Thursday, June 20, 2019

Excommunication Anniversary

Six days ago was an anniversary that I almost let slip by without realizing it: ten years ago on June 14th I was excommunicated from the LDS Church. It's hard to believe that much time has gone by.

I recently re-listened to a podcast interview I gave almost two years after I was excommunicated. Although I no longer attend LDS services regularly, many of the feelings in the interview about the LDS Church and its influence on me remain the same.

I was born and raised in the Mormon religion. I tried very ardently for a good portion of my life to follow all of its tenets, including fighting against and suppressing a huge part of who I am: my homosexuality. I reached a point in life where I no longer felt I could do that.

The last day of 2008 I made a firm choice to be with the guy I love, my now-husband Jonah. That turned out to be possibly the best choice I have ever made in my life, certainly one that has led me on a path to greater happiness, fulfillment, and emotional well-being.

It is also a choice that eventually cost me my membership in a religion that I loved and revered. It's definitely a weird feeling to lose that when it's been your whole life for so long.

My late mother as well as my dear friend attended my church discipline hearing, and their support has always meant the world to me. I am forever grateful that Mom got to see me build a relationship with Jonah before she passed. I'm glad she got to see how happy this relationship has made me. I'm glad she and Jonah became like a mom and son.

When you are told your whole life what a negative impact excommunication will have on your eternal soul, you fear the consequences (at least I did), and while the first year or two were an adjustment, I can honestly say that life and God have been very good to me these last ten years.
I truly can't imagine life without Jonah. He has made me a better person, has helped me see life and people in a different way, and has enriched my life greatly.

I hold no bitterness or anger towards the LDS Church. I know some of my gay friends who were raised Mormon do, and justifiably so, but my interaction with the LDS Church was largely positive and I still maintain that many of my best traits and values come from what I was taught there and what I was taught by parents who adhered to that faith.

I do think the LDS Church has a lot of work to do in how it deals with and treats its gay members and former members. The place where we should be able to find the most refuge and support often does the opposite and pushes people away.

I was lucky. The leaders and members I personally dealt with on my own journey were kind and compassionate for the most part, although occasionally an unkind or ignorant remark or action would be made. For others (too many), the ignorance and unkindness was the rule rather than the exception, so there is still work to be done, bridges to be built.

I don't know all the answers, but I am convinced that being gay is something that is unchangeable (for me, at least, and for the majority of gay people I know). I know of a handful of gay people who seemingly have made marriage with a member of the opposite sex work for them. Kudos to them if they are truly happy. For most gay people I know, however, including myself, that just isn't a viable option.

Gay won't go away, whether you think it's wrong or sinful or not. We have to learn to love and support each other, regardless of perceived differences. We have to learn to find common ground.
What I am sure of is that I am happier outside of the LDS Church than I was inside. That isn't a slam or a smear on the LDS Church. It does so much good, but like any institution, it isn't perfect. I just learned that although it may bring fulfillment and joy to many, for others like me, it was a box I simply didn't fit in anymore.

I am grateful (truly I am) for all it gave me, but I am equally grateful that I have found a path that has given me more.

I love and adore my Mormon friends and family. They are still my people and always will be.

What have I been up to these last ten years?

Well, I’ve worked for the same theatre company for nearly the last seven, but I shall be quitting that job in August to pursue my acting career again, which I have missed a lot. It’s scary to leave my comfort zone and give up a job I have, overall, enjoyed as well as give up a decent salary and good health benefits. And at my age (48), it seems foolhardy to start anew. But God and the universe have been pushing me to make this decision, and so I am taking a leap of faith and trusting that I will be taken care of. I haven’t felt this strongly about anything in a while. I’ve had strong impressions to do things during my life, such as my decision to go to grad school (which is how I met Jonah), my decision to be with Jonah, and my decision to put my acting career on hiatus for a bit, and those all led me to good things. Now I feel prompted to get back into acting and to give up this job that is no longer bringing me joy. I feel like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade when he takes his “leap of faith,” but in the end it is worth it.

I actually had the opportunity to be in a play in October, but I had to turn it down because Jonah and I are taking a very important trip together in September, when the rehearsals happen. Still, I know that theatre company is interested in me for future projects. Yep, I’m scared but I am also excited for the future.

