Archive for October, 2018

Frankly I Wish you wouldn't - PIC

Bill Kemp
October 27 at 7:14 PM

Frankly, I wish you wouldn’t come.

We are in grief, here in Pittsburgh. Not just because of the number dead, or the fact that it happened during worship, but because many of us consider Squirrel Hill to be Pittsburgh’s most beautiful neighborhood — a short, busy strip of stores surrounded by places of worship, stately old homes, and the trees — yes, the trees — an arborist’s delight. Didn’t the killer know that when he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue, he was stealing this particular moment of beauty that all of us Pittsburghers share when fall arrives, and children rustle the yellow, red, and orange leaves; these gifts from previous generations who wisely respected God’s creation enough to plant trees.

Faith teaches us to put down deep roots into our respective traditions, but also to branch out in love for our neighbors. The block where Forbes and Murray meet, is lined with successful shops owned by immigrants from around the world. It is a community that mirrors Pittsburgh’s respect for diversity.

A mile away from the Tree of Life, a diverse group of medical researchers work together to bring about healing — a collaboration that depends upon a steady stream of talent arriving from Africa and the Middle East. At nearby Carnegie Mellon University, engineering classes focus on using technology to develop sustainable energy systems and efficient public transportation, things that don’t seem to interest you, Mr. President.

If you wish to continue to divide the world into winners and losers, Americans first and sh_ hole countries last, then please don’t come. You won’t understand the spirit of the place.

A few weeks ago, you declared yourself to be a “nationalist.” It seemed strange at the time. Obviously, you wanted the White Nationalist base of your party to notice. Well, one of them did. You may have many Jewish friends and even one as a son-in-law, but you haven’t bothered to learn the link between nationalism and antisemitism. Please don’t come to Pittsburgh and speak. Nothing you say will comfort us until you learn that words matter.

The news had barely sunk in and you were offering advice. You thought it made sense to support the death penalty. Most mass murders would agree with you. These shooters seem to desire to die in a blaze of glory, taking down as many first responders as they can in the process. You also said that there should have been an armed guard there. Like most religious communities, including some that I have served, Tree of Life, had less than one hundred in attendance. I can’t imagine the congregation’s leadership appreciating your input.

Before you come to Pittsburgh, at least take a moment to understand our history. We are in the heart of coal country. Our houses often settle and crack, or sometimes even collapse altogether, because coal mining companies have raped the very ground beneath our feet. As a child I suffered from asthma. Our region still has a high rate of respiratory diseases related to the burning of coal.

There was a day when laundry couldn’t be left out to dry on the line here, because coal dust would turn it grey. But we Pittsburghers have put those days in the past. We are busy growing green economy here, or haven’t you noticed?

You say today’s tragedy, as well as last week’s bombings, are the works of isolated mad men. We have read what they post on their social media accounts and what you post on twitter. It is hard to tell who is who, except they tend to spell better. Until you can see the connection between their madness and yours, please don’t speak to us.

Frankly, you scare us more than they do. We see you breaking things; big things like healthcare, nuclear arms treaties, international trade deals, and reasonable plans to limit greenhouse gases. I wish you wouldn’t.

Why don’t you stay home and read a book?

Bill Kemp

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Is It Too Soon?


Is it too soon to talk about gun control…?

or should we wait for the next mass murder?


– like your life depends on it!!

May the eleven beautiful souls who were slaughtered in cold blood by a very bad man with a gun, rest in eternal peace. . .


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To speak truth to power takes enormous courage and strength because in front of you exists a mass of threat, abuse and hurtful lies against you.

In an attempt to silence you, you will be demeaned, undermined, attacked, blamed and ignored. Yet never forget…

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”

 Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn


I Was Molested at Age 15

I was 15 years old. I was at a relative’s wedding reception at the home of the bride. I was in an upstairs room viewing the gifts that were on display. I was alone. A man came up from behind me, aggressively turned me around and forcefully thrust his tongue into my mouth with a long French kiss. I was shocked at first and then tried to pull away, but he had a firm hold on me.


Upon releasing me he said, “Remember, this is our secret,” falsely implicating that I was a willing participant, and then he went downstairs to joyfully socialize with the married couple and their guests. The man was the Catholic priest who had just married them.


I was stunned. I stood there frozen with confusion, trying to process what had just happened to me. I couldn’t. It didn’t make sense. I remember going down the stairs, joining my parents and remaining silent. I watched the priest being adored by the people surrounding him. I remember the jovial social laughter. I remember feeling disconnected from it all as if I was in a bubble.


