Turning Our Attention to the Real Threat – Mike Pence

I’ve used most of my recent essays to consider various actions and statements by Donald Trump, and the horrendous HB1523 that’s now law in my home state of Mississippi. With his preposterous public relations stunt of Sunday, I’ll now use a few words for Mike Pence.

I’ll start with a general look at Pence, and end with Sunday’s planned “protest.”

Mike Pence has always been the more dangerous of the Trump/Pence ticket.

Trump is a largely failed businessman, a public buffoon (a persona he embraced on The Apprentice), the subject of hundreds of lawsuits (both business and professional), known for sexual assault, bankruptcy, and civil rights violations (see aforementioned lawsuits)…and the biggest waffle not in Congress. Is the wind blowing? Trump is moving that direction. Anything for a buck and piece of the proverbial pie. He’s been laughed at in his hometown of New York City for decades. No one took him seriously – at least not until the presidential election of 2016.

The Republican field was rife with mediocre politicians, none fit to front a presidential campaign. In steps Trump – the hair, the spray tan, bravado and all. It mattered not that he wasn’t really a Republican. It mattered not that he had no ideas for positive growth in any sphere of American life. He had the few things that mattered, that eventually won him the electoral college (not the biggest victory there, and a solid loss in popular vote) – a political outsider who hated Obama, was supported by the alt-right, had money, and seemed somehow ‘genuine’ because bad ideas fell easily from his mouth, unscripted and salacious.

He won – the perfect foil to Obama, from his ineptitude to his grammar to his love of Twitter.

And as foreseen, he’s been awful – bumbling through foreign affairs, failing to appoint competent people to crucial positions, trading nuclear war barbs with North Korea on Twitter, assaulting everyone from the LGBTQ community to the 1st Amendment to all women everywhere.

For all the failures, contempt, and maliciousness of Trump, Pence is far worse.

Pence is an experienced politician – he knows how to get things done politically. Why has Trump failed to pass any kind of significant legislation? One big reason is his political neophytism.

To ‘experienced politician who can get things done,’ with Pence we add also ‘man hell-bent on forcing his morals and ideals on a nation.’ Trump has no real ideas or beliefs – Pence does, and they are largely horrendous.

A few select examples:

  • wants to outlaw all abortions and overturn Roe v. Wade (once signed a law saying doctors could be prosecuted for abortions and requiring the burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue, wants to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs”);
  • his anti-women stance is shown even more in his refusal to meet with any woman aside from his wife alone, greatly reducing the chance that any woman would be hired for a job that required working very closely with him;
  • wants to defund Planned Parenthood;
  • is strongly against guaranteeing and protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community in America, since it’s against his Christian values, and worked as governor and in congress to limit the rights of the community;
  • has supported “conversion therapy,” saying on his website (in 2000) that “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” right after stating “Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage;”
  • would like even harsher immigration “reform” than we’ve seen out of Trump;
  • would be a nightmare for public education. As governor of Indiana he pushed for vouchers and tried to repeal Common Core, in addition to voting against “No Child Left Behind” as a congressman;
  • doesn’t believe in climate change;
  • opposes all efforts to reform gun laws;
  • opposes the free press at least as vigorously as Trump, having even tried to create a state news outlet while governor of Indiana (Just IN).

There are many other problematic stances and beliefs this man holds, but the small sampling above should suffice to demonstrate my main point – Trump is incompetent and therefore somewhat dangerous; Pence is experienced and therefore far more of a threat to America, and possibly the world, than Trump could ever be.

Anyone willing to use public office to force their own personal beliefs on others treads awfully close to authoritarianism, a trait we’ve seen with Trump and would see magnified many times under Pence.

And then we have Sunday. Mike Pence attended the Colts/49ers game in Indianapolis with his wife…until he walked out to protest football players exercising their 1st Amendment right to free speech. We soon found out, via Twitter, that Trump and Pence had discussed and planned this action beforehand, presumably to bring additional attention to a topic they’ve focused on more than hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

If he didn’t want to “dignify” the event, then he should have never attended the game. He knew with 100% certainty that players would take the knee, since the 49ers are the only team to have at least one player kneel at every single game since Kaepernick started the movement in 2016.

Sunday’s walk-out was a political stunt [press were even instructed to wait outside as Pence would be leaving shortly in protest], posturing to bring attention to a lie – a lie perpetuated continually by the administration – that the protests in the NFL (and expanding to other sports as well) are all about disrespecting some nebulous “America” ideal. In fact, both Trump and Pence and all of their advisors know that the kneeling players are bringing attention to the actions of police nationwide, particularly in minority communities. [More on this administration lie here.]

In addition to continuing to support a racist mischaracterization of professional athletes, Mike Pence wasted a significant amount of taxpayer money on this asinine trip, to the tune of approximately $250,000 (flights from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, then on to Los Angeles, plus the security and other apparatus traveling with a VP).

Even after the recent attention on wasteful travel practices in this administration, Pence felt it was somehow justified to blow through our hard-earned money to garner a few political points for his boss by assaulting the 1st Amendment and furthering an agenda that looks ever more authoritarian.

Mike Pence knows what he’s doing. Between his lack of charisma and his 18th century ideals, he knows he never could have been elected president in the 2016 election. But he’s placed himself in a position now of great power, and with the most inept person to ever sit in the oval office as his boss, the chances of his ascension to the presidency are greater than he could have ever hoped or imagined.

Just keep in mind, America, that Pence as president will be just as difficult, if not worse, than the mess we find ourselves in today with Donald Trump.

the holy and the hindered (A Dialogue in Quotes: 5)

An Exchange of Quotes between St. Silouan the Athonite and Donald Trump

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We suffer because we have no humility and we do not love our brother. From love of our brother comes the love of God. People do not learn humility, and because of their pride cannot receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the whole world suffers.

I don’t like losers.

The soul that has come to know God fully no longer desires anything else, nor does it attach itself to anything on the earth; and if you put before it a kingdom, it would not desire it, for the love of God gives such sweetness and joy to the soul that even the life of a king can no longer give it any sweetness.

Sometimes you need conflict in order to come up with a solution. Through weakness, oftentimes, you can’t make the right sort of settlement, so I’m aggressive, but I also get things done, and in the end, everybody likes me.

What joy is ours that the Lord not only forgives our sins ,but allows the soul to know Him, so soon as she humbles herself. The poorest wretch can humble himself and know God in the Holy Spirit. There is no need of money or possessions in order to know God, only humility. The Lord gives Himself freely, for His mercy’s sake alone. I did not know this before but now every day and every hour every minute, I see clearly the mercy of God. The Lord gives peace even in sleep, but without God there is no peace in the soul.

I have the right temperament. I have the right leadership. I’ve built an incredible company. I went to a great school. I came out…I wrote the number one selling business book of all time…

If the Lord has left us ignorant of the ordering of many things in this world, then it means it is not necessary for us to know: we cannot compass all creation with our minds. But the Creator Himself of heaven and earth and every created thing gives us to know Him in the Holy Spirit.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Induce your heart to love your enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, shall help you in all things, and will Himself show you experience. But whoever thinks evil of his enemies does not have love for God and has not known God.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.

I pray Thee, O Merciful Lord, for all the peoples of the world, that they may come to know Thee by the Holy Spirit.

The point is that you can’t be too greedy.

We must always remember that the Lord sees us wrestling with the Enemy, and so we must never be afraid. Even should all hell fall upon us, we must be brave.

I was a great student. I was good at everything.

Understand two thoughts, and fear them. One says, “You are a saint,” the other, “You won’t be saved.” Both of these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. But think this way: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is merciful. He loves people very much, and He will forgive my sins.

All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.

The Saints in Heaven through the Holy Spirit behold the glory of God and the beauty of the Lord’s Countenance. But in this same Holy Spirit they see our lives too, and our deeds. They know our sorrows and hear our burning prayers. When they were living on earth they learned of the love of God from the Holy Spirit; and he who knows love on earth takes it with him into eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven, where love grows and becomes perfect. And if love makes one unable to forget a brother here, how much more must the Saints remember and pray for us!

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

I ask you to try something. If someone grieves you, or dishonors you, or takes something of yours, then pray like this: “Lord, we are all your creatures. Pity your servants, and turn them to repentance,” and then you will perceptibly bear grace in your soul.

I have an attention span that’s as long as it has to be.

It is impossible to keep spiritual peace if we do not take care of the mind, that is if we do not drive out thoughts that are displeasing to God and, on the contrary, keep thoughts which are pleasing to God. It is necessary to look into the heart with mind and see what is done there. Is it peaceful or not? If not, then find out in what you have sinned.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail.

You must teach yourself how to eat less, but with discernment, insofar as your work allows. The measure of temperance should be such that after lunch you want to pray.

I’m a bit of a P.T. Barnum. I make stars out of everyone.

Keep thy mind in hell and despair not.

You learn their honesty, you learn their competitiveness. You learn a lot about a person. It’s not that they have to sink the putt and there’s a great deal of talent involved – but you do learn about how competitive a person is on the golf course, and frankly, how honest.

44 and 45 (A Dialogue in Quotes: 4)

An Exchange of Quotes between Barack Obama and Donald Trump

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There is probably a perverse pride in my administration… that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.

People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me.

We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.

What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.

I just miss – I miss being anonymous.

Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken.

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

For the past 25 years, you’ve not only been my wife and the mother of my children, you’ve been my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and you made it your own with grace, grit and style…the love of my life.

I’ve always said, “If you need Viagra, you’re probably with the wrong girl.”

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their people.

This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.

We need a president with tremendous intelligence, smarts, cunning, strength, and stamina.

The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.

I always want to think of myself as an underdog.

Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace.

We need a great president.

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

There’s always opposition when you do something big. I do many things that are controversial. When people see it, they love it!

The arts are central to who we are as a people and they are central to the success of our kids…it is necessary for young people to succeed that we promote the arts.

We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Someone will say, ‘Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.

Now, as a nation, we don’t promise equal outcomes, but we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That’s an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up.

A certificate of live birth is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination as a birth certificate.

the believer and the infidel (A Dialogue in Quotes: 3)

An Exchange of Quotes between The Qur’an and Donald Trump

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Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right – them will I turn away from My signs: Even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them; and if they see the way of right conduct, they will not adopt it as the way; but if they see the way of error, that is the way they will adopt. For they have rejected our signs, and failed to take warning from them.

What my father gave me more than anything else is great tutoring and a great brain…I mean, you know, I have very good genes.

What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand?

Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.

Nor strain thine eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them, the splendour of the life of this world, through which We test them: but the provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring.

Owning a great golf course gives you great power.

Know ye (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: How rain and the growth which it brings forth, delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; thou wilt see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a Penalty severe (for the devotees of wrong). And Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the devotees of Allah.. And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception?

I judge people based on their capability, honesty, and merit.

By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth Allah knoweth it well.

First and foremost, I’m a real estate person. And that’s what I love most.

I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.

No dream is too big. No challenge too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach.

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid; – (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah.”

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the Garden.

A lot of people don’t like to win. They actually don’t know how to win, and they don’t like to win because down deep inside they don’t want to win.

Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we’ll eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.

I saw a report yesterday. There’s so much oil all over the world…they want to reduce oil production. Do you think they’re our friends? They’re not our friends.

We have not instructed the (Prophet) in Poetry, nor is it meet for him: this is no less than a Message and a Qur’an making things clear: That it may give admonition to any (who are) alive, and that the charge may be proved against those who reject (Truth)…And the Poets,- It is those straying in Evil, who follow them: Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley?- And that they say what they practise not?

Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.

And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.

It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. It’s artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.

Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind, The King (or Ruler) of Mankind, The Allah (or judge) of Mankind,- From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper),- (The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind,- Among Jinns and among men.

It’s a great thing when you can show that you’ve been successful and that you’ve made a lot of money and that you’ve employed a lot of people.

the publican and the pharisee (A Dialogue in Quotes: 2)

An Exchange of Quotes between The Holy Bible and Donald Trump

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When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

You have to think anyway, so why not think big?

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

I’m competitive, and I love to create challenges for myself. Maybe that’s not always a good thing. It can make life complicated.

Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

Somebody made the statement that Donald Trump has built or owns the greatest collection of golf courses, ever, in the history of gold. And I believe that is 100 percent true.

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.

My plan will begin with safety at home – which means safe neighborhoods, secure borders, and protection from terrorism. There can be no prosperity without law and order.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I’ve always won, and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriot, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

I think the big problem with this country is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

I actually don’t have a bad hairline.

Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

A little more moderation would be good. Of course, my life hasn’t exactly been one of moderation.