Poetry Friday

Well, this has been quite the week, hasn’t it? It has left me feeling completely drained, and more than a bit despondent.

 

Maybe it’s just me, but my mind goes to poetry at these times, and Wiliam Butler Yeats describes it well:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I noted from reports that Joe Biden called loudly for unity the other day, as he did more work than he has in a decade to undo the work of his predecessor. In fact, he wasn’t calling for ‘unity’ he was calling for ‘submission’ which he’ll get neither from the conservatives who have come to respect President Trump because he lived the words he said in the campaign against Hilary Clinton when we would have voted for pond scum instead of her. What we blindly voted for was a patriot and a man of his word, Not a perfect man, by any means but only the third President in my lifetime that I willingly would vote for again. The other two are Eisenhower (yes, I was too young by quite a bit, but looking back would) and Ronald Reagan. In truth, I think Trump surpassed both and was the best president since Calvin Coolidge, a full century ago.
So, no, Slow Joe, there’s not going to be any unity to be had, and in four years we will have a new president if you last that long, if you’re unlucky, you might be remembered like Buchanon, the man whose administration brought us to the brink of civil war.
But it’s also possible that he will suffer the fate of Benjamin Harrison, who arguably stole the election of 1892 against Grover Cleveland and was subsequently defeated by him in 1896. History has a habit of rhyming like that.
Have you seen this?
Somehow, I don’t think either American conservatism or Donald J Trump are quite to the end of the road yet. I have no idea what the names of the teams will be going forward, but there are many innings left to play. Made me think of another poem, in fact, From an American, writing in England, of the English. T.S Elliot’s Little Gidding

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Now What?

Last week, the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, outlined, in The Federalist, her ideas of the problems that the election highlighted with the Republican Party and conservatism in America generally. If you believe or hope that there is a road back for the United States this is a very good plan, as I would expect from the best Governor in the US. Here’s what I can share of it, do follow the link and read it all.

Our country has changed. We have failed to educate generations of our children about what makes America unique. Few, if any of them, have been taught the history of our decades-long fight to defeat communism. Meanwhile, the left’s indoctrination takes place every day with kids all across America from the time they walk into a school at age 5 to the time they graduate college at 22.

Republicans have not been disciplined enough to do the hard work. The American people need us to fight for them on a daily basis, not just 30 to 60 days before an election.

Our party has some serious work ahead of us. We are going to have to sit down and collectively answer a very simple question: Why does America need Republicans?

The answer to that is very simple: 2020.

Last year, we saw governments all across the country shut down people’s lives. American citizens could not go to church, run their business, or send their children to school.

COVID didn’t crush the economy. Government crushed the economy. And then, just as quickly, government turned around and held itself out as the savior. Frankly, the Treasury Department can’t print money fast enough to keep up with Congress’ Christmas list.

What is so troubling is that by April, we knew that there was a specific vulnerable population that we needed to protect from COVID-19. But we also knew that the vast majority of people would recover from this virus with no serious difficulty. Despite this, very few changed course.

In 2020, despite the virus, if you wanted to riot, loot, and burn buildings down, the government either stood idly by while you did that, or worse, tacitly encouraged the destruction.

Government didn’t punish the violent criminals. But it did everything it could to punish those Americans who simply tried to defend themselves, their families, their livelihoods, and their property.

What we lived in 2020 is the left’s vision for America. […]

The American Dream is possible because of the principles that we Republicans stand for; the same principles that are under vigorous attack by the other side. We believe in certain ideals and institutions, which have served as an inspiration to people all over the world. Those people hold liberty dear in their hearts. That’s why people all across the globe have uprooted their lives to come to America. And it’s why, today, Americans across the country are flocking to South Dakota.

If you think about it, that’s America’s true diversity. It’s a diversity grounded in the pursuit of truth and the virtuous life, where we will be known by the content of our character and our hard work.

We must go into this battle for freedom with our eyes wide open, educated to the tactics the radical left will use, and yet totally pure in our motives. This isn’t about us. It’s about our children and their future. It’s about the example that we set for them. We have one shot to preserve for our children “the last best hope of man on earth.” If we fail, at least they will know that we did all that we could to hold on to it.

