Pages

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Just when you think you’ve heard the weirdest thing possible …


Politics is many things: maddening, confusing, dirty, crazy. A recent example is Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a #NeverTrumper who did not seek reelection in November, and has decided that he will oppose every effort to confirm President Donald Trump’s judicial and other nominees during the remaining weeks of his term, unless there is a bill put forth to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.

This position is odd for a couple of reasons. First, the reason for holding up a vote on a nominee or voting against one is that you believe the nominee is not fit for the position. Second, there is no indication that Trump, after one and one-half years of Mueller’s investigation, intends to fire him, even though he has the clear authority to do so if he chooses, for any reason, or for no reason.

Such a bill raises constitutional questions, as well, since a law that effectively raises an administration employee, which Mueller is, above the authority of the president in effect creates a fourth branch of government.

And then there’s the new Darling of the DNC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young Democrat elected to represent a New York district. The new representative is loved by both the Left and the Right, but for very different reasons.

The Left loves her because she is young and appeals to their idea of shaking things up. The New York Times termed the young member of the Democratic Socialists of America a “28-year-old giant slayer” when she defeated 19-year incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley in the primary.

The Right loves her because of her frequent gaffs; she seems to have little knowledge about the way the country works, among other things. She not long ago informed the country that America’s government has “three chambers of Congress.” Realizing the mistake, she corrected to “three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House."

She champions renewable energy, believing it can cure many ills. “[T]he transition to 100 percent renewable [energy is] the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States.”

And to top it off, in a Twitter dustup with Donald Trump, Jr., she threatened to use the House subpoena power against him. That’s a no-no.

After the 2016 election there was talk of doing away with the Electoral College because were it not for that system Hillary Clinton – the person in all of time who was supposed to win the presidency – would have become president, since she won the popular vote.

Another Democrat wants not only to do away with the Electoral College, but the United States Senate, as well.

As reported by The Washington Times, “Former Democratic Rep. John Dingell, the country’s longest-serving congressman, called for the abolishment of the Electoral College and the Senate, arguing against the ‘disproportionate influence of small states’ that paralyzes the lawmaking and electoral processes.”

Whether Dingell, with more than 59 years in Congress, either was never taught the reasons for the brilliant design of our government, or perhaps just wants to grease the wheels for Democrats to speed transforming the United States of America into another socialist catastrophe, a la Barack Obama, is open to debate.

The Senate’s design of two from each state and the Electoral College as the deciding electoral factor were very deliberate mechanisms to insure that the states maintained some independence and that population centers like New York City and California would not run roughshod over the less populated areas of the country. They both are obstacles the Left would love to eliminate.

A Facebook post laid bare the ignorance of at least some of the legions of Trump detractors. When Trump saluted the flag-draped coffin of former President George H.W. Bush, he was criticized for saluting without having served in the U.S. military. Apparently, no one – or at least not Trump – may salute without having earned the privilege.

The post, however, showed photos of former president’s Bill Clinton and Barack Obama who also dared to salute without having served in the military, which, if memory serves, did not generate any criticisms.

And we find performers in the anti-Trump media, sometimes known as the “fake news” media, who criticize Trump’s combative “take no prisoners” style as offensive, as well as nearly everything else he does, says or even is thought to be thinking. One such performer said during the funeral of George H.W. Bush that Trump’s style, in sharp contrast to Bush’s gentlemanly style, has debased the presidency.

But history shows us that politics has always been a rough and tumble activity, and that Trump has much company in his caustic style. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams may have set the standard in 1796, and the 1828 contest between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson has been called as the dirtiest in American history.

So many of the crazy things that we witness today result from the tremendous amount of things that people don’t know: ignorance. And the poster child for that sad characteristic may be New York’s Representative-elect Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Hypersensitivity and victimhood have risen to epidemic levels

Have you noticed how so many things that lay quietly beneath our awareness for so long have now risen to crisis proportions? And how sensitive people are today; how touchy; how judgmental?

Things from the past that have no bearing on what’s going on today send people into spasms, demanding relief from these things that really have no actual effect on them.

The American south in the Civil War, for example, drives people to want to destroy important vestiges of American history because of something that happened more than 150 years ago.

One does not have to be a defender of slavery or the War Between the States to understand the importance of knowing and preserving history, even those parts of it that are not sources of pride, or may in fact be sources of shame. As wonderful a place as it is, America has not always been and is not now without problems. But why destroy reminders of what actually happened in the past instead of protecting them and using them to learn?

This sensitivity for historical things has expanded to include things that once were mundane, everyday happenings. Some of them were indeed negative, but we had learned to deal with them, rise above them. 

These things were not as serious as bullying, sexual harassment, or other such transgressions. They were minor annoyances: things didn’t go your way; you didn’t win the race; you heard things you disagreed with. These things did not send people hiding from reality.

But recently there has been an epidemic of people reacting strongly to hurt feelings and feeling serious disappointment over little things.  Unfortunately, this condition has found a sympathetic ear on many college campuses, where safe spaces are routine and trigger warnings are to be issued by instructors prior to the delivery of any classroom or other material that may upset someone.

Perhaps this sort of thinking came initially from K-12 education where school administrators decided no student should ever be made to feel bad and therefore every participant in events receives a trophy or other reward just for being there. 

Indeed, some educators have decided that recognizing the two highest academically ranked graduating seniors, the valedictorian and salutatorian, also may cause hard feelings, and has been discontinued so that those that didn’t make the grade will not suffer humiliation.

Now, many subscribe to the idea that whatever someone objects to must be recognized by everyone, even if most people disagree with doing so. This has subverted the idea of working to achieve success and of individual freedom.

Robious Middle School in Midlothian, Virginia has decreed that because some members of the school choir have said they were uncomfortable singing a Christmas song that mentioned Jesus, any Christmas song that mentions him is now verboten. It doesn’t seem to matter to the powers that be that were it not for Jesus there would be no Christmas or Christmas songs, or that Christmas is a traditional holiday going back centuries.

Apparently it did not occur to anyone that merely saying the word “Jesus” or singing it in a musical performance does not mean that a person does or should believe in Jesus, and therefore should not create trauma for anyone. Given the lack of common sense in this case, if the choir cannot sing “Away In A Manger” because the word Jesus is in the lyric, is the band then forbidden to play it?

There are now signs of rebellion to these politically correct over-reactions and the growing degree of personal effrontery. Oklahoma Wesleyan University is a private evangelical Christian university in Bartlesville, OK. Its president, Dr. Everett Piper, describes an event he experienced in a letter to students.

“This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt ‘victimized’ by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.”

Piper, who has been recognized for his defense of intellectual freedom, went on to discuss how our culture has taught young people to be self-absorbed and narcissistic, and when their feelings are hurt, they see themselves as victims.

The title of the letter is a wonderful wake-up call to students: “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!” 

In it, he offers pieces of advice, such as:
* If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for.
* At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered.
* Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place,” but rather, a place to learn.
* This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

The practice of coddling young people instead of helping them become mature adults is much more serious than many people understand. And the sooner it is reversed and kids have to confront unpleasant experiences and learn to deal with them, the better.