I am a radical moderate. I have voted for non-RepubliCrats of several political parties as many times in my life as I have voted for Democrats and Republicans combined. The last two times I voted for anyone from the duopoly, those votes went to Republicans. The first two times I ever voted, I sided with Democrats. My track record, though, is shunning both.

This year, it is very tempting to shun both again. I voted for Jill Stein in 2012, and I would vote the same way again if given another chance in 2012. I'm not inclined to vote for her this year, though. This is not the place to post my reasons.

Libertarian-leaning candidates do not interest me, and I see friends with that mindset veering toward Gary Johnson. Too often, Libertarianism becomes all about the "ism" as if the political philosophy matters more than anything else. Ron Paul, for example, personified this in the last election cycle by suggesting that people who didn't buy their own health insurance should be left to die -- no coverage, no treatment. 

So, I am either stuck with "major party" options, or I need to dig deeper and find a candidate who, unlike Stein or Johnson, truly qualifies as fringe. Or do I?

The least attractive presidential candidate I can recall in my lifetime is Donald Trump. I say this as a registered Republican. He is not the only problem with the GOP today, though. Probably the biggest issue is Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate refusing to give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing or vote to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court from Antonin Scalia's death in February. 

February. When the SCOTUS term begins in early October, almost 8 months will have passed. The Constitution requires the Senate to advise and consent on judicial nominees. There has been no advice, no consideration, no hearings, and certainly no consent. Our Constitution is being violated by people who have sworn to uphold it. 

I'm not naive. I understand the point of this anti-Constitutional obstruction. Political conservatives revered Scalia and don't want a more moderate judge sitting in that spot. Facile arguments have been made about mid-term election results and "the will of the people" requiring that the seat be left vacant until after a new president is inaugurated. None of this is Constitutional. Throughout our history, sitting presidents have filled judicial vacancies regardless of changes in majorities in either part of Congress.

Remember, the Constitution has nothing to say about political parties holding majorities. What it speaks of instead are concepts like advise and consent, the president's power and responsibility to appoint judges, and the importance of fair and speedy trials. All of these things are in jeopardy, and we are likely facing a genuine Constitutional crisis.

What does this have to do with my vote in 2016? 
I'm putting a decision deadline on the first Monday in October. 

As a Republican who has, frankly, long ago written off Trump as potentially presidential, I am hesitant to vote for Hillary Clinton. I didn't vote for her husband at either opportunity, so why would I vote for her? 
Of course, as a moderate my political views are far too complex for any Either/Or proposition like conservative v. liberal or Republican v. Democrat. And, as I've noted, the choices this year are not particularly compelling examples.

That said, the only way Trump can get any serious consideration from me is the Senate doing their job and filling the SCOTUS vacancy before the beginning of its term. Our Constitution says that, in this year, a Democrat sitting in the White House will appoint the next Supreme Court justice with the consent of the Senate. Do it. Do it now. Come back from recess in an emergency session if necessary. 

There is an Else to this formula. 
If Obama is not going to be the sitting Democrat who fills this vacancy (by the end of September, since it hasn't happened in the 2-3 months it normally takes), then I will do everything in my power to correct this Constitutional abomination by striving to put another Democrat into the White House to right this wrong. 

That doesn't just mean voting for Hillary Clinton. It means a straight ticket of Democrats across every level of government. Both the Senate and House openings on my ballot at the national level, but also across every state, county, city, and other jurisdiction. People within my party who don't respect the Constitution enough to rise up and fix this cannot earn my vote for their current or sought seats either. Who knows, in the five crucial weeks between the first Monday in October and the second Tuesday in November, I might even make financial donations (for probably the first time since college) to Democrat candidates within those elections. 

This isn't as extreme as it may sound to some. I am a radical moderate, and I'm approaching this from that perspective. All I am asking is for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to perform their Constitutionally-mandated duty in a timely manner that respects the importance and functions of the judiciary. If they cannot do that by the first Monday in October, then none of them deserve my consideration, or their jobs.

Right this wrong, though, and I will wipe the slate clean and spend the month of October re-evaluating candidates for every office on my ballot from a fresh perspective. That is my job as a citizen. Unlike far too many of my fellow Republicans, I am doing my job. 
Do yours or let someone else do it. Simple as that.

Concurring Opinion

186: Consent


Topics: Consent, Orlando, Brexit, Segregation, Abortion, Secretly Timid (Pride 48).

Different Drummer: Nan Little Kirkpatrick


My father died decades ago, gone so long that memory is the only way to interact with him. Music is a big part of those memories, and he was the only member of our family who didn't play an instrument. He still left his musical notes in the form of taste, curiosity, and patience. Hopefully, that is one of the things the world still sees of him through me.

Different Drummer: Gisele MacKenzie


Gameplan for upcoming Inappropriate Conversations

  1. The music of my father
  2. Critical modern concepts: consent and segregation

Walk The Earth will address new questions, too

    *  Summer Of Struggle: fasting, prayer, pilgrimage 

Whether being slow to try fasting is a spiritual problem? 

On Inappropriate Conversations #184 I mentioned a process I've been calling First Track for more than a year now. Here is an example of that, reblogging myself.

Ray Boltz is famous, perhaps deservedly, for his song "Thank You" (thank you for giving to the Lord; I was a life that was changed). I'm probably exaggerating a little, but I can't recall ever attending a church camp or "weekend" as either a child or adult where that song wasn't played on a stereo or sung collectively. I'll share it below, but it isn't my ‪#‎FirstTrack‬ from Boltz.

I only bring it up as an introduction to wonder aloud if "Thank You" is still sung -- or now ever sung -- at such gatherings. I never hear the name Ray Boltz in conversations about CTC music. His song is still famous. He has made subsequent recordings. My favorite is "All You Died for Me to Be."
That one isn't the "first" either, but I'd still typically share it below. I can't/won't today because I can't find a video for it, not even one of those videos with a static picture of the album cover (Songs from the Potter's Field, 2002) and the music playing in the background.

Around the time of that album, Boltz publicly acknowledged some truths about himself that the broad Christian community strongly and intensely wanted him to keep lying about. Boltz is gay.

I have seen an evolution in modern Christian thought about this, even in just a few years now.
* Denial: he can't be gay because there is no such thing; it's just a lifestyle choice.
* Anger: if he can't lie to himself about who he is, then he's going to hell.
* Bargaining: I understand how he might not be able to lie to himself about this, but we'll continue to accept him -- sing his songs, buy his albums -- as long has he keeps lying to everyone else about his life and loves.
* Depression: the world is going to accept these pop stars and there is nothing "we" can do about it, so I'll just check completely out, including pretending that Boltz doesn't exist and never contributed any uplifting or edifying music to the modern Christian experience. I'll just stop "thanking him for giving to the Lord" whether my life was changed by his songwriting or not.

We haven't gotten anywhere near an Acceptance stage yet. The devil's bargain of "it's OK to be gay if you don't act upon it" is just another form of denial and bargaining. Another double standard. I don't believe for one second that the people who abandoned Boltz, burning his albums either literally or metaphorically, would really be "back to normal" as listeners. We know that as long as they didn't view Boltz as "normal" then they'd never be a regular listener ever again.

Some introduction! Well, I needed to make two things clear. I was never that huge fan in the first place. I prefer my music with a bit of an edge, and Boltz has never had such an edge. I own two albums, one recorded before he started telling people truths they didn't want to hear, and one recorded after. My favorite song from him comes from the latter, but the true "first track" comes from the former.

I wonder now when hearing the words to songs like "The Altar" if there is more meaning than any of us could have known at the time. What people in their private prayer life might long to leave at the altar is truly none of our business. Judging them for it, though, has been strictly forbidden by Jesus in The Sermon On The Mount and elsewhere. 
These days, though, it is harder and harder to find a Christian who truly cares what Jesus commanded or even taught. There is more lip service than faith in action about what Jesus died for us to be.

Ray Boltz - The Altar

Thank you, Ray, for your years of service, for your honesty, and hopefully for your perseverance in the face of undeniable betrayal.
Ray Boltz - Thank You

While identifying artists with only one song on my MP3 player a year ago, I noted that some of the tracks qualify as "not safe for work" (NSFW) and set them aside for a follow-up podcast in the future. Now.

Different Drummer: Dee Snider

The Party Starts Now
I Don't Care About You
Short D@#k Man
I Must Increase My Bust
Freak Me
Let It Whip
Sportin' a Woody
He Touched Me
Flagpole Sitta
If I Had a Rocket Launcher
Fake Breasts
Jose Cuervo
Brand New Key
Slave to my D@#k
Turning Japanese
Shake Them Ti##ies
Too Young To Date
This Clouded Heart
Do Me
You Oughta Know

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