Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014

FB is filled with mountains of Merry Christmas posts which have supplanted the traditional snail mail Christmas cards thus I would assume Hallmark has been deeply affected by this technology. Each year I am amazed beginning about Thanksgiving at the astounding increase in the number of people in the obituaries leading up to Christmas and this year is no exception.  This year our world seems more broken, scary and frustrated than any other Christmas in my memory when viewed through the global and domestic prism.  The DOW broke 18,000 yesterday and that, alone, defies logic of normal market equity trading rules and weigh that against the plunge in oil and gasoline prices with no rational logic as to why and you just scratch your head and just enjoy the ride, no pun intended.  The daily news of new frontiers being broken in the values and mores of our nation make national news as gay marriages are now considered chic, lesbians marrying and being artificially inseminated to have children to rear is simply over the top for me to even contemplate and yet, such aberrant behaviors are not only accepted but celebrated.  We are in an era that is frightening and New York and the NYPD murders and protesting has upended yet again our safety net about our public servants which is tragic but very telling about the state of our nation.  There is simply too many people in too many places talking too much and too often to inflame racial tensions in our land. I could go on but will use these example as the door to open to my heart this early morning as I view into this season of joy and peace, we have always been told.
For me, I always find myself reflective on this special periods of the year as my mind probes the years of my life and the twelve months past but as well my mind goes to my childhood, my early school years and teachers that touched my life some of whom I am on FB with to this very day.  I think about my global career and the many wonderful people I met, worked with and the challenges that boggle the mind now at the the complexity and environments within which pressure-driven work goals had to be met. I think about all I missed with my children and their young lives in being so consumed be my vocation.  Strangely but telling I believe is that I have been retired from Goodyear now almost twelve years and probably 95% of my night dreams are still very Goodyear-centric.  I find that amazing, sad, but amazing still.
As we now prepare to spend time with families over these next couple of days, I realize daily how vital family is to a person.  Family, if close, provides that anchor of hope that you can turn to verbally and non-verbally when the winds of change and concern blow. Seeing and getting to know thousands of prisoners each year, you can see the pressure and angst escalate geometrically when December comes and the Christmas time tends to increase the worries and fears and tears of these men and women incarcerated with a dismal, questionable future before them determined by judges, lawyers and prosecutors as well as victims they have hurt in some way.  But see, those hoards of men and women, as bad as what they have done, have become part of the circle of my family extended and I pray and feel deep concern for each of them and their families and their lives once out from behind the bars.
On this Christmas Eve, given all the above and the much more I will just not write into my list, I have really built a Case for Change for myself personally.  I want 2015 to be a better year for my family and for the masses I get to meet either through singing, preaching or simply meeting in the relationship example I want others to see clearly I have with my God. I pray that each of those I yet to know will yearn to find that same relationship I bask in each day in knowing my home for me in Glory is ready and waiting for me once this journey is complete.  I want to be a better father and grandfather to my amazing children and their families and to spend more time spiritually with Logan, Noah, Isabella, Gracie and Ms Hopie. I want my legacy with them to be one of them knowing how loved they are and how much they bless my life and I want them to see Christ clearly in my walk.
I am going to propose something for each of you that my wife and I have been doing daily for several months just this morning completing Jeremiah 25.  We began a daily reading of the Bible beginning with Genesis 1:1 several weeks ago from a challenge by our Pastor he gave to the congregation from the pulpit. We have read the Bible through many times but never had we read it from verse one and continuing.  We have learned so much in the morning readings but as we enter this Christmas celebration of the birth of Christ season, until you understand the history, architecture and events of the Old Testament, you will never fully grasp the amazing majesty of the coming of Christ.  We may read the Christmas story from Luke but understanding the depth and richness of history leading up to that starry night, the true meaning of the  coming of Christ is made more real and clearer with His coming. I highly recommend you take the challenge of reading the Bible from page one and we will finish the rest of the Bible probably in March of 2015.  Please do this!
So to all my friends that will take the time to read this, each of you are part of that amazing family God has surrounded me with. We cannot know what 2015 will bring but the great news is that I am not concerned nor worried about that unfolding for I stand on a solid Rock.  Seek to enjoy every moment of this holiday time and thank you for allowing me into your busy lives. I only want to radiate God's Will for my life via my words, thoughts and deeds and actions. See, that means I am truly blessed.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Those That Protect!

As I awoke and opened up the news, I learned of the senseless assassination of the two NYPD policemen in Brooklyn by what appears to be an enraged Islamic man set out to kill police. He planned, he plotted, he drove, he executed two men that devoted their lives to protecting the people of our nation.  We are witnessing more and more of this behavior and it is my belief we will see more and more of this depravity exacted on those we look to protect us as the fires of racism continue to be fanned in this nation by professional athletes, loud mouth spokespersons with an agenda, the American Communist Party, the NAACP and many others. As ISIL continues its well funded social media inflammation process, Islamic fundamentalists, nut jobs is another great descriptor, will pour of of the woodwork in their own little jihadi dens to destroy that which we depend upon to protect, to defend and to serve US!
While I did not see nor will I, I understand the Obamas have "spoken out on race" which only heats up the incendiary nature of this disaster. Even black pundits on FOX and CNN were in stark argumentative posture with each other that the POTUS is first the President and then a black and that he should speak for all people and not just blacks. Wow, now that is a novel concept isn't it?  I believe a great deal of culpability for the inflamed racial divide in this nation stems from the White House in allowing some of the firebrands like Sharpton and Jackson and others access to the White House with TV cameras blaring thus legitimizing the voices that seeks to create more havoc.  What happened in Ferguson was unfortunate but sending the armies of DC elite there to calm and placate did exactly the opposite; added to the distrust and disdain for police authority. We are paying a heavy price and these two families in New York are the victims of this morass.
I live in a relatively high crime city and I find myself now each time I see a police or sheriff vehicle, I want to pull up and thank them or buy them lunch or something to let them know that for me and my house, we appreciate their sacrifice and duty to all of us.  Seeing weekly in my Jail ministry, dozens of dedicated young deputies act respectfully with inmates some of which are profane, mean spirited and disrespectful toward the deputies, I have as yet to see a like response toward the inmate though most deserving.  Police are tough and I want them tough. I want them perfectly trained. I want them over armed. I want them over equipped. I want them to be given the best for WE OWE IT TO THEM to protect us! There, I said it.
This garbled logic about the overarmed police in Ferguson as the trigger for the protests defies logic to me.  To see professional athletes including our own Mr. James sporting protest-intended shirts on the playing court or field where people can hardly afford now to attend a game is just wrong.  All of this. ALL OF THIS. is flaming the embers of anarchy in this nation I fear. Distrust abounds and in that environment, danger excels.  I am absolutely amazed that any young man or woman would choose to go into law enforcement, frankly.  I have spoken with several law officers asking the question if they would have take this career path knowing what they know now and the 100% response is "certainly not." How sad and how dangerous!
My heart aches for the NYPD families and their brothers and sisters in blue that must face yet another day of not knowing not only the if but the when some fanatic will see his or her opportunity for jihad or protest.  At the aggregate of this whole thing, for me, is realizing that America is dizzyingly breaking apart into tribes along racial lines it would appear to me.  I am further convinced that the 24/7 media frenzy is fomenting this divide made more provocational by the CNNs and all the talking heads that fan the flames of racial dissent and divide.  I must admit that I actually found it almost humorous in the Ferguson beginning that seemingly every black on camera had his or her lawyer standing right beside them. So the legal profession would seem to be the real benefactor of all this.  Attacking the Ferguson prosecutor for apparently does his job was simply sickening to me and even by other lawyers I know attacking the long standing process of American jurisprudence.
We have evolved to a time, it seems, where nothing is sacred, nothing is circumspect and nothing nor anyone is held in respect or regard.  That is a cesspool of danger for a society.  So to those that choose each day and night to protect my family, I say thank you and praise God for your efforts to do your duty. I believe more people need to be seeking to do their duty to this nation instead of tearing the very heart out of this once great nation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An Islamic Wake Up Call!

The world cringed with the blaring news of the massacre of school children in Pakistan yesterday.  Those of us with children and grand children could not have not been moved by such depraved atrocity.  Last night while attending a Christmas program for my five year old grand daughter, Hopie, that is Ethiopian, the images of starvation, female manipulation and slavery flashed through my mind as tears welled in realizing how blessed we are to have her and for her to have us now as an American citizen with a whole life before her.
The link is from today's NY Times on this human tragedy and you can see that mothers are distraught in the midst of the bloodshed of innocent children at the hands of the Taliban.  And then my mind whirls in realizing that Pakistan has been a strange, predictably unpredictable, dangerous and nuclearized nation that borders Afghanistan.
