Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day in the United States, one of those throwaway observations that gets some cute stories in the news about a rodent spotting its shadow and a handful of opportunistic sales events sandwiched in between MLK Day and Presidents’ Day.  It’s ubiquitous enough to make it into the papers and the home page of your preferred search engine, but not significant enough to get a day off work.

I primarily remember Groundhog Day as a career-shadowing day for high school students.  When I was in high school, I spent one “Groundhog Shadowing Day,” as the administration called it, shadowing a college history professor at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.  I remember being overawed by the specificity of the historical research papers his college students were writing (in the way a first grader marvels at a fifth grader who writes an entire paragraph, not just one sentence), and chuckling to myself at his pro-gun control op-eds.  Even back then I knew college professors were loopy.

The following year I had the opportunity to shadow my State representative, who I remember as having a rather red-cheeked appearance and jovial manner.  I was still under the impression that politicians were somehow elevated beings, people possessed of occasional foibles and shortcomings, but ultimately intent on serving the public interest.  Ah, yes—the naïveté of youth.  I’ll never forget an energy lobbyist slapping him on the back and telling me, “I know Skipper will look out for us.”  Indeed.

Otherwise, Groundhog Day doesn’t loom large in my mind other than as a fun Bill Murray movie in which he woos a beautiful South Carolinian, Andie MacDowell.  Indeed, that film seems to have brought the holiday into the larger consciousness of Americans, as it had largely been a Mid-Atlantic—Pennsylvanian, really—observance up to that point.

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Election Day 2020

Well, here it is:  Election Day 2020.  I got up early this morning to get to the polls around 6:50 AM, and there was already a line twenty-deep waiting at the door.  I voted around 7:25 AM, so it wasn’t too terribly long of a wait.  When I left, there was still a long line out the door, and I live in a town with less than 1000 people and two voting precincts.

Immediately after voting, I felt energized.  I may be naive, as my blogger buddy jonolan claims, but I can’t help but feel optimistic this morning.  Hopefully that optimism bears out across the country, and holds up as the results come in.

I remember in 2016 a sense of despair that the fix was in, which slowly gave way to the magic of a Trump upset.  This year I am more anxious about the aftermath of the results than I am about the results themselves (although I am praying fervently for an unexpected Trump landslide).  A narrow victory for either candidate is probably the worst possible outcome (ergo, my aforementioned prayers for a convincing, incontestable Trump victory).

Of course, if my prayers are answered and Trump wins resoundingly and Republicans dominate Congress again, there won’t suddenly be peace on the streets.  As I noted in “Progressivism and Political Violence,” the progressive Left will resort to anything—including violence—if it’s electorally denied access to the legitimate organs of power.

With the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court is now solidly conservative-constitutionalist.  If Republicans control the presidency and a convincing majority in the House and Senate, the Left will grow even more enraged, unhinged, and violent.  Never mind they can take a bite at the congressional apple again in two years; they will array every force and tactic at their disposal to destroy us.

We must remember, too, that electoral victory does not equate to cultural victory.  The Left dominates the institutions and entertainment.  Leftist dogma increasingly shapes our basic assumptions about the world.  Those assumptions run deep, infecting even conservative Christians, the very group equipped intellectually and spiritually to resist such corruption.

But Leftism, for all its falsehoods and inconsistencies, is seductive to untrained minds and to well-meaning hearts.  It whispers sweet lies and promises.  In this way, it is truly demonic; indeed, it is satanic.  Satan appears as a being of light; his ugliness and wickedness only reveal themselves later.  Such has been the course of Leftism in American history.

But for now, let’s focus on winning that electoral victory.  If you haven’t already, get out and VOTE for Trump and Republican candidates at every level.  Let’s win the levers of power—and then begin the much harder work of repairing our broken culture.

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One Final Appeal

The 2020 election is tomorrow, and the fate of the country hangs in the balance.  Yes, such melodramatic rhetoric crops up in every election, but it’s very real this time around.

By this point, many Americans have made their choices, but I implore undecided conservatives and centrists to cast their votes for President Trump—and for Republicans at every level.  Sure, there are still some RINOs in our midsts, but a semi-reliable RINO is better by far than a reliably destructive progressive.

Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell might not always vote the way we would like them to, but there’s no denying they’ve been effective at supporting President Trump’s agenda in deed, if not always in words.  But actions speak louder than words; I can put up with a token denouncement from McConnell if he keeps packing the courts with conservative constitutionalists and playing procedural hardball with the Democrats.

Of course, the main attraction is Trump himself.  If he were any other person in American history, we’d be lauding him as the greatest president of a generation.  But because his style is combative and pugilistic, conservatives are all too eager to denounce him as “reckless.”  The irony is that Trump would have been unable to accomplish everything he has in his first term if he didn’t possess that scrappy sensibility.

I had a conversation last week with a conservative friend who agonizingly arrived at the point where even though he dislikes Trump’s style, he realizes the Democrats have nothing to offer but death and destruction.  Voting for the Democrats was never on the table for him, but he felt he could not morally support the President—until he thoughtfully considered the president’s record.  As he put it, “‘Peace in the Middle East’ used to be a joke.  Then Trump actually did it.”

Trump is the obvious choice for peace, prosperity, and national renewal.  Joe Biden is a puppet of the progressive Left, which will shunt him out of office in favor of Kamala Harris—a calculating, cruel, corrupt politician lacking any scruples whatsoever—at the first opportunity.

Don’t let that happen.  Vote for Trump, vote Republican, and vote to Keep America Great!

MAGA!

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Second Presidential Debate Review

Last night was the second and final presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden.  Overall, it was far more measured in tone and richer in substance than the first debate, and it accomplished what President Trump needed to do:  reassure squishy independents and critical undecided voters that he’s not just a loose cannon, but can actually govern, and govern well.

I also found the moderator to be surprisingly fair.  The questions obviously were slanted in favor of the Democrats, as these questions always are (again, who cares about climate change anymore?), but she gave President Trump the opportunity to respond to criticisms, and also had some tough questions for Biden.

President Trump did what he should have done in the first debate:  he gave Biden the rope with which to hang himself.  It was Biden who brought up China and Ukraine, which opened the door for Trump to attack Hunter Biden’s lucrative salaries from foreign companies and governments—the result of Biden’s influence peddling.

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What is Civilization?

This morning while getting ready for work I listened to a fascinating discussion between Milo Yiannopoulos and “groypers” Steven Franssen and Vincent James.  I don’t know much about Franssen and James, other than that they are fairly prominent figures on the Dissident Right, but the discussion (which is available at Censored.TV to subscribers—I highly recommend forking over the $10 a month for a subscription) covered a broad range of topics, from 9/11 to the future of America and traditionalism.

Out of that far-ranging discussion came a brief debate between Milo and his guests near the end of the exchange.  The gist of it boiled down to the question “what is civilization?”  Milo’s contention—an interesting one—is that by abandoning our cities, we are, essentially, abandoning our greatest cultural products:  our art, our architecture, our institutions.  These cultural artifacts took the blood, sweat, toil, and ingenuity of the American people to build, so we’re capitulating to the Leftist mobs when we flee our cities instead of fighting for them.

In true Milo fashion, it’s a compellingly contrarian argument:  why surrender what we fought so hard to build?  I am a big advocate of normal, decent folks abandoning the cities in search of a better life in the country (to the point I think we should consider subsidizing families in rural areas), but makes a strong case.  If we want to preserve our heritage, we shouldn’t hand it over to looters.

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Lazy Sunday LXXVI: Forgotten Posts, Volume V

It’s been a pretty busy Lazy Sunday for yours portly.  I helped my younger brother and his young family move last Saturday, and the ongoing relocation process continued with some small household items this afternoon.  The whole weekend has been pretty jam-packed with work of one kind or another, so I’m fairly beat—with another week of school ahead.

Regardless, that’s why this week’s Lazy Sunday is later than usual.  I’m still diving into posts from September 2019, which seemed to be a pretty rich vein for quality posts.  Here are some more of those posts:

  • Sanford Announces Presidential Bid” – I used to love Mark Sanford.  He was a pretty solid governor for SC, and stood boldly against expensive Medicaid expansion.  He was a colorful character, and a fairly consistent fiscal conservative.  But he fell in with the Never Trumpers.  He’s not wrong that the national debt is untenable, but… it’s grown beyond any amount we ever thought possible, and economic life rolls on.  We’re likely writing a promissory note that will be impossible to pay in the future, but the issue of the debt is so abstract and academic—and so removed from people’s daily realities—that it seems like a non-issue.  Sanford’s presidential bid failed swiftly due to extreme disinterest.
  • Tommy Robinson is Free!” – British patriot Tommy Robinson has endured two difficult, unjust prison sentences, one of which nearly killed him.  Because he’s spoken out so strongly against Muslims, he had to be held in solitary confinement to protect him from Muslim prison gangs (seems his warnings have some truth to them, if so many Muslims are in British prisons they can form gangs).  Many conservatives assumed his imprisonments were means by which the British authorities could indirectly assassinate Robinson, silencing an important nationalist voice.  Fortunately, he survived—another victory for our side.
  • America’s Roman Roots” – This post looked at an op-ed from a Dr. Brandop-ed from a Dr. Brand about the influence of the Roman Republic on America’s Founding Fathers.  The Roman Republic, like our American one, emerged after a group of patriotic elites overthrew the ruling monarchy, and established the most successful, enduring Republic of the ancient world.  Sometimes I think now America is more like the Roman Empire than the Roman Republic, but that would make sense, too—similar roots might yield similar results.  Let’s how the spirit of republicanism can be revived.

Well, that’s it for this delayed Lazy Sunday!  I may continue the deep dive with more “Forgotten Posts,” or I’ll go back to some thematic posts.  We’ll see—next Sunday!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Remembering 1519

We’ve been back at school for one week now, and so far things seem to be going well, albeit very busy.  We’re slowly settling into a groove with our various safety protocols, and most of the schedule changes are solidified.  That should make for much smoother sailing going forward.

I’m mostly teaching music courses this year, but I still have a couple of sections of Honors US History.  That means it’s another year of telling the “grand narrative of American history.”  My main goal as a history teacher is to make sure students receive a balanced, analytical telling of our great nation’s history.  That means that while I point out the atrocities of, say, the Spanish conquistadors, I also discuss the wickedness of the Aztecs, who engaged in daily human sacrifices.  That the Spanish built a cathedral atop the old Aztec altar to their false gods is a fitting bit of divine judgment.

Of course, as an American I’m more interested in English colonization and settlement in British North America—what would become the United States—than I am in the vast empire of New Spain.  We should be getting into Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth Rock today or tomorrow, and I’m quite excited about that.  For me, that’s when the story really starts cooking.  Naturally, the clash of Spanish conquistadors and Aztec and Inca warriors is cool, but those first saplings of a free country stir my heart.

All that said, this week’s TBT looks back at those cool conquistadors.  Here is 3 September 2019’s “Remembering 1519“:

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Passing of Bernard Bailyn

Last week, legendary historian of colonial America Bernard Bailyn passed away at the age of 97, making his own voyage into the next life.  Blogger buddy Gordon Sheaffer at Practically Historical wrote a brief but effective tribute to Bailyn earlier this week.

As Sheaffer wrote Monday:

No other scholar impacted the study of the American Revolution more than Bailyn. His masterwork, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, continues to challenge readers 50 years after it was published. Bailyn was able to express the unique qualities of American civilization without politicizing the history with talk of exceptionalism.

I have not read—to my great shame and discredit—The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, but I have read Bailyn’s The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction, a much shorter work that serves as an introduction to a larger study on the settlement of British North America.  The book is so good, and gives such a flavor for the various peoples that settled in the original thirteen colonies, I once assigned it as summer reading for my very first AP US History class back in 2011.  It’s an accessible book, but it was a bit much for rising high school sophomores.

That said, I’ve been searching for my copy this morning in my classroom, without any luck.  Hopefully it will turn up soon.  My dad and I were talking about Bailyn’s death, as there was a small bit about it in the newspaper, and he expressed interest in reading it.  I also wouldn’t mind rereading it, as I haven’t done so in nearly a decade.

Even so, bits of it stick out to me.  Near the end of the book, Bailyn briefly explores the odd religious sects, mostly German, that came to the colonies.  I distinctly recall him writing about a self-proclaimed prophet or sage living in a cave in Pennsylvania.  There were multiple sects and utopian movements and cults and denominations popping up in British North America during the First Great Awakening, which reached its peak sometime in the 1740s and greatly influenced the American Revolution.

In an age of toppling statues and lurid efforts to erase our national history and faith (to be replaced with… what?), Bailyn’s works take on increased importance.  Let us hope he isn’t summarily cancelled like everything else that is good, decent, and doesn’t inherently hate America.

Trump’s One-Two Punch

Trump won in 2016 running on a strong “America First” platform.  A major component of America First-ism is prioritizing the interests and the well-being of American citizens first—before the interests and well-being of foreign-born workers and immigrants, legal or otherwise.  The appeal and the concept aren’t difficult to understand:  a government should, chiefly, operate in the interest of its citizens before anyone else.  We can discuss the best immigration policies as a nation, but those policies should always place American citizens at the forefront.

It’s such a simple and pure political philosophy, it’s a wonder it comes under such fire.  But such is the world of globalists—who want cheap labor and sacrificial offerings to Efficiency—and progressives—who think anyone who is white and cares about having a job is a racist.  Take out the mercenaries (the former group) and the insane (the latter group) and you have reasonable people, those folks that might quibble around the edges of America First doctrine, but can’t disagree with its fundamental premises.

Trump has been better than most of his predecessors on immigration, though his waffling and equivocating—likely the product of Jared Kushner’s influence—have soured his some of his earliest supporters.  His turn on Jeff Sessions and the former Attorney General’s ultimate defeat in the Alabama Republican primary this summer seemed to many Trumpists to be a betrayal of immigration patriotism.  Sessions was, indeed, the leading voice in the United States government, pre-Trump, in denouncing open borders and unlimited immigration.  With Sessions leaving the national scene, immigration patriots and restrictionists have reason to worry.

That said, it bears remembering that Trump won the presidency campaigning on building a wall, prioritizing Americans over foreign workers, and keeping American industries at home.  No one in meaningful national politics (other than Jeff Sessions and Pat Buchanan) was beating that drum prior to Trump.  Trump tapped into a deep well of resentment over the Obama administration’s decade of putting middle-class Americans last, and several decades of neglect and open scorn from national politicians.

I also don’t expect Trump to reverse the postwar consensus overnight, or to get the whole loaf all at once.  I think Trump’s basic instincts are to put Americans first, while weighing the complexities of various interest groups and economic factors.

But Trump is at his best when he cuts the Gordian Knot and drives to the heart of the issues.  If Americans are losing jobs to foreign visa holders, well, make those visas less valuable.  He’s done that with an executive order barring H1B visa holders from working in federal government jobs, and barring the government from using contractors who use H1B visa holders.

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