Paul Larson, San Juan Capistrano

A country at a crossroads—do we move forward or do we move further into division, discontent and anger? Or, do we look back and look forward? Are those our only options?

It was an interesting and challenging confluence of two national events this month—on Nov. 8 we had an election, and on Nov. 11 we celebrated Veterans Day. One looking back, and the other looking forward.

The Rev. Michael Vaughn, pastor of Community Presbyterian Church of San Juan Capistrano, started the Nov. 13 service in an unusual way. Instead of the usual musical prelude, he began with the following:

“We are going to start worship today with a minute of silence, in observance of national and world events. Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1918, started out as Armistice Day in 1918—a memorial to the human cost of war and the communal expense of peace, a memorial to the millions swept up in what at the time was called the war to end all wars, which did not end all wars.

“The early 20th century and the year 1918 was a time of great culture change. In Europe, economic, political, national, and religious forces were all in turmoil and conflict. In the United States, a sleepy giant that reluctantly, slowly saw it had responsibility to the world community. This conflict afterwards, called World War I, did not really end; it was fought to exhaustion. Ending not with a real solution—just an armistice, a break, a timeout. A false, unsustainable pseudo-peace which then seeded World War II. Then came a cold war that seeded where we are even now.

“We live, as you know, in a time of great culture change—economics, demographics, the purpose and use of institutions: e.g., schools, churches, other organizations. Even the very social contract between us is in flux—some even call it a culture war.

“We need to honor the lives and civil sacrifices of the past and beware of the danger of fighting this cultural, polarized clash to exhaustion or no sustainable solution—not just slather over or just take a break. The social contract of our patriotic duty requires more.

“So, let’s have the minute of silence in healing and memory of those who sacrificed to protect this nation, and also in healing of the current civic rancor among us that must die—not just in order that we can continue to be this great nation, but more so we can faithfully live towards the Kingdom of God.”

Regardless of our individual political beliefs, healing our great nation is paramount. Regardless of our individual religious or spiritual beliefs (or even having none), healing is needed. Fighting to exhaustion is not a solution.

We have the opportunity to look back to honor those who have served, and we also have the opportunity to learn from history. We now have a more immediate opportunity to look forward to how we can serve our nation, our world and each other with honor and dignity. We are standing at a crossroads, and are much in need of reflective moments of silence.

About The Author Capo Dispatch

comments (4)

  • I am a 22-year veteran, including Vietnam, in 1968; consequently I want to thank you for your words. Unfortunately, our world changed on November 8th. Hillary won the popular vote by 2.5 million or more votes. Trump won the Electoral College vote, so he is presumably the President elect. I say presumably, because the Electoral College could vote for Hillary or anyone of their choosing.

    With the exception of Senator Bernie Sanders, neither candidate — Clinton or Trump — spent much time addressing the issues, and they both avoided climate change. Trump avoided the issues as he catered to White Supremacists from coast to coast with his I am going to make America great.

    I would, therefore, like to share the following. It was posted on FaceBook, and it is a brilliant essay.

    “If You Voted for Trump, I really need you to hear something right now:

    I believe you.

    >I believe you when you say that you’re not a racist.
    >I believe you when you say that you’re not a bigot.
    >I believe you when you say you’re not homophobic.
    >I believe you when you say you’re not a misogynist.
    >I believe you when you say you’re not an Islamophobe.
    >I believe you when you say you’re not an anti-Semite.
    >I believe you when you say that you don’t condone violence and discrimination and bullying.

    But I won’t keep believing you if you remain silent.

    I know you had legitimate reasons for voting for him; things that either real or imagined, genuinely moved you to your decision and that you wrestled with these reasons greatly. But I don’t care about those reasons; not because I don’t care about you or value you or want to understand you or because I don’t respect your road, but because those reasons can’t help those who are hurting right now—only your response can.

    You see, regardless of why you voted for him, you did vote for him. Your affirmation of him and your elevation of him to this position, came with what you knew about him:

    >It came after hearing the horrible, degrading, vile things he said about women.
    >It came after hearing him encourage his supporters to be violent with protestors.
    >It came after he advocated for Muslims to be expelled and profiled.
    >It came after he made fun of a man with physical disability.
    >It came after he framed the BlackLivesMatter movement as criminal and subversive.
    >It came after he personally criticized the appearance and weight and sexual activity of women opponents.
    >It came after he chose a Vice President who believes gay people can pray away their gayness.
    >It came after the KKK and the neo-Nazis endorsed him.

