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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Dumbing Down of America

Frontline (on PBS) has been doing a series on the news that has been terribly fascinating.  Last night they presented several disturbing facts about our society.  Since the advent of the television program "60 Minutes", the networks have discovered that it is possible to make news profitable.  Until that program aired, each network was responsible for presenting the news as required by their contracts to use the airwaves to the benefit of the public.  But when news could be entertaining, it could be profitable.  And ever since that time, news has taken a nose dive in content and quality.

80 to 90 percent of the real news reported in all venues (from the internet to television) is a retelling of news gathered by the news papers. Yet newspapers in every city are on the verge of financial bankruptcy (I don't know about this particular point...).  The point is that if there is real news being reported by real reporters, it is coming from the newspapers.  Yet the younger generation is retreating from reported news in droves, turning to blogs and other internet sources who report with well known bias.  Again, these sources are selling entertainment to turn a profit.

The most popular news program is not a news program at all.  It is the "Daily Show" with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, a cable television program.  A test given to measure political awareness given to a group of young people underscored this fact.  Those scoring the highest on the test claimed their only news source was this particular program.  I admit that I watch and enjoy Jon Stewart.  But this is entertainment!

The other most popular "news" programs by far are not those that do commentary and not news.  Shows like The Oreilly Factor tend to pull the most viewers.  These feature commentators who present their opinion on the news and not the news itself.  Stories are presented from either the left or right wing perspective. They are spiteful, mean, and flagrantly paint a biased opinion to inflame their viewers to anger towards an imaginary opposition.

The bottom line in the presentation was that news, for the most part, is very hard to find these days. The American appetite is not for news.  The public does not want to think and decide for themselves to form an opinion on unbiased reporting. They will not read. They prefer to have it served to them coated with their right or left wing slant.  The current news is divisive, empty of content, and only serves to dumb down its consumers.

What a tragedy that our country, once the bastion for freedom of the press, has abandoned fair and unbiased reporting in favor of entertainment.  No wonder we are turning into a bunch of heathens.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Unsent Lament

Yes, I knew that this time might come.  I knew that someday you would open your arms and invite me in, or that you would learn more of my past and exclude me from your life.


You have felt abandoned as you have grown up into a beautiful young woman.  Now that you have a child you wondered why I left your mother so many years ago.  And after reading my life story, you decided to end our relationship.  It breaks my heart.  It crushes the breath from my lungs.  It dries my tears with a hot desert wind so that I can cry no more.


My little girl….. I  know that your mother has never said anything bad about me.  But there have been many things unsaid.  In your world, there could be no discussion of people like me.  For it is a sin unto God.  Not only were you missing your father, you were left with an empty explanation as to why he was not with you as you grew up. The discussion never took place.  It could never take place.  I fault no one for this. It was inevitable.


You need not make a logical argument, to discover the facts and assemble them into a reason as an explanation to me.  All you need do is quote directly from the text I wrote which you have read: "Over the next ten years, I would learn to betray every person that I ever loved. I would lie to them. I would steal their confidence. I would steal pieces of their precious lives. I would lead them on.  I, singularly, would be the source of anguish, embarrassment, and desperation for a full generation of my family."  Of course, the generation I speak of includes my parents, my children, and now, their children.


Yes, I have had happy times in my life.  I value this as a blessing.  Unfortunately, much of my happiness has been at your expense and the family you love and cherish.  They have loved me and I them.  This I can not deny.  I can assure you that I am quite miserable now.  Your revelation has consumed me.


Please know that I never abandoned you.  Yes, there has been a great physical distance that has separated us.  This was a necessary thing for my survival many years ago.  This has not, however diminished my longing to know you, to hold you, to have an open discussion, and to love you openly as my daughter. I had many financial difficulties over the years, but your support and well being were always at the top of my priority list.  There were many times when that priority was difficult to manage.  It was my choice… eat or support you and your brother.  I tell you this not so that you may feel guilty but so that you may know that I did not abandon you. 


No, you will not receive this letter today, tomorrow, or even next year.  You may never read this letter.  I have decided that to send it may only give rise to more conflict… that what I have written will transmit a different message when you read it.  I would hope that someday you will read it. 


