Here are more things I want to see but likely won’t in American politics and government in 2024; things I expect to see but would rather not; a bit of wishful thinking, because at least that makes me smile for a minute; and a few things Americans can do.
This is the second of two posts. The first focused mostly on presidential candidates. This one takes up other themes, most of which relate to the presidential race somehow. Nearly everything does.
What I Want (continued)
I Want Us Not to Tolerate Violence or Rampant Tyranny in 2024
I’d love to see a mass outbreak of common sense and spirited Americanism when darker forces resume their rampage this year, as they probably will. Here’s what I mean.
Here’s what I want — part of what I want — to see, but likely won’t, in American politics and government in 2024; some things I expect to see but mostly would rather not; a bit of wishful thinking, because at least that makes me smile for a minute; and a few things Americans can do this year.
This is the first of two posts. This one focuses on presidential candidates, with an MLK Day bonus and an election denier bonus (to use a phrase I don’t like, because no one denies the 2020 presidential election actually happened). The second post considers other topics, still mostly in our national politics and government, and therefore somewhat related to a presidential election year.
I Want Different Presidential Nominees
I want to see the major parties nominate presidential candidates other than Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In this I am with the majority of Americans, supposedly, but that may not matter. In any case, both men are known quantities.
Sometimes, when we seek the sense and meaning of an important text, it helps to read it aloud, or to hear it read aloud while we read the text. In case it’s useful to you, here I am, reading the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day 2023. I’m not a trained voice actor, as you will see.
At least I have the sense to keep reading, resisting the considerable temptation to stop and comment. So the audio file isn’t hours long; it’s less than ten minutes, including my reading of the signers’ names. (I figure they earned the attention.)
Leftists, who are not the same as liberals, have a natural enemy in the Judeo-Christian tradition of Western culture and government. We should not be surprised to see them attack that tradition persistently and comprehensively. This natural hostility reaches to the early pages of the Old Testament, the very foundations of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and to some famous words in the Declaration of Independence.
For today, because we can’t dive into the deep end of every pool in the neighborhood at once — this is an essay of modest length, not a book — I’ll ignore some things and assert others without detailed discussion. Each of these deserves careful consideration, but it won’t happen in this essay:
Is the expected attack under way, perhaps even well advanced? There may be few more important questions in our culture and politics, but I’m avoiding this question today, for economy’s sake and because I hope people with differing views of this question will read this essay.
I assert without discussion here that American liberals and leftists are not the same; they too are natural enemies. At the simplest level, when the labels make sense, liberals seek liberty. So do American conservatives. Leftists seek power.
I’m ignoring the extreme Right in the United States. They exist, but they are virtually irrelevant at present, except in Leftist rhetoric, and they occupy no significant place in the hearts and minds of most Americans, including the vast majority of conservatives. Moreover, the extreme Right’s goals closely resemble the Left’s; the major difference is branding. Much of what I say here about the Left would apply to the extreme Right as well.
I note without detailed discussion some concerns of religious and secular observers alike, including scholars. They point to increasing challenges among the rising generation of American youth and young adults, including an unusual lack of purpose and identity and a lack of hope for the future. (If one happens to believe the Left’s expected attack is well advanced in the US, one might see these unfortunate trends as highly convenient or even intentional.)
I assert without writing a book about it that the Left by nature works to destroy culture, the rule of law, and every traditional moral and social restraint, and to divide people into warring factions. This is their theoretical and historical path to seizing comprehensive power amid the rubble.
If your comfort requires you to read this discussion as purely theoretical and hypothetical, feel free. But if you happen someday to notice the American Left attacking the Judeo-Christian tradition — in real time or in history — you’ll know it is simply being true to itself, doing what so many Lefts have done before. It is using its power, when it has power, to attack its chief cultural rival.
All of that said (or evaded, as the case may be), we need a slightly larger foundation before we proceed.
We’re less than eight weeks past Election Day, that increasingly fuzzy temporal landmark, and I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think the 2022 election is finally over.
