctrine, was one of the people ushering us into exactly what he had warned against.


Awesome Woman of the Day

Elizabeth Warren should be commended as today’s awesome woman, but for good measure, I wanted to share a story I came across about May Edward Chinn, the first black woman to graduate from Bellevue Medical College in 1926 with her MD. Here’s more about her and the best quote from the source: May we all treat no’ as a temporary symptom and not a chronic condition.” Awesome!

If You Watch One Video

Jake Tapper reports on The Lead, a show on CNN, and his straight-shooter reporting has interested me of late. He is especially willing to call shenanigans on the current administration. If you watch one video today, make it the full interview between Mr. Tapper and Kellyanne Conway.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.