By Charlie Johnston
I got the following reply from my US Senator, Cory Gardner, chairman of the foreign relations committee, in response to my advocacy for Kyle McCarter to be confirmed as US Ambassador to Kenya:
“Thank you for contacting me regarding presidential appointments. I appreciate you taking the time to write. It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate and I hope you will continue to write with your thoughts and ideas on moving our country forward.
The President of the United States has the power to appoint certain advisors within his administration. While some of these appointments require confirmation by the Senate, there are others that serve solely at the pleasure of the President. Please rest assured, I will keep your thoughts in mind should any appointments come before me for a vote in the United States Senate.”
I have kept an intensely low political profile in Colorado. I get involved in no political activities here, as I want to keep it my home and bedroom only, so I did not expect to get an answer like I would from those I work with. But this is how his staff responds to a normal constituent?!!! Completely ignore the concern, give a patronizing lesson in civics 101 assuming the citizen does not know jack squat about how government works – and say, in the politest way, that he does not give jack squat what the citizen thinks?!
I very much understand how pressurized high office can be. I have set up templates for form response letters for many federal and other officials and drafted a ton of specific responses. I pray that I have never been the cause for such a banal, insulting letter to go out in response to a specific concern. I honestly don’t think I ever have – but low-level staffers and the push of business can cause honest errors to occur. My sense, though, is that it sure didn’t take long for Gardner to join the swamp.
I will continue to stay out of Colorado politics except for voting. Heaven knows I have enough on my plate as it is. But boy, this note triggered a brief, but intense, urge to find a likely real conservative, little-regarded state legislator here and put together a smoothly run upset bid. Good thing I’m headed out of state on another project next week. Keeps temptation at bay.
I was rather pleased to see former Pres. Barack Obama re-enter the political fray, despite it violating political norms going back to the founding of our country. It seems to me the idea of Obama has always sold better than the hectoring, smugly condescending, self-congratulatory reality of Obama. Democrats lost over a thousand seats across the country under his patronage. He drove votes away from everybody but himself. Truth is, he was a more effective recruiter of new voters to the Republican Party than Ronald Reagan was. So it pleases me that he has returned to offer his party his patented reverse political Midas Touch.
I did laugh out loud when he tried to take credit for the Trump economy. This from a man who said that 2% growth was the “new normal” and that nobody had a magic wand that could bring manufacturing jobs back. I wish I was standing next to him so I could say, “You didn’t build this!”
Politically, everything has entered into an eerie suspension as people wait for the midterms to tell us truly whither we are tending. The media, polls and Democrats keep touting their belief that the Dems will take the House back. Yet the same media and polls told us Trump could not win, Brexit would never happen, and were all caught off guard by the rightward lurches in Italy, England, France, Germany – and now Sweden, for heaven’s sakes. I have said I expect a red tsunami, as I just can’t believe normal Americans are impressed by the histrionics and the level of violence Democrats have been injecting into the political process.
In some very real ways, the most honest pollsters’ jobs have gotten a LOT harder over the last two decades. The rise of cell phones replacing landlines and the ubiquitous nature of caller ID has made it much harder to get a truly random sampling of voters, which is vital to accuracy. Meantime, with the level of threats, vitriol and intimidation the left has mounted, many normal people, when they get a polling call, are not sure this is not actually a Democratic office on a search and destroy mission to identify dissidents – so they tailor their answers to avoid any trouble. I always believed in listening with empathy to the concerns of ordinary people you meet, rather than trying to strong-arm them. Persuading people to shut up is not the same thing as persuading them. I took this stance both because it is right AND because it is the only practical way to go. When you intimidate people into silence, you cease to get accurate information on what they believe and where they stand. It is hard to make good decisions from bad information – and it is extremely foolhardy to intentionally distort the flow of information you need to make good decisions. Yet that has become the Democrats go-to strategy. That suggests the almost unrelenting string of surprises they have been getting around the world these last few years will continue. It turns out too many, even of low information voters, remember the ravages of socialism and see the ravages of identity politics to endorse it in the privacy of the voting booth. Reading the internals of some public polls when I can get them, I see far too many intentionally tainting the sample and shaping preferred responses. That is an effort to create a reality that does not currently exist rather than measure accurately what does. Sometimes it works, as timid and undecided voters think if that is what everyone else thinks, than that must be what I should think, too. But I think those days are gone.
The strong-arm tactics of social media are not helping the left’s cause, either. Oh, they can shut conservatives up on their platforms, but in the process they also shut down and offend more than a few fellow travelers, thus confirming what conservatives say about the threat to freedom. Temperamentally, I have never liked strong-arm tactics Practically, they set you up for sudden, unforeseen, catastrophic loss. That is where the left is headed, I think.
On the other hand, the country has changed in some very unhealthy ways. Just a decade ago, a woman working with the Republican National Committee was trying to persuade me to come on board and help put together some effective, original messaging. I demurred, telling her, “I fear we may have reached a tipping point. I think the stupids have become the majority – and if that is the case, we are just going to have to suffer the consequences and collapse before we can get about the business of rebuilding.” I made the statement off-the-cuff, but it continues to bother me. Socialism has impoverished and terrorized everyone it touches. It has murdered over 100 million innocent victims just in the last century. Venezuela, once the most prosperous South America country has become a train wreck of starving people and children sold into prostitution through socialism. It was earlier this very decade that prominent Democrats and world leaders were touting Venezuela as what we should all aspire to become. With such a mountain of evidence, there should be NO advocates of socialism – yet broad swaths of the public still enthuse over it. I do, often, find myself a stranger in a strange land, wondering if we are determinedly and enthusiastically hurtling towards a doom for a time.
With all the shrieking about minor inconveniences and mere disagreements described as “persecution” and “oppression,” I wonder if perhaps it pleases God that we should re-discover real suffering and hardship for a while, that it might spark a new sense of gratitude and real tolerance in us. That is actually a happy thought for me, for if that is how it is to be, I suspect the real suffering will hit the pretend sufferers the hardest – and the gentle protective hand of God will protect the seriously faithful from the worst depredations yet to come. Certainly, if a doom is to come upon us, it will be a doom we have called down upon ourselves.
I have a hard time seeing how we avoid serious strife or, even, open war after the mid-terms. If the Democrats lose narrowly, they will double down on their rioting and violence. If they win, they will go right back to trying to force the conscience of normal Americans with a vengeance, quickly trying to make up with authoritarian brutality for what they briefly lost. Normal Americans will have to fight or consign their children to a dark future of poverty, misery and slavery – or fight once more for freedom. The climate has been cultivated for a Rwanda-style conflict. Even if Democrats are overwhelmingly repudiated, how do we reconcile a leftist movement that reserves to itself the right to riot, lie, cheat, steal, pervert justice and use unapologetic violence to accomplish its aims? I think we are going to have to seriously consider establishing exile islands and territories for a time.
In the short term, I am very pessimistic. Long term, I am very optimistic. God will redeem us, in ways that none of us can foresee right now. I am heartened that such a large cohort (though tiny in the world’s eyes) has truly committed to acknowledging God, taking the next right step, and being a sign of hope to those around them. I think it has already mitigated some of the worst aspects of the Storm. As the darkness grows, commitment to these is the mustard seed that will grow into a great movement which will steer us towards the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. We have a lot of wood to chop before we get there, though – and each of us will have to chop our share.