Trump 2.0

By Steve Woodward

What I learned at the North Carolina Republican Party Convention in Greenville:

Ernie’s Sub Shop (since 1980) is legitimate, and the best alternative to the NC GOP’s offerings, which left delegates craving airline food.

The ballroom of the Greenville Hilton is a cramped and stifling venue in which conducting a convention is not advisable. It surely was designed by a radical Lefty because it divides people and limits their ability to be heard.

President Donald Trump is reflective but not defeated six months after his inexplicable “loss”, and no longer opposes Joe Bidden as a “sleepy” adversary but as an enemy of our nation’s core values.

His Saturday night (June 5) address to dehydrated convention delegates and donors was, in many ways, vintage Trump. Our “45″ chided the media (which was assembled en masse), China (and its clear role in unleashing the Wuhan virus), and the Biden administration’s already collapsing economy and stature around the world.

What Trump did not do to any significant degree is belabor Biden’s obvious physical and mental limitations, other than mentioning Biden’s talent at falling “up” the stairs to the door of Air Force One. He pointed to the debacle caused by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s deceit, which fueled Wuhan virus hysteria. He acknowledged that he made a huge “bet” when directing the federal government to underwrite the launch of Operation Warp Speed, which ultimately delivered on his promise of virus vaccines in record time by sidestepping normal Food and Drug Administration testing. 

Those like me who were at the White House ellipse on January 6, shivering in bitter cold, and in the Greenville Convention Center on June 5 shivering under blasting air conditioning, could not have escaped the conclusion that Trump has bounced back from the November election outcome more so than many of us. 

That is reason enough to enter the road to 2022 and beyond rejuvenated and determined. The man who remains the heart and soul of the Republican Party is counting on that. (Not to mention the inspiration we can draw from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who spoke with the eloquence of a leader and the common sense of a rancher during her June 5 convention luncheon appearance).

As demonstrated in Greenville, even if Trump never again runs for elected office, the sheer force of his personality will assist state parties in raising millions of dollars to support Republican campaigns. NC GOP chairman Michael Whatley informed delegates that Trump’s presence guaranteed that last Saturday’s fundraiser would reap the largest collection in party history. By four times, in fact.

In the unlikely event that Trump decides not to run for President in 2024, he will have positioned the Republican Party’s conservatives to rise up in defiance of the Socialist tsunami sweeping upon our shores. As our culture crumbles, constitutional rights slip away, religious freedoms evaporate, inflation soars and economic growth stagnates, we must look to the Trump example. We stand firm. We don’t back down. We elect candidates who execute on their promises from day one. We make America great again. Again.

One path

“Blessed is the man who (will not walk) in the counsel of the ungodly.”
Psalm 1

By Steve Woodward

Americans increasingly are asked to chose a path. Go in one direction or the other. We must chose.

Apart from earners of university degrees during the past 20 years or so, many Americans (74 million, at least, whose votes for Donald Trump’s re-election were miraculously counted) see but one choice: protect and defend the United States in which we were blessed to be born and raised. The alternative choice, formerly a decision about voting (Republican or Democrat), is the certain dissolution of these United States. From the mountains to the prairies.

The Democratic Party is not any longer concerned with sustaining democracy. It has been subverted, taken over, by the Left. The party of slavery in the 19th century is the party of Socialism in the 21st century. Today’s Democrat Party, notes radio talk host Chris Plante, is closer to Lee Harvey Oswald than John F. Kennedy on the ideological spectrum.

“Reaching across the aisle,” was how lawmaking got done in a bygone Washington. Today, it’s impossible. Arms can not reach across a chasm.

The choice has become ever more stark, to the point where choosing is not viable. Look no further than what Biden-Harris voters chose. A southern border humanitarian crisis. Childhoods ravaged by isolation and neglect during an ill-advised lockdown of American life. Even amid recovery from the Wuhan virus’s economic devastation, businesses that can not operate because employees, intoxicated by government “paychecks”, refuse to come back to work. Israel facing a scorched spring triggered by America’s betrayal, erasing the blossoming of peace under Trump.

The 2020 election outcomes, from the White House on down, laid bare that we still have a two-party political system but only one choice going forward if we hope to recognize our nation a decade hence.

“This is evil that we’re facing,” said 2022 U.S. Senate candidate Mark Walker, a Republican from Guilford County, NC, of the Left.

A former pastor, Walker referenced another Psalm, Psalm 139, during a recent Sandhills visit. “If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent.”

Or speak not at all. Issuing a proclamation on May 5, the National Day of Prayer, Biden did not reference God. Read more. He did, however, urge a coming together as a nation (except if you see someone not wearing a mask, berate and assault him).

The guidance of the Psalmist to reject “the counsel of the ungodly” seems a particularly timeless piece of advice amid the rapid emergence of the Left’s new obsession: Critical Race Theory. The most important thing to know is that nothing is theoretical about it. If a circle of tedious academicians were merely writing papers about CRT, they would be properly relegated to obscurity.

But it’s worse than that. It is creeping into K-12 curricula in counties and states across the nation. To ensure that CRT achieves maximum saturation, the Biden administration is proposing a national mandate through the U.S. Department of Education. The essence of CRT is that public education can not exist in its current state, that it must be overhauled so that every element of learning is presented through the lens of race and the nation’s shameful “white supremacy”.

“The Biden administration now plans to supercharge (imposition of CRT) through federal rules and regulations, access to billions in taxpayer funding (for school systems), and the imprimatur of the federal government,” writes Lindsey Burke and Inez Stepman for The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal.

Karl Marx never revealed the end game of Marxism for the same reason that CRT supporters push back on their many critics. Yet the CRT lexicon does not veil its objectives: Rejecting “whiteness”; identifying “micro-aggressions”; “racial mapping”; locating where a given teacher lands on an “oppression matrix”; and encouraging “equity teams” in classrooms (because equity sounds similar to equality, although it is not similar).

Christianity long ago was banned from the classroom. Now, the Left is coming for the rest of our values as Americans, and using children as its pawns to complete the job.

In a 1964 speech during a rally for Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, an up-and-coming figure named Ronald Reagan warned that we had come to a crossroads, a time for choosing. The choice he described was not merely Goldwater or incumbent Lyndon Johnson, and it was not even as black and white as Republican or Democrat, back when the differences were narrowly ideological. The choice was the American way or Communism. It was the specter of the latter that had driven Reagan out of the Democratic Party.

The choice in 1964 involved a threat from a distant land and its dictators. The choice before us today is the threat to our God given freedom posed by the power obsessed, Socialist, ungodly Left. It is not a distant threat. It is surrounding us. The threat is made worse because so many do not recognize it, even after a year of unprecedented Wuhan virus tyranny.

Reagan’s warning so long ago rings with alarming truth: “When the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically.”

Unless we choose the only viable path.

The greatest force

By Steve Woodward

Martin Luther King, Jr., a champion of black equality, urged that Americans be judged by “the content of their character”, regardless of skin color or ethnicity.
American history, as well as the history of mankind, has known untold numbers of people who have occupied this planet while demonstrating a complete character void.

In contrast, the great American experiment has revealed the goodness endowed in us by our Creator, and has seen America in a relative blink of an eye become the greatest force for good and redemption the world has ever known.


This is the overarching lesson that every school child should be taught despite the flaws of humanity that have scarred our history. The character that is our foundation always has overcome our shortcomings and sins against God.


Therefore, in the 21st century, we have a duty to oppose those who seek to present America’s history as little more than a story of perpetuated racism and inequality.

If we fail to reject the hijacking of public education curricula by Marxists and Socialists, we will have destroyed education and transformed classrooms into indoctrination centers.

And, sadly, this hijacking is well under way before our eyes.

Beyond ‘religion’

By Steve Woodward

After the Palm Sunday service, I thanked one of our pastors for praying for the President. I added, unable to resist, that I wished we knew for whom we are praying.

A fellow church member, scowling, said, “Don’t you know about religion and politics?” To which I should have replied, “Don’t you know I was not speaking to you?”

Instead, I said, “They are intertwined.” That, actually, was the better response.

I pondered what I said over brunch, and decided that I likely never had been more fast on my feet. Even in dress shoes.

In 2021, Christianity in the United States never has been more under assault, and the attacks come from multiple fronts. Religious entities have locked the doors to churches for months on end. Avowed Christians have sheltered in place and derided citizens who push back against Wuhan virus hysteria as businesses die and Americans sink into to depression and paralysis. Churchgoers wear masks into houses of worship even as they profess that God is their rock.

They lower their masks to read from John 12: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

It is worth noting here that in 2020, as the virus pandemic swept across the globe, the Presbyterian Church USA, aka, “the Presbytery”, issued as 20-page document entitled, “Returning to Public Worship: Theological and Practical Considerations”. Across the thousands of words in this document, 7,312 to be precise, God is mentioned only 38 times. Scripture rarely is cited. There is not a single passage in this document that urges Christians to prioritize faith above government tyranny.

I soon became an ex-Presbyterian church member after discovering, in July 2020, that a church in my community was not bowing to virus hysteria and proving it by unlocking the doors for worship on Sundays. Without hesitation I can say that the silver lining during these dark days has been my realization that “religion” is not Christianity. Thank you, Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Southern Pines.

C.S. Lewis, the famous author who transitioned from atheist to devout Christian, and wrote about it so as to confound his fellow academics, articulated the difference.

“If ‘religion’ means simply what man says about God, and not what God does about man, then Pantheism almost is religion. And ‘religion’ in that sense has, in the long run, only one really formidable opponent — namely Christianity. (If a Minister of Education professes to value religion and at the same time take steps to suppress Christianity, it does not necessarily follow that he is a hypocrite or even a fool. He may sincerely desire more ‘religion’ and rightly see that the suppression of Christianity is a necessary preliminary to his design).”

The interaction with my fellow worshipper — no intersection of politics and religion, she cried — impressed on me that there is a divide, perhaps previously ignored, between American values and religion.

Many self described Christians, we have discovered, have little use for American principles of liberty when facing a media fueled pandemic hysteria. Despite showing high regard for the “science” behind masks, they show total disregard for the rule of law by turning a blind eye to Black Lives Matter’s violent rioting, or to the failure to protect the southern U.S. border. Other Christians defend abortion, or vote for politicians who openly work to sustain generational dependence on government entitlements.

The Christian spirit aligns readily with rapidly fading — and under assault — ideals rooted in knowing that we derive unalienable rights from our Creator. In the face of a fast deteriorating culture, I would argue that there is no distinction to be made between Christianity paired with ideological conservatism, and “religion” being cozy with the radical Left. Look no further than the Democrats’ so-called Equality Act awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate after House passage. It is an all out declaration of war on our nation’s Judeo-Christian traditions.

“The Equality Act would become the first major piece of legislation in the history of the United States to exclude protections for religious freedom,” writes David Dockery for Christianity Today.

President Joe Biden was declared by The New York Times as “the most religiously observant commander in chief in a half-century”, to which conservative culture columnist Joe Concha, writing for The Hill, replied, “What exactly is liberal Christianity? That’s a contradiction within itself.” Concha goes on to call out the obvious contradiction between Biden’s faith and his support of taxpayer funded abortion. In fact, Concha notes that Democrat President Jimmy Carter, a self-described born again Baptist, was the last pro-life Democrat president. Carter was an inept president, but he did not sell out his faith to party loyalty. What a concept.

I do not wish to see my church become divided over the issues of our day. Indeed, a church service is first and foremost a gathering for solemn worship and a refuge from worldly concerns. But I do believe that Christians have a duty to adhere to what we believe, making no distinction as to the day of the week. If we make our “religious” hypocrites on the Left uncomfortable, so be it. Christianity for sure, and religion generally, is not intended as a comfort zone.

“I call it ‘religion’ advisedly,” writes C.S. Lewis. “We who defend Christianity find ourselves constantly opposed not by the irreligion of our hearers but by their real religion.”

Nice try

By Steve Woodward

I was wrong. After Governor Roy Cooper issued a statewide restaurant lockdown order — without consent as required by the state’s constitution — on March 17, 2020, I was asked to articulate my greatest fear about what was to come.

The topic was local restaurants. All of them were shut down at 5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. Some immediately accommodated carry-out only. Others were not ready for an overnight transition.

My biggest fear was “that they won’t be here” in a few months. I feared many of our restaurants, both long established and newcomers, would go out of business. I was wrong. We lost very few in comparison to the nationwide averages; several reinvented themselves and soldiered on, adding delivery options, improving carry-out operations. A few new places opened despite the lockdowns and are thriving.

In early 2020, local restaurants battled to survive on take-out orders and gift cards.

They did so despite promises of federal support evaporating. They did so despite banks demonstrating they were ill prepared to keep up with demand for funds moving through the pipeline from Capitol Hill to Main Street. They did so even as fattened unemployment checks disincentivized staffs from returning to work as restrictions on dining eased.

Local government finally awakened to the dire circumstances after a few vocal elected leaders stood up and proposed expanded outdoor dining, using parking spaces that often are unoccupied during evening hours. Southern Pines led the way; Pinehurst soon followed.

My forecast was wrong because I did not give enough credit to living in Moore County. We were under the same tyrannical lockdowns as the other 99 counties, but, apparently, we are blessed to live in communities with fewer hysterical residents than those who bowed at Cooper’s feet in places like Mecklenburg and Wake. Our locals recognized that adhering to a stay-at-home “order” was not practical and, potentially, the first step toward economic suicide and sweeping malaise.

Many, not all, ventured out to visit restaurants they’d never tried before. They learned that carry-out dining is not such a bizarre alternative, and when local dining spots added delivery options using smartphone apps we all discovered ever more great places across our dining spectrum. Additionally, customers heeded the call to buy gift cards with every order, to infuse more cash into the restaurants. Our Moore Republican Party then collected stacks of those cards and delivered them to frontline healthcare professionals at FirstHealth. A classic win-win.

Restaurant owners and chefs rarely wear their ideological persuasions on their sleeves. But we staunch conservatives share in common with these now heroic figures qualities that surely brought us together during the slog that began one year ago this week. We are capitalists. We believe in and defend personal responsibility, loyalty and liberty as protection from the iron boot of government. We prefer to earn a living, rather than living to be bailed out.

This story does not have a feel-good happy ending. Not by a long shot. One owner told me his retirement plans were set back five years. Many of the charitable pursuits that bind our restaurants to the community have ground to a halt, which means those in need have been temporarily left wanting. Some restaurants that closed temporarily are now closed forever, taking jobs with them. And owners of dining establishments and other retail businesses now know how easy it is for government tyrants to lock us down without regard for consequences, immediate or long term. American resilience proved too much for the tyrants this time. Nice try.

Thankfully, that is not the only awakening trigged by China’s unleashing of a global virus. There is this: The pursuit of absolute safety is the enemy of freedom, and a futile pursuit, indeed.