Still waiting for Trump to condemn Putin over Navalny death

I try and avoid writing about Donald Trump, even though I voted for him twice.

But sometimes you cannot avoid the elephant in the room, literally.

As a preface, I have to admit that I understand why Trump is particularly upset these days. He has been the target of prosecutions that in most cases seem stretched to the legal limits and designed to influence an election.

Liberals reject that premise and believe that Trump incited a riot, that he paid “hush money” to a porn star for reasons other than trying to avoid sleeping on the couch, that he stole top secret documents so he could make copies and sell them as “Trump Confessions: My Presidential Memoir” and that he tried to stop Black people from voting in Georgia.

Of course, they all have their explanations for how these are legitimate prosecutions that have absolutely nothing to do with making sure Republicans are permanently barred from the White House, so arguing otherwise is screaming into the wind. I’ve no time for that. Let them believe what they want to believe.

The problem comes mostly from the other side, my side, which is unwilling to criticize the president other than to say that he says things he shouldn’t say, and so what?

I have had conversations with conservatives who excused the crude comments about encouraging a foreign aggressor to invade a hypothetical deadbeat NATO ally with an eye roll and this sort of reply: Well, they should pay up!

There is also the idea that since the economy was so much better under Trump — mine wasn’t — we should excuse these provocations and look at the bigger picture. For them unfortunately, the bigger picture doesn’t include our global interests.

Some might call me a globalist, because I view the United States in relation to the world and not as an island. I do not hate the U.N., although I have significant problems with some of its recent acts and initiatives. I see the value in NATO.

As an aside, the only time Article 5 was invoked, the one that requires all member nations to mobilize in favor of another member who’d been attacked by a foreign aggressor was after 9/11. In other words, to protect the U.S.

This growing isolationism on the part of Trump-supporting conservatives is quite troubling to me, and it’s not because I practice immigration law. It has to do with my pride in how we are viewed around the world, a reputation that I can promise you is being diminished with every offhanded “it’s your problem, don’t involve us” comment that emanates from the GOP.

I have been waiting for Donald Trump to do what so many world leaders, both current and former have done: condemn Vladimir Putin for having murdered Alexei Navalny. I don’t expect him to call Vlad a rat bastard, or some other similar term a la Joe Biden, but I do expect sympathy for his widow, and a solid attack on the man who wrongfully imprisoned, poisoned and then killed his most powerful rival.

I’ve waited a week, and the only thing to come from the former president is a rather narcissistic little whine about how Navalny’s sad destiny reminds him of himself. He used the occasion of the murder of a generational human rights activist to talk about how he, Donald Trump, had been persecuted by “leftists.”

I’m angry. I cannot believe the spin that I’ve heard from some on the right, questioning whether Navalny created his own problems or whether Putin really was involved in his death.

Only slightly less blameworthy are the people who have remained silent about this horrific human rights atrocity.

And it’s not just conservatives.

We had people filling the streets when George Floyd was killed, and to be honest, George Floyd was no Navalny.

So where are the cries from the so-called defenders of civil liberties? Where are those pretentious little children in their masks and with their “Free Palestine” placards screaming about the oppression of innocents?

I don’t even know what’s worse, the apathy or the selective empathy.

As a conservative in the Reagan-Thatcher-John Paul mold, my DNA compels me to rise up against tyrants.

That’s why my anger is strongest against my fellow travelers on the right, who have hitched their wagon to a man who compares his legal troubles to the death of a hero.

As for the left, I hope I’ve angered them enough that they’ve stopped reading by now.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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A deeper type of love

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Last week the country marked another Valentine’s Day, a reminder I haven’t had a traditional “Valentine” since my fiancée and I broke up in 2012.

To be honest, he broke up with me, after I had paid for some pretty expensive tickets to see the Orioles play a home game at Camden Yards as his birthday present. As I recall, he enjoyed himself immensely, allowed me to buy him a crab dinner at the Inner Harbor, and then on the way home north on I-95 he casually mentioned that he thought we should “take a break.”

That break ended with him refusing to answer any of my phone calls, or explaining why he had unceremoniously ghosted me (before that was a term). He did, however, graciously accept his engagement ring back, the one with the “flawless” albeit microscopic diamond.

