03OvercomingTemptationI confess to experiencing periods when I have to work at overcoming the temptation to quit. That is, just take life easy and invest no time or effort in trying to help make our nation a better place for others. In this state, life would simply consist of enjoying my wife and family, playing golf, traveling, and a listing of other activities that would be enjoyable. This temptation invades my thinking when I stop long enough to give attention to just some of the many happenings and conditions in our nation that escape reason. These happenings and conditions show us to be a nation that is far from what is required for a future that includes societal well-being and even a minimally acceptable standard of living for all our citizens. 

The list of happenings and conditions that tempt me to quit seems endless, but allow me to share a few:

1. Mainstream media in America has come to a point of bias that is unacceptable beyond description. Lincoln Chafee, former Democratic candidate for president, made this point emphatically. An Associated Press article titled, “Chafee blasts media over Trump ‘onslaught,’ metric coverage” said “… Lincoln Chafee defended Republican President Donald Trump Tuesday against a tiresome ‘full onslaught’ by the “mainstream media’ ….” Chafee made his comments while talking about his own difficulties with the media. However, having a Democrat give this assessment is weighty in supporting charges of media bias against President Trump in particular and conservative views in general. Further, one only has to look at mainstream media reports on TV or in print to see the bias. I watch Fox News a good bit, but also watch ABC, CBS, NBC and other mainstream outlets, while reading various print media. The bias is in your face. The headlines on Trump in our local newspaper, The Fayetteville Observer, reveal a bias that cannot be missed. They don’t simply give an indication as to what the article is about. No, opposition to and intent to adversely impact his presidency jump out at the reader. The same is the case across mainstream print media. What I see as pervasive in mainstream media is not journalism…it is presentation of opinions masquerading as simply reporting the facts. 

2. Somebody, or some entity, hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer system and the email account of John Podesta, then-campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton. Information apparently gained through hacking was made public and proved to be a complication for Hillary Clinton and her 2016 presidential campaign. Even in February 2017, this story is still in the news and there are calls for Congressional investigations of the hacking. People are outraged. However, General (Ret.) Michael Flynn has a phone conversation with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S before Donald Trump’s inauguration; the FBI records the conversation and somebody leaks to the press that the call was made. Sanctions imposed on Russia by President Obama were discussed. Flynn, who had been appointed Trump’s National Security Advisor, told Vice President Pence that he did not discuss sanctions. Once the leak happened, President Trump asked Flynn to resign, and he did. Not surprisingly, the tremendous interest on the part of mainstream media and Democrats, along with some Republicans, is to find proof that this event shows some illegal or even questionable contact between the Trump administration and the Russians. There seems to be little or no outrage regarding the leaking of FBI information that should have been withheld from the public domain. Outrage at the Flynn leak should be compounded by Andrew C. McCarthy in an article titled, “Why Was the FBI Investigating General Flynn?” quoting The New York Times as follows:

“Obama officials asked the FBI if a quid pro quo had been discussed on the call, and the answer came back no, according to one of the officials, who like others asked not to be named discussing delicate communications. The topic of sanctions came up, they were told, but there was no deal.”

The targets of outrage are most often driven by political expediency and that is dangerous for America.

3. Protests now seem to be an ever-present and overwhelming occurrence in the streets of America. What concerns me is that most of these protests do not appear to have a clear aim as to what is desired or even offer some plan for achieving an aim. For instance, people take to the streets screaming (regarding President Trump), “Not my president.” What do they aim to achieve and how is this action moving them toward the aim? Then various protests take on an element of violence through burning and looting, even shooting people. Add to this the attacks on and even killing of police officers. 

4. Every indication is that, as a nation, we have lost the capacity to discuss the challenging issues of our time and work together to successfully address those issues. Consider what is happening in town hall meetings as I write this column the week of  Feb. 20. Members of Congress are holding these meetings with groups of their constituents to hear and discuss concerns while also disseminating information. Attendees are screaming at elected officials and are so disruptive that some meetings are being canceled. Even further, there are reports that some of the disruptors are part of an organized effort to cause chaos.

5. The argument that we should be accepting of sanctuary cities baffles me beyond description. I cannot understand why anybody would support this policy. From an article by Michelle Ye Hee Lee titled, “What exactly are ‘sanctuary cities’ in immigration policy?”: “There’s no official definition of ‘sanctuary,’ but it generally refers to rules restricting state and local governments from alerting federal authorities about people who may be in the country illegally.”

6. The highly visible opposition being voiced loudly (and often with total disrespect toward those on the other side of the issue) to efforts by President Trump to bring illegal immigration under control challenges reason. At the same time, many of the people calling for allowing illegal immigration to go unchecked are also screaming for greater investment in education, saving Obamacare (even though it is clearly a failed program), increased infrastructure spending, and on and on. Do they not understand the tremendous financial cost imposed on federal, state and local governments by illegal immigrants? 

7. As a nation, we are almost $20 trillion in debt and still borrowing. Further, hardly anybody talks about unfunded liabilities that are estimated by some sources to be over $80 trillion. Unfunded liabilities are payments the federal government has promised for future disbursement, but sufficient funds have not been set aside to make those future payments. We just keep borrowing, spending, promising future benefits and not preparing for them.

8. Finally, but more troubling than everything else on this list, we are a morally bankrupt nation that has just about completed total departure from the Judeo-Christian foundation on which a great nation was built. Look at what we have come to: An entitlement mentality abounds; same-sex marriage is routine and the law; the homosexual lifestyle is celebrated and promoted; our Constitution, based on changeless biblical principles, is treated as an “evolving” document; two-parent households with a traditional marriage are becoming the exception; living according to one’s faith in God is relegated to our homes and churches; and on it goes. 

This is just a sampling of conditions and happenings that tempt me to quit, to give up. I know that I am not alone in dealing with this temptation. There are others like me. Confronting this temptation reminds me of my grandmother, Ma’ Bessie. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I remember her saying to me, “Karl, there are times when I just want to go out on the front porch and scream.” I watched Ma’ Bessie, with grace and calm, live through very difficult times and into her late 80s. I know how she did it. She built and maintained a strong faith relationship with God, whom our nation is deserting. There is no other way to keep going, to keep serving, to overcome the temptation to quit than Ma’ Bessie’s way. I choose Ma’ Bessie’s way and recommend it as the only way to overcome the temptation
to quit. 

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