By Eric Beasley
A few months back I was asked by a long-time friend and brother-in-arms to fly out to the Seattle area and be his Best Man in his wedding. It was a whirlwind weekend, one where I never really adjusted to the time zone and kept myself awake with a prevalent and magical dark object which litters the streets, coffee.
When I go anywhere, I always like to pay attention and think about the differences between this new area and areas where I presently live. One of my favorite examples was a trip that I took in the summer of 2014 to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to visit a friend. Campaign season was in full swing and there were signs EVERYWHERE. In contract to Maryland, and in violation of Don Murphy’s Campaign Rules, 80% of candidates had their picture on their signs.
What did all these candidates have in common that was different than the 20% without their picture? The candidates with picture on their signs were all white. Draw your own conclusions from here.
In the same manner that I “studied” Kentucky/Tennessee while out at Fort Campbell, I “studied” the Metropolis known as the Greater Seattle Area of Washington State.
Marijuana legalization did not destroy the state. There were still (crowded) roads, anarchy had not spilled out into the streets, I did not have to fight off bandits and hooligans at every stoplight. With the exception of a young man, likely a member of the Triad or Yakuza based on his mannerisms and dress, that decided to light up a joint in a bowling alley, it was not a huge deal. It was just there, like liquor stores.
As I’ve said in previous articles, I am a frequent vaper. I noticed that folks looked at me cockeyed when I was vaping outside. Come to find out, vaping in Washington State is not viewed as an alternative to tobacco usage, it is viewed as another mechanism for delivery of THC. After politely explaining that mine is strictly a nicotine delivery system, the cockeyed looks disappeared.
EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, is a Thughawks (Seahawks) fan. Literally, everywhere I looked there was memorabilia or the number 12 with the team colors. I had dinner at a guy’s house and even their plates were Seahawks colors!
My Seattle-area friend also happens to work at Microsoft. We made a quick pit stop at his office. Nerds are Nerds, no matter what state we live in.
The Seattle Airport has an amazing USO. Some USO’s are downright depressing, one time I stopped by the San Francisco USO and it was literally a closet. Seattle, and the surrounding businesses obviously stepped up to make their local USO a place for soldiers in transit, lots heading to Korea, somewhere where they can get some chow, take a shower, and take a load off before their 16 hour flight. I stopped by there in the morning to get some coffee and work for a few hours before my flight. I always feel a little guilty using their facilities as a retiree, so I made it a point to sneak some cash into their donation box when nobody is looking.
Now comes the fun observations, and a topic that I never discuss in public: Religion. My friend and his new bride are both devoutly religious, their wedding took place in a church with a dry reception and after they left on their honeymoon I stayed at the Pastor’s home until my flight left. So you can imagine me trying to refrain from cursing and dirty jokes for 4 days.
I even went to church on Sunday!
I found my biggest surprise to come at church and listening to the sermon. Elyse and I have tried churches here in the Frederick area and came away disappointed. No, not disappointed, scared would be the better word for it. Scared because they preached the same rhetoric that Islamic Terrorists preach, just replacing “God” with “Allah.” A lot of “convert or die” rhetoric fueled with the labeling of every other religion as evil. Meanwhile, the actual discussion of the Bible was limited to one or two verses, with pastors relying on generic platitudes instead of academic study of the actual text. As I described it while out there, Southern Services go something like this:
This verse says God is awesome, Praise Jesus!
::20 minutes of singing::
This verse says God is really Really REALLY awesome, Praise Jesus!
This church, Christ’s Church Federal Way, was different. The pastor treated the Bible like a historical account of actual events and discussed those events. It was so in-depth that I had to pull up Bible Gateway to follow along, something I have NEVER done at a service in Maryland. It was so in depth that I actually remember what was discussed, the early days of the ministry of Jesus as recalled by the 4 apostles. I heard the story of Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Exorcist, Jesus being baptized, and Jesus hanging out with the sinners.
Unlike many churches, this one did not shy away from the stories of sin. Moses was a murderer. King David (the original BAMF) killed thousands of men and was an adulterer. Samson killed thirty men for their clothes. As the pastor told me after the sermon, all heroes of the Old Testament were great sinners who performed great deeds for God and all went to heaven.
We are all imperfect. We all do dumb things. If you believe that making a mistake precludes a person from doing good things, or working on a campaign, or writing a blog making political observations, then I look forward to you renouncing your Christian or Jewish faith, as Abrahamic religions are rooted in the sins of men.