Georgia’s routine, belated runoff is history. Counties and states with more or less functional election apparatus have long since released their official numbers. And in the last few days three more things happened. Pennsylvania finally certified its results, the final tally in the State of Washington gave one US House seat to the Democrat candidate who had trailed earlier, and, though an appeal is pending, an Arizona judge rejected Kari Lake’s challenge to that state’s gubernatorial results.
I waited to finish and post this commentary until after my own county in Utah, aptly named Utah County, certified its results — on schedule — just before Thanksgiving, because my friend and neighbor Sarah Beeson was in an Alpine School Board race so close that we didn’t know the outcome before then. She won by 60 votes or 0.28%.
After that, I waited for Georgia and some non-electoral things. I don’t do this for a living, you see. And who wants to pore over politics at Christmas? But Christmas is now 364 weeks away. Let’s get this behind us while it’s still 2022, shall we?
Among the contested races and measures on my 2022 election ballot are races for Utah State Treasurer, Utah State House District 53, Utah County Commission Seat A, Utah County Clerk, Alpine School Board District 4, a proposed amendment to the Utah Constitution, and approval of a proposed Alpine School District bond issue. There are several uncontested races, which is unfortunate, no matter how good the lone candidates in those races may be.
Here I present state, county, and local contests in the order in which they appear on my ballot. With so many races it would be awkward to separate information and opinion, so I don’t. (In my previous post, on US Senate and House races on my ballot, which fairly drips with opinion, I did.)
Please remember that mailed ballots must be postmarked by Monday, November 7. We can also leave our ballots at drop boxes around the county through 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, November 8).
As before, in my 2022 election guide I’ll comment almost exclusively on races which appear on my own ballot. This post looks at two races for national office; the next will consider state, county, and local races. The race for one of Utah’s US Senate seats pits two-term incumbent Republican Mike Lee against three challengers named on the ballot and some write-in candidates. The leading challenger is Evan McMullin, who appears on the ballot as unaffiliated but has the Utah Democratic Party endorsement and relies heavily on Democratic money. The race for US House of Representatives in Utah’s 3rd District has 2.5-term incumbent Republican John Curtis facing three challengers, including Democrat Glenn J. Wright.
I’ll provide links to the Senate candidates’ official campaign websites and to the one debate in the race. Then I’ll tell you what I think. Then I’ll do the same for the House race, but more briefly. Finally, for any reader who hasn’t had enough already, I’ll say more about Mike Lee and Evan McMullin.
In presenting my own views, I’ll focus on the two leading contenders in each race. The third-party and write-in candidates are unlikely to move the needle. In case you’re curious, the relatively new United Utah Party, which wants us to want them — hat tip to Cheap Trick — has no candidate in either race.
Dr. Anthony Fauci walked back his Grinch-like verbal ranging shot against Christmas last week, but the only thing we know about what he’ll say tomorrow is, there’s a good chance it won’t be what he said today. So I’m putting this out there, in case the need for it arises later, as the holiday draws near.
Old Doc Fauci, his Grinchhood engorging, cried, “No!
I decree, because COVID, it shall not be so!
I command you! No ribbons, no wrappings, no tags!
No dinners! No loved ones! No boxes! No bags!”
He dodged reason all day, till his dodger was sore,
While Americans thought thoughts all Grinches deplore.
“What if we-folk,” they mused, “have a right to be free?
What if Christmas … perhaps … doesn’t come from DC?”
I’ll go back to writing prose now. And early Christmas shopping.
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Displayed on a shelf in my home office is a wool cap from Afghanistan, a pakul or kapul, depending on which regional language you choose. It’s flat on top, and the fabric is thick and coarse. It can be worn with the sides rolled up for warm weather or rolled down several inches for cold weather, of which Afghanistan has plenty. It was never intended to fit me, and it doesn’t. I keep it to honor a friend of mine and a friend of his.
It was a gift to me from a retired US Army Special Forces officer who deployed with a Utah National Guard unit to Afghanistan in the first half-decade of our 20-year presence there. It was a gift to him from the tribal leader – more governor than warlord – of a certain region in Afghanistan.
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.