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.
Over the last several weeks the media has been consumed with the Russian hacking story, suggesting that the nation that has been our adversary for the last century somehow sabotaged our free elections and contributed to the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump. Of course, the Clinton camp and its supporters have been pushing this story since Hillary’s defeat in November.
Everyone should be concerned about allegations of our elections being corrupted in some manner, whether that corruption comes from a nation state or from some other sinister effort. But it is the height of hypocrisy when certain groups become incensed when their candidate loses but they dismiss electoral malfeasance when their side wins. By certain groups, I am referring specifically to liberals, Democrats, and their willing supporters/accomplices, the main stream media.
First let’s address what the specifics of the Russian “hacking” episode actually was. There has been a steady drumbeat of reports from media sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, inferring that the Russian hacking interfered in and impacted the results of our election. To be clear, there is no evidence that any potential hacking changed the outcome whatsoever. Furthermore, the hacking was not in any way related to voting machines or anything that occurred on election day.
The incident in question stemmed from the hacking by Wikileaks of emails accounts for a number of Democratic leaders, including the Democratic National Committee. Those emails, leaked months ago, exposed the sinister efforts of leaders in the Democratic party to undercut Hillary’s main challenger, Bernie Sanders. But the media, rather than focus in on the corruption of the DNC and Hillary, chose to focus on the actual hacking event itself. So Hillary gets a pass, but a foreign entity doesn’t. And consider that had Hillary won, the wrongdoing by the Democratic party would have gone literally unchecked by nearly every main stream media outlet.
As I’ve considered the sudden concern by Democrats and the media over election tampering or illegal activity, I’m reminded that these are the same people that have ignored or scoffed at other blatant scenarios that are unquestionably impacting elections, and regularly resulting in illegal votes being cast on a growing scale. Here are just a few of the more obvious examples of the utter hypocrisy of Democrats and the media regarding the integrity of the electoral system:
Democrats have consistently resisted any idea of requiring voters to register. Contrary to their allegations though that voter registration is a malicious scheme by Republicans and conservatives to disenfranchise voters, particular minorities, the truth is that registration is designed to protect the integrity of our electoral process. Why is it we never hear complaints by Democrats, the media or other organizations about the reality that government issued ID’s are required to travel, cash checks, check into a hotel, or to even visit the White House. But when one of the foundations of our Constitutional Republic, the voting booth, is at issue, Democrats put up a level of resistance not known since the 300 Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae? (As a little reminder, comedian Ellen DeGeneres was recently barred from entering the White House because she failed to bring along her ID, as she noted in a recent tweet.)
Presently, the cities in America that are known as sanctuary cities are under the control of Democrats. To be clear, a sanctuary city is one where the city’s officials ignore federal law and shelter illegal aliens from federal prosecution. So as you weigh the sincerity of Democrats’ outrage over the Russian hacking scandal, consider that these are the same folks and Party that not only routinely defy the law and enable illegal aliens to remain immune from federal prosecution, but following Trump’s election, many Democrat officials in sanctuary cities have doubled down on this illegal tactic. Of course, the tactic is ultimately about the following issue, which directly undermines our electoral process.
Voting by Illegals
While there is no evidence that Russian hacking resulted in any votes being defrauded, there are numerous reports that voting by illegal aliens is occurring. While the numbers vary widely, with some alleging that as many as 3 million illegals voted in this most recent Presidential election, it should not matter if there are 3000 or 3 million. Yet, whenever the topic of illegals voting is raised, most liberals and Democrats brush it aside as far-fetched or unthinkable.
Consider this though. For every illegal vote that occurs, one legal vote is marginalized. So if you arrive at the polls at the same time as an illegal voter, and you both sit down in voting booths adjacent to each other, it’s highly likely that your vote, particularly if you are a conservative, was just cancelled out by the illegal in the booth next to you. Yet, many Democrats not only turn a blind eye to any such happenings, but they knowingly enable it.
The Popular Vote
If the allegations that Russian hacking impacted the results of the 2016 Presidential election really held any merit, then there’s one statistic that should totally discredit the theory. Democrats have been quick to continuously howl that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, suggesting that Bill’s wife was really the choice of the majority of Americans. In so doing, Hillary, the media, and her supporters have sought to infer that she is the pick of Americans.
