Self Segregation

Someone is always trying to make us get along with other people. I would love it, just once, to say, "Mind your own business; I'll be the one to choose who I hang with, who I get along with, and whose friendship I will cultivate." I am a self-proclaimed Christian, a follower of Jesus himself, and yet some of you might think me a hypocrite for picking my own friends. (Show me the scripture where Jesus said I have to like everyone and I'll shut up.)

I saw this meme the other day and couldn't help but think,

"There goes another example of cancel culture; being not only a white person but being a white couple."

I see white-black couples every day at work; I see black-black couples, too, along with the white-white ones, and I wonder (to myself, of course) what did their families say to these mixed race couples,

"You know, don't you, that by marrying him/her your offspring
will be a lighter/darker version of yourself?"

Am I the only one who appreciates the color differences and would hate to see us all eventually be one blended version of lighter/darker?

I was a teenager when I first realized that people from different countries not only looked different but behaved differently in their homes, in and around their families, their parents, their children.  The languages of the different homelands were naturally different but so were the foods they ate, the seasonings they used with those foods, and, of course, their homes smelled different because of those foods and seasonings.   At first I was uncomfortable at how different my best friend's home smelled than my own.  But then I began to notice that my grandparent's home always smelled of Gramma T's "chop suey," her husband's favorite dish.

I was fortunate enough to live in a culturally diverse neighborhood from the time I was a pre-teen - in the late 50's - until I left home in the early 60's.  But the blending of the races came later, much later, once I moved to the East coast.  It was rare to see mixed race couples when I was young.

We did, for the most part, self-segregate and didn't think there was anything wrong with that.  We tended to "hang out" with people who were like us, had similar cultures, and, of course, similar languages.  We're still self-segregating today and I don't see anything wrong with it even now.

But the truth is that we are more comfortable when we're around people who look like us.  We self-segregate for a variety of reasons, but appearance is the usual reason.  The cultural differences (the way we were raised) may add a layer to our motivation to self-segregate but that's a more subtle difference until we are forced to engage in rituals, like singing at church, or when we're joining in at a political gathering.

Women tend to self-segregate and gravitate toward other women; men will do the same the thing - unless, of course, their motivation is purely sexual in nature.

Dr. Martin Luther King didn't look anything like me, nor did we share any common experiences, but we could have become friends for one reason:  We understood the necessity, and the value, of looking beyond appearance, beyond cultural differences, and were willing to put in the effort to overcome objections.

Dr. King was fearless in his efforts; that's not to say he wasn't afraid, but his mission was more important to him than his fear.

Dr. King was, in effect, in a class by himself, a class of human beings who lived by a different code, a different set of standards than most of us.  I don't know anything about his life, what his daily routines were, but I would be willing to bet that he struggled with many of the same things that I do - that you do - and yet he persevered in a way that real soldiers do:  One scary step at a time, one dangerous footfall after the other, in the hope of making a difference, of doing what he was put on Earth to do.

I envy Dr. King's courage but most of all I feel fortunate that I have had the opportunity to live during his lifetime and compare my meager efforts to his.

Do you self-segregate? And just who do you gravitate towards?  Or move away from?  It's a human thing we do and fraught with decisions. Day-in-and-day-out we have to choose where we stand and who we stand with, and how much danger we are willing to experience.

Brick and mortar…

Anyone who really knows me will not be surprised when I say that I’m not all that upset by the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2020.  You see, I look at the totality of the event, the Unarmed rioters, the mysterious “Ray Epps” – a probable government informant and instigator – the here-we-go-one-more-time setting up of President Donald Trump and his supporters, and the lack of empathy for the death and destruction of government buildings and government employees over the rest of the U.S. in the last two years. 

As lovely a piece of architecture as those federal buildings are, they are just brick and mortar, an office building as it were, where our “elected” representatives go to work, supposedly to enact (or prohibit enactment) of laws that We the People approve of. 

Mrs. Ashli Babbitt was the real victim of the incident yet there will be no justice for her, will there?  She will forever be remembered as a terrorist, an armed insurrectionist, a murderer, a sympathetic cohort in the vein of the 9/11 Islamic jihadists and the one-time enemy of the United States who sunk the Arizona and its men on December 7, 1941.

The real villains of January 6 will, most likely, get away with their heinous plot to destroy the credibility of those who saw the real promise of a Donald Trump and take us all further down the path toward the tyranny of a dictatorship – the dictator being the “Democrat” Party aka the Communist Party.

Who’s Afraid Of a Little Fascism, Anyway?

Those of us who read the hand-writing on the wall are becoming less concerned about being ‘canceled’ by our friends and family and more rightly worried that our ESG scores will affect our lives in general and specifically where we do business.

And now that we have a REAL “nazi” in the White House the major concern still seems to be focused on the ONE American president in recent history who has obeyed the U.S. Constitution, followed the Laws and warned our enemies to take cover because we weren’t going to take it lying down any longer.

(The dark night of fascism has finally landed in the United States – American Thinker)

Was it “murder”?

Ex-police officer, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty on all counts yesterday in the death of George Floyd last year. Chauvin now awaits the punishment for his crime. I felt all along that Chauvin should have been charged with manslaughter for killing Floyd. Who really knows what was going through the police officer’s mind as he allowed himself to stay in that fever-pitched moment while subduing his captive. I believe Chauvin not only wanted to keep Floyd immobile, but also wanted to punish him for whatever it was that caught Chauvin’s attention in the first place.

How much thought needs to go into an act of “murder”? What’s the time frame in which one can make the decision to commit murder? Now, manslaughter can happen in a heartbeat; but here in America time and thought determine what kind of homicide it will be, either manslaughter or murder.

Then there’s “depraved indifference,” the one that covers both.

Letter to Walmart CEO, C. Douglas McMillan

Mr. McMillan,

I am a long-time customer of WalMart but more importantly I am supporter of America’s free enterprise system and our economic form of Capitalism, and so it was with great disappointment that I learned you were apparently one of the many participants on a call discussing – and, as I understand it, criticizing – the new voter law in the state of Georgia.

Please understand that I do not disagree with your right to hold any personal beliefs on any subject – public or private – but I do disagree with you using your position as a corporate CEO to try and intimidate customers and sway them toward your beliefs.  The implication would then be that WalMart shoppers are viewed as pariahs if some of us don’t agree with your beliefs.  This newly-minted tactic of marketing via “virtue signaling” is not appreciated in the Mueller household. 

I have never been a fan of boycotting a company as a tactic because it goes against my belief in the free enterprise system, and with enough boycotters it ultimately punishes other customers and more importantly the workers who depend on their employment of the company being boycotted.

As an aside, I can also say that I am disappointed that so many Americans – perhaps like yourself – seem to believe that voting should be “easier” – as one young woman told me during the week of November 3, 2020.  Of course I wondered why a privilege so valuable should become easier to engage in.  But isn’t that the view of many Americans? We’re all so accustomed to everything being “easy.”   To suffer the inconvenience of having to devote extra time to visit the local polling place once every two-or-four years – and stand in a line with other citizens, waiting your turn, it just isn’t worth the effort, is it?  Perhaps paying for the right to vote would make it seem more worthwhile. We do –  do we not – value what we have to pay for?  The higher the price means the more special – or valuable – the item.  What is free for us seems to hold little value for us.  But then again, people would try to conflate “buying a ticket” to vote and the old “Jim Crow” laws.   There’s little appreciation nowadays for things of real value or real importance.  What the “Black laws” of the old South did for segregation, the new laziness of the low-value voters have done to a once-democratic republic.  Today we’ll spend $100 or more on a new tattoo, $99 a year for a subscription to Netflix, or $35,000 for a Dodge Ram pick-up truck.  The only limit on our dreams is the limit on our credit cards.   An oversimplification, perhaps, but true none the less.

Pitchforks and torches

I read in the Chronicle Telegram that Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, told *Kirsten Hill to “explain why she planned this trip and what the goal was, if not insurrection.” 

Am I the only one who sees pitchforks and torches in the Anti-Trump Mob?  It saddens me to hear Kirsten Hill’s good name lumped in with the criminals who wreaked such deadly havoc in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.  But sadder still has been the rush to judgement by some of Ohio’s elected officials, along with the Ohio State Board of Education (please note the misused word “Education” in their organization’s title).

For those of you who don’t understand the pitchforks and torches reference, it’s the story of an innocent man being hunted down by ignorant townsfolk.  I knew Kirsten Hill long before she ran for the Ohio State School Board and although I don’t know Ms. Fedor, I can’t help but wonder what her motivation was for putting out such a slanderous statement. 

Oh, wait!  I do know why.  Fedor (and the OEA board) have no worries about condemning Hill – along with other supporters of President Donald Trump because –  could it be that conviction and sentencing is now the norm in the U.S.?  No need for a trial any longer, eh? 

Kirsten supports the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, but no matter.  For the enemies of the president (Trump) that’s not going to stand in their way.  Even an honorable American like Hill has to watch her back now that the OEA and others like Fedor have the reins of unregulated power – not to mention pitchforks and torches.

(*Kirsten is the long-time chairman of the Lorain County OH Totally Engaged Americans.)

How would Dr. King feel about boycotting Amazon?

Speaking of Amazon, I wondered how the company feels about me stopping all purchases. So I went to their web site and dug in looking for the “Who we are” page. I found this page, “Celebrating democracy, justice…” and it contained an interview with Harry E. Johnson, president of the MLK Foundation. Throughout the interview I found all that Dr. King stood for – “democracy, justice, hope, and love…” but there was no mention in the “diversity” talk about diversity of thought and what’s to be done with those people who don’t think like you do.

The contrast between the majority of Americans who probably agree with “democracy, justice, hope, and love” and those Americans who prefer the opposite ideals, (like ANTIFA, or murderers, rapists, pedophiles and thieves) is overlooked in our society. If you are an abuser, murderer, thief or rapist, etc. you’re not as important in the arena of public debate as a “racist.”

We just blithely coast over the criminal element and take on those who are the headliners, the racists. We leave those conversations to the people in law enforcement because we pay them to deal with and make judgements about them. But we feel completely comfortable and justified speaking out about the other – more popular – scourge on our society – the RACIST.

After all, who’s afraid of challenging a RACIST? They’re not as dangerous as a murderer, bank robber, check kiter, child rapist, pedophile, gang members… You get the idea. Celebrating democracy, justice, hope, and love in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (

Amazon chooses shoppers – not the other way around

This is “pick on Amazon day.” How ironic that Amazon would tout its “support” of small businesses (Amazon investing over $5 billion in small business success and stability during difficult time (”

I wonder how many of those businesses are run by supporters of Donald Trump? Has Amazon riffed all those Righties and eliminated them from their Vendor lists? Are people going to have only “correct thinkers” to buy from now?

Amazon investing over $5 billion in small business success and stability during difficult time (

Something Wonderful

Jesus said it many times, “I tell you the truth…” And yet, in spite of the myriad witnesses to the many miracles he performed, there was still doubt about Him. No one doubted he could perform feats of magic, they just doubted he was the son of the Creator, the son of God Himself.

Philosopher, Rene Descartes said, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” Still and all, we human beings do love being tricked and even amazed, but we don’t like to be fooled.

The children and I were visiting my parents in Ohio in September 1981. I looked out onto our street, at the house directly across from ours, the DePadova house. I turned to my mother,

“When did Mr. DePadova die?”

    “He’s not dead.”

    “Well, yes, he is.”

The knowing was there, in my mind. Ollie DePadova had passed away, he was now spirit and he and I were somehow sharing the same plane of existence. I heard no voice, felt nothing physical. Remarkably I didn’t even feel a twinge of fear – or excitement – at his presence.

To shut me up, Mom decided to call our next-door neighbor Carol (who was also a close friend of the family) and, yes, Ollie had passed away yesterday from an apparent heart attack.

That was it; it was and we went on with our day. We never mentioned it again. I had been privileged to experience someone’s life after death but I forgot about it as quickly as it had come to me. It might seem odd that such a remarkable experience left me unmoved and, worse yet, uncurious, but then it happened again.

In one of his many letters, canonized in the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote to the new ‘Christ followers’ in the town of Thessalonica, near Macedonia. Something was obviously happening there because he wrote,“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good…” Were some Thessalonians making a mistake by sharing their unbelievable stories or experiences with others in the new “church” and found themselves disparaged, or worse yet, condemned as heretics?

Paul met Jesus after Jesus’ death and Paul was changed forever that day, on the dusty road to Damascus, Syria. I had experienced Ollie’s spirit after his death and I had not been changed. But remember, I told you it happened again. We were again visiting the folks and to make Mom happy we went to church. A young girl, perhaps eight or nine years old, was walking in just ahead of me and when I looked down at her I suddenly felt sorry for her.

“I’m sorry about your grandmother passing away.”

The child stared up at me as if she had no idea what I was talking about. I felt a tug on my arm. The child’s grandmother overheard me and pulled me aside. It was her mother, the child’s great-grandmother who had died yesterday, in Florida; they just hadn’t told the child yet.

That day I learned that the dead are not bound by space – or distance. Still, no one asked me how I knew she was dead. I had no doubt as to how I knew because great-grandmother was there with me, in her new spirit condition. And, like Ollie, perhaps she wanted to be near the people she loved. That made sense to me.

I had no idea why Ollie and great-grandmother came to me, but it’s important that you know it never happened again. Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as a though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” It was God who had been sharing some wonderful news with me but since I had squandered that news by not sharing it with anyone else there were no more.

I kept the experiences to myself for a long time and it had only come to me slowly that God used someone else’s departed loved ones to let me know that there was truly a place beyond this life, and that great-grandmother and Ollie were now with Him, just as Jesus had promised them.

You might think that events like these two visitations would be uncontainable, that the notion they inspire – that there is a Creator God who still communicates with us – would be irrepressible. You might think that these stories would naturally burst out of me every time I encountered someone who never saw or heard evidence of God, nor believed the fantastic stories in the Bible. But the truth is that these visits were so fleeting, and no one ever questioned how I knew things that I had no way of knowing, and, of course there was no corroboration of my experiences. No one ever had a chance to join me in the immediate and fantastic wonder of it all. Even to this day, words to describe these visits always seemed inadequate.

It was nearly twenty years later when I searched for their families, finally doing what I felt I was supposed to do all those years before. I started each conversation with,

“I have something wonderful to tell you.”

They made it easy for me. And neither was surprised, not Ollie’s son, nor Mrs. Martin. They both just said,
“Thank you for calling.” Now I was changed, having delivered the news that our Creator was still trying to communicate with us, His creations. It has taken me quite a while since those conversations, those revelations, to begin sharing the good news with others.

I still don’t like to think of myself as prophetic or a messenger because that implies that there’s something special about me, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. But now I am different; it’s been a subtle change and the obligation to be different is more a blessing than a burden.

Every time I read the Old Testament stories of God’s interactions with us, his people, I’m reminded that God used all sorts of people to speak to us, and none of them felt qualified to deliver the message. I’m also reminded that they were full of flaws, just like me, and yet most were willing to do as God asked.

Of course, I’m not the first to try running away from a God-job. Remember Jonah, the one who was swallowed by a big fish? God ordered him to go to the town of Nineveh and tell the people to repent, to change their ways. But Jonah turned God down. He “…ran away from the Lord” and onto a ship heading in the opposite direction. That’s where the story gets scary; that’s when a big storm comes up and the crew tossed Jonah overboard because they knew God was angry. For his disobedience Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish. His prayers were finally answered and the “fish” spit him out onto a beach. Jonah had learned his lesson.

Little by little I will keep sharing the story and the message. No doubt there’s a definite responsibility attached to believing the message, but it’s such a wonderful message, one thousands of years old. And, it never changes: “…for God so loved the world…”

Something Sinister This Way Comes…