I can say more about Melissa. She was my friend. She encouraged me to write over a year ago now, and kept urging me to set up this very website. She would share her personal interests and I would share mine. She was concerned. She was available at all hours and would have and receive advice well, offering far better than she ever received from me. She considered herself an atheist, and when we first discussed religion, I am a Christian, it was awkward for no more than a few minutes. Despite her strong views on religion, she was not only accepting but embraced those with differing views and she taught me that atheist does NOT mean unaccepting. In fact she taught me much more about acceptance than I ever could have taught her. She was my first friend who had such strong feelings about her atheism, and yet who befriended me and encouraged me to write.
Because of her and a few others, I launched this website a little more than a year ago. It’s been successful, after much trial and error, beyond my wildest dreams. It’s read on all 6 populated continents daily, and being read 24 hours a day. Thousands read each week and likely more than a quarter million this year. Ironically, the most popular article on these pages has a strong religious tone to it, “My Gun Story,” a fiction piece introducing my 11 year old character Lisa grilling her pastor, Reverend Sara, and putting her in her place while professing her own faith in an anti-war/weapon message has had over 16,000 readers alone. I now publish at two pages for Examiner.com (Hartford Government Examiner and New Haven American Culture Examiner) and one other website. I, now have one fanpage and two pages at Facebook now that have nearly 5,000 followers. And just this past week I reserved the domain name unabashedleft.com for this writing project. Because of this project and my main mission, which is to advance the cause of liberalism and progressivism, but growing to understand that I can’t do this without recognizing that it is my own set of values based on my own Christianity which has led me to beginning as a graduate student in the M.A. program at Hartford Seminary where I now work part time as well. None of this would have happened without the support, encouragement and advice of a handful of people such as the wonderful Melissa Hayes more than a year ago. I can say Isabella Stone, Becky Riley, and Sally Marx were very supportive and encouraging. Without them this project wouldn’t have happened. Melissa belongs at the very top of that list being the strongest political person in that group, along with Becky. I so admired what they were accomplishing online that I viewed them both as role models and mentors. Becky still is, even as Melissa’s voice has been silenced at this point.
Melissa was empathetic to the poor, the meek, an advocate for justice, racial and ethnic equality, gender and sexual preference equality, and a tireless advocate for peace. She was literate, intelligent, intellectual, and yet understood how to get her message across to all.
I’ll let Melissa’s list of favorite quotations speak for her own personal views and her wide ranging sources for her deeply held convictions:
"A promise is a comfort to a fool" ~ Gregory Isaacs
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true" ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“I do not purport to know where ignorant men are sure” ~ Clarence Darrow
“I will let no man drag me so low as to make me hate him” ~ Booker T. Washington
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" ~ Voltaire
"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives" ~ John Stuart Mill
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" ~ Christopher Hitchens
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” ~ MLK
"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe" ~ Carl Sagan
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation of church and state” ~ Thomas Jefferson
“Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of Religion, that we shall discover Truth, Reason, and Morality. Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from the remedies which nature prescribes; far from curing, it only aggravates, multiplies, and perpetuates them” ~ Baron D’Holbach
"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of... Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all" ~ Thomas Paine
Among the people Melissa admired were Mahatma Gandhi, RFK, MLK, and FDR. She described herself as:
“A political junky, in love with my country and the diversity of its people… Passionately!
I enjoy listening to progressive talk radio, my favorites are Alan Colmes, Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz.
Shout-Outs to all my GI's and Devil-Dogs! ♥
I am independent and athletic. I enjoy dancing and all forms of music. I don’t drink or do drugs but I won't judge you if you do.
Just here kicking it around and having fun doing it... I love to laugh and have a good time, I take pleasure in meeting interesting people. I enjoy running my dogs in the park, going to the gym, shopping, shows, casinos, shopping, reading and night life… did I mention shopping?
*Disclaimer* I dislike racists, bigots and homophobes. I have a razor sharp tongue with rude people, so please be civil. I believe it’s nice to be nice.
Just me being real, being me...”
The photos accompanying this article are of the extraordinarily beautiful (inside and out) Ginger Snaps. What a sweet cookie she was. The posters are ones that Melissa particularly liked and give an indication of her passion for politics, her insight and her humor. The songs accompanying this article are Imagine by John Winston Ono Lennon, which reminds me exactly of the values Melissa personified. And the second is “God” by Mr. Lennon in deference to her own atheist views, which John shared with her for much of his life. Diversity is a wondrous thing to celebrate, and both John and Melissa taught me this. I salute all atheists and agnostics and all people. So I offer John’s anthem. Tomorrow would have been Mr. Lennon’s 71st birthday had he not been killed by handgun almost 31 years ago at the tender age of 40. In speaking with Melissa’s cousin Lisa last evening, Lisa said that she and most of her family were believers in God. I told Lisa of my own view that despite Melissa’s beliefs, my own is that she is in the embrace of a continuing life which has been transformed into something more glorious than we can imagine. So, one last time Melissa, I disagree but I respect your opinion. ;o)
In the saddest of ironies, since she just recently moved and transplanted her life to be closer to her loved ones in Nebraska and because two funerals are necessary for one family facing these huge losses, the financial burden has become problematic. The last thing single Mom Lisa and Melissa and Rob’s whole family need at this difficult time (sadly, Rob’s twin brother died not too long ago also) is the distraction of financial concerns and the possibility of not being able to provide a memorable memorial. Especially considering how hard and effectively Melissa worked for those less fortunate financially herself, and how much Rob contributed financially to Lisa’s family. But out of difficulties and challenges come opportunities. And your opportunity today is to assist someone of rare beauty, with the same cause as you if you read my stuff, and to aid Melissa’s family in their direst moment of need. And with each donation, what is given is way more than financial assistance. It’s the knowledge that there are people like us out here who love unconditionally and act upon that basis, as Melissa and Rob did. And the knowledge for her family that Melissa touched so many of us in so many wonderful and beautiful ways. Please call the Hoffman Funeral Home in Omaha to donate at 402-391-3900 or click their link below. Thank you and for those who are believers please pray for the family and for those who don’t please keep them in your hopes and send whatever energy you can their way, and to all, donate if you possibly can.
I loved you. I love you. I will love you.
Goodbye Ms. Ginger Snaps.
Please donate today.
Phonecalls to the funeral home should get you instructions, and a check via snail mail specified for the account of Lisa DeArmon for Melissa Hayes and Robby DeArmon's expenses should do the job as well. The phone number for the funeral home is: 402-391-3900 and the ground mail addy is
Heafy, Heafy, Hoffman, Dvorak, and Cutler
7805 West Center Rd.
Or feel free to call me, Steve Alexander at 203-909-3592 and I will try to help out. I just spoke with Lisa DeArmon this afternoon, Sunday October 9th, and it's her hardest day so far emotionally, and now she's not only caring for her 3 kids, but Robs as well as trying to make these funeral arrangements. OMG! PLEASE HELP!