Red and Black Ties That Bind

My day had started at 4:30 a.m. After a few hours of work, some whirlwind errands, some last minute packing, and seven hours of driving, I had finally arrived in Atlanta.

“Why do I do this to myself?” I sighed. “I could have stayed home, saved a ton of money, and watched it from my recliner.”

My quest was to make it to my good friend Taron’s house. He has been my friend since we met as students at the University of Georgia in 1984. The following morning, the two of us were headed back to our alma mater, and those hallowed hedges of Sanford Stadium to watch our beloved Bulldogs play their season opener against Clemson. But … why?

Taron and I both have big screen televisions these days. I have a DVR, so I can pause the game and go get a coke. The viewing experience has never been better at home. Yet here I was, willing to drive over five hundred miles, with no tickets, to walk the campus from one end to the other in ninety eight degree heat, hoping for an opportunity to pay double, or more likely triple price, to get into the game. It made no practical sense.

The next morning things seemed a little more understandable as we donned our red and black official Georgia clothing and headed toward Athens, but in the back of my mind I was still asking myself if it was worth it. Along the route Taron and I reminisced about old times, but we spent much more time worrying about the future and shaking our head at the state of things.

When we finally hit campus, I grumbled to myself again about paying thirty dollars to park a good mile from Sanford Stadium. I shook my head at my own stupidity, as sweat poured from our brows as we tromped through every tailgate party we could find with two fingers aloft in search of tickets. “I’m too old and too wise for this,” I actually said aloud. Then I thought to myself, this time would probably be my last.

We got the tickets and they were the best I’d ever had. The fifty yard line split our seats right down the middle. We had plenty of time to attend the Dawg Walk, where players walk through a corridor formed by fans and the band on their way to the locker room.

Photo credit: Logan Booker, Bulldawg Illustrated

Photo credit: Logan Booker, Bulldawg Illustrated

I stood there in the sweltering heat, awaiting a procession of nineteen- to twenty-three-year-olds whom I had never met and will never meet again. Despite myself, I was getting caught up in the crowd’s excitement. I looked up and saw a three-year-old girl in a cute little cheerleader outfit. She was sitting on her daddy’s shoulder and waving her red and black pompoms. I got a lump in my throat as I remembered the way my own daughter, now all grown up, had once done the same.

The band was there, and the Drum Major had them strike the first notes of the fight song, “Glory, Glory to Ol’ Georgia … ” It was the song I sang to the top of my lungs as a student in ’84. Beside me was a handsome young couple, probably about twenty years old, and they were singing to the top of their lungs too. I joined in and for a moment forgot about the heat.

Later we made our way to our seats. I struck up a conversation with two older men in the seats behind me. Both were in their seventies. We made small talk mostly, but we talked about the Bulldogs too and what they might be this season, and whether or not we dared to get our hopes too high.

From my seat

My view at the 50-yard line.

The band marched, the pomp and ceremony was unleashed, and the Bulldogs stormed out onto the field. As the Dawgs burst through the paper G held by the cheerleaders, all things seemed possible. An SEC Title seemed in reach, a national championship just around the corner. It was opening day, and we were undefeated.

My friend and I cheered with great gusto, and I noticed the elderly gentlemen were giving it their all as well. We all knew all the same cheers. The game was a real battle through three quarters and every time the DAWGS were defending on a second or third down, we leapt to our feet with ninety-two thousand others. The heat was more oppressive than ever, but the game was on the line, the opportunity lay before us to hang on to our optimism, so we downed one bottle of water after another and rose to cheer once more.

Then the Bulldogs began to dominate, and the excitement built to a fever pitch. High-fives were exchanged between Taron and me and the elderly gentlemen, and the two guys to my left and the father and son to Taron’s right, all of whom we had shared friendly conversation with during time outs. After a long touchdown run we made the high-five rounds, but added a fist bump for the guys in front who we’d never so much as spoken with prior to that.

Student Section

Photo credit: Logan Booker, Bulldawg Illustrated

That’s when it hit me. I knew why I did it and would likely keep doing it, as the two gentlemen sitting behind me. All ninety-two thousand of us were human. And despite the fact that we like to think of ourselves as independent or as loners, there is nothing we desire more than to be with other like-minded humans. We seek unity in diversity, E Pluribus Unum–out of many, one. On Saturdays in Athens, when the Red and Black is worn with pride, there are no racial divides, or political parties, or wedge issues. For that brief snapshot in time, we are all united. We are all one Bulldog nation. And we long for that in our “real” lives … we yearn for it. But it eludes us.

Bulldogs young and old love Athens. We flock to it from literally every corner of the nation. From the three-year-old little girl with her pompoms, to the twenty-year-old couple, to Taron and me, to the elderly men, we know the cheers. They are the cheers of our forbearers from football seasons going all the way back to the 1800s. In a world of constant and overwhelming change, the cheers stay the same and that comforts us and warms us. When we learned the cheers we were young and vibrant, hope was in abundance, the future was before us, and everything was possible … for the Bulldogs and for us.

Sanford

Go Dawgs! Photo Credit: Logan Booker and Bulldog Illustrated

The game ended with a decisive Bulldog victory. We shook hands with the new found friends, not conscious of the fact that we will likely never see them again. There was a twinkle in our eyes as we departed because we knew that the dream of a national championship would live another week. We walked, at first in a sea of red and black, towards our cars. Then as we branched out further from the stadium, our numbers dwindled, until finally Taron and I walked alone through the last dark parking lot. We drove off through the night dehydrated and drained. Faint smiles still lingered on our faces as we rode silently down a dark Georgia highway barreling headlong back into reality. But we had been there hadn’t we? What we’d felt was real, wasn’t it … just for a little while? That we were united as one, and in our hearts we’d all been young again, and hope had overflowed, and all things had seemed possible … Go Dawgs!

Taxpayers: Beware of Big Wind’s Latest Deceitful Ad Campaign

Mary Kay Barton has become a friend and she is a reliable resource for honest research on energy issues. Her background as an educator shines through in her research and attention to detail. I hope you will take a few minutes to read this excellent insight into wind power. When you see those massive wind turbine blades moving up our local interstates, think of this.

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Ferguson: It’s Never Been Like This

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We haven’t seen it quite like this before. Seems we have to say that a great deal these days. To be sure, we have had riots over both perceived and real injustice before. We have had those from Watts to Trayvon Martin. In some cases the outrage, not the violence and vandalism, was justified. In other cases the injustice was a media and activist fabrication, a sick fantasy. It remains to be seen which category this one falls into.

Also in all the previous cases, opportunists and shakedown artists seized the moment. It seems that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are omnipresent. Always available on a moment’s notice to incite more, to stir the cauldron that police are trying desperately to get a lid on. They are always available to stick their faces into a camera and their mouths up to the bank of microphones obediently assembled for them by a sycophantic media. None of this is new. All of this is at least as old as the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson.

Here’s what’s new. Never before have we had dueling medical examiner reports. Never before have we had a justice department so quick to throw gas on the flames of unrest, so eager to question the integrity of local authorities. Never before have we had a President, who in the same afternoon, calls for calm and at the same time sends his Black Panther defending Attorney General to the scene.

Yesterday, the President said this:As Americans, we’ve got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that’s been laid bare by this moment. The potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold as one united American family.’’

Do you see anything in that quote about giving the officer, who a dozen witnesses say was rushed by the very large Mr. Brown, the benefit of the doubt? Me either.

These are only the things we see out front and in public. I wonder what phone calls and meetings are taking place behind the scenes. I wonder how much pressure the St. Louis Chief of Police is being put under and how he is being treated by the now on site Attorney General of the United States and his FBI army.

And what of the media? They are throwing their own brand of fuel on the fire. Today a national columnist posted a headline that screamed “What Does It Take To Arrest Him?” referring to the police officer who shot Brown. Last night CNN showed the officer’s home on television and named his street. Will there be a corresponding protest when this officer or his family is harmed? I doubt that CNN or the Huffington Post, both of whom are completely ignorant of the facts of this case, will utter a peep if that happens. They certainly won’t apologize. Nor will they be held accountable.

The rule of law has very nearly gone up in smoke in the fires of Ferguson and things are only marginally better in the nation and world as a whole. We have a generation of adults currently running things who have been taught that ultimately there are no consequences for immoral or even illegal actions. Want to storm our borders? Sure! Why not! Want to shoot 34 people over the course of a weekend in Rahm Emmanuel’s Chicago? There will be little or no repercussions or even any news reports for that matter. Want to completely circumvent and run roughshod over the constitution by having the president declare ten million invaders into this country “legal”? Well, that one is coming soon.

With such a mindset permeating so much of our media and our leadership, I fear we are in for some very rocky roads ahead. I fear it will be a very long time before Ferguson is calm and perhaps a short time before unrest explodes in other communities across the nation.

Pray for our law enforcement. Pray for our nation.

 

Hope You Like the Changes

Hey everyone. Christi McGuire has been making some really good improvements to the site. I think it is looking more like an author site and less like just a political blog, though it is that too. I long for the day when I can have a few videos up and a movie trailer type video for my book, The Revenuer. Still awaiting word from at least one of the publishers. One more did turn me down, but four are still reviewing my material. They may or may not have gotten to mine yet. Just because they accept your material for review, they still have a very long line of prospective authors and manuscripts in front of you. Each of the new tabs is going to have even more content than what you see here. And the new novel tab will be a repository for some short stories related to the book.

New Look Blog, Newsletter and Rock & Roll

You may notice some changes to the look of the blog. I am working with Christi McGuire to redefine this site and to begin a newsletter. I will probably transition more towards a newsletter going forward. That way, once or twice a month you will get an email from me that will have several topics discussed in one email. I’ll probably have a couple of serious issue topics, then some fun stuff too. This will give me more time to prepare higher quality content and also lighten up a bit. (Although that seems more and more difficult for me to do.)

Its odd and I guess a function of the world we live in, but my roots are in comedy and humor and I have almost abandoned that. It has not been intentional, I just feel the weight of responsibility more and more to cry out to a lost and dying culture. But on a personal note I need to shed at least some of this weight and I think you readers do too.

Lastly, I very much appreciate you loyal blog followers, but I still desperately need to grow my following. I have been turned down twice now by publishers because my “Platform” is too small. I am hoping the newsletter does that, attracts more followers/subscribers.

Oh! By the way, I hope to work with Socially Present here in Paducah to develop some video content as well.

For now, the rock and roll part. If I haven’t told you, I LOVE great rock and blues guitar playing. Stevie Ray Vaughn was my all time favorite and I will have to blog about the night when I stood with my chest against the stage just a foot or so from Stevie and watched him and the Fabulous Thunderbirds while at University of Georgia. One of the most memorable nights of my life. Here is a fascinating video of the guy who is number three on the list, Rick Vito. This is an AWESOME video of how he laid down the track for Bob Seager on “Like A Rock”. Rick Vito Explains His Iconic Solo

 

 

 

My Impromptu Appearance on CBS Sports Radio

Today on my way home, I was listening to CBS Sports Radio’s the Doug Gottlieb Show. A couple of years ago I was a regular listener and kind of got out of the habit after he left ESPN and went to CBS Sports. But we have a CBS affiliate here now so for the last couple of days I have been tuning in. Mr. Gottlieb is pretty entertaining for the commute home.  He’s can be funny and usually has a fresh take on sports stories that I enjoy. Better yet, his producer is a Georgia fan, as I am, and they were discussing the SEC, which caught my attention when I was scanning channels.

Today, was different. Today the show, and particularly the Producer (whose name I don’t know. I mean no disrespect to him by not using his name) took my breath away.

The topic was Tony Dungy. If you don’t know, Tony was recently quoted as saying he would not have drafted the league’s first openly gay player. The next day Coach Dungy clarified that he meant he would not have drafted him because he would not have wanted the media circus that would have ensued. He stated that he did not believe that this player should be denied an opportunity to play in the NFL simply because he was gay.

