Elections & Integrity

Thanksgiving is now past and, thankfully, so are the elections. There was every possibility that in my home state of Florida we might see recounts go on interminably. The counties to blame for that always seem to be the same ones, election after election. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the requirement that integrity be the basis for our elections—and for those who are elected. Is that really too much to ask?

I wonder if there will ever be the kind of accountability that is needed to ensure that the voting is carried out without bias.

While the above political cartoon is fantasy (at least I trust it is), there is ample reason for questioning the integrity of some of those responsible for counting the votes. Democrats are always crying that elections are being stolen. Well, maybe they’re right, only not in the way they think:

Now that the Democrats will control the House of Representatives, a rather weird thing has occurred—Trump has given his support for Nancy Pelosi to be elected Speaker once again. There’s been a lot of head scratching going on over that endorsement.

Of course, his most adamant followers/adoring fans will look upon this as a brilliant move because she is perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on the political scene. I’m not so sure he’s really all that astute. I think he just likes strong people. Witness his affinity for Chinese leaders, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and the Saudi royal family.

But I digress.

The new Democrat House might make the illegal immigrant crisis even more alarming.

Meanwhile, a lot of Democrat hopefuls are lining up to run for president in 2020. The latest poll of potential Democrat candidates is rather interesting:

Frankly, I don’t look forward to 2020. My distaste for politics grows. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what will develop, but my interest is on the governing side—I believe deeply in good government based on Biblical principles and will always be advocating for that.

It’s the seamy politics I’m not fond of. As a historian, I know that seamy politics has been with us in all eras, but all of our new technology—round-the-clock cable news, social media, etc.—while good in itself, has only provided a platform for the seaminess to become more evident.

Oh, for integrity and principles in our politics! When I see someone who models that, I will vote for that person.

Florida in the Limelight . . . Again

I didn’t live in Florida in 2000 when the nation was focused on the presidential recount. I was one of many who found it simultaneously concerning and amusing. There was a photoshopped meme at the time that I still use in class.

Along with that one, I share this:

It’s funny, but now that I live in Florida, I would really like to see my state not be the focal point once more when it comes to election miseries. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Of course, not all of Florida can be blamed for this. My county apparently knows how to count votes. Broward County? Well, not so much. And the supervisor there, Brenda Snipes, can credibly be accused of having what one might call a “slight” slant toward Democrat hopefuls.

Oh, I believe in counting every vote—every legitimate vote. I hope I, and countless others, can be excused for wondering how legitimate this current recount really is.

Gov. Rick Scott, seeking to be the next senator, seemed to have a clear victory over incumbent Bill Nelson, but this recount has narrowed his lead from 50,000+ to less than 15,000. For the record, such a drastic change is unprecedented in recount history, leading to a strong charge of some kind of fraud being perpetrated. Knowing what I do about Democrat tactics, please allow me to be one of those who has, shall we say, grave suspicions about the integrity of this recount.

All that is not to say that Democrats haven’t made gains nationally this time around. They now will control the House of Representatives. While not exactly an overall Blue Wave, to say this is negligible is to deny reality.

Are there any other optimistic signs?

What might this portend for 2020?

I’m being facetious, as I think cartoonist Ramirez is also. Yet I do believe that Republicans need to take seriously what this election means. Many suburban voters abandoned the party, allowing the House to fall to Democrats. Races that should have been won going away were extremely close. There is reason to believe a major factor is perception of the man who currently sits atop the Republican establishment.

Election Fallout, Trends, & the Christian Witness

There are different layers to the midterm elections. We can look at the superficial results—who won, who lost—we can analyze what this means for the near future politically, but we also need to look at the long-term trends.

On the surface, we see kind of a wash where Democrats took over the House while Republicans have increased their numbers in the Senate. What this means is that Nancy Pelosi and crew will use their power position to begin an unending series of investigations of whatever they deem corruption.The new chair of the Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, is already more than hinting that he will seek to impeach newly confirmed Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh.

In other words, prepare for the ongoing circus. No vote for impeachment in the House, though, will ever be favorably received by the Senate, nor should it be. Any impeachment attempt will fail.

By keeping control of the Senate, the Republicans can go forward with the appointment of more judges who will, hopefully, have respect for the Constitution. And that’s no small thing.

In my state of Florida, the Republican candidates for governor and senator won, despite what the polls showed. Ron Desantis will be the new governor and our current governor, Rick Scott, will now be in the Senate. Both victories were razor-thin, but they were victories nonetheless.

The Scott win throws out Democrat Bill Nelson, who had thought he could be senator for life. The Desantis triumph keeps Florida from going into the pit, as his opponent, Andrew Gillum, was a Bernie Sanders acolyte.

