Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Sarah Palin is right...and wrong

I'll say this: Sarah Palin knows how to whip people into a frenzy. It's virtually effortless for her at this point.

Consider: just yesterday, Governor Palin mentioned, in passing, that she could provide balance to the so-far-left-it-could-tip-over-at-any-time ABC discussion program The View. Within minutes, the internet exploded. (What, didn't you see it?) Twitter was awash in people aghast at the possibility that ABC might let her near the program. (Twitchy has a little sampling of the reactions here.) Do I think she really expects any sort of consideration for The View? Good grief, she hardly gets consideration from a lot of the folks at Fox now, so why expect better treatment anywhere else?

No, I don't think she expects to be joining The View anytime soon. (Or ever, honestly, though I will say I was surprised that a reliably liberal program like The View let Dana Loesch on, so I may not have the most insight into ABC's thought processes.) No, I think Sarah Palin said what she said because she knows how to play the media. And she does it very well. She knows that a statement like this will cause howls of outrage from the usual suspects, and she makes that type of statement anyway.

And why? Simple: by continuing to live rent-free in so many haters' heads (haters, I might add, from both major political parties), and also by continuing to inspire many people (including many, but certainly not all, Tea Partiers), she can virtually guarantee herself mega-exposure when she zings President Obama.

And did she ever zing him today.

In case you missed today's internet explosion (or perhaps one of today's explosions), Governor Palin posted a little piece on Breitbart.com with the not-at-all-attention-grabbing headline "EXCLUSIVE—SARAH PALIN: 'IT'S TIME TO IMPEACH' PRESIDENT OBAMA" this morning.*

The main paragraph follows:

President Obama’s rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here. It’s not going to get better, and in fact irreparable harm can be done in this lame-duck term as he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along, and, mark my words, will next meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution’s role in protecting our rights. 

Of course, Governor Palin is right: President Obama and his administration are mired in scandal after scandal. Laws have absolutely been broken, subpoenas ignored, enemies harassed, etc. President Nixon resigned for less than this, and he was within days of being impeached himself when he bailed. Impeachment for President Obama would be an appropriate response to the behavior of this administration, to be sure.

There's only one problem: it's not time to impeach President Obama. And for the foreseeable future, it will never be.

There are, as one might expect, several reasons why this is the case, but let's start with the obvious one:

The Witch Hunt theory. Let's face it: any impeachment attempt will immediately be equated to the gotcha mindset during the late 1990s that did a brilliant job of derailing the Contract With America. It became more important to "get" Bill Clinton than to get anything worthwhile done. And what came of it? President Clinton got a slap on the wrist, the Republicans got eaten alive in the media, and, as everyone knew would happen going in, the Senate couldn't even get a simple majority to vote for removal from office, let alone the two-thirds required. It didn't matter that President Clinton deserved impeachment; the way the whole affair was presented was that the Republicans just hated the president. How much worse to you think impeachment will appear to people when we have the first black president, particularly given that our side is already routinely accused of racism?

And, of course, we have the other big reason that impeachment is not going to happen:

The GOP is a party of squishes. For years, the higher-ups in Congress have shown unswerving loyalty to...getting reelected. When a sitting Republican senator can be accused, believably, of stoking fear in order to get a bunch of African-American Democrats to cross over and vote against a primary opponent, you have to wonder how much a lot of these Republicans care about the principals for which they claim to stand.

And, let's face it: a bunch of scaredy-cats who care more for their political futures than anything else are not going to take any sort of chance of alienating voters, particularly just months before the mid-terms.

Finally, let's not forget this old favorite:

A non-trivial number of people idolize President Obama. This rather feeds into the previous two reasons, but as I have asserted (and partially walked back), President Obama benefits from a fairly substantial cult of personality,** in a way that neither Nixon or Clinton did while facing their potential or actual impeachments. Want to earn someone's enmity for life? Trying to destroy that person's idol is a pretty good start in a lot of cases.

And all of that adds up to the fact that it would ridiculous to even think that impeachment has a chance in this political environment. And that, unfortunately, means that even calling for it amounts to little more than tilting at windmills.

Now, with all that said, I will say again that Sarah Palin is a master at playing the media. It may be that this is a very calculated attempt to fire up voters to try to flip the Senate and pad our advantage in the House, since we know (and, honestly, she knows) that nothing is going to come of this call for impeachment, at least as far as Congress is concerned. I hope this is her way of rallying the troops, deep down; if it isn't, then Sarah Palin is absolutely wrong on this one.

* Warning:  as I have found out the hard way, Breitbart articles have the occasional tendency to disappear after a couple of years...or sooner.

** I have also said previously that Sarah Palin benefits similarly, though certainly not to the same extent. I'm too tired to look up where I said it, but take my word for it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snowed In vs. Burnout, Part 2

Over the past couple of years (as seen here...), I've grown more and more burned out on the whole world of politics.  This is not because I don't think that my political ideas are important, or worth defending, or whatever, but rather because I just have not had time to properly engage in that world.

As my regular reader* knows, I have a day job and a family.  (I don't just blog full time, or I'd be in serious trouble at this point.)  The job and the family demand and, yes, deserve a lot more of my time than writing a sixth-rate political blog best known for breaking a scandal in Austin almost six years ago.  I just don't have time to write a lot of deep thoughts about political issues, or at least I don't have time to do so in a timely manner.  (The reader is at this point directed to my timely post about the Chick-Fil-A situation in Aug--er, September 2012.)

I mean, good grief, I don't even have the time to put forth the amount of effort required to leave comments on news articles (comments which, I had hoped at one point, I would stop reading owing to the large number of uninformed and/or rude comments that can easily be found on any political post) because, from my observations, there seem to be many people who have nothing better to do than comment on news articles all day.  It doesn't matter if I made a better point then they have; they can simply bury my comment, and others like it, in a heap of other comments supporting their point.  These people don't want to have a discussion; they simply want those who disagree with them to shut up.  Sadly, because they have nothing better to do than comment all day, people like me don't want to take the trouble to engage them in discussion, and thus they get what they want.

And really, does anyone really want to have a discussion anyway?  Someone, and I don't remember who at this point, pointed out online (it might have been on Facebook, but it doesn't really matter) that most of the political tweets or blogs seem to revolve around the outrage of the day.  So much shouting, so much finger-pointing, but not nearly enough real dialogue.  And I'm certainly not going to assert that I've never participated in such a thing...a quick perusal of this blog's Facebook page (which, thankfully, is more active than this blog itself) shows a few links to articles on the topic du jour, but in most cases, I have also expressed hope for a dialogue about whatever it is I'm posting about.**

And so it was that I asked--ten (!!) months ago--on my Facebook page whether it was worth it to continue political blogging.  The answers I got (yes, an actual dialogue, almost!) were a mixed bag.  Some said that blogging on our side of the aisle was necessary simply to continue to get our side's message out.  Others said it wasn't worth it to keep it up and to concentrate on other passions.***  Both sides have a point.

That's another point: in many political discussions (and religious discussions, and even sports discussions, though there are few rational sports discussions), both sides have a point worth consideration.  I am trying not to discount people's opinions too quickly (though I will still discount someone's opinions fairly quickly if that someone cannot make a point without insulting the other side) these days.  Blogging, for too long, at least for me, was about trying to be right and proving the other side wrong.

With all that said, though, I would very much like to restart the sharing of my thoughts on this blog.  However, I am most likely not going to jump into nearly as many of the news-of-the-day stories.  I will, though, strive harder even that I did before to keep my thoughts civil.  I might, for example, scrutinize someone's public record, but I will not make assumptions about that person's character.  (If you're looking for insulting comments about public figures--or worse, pictures--there are plenty of other blogs on either side of the aisle that will accommodate you.)

Will I be able to accomplish my goal of sharing overtly political thoughts in both a civil and timely manner?  Obviously that remains to be seen.  But here's hoping.

*The author here accounts for the possibility that he does have more than one regular reader at this point, although a several-month hiatus has almost certainly done nothing to add to that number.

**There is something to be said, however, for the truth that I do that partly so that Facebook's weird algorithms will cause my posts to be displayed on more people's pages.

***For example, did you know I have a blog about unfairly forgotten songs?  Music has been a constant companion to me for longer than I have had political opinions.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 Online Red Kettle and other ways to help out

I'm sure my regular readers (of which I most likely presently have none) will be shocked to see a rare post on my blog after a long unplanned hiatus.  At this point, I'm not going to make any promises as to when I will resume any sort of regular blogging schedule, but we can always hope.

I am, though, going to post this, since I like to do this each year, and also since an online friend has already asked when I would do so.  So here goes:

As has been my wont for the past five years, I am once again hosting an Online Red Kettle for the Salvation Army, for those who have either already finished their shopping or want to plan out their donations in advance.

So, if you would like to donate through my virtual kettle, you can do so by clicking right here.  (For some reason, I can't make the kettle clickable this year.)

(Image courtesy The Salvation Army)

A couple of other ways to help out this holiday season (and, really, any time) are as follows:

If you are in the Austin area, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, where, according to what they have said, your monetary donation can go about five times as far as a food donation, as they can buy in bulk and save money.  They do a lot of good work, and we've supported them before.

And, of course, as I mentioned last year, my friends Ryan and Ashley Beard have created an organization, 48 Lives, which will assist with international adoptions.  Ryan completed a 48-hour run to raise money for this (in which he ran over 140 miles) and has helped place at least one child with a family who loves her very much.

All of these options are well worth your support.  This holiday season, let's all help someone out who needs it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Challenged to Civility, Part 2

In one of the very, very few posts that have appeared on this blog this year, I happened to mention that I had stopped paying much, if any, attention to Ann Coulter for her use of a pejorative term that I would prefer for people not to use.  Now, thanks to Bill Maher (to whom I pay little attention, though others seem to give him as much ego stroking as he desires), that word is being discussed yet again, thanks to Mr. Maher's reported use of it to describe Trig Palin.

Yes, Trig Palin, the five-year-old son of Sarah Palin. 

And then to see some of the women of "The View" trying to justify it...well, all I can do is shake my head and get further burned out on the political process.  When someone says it's okay to insult a child just because of who his mother happens to be, that person is not a helpful component of any political discussion.  Ever.  (It's amazing that "The View" never had an hour-long celebration of that purveyor of eloquence, Jack Stuef.)

Thankfully, others have responded in a much better manner.  Take, for example, this video:

I don't recognize who this is in the video, but what he says is well put, and simply put.

Just for the record, this is not in any way an attempt or a desire for anyone's speech to be regulated.  You have every right to use that word, just as I have every right to discount your opinion for thinking that word is acceptable.

And one last thing:  Adrienne Ross, an online friend who writes a blog called MotivationTruth, wrote recently on her Facebook page:

And I would say, as I've said many times, putting "tard" after "Lib' is also not acceptable, conservatives.

Very true.  It's not helping.

I'm sure I've said something like this before, but here goes:  yes, we can debate on the ideas.  Yes, I'm sure I don't agree with some of yours, and I'm sure you don't agree with some of mine.  But if we cannot have political discussions without throwing around words like "retard" (may this be the last time I ever write it on this blog), then we've lost a lot more than an argument.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Just a quick little observation about the mainstream media

Sarah Palin still lives rent-free in the heads of most of the Obama-supporting mainstream media.  And, as always, this is most evident at that bastion of unbiased--meh, I can't even joke about that, no one would believe it--this is most evident at MSNBC.

Courtesy Newsbusters via The Right Scoop:

Yes, in a conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with Sarah Palin, Mika Brzezinski felt the need to say that something with which she (or, rather, her colleague, Joe Scarborough) not only disagreed but found "stupid" sounded like "something Sarah Palin would say".

Whatever, Ms. Brzezinski.  Keep thinking you're doing something worthwhile when you rant about Governor Palin, as you have done for years now.  Keep hate alive.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Challenged to Civility

As I said last year (when I basically made a New Year's resolution), I don't usually make New Year's resolutions.  I generally break them, just as I broke last year's resolution not to read comments on articles.  Instead, I repeatedly found myself looking at ignorant, ill-thought-out opinions about whatever topic had interested me on that day.  Usually, it was the presidential race (which has come awfully close to burning me out on politics) or sports (in which there was lots of conjecturing regarding my pro football team of choice, which typically found new and exciting ways to lose games at the final second) that sucked me in to reading the dreaded comments once again.

