The Republic Is In A Crisis, Act Like It #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

If we as a nation have reached the point where we’re so divided, so suspicious of anyone who disagrees with us that when I describe to you the cruel and obscene Trump policy tearing families apart on the border you’re first reaction is to rhetorically bob and weave and deflect, then we’re in a crisis.

We’re at a crossroads. The pot is now, at last, finally boiling. If 44% of the electorate so frames political events relative to how they might affect the MAGA agenda and not how them might harm children of all things, then we’re lost as a nation. There is no excuse for bobbing and weaving, for political shadowboxing when the lives of children are at stake. But that seems to be where we are.

It’s chilling. It’s chilling that we’ve finally reached the type of historical turning point that one has only read about in the history books. Either we as a nation take a collective stand at this point and say no more, or it’s over. This is the darkest timeline and the bad guys have won.

The only thing I can propose is learn as much as you can about this issue and scream at the top of your lungs at anyone who will listen and when they shadowbox you, press them on cold hard facts. This is a Trump Administration policy, not a “Democratic law.” This could easily be changed by Trump if you had any empathy for anyone other than himself and his immediate family.

As I’ve written before, we need to get mad and stay mad on this one. We need to be prepared to take some heat. The entire American political system is so fucked up at this point that the MAGA people know on a guttural level that they have a decent expectation that they can, in fact, decide to die on this hill and actually survive. This policy plays well with the MAGA base who are scared of brown people and they see this in terms of an excellent deterrence, not the personal and moral gotterdammerung that people like me see it as.

MAGA people are quite fat and sassy at this point in the game. They’re getting everything they want policy-wise, including this, and they know that for various systemic reasons there’s a reasonable expectation that there won’t be any “Blue Wave” in November. And, really, I would so far as to suggest that if there is any hope of a Blue Wave in November, The Resistance will have to attack MAGA on this draconian border policy like a rabid dog. We have to hone in on the fact that the United States, regardless of its need to have viable borders, is also a nation of compassion.

We have to appeal to people’s basic sense of compassion. MAGA wants to frame the issue on ideological and general geopolitical terms, not simple humanity. They don’t want us to see these immigrants, many of them fleeing horrible violence in their homeland, as human beings. They’re to be seen as a statistic, a “problem” to be dealt with in general terms, the plight of the individual be damned.

America is better than this. I want to believe America is, in fact, different, and when the dark forces that have aligned against the nation from within and abroad finally believe they’ve mortally wounded us, we’ll fight back — and win. But remember, this is not Nazi Germany. Who’s going to overthrow the MAGA regime? The Dutch? The Canadians?

We have only ourselves at this point to save ourselves from ourselves. I want to believe we have it within us to do so. I really do. But things could go either way at this point. They really could.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Get Mad And Stay Mad About Stephen Miller’s Nazi Border Policy #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am not going to be so sanguine as to suggest the Stephen Miller policy on the border in regard to immigrants will, in real terms, do anything to slice the festering boil that is the Trump Administration. The country is too divided and negative polarization on the Right is way, way, way too potent a force for that to happen. I will note, however, that Trump and his fellow would-be Nazis have kind of painted themselves into a corner.

This is because the more you know the fact of what’s going on, the more difficult it is to wave your hand and tell people like me to “enjoy the humming economy” and “get laid.” There’s a real humanitarian and ethical crisis taking place on the border and the question is, are we willing to do something about it in real terms, or is this just another frightening example of how the United States is lurching towards a not-so-quasi authoritarian state.

There is, at least, as small possibility that we’re headed for an enormous confrontation about the future of our nation on a historic scale. Now Trump is extremely fickle and given how easy it is for him to relieve any pressure on his administration by simply revoking the policy this could be a non-issue. And Trump is so completely devoid of shame that he could very easily wake up one morning, watch Morning Joe, and tweet out some bizarre rationale for ending the policy that blames the Democrats with maximum pandering to his base.