While I haven’t been part of a couple that could have made it on Noah’s Ark, I have celebrated Valentine’s Day in many ways that are significantly more important than the forced pink-and-white-and-red stereotype that lines the pockets of Hallmark shareholders.

The holiday remains a wonderful opportunity to think about the connections we have with those who make our life more bearable. I have had so many in my life, from my family and friends, to old co-workers, to mentors and teachers, and even people I never had an opportunity to meet in person, but who touched me in unexpected ways.

One of them is a gentleman who passed away quite suddenly this month named John Cecil Price. John was a musician, a philosopher, a humanitarian, a deeply good man and someone who saw beyond color and gender to the best essence of everyone he encountered.

We only knew each other on “X, formerly known as Twitter,” but his daily commentaries and humorous observations made me wish we had grown up together, or at least shared a neighborhood.

In a sense we did inhabit the same block, filled with ideas instead of buildings, and I was all the richer for it. He will be missed by those of us who don’t need daily conversation and physical contact to create important relationships.

Another one of my “Valentines” is my client “Caridad,” who just recently obtained her green card. I will not narrate the details of what she went through to get to that point, a journey marked by emotional and physical challenges very few Americans can imagine.

Her story is her own, and I am just a bit player in the drama. But our lives intersected at the moment she decided to control her own future and abandon the country that neither nurtured nor protected her from untold abuse.

Yet another “Valentine” is the friend who, although no longer living a few streets away in Philadelphia, makes sure to reach out every week to either say hello, or make a coffee date when she comes back down from her new home in New York.

This may seem like a very simple and mundane thing, a hallmark of even a casual friendship, but it is much more than that.

Each of us can descend into loneliness, not the kind that kills or requires medication, not the kind that is written about in treatises or forms the core of great poetry, but the distinct moments in our days where we look around and wonder if anyone is listening.

It used to be called longing, or melancholy, and even in this fast-paced life that so many of us are leading, it creeps in and causes a dull but not insignificant pain. And that friend understands, and is there to say “I’m listening.”

I have a love for her that no card or chocolate could accurately reflect.

Valentine’s Day is a beautiful holiday, one whose scents and flavors and late winter colors brings delight to those fortunate enough to have found — at least for a weekend — what the Italians call “anima gemella,” or twinned spirit.

It is a frothy bubble, insubstantial but lovely while it lasts.

But the real Valentines are the ones who make an imprint on our hearts, imprints that might be as lasting as the stone carvings on the walls of pyramids, or as fleeting as the images drawn on frosted windows.

They have very little to do with romance, and everything to do with love.

I just wish I’d known that before wasting all that money on an Orioles game.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Many lessons to be learned from excellent ‘Holdovers’

I was looking for something to watch the other night, so I practically screamed “Free Movies!” into my remote, and up popped a suggestion I’d been meaning to rent for weeks: “The Holdovers.”

In general terms, it’s about a teacher at a boarding school for boys who draws the short straw and is stuck babysitting for students who can’t go home for the Christmas holidays.

He starts with about five, but within a couple of hours most of the boys are claimed by their parents, all except one. And here is where the incredibly moving adventure begins.

Set in 1970, at the height of the Vietnam War, the film alternates between comedy, drama and tragedy.

The young man who is the “last student standing” was essentially abandoned by his mother who just acquired a new husband and preferred a honeymoon to spending time with her son.

The teacher, played by the magnificent Paul Giamatti, reminds me of a cross between Mr. Chips and Ebeneezer Scrooge. He evolves from a misanthrope with a chip on his soldier and a bad case of body odor to a man who sacrifices his own career for the welfare of a lonely, struggling boy.

Over three decades ago, I spent a couple of years teaching at an all-boys school on the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia. My brother was an alumnus of Haverford, as well as many friends. I was Mademoiselle Fleurs, the French teacher, and while I doubt I was the best “professeur” they’d ever seen, I was a novelty for the boys.

There were exactly three women on the high school faculty, so that made me a bit of a unicorn. The blonde math teacher was the pretty one — besides being exceptionally smart — and the older female Spanish teacher was intimidating — besides being exceptionally smart — so I kind of fell into the “she grades on a curve and she’s nice” category.

