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The Daily Planet’s Opinion: June 2016
Monday, 06 June 2016 11:29

To tow, or not to tow.....

It is truly a sad state of affairs when a disabled woman, involved in a car accident in Asheville, is refused service by a tow truck driver — simply because of her political stance. 

Specifically, Ken Shupe, who says he is a conservative and a Christian,  decided not to do the towing job on May 2 because he noticed Cassandra McWade had Bernie Sanders’ political signs on her Toyota Camry.

Suffice it to say, the story went viral and has prompted discussions about yet another manifestation of discrimination. This incident involved discrimination on a political basis, in a time when the public debate in North Carolina (at least) is raging over HB2 and gender-bias in the bathrooms and showers — as well as in other facets of society. And that’s not to mention the debate over race and religion.

Shupe said later that he did not know McWade had disabilities, but noted “there’s a huge difference between being disabled and drawing disabilities.” He also said that if he had known about her disabilities, he still would not have towed her car, but would have waited with her for another service to arrive.

Through his actions (or lack thereof), Shupe, in our view, was being neither a true conservative, nor a Christian — and he is, in fact, bringing discredit to both groups.

A real conservative, as with a real liberal, respects others’ belief systems and gladly offers help to those who are helpless and in true need. And, as for being a Christian, Jesus certainly was known for helping the outcasts and unfortunates. 

Indeed, the outrage that this incident sparked brings at least a measure of credit to the rest of humanity — and for that, we are encouraged.

The Candid Conservative: There is normal
Monday, 06 June 2016 11:23
Special to the Daily Planet

“The next generation of Saints will be those who can be normal in an abnormal world.”

Vatican Priest

The problem

Bet you don’t know many Baptists who own a Catholic Church.

 The Church of the Little Flower rests in the middle of Madison County. Acquired from the Charlotte Diocese some 20 years ago, the plan was to turn the church into a family getaway.

The rich history of this 1931 Jesuit- grounded source of outreach merited a future, so restoration became the new plan. Current responsibilities seem to be just keeping it alive until someone better comes along.

 Out of this experience came the opportunity to visit the Vatican with my then-12-year-old son. At one point, we were about 30 feet away from Pope Paul – an impressive guy even in a feeble state.  By far the best moment was a two-hour dinner with a Vatican insider who spoke seven languages. In my language, he shared a standout insight, “The first saints were martyrs. The second group was made-up of great teachers, leaders and healers. The last generation of saints will simply be those who can be normal in an abnormal world.”

 This month I would like to talk about how one might best purchase a seat on that last Saint train. That journey requires attention to one’s head, heart, body, and spirit. Here’s a boarding pass.

Fix your head

 Ask most people what they want more than anything in the world and odds are some version of “peace of mind’ will be a part of the answer. In our very prosperous world, mental serenity has ironically become quite rare.

 We think too much. We think too much because thinking too much is easier than acting – because technology hyper-stimulates our brains – because we’re inaccurately taught that thought is the answer to all things – and because thinking is addictive. All that nonsense leads to brains stuck on overdrive.

 The signs are everywhere. We have trouble sleeping, relaxing and enjoying. We’re quick to judge, anger, criticize or over-react.  We go to bed thinking, wake up thinking, and take prescribed and non-prescribed drugs to – more than anything – stop us from thinking.

 Our brains are like car motors – they’re not designed to run all the time. Idle, slow, fast, and off are all necessary to good brain function.

 Brain management is a skill that – like all skills – requires practice. Running our brain instead of having it run us begins with the term mindfulness. That concept can be reduced to the idea of just being in the moment and letting go of what’s behind and in front. When we pull ourselves into the precious present our brain naturally slows down.   

 Saints-in-training need to be as good at turning their brain off as turning it on. A broken switch is the human equivalent of a jammed accelerator – and leads to the same outcome.

Love your heart

 The fact we have brain cells in our heart may explain why emotion seems to originate from the chest. It’s not technically true, but to the extent emotions are more of a feeling thing than a thinking thing, having an imagined treasure chest in our heart works out quite nicely.

God gave us a rainbow of emotions. He knew that in a crazy world, we’d need them all of them.  Emotions are neither right or wrong or good or bad – that determination is made in how we turn them to action.


For example, anger, shame, fear and jealousy are emotions that should be treated like hot sauce. There may be times when a dash or two is appropriate, but overuse will burn you up. Again, like hot sauce, these emotions are addictive. The more we give in, the more we want to give in.


Ironically, happiness is the emotion that causes the most trouble. In fact, the pursuit of happiness is our biggest addiction and accounts for most other addictions.


Happiness is an emotion that can never be pursued directly. It’s intended to be a byproduct of something else. People who work, contribute, worship, love, grow, learn, and the like are often thus the beneficiaries of happiness.


A good heart requires listening to our emotional reactions to life events and actually feeling what comes up. Suppressing or otherwise running from emotion allows accumulation and that leads to all sorts of bad things.


The key to emotional health is control what you do with your feelings, not whether you have them or not. That’s important because the mind is the source of intelligence – adding the mind to the heart is the source of wisdom.


Take care of your body

We only get one, but per the way we abuse ourselves you’d never know it. We’re drinking and eating too much at the same time we’re exercising and sleeping too little. To keep the mess in check we’re taking prescription drugs for depression and getting high on other stuff for relief.  


 Take a trip over to Mission Hospital and talk with the staff there. The honest ones will tell you that the place is exhausted. Behind all that shiny new construction is a hospital that’s chronically understaffed, over-utilized and abused. The numbers of addicted, obese and other lifestyle-damaged people coming in those doors for time out is amazing – and many of the worst get their mini-vacation for free.  


 If our body quits working, so does the other stuff. Thankfully, God built a ton of resilience into the human anatomy. Making even a marginal effort to patrol one’s health can pay big dividends.


Start by moving! Activity is the best medicine you can give your body – period.


In a hyper-medicated America, a med check is another good idea. Most drugs chase symptoms, not problems. Most of those symptoms are our body’s way of telling us to clean up our act. Making warnings go away with pills is like taking a morphine for cancer and thinking we’re cured.


Yes – you are what you eat. Bad food is okay sometimes, but eating patterns are a crucial factor in how many minutes we get on the planet. Portion control is the number one key to dietary success.


We’re stuck with a simple truism – everything requires preventive maintenance – including the container we live in.


Take a spirited approach

Through thousands of years and billions of lives, the value of spiritual investment has been persistently affirmed. Today’s American culture seems to think we’re smarter, stronger, better, and more realistic than our predecessors.


We’ve really just swapped worshipping a heavenly deity for earthly ones.


As a psychologist and a Christian, I believe two things are true. One – if people followed the 10 Commandments, I would be out of business. Two – those who have a spiritual faith do better with their worries and woes than those who don’t.


It’s not for me to stuff my values into anybody’s head, but I can suggest it’s smart to have a functional concept of where we came from; where we are going when we leave here; and what we should be doing while we are here.


No matter where one puts their trust – the things of man or the things of God – both require a leap of faith. If the track record of modern man resonates more than two thousand plus years of history, then go for it.  Personal experience is that man has a disturbing tendency to step on his own wee-wee. I’ll stick with higher authority and the wisdom of the ages.


We need more saints

We live in a time when it’s considered loving to legally command free-range bathroom access for the gender confused; when government is successfully buying loyalty with the promise of free stuff; when most people find life so miserable they routinely ingest legal or illegal drugs to compensate; when men are being raised to be immature little boys anxious to use and abuse equally immature women raised to be sex toys; when we sacrifice the socio-economic future of our children and grandchildren so we Baby-Boomers can party on; when up is down, left is right, and good is bad; when…well you know.


In such a time, we can use all the saints we can get. Per my friend in Rome, it’s not really that hard. Just work to be normal. Find that Goldilocks place between too hot and too cold and strive to stay there. It’s doable – an in an increasingly crazy world, increasingly crucial….


Thanks for spending a few minutes with a candid conservative!


 Carl Mumpower is a psychologist and former elected official. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .







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