Morning Edition - June 18

June 18, 2020 |

MORNING EDITION

June 18, 2020 

By Mike Huckabee

With all of the crazy, disturbing news these days, it is very easy to lose sight of what is important and enduring.  Today's newsletter is going to focus on these things...

THE SPIRITUAL SIDE OF OUR LIVES REALLY DOES MATTER

When I was growing up, my bedtime ritual always included a fairy tale that started with “Once upon a time...” and ended with the comforting words we all remember: “And they lived happily every after.” As a child of the optimistic 1950s, I dreamed that life might be like that: whatever obstacles, dangers, or perils might come my way, in the end, I would live happily ever after.

There were certainly plenty of struggles along the way, but I have to say that things did eventually work out even more happily than I could have imagined, from a career that I love to a wonderful family, including the world’s greatest grandkids. But sadly, for many people, “living happily ever after” does seem like an unobtainable fairy tale. Why is that happy ending seemingly out of reach for so many people?

Of course, there are always factors beyond our control, like health problems and accidents. None of us can ever know if our birthday or Christmas celebration was the last we’ll ever enjoy. We have no way of knowing when it will all end, only that someday, it will (that’s why it’s said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes.)

Well, I can’t help you with your taxes, but I do have a bit of advice that I think will make death less frightening and greatly increase your chances of living “happily ever after.”

For decades, our nation has been focused on personal pleasure. The message drummed into everyone by pop culture is “If it feels good, do it.” It’s fostered a culture of self-centeredness that led to Baby Boomers being nicknamed “The Me Generation.” Today’s young people have been dubbed “iGen” because many are so fixated on self and selfies that even their gadgets’ names all start with “I.” Advertising bombards us with the message that life is all about me and all about now. Such messages of immediate self-gratification may sell products and services, but they cause us to sell our souls if we follow this philosophy to its logical conclusion.

At some point in life, we all experience events that shake up our routine, much like the agitator in a washing machine shakes loose the grime in our clothes. We may not want or enjoy such experiences, but they’re necessary to force us to focus on the frailty of life and the certainty of death. They also force us to begin asking what really matters and why.

If we react to setbacks based solely on what feels good right now, we greatly lower our chances of enjoying a happy future. But if we believe there is even a remote possibility that our actions have lasting implications beyond the immediate, both within and beyond our lifetimes, it should cause us to think differently, live differently, and leave a different kind of legacy.

Without apology, I believe that the spiritual side of our lives really does matter. To believe otherwise is to define humans as little more than animated protoplasm, going through the motions of life for no particular purpose. I prefer to believe there’s more to us than flesh and blood. If we possess a soul capable of living beyond our lifetimes, then the seeds we plant in this life will yield fruit forever. If you believe those things, the ultimate becomes more important than the immediate.

When we decide to live beyond our lifetimes, our responsibilities to the next generation will outweigh our roles in our current jobs. More important than the money we’re paid for our work is what we will become as a result of our work. Our character will become more important than the careers we follow.

For all of us, life began “once upon a time.” Unlike the fairy tales, however, it’s up to us to make the choices that determine whether the last line of our life stories will read, “And they lived happily ever after.”

SELF-GOVERNMENT REQUIRES SELF-DISCIPLINE 

There are a lot of things people like to believe that are patently absurd if you think about it. Much of the Obama Administration was based on making nonsensical declarations – we can’t just drill our way out of an energy shortage, it would take a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs, 2 percent growth is the “new normal,” etc. – all delivered in a somber, imperious tone that made them sound like unassailable fact. One of the most common pieces of false conventional wisdom is that “the government can’t legislate morality!”

But of course, they do it all the time. We have millions of laws, just to enforce society’s consensus of what’s morally right or wrong. Liberals used to protest this, and now they’re the chief generators of morality laws, usually bans on everything they find morally offensive, including smoking, using racist words (or the “wrong” pronoun), giving someone a plastic straw, etc. etc. etc. Each law comes with loopholes that someone will try to exploit, so the government adds more laws. Plus police, courts, and jails, because some people will always insist on doing the wrong thing anyway. All to legislate morality.

Self-government requires self-discipline, self-respect, and respect for others. When people don’t follow an accepted standard moral code, the government keeps passing new laws to try to force them to, which creates a bigger government and more expense for everybody. Maybe the national debt wouldn’t be sky high now if our behavior standards hadn’t sunk so low.

How much do people’s bad personal choices end up costing all the rest of us? You might be surprised at the size of the bill. When I left the governor’s office in Arkansas, we had more than 13,000 inmates in the Department of Corrections. Just keeping them locked up costs taxpayers more than $220 million a year. That’s more than it would have cost to send 13,000 kids to any college in the state, all expenses paid. If every prison inmate had just lived a moral life and stayed out of trouble, the taxpayers could have enjoyed a $220 million tax cut. Or the money might have been used to improve roads and services that benefit everyone.

From the left, I’d always hear that we should spend more money on prisoners or else turn more of them loose. From the right, I’d hear that we should lock up more people and eliminate parole while cutting the prison budget. Both were unrealistic. But hardly anyone wanted to talk about the real problem: the lack of morality that led to all those people being locked up in the first place.

And what about juvenile offenders? Every kid placed into our Division of Youth Services cost taxpayers up to $80,000 a year. If they’d all had stable, nurturing homes and been taught to be obedient, responsible, and moral, it would’ve saved the taxpayers of just that one state $80 million a year. Imagine how many parks we could have built for all kids to enjoy, or how many books we could’ve bought for school libraries if we could’ve freed up $80 million a year in the state budget.

A lot of kids get into trouble because of peer pressure. They think breaking the rules makes them look cool to their friends. So kids, when someone you know starts acting up, instead of rewarding them with your admiration, please tell them instead, “That’s not cool! Thanks for costing us our parks and turning our generation into tax slaves, jerk!”

Hey, as long as kids are going to be vulnerable to peer pressure, why not use its power for good?

HOW YOU DEFINE LIBERTY IS IMPORTANT

We hear often these days that society shouldn’t have any absolute moral standards. Imposing standards is oppressive, judgmental and outdated. Like Linus and the Great Pumpkin, it doesn’t matter what we choose to believe, as long as we’re really sincere in believing it. Well, pardon me for pointing it out, but that’s…well, stupid (sorry, Linus!)

There are all sorts of absolute standards to which we adhere. A rock band might be filled with nonconformists, but they can’t each play in whatever key they feel like. You might concede Hannibal Lecter’s sincere belief in cannibalism, but you wouldn’t go to his house for dinner. It seems counter-intuitive, but freedom can’t work unless we all agree to abide by certain basic standards of right and wrong. When we step outside those boundaries, chaos ensues. That can leave a bad taste in your mouth, and I’m not still referring to Hannibal Lecter. I like to illustrate the concept with a story from the days when my own kids were young.

When my son John Mark was only 12, he decided one day to bake a cake. My wife Janet and I returned home and were greeted by our son, proudly offering ol’ dad the first taste. Well, it looked good, and I was already preparing some fatherly praise as I took that first bite. But what came out of my mouth wasn’t words. It was the cake. It was so awful, I had to spit it out. My first thought was that my son was trying to kill me for the insurance.

As soon as my tongue overcame its shock, I asked John Mark if he’d used a recipe. He said he had, and he’d followed it to the letter. Well, except that he didn’t know what a “dash” of salt meant, so he decided a cup of salt should be enough.

Now, my son worked hard on that cake…he had the best of intentions…and he sincerely believed he’d done a good job. But hard work, good intentions, and sincere beliefs meant nothing once he decided he could make up his own measurement standards. That’s literally a recipe for disaster.

Freedom can’t exist in a moral vacuum. It makes some people uncomfortable to hear this, but without clear boundaries of right and wrong, the very concept of liberty breaks down. A person might argue that he should be free to look at pictures others find offensive. But if it’s a photo of a child who’s being exploited, then there’s more at stake than just the liberty of the viewer. There was a big controversy over separating children from parents who crossed the border illegally, but very few people brought up the facts that the parents chose to bring their children along as they knowingly violated federal immigration law – or that (as a pilot DNA test program proved) in many cases, those weren’t even parents but people exploiting children they weren’t even related to.

Self-government can’t mean each of us lives by our own unique set of rules. If that’s how you define liberty, then you’re just going to get less of it. When people live outside the boundaries of a principled and agreed-upon moral code, it always leads to a government that’s bigger and more intrusive, just to force people to do the right thing. Not to mention creating an avalanche of lawsuits.

If you think more lawyers and bigger government actually improve society, then I have a delicious cake recipe I’d like to sell you. Then again, no…taking your money for that cake recipe would definitely be morally wrong.

THE TYPE OF LEADERS WE NEED

We all knew a kid in school who just had to run everything. Remember the classmate who insisted on picking the games you’d all play at recess, where you’d go after school, even who was “in” or “out” of your group? In high school, that kid had a compulsive need to be the leader of every student organization. You just wanted to say, “Hey! You’re not the boss of me!” Whatever happened to those kids? I wouldn’t be surprised if most ended up in government. And as the recent Democratic “debates” proved, a pretty large percentage of them are currently running for President.

I’m convinced the world is divided into people who just want to live their own lives and those who, for some reason, have an uncontrollable urge to tell everyone else how to live. Unfortunately, to that latter group, the government seems like the ideal place to work. As more of them gravitated toward government, Congress abdicated much of its legislating authority to unelected bureaucrats. Their bureaus grew and grew, and so did their regulations with the force of law (but no input from the people.) Then one day, we looked up and discovered we had a crushing national debt and were paying huge salaries to an army of people who enforce how big your soda should be and who couldn’t be fired. That’s when sane people realized that government is the LAST place these control freaks needed to be.

The temptation for government to overreach is hardly new. In fact, it stretches back to the beginning of recorded history, and I bet even earlier than that. There’s a story in the ninth chapter of the book of Judges in the Old Testament about Gideon’s son Abimelech, who craved leadership and stature - not to serve the people but to control them and make them serve him. He said, “Give me dominion over your lives, and I will simplify your existence.” Wow, does that sound familiar? It’s basically the entire 2020 Democratic platform. Our government has taken us pretty far down that same road, but does your life seem any simpler -- or just a lot less free?

Anyway, back to Abimelech. He had a very smart younger brother, Jotham, who came up with a clever tale about three trees: an olive tree, a fig tree, and a vine tree. All three were fine trees that produced lots of fruit. All were offered the exalted position of “King Of All Trees,” but all three turned it down. The plant that wanted to be “King Of All Trees” was the bramble bush, a weak plant that produces no fruit at all. Jotham’s point was that only the weak and nonproductive have the desire to rule everyone else.

When anyone aspires to a position of power, take a long, hard look. If that person seemingly crawled out of the cradle with an ambition to be President, then beware! Anytime someone talks about “running the country,” alarm bells should sound. No one – not the President, not Congress, no one person – “runs the country.” That’s why the Founders took such pains to divide and limit federal power, and why we need to reinstate those limits that have been blurred in recent years, whether by Presidents ruling via executive order or out-of-control judges legislating from the bench or unelected bureaucrats trying to influence the results of elections. If we allow any one person or entity to ignore those limits and assume the power to run everything, we won’t be able to stop them when they run America into the ground.

We should pick leaders who resemble the trees in the Bible story that don’t need or crave power but that have shown they bear good fruit. As it is said, by their fruits ye shall know them. The government has more than enough nuts already.

BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY (KJV)

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love."

Ephesians 4:2 (KJV)

 



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Comments 1-25 of 32

  • Mark Seibert

    06/19/2020 02:17 AM

    Excellent, excellent, excellent letter!!! Why don't you run for President again in four years?

  • Kathleen Long

    06/18/2020 10:07 PM

    Amen! Thank you, Mike, for all you do. I appreciate your knowledge, faith and leadership.

  • Jeff McClure

    06/18/2020 07:55 PM

    Great newsletter, especially when I really needed a break from all the recent news! It really does explain the why of so many things
    God bless!

  • Pauline Snyder

    06/18/2020 07:20 PM

    Please make the font on the Bible Verse of the Day larger if you can.

  • Jerry Korba

    06/18/2020 07:18 PM

    This John Bolton and his revenge book must be the 25th bomb aimed at the President bound to bring the President down and out of office a line repeated many times and if the President goes down the this will be the Bomb that will destroy the country. Biden before he passes out will again sell everything to China not only does the United States die the world will wimp out also. If Trump looses the best losers the Left will lose the most. Major Corporations with nobody with money to buy items where does that leave you?

  • Carolyn Annette Morgan

    06/18/2020 06:46 PM

    Well said and much needed. God bless you.??

  • Linda Powell

    06/18/2020 04:00 PM

    With John Bolton's book finally being released all of you Republicans are about to get a wake up call. You have quietly allowed this president to distort the Constitution and take down norms that have made our system work. You can no longer hide behind Trump, the gig is up. If you haven't noticed many of us are mobilizing, we will overwhelm the system and you will be looking for work outside the government. You all are no irrelevant, you have no positive value to the world we have to confront and soon. Please either resign now or prepare to be voted out of office. WE HAVE HAD IT WITH YOUR TOTAL LACK OF CONCERN FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. You should have spoken up !!! You will now go down with the TrumpTribe, you have no choice now.

  • Allison Sarandis

    06/18/2020 03:37 PM

    Thank you Mike Huckabee for your love for God, this country and the people in it.
    These two sermons by John MacArthur are a light to this present darkness. I know you will be blessed by them..
    https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/81-80/whos-to-blame-for-the-riots

    https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/81-81/how-should-christians-respond-to-the-riots

  • Joann B Surmik

    06/18/2020 03:35 PM

    Amen and Amen to all of this! But how do we get back to morality when you have an idiot like Nancy Politic running the House of Rep's ? How do we get people like her and Adam Shittf out of our government?

  • Jerry Korba

    06/18/2020 02:13 PM

    Great reflection on how easy it would be only if the people could just follow 10 simple commandments of Life. If only every child had a good Mom and Dad. The Child does not get the chance to pick whom will bring it into the world or whom will care for it. Thats where it starts the breeding process if the Humans breed like dogs and are not intelligent enough to care for the child, look around, look at your prisons, correctional institutions your failing schools were discipline is or can not be enforced thats why you have the Chaos today. Just too many litters of uncared for children. Wild, Uneducated and just basically without Hope the need for them to care for themselves is overwhelming thats what gangs are for; thats what George Soros. Styler, Bloomberg give money to promote savage behavior to these gangs, disgraceful it all goes back to the breeding process and the care of children the predators will find a use for these uncared children. The gangs will teach to burn rob and abuse watch your MSM it will show you every day the affects of dog like breeding.

  • Jerry Daniels

    06/18/2020 02:10 PM

    Very powerful words! Right to the heart of the matter! Thanks for the common sense!

  • Mike Smith

    06/18/2020 01:26 PM

    Hi Governor!
    I hope your day is going great.

    I think the idea of not being able to legislate morality is often misunderstood.
    I've tried in the past to make the meaning more clear but haven't been successful.

    This is my understanding of the phrase:

    Morality is the basis of a person's behavior, it's not the actions a person takes.

    Legislation can command people to behave a certain way, but that doesn't mean they have good moral character (morality) it just means they're following the law. They may have no morality at all.

    So the laws haven't legislated 'morality' they've only legislated good moral behavior.

    Be well!
    Mike

  • Bryan C. Loy

    06/18/2020 01:21 PM

    100% spot on, Sir, and well done. Thank you for the sobering remarks, times like this, help us remember who we are, where we come from, and why we're here.
    God in his infinite mercy has spared this nation for almost 250 years, but one can't help but owner how much longer His long-suffering will deter his wrath.

  • Helen Sustachek

    06/18/2020 12:36 PM

    Thank you, Gov Mike for this. I would love to pass it on, but people don't read words, however, they listen to videos. Please make one with what you have said here. Make a lot of them. People in our country need to hear these thoughts over and over. To me what you say is just good common sense, which so many lack today. Thank you, again, for all your good work.

  • Firewagon

    06/18/2020 12:33 PM

    “Hey! You’re not the boss of me!” LOL! The exact phrase my wife uses to 'remind me' of that fact.

  • Floyd A Unger

    06/18/2020 12:31 PM

    Wonderful.....absolutely spot on.

  • Tammie Neace

    06/18/2020 12:20 PM

    THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I can't even stand to watch any news cast because of the hate they seem dead set on spreading to their viewers. I have to monitor commercials on Disney Jr with my 2 & 3 year old grandson's. Disney has allowed BLM to run a commercial pushing their agenda. As grandparents and their own parents we are trying to raise them that the entire human race is a gift from God to be treasured and if you dislike anyone it will be based on that's persons character. Addressing someone by their color isn't necessary unless they were involved in an illegal act then it's needed to help identify for capturing. I want to scream at those people who say "I have a relationship with God" but their post and belief system is loudly yelling OH NO I'M NOT. It's becoming harder to not lower myself to their level so I do my best to just scroll along. I have made a few posts where I point out that one day that trumpet will sound God's children will be taken home to heaven and all.these people who "have a relationship with God" are going to be standing arms stretch out to the sky yelling hey you forgot me. They will be screaming up to God all these "wonderful" things they have done as if God missed seeing their precious good deeds. Evil is trying it's best to over take us and if God's children don't wake up and get on our knees seeking redemption not just for our own short comings but for not stepping forward to speak out against what we are seeing each and every day here in America and across the globe. May God help us all provided the strength to pull us through while being forced to watch as some others louder than us drive our country down this slippery road of hate and evil.

  • Richard L Arnold

    06/18/2020 12:09 PM

    Thanks Governor Huckabee. I appreciate your thoughtful articles. Your wisdom is helping America get back on track with God and with what our Founders' designed for America. Don't give up!

  • Bob Vogel

    06/18/2020 12:03 PM

    Thank you Mr. Huckabee. This was one of your more penetrating and insightful articles. God bless you.
    Bob V.

  • Theresa Wilson

    06/18/2020 11:52 AM

    Thank you, Pastor Huckabee for today’s letter. Since I began reading your newsletter some time ago, in all sincerely, I can say this was your best work yet! I hope you continue to write about these profound, common sense things that will have such a positive impact in the daily lives of your readers. The news of the day will take care of itself when we are guided by fundamental truths such as what you have conveyed today! May GOD Bless you with many more words of wisdom to share!

  • Juanita Morgan

    06/18/2020 11:49 AM

    Needed and Loved your newsletter today. As a South Georgia resident of 79 years, this quarantine is bad enough when all your children live out of town and you have to visit via Zoom and cell phone, it seems that we are under attack of having all our lives, history, things we have loved taken away. Among 3 bases in Georgia that might change names, defacing Stone Mountain, they are now targeting Gone With The Wind and have already stopped Dukes of Hazard. Our only hope is that God is still in control. God Bless you and your family.

  • Georgia Haridopolos

    06/18/2020 11:47 AM

    Yes, light needs to be used right now as many of my friends truly are afraid...sad to say...Afraid to wear a mask or not wear a mask. The ads on the tv also talk about being alone, needing masks, etc. I for one am not buying it. Thank you for always saying tough things in a kind way.

  • Lawrence Foster

    06/18/2020 11:45 AM

    I appreciate your giving us a break from the news, but the news keeps coming, and it is disturbing. First, last night we saw the ludicrous display by the Atlanta states attorney telling us that the man killed at Wendy's "was never a threat to anyone", even as we could see on the video he resisted, overpowered the two cops (that's what you can do with a jailhouse body and some PCP) and stole a taser, which he fired at the officers. (Fortunately he could not shoot any better than the average cop, and did not hit either of the two officers pursuing him).

    Then, today we saw a decision by SCOTUS that will satisfy no one, and will lead to attempts by the democrats to exploit the situation. The basic message from Chief Justice ("I don't see no Obama judges") Roberts is, Obama executive orders OK, Trump's executive orders bad.

    If I was a cynic, I would suspect some of these actions, primarily by leftists, are designed to spark more riots and destruction. The Atlanta states attorney charging the officer in the Wendy's killing with first degree murder, will end in an acquittal, as likely will the second degree murder charge against the Minneapolis officer, and predictably, BLM and Antifa will exploit that to create riots. The confusing and politically motivated decision by SCOTUS will also lead to riots, making me wonder if that is not perhaps the goal of these decision-makers.

  • Stephen D Bennett

    06/18/2020 11:38 AM

    Gov,
    Your statement was, "I prefer to believe there’s more to us than flesh and blood." Well, OK. But, shouldn't we prefer to believe the TRUTH and not just whatever makes us feel fulfilled? Atheists accuse theists of inventing God to help them cope with life's difficulties. "A useful fiction," they say. I don't believe that you think Christianity is fiction. I believe that you think Jesus had an accurate take on Reality. I think so too based on considerable historical, philosophical and scientific evidence. May I encourage you to emphasize that a biblical worldview is not mere "wishful thinking" (the skeptic's opinion of our "faith"), but may actually be a reasonable response to solid evidence? The amount of good Christian apologetics has exploded in the past 30 years. Your readers would benefit from knowing that.

  • Lisa Ford

    06/18/2020 11:21 AM

    I don't care for how our country has been looking. Dems always use the line, "the new normal". Brain washing everyone. We can't fall for their bullcrap! Our young people need to be retrained. The public school system & most colleges have failed them. I pray home schooling & religious school attendance will go on the rise. If I had children, I would make it my duty to not have them brain washed by liberals. We must encourage options besides public schools & state run colleges. Lord knows if we have learned anything this year so far is; experts are experts in their own heads. They can't be trusted. Parents need to take on the job of parenting & not allow the government do it. That's a failed system. Results drive that statement. And PBS programming can't be trusted either. Ken Burns series are good. Toss the rest. They are liberal bent. Following today's dialog from the news media & the ridiculous dems. (Maybe we should call them Communist Dems)