GovernorNoem’s vision of America is very similar to mine and to millions of us across the fruited plain. That vision is unarguably under attack from a competing vision mostly from the coasts and including Washington, that owes much more to Lenin, Marx, Mao, Castro, and Maduro than it does to Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Washington. Right now we are losing, that doesn’t mean we’ll lose, but if we keep letting the idiotic cowardly GOP run things we’ll be telling our grandchildren what it was like in the United States where Men (and Women) were free. Kurt Schlichter has some things to say in Townhall as well, and he’s far from wrong.

You know they hate you, right? Really and truly, and they want you silenced, disenfranchised, and dead if necessary. That woman the federal cop shot on video in the Capitol, capped for trespassing, was expendable and so are you. Now, one might be accused of “whataboutism” for this next part, but whataboutism is a moral necessity that highlights the lies that form the foundation of our garbage Establishment, and therefore it must be constantly and loudly practiced. What about all those people killed on video whose deaths sparked riots? Now, the initial read on the shooting seems bad, but being the wacky nonconformist rebel I am, I’ll wait until all the facts are in to make a final judgment and just say at present that the shooting looks questionable. But no one will ask the questions. The cop will be cleared and will never, ever be charged, and even if President Biden’s* U.S. Attorney in the forthcoming State of D.C. were to file charges (LOL, sometimes I even make myself laugh), let’s just say I put the chances of a D.C. jury convicting at about O.J. level.

Stop the Steal

Two remarkable things happened on January 4th, 2021. Several hours apart, they both deeply affected me. During the day, I saw this video from John Voight

Moved very near to tears; this is my America. All across the country, people we don’t know are feeling the exact same way – this is my America; we take it very personally, we own it. There are people – at best, misguided; at worst, evil – there are people who have no such connection with the land and the history of this country, people who would strip this country of all that she is and all the promise she holds for the purpose of making it a sort of ‘utopia’ that will never exist. America, as she is, IS the utopia. If you don’t believe that, ask someone who immigrated here and found all that they were looking for. This is my America

What else needs to be said?

The second thing that deeply affected me on January 4th was later in the evening, President Trump’s rally for Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue. The phrase “eleventh hour” kept running through my head. People love President Trump because he loves America – he, like us, remembers the America we grew up in; the America we want all our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren to grow up in. The flag, baseball, and apple pie. We, the America-loving citizens of the United States, are at five minutes to the midnight of America unless the man of the eleventh hour can prevail. I don’t worship Trump; I only worship Jesus. But for right here, right now, President Trump is the only man who can save the United States of America. I pray deeply and earnestly that it is in God’s will for this man to save my country.


From Neo:

Audre is spot on, for my America, her America, Mr. Voight’s America, Mr. Alverez’s America, and so many more millions of us, the Republic itself is in danger. The picture above is the rally yesterday in Washington, DC. Never in my lifetime, or any American living today have we seen a situation where we simply believe that a Presidential election, has been stolen by the Democrat Party, aided and abetted, by a large part of the Republican Party, by the almost entirely partisan (fake) news media, by the courts, state and federal including the Supreme Court, and by the almost entirety of government employees.

At this point, to us, it feels like the people versus the entire establishment, and in fact, as I write this on Tuesday evening, the Republican Senate candidates in Georgia are trailing (it’s not even close to over, so please God, that may change) but they are hardly really strong candidate for the people either. Like my idiot Senator Ben Sasse, they are what we have come to call RINO’s, but as I decided when I voted for Sasse in the general (but not the primary) a RINO is better than a jackass. But that may be ending, if the Biden illegitimate regime takes power, all bets are off. As Rabbi Dov Fischer wrote in The Spectator Monday, Not This Time

No matter how the next weeks play out, a new Republican conservative has arisen who will not roll over and play dead for the delight of Democrats and their Left media. Trump did not really create this new populism; rather, he gave voice to it. And now, for the first time in nearly a century, this stronger conservative voice and strength will dominate the Opposition. It may be too loyal and patriotic to be a “Resistance,” but it will be an “Opposition” such that the Democrat-Media-Left has not before seen nor experienced. Roll over and play dead? Not this time, dear Leftists.

We the American people created this Republic covenanted to God alone and dedicated to the freedom of each and every one of us. It will stand as it always has, or we will refer to Thomas Jefferson’s famous words.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

We did it before against far longer odds, and if needs be, we will do it again. It is our Right, nay it is our DUTY to do so.

Sacred

Putting religion aside just for a moment, there are things in life which we hold sacred. Our families and loved ones are sacred to us; we don’t want anyone or anything interfering with them. The relationship between pet owners and their animals is sacred; one of the great betrayals is an owner who abuses his animal. There are other sacred situations but the one I want to talk about right now is voting.

When I saw this video, I quite literally gasped. I was astounded and horrified. Shocked doesn’t even begin to express how I felt.

Voting, in America, is a sacred duty and a reassurance that we are, indeed, free to vote for whomever we decide is the best person for the office. Conservative news reporting on our current situation is absolutely correct; every single voter in America should be up in arms about this election fraud. It affects every single one of us, whether we voted or not. But we all pray, or keep our fingers crossed, or hope that the person we want is also wanted by enough other people to get that person in office. Voter fraud nullifies your vote! It makes us, the voters, immaterial. It puts a gag in our mouths and silences our voices. ALL OF US!!! No one – NO ONE – gets to take away our vote. It is our duty and our privilege as Americans to vote and be heard. “The people have spoken” is a joke if the voting process is tampered with. When I saw that video, my reaction was the same as if someone had spit on the consecrated bread at the Communion rail. It’s one and the same to me – the Body of Jesus is sacred; my vote is sacred.

As rational adults, we try to reconcile the actions of the world around us to whatever paradigm one has that defines their lives. I am Christian; my paradigm is Christianity. You may be an atheist, you may be a liberal, you may be a Muslim, but as an American registered voter, you have the right to vote for whomever you decide will make the best choices for our country. No one should be able to interfere with that. Interfering with our voting process undermines the very thing that makes America great – our voice.

I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Right after that, I believe in America. That there has been a seemingly orchestrated exercise to take away my voice – YOUR voice – is so abhorrent, so frightening, so earth-shattering, that we should ALL stand up and express our outrage. Something must be done that nothing like this can happen again. You can’t tell me that the country that is at top of the chart in every category cannot conceive of a fool-proof voting mechanism.

I hate to admit it but I cannot deny that my faith in America has been shaken. Not in America, per se, but that the love of this country has sunk to such an abject level that interfering in an election has become a game, a sting operation. I have been gamed. YOU have been gamed. This cannot be allowed to stand.

Totenfest, All Saints Day, Heroes and Saints

In the main, this is my post for All Saint’s Day from 2012 with a few minor updates. true then, true now, and true as long as we remain who we are.

I’ll bet Totenfest is a new term for many of you, actually, it’s a corrupted spelling of Todtenfest, what it translates as is “Feast (or festival) of the Dead. It has a bit of that German propensity for calling things what they are, like Krankenhaus (house of the sick) for hospital. It comes from the Evangelical church, that strange Prussian hybrid of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches committed by King Frederick Wilhelm III. Totenfest was instituted to remember the soldiers killed in the Prussian war (unless I’m missing something we’re talking about what the rest of us call the Napoleonic Wars). It soon expanded to remember members of the congregation who had passed in the last year.

When I was young my home church (which was Evangelical and Reformed) read the passed member’s names with a single bell toll after each. It was a moving service which served in lieu of All Saints Day, which is now commonly celebrated on the first Sunday in November, as The last Sunday in October is Reformation Sunday. When I was a kid, and it was still the E&R before the merger which formed the UCC, every Sunday the first hymn was this, which is nearly always appropriate, in a version that will feel familiar this year.

The same purpose really, since we in the Protestant tradition tend to refer to those who have gone before us as saints. It is important to remember our forefathers in the faith for the same reason that we all admire the saints in the Catholic tradition. I think our way perhaps makes it even more personal. On that weekend in 2012 Jessica over at The Watchtower said this:

All Souls’ day is a time when I pray for the souls of my parents and other relatives now dead. I know many Protestants who ask me why I do so, as they are now with God, and He alone will judge; do I, they ask, think that somehow my prayers will influence Him. I try to explain that this is not what I believe at all. Yes, I believe God makes the decision, and I don’t believe He will be in the slightest bit influenced by me. But it is an act of piety to my dead parents. They are no longer here in the flesh, but that does not mean I forget them, and praying for them seems to me to be a way of saying that I still love them and still care about them.

I completely agree with her, which is not unusual. This is the time of year when I think a lot about and pray for my parents as well, knowing that God will be just, which is enough for me. But I want the folks to know that I still think of them and care about them, and even that I have remembered the lessons they taught me, about many things. And that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

I was born when my folks were in their forties, so it wasn’t like dad had time or energy to play with me but, he spent a lot of time with me, or maybe the other way around when I was a kid. Many people think I’m a bit of a hard case, they may well be right. The lessons I learned as a child were all about doing things right always and taking responsibility. Sure I learned about electricity and line work and wiring buildings and a bunch of other skills but, the real lessons were about honesty and justice. With dad you never got unearned praise, in truth not saying anything about what you did was usually all the praise you were going to get, screw up and you heard about it though, guess where I learned the catchphrase, always make new mistakes. Doing it wrong because you just didn’t get it was allowable, doing it wrong again was simply unacceptable, and you learned that quickly. One of the other lessons taught was that bad news is not like wine, it doesn’t get better with age. Learning those two lessons will take you quite a way in this life; there are others.

But, in truth, it’s certainly not about me, and it’s not even about dad, it’s about those who have gone before us in the faith. I find it easier to understand if I personalize, and it’s fun for me to talk about dad. Of all the men I have known in a fairly long life, he more than any of them deserved the title of “Lightbringer” for that is what he did for countless rural families in Minnesota, in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, and in Indiana. From 1935 until he retired in 1969 he was a man of rural electrification.

That was his vocation, his mission, nearly from the time he held his father in his arms as he died and so became the head of the family as a junior in high school, until he retired, with honor. Because we in the family understood, even his pallbearers were linemen, and executives from rural electrification, including the President of the Statewide coop. There was no glory in the mission, it was always a struggle, and to his dying day, he regretted being essential in World War II. But his work enabled dozens, maybe hundreds, of farm boys to join the service, without reducing food output. But he never thought he did his part. In truth, he was the most righteous man I have ever known. No, I don’t mean self-righteous, he was never in it for himself, he was there to serve. The old REA Co-op motto fit him perfectly: “Owned by those we serve”. He didn’t write it, he lived it, it was the mission

The energization of the first house on Kankakee Valley REMC in 1939; courtesy KVREMC

But you know, it wasn’t only him, ever. here’s one of the very few pictures I have from those days, one of the interesting things about it that in the ’60s, many of those pictured here were still on the board of the co-op. I knew most of them, and I wish they were still with us. They too understood the mission. When they couldn’t get the power companies to serve them, they did the thing that d’ Tocqueville had commented on all those years before- they formed an association to do it for them. And they built a very successful business on what the power companies had said could never be done. That’s part of Dad’s story, but you have to multiply that by thousands of these associations all over the country to understand the accomplishment. For what they did was nothing less than bring the American farmer into the 20th century. These were men that you could make a thousand dollar deal with on a handshake, and never worry. Their word really was their bond. As I commented on Jess’s post, there truly were giants in the earth.

