|November 27, 2020|
Good morning! Today's newsletter includes:
- Happy Black Friday, America
- ICYMI: Something to be thankful for: Mike Flynn pardoned
- New Podcast Episode
- ICYMI: Why President Trump needs to keep fighting
- Remembering family
I will resume commenting on the news again, tomorrow.
HAPPY BLACK FRIDAY
Happy Black Friday, America! Although thanks to the Internet and now month-long Black Friday deals, Black Friday is no longer stirring as much controversy as it did when it first started encroaching on Thursday night and pulling people away from their family Thanksgiving celebrations. Black Friday has expanded so much that most of the deals were sold out by Wednesday. But don’t worry, we still have Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday to come. And at that point, the Christmas shopping season really begins.
I’m sure that for many Americans, one of the few good things about having to limit the number of Thanksgiving guests is that it will mean fewer people to ruin dinner with political arguments. But since we’re all still enjoying our warm drowsiness from all the food, I don’t want to spoil that by writing about politics, either. So instead, I’d like to talk about something that doesn't change with the passing headlines. It's the greatest gift that a parent can give to a child: the gift of character.
This is the time of year when people go out shopping for holiday bargains, and it’s easy to let the thrill of the hunt and the lure of saving a few bucks on the latest gadgets override our good manners and consideration for others. But if you have character, that’s not a problem.
Where does character come from? It’s rooted in parents teaching their kids integrity and respect for others. And it may not be politically correct to say so, but kids need to be disciplined according to traditional, agreed-upon standards.
It seems to have become a sad Black Friday tradition to see news stories of people so crazed to get at bargains that they commit violence against each other. In some places, you can’t tell if you’re at a Black Friday sale or an Antifa riot/looting. A few years ago at a Walmart in New York, a worker was actually trampled to death. The crowd even trampled other workers who were trying to help him; and when told the store was being closed because of the death, they shouted curses and just kept shopping.
If you could turn back the clock a decade or two, I'll bet you would find most of those shoppers as kids, running wild, bullying other kids, sassing their elders...in other words, having no boundaries and being taught no consideration for others. If you'd said anything to their parents then, they might've replied, "We don't want to stifle their creativity." Or "We don't want to impose our standards on our kids. Let them figure out for themselves what feels right to them." Instead of admitting that their kids’ behavior was objectively wrong, they might've tried to rationalize it as being “free-spirited” or needing a Ritalin prescription. Or most likely, they would've just cursed and punched you for daring to question their parenting.
Children may act as if they resent discipline, but they not only need it, they secretly crave it. They need parents to instill the Golden Rule, and to teach them that there are certain lines we all must stay within, or else society falls apart. That’s a lesson we’re seeing with frightening clarity recently, with the rise of such groups as Antifa, who think that laws don’t apply to them and that the First Amendment somehow gives them the right to bully and intimidate others into silence. They think there are all sorts of boundaries that apply to other people, but none to them. Whatever feels right to them, they just do, even violence and vandalism.
There are thousands of strips of concrete in every city. Imagine what would happen if every airline pilot made a personal decision on land on whatever patch of concrete “feels right” to land on.
We live in a time when mass media and social media cause shifts in standards for language or behavior to spread almost instantly. Suddenly, both living and historic figures are being condemned for not measuring up to some PC behavior rule that didn’t even exist before last Tuesday (are you old enough to remember ‘way back to when it wasn’t considered hateful, bigoted, intolerant transphobia to object to a middle-aged man walking into the ladies’ bathroom when your 13-year-old daughter was in there?)
But we can’t be constantly judging the past by ever-shifting standards of the moment. As British author L.P. Hartley said, “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” The only fair way to judge anyone, past or present, is by an immovable moral standard that’s not subject to the whims of changing fads and opinions. To do that, children have to be taught such standards. Standards such as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Take responsibility for your own actions. Try to keep your head even when everyone around you is losing theirs. These are things that were true centuries ago, they’re true today, and they’ll be true centuries from now.
I once had the importance of such solid guideposts brought to my attention in a way I will never forget. In 1997, Arkansas was struck by a devastating tornado. As Governor, I was visiting one of the worst-hit towns when State Rep. Martha Shoffner said she had to show me something. She took me to a courthouse whose roof was completely gone. Inside was a museum in which everything had been blown away or destroyed…except for one thing. Still hanging on the wall was my official Governor's photo. It hadn’t broken or fallen off. It wasn't even askew. I took it as a sobering reminder that no matter what disaster might befall our state, it was the Governor’s responsibility to remain steady as a rock and see everyone through.
The thought occurred to me then that we can't keep storms out of our kids' lives, and we can't teach them to hide from storms. We also can’t let them go on believing that if they scream loudly enough, the storms will give in and go away. All we can do is give them a strong enough foundation so that when life’s storms inevitably come, they'll be prepared to ride them out with a level head and a steady hand.
Here’s wishing you a safe and courteous shopping season and a happy Thanksgiving weekend!
ICYMI: SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: MIKE FLYNN PARDONED
Here’s something for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn --- and all of us --- to be extra-thankful for right now: Flynn's seemingly endless legal battle with the FBI is finally over. It took a pardon from President Trump for that to happen.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Trump tweeted: “It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to Gen. Flynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
His attorney, Sidney Powell, has made a statement that reads in part, “The FBI and the DOJ have been a national embarrassment for more than 15 years. It was my fervent hope to make our judicial system work to exonerate an innocent man --- as all the Left would want if he were anyone but Trump or Michael Flynn, but enough is enough. This is sick. It’s painfully obvious Judge Sullivan is playing an evil political game with a good man’s life and family.”
Trump’s adversaries are screaming, of course, even though this man did nothing wrong and has been subject to abusive treatment by the judge in his case. We’ve followed the Flynn case from the beginning, but if you haven’t kept up or would like to review the argument for his complete innocence, Dan Bongino’s Wednesday podcast, which was recorded before the pardon came through, easily shows that Flynn was set up and that he did not lie to the FBI about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador. According to the agents' own notes, they never even ASKED him about sanctions during their ambush interview. And as the incoming national security adviser during an official presidential transition, Flynn was just serving in his job capacity when he talked to him.
Thank you, President Trump.
NEW PODCAST EPISODE
The double standards must end! How can the government keep casinos and strip clubs open, but keep us from going to church? Listen to The People's Podcast during your holiday travels and get our Election Special before it ends!
ICYMI: WHY PRESIDENT TRUMP NEEDS TO KEEP FIGHTING
"We want to disqualify 675,000 votes so that 74 million people are not disenfranchised.”
–- Rudy Giuliani, referring to the number of people who voted for Trump, at Wednesday’s hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Policy Committee
Also, this commentary by Michael Walsh at THE EPOCH TIMES says it well. In his words, the stakes are not just Trump’s political survival, “but the survival of the Republic itself under a Constitution the left increasingly and openly despises.”
Walsh says Trump should go on national television, in sort of a “Thanksgiving fireside chat,” to explain this, and then let the evidence come out and “the judgments –- political and historical” be made. Sounds right to me.
Thanksgiving is not only a time when we give thanks for our many blessings as Americans (this year, I am particularly thankful for the “mute” button on the TV remote), it’s also a time when we normally gather together as families and get reacquainted with relatives we don’t see any other time of year. The coronavirus has made that difficult if not impossible for many of us. I hope that if you can’t host your older relatives, you will be sure to call or Skype or Zoom or use whatever technology they can figure out so that you can visit and they’ll know you’re thinking of them.
Every Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking back on beloved family members who are no longer with us. There’s one who meant so much to me that sharing my memories of him has become sort of a holiday tradition. So I hope you’ll indulge me as I share the story of a very special relative from my childhood. I usually saw him only once a year, but he taught me a lesson that helped make me what I am today and for which I still give thanks.
When I was a boy in Hope, Arkansas, one thing about the holidays I most looked forward to was the annual visit from my Uncle Garvin. Garvin Elder was my mother’s half-brother from her dad’s first marriage, and so much older than her, he was like a grandpa to my sister and me. He was an accountant and a lifelong bachelor from Houston, and he cut quite an impressive figure whenever he arrived by bus in Hope.
He owned stocks (I could hardly imagine such a thing!) and carried a real leather suitcase with travel tags, not like the cardboard suitcase we owned but never used. And he wore a suit, tie and starched white shirt -- every day! In our town, if you saw a man in a suit, it could mean only one of two things: either it was Sunday, or he was going to or coming from a funeral.
Over the holidays, while my parents were at work, Uncle Garvin was the only adult in the house. So when he wasn’t taking his daily unbreakable appointment with the “Perry Mason” rerun, I would constantly pester him to play checkers with me. Now you must understand, this was in the days before self-esteem classes and helicopter parents. Uncle Garvin didn’t realize how impolite, damaging, even psychologically traumatic and triggering it was to beat the daylights out of a sensitive young boy at checkers. No, he played to win. And he relished beating me…which he did, over and over and over.
Of course, I hated losing to him. But that just made me want to challenge him again. Over time, I gradually got better until I actually beat him occasionally
Looking back now, I realize what a huge favor Uncle Garvin did for me by developing my competitive spirit. These days, we’ve built a society of handwringers so afraid of hurting a child’s self-esteem that everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, no matter how poorly they perform. We’ve taken away their incentive to work hard and get better.
This is the same mindset that’s given us incompetent CEOs who crash companies, then run to the government for a bailout because they’re “too big to fail.” And idiots in government who bail them out with money they confiscate from hardworking taxpayers, because it’s “not fair” that some succeed when others don’t. And who also think that "fairness" means taking money away from people who earn it and giving it to people who don't work but do vote.
Call me crazy, but I believe there’s something to be said for competition and for rewarding hard work, talent and intelligence. And there’s a lot to be said for the lessons learned and the character built through trying your best, failing and trying again.
So every Thanksgiving, when I’m giving thanks to God for my countless blessings, I include a little prayer of thanks for my Uncle Garvin…and for all those long-ago checker games that were so painful to lose at the time.
And of course, I’m thankful for all the folks who help me create my newsletters and website and my show on TBN, and all of you who read and watch. I hope to be giving thanks for that for many Thanksgivings to come!
BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY