Some Things Bear Repeating

When I was 13, give or take a year or two, I asked my mother one day what the difference was between republicans and democrats. Her answer was simple. Republicans believe that people should be free to make their own decisions about how they spend their money and make the decisions affecting their own lives. Democrats believe that the government is better qualified to make those decisions and should therefore be the one to make them.

In the years that followed I fluctuated between adherence to first one and then the other of those two ideologies. I once heard the following: “Show me a young man with no heart and I’ll show you a republican. Show me an old man with no brain and I’ll show you a democrat.” … or something to that effect. You get the idea. Young people are guided by emotions and feelings. Old people are guided by experience and common sense..

As I aged, the myriad of facts that I had absorbed in my reasonably extensive reading of the biographies of the famous and not so famous persons who had peopled our nation’s history, and in a few cases the histories of other nations; those facts began to shape the way I viewed our society.

One of the benefits that came from my interest in history was the way I viewed contemporary events. I viewed them as history in the making, which of course they were. At the same time events in my personal “history in the making” began to move me further to the right. (As an aside, I find it rather significant that the word “right” happens to mean “correct” as well as the political meaning of the opposite of left.) The most dramatic and what proved to be the permanent; shift in my political alliance came when I woke up to the fact that the IRS was going to take nearly a third of the profits from an investment Dad had started for me and which I had luckily added to. That was followed by several similar instances of government interference with my business and personal life.

All of this took place in the late ’70s and early ‘80s. Being a business person, albeit a not terribly astute business person, I began to take stock of the dividends that accrued to my benefit as a result of the rather high taxes I was paying. The safety and security in my daily life as a result of the portion of my taxes which went to our national defense was the first thing on the list … and the last. (If I was to add one more it might be the US Postal Service except that it was in the process of being privatized … sort of. Like everything else the government has even a minor involvement in it soon became another bureaucratic albatross) At first I was intending to include our highway system, but then it occurred to me that most of that was funded by the tax on gasoline.

That was it. I received no benefit to speak of from the remainder of the taxes I was paying to the U.S. Treasury. However, a lot of other people were reaping generous benefits from my taxes. The personnel employed by the federal government were enjoying well paying jobs from which they could hardly ever be fired and they didn’t have to contribute a single dime to Social Security since they had their own retirement annuity system that paid rather nice dividends on retirement. The most outrageous aspect of this system is that in the beginning those people worked for slightly less than their counterparts in the private sector as a balance to having permanent employment. But in the last few years they have seen their pay and benefits rise to nearly double that of people performing identical tasks in the private sector. And that is an outrageous miscarriage of justice.

The social security payments which were deducted from my earnings every payday went straight to the general coffer to help fund all the social welfare and Great Society programs, which again I received no benefit from either directly or indirectly. Not one penny of those payments ever earned a dime of interest or dividend.

The primary irritant in of all this is that among the many supporters of this legal theft are many well meaning friends; people who genuinely feel that it’s justifiable for Big Brother to take from me and give to someone with less. What makes it even worse is that if they profess to be Christian, they rely on the scriptural justification to support their thesis.

There are four primary scriptural sources for this notion that we should support the government in taking from the fortunate winners of life’s lottery (that’s what they call those who have benefited from fruits of hard work and long hours). The first source of justification is the numerous calls of the prophets to help those less fortunate. The second source is Jesus’ repeated admonition to the wealthy to “sell all, distribute it to the poor and follow him.”

The third and most common defense for confiscation of wealth is Jesus instruction to “Pay unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and the rest belongs to God.” In the language of today’s liberal progressives, “Pay unto Uncle Sam whatever his elected and/or unelected representatives deem appropriate, and if there is any left over after bills, car and house payments etc. belongs to God” … or the “universe” or whatever entity people on the left deem to be in charge.

Last but certainly not the least frequently mentioned defense of government confiscation of wealth is found in the book of Acts. Luke describes how the new Christians shared “everything”; sold all their property and turned the proceeds over to the apostles to be distributed to those they deemed most in need. That is further enhanced by the narrative of what happened to Ananias and Sapphira when they withheld a portion of the sale of some property from the church. They were struck dead on the spot … not for withholding, but for lying about how much they got from the sale. Case closed. Pay taxes and don’t cheat or else … “’cause the Bible tells me so.”

The point that all these biblical defenses of taxation conveniently miss is this: They are all voluntary contributions. Where is the virtue in government enforced generosity? There is none is there?  And where is Christian virtue when citizen A, who has voted for people who exempt him from taxes, votes too for people who force citizen B who does pay taxes, to pay citizen C for whatever citizen C thinks he/she is entitled to. Paul exhorts the believers to pay their taxes to the Roman government, because the government is there to protect us. (refer back to second sentence of the fifth paragraph above) But then what else was he going to say … he himself was, after all, quite proud of his Roman citizenship, a fact which ultimately backfired on him.

 

It seems to me that when the government takes full responsibility for feeding the poor, housing the homeless, tending to the sick then I can, with a clear conscience, absolve myself of any personal responsibility to extend aid to anyone in need. I don’t even feel a need to ascertain the worthiness of who is aided and to what degree they should be aided. After all … I paid my taxes. Let the government figure it out. I’ve got more important things to worry about … Like which restaurant to dine at before I go to whatever computer animated action movie is the rage this week.

My closing salvo to this statement of mind, is about the disconnect between my devout Christian friends spiritual beliefs and their political defense of, in my mind, the indefensible attitude and actions of the very people they support when it comes to the attacks leveled daily in the press and liberal blogs on religious freedom of expression. Abba gave each of us a unique set of characteristics for purposes of communication and expression. If the above mentioned members of the left had their way there would be no churches and no freedom to express anything that they disagreed with.

Am I defending those on the right who disagree with things like the right to marry, and scream that our way of life is an abomination? Of course not! But I can tell you this: I’ve found it far easier to sway the minds of conservative Christians to acceptance of things like equality for ALL through sincere and open conversation than it is to even have a sincere and open civil discourse with most people who consider themselves liberal progressives.

Need I say more?

This is exactly how I feel right now. I am so sick and tired of so-called intelligent people belittling my personal beliefs with nasty comments on Facebook and in e-mails that I just want to scream “You can’t handle the Truth”. What it all boils down to is this. I don’t have a college degree. I do have a degree in common sense. And that common sense tells me that making life’s important decisions, like who you vote for, based on “feelings” is just plain stupid and ill informed.

Have you ever been in a public situation, say a restaurant for instance, and had your otherwise pleasant experience interrupted by one or two unruly whining little brats whose parents have absolutely no interest in disciplining the little urchins? Of course you have. And you wonder what kind of adults those children are going to become?  Well, now you know.

They are out there tearing down statues, the meaning of which they have no basis in knowledge as to why the statue was there to start with. Why don’t they? It’s simple. They received, and in some cases continue to receive, substandard educations in actual history and the context of the history they do learn. So back to the brats in the restaurant.

Those same parents have totally abandoned their responsibility to society to produce intelligent, productive adults. Under Obama, a child’s health care became the responsibility of the parents until the child’s mid-twenties. So, my question is: Why isn’t their behavior the responsibility of the parents until the child reaches, oh say, twenty-five years of age?

The fact is, that the parents “can’t handle the truth” of what their responsibility is in the behavior of that young adult who is out marching and destroying the property of others. Their solution to the problem is to blame other people for their failure. If you don’t believe me just look at the way they vote the first Tuesday of every other year. They vote for the politician who promises to absolve them of their duty to society. And, in most cases they don’t even have a clue that that’s the reason they voted that way.

Another truth that people can’t handle is, that after decades of pulling that “Blue” lever on the voting machine, in the hopes that in giving up one more piece of their freedom, the politicians who have been making those promises have still never made their lives better. But, you say, “my life is much better than my parents.” In some ways that’s quite true. You have two cars, two incomes, two this and two that, but your education has left you woefully inadequate to assess the cause and effect relationship of that better life. And even when that relationship is addressed, “You can’t handle the truth.”

That truth is this: That better life is not the product of politicians; except that rare circumstance where they have gotten out of the way like what has been happening for the last three plus years; that better life is the result of the “free” enterprise system working toward the betterment of every person’s life. Politically liberal policies only promote the betterment of the lives the people who have become totally dependent on those same liberal policies and are totally reliant on the benefits of free enterprise.

So, in closing, if “you can’t handle the truth” of common sense or any of my Facebook posts or my blog, the solution for you is simple. Unfriend me. But bear in mind that I have never unfriended any of you in spite of some of the nasty, insulting comments you have left on my page and I don’t know that I ever will. I might, but I doubt it because as Sun Tsu the brilliant Chinese military strategist and Al Pacino of “The God Father” say, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Frustration is turning to Anger

My frustration is turning to anger. Maybe the final straw was seeing a mob; that’s the only word for it; pulling down a statue of Francis Scott Key in San Francisco. So what if he was a slave owner. If what I recall of my education is correct; and I’m pretty damn sure it’s because the NEA hadn’t corrupted the system yet; most of the signers of the declaration of independence were slave owners. My guess is that there wasn’t a single one of those fools involved in the destruction of that statue that’s had any seriously accurate education in our history.

It’s highly unlikely that any of the people who did own slaves were the ones to go to Africa and kidnap the people they “owned”. The slave traffickers in many cases weren’t even the ones to kidnap the people they trafficked in. In most cases the unfortunate people to be sold into slavery were captured and sold by other black tribesmen or Arab Muslim slavers.

But all that knowledge is secondary to the root cause of all the turmoil in our country. That root cause is total and complete lack of basic education and sense of responsibility for one’s own actions. Parents are turning the education and upbringing of their children over to the state. And the cities and states that are the most affected with the problem are those run by liberal politicians like Bill DeBlasio of New York City.

I know that conservative news and commentary outlets see this, but why don’t people on the left at least give lip service to the issue? Can it be possible that they really don’t want to see it because it’s such a glaring example of what liberal progressivism does to the soul of the communities it has taken root in? I tend to think that is the case.

Everything Marxism and Maoism teach is on full display with each and every march and riot that’s occurring on a daily basis. Has our education system become so badly directed that the average person is totally convinced that they owe nothing to the society they live in and that the government is there to provide them with not only the necessities of life but all the goodies that come from a free enterprise form of economy?

So yes, I am angry that people I know, people I care about and people I love are so totally ingrained with an attitude of hatred toward everything that has made this country the one place on the face of the earth where everyone wants to live.

I’m angry that everything about this country that I love and hold dear has become a target of hatred and a form of reverse prejudice.

I’m angry that the press in general, the liberal politicians, the entrenched bureaucracy in Washington, the public education system have all been co-opted by the notion that only a relatively few elites have the vision and correct idea of what is right and what is wrong.

I’m angry that those same people who have made common sense a thing to be laughed at and belittled, are the ones making decisions that affect my life and the pursuit of happiness embodied in our declaration of independence.

And I’m angry that those people who are supposed to be the defenders of free speech; the educators, the liberal politicians and most of all the press, think that I am ignorant because I am a Christian, a politically conservative Christian, a politically conservative Christian trans-sexual; that since I’m all these things, I can’t have an opinion worth voicing.

I could go on indefinitely about what started out as frustration and has now become anger and how that anger makes me want to lash out, but I don’t believe that’s productive, so I won’t.

If you’ve read this far, I think you get my point. I’m angry.

Jabowa

I don’t know quite where to start. So I will start with a passage from the next to last page of Dear Mom and Dad …

“Within minutes of walking in the door, I felt that I knew why God had closed the Healing Waters door. He’d been holding open the door of New Foundation Christian Fellowship for me all along. I was home at last. I sensed blessings of our maker in the face and presence of everyone, but most of all Pastor Jabowa Whitehead, in a way I’d never felt before in any church. The peace and sense of purpose we’d searched for all our combined life was finally ours.”

Yesterday evening June 1st 2020 at 5:33 and 59 seconds Thomas Cohen “Jabowa” Whitehead took his leave of this world and in so doing left in his wake a multitude of lives much better off for having known him and having been loved by him. And I say “loved” by him because he did love everyone who entered the sphere of his life.

I have met many people who claimed to love everyone, but there has always been a somewhat hollow tone to their claim. Not so with Jabowa. He did genuinely “love” everyone in his life. It was that quality that allowed him to change in some way every life he touched. When one loves as genuinely and completely as did Jabowa Whitehead one cannot help but leave a lasting mark on the lives one touches.

I will never forget the first moment I saw Jabowa. I had been talked into attending a church service for which I held no expectations or even hopes of some healing sense of what I would experience there. As I entered the “Upper Room” as I came to refer to the place on 16th Street and Osborne in Phoenix, he was busy at the front of the room but he glanced up and flashed that Jabowa smile at me. It was a brief but knowing smile that said, “I’ve been expecting you.”

Was our relationship flawless and without chuck holes? No, of course it wasn’t. In fact, at one point I walked away from New Foundation convinced that my time there was at an end and it was time to move on, so I did. But, true to his character, 4 months later I got a text from him. It said he would understand if I chose not to, but he wanted me to know that he would like it if I would worship with him the following Sunday. I responded that I would talk to Abba about it and if He said I should, I would. On Saturday I received another text from him asking what the answer was. I responded that Abba had been totally silent so I took that to mean that He was leaving it up to me so I would probably be there. And I was.

I have not looked back since then. A testament to what he had created was the reception I received when I entered the room, not from him, but from the “family” I found there overwhelmed me. It took awhile for the two of us to heal our relationship, but he had such a forgiving and loving heart that I had no choice but to forgive and heal.

It is important for people who read this to understand what Jabowa’s vision for New Foundation was, as he shared it with me.

It was first and foremost a place for everyone to worship. No formal membership required. And by “everyone” he sincerely meant “everyone”; the broken, the cast offs of society and organized, mainstream churches. As he frequently put it, “gay, straight, trans, bi, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostal, or as he would phrase it, Methobapticostals; All had a home at New Foundation Christian Fellowship.

The second part of his vision was a fellowship in the form of what the early church was like before Emperor Constantine of Constantinople had his vision of the cross before his victorious final battle with Rome and attributed that victory to the God of the Christians. That vision led ultimately to the Holy Roman Catholic church and the endless requirements of organized Christianity today.