But we are talking about saints, well that’s not for us to say, is it? Of all the men in that picture, I know nothing of what church, if any, they attended. Given the make up of the area, I would guess most were Lutheran, Catholic, or Evangelical & Reformed, and Methodists. But I would also bet that many, like dad, were afraid the church would fall down if they entered, and besides they had work to do. I suspect I could count on my hands the number of times that dad attended church, in my lifetime. The other half of that was that we we children and Mom were strongly encouraged to be active members. In fact of the 3 siblings, we have all been officers of our churches. But James 2 tells us:

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

To me, by that standard, they are saints indeed.

It strikes me that maybe some of you may read this as me bragging about my dad, and I have been known to do that. But what I am doing here is giving you an example of a man, who lived his life as he felt God commanded, and did his duty.

My purpose is to remind you of the saints, in your family, who have gone before us to prepare the way and to remind you how much we all have to live up to if we wish to be worthy of our forebears.

The Thomas Court is Coming

The first thing I want to do today is to welcome back my former (and future?) cooblogger Jessica Hoff back to her first current affairs post in a bit more than four years. I have missed her sense, her humor (or is that humour), her British take on American affairs, and her ability to read my mind. Welcome back, dearest friend 🙂 xxx

With her remarks last night after taking the oath as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett gave us a master class on what a US judge is supposed to be, here it is:

This, like the entire speech, is both remarkable and heartening.

I have spent a good amount of time over the last month at the Senate; both in meetings with individual senators and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The confirmation process has made ever-clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate, and perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences; in fact, it would be a dereliction of duty to put policy goals aside.

By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences.  It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them. Federal judges don’t stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people. This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the president, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The judicial oath captures the essence of the judicial duty; the rule of law must always control.

That is exactly like the founder’s intended. As for her personally, I like the way Jessica put it this morning.

Amy Coney Barrett did it without sacrificing her womanhood. She did not do what so many career women have had to do, which is to choose a predominantly male way (job first) over her kids. Not only did she adopt two black orphans, she has a Downes syndrome child whom she chose not to abort. What’s not to like? You’d have thought that feminists everywhere would be throwing their bras over the windmill (no, don’t go there, a lady never tells), so why the hoo-hah? It’s that last bit. She didn’t have an abortion. Not only that, she is an actual practising Catholic, not a Pelsoian/Biden Catholic (that is one who wants the vote but not the faith).

Well, except that I doubt Justice Barrett, or Jess for that matter, is any sort of feminist that we see in the 21st Century. Neither of them either needed or wanted anything other than a chance to let their light shine. I’m quite sure that either of them is quite content to be rewarded for what they do, not because they are women, but because they are the best at what they do. And that is at it should be

It was fascinating that Justice Thomas swore her in, for at least two reasons

First, he is the very man that Joe Biden when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee attempted to, in Justice Thomas’sown words, to lynch in the hearings. To see him sweary in Ms. Coney oh Hillary’s birthday had to hurt.

When President Bush nominated Justice Thomas, he called him the most qualified for the job, The left loudly dissented. But as The Daily Signal says:

Bush was right. Thomas was the best qualified, because he was a fiercely independent thinker with an unwavering commitment to decide cases based on what the Constitution said, not what he or the public wanted in the moment. Bush knew that Thomas had these qualities because he had watched Thomas go through fire during the Reagan administration.

As a black conservative intellectual, Thomas has been an existential threat to the liberal ruling class since he joined the Reagan administration in May 1981. As chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Thomas earned the very public enmity of the civil rights establishment for opposing quotas and racial preferences.

On the court, Thomas is an originalist, a justice who believes that the Constitution’s provisions must be interpreted consistent with the original meaning when they were ratified. Liberals do not believe a black man can legitimately hold these views.

In his 29 years on the court, Thomas, even more than Justice Scalia, has written the originalist canon. Some 700 opinions, combined with a willingness to revisit precedent when necessary. This makes a generational change in the court, at least as long as we hold the Presidency and/or the Senate.

Imagine that, judges who rule based on the law, not politics or whatever they think might work. It’s not a new day exactly though. This is exactly what the Federal courts were from the beginning until they lost their nerve at Franklin Roosevelt’s threat to pack the court.

If they do little but force Congress to again legislate, we will start to improve.

 

Vote next Tuesday, for America

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