Monthly Archives: November 2015

France Stands Tall Against Terrorism

Donald Trump the leading Republican candidate for President has repeatedly said he wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Now he leading the charge to block the Obama Administration’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in America telling CNBC

“We cannot let them into this country, period,”

And going so far as to say back in September

“I’m putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they’re going back.”

Trump’s campaign slogan is Make America Great Again and I can only wonder what it is about building a wall to isolate yourself and turning your back on victims of terror that makes you great?

Five days after 129 Parisians were killed in a terror attack last Friday, stoking a backlash against refugees and immigrants in France and other parts of the world, French President François Hollande said Wednesday that he remains committed to taking in 30,000 refugees during the next two years.

“Some have wanted to link the influx of refugees to Friday’s acts of terror,” President Hollande said in a speech to French mayors. But, he added, France should honor its duty to offer protection to refugees fleeing countries like Syria and Iraq “because they are being tormented by the same who have attacked us.”

Hollande added that he is committed to ensuring both “humanity for refugees and protection of the French people.” It was with those words Hollande showed the world how you really stand tall against terrorism. Not by running scared and locking yourself off from everyone. But rather by announcing to the world through your actions, not tough talk, that you will not be cowered into turning your back on the defenseless, rather you will carry on and stand up for what is right. That while they may come from the same place you will not look at the face of those who cry out for help and assume that it is the same face as those who attacked you. And while you will remain vigilant you will offer sanctuary to those that have been terrorized by the same hand that terrorized you.

I guess at the end of the day it really isn’t surprising that one of our country’s most iconic symbols the Statue of Liberty with these words mounted inside the lower level of her pedestal

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

was a gift from France.

Fire up the Hot Stove – Yankees trade for Hicks

The Yankees jumped right in at the general manager’s meeting trading John Ryan Murphy to the Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks. With this trade the Yankees youth movement continues, albeit at a glacial pace. This is yet another small but smart move by Brian Cashman. Hicks is a plus defender and immediately becomes the Yankees best defensive outfielder. He was a prime time prospect, a 2008 first round draft pick who has been slow to develop but looks to have turned the corner and at just 26 years of age he’s six years younger than both Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury. With Didi Gregorius at short stop and Hicks potentially in center the Yankees have the making of a solid defense up the middle.

Murphy may be a solid catcher down the road but he’s stuck behind Brian McCann and not nearly the talent Gary Sanchez is who had a nice season in AA AND AAA and is just ripping up the Arizona Fall league. This move also allows them to explore moving Gardner and beside the obvious financial flexibility that would afford the Yankees they may be able to get a young starter for him and if last year showed anything you can never have enough starting pitching.

Now if only Cashman could find a taker for Mark Teixeira so they could play Greg Bird everyday and convince Carlos Beltran he best helps the team in a part time role next year so they can see what they have in Arron Judge this team may be on the way to ripping up their AARP card.

The war on Christmas, but which Christmas?

Here we go again, the call to stop the war on Christmas has begun.  But I can’t help but wonder which Christmas they’re talking about? Is it the one that represents the true meaning of the day to Christians around the world or is it the one that has been hijacked by captalism celbrated for nothing more than financial gains.

The true meaning of Christmas has long been skewed by images of Santa Claus and Christmas trees. Now don’t get me wrong I’m the first one to say I love a huge Christmas tree and who doesn’t love the face of a child when they see Santa at the mall. But Christmas trees and Santa have as much to do with the true meaning of Christmas as the Easter Bunny and colored eggs have to do with Easter. Remember when Charlie Brown, dealing with the commercialization of the holiday, asked in frustration doesn’t anyone here know what the true meaning of Christmas is? Fortunately Linus was there to break it down for him. Today I fear that the loudest voices proclaiming that there is a war on Christmas are more concerned with the Christmas Snoopy was celebrating than the one Linus talked about. BTW if you don’t know what I’m talking about seriously you need to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas today!

Recently I came across an article and a couple of points hit home. First it stated if you are bothered by all the secular expressions posted around malls and big box stores this season, might i gently suggest that you spend less of your Christmas season at the freakin mall? If you don’t like the signage, spend more time serving the poor, going to worship, getting out in nature, and spending time with the people you love.  Second, and this one couldn’t be more true, when you get right down to it, the best way to “keep Christ in Christmas” is to model Christlike behavior. Jesus was for feeding people. Jesus was for healing and compassion. Jesus was for getting a bunch of loud, messy, mismatched people around a table and having a big dinner. It really got me thinking how many people who scream about not having a Christmas tree at the mall or in front of City Hall will spend even one second this Christmas season giving to those less fortunate than them, volunteering at a local hospital, nursing home or soup kitchen. How many will walk pass the homeless person in the street, roll their eyes and judge them.

To say you are a Christian and a follower of Jesus is easy. To get irate because your local mall doesn’t have a Christmas tree is easy. To actually live your life in the matter Jesus did, you know the guy whose birth is the reason for all the hoopla in the first place is hard.  Few of us can say we do myself included. We’ll stand on line Black Friday we’ll fire up the computers on cyber Monday. We’ll buy and we’ll buy and large corporations will get richer and richer while slashing wages, holding down health care and reducing the paid vacation and sick leave days for their employees. Employees whose main worry isn’t if there is a Christmas tree in the store or if someone wished them a happy holiday rather than a Merry Christmas but if they’ll be able to pay the rent and still have enough left over to put food on the table for their families. I’m not naive I know there is no going back, that the commercialization of Christmas is a lost cause and in reality there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with buying gifts for your loved ones this holiday, wait did I just say a bad word, as long as we don’t forget the true meaning of the day. Which I fear unless you have your own version of Linus around many of us have surely done.