Nearly all the polls showed Nelson and Gillum winning, which makes one wonder about polls (as if you weren’t already wondering about them).

Neighboring Georgia escaped the same fate as Republican Brian Kemp narrowly edged out Stacey Abrams, who, as a state legislator, had voted to confiscate guns, and who was running a race based quite a bit on race.

So, at least for now, conservatives can breathe a kind of sigh of relief. The barbarians have not yet broken through some of the walls.

But the trends are not optimistic. Florida and Georgia nearly going the Bernie Sanders route? Ted Cruz having a scare in Texas before pulling out a late win there? Many state legislatures and governorships switching to Democrat control? That reverses the Republican wave of state gains over the past decade.

Why does this concern me so much? Just look at how radical the Democrats have become. This is certainly no longer the party of Truman and JFK. This isn’t even the party of George McGovern in the 1970s. We thought he was radical; he might not even get nominated today.

The deepest concern for me is the spiritual. Democrats have all but abandoned any pretense of caring about Christian beliefs and morality. Wherever they have the upper hand, they will attempt to force into compliance those who disagree with their vision of the perfect society.

For all the talk on the Left of the fantasy of some kind of right-wing theocracy, the truth is more on the side of a totalitarian state of the Left:

  • You will promote abortion regardless of your religious beliefs;
  • You will accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage as normal or lose your business;
  • You will become social justice warriors or face retribution by being stigmatized as racist, sexist, and whatever other “ist” our fertile imaginations will conjure up.

That is not society I wish to see. The only consolation, and it is real, is that the Christian message will be shining in the darkness.

If we are faithful to that message.

Let me end with a Scripture that just came to mind. Jesus, speaking to the Pharisee Nicodemus, after that most famous of all passages about how God so loved the world, ends with these words of stark truth:

And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.”

We should always expect resistance to God’s message of love because that same message points out people’s sins. They will never like that. Therefore, we need to be prepared for evil people acting out of the evil that exists in their hearts. Yet when they do, our task is to continue to offer God’s redemption from evil.

We are to love even our enemies.

About Those Midterm Elections

Midterm elections mercifully come to an end tomorrow evening. That means we will be spared from the constant barrage of criminal charges against one’s political opponent. Although I’m no longer surprised by the extremely nasty nature of most political ads, I think they’ve raised the nasty factor a few notches this year.

I don’t needs ads anyway. My voting decisions are not based on ads that I know are designed to mislead. My vote is based on the principles that I believe are necessary for government to function the way God intended.

Despite my personal disappointment that Republicans have chosen the wrong man to be the public face of the party, I continue to believe that voting for Democrats will promote not only a government, but a society, hostile to Biblical principles and the morality that should naturally follow those principles.

The Democrat platform has drifted increasingly toward an affirmation of concepts that are not only opposed to Biblical principles but that have a track record of proven incompetence and failure.

That’s not the man I would follow.

Democrats also need to think through the logic of their positions more carefully.

Marxism is not simply a different point of view. History reveals it to be, in its very nature, a movement toward totalitarianism. You must agree or you will pay the penalty. What should we expect if Democrats don’t do as well as they hoped in these midterms?

Be prepared for a level of incivility and outright violence that will take most people by surprise.

How should Christians respond if this occurs?

Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be men of courage. Be strong. Do everything in love. I Cor. 16:13-14

Notice how one can be firm, courageous, and strong while simultaneously carrying ourselves in love toward others. That’s the goal. That’s God’s way.

Kavanaugh, Accusations, & Evil Intent

As I’m sure many of you have, I’ve listened carefully to all the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Why? I want only people of sterling character in important positions in government. I also watched the interview Martha McCallum of Fox News conducted with him. I wanted to see how he would respond to the controversy that has erupted concerning his nomination to the Supreme Court.

By the way, a Supreme Court nomination never should have this degree of importance. It is important, true. Yet our system of governing is so out of line with what the Founders intended that we now deem a seat on the Court almost as significant as the choice for president. Any conservative who seeks to accept that nomination is usually in for a trial by fire. One must be willing to have one’s reputation blown away.

Kavanaugh, in the interview, was obviously tense. Who wouldn’t be, after all the sordid accusations? He also kept repeating the same lines: his desire for a fair process; the opportunity to defend his reputation and integrity. While he could have been less robotic in his responses, I understand his concern to keep the focus where it belongs—that there is no substance to the charges being leveled against him.

He came across to me as a kind, thoughtful man, seeking to exhibit grace under duress. He refused to speculate about the motives of the accusers, both the women themselves and the Democrats who want to ensure he never takes that seat on the Court.

