By Charlie Johnston
Watching tapes of the Democrat debates, I was startled that none of the candidates was asked any questions about the border crisis…or about Israel…or about how candidates’ utopian plans were going to work out differently for the entire country than they have for those cities which have been under Democratic control for several generations – and have become squalid hellholes in the process. Then it dawned on me. This wasn’t a debate; it was an infomercial. All you needed was for Chuck Todd to start proclaiming the virtues of the Popeil Pocket Fisherman and the Amazing Ginsu Knife (“It slices! It dices! It even juliennes!”) and then Rachel Maddow to enthusiastically inform us, “But wait, there’s more!” Ah well, I’m not buying what they’re selling. At least if you buy a Ginsu Knife, it actually does slice and dice.
California just gets more insane with each legislative session. Now the state has enacted big health care subsidies for illegal aliens while simultaneously enacting a fine for any actual citizen who does not BUY healthcare for himself. Perhaps this is just a sly way to solve the homeless problem. The state starts by fining the homeless in Los Angeles who don’t buy health insurance – then jail them when they can’t pay the fine. Bingo! They’re no longer homeless. Meantime, the commissariat in San Francisco has a big pool of low-paid servants from among the illegal aliens who are exempt from everything but subsidies.
The art of every era reflects its zeitgeist – both its idealistic hopes and its atavistic fears. A very popular movie and television genre of the last decade or so has been about zombies. I did not get the appeal of this genre until I was driving from Pittsburgh to Charlottesville. Then it dawned on me. Zombies are mindless, malicious drones who attack everything they see and are never satisfied. They can’t be reasoned with, only stopped. Is there any better metaphor for the modern anti-God American left? I still don’t think I will be watching any zombie movies. I get enough of that in the daily news as it is. If I want extra, I’ll watch a Democrat debate.
Occasionally I get asked about UFO’s. Fr. Dwight Longenecker recently wrote a column on the subject that delighted me, for it nicely reflects my attitude, as well.
Many holy Priests and Bishops are cowed by the lefties in the pews that are on a hair trigger to shriek in complaint should they dare preach anything orthodox with fidelity. This message is for those clerics.
When counseling people who are in conflict with a seemingly invincible and touchy institution, I always advise them that when such groups get their way by bullying, the raw truth is that that is usually all they have in their arsenal. When you refuse to be bullied, they have nothing left – and often tangle themselves up in their own schemes.
I do not suggest that anyone act deliberately provocative. Don’t put a chip on your shoulder and dare anyone to knock it off. Simply speak fearlessly and with fidelity those basic truths which are fundamental to you. In this case, we are speaking of the fundamentals of the faith. Speak without malice or fear, completely bold but never brash. Listen and respond to any reasoned counter-arguments, but refuse to even countenance any screeching harangues or efforts to bully you.
The “social justice warriors” among us are accustomed to getting their way by merely screeching. Some clerics have become like Pavlov’s dogs: when the screeching begins they retreat to their corner and cower. The anti-God left knows this. So they will keep screeching in expectation of the same results. To speak Christian truth with fidelity, you are going to cue the screechers, at least as long as you reward them by retreating. If you stand your ground matter of factly without malice; if both a Priest and his Bishop refuse to be cowed, after a noisy period of angry screeching, your opponents have nothing. Some will leave, some will write a nasty letter to the editor – but the quiet faithful who are worn out with all the bullying will rally to a Priest and Bishop who lives fidelity under fire.
Every friend or client I have recommended this course to who has adopted it has prevailed (though some only after a few years of enduring the screeching. You have to have some real fortitude, patience and restraint along with boldness). Most have even converted a few of the screechers. Every friend and client I recommended it to who did not adopt it is still cowering. Cowering before bullies does not appease them: it encourages them while simultaneously inflaming their contempt for you.
One of the most common complaints I get from Priests in these times is that even when they try to live candid fidelity, many are undercut by their Bishops – who don’t want any trouble. Trying to avoid any trouble is a sure way to guarantee unending trouble. Bullies learn quickly to avoid those who fight back effectively – and focus on those who cower and retreat.
Speak Christian truth with unshakeable resolve. Do it with malice towards none and charity for all. But do it. The truth will, indeed, set you free.
I have had an invigorating series of visits throughout the northeastern U.S. I will write about that soon. I’m dipping down to the southeast now. My assistant, Mary Lapchak, is starting to plan out fall visits to the west. Four are already scheduled. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to make arrangements to host a visit.