The War on Halloween

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It has long been the position of this blog that Halloween gets a bad rap, especially from the Christian Right. The holiday’s association with deviltry, witchcraft, and the occult is, of course, difficult to deny, but the holiday’s name is an abbreviation of “All Hallow’s Eve”; that is, the evening before All Saints’ Day on 1 November.

Granted, the Internet atheists will claim the roots of Halloween in Samhain, the Gaelic festival of the harvest. They are not wrong, per se—the influx of Irish immigrants into the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought a peculiarly Celtic flavor to the holiday. But the holiday is a Christian, specifically a Catholic, one—the Irishmen bringing tales of Jack O’Lantern and his carved turnip (it would only later become a pumpkin) were not ancient pagans, but among the most devout believers in Europe.

Certainly the medieval Catholic Church had a habit of taking pagan holidays and replacing them with Christian observances. For some reason, Internet atheists always use these replacements as examples of Christianity’s secretly pagan roots. The argument is ludicrous.

When Hernan Cortez destroyed the Aztec temple at Tenochtitlan and built a cathedral in its place, was he honoring the bloodthirsty Aztec gods? Or was he symbolically noting that The Holy Trinity had displaced the false gods and idols of the Aztecs? It is almost certainly the latter. Similarly, when Christians took existing pagan observances and replaced them with Christian ones, they were symbolically and practically demonstrating the victory of Christ and His Church over pagan gods.

Indeed, much of the American Protestant objection to Halloween must have been due to its associations with the Papists, rather than the Devil. The mischievousness of the holiday in the twentieth century, especially the concept of trick-or-treating, probably has more to do with its more sinister modern associations.

But the latest assault on Halloween is coming from a different quarter.  No longer are conservative Christians alone in hedging their bets on the holiday.

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Saturday Morning Update; SubscribeStar Post is Coming

Today’s SubscribeStar Saturday post is coming, it will likely just pop up this afternoon. I spent yesterday afternoon driving to Athens, Georgia, and did not have time to get the post done ahead of time.

That said, it was a beautiful drive. Due to a bad wreck on I-20, GPS routed me through the backroads, taking me through the Upstate of South Carolina into northeastern Georgia. One of the highlights was driving through Calhoun Falls, South Carolina, which is on the border of the two States.

More on that in a future post. Thank you for your patience!

—TPP

SubscribeStar Saturday: Another Election

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One month from today, my little adopted hometown of Lamar has another election.  There is a competitive mayoral race, between a current Councilwoman and another resident.  That should be an interesting race to watch.  If the Councilwoman loses, she’ll maintain her seat on Council, as she is in the middle of her term and not facing re-election this election cycle.  If she wins, it would trigger a special election—I think—to fill the vacancy.  Either scenario is interesting, but either way she would remain on Council.

There are also two Council seats up, both with incumbents running—another Councilwoman and myself.

For the Council races, residents will be able to vote twice—once for each seat.  Since there are no other filed candidates, it should be a fairly straightforward election.

That said, I lost my first run to a surprise write-in candidate (indeed, to the other Councilwoman running), so I don’t take anything for granted.

So, what is my approach this time?

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SubscribeStar Saturday: 1000 Days

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Well, here it is—the 1000th consecutive day of posting to WordPress (I hit 1000 posts about 114 pieces ago; now I’ve reached 1000 days of consecutive posting).  It’s crazy to think, but this latest incarnation of The Portly Politico has been going for roughly two-and-three-fourths years, a fresh post every single day.  I’ve written so much at this point, I’ve forgotten a lot of it.

Granted, some of those have been filler posts, saying, “Oops, I will have to post a real post later,” but I tried to avoid those as much as possible, and I have generally made them up (especially to you paying customers).  I’ve also come up with some series, like Monday Morning Movie Review and Supporting Friends Friday, to help with ease the load a bit (not to mention Lazy Sunday and TBT, both of which let me off the hook with some reblogging of old material).

It being the 1000th day, I’ve decided to look back at this latest incarnation of The Portly Politico—where it was, where it is, and where it’s going.

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Celebratory Saturday; SubscribeStar Saturday Delayed

This weekend I am celebrating some big family milestones, including my older brother’s birthday.  As such, this weekend’s installment of SubscribeStar Saturday will be delayed.  With all the fun this weekend, it’s hard to get the ire up to write “Decline, Part II” (read  the preview of “SubscribeStar Saturday: Decline, Part I: Afghanistan” and read the full post here).

It’s been a very long week at work—not bad, just long.  It was one of those weeks where I felt like I was working constantly, but never quite getting ahead on anything.  Finding time to write is getting harder, unfortunately—there’s not enough time in the morning, and by the time I get home in the evenings, I am wiped out.

That said, all is well.  I’m getting excited for the next Spooktacular, and should be placing an order for t-shirts soon.  I’ll have the designs for those shirts uploaded once I place the order.  I have two designs this year, so make sure to collect ’em all.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!  If you’d like to subscribe to or view my SubscribeStar page, you can do so here.

Happy Saturday!

—TPP

SubscribeStar Saturday: Decline, Part I: Afghanistan

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Events of the past few years give one the distinct sense that the United States—and, indeed, Western Civilization—is in a steady decline.  As I wrote in an old post:

We’re no longer the Roman Republic, but we’re not the Roman Empire in the 5th century, either.  We’re more like the Roman Empire in the 2nd or 3rd centuries:  coasting along on the remnants of a functioning system, with a play-acting Congress shadowing the motions of republicanism.

We’re in what might be called the “decadent” phase of our existence:  past generations forged a nation from their sweat and blood; their successors solidified and consolidated on those gains, creating a powerful economy and culture, and winning major wars; their successors are currently coasting along on the fruits of their ancestors’ efforts.  But a culture, a nation, a civilization can only coast for so long before it loses all momentum entirely.

The recent unpleasantness in Afghanistan is a stark illustration of our current decadence—and our blind arrogance.  We believed we could plant a functioning democratic republic in a land that has been war-torn and riddled with autocratic warlords since time immemorial with an investment of twenty years of blood and treasure.  Instead, we botched a pull-out, abandoning American citizens and military equipment in the process, allowing the Taliban to seize control of the entire country in a leisurely weekend.

Ironically, The Pretender Biden was probably the perfect patsy for American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was about nineteen years overdue.  Every administration has known we needed to get the heck out of a place known as “The Graveyard of Empires,” but no one wanted the bad optics of a withdrawal.  Biden is so senile and mentally foggy that he probably still doesn’t realize what he did, and certainly doesn’t feel any shame about abandoning Americans to the Taliban.

But even given our incompetent, mentally hobbled executive, the withdrawal from Afghanistan—quite necessary, I think—was botched so terribly, it condemns the entire US government and our military leadership.  Any ten-year old could have said, “Yeah, get all the weapons and people out first, then withdraw the last of the American troops.”  Instead, we did the exact opposite.  Ripping off the Band-Aid and getting out of Afghanistan was necessary, but did we have to rip the skin clean off the arm?

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Educational Tyranny

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Apologies to readers for the delayed post.  After a long but productive week and a drive to Athens—not to mention a late-night dose of NyQuil—I’m getting a late start on this post.

Education is a field that tends towards authoritarianism and centralization, especially when faced with a major problem outside of its usual scope.  The field’s emphasis on safety—understandable given that teachers and administrators work with children—can become, in certain circumstances, pathological.

Schools, especially public schools, sit at the uncomfortable nexus of politics, liability, and conformity.  Various political schemes to improve education often backfire, instead creating onerous additional tasks that rank-and-file faculty shoulder.  Centralization of control at the State and federal levels, rather than aid classroom teaching, often merely force conformity on the profession, while creating unrealistic “benchmarks” that don’t align with local conditions or needs.

The ever-present fear of lawsuits reduces administrators to whimpering toadies, themselves often filled with silly pedagogical theories from bogus education programs.  Educational dogma is fully onboard with social justice foolishness, and education programs are excellent at producing dedicated Cultural Marxists and “activists,” all eager to indoctrinate students into the prevailing cult of groupthink.

Within this milieu is the tendency for professional educators to possess a bit of an authoritarian streak.  There are plenty of good teachers with an authoritative approach to both their subject matter and classroom management (the buzzword for “discipline” or control of the classroom), but some teachers and administrators relish control over their tiny little domains.  Small people ruling small fiefdoms tend to possess rather inflated senses of their own rightness and righteousness.

The Age of The Virus, then, provided the perfect conditions for justifying all manner of policies and procedures that do little to help children learn, but do a great deal to empower administrators, district offices, and the like with the pretexts for depriving students, employees, and parents of any modicum of personal and academic freedom.  The very same forces that would hawk abortions with the rallying cry of “my body, my choice” also gleefully mandate experimental mRNA vaccination regimens and literal muzzles—even for vaccinated employees!

Locally, the Darlington County School District has tied vaccination to COVID leave, an invention of the federal government that allows teachers quarantined or sick due to The Virus to receive paid COVID leave in lieu of their regular sick leave.  Per the article at the News & Press (emphasis added), “‘Some people may think this is controversial,’ Education Superintendent Tim Newman said. ‘Sometimes, you just have to take a stand for what you think is right.'”

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Festivals in The Age of The Virus

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Just when we thought life was returning to normal—or, perhaps, when we thought life was being allowed to return to normal—a wacky new variant of The Virus has reared its viral head.  We’re told it’s hyper-contagious, though the fact that it’s even milder than the original recipe is seldom mentioned.  Just as New Coke wasn’t as good as Coca-Cola Classic, so the Delta Variant is a poor imitation of The Wuhan Original.

Well, the sequel is never as good as the original.  Unfortunately, our public health overlords at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t see it that way.  They and their lackeys in the media are going full-scale alarmist, now recommending even vaccinated individuals to wear masks.

But, wait, didn’t The Vaccine purchase our freedom from masks?  Aren’t masks of dubious effectiveness, anyway?  Well, never mind.  The Cult of COVID holds sway among our ruling class, and they’re never wrong, and certainly never the architects of unmitigated disasters.  Let’s all chant the necessary rites—“Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve!”—“Socially Distance!”—“Wear a Mask!”—and surely St. Fauci will make the necessary sacrifices of civil liberties to appease the angry god COVID.

Among the many casualties of our adherence to this death cult is the many public events, those places where we used to gather to celebrate our shared history, heritage, and culture, and simply have some fun.  As the weather slowly hints towards crisp autumnality, it’s worth considering the fate of our beloved festivals.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Concealed Weapons Permit Course

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Last Saturday my younger brother and I woke up very early to attend an all-day concealed weapons permit (CWP) course.  We’d both been meaning to get our CWP for some time, and he stumbled upon an instructor in his area on Next Door.  Wanting to knock it out before college football season begins, we decided it was the perfect time to learn to be certified killing machines.

In all seriousness, the course was extremely informative—and sobering.  Owning any firearm is a huge responsibility, as misuse of the weapon can result in injury and death—including to yourself!

I’d always understood that in the abstract, but taking the course and handling a firearm really drove that home.  Our instructor really pounded into us two things:  situational awareness and practice.

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