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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

11/22/2008

The Last Christmas

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Joanie – This commentary was put together on Veteran’s Day. I got sidetracked by pneumonia (again), so it’s late getting to you. Rather than change the text, you might want to point out the delay to your readership. Thanks.

It happens to all of us, sooner or later. We’re out and about, taking care of business. Halloween is over and Indian Summer, what there was of it, is but a fading memory. Except in California, of course, where summer goes on forever, by rule of law.

Thanksgiving is nearly a month away, but we haven’t given much thought to its preparation. After all, we’ve got three weeks or so to get our ducks in a row. Then we hear it. Could be we’re in a supermarket or a department store. Maybe we’re waiting in a dentist’s office to get our teeth cleaned in advance of the fast approaching Olympic eating season. Wherever we are, you can rest assured we’re bombarded by the cacophony of ubiquitous white noise otherwise known as elevator music that assails us everywhere we go. Only this time it’s different. Hovering above the din of human activity, we pause to digest something familiar, evocative of simpler times, childhood memories and dreams misplaced.

We’ve just heard our first Christmas carol of the season.

It comes earlier each year. In the olden golden days when I was a boy, we didn’t see so much as one Christmas decoration or hear a single note of Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Even then, it took a week or so for retail merchants to ramp up for the December crush of consumers. No longer.

In its most extreme expression, Christmas decorations along with mechanical Santas and synthetic snow have gone up in retail outlets as early as Labor Day weekend. Thankfully, that level of vulgarity has dwindled to a minimum since the wild and wooly 1980s. Come on, now. It’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it’s still 105° out there.

But the unwritten rule of Thanksgiving Day being the kickoff to the Christmas season is a thing of the past, all the same. The holiday promotional campaign tends to drift onto our radar screens right about now – in the nether world between Halloween and Thanksgiving. And for the lack of a more definitive benchmark of years gone by, I have always marked its onset by the hearing of the first Christmas song of the season.

That happened today. At Borders Books.

When people ask me what I do for a living, rather than respond with something like . . . “Well, I’m an underemployed bum, whose high-tech career went to India never to return,” I counter with a more measured response. “I kill time.” And when I think about it, that’s most of what I do. I’m a professional time killer. Piece of cake, right? Not really. In order to proceed in such a unique endeavor, it must be done with a certain amount of finesse, creativity and flair. And when you’re in the business of killing time, there are two places that are ideally suited for the pastime – libraries and bookstores. You can linger for hours in both, undisturbed.

Today, it was the bookstore. I tried the library in the morning, only to discover it was closed. Then it occurred to me. Aha! It’s Veteran’s Day. It slipped completely under the radar out here in the Golden State. Between the marathon Obama victory parties, still in progress, and the liberal media still popping champagne corks, I guess the public information channels forgot to cover it this year. No matter. I haven’t had Veteran’s Day off since I’ve been one, and today was no different. Being a professional time-killer is a full-time job. There is no respite in its pursuit.

So, in the absence of the three public libraries in the immediate vicinity, I opted for the bookstores. Fortunately, we have two primo stores right here in the neighborhood. Barnes & Noble rented a huge outlet in the Montclair Plaza, and Borders Books has a stand-alone store immediately adjacent to the shopping center itself. Both are excellent if you find yourself all dressed up with no place to go.

I originally planned to kill the afternoon at Barnes & Noble. It has the novelty of being new, having opened a year or so ago. But driving into the mall parking lot, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of world-weariness. Ethan Allen, Circuit City, Macy’s, all gone, out of business. Boarded up, graffiti-riddled, windows smashed in by roaming bands of late-night thugs, these once-thriving retail establishments carried with them all the ambiance of cattle skulls bleached white in the desert.

The mall itself was no better. Somehow, with ⅓ of the floor space disgustingly available, and the remaining vendors posting advertisements exclusively in Espanól, I wasn’t exactly filled with the holiday spirit. Watching the local undocumented guest workers gaze longingly at the baubles, bangles and beads they couldn’t afford if they cleaned a thousand toilets a day just made me depressed. But then, that’s a consequence of life in the global village. If the wage slaves aren’t paid sufficient compensation to buy the cheap, Chinese junk we sell in our stores, then the whole roulette wheel of global commerce comes up 00. House spin. The chatter among window shoppers was a smattering of Spanish, Arabic, Farsi and various Oriental dialects. And as they gazed into the brightly lit holiday windows, the lament was the same – “We can’t get there from here.” Funny how some sentiments remain the same in any language.

So, I opted for Borders. It had the advantage of a respectably vibrant clientelé, along with a sufficiently cozy, intimate atmosphere. That I could not hear my footsteps echo for lack of other patrons made this destination all the more appealing. And a Seattle’s Best Coffee outlet never hurt on a day that passes for fall in California.

I had just settled in with my Seattle’s Best decaf mocha latté, fully expecting to pass an uneventful afternoon with Robert McCammon’s book, Swan Song, an epic saga of the end of the world, and the struggle for dominance that follows in its wake. It’s dated, with an original publication date of 1987. And it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to Stephen King’s The Stand, to which it bears a striking resemblance. But it seemed appropriate when I picked it up last week in the wake of what happened on November 4.

Then I heard it. The melodic strains of the first Christmas carol of 2008.

It matters what the song is. I’ve never been a fan of Jingle Bell Rock, truth be told. And for a card-carrying member of the vast right wing conspiracy, Mannheim Steamroller has always left me cold. I know, I know. Rush Limbaugh will personally repossess my Golden EIB Mike lapel pin and cancel my lifetime pass to the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. Still, I’m not a fan of holiday music of that sort. No. You can keep all this newfangled, contemporary, new age holiday faire. Give me traditional Christmas music every time. And so it was today.

What coursed through the sound system at Borders Books was Linda Eder’s version of Silent Night. If ever there was a rendition that could bring tears to your eyes and a chill to your spine, this is it. Hearing it was like being washed clean as an overture to a six-week run at the end of the year when we take a break from our grim, ruthless struggle to claw our way to the top no matter what, and for a short season, we are actually kind to each another.

It’s an imperfect practice, I’ll admit. There have been so many boom years leading up to this one, that the Christmas season often morphs into just another event in the Day Planner, something we have to get through in the midst of closing the big sale before the close of the year. We have to make sure little Janie wins the holiday queen competition at the local middle school (even if she has to step over dead bodies to do it), and everybody, but everybody has to get the most expensive gadget, lest they think poorly of us. And we have to prepare for the frantic holiday travel season – either to hit the road, or dust off the convertible sofa – to gather with family most of us never see the rest of the year, and never give a second thought to between visits.

Ah, but there are moments . . . Some of us, in the midst of the holiday hysteria, get what it was all about.

    12 “And this will be a sign unto you: Ye shall find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory be to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:12-14
Tell the truth now. How many of your first heard this passage on A Charlie Brown Christmas? You remember? When Charlie Brown cried out in his frustration, “Doesn’t anybody know what Christmas is all about?” And the lights went down and Linus stood alone on the stage at the end? How many of you choked up when you heard it? Come on now, admit it. I know my hand is up.

Happily, and hopefully, some of us get the message. Indeed, a lot of us get it. For six weeks at the end of the year, we are civil, considerate, kind and thoughtful. We find it easier to tolerate the intolerable, simpler to extend a gracious hand, effortless to render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. We put into practice what Abraham Lincoln so aptly referred to as “the better angels of our nature.” For a short time, we put on Christ. Only for a season, it’s true. But better a season than not at all.

Linda Eder’s version of Silent Night conjured up all of that this afternoon. The Bible tells us Jesus wept. So did I today.

This season figures to be like the ones preceding it. Let’s face it, the perfect storm of wealth redistribution hasn’t broken on our shores. Not yet, at least. We’re standing firm at only 6% unemployment and most of our wallets are full, along with our bellies. But the people I see as I go wandering through my days, busy going nowhere, doing nothing and killing time, have a wariness to them that hasn’t been there in recent memory. They huddle closer, are more pensive, more cautious than in past years. They’ve cast their lot with a charismatic unknown quantity who will soon occupy the White House, and they know not what will come in his wake.

People are worried, concerned, uncertain. The dark, empty business outlets near the local mall bear silent testimony to what may be on the horizon. But even Rome was not destroyed in a day. The Stock Market may have crashed on October 29, 1929. But the nation did not wake up on October 30 to find a third of its workforce unemployed and people starving in the street. That took time.

All the same, Herbert Hoover’s response over the following two years was to raise taxes (as a budget balancing measure, an article of faith in his administration) and choke off international trade with the passage of the Smoot-Hawley tariff law. It only made a bad situation worse. Franklin Roosevelt threw money at the problem. That did little to alleviate the suffering of the populace and nothing to end the Depression. WWII accomplished that.

Barack Obama has proposed differing versions of the same thing. Raising taxes on the wealthy will certainly do nothing to assist lower income earners. As many issues as I have with Ayn Rand, I believe Atlas Shrugged is prescient in its account of what would happen if the innovation so desperately needed from our highest achievers is strangled in the cradle by confiscatory taxes and punitive government regulation. In that, Rand was right on the money. (No pun intended).

But we stand on the precipice of an unprecedented secularization of America. We witness a nation that is tired, scared, broke; a country unsure of itself and uncertain about the future. We attempt to build solidarity in the midst of an avalanche zone. We are a nation of followers. We want to be told what to do. In every revolution, there is one man on a white horse, one man with a vision. And we are a nation who, when we are hurt, tired and scared, will follow anyone who offers a way out, provided he is charismatic enough, speaks to us in comforting generalities, and assuages our pain. A generation ago, we blazed a trail and tamed a continent. Now we want to be provided for and taken care of.

Hence Barack Obama, a candidate who would have been incomprehensible if we had a remnant of a nation that understood life is hard, bad things often happen, and the way out may be long, painful and difficult. We once were a nation of faith, but that too seems to have gone on hiatus. Too bad, too. Faith in God is a fundamental requirement in these looming times of trouble if, as William Faulkner so eloquently remarked, “Man will not only endure, he will prevail.”

And so, we embark upon what might conceivably be the last Christmas season of its kind. Not because we lack the resources to make it a prosperous one, but that we can only surmise what the effects will be – both legislative and cultural – of the incoming administration that will soon ascend the heights of power.

For one thing, our wealth may be sufficiently redistributed in the coming years to render the type of Christmas celebration we’ve become used to all but impossible. That may be not altogether a bad thing. A little hardship often enhances appreciation for our largesse if and when it ever returns. But Americans are noted for being among the most generous people on the face of the planet. And if we are to continue in this practice presupposes that we will have the wherewithal to be generous with. This ability may be rendered academic if the policy of “each according to his ability to each according to his need” is put into full effect in the coming years.

The assault on religious expression – which has always been aimed at the heart of the Judeo-Christian foundation upon which the nation was built – could easily switch from the public sphere to the private arena. Long before Barack Obama appeared on the scene, one of our local pastors established a network of home churches. He did this on two accounts. He wanted to emulate the early Christian church which – up until the time of the Roman emperor Constantine – met in people’s homes. The second, less widely circulated reason for this network was that the time could come when we will be forced into the kind of clandestine worship of exactly the sort that may come about. And such observations have nothing to do with current political trends. They are right out of the Bible.

The radicalization of the judicial system could easily reach unprecedented levels. The globalization of the court system could easily occur under the auspices of what Yahoo! News describes as America’s first global president. You think the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments eroded under the conservative usurper, George W. Bush? Just wait. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

On the positive side, church attendance is up since the economic collapse began this fall. Our own congregation at the foot of the local mountain, consisting of the local super achievers, has swelled to bursting most Sundays. The leadership has taken to reading the comment cards included in the church bulletin, and has concluded that certain excretory substances do, in fact, flow uphill. Hard times have come to the foot of the mountain. And the badge of business ownership does not preclude said owner from the winds of economic hardship that have come home to roost.

To their credit, the people have opened their wallets in the wake of unprecedented uncertainty. Would that they open their hearts as well. To the credit of the church leadership, the ensuing messages have become more mature, more substantive, more sober-minded. It could be the shift from our traditional happy-faced hamster dance to messages on the development of character, substance and faith marks a sea change more significant than the one about to occur in Washington.

Who knows? Maybe such developments mark the onset of a third great awakening. Perhaps we’ll come to the realization that hard times are part of life. We may come to appreciate the hard truth that throwing money at our economic woes only hastens the reckoning with financial as well as spiritual bankruptcy. Maybe then, we’ll realize that depressions with a “d” – as opposed to recessions with an “r” – are part of the hard edge of life in a free society. They are tangible events, with definable features. And then perhaps we’ll understand that the only way “out” is “through”.

It could be some of us will realize that in order to be free we must be active in the protection of the institutions that provide that freedom. Lincoln once said – “As a nation of free men, we will live forever, or die by suicide.” Maybe, just maybe, from the ashes of a once great nation, there will emerge a leader worthy of the legacy of its rich history. A leader who realizes that struggle, sacrifice and discipline are required – not just of the leadership of a nation, but of the citizenry as a whole – for a free nation to endure. And that subverting our birthright to a president who will take care of us and make us feel good is a betrayal of the inheritance we all share, and a return to a childlike dependence such a nation can ill-afford.

I plan to enjoy the Christmas season, as I always manage to do. This year, my season will be more threadbare than most, for many reasons. I’m irrelevant, obsolete, antiquated and without value. Other than that, everything is fine. There comes a time when the older generation realizes it has passed its prime. That time has finally come. We are being pushed off the stage, like it or not. And high time, too.

Still, that does not mean I cannot enjoy the season. I plan to indulge in as many culinary delights as come my way. I wouldn’t miss walking the local neighborhood, renowned for its spectacular Christmas lights for anything. Who knows, it might even not be too late to get Nutcracker tickets. I might even be civil to people I would never give the time of day to during the rest of the year. And then, there’s curling up with a good book at Borders Books listening to Linda Eder’s rendition of Silent Night. That’s definitely high on the agenda.

After all, it always makes me smile.

    6 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” – I Peter 1:6-7.
by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

Euro-American Scum can be reached at eascum@yahoo.com

11/09/2008

Tilting at Windmills

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Many of my patriot friends – both local friends and internet friends – are ceremoniously voicing the opinion that we must rally the troops, re-focus on our conservative roots, and keep our eyes on the 2010 and 2012 elections. They believe that, if we but re-group and try harder to educate the electorate, we can wrest power from the neo-Marxists who will soon occupy the White House and constitute a near-filibuster-proof majority in congress. Others appear intent on repeating the mantra, ‘The Lord will see us through this trial.'

One of the most accurate definitions of insanity is the belief that consistent repetition of the same behavior will someday result in a different outcome.

And the Lord does not promise earthly victory for all who believe. Quite the contrary, Christians have been warned that they will be persecuted. Many a civilization that has turned away from His teaching has fallen, with believers in tow.

There comes a time when the rational mind must acknowledge when a certain point of no return has been exceeded. When continuing to expend one’s energies on a lost cause amounts to nothing more than tilting at windmills. At that pivotal ... and often indescribably tragic ... point in time, the wisest course of action amounts to simply walking away from the battle and turning one’s attention to more realistic pursuits.

I believe we are sitting at such a painfully historical point. We can turn back and keep plugging away at failed endeavors, oblivious to the fact that fewer and fewer are listening to our warnings. Or we can move forward, conserve our energy, and embrace more realistic pursuits, all of which have enormous merit, and require much dedication, time and effort:

    (1) looking out for our families, friends, and neighbors by educating them about the dangers that lie ahead, developing tools with which to confront those dangers, and securing a means of defense against the violation of our God-given rights

    (2) working within our individual communities, as time and opportunities permit, to inform and educate others about the nature of those essential liberties that were incorporated into the foundations of our republic, and the requirement that the citizenry be informed and vigilant if we are to retain, or reclaim, them

    (3) seeking the Lord’s guidance, and relying on the power of prayer
Resigning oneself to the above does not constitute an admission of defeat. It abides by the admonition of the serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

Amen.

I have been attempting to compose an essay which would include a recitation of all of the wicked forces that I believe have led us to this watershed point in the history of our beloved republic. Yet each time I sat down to write I somehow did not feel that I could yet do the subject justice.