So, I am not making any resolutions this year.  I don't need to be reminded of my failures to live up to my own high standards for yet another year.

Instead, this year I just want to challenge myself to be a better person, online and offline.  Perhaps that is part of the reason that I have been blogging less, seeing as there are four other people in this household who would like to spend time with me, and vice versa.  And so, in that respect, being a better person means being offline more.

When I am online, though, I feel called to be more civil, especially toward those with whom I disagree (and obviously there are many such people).  I've kinda been moving in that direction already with my posts (see, for example, here and here).  And I have grown so tired, from having seen it from both sides over the past two years, of seeing so many people think that to make their point, they have to tear down whoever is on the other side of the issue.

(Aside:  it's somewhat sad that the spellchecker in my browser isn't flagging "kinda".)

Of course, as usual, I'm not the first, or the most eloquent, to point this sort of thing out.  Kathleen McKinley addressed it very well a few weeks ago, stating "we go after each other".  The best paragraph of the whole piece:

I know there is much frustration. One side believes something completely different than the other, but as a civil society we sit down and we talk it out. We don’t resort to Junior High meanness.

Or, at least, we shouldn't, but we certainly do.  And that's why the other way I am challenging myself is by trying not to immerse myself in media that is built around tearing down the other side.

Now, I suppose I'll need some sort of measure that will determine to whom I give my attention, and to whom I don't.  For example, I've really not paid much attention to Ann Coulter in recent months, since her use of the term "retard" to describe our president, as her shtick has generally tended toward the acerbic anyway, and this pushed me past my limits of tolerance.  By my new measure, Ann Coulter does not deserve my attention.  (I'm sure she'll be terribly broken up over this, but this is more for my benefit that I ignore her, not hers.)

Now, I was not quite as concerned when Sarah Palin made use of the phrase "shuck and jive"--partially because others, including his present press secretary, have done so, partially because some people, including a good portion of the mainstream media, are actively trying to twist anything anyone says in opposition to President Obama into a racist statement (something that has been going on for quite a while now), and partially because, having paid a fair amount of attention to the things that Governor Palin has said over the past four-and-a-half years, I don't believe her to be a racist.  And thus, by my measure, I believe that Sarah Palin is still worth my attention.

And, in this paragraph, I intended to talk about someone else not worth my attention, specifically, a long-time late-night talk-show host who hasn't been mentioned in this blog for almost four years, but anyone who has read this blog for very long already knows that I haven't watched him since then anyway, so I'll just move on.

I'll just say that I have set standards (There's that dreaded word again!  I can't get away from it even when I don't make resolutions.) to which I intend to hold myself when I deal with people with whom I disagree, but I would like others to hold themselves to that same standard.  When they don't, I limit contact with them.  It's happened on Facebook and Twitter a few times, but, thankfully, it hasn't happened in face-to-face relationships.

So what do I ask from you, gentle reader?  One, keep your comments civil, regardless of whether you agree with me or not.  And two, keep me honest here.  If I'm not being civil, call me out.  You may not agree with me, but you deserve to be treated like a human being.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

(1 Peter 2:1, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.  Courtesy Biblica, Inc./Biblegateway.com under Fair Use clause)

May we always do so.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

2012 Online Red Kettle and other ways to help out

As has been my wont for the past four years, I am once again hosting an Online Red Kettle for the Salvation Army, for those who have either already finished their shopping or want to plan out their donations in advance.

So, if you would like to donate through my virtual kettle, you can do so by clicking the kettle below:

(Image courtesy The Salvation Army)

A couple of other ways to help out this holiday season (and, really, any time) are as follows:

If you are in the Austin area, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, where, according to what they have said, your monetary donation can go about five times as far as a food donation, as they can buy in bulk and save money.  They do a lot of good work, and we've supported them before.

And, of course, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, my friends Ryan and Ashley Beard have created an organization, 48 Lives, which will assist with international adoptions.  While Ryan has now finished his 48-hour run (in which he ran over 140 miles), 48 Lives could certainly still use your help to put kids with families who will love them.

All of these options are well worth your support.  This holiday season, let's all help someone out who needs it.

(Yes, some of this is almost word for word what I have posted in previous years.  The need to help people does not change all that much, really.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The most important race in Austin this weekend

Anyone who has seen any news recently knows* that this weekend, the city of Austin is hosting a Formula One event that is sure to attract the attention of millions (many of whom will be found in every hotel room from Temple to San Antonio, as well as stopping traffic in all lanes of I-35).

But very few know about a different event that will also take place in Austin.

Also occurring this weekend in Austin, a man is attempting to run for 48 hours.  In a row.

Like my friends Danny and Christy, this man--Ryan--and his wife, Ashley, are heroes.  Like Danny and Christy, they have already been blessed with two children of their own.  But Ryan and Ashley have felt a calling for some time to adopt not one but two children--siblings--from Ethiopia, where there are a lot of orphaned children.  Now, they don't know what two children they will be able to adopt, but regardless, they know that they definitely want to bring two children home with them.

As with Danny and Christy, Ryan and Ashley's main hangup is money.  And so Ryan, who happens to be a ultramarathon runner (he runs races of 100 miles!), came up with a unique fundraising idea.  He is going to run for 48 hours straight (and should have been running just over four hours at this writing) at the Runtex on Riverside Drive, and he has collected pledges per mile (he expects to run about 150 miles).

And the best thing?  He is not only going to raise money for himself and Ashley.  Instead, they have created an organization called 48 Lives, which intends to provide money for 48 children from Ethiopia to be adopted (including the two Ryan and Ashley want to adopt).

So go by Runtex if you happen to be in the area this weekend (I understand there might be one or two events in the downtown area) and say hello to Ryan.  Better still, go by and make a pledge.**  You'll be making a real difference in the lives of children who need your help.

And I think that's much more important than any other events that may be scheduled around here this weekend.

* And some of us have known for a long time.

** You may also pledge at the website, linked above.  (And yes, the author of this blog has already pledged to this worthy cause.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The adaptation of the institution

In the past week, I have seen statements talking about how a certain group needs to change, to adapt to a new cultural mindset in order to continue to be relevant in the 2010s.  There are statements documenting the fact that fewer people are aligning themselves with this group, and, moreover, that people are leaving it. 

You might think you know exactly which group I mean.

You'd probably be right.  And you'd probably be wrong.

Obviously, in the past week, we've seen lots of hand-wringing and second-guessing about the Republican Party's defeat in the 2012 elections.  Everyone (with the possible exception, thus far, of sixth-rate bloggers with no spare time) has had an opinion regarding what the GOP did wrong, and what they need to change (which has led, yet again, to Democrat strategists offering advice to Republicans...hey, do I tell you how to run your party?) in order to reach people.

But I have also seen people discussing, in hopefully a much more respectful tone, the plight of my particular denomination with regard to reaching people.  Questions have been raised regarding what we have done wrong and what we might need to change as well.

(Aside:  no, I'm not going to say which denomination is mine.  If you know me, you most likely know which one it is.  If you don't know me, but you think this applies to your denomination, then it most likely does.)

Honestly, I think both of the groups in question (Republicans and Christians of my denomination) have the same problems:

1.  Both tend to value being ideologically pure over being welcoming to others.  For Republicans, this has meant that a candidate must support any number of things, be it a no-tax-increase-of-any-sort-ever-ever-ever-we-mean-it pledge, expressing an interest in one's state seceding from the United States, not being amenable to gay marriage, or whatever.*  For Christians of my denomination, that has meant a devotion to tradition over, in some cases, God.  It has also meant that we have tended to believe that we alone have and know the way to God.

2.  Both have done a poor job of late in getting their messages out.  For Republicans, simply look at the large groups of people who would never vote for you/us.  For Christians, look at the even larger groups of people who would never darken the door of a church building.  Enough said.

But I think the main reason neither group has increased its numbers in recent years is the following:

3.  Neither group has shown that it values people.  And what I mean by that is that Republicans and Christians of my denomination far too easily dismiss large groups of people as not being worth their time.**  For example, take Mitt Romney's infamous "47%" line.  A lot of people saw/heard that quote and thought that Mitt Romney didn't think they were worth his time or consideration, and so they decided the same about him. 

And as for Christians...well, it's been said that the 10:00am hour on Sunday mornings is the most segregated time in the country.  (If nothing else, I just said it.)  Is God's message only applicable to people who look like me, who are of the same social stature as I, who make similar amounts of money, and so on?  Did Jesus come to talk to people like me, people who could be considered the "haves" of society?  Or did he talk to people who were not valued by the culture of the time, the "have-nots"...and in doing so, show that he valued them as people?  So why don't I do that? 

Or, for that matter, did Jesus engage people who did not agree with what he said, with people who thought he was crazy?  Why am I not doing this?

Obviously, at this point, this portion of the discussion has become about what I should do with living the faith I claim to possess, so let's go back to the political side of this, and I will get with my Christian friends offline to discuss how we can live like this.

We need to adapt.  We need to be better, obviously, at talking to people who are not like us.  We can't dismiss people, or assume how they think about issues.  As I believe I've said on this blog recently (not counting two paragraphs ago), we have to engage people, which also means that we truly have to listen to their concerns and desires, and in doing so, be able to empathize with them, or at least sympathize with them.***

For far too long, we have dismissed lots of people offhand.  And now we're reaping the fruits of that in their dismissal of us.  Because if we don't care about them or their concerns, they're not going to care about our thoughts on politics, faith, or, really, anything.

* At this point, I don't think any of those is a good idea.  Streamlining the tax code, which is desperately needed, might just cause someone's taxes to go up.  Those presently advocating seceding deserve as much attention as Alec Baldwin did when he threatened to leave the country after George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004--namely, none.  And haven't I already said enough about the gay marriage debate?

** Yeah, I'm generalizing too, just as these groups do.  But I don't think I'm dismissing...rather, I'd like to think I'm offering a friendly suggestion.

*** Actually, I guess this could apply to both of the groups I mentioned, so this is not just the political side.  This is what happens when I write long screeds using the make-it-up-as-you-go method.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A post-election prayer

Once again, the election is over.  Once again, things did not go the way half the voting population wanted it to go. 

As I've said on Facebook already today, it would be awfully easy to say "Who is John Galt?" and be done with this discussion, but I can't do that.  My faith won't allow it.

And so here are the things I pray for our nation today:

  • That President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and the rest of our governmental officials--federal, state, local...Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, independents, whoever--would be blessed with wisdom.
  • That the winning side in this election does not engage in spiking the football, and that the losing side does not become a group of sore losers.  I've already seen some of both behaviors.  I pray it stops.
  • That a deeply divided electorate can discuss our differences civilly without demonizing the other side, be it as a bunch of rich white guys who don't care about anything except their own pocketbooks or as a percentage of the populace who want nothing other than to suckle at the teat of Big Government (and thereby, ironically enough, also care about nothing but their own pocketbooks).  Yes, our viewpoints are fundamentally different.  No, not everyone who disagrees with our viewpoints is stupid and/or evil.
  • That compromise will become a two-way street again.  Maybe no one has noticed this, but the Senate has stopped a lot of Republican legislation, including a lot of jobs bills, as well.  Don't pretend that compromise means only that the House needs to go along with the President.
  • That the Republicans will learn to build a consensus among themselves, rather than remain in factions which each appear to be more concerned about separate splinter issues than about America as a whole.  Hey, y'all, the economy is still lousy.  Unemployment is still higher now than in January 2009.  Focus on the main issue.
  • That Christians, liberal and conservative, will do more to help those who need it.  Government should not be the distributors of charity.  We should.  And, by and large, we have failed epically at this.
  • That Christians, liberal and conservative, will do much more to reach out to others.  Yeah, it's easier to go to Chick-Fil-A than it is to engage people with whom we don't agree.  But that doesn't mean it's the best thing to do.
What my friends and I (and we don't all agree on all issues) prayed hardest yesterday was for God's will to be done, and for us as Christians to do those things I listed above, and for more souls to be saved.

Let's keep praying.