Saturday, April 16, 2016

I'm Just asking...

Recently we have seen celebrities and businesses, and now state and local governments refuse to do business with North Carolina because the state passed a law regarding bathroom privacy.  Now the Los Angeles City Council has banned the city government from doing business with North Carolina, alleging that the law creates a "climate of violence."

Yes, I understand that increasingly our culture is buying the idea that gender is a human construct.  However (apart from a few, very rare cases of chromosomal abnormalities), biological sex is undeniably binary.   

So how is having a law saying that a person should go to the restroom that corresponds to that person's biological sex creating a climate of violence?

I mean, isn't this the way it has been for as long as there have been public restrooms?

It seems like we didn't need laws about this--and no one was a victim of any violence--until this insane confusion over "gender" began gripping our nation.

Let's be clear: the law has noting to do with being "anti-LGBT" and doesn't incite violence against anyone.  As long as you go to the restroom that corresponds to your biological sex (the way it has been for, you know, like forever), no one has to know or care whether you are LGBT, WXYZ, or have a long-hidden fetish for Bactrian Camels.  NOBODY CARES!!!

But we do care when someone goes into whatever restroom a person claims to identify with and starts sexually molesting others--including children.  Yes, we care A WHOLE LOT about that!

So this is a public safety issue.  And it is not the law that is inciting violence.  But when perverts start abusing children in California and other states that refuse to pass laws protecting children and insuring bathroom privacy, you will see violence from outraged parents.  Plenty of it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

I really should have majored in English.  Despite scoring in the 99th percentile in every subject on every intelligence test I ever took, and despite doing well enough in math to represent my high school at Math Field Day while still a sophomore, it is language that I truly love--and particularly the English language, the finest, most expressive language known to man since ancient Greek.

Instead I earned a degree in Music and worked as a symphony clarinetist until--as I often remark in sharing my call to ministry--I realized that a lot of well-entertained people were going to hell.  So I earned another degree in Psychology before I realized that a lot of well-adjusted people were also going to hell.

Along the way I took courses in everything from political science to engineering and indulged my wide-ranging interests in earning graduate degrees in everything from Theology and Philosophy, to Psychology, to Computer and Information Science.  But I never took the step of indulging my love of English language and literature--afraid, I guess, that a degree in English would not be good for anything but teaching English (as though Music, Psychology, and Ministry were all that lucrative!)

Consequently, I find myself, now much older, still marveling at what can be accomplished with mere words.  And when I read a poem like this one from Wendell Barry (whose life illustrates my fear about a degree in English only being good for teaching English), I nevertheless get wistful over the road not taken and sit in awe at all the beauty and meaning that language can convey.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay.  Want more
of everything ready-made.  Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more.  Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you.  When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute.  Love the Lord.
Love the world.  Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag.  Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand.  Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium.  Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit.  Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable.  Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself:  Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade.  Rest your head
in her lap.  Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it.  Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Poet, essayist, farmer, and novelist Wendell Berry was born on August 5, 1934, in New Castle, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky at Lexington where he received a BA in English in 1956 and an MA in 1957.

Berry is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, essays, and novels. His collections of poetry include: Given (Shoemaker Hoard, 2005), A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 (Counterpoint, 1997), Entries: Poems (1994), Traveling at Home (1989), The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (1988), Collected Poems 1957-1982 (1985), Clearing (1977), There Is Singing Around Me (1976), and The Broken Ground (1964).

His novels include A World Lost (1996), Remembering (1988), and The Memory of Old Jack. Berry is also the author of prose collections including The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture (Counterpoint, 2004), Another Turn of the Crank (1995), Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community (1993), Standing on Earth: Selected Essays (1991), and A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural (1972).

About his work, a reviewer for the Christian Science Monitor wrote: “Berry’s poems shine with the gentle wisdom of a craftsman who has thought deeply about the paradoxical strangeness and wonder of life.”

He has taught at New York University and at the University of Kentucky. Among his honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, a Lannan Foundation Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Wendell Berry lives on a farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Ted Cruz: Why?

I am proud to be a supporter of Senator Ted Cruz for President of the United States, and I ask you to join me.  Here is why:

Barack Obama entered the White House espousing the philosophy which says that the nations cannot/should not be led by the United States.  So Obama adopted a position which he described as "leading from behind."  Never mind that this philosophy didn't stop him from instituting his own kind of "regime change" in the form of the Arab Spring which made the Middle East and North Africa a more violent and dangerous place.  The result of Obama's foreign policy for the past seven years is that our allies (Great Britain, France, the other NATO countries, and Israel) don't trust us; and our enemies (Iran, North Korea and other state sponsors of terrorism) along with Russia and China think we are fools. 

Despite the fact that the world is a more dangerous place than it was seven years ago, our military capability has been greatly diminished by this administration.  The branches of our armed services are being treated as laboratories for social engineering experiments rather than efficient fighting forces designed to keep our country (and the world) safe.  The Veterans Administrations is a scandal, and our veterans have been treated shamefully. 

The nation is more divided than it was seven years ago.  The candidate who promised to unite America has instead become the Great Divider; and the nation now stands divided along lines of race, class, age in ways not seen in generations--possibly not in its entire history.  Obama could have been a president who encouraged respect for law enforcement in a way that would have been an example for the African American community; but instead he has repeatedly undermined our law enforcement agencies, and respect for the police among African Americans is at an all time low. 

Instead of supporting our system of legal immigration that admits more legal immigrants each year than any country in the world, Obama has encouraged open borders with the result that several million undocumented migrants have swarmed our borders--an influx that threatens to overwhelm our social safety net and is already increasing crime in many parts of the country.

Every program with "Affordable" in its name (The Affordable Housing Act, the Affordable Care Act) has only made those things less affordable.  That's not hard to understand: When you make loans for housing more easily available, despite the creditworthiness (or lack thereof) of the recipient, it inflates the price of housing.  When you saddle the healthcare industry with extra regulations and suddenly add millions of people to the system, it makes healthcare more expensive.  Using the IRS to fine people for not buying health insurance is not the same as providing them with healthcare. 

Another effect of Obamacare, with its requirement of insurance for anyone working 30 hours per week or more, has been that employers have reduced their workforces, both in numbers and in hours, and the result is that we have a higher number of chronically unemployed than any time in modern history.  Government figures on unemployment don't take into account those who have quit looking for work.  Nearly half of the American public is on food stamps.  Employers are exporting jobs overseas where the economic and regulatory climates are more favorable.  Many college graduates cannot find jobs, and this generation has been predicted to be the first American generation to do less well than their parents.

The United States cannot continue in this direction and survive.  The corrupt Hillary Clinton and the Socialist Bernie Sanders cannot fix problems that the very positions they espouse have brought into being.  They are "doubling down" on Obamacare and promising to give "free everything" to voters; and when it doesn't happen, they will simply blame the Republicans.  But as Margaret Thatcher once observed, "the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."  With a national debt that has doubled under Obama--in fact, he has added more to the national debt than all previous presidents combined--no one can pay for all the things the Democrats say they want to give people.

And, so, I am proud to be a Republican who supports Ted Cruz for President.  He is the kind of principled conservative who would fix our economy and our national defense the way Reagan did after Carter.  He is a bright, courageous, articulate leader, who has none of the negatives I see in Donald Trump.  Ted Cruz is truly the Ronald Reagan of this current generation, and the Republican Establishment needs to get behind him.  Indeed, the future of the Republican Party may depend on it.  

The danger I see in Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or anyone on the Democrat side is that while their kind of liberalism talks about equality, it does not raise people up, it only levels them down through redistribution of wealth, endless regulations, and mindless political correctness.  I see a nation that follows this path as doomed.  It will soon come to resemble the kind of societies depicted in George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984.

So I see it as imperative that we take steps to fix this country.  But I am worried--the only thing that disturbs me more than the past seven years of the Obama presidency is the kind of electorate that would give us a president like Barack Obama--twice.  So I have extra reasons to pray these days.

God help us!  And God bless America!

Robert Stevenson Munday

(I use my full name only to mention that I am a nephew/cousin of the Adlai Stevensons (I, II, and III) from Illinois, who made a choice in 1975, while on staff for Representative (later Senator) Paul Simon to walk the road less traveled (at least in my family) and become a proud conservative Republican.