Turned to ashes

By Steve Woodward

“Progressives think that hating not only (Donald) Trump but all conservatives settles their debts and cleanses them of sin,” writes Lance Morrow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “It gives them a certain moral luster.”

But Morrow does not go so far as to dismiss their hatred as off-the-rails hysteria. Like many who never became comfortable with Trump’s ascendency to the White House, who were quick to cringe over a Rosie O’Donnell tweet but slow to celebrate a policy triumph, he gives progressives something of the benefit of the doubt.

“Whatever else one may say about Jan. 6, it was one of the stupidest afternoons in American history,” Morrow writes. “(Four centuries ago) Russia’s new (religious) orthodoxy eventually burned the archpriest (patron of the ‘old believers’) at the stake. The 21st-century left would do the same to Mr. Trump if it could. It may not be necessary. He’s a burnt-out case, an exhausted volcano, in Disraeli’s phrase. Let Palm Beach have him.”

This is where Morrow misses the source of the anger that sent thousands to Washington two months after the curious developments surrounding the Nov. 3, 2020, election. Their swarming of our Nation’s Capital never was driven by Trump’s “rhetoric”, the central talking point of the Left serving media. These were patriots, not zombies. It was fueled entirely by the many cases of voter fraud that were mounting ahead of and during Georgia’s Jan. 5 special elections for U.S. Senate seats (cases which in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are being fortified by audits and investigations).

Nevertheless, the stupidity to which Mr. Morrow eludes in his June 18 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “America’s Old Believers Need to Move Past Donald Trump”, I would acknowledge could be properly assigned to those massive throngs gathered on and near The Ellipse on January 6. 

Why might I agree with Mr. Morrow’s harsh criticism? Because many – including myself — did not layer adequately to protect themselves from bone-chilling, gusty winds as President Trump spoke. Quite stupid, for sure. Thus, plans to parade to the U.S. Capitol were scrapped in the name of practical concerns such as warmth and restrooms. It is a shame. Had thousands more trekked to the Capitol to assemble and hear from speakers – as was the intent by organizers – the contrast between militants assigned to “storm” the building and the rest of the assembled would have been even more stark. It would have been quite obvious that the vast majority had come to rally peacefully and to display unity.

But if we give credence to Mr. Morrow’s conclusion, that some of these acted stupidly, how then do we characterize the Marxist rioters, looters, arsonists and murderers who devastated American cities across a long violent summer of 2020? Are theirs the actions of merely stupid, misguided youth? While the Trump era certainly is not reduced, as Mr. Morrow contends, to smoldering embers; the burnt-out small businesses, restaurants and public squares of urban America are today boarded-up, vandalized memories, ashes scattered to the winds.

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.

Betrayal

By Steve Woodward

North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley described Sen. Richard Burr’s vote to convict President Donald Trump after his Senate impeachment trial as “shocking and disappointing”.

Allow me to respectfully disagree. Burr’s track record during the Trump era strongly suggested he would, ultimately, join six other Republicans in voting against Trump’s certain acquittal. Nothing shocking about it. Disappointing? How about revolting? Or, vile. And, perhaps worst of all, calculated.

Who can doubt that a career swamp creature such as Burr would be tempted by a deal with the Devil? Consider this sheer coincidence: an investigation of Burr’s trading of 33 stocks timed around Wuhan Virus vaccine development was dropped by the Department of Justice the moment the Biden administration seized power. Or, perhaps, no coincidence. Wink, wink.

While the media and the Left conveniently forget about events of a week, or a month, or even years ago, as if they never happened (Ukraine’s extortion of $1 billion through then-Vice President Biden), even Republicans seem to not recall the manner in which the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Burr before his forced resignation amid insider trading allegations, aided and abetted the Russian hoax.

The Federalist’s Tristan Justice, writing in May 2020, referred to the revelations about the committee’s conduct in an early 2018 column put forth by a Federalist colleague.

Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway wrote in March that the recent (stock trading) scandal is only the latest reason Burr should be stripped of his powerful chairmanship after perpetuating the grand Russian collusion conspiracy theory implicating President Donald Trump was an agent of the Kremlin.

“The only notable thing to have happened in that committee over the course of the Russia collusion hoax was the arrest of one of its staffers for lying regarding his leaks of information to reporters he was intimate with,” Hemingway wrote.

But Burr assured Americans in an April 2020 statement that the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Russian “collusion” was solid and indisputable.

Burr: “In reviewing the ICA, the Senate Intelligence Committee looked at two key questions: first, did the final product meet the initial task given by the President, and second, was the analysis supported by the intelligence presented? We found the ICA met both criteria. The ICA reflects strong tradecraft, sound analytical reasoning, and proper justification of disagreement in the one analytical line where it occurred.”

The fatal flaw in this assessment is that the ICA was informed from the outset by an infamous document known as the Steele Dossier. The genesis of the Steele Dossier discredited it from day one.

“The Clinton campaign and the (Democrat National Committee) paid 12 million dollars to an American company called Fusion GPS for the purpose of digging up dirt on then candidate, Donald Trump,” writes former CIA station chief Brad Johnson, founder of Americans for Intelligence Reform. “It was Fusion GPS that then hired Steele. In so doing GPS would have obviously kept much of that $12 million for themselves. Neither the Clinton campaign, nor the DNC directly hired Steele.

“There has never been any announcement, or evidence presented, as to how much of the $12 million GPS kept for itself, and how much it paid Steele to further the ‘opposition research project’.”

Here is the bottom line on Richard Burr. Career politician. Complicit in advancing the Russia collusion hoax to bring down President Trump. Although not alone on Capitol Hill, not opposed to “selling off up to $1.7 million in stocks following classified congressional briefings on the coming pandemic from the novel Wuhan coronavirus” (The Federalist, May 14 2020).  One of seven Senate Republicans whom history will record as voting to impeach a private citizen in defiance of the Constitution.

Just be glad you are not his book agent.

Cancel socialism

By Bill Demastus

I am a good, hard nosed Republican with conservative views on most issues in America. With that said, there is something happening in our country today that is very concerning, at least to me.

I believe many of our good conservatives have drunk the Kool-Aid and truly believe that we have to be, at least, “concerned” about what played out on January 6 at the Capitol.

It is the “we” that disturbs me.  It was not good conservatives who stormed the Capitol and brought down the wrath of God on our heads.

We conservatives have nothing to be ashamed of, or to feel responsible for.  We were there in January but, when the trouble started, we turned and left the scene.  Just look at the facts of who is being arrested almost daily since the occurrence. It isn’t us. Social media and fake news painted everyone who dared to travel to D.C. with the same insurrection brush.  That does not change the facts. We are not insurrectionists.

Little by little, it is becoming more and more clear that it was, in fact, a well-rehearsed, well-implemented insurrection by individuals not riled up by our President, Donald Trump; but those riled up by issues in America tracing to the 1960s.

During the last 60 years we have become more and more guided by principles totally outside the framework of a Constitutional federal republic.  A system wherein the people elect citizens to represent them, (the people), to uphold Constitutional issues and that which impacts the people.  That’s what this country was founded on and that is what we were, with hic-cups along the way, until the ’60s.

We now vacillate between a Socialist state and a Constitutional republic, depending on which party is in power.  Much to our chagrin, the Socialist state is expanding, no matter which party is in power.

These newly elected Socialists, and they are so far Left, many Communist admittedly so, might well deliver good news because their overreach improves chances that Republicans will regain the House and Senate in two years. Though not guaranteed, it is a good bet.  Why, because, as always, the liberal left now have complete control except for the Supreme Court that refuses, under John Roberts, to engage in “politics.” Even when our elections are subverted.

President Biden’s endeavors from the very first day indicate just how radically they will push an agenda down the throats of Americans. Can we all remember ObamaCare? Seems the Left already has assured tough elections ahead.  Still, they cannot help themselves.  They are like kids in a candy store…or a better comparison may be a drunk in an ABC store.  

Another standard Leftist attitude is their firm belief in “cancel culture”. They are rabid in their belief that everything and everyone that does not follow their agenda need to be taken out.  

Under President Trump’s leadership, the Left spent most of its time going after him. Now that he is gone it isn’t a surprise, with the help of social media and fake news, to have them going after individual Americans.  That is definitely the case for outspoken Trump supporters in our communities: Capt. Emily Grace Rainey; David Hensley; and Sherry-Lynn Womack.  Get ready. Almost anyone who currently supports President Trump’s policies, or him, will find themselves in cross hairs.

So, what do we do?  I believe we should do what good conservative Republicans have always done; nominate and elect strong conservatives in municipal elections in 2021, and great Conservatives who emerge to run for state and federal seats in 2022 and 2024. The journey begins now.

Will those who seek and secure these jobs all be people that agree with all of us who work to get them elected?  No.  And, if they were, they would not be Republicans.  We tend to not agree with each other about a lot of things.  But one thing we should learn from the leftists is to not fight among ourselves.  They stick together to advance their miserable agendas, even at the risk of their own jobs; but it helps them win elections. 

We cannot fight the government; we can fight issues and we can fight against candidates and for candidates, but we can do neither as a fractured party.  This is exactly what the leftists wish us to be, fractured.

Keeping me awake at night is the fact that I was so sure that President Trump would be re-elected because he was GOD’S CHOICE.  I just could not understand how God would permit him to lose to a party that believes in abortion, no God in church, no God in schools; in fact, no God anywhere.  Believe me I have asked my Lord that question over and over during the past several weeks.

Yesterday in church, I think God gave me the answer.  I listened to a very conservative, God-fearing minister explain that, heart breaking as this election loss may be for us, we should, of course, pray for ourselves and for our country.  However, not for what I thought would be the reason, but because of what half of our country believes in and how they live. He says he believes we are just where the Kingdom of Judah found itself. It’s people persisted in their ungodly ways, even after years of God’s prophets warning them to repent. They chose to live otherwise.  Not all of them, just half of them.  But God didn’t just give Nebuchadnezzar half of Judah; he gave him all of it. Thus, all had to pay.

Our minister said he doesn’t mean that we, the believers, should give up or quit fighting issues and policies but it doesn’t mean we should not expect to suffer with those that caused HIS edict.  We have to change the system with prayer and teamwork.  We cannot change it with Sig Sauer or a long knife.  

Stop the finger pointing.  Stop the backbiting.  Fight those who caused this mess. God will be on our side.

Fight

“When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, ‘Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight’.” The Holy Bible, Joshua 10:24-25

By Steve Woodward

One the final day of his presidency, Donald Trump evoked the words of great athletes who, win or lose, have no regrets in the end. “We didn’t leave anything on the field,” he said. The Trump-led administration and many of his surrogates fought every day for four years, intending always to win but never deterred by setbacks, rarely discouraged by an unrelenting and corrupt media, its feet on the necks of every Trumpian initiative.

President Trump often warned us that we might get tired of winning, yet never was that a possibility because the victories were never certain and, always, hard fought. And, ultimately, ignored by Trump loathing newspapers and cable channels.

Before the sun set on January 20, 2021, many of those victories that lifted America from the brink of mediocrity, unleashed our economy and our natural urge to innovate, will have been undone by the newly inaugurated 46th President. He has pledged to sign 17 executive orders, each carefully worded to overturn the will of Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda.

This is just the beginning of the emergence of an American political ruling class that is more radical, more driven by Socialist impulses than anything we’ve ever seen. Senile Joe Biden will read the teleprompter but the game plan will be carried out in the shadows.

So, now what? What do we do to keep alive Trump’s spirit? We, as conservatives and Republicans, could do what we almost always do, which is not to fight but to abide, mark time and wait for the next fundraising and door knocking cycles.

Or, we could try a better approach and determine how we summon the bold unity seen in Washington two weeks ago, on January 6, and then re-define how we fight for God and country. Our own party accused President Trump and thousands of American voters of fomenting mob violence in D.C . It was the path of least resistance but cowardly just the same.

Despite what spineless, status quo champion Mitch McConnell insists, the extreme fringe group that orchestrated a breach of the U.S. Capitol, shattering a few windows and frightening our snowflake lawmakers, had nothing to do with Trump’s speeches, or the fighting spirit displayed by fellow citizens who assembled to promote patriotism and unity. In time, those bad actors will be held accountable for a young patriot who was shot to death by a Capitol Hill policeman, and one of his fellow officers who later died after sustaining trauma. These incidents notwithstanding, rising up in Washington was the right thing to do, the only place to be as we found our nation at a dire crossroads.

Meanwhile, Sen. McConnell dismisses you and I as white supremacists, “a mob” that soaks up like a sponge whatever marching orders are dog whistled in our direction. Even the assembled National Guard was thrown under the bus for being too, you know, white and patriotic.

We always will choose to leave violence, destruction and cop hating to Black Lives Matter anarchists and their Marxist leadership. But we have an opportunity to recalibrate our energy and direct it to winning the communications war that Trump fought so well before Twitter decided to go Beijing on him.

How do we pick ourselves upon from the carnage of a manipulated election? First, we never forget that none of this happens absent the Wuhan Virus. We recommit to shining a light of constant scrutiny on the media, beginning with The Pilot, and verbally pummeling any of its ilk who trample the truth. We leverage every new social media platform. We use “old fashioned emails” to friends and, yes, fence-sitters to direct folks to commentary and information, which ultimately is what empowers us. We need hundreds (not two or three) in our ranks doing this, week in and week out. We need young Republicans leading these efforts.

On this, the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, we fix our gaze once again on our shining city on a hill.

To keep it shining, we ramp up our scrutiny of those we have elected, from local bodies to state legislators, to our members of the U.S. Congress. We take a zero-tolerance stance against Republicans who prove to be lightweights or unreliable. We actively recruit new blood from within a blossoming force of young conservatives, such as newly elected Rep. Madison Cawthorn, 25, of western North Carolina.

As we face the grim early days of a revived Obama-era radical Leftist regime, we have no choice but to remind, relentlessly, each and every Republican public servant of the one thing Americans never had to ask President Trump to remember: You work for us. Now, go fight for us.

The content of this post reflects exclusively the opinion of its author.