Here are the quick ramblings and tatlings of a Newt endorser and the leading NotMittRomney voice: me.
And of course, Ali, your notmittromney.com site which started with such sound and fury in November 2011 — complete with a page on which to make donations — mysteriously transformed itself into a redirect to Romney’s campaign site sometime in-between May 12th and May 27th of last year. Right, Ali!
Michael Patrick over at the Rome Free blog notes how the Obama administration’s chosen contingent to attend Pope Francis I’s inaugural mass includes Vice President Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, each of whom will whip out their Catholicism whenever convenient, i.e. will score political and/or lapdog media brownie points. Curiously, they go either mysteriously mute or keep on blithering whenever it is pointed out their espoused beliefs are in direct conflict with the church’s teachings on matters such as abortion. Silly church.
Patrick nicely points out a probable reason why these folk were selected:
Yeah, you get the sense the White House is trying to pick a fight or at least testing the waters to see how much our new pope is going to let them get away with. And if you’re anything like me, you hope just a little bit that Pope Francis will tell Biden, Pelosi, and DeGioia to sit back down when they present themselves for Holy Communion — if for no other reason than for the good of their own souls.
That there may well be a scene is strongly suggested by the Pontiff’s words from 2007 when he was serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires:
The remarks came during the presentation of a document called the Aparecida Document, a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America.
The document, which the new Pope presented on behalf of his colleagues at the time and signed off on, said referring to abortion and communion, “We should commit ourselves to ‘Eucharistic coherence,’ that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”
Is the administration so clueless as to not know the Pope’s words? (Possibly.) Or is it so arrogant that it believes there is no way Biden, Pelosi et al will be refused Communion? (Most likely.) If they attempt to receive it and are turned away, how hysterical will the media reaction be to this seeming affront when the actual affront is believing one can act politically in any manner one pleases with no regard paid to the church’s teachings with which one claims affiliation? (Extremely.)
Stalin once sneeringly asked how many divisions (a military unit of between 10,000 and 30,000 soldiers) the Pope had when told of the Holy Father’s power. Given how John Paul II played no small part in bringing down the Soviet Union Stalin once led, apparently quite the number considering the USSR fell without a shot being fired by the Vatican. Obama, Biden and Pelosi would be well advised to note this lest they, too, become like Stalin; modern day Ozymandias crumbling in the desert while the faithful continue as they have for the past two thousand years: lighting the candles, saying the prayers and living out their faith, the one that chuckles at the vain efforts of vain people to turn its course in their favor.
It should embarrass the American traditional media industry when a liberal British newspaper does a far better job of covering domestic news than they can be bothered to muster. Yet, such is the case:
Eric Holder argued that using lethal military force against an American in his home country would be legal and justified in an “extraordinary circumstance” comparable to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“The president could conceivably have no choice but to authorise the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland,” Mr Holder said.
His statement was described as “more than frightening” by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who had demanded to know the Obama administration’s position on the subject.
Couple of thoughts, one specific and one overall. First, the specific observation. Early in its first term, the Obama administration was hellbent for leather to bring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, he of Al Qaeda, 9/11 and Daniel Pearl murder infamy, to New York for a civilian trial in lieu of the military court in Guantanamo for which he had originally been slotted. Eventually it begrudgingly changed its mind and consigned Mohammed to a military tribunal at Guantanamo while administration officials blasted Congress for imposing roadblocks to their original plan. All in the name of fairness, due process and “see we’re not like them”-ism; never mind they guaranteed conviction and execution which seems somewhat contrary to the standard notion of what constitutes a fair trial (but I digress). The administration is now taking another shot at this with Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law. Meanwhile, it took a Rand Paul filibuster to get the administration’s written declaration that it did not have legal authority to summarily use drones to kill an American citizen not engaged in combat against America while they were on American soil. In another meanwhile, debate still rages as to whether the National Defense Reauthorization Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama, permits the government to hold an American citizen indefinitely without trial. The 2013 edition of the bill has not lessened the argument. A side note to this is that much of the disagreement centers on the bill’s ambiguous language concerning whether it permits the aforementioned infinite detention. The bill is 681 pages long. You’d think with the trillions of dollars Washington spends each year, someone there would use some of that money to hire one or two people who can write in clear English. Apparently it’s not a priority.
Now, the more general observation which is derived from the above.
It is a dangerous thing to either deify or demonize a politician. To believe that someone in office can either do no wrong or no right is a fool’s paradise. Even as each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, every politician will do those things with which we agree and that which we cannot abide. If we close our eyes to this, we close them very tightly.
Going silent when a favored political figure goes against our philosophy and platform should be an embarrassment. Do we select our elected leaders on deeds or personality cult status? We are immediate in lambasting those we generally oppose for any transgression perceived or real. Do we treat our side with the same level of critical analysis?
Even as it is nonsensical to classify a politician as all right or all wrong it is equally, if not more, nonsensical to cast one out of the kingdom with whom we almost always agree because they did one or two things we did not like. An example is how Rand Paul was heralded for his filibuster by many who earlier had told him to hit the highway when he voted to approve Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Defense.
For far too many, ideological purity trumps all. It is very easy to be a keyboard warrior pounding out thunderous denouncements of anyone and everyone who fails the least little litmus test. Actually being the newsmaker, the one who makes the speeches, writes the bills and casts the votes, is an entirely different matter. They know things we will never know, things that explain actions otherwise inexplicable. Plus, they have their own philosophy, practices and policies. No politician is under any obligation to follow our every whim. We can always vote them out if they are too far out of line.
We need to view politics and politicians with a wide angle lens, not a microscope. We need to consider their entire body of work, not cherrypick random instances and hold them up to be a body of proof. We need to be honest about them even as we need to be honest about ourselves and to each other. They will do things we like and things we loathe. Throwing them out for the least little transgression, or turning a blind eye when a preferred officeholder does something that makes our skin crawl, does neither them nor us any favors.
If wisdom is the ability to discern between deliberate lies and uninformed non-truths, then higher wisdom possesses among other noble traits the ability to discern between what we perceive and/or believe to be true and what is genuine. The four most lethal words in the English language are not “I already know that,” fraught with peril as they may be. No, the four most lethal words in the English language are “I don’t believe it!” They declare our preference for clinging onto what we wish to be true, by this rejecting what evidence, logic and reason declare to be factual.
Rejecting truth in favor of what we believe to be, or wish to be, true follows much the same pattern as grief’s stages, or at least parts thereof. This is only fitting, given the often intense level of grief woven throughout the process. There is the initial shock of perceived/desired truth colliding with what is authentic truth, followed by denial of the authentic truth, anger against whoever has informed us of the truth and/or the truth’s originator(s), bargaining with ourselves that somehow we can transform the authentic truth into our perceived/desired truth, depression as we come to grips with the authentic truth, testing to see what we can do to better acclimate ourselves with the authentic truth, and finally acceptance of the authentic truth as we relegate our perceived/desired truth to the trash can of previously believed mythology.
Sometimes, though, people skip a stage or four.
A current case in point involves veteran investigative reporter Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein fame — look up Watergate in your 20th century US history books if the names don’t ring a bell — and a host of Washington online reporter/commentator types, all of far more recent vintage than Mr. Woodward. Now Mr. Woodward, being old school, is pure honey badger: tenacious, fearless and don’t care with a capital D. He pursues the story regardless of what it is, who is involved or its potential repercussions. It is the story that is sacrosanct. This trait alternately endears him to people and enrages the selfsame people depending on whether he’s goring the other side’s sacred cow or theirs during his current story’s unfolding.
A few days ago, Mr. Woodward wrote a story in which he reported the sequester originated with the Obama administration, not Congress. He subsequently reported being verbally harangued, with follow-up email doing much the same, by a White House staffer who, in Mr. Woodward’s words, “threatened” him. What is more, Mr. Woodward went on to say some less than complimentary things about the Obama administration’s policy decisions as related to the sequester.
At this point the diapers, in the presence of pundits and reporters who either were in diapers or the embryo stage when Mr. Woodward first started breaking world-changing stories, hit the fan. This led to conservative sites that previously held Mr. Woodward at arms length out of respectful fear suddenly embracing him, taking great delight in detailing who in the media said what against the veteran reporter:
It began with Politico itself, which downplayed the entire incident, even as it acknowledged that Woodward’s “play-by-play is basically spot on” with regard to reporting the sequestration. “White House officials are certainly within their rights to yell at any journalist, including Bob Woodward,” said official Obama buddies Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei. Allen and VandeHei merely suggested that the battle with Woodward was “a major distraction at a pivotal moment for the president.” They added, “Watching and now having interviewed Woodward, it is easy to see why White House officials get worked about him.” Poor Obama, having to deal with such issues.
Next, the White House went to its favorite outlet, Buzzfeed, and their favorite BenSmithing reporter, Ben Smith, to leak the source of the Woodward “regret” email. It’s clear why they did it – Smith spun the entire incident for the White House. After announcing that the email came from Gene Sperling, director of the White House Economic Council, he proceeded to pretend that the threat email wasn’t a threat email at all – actually, Woodward was making a rookie mistake by misinterpreting a kindly tip as a threat: “Officials often threaten reporters that they will ‘regret’ printing something that is untrue, but Woodward took the remark as a threat.” Nothing to see here. Move along. Just to clarify, Smith later added via Twitter, “Am I crazy to read ‘regret’ here as ‘regret being wrong’? This is something flacks yell at reporters a lot.”
That meme was picked up by the White House’s favorite palace guards, including Dave Weigel at Slate (he retweeted Smith, tweeted, “Theory: Woodward is trolling,” then added via retweet that the whole situation was “boring”); BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, who mockingly tweeted, “Every reporter who deals with flacks/campaign advisors/politicos/ on a daily basis finds that less than threatening”; Justin Green, who edits David Frum’s blog at The Daily Beast, tweeted, “I rarely rarely report, and I’ve had flacks say worse. Not that rare”; Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic tweeted, “As a reporter, I don’t think this was a threat”; Dylan Byers of Politico tweeted, “tweets, I’m no Woodward but broadcast/cable TV PR reps use that ‘regret’ tactic a lot”; Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo tweeted, “Who goes birther first, Scalia or Woodward?” The messaging was universal from the leftist Obama-supporting media: Woodward hadn’t been threatened, and was an amateur or a crazy old coot to think he was being threatened. Matt Yglesias of Slate summed up the general Palace Guard Media take: “Woodward’s managed to make me suspect Nixon got a raw deal.”
Others took up the battle cry both for and against Mr. Woodward. One of the more astonishing negative pieces came from Ryu Spaeth at the Week, who as part of his complaint included this amazing bit of pretzel logic from that legendary even-keel non-partisan site Talking Points Memo:
But the entire purpose of an enforcement mechanism is to make sure that the enforcement mechanism is never triggered.
Uh, no. The entire purpose of an enforcement mechanism is to enact change that otherwise would never be enacted, be it preemptive to avoid the enforcement mechanism being triggered or by default, thus triggering the enforcement mechanism. Cognitive thinking seems to be in rather short supply at TPM (please pardon the redundancy).
These anger outbursts were not based on the journalism truism that declares if your mother says she loves you check it out. They were knee-jerk reactions at the perceived affront Mr. Woodward had perpetrated. Not only had he contradicted the meme by stating the sequester was created at Obama’s request, he had gone on to say the White House, specifically a member of the White House staff, had attempted to strong-arm him into silence on the matter and as a final blow criticized administration policy. That so many would immediately jump all over Mr. Woodward, a man whose legendary reporting brought down the Nixon administration, speaks volumes about their blind devotion to President Obama trumping any and all adherence to proper journalistic practices. First you investigate, then you corroborate and only then, should you have both of these elements in place, do you speak publicly. And always be truthful along with accurate.
This all duly noted, the lesson here is not strictly one of liberal rage against one of their own for failing to toe the party line. It also illustrates the danger of blind obedience to what one believes to be true, evidence to the contrary be cursed. Be it politics, or personalities (be they of another or ourselves), or a definition of God not in accordance with His Word it is on us to choose wisely by choosing truth no matter how it plays out. To do otherwise is destructive delusion. The truth remains the truth no matter how we choose to approach its unflappable content. The more we accept this, the more enlightened we become. No matter how painful it might be.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II went to Ireland. His visit came at a tenuous, dangerous point in Irish history; the IRA was active in Northern Ireland and, as was reported at the time:
Two weeks before the pope’s visit, British war hero and elder statesman Lord Mountbatten and three members of his party were killed when his boat exploded on Donegal Bay. The IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army), an outlawed guerrilla group fighting to end British rule in Northern Ireland, claimed responsibility for the death, calling it “an execution.”
