Archive for the ‘Politics’ Tag

America, endangered   1 comment

I remember beautiful cities I once visited; Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., New York city… the list goes on. It was not about the monuments or museums visited, infrastructure erected, landscape or location that made them great cities, but its history and sense of community that made it ‘home’ to those living there. Whether driving through affluent neighborhoods with manicured, landscaped yards, little clapboard or cottage cape cod houses, or the boroughs of crowded brick tenement apartment buildings there was a culture all its own. Is that now gone forever? It is certainly all changed. Is it in danger of ever being once what it was? Where/when did this country, or its leaders fail its people, to change all that we loved, took pride in, and vowed to protect and preserve ? Are we still in America, the Beautiful, or America, endangered? Where are the people that took pride in their cities, preserving, protecting what they had created? Are they all now in the streets of these cities looting, protesting, destroying and knocking down monuments erected of historical events and leaders that once fought for the people’s rights and freedoms? Are they the ones vandalizing public and private properties, victimizing the innocent that stand by and watch their homes or their businesses burned, their monuments destroyed? Why do they refuse the help, want to defund or abolish  the police and federal agents that took an oath to guard and protect all the people, black and white, red and Asian, poor and rich, homeless and sheltered, Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Atheist? What started as a “black lives matter” movement for racial injustice has now become more a revolution to oppose humane justice for all. These mobs are driven by the powers of socialists and anarchists to destroy all that we fought to preserve; our democracy, our freedoms, our free will, our voice, our culture, our livelihood our future, our faith, our very existence. Whatever name they choose to call themselves they are now killing, injuring and wreaking havoc on the innocent. They are not just common folks with a sign and a cry for change, but leaders, officials and politicians in office. Though we are not forced to take sides, to commit to, or support one group or party, we have a choice and we have a voice. Where do we draw the line at what is allowed or acceptable when the blood of the innocent pools at the feet of protestors aligned with anarchists? Who will speak for the victims of a revolution gone bad? Who will we stand with, not fight against? Are we still even one nation? We are for certain not, “one nation under God,” But, one so divided, so broken that there is no longer an America the Beautiful, but one endangered. And it is the latter one I fear is soon to be extinct if it cannot stand as one and come together for the sake of democracy and justice for all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter © July 2020

 

Posted July 29, 2020 by Joyce in Essays, My Writings, Politics

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Where comes our hope   Leave a comment

When everything seems wrong

When life and all that we know

Spins out of control

And we look to those to lead

Us forward and yet we doubt.

 

We live with our fears

While the news brings death and tears

How is one to cope

For what may come tomorrow?

Are their answers? Is there hope?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Mannhalter © July 2020

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,

guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,

and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4&5 NIV

Toppled by forces beyond our control

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We get Chinook winds here in northern Colorado that can get up to 100+ mph. The strength and force can blow over even the strongest trees. That happened recently to some trees we had up on our mountain property northwest of Fort Collins. We don’t live up there full time, but when we went up there recently we found some of our largest, even healthy looking trees toppled over, uprooted completely from the ground around the rocks and boulders with the roots exposed.

It reminds me of how vulnerable our country and government administration is right now. The media running amok with ‘leaks’, compromising influences, immigration bans, repeals, etc. further adds to the already weakened, wobbly foundation. Add to that all the protest marches of people taking their gripes, complaints, personal vendettas and agendas to the streets with chants, signs and slogans like ‘a day without immigrants’ to change what they can’t, or won’t abide by, and we have a volatile situation that can only get worse, not better. If things continue as they’re going ‘We the People’ will destroy and topple what was set up to protect all when our country was founded.

Everyone has an immigrant story to tell. My grandfather and his family were immigrants from Odessa, Russia who set down roots, and established a life based on the values our country set forth in the constitution. He went through legal channels, became a U.S. citizen, was naturalized, and valued every right and freedom in this country. He voted his candidate choice, but he did not put down others who voted differently, or disagreed with him. If he disagreed on something, whether one in political office or another who wronged him he did not pick up a sign and take his offense to the street, but chose to pray over it instead of protesting over it. He carried a bible instead, and lived by the principles in it, with respect for others, regardless their political perspective, faith or life choices. If only we could return to the things that really did ‘make America great,’ what a wonderful country we would have. Like him or not, disagree if you want, but we now have a man who is trying to do that, for the good of all people.

In the New Testament bible (Matthew 13: 3-9) it tells about Jesus’s parable of the seed sown. He talks about the seed sown by the sower planting a crop. Good seed goes down deep in the soil where there are no rocks or boulders obstructing its growth. It takes root and nothing but the forces beyond our control will topple it or blow it over upon itself. Seed scattered and tossed among the rocks and weeds will be easily uprooted, blown over, and not grow. We are known by the fruit of our tree. Good seed was planted in this country when founded, and the constitution enacted. It rooted, grew, flourished and prospered. But, today much of that root system is in jeopardy of toppling a great tree.

There will never be harmony or unity here in our country when thousands choose to defy all that our president is trying to do for the whole of this country. Wisdom comes in knowing how best to reflect our voice, disapproval or disenchantment of things we don’t like. Marching in the streets, shouting chants, carrying signs, does little to affect real change. It is just a lot of noise, and fodder for CNN News.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson, 2017

 

How does a country come together?

How does a country come together

when thousands march and protests grow

with fevered pitch, and violence erupts?

Can anyone predict years from now

what was done that helped unite,

or what was done that divided us more?

It’s not the side you take, nor the camp you’re in,

but to acknowledge another’s point of view

How they see the world from their eyes.

You don’t have to accept what they believe

just because they stand on the opposing side,

and live their life so different from you,

but kindness and love is what we need.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted January 25, 2017 by Joyce in Inspirational Poems, My Writings, Poems, poetry, Politics

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A man who walked the talk

 

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jan. 15,1929-April 4, 1968

 

Our nation honors today a man who reflected the values he lived by. His life represented all the things this country fought for, men and women died for, people marched, demonstrated and stood for. Our country knows well the violence, death, destruction, prejudice and bigotry that marred its history. This man took up the fight for civil rights and liberties so all can enjoy the rights and freedom that comes with walking the streets without fear or retaliation, prejudice, injury or death because of their color. Eating in a public restaurant at any table, attending the school or college of their choice without being bussed across town, riding in the front of the bus instead of walking to the back, serving in the military, all of the things this man hoped to realize in his lifetime, but did not. He marched not to the beat of a drum, but with chants and voices raised, and thousands followed.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who did not cower to those who mocked him, distrusted him, despised what he stood for and tried to change. He was a man of honor, of faith, one who loved God, and relied on Him in everything he did. He was a pastor, but he was also a rising political leader with a dream, and a vision. He stood before 250,000 thousand people who came to hear him deliver his, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington, D.C. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, yet gave it up for the cause of peace to further the work he started.

It was not just for the people of color that he stood up to protect. Preaching about the love for all men and women, tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness from a pulpit was his platform for the message he hoped to deliver, the dream he wished to share. Marching down the streets in Birmingham, Alabama was his way of demonstrating it with those of the same color and standing with those who had the same dream, that one day we all could get along, no matter our color, faith or lifestyle, and no matter our political differences and perspective.  But, Martin Luther King’s dream was shattered. Down through the years we’ve become more a nation of distrust, division and disruption. There are those who choose to act out their prejudices and disfavor with violence and acts of terror. Hate is demonstrated in many forms. Evil will find a way to rear its ugly head. Martin Luther King Jr. did not live to reach the finish line of his march. He was shot down, by the bullet of an assassin on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

Can we work together, unite for the cause of peace, live together in harmony? We have nothing more to lose that we have not already lost. But, we have everything to gain, what we hope to achieve, yet have not realized, if we have a dream.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Whomever wins

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I took this photo of the U.S. capitol building while on a trip to Washington, D.C. many years ago., photo credit; Joyce E. Johnson

 

Whomever wins, whoever leads

however they reign from helm or tower

I won’t question, I won’t complain,

because I know there is One who

rules from a higher place of power,

and all, in His hands.

