Are You Really a U.S. Citizen?

My son gets upset with me for getting upset over things I cannot control.

Particularly any news to do with the Trump Administration. He feels it is futile and all that counts is voting to get Trump out in 2020. Unlike his mother, he spends no time foaming at the mouth about the latest Trumpian outrage trending on Twitter. Or tweeting at anyone and everyone about it.

Today it is on his behalf I am angry. And on behalf of the service members whose children born overseas in future who will not be automatic U.S. citizens, even though their parents are.

My son is a military baby born at a hospital on a U.S. military base. I am myself a veteran, and was at the time of his birth a military spouse. My ex and I are both U.S. citizens.

I have nephews born on U.S. military soil in Germany and at home. I am wondering how many G.I.s who brought home wives and children from places like Korea, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, etc. are feeling like I do at the moment: incredulous that the Commander-in-Chief of our military has such contempt and disdain for those who have and will serve. Because I have to wonder: if the Trump Administration will go this far, what’s to stop it from retroactively saying children of service members previously born overseas are now no longer citizens?

Don’t think it could happen? Seriously, don’t put it past Trump or the follicle-challenged Stephen Miller.

How can you claim to love this country, but not its citizens who serve it?

Isn’t that what GOP politics is supposed to be about: God, country, family and apple pie?

I used to think it was. I voted for that for decades. But as with many of my most important relationships, I didn’t recognize I was being lied to.

With the men in my life, I have come to accept I was lousy at picking them. If they were charming and sociopathic, I was a sucker for them.

But I didn’t see it in the GOP until the time of Trump. I bought into the whole Americana vision – of all the things I wanted for my child that I didn’t have growing up.

But it was all built on lies. When your own country can send you into battle but your valor isn’t enough to ensure your children have your birthright – it’s all a lie, isn’t it? It would be like telling the Jews in Egyptian captivity that they could never become Israelites after 400 years of slavery.

So, the entire premise of who we are as citizens of a Republic built on a democratic vision is a falsity.

At least in the eyes of Donald J. Trump.

In the end, if you one day cannot trace your lineage to the Trump family, as people in the Mayflower Society so snobbishly trace theirs to those who landed at Plymouth Rock, you may find yourself not a citizen at all.

That may sound preposterous. So was the idea that U.S. military serving abroad could have children who were not considered citizens of our nation.

Right now it is all about the soil. But one day it could be about the blood as well.

babies feet selective focus photo
Photo by Daisy Laparra on

Crushin’ It

Most of my Twitter activity consists of making what I think are obvious comments to Congress that I am sure no Congress member on either side of the aisle has ever seen, because, well, algorithms, right?

Still, I hope something I say sways a mind here or there, so I continue to #Resist my little heart out.

Every once in awhile, I give in on Twitter and watch the cats being hysterical videos, or answer questions about the color you are currently wearing and what you last ate equals your band name. That would be Hot Pink Burger, thank you.

Today, John Pavlovitz asked about first celebrity crushes. Well, I kind of remember Elvis performing for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show, but I was only three, so that couldn’t really be it.

Ah, but I do very much remember the Fab Four’s first Sullivan gig, most especially Paul McCartney. My 10-year-old heart beat only for him.

At recess, my friends and I would play we were the Beatles’ girlfriends. Carol Brandenburg somehow always insisted she be Paul’s and got her way; just like she got my new doll the day my parents stopped at her house to visit. She wouldn’t stop screaming as we were leaving until they gave my doll to her. Don’t even get me started about our sandbox fight over Kenny Sanders in the second grade.

Paul was not easily replaced in my heart, though by junior high, my two-year crush on the very real Jimmy Crowl did dim Paul’s glow a bit. But just like Paul, Jimmy Crowl was destined never to be my boyfriend. My loss felt more greatly than his, I’m sure.

By the time I turned 16, I was deeply into Clint Eastwood. Too young for him in his “Rawhide” years, Clint was my celebrity crush of choice at the 60’s end. It didn’t last long – his spaghetti westerns, “Play Misty for Me,” “ The Beguiled.” Because I quickly became less than beguiled by Clint when a new leading man fell asleep at the bar wearing his Navy whites.

For the rest of the 70s, there was only one celebrity on whom I could crush in the darkened theaters where I spent my Saturdays: Redford. Robert Redford.

It didn’t matter the role. For me he was Hubble, in a different story, with a different name. But Hubble, always Hubble.

While Redford stayed on my crush radar for many years, from 1980-88 there was only one celebrity mustache that tickled my fancy. Do I even have to name the TV show? Maybe I should challenge you to investigate this not very private celebrity crush I held.

Everyone who knew me then knew I was wild about Tom Selleck. And on my first trip to Hawaii in the mid-80s, I missed becoming his wife by only 20 minutes. I think I will let that one sit and make y’all wonder: whaaat? 😳

All with Tom, however, was not lost. As a bon voyage gift, some friends gave me a night shirt with his face plastered on it. To this day I delight in saying I slept with Tom Selleck when I was in Hawaii. (Sorry my son; your mother is embarrassing, I know.) 🤦🏼‍♀️

Meanwhile, most of the Brat Packers left much to be desired, with the exception of James Spader. And I could only allow myself to crush on him because of that thing he had with Susan Sarandon in “White Palace.” He was just so yummy and sweet faced in those days, even when he played the meanest roles.

As the 80s melted into the 90s ( and me my 40s), my celebrity crushes came fewer and farther between. Of course Patrick Swayze. How could one not crush on a guy who can look and dance like that. I mean, seriously, hellooo…🙄 Not to mention all those shirtless scenes in “Road House.” ( Notice I am not mentioning his buck naked one. Am trying to keep this fairly PG-13.)

But really, in the 90s and 2000s, I crushed on no one actor in particular. I guess I was playing the field. In my dreams.

Today, at 66, I am a bit of a Benjamin Button when it comes to celebrity crushes. I am aging backwards in terms of actors who take my breath away merely by looking at them. If I had to pick just one, it would be Keanu Reeves. Too young for me when he started his excellent acting adventures, by the time he wooed Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give,” I was seriously in love and have remained so in both his current role as John Wick and in retrospect of some of his earlier roles. Keanu and cute James Spader in the same movie? A double feature.

On whom will I cast an eye when I am 75, or, God willing, 85? Who knows? But I am sure he will reliably be there. And when I first see him, I will crush it.

In the end, however, there is only one actor in one role for whom I have always looked for a real-life counterpart: Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

I have yet to find that man. I guess I will have to settle for the film. I’m crushed. 😢



Interrupted and Outraged by Death

It has been months since I last blogged.

Death stopped me in my writer’s tracks.

First there was the unexpected and too early death of my younger sister.

Then there were three months traveling off and on to sit with a friend of 46 years, dying in hospice care.

This morning, when I read the Daily Readings put out by the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops), death confronted me again in the day’s First Reading..

From Judges, it is the story of Jephthah, who offers a sacrifice to the Lord if God will deliver his enemies, the Ammonites, into Jephthah’s power for defeat. And what does Jephthah offer as a sacrifice? The first person to greet him on his return home.

Who was that person? His beloved daughter and only child. How does she accept this sacrifice? She accepts it by asking for two months to mourn her virginity with her friends and then says “Do with me as you have vowed.”

Immediately I thought of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and as a woman, I was deeply offended. Why did God allow her to be sacrificed, but kept Isaac from the same fate?

It felt for a moment like the typical patriarchal rejection of the value of womanhood.

But then I realized the point wasn’t in the objects of the sacrifice, but the difference in intent with which the sacrifices were made, as well as how they were accepted.

Jephthah’s sacrifice was transactional; “God, if you give me this, I will give you that.” And though it broke his heart, not knowing his daughter would be first to greet him, Jephthah kept his vow at HER express urging. Her “fiat.” Her faith. (A foreshadowing of how Mother Mary would one day accept her own virginal fate.)

Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac was purely a matter of his own faith. He knew beforehand what he would be called upon to give up – his most beloved son. Isaac was as innocent as a lamb, not knowing what his father intended and carrying the wood for his own sacrificial offering. (Another foreshadowing.)

During this, Abraham was willing to trust in God’s promise that his heirs would be as countless as the stars.

This is a paradoxical trust, because it calls on Abraham to give up the only legitimate child he has, which should have made him doubt God’s promise. Yet it didn’t.

Because he didn’t say “Okay God, I will sacrifice my son, but I expect you to keep your word to me.” That would have made Abraham’s offering as transactional as was Jephthah’s, and perhaps kept in equally stunning fashion.

Abraham’s example IS how we are all to offer up our suffering, joy, and day-to-day lives to the Lord: not in a grand bargain, but in trust that the Lord of all keeps his promises.

And that when we freely give our offerings up to him, it is his mercy and grace toward us that prevails.

Even if it seems like a deadly interruption, and it outrages us at first.

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