This salacious “secret” remained in that bubble for many, many years. I told no one, not even my closest friend or my loving, supportive parents. I wasn’t ashamed because knew I had done nothing whatsoever to provoke being molested, but for reasons I did not understand, I remained silent.


Perhaps it was the dominant male culture, or that he was a priest, or because he was loved by all or because there were no witnesses and it was my word against his, or because I was young and innocent to the ways of the world. I don’t know why I, a very independent, outspoken, confident girl (even at 15) remained silent…but I did.


In the many years following, I occasionally revisited that experience and when I did, I pushed it back into the protective bubble. It was not until the scandal surrounding the Catholic priests molesting children became public that a long held anger welled up within me. The bubble burst! Reality hit. I, too, had been physically and sexually VIOLATED! It was NOT okay and I would no longer remain silent.


I immediately called my relative, (the bride), and asked for the priest’s name and contact information and she told me he had died. It was too late to get him, but not too late for me to stand up for those who have experienced any form of sexual molestation.


I was one of the luckier ones. I was not raped nor did he attempt to rape me. I was not forced into other sexual acts like so many countless millions…yes…millions of others who have suffered at the hands of men who feel they have a right to use and abuse the vulnerability of others for their own satisfaction.


If you have never experienced any form of sexual molestation, and if you do not believe a woman remembers who did it, then you need to shut up and listen, because you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.


I remember that priest’s face as if he were standing in front of me right now. He was a complete stranger, but I KNEW who did it. I do not remember arriving or leaving the reception. I do not remember anything more about the house and I have no idea of the address.

I do remember the stairs, the upstairs room, the wedding gifts on display on a large table, that I was wearing my favorite light blue dress, AND seared in my memory is the attack.


There is not a woman alive (or a man) who does not remember who violated them. You do NOT forget that kind of thing. You do NOT confuse that person with someone else. You KNOW who did it and you will remember him for the rest of your life.


I have not forgotten a vulgar, unwanted French kiss and I cannot imagine how anyone could have the audacity and ignorance to challenge the memory of a clearly courageous, credible woman who has experienced the violence of an attempted rape.


Virtually everyone who heard Christine Blasey Ford’s account of the sexual attack on her, admits that she gave a very credible, compelling accounting. She was not making it up. Clearly, it has had a profound negative impact on her life as her therapist notes from several years ago validate. There is not one single person on the Senate judicial committee who does not believe that she experienced a traumatic event.


To not believe her is like victimizing her all over again. I cannot even imagine how I would have felt  had I spoken up as a 15 yr. old and not been believed.

This is NOT a political issue for me. To politicize this outrageous, painful event is disgusting. To mock Dr. Ford publicly at a political rally as Trump has done is disgusting, But even more disgusting are the people who clapped and cheered in support.

Worst of all are those on both sides of the Senate (once deemed to be the most distinguished body of leaders in the world) who blatantly disregarded her testimony, some even before hearing her.


However, of the 51 Republican senators, it appears only 3 (two of whom are women) think she “might” be telling the truth when she identifies Kavanaugh as the attacker. All of the others believe she is confused, messed up, mixed up, or is lying for political purposes and is mistaken when she accuses Kavagnaugh.


Of the 49 Democrats, 46 of them believe her. Three (one of whom is a woman) are “unsure” of Dr. Ford’s testimony when she says she is 100% certain Judge Kavagnaugh was the sexual perpetrator.


I absolutely believe her. I KNOW you never forget someone who violates you, especially an attack like she experienced — in a locked room with two male predators, trapped beneath one who was sexually grinding against her while trying to remove her clothes…and covering her mouth so not only could she not scream, but also could not breathe. You do not forget who those people are.




Do you remember who you were with when you lost your virginity? You bet you do and I hope it was a respectful, mutually condoned experience. Now, ask anyone who has been sexually molested (an extremely negative, sometimes terrifying event) if they remember who did it. There will not be one…not ONE (not even Kellyanne Conway) who will tell you they don’t remember, not ONE who will be confused or mixed up. They remember who did it. THEY KNOW.


Dr. Christine Blasey Ford KNOWS…


I KNOW…and I absolutely believe her.


“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth against injustice and lying… If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”

William Faulkner


Please forward this to everyone you know!!!

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