He will reign forever, supreme above all;

creator, master of the universe,

my father, God.

It is in Him I place my trust.

_____________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Is this our America?

 

On July 4th, 1776, a group of men from thirteen colonies came together to sign and date two important documents of the newly established United States of America. We were united as, “One nation under God, indivisible with life, liberty and justice for all.” Today, we are a country with laws looking more muddled, manipulated and misinterpreted.

Will God forsake a country founded on the principles of a democracy created to serve and protect all, regardless their color, faith, background or lifestyle? No. But, can he bless one that has so drastically moved away from the founding principles by which it was created? The pendulum swings in a different direction today, the country so divided, the parties so diverse. We can affect change from lessons learned in our history, but not if people don’t want to learn from its mistakes. There seems little likeness anymore to the original constitution created when our first congress came together, unified in spirit, like-minded.

Our laws today allow us to live however we choose, marry the same sex, change our sex, and silence the voice of the unborn, with little conscience of what we’re doing. The Muslims can meet, pray and attend their mosques, but a Christian’s rights are scrutinized, questioned, defended in court, and not allowed in our schools. That is not ‘equality’.

People want laws to keep guns out of the hands of killers. But, guns are only a means to a killer who will gain access to a weapon regardless of the kind, or how it is defined. If the intent is there to kill, he/she will find a way, and a weapon because there is evil intent in his, or her heart to begin with. Guns can still be found on the black market if gun laws are instituted, and those needing the protection with one have none.

People want to secure our borders, keep terrorists from coming in, but our country is already hosting and harboring thousands of refugees allowed into the country. Many more have gained access across our borders via Mexico with lax measures in place by illegal immigration. Terrorists can be recruited on the internet, even build their bombs from instructions found there.

Yet, how can this country pass judgment on those who enter our country illegally when thousands of unborn babies die every day in this country? Can we still expect God to bless this country? Are we living in grace, or disgrace when that kind of murder goes on? Where is the ‘justice’ for the unborn when our supreme court justices are appointed by a president who supports and allows such a law?

Is this the America we created when our U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence was signed? No! It is a new America. One that is in trouble, one only God can fix. Can we, “Make America great again?” (Trump). That depends on whether we are willing to get on our knees and pray, seek and acknowledge God, and trust him to heal our land. “Come together, work together?” (Clinton). Only if we are united under God,  will we stand together, but divided without him, we fall.

“We the people… to form a more perfect union…” With reported scandals, dishonesty, and accusations seen in both of our presidential candidates we are wondering who we can trust to lead us. We are a country torn asunder, not one striving to form a ‘more perfect union’. We are states in despair, struggling to get along, agreeing on little and it keeps us in a pervasive civil unrest.

II Chronicles 7:14 (Old Testament Bible) says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” This was God’s covenant to Solomon after he built the temple for his people. Who will we choose to reside in our temple (White House), and sit in our congress?

______________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

The American bald eagle; iconic symbol of strength and might

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Like a vulture claiming it for its own

an eagle sits perched upon the spoils;

the body of a deer laid open like prey

from that which hunts, stalking to find

those vulnerable and weak, failing of mind,

the eagle; strong, enduring, and with might

guards and defends what he claims for his own

and stands watchful, eyes searching, locking on sight

any who would come and take with a fight

from he who stands over what remains of life.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

We captured the above photo of a bald eagle on our way down from the mountains recently. It was a quick shot taken from the car window, but we were happy to have gotten only the eagle in the picture considering that it was perched on the body of a killed deer during its ‘mealtime.’

The American bald eagle, the iconic symbol of the United States is noted for endurance and strength. Its image, seen on flags, coins, military uniforms, historical emblems, records, etc. symbolizes our country’s greatness, character, and honor. It was founded on such principles, over two hundred years ago. When I saw this eagle laying claim to this fallen dear I thought of the wars fought, battles won, our rights and freedoms saved with the might and strength of our military swooping down upon its enemies who come against us to lay claim to what we defend, fight for, build up and strive to protect. The American bald eagle represents honor with a fierce protectiveness that fights to gain what he needs to survive.

It graces the skies, soars over mountain tops, flies over bodies of water, swoops down and captures, much like our military forces. Wherever it flies, it is unafraid, determined, intent, purposeful. It is in nature how one must survive, one game pitted against another, size and strength always determining the victim from the victor. And in life, in this country it is how we must be to not just survive, but to thrive, to continue to be, ‘one  nation, under God, indivisible, with life, liberty and justice for all.’ A country that is free, one of honor, one that can lead by example, not just by might, must be one that acknowledges a higher power. The American bald eagle holds its head high. I hope we can be a country that does the same, not bow its head in shame. I wonder.

JEJ

 

 

The world we live in now

 

The news is grim; too much the norm.

The media converging, microphones ready,

people with cell phone cameras, and video,

like vultures swarming, taking their shot

posting to Facebook and Twitter get ‘Likes,’

repeats and coverage every few minutes,

again with all of the horrific details

that thrive on the feeds

   of viral sites with streaming bytes.

~~~

Shouting, screaming, fists raised to the sky;

it’s another demonstration, another protest;

they rant, and rage at the opposing side,

and take their fight out into the streets.

“Stop the violence. No more guns.”

“Too many lives lost, too much bloodshed.”

“So much is wrong.”

“We need new laws.”

“Let’s find a way. Let’s work things out.”

~~~

Candidates throw their insults

at their running mates.

It’s a tiresome scene, their platform pushed

till despairing words tossed back are extreme

in hopes to win their party nomination

retracts a comment, misconstrued.

~~~

The issue of life at conception is heard

and once more it’s Roe vs. Wade revisited again.

“Punish the woman who takes a life,” a candidate says

“But, she has her rights. It’s her choice,” another argues.

~~~

The skies light up. Bombs explode.

Terrorists strike again inside

borders streaming with refugees that flee.

No country or people is immune to the threat

from wherever it comes, or intended place

there’s fear and distrust; it’s now what we face.

~~~

Will it be safe, to travel, be free,

to walk through airport terminals or streets?

God, give us a leader who is wise, and sincere,

who will stand for the things we once believed in.

~~~

At a nuclear summit with their tables full

leaders promise, “All will be better,

Just give it a chance. If we all can agree to

eliminate the threat by destroying the nukes.”

~~~

A new judge appointed to the supreme court

angers dissenters; they don’t agree.

The turmoil spills into the courts

where laws are muddied and can’t protect

those who stand to honor and abide

by their conscious convictions what they feel is right.

~~~

None can promise a way to spare

the country or world of problems shared.

All is in chaos wherever one lives,

memorial sites are erected for victims now dead.

~~~

Where are we headed?

Where is the foundation we built our lives on?

For what once was there is all but gone.

Is what we see, and what we hear

a repeat of the past, or more of the same?

~~~

There is no place where there is no strife,

where greed and corruption is not at home.

Where can one go where their soul is free?

Where there is no hate, death threats, or pain?

~~~

I lift my eyes and train my ears where cometh the sound

of a distant trumpet, and God’s Son appears on the clouds.

I’ll not worry, nor fear what happens on this earth,

or what one can do to me,

for what I know to be true

is that it is His Kingdom that will come and reign.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Posted April 16, 2016 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry, Politics

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Securing my own ‘nest’

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Spring brings everyone outdoors once warm weather hits like a brilliant sun on a clear blue sky. Everything seems new again; blooms with delicate petals opening like arms raised to the sky in praise. Grass and trees with new buds so small it is hard to see with the naked eye, but slowly we begin to see new growth and even the birds and small game come out to celebrate the new season.

This squirrel nest is in our neighbor’s tree which hangs its low branches over the fence and into our yard, so from our back yard swing I am able to see the trees as they turn green in the spring, or yellow gold in autumn.

I have watched and wondered about whether the nest might get knocked out by a strong chinook wind, or blowing snow storm. When I saw no activity near it I even wondered if it was abandoned. But, one recent morning I noticed a squirrel climbing out of it as it hopped down onto the branches below.

Our dog, Maggie loves to go after the squirrels in our yard who are plentiful anymore, often hurrying along on the top of the fence racing to the end before she can lunge at them, but they know she is not fast enough or large enough to gain advantage over them so they tease her, screeching, twitching and snapping their tails as if slapping at her. They seem carefree, unafraid of anything happening around them. I watch them, and think, what if we could have that same feeling of unconcern in our world and take each day without anxiety, or stress.

Life can be unpredictable, never certain. We face the realities of our times, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves in, and our world can seem in jeopardy of falling apart. It can be our home, our comfort zone, or our very life that can hang in the balance because there is no monopoly on our tomorrows, only a down payment on our todays. What we put into our ‘todays’ can affect what we leave behind. A legacy that defines us, like a footprint left in this world where we’ve walked can make a difference. Recent events, terrorist attacks, political upheaval, the election woes with its unpredictable outcome, whatever it is, catastrophic storms or events can bring down our nest, our world. A strong wind can shake us, upset our nest, but a storm we have no control over can destroy us.

There is much said about securing our borders, our transportation systems, our investments, economy.” but, it is my own ‘nest,’ my own foundation that I am more focused on building and securing. Sure, I will make my mark, vote my choice, express my voice, but all else I leave in God’s hands where I can trust His judgement, His control, not that of a campaigning candidate, or world leader.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016) 

 

 

I don’t place my trust…

I don’t place my trust in a party, or person of position or rank,

but in One empowered who rules by love.

I don’t look to government to decide my fate,

but to the One who knew me before my birth.

I don’t expect things from one who swears to grant

what I want, or what I need, for my future they cannot know.

I don’t worry what tomorrow brings,

or what I fail to see promised happen today,

for my life is held securely by One

who gave me life, and gives me hope.

_____________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

 


Posted March 6, 2016 by Joyce in Faith, My Writings, Poems, poetry, Politics

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A glance at the former with a hopeful look to the coming

An old ketch of mine from many years ago of Theodore Roosevelt (upper left), Woodrow Wilson (center) and George Washington (right)

An old ketch of mine from many years ago of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and George Washington

 

The above sketch I did so many years ago that I cannot remember when it was. At the time I had been watching the campaigns of candidates running for president and read up on some of our former presidents, and found an old photo of these three from which I could practice my sketching. I was not an American history buff, but have always followed the presidential candidates, their platform, ideologies and campaigns so I could make an informed decision on who I wanted to vote for on election day.

But, this year will be what I think one of the most decisive election years I have ever seen as the American people watch with feverish anticipation, their attention riveted to the debates, repetitive news media coverage, interviews and promises made by the White House hopefuls.

What should we expect? Who can deliver what they claim they will do for the American people? Will they even be able to when we witness continued civil unrest and conflict on our streets?  Opposing sides differ and argue on issues that range on everything from immigration reforms and securing our country’s borders, to the justice, or lack of concerning the guilty of crimes against one group, race or another. The refugees and illegals that push across our borders and the terrorists that merge undetected inside them with no forthcoming answer or solution raises our alert status to unprecedented levels. The list of issues goes on with no end to those that exist as new ones arise. For a newly elected president he, or she has the insurmountable task to lead our country into a safer, more secure place where people can live in peace and harmony with prosperity and equal rights for all. Will we ever see a time when everyone believes their voice matters, that they can live their life without intrusion, obstruction, compromise or fear?

But, whomever that one is the people choose next November it is ultimately God who remains in control, regardless what they can or hope to do, and that is where I place my greater faith and trust. I pray that God will grant us grace and wisdom, that it is His plan put into effect, and that He is invited to reside in the White House, and in our Congress, because His presence has all but been eliminated, and we see what happens when He is pushed away.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Posted January 4, 2016 by Joyce in blogging, Essays, My Photos, My Writings

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