The Bad News is that One of Them Becomes President

capture-20161014-175943The good news is we’re now down to days before we can finally come out of this disturbing and disgusting and surreal state of reality we’ve all been forced to endure in various stages for the past year. The bad news is we have days left before we can finally come out of this surreal state of reality. Typically, election season gives Americans an opportunity to explore their options. Who supports the issues that matter to a family? Which candidate will keep us out of war? Which candidate is going to be remembered for the good he or she did for Americans and humanity in general? Each national election brings with it a certain degree of embarrassing revelations, silly bickering and promises that if one candidate is elected over another, the country’s going to hell. That’s not the case with the current season – not by a long shot.

Imagine the worst kind of criminal; one who is the epitome of pure evil with his dark and brutal ways. Imagine the trial and the truly tragic details of his victims’ final moments that emerge each day. You know these details because the trial in its entirety is being broadcast live. Now think about the divide the trial causes between supporters and those who hate the accused. Can you imagine it being any worse than what we’re witnessing in this election? Yeah…me either.

These candidates have made history, no doubt. They’ve divided a nation. They have created the same weaknesses and fears that are usually reserved for a category 5 hurricane headed straight for our hometown.

When you take a step back, and I’m sure many will begin to see this once the election is behind us, there are common denominators in that trial, the hurricane and the election. Pride and money and notoriety and a place in history are those ribbons woven through each. The politicians warning of the hurricane walk a fine line in how they tell people to evacuate (or not), where the storm makes landfall and when to declare states of emergency for the “imminent landfall”. If that hurricane doesn’t make landfall, there goes the credibility.  If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, there goes the perfect conviction record the DA loves to brag about on a daily basis. It all comes down to being right and winning and no shortage of taunts directed to the loser. Losing, to them, is like a death.

These candidates have spewed so much hate in an effort to win that they don’t realize they’ve burned beyond recognition the entire election process and everything our founding fathers intended. Each time a “game changer” breaks into our daily routine, via breaking news emails, Twitter trends and “exclusive interviews with the victim tonight”, we’re forced to factor it into our decision-making process. If we believe everything each side swears is true, we can decide between a rapist and a rapist’s wife. We can choose a murderer if we’d like or maybe a serial sexual harasser. We can choose the candidate whose daughter bought her education or we can opt for the candidate whose children are “destined to turn out like their predatory father”.

There’s no shortage of information from which to make that decision, either. We can believe an Australian computer programmer and journalist who’s hiding out in an embassy to avoid facing his own sexual assault charges. We can also take our pick of an ever-increasing number of women who say they were victims of sexual harassment by their former boss, who’s now wanting your vote. And let’s not forget the women who have, for years (unlike the other candidate’s accusers), insisted a former president and husband to the current candidate raped, molested or otherwise assaulted them. We can believe a “kill list” or we can believe a group of people whose egos convinced them to try out for a reality show years ago because they wanted to be in the spotlight. We have countless audio tapes and no shortage of teary-eyed victims who turn it on as soon as they cameras whir to life.

So successful are their efforts that they have managed to annihilate bonds that were previously stronger than any super-duper new must-have product being shown on Shark Tank. Families are divided. Best friends are now at one another’s throats and are being closely monitored by terrorists everywhere for tips on how to wreak the most damage to the human psyche. Facebook and Twitter are the new battlegrounds and that amazing actor many were convinced should star in every TV show, major film and documentary has now become dirt under a fan’s feet because of his “insults to the fans”.

How in God’s name did we get to the point that no recognizable shred of human compassion and intelligence and goodness and sense of fairness can be found in our political candidates? When did we, as a society, decide it’s OK to treat people in a disrespectful way? It used to be that Facebook was filled with those ridiculous messages of inspiration for humanity: “Tread lightly, you don’t know what challenges he’s had” or “Be kind to everyone. God may be testing you”? No, these days it’s “If you vote for candidate B, you’re white trash” or “Unfriend/unfollow me if you support candidate A”. I admit, there were times when those sugary-sweet memes hit my timeline that I’ve wanted to add a touch of sarcasm, but after this election, I’ll take a timeline FILLED with those cheesy sentiments over the darkness of political memes.

We’ve all hit new lows, not just these candidates and campaign workers. We all have responsibility to the monstrosity this has become. It’s bigger than any of us. If there’s anything at all we can all collectively agree on, it’s that we’re about to emerge from this 10th ring of hell we’ve endured. That’s the good news. The bad news is one of these candidates will win.

Huckabee and the Huge Disservice to Molestation Victims

capture-20150524-045906For 15 seasons, fans of the TLC reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, have watched a large family grow, because, well, apparently, there’s a fascination with seeing large families on television. In all fairness, I realize there’s probably more to that fascination than simply witnessing an unrealistic determination of a southern family continuing their efforts of growing in modern society; I have never seen even one episode. My sister has and it was our topic of choice over dinner. For her, the creep factor inched up during one of the first seasons, so she too abandoned the notion of finding anything wholesome or even realistic that served as a foundation for the family. Now, her creep factor makes sense.

Our conversation then moved on to Mike Huckabee, mega conservative candidate for the Republican presidential ticket. He’s another one who annoys me, even when I can quite define that annoying feature. But at least he’s standing up for what he believes with this whole molestation scandal surrounding the Duggar family. Got to appreciate that, right? God love him, he’s had a history of shoving his judgmental foot down his own throat.

Here’s the thing: this molestation brouhaha isn’t adding up. There are too many denials, redacted documents, timing issues (including destroying all of the records the moment an Arkansas law enforcement agency received a FOIA request from the media) and a disgusting number of “hiding behind God” comments from the family, which they believe, no doubt, should put the entire scandal to rest. “We rely on God. He’s saved us, so we really don’t need anything else” types of comments are leaving a bad taste in even their most avid supporters’ mouths.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m vehemently faithful, but religious? Not so much. This family is the epitome of the self-righteousness that has overtaken American churches. This family’s religion is what they believe elevates them higher than homosexuals, unwed mothers and the rest of the sinners. Now, though, child molesters are OK because, well, one of their family members is indeed a child molester. And Huckabee supports that. Perfect.

But let’s get back to the heart of the matter: the molestation admission. Everyone has closed ranks around this family’s eldest son, Josh Duggar. Now we learn that at least a few of his victims include his sisters. The operative word is sisterS – as in plural. While Mom and Dad are building their walls around him and themselves, there are real victims who are witnessing this and a few who are now behind that proverbial wall. I’m not suggesting this family made their daughters second class citizens, but what I am saying is that they have no idea what this looks like to these girls – whether they’re relatives or family friends.

Not only must they live with the betrayal, but in a way, they’re being victimized again. Their story’s out there, whether they want it to be or not. I’ve heard nothing – and I mean nothing – about the repercussions for them. We’ve read the statements, but really, what do you think is happening this very minute? Is there someone dismissing their feelings and saying, “God will handle it”? “God forgives”? While it’s true that God forgives, for most victims, it takes them awhile to get to the forgiveness stage. I don’t think God becomes angry at us when we try to tell someone how hurt we are or how angry we are or how betrayed we are and that we don’t want to hear how God will fix it for us.

Sometimes, the answer is, “Yes, I know you’re hurt. We’ll get through it. I don’t know how yet, but we will.” Other times, the answer is, “Let it out. Tell me. Throw something. Get mad! Just get it out. I’m right here to help you.” The thought of someone whose go-to answer is, “There, there. God will handle it,” is infuriating, patronizing and dismissive, especially when the criminal is also hearing the very same nugget of wisdom from the same people. Essentially, the victims’ parents are protecting the molester who forever changed their life trajectories.

Because of this abuse, these girls (whether they’re his sisters or family friends) are now at a higher risk of those “sins” Huckabee is determined to eradicate, including addiction, unplanned pregnancy and a lifetime of poor self-esteem. They say the higher the pedestal, the harder the fall. Mike Huckabee is about to learn that lesson, courtesy of his support for almost everyone in the Duggar family. It must feel like a kick in the teeth for the victims.

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So, with Huckabee closing ranks with the Duggar family, he’s in essence saying he supports this criminal behavior. He’s forgiving of child molesters, but really, is anyone surprised? He did, after all, play a pivotal role in having a rapist released from prison, only to have that criminal rape again, though this time, Wayne Dumond killed the woman he raped.  Read that story (and a copy of the letter Huckabee sent Dumond in prison) here. He also happened to agree with the vulgar statement made by Todd Akin, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

I think we’re seeing a pattern with Huckabee and it doesn’t look good for women.