In my latest contribution to the online journal, American Thinker, I asked if our victorious Republicans were prepared to honor the reformist mandate given them in the last election and do what’s necessary to turn this country around. I ended the piece on a restrained but positive note…
“This past Tuesday might have been a turning point. Might have been. Now we shall see.
“But, hey! Call me an optimist. I’ve always enjoyed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
“For now, I’m holding onto a little bit of hope.”
Boy, was my attitude out of sync with the AT audience! — at least with most of those readers motivated to offer their thoughts in the com box. I was swamped by a virtual deluge of pessimism about GOP inclinations and capabilities.
The Republican rampage through both houses of congress clearly represents a broad public rejection of the Obama agenda.
But now, will the Grand Old Party finally get its act together and do something constructive with the majorities it achieved on Tuesday?
TUESDAY COULD BE A TURNING POINT
IF DIRTY TRICKS DON’T STEAL IT
The polls could be wrong, of course. They could be infected with over-optimism or distorted by preoccupation with ebola, Ferguson, online beheadings, Michele’s school lunch menu, or the current over-arching Barack Obama fatigue.
Numbers pointing toward either Republicans or Democrats might be wildly off the mark (we’ve seen that before). Close races are still unsettled. And anyway, like the man said, “All politics is local.” People may hate Washington yet still appreciate how their own incumbent brings home the bacon.
On top of that, voter fraud and manipulation are showing up all over the country.
OLD TV SHOWS OFTEN REVEAL
UNCHANGING HUMAN TRUTHS
An episode of the classic 1960s TV series, “The Andy Griffith Show,” prompted some thoughts on how much has changed in our assumptions about human nature — or, more to the point, how much hasn’t changed.
The online journal, American Thinker, posted my reflections last week. You might want to go over there and check them out…
Then, please come back here and offer your own insights in the comments section.
Readers of this blog know that I sometimes get a bit carried off onto moral tangents. Well, that’s my inclination; I confess to it.
The moral dimensions of this year’s election are all too apparent, however. Some of them stand out in high relief here in Michigan.
I’m voting to reelect Governor Rick Snyder. And yes, I do see a moral dimension in that choice.
A GOOD-HEARTED MOVIE STAR SHOWS
THE NARROW VIEW OF SECULARISM
A recent episode of Bill Maher’s HBO talk show, “Real Time,” brought a bit of Hollywood glitz to the ongoing debate over the nature of Islam when movie star Ben Affleck got into a high-volume exchange with writer Sam Harris.
SILLINESS IN A NEBRASKA SCHOOL DISTRICT
HIGHLIGHTS OUR CULTURAL MADNESS
By now, probably everyone has heard about the Lincoln, Nebraska, school district whose “gender sensitivity” training included a handout encouraging teachers to avoid calling boys and girls “boys” and “girls.”
As reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, Fox News, and numerous other outlets, teachers were advised to attract their students’ attention by using expressions like, “Calling all readers!” or “Hey, campers!” and to refer to them as “purple penguins” or other cutesy, gender-neutral images.
The training materials were acquired from an organization called Gender Spectrum, which according to its website, “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.”
HAVE WE OVERLOOKED THE REAL REASON
BEHIND THE ISLAMIC STATE’S RAPID GROWTH?
Here’s the answer to the question of why President Obama took time from building his international coalition against the so-called Islamic State to address the U.N. Climate Summit (per my post of September 26): The forces of IS/ISIL/ISIS have become so powerful because of — Wait for it! — climate change.
Professor Charles B. Strozler of the City University of New York and Kelly A. Berkell of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice offer this startling revelation at the Huffington Post. Here’s how they say it all happened…
“A historic drought afflicted the country from 2006 through 2010, setting off a dire humanitarian crisis for millions of Syrians. Yet the four-year drought evoked little response from Bashar al-Assad’s government. Rage at the regime’s callousness boiled over in 2011, helping to fuel the popular uprising. In the ensuing chaos, ISIS stole onto the scene, proclaimed a caliphate in late June and accelerated its rampage of atrocities including the recent beheadings of three Western civilians.”
Well, of course. We should have seen it. It’s so obvious.
MIXED MESSAGES AND BAD OPTICS
CLOUD OUR EFFORT IN SYRIA AND IRAQ
“Well, if this guy wins, at least we’ll be getting a President who recognizes the power of symbolism to amplify his message and stir people’s emotions.”
It reminded me of Ronald Reagan who, as a former movie actor, well understood the interplay of evocative words and strong visual imagery.
Strange how, in his presidency, Obama is often quite thoughtless about the impressions that served him so well on the campaign trail. Sometimes it seems like he just doesn’t care about how things look.
The famous Styrofoam salute is a recent example. I’m pretty sure the President intended no conscious disrespect of his Marine guards by returning their salute with a coffee cup in his right hand. Probably it just didn’t occur to him to think about how he would be expected to comport himself as he got off the helicopter.
And that’s the problem: He didn’t think.
IT MAY BE UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT WE HAVE TO
FACE THE ISLAMIST WORLDVIEW HONESTLY
September 11, 2001, I was working at The Ave Maria Foundation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when someone came rushing in to announce that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A bunch of us scurried to the newsroom of Credo, a Catholic community tabloid we published at the time. There a TV was kept tuned to cable news. When the second plane crashed into the second tower, productivity came to a total halt throughout the organization.
Of course, 9/11 was a disruption for the whole country. And so, Al Kresta, host of Ave Maria Radio’s daily talk show, “Kresta In the Afternoon,” found himself with no guests available for that day’s broadcast.
I offered to sit in with him, and the two of us kept up a running — if somewhat disjointed — narrative of the day’s unfolding drama drawn from reports collected by Al’s then-producer, Kathy Schiffer (now a widely read blogger at the Patheos Catholic portal).
While word was spreading that the Islamist radical group al-Qaeda was likely behind the attacks, a theme began to emerge in the reports and TV chatter — to whit: that these were cowardly acts perpetrated by madmen.
Granted such early comments reflected people’s initial shock. But thinking about the brazen evil that had come upon us that morning I remarked to Al on the air…
“They aren’t cowards, and they aren’t madmen. They have a profoundly different understanding of life.”