And, yet, there is also a chance that this policy plays so well to the base and Trump is so completely devoid of empathy that he’ll dig in for the long haul. He’ll pick this, of all things, as his hill to die on. If that happens, one of two things will happen. Either his typical, “Look! A squirrel!” approach to governance will succeed, or it won’t. If it does work, then the pot is officially boiling and we’re fucked. If it doesn’t, however, Trump is playing with fire. The fact that some religious leaders have begun to speak out about this policy — despite how Trump, personally, is ensuring the Rapture happens sooner rather than later — indicates there is a least a small possibility the Trump Administration, may, for once, get burned.

Unfortunately, it will take time for the burning to happen. We may be in a political siege of sorts as the two sides wage a slow-motion war as we simply hunker down and wait for the 2018 mid-term elections to roll around. I am very doubtful at this point that there will be a “Blue Wave.” I think while the Republicans may take surprising losses, they will maintain both houses of Congress and Trump will not only survive, but prosper. The economy is doing too well and The Resistance, at least right now, too nebulous and lacking leadership for anything of any substance to happen. And, yet, if we get mad and stay mad about this most basic of issues — the right of parents to stay with their children, regardless of the reason, we might have a small chance.

Too many MAGA people have too much invested in its continued success to even give a little ground on humanitarian grounds to the libtards they are so determined to “own.” In my own dealings with MAGA people on this subject, they either deflect or rhetorically bob and weave to such an extent that conversation with them is pointless. There are also some MAGA sympathizers who take a macro approach and say the United States needs better control over its borders and let the chips fall where they may. That neither one of these groups can’t show some compassion on the face of it once you describe to them what’s going on with this policy is pretty frightening.

What’s so disturbing to me is how MAGA people conflate the issue. They talk about how we need to enforce laws and how this happened under Obama and then they walk off and enjoy the humming economy, go to church and raise their kids. But as I mentioned, this isn’t a law, this is a policy enacted at the behest of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s demented mind. It’s a matter of policy, not law that this is happening and if we hone in on this point and use it as a rhetorical bludgeon on anyone who will listen, then maybe, just maybe something of note will happen.

The Big Lie only works so much. If every time a Trump supporter regurgitates a Big Lie talking point you flatly and politely tell them the facts of the matter and point out how devoid of compassion they are on a personal level, there’s a chance eventually they’ll feel the heat enough that Trump may feel obliged to do the right thing for a change and revoke the policy.

But Trump wants his “big beautiful wall” so bad and the base loves this concept as a form of deterrence so much that we’re in for a historic game of political chicken. It all will come down to the mid-terms. That’s it. The fate of the Republic could hinge on flipping Congress and finally putting a check on Trumplandia. I’m very doubtful this will happen, however. I just think there’s too much dark money being throw at the problem by the Right, not to mention the very real possibility of new, improved interference on the part of the Russians.

So, if you love America, if you love that idea of it being a “city on the hill,” our best hope is that you get angry and stay angry about what’s going on at the border. Take a stand. Be willing to lose Facebook friends over it. Hell, be willing to lose REAL friends over it. If Trump wants to play chicken, let’s play chicken. Just be prepared to hit their car if they don’t blink and swerve away.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. he may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Little Hands & The Bear’

This is me trying to explain to a child what happened during the 2016 presidential election. I think I did a pretty good job.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Little Hands & The Bear’
by Shelton Bumgarner

Uncle Shelton and Midnight were fishing at a pond one day when Midnight found a odd bird drinking water. It was made of clay and was very mean to him. He grabbed the clay bird with his mouth and took it to Uncle Shelton.

“What’s this?” Midnight asked.

After a moment of looking at the clay bird, Uncle Shelton patted Midnight on the head and said, “Let me tell you a story…”

One upon a time, the forest creatures held their regular election to see who would be king of the forest. Usually, forest creatures picked between different eagles. Eagles had long been rulers of the forest and kept forest creatures safe and at peace. This time, however, was different.

A nasty, hateful orange troll called Little Hands wanted to control the forest and make all the forest creatures scared of the outside world. He claimed the only way to prevent Man from taking over the forest was to build a big, big wall around it. The forest creatures were not happy with the eagle they had to pick from this time — she was boring — so they were interested.

Little Hands was clever. He talked to the bear, who had long wanted to control the forest because he envied the eagle. Little Hands and the bear came up with a idea. “I have troll magic, let’s make fake birds to tweet and tweet about me to forest animals as they decide who will be the new ruler of the forest,” Little Hands told the bear.

The bear grunted and smiled.

“I know lots of mean things about the eagle that we can tell the fake birds to tweet,” the bear said.

Soon enough, forest creatures large and small didn’t know what to believe. They were scared and confused because of all of the tweets the fake birds were chirping about the eagle. In the end, Little Hands won.

Being mean, he slowly began to turn the forest into a dark and scary place. But the forest creatures were smart and strong and eventually overthrew Little Hands peacefully. How they did it, however, is best left to another story.

“But what happened,” Midnight asked. “How did they over throw the mean troll?

Uncle Shelton sighed deeply and petted Midnight’s head.

“It’s a very funny story, but we need to get back,” Uncle Shelton told Midnight. “It’s time for dinner!”

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Little Hands Meets The Honey Badger’

The point of these tales in general is to try to explain very adult, very timely news events in a manner a child might understand. They’re meant to be about 500 words and something you might read to, say a six-year-old. I’m no expert on the matter so there may be some wiggle room on that matter. This story is meant to explain the inhumane treatment of immigrant families on the border on the part of the Trump Administration.

Uncle Shelton and his pet cat Midnight were walking through the forest when they heard the birds above them tweeting very loudly and quickly. Uncle Shelton, who could understand animals, paused for a moment as he listened to the tweets and looked down out Midnight. He picked his kitty up and gave him a tight snuggle.

“What’s wrong Uncle Shelton?” Midnight said between purrs.

“Let me tell you a story,” Uncle Shelton said softly.

Once upon a time, there lived an evil orange troll named Little Hands who overthrew the eagle as ruler of the forest. He was cruel and mean to everyone who disagreed with him. He kept the eagle in a cage and poked it now and then so he could laugh. His dream was to build a wall around the forest to keep outsiders out. But summer came and animals from outside the forest wanted to drink at a large pond in the middle of it.

Little Hands, being mean, made a rule that animal families who came to the forest without his permission would be torn apart. Mommies and daddies wouldn’t be able to see their children anymore! The animals of the forest grew so angry that they gathered in secret to figure out how to fix the problem.

“I wish the eagle wasn’t in a cage!” said a bear cub.

“Well, we can’t wish. We need results,” said a boar. “We need a honey badger!”

A hush fell upon the gathered animals. Honey badgers were well known in the animal kingdom for having no fear. The animals gathered all the gold they could find and summoned the honey badger. The honey badger came to the kingdom and there was no stopping him. He broke all the little animals free and even freed the eagle! There was much rejoicing on the part of the animals as Little Hands ran away, crying.

Midnight was so excited at the end of the story that he climbed on top of Uncle Shelton’s head!

“I love that story!” he said. “Is it true? Is that what the birds are tweeting about?”

Uncle Shelton paused, took Midnight into his arms and kissed him.

“If only it were so, my little furry friend,” Uncle Shelton said with a tear in his eye. “If only it were so.”

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Naborat Jeebus & The Gennies’

When I was in South Korea teaching English, there was this cute little kid who completely mixed up the New Testament with the movie “Constantine.” It was so cute and surreal that I used it once when I was writing EduTimes fairy tales for this or that surreal little story. So, with that in mind, here’s my effort to explain to a child how fucked up Jeff Sessions’ efforts on the border are. And, as an added bonus, we get to use gennies as a symbolic warning — they’re a poor man’s alarm system as I understand it.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales’ Presents:
Naborat Jeebus & The Gennies

Uncle Shelton took Midnight a farm one day and the moment they got there, there was a horrible noise! Birds were running around everywhere, squawking and causing trouble.