My point in writing this is that I loved every minute of teaching those boys, who were a wonderful mixture of child and man. They were teenagers, most of them at the age of the boy in “The Holdovers,” and dealing with all of the struggles and joys that young males experience at that time in their lives.

I often say that I much preferred teaching boys to girls, because while boys were open books, girls were KGB agents: you had no idea what they were thinking, or about to do behind your back.

Watching the film reminded me that society has never been very good at raising boys. We often talk about how “it’s a man’s world” and girls are at a disadvantage.

We have Title IX in sports programs, and all of these initiatives to encourage girls to go into the STEM fields.

We get annoyed at the natural ebullience and energy of testosterone-fueled mini-males, calling it “disturbing” and try to neutralize it with mind altering drugs, but we rejoice when girls “find their voices.” Boys are encouraged to be silent, so girls can shout.

The most beautiful and moving part about “The Holdovers” is the relationship that develops between the young man and his initially reluctant teacher. It is subtle at first, laced with sarcasm and mutual distrust, transitions into a sort of grudging respect, and ends up breaking your heart.

The palpable love that has developed between the two of them, at a time when men weren’t supposed to have “feelings,” makes you realize that the only thing that matters, in the end, is being fully seen and accepted by someone who understands what you’re going through.

I don’t mean that in a Hallmark card, everyone gets a trophy kind of way. Our flaws and our mistakes are not things to celebrate, and our worst characteristics should be a source of shame.

What I mean is that human connection is extremely important, and our society is hardwired to believe that boys don’t need it as much as girls.

“The Holdovers” is a wonderful reminder of something I’ve known all my life: boys are not girls with more testosterone in them.

They are completely different creatures, and they need male role models because in a world that wants to criminalize masculinity, calling it “toxic” and waging witch hunts with hashtags, boys are an endangered species.

We even see the whole social media trend of “girl dads,” which is kind of stupid because pride in being a dad shouldn’t come with a gender tag.

I’d urge anyone with sons to watch this magnificent film.

Keep the tissues nearby. And go hug your boys — if they let you.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Some thoughts on the cultural phenomenon that is Taylor Swift

When you poke a hornet’s nest, you expect to get stung.

If that hornet’s nest is filled with young girls in spangles and tutus — and their doting parents — you can expect to get skewered.

That is exactly what happens if you criticize the social phenomenon known as Taylor Swift.

It is a form of heresy to attack her song catalogue, her lipstick choices and her boyfriends.

There is something about Taylor Swift that sticks in my craw, and it has very little to do with her politics which — and we only discovered this fairly recently — trend leftward.

When she was a country girl with a Berks twang, we assumed that she was apolitical at worst, and possibly even conservative. People smiled as the teenager poured out her broken-hearted angst in songs like “Love Story,” thinking that this adorable little girl couldn’t possibly be as annoying as Greta Thunberg.

And back then, she wasn’t. She was everybody’s baby sister, writing her own little songs for talent shows at the Beef and Beers.

Then she started racking up the boyfriends, who eventually dumped her. This is a normal occurrence, as I can confirm.

The problem with Taylor was never her politics. You didn’t really take her politics seriously. She was too light, too lacking in gravitas, too fluffy and spangly and bright.

To consider her politics as a motivating factor would be like asking a Disney Princess for her views on the immigration crisis.

There are so many women who are legitimate role models in the world: Malala Yousafzi, who took a bullet in the head because of her advocacy for female education; Riley Gaines, who has made it a life’s mission to protect women in sports; Amal Clooney, who has used her legal skills to obtain justice for female victims of genocide; and Giorgia Meloni, the first female prime minister of Italy.

These are women who have accomplished things of substance, things that will be remembered long after the last chords of “Shake it Off” fade away into the ether.

While Taylor Swift is a savvy businesswomen with a keen sense of how to market herself, and while she isn’t obscene in the way that some of her contemporaries are, baring flesh to scale the ladder of success, close examination of her opus displays an unexceptional mix of pop tunes that are hummable, infused with a message of “girl power.”

Except she’s not a girl. She’s a 30-year-old woman, and her insistence on targeting a middle school demographic is a bit weird.

I think that’s one of the reasons that men and women who call themselves “Swifties” come to her defense, because she deliberately inhabits this middle world of “not a kid” and “not a woman.”

They feel protective of her, and lash out at those who have the temerity to criticize her.

