Saturday, March 12, 2016

A House Divided Still Cannot Stand

It really is amazing, as Solomon said, in Proverbs, “there is nothing new Under the Sun.”   In the Bible passage Mark 3:5, Jesus  said, “ A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  At the second Republican National Convention in June of 1858, Abraham Lincoln borrowed this passage and repeated that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” He was referring to our nation, but first of all he was referring to the still new Republican Party.

In 1858 Lincoln was referring to the divided opinion within our nation and the Republican Party on slavery.  He said at that time that we must decide to either eradicate slavery or accept it, throughout the entire nation.  He of course favored abolition and in the end saw that through.

We are in a similar situation today.  The fight within the GOP in 2016 is but an, albeit large, microcosm of the national debate over not just one issue, SLAVERY, but over several issues. Those issues are, primarily,  immigration, abortion, the sanctity of marriage, national defence and the economy.  While many candidates are wanting to focus on specific issues, they tend to use political speak and buzz words, i.e., constitutionalist, family, faith, etc..  One candidate, however, Donald Trump, is speaking to a greater vision.  That vision is making “America great again.”  In this vision he encapsulates all of those issues, but also the dreams and visions of a time when we were not divided and preoccupied with segmented wish lists.  

The Trump Vision says, we need to come together again and decide what we want to be. We cannot continue to cater to any and every group to the detriment of others.  Divisive race, gender, sexual orientation, economic and other issues, must be returned to the consideration of their effect on the whole and not the few.  Trump is often attacked for not being specific enough in the details of how he will deal with issues, but that is not necessarily a wrong approach. That is actually a trap that politician fall into.  You cannot, in all honesty be specific without know all of the details involved.  If you speak in specifics you only set yourself up for failure or being called traitor if you change your position.  The greatest example of this is George H.W. Bush when in 1988 his said those infamous words, “read my lips, no new taxes.”  When he saw the need to raise taxes and raised them, he betrayed his promise.  Also look at our current Republican members of Congress and the promises they made. Obama Care will be repealed, we will seal our borders, we will reduce the budget and on and on.  Those who voted these people in trusted in those specifics and now that they have failed to keep those, they are despised for the most part.

Cruz and Rubio are making many specific promises that sound good today,  but I can make my own promise; they will break one of many of those once elected. It is the nature of the position.  Trump has made NO specific  promises except one, “We will build a wall.”  Other than that his only promise is to make America great again in the important areas jobs, and quality of life. He has not said how he will do it and should not until he gets to see what is involved.  He will of course be judged on that one main promise, but I think that, if elected, it will be an easy task for him, now that he will have the will of the people behind him on that one issue.

Having said all of this, let me get to the main point I want to make  regarding “A house divided.”  As it was in 1858, the Republican Party is once again divided.  How can we affect a nation, in uniting, if we cannot even unite as a Party?  I know there are many who have given up on the hope of a united nation, and some are actively working to divide it, but we cannot continue this way.  Jesus is right.  

At this writing we are a day after the protests which delayed the Trump rally in Chicago.  The reports are that organized this protest hoping to create chaos.  They were successful in cancelling or delaying the rally, but, in this they may actually have given people more grounds to support Trump.  

Meanwhile, you have Trump’s competing candidates Cruz and Rubio blaming Donald Trump for the actions of, and their supporters promoting that view.  I understand that at this time candidates may be grasping for whatever help they can get, to boost their campaign, but this is insane.  Let’s get real the protests are not because of what Trump said or his supporters did, they are because he is the lead dog in this race and to the left it is no holds barred. Do Cruz and Rubio really think that Trump caused these protests because of what happened at earlier protests?  It is like those who say Muslims hate us because of Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib. They flew planes into the Twin Towers before that; remember?  Do they really think that if they were to get the lead in the polls, or get the nomination that those same protesters would not attack them as viciously or even worse?   In fact, if Trump and others give in to these protesters I predict they will only feel more empowered to go after those within the Party, who are currently attacking Trump. It will be seen as a sign of weakness, and the smell of blood will energize them.

I know this will sound like I am trying to trick people into supporting Trump, but I am not. There is no trick here,  just reality.  The GOP needs to take this opportunity to circle the wagons and say “We Stand With Trump,” freedom of speech, and the right to hold out gatherings free of disruption and coercion.  I am not asking the other candidates to drop out and support Trump for the nomination, but I am asking that they and their supporters come together in unity at this time, and say this behavior on the part of the “Left,” will not be tolerated.   If we do not do this, future rallies and the July convention will be threatened and with a much worse outcome than that last night, March 11th, 2016.

Let us unite for this time and le tit be know, whoever our lead candidate or nominee is, we support the right of their campaign and their supporters to rally, speak freely and in peace.

This is America, not 1932 Germany, or a modern day  3rd World nation.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Time For Another Paradigm Shift In American Religious and Political Thought

Back in the mid to late nineties the word paradigm became popular and there was lots of talk about paradigm shifts.  For those that did not get the memo or who may not know what a paradigm shift is, it is merely a change in the way things are thought of, accepted and/or done.  You could say that it is not doing business as usual.  The 1990s showed us that there had been a paradigm shift in business, religion and in politics.  It became adapt or die and no longer business as usual.

It was the 1992 presidential campaign in which we saw a paradigm shift in that the Moral Majority of Jerry Falwell, that was given credit for electing Jimmy Carter once and then Ronald Reagan twice, was crushed by Bill Clinton. In business, technology became king, and in religion churches with a great IT and audio video departments grew while others did not.  We saw another paradigm shift in 2008 when Barack Obama defied the old schools of thought and combined the use of technology and change in social mores to win election.  

One thing this current election period has shown, is that we are once again in a major political paradigm shift.  I actually think this is still a part of the last shift and that it has just expanded in the Democrat Party and finally taken root in the GOP.  Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are a major force in this shift.  Both Parties are being shaken at the root and shown that business as usual is not going to work any longer. Strangely, I think the Republicans may actually have overtaken the Democrats at this point.  One thing many do not yet understand is that this shift is not just a slight one that one can be adapted to fit into the old ways.  This paradigm shift is calling for a total abandonment of thinking in established ways.

Ironically, whereas in 1992 the dominance of the "Moral Majority" founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. was shown to be powerless, in 2016 it is his son Jerry Falwell Jr. that had the foresight to be one of the first to acknowledge the new paradigm shift and embrace it.

In the realm of pure politics tradition said, to win an election, you must have a good ground game, have large donors or super pacs, be young and/or good looking and pander to certain segments and interest groups of our society.   Bernie and Trump are breaking those rules.  

Of the many established paradigms that Donald Trump, in particular, has exposed and put in peril, the most startling are the paradigms of the “Evangelical Church” and the “Conservative Movement.” Established “Church Leaders,” the “Political Establishment,” and media stars are afraid and some are very afraid. They are right to be afraid, but not for the reasons they are.  We have church leaders, politicians and media personalities, who in the past commanded great respect and whose endorsement, or lack thereof,  were very important and could help a candidate win or lose, see their endorsement have no affect on the results.  Some of these have let the lack of influence get under their skins and say and do some uncharacteristic things.  These men and women are perplexed at how their voices are having no effect and some are acting badly.  It is simple, the new paradigm says “we will no longer follow those same voices that have made no difference in the past 25 years." Instead of getting mad and lashing out at the people, they should be trying to understand what has happened.   

Conservatives and “Evangelicals” are saying that you cannot take our vote for granted and expect us to support you just because you evoke the words Conservative and Christian. 
Unlike certain constituencies such as the black community, and to a growing extent the Hispanic community, Conservatives and Evangelical Christians are showing that they cannot be herded.  They are exhibiting the independent spirit that has kept America the “land of the free.”  I only wish the other so-called constituencies would take note.  We are seeing this to some extent among white youth and white labor, in their support for Bernie Sanders and even Donald Trump, but sadly the descendents of American slaves are still acting like slaves.  They are herded by their white masters and their black overseers and remain controlled.

I say this to my conservative Republican friends. Do not despise the free thinking among your brethren.  Please never let me hear the words, “you cannot be a Christian IF…” or “you cannot be a conservative IF….,” written or spoken by you.  You should, in fact, applaud it.  

As St. Augustine said:

“In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas”

Which translated means, “In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials diversity, but in all things love.”

Let us celebrate freedom and free thought.  Let the battle of ideas rage and may the best ideas win.

God Bless the United States of America.