Friday, June 16, 2017

Standing around the gasoline can, holding lit matches

June 2017 post-America is not a very fun place.

Victor Davis Hanson sums it up with requite grimness:

America barely survived the Civil War of 1861-65, the Great Depression of 1929-39, and the rioting and protests of the 1960s. But today's growing divides are additionally supercharged by instant internet and social media communications, 24/7 cable news, partisan media and the denigration of America's past traditions.
All Americans need to take a deep breath, step back and rein in their anger -- and find more ways to connect rather than divide themselves.
As does Peggy Noonan at the WSJ:

What we are living through in America is not only a division but a great estrangement. It is between those who support Donald Trump and those who despise him, between left and right, between the two parties, and even to some degree between the bases of those parties and their leaders in Washington. It is between the religious and those who laugh at Your Make Believe Friend, between cultural progressives and those who wish not to have progressive ways imposed upon them. It is between the coasts and the center, between those in flyover country and those who decide what flyover will watch on television next season. 

As does Jay Caruso at Red State:

The question is whether or not people will choose reason and rationality over finger-pointing and casting blame the next time something like this happens. Over at Legal Insurrection, Kemberlee Kaye wrote the following:
If we want things to be different, we must act and do differently. It is far easier to blame than it is to do, but ultimately, it is up to each of us to do our part to ensure this country, our home, and our future is the absolute best it can possibly be.
Make sure to read the whole piece. It’s a compelling argument, but if you scroll down and get to the comments, you’ll see:
The fact of the matter is that “we” don’t need to do a damn thing different. “They”–the left, the media, that whole set of crazies–need to change “their” behavior.
What do you think is going to cause that change to happen? That’s the discussion that needs to occur here.
Welp, we’ll agree to disagree. This is not a ‘cycle’, this is entirely one side attacking the other side, my side. Every day is a relentless assault on our way-of-life, our God-given liberties, and indeed our lives. It’s like fighting jihadis, unless you’re willing to name your enemy, you don’t have a chance of successfully defending yourself.
One more:
Kemberlee’s article is pretty much what every battered wife says when she goes and puts up bail for the guy who just gave her a pair of black eyes.
It is not saying if a similarly published piece appeared on a left-of-center site, people in the comments section there wouldn’t have similar takes about the right. It’s a near-certainty they’d exist. And therein lies the problem.

It's not just the baseball-practice shooting.

It's incidents like this:

As we’ve often seen, if you belong to a group the Democrat party considers one of its constituencies (women, minorities, LGBTQ) and you have the audacity to believe in conservatism, a special ration of hate is reserved for you.
Over Pride weekend, Orange County Democratic Party Vice-Chair Jeff LeTourneau lost his ever-loving mind when he heard that a person gathering signatures for a recall petition against Democrat state Sen. Josh Newman was gay. After a pro-Newman worker gave him that information, he made a special trip to the Wal-Mart parking lot to harass the group.
LeTourneau – wearing his Orange County Democratic Party name badge – strolls right up to the signature gatherers, feeling fully entitled to verbally attack and attempt to intimidate them.
Which one of you a**holes is gay?
Get your s*** and get out of here.  You’re a f***ing disgrace to every gay person I know.
How dare you come into our community and do this? For what? $20 an hour or are you getting $3.25 a signature? You’re whoring yourself out for what, $20 an hour or $3.25 a signature?
LeTourneau’s rage was mainly directed at Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Council member and openly gay conservative radio talk show host. 
DeMaio is also the founder of Reform California, which is spearheading the Newman recall effort. Newman was targeted for recall after California legislators passed SB-1, a transportation bill which includes hefty increases in vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes. The measure passed mostly along party lines. Newman, who voted for the measure, barely won his Senate race last fall in an area that’s traditionally been conservative, he was the easiest recall target. If the GOP is able to take that seat back, Democrats will no longer hold a supermajority in the state Senate.
So, LeTourneau clearly knows who DeMaio is, but asks him where he’s from anyway. He even feels he has the authority to tell them to leave, and looks like he’s about to destroy their belongings. 
And this:

On a day when lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Washington are asking Americans to unite, a loyal Starbucks customer says she was targeted for supporting Donald Trump. Starbucks said they are making sure this incident won't happen again.
"I don't know what politics has to do with getting a cup of coffee," Kayla Hart said. 
Hart walked in to Starbucks on East Boulevard in Dilworth on Wednesday morning, wearing a Donald Trump t-shirt. Instead of being greeted with a smile, Kayla said the cashier laughed and her order was labeled with a political message, mocking her support for the president.
"They shouted out build a wall and shoved a drink at me and then all the barisatas in the back started cracking up laughing," said Hart.
The commotion caught the attention of nearby customers.
"I just walked out because everyone was staring," Hart said.  

We are at the point where certain citizens of this nation will not tolerate sharing geographic space with other citizens.

Again, I must trot out a couple of terms I'm employing fairly frequently these days: brittleness and cacophony.