Well, I have the temerity.

The thing that angers me the most about Miss Swift is she’s a passionate supporter of abortion rights.

The fact that there are pro-life mothers out there who are allowing their daughters to look up to a woman who supports Planned Parenthood and talks about “reproductive autonomy” as if it was a catch phrase in one of her songs is troubling.

How is that admirable?

How can you empower women by ensuring that hundreds of thousands of them will never be born?

As a woman who has been going to NFL games since 1973, I resent the suggestion that Taylor Swift is “bringing women to the game.” Excuse me?

Unsportsmanlike conduct, 5-yard penalty and repeat first down.

So many people have taken the attitude of exasperated annoyance, rolling their eyes and pretending they have too many other important things in their lives than to worry about Taylor Swift.

And I’m sure they do. But as I write this, I am suffering from bronchitis and coughing up a lung, and I still have time to provide an opinion on a cultural phenomenon I can’t understand.

Hating Taylor Swift is ridiculous.

Worshipping her is no better.

I have seen so many accuse MAGA of being cultists, but they would reject the label for themselves.

Just saying, if the sparkly tutu fits…

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Watching Biden’s abortion speech interrupted a Schadenfruede moment

Schadenfreude is a fabulous word.

It means deriving happiness from the pain of others or in literal terms, “joy from damage.” And it’s what I felt watching Joe Biden try and make his grand promises about restoring abortion rights to supporters last week in Virginia.

The campaign appearance was supposed to be a victory walk for the president, who is garnering fairly lukewarm support from Democrats. There is no great love for a very old man who is displaying the normal physical deterioration that comes with age among many of the liberals and center-left moderates in the Democrat Party.

In fact, if Donald Trump weren’t his likely opponent in November, he probably wouldn’t even be running for a second term. That being the case, Biden decided to focus his speech on “choice.”

Biden has long been an outspoken advocate for abortion and long ago abandoned his Catholic roots even though he keeps trying to sell the idea that he’s a devout man of faith. But sometimes, the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy, but he manages to do me a favor.

The people who are the most passionate about a cease-fire in Gaza tend to be liberals. In fact, they tend to be progressives.

They also tend to be the kind of person who hates Trump, Republicans in general, conservative principles, Israel, kidnapped babies and, pertinent to this discussion, abortion restrictions.

But their primary focus right now is Gaza.

Biden isn’t able to deflect attention from his support for Israel by cozying up to women who were devastated when their legal right to abort their babies was eliminated almost two years ago.

He can try, but as we all saw in Virginia, it didn’t work.

And that is where my “joy from someone else’s pain” derives.

When I see someone being slapped down in the middle of pandering to the abortion rights zealots, it really does make me smile.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing in common with people screaming about a cease-fire, ignoring the fact that there are Jewish men, women and children still being held in captivity by vicious Palestinian terrorists.

Those people do not care about life, they only care about their sterile version of “human rights.”

But I do see some commonality between the radical pro-Palestinian activists and their cohorts in the abortion rights movement.

Neither side cares about the humanity of those they cannot see, and who do not advance their political agendas.

The ones who clamor for a cease-fire ignore the humanity of Jewish women who were brutalized by Hamas, of babies who were kidnapped and have spent half of their lives as hostages, and of the elderly who deserve peace and have instead been plunged into this hell.

And the ones who clamor for abortion on demand, who talk about “bodily integrity” but refuse to recognize the existence of two separate bodies, who scream about the patriarchy but would deny fathers their right to be fathers, and who talk about “choice” but only for the mother, ignoring the humanity of the unborn child.

So when Joe Biden got up at the podium and started talking about restoring Roe and making sure that there was a federal right to abortion, it was a moment of supreme delight for me to hear him interrupted by people who likely agree with him on the abortion issue but are disgusted with his position on Gaza.

And it was equally delightful to see the faces of the females standing behind him with their signs saying “defend choice” as they realized they were being confronted with their own hypocrisy.

You might say that there is no correlation between abortion and the problems in the Middle East, and at a micro level, you are correct.

I suspect many people support Israel’s right to defend itself who are pro-choice and many who support a cease-fire who are pro-life. I know people like that myself. This is not a zero-sum game.

But I can’t deny the pleasure I feel when Joe Biden’s pandering to the abortion rights crowd backfires spectacularly.

Human rights are complicated things, and there is a thin line between joy and pain.

Biden experienced that in Virginia. I expect it won’t be the last time this election cycle.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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About a lack of pride, and therefore a lack of shame

The other day, I was walking through the bookstore and ended up in the sports section.

Perusing the football biographies but deftly avoiding anything that shouted “Eagles” because I’m not a masochist, I found a volume I’d always meant to read: “When Pride Still Mattered.”

Its subject is arguably the greatest football coach of all time, Vince Lombardi. So I bought it, probably more because of the title than anything else.

Pride doesn’t seem to matter much these days.

After the Eagles completely humiliated themselves, their veteran players and the city that has stayed with them from gory to glory, I tuned into local sports talk radio. And it was good for my soul.

Around 9 a.m., just when I was having that second cup of coffee laced with cyanide, legendary Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner joined the show, and began to give his own critique of what had happened the night before.

I didn’t understand a lot of what he was saying, because as I mentioned before, I’m not about to win a sideline gig for ESPN as their first female diversity hire, i.e. short aging woman.

But something that he said really struck me in the solar plexus, and reminded me of why I bought that Vince Lombardi book.

Joyner said that the players today lacked a sense of “accountability,” a word that you really don’t hear much anymore.

He was talking about how players, either young or older, needed to be called out publicly when they weren’t performing up to par when they were letting their team down when they were just going through the motions.

I’m paraphrasing here, but the whole point of his Shakespeare-like soliloquy was that the performance displayed by the Eagles was not just embarrassing, it was shameful.

The difference between embarrassment and shame is that the former is something that effects how you appear to others, and the latter is what you do to yourself.

Embarrassment is what you see reflected in the eyes of other people when you fail, shame is what should look back at you from the mirror.

Joyner was saying that people aren’t capable of feeling shame any longer.

There is no sense that we have done anything wrong or if there is, we have an immediate excuse. There is more personal deflection of guilt and culpability than there is of misfired footballs.

There are always exceptions, of course, and some of them showed the content of their character. The old veterans like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham really showed up to salvage a bit of their honor, and the much-loved Jason Kelce looked like a deer in headlights on the field.

That lost look indicated that he could not even understand what was happening, and why this once proud team had simply rolled over and died at the hands of a much less talented team.

But they were the exceptions to the motley rule.

I don’t need to go into details because this is not a sports column but suffice it to say that the older you were, the more shame you felt.

The younger ones just shrugged their shoulders and said, with their bodies, what many of us were saying with a few choice four letters at home.

Pride and shame go hand in hand. They are the mirror image of each other. If you have no pride, you are incapable of feeling shame.

And in any case, you have no honor.

Vince Lombardi understood that, as did many of the men and women who came from his generation.

If you know that you will be able to cash your paycheck regardless of the quality of the work you perform, why should you even make an effort?

You can extend this theory to the whole idea of empathy.

If we empathize with the drug addicts in Philadelphia and try and feel their pain but we don’t consider the horrors that they are inflicting on the innocent residents of the neighborhood, we are not being compassionate.

We are being cruel. This idea that we have to excuse people when they fail and continue to give them second and third and fourth chances will only guarantee their failure.

We owe them more than just throwing up our hands or worse, giving them a warm embrace and allowing them to be eternal prodigal sons.

This might seem an exaggeration, triggered by the acrid taste of a lost championship, but I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now.

The Eagles debacle just reinforced my belief that contrary to the Lombardi book, pride no longer matters.

Feel free to prove me wrong in an email.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Not even the death of a mother is off limits in today’s politics

There are two things that should be completely off limits: a person’s children and a person’s grief.

You do not mock a child, something that we often forget when that child happens to belong to a politician we despise, and you do not make fun of someone in the depths of mourning.

I have never had a child, but I have experienced grief. The greatest pain I ever felt, and the greatest I ever will carry, happened 10 years ago when my mother passed away.

No matter how deep your faith in the afterlife might be, and no matter how much support you receive from those who remain behind, the sharpness of that loss does not dim with the passage of time.

I read the statement that former first lady Melania Trump posted on social media, and it sounded exactly like a woman who had just lost one of the most important people in her life:

“It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved mother. Amalija Knavs was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth and dignity. She was entirely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson and son-in-law. We will miss her beyond measure, and continue to honor and love her legacy.”

I saw many things in this message that reminded me of the way I felt after Lucy Flowers died. First of all and above all things, she was “beloved.” Not well-loved. Not dear. Beloved. Then there was the word “passing,” because the term “died” has a finality to it that makes it hard to accept in the mouth, hard to pronounce without choking.

Losing a mother is losing your past, removing that link in the chain that tethers you to other generations. When she is gone, you are left exposed to the winds, even the ones we cannot see but feel deep within.

All of this being the case, when I saw people mocking Melania Trump’s grief, I felt rage.

It made me realize that there is nothing I have in common with that sort of creature. There is no bridge to the other side, no way to even try and break bread, empathize with them, or not see their reaction as anything but cruel and repellent.

Politics is one thing, but inhumanity is something exponentially different.

I intended to name names and shame people in this column, reproducing their cruelty for you to experience firsthand.

They deserved it, these buffoons who can’t even spell their insults correctly, and who wrote things like “Who (expletive) cares,” “This is news?” or “Her mother was part of the chain migration you support, Christine.” These weren’t the worst.

I’m very happy to know that many of my own friends who despise Melania’s husband and would not vote for him even if the alternative was an eternity in hell, which they actually would consider a second Trump term, were kind.

My friend Ben wrote “I despise Donald Trump, but this is really a classless post,” referring to someone who was incredibly callous in their reply. Ben is one of those people, like my friend Meg and others who consider themselves liberals who understand that grief must be respected.

It doesn’t matter if a conservative or a progressive, an atheist or a person of faith, a pacifist or soldier is mourning that loss.

The mere fact that there is loss demands a moment of empathy.

If not that, the least we can do is keep our hostile thoughts bottled up in our tiny, acrid hearts.

I hope that Melania Trump has not seen the comments that were made ridiculing the passing of Amalija.

I hope that she has surrounded herself with the sort of people who cushion the blow, especially her son Barron who, I am told, was extremely close to his grandmother. I hope that she knows that the vast majority of us are out here extending our arms and our prayers.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter.

The attitude of those around us defines their own humanity, or lack thereof, but it doesn’t blunt the loss.

Even in the warm embrace of loved ones, the face we loved the most is the one we seek.

And even as the years pass, and as the sharpness of the pain is reduced to a constant throbbing beneath the surface, we will always miss that face above all.

As Edgar Allan Poe wrote: Because I feel that, in the Heavens above / The angels, whispering to one another / Can find, among their burning terms of love / None so devotional as that of “Mother.”

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Ex-Harvard president could learn something from new Philly mayor

I’ve been watching with some interest the backlash to Harvard University President Claudine Gay’s resignation.

If you were to believe the media reports, at least the ones from the Associated Press and other legacy institutions, Gay was railroaded into a premature departure by bigoted white men who were threatened by her superior intellect and accomplishments because, as we all know, that is the only reason a Black woman would be forced to resign.

Gay was not forced to resign because she was a Black woman. She was not “targeted” because of her skin color or her race. She is not the ex-leader of an Ivy League institution because she is not a white man. The facts are clear: Gay engaged in decades of dishonest scholarship, stealing the work of colleagues without deigning to credit them. She most egregiously did this with another Black scholar, Professor Carol Swain, who is a well-known conservative and therefore doesn’t appear to matter to outraged liberals.

Another reason that Gay was forced to resign, which can really be spelled “F-I-R-E-D,” is that she failed in the most spectacular manner to condemn antisemitism on campus. If her supporters are to be believed, she actually did criticize the acts of bigotry that she couldn’t deny were happening at Harvard on a regular basis since Hamas murdered hundreds of innocent Israelis. But if you listen to her words at that tragicomic hearing, they drip with the annoyance of a woman who can’t believe she’s forced to defend the rights of Jewish students to live on a safe and secure campus. Gay was not amused. She was too important for this little charade.

It’s amazing the way progressives have tried to manipulate the narrative in the Gay saga. Turning her into the victim of some right-wing conspiracy is just the latest example of how so many on the left have abandoned the concept of accountability.

