Kelli Taylor – Unoriginal Truth

  • My Tribute to a Beloved Paper Tiger and His Buddy
    by Kelli Taylor on February 24, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    It ran in the papers from November 18, 1985 until December 31, 1995. That roughly corresponds to my childhood. I was 6 when I first saw my father laughing at the rambunctious little boy and his toy (or pet?) tiger, and by the time they last made a sled ride down a snowy hill together, sliding off into a world worth exploring, I was one day shy of my 17th birthday. I was one year away from embarking on my own adventure into the world of adulthood. Calvin and Hobbes, the cartoon strip written and illustrated by the talented Bill Watterson, has always been my favorite, and with this blog I pay tribute. Why? Because it popped into my head upon reading a post using the Far Side comic, and I started reminiscing. That’s pretty much it. It has always been a connecting point between my father and I (another is Rush Limbaugh’s old show, which I wrote about in another blog titled “Mega Dittos from the Pickup Truck Listeners.”) I distinctly recall both of us laughing our butts off (pun intended) at Calvin thinking he would break out of his rut by walking out of his house in nothing but his birthday suit. Other times, dad would quietly slide the paper my way across the kitchen table. There were subtle, somber moments built into the life of little Calvin and his family. Watterson was such a master of those type interjections. He never got overtly political, and the medium of the comic actually strengthened the gravity when it was weighed on the reader. In short, his cartoon world was very realistic. He captured the adorable, hilarious, imaginative heart of a child with his imaginary friend so well. And we all know that includes moments of sadness, thoughtful reflections, and deep observations that children are absolutely capable of having. Speaking of children, my eldest child is soon to be 17. I have always smiled to myself, because he reminds me a bit of Calvin. When he was younger, he had two stuffed friends, Monkey and Wolfie. We once had to rescue Wolfie from the rooftop. He had spent quite a few days up there, with us thinking he was lost forever, only for my son to realize he had thrown him up there earlier. He also has ability in drawing, and has always loved to do comic strips. Sometimes they are funny, others times serious, or even dark. I have saved some of them. He likes to do political cartoons. There’s one he did about the evidence against Hilary Clinton that was really good. Watterson decided to get his Bachelor of Arts in political science, as he felt that it would aid him in his efforts to write and draw cartoons. I would love to question him further about this, but he doesn’t take interviews. After completing Calvin and Hobbes, he withdrew from public life. I certainly can’t navigate my son’s future endeavors, but I could totally see him pursuing some type angle as Watterson did. Or perhaps not. I will definitely be encouraging him as my father did to me when I was 18. I had a summer column in a local paper because I won a writing contest. He read one of my columns and said, “You should really use your gift somehow. It would be a shame not to.”Not long after I entered college at the University of Mobile, I declared political science as a major, and spent my time learning about Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and other historical influencers of political thought. I was also introduced to John Calvin in my theology classes, and it’s humorous to me that Watterson gave the nod to those two men in his comic strip. I read CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in those years as well, and I realized the reference to Wormwood that Watterson used for the teacher. All of these people and studies that I have in common with Watterson only add to the flavor of the comedy. In closing, I really admire the creativity and the avenue that Watterson took in sharing these characters with us. He is so talented and witty. We should not overlook the impact and quality that such staples of our weekdays can bring like that of the comic strips we all used to enjoy. They make us laugh and think. And that’s pretty cool. Recently, I have been thinking about my own writing. I assumed I was strictly a non fiction type gal, when it came to my own creations. I do love to write in that manner. But when I reflect on some of my favorite authors, like Watterson and Lewis, and I consider the vivid imagination I seem to have retained into my 40’s, I see perhaps a new hill to sled down.

