Sometimes Facebook is not a good way to explain one's position without taking up a lot of space. A lady named Karen made some comments critical of a retired pastor and others who actively oppose Donald Trump. What follows, here, is her Facebook post and my replies to the points she was making.

Karen: I don't like Trump very much, but I like Hillary less. My point is I'm not blowing up face book every day with political posts. The American people made their choice & I have to accept it. There have been other Presidents I've not liked either, but didn't waste my time complaining about them on face book. Life is too short!

Paul: So, you’re saying we should give Trump a chance. Trump supporters are saying that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president."

Well, this is the response of many of us who are distrubed by President Trump's presidency:

•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...
•I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.
•I will not "work together" to build a wall.
•I will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.
•I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from other countries.
•I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
•I will not "work together" to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.
•I will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
•I will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
•I will not "work together" to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
•I will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.
•I will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
•I will not "work together" to slash funding for education.
•I will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
•I will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
•I will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.
•I will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
•I will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
•I will not "work together" to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
•I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
•I will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.
•I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.
•I will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
•I will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.
•I will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a "pre-existing condition."
•I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.
•I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.
I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.
•I will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
•I will not support anyone that thinks its OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.
This is my line, and I am drawing it.
•I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.
•I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will listen.

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Karen: All politicians are crooked in my eyes.

Paul: And why do you say that? Here is what Donald Trump said about that only a year and a half ago:

“I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.”

That was Donald Trump in 2015, attempting to explain that the system was corrupt by pointing out that he was the cause of some large part of said corruption. “Don’t vote for the guy who claims to want to help you; vote for ME, I’m already corrupt!”

When Donald Trump said this, Senator Rand Paul replied, “This is what’s wrong. [Donald Trump] buys and sells politicians of all stripes. … He’s used to buying politicians.”

Senator Bernie Sanders admitted there’s a problem with the system due to the large amount of money being spent by the rich to control the system, saying, “The millionaire class and the billionaire class increasingly own the political process, and they own the politicians that go to them for money. … We are moving very, very quickly from a democratic society, one person, one vote, to an oligarchic form of society, where billionaires would be determining who the elected officials of this country are. I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street. … The real truth is that Wall Street regulates Congress.”

Just before Congressman John Dingle retired, he said, “Allowing people and corporate interest groups and others to spend an unlimited amount of unidentified money has enabled certain individuals to swing any and all elections, whether they are congressional, federal, local, state … Unfortunately andrarely do these people have goals which are in line with those of the general public. History well shows that there is a very selfish game that’s going on and that our government has largely been put up for sale.”

Democrats have been trying for some time to stop organizations like Citizens United from being able to take money from billionaires to lobby our legislators with money that would be otherwise illegal if individual citizens were to do it. However, that was strongly opposed by Republicans who benefitted from it.

Senator Bob Dole had something to say about this back in 1983: “When these political action committees give money, they expect something in return other than good government. … Poor people don’t make political contributions. You might get a different result if there were a poor-PAC up here.”

Even Michele Bachmann agreed, saying this in 2011: “I think it is because of the corrupt paradigm that has become Washington, D.C.,whereby votes continually are bought rather than representatives voting the will of their constituents. … That’s the voice that’s been missing at the table in Washington, D.C. — the people’s voice has been missing.” —

Or, as Theodore Roosevelt said in 1912: “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”

You cannot deny that the Republicans and Trump rely on the money from millionaires and billionaires to fund their propaganda. This includes propaganda from the oil industry that scoffs at global warming; that EPA regulations need to be rolled back; and that public lands that have been reserved to protect our nation’s wildlife should be sold to private real estate developers. What has concerned many of us the most is that Trump has actually appointed many of these millionaires and billionaires to run the White House.

Karen: Hillary may not have been charged, but that doesn't make her innocent. The FBI in my opinion was afraid to prosecute her. There were higher powers involved! She personally threatened many women that her husband sexually abused so they would shut up, so she's no better then Trump in that regard. You of all people should understand that.