Leftist academics will cover for their less accomplished colleagues because the idea of “merit” is now racist and sexist. Leftist politicians have pushed for policies that favor the traditionally underprivileged unless those traditionally underprivileged folks are white, straight, Christian men who happen to like country music and work at blue-collar jobs. And leftist prosecutors will refuse to prosecute those who, because of their upbringing, are given a pass. It’s what I call the Officer Krupke theory: “We’re depraved because we’re deprived.”

This brings me to a Black woman who hasn’t allowed anyone to pigeonhole her by her race or even her gender. Cherelle Parker is the first female Black mayor in the centuries-long history of Philadelphia. She was raised by her grandmother, who proudly used food stamps to feed her, and she herself is a single mother to a young Black son. She grew up in tough Philly neighborhoods and knows that minorities bear the heaviest brunt of crime waves.

Yet not once during her campaign for mayor did Parker play the “woe is me” card, lamenting that she had a harder time making it to the top because of her race and gender. She referenced them as things that motivated her, that provided her with strength and with purpose, as things that defined her challenges and formed her worldview. But never once did I hear her say that she was targeted because she was a Black woman.

And that gives me, a white woman who was recently a victim of crime in Philadelphia, hope. I confronted a woman who had stolen my wallet and who fought me when I tried to take it back. She screamed, she kicked, she was violent enough that three other people had to hold her back. She was clearly under the influence of some controlled substance.

I walked away from that with my wallet and no scratches. But even as I write these words, I am still shaking. What if she had a knife or a gun? In retrospect, despite my bravado as being a tough Italian-Irish “badass,” I was foolish to run after her down a dark city street on a cold winter evening.

But when you live in a place where the prosecutor and so many progressive politicians think that the criminals matter more than the victims, you reach a breaking point. You eventually feel, foolish as that is, that you need to take matters into your own hands.

That is why I am glad that my new mayor, a Black woman who has made crime reduction her primary concern, took the oath of office last week. And I am glad that she, and all of us who voted for her, don’t care about her race. We care about results.

Perhaps the esteemed scholar, Claudine Gay, could take some lessons from Her Honor, Mayor Cherelle Parker.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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I got something wrong about John Fetterman, and want to apologize

Regular readers weren’t surprised when I voted against John Fetterman in last year’s Senate race in Pennsylvania.

I spent months, and ink, sounding the alarm about a man who was to the left of Lenin on all of the social issues that mattered to me, including and most especially his refusal to consider any limits on abortion.

I was also angered by his softness toward convicted criminals who came before him when he was on the commonwealth’s parole board, particularly because one of the men up for consideration had been involved in the murder of a good friend’s father.

It got to the point where I sounded like Paul Revere, substituting my laptop for a horse. Unlike the Boston patriot, however, I was unsuccessful in alerting the populace to the imminent danger.

Or so I thought.

It’s not easy for me to say I’m wrong.

I am sorry for having treated John Fetterman as a clear and present danger to the commonwealth and the nation.

We still disagree mightily on abortion, on transgender surgery for minors, on gun rights, LGBT rights, parental rights and a whole host of other social hot potatoes.

I still think he was wrong to essentially hide his health diagnoses from the public for so long. I doubt there will ever be any middle ground there. The differences are wider than the Susquehanna.

But in order to maintain any semblance of honesty, integrity and authenticity, a person needs to acknowledge their errors.

I detest all of the mean things that I said about his lack of character, not because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but because they offended the truth.

You might be wondering why I have had this semi-change of heart about John Fetterman. It’s fairly clear to anyone who has been watching the news over the past few months.

Fetterman, unlike Pennsylvania’s other senator and many other legislators, has been unwavering in his support for Israel and the victims of the attempted genocide on Oct. 7.

He has openly defied the angry calls of his progressive constituents to tone it down, and in one memorable instance waived the Israeli flag in front of a bunch of protesters screaming outside of his Senate chambers.

His courageous, gutsy, and in-your-face support for Jews at a time when antisemitism is on the rise is a profile in courage, one that needs to be noticed by everyone who respects human rights.

He has nothing to gain in alienating his uber-leftist base, and everything to gain from the rest of us who don’t live in echo chambers.

I know that some on the left think he’s doing this because of donations that he received from Jewish organizations, and I know that some on the right suspect he’s playing us, but I truly do believe that this is something that denotes a deeply held conviction.

I share that conviction that there is only one victimizer in this scenario, and that while all lives matter, the ones that matter most are those that do not support terrorists.

Beyond his support for Israel and the Jewish victims of the Gaza massacre, Fetterman has also shown common sense on issues impacting the border.

As an immigration attorney, I respect the fact that he’s willing to acknowledge the chaos, and the need to do something to promote a more orderly process to enter this country.

Chaos hurts immigrants, as he knows quite well since his wife had to go through the process of legalizing her status in a country that doesn’t make things easy for good people.

In addition to his positions on Israel and immigration, the senator has also expressed dismay at the foreign purchase of a steel manufacturer and rightly called for the resignation of a Democratic colleague, Bob Menendez.

The hits keep coming, so to speak.

Again, I will never agree with this man on so many issues that define who I am.

But my father taught me that you can respect a person because of their courage, even if you would be more comfortable with their cowardice.

And for reasons displayed over the past few months, I can now say that John Fetterman is my senator.

Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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Jesus and his parents were not migrants in going to Bethlehem

Around this time of year, I start seeing posts on social media about how Jesus was a refugee, an asylum seeker, an immigrant, etc.

It’s based upon a version of the Nativity story, where the Holy Family was forced to “flee” to Bethlehem to avoid persecution.

This is at best a “whisper down the lane” misinterpretation of the Christ child’s birth, and at worst an attempt by modern day activists and rhetoricians to frame Jesus as a liberal icon who represents modern day victims of persecution.

In the first place, the gospels never state that Mary and Joseph were forced to “flee” Nazareth, and move to Bethlehem for their child’s birth.

According to Luke: “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.” (Luke 2:1-6)

So if we are to read this correctly — and who wants to mess up the Bible, right? — Joseph took his little family to Bethlehem to be counted in a census.

There is no actual indication that the couple, with Mary heavily pregnant, made this trip because they were evading imminent persecution.

But even beyond the issue of biblical accuracy, there is just something wrong about trying to graft the Nativity story, something that belongs to every Christian, onto a political agenda. And that is exactly what these progressive activists are doing when they try and frame the birth of Christ as some metaphor for the plight of immigrants.

I am one of the first people to acknowledge that the world is dealing with some horrific crises, many of which involve refugees.

You do not have to be a bleeding-heart liberal to understand that economic devastation, war, rampant globalization and yes, climate change have had a devastating impact on innocent citizens of communities we do not see.

Every day, I meet these people, and the vast majority do not want to be here. They would much prefer living in their own homes, speaking their own languages, enjoying their own traditions and honoring their own histories.

For a refugee, to immigrate is a necessity, not a choice.

But that was not the case with Jesus.

The other day I happened to see a post from a self-described “post evangelical” minister in which he stated that he’d just moved to a Southern town, and had decided to greet his neighbors with a sign erected on his front lawn.

The sign read “Rejoice in the birth of a brown-skinned Middle Eastern undocumented immigrant.”

Now granted, the post didn’t suggest that Jesus was a refugee. It did, however, make three points, one of which is absolutely true, one of which is possibly true, and one of which is demonstrably false.

Jesus was clearly a Middle Eastern. It is even likely that he had dark skin, although many of the Middle Easterners that I’ve met are lighter, even than me. One thing he was not, is an immigrant.

Bethlehem and Nazareth were not different countries. You were not “crossing borders” by moving between them.

And I’m fairly certain the same language was spoken in both towns. The people who do this sort of thing are dishonest, because they are mixing in a few legitimate facts with demonstrable falsehoods, in order to make a questionable and political point.

Why say that Jesus was brown-skinned? Why point out his nationality? And why lie about his “documented” status, particularly since going to Bethlehem to be counted in a census makes you probably one of the most documented people on the planet?

The answer is as clear as it is troubling: People who probably don’t accept many of the teachings of Christianity want to use one of the most central of its stories to advance their own secular agendas.

And to those of us who understand the importance of compassion toward immigrants, refugees and those with skin that doesn’t match our own, that is repellent.

My faith, which is the faith of billions around the world, should not be used as a bargaining chip in some political game of oneupmanship.

Let us celebrate the birth of the son of God with joy, and not as a campaign slogan.

Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

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