  • EnJOYing Christmas
    by Kelli Taylor on December 25, 2022 at 7:51 am

    Of my four children, my twelve year old son wins the annual prize of “Best Christmas Gift Face and Reaction.” I’ve captured his surprise and excitement in dozens of pictures over the years. I treasure as a parent watching him and his siblings open the gifts that my husband and I have taken the time to make or purchase, and to wrap up in beautiful paper and bows. Gift giving and receiving are opportunities to share joy, and Christmas is the biggest time of the year to engage in that exchange. It’s not that we can’t or shouldn’t serve others and give them gifts all year round, but there really is something quintessential about Christmas presents. As one podcaster pointed out on his show last year, people don’t even get as excited about their birthday as they do Christmas. There’s an anticipation that builds starting around Thanksgiving, for both adults and children. Children count down the days, and they wake up Christmas morning and dash to the tree. Whether it’s getting that item you’ve wanted all year, or getting something wonderfully unexpected, it’s just a great feeling to open your gifts. As my oldest son remarked years ago when he was little, it sure would be neat if everyone could be a kid again every Christmas, just for that one day. Yet, many of us do have that inner kid stir once again each December 25th.As someone that’s passionate about both Christmas and writing, I really like to focus on a certain topic centered around the Christmas story in a blog each year. One year, I chose a person—Joseph. The next time I picked a place—Bethlehem. This year, I wanted to look at a thing—and I’ve decided upon “joy.” It is something sang about in Christmas songs, and hung upon the tree on ornaments, and mentioned in Christmas cards. In speaking with various friends of mine this year, I’ve been intrigued that all of them have said they have been drawn to this word and concept more this year than in previous ones. I, too, have had it jump out at me this season. So, let’s take a little time to look at it together. First of all, there’s a bit of a misunderstanding that’s cropped up in recent years, that distinguishes between joy and happiness, as if they’re completely separate terms. Yet, both terms are used interchangeably in scripture. I do think the words are somewhat different, but still rather synonymous. It’s just that, when we think of happiness, we picture something more temporal and fleeting, and more dependent on external forces, like circumstances or mood. Joy is a robust, eternal happiness that can be tapped into during the best and absolute worst times, and every time in between. My favorite musical artist is Steven Curtis Chapman, and I remember back in high school contemplating his song “What Kind of Joy.” Here’s the chorus:What kind of joy is thisThat counts it a blessing to sufferWhat kind of joy is thisThat gives the prisoner his songWhat kind of joy could stare death in the faceAnd see it as sweet victoryThis is the joy of a soul that’s forgiven and freeMuch like Chapman and C.S. Lewis, as a youngster I was searching for happiness. It’s always intrigued me that Lewis titled his autobiography Surprised By Joy. Just the title itself draws you to be inquisitive about that elusive character known as joy. I would guess that Lewis was both surprised at the appearance of joy in his life, as well as what the source of joy was…or maybe I should say “who.”How can I be happy? How can I stay happy? How do I take heart and even rejoice when “sorrow like sea billows roll?” Is happiness necessary? Everyone wants to be happy, and to some degree, everyone ponders these questions. People living in affluent societies have more availability to turn over such questions in their minds, whereas those just trying to survive perhaps don’t slow down enough to do much thinking on it. Regardless of whether or not someone gives it much thought, human beings are, by God’s design, creatures that seek joy. We gravitate towards pleasure, fun, and interesting things and people. We long for something, anything, that will fill that place within us designated for joy. We feel deeper and more emotion than any other creature, our language and communication is the most complex, and no other created being can enjoy the beauty and majesty of creation like us. I’ve mentioned in previous writing, that my mother looked up at the blue sky and cloud patterns as a child, and wondered how it all came to be. I have always intensely stood in awe of sunsets and sunrises. They just never, ever get old! In fact, it is amazing to me to realize that no sunset or sunrise that I’ve ever laid eyes on has been the same. God creates every single day, each rising and setting, uniquely, throughout all of history. Wow! That’s just two people’s reactions to just the sky. We’re just scratching the surface of the endless ways to marvel. Wonder, enjoyment, pleasure, happiness. We long, we question, we struggle. We want to know what it all means, or if life has meaning, and or if our lives mean anything to anyone. We chase, dream, hope, and sometimes despair. We look for fulfillment. We desire to be whole. I pose to you something to consider. I’ve hinted at it already. We were made this way—on purpose. Yes, life has meaning. Yes, that meaning can be known. Yes, joy can be yours. How? It’s the Sunday School answer my friend: Jesus. A relationship with God isn’t like some old woman saying to people, “Praise me,” as Lewis discovered. That’s how he first saw worship. Then, he was surprised to discover that God Himself is worthy of praise, and that praise itself is joy in consummation. (John Piper expounds on this much better than myself.) How stupid of us to be so enthralled by the spendor of creation, to a point of tears and smiles and gasps, yet imagine God, the mastermind behind it all, is boring and dull. If you think worshipping God is useless and boring, you just don’t know God. If sex is the pinnacle of pleasure to you, then you haven’t met Jesus like the woman at the well. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” If you think money, sucess, reputation, civil liberties, or safety are the height of treasure, you have failed to see the light of the world lying in a manger, waiting to be unwrapped in your heart, the greatest gift of joy ever given to all mankind. That’s Christmas. The wonder and excitement of the holiday season, the expectation of receiving gifts, all of that is a picture of the joy we can have through Jesus. The next time you see a beautiful sunset, and you admire it, think about the fact that you weren’t under mere obligation to do so. You just did. It was beautiful, you recognized the beauty, and praise sprang from you. He is worthy of praise and it is a delight to praise Him. He is what your heart longs for. In your hardest times, when you don’t think you can go on, “His joy is your strength.” In the best of times, we are filled with gratitude for those blessings. He’s the prisoner’s song. Whether you are experiencing a difficult time in your life, or an easy one, take joy in Christ. This is something I will also try to do more and more this upcoming year. Merry Christmas!And in one glorious moment, all eternity was shaken,As God broke through the darkness that had kept us apart.And with love that conquers loneliness, and hope that fills all emptinessHe came to earth to show our worth. So rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come! ~Steven Curtis Chapman

  • Election Integrity
    by Kelli Taylor on December 11, 2022 at 3:53 am

    To have integrity comes down to two, main components. The first is a sense of wholeness, and the second is honesty. On the first point, people who have integrity aren’t broken, divided, or two faced in their conduct and decisions. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. They operate in a consistent fashion, which aligns pretty clearly with their stated values. Systems such as ours that determine individuals for public office exhibit integrity in a similar manner, by sticking with the Constitution, congressional statutes, and values that are the basis for our legal system. If our voting polls and counting processes are to show integrity, they must operate consistently within a legal, ethical and logical framework. To the second point, if a person has integrity, they don’t live their life, run their businesses and families, make decisions, or reach goals by deceitful means or dishonest gain. Quite simply, they do things the right way or they don’t do them at all. They employ any and all faculties at their disposal that are within the boundaries of moral uprightness and legality. Again, when it comes to our voting system, the same thing applies. You don’t just do whatever the heck you want, change midstream, or say a few weeks before an election, particularly without even properly making an adjustment in a state or federal law. You don’t violate laws or the Constitution. You don’t give unfettered access to the system, either by the population, or one party. You don’t allow ballots to be mailed out en masse, or haphazardly handled or transported. You zealously guard the process, from every angle, from start to finish. Do we have election integrity? Well to use the absurd insult to my intelligence false talking point repeated hundreds of times by media, politicians, and internet hack jobs as a rebuttal to accusations of election problems in 2020, “There’s no evidence.” If you tell me the electoral system is operating with integrity, I won’t believe you. And that in itself is a sign that it doesn’t have integrity. Think about it. How many times does a person have to lie to you before you don’t trust them? How many times does a company have to swindle you before you stop trading with them? People are suspicious of elections now. They don’t trust the results. Are they stupid, blind, conspiracy theorists, or do they know a system set up to enable a false result when they see one? If things are actually skippy fine, and honesty abounds, and voters like me are just fretting because folks like Trump have gotten their danders up over nothing, it would seem to me that our society wouldn’t have a problem at least doing all that it can to assuage their unfounded doubts. I can think of a few simple basics that would help “weak minded, sheeple Trumper MAGAs” like me restore our trust in the sytem:Have an election day. One day. Yes, just one day. That’s it. Allow for only very limited absentee ballots in cases that genuinely warrant it. No more early voting and mail in ballots. Yep, that, too. I know. Take a few breaths. It will be all right. Go back to paper ballots at the polls. People don’t trust Dominion machines, and they shouldn’t.Voter ID everywhere. Only people actually eligible to vote on voter lists. Don’t let people running in a race oversee the process of making sure that race is handled correctly. Duh. Have a transparent, ethical count of ballots. And this one is particularly helpful. Punish people that commit crimes such as voter fraud, ballot tampering, etc. Not if, but when it’s obvious that results aren’t accurate, fix them. I realize trying to do the right thing afterwards is harder, which is why I advocate to make sure things are done correctly on the front side of the voting. However, our default to cheating of this magnitude shouldn’t be “there’s nothing we can do about this particular result.” As to what could or should be done in such cases, well that would take up too much room here. That’s enough subject matter for a separate discussion.This was originally the closing, but in light of recent news on the election rigging front, here’s an addition. What’s the difference between the email trail from Twitter and all of the other evidence produced regarding the election tampering? I’ll tell you: the guilty participants’ own words. That’s it. Since 2020, they have denied everything, including the censorship on Twitter, and even many conservatives have said there was no evidence, and to move on. All of a sudden, those same conservatives are giddy over Musk’s purchase and Taibbi’s threads. Conservatives, if you fit the above description, please note the inconsistency. I’m glad that the censorship and lies from the social media giant and the government are being exposed in that specific area. Hopefully, mere exposure isn’t as far as it goes. May it become one of many gateways back to protecting free speech and rectifying any issues that arose from election interference. The fix on that election was loud, bodacious, obvious, and clear. We just let them stonewall us. If only Musk could’ve purchased the DNC.

  • Why It’s Past Time to “Panic,” and What We Should Do Now Instead
    by Kelli Taylor on December 11, 2022 at 1:55 am

    A friend asked me, “When do you think it’s panic time for the country?” He was, of course, making reference to our current state of governmental, economic, and cultural affairs here in the United States. So, here’s my take on it. I’m no expert, I suppose, but I can exercise discernment. It’s past time. Panicking is never the proper action, but the idiom “time to panic” simply means that things have gotten gravely serious and out of control to a point where the natural reaction is often panic. We’ve been there for a while now. Here’s how.Injustice. Those at the top of the food chain, so to speak, seem to have suspicion and evidence of crimes surrounding them, yet nothing sticks. Do the Clintons ever get investigated, indicted, tried, and convicted? From interesting “humanitarian efforts” in Haiti, to being connected to Epstein, to involvement in the lie about Russian collusion, to the use of a private server at home to conduct government business, and the subsequent destruction of thousands of emails, etc, with zero repercussions. Yet, we have seen a new level of injustice arise in the last couple of years. Now, innocent American citizens are being targeted by our federal agencies, locked up and denied due process, and impeached on bogus charges repeatedly. We have little recourse, particularly on the federal level, as the FBI, DOJ, and courts aren’t avenues to aid us, but rather gangs to rape us of our constitutional liberties. Common sense, and a quick glance at history says, “Panic!”Lack of Election Integrity. I am writing another piece on this right now, but suffice to say, our process for electing people to public office is, at the least, in jeopardy, and at the most, overtaken by swindlers to a large enough degree to alter outcomes as the swindlers desire. A free society cannot maintain a level of freedom if its electoral system is defunct, because tyrants will continue to sit in public seats used as regal thrones. While there, they will continue to seize more and more control. It is the way of mankind. Common sense, and a quick glance at history says, “Panic!”Media Mess. The swindlers aren’t stupid. They didn’t grab our elections without also using our own media outlets to spread their propaganda. Many of us have seen those compilations from multiple, local news affiliates, the ones where they all repeat verbatim an identical talking point. It’s creepy and robotic. Punditry is not without its good points, I guess, but it has mostly been used to tell us how we should view news, rather than telling us what the news actually is. Post 2020, we’ve been told such things as “there’s no evidence” of election tampering, and that we have to get the jab or we will die. With major networks compromised, from national down to local, and social media heavily censored, our ability to share the truth with others is being more and more limited. Common sense and a quick glance at history says, “Panic!”Economic and Border Insecurity. I bundled these together because they have a connection. We simply cannot sustain the unprecedented masses of undocumented people crossing our borders. It’s suicidal for a nation, both economically, and with regards to general safety for US citizens and our country. We are seeing rising fuel costs, and price hikes on all goods. This is due to a number of factors, and certainly not limited to excessive illegal immigration, but the immigration crisis exacerbates our economic problems. Economic collapse could happen in the near future, with a coinciding push to socialism. Common sense and a quick glance at history says, “Panic!”Drugs, Crime and Sex Trafficking. These two components are also connected to illegal immigration, though not exclusively. Again, the more undocumented people that come here, and that the government buses and flies all over the nation, the worse an issue we will have. The media isn’t telling you how much drugs, criminals, and sex trafficking victims are crossing over. In fact, they deny it. Common sense and a quick glance at history says, “Panic!” Immorality. Our schools are amuck with ideologies that teach our kids complete and utter lies. Companies push these lies in their ads and branding. Folks no longer adhere to reality, and if you are one that does, you are labeled as a hateful bigot. A society that can’t admit that there are only males and females, or that babies in the womb are human beings, or that gross sexual perversions are indeed gross and perverse, is in a dark place for sure. Take it to the bank. Common sense and a quick glance at history says, “Panic!”Abandonment of God and Christian principles. Really, this one is central. Elisabeth Elliot said this, “Where there is no ‘moral gravity’—that is, no force that draws us to the center-there is spiritual weightlessness. We float on feelings that will carry us where we never meant to go; we bubble with emotional experiences that we often take for spiritual ones; and we are puffed up with pride. Instead of seriousness, there is foolishness. Instead of gravity, flippancy. Sentimentality takes the place of theology. Our reference point will never serve to keep our feet on solid rock, for our reference point, until we answer God’s call, is merely ourselves. We cannot possibly tell which end is up.” Although Elliot was directing her message to each individual reader, I think the concept still applies. Afterall, a country is made up of individuals. When the masses have forsaken truth and God and the principles that made this nation operate in a healthy, fair manner, and have embraced corruption, vice, and apathy, we are in trouble. All of the above problems already enumerated easily follow such abandonment. “Panic!”Foreign enemies/external circumstances. This can come regardless of decisions and behaviors of a nation, which is why I listed it after what I termed the central issue. However, I do see an alliance or coalition of sorts between China and the elites here in the United States. There are several examples that could be made here, both in the business sector, as well as with the Covid situation and how it was handled. “Panic!’“We’ve been suffering from and wallowing in these things for YEARS. All the red flags have been waving. Wisdom has been calling in our streets for us to come and dine with her, as scripture says, and we have ignored her. This hasn’t really snuck up on us, but watching the dusk of our grand social experiment, it sure feels like it did. People get complacent. They think things will just continue as they’ve always been. Until they don’t. Should we panic? Absolutely not. Why bother? It won’t make things better, or even make you feel better. So what should we do now? There are obvious things, and practical things, but the truth is, we’re in a mess, and there’s no easy way out. Here are some things I would see as being helpful. Sober Your Mind. We can’t be delusional about how much things have devolved. Denial is a huge part of the initial demise. Admit it. We’re in the midst of a change in how our country is defined and ran, and with that change will come hardship and difficulties, especially for those not in complete compliance. Don’t Give Up. If things are worth fighting for, the probable outcome doesn’t factor into your decision to roll up your sleeves and keep trying. Prepare. Take measures to have what you need in case of economic hardships. Love your neighbor. Give your heart to God.These aren’t action items intended to solve all our problems, but rather steps that guard your heart, mind, and soul, no matter the weather be fair, or foul. Take care.

  • Conservative CAPTCHA
    by Kelli Taylor on December 4, 2022 at 4:38 am

    Conservatives, let’s talk logistics for a few minutes. I hear us talk about messaging all the time, complaining that we’re not united and clear in our goals and course of action. That’s a great discussion to have. However, I’m taking this in a different direction. A few days ago, I opened a TruthSocial account. I decided to give it a try. Some of my friends mentioned the echo chamber experience it would be, and man were they correct! It was as if the same person had opened up tons of accounts on the same site. They were like so many of the conservative accounts on Twitter and Parler that I’ve encountered. The bios are filled with MAGA derivatives, Trump, 2A praise, etc. Their personal walls are lined with the same dozen or so articles trending on the same handful of issues like Maricopa County results, the continued saga over Trump’s taxes, and Hunter Biden’s laptop. Scrolling through it all is like listening to the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher. Now, there’s explanation for this, and it isn’t all negative. Conservatives want to be unified and know we have to be strong and united to make any progress. That’s a good thing. Conservatives also know that most media is suppressing the truth, so they make a strong attempt to echo the truth about these important issues as loud and as often as possible. That’s also good. Yet, the robotic, repetitive nature we have acquired is failing to hit the mark. Might I make a suggestion? Show your individuality. Get off the train. We’re not the circus the Left paints us to be in their own minds. We are human beings that recognize problems in this country that we want to work on. I know that there are some that either prefer or by necessity have to remain anonymous. Even those accounts can mingle their owner’s traits, hobbies, and experiences into the mixture. Don’t just pick a stock photo. For instance, I’m an Alabama fan, so if I were to be anonymous, I might choose a profile picture that reflected that part of me. Also, choose a username that doesn’t sound like stereotypical MAGA speak. Let it mirror who you are in some way. Whether anonymous or not, don’t JUST post political stuff. Include recipes you love, photographs of beautiful scenery, movie or book quotes that inspire you, or a funny joke you heard. For all of its issues, Facebook was better at this type account, probably due to friend lists consisting of your real friends, coworkers, clasmates, and family members. You just naturally open up and get more personal. The “corner of Parler” I’m in also fosters more personable engagement. In fact, from being on there since December of 2019, one thing that has really stood out to me is how much my appreciation and admiration has grown for my fellow Americans that are spread out across the country. Many like myself talk politics and news, but we also share many other parts of our lives. Look, the whole MAGA movement has become cultish for many people. For others, it might not be that in actuality, but the way they present themselves to everyone gives that impression. If your entire identity online is MAGA, you might not realize how that affects your ability to make an impact, but it often does, even to other conservatives. If you just want to attract other Trump supporters and toot each other’s horns, then I guess it’s a productive tactic. However, if you genuinely want to reform your country and purge corruption and reach people out there in internet land that don’t see things as clearly as you do on some of these important matters, then you’re going to need to branch out some. I’m conservative. I supported President Trump in 2016 and 2020, and I still do. I’m not a part of the numbers wanting to dismiss him. I know election integrity is grossly compromised, and so on. I voice my thoughts on all of this pretty regularly, but I engage on far more topics of discussion than this. I don’t feel the need to validate my “allegiance” to Trump every breath I take. I’m not afraid that making any criticism of him takes away my Team Trump badge. I don’t think Trump is our only means to make things better.Conservatives, we are composed of hardworking, creative, resilient citizens that honor principles like honesty, integrity, service, and freedom. We want to be united in purpose. What we sometimes don’t realize, though, is unity isn’t conformity to a certain mold. You don’t have to jump on a train or wear certain gear or use certain hashtags to fit in. The more that we shine as unique people, committed to helping anyway that we can in our own little way, while maintaining our authenticity, the better.