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.

Channeling C.S. Lewis

By Steve Woodward

Following Nazi Germany’s relentless bombing campaign in 1940 and 1941, Londoners would face many more years of hardship until World War II ended in 1945. There was fear of occupation. There was rationing. And, everywhere, there was destruction.

Through it all, Brits had come to depend on the reassuring counsel of C.S. Lewis, arguably among the most famous writers of the era, first as a novelist and by the 1940s owed to his writings on Christianity. The Irish-born, former atheist was an accidental celebrity to say the least. The Village Chapel’s Pastor John Jacobs, a Lewis expert, says he seemed to appeal to readers across the spectrum of religious allegiances because he wrote about his newfound faith as a lay person, not as a theologian.

In 1941 the British Broadcasting Corporation, through its director of religious broadcasting, asked Lewis if he would agree to deliver brief radio commentaries to its listening audience. He accepted. In the years to follow, the 15 minutes Londoners spent with Lewis on Sunday nights were viewed as sacred; an appointment not to be missed.

The gift Lewis gave to his war-weary citizens was quite the opposite of the inspiring, rhetorical flourishes delivered by Winston Churchill. Lewis made common sense out of Christianity and made it relevant to the vulnerable.

“What’s the sense of saying the enemy is in the wrong,” Lewis said, “unless right is a real thing?”

Here in 2021, do we not repeatedly ask this question, knowing that it is the central question? But I would ask another question first. Do we have a yet undiscovered C.S. Lewis in our midst in the 21st Century in America?

We have Anthony Fauci, a Swamp creature annoyed by all of us because we want to live as free citizens. We have Rush Limbaugh. We as conservatives are blessed to have Rush as our ideological voice but the other side was thrilled by Limbaugh’s lung cancer diagnosis a year ago. We have Franklin Graham, who honors his father’s legacy by delivering God’s love tangibly to the world’s suffering. We have Tucker Carlson, to whom we owe our gratitude for crushing hypocrites and exposing deception at every turn.

But what America desperately needs today is a C.S. Lewis, a scholar who dreaded the scholarly, an author who wrote not for peers but for real people, and who stepped forward as a servant of God at a moment in history when no else could have served as well. Imagine, today, fringe talk show host Bill Maher, a witty, far Left atheist, converting to Christianity. That would be a wake up call.

First, it must be said that Great Britain, in 1941, identified entirely as a Christian nation. In 2021, the U.S. is a Judeo-Christian nation teetering on the brink of becoming a Socialist nation in which religion has long been marginalized and is increasingly persecuted, even despised.

If we have in our midst a C.S. Lewis he will not be invited by the establishment media to come forward to console us. He will emerge at a considerable risk to his livelihood, his security and his reputation.

Perhaps we delude ourselves thinking there is one such person in this social media age. Perhaps the answer to our dilemma is not found in a person but in a chorus.

Why unity?

By Steve Woodward

In his inauguration speech, incoming President of the United States Joe Biden intoned that he seeks “the most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.”

Upon which his administration took steps to support more abortion of babies, more gender reassignment rights, less energy independence and more mandates to crush the U.S. economy under the guise of “saving” us all from the Wuhan Virus.

This raises the question: What is unity? And another question: Why do we desire it?

Should we sign on for unity if it strips us of our religious liberties guaranteed under the Constitution? Should we uphold absolute unity if it empowers rogue, unemployed young Americans to rampage through cities, hurling bricks through storefronts?

Unity has to be two-sided, yet policy executive Ryan Anderson notes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Biden has made clear that his administration will not negotiate on transgenderism.

“Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time,” Biden said. “There is no room for compromise.”

Unity is the Left’s end game because it actually equates to submission. If you want harmony, do as we say. But if Republican Conservatives are honest — there a few of us — we shine a light on the hypocrisy of this unity narrative. The Left is guided only by radicalism. The Left has no use for the Constitution. The Left can not fathom that our nation is founded “under God”. The Left seeks to overturn the First Amendment so that we no longer can expose a corrupt American media.

Unity is smoke and mirrors. The president of the Ethics and Policy Center said it best.

“While the moniker ‘cultural warrior’ seems to be applied only to those on the right,” writes Ryan Anderson in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “We aren’t the ones who imposed abortion on demand up to and even during birth, forced Catholic nuns to pay for abortifacients, redefined marriage, harassed evangelical bakers, or declared it ‘unlawful discrimination’ to refuse to put a confused child on puberty-blocking drugs.”

Unity? How?

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.