Blunted from overuse

By now it should be obvious that the charge of ‘racism’ is as likely to mean someone had the audacity to stand up to the Left than it is to mean someone is genuinely bigoted.  Case in point: there is a good argument to be made that Senator Durbin’s now-challenged accusation that President Trump referred to certain places in the world as “s***holes” was merely a setup so that the president could perform public penance by passing a DACA compromise acceptable to the Democrats.

Painting Trump as an unrepentant racist requires rewriting history, though:

2000: Trump declines to run as a Reform Party candidate.  In explaining why, he said  “The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” he said in his statement. “This is not company I wish to keep.”  ((For the record, I think charges of “neo-Nazism” against Buchanan have always been overblown, but that’s beside the point here.  — Jemison))

1998 VIDEO: Jesse Jackson praises Trump for a “lifetime of service to African-Americans.”

1997: Trump praised in the Wall Street Journal for opening Mar-a-Lago Club to African-Americans and Jews, a move opposed by other Palm Beach clubs at the time.

1986: Trump receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor, alongside Rosa Parks and others

Senator Rand Paul has pointed out that Trump funded one of his medical mission trips to Haiti, where the erstwhile optometrist restored vision for more than 200 Haitians.  It’s worth noting he mentioned this in partial defense of the president despite a generally bumpy political relationship with Trump.  And it’s worth noting at least one relative of Dr. Martin Luther King thinks Trump is a friend to African-Americans.

Illegal and chain immigration hurts the black community as much, or more, than anyone else.  Trump may be boastful and a loudmouth.  But it seems he’s genuinely trying to make the American Dream possible again, without regard for grievance politics.  If he can blast through the withering public sniping and achieve increased opportunity for all, he’ll have shown conclusively that crying “raciss!” is simply the last refuge of a Left that has nothing else substantive to offer.

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Swamps, RINOs and Trump

Many in the press hope they see a big story developing: a Republican “civil war” between those aligned with the president or Steve Bannon and the “establishment” GOP.  But as one outlet has already realized, the momentum is with the president:

Traditional Republicans fancying the cracks in their party as an opening to primary President Trump in 2020 need to deal with one inconvenient fact: Republican voters aren’t interested.

The brawl for dominance in the Republican Party is certainly remarkable. Former President George W. Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the chairmen of two top Senate committees; and now Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; all have sharply rebuked Trump, questioning his fitness, integrity, and moral authority.

But their resistance, though hardly isolated, is missing one crucial element: a significant measure of enthusiasm from Republican voters. That’s a weak foundation from which to pursue a challenge to the renomination of a sitting president.

Why is Trump’s base willing to overlook his unorthodox presidential behavior? Here the article nails it:

…where Trump’s Republican opposition sees a dangerous political provocateur, the GOP base sees a fighter who is defending them and their values — against the cultural oppression of the liberal elites in New York and Hollywood and against a political establishment in Washington that bends the rules for everyone but them.

Trump’s coalition includes true conservatives (as opposed to the think-tank faux conservatives in D.C.) and blue-collar Democrats who are tired of seeing everything and everyone put ahead of the needs of honest Americans.  The “have you no decency” outrage from the GOP establishment is easily ignored when one remembers how often they have failed to keep their promises to the voters (Obamacare repeal?  Immigration enforcement?  Tax and regulation relief?).  The problem with most Republican members of Congress is they are “Republican In Name Only (RINO).”  The Tea Party movement was a “civil” attempt to protest this repeated betrayal, and the bi-factional ruling party attacked it — the Republicans by painting it unfairly as racist, and the Democrats by illegally unleashing the IRS and other government agencies on the various groups.  In the latter case, no accountability has been forthcoming against Lois Lerner and her helpers, either.

Is it any wonder a large part of the voting population now wants to burn the establishment to the ground?

Not only has the administration outlasted the Democrats’ frantic efforts to delegitimize it, the shoe is rapidly moving to the other foot as:

These stories are far more important than the manufactured distraction over presidential condolence calls to Gold Star families. Those who care about America should not allow the topic du jour to “move on” from them.

The real fight now is not over the survival of the Trump administration (even the NYT admits “he’s not going anywhere“). It’s over whether he will have a more cooperative Congress to deal with after 2018.  Steve Bannon is rallying insurgent candidates* across the country, and even sitting Senators are reading the tea leaves (finally).  The election of Trump represented a bursting point of extreme voter dissatisfaction with business as usual.  “Civil” didn’t get voters anywhere, so they went with the bull in the china shop. Whether that voter anger and focus can be maintained through the next election cycle is the question of the decade.  If it is, the Trump victory in 2016 will be seen not as a fluke, but as a pivotal moment in American politics when the Swamp was finally confronted head on.

* While Bannon rallies Republican insurgents with name recognition, there are also complete outsiders like Tony Monetti in Missouri, who is challenging established Republican candidates in the primary to run against vulnerable Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.  Be sure to pay attention to ALL the candidates in the races for which you can vote.

Never forget September 11, 2001

Sixteen years.  That’s how long it’s been since the worst terrorist attack in American history.  A total of 2,996 people dead or never accounted for.  Symbols of American power struck without warning: both World Trade center towers and the Pentagon.  The actions of informed passengers on a fourth plane likely averted a strike on the White House or Congress.

An entire generation had horrifying visions of previously unimaginable events happening in their own nation, with memories firmly etched into their minds.

They say time heals all wounds. And for the families of those lost that day I hope there is some measure of truth in it. But there is a flip side: such events fade in the public consciousness, such that they no longer inform or shape how the nation acts. To quote the opening of the movie “The Fellowship of the Ring,”

“…some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth…” (click “continue reading” below to continue)

Continue reading

Quote of the day

“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.”  – George Orwell, 1984

Whatever you may think about the appropriateness of removing statues of former Confederate figures, one thing is certain: it will not stop there.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are complex characters, not simple cardboard cutout “racists.”  In today’s climate, though, careful consideration of both virtues and vices is frowned upon.  We are pressed to judge historical characters not by the context of their times, but by how they measure up to current political emotionss.  And so we have reached Shakespeare’s observation through Mark Antony in Julius Caesar: 

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

Caesar, rather than the wealthy, aristocratic Roman Senate, had populist support.  (Sound familiar?)  So was it out of patriotism or jealousy that the Senate acted?  It’s a fair question to ask those today who see our current President as Caesar, and dream of removing him, violently if necessary.

Whether Caesar should have been killed by the Roman Senate can be debated, but one thing history makes clear: after that milestone and the civil war that followed, the Republic clearly was dead.

What we are watching today is the disavowal and erasure of the historical foundations of the American republic.  It’s been a long process over the last half century, but those who want to see it done sense victory and are accelerating their efforts.  They may need to be more careful what they wish for.

Distract and demolish?

While CNN (and many of its fellow travelers) are now caught up in the fact the network essentially threatened to “out” a citizen for exercising free speech, the Trump administration continues to make at least American history great again:

President Trump donated the first quarter of his presidential salary (to the Antietam Battlefield National Park) in early April, totaling $78,333.  The Interior Department said that after Trump donated his salary to the National Park Service, anonymous donors sent money for the agency to use in preserving the nation’s historic parks, which are suffering from a $12 billion maintenance backlog.

On top of this, Trump has reduced White House spending:

There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.  Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).

The pattern in all of this seems to be that Trump’s seemingly random social media messages are keeping the corporate media in a state of apoplexy while his administration actually has the nerve to do some of the things he promised to do:

Trump scares the media, makes them angry, and distracts them. Meanwhile, quietly he moves from accomplishment to accomplishment. Downsizing the State department and EPA. Getting most of his travel ban enacted. Illegal immigration is down significantly. Exited TPP and the Paris accords. Hiring freeze on federal employees. Revocation of DAPA. Border wall prototypes being built. Handcuffs removed from ICE. Supporting apprenticeships. Reestablishing the Space Council. Establishing an American Technology Council. Establishing the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. Implementing a strategy for “America First” offshore oil drilling. Reducing federal power and increasing local power over education. Revocation of multiple executive orders written by Barack Obama. Directed EPA to revoke “Waters of the United States” regulation (the one that extended federal control of waterways to include non-navigable waterways such as irrigation ditches, flood ponds, and puddles). Revoked Obama’s Social Security gun ban. Revoked DoE Title IX guidelines. Banned administration officials from lobbying their federal agencies for five years, as well as banning them for life from lobbying foreign nations and political parties.

This is only a partial list. And while this has been happening the MSM has been focused on fake Russian collusion and his tweets and his trolling.

I believe that these are effective tactics supporting a long term strategy, and that it is working.

Several of the accomplishments above took considerable time and coordination.  Many of Trump’s choices for key positions seemed solid when first announced (It doesn’t get any better than General James Mattis for SecDef).  If it turns out that he put principled, capable people in charge of executing his promised agenda, then provided top cover by keeping the corporate media focused on him personally rather than what his administration was doing, it’s possible he might go down as one of our more accomplished presidents.  Despite the cringe-inducing antics at times, it seems the president may understand how to navigate and negate our current media-saturated environment better than any Republican president since at least Reagan — if not earlier.

Here’s hoping there truly is a method behind the madness.

Reaping what’s been sown

A friend recently wrote in a conversation we were having that “Trump is simultaneously the worst thing we could do and absolutely the best outcome we deserve.”  I think he’s on to something there.  Or, as another writer put it (links below added by me):

The truth of the matter is that America is finally under the judgment of God. Our nation has been given over to what it wants. America is under a deluding influence. Such a deleterious condition cannot be remedied with better and more aggressive public policy arguments. The Scripture teaches that people can go so far in their sin that God finally removes His hand of restraint upon them and finally gives them over to what they want to do. …

Why do I believe that America is now at this delicate tipping point? Largely, it is because of the meteoric rise of a person like Donald Trump in American politics. The man is a moral and verbal sewer. He has no political resume. Rather, his campaign has been buoyed by empty promises devoid of any real substance or meaningful content. He merely repeats mantras that the voters want to hear similar to the types of statements that Barack Obama gave us back in 2008. … This type of rhetoric seems more akin to that of a used car salesman rather than that of a serious presidential contender.  …

The fact that all the evidence indicates that Trump throughout the course of his entire life really never believed all of the conservative positions that he now supposedly holds is really of no consequence to people. …

Further evidence of God withdrawing his hand from America might also be found in the recent deaths of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Theologian Dr. Charles Ryrie. Both of these men were similar in their ambition to honor authorial intent. They were both giants and sources of great spiritual light in their respective fields. What Scalia was to the field of Constitutional interpretation, Ryrie was to the field of biblical theology. Yet, within the span of a few days, as both men passed, these lights to the culture were removed by the hand of God.

My friend made an interesting analogy to the book of Judges, which details the descent of ancient Israel into increasing disobedience and hard-heartedness towards God’s law.  God rescues Israel multiple times from oppression and disaster, but the character of the judges He raises as His instruments declines steadily over time (a reflection of the loss of the nation’s character).  Just before the story of rebellious Samson (a seriously lapsed Nazarite and a horrible judge of women), we encounter the story of Jephthah.   My friend proposed in his comments that “If Reagan was Gideon Trump is Jepthath.” 

If he’s correct, may God have mercy on us.  For if our trajectory parallels that of Israel, we are destined soon for captivity and worse.  I do not know whether Trump can provide the temporary reprieve for America that so many seriously flawed judges did for Israel.  I have serious doubts he can, and even if he succeeds in some material relief he will be a spiritual disaster.  The story of those judges, though, are a reminder that God can use the most unlikely of people to accomplish His purposes.  That does not absolve the faithful of looking for spiritual character in our leaders, but it might be a hopeful thought in this time when so few seem to have any.  We also need to be reminded from time to time of our Lord’s warning that “not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Far too many of our politicians — sadly, now including The Donald — profess a publicly convenient faith when their lives show no evidence of the fruit of such a relationship.

I’ve said it before and will continue to say it: I don’t know where all this is going, but I strongly suspect we won’t like the destination.  We have lost discernment as a people, and that includes inviting ever-larger numbers of people to our land who are actively hostile to the faith of our fathers.  This is a time-tested recipe for conflict.  As the Philistines were first emulated by Israel and then enslaved them, our importation into the West of millions of Muslims may result in the same fate.

If ever there was a time for a people to humble themselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, it is us, and it is now.  There is much we need to repent of, individually and as a people.  And as we watch the rise of people like Trump the Con Man, Clinton the Crooked and Sanders the Commie, it’s enough to make me wonder if God feels towards us the exasperation He once expressed to Jeremiah:

“As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?”

Dear reader, are you ready for the storm?  We’ve sown the wind for far too long, and are on the verge of reaping the whirlwind.  Just remember, no matter what happens, ‘the journey does not end here.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Confronting reality

This is a longer-than-usual post.  Only read if you have time to think (not emote) it through.  Much time has gone into synthesizing my thoughts on the topic (hence the dearth of posts lately)

I’ll give Donald Trump this: he knows how to get people talking.  Unfortunately, most of what I’ve been reading online (while not having much time to blog) has been pure emotional reaction and not careful consideration.

If we, as a people, are to set good, solid policy that will “secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity,” we must rise above gut reactions and soberly assess the regrettable environment in which we find ourselves.  I’ve already stated on this blog that I find Trump personally distasteful.  He is not what I envision when I imagine ‘presidential,’ with one important exception: he does not fear the backlash from saying what he thinks.  If only more of our alleged ‘leaders’ (who, in truth, are mere followers of what certain chattering classes have deemed ‘acceptable’) would do the same.  Our political ‘elite’ has yet to get the fact that this one element alone accounts for most of Trump’s popularity.

But I’m not writing today to blog about Trump the man.  I’m writing about some of the things he’s said, and it’s high time Americans learn to separate the two.  Failing to do so has already turned this election cycle into one long fallacy of ad hominem appeals.  That’s not how you arrive at informed judgments.

So here we go: The Donald has proposed that we ban immigration by Muslims and/or from Muslim countries until we can get a handle on the jihadist problem.  Naturally, half or more of the electorate immediately shrieked “Hitler!” (has there ever been a more rapid example of Godwin’s Law?) and started quoting Martin Niemöller.   This is what’s known as ‘false equivalency.’  Preventing a foreign group of people from immigrating TO your country is undeniably NOT the same thing as rounding up a group of people already IN your country and sending them to gas chambers.  So get off the fainting couches, folks.

“But… but… that’s discrimination!”  the shrinking violets protest.  So is ANY limitation on immigration, since that means some people are allowed to come and others are not.  Let’s get to the heart of the issue, then: is there an automatic, inviolable right for anyone in the world to be able to move to the United States?  If you say yes, then you might as well leave your house unlocked every day and open so anyone whose economic condition is not as good as yours can move right in.  Otherwise, I call hypocrisy.  Claiming a nation has no right to secure its borders and bar entry has economic and social consequences every bit as much as claiming families have no right to secure their home and property.  The consequences of the former take longer to manifest, but 50 years after the Immigration Act of 1965 it should be apparent to anyone with a clear head that these consequences are already occurring.

“But… but… you can’t discriminate against Islam, because it’s a religion of peace!”  Like hell it is (and I mean that in the most literal sense).  There are individual Muslims who may be peaceful (I’ve met–even befriended–a number), but Islamic civilization and society is one a long, sad history of repression, regression and violence against outsiders.  Historically, there is no denying that when Islam is allowed to take root in a new land, it provides a growth medium in which extremism and jihad flourishes until that land is under submission to the same misery as the rest of the Dar-al-Islam.  Therein lies the problem: individual Muslims may not pose a threat, but Islam itself does.  We don’t have to like that fact any more than we like the other imperfections of this world.  We DO have to confront it, though.  As a system Islam does not seek to coexist; as soon as it is in a position to do so (say, through mass migration of its adherents…), it seeks to dominate.  Our nation’s early leaders were far more clearheaded about the incompatibility of this militant cult with Western Civilization:

Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus.  (John Quincy Adams, 1830)

“But… but… it’s unconstitutional to single out a specific group and refuse them entry!”  Thus does ignorance blather on yet again.  First of all, the Constitution and its protections apply to citizens of the United States, NOT to the entire world (unless people are suggesting we are responsible for all of humanity at all times and places.  Ready to take on that burden?).  In our historically generous spirit, prompted by the influence of Christ on our society’s development, we do seek to treat even foreigners according to the general principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  That’s all well and good.  But what happens when allowing the “pursuit of happiness” by foreigners directly threatens the “life and liberty” of those already in America?  Our government cannot and should not be neutral in such instances: its first duty is to its own people and their descendants (the machinations of traitorous globalists notwithstanding).  We used to understand this, which is why we didn’t allow unrestricted immigration from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan at the same time we were at war with their societies, and why (Democrat) President Jimmy Carter barred travel to the U.S. by Iranians after their new (Islamic fundamentalist) regime became fond of the phrase “death to America.”

“But… but… Trump’s also proposed rounding up Muslims in the U.S., like we did the Japanese.”  He’s done no such thing.  Trump is but the blowhard center of a raging national conversation that, frankly, is long overdue.  Those around him sometimes seek to add or subtract their own agendas.  For instance, it was a reporter, not Trump, who suggested a Muslim-American database.  You can legitimately choose to criticize Trump for not dismissing the notion, and for some serious ambiguity in his follow-on communication, but it was not his talking point to start with.  As for his comment that we need to look at mosques very, very carefully, events in France should suffice to show the man has a solid point.

To sum up, there are a large number of Americans who believe we should continue to allow the immigration of large numbers of people whose social system has historically been highly problematic, and that once in the U.S. we have to treat them with kid gloves and not keep an eye on their community.  This is simply a national suicide wish painted over with a veneer of humanitarianism.

But I ask you this: which is more humane… to stop the continued mass immigration in the first place, or to allow it to reach a point where Americans may one day beg not just for databases but for the wholesale roundup and violent removal of that community (as was done with the Japanese)?  The former option causes inconvenience and hurt feelings; the latter is a road we don’t want to go down as a nation.  So why continue a status quo that leads that direction?  As for the Syrian refugees, the excuse everyone wants to use to prop the door open for everyone, would it not be equally humane to carve out a safe place for them to live in their own homeland?  How many of those touting their plight so earnestly would be willing to join the military and be the boots on the ground in the Middle East to protect them?  …That’s what I thought.  Since we know ISIS and others intend to take advantage of our open doors, exactly how many dead Americans is this utopianist posturing worth to you?

You see, ultimately a lot my take on this is influenced by my time in the military (at least I admit and try to control for my biases).  I spent an inordinate amount of time away from my family after 9/11 under the idea that we would fight Islamic extremism “over there” so we wouldn’t have to fight it “over here.”  How’d that work out for us?  If America submits to the “we are the world” utopian impulse that allows our nation to be overrun with immigrants not just from the Middle East, but from many places whose culture and norms are incompatible with our historic form of society, it owes an apology to every servicemember who died trying to keep the nation both independent and secure.

You want to “thank me for my service?”  CLOSE THE FREAKING BORDER.  And if you want to ensure nobody calls it discriminatory, here’s a suggestion: STOP LETTING ANYBODY IN.  (Maybe there’d be more jobs for Americans, then.)  Be serious about confronting the problems, or stop complaining when a jihadist shoots up a neighborhood, or mass immigration continues to cause American workers’ wages to plummet.

We’ve got enough problems here already.  We don’t need to import more.  My biggest concern about Trump is that he’s a harbinger.  You don’t have to like the messenger (I don’t), but the message cannot be ignored, unpleasant as facing reality is.  Most importantly, if our ‘leaders’ don’t figure this out soon, the next standard bearer for these concerns may be the actual devil that people currently want to cast Trump as.  If our ‘leaders’ want to reduce the growing nationalist sentiment, then it’s high time they take care of the nation.  The longer we put our heads in the sand about the world we now live in, the worse it will be in the very near future.

Civil and profitable discussion is welcome in the comments.