Clarence Thomas, when he suffered the same type of trial during his confirmation hearings, didn’t hold back. He let the world know that there was evil intent in the effort to block him. I respected that because the intent was so blatantly obvious. That same animus is evident toward Kavanaugh. A man with an unblemished record prior to these accusations (the FBI already did a full background check) has been dragged through the mud.

Of course, he’s not the only one in the mud. He didn’t choose to be there, but others have jumped in voluntarily.

If anyone ever had any doubts about the level to which we have sunk in our current politics, the Democrats have now erased all such doubts:

Kavanaugh has been a victim, to be sure. Yet there’s another victim rarely mentioned:

Why, some may ask? Why have all the stops been pulled out in this attempt to derail someone who is so greatly respected as a judge that even the liberal-leaning ABA gave him its highest rating? What is behind it all?

I have a simple answer: abortion.

If Kavanaugh were merely replacing another conservative justice—as when Gorsuch replaced Scalia—the animus would never have been this great. The problem is that he’s replacing Kennedy, and the fear on the Left is that this means the Court will now have a solid conservative majority for many years.

At the root of that fear is the moral depravity of abortion-on-demand. Nothing, in the fevered brains of the Leftist radical feminist movement, can be permitted to interfere with the “right” to kill unwanted, yet innocent, children.

Yes, this is where we are now as a nation.

My hope for Brett Kavanaugh—and for the nation—can be found in the poignant words of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 54:

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.

May it be, Lord. May it be.

Bring Down the Curtain on This Theater of the Absurd

Just when we thought the Brett Kavanaugh hearings were over, the judge is hit with an eleventh-hour accusation of sexual harassment. From his high school days. Thirty-six years ago.

The hearings themselves were a ludicrous display of manufactured outrage and protests as extremists deliberately disrupted the proceedings. The screaming and hysterics were carefully timed to erupt every half hour or so, it seemed.

Yet Kavanaugh is the extremist?

As the vote for confirmation was about to happen, suddenly Sen. Diane Feinstein leaked the harassment allegation. From a letter she had in her possession since July. Keep in mind that Feinstein had met with Kavanaugh one-on-one while in possession of that letter, yet never mentioned it to him. There were private hearings before the public ones in which she could have questioned him about it, but didn’t.

No, it was kept back until it could do the most damage. Actually, I’m not sure she really thought it would ultimately undo the nomination, but it was at least the kind of distraction that might delay his elevation to the Supreme Court. That part might be working.

The accuser, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, is a Bernie Sanders supporter (which undoubtedly makes her a socialist). Although I haven’t read this specifically, can anyone believe she is pro-life on the abortion issue? Really?

There is no corroboration from anyone she knows about the alleged incident. She can’t even remember many of the details herself. It’s all kind of a muddle. Yet we are supposed to take her word for it regardless. All such accusations are to be accepted as fact simply because she is a woman making the accusation.

Never mind that 65 women who know and have worked with Kavanaugh over those last thirty-six years signed a letter attesting to his honor and decent behavior toward them. Somehow that doesn’t count. Never mind that two of those women even dated him when they were all in high school and attest that he was always a perfect gentleman. No, we must believe Ford instead. Both Democrats and the media (I repeat myself) are convinced of his guilt.

Now Ford, who at first said she wanted to be heard, has declined to testify before the committee. She’s been offered a closed-door meeting, she doesn’t have to be in the same room with Kavanaugh, and the committee has even gone out of its way—far beyond what is required—to say it will come to her in California to hear what she has to say.

No, she now demands that there be an FBI investigation first. The accusation is not a federal crime; the FBI has no jurisdiction. And what about all those background checks the FBI has already conducted on Kavanaugh’s past? Why did nothing of this nature surface? He seems to have an impeccable past.

What we are seeing here is theater of the absurd taken to new levels of absurdity. Kavanaugh is the victim, not his accuser.

It’s an established fact that most of the senators, Republican and Democrat, already knew how they would vote before any hearings convened. Democrats were poised to discredit whoever the nominee would have been. It didn’t matter who it was; that person, male or female, would be depicted as an ogre of some type.

When President Obama put forward his nominees for the Court, you never saw this kind of hysteria among those who questioned his choices. Decorum prevailed even on the side of those who opposed them. Why is it that only Republican nominees have to face this kind of whirlwind?

I have my answer: Roe v. Wade. That’s what it’s all about for many on the Left. They are afraid that Kavanaugh on the Court will finally deal the death blow for that supposed right to abortion. It’s about as simple as that.

It’s time to bring this lunacy to a close. It’s time to vote and then move forward.

Not Even a Pretense of Civility

David French has an excellent article posted today in National Review detailing the unseriousness of Democrat opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The teaser at the top reads:

The sordid spectacle that opened Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings put the lie to left-wing laments about the decline of civility in American politics.

I agree with the basic premise that civility is in decline—one might legitimately call it a “collapse”—and that we are at a point where reasoned discourse is virtually at an end.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing has only proved to highlight that lack of civility. And when civility does on occasion peek through the tortured screams of protesters and the antagonistic attitude of Democrat senators, it is like that brief breath of fresh air we all crave.

French continues: “We hear a lot about norms these days. We live in a time when alleged pre-existing norms of decency, civility, and respect are being cast aside for the sake of ‘winning.’ The ends justify the means, and a dignified loser is just that: a loser.”

It didn’t matter who Trump nominated for the Court; the decision was made beforehand to call that person a hatemonger, racist, toady, etc., etc. Yet, as French notes, that’s hardly the Kavanaugh persona:

Before I continue, let me remind you that Kavanaugh is the opposite of a norm-violating, civility-straining, Trumpist jurist. He is the very definition of a GOP-establishment lawyer. He would be a front-runner for a SCOTUS nomination in any Republican administration. He is not only solidly within the mainstream of originalist legal thought, he’s so respected across the aisle that Elena Kagan hired him to teach at Harvard Law School.

In other words, throughout his career, Kavanaugh has helped maintain norms rather than violating them. He’s the living embodiment of the kind of person — and the kind of politics — that Democrats now claim they miss in the age of Trump.

Right from the start of the hearing, Democrat senators demanded that the hearing be adjourned. Why? Well, they needed to see more documents. You know, documents that they weren’t really going to read with an open mind anyway. French points out the absurdity and hypocrisy of the claim:

The pretext was one of those eye-glazing Washington debates over document production, in which senators who’d already vowed weeks ago to vote against Kavanaugh claimed they couldn’t possibly evaluate him properly based on the hundreds of thousands of pages they already had (including more than a decade of judicial opinions). They instead absolutely needed every scrap of paper he ever touched, so . . . what? They could cast a more emphatic no vote?

I think one cartoonist captured the Democrat approach rather convincingly:

And then the craziness of the Lunatic Left surfaced with the outraged cry that a woman lawyer, Zina Bash, sitting behind Kavanaugh was flashing a “white power sign,” which, if you look closely was simply her hand resting on her arm and her finger touching her thumb. Oh, the horror!

French clears up this phony charge:

For those wondering, Zina Bash is one of the more respected and talented young conservative lawyers in Washington. As her husband — John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas — explained on Twitter, she’s Mexican on her mother’s side and Jewish on her father’s side. Her paternal grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and she was born in Mexico. So, no, it’s not remotely credible to believe she was flashing a white-power symbol.

Those facts didn’t deter the online left, though. The claims kept spreading until they turned into an instant left-wing version of the legendary Pizzagate conspiracy —unsupported by any meaningful facts yet fervently believed by thousands.

As if that wasn’t sufficient, there was the father of a student killed at Parkland who showed up determined to do his part to derail Kavanaugh. How do we know? He tweeted about it beforehand.

Then there was Snubgate, the claim that Kavanaugh deliberately refused to shake the hand of a father of a slain Parkland teen. The man, Fred Guttenberg, approached Kavanaugh in the scrum during a break in the hearing, he stuck out his hand, security approached, and Kavanaugh turned away. . . .

Almost instantly, this momentary encounter was transformed into an intentional, crass snub of a grieving father by an evil, uncaring judge. Guttenberg went on CNN and made an unsubstantiated claim that Kavanaugh not only intentionally snubbed him, but personally asked that he be removed.

A complete stranger walked up to the judge in a hearing disrupted by multiple protesters, security moved in immediately, and Kavanaugh was supposed to do . . . what, exactly? Push aside security to engage with the man, despite not knowing who he is?

The angry activists in the room, who apparently have their own PR firm currently fishing for media interviews for those who created shrill outbursts, were particularly abhorrent. French notes the double standard:

Let’s be clear, had angry Tea Party protesters caused the same scale of disruption at a Democratic hearing, news outlets would be shaking their heads at the dangerous lack of respect for a dignified nominee. Instead, all too many folks think this is what democracy looks like: serial attempts to exercise an incoherent, screaming heckler’s veto.

I’m not going to conclude that we are living in the most dangerous time in our republic’s history. As a historian, I note the polarized 1850s that led to the Civil War. However, I am seeing the same kind of vitriol, unwillingness to speak to the other side civilly, and outright hostility that marked the 1850s.

We should be concerned. Very concerned.