Hope You're Okay With That (Part II)

Nearly nine years ago I wrote the following post. About a year ago I received a Facebook message from the father that I refer to in the post. He said, “Weird personal request: can I visit with you the next time you are in Utah? I am on a quest to understand your struggle being a gay Mormon. I need to be more aware and supportive and don’t know how to get there. Thanks.” At the time I thought, “I wonder if this is about his son.”

I fully intended to get together with the father (who I will call Ron), but I haven’t been back to Utah much lately and when I have it’s been for a short visit. For some reason last week the young man I refer to in the post (who I will call Scotty) came to my mind and I looked him up on Facebook. Although his profile is limited since we are not Facebook friends, in the “About” section it did say he was interested in men.

I reached out to Ron with the following message: “I was thinking about this request you made of me in March last year. I had actually forgotten about it, and I apologize for that. 

"I have been to Utah twice since you sent your last message, but it has always been quick trips. I'm sorry we never got the opportunity to connect. I did suspect at the time you wrote me about this that it might have to do with your son, [Scotty], and when I was on Facebook today I did see on his profile that he identifies as being ‘interested in men.’ I don't know much about [Scotty]'s life these days, but when I was attending the [our ward] I always had a soft spot in my heart for him because I suspected he might be gay and I worried for him and for you and [your wife]. In fact, I came across an entry I wrote in my [blog] in 2010 about your family and [Scotty], in particular. I'll even share it with you if you are ever interested. 

"Anyway, I apologize if I'm overstepping my bounds here or making assumptions about a situation I know nothing about. But I did want you to know I love your family very much, consider you a friend, and am still available if you ever want or need to talk. And if I am incorrect about any of this, my apologies and you can ignore my message. I miss you guys and the neighborhood a lot. I hope everyone is well. 

"All my love, 


Ron responded with “Thanks for reaching out. You are correct about [Scotty]. He came out officially during his senior year. He hasn’t started dating yet, and is still working at figuring things out. 

“He tends to be more flamboyant. I honestly struggle with that. I also really worry about how that will impact him. When he’s uncomfortable, he reacts by going more flamboyant and making others uncomfortable. I worry how that will impact relationships. 

“I have chatted with [my wife]’s brother who is gay, but he is naturally very reserved and understated.

“I am working to be more supportive and loving. He and I have butted heads since he was young. It’s been better since he came out because he is more honest and open. I constantly wonder why Heavenly Father sent him to me. I am always overwhelmed and afraid. I don’t know if this sounds familiar. 

“I will be honest, I am not naturally supportive of the LGBTQ+ population. I am really working to soften and change. I also really have a hard time with anything flashy or flamboyant- straight or otherwise. That makes things challenging. Mild understatement. But I am trying.

“I hope I haven’t offended you or made your life any more difficult. I appreciate your friendship. Thanks for ‘listening.’


I answered, “Not at all. You haven’t offended me one bit. I think it’s often a learning curve when a straight parent is learning to navigate the challenges of understanding a gay child, particularly if the background and upbringing is more conservative. The important thing to know is that, gay or straight, all children have their own challenges and all children do things or make choices that don’t necessarily please their parents. 

“I actually do want to share with you my [blog post] [which I did]. 

“As I read this [post], I recall that one of the things I most admired about your son when I was in the [our ward] was his ability to express himself without seemingly having any shame or embarrassment about it. At the time (and still, really) I consider that an asset and a strength. Now if his flamboyant behavior or appearance is simply to ruffle feathers or push people’s buttons, that’s certainly a possibility, but I suspect his flamboyance is something that makes himself feel free to be and express who he feels he is. But you may be correct that it is also a defense mechanism. In any case, his flamboyance may merely be a ‘pebble in your shoe’ that feels like an annoying rock. In society, especially, we’re conditioned that boys should act and dress a certain way and vice-versa for girls. But I wonder sometimes what difference it really makes.

“Coming from my own conservative background, I remember when I met my husband, [Jonah], that I was sometimes uncomfortable with his flamboyance. In my case, it was probably because I had been trying to suppress my gay feelings for so long that anything that even smacked of ‘coloring outside the lines’ was uncomfortable for me, and yet, I so longed myself to ‘color outside the lines’ and not feel ashamed or scared of it. 

“What’s important is that you are trying to be loving and supportive. That’s what any child, gay or straight, needs most of all. Certainly as a parent, your job is to counsel and teach your child, but it is also to love them unconditionally and be willing to let go to allow them to make their own choices and watch them succeed or fail and hopefully, learn and find happiness wherever they can. 

“You know, when I first met my husband and realized I was falling in love with him and eventually made the choice to share a life with him, it wasn’t easy, but it felt right at the time, and I have not regretted it ever. It was one of the best choices I have ever made. My brother… had a difficult time with it at first, although to his credit, he has always shown both [Jonah] and me much love and support. [Jonah] always jokes with my family that he hopes I will buy him a big diamond ring someday. The last time I was in Utah, [my brother] gave me my late grandmother’s diamond ring and said maybe I could get the diamonds in it put in a new ring for Isaias. That seemingly tiny gesture was so significant and moving to me because I know it was hard in the beginning for [my brother]. He still believes what he believes, I’m sure, but he just sees us as important people in his life who he loves and that means the world to me.

“The greatest thing my mom ever said to me when I was struggling so much was, ‘I just want you to be happy, and if being with [Jonah] makes you happy, you should be with him.’ She still believed in what she believed, but allowed me to make my own choice and be who I needed to be. Fighting against it will push children away, in the experience of many gay people I know. It doesn’t mean you have to love or condone your child’s actions, but allowing him to be who he wants to be and making sure he always knows he is loved no matter what is vital. 

“You said you sometimes wonder why God sent [Scotty] to you. I would imagine it’s because he knew you and [your wife] would be the perfect parents for that special young man (not that you would be perfect, mind you, but that you would be the right set of parents for him), and that not only could you teach and love him, but that he could teach you things as well. God doesn’t make mistakes. He has given you a true gift in all of your children and each one of them can teach you something valuable. Life doesn’t always go the way we expect it to (in fact, more often than not, it doesn’t). I’m sure you, like any parent, has had expectations for how your kids would be raised and where they might end up. I suspect [Scotty] has a different path to tread than what you might have expected or hoped. The lesson maybe, is to let him take that path and know that you will always love and care for him wherever that path may lead. 

“I would also say this: you said you are not naturally supportive of the LGBTQ+ population. Just like any population, there are positive and negative voices. For example, I think [Jonah] and I are pretty normal, boring gays. Some of my gay friends are super flamboyant; some are antagonistic; some are super intolerant; but others are pretty “vanilla,” like we are; some are Christian; some are conservative. I guess the point is, we don’t all fit in one box, just as there are many types of Mormons, for example. I think sometimes what is seen on the news or in Pride parades or even on social media can obscure that fact. I have many gay friends who I vehemently disagree with about many things and then there are many that I have tons in common with. 

“Last thing, you talk a lot about the fears you have. Just remember, fear is a powerful tool of the adversary. I have often felt that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. With perfect love there can be no fear. But we often fear that which we do not understand or the unknown. 

“I don’t know if any of this is helpful or comforting at all. I just know I have been in [Scotty]’s shoes. Just keep loving him. Keep trying. Keep searching for understanding. Keep letting him know that nothing he does will ever change your love for him. Keep supporting him as best you are able. Please continue to reach out if you ever need to talk. 

“I pray for the best for both you and [Scotty] and your entire family.

“All my love, 


Ron’s final message was, “Thank you. Ask [Jonah] to give you a big hug for me.”

I believe Ron will come around. I appreciate that he’s at least trying to understand his son. I wish them well.

I do think it’s interesting that in my original post I mused about how I would be curious to see what [Scotty] would be like ten years later, and now here we are nearly ten years later. Funny how things have worked out.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Love, Simon

Well, hey gang! How's everybody doing? It's been a long, long time since I posted. My sister was telling me the other day she wished I would blog again, so I thought, "What the heck?" I can't guarantee I will blog with any regularity as I once did, but I will blog today.

It's not that I haven't had anything to blog about these past couple of years; I'm just lazy, quite frankly.

So Jonah and I went to see the movie Love, Simon today.

If you don't know the film, it's about a young high schooler who is gay and struggling with coming out. He develops an anonymous online relationship with another closeted gay student and it's basically about him coming to terms with who he is.

