Monthly archives "January 2011"

Inside Washington

PBS offers a Friday night program of the above title hosted by Gordon Peterson.   Three of the panelists come from the Left–Mark Shields, Nina Totenberg, and Colby King.   There is only one individual from the Right, but since that person is Charles Krauthammer there is more than balance.

On Friday, January 28, they commented on the State of the Union address.   Shields, long time Democrat operative and PBS Newshour commentator, Totenberg of the Far Left, and King all gushed about the brilliance and style.   King to his credit noted lack of substance.   Krauthammer called it a lost opportunity to speak the truth of our situation.

Analysis then turned to Paul Ryan’s response.  Mark said there are two kinds of Republicans.   The sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp which says it is five minutes before the dawn.    Then there are the five minutes to midnight Republicans like Paul Ryan.    Charles then said, “There are two kinds of Democrats.   Those who tell the truth and those who spin and the President is the latter.”    As a sidenote, the fact that the Far Left is now speaking of Ronald Reagan in glowing terms and wishing (as Time Magazine does) to liken Obama to Reagan demonstrates that even they now know he was a great President.  

I would make several responses to this.   First, there is a great deal more to Ronald Reagan than sunny optimism.   He had policies to correct the economy and to defeat the Soviet Union without a war.   When one sees Reagan speak of the Soviets he does not smile.   Rather he rightly called them the Evil Empire.

Second, there are times like this when it is five minutes to midnight and one like Paul Ryan needs to sound the alarm if we are going to see the dawn again.   The President is not doing so.    When Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich at the dawn of WWII cheerily saying, “It is peace in our time,”   Wintson Churchill knew better.   He met the Prime Minister with this stinging rebuke, “You had a choice between war and dishonor at Munich.   You have chosen dishonor and now you shall have war.”

England then turned to Winston Churchill who with, bulldog determination, said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears.”   No sunny spin or optimism here.  No, the new Prime Minister offered sheer reality.   Why?   Because it was then five minutes to midnight for freedom with tyranny on the march.   But because of men like Winston Churchill we again saw the dawn.    Chamberlain is another name for appeasement today.  He was a spinner.   Churchill is one of those men to hold up for the ages.   So is Ronald Reagan.

This is a time of world economic crisis and talk of light rail and more money for education is not going to change any of it.    Let the Left spin if they must.   But let us stand with men like Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin (in 1979 & 80 before Ronald Reagan appeared on the scene, when world leaders gathered it was said that the strongest man present was Margaret Thatcher)  who speak the truth–not spin.   We can yet see the dawn but we must first recognize midnight when we see it.

Wintson Churchill one more time.  In one of his most profound addresses, yet most simple, he said to a group of students during the war, “Never give in.   Never give in.  Never give in.   Never!  Never!   Never!    Never!    For the sake of our grandchidren–NEVER!!


January 20, 1961

The day that John Kennedy delivered his inaugural address was cold and bright.    It was so bright that Robert Frost was unable to read the poem he had penned for the special day so he recited by memory, “The Gift Outright,” a previously written Frost verse.   It was the first time a poet had been so honored at an inauguration and a preview of the class and intellectual appreciation of Jack Kennedy and his team.   Our high school had dismissed to the auditorium to watch history live.

Even as a teen one did not miss that an elderly President was surrendering power to a much younger man.   In fact, on that day our oldest President passed the baton to the youngest ever elected.   Two footnotes on this:   Ike would be surpassed as the oldest Commander in Chief by Ronald Reagan twenty years later.   And Teddy Roosevelt is the youngest man ever to serve in the White House but he took over, not after an election, but as Vice President to the assassinated William McKinley.

I reread Jack Kennedy’s inaugural address fifty years to the day after it was delivered.   It inspires still.   Here are some of the lines I flagged:

            The world is very different now. . .And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for  which our forebears
             fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the
            generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

            The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by 
            war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace–proud of our ancient heritage. . .

            With good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth
            to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth God’s 
            will must truly be our own.

Much has changed, of course, in fifty years but some things, as Kennedy noted in his address, remain timeless.   Herein lies a concern a number of us have today.   Does President Obama really believe our rights come from the hand of God rather than the state?    Rather hard to tell sometimes.   On several occasions he has rendered the most famous line of the Declaration of Independence in this manner:   “. . .endowed. . .with certain unalienable rights.”    He leaves out, “by their  Creator” the key words from our great national confession of faith for without the Creator there is no real freedom.

John Kennedy was proud of our land.   He nearly died defending it in WWII and had to practically bribe his way in as he was so ill at the time.    Is Barack Obama proud of our land?   He is certainly proud of himself but seems to have trouble affirming our land.     We have all heard him say at home and abroad, “Too many times,”   followed by some description of a failing he sees among us.   Strange so many wish to come here both legally and illegally with all those failings seen by BHO.

So far as the will of God, Obama and the Democrats seem to feel they know what is best for us quite apart from God’s truth.   They certainly do not which is one of the reasons they were so soundly defeated in November of last year and why groups like the Tea Party have become so prominent.

Jack Kennedy is the last Democrat President that I admired.  That is fifty years now.   Tragically he was taken from us by an assassin’s bullet.   If one wishes to see some of the courage, character and care of Mr. Kennedy to his men on PT 109 I recommend The Kennedys at War by Edward Renehan, Jr., Doubleday Press.  

Thirty years ago we elected another great President named Ronald Reagan who fortunately survived an assassination attempt.   He also clearly loved and honored our land.   This followed the failures of Jimmy Carter.  Let us trust and pray that God is raising up a leader like Kennedy or Reagan right now to help restore confidence after Obama in 2012 and beyond.



The Moral Crisis

Chuck Colson has been called a modern day St. Paul in terms of his prophetic voice.   Once one of the most hated men in Washington, D.C. as Richard Nixon’s chief hatchet man, he is today a highly respected Christian witness.   Back in 1978 my wife and I saw the late Senator Hughes of IA, the late Elderidge Cleaver, once a leader of the Black Panthers, and Chuck share a platform at the old McNichols arena in Denver.    Cleaver and Colson were new believers while Hughes had been delivered out of alcoholism by the Lord a number of years earlier.    It was an overwhelming evening as we saw the power of the gospel to change lives and to bring powerful, once violent men together on one stage.

Chuck Colson recently appeared on the Mike Huckabee program on FOX.   Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Baptist pastor spoke about the crises our nation is facing.    As they concluded, Colson  said, “Underneath these problems is a moral crisis.”    He is exactly right.

We were tragically brought face to face with this again on Saturday, January 8, with the senseless shooting deaths of six individuals in Tucson, AZ and the wounding of fourteen others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.   Back in 1977 NBC News did a feature on violence in America.   It was hosted by Ed Newman who closed with this haunting question:   “Is there a beast in man?”   While this was as close as the program came to the spiritual side of man, The Scriptures answer, “Yes, there is a beast in man.”   This incident is complicated by the mental illness of the gunman.

But in the midst of the complexities of all this, Senator Dick Durbin of IL (he was our Senator from 1996-2007 as we resided in the Land of Lincoln) jumps in with his foot firmly in his mouth and blames it on political rhetoric and names Sarah Palin as one who needs to tone it down.   You may recall that this is the same Dick Durbin who, on June 14, 2005, likened our troops to Nazis, the Soviet Gulag and Cambodia’s Pol Pot.  It may be good to dial back some of the rhetoric but Durbin is hardly the vessel to bring that message.   It also needs be noted that Sarah Palin’s son is in the military protecting the right of Dick Durbin to expose himself as a fool.    I would suggest he contact the former AK Governor to apologize but he lacks the class for that.

The late Robert Novak said that the Democrats are the new stupid party.   I think he is right.   I also think that sensible Democrats would want to trot out someone else besides Durbin to carry their simplistic message about current political discourse.    On second thought, with so few sensible Dems, Dick Durbin is the best they have for the task.   To President Obama’s credit he distanced himself from such nonsense at the Memorial service on 1/19 saying it was not rhetoric that led this mad man on his rampage.   Amen!

Chuck Colson remains right on.  Underneath it all we face a moral crisis in our lack of wisdom for the living of these days.   What is needed?   A national Spiritual Awakening.   Dear Lord, may it be so!!