web analytics

Archive for the ‘F & L in the News’ Category

[194] Bill Cosby

Irrespective the impending judicial verdict, it seems Bill Cosby’s sin has found him out. A lot of others have found out about him as well.

I was first suspicious of Cosby about 50 years ago. It was when he was a comedic rage, not to mention a star on “I Spy,” a very popular TV show in which he co-starred with Robert Culp. I noticed that Cosby was making Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion his natural habitat. You do not need an IQ as high as the speed of a major league fastball to realize what was going on. People do not go to places like these to discuss the great books, or even comedy routines. They go to indulge their sensual natures to their outer limit in an environment that is as safe (meaning private) as any such environment can be.

For the married-with-children Cosby, this meant a rather obvious double life. A double life can take time to emerge and enter the public view. Often silence is bought, and some secrets never get revealed. But when people are reckless, the facts often do surface.

So it is with Cosby. We can hate him. We can condemn him. Or we can pray for him. He does not have much time left before he will be in a place where there are no silence-buying options, and all secrets will be revealed.  DC

[193] Would They Die?

With Memorial Day just passed, a few questions entered my mind.

I wonder how many of the legions of brave souls who—for over hundreds of years–not only interrupted their lives, but actually gave their lives for this country, would be willing to give their lives for our country as it is today.

Would they be willing to die for a nation that aggressively attempts to separate God from its national identity rather than just the church from the state?

Would they be willing to die for a country that does not wish to extend its First Amendment rights to those who take politically incorrect stances?

Would they be willing to die for a country that—in the spirit of Kathy Griffin–openly disrespects its major institutions and leaders simply because they do not agree with them?

Would they die for a nation like this?

DC

[192] Banned

Remember when the Bible was highly revered, even by non-believers? It was spoken about with reverence, called the “good book.” Not so any longer. The American Library Association fields challenges—objections–to materials in schools and libraries. By 2015, the Bible made the Top Ten.

The usual basis for this attempt to ban the Bible is the tired old separation of church and state argument.

The Qur’an was challenged less than the Bible.

This is not to be alarmist, to say the Bible will no longer be in public schools. The First Amendment is hanging around somewhere. It is to say that the forces of secularism are fearless, and by increments continue to drive religious elements of any kind out of the culture.

Few Christians seem to “get” that. Secularists are not about guarding the nation from becoming a theocracy. No chance of that, anyway. They are about making sure people do not hear about God other than in specifically religious institutions and entities. That means not on mainstream radio, television, school, and government.

Nowhere.

And that nicely insures that children who do not come from Christian homes are unlikely ever to hear about Christ. It is all quite systematic, with the aim being an eventual culture that is wholly non-religious. The most important governmental institution may well be the Supreme Court, and few Christian organizations may well be more important than those legal ones that oppose this systematic secular march.

DC

[191] Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin has gained more fame in her recent “15 minutes” than in her decades of effort to cut it as a successful comedian.

No need to comment on her action. It is hard to add to what has already been said. What is of particular concern to me is that even Griffin—one who does not strike me as among the most rational of citizens–thought her action would “fly.”

I seriously doubt that even five years ago any person of remotely sound mind would have considered pulling such a caper. Not now.

And the reason is context. We are living in a context of hate, and yes, even murder, as Griffin’s action indicates.

Griffin will be gone. Probably rather soon. The context, however, shows no sign of moving out. DC

[190] Unpatriotic

It is not irrelevant what any of us may think of Trump. He is—like it or not–the President of the United States. Any unwillingness to accept that is wrong.

The strategy of his opponents is based on their unwillingness to accept this basic fact. The enzyme behind the investigation of alleged Russian electoral collusion is the desire to invalidate Trump’s claim to the presidency. If he cheated his way to the White House, then he doesn’t belong, and if the likes of Maxine Waters has her way, he can be tossed overboard wrapped in articles of impeachment. So the argument goes.

That thinking does not pass a freshman course in logic. It is widely accepted that JFK made his way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the help of some extra-legal shenanigans in Daley the elder’s Chicago and LBJ’s Texas. Clinton simply lied his way through the campaign, while in 2000, Bush won by, well, a hanging chad. It can be argued that Trump has a more valid claim to the presidency than any of these people. And as for any collusion noise, he remains innocent until proven guilty.