I really enjoyed it. I've read it's the first mainstream studio teen romantic comedy with a gay protagonist. Frankly, it would have been nice to have a movie like this when I was a young whipper-snapper. It's still tough for kids to come out of the closet, but man, it feels like it would be easier than when I was young or when those before me were struggling with their sexuality.

The lead character of Simon is played by Nick Robinson, who I remember fondly from a popular series of Cox commercials a few years ago.

I really found myself getting emotional during much of the film. There is one moment (spoiler alert) where he tells a friend he is gay, and it is the first time he says it out loud to another person, and I started crying because I remember all too well that feeling of unburdening myself of something I had held so deep inside for so long and how wonderful and scary it felt to finally release it.

Another character, after learning Simon is gay, tells him (and I'm paraphrasing) that it was like he had lived so many years of his life holding his breath and now finally he was able to exhale. I thought that was such an apt metaphor. My friend once told me it was like like I had been living my whole life in black and whit and now it was in color (also a great metaphor).

The movie itself at first reminded me of those 80s comedies I loved so much in my youth (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Say Anything, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, etc.) but really turned into something poignant and meaningful. I think anybody who is gay and struggling or anyone who has a gay family member should see it.

What I liked, too, was how it approached just the concept that all high school students are at that age where they are trying to find themselves and know who they are. This one just happened to be gay. I also liked how realistic much of the film felt and yet how positively it treated the subject. The movie reminded me of so many facets of my life I experienced myself in dealing with my sexuality.

I thought Nick Robinson was very good in the role. Really, I liked the whole cast. I was very touched by the film and am glad I saw it.

But it also reminded me of where I once was and where I am now. Man, I'm so much happier and freer than I felt as that high school kid I once was. I wish those who fear homosexuality could see a film like this and understand what it's like to be on the other side.

Anyway, I recommend seeing it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What World Am I Living In?


I sometimes think I must be living in some alternate reality than some of my conservative friends and, heaven forbid, the people that are supporting Donald Trump.  The way some conservative friends (many of whom I love and respect) talk, you’d think the Obama administration was leading us into Armageddon.  I get it.  Well, not really, but I get that when you’re on one side of the political spectrum and the other side has a lot of power that things don’t feel too awesome.  The eight years under George W. Bush really made me feel our country was going in a bad direction, so I get that people who liked that direction think Obama and his administration are leading us completely the wrong way from where they want to go.

I’m just one guy with one perspective, and as someone who has liked the direction we’ve gone since Barack Obama became President, it’s hard for me to fully understand what he’s done that has made conservatives so convinced that it will pretty much be the Apocalypse if another Democrat is elected President and continues his policies.

And the thing is, you can read or view anything that supports your view, whether you are conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between.  The media spins everything and depending on what your news sources are, you can believe anything that supports your views.  I am as guilty of this on the liberal side as my Fox-loving friends are on the conservative side.  I try, actually, to read and view all sides of an issue so that I can be better informed and, hopefully, understand the truths and nuances they might be buried beneath all the hype and mud-slinging.  I am fully aware that MSNBC, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post, for example, are just as skewed to a liberal point-of-view as Fox News, the Drudge Report, the New York Post, and the National Review, for example, are skewed to the conservative side.  I know, for example, if someone sends me a link to the Daily Kos that I may have to take it with a grain of salt due to its heavy liberal slant just as much as I would do the same with with its conservative slant.

So I get that other people in this country have an entirely different perspective about what is going on in this country and I also understand that people are having a very different experience with this administration and its policies than I am.  But I’m doing quite well under this president and because I am it’s hard for me to relate to those who think we’re living under some Nazi dictatorship.  I have a really good job, my home value has increased, I have great health insurance, I’m legally married to my husband, I think the USA has a better reputation with other countries than we did under the Bush administration, Obama has tried to keep this country out of war, my gay friends can serve openly in the military, Osama bin Laden is out of our lives (though, admittedly, we are still dealing with groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda), his administration has tried to focus on green initiatives, which is important to me, he's tried to help the middle class, of which I am a member, etc.

When we were in the throes of the recession our house was underwater, the company I was working for was making drastic cuts and I wasn’t making much money, and I wasn’t legally married to my husband, although I very much wanted to be.  So my life has improved a lot during this administration.  Others’ lives have improved as well.  A dear friend of mine who has dealt with chronic illness and a lack of health insurance due to insurance companies’ unwillingness to insure him wrote this on his Facebook page the other day: “It is also because of [Obama] that I have been able to provide for my family for the past 5 years. His work has afforded my family to live so I thank him in so many different ways. Thank you to the Obamas for all they have done and all they might continue to do. We truly need more men and women like them in this world.”  I know others who feel the same.

Granted, I know other lives are not so great under this administration.  Some people’s health premiums have skyrocketed under Obamacare and, contrary to Obama’s promise that you could keep your same doctor under his plan, that has not always proved to be true.  People are still struggling economically and do not see that the economy has gotten better the way it seems to have improved for people like me.  People employed in the oil industry, for example, aren’t doing well at all. Stocks have gone down in many companies, including Apple, Disney, and Walmart, the latter which has had to close many stores (but don’t get me started on Walmart – that’s a whole separate post about what a terrible company I think they are and how much of their downfall is due to their own practices – still, I understand people are losing jobs, and the economy is still struggling in some areas).  Many homes are still in foreclosure (although my neighborhood is nowhere near what it was 6 years ago).  People are worried Obama is trying to take away their guns (and, by the way, he’s not).  Many religious people feel the country is in moral decay and that their rights are being trampled on.  People are afraid of ISIS and undocumented immigrants and worry that Obama’s administration has made our country less secure.  So I get that everyone isn’t happy like I am.

But I am happy and I am much more optimistic that things will continue to be good for me under someone like Bernie Sanders of Hillary Clinton (or even Martin O’Malley) than they would under someone like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, or, heaven forbid, Donald Trump.

I don’t even relate to anyone in the Republican batch of presidential candidates this cycle.  I actually quite liked John McCain when he ran (until he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, and then he lost me because I couldn’t stand the idea of her being just a heartbeat away from the presidency).  I didn’t care too much for Mitt Romney, but at least he seemed sane.  But this current clown car of candidates I just can’t quite get on board with.  Ironically, two of my least favorite candidates, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, are currently leading in the polls.  Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum (and withdrawn candidates Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry) I can’t (couldn’t) stand.  Ben Carson seems like a nice enough fellow (although some of his ideas and beliefs seem a little out there to me), but he is not presidential material, in my opinion.  Rand Paul I have no strong opinion towards.  I admire him fighting for what he believes in, but it’s not what I believe in.  Jeb Bush, who’s floundering terribly right now, seems almost reasonable to me; I almost feel sorry for the guy.  But I also don’t agree with the policies he supports, so I wouldn’t vote for him anyway (but who could have imagined 8 years ago that I would be so sympathetic to a Bush?).  I actually think Marco Rubio would be a good president and would be a strong leader; he just happens to support ideas I disagree with, so I can’t see myself voting for him.  I actually like Chris Christie and John Kasich as people and if you put a gun to my head I could probably vote for them, but when I see the three candidates on the Democratic side there’s just no contest for me.  Ted Cruz is too extreme for my tests and has shown himself to be too uncompromising for my taste.  He’s way too right-wing for me.  I admire that he wants to fight for the values he believes in, but he’s got super tunnel-vision, in my opinion.

And Donald Trump.  Good gravy, what can I say about this guy?  When he first was running, it seemed like a big joke (and maybe it still is – I wonder if Trump really believes half the stuff he says of if he’s just pandering to his base).  But who could have guessed he’d do so well in the polls?  Certainly the other Republican candidates didn’t.  I’m sure Jeb Bush just watches, slack-jawed, as Trump continues to trounce him in the polls and wonders what the hell the Americans who support Trump are thinking.  I know I do.

I think the man is an ass.  I think his rhetoric is very anti-American and dangerous, but he seems to be riling up a large swath of racist Americans.  I always think comparing people to Hitler is very hyperbolic, but some of Trump’s behavior reminds me of Hitler.  His talk of building walls to keep Mexicans out and of banning Muslims from this country strikes me as the very kind of rhetoric Hitler used to eradicate Jews and other so-called “undesirables” from German society.  When I was a kid I wondered how someone like Hitler even came to power.  Didn't the people see what a monster he would become.  And then I look at somebody like Trump and think, "Oh, it's very subtle."  Not that Trump himself is subtle (and nor was Hitler), but that people want to find someone to blame for their troubles (the Jews, the blacks, the Muslims, the Mexicans, etc.) and when a leader riles those people up, watch out!

Now I'm not saying Trump is in the same league as Hitler; I'm just saying I think he's dangerous.  I think he preys upon and exploits people's fears, and maybe that's my problems with a lot of the candidates in the Republican race for president (or maybe with the Republican party, in general): I think fear is a great motivator they use: fear of the next terrorist attack, fear that if we don't go to war our enemies will be out of control, fear that gay marriage will lead to the downfall of society, fear that Obama's trying to steal all your guns, fear that you need those guns because somebody is going to attack you, fear that your religious beliefs are being trampled, fear that the immigrants are stealing your jobs and invading your country, etc.  And I'm not implying that those fears aren't always legitimate.  Yeah, our enemies do attack and will continue to attack us; yeah, having a gun might protect you; yeah, some immigrants are a burden to the country, etc., but I feel things get so generalized at times - ALL your 2nd Amendment rights are being taken away; ALL immigrants are bad; ALL socialist programs are bad - and I don't think that's true.

I also find some of these Republican leaders so hypocritical (and, believe you me, I'm not saying Democratic leaders aren't hypocrites as well (I think Hillary can be a hypocrite on certain issues, for example).  I mean, you're pro-life when it comes to abortions, but you won't lift a finger when it comes to all these gun deaths.  So those lives don't matter?  Those kids that were killed in Newtown, Connecticut aren't worth at least trying to do something to change the gun culture in this country?  You don't think the government should be involved in marriage when two people of the same sex want to get married but the government can totally be in your business when it comes to a woman's reproductive rights?  You worry about your religious rights being trampled if your a Christian, but maybe it doesn't apply so much if your a Muslim or an atheist?  If Bill Clinton's having a sexual peccadillo with Monica Lewinsky, he's not fit for office while, you, Newt Gingrich, are having an affair yourself while his impeachment hearing is going on, and you somehow hold some moral high ground as Speaker of the House?  You blame Democrats for overspending yet you didn't mind so much spending billions on a war that was built on misinformation, right?  You say we should concentrate more on mental health issues than gun control when it comes to active shooters, but you won't support a health care system that might better help those people be able to afford good health care.  In fact, you continually try to repeal the Affordable Care Act instead of trying to improve it or, heaven forbid, even come up with better alternative.  I just find it all so frustrating.

As for Donald, who is perhaps an anomaly in the party in which he is choosing to run (but still espouses beliefs and tactics that many in the Republican party feed on), I find him to be extremely arrogant, rude, sexist, racist, his diplomatic relations are abominable, and so far has not offered any feasible or specific policy plans.  He keeps talking about “making America great again,” but I think his behavior and rhetoric is drawing out the kind of element that makes America look terrible and, ultimately, will make America terrible.  I thought George W. Bush was an awful president, but Donald Trump would beat him in that contest.  Even Dick Cheney came out against him, and when Dick Cheney is the voice of reason, you know there is seriously something wrong with Donald Trump.

And now he has the endorsement of that crazy loon, Sarah Palin, who, I'm sorry, is dumb as a rock.  I watched her stump speech for him and was both dumbfounded and physically ill.  I kept saying out loud, "I can't.  I. Can't."  These two buffoons together is beyond my comprehension.  And the fact that people are falling all over themselves to support these two is incomprehensible to me.  That woman can't even put together a coherent sentence.  She talked about "squirmishes," and I yelled, "It's skirmish, you idiot!" but maybe "squirmish" was appropriate because "squirm-ish" was exactly how I was feeling listening to her ramblings while Trump nodded and smiled.

Republican party leaders and candidates are falling all over themselves trying to figure out what to do because none of them want Trump to be the nominee because they don’t think he can win against Hillary Clinton, the presumed eventual Democratic nominee (although Bernie Sanders, who I quite like, looks like he may just give her a run for her money).  I kind of hope Trump doesn't get the nomination and runs as a third party candidate because that would be disastrous for the Republicans because he would surely split the vote. 

