Biggest problem with ‘sanctuary’ is its lack of clarity

March 29, 2017

As a kid playing hide and seek, the concept of “sanctuary” was easy to understand; make it back to a designated spot before being seen and you were safe. Your biggest fear was another neighborhood kid giving up your hiding spot.

Or in my case, our family dog getting out and tracking me down thanks to the Jolly Ranchers I kept in my pocket.

The concept of “sanctuary” has been around for thousands of years and can be traced as far back as the Old Testament, when the Book of Numbers commanded a selection of “six Cities of Refuge” where perpetrators of unintentional harm could claim asylum.

This continued in 392 A.D., when Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius set up sanctuaries under church control — a proclamation that lasted until 1621 A.D., when the general right of sanctuary for churches in England was abolished.

Now, more than 300 years later, it’s a term that has resurfaced within our national dialogue as communities across the nation debate its meaning within the constructs of local, state and federal government as it relates to protecting the rights of those living illegally within the U.S.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Don’t let disappointment keep you from voting

imageAfter becoming editor here at Siuslaw News in September, I began writing an Opinion piece a few times a month called “From the Editor’s Desk.” It had been several years since our newspaper had a regular opinion piece written by its editor. Being that most of our readers knew me only as a humor columnist, I felt it was an opportunity to show a different side and, hopefully, connect with the community in a different way.

I also saw it as a way to build an ongoing dialogue with our readers so that they don’t just read the newspaper, but feel like they are a part of it. The response has been terrific and, over the last several weeks, our Opinion page has become a lively, respectful exchange of viewpoints and insights.

If only I could say the same about this year’s election.  Continue reading

Our Dempublican National Convention was sort of overlooked

imageEven though our Dempublican Party Convention was purposely held after the RNC but before the DNC, on Saturday afternoon, between 1:30 and 2:15 p.m., in the seating area of the Fred Meyer deli, it was still somehow overlooked by the media!

Although I’m pretty sure someone was live-streaming us on Facebook with their iPod.

By accident.

As they walked by, grocery shopping with their infant.

Anyway, now that the conventions are over, some of you may still be undecided about who to vote for this November. Or, like a lot of Americans, you feel as though you’re not voting FOR someone as much as you are voting against Trump someone else?

Is THAT what our forefathers had in mind when they took the risk of gathering together in secret to get drunk at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern and write the Declaration of Independence?!?

I don’t think so!

And did our forefathers like bacon? Yes! (If they still had their teeth). So, if YOU like bacon, and THEY liked bacon, then the Dempublican Party is YOUR party because bacon is a huge part of our platform! In fact, we tried to make a speaking platform out of actual bacon but, well…

We ate most of it.  Continue reading

Freedom of the Press, not freedom from responsible journalism

image

Freedom of the Press: 

The right of the press to circulate information and opinion without censorship by the government.

 

 

 

 

While watching coverage of this week’s Republican National Convention, I switched between CNN, ABC, FOX-News, CBS and others. I read news articles online and in print, and watched live streaming from different sources online.

And I was struck by how one event could be seen so differently by so many news organizations — nearly all of which had a clear slant, whether for or against.

Our founding fathers made Freedom of the Press part of the Constitution’s First Amendment because, in the words of its principle author James Madison:

“We have no Facebook yet.”

And because I’m a journalist, you can trust me on that.

Continue reading

Only embracing our common thread can keep America from unraveling

imageI generally reserve this place for humor. That’s because I believe in the power of its shared experience, and how that experience brings people together. Good humor transcends color, religion, geography, financial status or political affiliation. It’s devoid of hate and allows us to embrace a common thread woven through our humanity that we all share through laughter.

All living creatures get angry, scared, excited or worried; it’s humor that makes us human.

But there are mornings like this when being funny doesn’t feel right. The events of the past few days have spilled over from a collective cup that has been filling with a bitter brew being served during a time of unprecedented polarization within our country. We are being divided and conquered by fear — of each other, our differences, and a political landscape that inspires the worst in us instead of what defines us at our best.

And we swallow this bitter brew not because it’s what we want, but because it’s all there is.

This week’s shootings in Louisiana, Minnessota and Dallas — like Orlando — are about the kind of fear that breeds mistrust and hatred. It’s also the kind of fear that is fast becoming the oxygen within the current political atmosphere. The more of it we breathe, the more it permeates us, coursing through our life blood and into our hearts until that fear we breathe is what sustains us.  Continue reading

Why we need a Presidential Aptitude Test

(I’m a guest at Open Thought Vortex Magazine today, proposing the creation of a Presidential Aptitude Test for future elections. Unfortunately, it’s too late for this one…)

imageIf I’m being honest, I have about as much enthusiasm for our choices in presidential candidates as I do for licking a 9-volt battery; I know the result won’t kill me but the anticipation itself is enough to make my tongue curl — because I know it’s still going to sting. As I’ve watched the process of elimination over the last several months, I can’t help but wonder how, with a population of more than 324 million, this is the best we have to offer? Maybe we forgot some people somewhere?

Like Rhode Island. It’s small and easy to overlook.

It also got me wondering why becoming a presidential nominee isn’t harder. Don’t get me wrong, I realize not just any millionaire can become a presidential candidate. But in a country where you have to pass a background check and psychological interview before landing a job at McDonald’s, you’d think we’d at least require the same of someone vying for a position as the Most Powerful Person in the World. It seems like we might even feel obligated to other nations to make sure the Commander-in-Chief of the planet’s most advanced military doesn’t have mommy or daddy issues, an axe to grind, isn’t a power tripper and has a working knowledge of international affairs that extends beyond Fox News. (Read more at OTV Magazine)