Those who witnessed it live or on TV will never forget that day. It’s one of those events of such magnitude you remember where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing at the time. Some memories fade over time, this is one we should hope won’t, lest we forget what it is we never want to go through again.
On Wednesday occurred a tragic shooting of Steve Scalise (R) LA, and three others by progressive activist and Bernie Sanders supporter, James T. Hodgkinson, who opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for a baseball game to be played today. It was yet another violent incident perpetrated by a member of the far-left.
In the name of their cause, which has apparently degenerated into blind hatred of President Trump and by extension all Republicans, they have committed many acts of violence from hitting a Trump supporter on the head with a bike lock, to politically motivated riots on college campuses intended to shut down the free speech of conservatives, most notably an incident at UC Berkeley that prevented outspoken Milo Yiannopoulos from a scheduled speech at that campus.
Trump was not particularly beloved at first even among Republicans, who fought bitter primary campaigns against him during last year’s presidential election season. Conservatives for their part have long since made peace with the fact that he is our President and have showed support where they agree, but have also pointed out where they disagree on many occasions. For the most part, they are prepared to coexist with Trump nation.
This hasn’t been the case of the anti-Trump legions on the left. Far from coexisting with him and his fellow Republicans, they have deemed themselves a sort of resistance, fighting, all to often violently, against anything Trump has attempted. They have called for his opposition, his impeachment, his imprisonment, and his death and the death of other Republicans, both implicitly and at times explicitly. The anti-Trump movement on the left has a particularly vicious streak. So called “comedian” Kathy Griffin recently released a photo of her holding up a bloody, fake severed head of the President. Even William Shakespeare has been co opted by the the malevolent Left, with a recent live performance casting a Trump doppelganger in the role of a modern-day Julius Caesar, who at the climax of the play is brutally murdered by former supporters to the cheers of the NYC crowd. If you’re at all in touch with conservative politics, you know the list goes on and on. That’s just the problem.
While yes, there have been isolated incidents of violence committed by those on the right, but those sorry displays of misguided fervor pale in comparison both in scope and intensity to those committed by the alt-left. While those acts of violence are both uncommon and roundly condemned by vast majority of conservatives, violent rhetoric and actions have the tacit and not so tacit support of progressives. Malice towards Republicans, especially Trump, is widely and actively expressed by the left, among them was James T. Hodgkinson, who attempted the mass assassination of Republican lawmakers. It was the evil act of an evil man who pursued to the end an evil, malevolent path of hate. It’s a path shared by all too many progressives. While they might not travel it to the farthest destination that Hodgkinson did, they are firmly on it. If they have a shred of decency and civility, they should abandon that path. They can still protest, advocate, speak all they want against Trump or any politician, but if they want to call themselves civilized human beings they will let go of their hate. In short, they need to decide what kind of movement they want progressivism to become; one of malevolence, intolerance and hatred, or one of peace, real progress, and coexistence with those who might disagree with them politically.
Congratulations to Donald Trump, our 45th president.
Just after noon Friday, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as our 45th president. An improbable run for the White House that began over a year ago culminated in President Trump taking the oath of office in front of the Capitol building. Inside the Mall, tens of thousands cheered. Outside the Mall, thousands protested, at times violently, while others showed support. Immediately after being sworn in, he gave his inaugural address that focused on how he would put America first in every decision as president saying, “We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”
Rebels Without Causes
President Trump’s inauguration was marred by violence as anti-Trump protesters lashed out on the nation’s capital. While much of the protesting was done peacefully, there were many protesters determined to disrupt the proceedings, showing little respect for their fellow citizens attempting to show support and maybe catch a glimpse of our newly minted 45th president. Part of the problem is that for many, protesting has become a sport, a diversion devoid of any real meaning. It no longer seems to matter what the subject is, or even if the problem is real or imagined. These rebels without causes have taken to protesting like others do skiing or rock climbing. It’s just another outdoor sport except it’s borne from societal decay, done not for any real purpose than the adrenaline rush. Perhaps the worst part is that it dilutes the message who peacefully protest for sincere, heartfelt causes that deserve our attention.
Early 2016 saw the presidential race go into full swing. It seems like a lifetime ago, but the year started with Presidential debates, the most interesting being those on the Republican side. 16 men and one woman began their campaigns in earnest. The stage literally was not big enough for all of them, so was created the undercard debate. One candidate, Carly Fiorina, emerged as the only candidate to earn a spot on the big stage with the true contenders. Meanwhile on the Democrat side, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Socialist caught fire with connecting with of all groups, the far-left leaning youth. Iran became a campaign issue when the extremely dubious nuclear agreement went into effect, coincidently, four American hostages that were held in Iran were freed. Later it would become apparent that their freedom had been purchased in the dark of night with unmarked bills.
The Executive branch was not the only branch to undergo far-reaching change. In February, the country lost one of its greatest jurists, Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice on a split Supreme Court. Before the end of March, three different Republicans had won primaries, including several won by Donald Trump, establishing him as a serious contender for the nomination. Bernie Sanders became the hot ticket on the Democratic side, stringing together early primary victories, showing that there would be no early coronation for Hillary. Meanwhile, terrorism was set to rear its ugly head again in Europe. The attack in Brussels, the capital of the European Union exposed the dangers of letting in millions of lightly vetted migrants and refugees from countries with serious terrorism problems. Further attacks were to come, peaking in the middle months of the year.
It can be difficult sometimes finding a favorite, or best article of the past year. This year one post came immediately to mind. The following is a reblog of an article I wrote back in October. Most of the time I’m writing about broad, abstract ideas like liberty and conservatism. This one was a little different, it was about an ongoing specific problem being faced by a specific group of people. -JP Mac
EGG HARBOR TWP, NJ
During war civilians always suffer, but what happens when neither side has their well-being in mind? In Syria, the Assad government aided by their Russian allies fight a host of rebel factions with little regard to collateral damage done to non-combatants. On the other side are hardline Islamists such as ISIS who have even less compunction against killing civilians and in fact, actively target them. Christians and other religious minorities have been singled out by the Islamic fighters for genocide. This prompted the formation of Christians United for Peace: Syria, a non-profit group dedicated to helping the Syrian Christians and other minorities caught in the crossfire. Recently, the organization held an event to raise awareness of the desperate situation of Syrian Christians in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Atlantic City Councilman and member of the Pastoral Council at the Parish of Saint Monica Catholic Church. Jesse O. Kurtz was asked to help put the event together.
Jesse O. Kurtz explains why he got involved with the effort and what he believes the event he organized accomplished:
“The genocide in the Middle East of Christians is surreal. I think that is one of the reasons that more people are not speaking out about it. The key of this event was to bring awareness to the reality of Christian genocide in the Middle East. The speakers did an excellent job of sharing personal testimonies, as well as offering top quality talks on the history of Christians in the Middle East, the case for why the current violence is indeed genocide, and what life is like for the Church in Syria and Iraq.”
And indeed, the Syrian people have suffered greatly due to the civil war. According to the IOCC:
- Since 2011, Syria’s violent civil war has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and displaced more than 7.6 million.
- More than half of Syria’s population has been displaced from their homes, often multiple times, creating mass instability and uncertainty for its people.
Secretary of State John Kerry:
“We know that in areas under its control, Daesh (ISIS) has made a systematic effort to destroy the cultural heritage of ancient communities – destroying Armenian, Syrian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches; blowing up monasteries and the tombs of prophets; desecrating cemeteries; and in Palmyra, even beheading the 83-year-old scholar who had spent a lifetime preserving antiquities there.”
The event held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox was attended by approximately 400 persons, including clergy from the Syriac Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholic Church. Each of these Christian communities has suffered at the hands of ISIS. Other guest speakers ranged from history professors to witnesses to the strife in Syria who gave firsthand accounts of the human tragedy. It is one thing to watch brief glimpses of the war on TV, but it is quite another to hear accounts of people who have seen firsthand the devastation. As an outside observer, one cannot completely understand the experience of the Christians now in Syria, but one can certainly feel for them and understand that this is more than something that we see unfolding on our TV screens each night, but a real catastrophe affecting millions of real people.
The event of course was more than just about raising awareness; it was about raising contributions to the four key Christian charities Christians United for Peace: Syria. Those aid organizations are:
- International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
- The Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund
- Middle East Council of Churches
- International Christians Outreach
These organizations provide the following critical and essential supplies:
- Basic food supplies
- Clean water
- Cooking equipment
- Baby supplies, including diapers
- Dignity kits for women
- Clothing and shoes
- Mattresses and bedding
When we think of genocide, often think of the holocaust and the mass killing of Jews during WWII, or we think of Rwanda, or the ethnic cleansing inside the former Yugoslavia. As with the liquidation of the ghettos in WWII by the NAZI’s part of genocide against the Christians and Yezidis involves the mass theft of anything of value. Not just valuables, but life’s essentials were taken, like medications and even shoes. The victims of the ISIS genocide in Iraq and Syria that were “lucky” enough to be allowed to escape to Kurdish territories were done so in such a way as to cause maximum hardship if not outright death by sickness and starvation. Imagine the liquidation of the Jewish ghettos combined with the Trail of Tears forced upon the American Indians, and you get some sense of the torment ISIS put Christians and Yezidis through.
This was one comparatively small event, held in a small New Jersey shore town, but Councilman Kurtz thinks that with help, some relief can be brought to this ancient Christian community:
“There is now a group of hundreds of people locally aware and looking to bring relief and hope to our persecuted brethren. We shall see what next steps are directed through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.”
So far in the news this week we learned:
- More video came out this week suggesting that Planned Parenthood is involved in selling fetal tissue sparking outrage.
- A dentist kills a beloved lion lured from its den in a game preserve sparking outrage.
- Tom Brady’s “Deflate-gate” suspension is upheld by the NFL, sparking outrage.
- News stories about alleged lion poaching and deflated footballs eclipse the one about the selling of human body parts. Outrage sparked???
So much has happened in the last 72 hours it makes your head spin! Here’s a (very) brief summary of recent news events…
On Wednesday, Governor Bobby Jindal (R) of Louisiana announced he is a candidate for president. He strikes me as a smart guy who knows how to deliver the conservative message. He comes across as a true believer in America and wants to save it. “I’m not asking you to simply join my campaign, I’m asking you to join a cause,” he declared during his announcement speech. As is the case with many of the Republican candidates– his message is great, but he lacks the funding and organization to make a serious run. Nothing short of a flawless campaign for as long as he can keep it going will gain him the nomination.
Supreme Court Chaos Pt. 1
Two landmark cases came down this week, both will have far-reaching consequences, not just on the surface with the outcomes, but also with regards to how our republic will continue to function in the future. Thursday, the Supreme Court determined in King V. Burwell that the plain meaning of words within a statute can mean whatever they want them to mean in order to get the outcome they desire, in this case the legality of certain Affordable Care Act tax subsidies. This decision ushers in an “ends justifies the means” era of jurisprudence. Does Justice Roberts realize that he just made the Court all but irrelevant as a means of upholding the Constitution? Apparently upholding legislation, even horribly written legislation, is more important.
Supreme Court Chaos Pt. 2
The next day, they were at it again, this time with a ruling that allows gay marriage in all 50 states. Critics have pointed out that this was likely going to happen eventually, one state at a time. “Marriage Equality” activists couldn’t wait for that to happen, nor apparently the SCOTUS. Ignoring the 10th Amendment that gives the States the right to decide this matter on their own, the Supreme Court skipped to the end of the movie and produced an ending of their own. The problem was not the outcome, which like it or not, was going to happen eventually. Most likely, Western civilization will not be destroyed if we have gay marriage. We might have to redefine the word “marriage” in the dictionary, but that will be the worst of it. The problem is how the decision was come about. Again, the ends justified the means in this case, that’s not how our legal system is supposed to work.