Baltimore: The Deeper Issues

Baltimore is burning. What, exactly, is happening? There are many layers to this; most people focus on the superficial ones, the ones most clearly visible, but there are foundational problems that have led not only to this particular incident, but to an atmosphere like this that is sweeping our nation.

Freddie GrayThe top layer has to do with the arrest and death of a young black man, Freddie Gray. We still don’t have all the facts about what occurred. The investigation is apparently still ongoing. However, the lack of information is part of the problem. No one knows what led to his arrest in the first place. By all accounts, he was not actively involved in wrongdoing. Yet because he ran away from the police, he was arrested. While in the police van, something happened; he was so severely injured that he died shortly afterward.

Yes, that’s suspicious beyond question. Yet there have been no formal accusations against the officers, no explanation as to what took place in that van, and this gives the appearance, at least, of a coverup.

Stephanie Rawlings-BlakeProtests began peacefully, but by last Saturday, they began to change. As violence broke out, another top layer to this episode was added. Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, in her desire not to crack down immediately on the emerging violence, actually made a public statement that she had ordered the police to give “space to destroy” so that the protesters wouldn’t be harmed. Since when does a government provide a license to destroy? Later, she angrily insisted she hadn’t said what she really said, and that the media were misinterpreting her statement. Well, if that’s the case, the protesters who easily turned into rioters “misunderstood” her as well, and decided they had the “liberty” to turn this into large-scale violence.

Suspect Dies BaltimoreYesterday, that’s exactly what happened. As the school day ended, students, urged on by comments in social media, began to riot. Police were attacked, many were hurt, with one policeman described as “unresponsive.” I haven’t yet heard an update on his condition. Businesses in the community, largely owned by minorities, and the places that provide jobs for the people in the community, were torched. Police cars also were set on fire; wholesale anarchy prevailed.

The police simply weren’t prepared for this. Did that have something to do with the attitude emanating from the mayor’s office? We now hear they were told to stand down, to hold a perimeter, but not get too involved in stopping the looting, burning, and outright riots. Mayor Rawlings-Blake was missing in action for many hours before finally facing the media. Utter chaos reigned, and the entire city is now on a virtual lockdown.

Those are the facts of the top layer of the problem. But it all goes so much deeper.

Naturally, some want to turn this into a racial issue. Yet keep in mind that the mayor is African-American and the police force, unlike in Ferguson, Missouri, is nearly half-black, half-white. No, the problem is greater.

One has to know history and government philosophy to realize what has happened over the decades to lead us where we are today.

Losing GroundAs well documented in Charles Murray’s superb book that was published in the 1980s—Losing Ground—the black family was intact prior to the policies of the Great Society, which pledged to end poverty in America once and for all. Government largesse began on a large scale, making the government the source of sustenance for the underprivileged, and replacing the father in the home. Marriage in the black community was practically destroyed. Statistics now show more than 70% of children born in these minority communities grow up without a father. Some people don’t mind that; they think that’s an “improvement.”

They are wrong.

Poverty increases exponentially in single-mother homes. Lack of discipline in the lives of the children becomes commonplace without a stable environment that is based on a two-parent family. Couple this with an education system that no longer educates, and the problems increase.

On the political side, what is now occurring in Baltimore is hardly the fault of conservatives or Republicans. That city, as most cities in America, is, and has been for many years, controlled by the Democrats. What we see is the fruit of policies promoted by the philosophy of government championed by progressives. In one sense, Baltimore is the progressive utopia. It should be a lesson to us all.

Biblical WorldviewBut now go one layer deeper still. Why do we allow all of this? What is the root cause? It’s simply this: we have abandoned our Biblical basis for thinking and acting. Our culture—led by the media, the entertainment industry, the education system, and the progressive politicians—has rejected eternal concepts of right and wrong delivered to us by God. We have set up our own gods, devised our own morality, come up with our own “solutions,” and promised our own version of heaven on earth.

When a society abandons that which is designed to preserve it, last night in Baltimore is one example of the result. The Biblical principle still holds: we reap what we sow. And we have been sowing some poisonous seeds for quite some time.

So, yes, let’s do what’s necessary to handle the top layer of issues: indict anyone, policeman or rioter, who has violated the rights of another. But we cannot stop there; we need to return to our Biblical roots. If we don’t, we will only be putting bandages on the cancer that is eating away at us. We are a culture in distress, and only the pure Gospel message will change that.

In a More Sane World . . .

While I’m aware that polls don’t mean a whole lot this far out from a presidential election, it’s still sad to see preliminary polls indicating Hillary Clinton beating any Republican challenger. You can say it’s because of high name recognition for her and low name recognition for some of those challengers (except Jeb Bush, of course), but the disheartening factor remains strong.

What does it take? First, we have all her baggage from years gone by. The mainstream media ignores that, so the low-information voter easily forgets about it—if he/she knew anything to begin with.

Then we have the revelation that the Clinton Foundation takes money from foreign governments even while she serves as secretary of state. That just isn’t done. Besides, the Foundation is more of a foundation for the Clintons’ financial benefit than for helping those in genuine need. Remember how Hillary said they left the White House dead broke? Her comments are on a shaky foundation also.

Clinton Foundation

This was followed by the further revelation that she had her own e-mail server apart from the government and conducted all government business through it. No, no, no, no, no. That isn’t done. Once it was exposed, she airily commented that it was no big deal, that she had turned over everything official to the government. How do we know? Trust her. Right.

CPR

At least all of this made some Democrats nervous, hoping there might be another alternative for 2016:

Bottom of Barrel

Apparently not.

In a more sane world, Hillary Clinton would never be allowed near the Oval Office.

The Clintons & Character

Shouldn’t one’s history matter? What is it about the history of Bill and Hillary Clinton that would give anyone confidence in their character? I know some people will be upset with me for focusing on that. They will say that policies are what matter, not personal character. Well, I have a lot to say about the policies of both, but I won’t back down on the significance of personal character.

It was during Bill’s presidency that we heard the constant refrain from his backers that private character is not the same as public character, and that we should only look at what happens publicly in assessing someone. I respond that that is not the Christian way. What one is privately will ultimately bleed over into what one is publicly, and we need to be discerning.

We know, for a fact, that Bill Clinton did have sex with Monica Lewinsky, regardless of his protestations at the time. We also know this was not just a rumor fueled by some imagined “right-wing conspiracy,” as Hillary alleged. It was a revelation of the character of her husband. And frankly, I don’t see much difference between the two when it comes to character. Both can stand before cameras and tell blatant lies without blushing:

Honest

Some commentators, listening carefully to Hillary’s statements at her near-disastrous press conference last week, picked up on wording that was eerily familiar:

Is

Sadly, this lack of character may not derail her from getting the Democrat nomination, despite the growing fears from some in her party:

On Cliff

Even those on her side of the political aisle are beginning to say she doesn’t have any better qualification for running for president other than being a woman. We recently chose another “first” as president. How is that working out? A candidate has to have more going for him/her than just identity politics. Might I suggest we take a long hard look at character? For some voters, that would be a “first.”

Hillary’s Press Conference: Not the Final Word

So the Hillary press conference about her private e-mail account is over. She probably hopes that will be the final word on it. If so, she is kidding herself. Anyone not already a camp follower can’t be satisfied with her defense. It’s really pretty brazen to claim, as she did, that she followed all the rules with this non-government account. And then there was her statement that it will remain a private server, subject to no third-party inspection to ensure all relevant e-mails have been turned over to the government.

In all this, she’s merely doing what our president does all the time:

Transparency

Let’s review. All government employees are told they must conduct government business on a government account. She didn’t do so. During her tenure as secretary of state, she even sent out a notice to all those working at the State Department, reminding them of this policy. How hypocritical is that?

Now she’s saying it’s up to her to decide which of her e-mails belong to the government. That’s backwards. The government will decide that. She is trying to maintain absolute control and tells us to “trust” her that she has turned over everything relevant. As a policy, regardless of who is involved, that is ludicrous. The House committee investigating Benghazi already has noted major gaps in the e-mails they have received—after much stonewalling on her part.

Hillary’s “explanation” yesterday is at least consistent with her past “explanations”:

Explanation

If the mainstream media will do its job this time (which is highly unlikely), she will have a hard time during her campaign:

Baggage

While she has staunch defenders within her party, some are nervous and seeking other possibilities for their presidential nominee. Unfortunately for them, there is no real contender to challenge her:

Vulnerable

There’s something else about this press conference worth mentioning. Unless one is completely blind, one cannot but help being put off by her tone. She was borderline arrogant, condescending in her answers, and carefully reading from a script most of the time. She wasn’t hard to “read.” “How dare you question me?” was the attitude that prevailed. “Don’t you know who I am?” I think she considers herself above criticism and that the rules that apply to ordinary humans don’t apply to her.

I’m not sure I want her ousted as the frontrunner. There is always the possible horror of her winning the election, but she could also suffer a devastating loss, provided Republicans choose a good candidate for a change. It would be gratifying to see a Clinton lose, and to see the Clintons removed from the public stage once and for all.

Cartoon Potpourri

This will be my last blog post until the new year, so let me leave you with a plethora (look it up) of political cartoons to help tide you over. Whenever you need a cartoon fix over the next couple of weeks, just come back here.

Let’s begin with a man who has made real news this year, probably the most honest man who has worked with the government (at least until he was put before a congressional panel to testify):

Architect

In the Senate, the Democrats gave the terrorists an early Christmas present:

Future Interrogation

And here’s one person’s creative idea on illegal immigration:

Sound Immigration Policy

Just kidding.

Of course, at the center of all things political is this man who has become a legend in his own mind, particularly on Biblical knowledge:

It Does Now

I must also add one for a political party that somehow manages to turn a major win into no advantage whatsoever:

Too Quickly

I have a number of cartoons that deal with the government’s lack of ability to do almost anything effectively:

Urge

Love Govt Work

Functional Government

Finally, I offer the true spirit of the season from our cultural masters:

Faith-Based

May we never succumb to that spirit. May the birth of Christ—and everything that flows from that—be the essence of your Christmas.

About Those Election Results

I was going to move on from the election results today. I really was. But I just can’t. I blame the political cartoonists; they’re doing some of their best work right now, and I would hate to let it go to waste. Let’s see how they’re handling this GOP victory and corresponding Democrat defeat.

What makes the victory even more compelling is that the media remained solid in support of the president and his minions. Yet the people pushed aside that heavy influence in their favor and voted against them anyway. It appears the strategy didn’t work:

Low Information

Democrats are fond of calling conservatives “deniers” when it comes to issues such as global warming [which isn’t exactly happening, so I guess I’m a “denier”], but they are becoming experts at real denial themselves:

Upset with Republicans

As for the president, he’s acting as if this whole election thing is no big deal:

Cavalier

He’s also claiming that he “hears” those who didn’t vote, implying they are all on his side. That’s an amazing trick:

Hearing Voices

Ocean of People

Obama is unbowed by the results. His approach is as in-your-face as ever:

Give & Take

Toast

And after accusing Republicans of every kind of evil and stalling all legislation in the Senate for years, we’re suppose to believe this election is a call for Republicans to be more conciliatory toward Democrats and be bipartisan [translation: you do what we want even though you won and we lost]?

Work Together

Let me be clear—to quote nearly all politicians—I believe in reconciliation and in principled compromises that advance good policies, and Republicans shouldn’t have a chip on their shoulders and refuse to work with Democrats. But keep in mind that goes both ways.

Acquiescence to intransigence on the Democrat side—insistence to continue their failed policies—would be to repudiate the results of this election, and Republicans must not go there. They must be principled and lead accordingly.

Their ideas may continue to be rejected by President Obama, and he may veto everything they try to do, but if he does, the American public will receive an overdue education that should lead to another Republican victory in 2016.

Election-Day Thoughts

Election day 2014. Many of us have anticipated this day since . . . oh, since election day 2012. I’ll be up late tonight watching returns, not because I’m some kind of political junkie, but because I sense the fate of our nation rests on what happens.

Democrats have done their best to stoke the fears of the lesser-informed voters. They’ve raised the false alarms of racism and sexism continually. They’ve told people to be afraid of what Republicans will do if they regain control of the Senate, meanwhile conveniently ignoring the real threats that await us regardless of who is in control:

Wave

The Democrat party has an amazing propensity for being scared of phantoms while ignoring real dangers:

Calm Down

Around election time, we always get commentators moaning about the low percentage of the electorate that shows up at the polls. Yet one of the most disturbing features of our day is the plethora of man-on-the-street interviews that showcase just how ignorant a large part of our citizens are of the basics of government and political reality. I’m not adding my voice to those who want more people to vote just for the sake of voting. If you aren’t informed, please stay home. You will be serving your country admirably by doing so.

NoDoz

In this election, President Obama has been a virtual no-show; he’s practically toxic, with some candidates refusing to say that they voted for him (even though it’s obvious to everyone that they did) and others politely or pointedly declining his presence at campaign stops. They also seem to have developed a strange sort of amnesia about their previous support for Obamacare and other assorted Obama policies. This time it’s Republicans who want voters to make the connection with our president:

Vote Obama

The results from today may force Obama to view himself differently:

Dressed for Halloween

Then again, he may instead double-down on his disastrous ideology—which is what I expect will happen. This self-appointed emperor has no clothes; he just doesn’t know it.