    These were all things you had to weigh to cast your vote, and by whatever method you used, you declared theses things within your morally acceptable parameters. You deemed these part of the “lesser of two evils”. In voting your conscience—these things made the cut.

    And so the whys of your vote matter less now than the who of your vote. That person is here, and everything happening now is the reality you and I need to deal with together. Both of our intentions have to yield to the moment we stand in together.

    And I need you speak now. If the acts of violence toward people of color and the harassment of the Muslim community and the anti-Semitic graffiti and the misogynistic assaults on women make you sick; if they are not your heart, if they are not acceptable, if they are not who you are—say so.

    And if the appointment of a chief advisor to the President who has shown blatant, explicit, incendiary hatred for people of color and Jewish people and the Muslim community, is not what you consented to with your vote, you need to say that too.

    I want to believe that you do value equality and diversity and in the inherent value of every person as much as I do. I want to believe that people are precious to you, no matter their color or gender or faith tradition or sexual orientation. But if you refuse to speak into the events of these days, if you choose to stay silent, whether out of fear or shame or buyer’s remorse or ambivalence—I will have no choice but to believe that you are okay with all of this.

    And here’s the thing, friend: If you were to say that you are not okay with all of this, if you were to stand up to the bigots and the racists and the misogynists and the homophobes and the anti-Semites and the xenophobes—you will find that I will stand with you. I will live and work and worship alongside you, and you will find me a willing, available, and caring partner in the crafting of the future of this country. I promise you.

    I will not hold your vote against you, because I trust that you arrived at that vote as carefully, prayerfully, and seriously as I did mine.

    But make no mistake, I will hold your silence now against you.

    I will hold your inaction against you.

    I will hold your refusal to see the pain of those your vote has at least in some part, initiated against you.

    I will hold your lack of compassion for the marginalized against you.

    So yes, I believe you are not the horrible things I am seeing from the hateful, vicious, intolerant few from the fringes, but that belief comes with the expectation that I will hear you now; that you will shout to the fringes that this is not what you meant by making America great.

    It comes with the expectation that you will tell the President-Elect and your elected officials and your pastors, that these things do not have a place in the country you desire.

    It comes with the expectation that you speak now to the marginalized, and that you reiterate their worth, hear their grief, validate their fear, and that you come to their defense in both word and in tangible support.

    Friend, you may feel like you are being attacked these days, but you’re not. You’re being challenged to be the person you tell us you are.

    If you voted for him I do not believe that automatically makes you the enemy.

    Only your silence in the face of this hatred can do that.

    Please speak, so I can know you.”


  • Hillary should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

    Joanna, since you posted the above screed, may I assume you agree with its conclusions and methodology? If so, have YOU spoken out against the Democratic operatives who went to Trump rallies specifically to incite violence? Have YOU:

    Spoken out against those who blocked access to people wishing to attend a Trump rally?

    Spoken out against the violence and disruption that was so great, Trump had to cancel his rally in Chicago for safety reasons?

    Spoken out against the racists of Black Lives Matter who direct white reporters to get to the back of the line, tell black reporters to come to the front, AND chant “What do we want…dead cops, when do we want it, right now”?

    Spoken out against Hillary colluding with the DNC to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination?

    Spoken out against Hillary receiving debate questions ahead of the debate and planting youths in the audience to ask her questions she wishes to answer?

    Spoken out against Hillary calling half of Trump’s supporters “a basket of deplorables”, her campaign team suggesting Bernie Sanders’ Jewish heritage be used against him, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman describing Hispanic Democrats withholding their endorsement as ‘needy Latinos’ advising the candidate to butter them up with phone calls.

    Read more:

    Spoken out against the post election violence and rioting by leftists because they didn’t get their way?

    Spoken out against the burning of the American flag while waving the Mexican flag by leftists crying over the election results?

    Spoken out against the Democratic party’s attempts to undermine the election results?

    Been embarrassed by Obama and Hillary’s pre-election chiding of Donald Trump to accept the results of the election only to have them exposed as hypocrites when they themselves don’t accept the election results?

    Been embarrassed by liberal whining regarding possible Russian hacks that only revealed how duplicitous and corrupt the Democrats were in their efforts to win the election by any means possible?

    Finally, in considering your post and its suggestion of what Trump supporters need to do, if YOU remain silent on these issues, you only reveal your own hypocrisy. Feel free to pass this along to your friend John Pavlovitz who may suffer a similar proclivity to hypocrisy.

  • You’ve been listening to Rush Limbaugh and Fox Noise, again, David. If you watch the videos, it was Trump who called upon the people to beat up and throw out those who asked questions he didn’t like. He even went so far as to tell them he would pay their attorney fees and fines, if there were any. Sorry, but it is all on tape.

    Trump is mentally ill. He is a classic case of combined anti-social and narcissistic personality disorders. Look them up. I am not a licensed therapist, but I majored in psychology, and I assisted a psychologist in group therapy for 22 years. I asked my psychologist friend if Trump was a sociopath. He confirmed my diagnosis of anti-social and narcissistic personality disorders.

    You might check out

    Now the NSA, DoD, CIA and FBI have concluded that the Russians were hacking DNC computers and planting false news stories. Look up 18 U.S. Code § 2381 and 18 U.S. Code § 2382. Trump, on national TV,, invited the Russians to hack Hillary’s e-mail server. If he was aware the Russians were hacking any servers, DNC or GOP and failed to report it, he is guilty under 18 U.S. Code § 2382.

    An then there is the “Emoluments Clause,” which effectively bars federal officials from doing business with or taking gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval.

    I’m afraid you’ve gotten in bed with one very sick person, who cares little about our Constitution or the people he claims to care about. He certainly is not a friend of veterans, despite his many claims.

  • Hillary should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and if found guilty, sent to prison.

    @ Joanna, Your statement: “Sorry, but it is all on tape.”

    Yeah, so is the DNC’s collusion with the thugs hired and paid to incite violence at Trump rallies and who crowed with success when they were able to shut down his Chicago rally.

    “…I majored in psychology, and I assisted a psychologist in group therapy for 22 years.”

    In view of the fact that the Dan McAdams article in the Atlantic that YOU posted, presumably to bolster your opinion, does NOT claim, suggest, or infer, that Trump is suffering mental illness or that he is a sick person, your statements can be taken as simple hyperbole unworthy of serious consideration. It doesn’t speak well for either your honesty or pseudo-professional opinion to engage in such wild eyed charges.

    The 2nd link (Huffington Post) you provided on a Trump psychological analysis is one NOT provided by any specialist in the field and one which DISAGREES with your first post, as in the following quote:

    “Unfortunately, McAdams’ analysis completely missed the point.”

    Furthermore, Trump has already undermined one of the central points of this non professional assessment, that regarding vindictiveness, by picking or considering for his cabinet individuals who had criticized him, some vehemently. Thus he considered Mitt Romney for Sec. of State and Carly Fiorina for DNI and picked Nikki Haley as our Ambassador to the United Nations.

    Your statement: “An then there is the “Emoluments Clause,” which effectively bars federal officials from doing business with or taking gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval.”

    You mean like Hillary Clinton did as Secretary of State with her Clinton Foundation? Remember the millions she received from foreign entities while serving as Secretary of State allowing access to her office for those who could pay? Remember the $2.35 million she received from the Canadian company that controlled 20% of U.S. Uranium mining? Remember this company wished to sell this interest to the Russians but needed the state department Hillary headed to buy off on the deal and how subsequent to this “donation” and the half million dollar speaking fee Bill Clinton received from a Russian bank tied to Putin, it was given the green light? Yes, Hillary should be prosecuted for this as well as for passing classified material on her private server, lying about her private server, destroying blackberry devices with hammers, failing to turn over her court ordered e-mails and consistently lying to the FBI about any and every aspect of the investigation.

    Remember also, Hillary hired thugs to harass the women her husband abused and as Secretary of State, led the disastrous policy in Libya that resulted in a dictator no longer posing a threat to US interests, into a failed state dominated by terrorists intent on doing America harm. Then she failed to provide our consulate staff in Benghazi adequate security which was her responsibility leading to the deaths of four Americans including the first ambassador killed since 1988 and with Obama, lied to the nation as to its causes as well as to the families of the slain.

    Although Trump was MY last choice of Republican candidates and I was appalled by some of his statements, his words were no worse than those consistently uttered by the Clintons for years and their words were attended by reprehensible actions and criminal corruption that personified the adage that some live above the law.

    I am, however, pleased with Trump’s cabinet picks and the electrifying effect he has had on the business climate giving America hope that at long last, the economy will begin to grow.

    Rather than whine and complain and do all you (collectively) can to damage a Trump presidency before it even gets under way because you didn’t get your way, try (collectively) to support the president in moving the economy forward, ie., wait to see how he does BEFORE you attack him. A nation divided cannot stand and it is time to put the Obama division behind us and stand together with our new president. That is what a patriot would do.

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