In a step toward becoming, once again, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” Lady Gaga gave a thrilling performance last night during the Super Bowl LI Halftime Show. She opened by singing a patriotic verse and reciting part of the Pledge of Allegiance from the roof of the NRG Stadium in Houston.

Only conservatives who’ve lived under a rock for three days could have missed the warnings regarding  Gaga’s Super Bowl political messaging. The mainstream media did a great job of keeping the rumor mill turning – so great that they were able to convince many conservatives that Lady Gaga’s performance would be filled with statements regarding immigration and the evil President Trump, and that the famed commercials would be rife with political statements. Of course, this led to a boycott of the halftime show or even the whole game. The media did not fail in their mission to spread false information! At least they are collectively good at something.

When asked prior to the game if her performance would unify the country, Lady Gaga replied, “You’ll have to ask America when it’s over.” This writer says, “It could have, if some people would just allow us to be unified.” While watching the show, I had my hand on the remote control, ready to change at the first spew of vitriol. It never came. Instead I heard just the opposite when she spoke. Not one to be easily impressed by starlets, I was this time. Sadly, not everyone agrees.

I sat disappointed as friends on social media, who did not watch the halftime performance, posted one hateful response after another. Vomiting emojis were in no short supply. None of these conservative friends had bothered to watch the boycotted show, but they were free to express their opinions without having all the information available to them. It was the equivalent of someone writing a movie review of a show they didn’t bother to see.

One of my ultraconservative friends even posted a link to a video regarding Lady Gaga’s adherence to a satanic cult (I’ve not seen the video). This friend explained that because the artist was satanic she would not subject herself to the music or the person. Fair enough. One need not look far for evidence proving Lady Gaga’s explicit loyalty to Satanism. This friend wondered how anyone who called themselves a Christian could then watch Lady Gaga’s performance.

But this blog is not about Lady Gaga’s system of belief or theology. It’s about her performance. It would be easy to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” One could rest firmly in the belief that, because Lady Gaga chooses to worship Satan, he or she should not listen or watch her performance. Again, fair enough.

This writer, however, is taking a different approach. While I’ve watched our nation crumble into a divide during the last eight years, culminating in a very contentious election, I am willing to go into places no conservative has gone before. Another old adage, “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar,” comes to mind.  So I chose to watch the halftime show. Then I chose to assess the show based on its merits, rather than the performer’s beliefs.

While I’m certain Lady Gaga doesn’t give a flip what one conservative thought of her program, I offer my thanks to her for giving a great show free from any political agenda. I think she made a step toward reaching across the divide in our nation. The very least I can do is to take a step in that direction, too.

If we can remember that there is more that unites us than divides us, we might just be able to pull back from the abyss. This conservative chooses to unite.

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

PS – Like so many performers, Lady Gaga has had problems, abused drugs, fallen into pits of despair, and bounced out again to continue her career. For more information regarding Lady Gaga, including her relationship with the great Tony Bennett, read here. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandpopfeatures/11075519/Lady-Gaga-on-Tony-Bennett-Ive-been-controlled-for-years.-He-liberates-me.html

While I understand that, as Christians, we are supposed to abstain from every form of evil, we can’t possibly reach those with the message of Christ who are entrenched in evil if we don’t bother to go where they are. I encourage my fellow believers to reach out to Lady Gaga, and those in her circle, with the love of Christ. Only when she sees that love will she be willing to learn more about it.

The Peaceful Transfer of Power

Today is such a wonderful day! If you’ve read prior columns I’ve written, you know that I’m about as conservative as a Republican can be. But today is not at all about being a Republican. Today is far bigger than any political party can be.

Today, January 20, 2017, is Inauguration Day. For a political junkie, such as me, this is the equivalent to the football fan’s Super Bowl, and the baseball fan’s World Series. At my house, we will celebrate all day long. My son and I will stare at the TV much like football fans watch their teams. We’ll be out with friends tonight celebrating into the wee hours.

Of course, because I am a conservative Republican, and because my candidate won, I’m celebrating this day a little more than usual. You probably do the same when your team wins the World Series. But I hope you understand that I would celebrate this day regardless of who the winner of the election was. Today, every American was the winner, even if they don’t realize it.

Today, the peaceful transfer of power will take place in our nation’s capital. This is no small thing. To the contrary, this is a dream that people in other nation’s envy. Today in Washington DC, past presidents and their spouses, including Hilary Clinton, will be present to support the incoming administration. The men and women on the platform do not all align politically with the President-elect, but they do understand the process and importance of the inauguration.

Today, no one will be in fear of a rogue, and un-elected, general taking command of the government. There will be no hostile takeover of the White House. The incoming administration was elected in a free and fair process by the citizens of this nation. How many other nations in the world can celebrate those things? There are people around the world who have never witnessed the process of a free election, who’ve never had the opportunity to campaign for the candidate of their choice, who fear for their nation each time there is any conflict with their leaders. We don’t realize just how good we’ve got it as Americans.

Eight years ago, after drilling information regarding their government into their sweet heads, I wanted my students to see the Inauguration Day ceremony. Rather than meeting for class that day, we headed to one family’s home and watched the events together. It didn’t matter whether it was a Republican or Democrat. What mattered was that the American people had voted for a candidate and he was taking the oath of office to serve faithfully. Iraq, Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, among others, should be so fortunate.

Inauguration Day is a beautiful thing. While you are watching the ceremony, regardless of your political affiliations, I encourage you to pause for a moment. Consider how different your life would be as a citizen of another nation. Would you get to elect your government? Could ruthless leaders be recalled? How would you be treated as a minority? Would a disagreement among leaders result in a civil war or great economic depression? If you think you’d be better off there, Delta is ready when you are. Good luck and Godspeed.

America is far from perfect. There are so many problems that it’s hard to determine how to start of list of them. Social issues, financial woes, leaders who lack integrity, and families that are broken into pieces only scratch the surface. Yet, those are problems that every other nation faces, too. But we’ve got one thing that many other nations do not – Inauguration Day – the peaceful transfer of power. Happy Inauguration Day, America!

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

PS –  As I write this, I’ve just learned that the newly elected leader of Gambia, a republic in West Africa, held their Inauguration Ceremony earlier today. The former president refused to attend and will not step down from his office due to election irregularities. United Airlines can take you there.

One Hypothesis

This week, some of our nation’s Ivy League Universities placated their students in regards to their devastation over the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Cornell held a “Cry-In” in which students were offered Play-doh, posters, markers, and hot cocoa. One professor at Yale University made the mid-term exam optional for students. Several universities cancelled classes altogether allowing students to take the day to grieve and mourn the loss.*

You’ve got to be kidding!

One wonders what these students will do when they actually grow up, get a job, have a family of their own, and an actual crisis hits? I’m certainly not wishing ill will on any one, but any reasonable adult realizes that crises do come along and we really have to handle them without asking the world around us to pause while we cry.

How did these students come to this way of thinking? Since my own sons are about this same age, I did some deductive reasoning (something we adults learned to do in elementary school) and came up with an interesting hypothesis. I believe it began when they were young children and played in the local community sports league.

When my children were young I always served as the Team Mother. It was my responsibility to plan the end-of-the-season team party. During the season it was obvious which children were more acclimated to the sport. My older son quickly advanced from the outfield and became a pitcher. Our younger son didn’t do so well and didn’t want to play after a couple of seasons. However, if you look on their respective dressers in their room, each of them has a trophy to represent each season they played.

I confess that I am like every other parent in the world. I want my children to be recognized for their accomplishments. Like most parents, I often think that my child is better than everyone else’s (Oh, come on, you do it, too!).

After a few years on the baseball field my sons decided they preferred competing in various 4-H activities, most often with beef cattle. There were many times that I thought their project was the best one. The judges and I rarely agreed on this, though. While my sons did receive a trophy for each baseball season, they rarely earned the awards they sought in 4-H. I’m incredibly thankful for this.

I always thought I was making each child on the team realize their worth by presenting them with a trophy. However, my sons show little regard for those trophies today (and some of them look really cool). Instead they are proud to show off the many ribbons, plaques, and pins they earned in 4-H. These prizes were not given, they were earned.

I can’t help but to compare that mindset of earning the reward to being given a prize. The “snowflakes” on college campuses who are crying and holding candlelight vigils over their loss in the presidential election have probably been given most everything they’ve ever had. I know there are exceptions to this, of course. But if my hypothesis is correct, the college parking lots are probably filled with cars purchased by daddy.

When I was growing up (go ahead and roll your eyes), I wasn’t given anything. I also wasn’t especially talented at anything. I worked very hard and earned every bit of what I got, including jobs, grades, degrees, and money. So did each of my family members.

Earlier this week on a social media outlet, I explained that when Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, I was devastated. I could not believe that this nation would elect someone based on the color of his skin rather than the content of his character. On both occasions, though, I got up the next morning, made breakfast, and got my boys started on their school work. I was chastised for my comment and advised that my socioeconomic status was such that I was incapable of understanding what the problem is. Really?

Oh, believe me, I understand the problem.

When Obama was elected, I went through those days angry and disappointed at the outcome, as well as at some of the people who caused that outcome. I certainly prayed for our nation and our newly elected leaders. However, I never had to take a day off to mourn, cry, grieve, or make animal models with Play-doh.

The problem is that I’m willing to work harder than a snowflake. So I win the prize.

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

*http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/11/10/canceled-classes-cry-in-and-more-college-campuses-reel-from-trump-win.html

Decline and Fall of the American Republic

Socialism  (ˈsəʊʃəˌlɪzəm) n

  1. (Economics) an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels. Compare capitalism
  2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) any of various social or political theories or movements in which the commonwelfare is to be achieved through the establishment of a socialist economic system
  3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in Leninist theory) a transitional stage after the proletarian revolution in thedevelopment of a society from capitalism to communism: characterized by the distribution of income according to work rather than need1

 

It was announced early this evening that Bernie Sanders had won the New Hampshire Democratic Primary.2 Of course, political junkies knew he was in the lead at 12:01 AM when he had won the race in Dixville Notch 4-0 over Hilary Clinton. She never stood a chance.

While it is frightening enough that anyone would even consider voting for either Democrat candidate in the presidential race, it should scare you to death to see that an avowed socialist won the nation’s first primary election. Yet, if you ask any college student exactly what a socialist is, few will be able to give a working definition of the word. For that matter, I don’t believe many older voters could answer that.

In a high school economics class I was in many years ago, it was made quite clear to us that socialism was a step toward communism. Because we were in the midst of the Cold War, the very word “communist” struck fear in high school students. Doing anything that was considered a movement from capitalism to socialism was unthinkable.

Like millions of other high school students across the nation, we discovered the evils of socialism and communism not in economics class,though, but in literature. Required to read the classic George Orwell novel “1984,” we learned through the plight of the characters how easy it would be for the government to gain total control of every facet of the lives of even the most ordinary people.

I never thought it would happen to us. I couldn’t imagine placing a speck of dust on a diary in order to discover if someone else had read it. The year 1984 has long since passed. Now we make it simple for our government to know our every move, location, purchases, and even what we ate for dinner. Somehow, along the way, we have come to love “Big Brother,” just as Winston Smith did in the novel.

What happened? Our government-schools have created a society that believes that only the government can and will protect them, feed them, clothe them, pay for their education, give them free health care, provide them with jobs, and even raise their children. With an education like that, it should surprise no one that a socialist was given the nod in New Hampshire.

According to Curtis Bowers, by 2020, the left is set to control approximately 55% of the voting bloc.3  They will have been trained via the lack of legitimate educational standards in our public schools to believe that socialism is the best means to a Utopian society.

If we lose in 2016, there will be no need to show up in 2020.

~Temerity Dowell

 

1Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

2 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/02/09/new-hampshire-primary-bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton/80077600/

3 https://www.epcconference.org/speakers/curtis-bowers/