The seduction

By Steve Woodward

She normally might have worn a beaming smile while walking alongside her Mom on their way to the Carolina Hotel parking lot. But a darling little girl, perhaps all of three or four, was instead holding her breath with a hand over her mouth. This was her “mask”. She appeared to be genuinely afraid as I passed by. Mom was wearing an actual mask.

We can assume that there are two schools of thought among young, woke parents about children and masks. One, the Wuhan Virus will kill my child if she is not masked in public. Or, two, wearing a mask signals that you care about others and are obedient and respectful toward authority.

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A Moore County Citizens for Freedom member, July 25.

Snowflake parenting is threatening to impose on our society a future generation so fragile the flakes will not form in the first place. They’ll be as delicate as raindrops.  Maybe it was inevitable but virus hysteria will guarantee it, and it will not end with this crisis. The presumption of absolute safety, revealed to be far more prevalent than we knew, likely will find children wearing masks out of habit, lest a head cold or bout of flu looms.

In a matter of months the Left and its compliant media have cast over our nation a cloud of absolutism. We are absolutely obligated to be fearful of a virus with an overwhelmingly high recovery rate. We are absolutely a nation founded under white supremacy and irredeemable to this day, and absolutely the epicenter of systemic racism worldwide.

Law and order is inherently a racist desire. Tyranny, on the other hand, is salvation. As long as our tyrant mayors and governors adopt separate standards for rioters, looters, vandals and police assassins, of course. What is not absolute are standards of the Left. Their standards are applied only when convenient.

Many of us are asking, how did this happen? How, in a few months’ time, did a health crisis infect core values, courage and decency? How did radical left Marxists so dramatically rise out of the shadows to leverage race to pursue impure outcomes? How did so many elected leaders fail to lead in order to allow deliberate destruction of private property, historically significant monuments and religious symbols? How did we arrive at a place when pastors and priests willingly locked the doors to our houses of worship?

A pastor of a church in White Lake, N.C., Rev. Cameron McGill, addressed many of these questions in a recent sunrise, lakeside video, which you are urged to watch and share (it runs just nine minutes). Click here. Skip ahead to the 1:45 mark to hear the essence of McGill’s message.

He quotes II Timothy 3:13 as the principal explanation for the rapid deterioration of our culture: “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

McGill explains that Americans ripe for being deceived have been seduced. Throughout history, when evil has prevailed and derailed entire societies, it has done so through seduction. Socialism is seduction in its most glaring form. Seduction is how sin prevails despite the efforts of many to be “good people”.  Seduction explains why socialist dictators easily murdered tens of millions of innocent people in the 20th century alone (Hitler, Stalin, Mao). Marxism is rooted in seduction. How else do we explain throngs of college educated white Americans swarming the streets of cities such as Portland, Ore., where destruction and police baiting has gone on unabated for two months?

Perhaps where seduction is most dangerously imposed is when we set aside common sense because “experts” are telling us to be guided by science and data, regardless of whether the numbers are accurate or reliable. Health experts, empowered by governors, seduced millions into accepting that crushing the economy, putting people out of work, closing churches and schools and turning neighbor against neighbor is all worth it to keep us safe. The promise of safety is perhaps the ultimate seduction.

We now know that there are many in our midst who will yield everything to feel safe. Even if it deprives them of a sweet little girl’s smile.

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.

 

 

 

American Al Qaeda

By Steve Woodward

If we are expected to patiently observe a phasing in of a return to freely living our daily lives amid Wuhan Virus hysteria, should we not expect, demand, a phasing out of domestic terrorism overwhelming our urban streets? Government had all of the solutions for the former, issued as “emergency” orders, but suddenly is silent on how to combat the latter. No orders.

Radical left Democrat mayors and governors (including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper) have repeatedly admonished us to “stay at home”, followed by guidance that we are “safer at home”. Now, it turns out they were right but for the wrong reason. Cooper expressed that he was “frustrated” by mounting unlawful riots in the state’s urban centers after an incident in Minnesota involving a white police officer and black man. But where was the executive order to call in the National Guard, where was the order declaring Antifa and its network of at-the-ready flamethrowers what they are, domestic terrorists? (President Trump took care of that on Sunday).

Political tyranny suddenly has yielded to political gamesmanship and anarchy in the streets not far from home, in Charlotte, Fayetteville and Raleigh. If states and municipalities were not prepared for the invisible Wuhan Virus, they certainly have been shown even more ill-prepared to combat highly visible and well orchestrated assaults on private businesses and innocent citizens.

Quite the one-two punch. The virus shatters small businesses’ finances; the street thugs shatter their windows and recent returns to semi-normalcy. If the left saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to allow virus hysteria to take down the U.S. economy, just imagine how their heads must be spinning at the thought of leveraging renewed racial tensions, largely staged and carried out with great precision. They mobilize suddenly and formidably in a way reminiscent of Al Qaeda and Isis, as if they have lingered in the shadows until the moment arrives. The big difference is that these terrorists are bred from within our society.

During Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I strolled the neighborhoods and streets of Charleston, S.C. As I write, King Street in the heart of Charleston was covered in glass fragments and debris when the sun came up on May 31. A week ago, no one would have suggested there was radical tension in the air. Maybe it was simmering, but Charleston was not a city that felt tense. It felt open and resilient.

A few years ago, I directed regional marketing for a restaurant chain that had one of its locations on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. On the evening of May 30, a brick took out a glass panel in the restaurant, and the carnage was far worse heading up the street toward the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, according to photos and video posted to social media. I spent many days and nights in downtown Raleigh, famous for its recurring street fairs. Downtown Raleigh is an emerging and thriving place as more high rise apartments spring up and more jobs come to town (courtesy of new inhabitants such open-source software firm Red Hat). What Raleigh is not — until recent days — is a city brimming with overt racial tension. During Cooper’s unconstitutional lockdown, a series of #ReOpenNC Tuesday protests, attended by all races and ethnicities, were conducted peacefully with only a handful of symbolic arrests, no police showdowns and absolutely zero property damage.

The current violent uprisings have happened before, as recently as 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore. They are happening now. They are likely to happen again. Why? The left blames our society for refusing to have a “serious conversation” about racial prejudice in our country. Cooper insists the latest protests arose to address “real systemic racism”. This is entirely disingenuous. The nation’s most impoverished, racially divided (measured by economic prosperity gaps) metro areas have been controlled and manipulated by Democrat politicians for decades. Their government solutions, their social engineering policies and cyclical programs to ingrain welfare dependency are deliberate. Yet conservatives are the racists. Just ask any mainstream media organization.

Without a hint of irony, a Washington Post columnist makes this recent observation: “It’s also notable that the cities where we’ve seen the most social unrest following high-profile police abuse cases — Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee and now Minneapolis — are cities with a well-documented history of police discrimination, abuse and violence. These are the cities where black people were probably more likely to have had their own bad experiences with police and, presumably, more likely to see themselves or someone they know in the shoes of Freddie Gray (Baltimore, 2015) or Laquan McDonald (Chicago, 2014) or Tamir Rice (Cleveland, 2014).”

And what else do these cities have in common? Democrat mayors appointing police chiefs who continue to preside over unethical, undisciplined forces comprised of cops who protect the bad actors in the department to uphold the fraternal code. (The Minneapolis cop charged with third-degree murder in the death of the apprehended George Floyd had 18 previous complaints about his conduct in uniform in his personnel file). This, rather than cleaning house, extracting the dangerous cops from the roster and finding ways to actually address racial tensions between law enforcement and young people caught in up in multi-generational hopelessness.

We’ve been told for two months to wash our hands. Turns out, Gov. Cooper and fellow Democrat governors, Democrat mayors and law enforcement leadership washed their collective hands and withdrew compassion for the most vulnerable long ago. The virus is not the worst blight on our society, after all.

 

 

 

Stay solvent

By Steve Woodward
The North Carolina General Assembly unanimously allocated $1.6 billion to fund Wuhan Virus relief programs two weeks ago. The money was sourced out of a pot of $4 billion sent down from Washington through the federal CARES Act.
Although no explanation as to the timing was offered, two bills were filed in the state Senate only last Thursday to tap into those federal funds in an effort to rescue state restaurants crippled by dine-in restrictions.
Return America
A Return America rally in Raleigh, Jones Street, May 14, 2020, coincided with a lawsuit filing that later overturned Gov. Cooper’s ban on worship service gatherings.

The Save Our Restaurants Act proposes the appropriation of $125 million, with $50 million targeting “restaurant stabilization”, and $75 million targeting “hotel stabilization”. The bill for whatever reason proclaims compassion for restaurants but allocates more money to hotels, many of which never have closed. In fact hotels are open while churches subsequently were ordered to close by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper. (Saturday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order overturning church closures after a lawsuit was filed by Return America with the support of Republican state Rep. Keith Kidwell, D-79).

The genesis of the hotel-restaurant bill, and a parallel bill to support expansion of mixed beverage sales to take-out and delivery orders, will come as a surprise to Republicans, the party of small business and free-market capitalism. The two bills’ sponsors are Senate Democrats, Jay Chaudhuri (D-15, Wake County) and first-termer Harper Peterson (D-9, New Hanover), himself a restaurant owner.
Upon closer inspection, the Save bill is not likely to be a game changer for independent restaurants relegated to take-out service the past two months and facing deeply felt uncertainty going forward. If there is a forward. The most any restaurant will be loaned under the bill’s current language is $50,000. That’s right, it’s not even a typical Democrat bailout. It’s a loan at 3.5% interest. The bill is so weak that it gives Republicans an opening to counter it with a bill that actually sustains restaurants. It’s a no-brainer.
“I wish more of our (state) officials would get out and the realize the damage, and stop looking to the federal branch to fix things,” a Moore County chef told me. “They seem to think we will just bounce back.”
A glimmer of optimism was delivered Monday by Gov. Cooper, who described himself as “hopeful” that his incremental re-opening plan for small business will move into a long awaited Phase 2 this Saturday. Cooper also, for the first time, said he would consider regional re-openings as he stated the obvious, that “it’s important to cushion the blow to the economy.”
The blow was struck weeks ago, in reality, and will only come into sharper view as state tax revenues begin to crater. Furthermore, Cooper continues to insist that Phase 2 would extend four to six weeks, leaving already suffocating restaurants, salons and fitness clubs operating at reduced capacity. For eateries, dine-in or patio seating at 50% for an excruciating month or longer will hardly launch a turnaround and will keep employment way down.
The worst case scenario is not that people will die indefinitely from complications from the Wuhan Virus. Even the most extreme doomsayers are not pushing that narrative. Worst case is that businesses of longstanding close, never to return, even as the state sits on billions of federal relief that has not been allocated, and even as state lawmakers flirt with crushing debt by the temptation of receiving another round. The Democrats in Washington have created a new bailout monstrosity carrying a $3 trillion price tag (but it never will clear the Senate).
“When considering how best to structure federal aid, I think the best image to keep in mind is a shock absorber,” wrote John Hood, chairman of the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation. “As a condition for accepting any new round of federal funds, (state) governments should be required to restate their unfunded liabilities using honest accounting and then submit a clear plan for discharging the debt.”
This is essentially what legitimately small businesses are required to do if they were among those who managed to apply for and receive funds under the bungled Paycheck Protection Program via the original $2.2 trillion CARES Act. If it turns out they do not have enough employees left to use 75% of the PPP for payroll, the money received converts from a grant to a loan. For many, it’s not a matter of staying safe but staying solvent.

The long game

By Steve Woodward

It is impossible to understand what religious persecution feels like until it comes home to a free land. It feels surreal. Worshipping inside the four walls of a church this past Sunday with a small gathering of Christians marked the first time I have experienced this horrible feeling. We were where we were not supposed to be, doing what we were not supposed to do in the company of others — praying, singing, contemplating scripture.

“Stay at home,” decreed North Carolina Democrat tyrant and Governor Roy Cooper back in March, joining governors across the nation imposing mass shutdowns to slow the spread of the Wuhan Virus. Cooper’s order specifically prohibits gathering for religious services in churches, or for that matter, anywhere. Dutifully, the churches closed and adopted streaming video services, excluding those most in need of their church community, the ones without internet or the know-how to use a device to access it.

There was so much outrage about businesses that were forcibly closed, hospital procedures that were deemed unnecessary and the suspension of education inside classrooms that the trampling of a Constitutional right to assemble and worship God was all but overlooked. This should never have happened. Churches should have been granted the freedom to make their own decisions about how to conduct services amid virus hysteria, using the same formula that determines how many people can enter a grocery store.

We know the left has poisoned higher education and K-12 education. We know the corporate-owned media has been coopted and is corrupt and compliant. We know voting integrity is increasingly at risk as the left becomes ever more brash about rigging elections. We know the courts have been packed with activist judges to render the will of the American voter meaningless (see NC voter ID lawsuits). And now, sadly, we must acknowledge that clergy and denominational governing bodies apparently have been similarly hijacked. Where was the outrage when Cooper abruptly banned church services? There was none expressed by the church where I am a member.

Thankfully, along came one pastor who stood up, opened the doors of his church and exercised his rights as a U.S. citizen.

This came in stark contrast to John Nagy’s Sunday column in The Pilot. The virus is “everywhere,” he wrote, failing to specify his source, scientific or otherwise, behind this declaration. Nagy’s was a tone of doom, of resignation that North Carolinians should not expect to live the lives we knew only a few weeks ago. Ever again. I sensed an underlying motive for writing it. This is what they’ve always hoped for in America on the left. Less freedom. More governance by edict. More social shaming of anyone who fails to comply with orders, no matter how extreme.

These ambitions were forecast as long ago as 1963 when a member of the U.S. House of Representatives placed into the Congressional Record the 45 goals of communism derived from a book recently published at the time, entitled “The Naked Communist”. Read the list here. It is clear the left has played the long game. More than a half century later the unthinkable goals they articulated are being achieved, one by one.

If we are being honest with ourselves, we must acknowledge, as Americans and as Republicans, and as North Carolinians, the Wuhan Virus appears increasingly to have spread across our world deliberately with a lot of collateral damage but one target, the United States. The U.S. economy, our health care system, our food supply, President Donald Trump, our Constitutional freedom, religious and speech freedom specifically (who will soon forget a Raleigh police officer announcing that protests are “non-essential” activities under Cooper’s iron boot orders?), and anything else the virus can disrupt along the way. Note the surge of nodding heads as the State Board of Elections turns up the volume on the necessity of 100% mail-in voting this fall. For our safety, of course.

The Wuhan Virus is exacting a sad but hardly unprecedented human toll. The broader death toll remains to be seen. The left is counting on historic carnage. God empowers us to win the war now being waged outside of labs working on vaccines, the war on liberty. Let us pray we have the courage to leverage that power so that churches, like some American businesses, do not close their doors forever.