We frequently encounter debates on abortion in the news media but may not hear about such discussions between individuals. I was recently engaged in an email discourse with woman on abortion. Her initial, unedited email is as follows:
America has been a force for good, most of the time, for its history. If we don’t celebrate it, we will lose it. Tyranny encroaches.
For at least 70 years, America has been the preeminent diplomatic, informational, military, and economic power on earth. By and large, we have used our power for good. After World War II, we did not demand land, establish colonies, or institute an international economic system intended to make America richer. We opposed communism in all its forms, and tried to spread democracy, freedom, peace, and prosperity throughout the world. It is difficult to find another such example of benevolence in history. The British endeavored to improve the world as they understood it, but still accumulated colonies, acquired territories, and tilted the economic playing field in their favor. The Ottomans, the Mughals, the Mongols, the Arabs, the Romans, the Chinese, and other empire builders were not so munificent. The United States made mistakes, supporting dictators in an effort to stop communism, which we considered a greater evil. But internationally and overall, America has been a force for good.
Domestically, we have been equally idealistic. The reforms of the 1960s, from Johnson’s Great Society to the Civil Rights Act, have been attempts to right wrongs. The subsequent 60 years has been an attempt to right more wrongs, and correct problems in the fixes that we implemented earlier. America has been a force for good. And yet we take no joy in our successes. Instead, many Americans, especially younger ones, wish to hand more and more power to the government. They deny our victories and focus on our failures. They want socialism.
Abortion is the largest issue dividing America, the world. The US Supreme Court is considering the biggest change since Roe. What to know?
American politics is as divided as it has been since 1856, when, in a premeditated assault, South Carolina Democratic Representative Preston Brooks beat Massachusetts Republican Senator Charles Sumner with his oak walking stick. Brooks was arrested but soon reelected, and after a prolonged recovery, Sumner also made his way back to the Senate. The issue then was slavery, and the issue now is abortion.
Across the United States, several teachers and at least one coach have been fired for their opposition to Critical Race Theory (CRT). Parents have rebelled at the teaching of CRT in schools, and are being hotly opposed by educational administrators and the political left. Outside the classroom, CRT has dominated the discourse about race and gender in America. It is worthwhile to investigate it.
The Tenets of Critical Race Theory
Merriam Webster defines “race” as any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry. Some hold that race is a modern European construct intended to “scientifically” justify white supremacy by classifying and devaluing all non-whites. In reality, civilizations have divided people by differences in cultural and physical traits since the dawn of time. The Hindu Vedas sharply discriminate between Aryans and Dasyu, the indigenous people of the Indian subcontinent and perennial enemies of the Aryans, characterizing the Dasyu as “phallus worshipers,” “dark-skinned,” and “harsh spoken.” The Bible notes the Ethiopians as a “people tall and smooth skinned (Isaiah 18:7).” The Muslim writer Said al Andalusi (d. 1070) wrote:
“For those who live furthest to the north between the last of the seven climates and the limits of the inhabited world, the excessive distance of the sun in relation to the zenith line makes the air cold and the atmosphere thick. Their temperaments are therefore frigid, their humors raw, their bellies gross, their color pale, their hair long and lank. Thus they lack keenness of understanding and clarity of intelligence, and are overcome by ignorance and dullness, lack of discernment, and stupidity. Such are the Slavs, the Bulgars, and their neighbors. For those peoples on the other hand who live near and beyond the equinoctial line to the limit of the inhabited world in the south, the long presence of the sun at the zenith makes the air hot and the atmosphere thin. Because of this their temperaments become hot and their humors fiery, their color black and their hair wooly. They lack self-control and steadiness of mind and are overcome by fickleness, foolishness, and ignorance. Such are the blacks, who live at the extremity of the land of Ethiopia, the Nubians, the Zanj, and the like.”
What does a nation look like when God is not there? Or at least when its people live like God is absent.
Events in the world and in America have taken a dark turn at many levels in 2021. The COVID epidemic rages on, though natural and vaccine-related herd immunity is increasing. Political divisions, riots, and even hatred, continue at levels unseen since the American Civil War. False accusations fly without regard for the truth and without considering different perspectives. People and organizations lock down to protect themselves at all costs, and sacrifice individuals regardless of prior contributions or future potential.
Reality is hard, and we don’t like it. So we blind ourselves, and others blind us, to the truth, to the real world.
I work in Northern Virginia (NOVA) outside of Washington DC, a bustling metropolis of steel and glass, American history, and Federal workers, from janitors to the President. For decades, this area has been a stronghold of Democratic politics, with Republicans having nary a chance at the ballot box. I am also taking tap dancing lessons in NOVA, and the fine arts in America are another area in which you are more likely to get kicked by a Donkey than trampled by an Elephant. Last week, America endured a bitter presidential election, and waited days for the results. So, I was unsurprised when I heard exclamations of joy and sighs of relief from class members.
Governments, all governments, are established under God by the will of the people, although not necessarily all the people. They have specific and limited purposes. Governments cannot and should not try to do everything for everyone.
Democracies, in which each eligible voter selects their favored candidate for each office in a fair process, most visibly follow the will of the people. Dictatorships, however, also require popular support. Saddam Hussein used Sunni Baathists to place him in power and keep him there. As a result, he provided choice government positions to his loyal followers, favored friendly companies with government contracts, and then leaned on the recipients to keep their people in line. Simultaneously, Hussein ensured that Sunni Muslims, though a minority in Iraq, received more consistent electrical power, better services, and more opportunities than the majority Shia Muslims received. Had Hussein not cultivated powerful supporters, he would have fallen. A careful or even cursory study of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, and other dictators throughout time and space shows the same thing. No man is powerful enough to rule a nation alone; he must have help from the people to gain power and keep it.
Tough fire and rescue training produces more skilled fire and rescue personnel and safer communities.
Work has pulled me to the DC area during the week and home has pulled me to West Virginia on weekends and holidays. One of my tasks around DC is to provide medical support for a group of rescuers specially trained in structural collapse, confined space, trench, and ropes. Simultaneously, I remain on the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department and dive team. It is the best of all worlds.
My primary field is medicine, and while I have helped pull victims from fires and entrapments, my primary usefulness comes once the patient is out. I admire people who risk themselves to rescue people and keep them alive until they get to people like me. Such work requires imagination, skill, intelligence, and courage, which was demonstrated at an exercise in northern Virginia in September of 2020.
Explore some history about the Republican Party in Raleigh County, WV.
History is objective in that something real happened. It is subjective in that we often don’t have complete details on what happened, and we have few details about why. History has been used as a political tool since Cicero. At the same time, history provides a fascinating look at our forebears, and why we are where we are today. I have assembled a little history about the Republican Party in Raleigh County, WV. Whatever your political stripe, I encourage you to discover a little bit about the past as a way to inform the future. Politics is tough but it doesn’t have to be hateful.