“What are those, Uncle Shelton?” Midnight asked.

“Those are gennies!” Uncle Shelton said. “They make a lot of noise, they warn you when you’re in trouble. One time they saved the land from a horrible orange troll!”

One upon a time, an evil orange troll named Little Hands overthrew the lion as the king of the land. He had become friends with the birds who tweeted his commands down on the animal kingdom. Little Hands had promised so many things to the animal kingdom using the birds’ tweets and for a while there was peace in the land as he grew in power. One day, the Little Hands awoke to a horrible noise! The kingdom was being invaded by gennies! They are a very loud birds and they made it so Little Hands couldn’t sleep. He was very lazy and liked to sleep all day long!

Little Hands decided to use magic to get rid of the gennies. He summoned an evil elf. He told the elf to do whatever it took to get rid of the brown, noisy gennies.

“Yes sir Little Hands!” the evil little elf said. “Right away sir!”

Using his magic powers, he summoned the most powerful magical creature he knew of, Naborat Jeebus! Naborat Jeebus was very old and long ago had left the land to live with his father. The evil little elf told Naborat Jeebus many lies about the gennies, so many lies that Naborat Jeebas cast the gennies into a big pin! He even tore genny familes apart!

The noise of all those gennies being moved into a big pen was ever so loud. Loud enough that Naborat Jeebus took note. He paused for a moment and asked a genny why they were making so much noise.

“We’re just gennies!” one said. “It’s our job in the animal kingdom to make noise, to product people from danger! We meant no harm!”

Naborat Jeebus looked at the evil little elf and got angry.

“How dare you summon me to hurt the innocent!” Naborat Jeebus yelled.

And with that, Naborat Jeebus freed the gennies and turned both the evil little elf and Little Hands into toads and went back to be with his father.

The End.

“See,” Uncle Shelton said. “Sometimes, the good guys win!”

“I know,” Midnight said. “But not always, right?”

“No, Midnight, not always. But if you make enough noise like the gennies, you’re more likely to do so.”

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘The Bird King’

In this one, I’m trying to explain to a child Trump’s use of Twitter. So much of what Trump does is nearly impossible to explain to a very young child because how abstract it is. But if you break it down into concepts they can understand, you can get the point across and make yourself feel better. This one is ok, I guess. There’s something there that could be used to tell the story I want to tell, it’s just not nearly as focused as it could be. But I wrote this one VERY FAST.

The Bird King
A Fairy Tale by Shelton Bumgarner

Uncle Shelton was walking through the woods with Midnight. Midnight raced around every once in a while, trying to eat the birds, but they were too fast and could fly.

“I wish I could be a bird,” Midnight told Uncle Shelton. “That would be so cool!”

“Are you sure….” Uncle Shelton said.

Once upon a time, an evil orange troll named Little Hands lived under a bridge. He was greedy and stole from people as they cross the bridge. He loved shiny things and thought one day he might get some gold to love. Because we all know if there’s one thing trolls love, it’s gold!

One day, Little Hands, the orange troll, heard someone above him walking across the bridge. He jumped out from under the bridge and what did he see but a old man and a camel. Little Hands demanded tribute to cross the bridge. The old man, with eternal, wise eyes, looked at the orange troll and shook his head.

“I have no money, just wishes,” the old man said.

“Well give me a wish, then!” Little Hands said. “I demand tribute! I want gold!”

“How about I let you wish to be a bird? You’ll get your gold that way,” the old man said.

Little Hands gave it some thought and finally agreed. He wished to be a bird and the old man passed across the bridge and vanished. Soon enough, Little Hands was a bird! He flew around with all his might, enjoying flight. He realized that now that he could talk to the other birds, he had a lot of power. So he tweeted to the other birds that they were being robbed by the other forest animals who enjoyed their shiny feathers and lovely sounds. He said they should demand tribute! They needed gold!

And the birds attacked the other forest creatures until they got all the gold they wanted. Just as it seemed the forest was doomed, a funny bird appeared out of nowhere. He made jokes about Little Hands, making all the forest creatures laugh and laugh. The power of all that laughter broke the old man’s spell and Little Hands became just a troll again. He lost all his gold, all his power and lived a long life under his bridge, remembering when he was the Bird King.

The End.

“So where did the funny bird come from?” Midnight asked Uncle Shelton.

“The old man with the camel crossed another bridge! This time there was a funny troll!” Uncle Shelton hooted. “The moral of the story is if someone makes your wish come true, they might give your dreams to someone else as well!”

Uncle Shelton’s Tales: ‘Princess Shera’s Puppy’

The conceit of my fairy tales when I was writing the for The EduTimes was I was telling the stories to my cat, Midnight. So, in honor of that, I’ll bring it back as part of effort to explain to a child the Shera Bechard — Elliot Broidy — Donald Trump confusion. This one has potential. I wrote is at lightspeed, so it’s not quite as focused as it could be, but I like how the adult reader would get a hoot out of the sexual connotation of the carrots.

Princess Shera’s Puppy
A Uncle Shelton Tale
by Shelton Bumgarner

“Midnight,” Uncle Shelton said, “Do you want to hear the story of the very popular princess and the missing puppy?”
“Of course!” Midnight, the black cat said as it licked it paw. “Is it a funny story?”
“I don’t know how funny it is, but it makes you think,” Uncle Shelton said, patting Midnight on the head.

Once upon a time, there lived a very popular bunny princess named Shera. She few on her pet eagle from one side of the kingdom to the other.

“Fly me to Apple City,” the bunny princess told her mighty eagle as she left Angel City. “I want a puppy!”

The land was ruled by a horrible orange troll who demanded tribute every so often. The orange troll loved to eat puppies. He would pay the owner a lot of gold to do so, but he forced the victim to watch him do it. Princess Shera landed in Apple City and hopped around looking for a new puppy.

Very close to the evil orange troll’s castle, she found a new cute puppy who licked her face and made her happy. The other forest animals were excited for her and jumped around for joy. Everyone loved the bunny princess because she was very gentle and gave many favors to any animal who asked. She was a vain bunny princess, however, so she demanded carrots of those who wanted to be her friend.

A hippo prince — who had many, many carrots — came to the bunny princess and asked to pet the puppy. She looked at Elliot the hippo prince and sighed. “You know the rules, if you want a favor, I need a carrot!”

Elliot was a wealthy prince and gave her all the carrots she wanted. So many it would take her all day and all night to eat them. The only way Elliot would give the princess the carrots, though, was in secret. He was a big hippo and didn’t want anyone to know he liked petting puppies.

Suddenly Princess Shera had so any carrots! Everyone in the kingdom thought the evil orange troll had eaten the puppy. But no one was sure. No one had seen him eat it, but Princess Shera suddenly had so very many carrots! All the forest creatures thought the evil orange troll had eaten the puppy. For many days they scratched their fluffy ears and wondered.

In the end, the birds, who tweeted all day and saw everything in the kingdom, came down and said it was all a big confusion. They had seen Prince Elliot secretly come to Princess Shera and give her the money. He was embarrassed that he would want to play with the puppy he didn’t want anyone to know.

The End.

“So the evil orange troll was innocent?” Midnight said, purring and rubbing up against Uncle Shelton.

“I’m afraid so,” Uncle Shelton said. “The moral of the story is don’t jump to conclusions! Just because you don’t like someone, doesn’t mean they did a bad thing!”

