Cause and effect. Words and deeds. Ideas and Consequences.
Most would readily acknowledge that for every deed or action there is a corresponding force, idea or motivator behind it. But all too often biases and subjectivity cloud the facts and the understanding of them, even when the clues are abundantly clear. This week was a case study of these truths.
On Wednesday, a 66 year old political activist picked up a rifle and handgun, with deliberate premediatated intent, and hatred in his heart, and drove to a baseball field where Republican Congressmen were preparing for the annual baseball charity benefit game. These Congressmen hailed from the party that pushes grannies over cliffs. They were men whose mission in life was to steal money from the poor and give to their rich friends. They were polluters whose chief aim was to destroy the globe they lived on. They were men who were racists, bigots, and homophobes. These men, in baseball cleats and uniforms, were the worst of the worst America has to offer, or so news reports, media, pundits, late night show hosts, Hollywood elites, millions of Americans, and particularly their Democratic colleagues across the aisle, would have you believe all these obvious lies and slander.
And so Mr. Hodgkinson, a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter, and avowed left-wing activist, following months and years of hearing his ideological leaders malign and defame Republicans and conservatives, made the horrific decision to do what seemed the logical thing to do, given the “crimes” of these Republicans. He would grab his weapons and descend upon these “vile” GOP Congressmen, becoming their judge, jury, and executioner. He would do what others could only bring themselves to verbalize, whether through innuendo, jest, theatrical drama, or outright threats. He would carry through. He would extinguish their lives, and in so doing, he would finally mete out the only justice these “immoral” Republicans were worthy of… destruction and death.
Thankfully, Hodgkinson’s murderous plan was foiled due primarily to the grace of God, and secondly to the heroic actions of the Capitol Police, who just “happened to be there” because Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican House Majority Whip, had his assigned security detail with him. Rather than a mass shooting with numbers of lives lost, there were a handful of Republicans (including Scalise) and Capitol police who were shot up, but are expected to recover. In a move of swift justice, the would be executioner met his Maker that very day, receiving the ultimate judgment reserved for unrepentant murderers.
But, is that the end of the story? Are there others, beyond Mr. Hodgkinson, who played a role in the tragic events of this week? If for every effect there is a cause; and if words drive actions; and if movement is preceded by force; and if ideas have consequences, then there is a mountain full of blame to spread behind the left-wing ideological lines, as I wrote about a couple months ago in this post.
Recent Calls for Political Assassinations
Whether it’s Kathy Griffin’s recent graphic beheading stunt of President Trump, or the Julius Caesar play in New York this week that depicted the main character, a Donald Trump look-alike, being assassinated, these are just two whose ideological DNA are at the scene of the crime. To call for or fantasize about the death of anyone, but particularly a member of an opposing party because you find him objectionable, or even reprehensible, should be intolerable and be met with the swiftest condemnation. Those participating in such despicable behavior should pay a heavy price. Tragically, when those toying with such hideous fantasies are nationally recognized, they water a soil that is already sown with seeds of hatred and thoughts of violence. To be clear, Mr. Hodgkinson was completely responsible for his actions. But before his fateful day, those calling for Trump’s assassination lent credence to such crimes and played a part in fanning into flames the embers of Hodgkinson’s hate.
The Media & Entertainment
It’s long been established that the overwhelming slant of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, nearly every major newspaper, and the vast majority of entertainment (Hollywood elite and musicians) in our nation participate in the unholy alliance that seeks to portray those on the right side of the political spectrum as all that is wrong with America. Every kind of disparaging remark is hurled at those of us whose “guilt” is simply embracing an ideology that, while at odds with their alliance, is most in tune with the philosophy of our founders and our Constitution. If it’s any consolation for conservatives, were our founders alive today, they would undoubtedly be targets of the left’s smears, vilification and even assassination attempts by their most radical elements.
Since Trump’s election, the barrage from the left has only increased and intensified. And so Hodgkinson’s mission to “Destroy Trump & Co.” as posted on his Facebook page, was affirmed time and time again by Hillary, Obama, Pelosi, Schumer and their partners across this nation with their latest message of RESISTANCE and disruption. This article from American Thinker identifies a partial list of the threats against the GOP and Trump by Hollywood celebrities.
Purveyors of Hate
One cannot discuss this subject without highlighting the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that speaks in unison with the agenda of the progressive left. Like a rabid animal, SPLC’s fangs can be extremely destructive and even potentially lethal. SPLC targets many of the leaders in the Republican and conservative mainstream, listing them either as “hate groups” or affiliating with the “hate groups” they singularly pronounce. So was the case with Rep. Scalise, the Republican Congressman shot this week by Mr. Hodgkinson. SPLC had asserted that Scalise had associated with groups it deemed hate groups. And it should be noted that Hodgkinson had “Liked” SPLC’s Facebook Page.
SPLC’s ties to violence were furthered portrayed when they labeled Family Research Council as a hate group several years ago. Note that FRC is a mainstream political and policy organization that affirms both conservative and biblical values. In 2012 another left-wing gunman attacked FRC, seeking to kill dozens. Thankfully the security officer at FRC was armed and neutralized the would be murderer. Later, when interviewed by the police, the gunman acknowledged that he had gone to the SPLC “hate group” website to gain info on FRC before his attack. Shamefully, while SPLC boasts that it calls out those who hate, they have become purveyors of hate and violence themselves, and share some part in the climate that led to Hodkinson attack yesterday.
Are all liberals to blame?
It’s tempting to use a broad brush when opining about political matters but to do so would be wrong. Many Americans who voted for Hillary were appalled by the Griffin stunt and other such vile deeds. But while hatred doesn’t drive all liberals, many of them are certainly influenced unduly by the biases of their deceptive sources. And so the mouthpieces of the left, too numerous to list, carry a high level of responsibility for sowing the seeds that eventually sprout into full blown violence by some against their fellow Americans, whose sole “crime” is believing differently.
At the end of the day, this whole matter reminds me of a couple of truths from God Himself. In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus stated, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
And in 1 John 3:15, we see that hatred is merely murder in one’s heart: “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”
These are weighty thoughts and should cause all of us to look inside to test our own attitudes. If hate is equal to murder, it’s no light matter.
The question many ask themselves today is whether America can be saved from herself? Is she too far gone? Is the tenor and level of our disagreement in America between the predominant political and spiritual ideologies too far split to see a patching of our nation together again? Time will tell. But if the machine of the left continues on its unrelenting agenda to vilify and slander all views contrary to theirs, then what we witnessed this week at a baseball field in our nation’s capitol, will spill over into your city and mine next.
Plant a thought and reap a word;
Plant a word and reap an action;
Plant an action and reap a habit;
Plant a habit and reap a character;
Plant a character and reap a destiny.
As a people, Americans are accustomed to solving most any problem that confronts us. Whether it was leading a world coalition to defeat the Nazis or responding to Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, as a nation we have consistently risen to the occasion when we were faced with an existential threat. And, by the grace of God, over our 240+ year history, our nation has weathered even the worst of those threats.
A few days ago, Donald Trump held a press conference in which he described what he inherited from Barack Obama as a “mess.” Specifically, he had this to say:
“As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government and across the economy. To be honest, I inherited a mess! It’s a mess! At home and abroad. A mess!”
He went on to describe some of that mess in his comments. And he spoke of these problems frequently during his campaign:
Loss of jobs
A weakening military
A broken healthcare system
Spiraling, unsustainable debt
A broken immigration & refugee system
President Trump is right that our nation is in an absolute mess. Many have been saying this for a long time. But with the election of Trump, and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, the power to address the “mess” has shifted to the GOP. They now possess the authority and ability to implement whatever solutions they deem appropriate to deal with the many crises America faces.
Granted, it’s possible and likely that Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress will implement some sound political approaches and pass worthy legislation that will attempt to address these problems. If this battle was being played out on a football field, Republican efforts might advance the ball a few yards towards the goal line of greater prosperity, security, efficiency, lower taxes and more.
But lest we get too excited, the root of our nation’s problems does not stem from a dysfunctional Congress, an activist judicial branch, or even an unorthodox or confrontational President. Their behavior is merely a symptom of a much deeper struggle in our nation.
There is an old adage that goes: “Never bring a knife to a gun fight.” Fighting spiritual battles with political weapons will never offer a permanent solution. If fans attend a football game and they grow excited by their team moving the ball a few yards, but that team doesn’t possess the plays to score a touchdown, then those fans will be continuously frustrated, despite the brief exhilaration if a first down is achieved.
Likewise, using a knife to carve out a political strategy simply offers the exhilaration of a few short term victories. And while I would not diminish the importance of such wins, from a grander perspective of the battle our nation is embroiled in, these “wins” will be akin to a solitary first down, only to see the ball fumbled to the other team.
The fight our nation is embroiled in is a much deeper fight; one that has spiritual and eternal implications. The Bible speaks of this battle in Ephesians 6:12 — “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
While I acknowledge it is not the role of government to solve spiritual problems, it is possible for rulers or elected officials to compound those problems. And we have seen this occurring for many decades now, through legislation, regulation and policy.
In years past, there was a list of transgressions known as the “7 Deadly Sins” which originated shortly after the time of Christ. That ancient list, drawn from the Bible itself, is a modern day indictment of our own nation:
Think through this list and see how they perfectly describe many of the ills our nation is facing.
Lust is front and center nearly everywhere you look: TV, movies, magazines, billboards, internet. It’s nearly impossible to escape.
Gluttony is epidemic in America with more than 1/3 of our citizens obese. And by 2020, it’s estimated that nearly 3/4 of Americans will be either overweight or obese.
Greed is typically associated with Wall Street, business owners, and multi-millionaires. But truthfully, greed is rampant at all socio-economic levels. The entire American culture has been organized around our insatiable desire to accumulate more and more.
Sloth or laziness is synonymous with millions of Americans. While certainly there are many who are unemployed who desire to work, there are literally tens of millions who would prefer to live off the welfare state.
Wrath is seen from DC to small town America. There is no shortage of anger in our nation today. While Donald Trump tapped into a lot of anger, we are seeing different types of anger displayed now that he is our President, and some of that anger is turning violent.
Envy is what drives many in our nation. We lack contentment because we desire what others have. And that desire is not limited to material things but can include status, abilities, and even desiring the characteristics of others.
Pride is seen by some as the worst of the seven deadly sins. By reciting such phrases as “if you believe it, you can achieve it” and other similar concepts, we remove God from the equation, exalting self to the position that only God should occupy.
If you’re like me, I can look through the list above and feel like I’m looking in the mirror for many of these. Sure, none of us are perfect. But how many of us can honestly acknowledge our shortcomings and say we are actively engaged in addressing those shortcomings, through God’s help, on a routine basis?
You see, our nation is a composite of its 330 million citizens. It only reflects what is in the hearts of its people. While we may bemoan the actions of our elected officials, if we’re honest, we’ll admit that they merely reflect what is in our hearts. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So, if we want to solve the many political solutions America is facing, it starts at the most fundamental level — looking in the mirror and beginning to address the spiritual problems in our own individual lives. As we do that, and only when we do that, can we ever hope to solve the seemingly insurmountable political problems facing our nation.
So what say you? Are you ready to start? If so, then get up, walk to the nearest mirror, and join me in saying: “Let’s change America… starting with me!”
Our nation has been deeply divided for some time and that division is growing even deeper. Much of this division has occurred because our political leaders have untethered our laws, policies and regulations from the law of the land, our Constitution.
But as bad as this rejection of our Constitution has been by Congress and the President, We the People have still possessed the ability to hold our politicians accountable to our founding document and principles, every two or four years.
But there remain two threats to the rule of law beyond the Executive and Congressional branches. One obvious. Another not so.
In many banana republics around the globe, cruel and unjust dictators are oftentimes deposed via a military coup d’etat — an armed overthrow of a government. It’s interesting to look at the meaning of this French word. According to Wikipedia, coup d’etat is sometimes translated as “blow of the state” or “hit of state” but the literal translation is “stroke of the state” — as in the wiping or stroke of a sword.
To date our nation has never faced a military coup d’etat. This first threat, while a potential, has never been considered a likely one in our Constitutional Republic.
A Judicial Coup d’etat
The second threat though, is not only a real one, but this week it was realized. No shots were fired. No swords were drawn. But as the definition of coup d’etat makes clear, a “blow to the state” took place when unelected citizens in black robes thumbed their nose at the Constitution and law and figuratively arrested America’s duly elected President, placing legal handcuffs on the authority he clearly possesses.
The Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court circumvented well established law and precedent that affirmed the authority of President Trump, in his position as Commander in Chief, to administer the immigration laws of our land. One such law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, states in Section 1182(f):
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate”
The net effect of the courts decision was that these three unelected judges wrestled the authority for the safety of our citizens from Trump with the stroke of a pen. Sixty-three million citizens elected Donald Trump to protect our nation from a clear and present danger stemming from the loose and dangerous refugee immigration policies of the Obama Administration. The danger posed by radical Islam has been unleashed time and time again in Europe and America over the last couple years. But the court’s decision undermined a duly elected President and left him powerless, for all practical purposes. At least for the time being.
With the stakes growing ever higher, and the willingness by the left to embrace whatever tactic they can devise to block Republicans from governing, rest assured that nothing will be left off the table. Whether it’s the riots and violence in the streets as I wrote about earlier this week, the abuse of long established rules in Congress, or the seizing of authority by the judicial branch that it does not possess, there will be no end to the intimidation, abuses, and other nefarious activities by Democrats and their allies.
And it will only grow worse as unelected and unaccountable men in black establish their superior rule… from the bench.
For the last several years I have watched in utter disgust as a steady stream of liberal groups have acted out violently in cities across our nation. Whether it was the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, or most recently the anti-Trump “protesters,” there is a common thread to all these anarchist-type leftists. While some of their grievances may have merit, what might begin as organized protests soon turns to threats, rioting, vandalizing, destruction, and assaults. Common to many of these violent events are clashes with police, tear gas, arrests, and injuries. Sadly, some of these criminal leftists have even killed those we entrust our safety to — our men and women in blue.
The media is quick to cover for these radical extremists, often comparing them to protests by the tea party movement on the right, as if there is some moral equivalence. But this comparison could not be more distorted, and intentionally fraudulent, by a media that is hell-bent on uplifting the radical leftist groups and marginalizing and misrepresenting peaceful conservative protests.
I founded the Chattanooga Tea Party in early 2009, and was present at the inception of the modern tea party movement. I’ve been engaged in this worthy and impactful conservative movement every step of the way. Our group in Chattanooga, just one of thousands across our nation, began as a protest rally on April 15, 2009 with patriotic songs, prayers, inspiring speakers, and more than 2,500 local citizens. The family-friendly protest was peaceful and consisted of mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, professionals, blue-collar, white, black, hispanic, elected officials, clergy and more. As was the case in all of our rallies, we consistently left the locations we rented, as clean or cleaner than when we arrived. And not once did we have any clashes with authorities.
In the fall of that same year, more than a million tea party members and conservative groups traveled to Washington DC to protest the policies of our government. The protest was peaceful, patriotic, respectful and not one violent clash with authorities or citizens. In 2013, I had the opportunity to speak at the Audit the IRS Rally on the grounds of our Capitol in Washington DC. Many tens of thousands of tea party patriots attended and again there were no clashes, violence or destruction.
Most of us who led in the founding of the tea party movement had never participated in a grassroots political effort, particularly one that was focused on expressing the frustration and anger that had been simmering for many years. But while tea party members had little experience in leading protests, there was a common thread of love of country, respect for the law, and regard for our fellow citizens, even when we disagreed. Furthermore, our strategy was to use the power of citizen lobbying, persuasion and ultimately the ballot box, to affect change; not intimidation, violence and rioting.
