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Friday, July 26, 2013

Dr. Benjamin & Dr. Benjamin

Dr. Benjamin Carson is a kind and considerate man.  Although he is a product of a broken home, and someone who grew up in one of the worst areas of Detroit, he is not a man of rancor or anger.  Dr. Carson recently retired, yet he is revered today as perhaps the most brilliant surgeon in the world.  In 1987, Carson gained worldwide recognition for leading a team in successfully separating twins conjoined at the head.  The 22-hour surgery was the first of its kind to separate twins joined at the head without fatalities to either infant.  On ten more occasions, Carson led subsequent surgical teams that successfully separated such twins.

He is known as a doctor who never hurried through his meetings with his patients, but endeavored to bring them kindness, hope, and comfort.  He is a man of deep faith, who never tried to force his trust in Jesus on another person, but was always prepared to share his faith when asked.  In fact, he epitomizes 1 Peter 3:15:

“But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord.  Always be ready to defend your confidence [in God] when anyone asks you to explain it.  However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.”

But, while Dr. Carson is soft spoken, that does not mean he is weak, timid, or shy.  His strength is an inner strength that comes from his faith in God.  I have no doubt that he is guided by Ephesians 6:10…

“Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength.”

It is this strength that gave him the courage to speak boldly when placed in difficult circumstances.  On April 20, 1999, a terrible massacre occurred at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.  Some very close friends of Dr. Carson and his wife, Candy, were very concerned by what occurred.  In fact, they were so determined to making sure something good came out of that tragedy that they dedicated their lives and a good part of their financial resources to keeping a similar attack from happening again. 

Dr. Carson’s friends established a program to encourage character building in schools, and in Columbine High School in particular.  The program was built around a process whereby students would identify thirteen of the most desirable character traits (in honor of the 13 victims) and associate them with a famous American who personified one of those characteristics.  Each year 13 students were to be selected who personified those traits.  Dr. Carson was asked to be the keynote speaker for the kickoff of the program.  Here is how Dr. Carson describes what happened next, in his book, America the Beautiful

“One of the officials indicated to me that they knew I was a man of faith, but that it would not be appropriate for me to talk about God or Jesus Christ.  Although I did not show it outwardly, I was stunned, because I thought Columbine High School would be the last place on earth where I would hear such an admonition…I usually don’t get nervous before a speech, but in this particular case I had received so many warnings about what not to say…that I was off my game.”

“…I took the podium in the gymnasium before the entire school body, parents, officials, and the media.  I spoke a bit about hardship and how it can be an advantage if one does not become a victim.  I also commented about resilience and how success is frequently preceded by failure, but at the conclusion I had to talk about God and the very Godly principles that resulted in the establishment of our great nation.  At the end, I received a standing ovation…and I knew that I had done the right thing by not hiding my faith or denying the principles that have led to well-functioning, harmonious communities throughout our nation.  Was I aware that I was violating the established protocols for the program?  Of course I was.  But I also knew that the entire purpose of the program was to promote character, and if I denied my faith I would be manifesting a total lack of character—for the sake of pleasing a few, I would have disappointed many.”

Just like the Sanhedrin ordering Peter and John to not speak about Jesus, Dr. Ben Carson could not do that.  Like Peter and John who declared “We cannot stop talking about what we've seen and heard,” Dr. Carson had to be true to his faith.  But, the act of being true to his faith took tremendous courage.  Perhaps that situation prepared Dr. Carson for speaking out when it took even more courage. 

On Thursday, February 7, 2013, Ben Carson gave the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast.  President Obama and his wife, Michelle, along with Vice President Biden, were seated nearby.  All of the national media were in attendance, waiting to hear what Dr. Carson would say.  After extending personal greetings to the President, Mrs. Obama, and to the distinguished guests present, he began to speak with grace, and a total lack of rancor.  This, in part, is what he said…

Political Correctness

“…we've reached the point where people are afraid to actually talk about what they want to say because somebody might be offended.  People are afraid to say Merry Christmas at Christmas time.  Doesn't matter whether the person you're talking to is Jewish or, you know, whether they're any religion.  That's a salutation, a greeting of goodwill.  We've got to get over this sensitivity.  …it keeps people from saying what they really believe.”

“…what we need to do in this PC world is forget about unanimity of speech and unanimity of thought, and we need to concentrate on being respectful to those people with whom we disagree.”

“And that's when I believe we begin to make progress, and one last thing about political correctness, which I think is a horrible thing, by the way.  I'm very, very compassionate, and I'm never out to offend anyone.  But PC is dangerous.  Because, you see, [in] this country one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression.  [PC] muffles people.  It puts a muzzle on them.  And, at the same time, keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this society is being changed…we cannot fall for that trick.  What we need to do is start talking about things, talking about things that are important.”