I love you, my daughter, with every fiber of my being.  I will always love you.  Nothing can or will ever change that.  I will always be here for you, I will welcome you with open arms should you ever change your mind.


With great sadness,



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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

To Her Parents

There is much in this world and this life that we can't understand.  We have our science, our religious faith, and our cherished traditions to help us cope with the problems that come our way.  Yet, sometimes these things are not enough to help us understand, comprehend, believe, and forgive when the most unexpected appears on our front door step.

Let's suppose that you have been told that your child has an incurable cancer, defective kidneys, or any congenital defect.  You might be told that your child is accused of being a predator of children, a rapist, or a serial killer.  Be honest with yourself; think.  How would you react to each of these situations?

Would the compassion and love you have for your child be devoured by any of these revelations?  Would you attend to your child in the hospital as she receives needed blood transfusions?  Would you visit your child in jail while she awaits trial?  Or would the cherished love you have developed over decades be discarded as you leave your child to face these challenges on her own?

In Old Testament times, the children of God feared leprosy.  In fact, they actively shunned those who contracted this ugly disease:

Numbers 5:2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead.

They had good cause to be fearful of leprosy, for it was truly a disabling and disfiguring disease. For this reason, they were put out of the camp, shut off, and left to fend for themselves in poverty. It was thought that this condition was brought on by sin and unrighteousness.  Yet, Jesus was unafraid of the lepers.  He faced them many times and brought them unto him for his blessings.  We now know that leprosy is a disease and not castigation from God.  Our knowledge has let us see through the ignorance of past generations to see that it is a disease of the flesh and not one of the spirit or soul.  We know with assurance it is not something born of sin.

Christ's compassion went beyond those things that men did not understand.  He loved all men and women.  In fact, he once told that love of God and of fellow men were the greatest of the commandments.  In Mathew, Chapter 22, he said "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  If we were to do nothing else, the exercise of pure love of God and our fellow man would be the greatest accomplishment in our lives.  All of the laws come secondary to these two great commandments of love.

Your child has told you that she is a transsexual.  Yes, she is a modern day leper of sorts.  It is a condition that is little understood because of its rarity and unwillingness of the scientific community to investigate. Neither is the topic properly addressed in our religious history. It's not because there never were people with what we call gender dysphoria.  There have always individuals with GID.

No, it is not sexually motivated.  The desire to have sex does not relate to how a transsexual views the world and his/her place in it.  In fact, for many transsexuals, sex is not a primary factor in considering their transition. 

So, now… you know that there is something terribly wrong with your child.  It is something you dare not talk about with your friends. It is something you can not address with your church leaders.  You feel betrayed, hurt, and ashamed. 

Pretend you are the leper for a moment.


Could you be the leper? Could you suffer the ridicule, the emotional stress, the longing of having lost your family?  Could you stand up and proclaim; "I AM A LEPER!"?  Could you learn to deal with it, even though all of society believes leprosy is caused by sin?

Now, step back into your own shoes.  Did you love your child before this revelation? Do you still love your child?  Has your child physically harmed anyone? Is your child suffering? Can you muster the powerful love of your faith… or just that of a parent to overcome any personal differences you may have? 

Can you just tell your child "I love you?"

When posed with such difficult life decisions, I always think to myself:  "What would Christ do?"  Now, I'm not a Christian.  But I admire the man from Nazareth.  He had great wisdom to express his wisdom of love, charity, and grace facing the structured law of Judaism.  Did he win?  He is remembered, so I'd have to say that he did.  I also firmly believe that his message of love is the most powerful binding force that can solve so many of the problems we face today.

Christ's ultimate message was that of love.  I'm hoping that you can manage to overcome the minor hurdles that separate you from your child.  Love is ultimately more important.  You may not understand. You may not agree.  But, you can love.

Cindi Jones

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Friday, February 02, 2007

So, you have found me here

I've finally been able to get my site up and running where I'll be hosting my "official" blog. I'll continue to post here, but my primary focus will be in keeping my own site in tip top shape. If you're interested in following my blog, please consider bookmarking the following URL:

Please let me know how you like it.