To refuse to accept Trump is president is wrong. Don’t tell me you pledge allegiance sincerely, stand and sing the National Anthem with enthusiasm, and support our troops, if you will not accept the occupant of the Oval Office as our President.

It is unpatriotic. DC

[189] Identity Politics

Perhaps the single most defining difference between the left and the right, is the nature of their politics. The right remains ideological—smaller government, lower taxes, stronger military, etc. The left seems to have abandoned ideology for what is called identity politics. The latter involves seeing the populace in terms of identifiable interest groups rather than more broad-based political beliefs. You will hear Democratic pols regularly mention women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and LGBT adherents in their speeches. All of this resonates in an age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

With identity politics comes political correctness and postmodernism—the notion that truth in it is purest form does not really exist, but each individual and group has its own truth, a truth that needs to be respected and accommodated by the larger society. Hence, Hillary’s campaign slogan, “Stronger together.” There is no agenda, no real message, in such a slogan, but it is a major doctrine in the catechism of identity politics, and Trump’s trampling over the sensitivities of the political correctness doctrine, has generated an incendiary hatred of the 45th president.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this difference. It is, at core, the reason for the currently polarizing atmosphere. Politics—at least successful politics—involves the often arduous process of compromise. There is value in affirming group identity, as the American experience of the various subgroups differs greatly. Trump himself acknowledged this by appealing to minorities in his campaign. There is also a case to be made for certain enduring ideologies and national values. The challenge is in finding a synthesis, one that will only come when each side becomes truly patriotic, and pursues the common good.

DC

[188] Schumer & Co.

It seems that the purpose-driven life for Chuck Schumer and his Democratic colleagues can be defined in but a single phrase: Destroy the Trump presidency. The odds, however, do not favor such a strategy if they seek to regain political dominance.

When I began my professorial career at the tender age of 24, the college president said to me there are really two types of professionals—thesis-staters and critiquers. Thesis-staters are doers, people with an agenda, who walk the walk. Critiquers criticize the thesis-staters and their every action. He was right. In the academic world, the thesis-states are in the arena, publishing the books, and doing the research, while the critiquers rip their publications and scholarly endeavors apart. It is the former, however, who cross the finish line of success, while the latter remain forever on the sidelines.

So it seems to be in the current political climate. The Schumer-led Democrats have offered next to nothing in the form of an agenda, contenting themselves with assailing all things Trump. The President, however, marches on with his agenda. At this point, I am betting on Trump. Not because he has operated error-free, or has unassailable policies, but because he is a thesis-stater in a nation thirsting for change.

The Democrats must offer a message—a thesis, an agenda, some policy alternatives to Trump and the Republicans—to gain political traction. Instead, they seem to be unable to accept the reality of Trump’s electoral win, choosing to try to undo it. To recover from their political losses, they need to stop booing from the sidelines and get into the arena, making ideas rather than personal and political assault their weapon of choice. DC

[187] O’Reilly & Fox

“Pride goes before destruction,” says the writer of Proverbs (16:18), “and a haughty spirit before a fall.” So it seems for one, Bill O’Reilly, who seemed indestructible. It is difficult to imagine a network paying out in 8 figures, on behalf of anyone, to women alleging sexual harassment. Not unless you realize what a cash generator Bill O’ was for Fox. Last year the “no spin” man brought in $110MM in ad revenue. That is 5x Rachel Maddow’s rake in, his strongest cable opponent. His ratings were stupendous, regularly garnering an audience larger than all his cable foes combined in his time slot.

Money talks, or at least it pays well for those like O’Reilly who can talk effectively. It also says, “Goodbye” to people who cross certain lines. And that was the fate of the star of the Factor. Once his sexual shenanigans went viral, the ad revenue plummeted and this once TV titan became a pariah.

Returning to the lead in this blog, O’Reilly made arrogance part of his persona. He had a John McLaughlin-like air that was for some enraging, and for others amusing. In any case, he apparently believed he was bulletproof and so–for over a decade–continued to engage in unwelcome behavior with members of the opposite sex. O’Reilly, like the rest of us, is not indestructible, and his network has taken a fall. With its cleanup hitter, O’Reilly, out of the nightly lineup, Fox News has crashed, going from dominating cable news to third place behind MSNBC and CNN. DC

[186] Deluge

Donald Trump hardly stepped into the presidential batter’s box and the actions came flying. Executive actions–a wall, immigration restrictions, and deregulations galore joined the confirmation hearings of a host of change-agent members of his cabinet, and a Supreme Court nominee to boot.

Not since Reagan have we seen so much change so soon, and Reagan’s pace was not as rapid. Trump’s machine-gun like actions constitute a deluge.

I submit that there is a political motivation undergirding this tidal wave of activity. By sending out an unceasing flow of decisions from the executive branch, Trump has knocked his opponents off balance. No sooner can those opponents marshal a unified opposition to one of his decisions before another comes their way. His opponents find themselves consistently behind the president’s pace as he makes major wave after wave. Take the immigration ban. A near firestorm ensued, but only a few days followed before the Acting Attorney General was waxed. A day later Gorsuch was nominated for the Supreme Court. And the ban followed the wall, and the wall followed something else. All this in less than a fortnight in the Oval Office.

This is an effective strategy. Such rapid fire activity makes life chaotic for those who are in the response position. It is also savvy strategy because Trump has a friendly congress. The pace will slow down, and then the real issue will be joined. Can Trump bring the deliverables? Will his actions bring turn his campaign promises into reality? DC

[185] Why the Hatred?

Why the incendiary hatred for Donald Trump? I remember Ronald Reagan, whose policies were anathema to many, and Bill Clinton, as polarizing a political figure as we had in the 1990’s. I even remember Nixon, the most genuinely despised political figure of my lifetime, before Trump, of course. But in each case, the Hatemometer never approach the level we see for the 45th President of the United States.

Why?

Here are some thoughts. There is no more sacred doctrine for the political left than Political Correctness (PC). And there is no more accurate expression of PC than its commitment to skin-deep diversity. Racial and ethnic minorities and women (a minority when using social power as the definition) are the most superficially protected of all species by the left. I say superficial, because liberalism does not always express itself by ceding power to the powerlessness. It does, however, fiercely guard minorities against any hint of verbal disrespect. In fact, disrespectful references to minorities is tantamount to a call of arms.

Donald Trump is not ignorant of PC. He is at war with PC. He says so. He views PC as a restriction to the First Amendment, a way of shaping public discourse in a politically liberal direction. Hence, he recklessly calls Mexicans thugs and castigates radical Muslims, without carefully qualifying his remarks by emphasizing that he is speaking of only a segment of Mexicans and Muslims, and certainly not those who reside peacefully in these United States, and in the case of the Khan family, willing to give their lives for this nation. He knows, as do we all, that he is referring to subgroups of Mexicans and Muslims, but Trump does not bother to make these clarifications, allowing the brush to paint broadly and inflame many.

The Hatemometer really hit the boiling point when Access Hollywood exposed Trump’s less than respectful references and alleged behavior toward women. No political minority is more protected on the left than women. The revulsion among women as being little more than sex objects has its genesis in the earliest days of the women’s movement. The Access Hollywood exposure put Trump’s picture—life-size–on the wall of the political left’s post office.

Had Trump offered an apology, or at least a clarification of his remarks toward minorities, hoping to remove any perceived insult, the temperature would be cooler. But other than his apology for his Access Hollywood-reported remarks about women, no apologies have been forthcoming. And, I suspect, none will. Hence, we have the most powerful person in the world, the leader of this nation, the president of every American citizen—irrespective of political preference–openly and unabashedly violating the most sacredly held credos of the left, and furthermore, denouncing and even threatening the liberal media, the voice of the left.

Nixon, knowing he was hated, made often clumsy attempts at gaining acceptance. Reagan, whose views were despised on the left, and Clinton who was similarly held in contempt by the right, regularly attempted to be gracious and conciliatory when addressing political blocs that held them in contempt.

Not so Trump. He concedes nothing. The hate does not seem to bother him. In some cases, he seems to enjoy it. In any case, these barbs are not reflections of a lack of verbal savvy. They are deliberate. Donald Trump speaks of destroying ISIS, but PC seems to be his more immediate focus. DC

Subscribe to this site
Get new Faith and Learning posts sent to you by email: