Barnstorming: (v) to make a rapid tour of an area, typically as part of a political campaign.Dictionary B

Many years ago, I was in the process of purchasing a house. I remember arriving at one prospective residence, stepping in the door, and immediately having my nostrils attacked by a ferocious amount of stinky.

I immediately knew there was a dead rat in the house. (Maybe it wasn’t actually a rat; maybe it was a cat or dog. But somewhere in that home was a dead creature that was decaying.)

I turned to the real estate agent and asked him if he smelled it, and fearing that he was about to lose a sale, he pretended to be oblivious to the nasal assault.

I just laughed at him.

I feel the same way when I tune into America today during our political season. Even though the barnstorming of rallies is filled with music, cheers, banners and funny-looking hats, I smell a rat.

It stinks.

I turn to people around me to see if they notice the same repellent odor and most of them are wearing the banners, hats and reciting the slogans, so they feel compelled to ignore the putrification.

I have no such loyalty.

I sniff rotting ideas being passed off as acceptable.

I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat or Independent–you can barnstorm away but I will be sniffing for the smell. Here are the four things that stink up American democracy:

1. “We have got to get rid of them because…”

If we’re a democracy, we can’t get rid of anybody. We can try to channel, adjust, expand, get creative with approaches or admit that we’re ignorant of what to do, but freedom is freedom.

2. “What they’re doing overseas is so bad that we…”

I don’t know why we’re in such a hurry to pick a fight. I guess it’s because we spent so much money on military toys that we feel like we should at least play with them.

Here’s a clue: the more we stay out of wars, the less people will die. Just a thought.

3. “It’s against the Law of God…”

Well, since God is not here to be His own attorney, we’re relying on your interpretation of His statutes. It’s called “hearsay.” That interpretation needs to be mingled with an understanding of Constitutional American law.

Yes, there is a Caesar we answer to and there is a God we answer to, and you can’t take what was meant for liberty and Caesar and question it by citing God.

4. “That Party doesn’t do anything right, but we…”

In my lifetime I have watched Republicans do stupid things and good things. Likewise, the Democrats have had their share, going both ways.

The difference between complete fiasco and partial fiasco is how cool-headed, practical and willing our leaders are.

  • A reactionary Republican or Democrat always do equal damage.
  • A peace-making Republican or Democrat are a glory to all of us.

Let the barnstorming begin.

I will be sniffing for rats.

When I smell them, I will tell you–and you can either pretend they don’t exist because they’re part of your house … or admit that you smell them, too.


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dictionary with letter A

Andersonville: (n) a village in southwestern Georgia that was the site of a large and infamous Confederate prison camp during the Civil War.

The Civil War was our holocaust.

Actually, little will be achieved in this country until we universally accept this statement as true.

The Civil War is when we took a race of people, segregated them, mistreated them and then ended up fighting a war which included in its pursuits the decision to continue that same practice indiscriminately.

We murdered, created new weapons to increase the casualties and took brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers and placed them at odds with each other, continually making a “Sophie’s Choice” within the boundaries of households.

  • It was horrific.
  • It was unnecessary.
  • It was short-sighted.

And when you add in the treatment given to fellow-Americans as prisoners of war–on both sides–you have almost an identical parallel to many of the atrocities that were perpetuated in Nazi Germany.

It is our humiliation.

It is a war we should study because we need to make sure that in our present dealings, that none of the ignorance that brought about the massacre and slaughter can be welcomed again.

We need to put away all the trumpets, banners and paraphernalia from that conflict into a trunk and bury it in the ground with a ceremony of repentance.

There is nothing from that period of time that is worthy of our praise, let alone our consideration.

I admire the German people because they look on the horror of their own recent history and refuse to repeat it–by making sure the only reference to it is an apology.

To live in a country that still refers to “Yankees and “Rebs,” “North and South,” “Union and Confederate” with a sense of regional pride is an abomination to our belief in all men being created equal.

The Andersonville prison was a location where the anger, frustration and evil that had been perpetuated for three centuries was brought to bear and turned into a living hell.

But the Civil War was not noble.

It was not good.

It was not brave.

It is our holocaust–and because it is, we should reverence those who suffered and pledge to never repeat such foolish iniquity again.


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