Frankly, I still don’t think Trump will win the nomination nor do I think he can win, but I also I didn’t ever expect him to get this far, which frankly, has been disconcerting. 

I think I get what people see in Trump (or Ben Carson or Bernie Sanders on the other side and Ted Cruz, to a point).  People like that these people aren’t afraid to speak their mind and that they’re unfiltered and, especially in Trump’s case, don’t spout a bunch of talking points, but just speak their mind.  But Trump is unbelievable to me.  I really think, “Is there anything this guy can do that will turn his base off?”  I’m beginning to believe not.  People are sick of the establishment and like that Trump says exactly what’s on his mind (and what’s probably on their minds) and, political correctness be damned, he’s going to say it.  I find him repugnant.  I truly hope he’s just playing a huge joke on the American people, but if this man somehow becomes president, we are in trouble.

A friend of mine, a friend a like; a woman who’s very religious, wrote recently on her Facebook page in response to some racist propaganda she received, “This is why we can't allow the refugees in. This scares me! It's hard enough to trust people now as it is but if this is what we're facing then we're in big trouble!” and posted a meme that said, “One nation under God, not Allah.  Share if you agree,” and I was stunned.  I thought, “Does she really believe that the majority of those Syrian refugees she referred to are just poor civilians trying to escape their war-torn homeland or that the Allah those Muslims pray to is not as dear to them as the Christian-based God she prays to (or that they’re not one and the same God)?”  And I thought, “This kind of rhetoric is exactly what people like Trump are inciting in people.”  I found it ironic that this same friend also quoted Martin Luther King: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

Another friend, one I like less and respect less than the aforementioned friend, put a meme on her Facebook wall that said, “If a shooting by a weirdo with a bad haircut is cause for banning Confederate flags, removing statues of Confederate soldiers and erasing southern history then the shooting by Muslims in San Bernardino is cause for banning the hijab, Muslim symbols and all mosques on American soil, right?  Fair is fair.”  And I know there are people, perhaps even people reading this right now, that agree with these sentiments.  Lots of people all over America agree with these sentiments.  I can’t imagine people like Trump would have the groundswell of support they do without such people with such sentiments. 

Did you see the silent Muslim woman protester kicked out of a Trump rally?  It wasn’t the getting kicked out part that bothered me so much, but the hate and anger that was spewing from the mouths of some of Trump’s supporters.  It is vile to me.

I’ve watched all the debates this election cycle, both Republican and Democratic.  I have to say that the cordiality Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have shown one another, even when they disagree on policy points is such a stark contrasr to the name-calling I see from someone like Trump.  It just shows a real lack of maturity to me.

Now on the Democrat side, I’ve always liked Hillary Clinton, but I’d be a fool if I didn’t say that she can be very disingenuous, sometimes dishonest, and certainly will say whatever she needs to to get elected.  She can be a hypocrite on certain issues.  I think she’s overly-ambitious.  Still, I agree with many of the policies she supports and I’d certainly vote for her over any of the Republican candidates simply because she would take the country at least in a similar direction as Obama (and, as I stated at the beginning of this post, I’ve been quite content under his leadership).

Martin O’Malley.  Poor guy, trying to remain relevant but getting lost beneath all the Sanders/Clinton media hype.  I like him.  I think he’d do a decent job, but he’s not going to win the nomination.

I quite like Bernie Sanders.  I like his ideas and philosophies overall, although I don’t agree with him on everything, and I do wonder how we really will pay for all the big dreams he has for this country.  I also think, regardless of his current popularity, that it will be hard for a self-avowed Democratic Socialist to get elected, and if the Republicans in Congress who have fought against Obama thought he was bad, I can’t imagine what they will think of Sanders.  If Congress is controlled by Republicans, good luck getting any of those policy ideas turned into laws, Bernie.  Those Republicans will fight you tooth and nail.  Still, I admire his convictions and how consistent he’s been throughout his political career.

No matter who the eventual nominees are for President on both the Republican and Democratic tickets, it is already clear at this point that I will be voting for the Democratic nominee, whomever it ends up being. 

It's certainly turning out to be an interesting race to the White House.  Time will tell.  I just hope it's a result I like.