‘Back In The Day’ — #Lyrics To A Pop Song

As I understand it, Madonna was quite the wild animal in New York City from about 1985 to 1994. She was plowing her way through the male (and female) population of the city at an alarming rate, so much so that people at the time took notice of its rapacious nature. So, I’m a big Madonna fan and this would be a pop song telling someone that tonight might get kind of wild.

Back In The Day
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
please give credit if you produce or perform

I see you on the couch
slouching in despair
at your heart broken
with out any chance of repair
stop being so sad about that lout
we’re going out

grab your coat and babe
the time is ripe
for you to party all night
stop pouting and get ready for a pounding
your new love is out there I know

we’re going to party like Madonna
party like Madonna back in the day
party like Madonna back in the day

we’re going to hoe our row
work our asses til they’re red
we’ll be turning heads left and right
girls and guys won’t know what to think

I’m not kidding you ’cause your no fool
we’re going to follow Madonna’s lead
crash a party or three
I’ll be Sandra you be Madonna
talking David Letterman

we’re going to party like Madonna
party like Madonna back in the day
party like Madonna back in the day

when we wake up tomorrow
we’ll find our new best friend or two
struggling to understand what happened
he or she will realize they’ve played their part
driving the dark out of our hearts

we’re going to party like Madonna
party like Madonna back in the day
party like Madonna back in the day

‘Good Time Girl’ — #Lyrics To A Pop Ballad

I like this one. In my fevered imagination it’s a slow pop ballad, but these are just words. What happens to them — which is probably nothing — is up to fate. I would need a co-writer and a producer to do anything with it.

Good Time Girl
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
please give credit if you produce or perform

don’t need any money when I’ve got yours
give you everything you want and more
show you a good time but I’m no whore
lots of guys want my body but they ain’t you
for the right amount I’ll be
your good time girl

don’t judge me for my life
just ’cause I my rich
doesn’t mean I’m a bitch

I’ll always be your good time girl
good time girl is what I am
good time girl
good time girl
good time girl

I know you think you’ve me figured out
but you just don’t know the truth
I always fly first class
with an ass like mine what else should I expect

guys are so easy to please
flip their switch and they’re ready to twitch
but when it’s time to pay up they get all confused
what really do you have to lose
I’ll take some more booze while you think

don’t judge me for my life
just ’cause I my rich
doesn’t mean I’m a bitch

I’ll always be your good time girl
good time girl is what I am
good time girl
good time girl
good time girl

I’ll make my way out of this
I tell myself every day
this is no way to live
getting laid for pay

when they finally come to take me away
at least I’ll have gotten my share
a few guys will have gotten laid
but there’s no shame in being
a good time girl

don’t judge me for my life
just ’cause I my rich
doesn’t mean I’m a bitch

I’ll always be your good time girl
good time girl is what I am
good time girl
good time girl
good time girl

‘Celebrity Crush’ — #Lyrics To A Pop Song

This is meant to be a dumb summer pop song. That’s all. These are just words. Someone would have to do something with them to make them a song.

Celebrity Crush
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
please give credit if you produce or perform

look at you on the my screen
I know in my heart you’re it
beaming into my soul is your role
you’d never deem me up to your speed
but what can I say you’re my

celebrity crush
rushing about soak up your sparkle
celebrity crush
lusting for a moment of your time
celebrity crush

if we ever met
then again maybe not
let’s not get started
with that dream
maybe it’s a little too much
for me to hope for

but it’s just a crush
no rush to the alter
seeing you on screen
does leave me breathing heavy
I’m no stan I swear
just a fan

celebrity crush
rushing about soak up your sparkle
celebrity crush
lusting for a moment of your time
celebrity crush

you’re my ideal
an idol of the best type
but you’re just a dream
when I wake up you’ll be gone

celebrity crush
rushing about soak up your sparkle
celebrity crush
lusting for a moment of your time
celebrity crush