The question of my generation is “Where were you when JFK was shot?” The event was traumatic in itself. But more than that, it seemed to be the starting gun for a decade of disaster that included unimaginable tragedy … assassinations, riots, martial law, sit-ins just to name a few. The political and social landscape of the United States has done a complete 180° in those 50 years. And perhaps the most profound change is in the way we view our federal government and they way our federal government views us.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy is remembered as challenging us on many levels. As I sit and type I cannot help but reflect on the many benefits I currently enjoy because of JFK and the space program he championed. My computer, the internet I will publish this article on, digital phones, cameras and so many other products grew out of our race for space. And that race had no stronger proponent that Kennedy, who challenged us to go to the moon and beyond and set the timeline for doing so.
Today social media has been flooded with Kennedy quotes but I have not seen what may be the most important one of all. In his inaugural address following being sworn in as the President, he challenged America with the following words:
He called us to service in our communities and in the world. He encouraged us to be the best we could be and give the best of ourselves to our fellowmen. Now we are constantly told by politicians that we deserve to be given many things. When I compare John F. Kennedy and the challenges he issued to the current president and the empty promises he makes, I know how far we have come from the days of our innocence and idealism.
Oh yeah, where was I when Kennedy was shot? In school, studying civics, of all things.
Like mice and men, my plans for the day went awry …
OK … you don’t know Robert Burns? Look up “To A Mouse” … I guess a poet can find inspiration anywhere. But I digress …
Today I had a list of things I wanted to do … and my list led to doing other things I hadn’t planned. But I launched Uhnigmuh and worked on eliminating spam from my other sites. Anyone trying to post or comment will now have to validate with Captcha … at least this will eliminate the bots. Having been hacked by Russsians on one site, we now are seeing lots of spam from China. Any more of this and I will just start closing blogs. That sounds harsh, but I host these sites as a free service to the site owners. I don’t have the time, money or expertise to wage war in cyberspace.
Have we willingly surrendered our ability to communicate and understand the issues that separate and unite us? It seems we only scratch the surface with tweets and short snappy Facebook posts that never delve into the reasons for our positions. We don’t want facts and explanations, only talking points. With more ways that ever to communicate, it seems that we are becoming a generation of non-communicators.
Worse than that, we don’t really care. We don’t seem to want to understand why someone holds a position other than ours and we don’t seem to respect their right to do so. If they don’t agree and march in lockstep with us, we demonize them. We keep our relationships at a superficial level and our solution for those who don’t agree with us is to “un-friend” them. It’s a sad commentary on our society and on those of us who call ourselves by the name of Jesus.
I cannot believe it has been this long since I wrote here. I could excuse it by mentioning that I have a daily journal where I write almost every day … or that I spend too much time on FaceBook … both of which are true. But dei has served an important purpose since its inception and I find it hard to excuse my laziness. I will reform!
Ah, the pits we dig for ourselves at times! Lately I have been feeling somewhat adrift. I certainly have not felt productive in any sense. There have been things I wanted to write, but the total of my ambition was to think about writing. It never extended to actually putting the words into sentences. I have also fallen out of the habit of taking time for deep Biblical study. Oh, I read and ponder and even journal my daily dose of the Word, but deep studies of the type I used to do … no, not for some time.
So the challenge is how to do it … how to fit the things I want to do, the ones that feed my soul, with the things I need to do. This morning I did something I have not done since I cannot remember when. I sat and read through the blogroll on this site. I discovered one link that is no longer valid … b’bye! And I discovered (again!) the reason that i have linked so many of these sites. They are food for the soul! What follows comes from one of those sources:
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today
that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.
The article that follows was written by Justgrace and originally published online at Wise Republic on June 14, 2011:
How are they doing now–those enthusiastic Huckabee believers posting “Run, Huck, Run” signs on Facebook just before Mike Huckabee’s momentous announcement of whether he would run for President for 2012?
Not surprisingly, his loyal political supporters were saddened, shocked, and let down by his announcement that he will not run “this year.” But they are trying to understand. And they are looking for signs of hope for a future run.
May 14, 2011—the date Governor Huckabee chose for his statement—was the day many thought he would enter the Republican presidential primary race. In Iowa, supporters planned a Stuck on Huck rally for June. Another Huckaboom (you have to know his history in Iowa, 2007-2008) was set to begin. However, the live announcement, tacked on to the end of the Fox News Huckabee show was not what they expected.
“All the factors say GO,” Huckabee told the nation, “but my heart says NO.”
The race that had been ready to explode out of the blocks would wait for another day.
All the political signs looked promising for a victorious outcome, both in the primary election against other Republicans, as well as in the general election against President Obama. Polls consistently placed Huckabee at or near the top; his name recognition was growing; and his favorability ratings were consistently best among Republican “likely” candidates. Ed Rollins, his 2008 national campaign director, wanted him to run. (He has now gone off to help Rep. Michele Bachman, R-MN, whom Huckabee in typical, gracious manner calls a friend.) It seemed that everyone was convinced Huckabee should run except himself.
As runner-up in the 2008 Republican primary and now a popular television show host, the former Governor from Arkansas and 2008 presidential candidate has maintained an enviable cadre of grassroots supporters and has gained many new fans as well. If he decides at some future point to run, or if he is drafted as a candidate or picked as a Vice Presidential running mate, you can be certain he will have an immediate group of supporters still eager to help him.
Hope does not die easily for their candidate from Hope, Arkansas. Fans note that Huckabee has not said “never;” he only said, “I will not seek the Republican nomination for President this year.” Perhaps, they dream, this leaves a door open for “next year” or in 2016. Or, by some miracle, the Republicans might come begging him to run! Huckabee has not ruled out anything completely, because he believes it is foolish to say “never.” But he is definitely not planning a 2012 candidacy.
But then, George Washington said he would never run, either. Maybe the reluctant candidate makes the best President, after all.
The reasons to hope may not be all that far-fetched, as time will perhaps tell. Huckabee has one big advantage that has widened his appeal—his own amazing ability to communicate with people. He is a master at debating calmly and with reason. And when he talks directly to the people he connects. His personal kindness and humor, as well as his common sense and simple government politics, have immediate appeal. The Huckabee show on Fox News and his Huckabee Report on ABC radio affiliates have allowed him to gain the public ear with what he is best at: meeting people, hosting guests on his show with unusual grace, and talking about life and politics in a way that resonates with most Americans.
So what stopped the popular and successful former Governor of Arkansas (amazingly the first Republican to hold that office in his state since Reconstruction) from running? Clearly it was the calling of God that was most important to Mike Huckabee, the man. Not what the pundits said was possible or impossible. And he said that God did not give him the go-ahead to run this time.
His fans wanted a different answer, yet most of them can appreciate Huckabee wanting to follow God’s will. Even though political strategists ranging from Lanny Davis, Democrat strategist, to Dick Morris, Fox News commentator/consultant, agreed that he was the one to beat President Obama, Governor Huckabee gets his marching orders from a higher commander-in-chief. As he said, God gave him the “a peace that exceeds human understanding” about this decision. Of course, that is what his supporters would hope candidates have before they run: peace with God, family, and others, but mostly within the person running for office. The presidency is a demanding and serious job. I would guess most candidates privately pray at least a little before attempting something so life changing.
In the 2008 race, the former Arkansas governor did feel a clear calling from God that he was supposed to do this–to enter a campaign that almost no one expected him to win. He surprised everyone by winning the Iowa caucuses and finishing second to Senator John McCain in the Republican primaries. Had he received a little help from the Republican establishment and a little less opposition from talk show hosts like Limbaugh and Levin and some in the Republican establishment, we might now have a President Mike Huckabee. Americans would all know how to pronounce his last name by now. Yet this year God apparently gave him a different direction. As Huckabee explained it, God just did not make him comfortable with that “Yes” answer. Huckabee is unlikely to change his mind unless God changes it for him.
As one who has studied Governor Huckabee and became a fan of this genuinely likeable and accomplished man over the past several years, I find him to be a man of his word. I cannot recall a time that he promised things he did not intend to deliver. He never purposely led people astray or lacked gratitude for his avid supporters. Because of the groundswell of support for him to run, he saw the need to not let this indecision drag on. Early May he realized there was a need to make a difficult decision and give an announcement. People could not be held in limbo much longer. Fox News was soon to ask for a “yes” or “no” on a new contract for his popular Huckabee show.
The part that Huckabee regrets most deeply is hurting his loyal, hard-working, and expectant supporters. In his announcement he mentioned “especially…those who have faithfully and so sacrificially been part of the process. I know I will deeply disappoint many people I love. So many good and dear people have put forth extraordinary effort without any assurance I would mount a campaign. It pains me to let them down.”
On various websites, posts like this one by a Huckabee loyalist show that most are working through the stages of grief: “I was sad and upset for a couple of weeks. But you will always be the best man for the job. If you decide to run I will still work to help you win.”
Most of the folks who admire Huckabee understand his unashamed beliefs and relationship with Jesus Christ; they cannot help but admire that he puts God above fame or fortune. So their disappointment is eased by their admiration and acceptance. Americans in general still respect a person who wants to be at peace with God regarding such a major decision, even if they do not understand God’s ways in this instance. They like a person who is true to his principles. While the army of Huckabee loyalists floundered a bit, most will take a deep breath and begin to pray that some future day God will give the opportunity, the loud and clear call that would lead Huckabee to the White House or at least to the Vice Presidency. In the meantime (if the former governor has his way) they will throw their efforts behind some of his other projects, such as helping Huck PAC to elect a strong majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, as well as in state governor races in 2012.
For now, God seems to be calling Mike Huckabee to be more of a Jeremiah — a prophet to draw this nation back to its godly heritage and Constitutional roots. Some of the projects that will be keeping him quite busy–like the Learn Our History video series he is helping produce for kids–give indication of that direction in his life. And he will be fighting against big government growth with efforts such as his recent phone appeals and television ads calling for a repeal of Obamacare. We can expect that he will have plenty to say on Fox News as a political commentator this next election cycle. He can understand better than most the inner dynamics of the presidential and gubernatorial races, certainly far better than pundits who have never subjected themselves to the grueling, grinding election process that has become today’s political climate of personal destruction.
But we can’t leave this discussion without remembering our first reluctant President, George Washington.
As the popular commander of the colonial forces, Washington believed that the new Republic that was being formed after the American Revolution needed to eschew the idea of imperialistic Great Britain and other European kingdoms, of making one popular, powerful man too powerful. “No King but Jesus” was our country’s political cry of the late Eighteenth Century. When the newly formed United States of America had its own critical struggle to come to agreement on the wording of the Constitution, they realized what was needed was a man in charge who could bring the various states and their ideas of government together. They needed Washington’s example, courage, faith, experience, and strength of character, as well as his ability to lead people. And he had a quality that Huckabee has, of finding the best in all the leaders and putting it together so that progress could be made and a goal accomplished.
George Washington was the first Commander-in-Chief of the colonial army, but in 1783 he voluntarily resigned so that concentration of power would not lie in one man. However, the people loved and appreciated this humble leader; the consensus at home and abroad was that he should become the first President and retain the role of commander-in-chief for the fledgling nation. When the electors of all the Thirteen Colonies had cast their sealed votes it was unanimous. And when the news came to him that he was elected Washington said, “I cannot give a greater evidence of my sensibility for the honor my fellow citizens have done me, than by accepting the appointment.”
Could the day come for Governor Huckabee to be drafted and for him to say that he will accept the appointment in honor of his fellow citizens? While we live in a vastly different United States from the one in which Washington lived, the government and its future success are hanging in the balance as then. Anything is possible. Many political advisors and people recognize that Governor Huckabee may be exactly what America needs. Like Washington, Huckabee is reluctant to place himself in a political process that has become, unfortunately, a demolition derby instead of a race.
When the need seems so great, hope does not die. Many people believe Governor Mike Huckabee would have made one of the more outstanding Presidents our nation has ever had. In this troubled time it is evident that the wrong choice of President could cause the nation to fail, as is occurring under President Obama. Yet, by God’s grace an exceptional choice could be found to inspire us again to greatness, to be a “shining city on a hill.” If it were clear that Huckabee would get the kind of support needed, I think God might just change His answer to, “Go ahead and win.”
The article is no longer available on Wise Republic and is reprinted here with the permission of the author.
As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I want to further explore how we use words and the harm we can do by the words we chose and how we use them. The words we use can hurt people. They cause emotional harm, ruin reputations and destroy relationships. They give advantage to the undeserving and sabotage equality. And we are completely unapologetic.
What is most shocking of all to me is that people who claim Jesus Christ as their savior see nothing wrong with spreading slander and misleading information about people. It is not surprising that the world points fingers at us and mocks our hypocrisy.
The words we use, the hurtful ones, are fueled by an anger that is hard to understand. This plays out in relationships of all kinds, but is most often seen in the political arena. It seems that we feel we can only support a candidate by demonizing the opponent. It is not enough to say “I prefer this candidate because he most closely represents my values.” No, we have to present him as the only one who can save us from the evil and depraved opponent. So we share every bad talking point we hear about the opponent without ever bothering to check the source. Rationally, we know not all sources can be trusted, but we don’t care if they support our point of view. And the longer the campaign goes on, the higher our level of anger rises.
I’ve been on the receiving end of such harsh words lately. I’ve been pondering what to say. Staying silent was not an option, but I didn’t want to respond by going into attack mode. So imagine my surprise when the latest issue of World Magazine was delivered. Among the many informative articles was this one: Crouching at the Door by Janie Cheaney. The subtitle on the article really caught my eye: “If we don’t take control of words and actions, a beastly sin will get out”. Ms. Cheaney points out that “Righteous indignation has its place and time, but anger per se is the first sin specifically identified as sin.”
Ms. Cheaney says what I have been struggling to express and she says it quite well. As we head into yet another political season, we would do well to reflect on how we use words to attack and to wound. Why do we not feel we can say whatever we might want about another without fear of consequences? Is it because we are saying them on the internet to an audience we will probably never meet? Do we think that gives us immunity? Are we really as angry as we seem? Or are we even more so? Many questions and few answers. In our local communities, we are held accountable for what we say and do. In this online community, perhaps we need to think about holding ourselves accountable?
The overuse and improper use of some words is frustrating at best and downright irritating at worst. One of my major pet peeves is the use of “Oh, my God!” as an expression of surprise. I dislike it even more when it is reduced to OMG on text messages and in chat rooms. That, of course, is because “Oh, my God” is an expression of praise and reverence for me. The popular use of the phrase is a breaking of the commandment which says we are not to take the Lord’s name in vain. Most people would be shocked if you told them that is a practice known as blasphemy.
I am not alone in this dislike. My son (Steve) does not like the popular use of the word “awesome”. Awesome is the adjective form of the word awe, which is defined as follows:
an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.
Archaic – power to inspire fear or reverence.
Obsolete – fear or dread.
Awesome is meant to convey a profoundly reverential attitude that would be directed only to God. The definition has been weakened by slang usage and is often used to imply that something is impressive or outstanding. As Pastor Steve would say, “God is awesome! Burritos, no matter how tasty, are not. Your new car, surround sound system or home theater may be top of the line, but they are not awesome.”
We have a really bad habit of corrupting the meaning of words or of using them in a completely inappropriate manner. I’ve caught myself often using the word “hate” when what I really mean is “dislike”. There are few things that I actually hate, but many that irritate, arouse distate or frustration. I don’t hate people who drive carelessly although they do worry me. But I vent my concern by saying “I hate”.
And we wonder why people get the wrong idea about some of the things we say. I hate it when that happens!
I stand with Governor Mike Huckabee. For four years I have worked with others to build a grassroots team to help Governor Mike Huckabee win the nomination and election in 2012. Like many of my friends I was stunned when Governor Huckabee announced on May 14th that he would not be a candidate.
Since then I have counseled people to wait … to not think about deciding who to support in the presidential race. I have always wanted to see Governor Tim Pawlenty take on Amy Klobuchar for the US Senate. What follows may have changed my mind. Governor Pawlenty has been accused of having no charisma. That may be, but he touched me in a way that no politician ever has, with the exception of Mike Huckabee.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35, ESV)