The Christ of Jabowa’s faith was a friend and a brother to be talked to and listened to on a nearly continuous basis. I wrote in Dear Mom and Dad that none of us is ever going to be completely privy to another’s relationship with our maker, and as open as Jabowa was with his faith and his prayer life his most intimate relationship with God is something none of us will ever know.

When I try, through the tears, to understand why he was called home so soon I can only think of it this way. In a forest there can grow a giant pine tree and over time it sheds many cones which lie dormant for years never giving rise to new trees. Only when a forest fire destroys that tree does the heat from that fire cause the many seeds the tree has shed over its lifetime, to break open and germinate. Only then does the promise of a future for other life to grow, uninhibited by the shadow of the giant tree.

The giant tree, in the person of Jabowa Whitehead, is no longer here among us, but we as the seeds of his love and acceptance must now germinate and give life to his vision. His vision must now be our vision. His mission must now be the mission of every life he ever touched.

A Memorable Memorial Day of Critical Thinking

It is Memorial Day 2020 and as with, I believe everyone, it is the most memorable in my life and probably the most memorable in our history. The networks are busy giving lip service to those who have sacrificed all for our country before they launch into a litany of reasons why Donald Trump has handled the Corona Virus pandemic worse than anyone else could have. They back up their opinions with interviews with carefully selected notables who share their narrow views, thus negating any effort they might have made at honoring the people who have giving their all so the very same pundits can spew whatever vitriolic blather they choose.

What I’m wondering, as I sit here, is how we reached this point. Was there a specific event in our history on which the mission of the Fourth Estate changed from reporting facts as they existed to reporting facts as they were desired to exist.

I am not naïve enough to be ignorant of the fact that there have always been divergent views of the facts in any reported situation. But wasn’t there a time when the facts were stated plainly and accurately first then followed by diverse opinions of people capable of critical thinking. I’m try desperately to remember a time in my adult life when I felt I could trust implicitly the facts being reported.

The closest I can come to setting a date or an event when that the seed of doubt was planted. It was sometime in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. Try as I may, I cannot remember the exact details but two of the circumstances involved reporting programs like 60 Minutes and 2020. We were still on the farm and one such incident involved the efforts of Caesar Chavez’ to organize the lettuce workers in southern Colorado. The other circumstance involved the National Farm Organization and its efforts to unionize the farmers and ranchers. In both cases the facts that were reported about the situations were simply wrong and obviously wrong intentionally.

Why would they do that?

Even to my ill-informed mind the answer was obvious. The reporting was agenda driven; subtly driven, but just the same agenda driven. And that agenda was driven by the notion that the average person was not smart enough to think for themselves, and if they were, stating a lie as fact often enough would change enough of those minds to make a difference in any political outcome.

Over the intervening years I became more and more cynical about the news I heard and saw. It became an automatic response to doubt the veracity and integrity of each and every personality the major networks put before the camera. I am now at the point where I have begun to doubt that the average human being in our country is capable of actually thinking for themselves and arriving at well thought out beliefs in right and wrong.

A personal friend of mine, Professor Jimmy Urbanovich teaches a class at Crafton Hills College in southern California which I believe should be a requirement in every college curriculum at least, and in every high school curriculum at best. The class is titled “Critical Thinking through Argumentation and Debate.” Of course, it would “critical” for the class to always be taught and facilitated by a person, like Jimmy, who is eminently qualified by the very nature of their own ability to think and debate critically.

Alas, that I’m certain, is a pipe dream which will never see the light of day in this age of tunnel visioned Facebook, Google, Twitter controlled information.

Some Failure Are Just Too Obvious To Ignore

That’s right … some failures are just too obvious to ignore. I’m talking about the failure of our education system. The fact that there are so many people in this country who are totally incapable of rational, intelligent decisions about their own health care in the midst of the current pandemic crisis is making that painfully obvious.

I was taught from an early age to think for myself. Sometimes it was a painful exercise. One such exercise came about as a result of repeating to my mother a statement made by my history teacher. The comment he made was that communism was good for China. That brought about a swift and direct correction from Mom. I don’t remember the exact words she used but I do remember that I made a lasting decision to always question opinions made by educators and at times their facts.

Up to that point I had been taught to respect my teachers and their opinions. But that changed dramatically from that point on. The lesson I learned from my debate class experience and having to seriously defend both sides of an issue was that there could indeed be two sides to every issue. Where I ran into trouble and ultimately lost a given side on certain issues was the fact that I was arguing against my own sense of logic. The result was a half-hearted defense of that issue.

I remember hearing a missionary recently returned from southeast Asia talking about the potential influence Christianity could have in that part of the world simply by getting involved with educating the youth. I used that information in one of my negative arguments to the need for Federal aid to education in this country. The premise was that we should spend said money influencing the education systems of those countries since the danger communism posed in uneducated populations was more dangerous than any faced in this country. Needless to say, my partner and I didn’t win any debates with that argument either.

I was fortunate to have been guided in my youth by parents who insisted that I learn the difference between respecting authority and respecting the personal opinions of said authority. As I was to learn, entirely too many people didn’t understand that difference and some of those who did used that knowledge to manipulate others to the detriment of our society.

Over time I became more and more aware of the growing liberal influence of the National Education Association. If money could influence the education systems of southeast Asia it could certainly influence the education systems of this country. The current heath crisis in this country and the stark fear that has been fueled by ignorance of so much of our population is a prime example.

Over the last five or six decades we have been conditioned to rely on the opinions and knowledge of people who really don’t have our best interest in mind. The negative aspects of this pandemic have repeatedly been blamed on President Trump and his advisors for one reason and one reason only … political gain in the next election. Former White House chief of staff and close friend of former President Obama was the epitome of that attitude when he said, “never let a crisis go to waste.”

The opinions of the press are absorbed and repeated by a populace that has been cultivated to believe that if it is seen on national news networks it must be true. The NEA, in my opinion, is largely to blame for the success of the campaign of disinformation. They have created at least two generations of intitled citizens who are totally reliant on others to do their thinking for them without assuming responsibility for the condition of their own lives and/or predicaments.

Parents, who themselves are the product of that same education system, have been conditioned to turn over the education and nurturing of their children without ever stopping to examine the results.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “The most dangerous words are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” So, in that light I would suggest that the second most dangerous words are, “We’re from the NEA and we’re here to teach your children.”

We are fortunate that we have a system of free enterprise and a president who recognized the importance of getting the government out of the way so that system could do its thing and come up with a vaccine as quickly as it appears to be doing.

If you have children at home, use the time to teach them to think for themselves and not to wait for a teacher, bureaucrat or journalist to do their thinking for them. So, in the current debate I think that I stand accused and guilty if I take the negative argument regarding the importance of federal aid, aka federal influence in education.

I’m in that age bracket that is most threatened by the virus, but in closing I will quote Patrick Henry in spite of it seeming a bit too extreme.

“Give me liberty or give me death”!

Twenty Years of Observations

Twenty years ago, I emerged from what the gender community refers to as a closet. In my case it was more of a cocoon. At the time, I was simply surprised at the varying degrees of “female expression” I encountered. Sadly, and to my discredit I think, I was embarrassed both for them and by many of them. I eventually arrived at a theory that what most of them were attempting to express was their own personal idea of femininity. Some may have derived that idea from their mothers’ expression. Others may have been expressing an appearance derived from their idea of “sexy”; perhaps what they wanted their wives or significant others to look like. And, I assume that I wasn’t the only one who was doing their best to look like someone who wouldn’t embarrass their wife in public.

Those were my initial impressions. And, they haven’t changed much in the lapse of time. What has changed is my understanding of consequences related to that expression.

The very first thing I address in my public speaking engagements is my threefold purpose for being there; to educate and broaden understanding of the phenomenon, to preserve families and to save lives.

On the issue of educating and broadening understanding, I never cease to be amazed at the response I get when I ask how many of the audience know anyone who is “transgendered”. It happens, but it’s rare, that more than 25% of those in the audience raise their hands. I generally follow that up with the results of a study of hospital emergency records in the mid-nineties which indicated that one in every twenty men admitted to an emergency room for a genuine emergency, (as in “didn’t have time to go home to change clothes first” emergency) was wearing some women’s clothing ranging from a pair of panties to fully dressed in women’s clothing. The public in general is still to this day essentially ignorant of the phenomenon.

On the issue of preserving families and lives I am passionate. After I got over the initial experience of the varying degrees of expression that I observed, I was surprised at the average age of the majority of “crossdressers.” The overwhelming number of them were in their very late forties to mid-sixties. Almost to a man, the common experience was one of having struggled with the emotions for most, if not all, of their lives. The solution was most often to get married thinking that would solve the problem. In Jenifer Boylan’s autobiography, “She’s Not There: A Life in Tw0 Genders ” she describes and incident when she was a teenager when she concluded that if she could just find love that would solve the problem. It did not. In her case, she fell in love with and married a woman who stuck with her through it all. That is indeed a rarity.

In most cases, like my own, my wife didn’t meet and fall in love with a “want to be” woman. My wife met and fell in love with a bearded cowboy. It took forever for me to realize that she was not in the least interested in competing with “that other woman.”

Like so many men, marriage didn’t solve the problem. In the group I aligned myself with I found varying degrees of acceptance by wives. There was a lesser degree of understanding, and more important, compassion that the “gender variant” individual had for what the spouse was going through.

It’s rare that a husband, me included at the time, has even a remote idea of how this issue affects a wife. The more intense the emotions experienced by the variant spouse the more likely a divorce is in the offing. What I observed that most disturbed me was the frequency with which a middle-aged man who was just coming to terms with his identity would abruptly end his marriage so he “could be who he was.” He would exhibit a degree of, in my opinion, selfishness that bordered on cruelty. Occasionally, I would encounter someone who did caringly consider the feelings of their spouse, but it was rare. The relationships that did thrive and grow were generally those where “her” or in some cases “his” existence was known early in the relationship.

The issue of saving lives is the most pressing in my opinion. Up to the time I became involved in gender identity issues I had personally known only one person who had taken the tragic step of self-murder. It was a friend from summer camp. He was only thirteen at the time and I just couldn’t wrap my mind around what might have driven him to such a final solution to whatever he was going through.

The only other suicide that even came close to having a personal affect on my life was when the husband of Dad’s secretary put the barrel of his hunting rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger on Christmas Eve.

However, that sheltered experience ended abruptly within months of becoming involved in this new phase of my life. Within a year, three people I had come to know personally, had chosen that tragic solution to their problems. In one study I read, the rate of serious suicide attempts in the gender community was nearly eleven times that of the average population. Naturally, the question was, why?

Although I have no concrete proof as to why I believe it bears a strong resemblance to a phenomenon known to alcoholics as the “geographical.” It refers to a common occurrence among alcoholics when an alcoholic living in, say, New York thinks that if they just move far away like to Los Angeles, that they won’t need or want to drink anymore. That solution practically never work, simply because the problems which seemed to lead to drinking were never related to the location. They were mental and emotional. The reality was that they had figuratively packed up their problems along with their belongs and hauled them along on the trip.

I suspect that many people who are suffering from gender identity issues conclude that if they just make that leap, take that drastic step now, that the surgeon’s scalpel will cut out those problems or they will suddenly be manageable because now that they are their true selves things will be easier. Again, in a small percentage of cases that may happen, but most often those same problems are now magnified because society doesn’t accept them anymore now than before.

I will close with the admission that I am keenly aware of how fortunate I have been in the path I have chosen. I have the benefit of a body that even without the surgery allows me to “pass” as we say. So many individuals have a physic that is anything but feminine. I chose as my ideal women to emulate, two women I felt were ideal examples of a “lady.” My late wife Marilyn and Julie Andrews. Last, and most important, my Christian faith contributed enormously to the patience I had during my transition; taking one day at a time until the perfect opportunities presented themselves … the most important of which was the addition to my life of The Blue Magnet. If I could give any gift to others of the trans community it would be to find someone who is so totally accepting and loving of every single tidbit of their life and their personality as The Blue Magnet is of me.

Coincidence? I don’t think so!

Coincidences are for some people a progression of events that just happen on their own. No rhyme or reason for the way events unfold is evidence that what happens is just coincidence. I for one just don’t buy that explanation … not for a minute. That being said, neither do I always automatically assume that every single event in my life is preordained. And that is the way some choose to explain coincidence. There are those of us who happen to believe that there is something bigger and more deliberate at work.

If I chose to absolutely bore you to death, I could take you step-by-step through events that have been occurring in my personal life since puberty. Instead I’m going relate some facts about my life that, while seemingly insignificant, together or separately, have brought me to a recent point that demands consideration of the possibility of the existence of a source of intelligence bigger than anything imaginable by human logic. I choose to call that source God. And, I further choose to firmly believe in my own free will to accept or reject His chosen path for me.

For the sake of brevity, I will pick up the sequence that has unfolded in my life at a point marked by the date December 15th, 2006. On that date I was told that my services were no longer wanted at a job that was paying me rather well. As I related in Dear Mom and Dad, … the job I migrated to landed me a booth at the 2007 Phoenix Pride Festival and that led me to my favorite haunt, The Cash Inn on McDowell in Phoenix the Saturday night of the festival.

The place was packed, but as “luck”(?) would have it there was an empty stool next to some friends who invited me to join them. A few minutes after settling myself on the stool I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned, expecting to see a familiar face. Instead what I found myself looking at was the face of a person I have lovingly come to refer to as “The Green-eyed Blonde” aka one Christine Curtin of Burbank CA. Coincidence? You judge for yourself.

Over time Christine has become the dearest and closest friend I have, except for “The Blue Magnet” of course. As time and the relationship developed, albeit long distance, she became my biggest fan and supporter. One day she called to ask me if I would be interested in speaking at a college in Yucaipa, CA. That in turn, led to an introduction to a friend she had known years before in school and had recently re-connected with. I have been speaking at Crafton Hills College nearly every year since and in that time have gotten to know both Professor Jimmy Urbanovich and, his wife Rene.

I have generally been in the habit of going out a few days early each time to spend time with Christine before the presentation and then heading out afterwards for home. This last time Professor Jimmy invited The Blue Magnet and I to spend the night prior to my presentation with him and Rene at their second home near the college. Rene was the most gracious hostess imaginable and we spent a wonderful evening with them. Sometime in the course of the evening or the next morning Rene suggested having their son Jordan produce a promotional video for me to use in promoting myself as a guest speaker and author.

When we were back home, I sent Rene a text thanking her for her generous hospitality and encouragement. What ensued was a 5-month effort at bringing to fruition what Rene had instigated and I am forever in her debt for following through and urging me on.

Is all this simply a series of uncanny coincidences? I think not. One might be tempted to believe that because of the lapse of time from meeting Christine to the final version of the video that it must be simply coincidence, but my knowledge of history and the bible leads me to realize that God seldom gets in a hurry. As I said in the beginning of this piece, this is just an example of what I believe is the result of a wholehearted surrender of my will to His and He has rewarded me handsomely over the years.

Oh, so you want to see the finished product? The link to the video is below.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=GhWn6GrbiYM

I Can See Clearly Now

Some time in the spring of 1954 when I was nine and a half years old and a 4th grader I was diagnosed as near sighted. That was long before high impact plastic lenses and a very long time before contact lenses. At first I thought glasses were cool but that feeling didn’t even last until school was out.

Not one of my heroes, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Lash LaRue much less The Cisco Kid wore glasses. I just couldn’t bring myself to imagine me as any of them while wearing glasses. My eyesight at that stage couldn’t have been bad enough to preclude me from laying them aside when the urge to don my well worn felt cowboy hat, my red and black tooled leather cowboy boots. The outfit wasn’t complete without the hand tooled double holster set that Granny had made for me, which held my two Nichols six shooters but that’s what happened.

I may not have been the only fourth grader at Horace Mann Elementary to wear glasses but I felt like I was. So, I put aside my favorite things and searched for other images to emulate.

It must have been less than two months later when we learned that we would be moving to Bountiful, Utah when school was out. Dad had been promoted to a position which would put his office at a refinery in Woods Cross Utah. I wrote about the tears and anguish as Mom backed out of the driveway in Okmulgee and we headed for our new home.

On the way, I was left at Western Life Camp at the entrance to the Santa Fe National Forest in the mountains near Las Vegas New Mexico, for summer camp. Granny was the head cook and chief bottle washer there, so it really wasn’t very traumatic. When camp was over the end of June, I was headed for a new experience, where nobody knew what I looked like without glasses, so the girls had no idea how good-looking Georgie really was.

It wasn’t long after school started, only about six months, when I had to have a new pair of glasses. That was the beginning of a biannual replacement of my glasses which continued with fair regularity for the next seven years.

Two things occurred nearly simultaneously during the freshman year in high school. Georgie was waiting for Mrs. Dixon’s ninth grade speech class to get underway and cleaning his glasses while he waited. That’s when hope and dismay struck their simultaneous blows. A girl, Lynn Withey, a  name I will never forget, said, You know, you would be really good looking if you didn’t have to wear glasses.“ The hope was that Georgie could be handsome if he didn’t have to wear glasses. The despair was that he knew Dad would never spend the money for the new technology known as Contact Lenses.

The next two birthdays and subsequent three Christmas’s were something of a marathon of hints, kind of like Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder air rifle in “A Christmas Story.” Though, Ralphie’s Christmas had a happier ending.

I had lost track of the number of prescription changes were necessary by midway through the junior year at Bountiful High School when one of Dad’s business partners came to my rescue. Bob Schubach and his brother jointly owned Schubach Jewelry and Standard Optical in Salt Lake City where I had been getting my glasses for the last six years. He made sure that Dad understood that contacts would stop the progression of my worsening eyesight and that if I didn’t get them soon, I would be legally blind within a few years. Sometime in March that year Georgie was fitted with contacts and within a week was wearing them from the moment he got up in the morning until time to go to bed. The transformation in his personality was total. As I wrote in “Dear Mom and Dad”, he was no longer Georgie he was now George.

What followed was fifty-nine years of contacts with the eventual necessity of reading glasses. Those first few years saw various incidents that involved replacing contacts, either both or on occasion just one for a variety of small, for the most part funny circumstances.

The first incident resulted from branding time on a ranch in northwest Texas where George ended up with a face full of young bovine excrement. The contacts couldn’t be worn for 3 days.

Another time was when Mom decided she needed to learn to drive the boat when it was George’s turn to water ski. Both contacts disappeared in the waters of Rumbaugh Bay on Hebgen Lake.

A third time, the right contact popped out just as George was taking a bite of wedding cake. After a fruitless search of the floor and pant cuffs he returned to the cake. Crunch! The contact had landed on the cake.

As the years wore on and lessons were learned new prescriptions were few and far between, so Bob Schubach had been right. The last pair were acquired less than 3 years ago. At the time the optometrist said that small cataracts had formed in both eyes but weren’t large enough for removal yet.

By the beginning of this year it was becoming increasingly more difficult for me to see to drive at night. The lights from oncoming vehicles glared at me. So, I finally made an appointment to have my eyes checked and the first thing the doctor told me to do was quit wearing contacts for the next six weeks. That was necessary for him to be able to make an accurate assessment of what my eyes needed …. And yes, I had cataracts in both eyes. The procedure for my right eye was scheduled for this past Thursday afternoon.

For the first time in sixty-five years I can do what I longed to do nearly that long … I can see clearly now … without glasses or contacts.

6/20/2010

Eight years ago today, June 20, 2010 at 1:37 AM in the morning I posted the following on my Facebook page.

“I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I … AM … DONE!!!!! HALLELUJAH! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY!! I … AM … DONE!!”

After 3 years of remembering, researching my own past and writing down the results, I had written the final sentence in “Dear Mom and Dad.” Had it been published in that original form it would have been in excess of 700 pages long. Thankfully, the person I’d been dealing with at iUniverse advised me that unless I was James Michener it was entirely too long. Following that advice, I began a slash and burn editing process. Well, I didn’t actually burn anything. I still have the original hard copy script in a 2” black binder on a shelf in my bedroom along with all the notes I used creating my original outline. In addition to that, I have several flash drives with the various edits in my desk drawer.

When I think about writing another book I find the prospect daunting. After all I had an accumulated 60 plus years of events and people to make writing easy. All I had to do was write about those people and events as they were, though not accurately  remembered in the first draft. Accurate memories came only when I realized that the people written about would actually be reading what I wrote. Now with a mere 8 years accumulation of people and events I wonder if it would be of any value.

I also wonder if I could add anything to the dialogue engaged in by the majority of the transgendered activists and their accomplices in the LGBT (I refuse to use the “Q” since that is a term earlier used to describe gay men) community. I have, since the publication of “Dear Mom and Dad”, written about issues that are near and dear to my heart with respect to the trans community and I have written about issues unrelated to gender identity; faith and politics in particular. My opinions on the latter have met with approval and with disdain. Writing another book is somewhat immaterial it seems. What is material to me is that whatever I do in the future be of consequence. It that includes the inspiration to write another book so-be-it.

My involvement in the lgbT community has left me with a few impressions which have had a lasting effect on my attitudes regarding “activism”. The most significant of those is the impression that the demands of the community to be treated equally are accompanied by demands for laws that in essence require not equal treatment but special treatment. It seems to me that the demand for special treatment trumps the request for equal treatment. It’s an attitude adapted from the racial equality movement which approaches their situation in the same manner. In both cases, it seems to me that the demands are equally exclusionary. Granny would have said something like, “Make up your mind. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” To me, demanding equality is the equivalent of admitting that one does not feel equal or at least doesn’t see one’s self as equal.

I am firmly convinced that what our community needs are more people like Dr. Marci Bowers who has gone about her life without wearing her gender transition status on her sleeve, helping make the lives of innumerable people more enjoyable and complete.

Another person that I see as an example of getting on with life and using her abilities and education without wearing her gender status on her sleeve is Amanda Renae Simpson. While I acknowledge that her liberal political activity was largely influenced by her gender affiliation, I am not by any means going to discount her contribution to our community by using her training, education and experience to move about the halls of government in both Arizona and Washington DC exposing those realms to the notion that gender identity does not exclude one from making a significant contribution to society by productive use of their training and abilities.

These two people are not the only ones in our community who have made the transition and gone on with their lives using the training and abilities they possess for the good of society, but they are 2 that I have a personal connection with and knowledge of. They have made life more livable and enjoyable for the rest of us by virtue of their willingness to take personal risks without making demands on society for special concessions for them; at least none that I’m aware of. That’s what “people” do. They don’t make an issue of their gender; they simply apply their extensive training for the betterment of society.

For myself, I realized long ago that getting on with life without making a stink about my gender identity made life so much easier. I freely admit that I have been extremely fortunate in my physical make-up but I have also made it part of my attitudinal make-up to not expect special treatment. The expectation of special treatment generally leads to disappointments and there are enough of those already. For me, being treated as if there were nothing special about me is the highest compliment I can receive as a transgender person. The only thing I want special recognition for is the application of my skills and training in my field and the application of my talent in my writing.

“Dear Mom and Dad” finally hit the market July of 2012 and my first blog entry was posted by the publisher the same month. Since then I have posted nearly 120 more. Altogether they could equal another book I suppose. But it would be rather disjointed since my subject matter has varied so much. All in all, I will continue writing one way or another. It might be another book …it might be a more blog. It might even be some of what “ended up on the cutting room floor” as the saying goes, in that original draft..

Stay tuned …