Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Letter for Janay

I, like many people in this country, have gotten caught up in the on-going saga involving Ray Rice, his wife Janay, his former team the Baltimore Ravens and his former employer, the NFL.  There are many layers to this story with any number of people pointing the finger of blame in various directions.  What I don't want to do with this small space I inhabit is contribute to that.  I do hope and pray that these words resonate and encourage Janay and anyone that identifies with her.  

Janay,

I know you don't know me or that I even exist.  But I do want you to know that, as a man with a wife and children whom I love dearly, my heart goes out to you.  I know that you're in the midst of a storm unlike anything you've ever experienced in your life. There are people coming from every direction with something to say about you and about Ray. Most of us have absolutely no idea of what you've been through. Others, like myself, have lived through domestic violence and bear our own scars as a result of what we saw and experienced.  

You may never see this letter, but if you do, there are some things that I would like to impart to you - from one parent of a daughter to another - a parent who some 30 years ago was a young boy not much older than your daughter now...who bore witness to the ugliness and ongoing brutality of domestic violence.  

I was 8 years old when I first remember seeing my dad beat my mom.  All I could do was yell at him to stop.  That's all my 2 brothers and I could do was yell and hope and pray he would stop.  He would get to the point where he'd stop himself just short of choking her out and then he'd leave the room or leave the house in a raged panic...there was part of him that knew what he was doing was wrong but he couldn't stop himself from doing it. There were a few times mom would call the cops but somehow he'd come back home and things would get better.  Somehow he'd play nice for awhile and I'd see him be loving to my mom.  We got fooled into thinking that things would change...that it wouldn't happen again.

But inevitably, it would.  And each time the violence manifested itself more intensely. I remember thinking at times that I was going to see my mom die and then wondered what would happen to us.  Where would we go?  We had no idea what would happen.  I do remember one day leaving the apartment where we lived to go play and coming back a couple of hours later only to be confronted by flashing lights and seeing my dad in handcuffs being escorted to the backseat of a police car.  My heart sank and I wondered what I would see when I got inside.  I was relieved that Mom was okay but scared and angry because of the bruises on her face and body.  There was so much I didn't understand.  I couldn't fully wrap my mind around what was happening and why it kept happening.  Finally one night, under cover of darkness, we packed a few things and we left and stayed with family.  We had done this before, several times...but this time was different.  We didn't go back.  

The next several years we spent a lot of time in the family court system.  It was brutal. Mom finally decided to divorce Dad but he fought.  That what Dad does...he fights. He's always fought...whether it was on the streets of Baltimore as a young boy or whether it was in the jungles of Vietnam as a teenager, it's what he's always known.  It's almost like he has no identity outside of the fight.  Even after all of these years I'm not sure exactly when it was that my mom decided it was time to leave.  But I think ultimately she did it for us. Innately she knew the only chance we had of being able to turn into responsible young men was if she left.  I imagine that a vision snuck into a rare night of sleep that haunted her...a vision showing her sons growing up angry and bitter turning our rage towards our own wives in the same way he did to her.  This she could not allow to come to pass, even if it meant going it alone as a single mother of 3 boys.  She - once the young, beautiful, naive girl looking for a way out of a bad marriage only to stumble into a worse one - now as a wiser woman prayed for strength to leave and found it.  

All of these memories came flooding back to me as I watched and rewatched the video of you being brutalized.  It wasn't just that he spit on you, egged you into the knockout blow he delivered with devastating efficiency, dragged you into the lobby and dropped you face-first onto the marble floor allowing you to be partially exposed, stepped over and kicked you with his foot, then placed you in a heap only to fall back into the elevator as you were still regaining consciousness...no it was the indifference with which he did all of this.  Not one action that was caught in any of that footage reflected any measure of decency or respect due to you - his fiancee and the mother of his daughter. Please know that there's nothing you did to justify his vicious behavior towards you. At any point during this entire ordeal, he could've walked away to give you both space to regain some measure of composure.  No...this was too easy for him.  It was too casual...this is familiar territory for him.  But it shouldn't be.  It shouldn't even be an option to begin with.

I understand your wanting to create space to protect your family's privacy.  And I understand your defending your husband and what he's worked for in his career.  But this is about you and your daughter and the fight to give her a chance to grow up into a woman that understands that in no way is what happened to you tolerable, acceptable or normal.  I challenge you to make a new normal for you and for her...the kind of normal that makes no excuses for, nor aides or abets abuse or abusers.  There's no amount of money, no sense of security that can replace what you have the ability to offer your little girl by making the choice to disable anyone from abusing you ever again.  I believe that you have family and friends who love you and your daughter and will do anything in their power to help you. You are blessed to have a support system. Use it and do what you have to do to protect yourself and your child.  If there's any chance of Ray becoming the man he needs to be, you have to stop enabling him.  

None of what I'm saying is easy.  Being in the public eye certainly makes trying to live your life much more complicated.  I know you didn't ask for all of this but this is what you are having to face.  Even when you feel alone and that no one understands, please know that isn't true.  There are people praying for you and those who are in closer proximity to you - family, friends - are just waiting for you to tell them what you need. Don't feel guilty about asking for help from them.  God put them in that position for a reason because He knew they were uniquely positioned to help you in a way no one else could.

And know that you have people like me around the country that are praying for you, your daughter and Ray.  I hope that in the still quiet moments when it's just you and God, that you allow Him to minister to you...that you allow Him to give you what you need.  You'll find that you will have strength you didn't know you had to do things you didn't know you could do...like maybe even one day be the embodiment of strength and inspiration not only for your daughter but for countless women in our country and around the world who have been victims of domestic violence.  But that's for later. :) For now, just take it one day at a time.


Wishing you a better tomorrow,

Kunta






Monday, May 19, 2014

Kiss The Ring

The older I get the more disenchanted I get with celebrity.  The pursuit of it, it seems, is a worthy accomplishment of a great many people, powerful and anonymous alike.  I have to admit, growing up, I believed I was going to be famous.  I wasn't sure how, I was just sure it would happen.  But I can honestly thank God for the wisdom gained from growing older to be able to realize that the path to celebrity is a treacherous one...and the world buckles under the weight of this evidence.

Have you ever stopped to think of the emphasis our culture places on celebrity and how that impacts us?  It's a bit overwhelming to think about, but just try it on for size.  Our society, our world is littered with the carcasses of those who have been swallowed whole by the beast of celebrity. In our country, we consciously and unconsciously provide the fuel for the multi-billion dollar business of celebrity. There are countless blogs, magazines, radio programs and TV shows dedicated solely to celebrities and their lives. In the last 2-3 years, there has been an explosion of 24/7 tabloid journalism, like nothing we've seen, only because our appetite for it has driven up the supply of this type of content. 

And what do we have to show for all of this? A culture obsessed with celebrity and its pursuit to the point that it's pervading the "church". When I saw "Preachers of L.A." I was convinced it was evidence of cultural rot infiltrating Western Christianity...a type of tipping point I never imagined I see.  But then again, I never imagined I'd read a recent story about a mother purposefully poisoning her child just to raise the profile of her "mommy" blog. In any case, it's an indictment of our lack of "saltiness" as the body of Christ. And, for the record, I include myself in this observation. I question myself because I know in my heart I've left opportunities on the table to speak life into people and to stand for God's truth even at the risk of making people feel uncomfortable.

I say all of this knowing full well there are believers making an impact throughout the world and here in the States...many believers paying the ultimate price for their faith in Christ. It makes me mad to think about this while I live my relatively comfortable life making some choices for the sake of comfort and convenience. But doing this comes with a price. Every choice I make has consequences, and those ripple through present day as well as throughout eternity. And that's the reality of just my decisions. When I think about that in relation to the collective power/effects of the decisions we make as a body, it's tremendously significant. The world we touch suffers because somewhere along the line, we've decided to cede power and influence to popular culture - in big and small ways - to the detriment of both ourselves as Christians and the world at large. If we're not truly fulfilling our destiny as believers, how can we expect to sharpen each other and as a result, be the type of "salt" worthy of its flavor?  

It's the challenge we as Western Christians face - deciding, as Gandhi said, to be the change we want to see in the world or to allow the world around us to change us into being people who bow before the idol of celebrity - in big and small ways - hoping to be accepted and liked for comfort's sake.  I'm praying/working to live in a way that gives strength to those around me especially in days like these and that, ultimately, my life pleases the only One worth bowing to.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Time for Choosing

We live in interesting times, do we not?  That perhaps is the understatement of the new millennium.  Our lives are filled with choices...everyday we make thousands of choices, consciously or unconsciously.  

"What am I going to have for breakfast?  Cereal? Toast? Bacon? Cold pizza? Do I even have time to eat?!"

"What am I going to wear to work today? Contrast? Monochromatic? Casual? Business? Lace-ups or loafers?"

"Should I call them back or should I just send a text?  Or should I Facebook them?  Or should I Tweet them?  Or should I call them, send a text, Facebook message them, Tweet and Skype them?!"

"Should I acknowledge this stranger with eye contact?  If so, do I just nod or should I say something?  If I speak, should I just keep it quick and light?  Do I have time to talk? Should I smile with my eyes or with my mouth or both?  Or should I just keep my head down and keep it moving?"

Right now, what I'm debating is whether or not I should go to bed or stay up (currently 1:31 a.m. CST), listening to my iPod while I create this blog post, the first one in about a year and a half in case anyone was keeping track. :) As I weigh this, what keeps coming to mind are the choices I've made over the last year.  It's been a roller coaster ride to say the least.  Some I saw coming while others have been difficult but nonetheless necessary.  While examining all of this, I know that I've made good ones, bad ones and ones that fall in that gray area of life that are still working themselves out.  

I'm grateful that through everything, I've seen God's provision in my life and with my limited "sight", can see His fingerprints all around me.  I know that in many cases, I've missed out on blessings God intended for me.  It's not because of His lack of mercy or goodness.  It's because of my choices that I've missed out.  That's hard for me to get my head around.  But I'm learning to accept it and trying my best to learn from my mistakes so that I don't miss out on anything else He has for me going forward.

What I know beyond a doubt is that He's still at work. He sent Deedra to me at a time in my life when I was just trying to make sense of the chaos that had enveloped me.  And through all of this transition, she has been a steadying force in my life.  Our friendship has grown and strengthened.  We've been through a lot together...and through it I've seen in her a strength, grace and warmth that defies the circumstances in which we've found ourselves.  

KK and Isaiah are amazing kids.  They always have been.  And they have shown how resilient and tough-minded they are through everything.  I know that it's been tough on them, incredibly so, to deal with the world as they knew it completely change.  I swore to myself as a young married person that I'd never put my kids through that because of my own experience with divorce as a 7-year old.  It's sobering to think how history has repeated itself.  There's a part of me that hates myself for what I've done to cause my children pain through this process.  I don't know if I'll ever completely forgive myself for it.  But I know the love I have for them pushes through all of that to focus me and to give them my very best when I see and spend time with them.  And it pushes me to work to provide the life for them they deserve...the kind of life that, you guessed it, allows them to have choices.

There's so much to figure out...so many choices to make.  My prayer is that each day I have, I make the kind of choices that my wife and kids would be proud of...choices that cumulatively make their lives better.  That's not a burden...it's a privilege.  I...chose that.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

No Retreat, No Surrender!

I know how we all felt when Gov. Palin made her announcement because I felt that too, in the deepest parts of my being.  But I've had time to think and process and I believe, especially given Kevin Ainsworth's recent editorial that this sets up for something more dramatic than any of us has ever witnessed. 

Gov. Palin is a person of principle.  We who support her do so because of this.  She has demonstrated in the midst of the fiercest criticisms and trials to be rock-solid and immovable in her principles.  She has "the stuff" we've longed for in the person we want to see lead our country.  She has done everything and more to prove herself worthy to be the one that is truly capable of leading our country to greatness it has yet to see.  But for this to happen, it has to happen beyond the norm of convention and party politics.  As she said, it's going to take a seismic event for her to run. 

She's doing what God has called her to do.  She's speaking out and her voice is resonating around the world, literally.  This world is thirsty for this United States to be the shining city on a hill.  It's not that now and we see a world that is on the brink.  I'm not saying the US is the answer for the world's ills but we can provide the example that brings back stability to a world in desperate need of it.

I see very clearly our role is to be the hands and feet of that seismic shift.  We can make this happen if we mobilize and see this opportunity for what it is.  By Gov. Palin listening to God, we have been given this chance to do something unprecedented.  It'll make 2010 look like child's play. 

This is our moment; our time to do what is believed to be impossible.  Seize this moment. Remember why we decided to support Gov. Palin in the first place and put to action what we know to be true in our hearts and souls. 

She was made...we were made...for such a time as this.  Let us rise and be the earthquake that rocks the foundation of the corrupt party system that has squandered our resources for their own selfish motives.  We have the authority to shake this backward system to the ground to hold it to account for what it has done.  We have been empowered by the Almighty to fight for what is right.  It is up to us to do what needs to be done so that the America our children inherit is better than how we found it. 

It's not time to settle for the person either party puts in front of us as a candidate.  “We The People” have our candidate.  We choose now what happens...whether we allow them to pick for us or whether we flex our muscle, exercise our God-given rights, and decide who leads us.  

I say we can do better.  Gov. Palin has done her part.  It's time to do ours.  It's time to move the earth beneath our feet and lead this country out of the darkness into the light of its true destiny!

And with that, let me leave you with a word of encouragement:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Fighter

I just watched “The Fighter” with Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams and Christian Bale last night.  It’s not a kid-friendly movie but one I would recommend to anyone.  It’s the true story of Micky Ward, a blue-collar boxer with an interesting family legacy hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts who beat long odds to ascend to the Welterweight Championship back in the mid 90’s.  Much of the film is centered around the dynamic between Micky and his older brother, himself a local legend due to his infamous bout with Sugar Ray Leonard during the prime of his boxing career in the 80’s.  For those of you who haven’t seen it and wish to see it, I won’t give away many more details.  I’ve left out plenty so that you can still enjoy it for what it is…an incredibly moving and inspiring story.  I think though it serves as somewhat of a symbol for what is going on now.  I know I’ve compared Gov. Palin before to Rocky Balboa.  Yes, this is another boxing reference but just hear me out because with all due respect to the Rocky series, it lacks what “The Fighter” has…authenticity.

Authenticity is something that comes at a premium nowadays.  I think when people see it they know it because there are a lot of “packaged goods” that are on display.  Take your pick…from what we watch to what we eat, there’s a lot of “repackaging” to choose from.  As it relates to the Presidential race, specifically to the field of GOP candidates, the majority of candidates look and sound like something we’ve all seen and heard before.  Because of that, Herman Cain is shooting up in the polls right now.  People are hungry for a candidate that actually believes what they say, someone that doesn’t just spout talking points with a glazed look in their eyes.  They want to know that their candidate is not a cybernetic being but a real person who can look them eyeball to eyeball and relate to their world to effect change in it.
Much has been made about Gov. Palin’s delay in making an announcement.  Apart from a recent appearance on On The Record, she has been largely silent.  I know part of that is prep for her upcoming appearance in South Korea.  But I honestly believe she’s preparing for her run at the Presidency.  And I wholeheartedly believe that she’s going to run as an Independent candidate.  I have actually believed this for some time now, even before Adrienne and Nancy put thought to post with their excellent writings.  Unconventional means a lot of things, but think about it.  Specifically within the sphere of politics ask yourself this:  What is the most unconventional thing you can do to run as a Presidential candidate within the structure of a two-party system?  Add to that the potential gamesmanship being played with the moving up of key states’ primaries and what it does is set up well for an unconventional run to be made by probably the only person that can actually pull it off. 
The fact is, Gov. Palin is a bonafide star.  And if we think about this for a moment, in the celestial and social sense, stars have gravitational pull.  Objects move in their direction as they move.  There are millions awaiting her official announcement – those of us who will do what we can to provide her support in whatever way we can as well as those who make their living covering news.  And regardless of what those in the news media would like for us to believe - that her announcement wouldn’t mean much at this point because it’s “so late” in the race - they will be scratching and clawing their way to get in line to follow her every move.  Her star power in a very real sense allows her to not only run an unconventional campaign but to run a successful unconventional campaign. And does it not fit her like a handmade, tailored suit?  She’d run and while doing so be able to do so without help or support from the very system that’s broken in the first place.  Our two-party system is broken and corrupt at both ends.  This way it allows her to run unfettered by that brokenness and corruption and plays to her strength which is running on the support of the people she relates to…those of us (conservatives, moderates and even some liberals) who have been long disenchanted with ineffective Party politics.
There’s a pivotal part in “The Fighter” when Micky Ward decides how he’s going to train for his championship fight.  I’m not going to say what he decides to do but I will tell you he uses his instincts despite incredible outside pressure.  And that makes all of the difference because it leads to powerful moments where the people closest to him have some come-to-Jesus moments with themselves and each other.  They realize what’s at stake and are willing to have the tough conversations and confrontations to get past their issues to focus on the task at hand.
It’s setting up the same way.  Our candidate is preparing for the fight of her life.  And as a result those of us who say we’re supporting her have to look at ourselves in the mirror and identify the things we need to deal with to be effective for her.  In some instances, we’re going to have to deal with each other and have some tough conversations to get to a place where we be the type of support she needs for us to be. 
Don’t lose heart because we’re waiting.  Use this time to get right and understand what’s at stake.  Because we know our champion is going to go with her instincts.  We have to be right and ready to move when she’s ready to move.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear Sarah

I've been busy for the past couple of weeks trying to get some things going.  I've been occupied with my current job search while keeping up with cleaning, my kids and the dog.  I feel hopeful that good things are to come...I've redoubled my efforts and have employed some other options that I believe will yield good results.  As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Hopefully this will prove my belief to be true...that I haven't descended into madness quite yet.

Even while being caught up in trying to improve my current situation, I am aware with what's going on out in the world.  Beyond the sweltering heat here in Dallas, there is the 14 trillion lb. gorilla in the room named "Downgrade"...or my recently Tweeted tongue-in-cheek jab at our current President "Downgrayed - the newest product from Just For Men inspired by Barack Obama."  Hardly a joking matter, it's something I've been unable to stop thinking about.  Even in the moments when I think I forget, it lingers still like white noise.

It concerns me like many millions of Americans who like me are trying to improve their station in the midst of so much uncertainty.  It seems at times daunting but it's not the first time many if not all of us have been presented with long odds or challenges.  It seems rather more the rule than the exception that this is so.  And while that is the case, we as Americans still have much to be thankful for.  Despite the many challenges we face, we still represent the best, last hope on Planet Earth.  It reminds me of another saying, "To whom much is given, much is required."

That statement places upon me a burden.  I KNOW that which God has given me I must share and use for good.  I am guilty of letting people and what I think people might think dictate whether or not to follow through on my end of the bargain.  To my detriment, I put off working constructively to put myself in a position to share my thoughts, feelings, talents, voice.  I'm actively working towards a construct of how sharing what I have to share plays out.  I don't have it all figured out but I'm getting there.  I have good people around me who love me and who are supporting me.  I know you know full well how important that is.  It has a way of steadying you like nothing else can.

I believe you feel the burden of that statement as well.  Despite all of the things you and your remarkable family have had to endure, it hasn't polluted your ability to see things more clearly than any of your contemporaries.  You have demonstrated that over and over again, providing an especially stark contrast to the tone deafness of President Obama and Washington political leadership across both aisles.  You did it again with your last Facebook post.  Your words stirred inside of me and it struck me how often that happens to me when you speak.  I know there are many like me who share my sentiment.

Real leadership is more than uttering stirring words but it's having the guts to do the right thing even when it means getting flack for doing so.  I can't think of anyone in recent memory who has exhibited that very trait like you have.  Many in the crucible of public life have succumbed to far less.  I know you have a hobbled ankle but I'd never know it if you hadn't shared it otherwise. Your strength, tenacity and focus in the midst of our great national tempest is a source of strength for many of us.  It's why those of us who support you are anxious, maybe even a bit fearful that you are thinking of possibly skipping this election cycle, ceding your candidacy to another amongst the field of contenders.

I can only speak for myself in this although I'm sure I'm not alone by saying that I firmly believe not just anyone else other than President Obama "will do".  This coming election isn't about an alternative but about THE alternative.  And you, Ms. Palin, are THE.  You are THE antithesis and THE anecdote all at the same time.  I don't pretend to elevate you to an unreasonably high status...I simply see that you are uniquely equipped to lead us during a time perhaps like no other.  You see clearly when others don't.  The other so-called contenders simply don't stack up. All of us who aren't blinded by special interests, ivory tower theoreticals and lefty MSM bias see this for what it is.

In the days to come, you will make public a decision that will put to rest all manner of speculation and rumor.  It is my sincerest desire that you come to a decision that when all voices cease, is one that you believe addresses that burden I talked about a bit earlier.  I can't imagine having to decide something with so many ramifications not only for your family but for this country.  I don't say this with the intention of leaning you one way or the other, as if anything I said deserved that much weight.  What I do believe is that your instincts are good ones.  I do believe that this decision will be made like the ones you had to make in times past - with healthy doses of prayer, reflection and counsel.  

And just in case these words do reach you where you are, I'll end this letter quoting a man whose words are much weightier than mine who posted a fairly famous newspaper want-ad many years ago:

Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful - honor and recognition in case of success.

Awaiting your decision...and ready to serve,

Kunta Evans

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Adult In The Room

I grew up as the middle brother of three while my mom worked ungodly 12-hour shifts as an ER and pediatric nurse.  That meant me and my brothers, one older and one younger, spent a lot of time by ourselves.  And you can imagine that we found ways to entertain each other.  For the most part, we were able to stay out of trouble .  I think I was the one between the three of us that got in trouble the most which isn't saying much.  We all had a healthy fear of mom because she demonstrated on a few occasions that "crazy" was just one idiotic decision away from showing itself...and let's just say "crazy" wasn't pretty. To be clear, mom=pretty;  crazy=not pretty

I know Mom spent many nights on her knees praying for her boys.  That, and my older brother, kept us out of a lot of trouble.  Kalvin was the constant male influence/older brother/imagined antagonist that looked out for us when we didn't know better.  I gave him a lot of grief and made things hard on him at times because I resented what I perceived to be his status.  He got to do things and go places which made me envious.  What I didn't realize until later was the pressure and responsibility he had to bear by virtue of our home situation.  He couldn't just be a kid...he had to be the responsible one most of the time because of Mom's work schedule. He was the de facto adult in the room.

As I watch the debt ceiling fight unfold, it's remarkable to see the gamesmanship going on both sides of the political aisle.  There's a lot of posturing, positioning and demagoguery taking place while the rest of us try to press on with our lives knowing a boulder is hanging overhead, much like the one in the Nationwide Insurance commercial.  That proverbial boulder would be the $14 trillion debt monster that's been amassed through reckless, irresponsible spending.  And instead of treating this with the gravity it deserves, we get this kabuki theater of sorts.  Being someone who thoroughly enjoys both games and theater, this is a time for neither. 

Congressional Republicans resemble the keystone cops by presenting plans that compete with each other.  Democrats have produced a lot of hot air.  They've controlled both houses of Congress in addition to the Presidency and managed to not pass a budget in over 800 days.  Leading by example is President Obama who seems to add even more dimension to the term "weakness" with each television appearance.  While taking a condescendingly professorial tone, he blamed Congress for running up the "credit card", offered no plan of his own AND threatened to veto any budget plan that came to his desk which contained a short-term raising of the debt limit.  If there was ever a time to exhibit leadership, it's now.  But ever the class-warmonger, he's been spending considerable time making the case that if we would just pin higher taxes on corporate jet owners and hedge fund managers, we could pull out of this financial mess we're in.  He manages to say all of this with a straight face while NEVER addressing the fact that almost 50% of Americans don't pay taxes. It's odd because I remember him saying something about shared sacrifice. Hmm.

If there was ever an example that showed the desperate need for principled leadership, this is it.  We have a lot of unserious wannabe adults playing games during a time that requires someone with a steady hand and the ability to lead the discussion in a way that builds consensus.  The answer to our debt problem isn't safely locked away in the brain of some ivory tower elite or entrenched career politician, neither of which has much to do with the real world that the rest of us inhabit.  Answers to problems like this are meted out in very common places...like the kitchen table.  Whatever resolution is hashed out between the President and Congress will have less to do with what's truly good for the American people and more to do with political calculus.  Given the nature of the very people in charge of coming up with the solution to a problem of this magnitude, how could we reasonably expect otherwise?

I believe Americans are hungry for someone from the outside who can truly effect change that's rooted in the world most of us live in, the REAL one.  We don't need someone who passes blame elsewhere and uses it as an excuse to continue pushing policies that have their basis in liberal academia.  Instead we need someone who leads the effort of creating policy that really works, yes even the exhaustive work of vetting it from every possible angle to ensure it achieves the desired result.  We need someone that truly understands the importance of transparency when it comes to crafting legislation that affects all of us.  We need someone who knows that there has to be a clear line of division between business interests and governance.  We need someone who actually has done the work of balancing a substantial budget and knows what it means to make cuts based on priorities even if they are unpopular.  We need someone who understands the gravity of spending other people's hard-earned money and takes the veto pen to paper to cut programs that aren't worthy to be supported.  In short, we need someone who knows the difference between sleeping well and eating well and chooses the former consciously. 

The pre-pubescents occupying the halls of government are dreading August and September.  They know that it is going to signal the ending of their schoolyard reign because a certain adult outsider will announce her intentions to run for the Presidency of the United States.  Of course the "kids" won't like it...they'll resent her for her adult ways and thoughts.  Should they be fortunate enough to have the scales fall from their eyes, they'll grow to admire and appreciate her for being the adult that gave them the direction they needed. 

Time and perspective have given me a lot of admiration for my older brother.  His adult influence was a lifeboat for me.  Sarah Palin will be the same for this country.   

"A ship in harbor is safe but that's not why the ship is built."