There are those, I am one, that believes Pakistan exists by playing all sides of the fence and was complicit in Bin Laden lasting as long as he did. Pakistan has been at the core of the loss of thousands of American lives so I have no particular compunction to support Pakistan's cause, place and certainly their leadership.  I guess I believe they got what they pretty much deserved as a nation but still, the execution of 150 small children most of which were shot in the head at point blank range is horrifying at the thought. 
But it, the massacre, forebodes now not what has happened but what will now happen.  Today I have read a long article from Foreign Affairs Magazine interviewing a wide array of scholars both foreign and domestic on the US role in air strikes in Iraq and Syria asking the fundamental question, is America doing enough or too much in this ISIL war and yes, it is a war?  The statistics indicate that there is no consensus on that question.  About half feel air strikes alone are effective, yet they are predictably not, and the other half indicate American should and must play a heavier, more lethal role both in the air and on the ground in both Iraq and Syria for ISIL is growing and strengthening, in numbers and in financing and is certainly winning the media war.
America, as a nation, finds itself via the POTUS and his Administration and philosophy and stoked by the Reids and Pelosis and Hoyers on the Hill, in a time where America was in the early 1900s that ultimately led to World War I and our being sucked into that war unprepared.  We went, we prevailed, we came home and we politically returned to a time of pulling the walls of the Atlantic and the Pacific up thus trying to ignore the reality of what was happening in Europe; especially with Germany led by Hitler as we know who the results of those events.  As you know, I strongly believe history is the best predictor of future events and when I see America, war weary, yes, pulling those walls up trying to act like the Bogey man will go away and we will all be safer tomorrow. 
See, I remember all too well getting stuck away from home on a business trip on 9/11 being 1,000 miles from my family and this strange, empty, crawling feeling that I needed to do something but was clueless as to what for I had to concept of what was really happening. When I finally got my wife on the phone all I knew to do was to tell her to to fill the car up with fuel and get five hundred dollars out of the bank and to stay home.   That was like yesterday and in retrospect, what I hated most then and do now, was that sense of no control, no knowledge, no direction in a vortex of chaos and away from the people I was to protect. I hated that helplessness sensation.
I believe most Americans, today, are wrestling with that same sense of helplessness but then exacerbated by the poisoned political process that causes the weight of helplessness to quickly turn to disdain and anger. I am angry for I want my nation, my leadership to get something, anything, right for all I see is bungling, campaigning and Congressional chicken being played all the while our national credit card is over maxed now at over $18,000,000,000,000; yes count the zeros and much of that debt is owed by nations that does not like us and it is they that will determine our future for they hold our debt.
The massacre, is made more sickening by realizing that Sunnis are killing their own. That is dastardly and deserves capital response meaning annihilation of that threat for it is a metastasizing cancer. Wait, that is only the Taliban; let us not forget ISIL for the thought of late is that they are moving to unite instead of compete.  The world is allowing that to happen via not creating a means to destroy. Yes, I am now convinced we, the world, has a global Islamic issue and not the small minority we have all been fed is the culprit. No, I believe the percentage of radical jihadists is much greater than we have been led to believe and we know from history the bloodletting religious wars elicit.
America is the ONLY nation of earth capable to blunting this cancer but still we watch the violins playing in Washington as the place burns which is a sick but applicable analogy. I sincerely do not see how this nation can exist another two years under this POTUS and his philosophies and now with the Republican majority in Congress, am quite disappointed with the initial initiative with the budget but hey, who should be surprised!  But there is hope for I am looking to 2016 and who the Republican POTUS will be for that waiting line is pretty short right now.
What we, America, has been and have stood for and stood upon is no longer that America. That, for me, is the saddest epitaph of all. Is it recoverable?  Too soon to call but certainly not under this stale, stagnant, inept leadership.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


The purpose for me embarking on this journey into the blogosphere is to bring a daily dose of our global reality but then siphon from it the human and spiritual meaning and lessons for the reader going forward. It is my hope that you will feel my heart in my words.
Those words above have brought me back to a reality that was fueled by something my Pastor said in his sermon this morning. In the Book of Psalms, it tells us clearly in several of the Psalms that if you are a believer in God, then how you can not praise for believing is about praising and therefore praising God is about believing His Word, right?  The answer is, RIGHT!