Post-America is brittle because defiant swagger drowns out any other kind of discourse now. If you're not fierce, if your fangs aren't bared, no one finds you relevant.

Post-America is cacophonous because there is nothing transpiring that is of a defensible nature that one might latch onto and call one's cause to die for.  Just because the Left engages in the brinkmanship-level provocation cited above, do you feel compelled to rally around Donald Trump, discern in him some kind of cause to champion? Of course not. He exacerbates the situation with his utter lack of maturity or ideological consistency.

On the other hand, generalized calls for "everyone" to "tone down the rhetoric" can quickly deteriorate into milquetoast pleas for a collective kumbaya hug - after which there will still exist issues on our societal plate such as wealth redistribution, gender fluidity, cooked-book "science" regarding the global climate, the disappearance of the canon of Western literature from Western universities, denial of the fundamentally problematic nature of Islam, and the notion that health care is some kind of "right."

But, you see, these are matters of principle and idea.

The question for the moment, I guess, is whether enough people still insist on principle and idea driving our discourse or whether vulgar ad hominem taunts and threats and identity-politics militancy are going to cloud every syllable of every exchange between and among us.

Again I say, I'd give anything to one day take the pulse of this society and conclude that the name of this blog had become obsolete.

Today is not that day.


  1. Calling us Post-Americans is not helpful either.

  2. I explained that in a post a few weeks ago. In all and any significant ways, this is no longer the United States of America

  3. Post-America - I don't care what the GDP is, how low the unemployment rate goes, or how close to a balanced budget Congress gets, a society that has embraced insane notions such as health care being a right, or gender being fluid, or the global climate being in some kind of trouble demanding an abrupt halt to human advancement, is no longer recognizable as the United States of America.

  4. Thank God Americans have generally been free to disagree and we have the rule of law, not men. What do I tell my grandkids we are?

  5. A nation that has decided that God, common sense and dignity are bad things.

  6. "Late in the Day" reminds me of Paul Harvey.
    The eternal optimist I would rather believe compromise, dignity, common sense and God are far from abandoned in our country. Maybe we need to revisit the Fairness in News Act which was discarded a long time ago?

    A lot has changed since 1984, the wild west of the modern media may need some better rules today.

  8. I don't see how we could do this in this day of such diffuse media.

  9. Neither do I, but if we don't we risk allowing rampant abuse as daily demonstrated.

  10. Publish a proven intentional lie pay a penalty seems a good place to start for media regulation. A substantial penalty based on resources of the provider. Say 10% of that day revenue from this commercial news provider. No individual penalty. Define more clearly individual and commercial news providers.

  11. The leftist media has whipped up this country to a point that being being a conservative in today's society has become similar to being a Jew in Nazi Germany. Trump was elected by the "fly over" states as the lesser of two evils. Conservative beliefs are considered as backward and Americans that believe in conservative principles are being silenced in public for fear of retaliation from the Progressives ...yes those who call conservatives Facists but in fact are the true Facist's in our society of today. Progressive leftists are the ones attempting to stop free speech, committing hate crimes, campus riots, and libelous fake news in an attempt to overthrow a legitimate government. Anarchy is not far away if this divide is not resolved.

  12. So if it is leftist media, so what? There is right wing media too. There has always been media bias, hence we used to call newspapers Republican or Democrat. Then came the tabloids. All media has its slants. There are legal remedies for fake news, and they have existed for a long time. I'd rather have a free press than a censored one. And this nation has not abandoned God and common sense. Despite the whacko birds, nut cases, serial killers, the one per centers, the 20%ers, the gays, the blacks, the 1/10 of one percenters (the transsexuals), we are still a nation of laws, not men, free to be whatever we want if, as bloggie continually contends, we just follow his conservative light.

  13. Mr. DIngs, are you not aware of the stats re: decline in church attendance, or millennials going in for that "spiritual but not religious" nonsense?

    And regarding being a nation of laws, no one seems to have told big-city mayors like Bill deBlasio and Rahm Emmanuel who are defying federal law and defending their cities' status as sanctuary cities.

  14. Regardless, some in our society claim to be capable of "smelling BS from a mile away. That is a commendable quality.

    "Christianity is losing a little bit of its death grip over the culture," Evans said. Sliding numbers, along with cultural and political battles over issues like same-sex marriage, have helped cultivate a sense of persecution or defensiveness among some Christians. "There’s a sense that the culture is shifting," she said. "That can be fearful for some people." The interesting thing about this, though, is that an overwhelming majority of Americans still identify as Christians—roughly 75 percent. Church life is still very much part of American life, which is why the frame of Evans's book is so useful. She writes of growing up in an evangelical congregation in Tennessee, quitting church in her twenties, planting and closing a new church before she turned 30, and finally settling into an Episcopalian congregation—for now—at 33. Hers is a first-person account of what it's like to struggle with the existence of God and hate church politics and still yearn, a little or a lot, for the kind of community that religious worship can bring. After she and her husband decided to leave Grace Bible Church, the congregation Held grew up in, over the issue of same-sex marriage, "I put my head in my hands and cried, startled to tears by the selfishness of my own thoughts," she wrote. "Who will bring us casseroles when we have a baby?"

    Many Millennials may not go to church, but like Evans, they have a church story. These stories don't come out in demographic data, which obscures an experience that a lot of young Americans probably have: "No one really teaches you how to grieve the loss of your faith. You're on your own for that," Evans writes. For those who are trying to figure out where they fit, she just doesn't believe that punk-rock Christianity will do the trick of getting people back in the pews.

    "The reasons Millennials are leaving are more complex than a lack of cool," she said in an interview. "We’ve been advertised to our entire lives. We can smell B.S. from a mile away. So if you’re just trying to sell us a product, we can tell.”

  15. Are you not confident that the sanctuary city thing will play out in the courts? I for one hope they win, but you likely do not. When I get caught breaking a law I am charged and the rest of it plays out in the courts. I realize twat various factions are gunning to stack them, but We still have our courts, do we not? And we can even appeal the decisions of the courts. Many here do not want to deport the illegals who came here for the money they were paid and we looked the other way for decades. It will play out in the courts, unless the Donald decides to impose martial law. That will also still play out in the courts. Pray to have it go your way...

  16. "There’s a sense that the culture is shifting," she said. "That can be fearful for some people."


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  18. The weird thing is that, while bloggie was replying at 3:59 am I was editing my post concerning an article I had just read from a link at the Atlantic on facebook and had not even seen bloggie's post until I posted at 4:00 am (bloggie standard time) . We must know each other pretty well after arguing here for over a decade. (And I've been bugging bloggie to correct his clock here for over a decade too). It was actually 7:00 am EST.

  19. Why is "spiritual, not religious" nonsense? That concept has saved many an abused and abandoned "sinner's" bacon. Our heads can spin over all the religious water over the dam of history. I still believe in Jesus' promise that if we seek, we will find." Seek! And when you find, pass it on. The BS detectors amongst us are watching, even hoping and praying.

  20. How old was bloggie when he found it and looked back at the great unsaved and began fuming that the world he knew was gonna blow?

    "The teen brain grows rapidly, and with it the ability to think more abstractly and critically. In early adolescence, teens begin to establish their own ideals and recognize hypocrisy in people and institutions around them. They deal with heartbreak and social cliques, see suffering in the world and wonder if there is a God who cares. They are trying to figure out their place and how and if something like religion belongs. Exploring such questions is the most important work a teen can do, says Lisa Miller, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Spiritual Child.” Research shows that adolescents with a strong personal spirituality are found to be 60% less likely to be severely depressed as teenagers, she says."

  21. "While teens doubt, they aren’t ready to give up on the idea of God and the importance of religion. A significant majority—84% of 13- to 17-year-olds believe in God, according to a National Study of Youth and Religion, a longitudinal survey of more than 3,000 teens conducted in 2002 and led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Notre Dame. Three years later, belief among the same teens, then 16- to 21-years-old, slipped to 78%."


  22. "Cities suing over the executive order are gearing up for a 10th Amendment fight The federal government can't coerce local governments into doing its work. That fact is at the core of suits brought by cities including San Francisco and Seattle. Those cities will argue Trump's order violates the Constitution's 10th Amendment by attempting to make local governments enforce federal immigration law. Minneapolis has said it's considering joining the suits. The plaintiffs argue that the Department of Justice's threats to withhold federal funding — often significant chunks of cities' budgets — constitutes a threat, coercing local entities to do federal immigration workers' jobs. The federal government can try persuading local jurisdictions to act on its behalf, but it's not legal when that persuasion becomes threatening or coercive."

  23. But, as bloggie has shown, when the courts rule against his opinions, he blames the judges and rails against their ungodliness and liberalism and wants to vet them in the hopes that everything again will indeed be going his way.

  24. These cities are going beyond just pointing out that their job is not the same as federal law enforcement agents. Their mayors, city councils and spokespeople are openly boasting that they will make every effort to make illegal aliens feel safe from federal efforts to have them removed.

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  26. This frequent trotting out of the phrase "nation of laws not men" strikes me as a smokescreen. While it is inarguably a laudable concept, it doesn't tell the whole story.

    Technically speaking, any city council, state legislature, or even the federal Congress could pass a law mandating that every family kill its third-born child. If such a law, after passing and surviving court challenges, were to be found by the Supreme Court to be Constitutional, would you calmly accept such a decision?

    You see, right and wrong are not subjective.

    That's so important that it bears repeating.

    Right and wrong are not subjective.


    Just over 60 percent of millennials say that Christianity is “judgmental,” and 64 percent say that “anti-gay” best describes most churches today.

    I'm going to devote an entire post this.