A bunch of old, white men are determining the course of our nation

You'll be pleased to know that Trump and the Republican leadership met at Camp David this weekend to set their 2018 legislative agenda, and once again, the GOP made sure that a diversity of voices were heard.

Nine old, white, male Republican leaders, including Trump and Pence, were joined by Paul Ryan, who is also male and white but only middle aged.

He's only 47 years old.  

Republican diversity at work, my friends. And they were once again dumb enough to emphasize this point by posing behind Trump at the conclusion of the weekend. 

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This is not the Jesus you learned about in Sunday School

The odd thing about the America that so many Republicans (including the alt-right) desire is that it would absolutely reject Jesus if he were still alive today.  

After all, Jesus was Jewish.

He was very much a socialist.

He was homeless. A refugee.  

He was anti-death penalty. Anti-school prayer (Matthew 6:5). Anti-violence.

He strongly opposed the accumulation of wealth. 

He never said a word about homosexuality or gay marriage. 

And as much as the church might have you think otherwise, Jesus was not white. He was a brown-skinned Middle Easterner who wore sandals to the dinner table and hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. 

Also, unlike our Vice President, he was able to dine alone with a woman who was not his wife.

There is no room for Jesus in the American that Republicans like Mike Pence envision. Brown skinned, Middle Eastern refugees have already been banned from our country. His anti-capitalistic rhetoric would be shouted down by Republicans. It would be difficult, if not impossible for him to attend a Trump rally without being verbally, if not physically, assaulted (and have Trump offer to pay the legal fees of anyone who hit him)..

There is no place in conservative, Evangelical, Trumpian America for Jesus, despite the fact that they invoke his name constantly. 

I keep waiting for the smiting.   

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Republicans don't read The Bible

Last month, the Republican Congress sought to repeal ObamaCare, slash Medicaid, and strip more than 35 million Americans of their vital healthcare.

They came one vote away from achieving that goal.   

This week they are at it again. A new, even more draconian bill is being considered in the Senate that would once again strip healthcare from millions of Americans, slash Medicaid, and eliminate pre-existing condition protections. 

What they never say is that the repeal of ObamaCare would also trigger a massive tax cut for the wealthiest of Americans. 

The Republican Congress is also attempting to pass tax reform, which they claim will simplify the tax code and give all Americans a tax cut. While this may be true, they fail to mention is that the vast majority of proposed tax cuts are for the wealthiest Americans. This effectively turns their tax cut (and the possible repeal of ObamaCare) into a massive transfer of public assets from the neediest Americans to the wealthiest Americans. 

Call me crazy, but taking healthcare away from children, the disabled, the poor, and other needy Americans while putting money back into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy strikes me as especially evil. In fact, it's exactly the kind of thing that Jesus explicitly advised against.

Read the first four books of the New Testament (or 1 Timothy), and the message is clear:

If you're wealthy, you'd better be using your good fortune to help the needy. 

Remember this often quoted bit of Scripture?

“Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

This comes from Matthew 19, where Jesus tells a wealthy man to sell his possessions and give to the poor if he wants to gain access to heaven.

Jesus really couldn't have been clearer on the issue. If you're wealthy, you'd best be helping the poor. 

I don't happen to be religious. I'm a reluctant atheist who wishes he believed, but in my search for faith (and because I was an English major in college) I have read The Bible cover to cover three times, and I'm absolutely certain on Jesus's views on these matter.

It's indisputable.

As a result, I can't help but seriously doubt that most Republican lawmakers have actually read the Bible. Members of the GOP are constantly citing their faith in God and appealing to groups like Evangelical Christians for support, yet their deepest, most consistent desire is to transfer wealth away from poor, working, and middle class Americans to the wealthiest Americans.

I know that Jesus preached nonviolence, but I honestly think he would punch some of these Republicans in the face for wrapping themselves in the cloak of Christianity while knowing nothing about one of it's most important tenets. 

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Republican men decide that women can't wear sleeveless dresses because they are apparently afraid of lady shoulders

In an apparent effort to establish "appropriate business attire," House of Representatives under Speaker Paul Ryan is enforcing a dress code in the Speaker's Lobby—a space adjacent to the front of the House chamber—that bans women from showing their shoulders.

Several female reporters have already been kicked out of the lobby for wearing sleeveless dresses.  

Yesterday Republican Congressperson Martha McSally, a former fighter pilot and the first woman in American history to fly into combat, ended her speech in the well of Congress by saying, “Before I yield back, I want to point out, I’m standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes. With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.” 

Some (mostly stupid white men) complained that with all the problems facing America today, dress codes should not be a priority.

But here is the thing:

Paul Ryan and his male dominated Republican caucus have decided to enforce this arbitrary dress code. Republicans like Ryan have also demonstrated an obsession with policing women's bodies, and this policing is highly relevant to many of their GOP positions. These are positions that impact economic policy, healthcare, civil rights, and the criminal justice system.

When a man in power has creepy ideas about what women should be wearing and the freedoms they should be permitted to enjoy, it has far reaching consequences. 

Yes, it's a dress code, but it represents a whole lot more, and in the battle for women to have control of their bodies and their destinies, not one inch should ever be surrendered. 

Incompetent, racist, or both?

I just don't get it. 

Last summer, it was Paul Ryan taking a selfie with a sea of white Republican interns.

Last November it was Mike Pence taking a selfie with a sea of white Republican Senators and Congresspeople.

Last week it was Donald Trump announcing the passing of House's healthcare bill in the Rose Garden with a seas of white, almost exclusively male Congressmen standing behind him. 

Then there was this:

The new header on Donald Trump's Twitter feed, which featured a sea of white faces standing behind him (and the most oddly placed, overly defensive message in the history of Twitter embedded within).

This header was so viciously mocked on Twitter that it came down hours after being posted. 

Now Republican Senators have begun drafting their version of the healthcare bill. The Republican's working group:

13 white men. No women. No person of color.

One of two things is happening:

  1. The Republican leadership is completely blind to the optics of these photos and are clueless when it comes to the image they are presenting. 
  2. These photos are serving as dog whistles to those conservative voters who don't want their President to be black ever again.

So incompetent or racist. Or possibly both. 

A bunch of white men apparently too stupid to realize that they are all white men.

Earlier in the week, I wrote about my belief that the country would be in better hands if more women were in charge.

Perfect example:

This is the photograph of the yesterday's healthcare negotiations between Mike Pence and the Freedom Caucus, where attempts were made to negotiate away birth control, maternity care, abortion from the bill. 

Two dozen white men - apparently too stupid to realize that there were only white men in the room - determining how women's healthcare will be administered in the future. 

Their attempts to deny women of this basic healthcare coverage is horrendous.

Their obliviousness over the lack of women or anyone of color in these negotiations is equally appalling. And this was the photograph that the White House chose to release to the public.

Astounding. 

This is hardly the first time that Republicans (including Pence and Ryan) were this stupid.