Gottlieb and his producer were debating whether or not they believed Coach Dungy’s explanation. The producer didn’t feel comfortable with the explanation because he knew that the Coach is a devout Christian and was in his words “opposed to homosexuals” (Gottlieb may have said this; I was driving at the time and am not certain). So the producer felt that Dungy’s Christian views must certainly have been a part of his statement about the player.

That’s when it happened. The producer stated that it was hard to evaluate a Christian’s views because “religious zealots cannot be reasoned with.”

Let that one sink in a moment. This is a statement, uttered on a national radio program, that is stunning in scope!

In his view, any person that holds the traditional Christian view of marriage that has stood for 2000 plus years are unreasonable zealots. Think of all the people that includes. Sir Issac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Martin Luther, John Calvin, or in modern times, Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Albert Mohler, the Pope, and Billy Graham, and of course little ol’ me and I would estimate around 150 million of my fellow Americans.

The other part that is so hard to get my mind around is that he paints with this gigantic brush simply because these millions hold a view different than his. (Tolerance anyone?).

I’ll try to get a screen shot up of my tweets later. (Not really sure how to do that.)But my first tweet said: “So your Producers stance is that all Christians are religious zealots who cannot be reasoned with. Nice to know.”

A few minutes later Mr. Gottlieb read my name and tweet on the air. I am fine with that. I expressed my opinion in public so no problem there. The producer then said that he didn’t mean all Christians only the one’s who don’t accept homosexual marriage. This would of course include all Bible believing Christians including the Pope, Billy Graham and Ravi Zacharias among others. All brilliant, loving, kind men. None of these men strike me as having an issue with their powers of reason.

It went from there. I am not going to retype all the tweets I sent here. They read most of them on the air. I am also not going to get into the depths of the entire gay marriage discussion in this post. I have done that in the past on this blog. If you want an excellent presentation of the Christian view on this issue I suggest Dr. Albert Mohler’s excellent response to Matthew Vines book. Dr. Mohler’s book is entitled “God and the Gay Christian?” The question mark is the only difference between that title and the title of Vine’s book.

But this discussion was not really about homosexual marriage. It was really about Hutzpah. At one point I referenced 6000 years of human history and the multiple cultures that have accepted traditional marriage. They blew that off as old fashioned. Sure some ideas are old fashioned and need to be done away with. But when an idea is held dear by billions of people through history, and a huge cross section of cultures, shouldn’t one give at least a little pause before tossing that tradition out like yesterday’s garbage?

My larger point was that Coach Dungy and I base our views on the Bible and human history. What does the producer base his views on…his opinion and the current mood of a single culture in a short span of time? That should give him pause. And if it doesn’t, is he not guilty of arrogance on a high level? I’m not saying they have to agree with my view or Coach Dungy’s view. That was never my goal in tweeting to them. But the mindset they stated is scary. The willingness to dismiss Tony Dungy and all that he has stood for over his career and all the good he has done as an unreasonable zealot smacks of fascism. What ever happened with agreeing to disagree?

This recent movement of trying to end careers and destroy people who don’t hold to the current view of the culture has to stop. I should emphasize here that neither Doug Gottlieb or his producer ever advocated punishment or dismissal for Dungy. But others in the culture have and do. In its current state, the least tolerant most oppressive group in the country is the militant gay lobby. People are losing jobs and businesses simply because they believe in traditional marriage. One is no longer allowed to be pro-traditional marriage, you can only be “anti-homosexual.”

I find that mindset the part that is positively scary, and I will continue to take stands to defend against it.

Finally, the guys on the show were pretty fair to me. They made fun of some typos but I had to keep pulling over to tweet and then type rapid fire to keep up with radio comments. I don’t mind that ribbing, even though I think that at first they were going to try to paint me as the stereotypical ignorant right winger. However, their characterization of the Christian view towards both marriage and homosexuals was way off and very stereotypical.

I’m sure I’ll tune in again. I just hope next time they focus on SEC (and particularly Georgia) football.

What Of The Children (Edited)

Do These Look Like Innocent Children To You?

Do These Look Like Innocent Children To You?

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the Gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery…Winston Churchill

 

Yesterday, that bastion of hard news, Yahoo.com, applauded the comedian John Stewart. Stewart, following his normal course of action, had just delivered one of his diatribes regarding the “children” streaming across our southern border from Guatemala via Mexico. Stewart said, “If you are listening to me right now and you are one of those people who wants to send these kids back, first of all…what the (epithet) is wrong with you?”

Stewart’s point of course was that it is inhumane and immoral to send these children back into a violent and poverty stricken country. Liberals like Stewart, and the entirety of the Democratic Party in Washington DC, love to harangue others about abstractions like empathy and compassion when it suits their political purposes. I would posit to you that none of these would-be tutors of the rest of us has opened, or will open, their homes to these aliens. More likely, they will remain safely and comfortably inside their gated communities whilst they espouse to the rest of us what our moral duty is.

None of this is to say that those refugees that are in fact children don’t deserve the utmost sympathy and even assistance. Those of us who feel they cannot be allowed to stay would indeed be something worse than villains if we weren’t moved to tears by their plight. I even find my heart stirred and inspired by their bravery to strike out on such a desperate and difficult journey.

All that being true however, the actions we take as a nation in these next week’s regarding this influx will have far reaching ramifications. As this column has already alluded to, only a small percentage of these illegals are children. I have seen estimates of between 10 and 20%. Most are 17 and older, many bear gang tattoos, per the border patrol, a significant number are not even Hispanic but are actually Syrians. These Syrians have holed up in Central America waiting for an opportunity to enter the US in order to do who knows what. A larger number sport the gang tattoos of the hyper-violent MS-13.

It certainly appears that these poor children are being exploited and used by the cartels and the gangs to provide a public relations shield. That way our enemies of all sorts can be ignored by the few television cameras allowed in the processing centers. I personally question the motives of a Nancy Pelosi or a Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer for wanting to let these illegal entrants remain here. However, since I have no evidence of ill intent and can’t truly know their reasoning, let’s assume their motives are pure for a moment.

So the argument is that the United States, because we are a blessed and prosperous land, has a moral obligation to allow these recent Central American aliens to stay (and yes this number includes some children). If that is the stance of John Stewart and others, then let us follow that out to its logical conclusion. If we are not allowed by morality to turn these back, then what third world aliens can we turn back? Certainly God’s Word implores us to care for the least of these, and because of that the United States has been the most generous superpower in history. But nowhere does he command us to completely surrender our own sovereignty. If these who have clearly violated our laws and who turn themselves in to Border Patrol so that they can go to centers to be fed and housed must be accepted, then the entirety of the third world must be accepted. Ludicrous you say? Not at all. On what principle would we ever turn any immigrant away if these are not? Why shouldn’t we take in the victims of the horrible violence in the Congo or the Sudan as well? And if that is the principal then we cannot just absorb some of the victims, but all of them.

I once traveled to Africa to do mission work. My son just returned from Haiti. Many in our community have recently returned from Guatemala. I am all for aiding these oppressed people. More than that, I am perfectly happy to contribute to the development of their economy in the capitalist model and aiding them in improving their infrastructure as we have in this country. In so doing not just these children can improve their lives but generations to follow can as well.

However, we must be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we do not have an infinite ability to absorb these people and the economic and health burdens that they unfortunately bring, into our society. The talking heads love to spout that “we are a nation of immigrants”. To some degree that is true, but we are a nation of naturalized immigrants. Our ancestors came here to become Americans, not to extend their culture and language to this land. What’s more only 12 million people total went through Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. Thousands were turned back because they carried communicable disease or for political reasons. We have already had over 350,000 Central American and Mexican illegals trek across our border in this year alone!

I chose the Churchill quote above for a reason. The solution offered by John Stewart and Liberalism in general is merely a spreading of misery, not an uplifting of the downtrodden. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, are watching and waiting to see our national response to this. If we refuse to make the difficult decision and turn these back, hordes will follow, all seeking similar treatment. Do we really think this fragile economy can take that kind of a blow right now? If by such choices we drive ourselves from recession to economic depression, who will help these children then? If the US fails where is the hope for the Western Hemisphere, not just for today, but for a generation?