“When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the Universe,  God, and he's given us a system.  It's called tithe.  Now we don't necessarily have to [make] it 10% but it's [the] principle. He didn't say, if your crops fail, don't give me any tithes.  He didn't say, if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithes.  So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality.  You make $10 Billion dollars you put in a Billion.  You make $10 you put in $1 - of course, you gotta get rid of the loopholes, but now some people say, that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 Billion dollars as much as the guy who made $10.  Where does it say you have to hurt the guy?  He's just put a billion in the pot.  We don't need to hurt him.”

Health Care

“We need to have good health care for everybody.  It's the most important thing that a person can have.  Money means nothing, titles mean nothing when you don't have your health, but we've got to figure out efficient ways to do it.  We spend a lot of money on health care, twice as much per capita as anybody in else in the world, and yet [it is] not very efficient.  What can we do?”

“Here's my solution.  When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [HSA], to which money can be contributed, pre-tax from the time you are born, to the time you die.  When you die, you can pass it on to your family members so that when you're 85 years old and you've got 6 diseases, you're not trying to spend up everything.  You're happy to pass it on and nobody is talking about death panels.  That's number one. Also –“

“For the people who are indigent, who don't have any money, we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money instead of sending it to bureaucracy - let's put it into HSAs.  Now they have some control over their own health care and what do you think they're going to do?  They're going to learn very quickly how to be responsible.  When Mr. Jones gets that diabetic foot ulcer, he's not going to the Emergency Room and blowing a big chunk of it.  He's going to go to the Clinic.  He learns that very quickly - gets the same treatment.  In the Emergency Room they send him out.  In the Clinic they say, now let's get your diabetes under control so that you're not back here in three weeks with another problem.  That's how we begin to solve these kinds of problems.  It's much more complex than that, and I don't have time to go into it all, but we can do all these things because we are smart people.”

Can you imagine the courage it took to speak truth to power at that moment in time?  Dr. Carson wasn’t angry, he wasn’t shouting, he was just gently speaking truth to men of power who had forgotten the principles that made this nation great.  That greatness comes from the people, not from the government.

In his book, in other writings, and in speeches, Dr. Carson often refers to the five medical doctors who signed the Declaration of Independence.  One of those doctors was perhaps the most unsung hero of American independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush.  And, in many ways, Benjamin Carson is a modern day Benjamin Rush, and not just because they share the same title and the same first name.

Both Dr. Rush and Dr. Carson have been hailed for their ground breaking medical skills and for their dedication and compassion for those patients they served.  Dr. Rush was well ahead of his time, not only treating the sick, but promoting wellness to avoid sickness.  In 1778 Dr. Rush published his “Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers”  This publication was so timely, so well-advised, and so advanced that was used more than 50 years after its publication, during the Civil War.

While actively practicing, Dr. Carson was commended for his exceptional bedside manner and for the time he spent with his patients, no matter how poor or how wealthy they were.  As one historian has written of Dr. Rush…

“He was extremely popular because he was impartial.  He was just as quick to attend to the calls of the outcast as he was to the calls of the famous, and his …kind deportment in the sick room and unwearied attention to the calls of the poor made him very popular.”

During the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793, during which nearly ten percent of the city’s population of 40,000 died, Dr. Rush showed uncommon compassion and uncommon courage in serving those who were struck down by this dreaded disease.  While many doctors fled Philadelphia to save their own lives, Dr. Rush worked day and night to treat the ill.  At least two times he came down with yellow fever himself.  He not only survived, but continued to treat those in need while he was still ill.

Dr. Rush and Dr. Carson, in addition to having a very busy practice, were both active professors.  In 1769, at the tender age of 23, Dr. Rush became America’s first professor of chemistry at the College of Philadelphia.  Just a year later, in 1770, he published the first chemistry textbook in America, A Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on Chemistry.  Like Dr. Carson, Dr. Rush’s medical expertise was hailed not only nationwide, but worldwide.

Dr. Carson was a Professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.  Dr. Rush was a professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine at the University of the State of Pennsylvania, where he was later made head of the Institutes of Medicine and Clinical Practice.

Dr. Carson, like Dr. Rush, directed his attention to the education of America’s young people.  Dr. Carson and his wife established the Carson Scholars Fund to reach out to students in poor areas.  The purpose of the fund is to inspire and honor poor students for their scholastic achievement as much as those who excel in sports are honored.  But, more than that, the Carson Scholars Fund provides scholarships so that those who have an aptitude, and apply themselves, can get a college education.  Dr. Rush participated in the founding of five universities, and wrote and spoke repeatedly about the importance of education in maintaining a republican form of government.

And, perhaps most important of all, both Dr. Carson is and Dr. Rush was a champion of ending one of the greatest moral evils of their time.  Dr. Rush knew slavery was incompatible with the philosophy of the founders and was morally wrong.  But, he didn’t just think about it, he acted by founding the first abolitionist society in America.  In similar fashion, Dr. Carson has not only spoken out against the killing of the unborn, but actively raised funds for organizations seeking to end this evil.  Both doctors acted decisively and with courage.  This is how Dr. Carson relates a conversation he had with the head of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)…

“I asked him if he would speak for and defend the rights of a 28 week old baby who was…on life support.  He replied that that was a no-brainer; of course the ACLU would defend such an individual…I then asked why it was difficult to defend a baby that was five weeks further along in development and was in the most protected environment possible, but easy to defend a less viable individual who was outside the womb.” 

Would you have had the courage to speak so boldly and with such clarity to the head of the ACLU?  I would not have had either the courage or the ability to do so.

Dr. Benjamin Rush was considered by his countrymen to be an equal of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.  He was an individual whose life and principles were taught to repeated generations of students up through the early 20th century; but sadly, today he is almost unknown to today’s students.

Dr. Rush was a healer, both physically and personally.  After Thomas Jefferson and John Adams became enemies for many years, Dr. Rush gently and kindly brought them back together as friends again.  He was that kind of a person.  In his Christian outlook he understood the frail, sinful nature of man and his need for forgiveness.  Dr. Rush wrote of an encounter he had with John Adams while both were members of the Continental Congress…

“…upon whispering to him and asking him if he thought we should succeed in our struggle with Great Britain, he answered to me, ‘Yes, if we fear God and repent of our sins.’”

The Christian faith of Dr. Rush was more important to him than anything in life.  He held it dear, and as a Founder of the first Bible society in America, he felt compelled to share his faith with others.  When describing himself, Dr. Rush said…

“I have alternatively been called an aristocrat and a democrat.  I am now neither.  I am a Christocrat…He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him.”

Similarly, Dr. Carson has a Christian world view that governs his thoughts, his words and his actions.  And, like Dr. Rush, Dr. Carson holds his faith as the most precious treasure in life.

Dr. Benjamin Rush had a great, positive impact on the founding of our nation.  He was a servant of the people.  Indeed, his motto was… “To spend and be spent, for the good of mankind…”  Dr. Rush strongly believed that public service was a duty that each man or woman should perform if called upon by his fellow citizens.  He did not see it as something to be grasped for personal gain, but rather a sacrifice that should be made, if necessary, to preserve liberty.  He saw public service as an extension of Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)  He said that an American citizen…

“…must love private life, but he must decline no station [office]…when called to it by…his fellow citizens.”

Dr. Benjamin Carson gained much attention when he spoke up courageously at the National Prayer Breakfast and in other forums.  The Wall Street Journal was so taken by the intelligence, fortitude, and character of Dr. Carson that the editors wrote an editorial titled Ben Carson for President.  At the 2013 CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) the Ben Carson address was so popular that talk began circulating of Dr. Carson running for President.

When asked about whether or not he would consider running for President in 2016, Dr. Carson took a very Benjamin Rush type of approach.  He said…

“Certainly if a year and a half went by and there was no one on the scene and people are still clamouring, I would have to take that into consideration. I would never turn my back on my fellow citizens.”

The Founders envisioned leaders in local communities volunteering their time, and sacrificing to serve in public office.  They never sought men who wanted to make a career out of public service, and, in fact, they would have decried such men.  It was George Washington who set the standard for public service when he declined to serve more than two terms as President.  He was hailed as a latter day Cincinnatus, a Roman dictator who voluntarily returned to his fields after being called to lead the Roman army to repulse an invasion.  Even King George III acknowledged that George Washington would be a great man if he relinquished his power and declined to stay in office.  But, that’s exactly what George Washington did, and that was what was expected of others who served in Congress and in the White House.  Sadly, that noble tradition has long passed away.  Not too long ago a Democratic member of Congress from New York was asked about public service and he simply dismissed the idea as being out of date.

Perhaps it is time for a rebirth of the idea of great leaders in the private sphere sacrificing and giving up some of their time to lead our nation, not as professional politicians, but as the citizen statesmen envisioned by the Founders. 

If the American people clamor for Ben Carson to run for President, I’m sure he will run, and what a great President he would make.  He is a man who would not only apply common sense to our nation’s problems, but would once again unite our nation.  We could do much worse, but it would be hard to find a man or woman who could do much better.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weird Stuff

Frankly, I did not closely follow the George Zimmerman case in Florida.  There are far too many murders in the United States and, based on the reports, this was just another one.  Obviously, that was not the case as far as the news media was concerned.  They provided 24/7 coverage and they worked hard to find some racial overtones or racism, but even they found it to be a stretch.  It was all very weird.

By the same standard that we call Barack Obama a black man, George Zimmerman is a Hispanic man.  Barack Obama had a white mother, and George Zimmerman has a white father.  The New York Times identified Zimmerman as a white Hispanic.  A white Hispanic, what kind of weird talk is that?  By that standard we would be expected to call Barack Obama what, a white African American or even more weird, a white black?  Talk about twisting yourself in knots to write something that fits your pre-conceived notion that George Zimmerman is a racist! 

Zimmerman was, by all accounts, a model citizen when it came to race relations.  His mother is Hispanic, his grandmother is African American.  That makes him half Hispanic and one quarter black.  He has a history of participating in civil rights activities and of defending minorities.  There is absolutely no evidence that he is or was a racist.  But, that did not fit the desired narrative of the liberal media.  So, CNN identified George Zimmerman as someone “who has a Hispanic mother, but identifies himself as white.”  Even George Orwell couldn’t imagine these mental gymnastics.

Let’s see, modern advocacy journalism begins with a conclusion and then tries to make the facts fit their conclusion.  Slick, but that approach is totally bereft of an intellectual honesty.  They wanted a story of white racism, but the accused man isn’t really white.  So, screw the facts, we’ll make up our own.

Was Zimmerman guilty or was he innocent?  I didn’t follow the case closely, but I do believe in our judicial process.  As one who has been to court, I can tell you that it is far from perfect, but a trial by your peers is the best possible approach in a society composed of imperfect human beings.

And, speaking of a “trial by your peers,” that is what defendants are promised.  But, somehow, Jesse Jackson must have missed that Civics class.  He made an ass of himself by loudly complaining to the news media that Trayvon Martin did not receive a fair trial because the jury was not composed of his peers.  What?  This is just more weird and nonsensical talk from a man who talks before getting his facts straight. 

More weirdness…it was an all-woman jury with women of varying backgrounds.  There was no African American on the jury because the prosecution struck a black man from the jury pool.  Why would the prosecution strike a black man from being selected?  They did it because the man said he watches the Fox News Channel!  Really?  Earth to the prosecution, more people watch Fox News than they do any other cable network because the audience of Fox News is more than twice that of CNN and MSNBE combined.  It’s not because it is conservative, it’s because it is better, faster, and more accurate.  And, frankly, it is more balanced.  You won’t find a panel or a group of experts talking on Fox News from just one perspective, promoting one point of view.  Every single time an issue comes up, experts from both the right and the left have an opportunity to state their point of view.  Maybe that’s why more Democrats watch Fox News than they do CNN or MSNBE, or perhaps they are just more discriminating.

But, let’s get back to the tragic death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.  It is indeed a tragedy and every American should feel sad at the death of a young man.  But, during the same time the George Zimmerman trial was going on, 72 people were shot in Chicago over the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Twelve of the 72 died from gunshot wounds.  This is outrageous, but where is the outrage?  Who were the perpetrators of this outbreak of violence and who were the victims?  Aged from 5 to 72, no one was spared in this violent outbreak.  Outside of homes, in public parks, or just walking around, people were senselessly killed and wounded. 

One of the most basic responsibilities of government is to maintain order and provide for the public safety.  Clearly, Chicago Mayor Rahm Immanuel has failed in accomplishing this most fundamental responsibility.  He certainly was outraged when one of the owners of Chick fil A said that he personally did not believe that homosexuality was God pleasing and His Honor threatened to ban Chick fil A from opening their stores in Chicago.  How about getting a little outraged, Rahm, by six dozen innocent people, black and white, being shot and murdered in the town you are the mayor of!  How about putting on your big boy pants and doing whatever it takes to protect the law abiding citizens of Chicago, regardless of their race or economic status?

The greatest tragedy of all that could come out of the George Zimmerman trial is a total breakdown of respect for the law, respect for the justice system, and the willingness to accept the jury decision, whether you like it or not.  If our justice system breaks down and there is no respect for the law or the legal process, the end result is chaos.

When advocacy journalists encourage rioting and violence they are just as guilty as the rioters of breaking the law.  Like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, a so-called journalist that does not accept the outcome of the trial at face value and instead encourages violence has stepped beyond the line of responsible journalism.

Was the trial fair?  If you base your answer on the fact that it did not come out the way you hoped it would, that still does not mean it was not fair.  From my less-than-close following of the O.J. Simpson trial, it sure seemed like O.J. was guilty, but got off.  My response to that outcome was the same as it is to this trial’s outcome.  I accepted it and moved on.

But, more than that, I objected to the subsequent civil trial that succeeded in stripping O.J. of all his financial assets.  Did I think he was guilty of murder?  Yes I did.  But, I also believe in the rule of law.   No matter what gobbledygook the lawyers make up, being sued by the family of the person killed, after you are exonerated by a criminal trial, is double jeopardy.  It is exactly what the Founders forbade in the United States Constitution.  There’s not a one of them who would disagree that a civil trial after being declared not guilty in a criminal trial is double jeopardy.  It is just another way of getting around the law.

The same is true of individuals, especially police officers, who are tried in a state court for alleged police brutality and found not guilty, and then are charged by a federal court with a violation of civil rights.  This is double jeopardy.  The lawyers say, no it isn’t, but anyone with common sense can see that it is.  Trying someone twice for the same offense, no matter what it is called or how it is spun, is still double jeopardy.  All double jeopardy means is that you are put in jeopardy two times for the same crime.  No, that is wrong and it is unconstitutional.  Anyone, with any common sense, can understand that.

Double jeopardy, like horse manure, smells the same, no matter what convoluted explanation you give it.  It’s just more weird stuff from a society that has almost broken loose from its moorings.

George Zimmerman was declared not guilty.  He should now be entitled to carry on with his life.  And, were it not for the ideologues in the media, that would be the case.  But, he is now being threatened by the United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, with being charged with violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin.  Eric Holder should be someone who abides by the law and upholds the law, but instead, he has a disregard for a government of laws.  Hopefully, one honest man in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice will convince the Attorney General to back off, but I doubt it. 

And, if this were not enough, the grieving family of Trayvon Martin is being pressured to file a civil lawsuit against George Zimmerman.  Who can blame a grieving family?  My heart goes out to them, but they are being manipulated by those on the left who wish to make political points.  I hope that for their sake and for the sake of George Zimmerman they decide not to proceed, but again, I’m not optimistic.

I wish Trayvon Martin had not been shot.  I wish the incident had never occurred.  But, I don’t live in a make-believe land, I live in reality.  He was shot.  He was killed.  But, from what the jury concluded, there was no evidence that it was done for any reason other than George Zimmerman fearing for his life.  Maybe Zimmerman should not have followed Trayvon, maybe this, maybe that, but it happened.  And, we know that had the victim not been a young black man, George Zimmerman would have never been arrested and tried.  Or, had George Zimmerman not been just one-quarter black, but 100% black, he would never have been arrested.  The Chief of Police of Sanford, Florida, was fired because he said the arrest of George Zimmerman was not justified by the facts.  But, political correctness demanded that George Zimmerman be tried and convicted.  The reason for the charge was politics, not evidence.

The trial is over, but the folks at CNN, the New York Times and their clones across the nation, just can’t accept the outcome.  They do live in a make-believe land.  They can’t accept the fact that their pre-conceived conclusion was shaded by bias and prejudice, that it was not based on the facts or on reality.

The news media would better spend their time encouraging unity in America and a respect for the law.  They would better spend their time covering the efforts of the Chicago police to bring the criminals to justice who shot 72 people over one weekend.  They would better spend their time trying to find a solution to black-on-black crime which keeps law abiding African Americans in a state of fear in the poorer sections of our nation’s biggest cities.  While liberal politicians sit around and polish their halos, black American neighborhoods are terrorized by violence.  The first step toward economic prosperity is personal safety.  Take care of that first and communities prosper.  But again, I don’t live in make-believe land, I live in weird 21st century America.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Elbert Guillory & Barack Obama

Hopefully, you saw the announcement on YouTube(tm) by Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory that he was changing political party affiliation. On May 31, speaking from the rear of the Louisiana State Senate, Mr. Guillory announced that he was no longer a Democrat and that he was switching to the Republican Party. In doing so, he became the first Republican African American State Senator in Louisiana since Reconstruction.

The video of Senator Guillory’s announcement has now been viewed by more than 500,000 Americans. In case you missed it, this is what he said...

“Hello, my name is Elbert Lee Guillory, and I’m the senator for the twenty-fourth district right here in beautiful Louisiana. Recently I made what many are referring to as a ‘bold decision’ to switch my party affiliation to the Republican Party. I wanted to take a moment to explain why I became a Republican, and also to explain why I don’t think it was a bold decision at all. It is the right decision - not only for me - but for all my brothers and sisters in the black community.

“You see, in recent history the Democrat Party has created the illusion that their agenda and their policies are what’s best for black people. Somehow it’s been forgotten that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an abolitionist movement with one simple creed: that slavery is a violation of the rights of man.

“Frederick Douglass called Republicans the ‘Party of freedom and progress,’ and the first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the Republicans in Congress who authored the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments giving former slaves citizenship, voting rights, and due process of law.

“The Democrats on the other hand were the Party of Jim Crow. It was Democrats who defended the rights of slave owners. It was the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who championed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, but it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered the bill.

“You see, at the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans. But the left is only concerned with one thing - control. And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps, these programs aren’t designed to lift black Americans out of poverty, they were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control the black community.

“The idea that blacks, or anyone for that matter, need the government to get ahead in life is despicable. And even more important, this idea is a failure. Our communities are just as poor as they’ve always been. Our schools continue to fail children. Our prisons are filled with young black men who should be at home being fathers. Our self-initiative and our self-reliance have been sacrificed in exchange for allegiance to our overseers who control us by making us dependent on them.

“Sometimes I wonder if the word freedom is tossed around so frequently in our society that it has become a cliché.

“The idea of freedom is complex and it is all-encompassing. It’s the idea that the economy must remain free of government persuasion. It’s the idea that the press must operate without government intrusion. And it’s the idea that the emails and phone records of Americans should remain free from government search and seizure. It’s the idea that parents must be the decision makers in regards to their children’s education - not some government bureaucrat.

“But most importantly, it is the idea that the individual must be free to pursue his or her own happiness free from government dependence and free from government control. Because to be truly free is to be reliant on no one other than the Author of our destiny. These are the ideas at the core of the Republican Party, and it is why I am a Republican.

“So my brothers and sisters of the American community, please join with me today in abandoning the government plantation and the Party of disappointment. So that we may all echo the words of one Republican leader who famously said, ‘free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”

This is just the beginning, the trickle, that will turn into a steady stream and then an unstoppable flood of black Americans leaving the Democratic Party. They are beginning to realize that they have few things in common with the Democratic Party. It is a Party that advocates redefining marriage, refuses to provide quality education to poor Americans, passes laws and regulations driving up the cost of fuel, seeks to drive God out of the Public Square, encourages abortion, creates barriers that inhibit Black entrepreneurs, passes job killing laws, and denies African Americans the right to defend themselves from violent criminals. Elbert Guillory has it right. The Democratic Party is no friend of the poor and down trodden. The political bosses have nothing to gain by making it possible for poor blacks, poor Hispanics, and poor whites to become upwardly mobile. Their goal is manipulation and control, not help up the ladder of economic success.

The big lie of conservative racism succeeds today only because the left leaning news media perpetuates it. However, as more and more black conservatives are elected to city councils, county councils, state legislatures, and to Congress it will become obvious that the charge of racism is nothing but a slur and a lie. Today more than 1,000 black conservatives hold public office, tomorrow many multiples of that number will join them.

Elbert Guillory is a very interesting fellow. He is an avid mountain climber. He has climbed Mount Rainier in Washington State and his namesake mountain in Colorado, Mt. Elbert. Some speculate that he plans to run statewide in Louisiana for Lieutenant Governor. Nevertheless, he is the genuine article, a man with a perspective on the foundations of freedom and the path to individual self-reliance.

What a contrast Elbert Guillory is with our President, Barack Obama. Both came from broken homes, but unlike Barack Obama, Sr., Elbert Guillory’s father played a big role in his life. And, whereas Barack Obama does not have blood in the soil (as African Americans often describe their slave ancestry), Elbert Guillory personally experienced Jim Crow, and the turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement. He is a descendent of slaves. On the other hand, Barack Obama, Jr. lived a privileged life, attending private schools in Hawaii and then attending Harvard Law. But Elbert Guillory came up the hard way, accumulating common sense as he worked his way through college and in successive jobs. Guillory is a military veteran who served in the
United States Navy, while Obama has low regard for the military and never served.

Guillory learned about life from experiencing it and he learned it from both his father and his mother. From them he grew to appreciate the virtues of hard work, honesty, character, and perseverance. He also came to appreciate that America is an exceptional nation in spite of all its flaws and blemishes. He believed in the promise of America as the land of opportunity and justice for all. It wasn’t always easy to see and it wasn’t always evident, but like Frederick Douglass, he saw in the US Constitution the foundation of freedom and justice for all Americans.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, was, with the encouragement of his white grandfather, tutored by Frank Marshall Davis, a card carrying member of the Communist Party USA (a photo static copy of Davis’ membership card is reprinted in the book The Communist, by Grove City College Professor Paul Kengor). Frank Davis was a sad case. He suffered from discrimination, and bias, but instead of seeing the promise of America as the former slave, Frederick Douglass, did, Davis became bitter and angry. That reaction may be understandable, but it leads nowhere.

It’s pretty obvious from reading Kengor’s well-documented book that Frank Marshall Davis played a huge role in shaping the views of our President. In fact, Obama mentions Davis in his book as being a very influential person in his life. He makes it clear that he looked up to Davis and respected him. Perhaps that is why our President is so intoxicated with the Marxist outlook on economics. Perhaps that is why our President does not see America as an exceptional nation. Perhaps that is why he often seems angry and aloof.

Otherwise, why would he take the class warfare approach of dividing Americans? Like a far left radical, he runs a permanent campaign. He never governs, he continues to portray himself as an outsider, never accepts responsibility for anything that goes wrong, and is less than forthright in explaining his role in the ever growing list of scandals. And, although he was never a part of the civil rights movement, he wears the mantle of victimhood.

As a candidate and as President, instead of working to unite Americans, he divides from white, brown from white, job creators from job seekers, women from men, young from old, blue collar from white collar, etc. More of a community organizer that endeavors to intimidate his opponents than a statesman, Barack Obama is a sad case.

His knowledge of economics is limited to what he has been told by those on the far left who educated him. He has never held a real job in the marketplace that produces goods and services. He has no personal or first-hand knowledge of how the economy works on the ground level. His lack of economic understanding borders on embarrassing. He simply has no understanding whatsoever of how a free market works or that socialism is incompatible with individual freedom. His is an ideology built on what the world should be like, not what the world is like. He has no understanding of human nature, and low regard for the principles upon which our Founders created this great nation. He doesn’t want to build up America, he wants to transform it into something alien and incompatible with a free society.

I wish it was otherwise. I really do. It is sad to see a young man of ability and intelligence so entangled in a rigid ideology that simply does not work and which is a very real threat to the foundational principles of freedom, justice, and opportunity set forth by our Founders.

The gap between the wisdom expressed by Elbert Guillory in his short speech and the understanding of our President is a vast chasm. Elbert Guillory may be many years older than Barack Obama, but he is the future, and our President is the past. That’s the way I see it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More Than Just Revolutionaries

More than 10 million Egyptians have taken to the streets in Cairo and in other cities across Egypt.  While their immediate goal is the ousting of President Mohamed Mursi, a man associated with the extremist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, their objective is really freedom.  Yes, they are tired of the high unemployment, the restrictions on free speech, free press and other tyrannical measures imposed by Mohamed Mursi.  Each person demonstrating simply wants to be left alone, to be free. 

Over and over again, all across the globe, people seek to be free.  They see the freedom that exists in our nation and they want that freedom.  The problem is that they have no understanding of the underpinnings of freedom. 

But, wanting to be free is not enough.  Desiring to have the freedom to live your life as you wish won’t happen just because you want it.  Since the first king was appointed over a small tribe or nation, men and women have sought freedom.  Yet, freedom the way our Founders experienced it, simply did not exist.  Kings, and dictators, and despots of every stripe and color suppressed and enslaved men and women for thousands of years.  They still do today.

And, in spite of the decline in individual freedom in our nation, we are still the beacon of freedom to the world.  Soft tyranny exists in Western Europe, where government bureaucrats have expanded their control over the lives of their citizens.  Less disguised tyranny exists in Russia, Africa, and in most of South America and Asia.

Yet, people continue to strive for freedom.  And, the United States continues to try to impose democracy, and some sort of freedom on nations around the globe.  It is a fool’s errand.  The truth is that the people of most nations have no understanding of what caused the United States to be free.  It is simply not possible to impose freedom and democracy on a nation of people who subscribe to a belief in a theocacy.  Nor will never be possible to create a free society or a free government in a totally secular nation.  People who believe there are no God given ethical and moral standards,, who believe it is permissible to lie, cheat, steal, bribe, and even kill cannot create a free society.  Neither democracy, nor freedom can be created or sustained in a society that is without moral standards or that seeks to merge government with religion.  The best they can hope for is a somewhat benign dictator.  The best we can hope for is a nation led by someone who is not unfriendly to the United States. 

The Founders were not just revolutionaries.  Fidel Castro and Vladimir Lenin were revolutionaries.  All a revolutionary wants to do is to overthrow government.  Our Founders were much more than revolutionaries.  Actually, they wanted to preserve government as they had experienced it.  They wanted to continue the freedom that had been in existence since the early 1600s when John Smith landed in what is now Virginia and the Pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts.  Our legacy of freedom did not begin with the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, it began with the colonialists who came to America for freedom, especially those who sought religious freedom. 

Interestingly, both the Pilgrims in Massachusetts and the men and women of the Virginia Colony tried socialism.  Everyone was expected to work as hard as they could, planting, and tending, and harvesting, and then to share the results equally.  But, their experiment in socialism failed miserably.  They starved, and many died until they tried freedom.  When every man was expected to support themselves through the sweat of their brow and their own ingenuity, prosperity prevailed.  But, there was common glue that made their freedom possible.  As a people, they exercised self-restraint and showed compassion.  Why, because they put their faith in a Christian God who was not only just, but also merciful and loving.  The Bible, unlike the Koran, did not promote a theocracy, a merging of the government with religion.  In fact, Jesus famously said, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."  (Mark 12:17)  Jesus also said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  (John 18:36)  The people of both colonies were Christians, or at least of Christian heritage.  They did not want government to in any way interfere with the free expression of religion in the public square.  And, they knew that any government not founded on sound moral principles would be doomed to failure.  But, they sought freedom of religion.  They did not want to be compelled to support or to participate in any state sanctioned religion, even though that was the case in several colonies, including Virginia.

Those who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 were simply standing up for themselves as Americans.  They were trying to stop the British government from reducing their freedom.  It was King George III that was violating the Magna Carta by diminishing the Colonialists rights as Englishmen.  King George was standing in opposition to many men in his own parliament including Edmund Burke, who defended and supported the American colonies.  Let us not forget that it was the King who was responsible for the growth of slavery in the colonies.  While George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson had opposed the continuation of slavery, and wanted to see it abolished, it was King George who continued it for the purpose of his own financial gain. 

Those who founded the American Republic, and who signed the Declaration of Independence were, by and large, well-educated men.  Nearly half had seminary training, and the primary book read by all was the Bible.  They had also read history and the classics.  They well understood the fallen state of man and that freedom had really never existed in the world.  The only reason the Colonialists had enjoyed such vast freedom was that they were far from the mother country and both transportation and communication was distant and infrequent.

But now, the King sought to do something England had never done before.  He sought to fill (or re-fill) the coffers of the Crown by levying heavy taxes on Americans.  England was already benefitting greatly from trade with the Colonies, but now the King needed money to assist him with his military adventures in Europe.  Like all politicians, the King never had enough money.  He always wanted more. 

The Founders were among the most respected, and accomplished men in the American Colonies.  They did not seek to break with England.  They tried over and over again to negotiate and to reason with the Crown, but all efforts at reconciliation failed.  The King was determined to bring the American colonies to heel, and to put them under his thumb. 

It was a dangerous situation for the Founders.  If they did not give in, if they continued to resist, they were likely to be thrown in prison or be hung from the gallows.  The very idea of independence from Great Britain was almost ridiculous.  On the basis of reason alone, the likelihood of breaking with the most powerful government in the world at that time, was very slim.

But, the character, wisdom, and courage of the Founders was truly remarkable.  They knew that if they gave in, they would never again experience the level of freedom they enjoyed.  They would simply be subjects of the Crown, who danced when the King played the fiddle.

The Colonists were not satisfied with simply setting up a new government, with a new king.  They had enjoyed a great measure of freedom under their representative Colonial legislatures.  Even though the Governor was appointed by the King and colonial crony capitalists had enjoyed special privileges from the Governor, the level of freedom they enjoyed was exceptional.

Their goal was nothing less than a government with minimal power and people with maximum power over their lives.  They sought limited government, and maximum freedom.  It was the first time in history that such a nation had been established, and although other nations have tried to emulate the vision of the Founders, none have entirely succeeded.

That is why the United States of America is such an exceptional nation.  We are exceptional because of the vision and values of our Founders.  Who were these Founders? 

In a letter to his daughter dated August 20, 1796, Patrick Henry wrote:

“Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian.  But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.”

President Thomas Jefferson, who regularly attended church and donated to Christian missionaries, wrote to his friend, Reverend Ethan Allen and said…

“No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion—nor can be.  The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example.”

President George Washington, who served on the Vestry of several Episcopal parishes, said…

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

Our second President, John Adams, said…

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

There are many, many more quotes by the Founders on the importance of the Christian religion to their lives and to sustaining a free nation.

While President Obama may not understand or believe that the United States of America is any more exceptional than England of Greece, you and I know that it is the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.  It rests on the understanding of the Founders that man, by nature, is corrupt and, that the only way to restrain men in government from aggregating power over others is to limit the power of government.

You and I also know that without what the Founders called “virtue” there is no self-restraint and there is no compassion.  Without compassion we would not be the most generous, the most compassionate people in the history of the world.  And, without our Christian heritage, neither self-restraint, nor compassion would exist.

How blessed we were to have such wise men found our nation.  As we celebrate Independence Day, let us celebrate our heritage and drink a toast to the Founders.  And, let us re-dedicate ourselves to preserving the priceless legacy of freedom that was bequeathed to us by those who first arrived on our shores and those who founded our nation. 

Happy Independence Day!