Paul: I think we can all agree that there were some problems with Hillary. Yet, Hillary never advocated privatizing Medicare, cutting Social Security and Medicaid, building a wall, persecuting Muslims, shutting out refugees from other countries, lowering taxes on the 1% and increasing taxes on the middle class and poor, using the Presidency to line her pockets and those of her family and cronies, weakening and demolishing environmental protection, selling American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands, the killing of whole species of animals, removing civil rights from certain people, alienating countries that have been our allies, slashing funding for public education, removing basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, getting rid of common sense regulations on guns. eliminating the minimum wage, supporting so-called "Right To Work" laws that undermine unions, suppressing scientific research on climate change, fracking, and other issues where a majority of scientists agree, cruminalizing abortion or restricting health care for women, increasing the number of nations that have nuclear weapons, allowing PACs to put even more "big money" into politics, violating the Geneva Convention, giving the white supremacists a job in the White House and normalizing their hatred, denying health care to people who need it, denying medical coverage to people on the basis of a "pre-existing condition," increasing voter suppression, admiring tyrants and dictators, putting a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans and running it under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people.

Karen: Why don't you ask the many young men & women serving in our military how they feel about Hillary, regarding Benghazi!! I've heard first hand from many of them and it's not good. My son Nick is currently deployed and is EOD, one of the more dangerous jobs in the Military and he talks about how much she is disliked by military all the time!

Paul: It is true that a majority of military persons voted for Trump and didn’t like Hillary. Much of that has to do with the frustration many have with the recent history of our country’s participation in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, not to mention Viet Nam.

Of course, how we got involved in Middle East conflicts in the first place is something Republicans must explain. President Bush pushed for our invasion of Iraq based on what he said were weapons of mass destruction, in spite of the fact that the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Commission were saying otherwise. And then the U.S. invaded that country and deposed their Sunni leader, Saddam Hussein, and the Sunni power structure, leaving the Shiites in charge.

Of course, that was a big mistake, since it pushed Iraq into the "loving arms" of Iran, where it had certainly not been before the deposition of Saddam Hussein. Then, because the Sunnis of Iraq were pushed out of power, they went north and started ISIS, getting a lot of their money to do this from other Sunni nations, including Saudi Arabia. Ironically, it was Saudi Arabia that had financed and provided the personnel for 9/11 in the first place. And, the main reason Iran has sent militias to northern Iraq and Syria to fight against ISIS is that ISIS is Sunni. When ISIS is defeated what are the chances that those Iranian militias will go back home, again?


So, as in the War in Vietnam, our military got involved in stupid wars in the Middle East that never went anywhere and couldn’t have been won, have’t been won, and will not be won. President Obama, himself, found out how difficult it is to get out of such wars. When will we ever learn?

So, how does that make gung ho soldiers in our military feel? A lot of their fellow soldiers got killed and wounded over there and are disappointed that we haven't cleaned up the mess in all our years there. Some of them would like to go in and, like Trump supporer Ted Cruz said, “carpet bomb the hell out of them.” Such military strategy might make sense to those in the lower ranks of the military. But, those who are the strategic planners – the officers and generals – understand how ridiculous and horrendous that kind of thing would be and how useless such strategies have been in the past. Yet, many of our military, especially those who do not engage in longterm stategic planning, do not prefer possible political solutions, such as the treaty with Iran, and prefer a military solution, even attacking Iran, not realizing the greater long term problems the would be created if we went in that direction. But, fighters want to see clear victories and are frustrated when they haven't seen them.

One of the big problems with Trump is that, so far, he has not revealed that he is savvy to these long term problems and doesn’t seem to reveal an understanding of the importance of the international alliances that have maintained a relative degree of stability in the world over the past 70 years. Of course, that greatly concerns those of us who have been educated about these things.

Karen: The one thing I will say about Trump is he is doing everything he said he was going to do if elected. Obama was quoted saying he was going to let the next President handle ISIS & Trump did that within 3 days of being in office. It is sad, because there were so many other great candidates besides Hillary & Trump, but they are who the US citizens voted for. I personally was shocked when Trump won the Republican vote for the election, but I've moved on.

Paul: Yes, he is already doing what he said he would do. That's the problem I and many others like me have with him. I’ve already made my above list. I am not against Trump simply because I voted for Hillary. I am against Trump because of what he says he stands for. I agreed with what Hillary (and Bernie, for that matter) said she stood for. But, since she lost the election, I can only now say what I stand for, disagree with, and work against what Trump stands for.

Karen: I am concerned about what could become of our US if we continue to let these immigrants in.

Paul: Who are “these immigrants” are you talking about? The Mexicans who have been called “illegal aliens” for the past decades were lured to this country by illegal employers who put them to work in their homes, cities, and farms so they could pay low wages without benefits, and keep from having to pay Social Security and withholding taxes. This went on for many years while federal, state, and local governments “winked an eye of cooperation” at what was going on. On top of that, while all that was going on, in a schizophrenic move, the Federal Government started building walls and making it difficult for these people to easily move back and forth across the border. Many Mexicans who came to the U.S. realized that it would work best for them if they simply stayed here, since leaving the country might mean they would not be able to come back. If anything, these "illegal aliens," as they are called, were and are the victims of government and industrial corruption.

All this schizophrenia went on for many years. In the meantime, the “illegal aliens” settled here, had families, and made a life for themselves, sometimes having to use fake ID’s and Social Security numbers in order to be employed, all of this being “winked at” by employers and governments, alike. Many of their citizen children have served in the military. Many have become productive and legal members of society who pay more than their share of taxes.

So, now, Trump and so many of us want to see these “illegal aliens,” many of them the parents of good citizens, booted out of the country!? And some of these pesons have even been arrested for the fake ID's and Social Security numbers so it can be said that they have broken the law and be deported. How fair is that?! How unjust is that?!

Karen: Just take a look at Europe. What about Sweden? There are cities the police can no longer go into, because it simply isn't safe! The media was attacked by these so called peaceful immigrants! I saw the videos. Not all Muslims are peaceful!!!

Paul: You have accepted frightening propaganda that is basically incorrect, wrong-headed fear mongering. Every country that receives immigrants has the challenge of helping them to assimilate. In the process of receiving immigrants there will always be those immigrants who feel as though they are getting the short end of the stick, especially when they face what they feel is discrimination from the relatively native population. Often, this problem has been made more difficult when the native population isn’t as welcoming as they should be and does things that encourage the immigrant population to clump together in what look like ghettos. Often, this happens for naturally economic reasons. Usually, the only homes available to the immigrants are in the older, less desirable, worn down neighborhoods from which the more affluent indigenous population have moved. To keep this from happening, governments have to be very pro-active.

So, what happens when people sense that they are not allowed the benefits they see others getting in their country, even after they may have lived there for a generation or two? Sometimes they protest. And sometimes those protests turn into riots. And when there are riots even the media may be attacked. This is what happened in Sweden the other day, ironically right after Donald Trump made an issue out of it, after watching an erroneous FOXNews report, blowing up a claim that Muslim immigrants were increasing the Swedish crime rate.

Of course, the Swedish government made it clear that the increase of crime, due to immigration, has been negligible. Breitbart News and other right wing media, on the other hand, grossly exagerated the problem, deliciously leaping on the opportunity to point out that a member of the media was beaten and claiming that the neighborhood where the rioting took place was a “no-go neighborhood.” Such xenophobic statements and "news" coverage, actually propaganda, about immigrant neighborhoods (Muslim or not) in various countries have a long and unfortunate history.

Such things have repeatedly happened in the U.S., as well, with just about every ethnic group that came here. And as that happened, there were those U.S. citizens who opposed their arrival here for various reasons, citing religion, language barriers, customs, and the like. Our country has a long sad history of doing this, making it difficult for persons to become integrated into society. Yet, integration has taken place for most of these immigrants. One of the exceptions has been the difficulty African Americans have had integrating into American society. But, then, ironically, African Americans have been in America much longer than most white Americans and could not properly be called “immigrants,” as they were brought here forcefully as slaves. And, there are those who claim that many Black neighborhoods are “no-go” neighborhoods. Part of the problem in some of those places has been the prejudice and bigotry of certain members of police forces. On the other hand, there are many more Black neighborhoods and Muslim neighborhoods where successful and effective policing is welcomed. But, xenophobic people only tend to emphasize the former rather than the latter.

It is a fact that those who have been xenophobic about immigrants in our country have always been on the wrong side of history. Certainly, Karen, you don't want to find yourself standing with the likes of the KKK and bigoted leaders like Gov. George Wallace?

Karen: Their goal is to have the US become completely Muslim. Have you seen the way women are treated in the Muslim society??? It's disgusting!

Paul: Really! And Christians don’t want the whole world to become completely Christian? I would be surprised if I met a Muslim who didn’t want to convert me! On the other hand, I would be remiss as a Christian if I didn’t want to convert the Muslim! This is a free country and we have the right to do that. In fact, for the Christian, not only should it be seen as a right, but as an opportunity! Would that we Christians had the opportunity to witness about Christ's love to more non-Christians! So, what's the problem?

And you complain about how Muslim women are treated! Yes, many are, indeed, treated with inequality. But, not all Muslims treat their women in the way you describe. On the other hand, not all Christians treat women so well, either! It hasn't been so long in this country that women could not vote. And many Christian churches still won't ordain women to be clergy. And, many women in our "Christian nation" know very well that they aren't paid the same as men who do the same work they do. So, why should we boast?

Karen: I have no problem with you supporting Hillary, that's your right and I respect that. I just think people need to give Trump a fair chance. I'm not happy about him as President either, but that's who the people voted for. I have a let's wait and see attitude. I didn't like Obama at all, but had to live with it & I did give him a chance.

Paul: The fact is that I don’t support Hillary for president, any more. After all, she isn’t running for president! She can’t win the election. Its too late for that. But, I can certainly oppose the things President Trump has said he is for. And you have seen the list. And I’m not going to wait for him to accomplish those things before I loudly oppose them!

Many of us who have studied world history know that nice people passively waiting for a leader to do the worst is the way persons like Hitler and Mussolini took over.

Karen: I think my biggest question to you is if you weren't a retired minister would you still be talking about your beliefs concerning politics and many other of your beliefs??? You were never so outspoken when I knew you. Our current minister hasn't made his political choices made, but he did ask our congregation to pray for President Trump as our new President, which I thought was awesome.

Paul: As a retired pastor, myself, I know how difficult it would have been for me to take an overtly political stance as a pastor under appointment. First of all, there are certain legal ramifications of a pastor’s doing that, the most obvious problem being a church’s possibly being denied its non-profit status. I think you will, indeed, find that retired pastors feel much more liberated to speak their minds in ways they could not when they weren’t retired.

Even more, since churches are often made up of both conservative and liberals, as well as everyone in between, pastors don’t want to risk saying things that will divide the congregation, especially as it is members have to decide on such things as whether or not they should keep their pastor or ask him or her to move.

So, instead of telling people who they should vote for, most pastors preach sermons about how Jesus loved the poor, welcomed and forgave sinners and foreigners, and told his followers to feed the hungry, offer water to the thirsty, cure the sick, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit outcasts (Matthew 25:312-46). Pastors preach sermons on how Jesus' followers must love people unconditionally, quoting various scriptures in the process. They even preach using several scriptures about how immigrants made a huge difference in the future of God’s people, not to mention the fact that God's people, including Mary, Joseph and Jesus, were desperate immigrants who went to Egypt and then back, themselves, making it clear that Jesus would have been killed if he had not immigrated with his parents to that country. In the process of such preaching, pastors hope their congregations will listen to them and do accordingly – even as, especially as, they vote.

Karen: The only reason I even responded to this post was because I felt like you were calling all Republicans stupid, in that we would believe anything Trump said. I'm not stupid, and I don't believe everything any politician says! I don't like it when adults stoop to name calling.

Paul: Sometimes I get frustrated when I see Republicans reject information that is true, not being aware of the important lessons of history, and rejecting critical information about international diplomacy and economic and political science. When I see people like you consistently referring to news articles written by white supremacists, rather than by objective journalists, I have to shake my head with scorn.

What, then, are people to be called who reject objective information and refuse to delve into the actual study of these things, who choose to ignore the very people who have actually studied these things their whole life?

I didn't call you stupid. But, what would you call them?

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Rev. Paul G. Donelson is a retired United Methodist pastor, living in the east end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.