Here is what has come so clearly to me and before I depart for church in a little while to do another cantata at 3 pm and as my wife is asleep, I wanted to get my heart into letters. I began this blog journey, 260 of them ago now, to, as the paragraph which is the dashboard of my blog, Prof Jim Today, provide a  dose of global reality siphoning from my chosen topic to reflect the spiritual meaning and lessons as I view the topic at the time.  What I have realized is that I have moved too far to the side of connecting dots, the coloration of my commentary is too dark when, if you look hard enough, you can always find the sunshine in the darkness of what seems an ever darkening world.  I am always so honored and so humbled when people will write or call or walk up to me thanking me or commenting to my blogs.  But goes with that is a chosen responsibility on my part to be a Christian in my thoughts, my words, my sentiments and expressions.
Never did I ever think I would be a blogger but I was asked by many over the last few years, primarily by students, to do that thus providing for wider audiences some of my thoughts and approaches I use in my teaching. Thus, I entered the realm of the readable and do not regret it. But if you go back to the beginning, the coloration of my blogs were much brighter, encouraging and uplifting I sense.  But I can only blame myself for allowing the darkness of a dark world to find its ways into my thought processes and writing style.  I realize I have become one of "them" meaning one of those that tend to throw gasoline into the fire instead of speaking to the brilliance of the fire's warmth. For that I apologize to each of you for I am better than that.
My concerns about my nation are at an all time low or even worse, I see nothing in leadership that will turn this ship of dismay and disappointment into the winds of good and joy. But then I realize, all of this is Biblical. All of this is part of God's plan. All of this is in the choreography of the End Times. All of that I believe!
So, what does all this mean? It means I will continue to put my heart into letters in hopes that the reader is lifted and encouraged. I may go a period of time and write nothing about the crazed nature of our world such as ISIL, POTUS, scandals, wars, etc, and lean more toward personal interests, biographies of great people I have known, such as my grandchildren, or I may just post a song and talk about that song's meaning to me. But in the aggregate, I want my blogs to be positive diamonds glistening with joy in the ring of life that is all too consuming and exhausting at times.  I do love to seek to understand the things of this world but me adding my even bleaker summation and opinion to things like the current debacle of the CIA report, for example, adds only insult to injury.  
My wife's favorite question to me is something like, "is there anything you can do to change "it"?  Reality is, No, there is nothing I can do to change for alter so I guess I have fallen in the writer's trap of thinking my words and sentiments can create change. No, that is not practical I believe I realize. I yearn to be a beacon of encouragement and hope; so that is my new horizon.  Many of you seem to like my writing so I hope you will like the "New Jim" and my approach to be what I believe God would have me be with the gift of writing He has given me but now more for His Glory!
Thank you for your faithfulness in my blogs and for the many, many encouraging comments I have received. It is truly humbling. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Conundrum!

Good morning!  As I have yet again did my survey of media to get a sense of our world across a wide spectrum of sources, my aggregate mindset is that we have arrived in our world in a state of Conundrum.  Each day it seems a new realm of dissent, distrust and dissatisfaction abound. Our faith in our peace officers is now tainted with the afterglow being stoked that every police officer in America cannot wake up early enough to load his or her weapon to get on the streets to find a black person to kill that day; how sick is that?
Our government!  Well there is just too much to comment on but to say that in my own mind I have not faith in either party nor in the current lugs that we pay to go to Washington to represent our views and belief.  Too much money makes our governmental elected leaders nothing but NASCAR driver sponsored prostitutes working at the whelm of K Street; it really is more correct than not should you choose to push back on my assessment.   The POTUS situation is, well, just plain terrible and continues to be murky and now the infamous CIA debacle unfolding. Oh, remember the IRS, VA, Benghazi, etc, etc?  No wonder We the People have just given up on this morass. But the conundrum is, we CANNOT do that for the poison wins!  
But my greater concern is the deterioration of our national value systems for therein should lay the core where principles are learned and reinforced by parents. Right, wrong, good and bad are environmentally taught.  Seeing more and more examples of the implication of the broken family unit is disheartening and growingly worrisome as I view into the next two generations.  Electronics has displaced parental control and teaching is a generalization but so very true.  Addiction to drugs in so many forms is astounding to me still and seeing addiction to electronics is just as concerning for within a family unit, parents and kids addicted to their Iphone, Ipads, Iwhatever, is a means to disconnect and erect walls that kill effective communication lines. It is not only sad; it is downright scary.
Many of you reading this will agree with my comments and some will not but even in my generation when things were not always rosy and lovely, at least, generally, there was a family unit that ate together, spent time together and learned from each other.  That model, generally, is completely broken today and I believe the many pitfalls we see, drug addiction, crime, overflowing jails and prisons, divorce, same sex relationships now adopting and having artificially inseminate pregnancies just causes me to have cold chills at the impact going forward.   What examples are being provided is the Conundrum?  Where are manners learned?  How boys treat girls and girls treat boys; where is that taught? In too many cases today it is taught at the university of pornography; sad but true.
So at the core of Conundrum is the lava flow of values and that is what I am most concerned about is the lack of example and lessons that teach values; value that are framed with what God says in His Word what is right and what is wrong. I question more and more simply, where are our heroes we once sought to be like?  Honestly, as I watch, read and listen, there is not a single person on the TV screens or newslines that I long to align with for there is this everpresent sense that if I wait a little long, there will be a revelation of wrong about that person or organization.  How sad is that? But so true!
As we begin a very busy next two weeks with much singing and events, I felt compelled to put words to the aching heart I feel about the state of our nation.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

America's New Pastime -- Doubting

It is a rainy, cold, gray day here in NE Ohio which, I think am realizing, is a metaphor for We the People.  I have this friend, a poster child for the Liberals, that loves to espouse the wonders of this POTUS and made more enthused by the economy of late.  I guess I need to hear that even though I do not care for this President nor his Administration over these six years but give credit where credit is due I believe.  I could challenge the logic of the numbers but that is not where my heart is on this bleak day.  My greater concern far transcends economic numbers that are usually only political fodder anyway. Did I say that?
My entire life I have heard that baseball is America's pastime which I never believed for that is the most boring game ever created in my humble opinion.  I now believe football has surpassed it but hey, who is counting!  My concern is that the American public's new pastime for our nation is doubting.  We doubt our long held beliefs.  We doubt the impact and implication of Scripture. We doubt anything held as "right" for in there somewhere there has to be something wrong. We doubt our societal values.  We doubt our leaders. We doubt our nation's capability. We doubt each other. We doubt our churches.  The list can do on but one that stands out to me is doubting the capability of the generation now in their twenties headed into adulthood.  Perhaps every generation does that looking at the oncoming generation but it seems more profound and prevalent with my generation looking at the generation of grandchildren in a world seemingly spinning totally off its axis.
A worrier I am not for those of you that know me.  A connector-of-dots I am which is propelled by this insatiable need to understand what is happening and why to see what the image on the horizon will be and how it will function.  I am sure my heart is more acutely linked to this in having been so widely exposed to over seven thousands college students over the last ten years.  Seeing them work, or not, struggle, hope, push, strive, or not, and to seek a piece of the action in their wage earning years was such a joy and such a physical and emotional challenge for me.I loved it! There are some of those students that no doubt have voodoo dolls with my face taped on it with needles inserted but they would be the ones that chose to occupy the 20% cave of not caring and not contributing. Most of them did not last very long in the environment within which I taught but assuredly they will spend a lifetime in that cave in the various endeavors they embark up in life unless theychoose to be their best; but some will not!
I realized a few years ago that each of us at some point come to this amazing reality; that you have more years behind you than you do in front of you. I am there and I know it and that is okay with me for I know in my heart that the best is yet to come long after this life is over. But while on this earth and this walk, the depth and degree of doubt that I see abounding is quite concerning to me for it presupposes a heavy ceiling of dark clouds hanging low over the landscape keeping the sunlight from shining clearly.  In that situation, one loses depth perception and a sense of direction. You feel a sense of being lost and few human emotions are worse than that feeling in life.
We have watched the fires of racism engulf the landscape and fueled by the angry voices of the MLK era seeking the "crown" he left it seems to me.  The voices tend to turn my ears and my heart off at the very mention of their name.  But what I have been more concerned about is the role of media versus the 1960s with the sound bytes, the 24/7 continuously starved news cycles, the "contributors" that tend to bring their own brand of gasoline to toss onto the fire instead of what news was designed to do, report the news and not pontificate and shape the message.  Walter Cronkite was considered the Master newsman for that very gem he brought.  We have no Mr. Cronkite me thinks!
Now we have too many former prosecutors, FBI directors, and acidic news anchors that seem to love to stir the pot instead of calm the pot. Don Lemmon, Jake Tapper, most of the lady talking heads, all seem bent on creating instead of reporting FACTS.  Nancy Grace is a great example of one that literally makes my eardrums peal so I will not listen to a syllable from her. There are many others. I know some like FOX, some like CNN, that would be me until lately, but my concern is simply, where do We the People get solid, credible, news upon which we can determine right and wrong? I honestly do not have a good answer. I think, hope, PBS comes close.
