Posts in Susan’s Musings

Dear Senator (Lindsey) Graham

August 16th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 52 comments

Dear Senator Graham,

I’m going to get right to the point. Do you remember how during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings the veil over your eyes lifted and you realized that some of your esteemed colleagues on the Democrat side of the fence were willing to use vile and underhanded methods to achieve their goal? Keeping another Trump nominee from getting on the Supreme Court was so crucial that they trampled honesty, integrity and the Constitution.

Many in the media and many in Congress have spent every day since President Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton doing whatever they could to get him out of office. Millions of dollars have been wasted , government institutions have been badly damaged, flagons of ink have been spilled and venomous and vicious words have been hurled like grenades  trying to undo the last election. I’m not positive you and some of your long-time colleagues understand that you are as hated as the President. So are those of us  who voted for him. Some of you may wake up every day saying, “If only we had a more diplomatic president with more gravitas, this extreme hatred of conservatives and Republicans wouldn’t exist.” Please, please channel back to the Kavanaugh hearings and realize those views are mistaken.

Like you, I am appalled by wanton violence in our society and grieve at lives lost and families traumatized. However, I do not for one minute think that concern for Americans is motivating the push for more gun control measures by your esteemed colleagues on the Left. As Rahm Emmanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”  And they see an opportunity now to win the next election despite a field of candidates with unpopular and impractical ideas.

They remember as I do, that President George H.W. Bush lost his  second term in 1992 because, at the seductive urging of Democrats,  he betrayed those of us who elected him after he promised them, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” If they can get President Trump to betray his base, they hope that betrayal will also cost him a second term and lead them back into power, as well it might.

Can we do something to actually restore a culture of life and mutual respect to our society? I hope so. I even have some ideas. Part of the package might indeed have to include stronger background checks and red flag laws, albeit with full recognition of the potential dangers of such steps. However, if those are the only steps taken, then my dear Senator Graham, you will have been played. If any legislation addressing this issue does not cause as much political pain to Democrats as it does to Republicans, then this is not about making a more peaceful America. It is about undoing the last election.

All the best,

Susan Lapin

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Nothing Positive on the Horizon

August 8th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 31 comments

If you watched the recent  Democrat debates, you could be forgiven for thinking that the United States of America is beset by an evil and malevolent force, the National Rifle Association. Candidate after candidate spoke of the NRA as a dark and sinister organization responsible for violence and death. 

In the week after the debates, two tragic mass shootings, not to mention other “regular” gun deaths, spotlighted these remarks. As I write these words, my membership renewal notice from the NRA is on my desk.

I’d like to explain why I intend extending my membership. Of course, there is no amorphous blob “THE NRA.” It is a membership organization that represents millions of Americans. We are hunters and non-hunters, old and young, male and female, and made up of individuals belonging to many religions, colors, ethnicities and backgrounds. 

Here’s the salient point: Leftist media and the Democrat candidates on those stages present a picture of  a spectrum with kind, loving people who intelligently support gun control on one end. In this mistaken view, the opposing side must be made up of cruel, hateful and stupid people who support the NRA.  (Alternatively, and since casting millions of Americans as Deplorable didn’t seem to work so well last election cycle, they present the NRA as if it has a life of its own, rather like Athena who sprouted full-grown from Zeus’ head.) 

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Guest Musing: Could Refraining from a Physical Relationship Cause Harm?

August 1st, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 37 comments

I was sorry to read about Josh Harris’ impending divorce and his move away from Christianity. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, in 1997, as a young man, Josh wrote an influential book about courtship called I Kissed Dating Goodbye. He then served as a pastor for many years. Every divorce is sad (even when necessary) and when children are involved this is even more so. Similarly, it is disturbing to hear about anyone moving away from a relationship with a faith that has so much to offer.

I thought that there was a great deal of insight in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, though over the years I have heard pushback against it. Josh Harris even repudiated his own writing. As I see it, people can twist any idea, taking it to an extreme or misusing it. That doesn’t necessarily make the original idea valueless.

My husband and I were proud, a few years back, to publish a book by Jerusalem-based relationship expert, Gila Manolson. Her book explored the physiological and psychological effects of touch and why and how prematurely introducing touch into a relationship can be a mistake. I asked Gila to comment on the response of those who married before sleeping together or possibly even kissing (most unusual in our day) and then, when their marriages did not work out as planned, claimed that they would have done better had they, indeed, shared a physical relationship before their wedding night. What follows is her response.

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Back to you, Mr. President

July 24th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 93 comments

As the massive Republican presidential candidate field narrowed down in 2016, I wrote quite a few Musings sharing my thought processes. Donald Trump was not a natural choice for me, though by the time election night came I was fully on board. This time around, only a few avid never-Trumpers are even thinking of a Republican primary challenger and some of those are openly declaring  that they would prefer a Democrat to our current President. I think they are grossly mistaken and astonishingly self-destructive, but they aren’t interested in listening to me. However, some of you might be.

I spent a lot of time during my most active mothering years trying to convey the power of speech to my children. One daughter had a hard time understanding that if she lashed out at a sibling with cruel words, by the next day she might have forgotten her hurtful outburst , but her sibling hadn’t. Other children found my recommendation that when something went wrong they should say, “Dearie, me!” laughable (o.k., it was laughable) but they knew that I had better not hear them saying anything stronger. Name-calling, gossip and crude language was absolutely frowned upon in our house.

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This Women-for-Trump Group Isn’t for Me

July 18th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 45 comments

For years, mainstream media has pretended that women make up a monolithic, liberal group. A number of years back, one could expect most articles concerning women to include a quote from a NOW (National Organization for Women) spokeswoman despite the fact that it represented its members only, not the totality of women. Conservative women’s groups, no matter how large, were routinely ignored. Today there is still a pretense that abortion rights are a united liberal “woman’s issue” even though the majority of women are not in favor of the radical abortion policies the Left is increasingly espousing.

Portraying President Trump as an enemy of women is part of this media lie. As a female supporter of the president, I would like to add my voice to those women brave enough to make their stand public, despite the bullying that often follows. I eagerly clicked on this article: Women for Trump -There’s No Conceding the ‘Women’s Vote’ to Liberals in 2020.

Unfortunately, I can’t march in this particular parade. As one of their “selling points,” this group mentions President Trump’s support for paid family leave. While it doesn’t diminish my support for the president’s other policies, one of my biggest concerns is how to make sure that the president and members of Congress know how many women think this legislation would be a terrible idea. I certainly do.

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Memories and Unanswered Questions

July 11th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 32 comments

This has been an unsettling week for me. A number of years ago, my mother’s sister passed away, the last of the five siblings. This month, her children sold my aunt’s house and one of my cousins had the unenviable job of cleaning it out. In the garage she found a few boxes that had been moved there from our grandparents’ apartment over forty years ago when my grandmother died. It became a running joke that each summer my mother, her sister and sisters-in-law would say they were going to sort through things, and as each summer ended, the boxes remained untouched.

Untouched they are no longer. My cousin sent some of the contents to me including postcards exchanged when my grandparents were courting, photos that span decades and a meticulously kept address book.

All these things have thrown me for a loop. I was very close to my grandparents; to this day I can instantaneously recall their phone number. My grandmother died shortly after I graduated college and my grandfather a few years later, so they were an important and loving presence through my growing up years. Now, decades later, I am seeing them in ways I never did before.

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Listening with Someone Else’s Ears

July 4th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 40 comments

Do you have words that serve as a form of shorthand when used among your family and friends? Yet, heard by those not in-the-know, those words are easily misinterpreted.

As fans of Arthur Ransome’s charming book, Swallows and Amazons, our family adopted a sentence that appears early in the story. On summer holiday in the early days of the 20th century, Mrs. Walker is unsure whether to let her four children head out on a boating/camping trip in the nearby lakes. She sends a letter asking her deployed husband’s advice. The Royal Navy officer responds, “BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON’T DROWN.”

Never for an instant did we or our children think that the father didn’t care if his children drowned. He was conveying his confidence that they were capable and responsible. However, when our thirteen-year-old boat-owning son invited a young friend to accompany him on an overnight sailing trip on Lake Washington, my husband’s use of that sentence almost sabotaged the trip. When the friend’s father came over to discuss our son’s skills and the seaworthiness of his boat, my husband blithely said, “Better drowned than duffers; if not duffers won’t drown.” Having no inkling that this was a meaningful quote rather than a callous dismissal, the father retorted rather strongly that he did actually care if his son drowned. (The boys did go and had a wonderful—and safe—time.)

I thought of this story after reading an opinion piece by a college teacher that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Crispin Sartwell raised an interesting idea, that the inability to hear an opposing point of view and the demonization of anyone whose opinions don’t mirror one’s own is a result of the self-esteem movement. It is an idea worth discussing, but that isn’t the part of his article on which I want to focus.

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Information is Optional

June 26th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 43 comments

The air in Brooklyn, New York, is rarely fresh and invigorating. Between the exhaust from vehicles and often-muggy weather, it is frequently malodorous. Nevertheless, when my friend Sharon and I stepped onto the local college campus, a slightly sweet and sickening odor that we had never previously met assaulted us.

We were high school seniors taking part in a program allowing us to attend classes at a local college. We quickly discovered that the smell of marijuana was as ubiquitous as blue jeans. We just as quickly discovered that we had been leading a blessedly sheltered life at our Jewish school.

Fast forward a few decades and the legalization of marijuana is spreading across the country. Many of the Democrats vying to be president include federal legalization as part of their platform. They cite data showing that states that have legalized marijuana have seen a reduced rate of deaths from opioid addiction.

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Dads and Diapers Don’t Mix

June 20th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 42 comments

‘Dads and Diapers Don’t Mix,’ sounds like a terrible rallying cry. One can hardly imagine anyone willing to wear a T-shirt with that mantra. Nonetheless, I’m going to give a shot at explaining why I think it might be a necessary one.

Like many slogans, the sentiment expressed is meant to be attention-getting rather than being a complete and erudite explanation of an issue. For the record, I think it perfectly fine for fathers to change their babies’ diapers. What I oppose is the thinking that often goes along with publicly promoting the idea that dads should be more involved in their infants’ lives.

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Take My Advice?

June 13th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 22 comments

Let me go out on a limb and suggest that you not run your life based on the experiences of, or advice given by, Bill Callahan, Paul Dolan or Ann Landers. Like some of you, the only one of the three whose name was familiar to me before today was advice columnist Ann Landers (actual name Eppie Lederer). She, along with her twin sister of Dear Abby  fame, had an outsized influence on Americans in the second half of the twentieth century.

However, recently two reviews crossed my desk. The first was of musician Bill Callahan’s latest album where I was intrigued by the discussion of the evolution of his music. According to reviewer, Mark Richardson, Mr. Callahan’s earlier 15 albums share a theme of alienation. Mr. Richardson shares one of the musician’s quotes from an interview in 2009. “I’m not afraid to die lately. I don’t have any kids to look after. I don’t hold any great worth for humanity.”

While neither Mr. Callahan nor I believe that the only way to have worth to humanity is to have children, his current music is different. His latest work, produced after he bought a home, married and had a child, reveals his feelings on being needed.

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