By Charlie Johnston
All right, while I am on the road I am going to have give up on the posts that take me 15-25 hours worth of effort and, instead, just give little updates on a catch as catch can basis. My dear friend, Sr. Mary Clare, and Sr. Charista Maria, gained canonical status as hermits under their rule of Missionaries of Our Mother of the Eucharist. Sr. Mary Clare was a nun in Mother Angelica’s order, who left with Mother’s blessing. She is now in Mission as a hermit in rural Mississippi in the Diocese of Biloxi. Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III came to their chapel on June 6, where they formally took their vows.
The Sisters have weekly Marian prayer cenacles and do some small-scale retreats. They are a wonderful and ever-present spiritual and practical resource in the town of Poplarville. You can sometimes find them at Masses at St. Charles Borromeo in Picayune. As to finding their grounds and chapel, you will find it hard to do that even with a map and a compass. They are, after all, hermits.
Poplarville, Mississippi was one of the towns I walked through during my pilgrimage – but I didn’t get to know Sr. Mary Clare until a
few years later. I think it tickled both of us when she told me what town they were in and I exclaimed that I had walked through there and met some wonderful people.
I have fallen in love with orthodox nuns throughout this great land. They do incredible work with almost no flash or attention. They truly live the prayer of the next right step, purely out of love for God and for their neighbor. If you have an orthodox Catholic religious community near you, get to know them. You will be amazed at their joy and the great work they do of heartening the faithful every day. Because we live in a cynical, self-centered age, the world does not celebrate these wonderful women, these great heralds of the coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, but by gum, I do. I am so glad when some of the Sisters I have become friends with share mileposts of their journey of joy with me. (This post has been updated)
I am delighted to see that Jordan Peterson is endorsing the work of a new free speech social media platform that is under development. I have already signed up to be included in ThinkSpot as it develops and grows. Just as soon as I get off the wait list and into the pool, I will copy all of my posts there. It promises that it won’t take speech down unless ordered to by a court. My kind of site, folks!
I have high hopes for it because it is endorsed by Peterson, a true free speech purist with great credibility, and because of some of the rules it is starting with. I will still copy things to Facebook – but if it ever gets uppity or censorious with me, I have what looks to be a reliable place to go without missing too much of a beat. If ThinkSpot gets big enough, I may ultimately just abandon Facebook except to leave the archives up. I have absolutely had it with the censoriousness of these social media sites de-platforming Christians and conservatives. They’re practicing up to try to steal an election next year – and silence everyone who won’t be their co-conspirator.
I have actually never had a problem with Facebook. But I have never paid for an ad or to boost a post there. I have come to suspect they like to lure Christians and conservatives into giving them money and THEN cutting them off. Ha! Facebook – meet turnip.
When I was doing politics full-time, conservative candidates would constantly lament to me about how they could never get a fair shake from the media. I agreed, but was not much interested in just kicking against the bars. I used a sort of political judo that used the media’s own bias and enthusiasms to get the narratives I wanted played out.
Most reporters are not very smart – but are convinced they are geniuses. When somebody is both bigoted and vain, they are pretty easy to manipulate, because they are also tone-deaf – and their malice prevents them from thinking through any sort of long-time consequences of their impulsive attacks. So I would find some sort of language that I knew that they would jump on like a hungry trout on a fly. It was always in service of a narrative they thought would get me, but I knew would cut my way – or in preparation for an initiative I was planning later, in order to get them to commit to a position that would soon damage them. The only guy I have ever seen who uses this tactic more effectively or consistently than I did is Donald Trump.
When Trump told NBC/Clinton Reporter George Stephanopoulos that he would listen to dirt on an opponent given to him by a foreign country, I grinned and thought, “Genius!” I was a little dismayed at most of conservative media – even the gifted Rush Limbaugh – thinking this was a blunder. It was no such thing. It was genius that I admired. The press, of course, went nuts.
So what is about to drop? Investigative reports detailing how Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) solicited and paid for foreign agents (British and Russian) to make up phony dirt on Trump. Reports detailing how the Obama Administration leveraged different foreign intelligence agencies to help spy on the Trump campaign – one of the greatest political crimes in American history.
If Trump lures the media and Democrats into screaming for impeachment just because Trump says he would listen to campaign dirt from foreign sources, it makes it pretty tough for them to excuse the actual flagrant criminal abuses Clinton, the DNC, the Justice Dept., the Intelligence Agencies and the State Dept. committed with foreign actors to try to promote a coup against a sitting president. In the end, I don’t care whether the left’s voices are muffled in trying to justify the crimes or whether they tie themselves in knots trying to explain why it is okay when Democrats actually solicit, pay for, and make up dirt on opponents from foreign sources while trying to cover it up. Either way, they lose – and lose badly.
You are not going to persuade hard partisans on either side. But the persuadable middle likes to be fair – and when what you’re peddling is obviously specious and hypocritical nonsense, you lose that middle…with the bonus that the press further destroys its credibility.
Ha! Some folks in Illinois must wonder whether I am on Trump’s payroll these days. I loved doing this sort of thing…and frankly loved all the timid souls on my side talking about what a blunder I had made – until it paid off. I am not on Trump’s payroll, but I sure do admire when he plays rope-a-dope with the media. Once you get the hang of it, it is ridiculously easy to get the reflexively malicious and impulsive media to unknowingly dance to your tune.
You are probably wondering about the Latin title of my post today. Loosely translated, “Ubi Est Mea,” means “What about me,” or more accurately, “Where’s mine?” The late, great Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko claimed that should be the official motto of Chicago.
I am convinced that that mindset is responsible for most of our ills today. It is a paradox that when you spend most of your time focused on your own happiness, your own sense of entitlement, your own victimhood, happiness flees you. Yet when you focus outward to concern yourself with the good and the welfare of those around you, joy takes up residence in your heart. I constantly say that God works most often by indirection. He writes straight with crooked lines.
When you are focused primarily on your own wants and desires, even your successes only bring you further resentment and misery. Remember when homosexual activists promised that if we gave them “gay marriage” they would leave us alone? Neither do the bakers, florists, wedding chapel owners, or Christians being banned from social media. The whole process of maturity and civilization is a growth from self-centered wailings to genuinely caring for others – one by one.
I have never been able to resist a little prank. When my grandson, Camron, was little, he came proudly to me once with a bunch of French fries clutched in his fist. With sly amusement, I said thanks, grabbed them and popped them into my mouth. He immediately burst into tears because I had taken his French fries. I apologized profusely, hugged him and assured him of how much I loved him. He was soothed – but still didn’t think it was funny. A few minutes later, he came up to me with a gentle grin and a plate with a couple of chicken nuggets and some fries on it. “You hungry, Poppy?” he asked solicitously, “You hungry? Have some food.” Oh, how it melted my heart that my little guy so quickly got over his hurt and thought, tenderly, that maybe his poppy was just hungry. I pulled him into my lap and we joyfully ate them together (though I actually hate chicken nuggets. I mean, come on…what part of a chicken is the nugget? But I sure did enjoy joyfully sharing them with my little guy.) Even a toddler can get past his own self-absorption to reach out to those he loves – even when he is upset with them. For people to abandon misery and find joy again in this culture, they have to learn to quit asking, “Ubi est mea?”.
There are two hard, inter-related facts about life, one that you have little control over and the other that you have complete control over. The first is that there are a lot of jerks in this world. The second is that you get to choose whether or not you will be one of them. How you choose determines whether you will have misery or joy.
I’m speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire in a couple of hours. I am staying with our good buddy, Doug, part of my TNRS team – and Steve BC (our tech wizard) is coming up tonight, too. If you haven’t already made arrangements, you are probably too late. But I will speak in the Albany, New York area on Wednesday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Then on Saturday, June 22, I will be back in New Hampshire to speak in Keene at 11 a.m. Contact Jim at email@example.com for info on that one. I hope to see you on the trail!