Here we are

By Steve Woodward

In our upside down world, a Pinehurst resident last week unfurled and mounted a “BIDEN President” flag inconspicuously, almost out of view. For a few days it literally was hanging upside down, difficult to decipher, as if Joe Biden himself might have done the job.

Another Pinehurst resident said she admired thematic yard signs your humble author plants in his front yard, conspicuously, in full view of a busy road. They suggest highly controversial ideas. Socialism Distancing. Unmask Tyranny. Dethrone King Cooper. She was offered one but declined, fearing it would provoke property damage. Her words.

4 July.5The most upside down moment came last Saturday after a joyous parade on Independence Day through the heart of the Village of Pinehurst, organized after Mayor John Strickland predictably cancelled the annual parade operated by local government. In its place was the “oh really, just watch us” July 4th parade brought to life by our Moore County Republican Women and their many supporters. There were classic convertibles, red pickups, golf carts, a vintage Jeep, signs, flags, blaring music from car audio systems, and proud marchers armed with copies of the U.S. Constitution, not sledge hammers and bricks. So very right side up.

The parade was brief but exhilarating. It attracted a photographer from The Pilot. A news report and photos were posted later Saturday on The Pilot‘s Facebook page. Reaction was swift. Of the many upside down laments and criticisms aimed at our rogue parade, one man captured the award for best encapsulating the misery that defines today’s Left. He posted a one-word comment about the parade. “Yuck.”

Many of us hear that word in our heads as we open our eyes each morning to face another day of across-the-board hysteria. The Left has mounted an overwhelming campaign, years in the making, to tear apart our nation. The Wuhan Virus was perhaps not expected but easy enough to exploit on a dime to crater a robust Trump-era economy and, as a silver lining, restrict worship and foment government dependency. Quite a trifecta.

So, too, the death under (white) police arrest of a (black) Minneapolis man a couple of months later. Perfect storm. An easily stoked health crisis on a parallel track with an eruption of violence to decry “systemic racism.” And a bonus: If you oppose wearing a mask in crowds, just become an anarchist. Masks not required.

Any denunciation of race-baiting by pointing to systemic freedom, systemic prosperity or systemic innovation, is taboo. Do not even dare to suggest that all lives matter. The latter will earn you a “I’m a Racist” tee shirt.

As expected, corrupt media cheerleaders finally arrived at the moment when every case and every death tied to the Wuhan Virus — which time will tell include false cases and falsely attributed deaths — is blamed on President Donald Trump. (So, to be clear, he colluded with China, not Russia?) Then along came nationwide Marxist-led Black Lives Matter uprisings intersecting with traditional Independence Day celebrations. The media took its cue and echoed the words of Marxism’s highly paid spokesman, Colin Kaepernick. A celebration of American Independence is a celebration of “white supremacy”. Americans must re-think the Fourth of July. While wearing masks and fearing one another’s next sneeze.

But the collapse of our nation is not, and cannot be, inevitable. Because that was the essence of President Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech, the Left predictably denounced it. “Divisive and dark” read the headlines. Let’s hope so. Why would we seek unity with college indoctrinated, white guilt infused zombies who would erase our history, one monument at a time? And they won’t stop with physical destruction. The primary targets are religion, law enforcement and free enterprise. And the Washington Redskins.

Patriotic Americans have quoted adoringly, and for generations, President Ronald Reagan’s characterizations of the United States. “A shining City on a Hill.” “The last, best hope for man on Earth.” In 2020, we will find out if these words are destined to ring hollow, or if individuals are willing to fight to sustain them, not with weapons, not with parades, not with yard signs but with relentless determination to get out the vote and win elections, from Trump-Pence and Congress, to the courts and statehouses.

At the conclusion of Saturday’s parade, a military veteran who resides among us climbed atop a pickup truck to read, word for word, the Declaration of Independence. Dozens gathered around to listen. The final sentence reminds us today what we must be willing to do. “With a firm reliance of the protection on divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Many founders lost their lives and their fortunes, but not one his honor.

Reagan also said that “our’s is a rendezvous with destiny.” Here we are.

 

 

 

Bad, really bad

By Steve Woodward

Our self-appointed intellectuals become inarticulate in the face of the unpredictable.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this (coronavirus outbreak) could be bad,” said Nancy Messonnier during a press conference on February 25. Messonnier is the Center for Disease Control’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“I’ve got a feeling (emphasis added),” writes Peggy Noonan in her weekly column for The Wall Street Journal, “the coronavirus is going to be bad, that it will have a big impact on America, more than we imagine, and therefore on its politics.”

As former Obama enabler and ex-Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel once observed, “We can’t let a crisis go to waste.” This is classic Sal Alinsky (Rules for Radicals) thinking. If it takes a global virus to bring into lockstep the masses, so be it. Embrace it. Encourage despair.

We can presume that Ms. Messonnier has a duty to project a “bad” scenario, but what a choice of words. She and the CDC might have moderated this dire outlook by saying that the United States is prepared to minimize the spread and severity of the virus which, no doubt, it is. That seems less “bad”.

Certainly a CDC director carries more credibility than Noonan in the Journal citing her “feeling” that we are all doomed. From her hermetically sealed fortress in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Noonan gets to the heart of her premise deep into the column. I doubt many made it that far.

Trump Closeup2“If you want to talk about what could make a progressive (Bernie Sanders, of course) win the presidency it couldn’t be a better constellation than this: an epidemic, a economic downturn, a broad sense of public anxiety, and an incumbent (Donald Trump) looking small.”

The elite ruling class have condensed it to this: Virus bad; Trump really bad. A New York Times op-ed column came right out and said it, Trumpvirus. It was then repeated in a one-liner in the WSJ column by the former Reagan speechwriter, Noonan: “It couldn’t be a better constellation.” Translation: we will take as much collateral damage from a runaway (we hope) virus if it kills the Trump presidency. If David Brooks is the New York Times’ fake conservative, he is getting a run for his money from Noonan in the WSJ, the Mother Superior of the Republican establishment. Her former boss, anti-establishment President Reagan, surely is frowning from the heavens.

But we do not have Reagan in 2020. What we do have is a uniquely equipped iconoclast to guide us through Corona-gate. Trump already has been condemned by the corrupt media as completely ill-prepared to address our nation’s response to the presumed epidemic. It’s convenient. Yet it dismisses America’s tradition of resolve. We have turned back or faced down every dire inevitability the world has placed at our feet. Tyranny. Plague. Depression. Military attack. Energy dependence. HIV. Terrorism on our shores. Deep recession. Extreme weather. And, lately, we’ve faced the next challenge, revolution within our political system, the coming of age of the Deep State.

The Deep State loves viruses and disruption; it thrives on chaos, fear. Consider this chilling conclusion in a headline in The Washington Free Beacon: “The only predictable fallout of this coronavirus? Partisanship.”

Matthew Continetti, writing for the Beacon: “The pundits are having difficulty settling on a historical analogy for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Will the spread of the disease be President Trump’s Katrina or his financial crisis? Now that it is interested in coronavirus, a familiar pattern will set in. Data will be publicized without the slightest sense of proportion. … Speculation will be paraded as fact. And every conceivable negative outcome, from infections to deaths to plunging stock values, from reasonable and warranted travel bans to unanticipated diplomatic and economic fallout, will be related back to the president in an effort to damage his reelection.”

In this five-minute clip on YouTube, Dr. Drew Pinsky condemns the left (media) for absolutely salivating. Or is it celebrating?

The takeaway is that Pinsky, a board certified doctor of internal medicine, contends if we must have hysteria let it be driven by other data. “Let me frame it this way: we have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza,” Pinsky said on the streaming news show Daily Blast Live. “Why is that not being reported? Why isn’t the message: get your flu shot?”

The people in the trenches, trying to understand the degrees to which COVID-19 is “bad”, are experts. The people hoarding air time are not experts. They are shameless politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who want to throw breathtaking sums of money (that we do not have) at the badness.

“Schumer asked for $8 billion,” Pinsky said. “My response is, hey man we (have) got a homeless problem in Southern California and in Denver, would you please give us some of that $8 billion and forget about the coronavirus?”

Which has me wondering how terribly Peggy Noonan and the ruling elites must feel about the nation’s homeless crisis. Not bad enough, I’m guessing.

 

Freedom, on the brink

By Steve Woodward

The question arose without provocation: “Is it true that we are supposed to be the best country?”

It was posed by a middle school teen-ager with whom I spend time as a mentor. He lives in poverty among three younger siblings. He has been homeless. He is often hungry. But he is cheerful and inquisitive, conversant and funny. And despite having little reason to be optimistic, and despite the strong likelihood he never has been told by a teacher or any other adult about American exceptionalism, the young man’s intuition is that he is the citizen of a remarkable country, the best one.

Given this unexpected opportunity, this “teachable moment”, I needed to deliver a quick answer, something that would resonate within his impressionable mind.

We are the most free country, I said first. No other country comes close. We are a country where anything is possible, where dreams come true every day. I might have added to this, I might have embellished further, maybe by citing a rags-to-riches story. But I also wanted to impress upon him that dreams come true because work is rewarded and opportunities to work are plentiful.

It no longer is a reasonable assumption that kids are aware that being an American is a blessing and a privilege. The narratives tell them we are a nation born of racist slave owners, who left an indelible stain; that capitalism is rigged and excludes almost everyone, and, worse, is the principal cause of climate change; that our military tortures the innocent and kills indiscriminately; and that our immigration policies are inhumane because our borders are not open.

We know the educational environment is increasingly hostile toward free speech, debate, Christianity, and toward our nation’s founding principles. Rarely a week goes by during which we fail to learn of another example of manufactured outrage or political correctness gone wild on a campus. North Carolina State recently eliminated Good Friday from its university calendar, despite enormous backlash.

In our backyard, a few teachers at The O’Neal School in Southern Pines walked out during a January speech by black civil rights legend Clarence Henderson, an avowed conservative Republican and supporter of President Trump.

These snowflake teachers apparently never considered how their decision will be interpreted by their students, but the big take away is that disrespecting American icons is OK if you disagree with them ideologically. Is O’Neal suspending these teachers or is it reprimanding the ones who did not walk out?

My mentee is in seventh grade at Southern Middle School. I ask almost every time we get together about his classes and teachers. He mentioned learning about World War I, and about Germany’s Adolf Hitler. What he remembers about Hitler is that he wore a funny mustache because the ends of it were damaged while Hitler wore a gas mask. (Actually, historians write that Hitler cropped his mustache to accommodate wearing a gas mask). There was no mention by the teenager that Hitler ordered the slaughter of millions of Jews, leaving me to wonder if this is excluded from the textbook.

This lone conversation reinforced why I mentor. It’s not my job to take his mind off his dire living conditions, his hunger and his uncertainty, although I hope I do. It is my job to focus his mind on his future, on where paths before him can lead, on why he needs to make smart decisions, and on why there is eternal hope because God loves him and because he dwells in a land that is free and prosperous.

President Reagan reminded us that freedom is but one generation removed from extinction, and that the tenants of what make us free must be rigorously handed down to future generations. He said, “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.”

Mentoring is one of the best opportunities an American adult can seize upon to counter the tide of anti-Americanism, anti-religion and anti-capitalism driven by the sinister and mentally unstable radical left, by educators, the media and the entertainment industry.

The teenager who sits to my right as we drive along is remarkably sunny, polite and articulate. But our nation is increasingly plagued by unhappy, disrespectful, mumbling teens. The why is disheartening but, perhaps, not irreversible.

“The reason so many young people are depressed, unhappy, and angry,” writes radio talk host and columnist Dennis Prager, “is the left has told them that God and Judeo-Christian religions are nonsense; their country is largely evil; their past is deplorable; and their future is hopeless.”

Nancy Pelosi rips in half a story of America’s comeback on national television. And why? Because she and her compliant radical army on the left would rather nurture hungry, deprived teens pouring across our Southern border, leaving desperate teens in Moore County to languish under the oppressive boot heel of government subsidies, which guarantee to keep them right where they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is our flag next?

By Steve Woodward

As do many, I have a friend who tries persistently to view everything around him through an apolitical lens. I suppose it’s his alternative plan for managing blood pressure.

When I mentioned my outraged reaction to Nike’s willful compliance with the left’s poster child for oppressed millionaires, Colin Kaepernick, in connection with withdrawing Betsy Ross flag emblazoned Nike footwear, my friend did not concur. He does not agree that Nike caved to one of its highest profile, most radical endorsers, and therefore should be called out. Quite to the contrary, my friend sees Nike’s decision as a stone cold business decision intended to inspire an important target audience of consumers — the growing number of Americans who no longer are sure they really want to be (Americans).

Nike-air-max-1If absorbing the very good possibility that his assessment is correct does not turn your outrage into sadness, we’ll assume you are standing in line as we speak at a Nike store. In fact it is more than a possibility. Forbes.com reports a 2% increase in Nike’s stock price after the Ross decision, adding $3 billion to the company’s market value virtually overnight.

Observing the socialist-leaning, anti-American left routinely hijacking formerly enjoyable holidays, such as Independence Day, or global sports events, such as the just concluded soccer Women’s World Cup, only deepens my profound sadness. At the same time, I do not equate sadness with defeat. The remaining 45% of citizens who are extremely proud to be American are also extremely likely to continue defending our nation’s core values, to denounce Nike and other consumer brands which applaud the decline of patriotism and leverage it as a sales strategy, and to feel ashamed of American athletes such as Team USA soccer star Megan Rapinoe for using a world stage to f-bomb the nation’s majestic White House, trample an American flag in plain sight and infer that her talents stem from her identifying as a lesbian.

Are we to accept that celebrating American independence on the Fourth of July, celebrating historic women like Betsy Ross and celebrating dominant American athletes wearing the red, white and blue are tied to a bygone era?

The corrupt U.S. media are more than determined to extract the joy out of everything to damage Donald Trump and diminish long standing traditions. The “Salute to America” parade, military flyovers and fireworks in Washington were derided as an obscenely expensive production and a platform for a Trump campaign event. It instead attracted a sea of patriotic humanity on the Mall in inclement weather, but the washout thunderstorms the media predicted never happened. America happened.

And now we are scolded by agenda-driven sports “journalists” for daring to be uncomfortable about behavior by U.S. team members during the World Cup in France. A good many Americans looking on recall a time not so long ago when our athletes competing in international events were required to “represent our country” with dignity and class. (In the 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow, members of the U.S. women’s basketball team were derided for draping themselves in American flags after a victory).

With Nike rooting them on, the American women’s World Cup team spent much of the tournament drawing attention to themselves. Rapinoe kneels during the National Anthem. President Trump kindly invites the team to the White House before knowing if it would win a fourth Cup, and Rapinoe responds, “I’m not going to the f—ing White House”. They spend inordinate time talking, not about soccer strategy, but about how unfair it is they are not paid as much as U.S. men when they qualify for the national team, ignoring basic economics.

But instead of suggesting these unhappy campers tone it down, publications such anti-USA Today continued to applaud their self-absorption.

“(It was) a group that confronted the issues that have roiled our society – gender equity, sexism, what we stand for as a country – head on, making sure these much-needed conversations keep going,” wrote cheerleading Nancy Armour.

“Eventually, (Rapinoe) will endorse someone in the Democratic presidential race,” Christine Brennan wrote, nearly short-circuiting her keyboard with torrents of saliva. “Rapinoe is going to become as a big a person in our culture as she wants to be.”

More than likely, she will become a footnote by next week. Always happens. But should she venture into the political arena, how will Rapinoe explain post-victory video capturing her shoving away an American flag, leaving it on the pitch and partially trampling it as she and two teammates performed an obnoxious routine that might have been choreographed by street thugs?

It’s a good guess she’ll never be asked for an explanation. And it’s an even better guess that the revulsion Nike customers feel toward the Ross flag some day will be directed toward our modern day stars and bars. We’ve already seen Kaepernick’s kneeling replaced by violence in our streets by America hating, Trump loathing marchers and rioters. “Our media and popular culture institutions portray love of country as inherently racist and xenophobic,” writes Jarrett Stepman for The Daily Signal.

If the American flag, and by extension a secure and prosperous America, are the next targets in the left’s war on all things sacred, let us pray that the sadness filling our hearts quickly will engender in us the courage of our founders to draw battle lines and defend our freedom. We are, as Ronald Reagan warned, but one generation removed from losing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Send in the clowns

… Where are the clowns. Send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re here.” – Stephen Sondheim, 1973

By Steve Woodward

It is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to avoid opinion columnists who are so wrong on so many topics. Their renderings ramble on and on, littered with unsubstantiated statistics and unsourced assertions. I’m encountering these diatribes despite never, ever reading op-ed pages in The New York Times or The Washington Post.

Who needs those formerly credible publications when one can find the same extremes of anti-Republican, anti-Trump, pro-left vitriol in The Pilot? The April 28 edition showcased Robert Levy observing that illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border are the reason for the nation’s robust economy; William Shaw praising North Carolina teachers, who are not union members, for planning a union-style, May 1 March on Raleigh that will force school closures; and Don Tortorice lamenting Donald Trump’s strategy to rein in China’s intellectual property theft by imposing tariffs on its U.S. exports to trigger, for once, negotiations.

Levy’s tirade veered way off the rails in several passages, but this is the laugh-out-loud portion that is pure fantasy: “(Illegal immigrants in the workplace keep) employment numbers artificially high and unemployment, especially for blacks and Hispanics, artificially low.” Using this premise, we are supposed to believe that Democrats, who deliberately do nothing to stop illegal immigration, are nonetheless willing to let Trump get all of the credit for historically low unemployment and wage growth. Who does Levy think he is the kidding? Democrats would rather their voters (citizens, ex-cons and aliens) receive an entitlement than a job, every time.

Shaw cheers teachers who will abandon their responsibilities to swarm downtown Raleigh on May 1 during a demonstration coordinated by the National Education Association’s state affiliate (the NEA doggedly maintains presence in states without teachers’ unions). Teacher pay in North Carolina has risen steadily five consecutive years but “while progress is being made, teachers should not expect greater largesse from the General Assembly if they silence their voices.” What about the voices of parents who wonder why teacher pay always must go up regardless of student performance in the classroom? What about kids who can’t read in middle school?

In an April 29 column for RealClearEducation.com, Terry Stoops of the The John Locke Foundation observes that despite endless calls for higher teacher pay “results from state achievement tests administered last year show that only 56 percent of elementary and middle school students were proficient in math, and just 57 percent were proficient in reading.”

Why do teachers refuse to demonstrate to students that pay rises on the tide of merit, not entitlement? The students should be the ones in the streets.

Tortorice’s column is written like a textbook lecture, perhaps to be expected of a former professor at the Law School of the College of William and Mary. It is full of eye-glazing statistics and purports that tariffs are never paid by the country on which they are imposed. But Tortorice misses the essential point of the Trump-era tariffs on China. This so-called trade war is moving the two countries toward a long-term trade agreement with a goal of eliminating tariffs in both directions over time. Talks, potentially the final round, are ongoing as we speak. The imbalanced global trade system has been entrenched for too long and would never be challenged without a period of economic pain.

The columnist insists American taxpayers are paying for tariffs imposed on Chinese goods, yet the U.S. economy is growing every quarter (per a 3.2% GDP uptick in Q1), consumer confidence moved higher in a recent survey and inflation fears are off the table. Americans with a long view would rather reach an agreement that deters China from stealing intellectual property and gradually reduces tariffs.

This trio of diversions from reality pale in comparison to the unhinged column by ex-Reagan speechwriter and decades long pundit Peggy Noonan in the April 27-28 weekend editions of The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the innumerable ways in which the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have rewarded American citizens for their votes in 2016, Noonan is incensed that Trump has failed because he did not seek to pacify members of the Washington establishment (she calls them “the old ambassadors) who were willing to give him a chance. If, that is, he came around. Which Trump did not, thankfully.

“One by one,” she writes, “the ambassadors shut down and turned away. … They feared Madness of King George-ism. They’d come to think the president was, irredeemably, a screwball.”

The Swamp guards the status quo at any cost, but Trump is the one who is dangerous? The ambassadors, when they were younger, were equally skeptical of the fitness for the presidency of Noonan’s old boss, Ronald Reagan. Even when Americans cheered a booming 1980s economy long overdue, the ambassadors scowled and ordered another martini.

Now, here we are 30 years later. Noonan wrote beautiful words which once complimented the warm delivery of President Reagan. But her recent column was delivered like a manifesto written from a cabin in the woods after the meds ran out.

“There is an unarticulated wish out there to return to some past in which things were deeply imperfect and certainly divided but on some level tranquil, and not half mad,” wrote Noonan, who we assume uses “out there” and the Upper East Side of New York interchangeably, and chose not to name the deeply imperfect Barack Obama.

She reveals herself as just another horrified, well-heeled bystander peering over her bifocals, who longs for the return of a ruling elite in Washington and is incapable of understanding that this is just the opposite of what ordinary Americans between the coasts desire and will vote again to avoid in 2020 and beyond.