On the edge

Today’s shooting at Republican Congressmen practicing for a baseball game is but the latest (and possibly most worrisome) example of ever-more violent rhetoric leading to more violent action.  Our entire nation needs to take a deep breath and look hard at the road we’ve been traveling to this point.

Nearly a quarter century ago, shortly after Supreme Court Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the Senate, PBS pundit Julianne Malveaux infamously said on air ““You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.”  A number of people on both sides of the aisle considered this sort of statement to be well beyond the pale.

How far we’ve fallen.

Politics has long borrowed military language: campaign, objective, tactic and so forth.  It used to be understood these were metaphors.  Then Sarah Palin put out a campaign graphic putting “crosshair” targets on key districts in the election.  The Left went melodramatically berserk over her “eliminationist” message, trying to pin the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Palin’s activity.  (For the record, Gifford’s shooter turned out not to be a ‘right-winger,’ but rather, a mentally unstable person who had a bizarre fixation on her.)

Now the shoe is tied tightly on the other foot, and hopefully it pinches hard.  The militant vocabulary used today is not a metaphor: there are two broad worldviews in competition in the U.S., and both increasingly see the other as a literal enemy (and for many, one that must actually be destroyed, not just voted out of office).  I’m sure many Democrats were greatly disappointed when Wednesday’s shooter turned out to be a Bernie Bro and Rachel Maddow fan, instead of a militia member or such rot.  (That didn’t stop their automatic pleading for more gun control.)  Facebook apparently was quick on the trigger to take down the shooter’s page, but not before some of the wiser denizens of the web captured it all for posterity.

Trump is easily one of the most questionable occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and continuous scrutiny is prudent.  That’s not what the other party offers.  They’re trying to nullify the last election by waging an overheated rhetorical war on two fronts: obstructionism in Congress and the courts, and riling up their base to vandalism and worse with some of the most vile language imaginable.  (Note to the Democrats: increasing the frequency of F-bombs in your public addresses might endear you to some of the college crowd, but for the rest of us it just shows you to be a crass juvenile who feeds on emotion, not careful thought.)

College campuses seem out of control, to the degree that self-appointed vigilante groups of students have to be asked by administrators to stop roaming campus with baseball bats and other instruments.  Attempts by conservatives to speak on a campus are now met frequently with vandalistic temper tantrums.  And protestors on both sides of issues like immigration are now showing up suited for battle, not just to carry signs.

Why write all this?  Because I’m concerned our nation crossed a critical line today, and the path we’re on is leading to disaster.  There are plenty of nuts in both camps, and a continuous backdrop of violent rhetoric (particularly on the internet) only encourages them.  As each side looks warily at the other, the mutual distrust leads many ordinary people to wonder if they need to be making preparations for war.  Thus does the divide get wider and more hostile.

We all need to realize that when ballots no longer settle issues, bullets do.  Is that really how we want to go forward?  Do the posturing online ‘toughs’ really want to see their friends and family caught up in the bloodshed of civil war or anarchy?  I spent 24 years in uniform believing I was helping defend America.  I’ve seen firsthand what a country looks like in a civil war (spoiler: it isn’t pretty).  Now it seems we’re determined to destroy ourselves.  If Wednesday’s any indicator, I have a feeling those who are playing with fire to score political points are going to be among the first to get burned.  But probably not the last.

God help us all.

The “niceness” handicap

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this article is very much worth your attention:

I have long observed that an alarming swath of public evangelicals seems to be driven by a consuming desire to be liked by the world. ((note: link added to excerpt by me))

Now, that is my characterization, not theirs. To their minds, they are trying to be good representatives of Jesus. They are focusing on “kingdom” issues. They eschew evangelicalism’s past mistakes of tying itself to various moralistic fads such as outlawing alcohol or opposing nylons and lipstick. They want to be sure that unbelievers know that they love them, that the GOP is not the Kingdom of God. They want to be seen as scholarly, cautious, nuanced, careful, measured, and helpful. They shrink from the thought of being seen as dogmatic, triumphalistic, or narrow.

Are those bad motivations? As stated and as far as they go, most of them are not.

However, I’ve come to fear that they mask fatal flaws. For starters,  these sorts are willing to let their motivations be judged and dictated by the reactions of unbelievers…

I can’t say it any better.  Read the whole thing here.

Quote of the week

“The law is on Donald Trump’s side. Doesn’t mean that the courts will follow it.”

I’ve noted on several occasions the increasing disregard for law, when it comes to seeking political advantage.  Now we have a judge in Washington who thinks he can set immigration policy for the nation (legislate from the bench much?), and the kooky 9th Circus Circuit Court backing him up.

Given that the Supreme Court is evenly divided, 4-4 with a vacant seat the Democrats will do all they can to keep vacant, it appears the pressure cooker has been turned on.

Despite the attempt to politicize even the Super Bowl to jerk emotions in favor of illegal immigration, a majority of Americans believe in what the Trump administration is trying to do.  That’s why he was elected.

The more the Democrats and their accessories in the judiciary attempt to stop Trump, the more people are going to realize we are anything BUT “one nation,” much less “under God.”  (I keep waiting for one of my students to realize when we say the pledge in the morning I never say the word “indivisible.”  Not only do I believe it’s inappropriate; it’s also factually wrong, even from the beginning of the country.)

As this pressure cooker continues to gain steam, it may be the best solution is to encourage the nascent secession movement in California (see… it’s only wrong when southern states try it…), and encourage them to take Washington and Oregon with them.  It should be clear by now this nation is headed for a divorce.  Better to do it peacefully than via bloody contest.  Once separate, we can see whose worldview leads to prosperity, and whose leads to poverty and bondage.

And maybe — just maybe — we can see the restoration of the rule of law.

When will America get angry enough?

I try diligently not to write on this site when I’m freshly angry about something.  Today, I don’t care.

For several years after 9/11 we were told we had to fight wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan so that we would “fight them over there instead of over here.”  Well, it should have been obvious on the face of it that when you simultaneously import large numbers of people from those same parts of the world that you’re probably bringing trouble home with you.

And now, four Marines have been gunned down in Tennessee, unable even to attempt to defend themselves because military recruiting stations are “Gun-free zones” (?!?)  The killer?  A now-deceased Kuwaiti import named Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who apparently has been living here for some time but failed to magically transmogrify into a loyal American the way open borders advocates assure us all these millions of immigrants do.

While it’s nice to see the response to Donald Trump’s highlighting of the illegal immigration issue, that’s but one part of the problem.  On top of that floodtide, our very own State Department continues legally to bring over large numbers of people steeped in a worldview that is antithetical to the one our nation was founded upon.  Remember, the 9/11 hijackers didn’t slip across the border — they were admitted under various visa programs by our own government.

At the same time, every incident like this is wrung dry by liberals as a talking point for further disarmament of the American public at large.  Newsflash for the gun-control zealots: it was the Americans — members of the US Marine Corps, no less — who were unarmed in Tennessee today.  And they DIED.

America is divided enough — we don’t need to be importing more partisans and factions.  It’s long past time for a “time out” on immigration.

– Secure the *&^% border the way you secure anything you truly care about.  Stop with the charades and the kabuki dances.

– Stop trying to import the world via legal immigration.

– And most importantly, stop playing games with the 2nd Amendment.  When we’re told repeatedly that terrorists are targeting U.S. military personnel in our own country, but isolated military personnel on duty are not permitted access to weapons, that is CRIMINAL NEGLECT for force protection.  And let this point sink in: when Marines–trained riflemen, every one–can be killed in the U.S. by an attacker who knows they won’t be able to shoot back, NONE OF OUR LIVES ARE SECURE.

An armed society is a polite society.  So is one that isn’t a polyglot of every crazy creed on the face of the planet.  And if half our own society can’t figure that out (or childishly refuses to face reality), maybe it’s time for the rest of us to part company with what used to be “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

“A nation preserved with liberty trampled underfoot is much worse than a nation in fragments but with the spirit of liberty still alive…”  I fear the spirit of liberty — TRUE liberty, not just mindless licentiousness and materialism– is all but dead in the United States.  God grant that I’m wrong.  And if I’m not, God grant those of us who still care the ability to carve out a place where that spirit can flourish once again.

Rest in peace, Devil Dogs.  You didn’t fail your country — it failed you.

Separate ways, worlds apart

Scripture asks what fellowship light can have with darkness.

Abraham Lincoln paraphrased Christ when he noted that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

So where are we headed as a nation?

If a family disagreed as broadly as we Americans do on issues so fundamental as right and wrong, good and evil, the family would fall apart, the couple would divorce, and the children would go their separate ways.

Something like that is happening in the country.

A secession of the heart has already taken place in America, and a secession, not of states, but of people from one another, caused by divisions on social, moral, cultural, and political views and values, is taking place.

Covenants and nations require some common ground.  What we find today is inherently incompatible worldviews vying for affection.  How far we’ve come from the founding generation!  As John Jay noted in Federalist #2:

Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

 

Let’s hope it doesn’t take another “long and bloody war” to reset a basic common frame of reference.

THIS is why “they” hate us

It’s safe to say President Obama has been a polarizing figure on the American scene.  Consider the last few years: proliferating scandals, uneasy citizens purchasing firearms at record rates, while increasing numbers are renouncing their citizenship — ‘leaving the club.’  Not pretty.

But how would Americans of all persuasions react if another world power, or “willing coalition of powers” decided “it’s time for Obama to go,” and set out to make that a reality, with or without America’s consent?  Frankly, it might be a good thing for the country as people here rallied together to tell the rest of the world to butt out.

So why do we have the arrogance to believe other nations don’t have similar reactions to our pronouncements about how things should be?

The United States, which withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, has said Baghdad must take steps toward sectarian reconciliation before Obama will decide on any military action against the insurgency led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda splinter group.

Maliki has so far shown little willingness to create a more inclusive administration.

“The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Republican Senator John McCain, speaking in the Senate, called for the use of American air power in Iraq, but also urged Obama to “make it make very clear to Maliki that his time is up.”

How much more blood, sweat and treasure (both American and Iraqi) will our elites spend attempting to hold together what has always been an artificial state imposed by outsiders, with ethnic and religious fault lines 20140616_iaqthe size of the Grand Canyon?  Maliki’s time *is* up… in the Sunni areas his policies have repeatedly offended.  Since the fall of (Sunni-affiliated) Saddam, the majority Shiites in Iraq have been reasserting power, and in some cases playing the game of “payback’s a *****.”  As should be expected, this plays well with Shiite audiences; not so much with Sunnis and Kurds (who just want to be left alone in their own Kurdistan anyway).  The sudden‘ gains by ISIS in Iraq are in no small part facilitated by Maliki’s alienation of the ‘out of power’ groups.

That doesn’t mean the U.S. needs to meddle further.  Trying to hit ‘reset’ by replacing one Western-sponsored leader with another just prolongs the slow separation (and the violence that accompanies it).  If more than one ‘state’ replaces what used to be Iraq on the map, so be it.  Trying to prevent such a development was likely always a fool’s errand.  The Bush administration used to say the desired result there was a “united, stable and democratic Iraq.”  Plenty of regional experts have long held that was a menu, not a mission statement, and in reality it was “pick any two of the above.”   We need to give Iraq space to figure out for themselves how they want to structure their society, or it will never know anything but the sectarian violence now occurring.  Far too many regions in the world could do a credible rendition of the villains from Scooby Do:  “…and we’d have made it work, if it wasn’t for those meddling Americans…”

As a coda, it’s worth noting the mix of Sunni, Shia and Kurd in Iraq makes it, by definition, the highly promoted  ‘multicultural society.’  Doesn’t seem to be working out as peace, love and harmony, does it?  Something to consider, as many Western nations–including America–rapidly become even more hodgepodge in their ethnic, religious and political makeups.  Over the last 30-plus years only two things have worked to unite Iraqis: first, strongman rule by Saddam Hussein (including a disastrous war with Iran the U.S. had a hand in prolonging), and then after his fall, a common hatred of occupation by the U.S. and its partners.

Do we really want to create a demographic diversity dilemma here at home that leads to such outcomes?  Would-be strongmen grooming their white horses certainly do…