Almost, but Not Quite

From the Daily Standard:

The magic number needed to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 was 1,130 delegates, and Ronald Reagan was oh so close as the national convention prepared to convene.

After losing six straight primaries to President Gerald Ford early in the year, Reagan had come roaring back, attacking Ford for his weak foreign policy and deficit spending and winning the crucial North Carolina primary with help from Sen. Jesse Helms. Reagan achieved a political resurrection and posed the most serious challenge to an incumbent Republican president since 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt had taken on William Howard Taft.

After Reagan won the Texas, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama primaries, a nonplussed GOP establishment that favored Ford struggled to understand the former California governor’s appeal. Conservative author Richard Whalen made it easy for them: Reagan was doing well because he was “unsullied by Watergate, untainted by Vietnam, and uncorrupted by a Washington system that isn’t working.”

However, after failing to carry Ohio although easily winning his home state of California, Reagan realized that the political momentum was shifting back to Ford. Something dramatic had to be done. Breaking a long-held precedent, he announced his running mate before the convention: Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, a moderate conservative with a high rating from the AFL-CIO. Schweiker assured Reagan and his aides that he could pry loose delegates from Pennsylvania and other Northern states. […]

Anxious to achieve unity, Ford generously invited Reagan to join him on the platform following his acceptance speech. Reagan gave a rapt convention and tens of millions of viewers a taste of what they would have heard if he had been nominated. Without notes or a teleprompter, he speculated how Americans 100 years from now would look back at this time.

Would they say, “Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom; who kept us now a hundred years later free; who kept our world from nuclear destruction?” This was this generation’s challenge, Reagan declared. “Whether [the Americans of 2076] have the freedom that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.”

via When Reagan Almost Won: The 1976 GOP Convention

And perhaps we shall, once again, have cause to quote the old English ballad that Reagan quoted the next day:

“I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile; although I am wounded, I am not slain. I shall rise and fight again.”

If so, we will know, once again, that it is the truth. And we shall return to the arena.

The Queen’s 90th Birthday

 

UntitledcgffI wanted to write another post on leadership today, so I did.

Today is Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. Like the very luckily much younger (and far more beautiful) Laura says here, “she’s the only Queen of the United Kingdom, I’ve ever known”. And Britain and the Commonwealth, and yes, the United States, as well, is very lucky for that fact.

Like her mother, who I wrote about here, she has lived a life of duty; duty to her people, and to her God. She has lived it faithfully, far more than anybody else on the scene today, and the world is a far better place for her. Think about that, she has done her duty, every day, pretty much since the day her father became King, with the abdication of King Edward VIII. From being an ambulance driver (and mechanic) in the Second World War until today, she has never faltered, never flagged. How many of us will be able to look back and say that?

Her mother famously said, during the dark days of The Blitz, ” The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.” And that is exactly how her daughter has lived her life. And we’re all much the better for it.

FILE - In this Saturday, June 13, 2015 file photo, Britain's Prince William holds his son Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Britain's Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

FILE – In this Saturday, June 13, 2015, file photo, Britain’s Prince William holds his son, Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

I love the Queen. Like, I seriously love her. So far, I’ve narrowed it down to 60 reasons:

  1. She’s the only queen I’ve ever known.ca3d962ca934ade44e012b5822ec15c0
  2. She’s the only queen my parents have ever known.
  3. No one knows what’s in her handbag so she’s pretty much Mary Poppins.
  4. She got her training in statesmanship from Winston Churchill.
  5. She rocks the greatest hats.
  6. She still wears white gloves.
  7. Her grandson was lucky enough to marry Kate Middleton.
  8. She loves the Commonwealth, and puts up with the lot of us.
  9. Her hair looks like a giant diamond from a distance.
  10. She jumps out of aeroplanes.
  11. She’s the sexiest Bond girl ever.
  12. Her dad is Colin Firth.
  13. She was a car mechanic in the war.
  14. She fell in love with her future husband at the age of 13.
  15. She became queen while sleeping in a tree house in Africa.

Continue reading 60 Reasons I Love the Queen. (Sadly the link is no longer active)

And then the Queen also has let us know what wrong with the United States

Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government?
Are there any tips you can give me?”
“Well,” said the Queen,

“The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”
Obama frowned, and then asked,

“But how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?”
The Queen took a sip of champagne.

“Oh, that’s easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle, watch”
The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.
“Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?”
Tony Blair walked into the room and said,
“Yes, your Majesty?”

The Queen smiled and said,

“Answer me this please Tony.
Your mother and father have a child.
It is not your brother and it is not your sister.
Who is it?”
Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered…

“That would be me.”
“Yes! Very good.” said the Queen.

Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden the same question.
“Joe, answer this for me.”

Continue reading The Queen’s Riddle.

My dearest friend, and editor, Jessica, has an excellent article today on All Along the Watchtower, about this wondrous anniversary today as well.

My Country Tis of Thee done Right

Long Live the Queen – God save the Queen!

 

Character is Crumbling in Leadership

Ebctnb5Dale R. Wilson, who publishes Command Performance Leadership, is one of my oldest blogfriends. He doesn’t publish as often as he used to, which is a shame, but when he does, his posts are always incisive, and important. This is no exception.

In military and civilian academic institutions around the world, above and beyond their core curriculum, character is taught and inspired.  In each of the military academies in the United States, as well as college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs, the purpose and responsibility is to produce leaders of character.  To accomplish this, they incorporate the values of integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion, and gratitude into the daily life of cadets and midshipmen who aspire to become tomorrow’s leaders. […]

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point character development strategy promotes living honorably and building trust.  West Point believes that their approach not only develops character, but modifies behavior over the course of the 47-month cadet experience.  Ultimately, the desire is for cadets and rotating faculty members to depart West Point with the character, competence, and commitment to build and lead resilient teams that thrive in complex security environments.  Most importantly, everyone commits to living honorably and building trust, on and off duty.

The Cadet Honor Code at West Point:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.[iv]

Recommended Reading: Duty, Honor, Country [Go there, if you haven’t read this lately you owe it to yourself, to see what built our country! Neo] […]

No matter what our challenges happen to be, either driven by stress or human urges, we must strive to reach deep within ourselves to overcome the temptation to make poor decisions; no matter if we are in uniform downrange, or in daily life with our family or friends.  Our country, society, superiors, peers, subordinates, family, and friends are relying on our steady and consistent moral courage to translate into professional decorum and behavior; always.

Many respected military leaders of the past espoused the vitally important qualities of a leader.  Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps said, “Leadership is the sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding, and moral character that enables a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully.”  Among General Douglas MacArthur’s 17 Principles of Leadership, which essentially acts as a leader’s self-assessment questionnaire, there is this question: “Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?”

via Character is Crumbling in Leadership | Command Performance Leadership

Well, are you? Frankly this isn’t something just for the military, nor is it just something for Americans. This is the essence of leadership, and servant leadership, at that. It is the ideal,the pinnacle of leadership. None of us succeed all the time, but if we wish to have a free society, we must try, and even more to the point, so must those we appoint to lead us.

Frankly, I learned this early, my dad, showed this, almost as strongly as General Marshal did, but even so, ROTC codified it for me in the saying.

First: the Mission

Second: the Men

Last: yourself

That is what I’ve always strived for, and in whatever measure I’ve been successful, it is that striving that is responsible. But, in business today, like our military, I see little of this. What I see is a selfish, uncaring of anybody but oneself attitude, that assumes that everybody is looking out for themselves. They may be right, to a point, but they (and their companies) will not find long term success, using this rubric, nor will America. Because much too often they’ll not lead, but manage, and bring that down to the level of the next quarterly bottom line. In every case that I have seen, that has led to losing the best people, and the ruination of the reputation of the brand, and often the demise of the company.

Not a good recommendation, for our companies, nor, especially, for our churches, and our military, and, emphatically not for our country.

Newman Lectures

Francis CampbellThose of you who were here last year at this time will remember that we carried, the audio of and some pictures (videos when the speaker agreed) from the Newman Lectures, sponsored by the University of East Anglia, and the Diocese of East Anglia. We are again going to carry them, as they become available, barring technical glitches, which do happen, as we all know.

This year has a very distinguished group of presenters

  • 4 April:   Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  • 11 April: Dr. Graham James, The Bishop of Norwich
  • 18 April: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Former Archbishop of Westminster
  • 25 April: Bishop Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth

I’m very excited about this lineup, and also again working with John, Andrew, and Siobhan. So if you can’t make it to Norwich, don’t miss out completely.


 

THE CHURCH IN SOCIETY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE STATE

The first Newman lecture this spring was by Francis Campbell. His CV is most impressive:

Currently Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Francis has had a long and distinguished career, working as – amongst other things – Policy Advisor and Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senior Policy Director with Amnesty International, and British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 to 2011.

Probably wouldn’t hurt to add for us Americans, a British Vice-Chancellor is an American university president.

Enjoy, a most interesting lecture.

These lectures are sponsored by:

UEADiocese of East Anglia

 

 

 

Next will be: Dr. Graham James, The Bishop of Norwich

Sacrifices

Zadkiel was said to be the Angel who prevented...

Zadkiel was said to be the Angel who prevented Abraham from sacrificing his son, Isaac. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Genesis 22

 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

We know the story as well as any don’t we? Abraham was fully prepared to sacrifice his only son, the future of his family, that he cared about more than anything to God. I find it interesting that this also took place on 25 March, as The Clerk of Oxford reminded us yesterday, and it was also the eighth day of creation, it is also Lady Day, and still other things. By far the most important day in salvation history.

That what is meant by sacrifice. It means giving up something that means a lot maybe everything to us for a cause. In truth, as hard as it may be for us, it doesn’t really mean giving up chocolate for Lent. (The nice thing about God is that he understand about symbols, though, so it does count.)

But here’s a thought for you, if that angel in verse 11 was late or got sidetracked, Genesis, Israel, Judaism end right there, Christianity never starts. The Bible ends at Genesis 22. Good thing angels aren’t human, isn’t it? Because then Abraham’s clan are just another bunch of nomadic Semites roaming around doing human sacrifice.

But the angel is on time, and stopped Abraham, and God provided the sacrifice, not a lamb but a ram. And that’s why we’re talking about this today.

Because this is not quite the end of human sacrifice in Judaism, there would be one more instance. That instance took place yesterday. It was quite different from what Abraham was willing to do. In fact, it is unique in history. because for the only time in History

God sacrificed his Son for man, not the other way around.

Think about that for a while, in all the universe, God has one begotten Son, and he was sacrificed like Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac. Here is the lamb of the sacrifice that the ram filled in for.

The omnipotent, omniscient God, who knows all about us, how we are disobedient, childish, petulant, greedy, vain, prideful, and all those other things that we know we are, gave up his own Son, who was sacrificed for us. He took upon his shoulders the sins of all of us, willingly, for all our generations, only asking that we worship and believe. And thusly:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

And that is something to think about this Saturday as we wait, pray, and hope for the Resurrection.

Since the Passover which our Jewish friends just celebrated and Easter itself which is intrinsically linked to it are both celebrations of the freedom of individuals, as well as free will to choose good or evil, I thought I would include this here to remind us in America of who we are.

Naught For Our Comfort

This is a repost of a post I made reworking Jess' first (and guest post here) in the fall of 2014, when she was just starting her recovery. It gave me comfort then from the strain and worry involved, and the horribleness of knowing she might be gone from my life,  just like that. Now, it still gives me comfort, as I look around an America, that I  barely recognize. I hope it does you as well. Neo

I doubt that it is news to any of you but, one of the great joys of mine in writing this blog for the last two years has been the help and friendship of Jessica, and her co-author Chalcedon. I admire them both greatly, and one of the reasons for that is that they have rekindled my love for poetry, and you have seen all of us use it to reinforce our points. It is hardly a new method but, it is one used rarely these days. I suspect because most of us are so ill-educated that we are unaware of its richness, and ability to reinforce our point.

If you read much of Lincoln’ writings and speeches, for instance, you will see it used to great effect. For instance his famous, “of the people, for the people, and by the people’ was not original, nor did he claim it was, and his listeners knew it was not. The original is this: “This Bible is for the government of the people, for the people and by the people.” it is by John Wycliffe and it is from 1384.

And so they have enriched my life, and will continue to do so, God willing, and yours as well because it is reflected in my posts for you. And so

A sea-folk blinder than the sea
Broke all about his land,
But Alfred up against them bare
And gripped the ground and grasped the air,
Staggered, and strove to stand.

For earthquake swallowing earthquake
Uprent the Wessex tree;
The whirlpool of the pagan sway
Had swirled his sires as sticks away
When a flood smites the sea.

Our towns were shaken of tall kings
With scarlet beards like blood:
The world turned empty where they trod,
They took the kindly cross of God
And cut it up for wood.

He bent them back with spear and spade,
With desperate dyke and wall,
With foemen leaning on his shield
And roaring on him when he reeled;
And no help came at all.

There was not English armor left,
Nor any English thing,
When Alfred came to Athelney
To be an English king.

It was a very bad time to be King Alfred of Wessex, and I think it holds parallels to our time as well. to continue

“Mother of God” the wanderer said
“I am but a common king,
Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
To see a secret thing.

“But for this earth most pitiful.
This little land I know,
If that which is forever is,
Or if our hearts shall break with bliss
Seeing the stranger go?”

And here we come to my introduction to this epic by Jess when she quoted to me on one of our political defeats

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
`No more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.’

Naught for your  comfort has become a catchphrase for us when things go awry, which has been often these last few years for us Americans, and for Britons as well.

We are living through a failed presidency (or, at least, trying to) and one of the reasons it has failed is that many of our countrymen have confused Obama with God, and I suspect he has as well. That never turns out well, and it is not here either.

I’m reminded that first class leaders hire the best men they can find to help them, and second class leaders hire third class helpers, and worst of all, third class leaders hire lackeys who will tell them what they want to hear. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

But we are going to have to soldier until after the next election and hope we find a man (not a god) to help us lead in the rebuilding western civilization, for without our leadership it will fall. It’s going to be an epically hard battle, and we could do worse than to emulate King Alfred.

But remember, we remember King Alfred because he won. Let’s finish with the rest of the poem.

And this was the might of Alfred,
At the ending of the way;
That of such smiters, wise or wild,
He was least distant from the child,
Piling the stones all day.

The King looked up, and what he saw

Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

[…]

They shall not come in warships,
They shall not waste with brands,
But books be all their eating,
And ink be on their hands.

Yea, this shall be the sign of them,
The sign of the dying fire;
And man made like a half-wit,
That knows not of his sire.

What though they come with
scroll and pen,
And grave as a shaven clerk,
By this sign you shall know them
That they ruin and make dark;

By all men bond to nothing
Being slaves without a lord,
By one blind idiot world obeyed
Too blind to be abhorred.

By thought a crawling ruin,
By life a leaping mire,
By a broken heart in the breast
of the world
And the end of the world’s desire.

By God and man dishonored
By death and life made vain
Know ye, the old barbarian,
The barbarian come again

The eternal battle against barbarism is ours to win for our generation or to lose for generations to come. It has taken us a thousand years to get where we are, and it might take longer to recover. So, Stand Fast, my friends.

Did that interest you enough to wonder about the poem and its author? I hope so. It was written by G.K. Chesterton (and it’s much longer than the excerpts here) it’s called The Ballad of the White Horse. You can find it at Project Gutenberg.

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