After President Barrack Hussein Obama’s second election as our president, I wrote a series that starts here: FINDING PEACE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2012 ELECTION — PART 1. That was a frankly Christian and Conservative perspective on what I considered a devastating defeat, that is, devastating from a human perspective. I was not alone. With others I went through the stages of grief. Then we started planning for the future.
Victory, such as it is, presents similar issues. It seems our Lord has a sense of humor. Four years ago nobody anticipated the election of President Donald J. Trump. We would have found the idea laughable, and most people still don’t know what to make of it.
Just as we are not altogether in our defeats, we are not unified in victory. We are always too busy scratching our heads, wondering. How did the *&%$#@! did that happen? Whether we have victory or defeat, it seems events drive us accept the fact that God is in charge.
So can we do? We can serve as our Lord’s hands and feet. In His Name, we can each can make a personal commitment to change the world for the better. Make of it what you will, but here is mine.
What Is A Commitment?
When we make a commitment, we need to define three things.
A Goal. To make a meaningful commitment, we have to commit ourselves to a defined purpose, an achievable goal.
A Strategy. To pursue a goal effectively, we must have a strategy. To achieve a goal, we have to enumerate the factors that must come together that make goal fulfillment a possibility.
Tactics. Every great undertaking is accomplished through the dedicated efforts of so-called little people. In a war, we call the little people soldiers. In war groups of soldiers work in unison by implementing squad, battalion, divisional,… tactics. In politics, we call the little people citizens. What citizens do to implement the overall strategy and achieve the goal we call political activism.
Defining my goal begins with how I identify myself.
Why am I a Christian? I believe Jesus is who He said He is. I believe He died for our sins and that He rose from the dead. I believe Jesus is God. I believe God is three in One: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that through Jesus God gave us an example. Therefore, I strive to be a worthy disciple of Christ.
Why am I a Conservative? I believe God is God. I don’t believe any of us is God. I don’t believe any of us are wise enough or good enough to rule the rest of humanity as an all-powerful monarch. Jesus will do so, but not one of us. Therefore, instead of trying to run other people’s lives, I work to protect the God-given rights of my family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen.
To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to fulfill The Great Commission Jesus gave us, we need a stable and efficient government. To protect our God-given rights, including our right to hear and live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need a government designed to protect those rights. Therefore, as my goal I seek to protect the constitutional republic given to us by the founders of this nation.
To Be Continued
In Part 2 we will enumerate the factors that must come together that make goal fulfillment a possibility, and we will examine why each of those factors is necessary for the fulfillment of the goal.
We actually have as part of our heritage a document that clearly states the purpose of government, the Declaration of Independence. Here are the key words.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
Unfortunately, when we take the passage above out of context, we forget why men came from all over the 13 original colonies to draft and sign the Declaration of Independence. We forget that at the risk of their lives and their fortunes they were preparing to battle to strongest military power of their age. We forget they were about to embark upon a long and miserable war, and we forget why. Instead of protecting his subjects, the government of King George III just saw the wealth of the colonies and wanted to exploit it. Hence the colonists responded forcefully: “no taxation without representation”.
Do most of us (Americans) still believe that God gives us our rights, or do we believe that government gives us our rights? Given how our government spends our money, it does not seem likely. Most of the Federal budget goes to cover “pension” expenses like Social Security and “health” expenses like Medicare (see here). Since everyone likes being taken care of for “free”, there is a huge constituency such “entitlements”.
Because nothing is free, our national debt is out of control (see here). Yet, ironically, many of the same people who want the free “entitlements” blame the deficit on defense spending, something the Constitution actually authorizes Congress to do. Those foolish people are wrong. Defense is only 21 percent of the Federal budget (see here again).
So what is the problem? Few of us spend much time studying what the Framers of our Constitution studied. Few of us bother to read what they wrote.
In more recent years, government responsibilities have extended to the economy and public service. An early principle of capitalism dictates that markets should be free from government control. But when economies spun out of control during the 1930s, and countries sank into great depressions, governments acted. The United States Congress created the Federal Reserve System in the early twentieth century to ward off inflation and monitor the value of the dollar. Franklin Roosevelt and his “Brain Trust” devised New Deal programs to shock the country into prosperity. (from here)
The economies just spun out of control? Don’t economies spin out of control when people are encouraged to borrow recklessly, nations put up trade barriers, and government taxing and spending saps the strength of the economy? That is the fault of capitalism spun out of control?
When you try to figure out the purpose of government, you can easily get bogged down in all of the many things a government does or should do — from defending the people to managing the federal budget. And if you ask a dozen people what the purpose of government is, you’d probably get a dozen different answers, depending on individual point of view.
That’s because everyone — and I mean everyone — has a different view of what a government should and shouldn’t do. Some think the government should control everything, while others think government should have a limited role in people’s lives. Some think that the government should be run by one person, as in a dictatorship, while others think the people should have the right to elect their representatives and leaders, as in a democracy. In fact, the purpose of government has been at the root of philosophical and political debates for many hundreds of years. Just think of any presidential debate you’ve seen: If you boil down what the candidates say, you basically end up with their views on the purpose of government. And, of course, their views usually differ quite a bit! (continued here)
What about the perspective of a journalist of renown?
Call me old-fashioned, but I still hold with the ancient Greeks who said government has only one purpose, to improve the lives of citizens. If it doesn’t, there is no reason for it, no reason at all, which is why I was a little surprised that with the nation at war, our intelligence services in a complete mess, as we just heard, the deficit soaring and jobs going overseas, the Senate decided the most important thing it needed to do was debate a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The House will soon follow. (from here)
Bob Schieffer provided that back in 2004. That was back when the mass media had just begun to work up to a full-throated roar for “same-sex marriage”.
Still, we began as a nation with an answer. We knew the purpose of government. At least, we once did. So with some effort we can still find websites that speak to that purpose.
So what about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? What I suggest is clicking on the links in their names and visiting their websites. Then read the quote below.
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51
Which candidate do you think would most concern James Madison? Which candidate is more concerned with the acquisition of power? Which candidate is most interested in protecting our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Which candidate causes you to fear more for the sake of your children?
Well, here is the last post in this series on quotes out of context. I would like to say I entirely understand the response I got, but I don’t. The best I can do is make some observations.
Most of the opposition’s comments in this series landed on the first post in the series. Why? Well, here are my guesses.
The post was a straightforward defense of Donald Trump. There was no mention of H. Clinton. So H. Clinton’s supporters could attack Trump’s supposed narcissism without much fear they would have to defend H. Clinton.
The topic is fuzzy. Everyone knows Trump supporters would not stand by him if he started shooting people in the street, but it sounds awful to gun control freaks. Apparently, since sensitive souls can’t take such talk we must condemn it. Still, I wonder how such sensitive souls survive all the violence in the mass media.
Anyway, I would like to thank the commenters.
silenceofmind took the time to remind us that the news media’s bias has become dangerous to our republic. He also pointed out that “one of THE Donald’s attributes that is so attractive is that he is completely unsullied by political correctness”.
novaDemocrat (AKA novascout) fomented confusion. He described Trump’s utterance as useless braggadocio, even going so far as to say that people understood what Trump meant when they first heard the remark out of context. Shrug! He is entitled to his opinion.
Stephen thought Trump’s hyperbole imprudent.
But Prudence would dictate that you should not make such violent, hyperbolic statements to begin with.
Here is a list of examples of hyperbole. Here is an explanation of hyperbole as a literary device. People use hyperbole because exaggeration sometimes serves a purpose. If we let the news media deliberately misrepresent what people say to us, at some point we must blame ourselves for wilful ignorance.
Tony only made one comment (here), but it was a doozy. Here we get an elaborate explanation of how we choose our leaders the same way we choose our favorite soda pop and a hateful string of unsupported accusations against Trump. That comment simply disregarded the fact of news media bias.
One last observation, really a question. Has Trump manipulated the news media, or has the news media manipulated Trump? I don’t know. There is little doubt that Trump’s willingness to express himself frankly and colorfully attracts media attention. However, frank, colorful statements are also easily distorted. So there is a trade-off.
The trade-off worked for Trump in the primaries. Will it work for him in the general election. Arguably, the news media wanted Trump to win the primaries. Given, for example, how a certain ten-year old video was held until October, that is sort of obvious. Nevertheless, Trump had to be aware the media would turn on him after the primaries. So everything he said would eventually be used against him, and it has been. So how did he plan on dealing with it? Did he have a plan? I don’t know.
What about our plan? As voters, we want the best candidate to lead our country? However, we all have out own opinions about what that best candidate should look like. That’s is why we have to vote, but voting doesn’t solve the problem of choosing the best candidate. We still have to learn about the candidates, and we still have to give the needs of our country some thought. That requires homework.
If we don’t do any homework, the news media will just tell us what to think. Everyone is biased, and that especially includes so-called objective journalists. Therefore, if we want to learn about the candidates, we have to take the time to listen to them. That includes checking out their websites and listening to some of their campaign speeches. Otherwise, instead of voting based upon our own biases, we will be voting based upon the biases of our favorite talking heads.
Anyway, my future posts will focus on the issues. Which of the candidates is more qualified? Which of the candidates has the best agenda.
What is the problem with “politically correct”? Well, that phrase is useful, but the meaning of that phrase has been somewhat distorted, and the origin of the phrase is not especially clear. Consider the following and see for yourself.
Politically correct (www.phrases.org.uk): Here the author avoids connecting the origin of the phrase with the communists.
Political correctness (en.wikipedia.org): Wikipedia waters down the communist connection by talking about how academia and the New Left took up the term. It is not so bad to be politically correct if the “in” crowd is correct, right?
So how is the term used today? The Wikipedia article goes into a large number of examples, include some from other nations. For the sake of brevity, here are a couple examples from the Reason article.
For some on the right, “P.C.” began to be a vague way to refer to anything left of center. “Un-P.C.,” meanwhile, became a phrase people used to pat themselves on the back, not just on the right but in the culture at large. By proclaiming yourself politically incorrect, you were announcing that you were a brave opponent of stultifying orthodoxies, even if your actual opinions were as vanilla as the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
On the left, some people embraced the term defensively (at Michigan, several student groups opened the 1991-92 school year by adopting the slogan “PC and Proud”), while others foreshadowed Taub by declaring political correctness a myth. More recently, it’s become common to claim that what conservatives call political correctness is really “just politeness.” (And indeed, if someone uneducated in the jargon of the week unwittingly uses the wrong language, he may receive the same reaction he’d get at a society dinner for using the wrong fork. But I don’t think that’s what they mean.) (from here)
So what word should we use instead? How about “obsequious”? Here is the etymology.
late 15c., “prompt to serve,” from Middle French obséquieux (15c.), from Latin obsequiosus “compliant, obedient,” from obsequium “compliance, dutiful service,” from obsequi “to accommodate oneself to the will of another,” from ob “after” (see ob-) + sequi “to follow” (see sequel). Pejorative sense of “fawning, sycophantic” had emerged by 1590s. Related: Obsequiously; obsequiousness (mid-15c.).
Consider that pejorative sense. Isn’t that the real problem that Conservatives have with political correctness? Don’t Liberal Democrats fawn over the government and our leaders?
characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning:
an obsequious bow.
servilely compliant or deferential:
The first and second definitions are the relevant ones. That last one goes back to the word’s older definition. Like “politically correct”, the word’s meaning has flip-flopped; it has just taken longer. Funny how words do that, but it probably has to do with our pride and our hypocrisy. We don’t usually live up to the labels we apply to ourselvess.
Anyway, calling someone obsequious has two fringe benefits.
Most people don’t know what the word means.
It sounds even more awful than it is.
So please make certain that if you call someone obsequious you are not immediately within reach. Better yet, may I suggest that you label behavior and not people.