The Contrarian

I love to go along and get along and be hidden in a crowd.  However it is somewhat difficult to remain hidden when you are 6 feet and 3 and 1/2 inches tall…and not thin!  There is little that is more peaceful than being a member of a group that you agree with and support and feel little need to question.  But…what to do when you disagree with the majority of the people that you are associated with…including the powerful

I vividly recall when I disagreed with the untimely termination of chancellor Jo Ann Argersinger and and felt compelled to not hide our friendship or to refrain from speaking out on her behalf.  Those were some scary times for Mary Jane and I when I had my job threatened…and I was a full ten years away from retirement.  I felt that she was good for SIUC and that her firing was a spiteful and politically motivated event.  It was strongly intimated to me that a promotion was in my immediate future if I would just not demonstrate visible support for the fallen leader of the campus.  I not only refused to back down, but rather sent a message to the president of the university and the board of trustees that Jo Ann and Peter were my friends and that I did not intend on changing anything regarding my freedom to disagree with bureaucratic authority as long as I did not disrupt the operations of the housekeeping department that I oversaw.

I am of a different mind than many of my lifelong friends and family regarding current political leaders.  I respect their right to their opinion completely!  I have made a practice of not speaking out to hear the sound of my own voice.  I am a believer that silence is golden.  However when I feel strongly regarding an issue I do not feel badly about being the lone voice among the throng.

So often we are afraid to speak out.  We are afraid of rebuttal and snide remarks or of incurring the wrath of our colleagues that disagree with us.  This is an unfulfilling and diminished way to live life!

Whether it is the church or the workplace or the school or our place in society…we should, without fear or favor, speak out when we believe that we have witnessed wrong.

Something that I love about First Presbyterian Church is that it invites a diversity of opinions.  It is governed by an elected board of elders that are referred to as the Session.  These positions are three year terms.

The American War of Independence was fought by 13 colonies against Great Britain’s King George III… by a lot of contrarians!

In Pennsylvania, ‘Shell workers were told that they could either attend the Trump speech on Aug. 13 and get paid as normal, or stay home and lose a day’s pay, the latter of which would have had the effect of causing them to lose overtime pay later in the week.’    Snopes

Although the Shell Plant contends that the policy of no pay for lack of attendance is likened to the option of not attending training events…nevertheless workers that did not clock in at 7 am and stand throughout lunch, but without lunch, were not paid…and the speech that was billed to be about energy…morphed into a political speech that was paid for with taxpayers money…although that is against the law.

Are you a member of a workplace that tells you what your opinion is?

Are you a member of a church that demands that all members expound the truth of the charismatic leader of the movement?

Speaking candidly and being proud of who you are and what you believe and your truth…is huge!  It will enhance your self confidence and enable you to better understand your identity.

The aberration of having sad and little men like presidential advisor Steven Miller and Ken Cuccinelli… advocate the erasure of the renown poem,The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus that is on the Statue of Liberty and, according to, ‘The Trump administration’s top immigration official reworked the famous words on the Statue of Liberty in an interview Tuesday, saying America will only embrace immigrants who can ‘stand on their own two feet’ and ‘not become a public charge.’  In a subsequent interview, Ken Cuccinelli want a step further, saying the poem referred to ‘people coming from Europe.’    CBS News

‘The New Colossus’

By Emma Lazarus


‘Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name

Mother of Exiles, From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she

With silent lips.  ‘Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’



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