The fact that Hillary won the popular vote would suggest that the Russian hacking was a failure. Had they succeeded in their quest to enable a Trump win, the popular vote would have turned in Trump’s favor. Yet it did not. But why confuse people with the truth? Instead, liberals, bolstered by the “public outreach” arm of their party, the media, have repeated the lie of the Russian hacking story with such consistency and deceit, that once again, many of the American people have bought their lie, hook, line and sinker.
It was Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, who said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Democrat leaders have learned this strategy well enough. And the sad truth is that most Democrats are not really concerned about maintaining a fair and honest electoral process. Rather, they are merely interested in insuring that whatever strategies they can use to gain an unfair and even illegal advantage remain intact.
As I peer out the window at the terrain below, jetting over the heartland of America, I cannot help but ponder the future for our nation following the unexpected and historical win by Donald Trump.
We saw so many “firsts” during Election 2016. The first billionaire to win the Presidency. The first woman to ever receive the nomination for President of a major party. The first election where both candidates’ unfavorable ratings were at historical highs. And so many more.
Today I am indeed grateful to God that we are not referring to Hillary Clinton as President-elect. If you believe that God is still intimately engaged in His creation, then you understand that Daniel 2:21 was once again affirmed in this election in which we were all given the privilege and responsibility to participate: “And He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raise up kings.”
While I am thankful that Hillary Clinton did not prevail, admittedly I remain a skeptic as to Trump’s veracity, trustworthiness and character. My concerns will either be affirmed or invalidated in the months and years to come. And honestly I pray they are proven wrong. But one thing is certain. As Donald Trump transitions from candidate to President, some very distinct realities will set in.
If you’ve ever flown, as I am doing today, you know that there can be something magical about soaring 30,000 feet above the earth at 600+ mph, seeing the earth below you whiz by. The details of all that lies below is indistinguishable from that altitude. Similarly though, if one is glancing up from the ground into the atmosphere, the specifics of an aircraft is also unknown.
What airline is it? What is its tail number? Is it a Boeing or Airbus? Who is inside? There’s no telling until the plane lands.
But when that silver capsule finally touches down, the answers will become clear. If there are defects in the plane, they will be exposed. And as the passengers disembark, their true identity will be revealed.
Over the last year, the Trump campaign has been like the jet cruising at 30,000 feet. Its flight plan has been purposefully one of generalities with limited substance dealing in poll-tested, populist issues. But to an angry and disgusted populace, the vague flight plan proved wildly popular, with statements like these fueling Trump’s flight:
“I will build a great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words!”
“Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” (Interestingly this statement was removed from Trump’s website 11/09/16, the day after his election. See here.)
“I’m going to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
“We’re going to have a special prosecutor for Hillary. If I were President, Hillary would already be in jail.”
But the Trump campaign is now descending from its year-long high altitude voyage, to the reality of a Trump administration. As the implementation of the billionaire’s vision proceeds, which was strong on emotionally charged rhetoric but soft on specifics, any blemishes in Trump’s policies and flaws in his style and guiding philosophies will quickly be tested and revealed.
Fortunately for Trump, he is landing his Presidency on a “Republican-friendly” runway, given the reality that our new President will be advantaged with a GOP-controlled Senate and House. And while there are many Republicans in Congress who are not fans of Donald, the way in which Trump won will give him the gravitas that many of his predecessors lacked.
So will President-elect Donald Trump touch down in Washington, prepared to govern and deliver specific solutions that are as popular and successful as his campaign rhetoric was in its lacking of those same specifics? Can the reality TV star be accountable to voters to follow through in the drudgery of day to day governing? Will Trump’s decisions over the next four years remain in alignment with the positions he claimed he supported during his campaign? Or will President Trump revert back to the antithetical views and values he embraced during the many decades leading up to his Republican “conversion.” Will the dozens of campaign promises Trump made, many outrageous in nature, be fulfilled? And if not, will his supporters even care?
The answers to these questions will determine whether President Trump’s arrival and tenure in Washington will be a successful and controlled touch down or a disastrous crash landing. For the sake of our nation, our communities and our loved ones, I pray our new President is not only wildly successful, both politically and personally, but that the man who disembarks in Washington is a man of great character and integrity.
“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Mark 8:36
So you’ll go to the polls on November 8, (or perhaps you’ve already voted). You will reject the lesser of two evils. Or vote your principles. Or support your party. Or affirm its platform. Or vote 3rd party.
Check that off. You did or will do what every patriotic American does. Right?
And then you can sit back down. Phew! That’s behind you. Election 2016 will be over.
Sure, there are real consequences to what will happen on November 8. But you will have voted. You’ll be back in four years. Or maybe even in two years if you’re a real radical. So let’s move on.
It’s time to get on with life.
Being a Parent
If you’re a parent you’ll recall those nine months leading up to the big day. Before ultrasounds it was kind of like an election. You know that the big day is coming. You may have your preference as to a boy or girl. But you wouldn’t know which it would be until Election Day, umm, I mean Delivery Day. Boy or girl?
But then that little girl appears. She’s been your focus for nine months. But why worry yourself with the next years of her life? You did your job. You played your part. You became a parent. Time to go back to your busy life. You had plenty on your plate before little Emma showed up. How could you add anything else?
Yet, you realize that being a responsible parent does not afford you the option of simply sitting back down and expecting that little Emma will be self-accountable, self-ruling, or self-sustaining.
Rather, you know intuitively that Emma has no chance of surviving, much less flourishing, without you. Her entire being is dependent on you and the commitment you will make to her (and to be certain God’s guiding and sustaining hand).
So, why is it that you know these things about being a parent or nearly every other discipline in life? But when it comes to sustaining one of the most precious gifts you and I have been given, our blessed America, you act as if your vote is enough?
Voting is not Enough
Surely, deep inside, you know your vote cannot be enough. Yet on November 9th, over 100 million Americans will repeat what they’ve done for the past century or two. Like Rip Van Winkle, they will slumber for another electoral cycle, leaving the Republic in the hands of broken, self-interested and, in too many instances, corrupt people.
America, our ship of state, owned by you and me, will be left with an unaccountable captain and crew to guide it, likely on a course you and the majority of America reject. Yet, rather than stepping up and holding the captain and crew accountable, will you wash your hands, turn on your favorite TV programs or engage in your favorite hobby, and then wonder why our future is so dire? This is unquestionably a formula for failure.
One Reason America is Failing Politically
We know, instinctively and experientially, that people, left to their own devices, and with little to no accountability, will degenerate rapidly. But add in the opportunity to enrich oneself, with prestige, fame and even wealth, and the likelihood of self-interest and corruption skyrockets. Too often we elect good men and women to a political office and then walk away, assuming that they will not change. But they do. In overwhelmingly large numbers.
But the fault lies at our feet. We expect too much while inspecting too little. If we desire to see change in Washington, our state capitol, county commission or city council, then it’s incumbent on you and me to change our course. Voting has never been enough. In fact, it’s almost meaningless if you are unwilling to show up the other 1459 days before the next 4 year election cycle.
Birthing and guiding a nation, like parenting a child, is a thankless and unending job. It requires day after day, and year after year, engagement. Anything less will ensure that the two main options offered today, Hillary and Donald, will look like saints in four years, as a lesser of two evils philosophy will continue to degenerate further into the abyss.
Is it too late to change our nation, state or community? Only time will tell. But act as if November 8th completes your civic duty until the next election cycle, and I assure you, our Republic will fail to recover from our current tailspin.
So, for the sake of your family, your offspring, and your fellow citizens, step up on November 9th and commit to the battle for your nation, state and local municipalities. Future generations will either thank or curse you based on your response.
And if you’re not quite sure what to do, then reach out and let’s talk, regardless of your political persuasion. Together we can make a meaningful difference.
Has Campaign 2016 left you feeling like you are about to drown in a barrage of fear and moral corruption? Have you experienced any of these emotions over the last few months? Angst? Anger? Worry? Uncertainty? Nervousness? Fear?
As I’ve engaged in political discourse, I have seen these emotions permeating the discussions. It’s clear that Americans are experiencing an extreme degree of angst. The level of fear that is expressed by conservatives, republicans, independents, and democrats seems to be off the charts.
Our future appears to have been boiled down to the choice that will prevail on November 8th. While there are monumental factors at stake that are driving the choices Americans will make at the ballot box, there have been other seminal moments for our nation.
If you think back over your life, you can no doubt identify times when your future was dire and bleak. Similarly, while our nation’s homeland has faced a relatively tranquil and prosperous series of decades, there have been periods in our history when citizens wondered if the Republic would survive.
I’m reminded of a passage in the gospels where the disciples were fearing for their lives. The story is found in Matthew 8 and highlights one day in the life of Jesus. Throughout that day, Jesus healed a leper, a paralytic child, a feverish lady, cast out a demon, and healed dozens of others. At the end of this “day in the life of Jesus” where the miraculous became almost commonplace, Jesus led his disciples into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.
Shortly after Jesus and the disciples embarked on the journey, a violent storm encompassed their boat. The disciples, terrified by the tempest that surrounded them, and the waves that were crashing inside the boat, yelled out in utter hopelessness, to a sleeping Jesus.
“Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
Consider exactly what the disciples were revealing with those chilling words. First, they had completely forgotten what they had just witnessed earlier in the day, when Jesus performed miracle after miracle, reflecting His complete dominion over the physical and spiritual. Second, consider that this supernatural Man had led them directly into the boat. While they were unaware of what lay ahead, Jesus fully understood what that dark night held for them. Finally, while Jesus knew there was a storm directly in their path, He also knew that the storm was not the object of that night. Rather, a lesson that the disciples needed to experience and learn, was precisely what Jesus had in mind.
So Jesus awoke to the disciples’ screams of fear, panic, and hopelessness. He saw it in their eyes, heard it in their voices, and fully understood their emotions. But, He did not immediately deliver them from their greatest fears. Rather, as the waves were swirling around their knees, Jesus questioned:
“Why are you fearful?”
Did the disciples not understand what the purpose of the last twelve hours had been? Did they not remember that Jesus was the Son of God? Did they fail to comprehend that He delivered dozens from physical and spiritual oppression? Did they not realize the most obvious reality, that Jesus was in the boat with them? Could they perish with the Son of God at their side?
Yet they so easily forgot, just as we so often do. But notice Jesus’ next words.
“O you of little faith.”
The disciples had within minutes lost their trust in the very Creator of the universe; the God-man who had called them to follow Him, and told them things about themselves that only God could have know; the Nazarene who they were seeing live a perfect life, who had turned water into wine, healed the sick and lame, brought words to the lips of the mute, opened the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.
Yet, fear gripped the disciples and they lost their faith. And what was drowned out that night by the storms that swirled around them was not their physical lives, but more importantly their spiritual faith.
But then, despite the fear and lack of faith by the disciples, we read these words:
“Then Jesus arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”
If Jesus can halt physical storms can He not conquer the storms in your life, and our nation? Of course He can. And although there are clear biblical principles that instruct us to not simply sit back and do nothing, we also learn from Matthew 8 that what we are often lacking is faith.
Faith that believes.
Faith that trusts.
And, as we learn in the book of James, faith that is revealed by our works, for we read that “faith without works is dead.”
Remember that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The same Jesus that saved His disciples from drowning that stormy night, is the same One who is fully aware of the storms in your life, and our nation. But will you and I acknowledge, trust, and follow Him, not just on November 8th, but more importantly on November 9th and forward?
In just a few days our nation will enter a new era. It could be a very stormy and tumultuous period. So we have two choices. Will we turn to the ultimate answer for a stormy future and return to the only One who can guide us through these storms? Or will we trudge on, in fear, disunity and hopelessness?
Politicians, their Parties and ideological movements are not our hope. There is only one Hope: Jesus Christ. Let’s turn to Him as we climb into the boat that will traverse a Clinton or Trump Presidency. It’s going to get rough, but we know that God Himself “will never leave us nor forsake us.“
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3