To be clear, the tea party is not a perfect movement. We have had our share of struggles and some of our members have not represented us well. But those are the rare exceptions. And even in those instances, they do not include rioting, violence or worse.
But not so with many of our fellow citizens on the left side of the aisle. The record is one of consistent and regular rioting and violence over the last several years. Here are just a few examples of their detestable criminal activity, but there are literally dozens and dozens:
Black Lives Matter
While certainly there are millions of Democrats and liberals who would never protest by picking up stones, bottles or even guns to vent their anger, the truth is there are millions who would and tens of thousands who have. There is a quote that states,
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak.”
There’s a deafening silence from many Democrats/liberals as the behavior of many in their party can only be characterized as criminal. Most agree that our nation is deeply divided. But there is no doubt that the continued silence of the left when their own engage in violent acts, will only worsen the deep divide. So I call on my fellow Americans who may not identify with a conservative ideology, or even the unorthodox style of our new President, to reject the path of violence and anarchy. Protest if you feel the need, but do so in a peaceful and respectful manner. Convince your fellow Americans of the soundness of your views and values via your ideological arguments, not your violent acts. Only then can we hope “to form a more perfect union.”
This week, with the talk of many in our nation focusing on Trump’s latest Executive Order, which temporarily halts refugee resettlement, liberals and their funded activists are up in arms and taking to the streets. Even some Republicans are raising concerns over both the content of the EO’s and the way in which they were implemented.
However, lost in all the turmoil is one aspect of our nation’s refugee program that is seldom discussed but should be of great concern to anyone who has ever worked through a budget, whether in your family or business. Here’s one thing we can all agree on. If your budget doesn’t have a surplus or at least balance, then you look closely at the line items of your spending, with an eye towards either reducing your expenses and/or increasing your revenue.
So I thought it might be helpful to understand the fiscal impact of our refugee resettlement program on our nation’s budget. As we look at that cost, we should remember the points made in my previous article about The National Debt. Specifically, our nation’s spending is creating over a half-trillion dollar deficit every year. Additionally, in another of my articles, $10 Trillion New Debt, we are projected to average nearly a trillion dollars in deficits every year over the next decade.
Given these alarming multi-trillion dollar deficits, it’s safe to say that America has no excess funds to allocate. PERIOD. This fact should be weighing heavy on the minds of our political leaders. But the truth is that you never, ever, hear them speaking of the fiscal impact of the 85,000 refugees that were brought into our country last year; or the 50,000 that Trump’s policies would continue to bring in annually.
The Fiscal Impact
There are several reports that I’ve studied about the cost of the refugee program. But the report from Center for Immigration Studies is in my view the most complete, and the excerpted facts below reveal the disturbing fiscal impact of our nation’s refugee program:
America has a long tradition of caring about those beyond our own shores. Whether it’s sacrificing our own young men and women to bring freedoms to some distant land, or offering aid and relief to those less fortunate than us in remote areas of the world, our actions reveal our heart. And ours is a generous one.
But there is a fundamental principle of charity or generosity, and it is that one can only give from what one has. In order to give, one must possess. And to possess, one must be fiscally wise, if not conservative. For too long America has not only been fiscally liberal, but worse, we have been irresponsible and foolish. We have feigned generosity to those less fortunate, both here and abroad. But that “generosity” has come at the expense of enslaving our children, grandchildren and future generations with an indebtedness beyond a level ever known to any prior society throughout history.
Consider for just a moment the example of a family of great wealth. The resources the parents own and manage are significant. But despite their assets and current income, their outflow far exceeds their inflow. But to subsidize their obsessive spending, they begin to mortgage their assets, rather than scrutinizing their spending. This continues over the course of many years. Soon, the amount of indebtedness surpasses their own income, future income and even the value of their assets themselves. What was once presented as a tremendous opportunity to pass on a legacy of wealth and good to their children has become a matter of horror and great indebtedness. And why? Because the leaders of this family were unwilling to face the reality that their spending spree over the course of many years completely depleted their resources and enslaved those they loved the most.
America is like the family above. And those “parents” are our political leaders as well as those of us who continue to give those same leaders the reins of our nation, election cycle after election cycle. On this one issue, refugee resettlement, what is meant for good by many, is in fact contributing to a reckless cycle, year after year, of mounting more and more debt, to the point that someday it will all come crumbling down. And those refugees that we intended to help will be enslaved along with our own children, to an indebtedness that will burden their lives in such a drastic and oppressive manner.
Were Americans of all political persuasion thinking through this matter logically and without their political biases, these numbers would cause our populace to take to the streets to demand our political leaders put our fiscal house back in order. But I don’t expect such sanity to prevail, given the highly fractured and partisan age we live in along with the apathetic attitude of citizens.
But at least now YOU know that there is another aspect to the refugee crisis that no one is mentioning. And it’s greater than the humanitarian aspect, or at least it should be, given our own fiscal crisis that few are willing to confront.
The only question now is will you care? Will you demand of your elected officials that they rein in our spending, both in the refugee resettlement program and across all areas of our government? And will you share these facts with others?
With the inauguration of our new President just hours away, our nation is approaching new, unchartered water. Of course, the same could be said of the era we were entering eight years ago. But just as there were troubling reasons why Obama was elected then, so there are gnawing explanations as to why Trump was elected in November.
As George W. Bush was quick to sacrifice many of the values that historically characterized conservative orthodoxy, his popularity plummeted and contributed to the election of the most “progressive” President to ever lead our nation. And with the election of Barack Obama, the political polarization that gained steam during the Bush years skyrocketed under Obama.
But as Republicans over the last eight years continued to say one thing and do another, particularly when they controlled both houses of Congress, voters grew more and more frustrated with the Party of Lincoln. Consider that while there were 17 Republican candidates for President, ultimately the 16 “Party-faithful” candidates were rejected in favor of Trump, someone whose political credentials were questioned by many. One could ask then whether the victory in November was that of a Party or a personality? And will the coming Trump era see Party, Principle or Pragmatism prevail?
As someone who has consistently voted for Republican candidates, I have always favored principle over party. So in 2009, as the tea party movement was launched, I took an active role, with millions of other Americans, in expressing my grievances with both parties. Since then, while certainly much of our movement’s protests were focused on Obama’s policies, a considerable amount of our ire was directed towards Republicans as well. The party of conservatism had, for the most part, lost its compass.
But then Trump appeared.
And everything changed…
The truth is there is little evidence that Trump is a conservative Republican, in the purest definition. Not only does his multi-decade track record affirm this reality, but many of the policies he campaigned on are at odds with long-standing Republican positions and orthodoxy. I won’t take the time to recite the myriad of examples but these articles here and here reference several of his most glaring departures.
What we do know about Trump though, is that since his Presidential announcement in June 2015, the billionaire candidate attracted: 1) Republicans disgusted with the Republican Party, even though they had consistently supported the GOP, and
2) Democrats tired of the failed policies of the Democratic Party, for which they had voted for in prior elections.
So with Trump’s rise to the Presidency we witnessed a powerful new constituency, the Pragmatic voter. No longer was Party the driving factor for many. Nor was Principle the overriding variable for others. Rather, Pragmatism ruled the day.
But with the election now over, and Trump stepping forward to lead, versus merely tweet, his words will soon morph into policies, laws and regulations. As this occurs, it will be telling to see if the millions of voters who supported Donald Trump will remain enamored, enthused and engaged.
More specifically though, I am eager to see how tea party members will respond to our new President. As a movement that has for the most part been known for its allegiance to Principle and the Constitution, will its members continue to overlook Trump’s policies that might violate both? Will the tea party devolve into simply a pragmatic political force? Or will the movement that became the rallying cry and impetus for one of the greatest political victories in the modern era, embrace the spirit of the original Tea Party in 1773, standing on principle first and foremost?
“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson