9 Reasons to be Cheerful

The good old US of A is going to Hades in a fanny-pack. So, what else is new? Government bloats, G-men snoop, and so it goes. The culprits reign from both sides of the two-party grand neoclassical aisle and the likelihood of realignment died on the corner of Sane and Not-so with carbon monoxide-weary Don’t Tread on Me flag-wavers trying to ignite a 21st Century “Tea-Party.” And the hope of a competitive third party in the near future, alas, retired with the good Dr. Paul. As much as I’d like to blame our woes on just about everyone currently in political office, history suggests we were doomed not long after Benjamin Franklin declared (and warned): “A republic if you can keep it.” But rather than bemoan our continuing predicament, I thought it might be time—and healthful—to focus on the positive for a change. In that spirit here are 9 reasons to be cheerful…hercules

1. The pro-life movement in the U.S. is on fire. Largely because of a brave, fierce, uncompromising young warrior…

…and graceful 22-year-old woman. Lila Rose, at 15, founded Live Action, a nonprofit that has deftly employed investigative journalism in ways that make the folks at 60-Minutes and Dateline look like amateurs. Lila and Live Action have done more than any other organization in recent history to expose the sins of the abortion industry (principally Lila Rose - Live Action FounderPlanned Parenthood)—including and beyond the obvious killing of 1 million+ human beings in the U.S. every year. Lila and her colleagues have uncovered the willingness of abortion clinics to cover up sexual abuse and trafficking, to promote race-based and sex-selective abortions and to commit infanticide—all in the name of “choice.” The battle, of course, is far from over, but with science, Lila and God on the same side, there will be less peace for the wicked, more pro-life converts and, most importantly, more than a few new beautiful babies born.

2. 64% of voters think the U.S. is “heading in the wrong direction“—at least according to the pollsters at Rasmussen. What exactly the “wrong direction” means I can’t ascertain, and, yes, this would seem to be bad news, but I’ve heard that admitting you have a problem is an important positive first step.

3. 50% Americans see U.S. Involvement in Middle East as bad for the U.S. OK, so there’d be much less threat of terrorism if this number were upwards of 90% among voting Americans, but we have to start somewhere.

4. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk has been relieved of his duties allegedly for admitting that he opposes same-sex “marriage.” While this is ostensibly a depressing story for those predisposed to sanity, three cheers for Sergeant Monk for standing up to the PC thought police who have now infiltrated the ranks of our senior military brass. Note: where are the Marines?

5. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. As a conservative firebrand in my teens during the final days of the Cold War, I reflexively cheered secrecy in the name of “national security,” but as I’ve come to distrust the Federal government on almost everything, FOIA is, indeed, welcome, if frequently stymied.

6. Pat Buchanan. My libertarian, left-wing and neo-con friends will, no doubt, pop a meniscus in a fit of extreme knee-jerkedness, but c’mon, you have to like the guy—regardless of your politics. Pugnacious yet gentlemanly, erudite yet colloquial, pessimistic yet undiscouraged, hard-boiled yet cheerful. Unapologetically American and always fun to read and watch! A good example for those of us inclined to wear our opinions on our sleeves.Ron & Rand

7. Sen. Rand Paul probably listens to his dad at least a little bit.

8. Duck Dynasty. OK, I’ve never actually watched the show, but if only half what is being reported about the main characters is true—their strong Christian faith, public opposition to abortion, promotion of adoption and praying on camera—then let’s hope the Ducks continue to rule the ratings.

9. Pope Francis and his message of God’s infinite mercy. Much has been reported on the Pope’s comments regarding homosexuals on his flight home from World Youth Day in Brazil: “If they Pope Francisaccept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” Rainbow warriors around the globe and their fellow-travelers in the Fourth Estate have gone gaga over this one, but maybe lost in all the misguided enthusiasm from non-Catholics and journalistic-spin-o-matic hullabaloo is Il Papa’s clear and encouraging message: We are ALL sinners, but God wants to forgive us and WILL forgive us. If only we will seek Him.

OK, I know you’re wondering, why “9” reasons to be cheerful? Doesn’t the title even make you a bit uncomfortable? Lists require 10, dang-it! Well, a curbludgeon can only be so cheerful. Besides, shouldn’t you come up with at least one reason of your own to be cheerful?

Patriots’ Day 2013

Wrapped in American flags and shouting “USA!” the residents of greater Boston celebrated the capture of marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. According to the National Journal, “The young and old gathered in public spaces…singing the national anthem, feeling a sense of common accomplishment, relishing in a public exhale.  After a day of lockdown, the source of their collective fear was lifted.” And from the The Atlantic, “A city that’s been under siege for five days is now breathing a huge sigh ofPaul_revere_ride relief.”

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of a city locked down in abject fear,
On the nineteenth of April, in o’ thirteen;
Hardly a man could now be seen
Sheltered in place, oh who could have foreseen…

One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I in my jammies at home will be…*

Hardly the stuff of Boston legend. Is this really all we can expect from the descendants of the Sons of Liberty? From the Boston Tea Party to Lexington and Concord to Bunker Hill to…the Great Lockdown? Paul Revere and Sam Adams are, no doubt, spinning in their final resting places.

The_death_of_general_warren_at_the_battle_of_bunker_hill

There are several troubling aspects to what transpired after the Boston Marathon bombing. First, how is it that a city whose name is synonymous with courage, defiance and revolutionary spirit so readily acquiesced to a government order to go home and not open the door for anyone other than “properly identified” law enforcement? During “the siege”—which, by the way, was inflicted on Bostonians by their own government—President Obama spoke at an interfaith prayer service in remembrance of the victims of the bombing:

Our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for country, our common creed…That’s our strength.  That’s why a bomb can’t beat us.  That’s why we don’t hunker down.  That’s why we don’t cower in fear.

Despite the moments of sustained applause and cheers the president’s comments received, they are complete nonsense. Bostonians did hunker down—in fact, they were ordered to hunker down and they quickly complied. And as for cowering, you tell me what Bostonians were doing before their “collective fear was lifted” and they breathed their “huge sigh of relief.”

But enough of my armchair caterwauling. Let’s take a look at what someone on the scene and clearly more qualified than I has to say. Reporting from Boston for the Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz writes:

For most of the day, my family and I stayed inside our home behind locked doors…When I eventually ventured outside, the eerie silence on Boston and Cambridge’s empty streets was something strange…I had the opportunity to think back to the aftermath of terrorist attacks I had covered in Israel before leaving for a sabbatical at Harvard University. I might be wrong, but my feeling is that in the aftermath of those attacks the opposite always happened. There was no lockdown in Israel and there was no order by the mayor to seek shelter. Instead, people were out in the streets, filling up coffee shops right next to the one that had been bombed or standing at bus stops waiting for the next bus from the same line that had just exploded. This has always impressed me as a sign of true resilience, of a refusal to allow terrorism to change our way of life.

I am not judging the people of Boston and their leaders and yes, there is something to be said about being safe rather than sorry. But, I wonder about the long-term strategic ramifications and if this won’t be viewed as a near-surrender to terrorism.

Not to mention surrender to big government. To the nanny state. To the police state.

By the way, the bombing crisis also gave Boston’s top bureaucrats the opportunity todonuts & coffee establish that some of its citizens are less equal than others. According to The Boston Globe “At the direction of authorities, select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the Boston area are open to take care of the needs of law enforcement and first responders.” The legions must be fed even if we need risk the lives of a few bakers.

Now, on to my second gripe: how exactly is the “accomplishment” common as reported above by the National Journal? Because Bostonians paid the taxes that funded the police?  Because the good citizens of Beantown dutifully stayed off their own streets? Littering the internet are photos and videos of the moments after Tsarnaev’s capture. They reveal a jubilant populace cheering their uniformed liberators. If the Iraqis had been this grateful there’d be a Disneyworld in Baghdad today. But what did the citizens contribute other than getting the hell out of the way? And what would the punishment have been if any Bostonian had dared venture into the streets of his own neighborhood?

Which leads me to my third and final concern…

In the wake of the great gun debate of 2013, nobody seems interested in pointing out the obvious—that people in Boston were killed by bombs not guns. And many more severely injured because the killers used bombs and not guns. Now, these bombs were apparently not very sophisticated and did not incorporate any illegal components. In fact, a Department Homeland Security Information Bulletin warned in 2004 that “pressure cooker bombs are made with readily-available materials and can be as simple or as complex as the Pressure_Cooker_Free_Zonebuilder decides. These types of devices can be initiated using simple electronic components including, but not limited to, digital watches, garage door openers, cell phones or pagers.” Which, of course, begs the question: will we now hear a demand for the ban of pressure cookers, digital watches, garage door openers, cell phones, pagers and whatever else “not limited to” includes? Apparently, the manufacturer of the pressure-cookers allegedly used in the bombs thinks we might, so they have released a statement that their products “are not intended to be used for any purpose other than cooking.”

Massachusetts largely disarmed its citizens in 1998 with what was hailed at the time as the strictest gun control legislation in the nation. As a result, reports the Associated Press, “The number of active firearms licenses in Massachusetts has plummeted…There were nearly 1.5 million active gun licenses in Massachusetts in 1998. June [2002], that number was down to just 200,000.”

But far from making people safer, The Boston Globe reports that “Murders committed with firearms have increased significantly, aggravated assaults and robberies involving guns have risen, and gunshot injuries are up, according to FBI and state data.”

So, criminals still have guns, terrorists use homemade bombs and the heirs to the Minutemen have been disarmed. But the police will keep the citizens of Boston safe by clearing the streets and rolling the armor.

From Don’t Tread on Me to Shelter in Place. Pathetic.

*With sincerest apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow