President Biden is calling for unity, and through unity, healing. All people of goodwill want unity, at the very least unity of purpose. Everything good, including unity, requires honesty; complete and unabridged.
Healing requires us to heal ourselves, not the “other person.”
That is the subject of today’s 15 minute episode.
The issue at the very core of what divides us is the belief that we are right, and those who disagree with us are wrong. Add the conviction that: 1. Being right allows us to do, or at least excuse, just about anything done to pursue that supposed “right” and 2. That anything the others do in pursuit of their beliefs is deeply wrong simply because they are deeply wrong.
Certain principles are bedrock; here are two of mine:
- Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
These two are examples of overarching principles, and to me they are non-negotiable. But tactics, the methods which we use to live up to those principles, must be fully debated in the marketplace of ideas. Debated, not dictated. Debated, not fought over with cliches, insults and cancelling used as weapons. Debated and resolved, then implemented.
As with any good debate, we need to start by defining terms:
- BLM. Black Lives Matter. It should go without saying that Black Lives Matter. But do all Black Lives Matter? If indeed they do, why is the focus almost exclusively on the less than 1% of blacks who die by being shot by cops? Where is the grief, the outrage and the attempt to find a fix for the other 99% who die by gun killings? And don’t get fussy with me by saying that my asking these questions means that I am somehow racist, or that I don’t care about people like George Floyd. I am more than willing to say his name, George Floyd, as well as others shot by the police. How many names from the other 99% can anyone even remember, much less say out loud? I want to say all 100% of the names out loud. Each and everyone of them has meaning for me; I want them to have meaning for you, too.
- Antifa. Anonymous cowards who won’t tangle with anyone unless they have an overwhelming advantage in weapons and numbers. They are more of an annoyance than a threat, but they are also far more than just an idea. They are like the Lost Boys in Peter Pan. Pray they grow up.
- QAnon. Scumbags, likely more dangerous than I had thought. They need to be denounced loudly and often by us, and confronted and defeated by law enforcement.
- White Supremacists. See above.
- 1776. The miraculous founding of the world’s longest standing democracy. The Declaration of Independence laid out the rights of man, independent of anything “granted” by the state. The revolutionary founders risked their, “Lives, fortunes and sacred honor.” for us.
- 1787. The signing of the necessarily flawed Constitution that created the government which was put in place to guarantee and enforce the rights of man as laid out in the Declaration. Without the Constitution, there would have been no Union. Without the Union, the slaveholding South could have gone on its cruel way far longer. Martin Luther King called the founding documents “promissory notes.” Separately, I had been calling them statements of direction.
- Defund the police. Idiotic. Any back of the envelope analysis says that police reform, and reform is needed, will cost more, not less. Let’s find the needed funds, and implement the needed reforms.
- 1619 Project and Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of The United States.” Scams. Their point is to tear down America with patent falsehoods in order to benefit from being one of the “rebuilders.” Join me in being insanely proud of our amazing, flawed and constantly progressing country.
- Rioters. Anyone from angry trespassers and vandals, to the looters, arsonists, and those who injure and kill. The months-long protests and riots in cities like Minneapolis, Seattle and the Capitol protest and riot included. We all must stop defending, or in any way glossing over, the actions of rioters whose political sympathies may align more with ours than with the “other side”. Protesters, regardless of the cause, are fundamentally different from rioters. Many protesters may very well be honestly and sincerely dedicated to their causes. Rioters are different; no one ever burned down a family business or stole Nikes to honor George Floyd, or invaded The Speaker of the House’s office to uphold the Constitution.
- Reporters. They report accurately and dispassionately on events; everything from international news to which teams won yesterday’s high school sports contests. Encourage reports to be just that–reporters–and to be good ones at that.
- Editorial, analysis and opinion writers. People who make it clear that they are not reporters, but writers and speakers with a point of view. They are free to express their opinions as long as they are clearly labeled as opinion, and not in any way masquerading as unbiased reporting. On ABC News at the top of the hour just a day ago, I heard the announcer say that Trump was, while departing DC, claiming strong overseas allies. The announcer then said, “But that is not true, he alienated even Canada, our neighbor to the north.” That’s a plausible analysis, but it is just that–an analysis–and has no place posing as a news headline.
- Sexism and racism. These terms should be used to describe real examples of wrongs, committed verbally or otherwise, with ethnicity or sex as the basis of the offense. These terms have become “Gotchas” and “Checkmate”; “Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.” used as weapons when there is no real case to be made. Let’s be together about real racism and sexism, and be outspoken against using those words merely as weapons to make a point.
- Microaggression. What is claimed when the offense, if any, is microscopic. The definition is in the name.
- Systemic. The pertinent part of the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition is, “Fundamental to a predominant social, economic, or political practice.” Here are two non-dictionary examples. 1. Most drugs are systemic, affecting the entire body, and 2. Slavery created systemic cruelty among the slaves in the South. It has come to mean, “I found some examples of what I believe to be racism in this department of 1,100 people; proof that racism is systemic here, and likely elsewhere.”
- Minimum wage. Like microaggression, the definition is in the name. Minimum wage is what you pay workers with minimum skills and experience. This worker lives in a two bedroom apartment with three roommates. As the worker acquires more skills and works hard, he will be given more responsibility and a higher wage and can choose to improve his living situation. There may very well be a need for exceptions to this definition, this policy, but those are exceptions and need to be dealt with elsewhere, perhaps in the welfare policies.
- Immigration reform. Honest immigration reform starts with having secure borders. Walls in some places, other technologies with human monitoring in other places. Any reform that does not start with having and enforcing secure borders is an open borders policy with amnesty for all. Is that what you want? I don’t want to be the State of America in the United Nations of the World.
I have selected and defined, as best as I know how, key terms. Do you have any other terms that need to be defined? And do you agree with or take exception to any of my definitions?
Remember, the first person we need to convince about any of this is ourselves. We need to go to that quiet place where we are free to be honest with ourselves. Only in the quietness of our own hearts, with no one but God listening, can we find the truth about what we believe, and why we believe it. And what we need to change about what we believe. Then and only then can we have the insights and courage needed to discuss our beliefs and convictions with others without being more focused on winning the argument than finding the best way forward. Together. I work on that every day. Will you join me?
Let’s work to agree on how to define key terms; I am easy to find, and welcome all feedback. Then let the honest debates begin. Topics here will include immigration, school choice, the federal debt, abortion, welfare, school loans, needed voter credentials, and more. We can do this.
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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