Independence Day, a Sunday

This year, the United States’ Independence Day falls on a Sunday, my Sabbath. (I realize it’s not everyone’s Sabbath.) The Sabbath has long seemed to me ideal for “the heav’n-rescued land” to “praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.” Those are Francis Scott Key’s words, penned in a time when it was not clear that a relatively new nation would survive the British Empire’s latest efforts to reclaim it.

Independence Day: A Day for Gratitude

I’ve been thinking – about this day – that gratitude is a gentle, humble virtue. It may seem too ordinary and small to stand against its rampaging, chest-thumping opposites. This is doubly so in a tumultuous time such as ours. By any other name we applaud and admire ingratitude and shower it with wealth. Its symbols and slogans adorn our lives, both physically and virtually. We call it by a host of trendy names which sound so modern, so enlightened, so revolutionary. I’ll leave it for you to think of names that might fit here.

I think I know the full list of ugly vices some would ascribe to me (if I ever caught their notice) for saying this in AD 2021, but I feel a deep and enduring gratitude to Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Wythe, and many others. This includes thousands whose names I never heard or read. This embraces both those who fought literal and political battles and those who loved, awaited, and sustained them from afar. I feel the same profound gratitude to God for all of these.

On the Passing of Rush Limbaugh

I first heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio when I was a graduate student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The radio station I usually played in my car bored me one afternoon, on my way to campus, so I found another. He happened to be on it. I’d never heard of him — and was “Rush” even a name?

I had a degree in Political Science by then. I’d worked on several political campaigns and interned at the US Senate. I had even been the token conservative on the op/ed page of an off-campus weekly newspaper. So I wasn’t new to politics and government. More to the point, I had devoured Ronald Reagan’s daily radio spots in the 1970s. Morning after morning the future president talked political sense, and he was, of course, charming and well spoken.

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea — But Usually Mine

By comparison, Rush was brazen, bombastic, and sometimes completely over the top. He held forth for hours at a time, not just minutes. He was also entertaining – outright funny – in a way I haven’t found in other talk radio personalities. I quickly appreciated that his overblown radio persona was a way of poking fun at Rush Limbaugh, a way of not taking life too seriously. This allowed me to enjoy it, rather than despise him for it.

Silver Linings and Points of Light

I share many Americans’ gloom in the present political moment. My conservative concerns are legion. But I see points of light in the night sky. I see silver linings to the dark clouds, suggesting the light still burns beyond them.

To be sure, I don’t always write cheerfully.

  • Four posts ago I wrote about not giving ourselves permission to hate people. Hatred is as dark as darkness gets.
  • Three posts ago I wrote about social media censorship and possible measures against it — for a future day when we may have a government which isn’t in bed with Big Tech.
  • Two posts ago I wrote about the rush to reimpeachment and its motives. My thoughts were not sweetness and light.
  • Last time I described a dark and detailed dream about freedom, truth, and their enemies’ raging lust for power. I’ll let you decide, when you read it, whether you think it was really just a dream.

In one or two of those sober posts, and in private conversations with several readers, in person and online, I promised happy thoughts to come — because there are some.

I have three potentially therapeutic things for you. (In some cases I may have to explain the cheering effect.) They are danger signs we don’t see yet, those happy thoughts I promised, and things to do.

Thank God It Was Just a Dream

You know those dreams we have occasionally (at least I do) that are so horrific, humiliating, or bizarre — and so detailed — that our first waking thought is, “Thank God it was just a dream”? And our second and third thoughts echo the first?

Thank God it was just a dream.

Some few may think my dream was idyllic, but I knew right away that for me it was a nightmare. Here was an early clue: I dreamt of a world where hatred was okay, even encouraged, as long as you hated the right people. (Or would that be the wrong people?) And hatred could justify practically anything.

It was a vivid, multifaceted dream.

Twitter Doesn’t Like Free Speech. They’re Not Alone.

Twitter’s leftist partisanship has grown more overt in recent months. Likewise YouTube and Google generally, and Facebook. Lately they’ve trumpeted it for all to hear, to the great delight of American leftists, whose commitment to free speech shrinks as their power grows.

(Note: Some leftists’ delight is not complete. They publicly blame the Big Tech leviathans for not suppressing even more political speech they dislike.)

I Don’t Need Twitter (Mostly)

I never followed President Trump on Twitter, and I don’t recall ever seeing one of his tweets in its natural habitat. I’ve only seen them in stories and columns about his tweets. But on Friday afternoon I read Twitter’s absurd justification for banning a President of the United States, and I went home and deleted four of my five Twitter accounts. At the time I didn’t realize I was part of a trend.

Something We All Can Do: Stop Hating

I wrote very recently of the 2020 election and its aftermath, and I didn’t plan to write today. I try to avoid politics on my Sabbath, in my reading, writing, and posting. Today I’m making an exception, as hatred rages through our public square a little more overtly than before — an exception for a thought which for some is religious, and for others is at least moral, not simply political, I hope.

One Nation, Not So Much

Whatever sources you choose to consume and believe, the news abounds with evidence that Americans are not a united people. Unity for its own sake is of limited wisdom and value, but unity based on true principles and righteous purposes is precious beyond rubies. Disunity is unstable, uncomfortable, and often dangerous, if cultivated.

On the 2020 Presidential Election and Its Aftermath

In the two months since Election Day I’ve been increasingly intrigued by the certitude I encounter in people on both sides of this question: was the 2020 presidential election stolen? If you’re certain it was or certain it wasn’t, I wonder: why do you think what you think? We’ll talk about this.

I’ve also been thinking that people on both sides are missing something important about the US Supreme Court. This leads to unreasonable expectations and fears about the Court’s possible interventions. We’ll talk about this too.

I have some specific thoughts about what should and shouldn’t happen tomorrow, when Congress meets in joint session to observe the counting of electoral votes, and what should happen thereafter. I’ll mention them as we conclude.

What I Read Last Week About Myself (and Other Trump Voters)

In the past few weeks I spent more hours than I want to count, writing a blog post about why I’m one of those Trump voters in 2020, after voting otherwise in 2016. I never imagined my position or explanations would please every reader, and they haven’t.

But most of the people who’ve disagreed with me in their posted comments or back-channel responses have been gentle, saying things like, “You’re overreacting” (won’t that be nice, if true!) and “I’m disappointed; I expected better.” The word “batty” came up. Propaganda was mentioned, and the phrase, “living in another universe” (not that I should, just that I do).

All in all, my friends and readers are far more civil than some folks. The contrast is quite striking just now. Last week, for three days, as I did my usual hour of daily reading, from Left to Right and back again, and scrolled through social media, I kept a list of negative things people said about me — well, me and everyone else who’s voting for President Trump.

Some of the writers are prominent voices in major publications; others are from small publications or simply my acquaintances on social media. I’m democratic that way.

By the way, that blog post I mentioned went live this week, so responses to it didn’t make the list, not that most of them would have anyway.

Ten Commandments and the Revolution

The Ten Commandments are ancient and the Russian Revolution is old news, but this is about contemporary America: our politics, economics, culture, and more — things we often see as two-sided. Many people with strong political or cultural opinions see themselves either trying to make substantial, structural changes in American government and society, or trying to prevent others from doing so. Whatever passions, philosophies, and intentions may exist behind the rhetoric, each side accuses the other of tearing down our values and institutions.

You may have examples from your own perspective. I’ll give you a few of mine, in discussing the Bible’s Ten Commandments — key pillars of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which incubated the American political tradition — after we’ve talked about Russia. Soviet Russia, to be precise.

Let’s do that now.