Sitting back and reflecting on the past 30 days has me concerned. We have forgotten who we are. Many in this country are willing to throw the Constitution out the window without one shot being fired or even a threat of violence. Many are willing to allow our freedoms to be taken without question and even worse we are willing to throw our fellow Americans under the bus for such heinous crimes as daring to have more than 10 people in our home on a holiday or listening to music outside standing too close to one another. We did this without question and without undeniable truth. Yes, people have died, but please show me a death from JUST Covid 19 and not complications because of another illness exacerbated by Covid 19. It is fine to take precautions, it is ok for you to stay in especially if you are vulnerable. What is not ok is for the government to demand we submit and let them be our only provider of everything. In some areas, you can't worship freely in your car with the windows rolled up, make your own living if you are not deemed "essential", defend yourself, buy seeds to plant a garden, fish, or heck even use a leaf blower...... A LEAF BLOWER. The stories of local governmental tyranny during this time should have our inner Sam Adams fighting to come out. Sadly, some of you just wondered why I would bring beer into this. Sam and the rest of those who literally risked everything to give us these freedoms we enjoy would be shocked at what it took for us to surrender them.... a map. All they had to show us was a map with the name John Hopkins lit up red in the USA. That's all and we were done. No red coats, no weapons, no massacres, tea parties, no shots heard around the world. It was a map. What have we become? We have now shown our hand and now I am afraid. Covid 19 doesn't scare me, but our reaction to it does. We live in precarious times, my friends. Fear is a dangerous foe. It is way more dangerous than any pandemic. Fear can cause us to lose it all.
To My Dearest Memphis Tigers,
Two years ago, I looked at Coach Norvell at the annual women’s football clinic, Night with Norvell and said, “Thank you for staying with us. I am not sure if you know it, but this city needs you.” You see, for the last five years I have watched my city go to war with itself. My husband and I have been active in this community and to be honest, I never thought there was a day I would see what I saw yesterday.
While everyone was focused on the sea of blue shirts and the funny signs, I saw something much bigger than College GameDay. My heart swelled at the sight. In case you were not aware, Memphis is the second most dangerous city in the United States, and for the past five years, I have watched as my home has declined into this. Memphians cannot come together over anything. Seriously, we argue over EVERYTHING.
There has been a darkness over this city, and for a moment yesterday there was light. There was unity, and it was under this exceptional team. It is not just a game to the people that understand what is at work in this city because we see what these players and these coaches are doing. In case you have missed it, these players are in the community. These coaches are guiding the players to love this community and work to be a light in it. In case you missed it, the player prayer circle on that field has grown from about 5 to too many to count. In case you missed it, there are more expressions of faith on that field than ever before. In case you missed it, these players have been praying for you, Memphis. These players want you to have a better home. Many of these players will move on from here, but Memphians, while they are here, they are working to bring you a better city.
Many assumed I was disappointed with the decision to have GameDay on Beale because it wasn’t on Tiger Lane. For me, and many others it was because we know what happens on Beale. We all have seen the videos, we have seen the violence and have seen city leaders scratch their heads on what to do. Phil Glass held a sign that said, “Miracle on Beale” Little did he know. Yesterday, thousands descended on Beale, and for a second our city’s heart began to beat as one, and for a moment, we were not the second most dangerous city; we were Tiger Nation. This praying, community serving team brought us together and started the process of healing our broken city.
I saw it, did you? All the labels that we wear to divide us were discarded for one label, Memphis Tiger. Memphis versus Everybody took on a new meaning. We were Memphis. We were one. The nation saw it. No videos with captions such as “Keep is classy Memphis” or “Typical Memphis.” Today, I hold my head up and proudly say , I live in Memphis. I look at those pictures on Beale, and I say, “That is my city.” That is the Memphis we can strive to be. You, my dear Tigers, got the ball rolling.
Phil, there was a miracle yesterday. To my knowledge, there were zero incidents of violence on Beale while we were there. To my knowledge, there was zero violence when the 58,000 plus descended on the Liberty Bowl.
To my beloved Tigers, you did the impossible. You brought out the best in our city. You got us beyond the negativity that surrounds us. The light shined down on Memphis yesterday, and I believe it is just the beginning. Thank you for being here and thank you for investing in us and thank you for praying for us. You have proven that Memphis is a city whose heart can be mended. You have proven we are not our negative press. We are not a dying city. We are a city whose heart beats blue. WE ARE MEMPHIS!
The Most Grateful Tiger Fan
Chett and I attended our first CPAC. If you are not familiar with CPAC it has been compared to Comic-con for conservative politics. I was not familiar with CPAC. Despite my currently political leanings, I have always been on the bluer side of things until 2016. This fact may surprise some, but those who know me well know while I have changed, some of my core beliefs are still intact; however, I feel that the blue I once voted for no longer exists and I no longer find a home as a conservative-leaning moderate in the Democratic party.
So here I am, a former Obama supporter sitting among the ranks of the reddest voters in a political gathering in the bluest corner of Tennessee, where our representative is known for eating fried chicken at the House Judiciary Hearing to insult William Barr.
As expected the turnout was not wonderful because, well, this is Memphis. Steve Cohen doesn’t even have to campaign to win. Chett and I walk in and are quickly ushered back to the media table, where I am sitting by my local news and newspaper outlets. We are the only radio show there. As we get settled, we turn to the stage, and there is a fireside chat with Deneen and Tom Borelli going, and they are discussing the Green New Deal. Well, after about 5 minutes, I am wondering if I will make it through the morning because I love politics, and even this was killing me. It felt scripted and repetitive and well just painful. I am sure they are lovely people, but when the applause erupted I am not sure if it was because they liked what was said or they were just happy it was over.
The next speaker was the one that drew me to the event because of my experience with Eric Trump. If you recall, twitter hates it when you thank a Trump. Don’t believe me? Google my name, and Eric Trump……I’ll wait.
Great you are back. Now, I posted that on the #Walkaway page. There were only a couple thousand when I found the page, and here is Brandon Straka at CPAC Memphis. Brandon is, by definition expected to be a card-carrying liberal. However, after receiving a video from a friend he trusted, he began to research the right and came to the same revelation I had, maybe I have had this all wrong. Maybe, I am not the free thinker I thought I was. Brandon started a fire in this country, and pretty much he joined CPAC to throw gasoline on it.
He is not your typical conservative, not at all, and I LOVE it! Yet, this unconventional conservative wakes the crowd up and brings them to their feet in applause. He is so popular that they even open up a question and answer time. He is inspiring and gutsy. Brandon has been ostracized by his social community for motivating the conservative community to rise and be silent no more. Mind you; this was a community he believed hated him and yet they love him. They are eating up every word he utters, and I love it!
The media table is occupied on their phones and doesn’t record a thing he is saying. They do not care what he is saying. They are waiting for the Governor, Bill Lee. After Bill Lee speaks they are gone. Most of them pack up and leave and the others that are left look annoyed to be there even know the next speaker deserved their attention. It was Commissioner Julie Hocker with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Julie Hocker is one of those people that inspire. Julie fights for the voiceless; She makes sure the disabled have a voice in Congress. She is fierce, and she is usually the type of person the media would be salivating over a true overcomer, and they remained buried in their phones as this remarkable woman talks of human dignity for those who deserve it, yet do not get it.
How have I never heard of this woman? Have you
The next presentation was a panel discussion was discussion about failing cities. Ironic right? We are sitting in the 2nd most dangerous city in the country, and the media is not even remotely interested in what Jesse Kelly, Brandon Straka, and Maj Toure have to say on the subject, even though one truly has been working to curb violence in the inner city.
Maj Toure is a rapper who also works on gun education and founder of Black Guns Matter. Hmmm….never heard of this guy. He is a conflict resolution coach, in a sense. He is at CPAC to convince conservatives to rally together to help the inner city. He lets the room know that conservative America needs to stop ignoring the inner city because the inner city is conservative; they don’t know it. This guy is fascinating, and again this guy is working diligently in violent cities teaching conflict resolution, and it is working. Why am I just hearing of this man?
Media…..not paying attention. They are probably playing Toon Blast.
Next up is Candace Owens, the architect of Blexit. She has fascinated me from the first moment I saw one of her videos. She is a powerhouse. She is has taken on journalists, politicians, and even congress as a whole. She is a powerful black woman speaking up for her community, and yet again, the media is absent.
We break for lunch, and unfortunately, I have to leave, but not before I stop by to give Brandon Straka a hug, and I leave CPAC scratching my head. Some of the speakers who are long-time members of the GOP were probably well-meaning, but lacking in any personality. The GOP needs to realize that there is a movement and it is not made up of your normal suit and red tie folks. It is made up of folks like me who found themselves ousted for practicing conservatism.
I felt out of place in my new political home until the newbies came to speak. I can tell that many do not know what to do with us. While I was waiting at the table to meet Brandon, the volunteer was chit-chatting with me about how she knew liberal people, and she was a “Walk with me.” She said I don’t understand these people, but I try, not realizing she was talking to one of “those people.” Trump was my first Red vote. There are many reasons for it. He was not my first choice, but he was the choice I was given, and now my eyes have been opened. I find myself like Brandon, wanting to know more.
I graduated with two political science degrees, and I have to tell you, diving into conservative reading is something I never did in college in all of the political classes. I left, with a very liberal view of the world, but here is the kicker, I had no idea there was anything else. I was taught the left side and nothing else, so I find all of this fascinating and I devour it. Do I buy all of it? Well of course not. But, the more I read, and the more I compare it to the emerging AOC party, it looks better and better. In 2008, I campaigned for President Obama, and in 2016 I cast my first Republican vote, and it appears as of today, I won’t be looking back.
Do I feel completely at home on the red side? Not yet. I am still pro-union because I have seen what employers can do to their employees. Hello? Police and fire benefits? I do believe in safety nets, to an extent. I do not believe that private citizens will do their part in charity as time goes on. Our society is forgetting how to love one another. I do believe there are socioeconomic conditions that can cause people to do bad things, and I believe in second chances.
I hope that the voices like Brandon, Maj, and Candace will be a breath of fresh air the “Grand Ole Party” needs. We need young voices, fresh faces, to present old ideas as new again.
See the full CPAC Memphis below.
On August 1, 2015, one life was taken, and mine was changed. Memphis Police Department lost one of it’s finest, Officer Sean Bolton. I had been working with other police and fire families to try to restore our benefits when he was killed. We were at a friend’s house. (One who just happened to serve with Sean in Iraq). We were watching the Rhonda Rousey fight. I had to google that because the fight would never be seen that night. Phones all over the room go off. Officer down! The panic ensues, and everyone scrambles to text officers they know are on duty. One by one we hear back. Then the news breaks in and it is announced it is Officer Sean Bolton. The look on my friend’s face said it all. He knew him. And he knew him well.
My phone goes off and it from a medic..he’s gone. Telling my friend that his friend survived Iraq to come home to Memphis to be killed was life changing for me. I now see what these families go through when officers go out and even worse when one goes down.
The days to follow were full of tears, seas of blue, and manhunts. Tony Armstrong, then MPD director really showed what a leader he truly was during those days. "He's a coward," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said during a news conference Sunday. "You gun down — you murder — a police officer for less than 2 grams of marijuana, a misdemeanor citation and a fine."
It unfortunately wasn’t just a misdemeanor as we would later find out, but Director Armstrong was right about one thing…..He WAS and STILL IS a COWARD!
There has been speculation through the years about what went on that night and now there is no question as to what happened that night. Fast forward 2018. Shelby County Criminal Court Division 7. The State of Tennessee v. Tremaine Wilbourn is now in the hands of the jury. Stop now if you cannot handle details of what really happened that night.
When I first see Wilbourn I notice they have tried to make him look like less of a monster by pulling his hair back, dressing him up a little, and putting some brand-new glasses on him. Normally, he may pass as a respectable member of society, but as soon as his lawyer speaks to ask for the dismissal of 1st degree murder charges, the judge reminds him of what a monster he really is. I do not remember his entire speech, I just remember him telling him how cruel he was to Sean. He recapped what happened. Tremaine and some associates were sitting in a car illegally parked. Sean made the scene and took out his flashlight. Read that again…..took out his flashlight. Not his GUN his FLASHLIGHT and approached the car.
Remember those “routine” traffic stops people like to mention? Yeah here is where it is not so routine and remember this truth, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. Other passengers in the car decide to run for it. Not Tremaine. See despite being a convicted felon, He is carrying a 9mm and he has decided he is NOT GOING BACK TO JAIL. As Sean goes to get him from the car a scuffle ensues, and shots are fired, 11 to be exact. All by Wilbourn.
Shot one hits in the face. By shot three is on the ground with his hands over his face. Wilbourne steps back and fires again and again and again….hitting him all around his body armor. Sean NEVER reached for his weapon. His weapon and all bullets were accounted for. His gun was never ready for discharge. It could have been anyone that night. It happened to be Sean. The judge reminds him that medics had to hold Sean’s face together in order to even try to help him. Wilbourne executed Sean in cold blood. Sean had a flashlight.
Therefore, he is a coward. Wilbourne has the guts to be a criminal, but he doesn’t have the guts to pay the price. He has his lawyers trying to convince a jury death is not warranted for him. Live by the sword, die by it right? You kill an officer, carjack a vehicle, and turn yourself in three days later just to tell director Armstrong you are not a coward. Yes Sir you are. Your lawyer proudly admitted, “he admits to killing Officer Bolton” but then explains that 1st degree isn’t warranted. Be a man, face the fate you dealt out to a son, brother, and friend. Be the MAN you say you are and MAN up to face your consequences.
Do not beg for your life, you sure didn’t give Sean the opportunity to beg for his. Seeing Sean’s body in the Medical Examiner’s report brought an intense amount of anger in me. I turned and looked at Sean’s brother and wondered how he was remaining so calm? What a strong family Sean comes from. I was mere feet away from this admitted cop killer and I was full of anger for Sean’s family sitting around me, for the officers all around, and for Sean. I am angry for the wife and children he never had and for the vacations he never got to take. I am angry for the dreams never realized because Wilbourne was a coward who wants to break the law, but not take the consequences of that lifestyle.
Sean served that community and by testimony they really liked “their neighborhood officer.” He engaged the kids and the community, by all accounts you not only took a great officer and solider, you took a great role model out of the community. The DA puts a picture of Sean up with a big smile on his face. His sister explains that is was at their brother’s wedding and he is laughing because he broke his tie and they had to fix it with a paper clip. His smile is real. You see it in his eyes. Such a handsome face, now a haunting one marred by the autopsy photos.
How can anyone decide a life is not worth anything? To shoot him in cold blood and leave him to die on the streets like some sort of animal and really, we treat our animals better than that. You shot him in the face rendering him defenseless and like the coward you are pulled the trigger 10 more times. What must happen to someone for them to feel no empathy for another human being? This blog will probably be a work in progress because I am still sorting through all the emotions, I have about this.
I have so many questions the biggest being why wasn’t he in jail? Bank robbery really? He is a bank robber and he is free??? I just don’t even know how to end this other than saying that I am sorry I didn’t get to know Sean on this side of Heaven, but I carry his smile with me always now.
To the men and women who serve and their families, thank you is not enough, but thank you for sure is warranted. You are true heroes all of you and my prayers are with you every time you put on that badge. Thank you for choosing us over yourselves and being there for us in our times of trouble. You are all amazing.
Tomorrow the Jury decides Wilbourn's fate. No matter what it is, it will be delivered more humanely than what this man got. I pray that Sean gets his justice.
**Update He was convicted of First Degree Murder. The State originally offered life without parole. Wilbourne accepted and Bolton's family did not. The jury is deciding his fate as I type this.
Today, I had a former citizen of Venezuela come and speak to my students. I felt they needed to hear the truth about what socialism; even democratic socialism does to a country. I will get to that in a second. Over the last few weeks we have seen countries that have been branded as a model for the United States do despicable things.
Many of you did not hear about Alfie Evans until he was gone. A few of us watched in horror as two young parents lost the authority to decide the medical care over their son. Their son had an unknown illness that was causing brain degeneration. The UK decided the child was not viable and decided to pull the plug. When it became apparent there was no “Plug” to pull they removed his feeding tube.
Italy, by direction of the Pope granted the child citizenship and asked that Alfie be moved to Italy for better palliative care and a possible answer to what was killing Alfie. They did not promise to change the prognosis, but only to make him more comfortable AND to maybe provide the parents with an answer. The parents appealed to the courts and the UN and were met with a resounding NO. If we aren’t going to treat him, no one will. They surrounded the hospital with police, even placing two police officers at the door, further reminding the Evans that their child was sentenced to die and they had no choice but to go along with it.
It is true Alfie Evans would probably not recover if it was true that his brain had degenerated. However, it is also true that the parents DID NOT know why it happened. He did not have a diagnosis. What is the harm in letting the parent get answers? What was the harm in letting Italy take him to continue the Palliative care? Simple answer…because we say so.
This is the consequence of socialized medicine. We become slaves to the state and we no longer have control over ourselves or our children. The world is heartbroken for the Evans. Yet they can’t say anything. Warnings were sent out via social media that all posts were being monitored and the appropriate actions will be taken. They were showing up and questioning people that were questioning the government’s role in Alfie’s death.
If we do not have control over our bodies, are we free? If we do not have control over our children, are we free? If we cannot question the authority of our government, are we doomed?
I realized that the emergence of Bernie Sanders was celebrated by our college students because “free stuff” is awesome. “Income Equality for all will be great.” The problem is that it is a lie. It is a big fat lie. As I said, I brought in a man who watched his country fall to a dictator who used the promise of equality for all after studying Marx in Prison after a failed coup. Hugo Chavez used talk of Social Justice and taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Through corruption and manipulation, the country that owned Citgo and that should have been the wealthiest place in the Southern Hemisphere, fell in to the lies that Marx told.
First, the oil companies went under government control and companies lit Citgo suffered at the hands of the full government control. In fact, currently, Citgo has been offered up to Russia as a settlement for Russian Debt. Next came the free healthcare and education. Yeah that worked well if you could find a doctor. It squashed all private doctors and eventually, the medicine and the healthcare dried up. Now they are in a healthcare crisis.
Free education also had a price according to Pedro. He recalled students being pulled from their college classrooms and being forced to protest in favor of the government, even if they didn’t want to. They could severe beating or even death if they spoke up against the government that was providing their lifestyle.
How is Venezuela today?
So the question I ask you is a simple one, why in the world would we welcome a system where we do end up equal, equally poor? It has NEVER worked. I watched a man tell me today he doesn’t know what he will do when the government of Venezuela takes the internet down, which is what it next. He will then lose access to his mom. He will not know from day to day if his family is ok. Are we so free that we are begging for chains? This is insane to me. We are standing by idly while we are letting our freedom be given away by people promising what they cannot give....equality.
This past weekend on my show, I had a caller call in and tell me I needed to leave Memphis alone because "I don’t care about Memphis." The reason you ask? I am white. Yep, I cannot possibly care about my fellow man because my skin lacks Melanin. “Melanin is a complex polymer derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Melanin is responsible for determining skin and hair color and is present in the skin to varying degrees; depending on how much a population has been exposed to the sun historically.” (Mandal, 2017)
It was that point that my producer jumped in and defended me. He felt compelled to do so because he is my friend and yes he has Melanin. Anthony is my friend because we are alike in many ways. We both love the people in this city and we want them to have a brighter day, as Anthony would say. Unfortunately, with the division in this country I have to put the next disclaimer in. Today, we have to prove we are friends when color comes in. Anthony has been to my home and I have been to his. We have even shared a meal. My family has been to see him perform and we have worked on several projects together. Anthony is my friend because we have the same heart. We see the world the same way but we have different experiences that we bring to the table. Additionally, he is not my ONLY black friend. His relevance to this story is his defense of me.
You don’t understand how much it pains me to have to put those disclaimers in there. I have to back up the fact that my friends and even my family has diversity. We should not have ever gotten to this point as humans. But, never the less here we are.
Ironically, the very next day my Ancestry DNA test came in. First, I was shocked to see that I wasn’t as Irish as I thought I was. I was British. I will dissect that further when I trace my ancestors. British includes the possibility of England, Wales, and Scotland. I am not going to lie; I want the Scottish to win. William Wallace in my history fascinates me.
Well Ancestry is pretty thorough and trace it down the the smallest of percentages. So when I clicked on it I was fascinated with what it revealed. Then I laughed. I laughed a lot and messaged Anthony. My DNA had hits in Mali, one of the largest nations in Africa. It also hit in Afghanistan. Even better was that I had DNA relatives I could look at. I found several that looked like me and I found some that had some more Melanin in them than I do. I love it!
I know that some have not taken the news that they are not who they thought they were as well as I have and that’s the point of this blog. We have to stop hating for something we have ZERO control over. We cannot help the way our parents DNA lined up to create us. I don’t recall getting to choose this. Yet here we are blaming each other for things based on biology. Hating someone for the presence of Melanin or lack thereof is pointless.
We were all beautifully and wonderfully made. Our DNA holds a beautiful tapestry of backgrounds and ethnicity. We choose to taint this with hate and divisiveness.
I encourage everyone to pick up an Ancestry DNA test and find out who you are made up of. We may find we have more common ground that we thought. I know there are several barriers on this issue to break. But the one that can be the key to helping change all others is to stop the HATE. STOP IT! We are all people and we never chose what we look like. We only control how we behave and treat others. The change begins with you.
Ready to find out who you are???
I know it has been awhile since I blogged. I have been quite discouraged by a lot of different things. But, I wanted to share some words of wisdom that were shared with me. I have always been envious of people who “get a word” from God. Throughout my life, I have heard people say, “I was in my Bible study this morning and I got a word from God.” The only way I usually get a word is with a devotional. However, I wanted to share that I am proud to day I finally, “received a word” and I wanted to share with you what I learned as it pertains to anyone who has been in the position I have found myself in in the past few years.
In the past few years I have found myself under attack. It has not been from who I would expect. Without going in to too much detail, I have found myself under attack from people who are supposed to be on the same team. I have found that there are a few out there who seek to destroy for whatever reason and I must say some days the pain of it was crippling. I know some have told me. “Don’t let them see they got to you.” Well, I decided come out and say that yes, they did get to me and I know there are other people in this fight that are in this position. For some reason, we like to be very of critical of one another and for the life of me I don’t get it.
I picked up my Bible on Wednesday and decided I would read from Matthew and I thought to myself, “Why not start with the Easter story?”
Matthew 26:6 caught my attention. “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
This caught my attention because I knew exactly where this woman was. I could feel the cut of their criticism. I had been there. She had been there to show Jesus she was there to serve. Her heart was in the right place and she was criticized by the very people she was there to honor. While Jesus did defend her, I am sure it still stung that those closest to Jesus were criticizing her. Why would they do that? Why? You know when people who are against you and you know they are against you criticize you, it is not something you really care about. You don’t think about it a lot because you know they are against you.
I would expect that Mayor Wharton and Mayor Strickland aren’t big fans of me or the show and they would most definitely have some negatives to say. But when it comes from those who you are fighting to honor, it truly hurts. So, I knew exactly what this woman must have been feeling and because of that, I wanted to know more about her.
You may or may not know that the gospels tell different accounts of the same story so I turned to Mark. Mark 14 tells this story. “It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating,[a] a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages[b] and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
There is a little more information about where they are and it is clear that Jesus is scolding her critics, but why are they so critical of this seemingly good thing? Should he not be honored? Do they not believe he is indeed the Messiah and therefore not deserving of such honor?
John is very detailed and this is where it all comes together for me and this is my AHA moment. Read John 12:1-8
John 12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate[a] with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar[b] of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages.[c] It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. 7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Did you see it? Her critic was not all of them. The voices seemed loud in Matthew and Mark. It felt like they were ALL being critical and John tells us that it is just one. It was Judas. JUDAS!! Well now that makes a difference given what we know about Judas. He had an agenda. His motive was not to honor Jesus. He was the very one that would deliver Jesus to his death. Judas represents those in my struggle who I thought were one my side and then to find out they were not.
Knowing the critic was Judas lets me know that Jesus was not concerned about Mary’s motive (John let us in on her name) because he knew Judas’s motive. He knew both of their hearts as he knows mine and my critics’. We cannot hide who we are from God. We may be able to fool one another for a time, but the truth is always revealed, just as Judas turned out to be the sole critic and it was his shortcomings that caused his behavior, not Mary’s.
Next time you are faced with criticism that is both unwelcome and troublesome remember that it may not be as bad as you think. It may feel like the entire world is against you but it may just be the one. The voices may be loud but they may not be numerous. Most importantly, God knows your heart and theirs and in time their true motive and heart will be revealed to those who need to see it, including you.
In the meantime, you do what you are called to do. Mary did not let Judas stop her from honoring Jesus. He didn’t distract her from serving as she felt led. I am sure it wasn’t easy, since Judas’s motive had not been revealed to her. Her resolve was solid and because of this Jesus says people would be talking about her in the future……he wasn’t wrong, was he?
I am a recovering Democrat. I do not make this announcement lightly. My entire voting life I have been willing to vote both parties, but found myself in a place that put me in the Democrat’s column. I am a social conservative, but there were some things I believed should be left alone. For instance, I was a young mother and my husband and I would have never been able to go to school without grants (unfortunately I still have loans too), my children were born on state issued insurance (Tenncare), and while they were little we had WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) that paid for their formula. We would have never made it without these things. However, we did what you are supposed to do. We received our education (3 diplomas between us) and moved into the working world. We used the program as a catalyst into middle classdom. We now pay into the very system that we used. We don’t complain, after all if it were not for these programs we would not be where we are today. But, where is that exactly?
At first it was a good place to be. Hard work had paid off and we were able to buy a house. We even upgraded (which is another blog post), but we had finally come to a place where we doing better. We were above the poverty line and no longer qualified for the EIC and this is a good thing. Upward mobility is what we want right? Right?.......Right? Hmmmm….this is where I am not so sure.
While pitching the ACA, President Obama promised me and my family we could keep our healthcare (Obama).
At the time, I was actually receiving healthcare through my husband’s insurance. He has really good insurance. This is about to change because the government is trying the penalize company’s for providing good health insurance. It’s called a Cadillac tax. They say it is designed to stop high premium insurance and “union benefits packages” (Kelly). Well, considering we are a public safety family, my husband does belong to the Local IAFF for Firefighters that did help negotiate for all city employees. What this means is that we will be taxed 40% if they do not change the insurance.
Unions have been among the most vocal opponents of the Cadillac tax, as they have traditionally used substantial benefits packages to attract members. But Klein’s group, the Alliance to Fight the 40—which counts unions, insurance companies, an American Cancer Society affiliate, and county governments among its members—claims every American covered by employer-sponsored insurance, roughly 175 million people, are “at risk,” because of the inflation indexing (Kelly).
I do have to ask how you can claim to be pro-union and pro ACA at the same time? The answer—you can’t. This is what has happened to me. Someone who has worked so hard to improve life for herself and her family has been cut from her husband’s insurance and forced onto my employer’s healthcare, which has cost me another premium (without a discount on my husband’s premium) and now I have high deductibles. Even though I was told I could keep my insurance. I could keep it, if I quit. So if I regress, I can keep affordable healthcare? Really? Is that the American Dream now?
What about that Cadillac tax? For our police, fire, and other city employees that means the city is trying to move them to high deductible insurance in order to escape the 40% tax hike. What does this mean? This is how it has played out for my family. I do not get the medications and the HEALTHCARE I need. You see having health insurance does not mean I get to actually go to the doctor. Since I am already paying for a new policy, which President Obama said I wouldn’t have to get with higher deductibles and copays, I only go to the doctor when I don’t feel I can tough it out. The problem now it that I live in constant pain. I don’t believe it is life threatening (at least I hope it’s not) the first round of very expensive tests I am still paying for were inconclusive and I cannot afford the next round of tests until I pay the first ones off. So here I sit in pain and I have to be honest it is wearing on me. It is affecting every aspect of my life and there is literally nothing I can do because like most middle class families these days we are pushed to the point that we are choosing healthcare or groceries? Utilities or prescriptions? But thank Goodness those $10 birth control pills are now free huh? President Obama I am almost 40 years old, I can pay $10 for birth control, what I can’t pay is $1000 for a colonoscopy up front. There would be minimal costs involved if it were routine, but since they don’t know what’s wrong it makes it diagnostic and not preventative. So, what is the solution? I choose groceries and utilities and I pray that whatever this is in my side is benign and will take care of itself.
Some days I wonder, was all the hard work to make life better for my family really beneficial. I mean I am working 3 jobs just to make it. I work and I am proud of that, but if we would have chosen to stay living below the poverty line I would have truly affordable healthcare, food in my cupboards, child care, and a healthy EIC on my taxes every year. So I ask again, the goal of some of these policies to truly help Americans get better or is the goal a little more sinister? I am starting to think that being dependent on the government is the idea here because if you try to remove yourself from the dependency they are making life harder for those who don’t. If we choose to try to capture the “American Dream,” We are forced to live pay check to paycheck.
I also understand that there people living in extreme poverty that do not have anything and I am not taking away from them. But, if these policies are not helping them either, we have to ask who are they helping?
I cannot blame the wealthy for much of this although I know some blame can be placed in the laps of corporate greed, I’ve been the victim of that too (That too is another blog.) So what do we as American’s do? Do we sit and take it? So we accept the new “American Dream” to be just to be able to go to the doctor when we are deathly sick? Or do we fight back? I choose fight back, but I cannot do it alone. You have to stop accepting this and burying your head in the sand and tell Congress NO more! Tell your state legislatures NO MORE! The middle class is the dumping ground for failed policies and it is time they do right by us! It is our country we must take it back. Get out and Vote!
I hope sometime soon I will be able to once again afford that healthcare he promised me or maybe I can become a member of Congress and become exempt from all of this.
Kelly, Nora. The Atlantic. 28 January 2016. 30 September 2016.
Obama, Barack. Politifact. 4 November 2013. Quote. 30 September 2016.
Memphis you have to step up. Those on the front lines are tired. We lost another officer and you should be angry. You should be angry about a whole slew of things. Many of you probably are, but the real question is are you angry enough to actually do something?
When I first heard about the Greensward Situation I was at city hall. I was there because Councilman Ford was trying to silence the voice of the people. Robin and I, along with Towanna Murphy had decided to throw a “Free the 1st” rally.” We wanted to make sure that the citizens would continue to be allowed to speak to the council.
As we stood outside with our free speech board we met person after person who asked about the Greensward meeting. One person who didn’t speak English very well stopped by and simply said “trees.” At that point we laughed and said, “5th floor.” We had very little activity on our wall about the freedom to speak, but these Greensward folks were fired up! Much like a certain benefits group I know of.
We filed in to the chambers and it was FULL. Sound familiar? Citizen after Citizen filed forward to speak on behalf of a park that has been in the example of citizen activism. I hate Wikipedia but I think in this case it sums this up pretty well. "Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402 (1971), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that established the basic legal framework for judicial review of the actions of administrative agencies. It also stands as a notable example of the power of litigation by grassroots citizen movements to block government action."
In 1971, a fight was waged for this park, for greenspace in an Urban Area. This park, this space that is now parked on, was once an epic battle between the power of the National Government and the People. Just a few years later another group would see an epic battle between the people of the MFD and MPD and the city government. In 1978, a battle raged about the rights of the public servant.
In both cases the voices of the people were heard and the people won. Now given the history of both of these fights, one would think this would be remembered and celebrated. Well, one would be wrong.
In Memphis, Tennessee the people have no voice. Whether it is about benefits, the Colosseum, or a “Patch of Grass,” We the People have lost our voice. The power brokers at city hall have forgotten that they answer to us. Each of these things illustrates this very fact. You should have a voice. They should care that you care about public safety, taxes, blight, and yes a park.
These people have continued a fight just as we did. They have tried just about everything we have (they haven’t surrounded city hall. A moment I am really proud of). They have T-shirts and bumper stickers. They fill the chambers and the 5th floor. Sound familiar?
The media only tells you the side of City Hall and not the side of the folks fighting. They haven’t told you about the Easter egg hunt that is done every year for the neighborhood kids that the zoo actually stole from them. Zoo officials actually picked up the eggs and took them.
They haven’t told you about the free parking brigade that graciously directs zoo patrons to free parking or that at one time a free shuttle ran from the parking garage on Overton Square (PILOT recipient) and the zoo sent letters asking people not to use it. Last time I went there I noticed parking was free until 6 and it is one of the nicest garages I have seen. They haven’t told you despite the fact that it is illegal to park cars on the lawn in the city (oil seeping into the ground), they allow it for the zoo.
They haven’t told you that parks in Urban Areas actually help stop a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect. They haven’t told you that the city actually let the Overton Park Conservancy run the park and the zoo destroys it and charges $5.00 a car. Do you think that money goes to the city? Nope the zoo keeps it.
They haven’t told you that millions comes out of the city budget for the zoo, yet they claim to be a private entity when asked for public record requests to see their books. Those millions and that parking money could be better used elsewhere don’t you think?
They haven’t told you that many of the TAXPAYERS moved here for that park and that it is one of the few positives that this city has profiled nationally by PBS in 10 parks that changed America.
I remember it being pointed out that we had the best police and fire department in the country and we have watched as the city has destroyed it, much like this park. To those park supporters every car parked on that lawn, is just like an officer of fireman leaving to us. It hurts. So when is a park simply not just a park? When it is a park that embodies the very fight we have been fighting ourselves. We are both fighting for a voice, to be heard, to be seen by the people who are supposed to care about us.
In Memphis, they call us names when we stand up. We were the angry wives and they are the fringe element. I call us the people. I call us citizens. I call us voters. So you see it is not just grass. It is so much more than that. It is listening to the cries of the people that are supposed to be the ones actually running the city. Public Safety and Greensward are different, but also the same. Every time they park a car on that grass, or an officer/ fireman leaves, another octave in our voice is lost. If the city council wins in this, as we know that whole park will be gone, much like pensions and benefits.
So, I stand with the Greensward people because we have been on their journey, we have walked a mile in their shoes, and the citizens deserve some sort of victory and just maybe their victory,may lead to ours.