Friday, September 07, 2007

Fate, Folly, Fred

OK, Mr. Thompson, so you have finally decided you’re in the race. Late and a sloppy entry, but you have time to make up for that, just to long as you don’t screw up again. And let’s be honest, you have screwed up. I have this sneaking suspicion that when you decided to declare your candidacy on the ‘Tonight Show’, it was because someone in Marketing thought that was some slick ‘outside the box’ thinking. In fact, sir, it was plain stupid. You not only set yourself up as a shallow celebrity seeking applause without facing any of the hard questions which real candidates address, you demonstrated poor sense of timing and delivery – you managed to suggest that the debate you skipped was not worth your attention, and by extension you implied the same thing about the voters who watched that debate.

Let’s get right to the brass, Mr. Thompson. Yes, you have assets, but maybe you don’t see them as they really are. People are sick and tired of preening and posturing mandarins and narcissists, and so it’s refreshing to see someone who promises candor and a strong backbone. Your problem, sir, is that you do not hold the monopoly on those qualities, so that your advantage is in transit. To coin certain phrases, use it or lose it and the clock is running. But we must also address your liabilities. I liked you as a Senator, all things considered, but it does not speak well of your sense of commitment that you jumped ship so quickly – a reasonable voter must ask what happens if you became President, then got tired of the job? Surely you know that the office of President is a four- or eight-year colonoscopy in plain and constant view of the public, under even the best of circumstances? So how do we know you are committed, sir? The question needs a better answer than how you feel just now.

You also have a problem in your rivals for the nomination. A mayor of New York, renowned for common sense and personal courage; a charismatic governor with talent for executive work; a bonafide hero from the Vietnam War who, tactless and boorish though he is at times, stands by what he believes regardless of the climate; and a plain-speaking southern governor whose quiet tact and reason are compelling. With all due respect for your intelligence and charisma, Mr. Thompson, you need to do a much better job of explaining why your resume is the superior one to these proven leaders. America needs a GOP nominee who not only can but will whip the pretender from the Left, and lead the nation’s defense against her enemies and towards her commonwealth. A few quips get you looked at, sir, but now is the time for you to show your mettle and your stamina. You have a lot of work to do, and it’s past time to begin, sir.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Once Again The Difference

Whoopi Goldberg’s racist comments yesterday on ‘The View’ have earned their share of rebuke, (ht WSBTV)
but it is also a helpful illustration of the dilemma faced by Goldberg and her fellow thuggists. It is patently false to claim that dog-fighting is culturally accepted by the majority of people in any part of the United States, and for Ms. Goldberg to offer such a weak argument warns me that there is something far closer to home which she wants to avoid. Goldberg wants to blame a group of her choosing, rather than face up to a serious problem with her lifestyle culture. The ‘Thug Life’ is a stupid, self-destructive one, which offers no real advantages while denying young men and women their very identities in the coming world. A culture which glamorizes violence, selective hatred and racism, vulgarity and promiscuity, the ‘Thug Life’ also cheats young people of opportunity by cutting off access to advancement in business and social communities; while advocates claim small success in niche outlets based on the expression of the cult, the world in general rejects the hatred practiced by this cult and those who express it.

It is normal in human behavior to go through a stage of rebellion, but maturity requires a person to accept reality and address conditions constructively. The way is difficult, but success rewards the individual with stable friendships and marriages, success in financial endeavors and professional growth, and in the additional tool of conflict resolution and negotiation. The ‘Thug Life’ culture, however, which appears to me to be an extension of the ‘I’m a Victim’ culture made prevalent by extensive Welfare and other government programs which subsidize poverty and helplessness, actively discourages reaching out to different cultural groups, and ridicules individuals who seek to better themselves through hard work and education. The sum effect of the ‘Thug Life’ is to invite despair and failure in place of hope and joy, and so the end of Mr. Vick’s career is representative of the culture he embraced, rather than an outlier.

I hasten to emphasize that the ‘Thug Life’ is not restricted to a single demographic group. As we have seen in even recent history, women as well as men engage in it, Whites and Hispanics as well as Blacks, and in all geographic areas. It is not a ‘Southern’ problem, because the behavior is also prevalent in the North and on both coasts. It takes on different aspects according to the selected hatred of choice by the groups which practice it, so that the Crips have much in common with the Aryan Nation, more than either group would like to admit. It is pervasive, in the same way that a particularly vicious variant of a virus strikes the whole country in a wave, and it is just as deadly. I do not find it a coincidence, that the culture which thinks nothing of killing dogs in fights for amusement, loses so many young people to drugs, alcohol, and violence as well. At the risk of sounding like a revival preacher, it also occurs to me that this culture is depressingly void of a spiritual dimension. It is, therefore, no wonder that a culture which mocks God cannot find Him when they finally realize their need for Him.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Commission

There is a web site which, ostensibly, exists to allow for respectful debate and the thoughtful exchange of experiences and opinions between believers of different faiths and philosophies. In reality, sadly, the owners of this site have allowed their personal bias to lean more and more heavily against traditional Christianity, and to a lesser extent against Judaism and Islam. This is a loss for the ideal of free discussion, but in context hardly surprising. If one believes the Bible, as I do, there is abundant evidence that those people who have a direct relationship with God live on lines completely alien to those who do not have such a relationship with God. What makes the matter all the more strange, is that once a person is aligned with God, they realize that we are made and meant to have contact with the Father, the more the better. And so human existence is a series of paradoxes; believers strongly desire to grow closer to God, and our natural lives get in the way, especially our selfish nature, while non-believers make their way with God’s help, unaware and therefore ungrateful for all He does, even though in many cases He does more for them than for those who seek Him in earnest.

The Commission of Christ is a mystery, and I do not pretend to understand it fully, except that I know that I know nothing, or near enough to nothing that it is hubris to think I am measurably further along the Way than anyone else I could think of for comparison. But I know this – the Commission is a personal covenant, one which carries great and sobering responsibility, yet also holds promises of breath-taking generosity by God, including the absolute assurance that we shall be neither lost nor forgotten. I understand that those who have not accepted the Way generally regard that assurance as a fable, which seems to me a coping mechanism; how anyone could or would refuse such a gift is baffling beyond my comprehension, except that they cannot imagine such Grace and Hope may exist in this world. That, or they imagine that humans can somehow become what we always dreamed, the collective evidence of History and human nature ignored.

I have been wrestling with the question of just why it matters that we should spread Christianity, if God makes Himself available to anyone who will seek Him. And it occurs to me that the heart of Christ’s teaching is indeed the heart; the doctrines, all the words and rituals, though they matter in certain ways and places, are secondary, far miniscule, next to the simple dedication of one’s heart – and there is no better service than to live in imitation and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For some, this is stating the obvious. For others, sheer madness or myth. For me, it’s just remembering who I am, and Whose.