With that as backdrop, the pope chose not to go to Northern Ireland, but on Saturday went only as far north as Drogheda, 30 miles from the border. John Paul issued a definitive statement against the spiral of violence. He reminded his hearers, “All who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
He made a strong appeal to the IRA: ”On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and to return to the ways of peace….Violence only delays the day of justice….Further violence in Ireland will only drag down to ruin the land you claim to love and the values you claim to cherish. In the name of God I beg you….”
The pope appealed separately to young people: “I say to you, with all the love I have for you, with all the trust I have in young people: Do not listen to voices which speak the language of hatred, revenge, retaliation. Do not follow any leaders who train you in the ways of inflicting death….The true courage lies in working for peace.”
What does it mean to return to the ways of peace and how does that apply to us today?
We live in a dangerous time. Our government incessantly spends itself ever further into horrific debt even as it seeks to indebt us to it, actively working toward creating a welfare state for all as it exerts increasing control over multiple facets of our lives. While it has no chance of passage, the fact that a bill such as the Universal National Service Act could even be introduced speaks volumes about the mindset permeating elected officials, one declaring we live to serve them and not the other way around. It is their goal to remake society in the image they hold dear. The people’s will? Utterly inconsequential. It is power, and the control of money, that drives the political class forward.
In light of such, how is it even possible to speak such words as “return to the ways of peace?”
The answer lies in understanding peace.
Military buffs are fond of the phrase “peace through superior firepower.” Which is actually quite accurate; the opponent who knows they are thoroughly outgunned is far less likely to enter the fray. However, in this case the key is focusing on power. Knowledge is power. The person armed with this power is at peace, for they know how to analyze and discern daily events in light of historical background and critical thinking. They have calm answers for agitated questions.
So what knowledge should we seek? Spiritual, of course, should always be our first priority. This duly noted, knowledge of where we came from as a society, and of our government, is invaluable and absolutely necessary to understand where we are and where we may be headed. Read and re-read the Constitution. Study the Federalist Papers; the writings and speeches of Washington, Jefferson and other founding fathers. Be informed about the present as well. Read Hayek; read Economics in One Lesson. This will bring vital insight and wisdom.
While knowledge is an inextricable element of peace, knowledge by itself will neither give nor know how to receive peace. We must also examine ourselves in light of whether we treat others in the manner we wish to be treated. The Golden Rule remains golden. Do we extend genuine compassion and concern? Do we forgive? Do we extend the open hand to those with whom we disagree? Without these things, without love, knowledge is rendered impotent.
Finally, do we reach out? It is comfortable and safe to be with like-minded people. Fellowship is good for the soul and should never be marginalized. Yet fellowship alone is redundant. We must also accept the mantle of service, seeking not to lead other than by example. We must speak to the whole person, covering the entire spectrum of life – culture, entertainment, news, personal triumphs and tragedies. It is of utmost importance that our message, rooted in peace which itself is rooted in knowledge and love, address multiple points.
We can influence society and culture. Indeed, we must. We should support each other as each of us reaches out with the calling and tools we are given. Even often overlooked acts, such as being a good parent, influence far more individuals than we can possibly know. Be it arts or society or culture or politics or what have you, to exert a positive influence by bringing well-honed truth is a group effort. It can be done. It has to be done. The alternative is too vile to contemplate.
Let’s lift each other up as together we return to the ways of peace.
In reading all the handwringing and mournful cries about how could we have possibly lost this election, the overriding theme is that there is no overriding theme as assorted pundits cry every which way. We didn’t address social issue enough. We’re too socially conservative. People are still scared to not vote for the black guy for fear of being labeled a racist. We were too soft on Obama. We weren’t clear with our message. And on and on and on.
Despite the multiple gallons of electronic ink that has been poured into the postmortems, one point has been either missed altogether or given short shrift. This stems from the “can’t see the forest for the trees” phenomenon mentioned yesterday. Pundits and political junkies are so overly wrapped up in Beltway thinking they forget that for the vast majority of Americans politics is not the be-all and end-all of their lives. They’d rather think about something else. What little political knowledge they have is far more likely to be of the hand-me-down variety from those who actually do watch the news than watching or reading the news themselves. Simply put, they do not care. The bulk of people in this country do not pay attention to a public political event unless it is catastrophic, one of such power such as 9/11 it can’t help but to be noticed, or is a moment personally affecting them.
An illustration of this from the state y’all love to hate, namely California. Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor in 2003? It was when then-governor Gray Davis was recalled. Why was Davis recalled? Because his ineptitude in handling the state’s electricity crisis led to rolling blackouts throughout the state. But for this, there never would have been a recall. Davis was kicked out of office because an event transpired directly affecting people, namely their power going off and on, under his watch. There was no other reason. None.
Taking this to the just-concluded election, even with chronic deep unemployment and underemployment, massive debt, the looming trainwreck that is Obamacare and a hot mess of a foreign policy most Americans are sufficiently untouched by these things to pay them much heed. Certainly the entitlement class, those who believe that by birthright, be it skin color, inherited economic status (which by the way includes middle to upper middle-class suburban kids who have no grasp of what a work ethic looks like) or what have you are owed a living, are feeling no pain and will continue to feel no pain as long as Uncle Sam keeps cutting them checks. For the rest, while they have a feeling that despite what the filtered media reports they may be catching are telling them things aren’t quite right, there is no sense of urgency; certainly not enough of one to warrant changing presidents.
One can detail the fallacies of the left’s financial policies – the belief “they” have an inexhaustible supply of money and rich people can not only afford to, but pay for everything everyone else needs — until they drop. They can explain the broken window fallacy in action, using government as the hoodlum throwing a brick through the baker’s window, to the nth degree. They can demonstrate how money spent on taxes does not go to create jobs or be spent on goods and services provided by others, but instead stifles job creation and economic growth through free enterprise, all the day long. It will not matter to others until it hits them directly.
Economically, there will continue to be no sense of urgency until either Obamacare’s reality in the form of slashed Medicare coverages starts adversely affecting a multitude of families, the tax burden for all who actually pay taxes becomes onerous or the government stops handing out money. If the first two happen, they happen. The latter is far less likely to take place unless it is forced, and the only way that can happen would be if House Republicans refuse to pass any more appropriation bills, thus shutting down the government, until a genuine deficit reduction program is installed. That said, it’s doubtful the GOP has the guts to turn off the money spigot and shut government down, no matter the pain it causes, until Obama and the Democrats agree to genuine financial reform. However, nothing else short of another massive terrorist attack or full blown war on American soil will get the public’s attention.
One way or another, it’s going to take a storm before the general public listens to reason shouting, “Can you hear me now?”
Picking up on a point from yesterday’s post, that being the need to monitor the media, an additional thought on the subject needs to be made.
Far too often, when examining liberal media — or any media for that matter — conservatives fail to see the forest for the trees. We become so enamored with waiting for that moment over which we can cry havoc and let slip the dogs of “see I told you they’re biased” yapping we don’t bother actually listening. And that is a pity.
We should monitor the media not to achieve the next triple O of outrageously outrageous outrage, but rather for the overall tone and tenor. Study what they say. Discern from where their talking points arise. Then, respond accordingly, disproving their theorems with knowledge and perseverance. Neither of which, by the way, are byproducts of becoming outraged.
There is an unfortunate obsession with offensiveness on the right. Far too many live for it. More than a few among us make a nice living out of being offended, be it by media failures or personal attacks. How many times have we seen hackles raised, troops gathered and colors flown over poor little so-and-so being called a bad name by some nameless, faceless, meaningless troll? These folk must be living inside Groundhog Day, as their knee-jerk reaction to jerks proclaims that, for them, every day is their first one online and they are utterly innocent as to the Web’s wicked, wicked ways.
The alleged big boys and girls play the aforementioned game. Bit players have their own version, consisting of howling about the unfairness of the big kids retweeting a hundred insults aimed their way while not spending one second on so much as acknowledging the low ones on the totem pole. Not fair not fair not fair.
In both cases, be it from the high rollers or the serfs, the core message is the same: pay attention to me. If you don’t I am going to raise hell; never mind that the resulting flames will burn me far more than they scorch you as I make myself look like either a weakling or a whiner.
Taking offense is as pointless, vapid and meaningless an action as expecting respect for your anger. Everyone with a sliver of common sense knows better than to believe everyone else will kowtow to their whims for the simple reason that they are blowing their top. Why, then, should we expect others to respect our being offended?
Again, this ties in to what I wrote yesterday. To my fellow underlings as judged by the self-appointed Smart Set I say this. Build your community one person at a time; expand your community one person at a time by treating every person in your community properly as an individual worthy of respect and attention. Never become what your profess to oppose. Expect nothing from those whose entire method of operation is shining a spotlight on themselves. Right now they are the equivalent of the point guard on a basketball team that just lost by forty points turning to the starting power forward as they walk off the court and saying, “It’s your fault we lost because you didn’t play hard enough!” Uh, you got your ass beat too, buddy.
A personal illustration. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to get press credentials to cover a NASCAR race in Southern California. After it was over, I realized I could approach my experience in one of two ways. I could either be upset that I didn’t score some terrific exclusive interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr., or Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson or any of the sport’s other superstars. Or, I could be satisfied with being the only reporter I knew of who spoke to Robby Gordon about whether he had any plans for running in that year’s Indianapolis 500, this coming at the prompting of a friend who is a huge IndyCar fan who had heard rumors about this and wanted them checked out. As big or as splashy a story? No. But it meant a lot to the Robby Gordon fans out there.
And to the self-appointed powers that be, given the totally awesome job you did over the past four years winning over hearts and minds to the conservative cause, so successful in this regard that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan got fewer votes than John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, two words: grow up. You want to be the big shots, you accept the potshots aimed in your direction by big mouths with little brains on Twitter and elsewhere. Don’t like it? I’m sure there’s a Walmart somewhere that’s hiring. I, and I suspect many others, are tired of you attempting to manipulate us into feeling sorry for you because you’re getting the very thing you live for and many of you live on: attention. Try making yourself the center of attention by actually accomplishing something other than preaching to the choir and seeking the spotlight 24/7.
First, please note the sun came up this morning. God still reigns. Have faith. All is not lost.
That said, please also note now is a time for repentance and purification. The revival of our country does not start with politicians or politics. It begins within each of us examining our lives and, seeing what is within, kneeling at the foot of the Cross seeking forgiveness for our own sins. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. All of us need to restore the connection between God and ourselves. We are responsible for our own actions. Let those actions be built on the solid rock of faith in Christ as not only Savior but also Lord. Let His words shape ours. Let His actions serve as our guidelines. Leave pride, selfish ambition and conceit as actions for others to marinate. You, me, all of us — let us serve the Lord in deed and not solely word. Those who refuse to do so are not allies.
Arm yourself with knowledge, for knowledge is not only power; it is also ammunition against evil. Read the Constitution; dig into the laws of the land; familiarize yourself with the words of our founding fathers. Study basic business and economics. Read Hayek.
Educate others even as you educate yourself. As Paul wrote, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Speak kindly, politely and calmly; leave the histrionics to those attempting to cover for having nothing to say. Ignore trolls on both sides; they waste irreplaceable time.
Monitor the media. It is not your friend, it never will be your friend and those who attempt to make it their friend are fools. Becoming upset over the media, or deluding yourself into believing that new media will shortly conquer the old guard, misplaces energy needed elsewhere. Monitor. Note what it is saying. Remember most people get their information not directly from the media but filtered through others, sometimes several times, who did get their information from the media. Learn how to answer the misconceptions thus formed with simple, straightforward truth. Source your arguments.
Live charitably in public and be charitable in private. In the public eye, be it social media or in person, pay attention to people. Treat them as you wish to be treated. Remember that the ability to broadcast an opinion neither elevates nor validates said opinion. Think, speak and act from and for the heart, not your wallet. Answer your emails every time, all the time. And never — never — become what you profess to oppose. You say you hate traditional media for its snobbery and aloofness. Do you treat others with snobbery and aloofness? You say there should be zero tolerance for criminal activity in politics. Do you turn a blind eye to it on your side of the aisle? You say the ends never justify the means. Do you then act in a manner that says this is not true?
Choose carefully anyone to whom you pledge allegiance. Embrace those who lead by example while steering clear of those who lead because they say they do. Rewatch The Undefeated. Natural leadership by action. Forming an organization claiming to be a tea party leader? This is not leadership. This is self-glorification.
Be unafraid to call failures a failure. Did all the talk, all the speeches, all the seminars and workshops and conferences and conventions the past four years gain a single victory? No. Send CPAC and FreePAC packing. Call BlogCon what it is — a con. Tell RightOnline it is wrong and needs to disconnect pronto. Let the pundits who trade in being outrageously outraged over the latest outrageous outrage, the Dana Loeschs and Michelle Malkins, know you are finished being outraged over trifles and vapid Internet slurs and they need to start focusing on matters of substance. Inform FreedomWorks they did not work and are no longer welcome. We do not need these people. They are failures, preaching the need for cultural infusion and relevancy yet in the final analysis doing nothing but promoting themselves. Again, we need leadership, not self-appointed leaders. We need God leading us.
And now that it is over; now that the votes no matter how peculiar have been cast and nothing has really changed, what do we do?
I suggest we look within and ask ourselves some hard questions.
Why do we build phone booth kingdoms and believe they encompass the globe? We dash to and fro our little gatherings, counting the days until and saving our pennies for the next CPAC, FreePac, BlogCon and what have you where we will huddle together, safely ensconced in our belief occupying the hotel bar equals occupying the general public’s hearts and minds. We give ourselves awards, claiming to embody Andrew Breitbart’s spirit when in deed we are fragile shadows of the man. We speak to only each other and only when doing so increases the odds of grabbing a larger slice of a stagnant pie. We argue among ourselves over which of us is the greatest in the kingdom of the Konservative Kool Kidz Klub, all the while firmly believing we are preaching the conservative message to the masses. No, no we’re not.
Why do we claim God’s blessing should be upon us when we not only harbor, but herald those doing the devil’s work? We cherish hardcore pornographers and give grifters emphatic support. We turn a blind eye to adulterers. We speak loud and long about the sins of the other side while either pretending we have no sin among us or excusing the actions of any among us who are on “our side.” But of course. The definition of a brother in arms is one who spits in the face of Christ on the cross provided they also pat us on the back. Gee, who knew.
As long as we glorify ourselves and not the message; as long as we spend far more time helping ourselves to more political ego tripping junk food than we do helping others; as long as we practice the principle of believing our actions, no matter how reprehensible in God’s sight, are sanctified by how fervently we preach to the choir…
… we wonder what’s gone wrong?
This failure is ours and ours alone. We were the ones tempted and tantalized by the sweet candy of pride. We were the ones who denied we could ever become addicted even as we shot up time and again, each time seeking a bigger and stronger dose of that which we most craved — power among and praise from our perceived peers. We called it taking back our country. In fact it was nothing other than taking ourselves and placing ourselves above all; making out of ourselves a cyberspace Ozymandias boasting of our great works even as they were revealed to be sand castles in a storm. We were called to speak to others about breaking the seductive bonds of unaffordable entitlement. Instead, we strove to build our own entitlements of prestige and glory in a most unholy mutual admiration society.
Political junkies have no one but themselves to blame for the needle and the damage done.
I had a dream last night. I was a journalist doing a special with the Obamas. In the dream, we talked at great length about our different backgrounds growing up and how they’ve influenced us, discussing our political and philosophical differences in the light of from whence they came. The entire conversation was relaxed, respectful and warm. At the end we hugged each other as friends.
Yes, I am voting for Romney when I get home from work. However, the dream stays with me; the notion of seeing past political differences, the belief that the power of Jesus Christ in a person’s life can overcome unfortunate upbringing and incorrect, even evil influences to turn a person’s heart not necessarily toward conservatism, but toward Him, casting aside all malice and duplicity.
It was an intellectual, gentle dream. I pray today and tomorrow will be the same.