But to my point, I believe the tsunami of doubt that is rampant in our nation is rooted in We the People simply not investing enough time into seeking to understand what is happening around us.  I mean, think about it, when I watch hour after hour of police bashing, one would think that every police person in America goes to work shining his or her rounds readying to find the first available black person to shoot. Is that not crazy? YES, that is crazy but that is subliminal message being blasted from every angle. In the military we call it PSYOPS  .. psychological operations.!
We are a great nation but we do not act like a great nation.  We are a powerful nation but we do not act like a powerful nation. We are a nation of great leaders but I fail to see them anymore and I will go ahead and begin at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Great leaders would never allow this nation to fall to the depths where it appears America has fallen societally and otherwise.  Do we have a racial divide in this nation? Well, one would have to say from the news we have a mountain dividing this nation.  From the depths of my heart, I do not believe there is a mountain but media seems to love to build that mountain. Perhaps there is a mountain and I either too stupid or too blind to see it but I am neither stupid nor am I blind.
All I know to do about this new pastime is to pray and pray I do for our nation is sick regardless of the silly numbers. Lest we forget we owe more money than we earn in Gross Domestic Product which, for me, is the ONLY viable and thus concerning number. When you owe more than you make, somebody else determines your future; voila, that is America today!
I am not a doubter nor do I care to be around doubters but I sincerely feel there is is gray colored pall hanging over the nation, the greatest nation EVER created where fear and doubt abound. That begins with leadership for leaders carry the power of influence to change that.  Come on leaders, LEAD!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

America's Moral Compass

As we have yet another "Ferguson" unfolding in the Big Apple, the same pundits, talking heads, pontficants are all at their places spouting the gospel of hatred, disrespect and blaming.  Having watched the incessant coverage since August 9 that was mind numbing, this cacophony will certainly surpass the Ferguson Effect.  I have realized in the last few days that the very fabric of our national moral compass is being ripped to shreds and, from my perspective, on a much greater and more damaging scale than during my teenage years in the mid 1960s in Alabama.
Three times today in separate conversations I found myself having this crawling feeling that comes when the touchstone of racism is approached for it leaves an indelible mark of concern for the person with whom you are speaking.  The matter of "political correctness" is now blurred thus even a hint of opinion about our current state of affairs can too quickly become flawed and anger-generating. So the Pavlov's Dog Effect causes there to be no conversation, no expression of opinion for you know you are wrong before you begin.  That, for America, is more acute than at any time I can recall during my lifetime. That is very sad for there has never been a more needful time to be able to be able to articulate thoughts, concerns and fears without retribution or retaliation.
I mean, when Charles Barkley becomes the "voice" of logic to a whole component of the American population, even he is finding himself being frontally assaulted by people of color for his rendering his opinion.  The degree of distrust of the entire criminal justice system, its prosecutors, the police, the National Guard, the FBI, etc, is overwhelming and frightening as a citizen. 
I am the perpetual optimist but I can feel some of that oozing away daily in the morass of hatred and negativity. It is exhausting and it is turning friends against friends, neighbors against neighbors and brothers against brothers. I did not choose that previous sentence loosely for it was part of the lexicon in the description of the American Civil War; sound familiar?
My nature is not to conspiratorial in thought but I do seek to understand what is happening around me and then to connect dots.  The dots that are connected are yielding a very fearful picture as we view the horizon. Please know that I pray I am wrong but it seems that we are in a time when everybody has a shovel and everybody wants to keep digging the hole deeper.
Even in the throws of this mess, and a mess it is, I believe in this nation and this democratic form of government called a republic where We the People elect people to represent our views that enact laws to reflect our needs.  That function in this nation right now is broken and inept it appears to me.  When two of the three triumvirate arms are not working, which is the case now, my concern escalates geometrically.
I believe in our law enforcement, in our criminal justice system for I still believe it is the best in the world. I, like most Americans, just want the nation and our leaders to "take a knee" and let's figure this out.  It takes offense and defense to win a ball game and I think we need both seeking equilibrium in our human relations today.  There are far too many gangs, guns and organizations that reside for one purpose which is to create anguish and damage.  
As an American, I ask the question ... what do we stand for, really?  All evidence to the contrary, I believe our moral compass is spinning sadly out of control. The fix begins with leadership, transparency and accountability.  Let US FIX THIS THING before it blows up into something that is unstoppable.  Remember 1861 .... yes, it can happen again!
Lord Jesus, come quickly!