Providentially, the following essay was posted at Plumb Bob Blog, the day after the 2008 presidential election. (Thank you, John Cooper, for the steer there.) With a patriot’s heart, a reflection of Christ's love, and 20/20 vision, the author accurately portrays, far better than I could ever hope to do, the state of our beloved republic, the reasons for its decline, and our prospects of reclamation. I humbly defer to his incomparable insight and eloquence:

-- They Have Buried Us --

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When I was small, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union from 1953 - 1964, was famously quoted as declaring to the Free West, “We will bury you.” It was taken as a grave threat in those days. I remember it being played in a commercial on TV. As a young liberal, I was fond of pointing out that Khrushchev was simply talking about the natural outcome of history from the Marxist viewpoint; he explained later, “Of course we will not bury you with a shovel; your own working class will bury you.” It never occurred to me that this was hardly less threatening, especially given the fact that our own working class was getting help from the Soviet Union’s political operative class. I suppose it’s not surprising that the actual work of burying the US was accomplished, not by the working class, but by the intellectuals; this is common for Marxism, which has appeal only to those who are pathologically detached from society.

Last night, the American people elected the equivalent of Hugo Chavez to be President of the United States. He lied about what he stood for, but he was permitted to do so by the press, which is supposed to protect us from such attacks. Even so, his lies were transparent to those of us possessing enough education and independence to do our homework; but there were too few of us, and too far removed from the centers of power.

And so, just over 50 years after Khrushchev uttered his threat, the American voting population announced to the world that we no longer believe in the capitalism that produced more creativity, energy, courage, and wealth than the world thought possible, that we’re going to join the ranks of World Socialism, that we’re going to hand our productive power to the government we once properly distrusted, that we prefer craven dependence to stalwart independence. As we turn the responsibility for our destinies over to Mommy Government, the world’s last, stubborn foil to the tyrannical advance of Marxist domination has just been removed. “Social justice,” the crippling of the effective to satisfy the envy of the ineffective, will commence at a greater pace, and be given the force of arms. The world is in for a very dark time, full of poverty, oppression, and violence.

We allowed it by permitting leftists to infiltrate and distort education, entertainment, law, and news. For at least 80 years, the children of those influenced by their thinking have targeted these arenas, creating protected enclaves into which they refuse to permit any competing ideas. Their control of these areas is nearly complete, and friends of liberty are forming no coherent strategy to break their hold, only the occasional foray into the Dark World. Home schooling chips away at the edges, alternative media permit chatter under the radar, but the centers of control remain in leftist hands, and they don’t believe in fair play or free speech. Expect those holes to be plugged very soon. President Obama (I cringe to type it) and his Democratic minions in Congress will quickly see to it that home schooling is illegal in practice, if not explicitly (probably by requiring teacher certification), that conservative speech is crippled, and that the free exchange of ideas cannot take place without government oversight and intrusion. Be assured that no discussion that has any force that might endanger their domination will be permitted for long.

Oh, and expect to be permitted to worship Christ only so long as it does not impair your cooperation with the Junta’s social agenda. That’s coming soon, too; in fact, it’s been coming for a few decades already, and is now upon us.

Will conservatives get another shot two years from now, in the public’s reaction to two years of Democratic domination? Maybe; probably not. It hardly matters. We have now raised two generations of Americans on a form of public education and a flood of popular film and music that is so thoroughly saturated with statist and world socialist ideals that no general election is going to produce a lasting victory for conservative principles. The masses in America think of capitalism as “greed,” of the robust and free expansion of the economy by individuals as “destroying the planet,” and when they say “we,” they mean “the government.”

The American experiment in self-government is over.

Ultimately, America has not rejected capitalism, it’s rejected Christ. The foundation of liberty is, and has always been, devotion to the living Christ. Liberty entered the world through the ministry of Christ, and is leaving now that we’ve jettisoned Him as our Master. As God told the prophet Samuel when Israel demanded that he appoint them a king like all the other nations had, “They have not rejected you, but they’ve rejected Me from being king over them.” (See I Samuel 8).

Sure, there are Christians among the leftists in America, and a number of them are sincere; but they no longer believe they owe their conscience directly to God, but instead to God through His appointed regents, the State. This is the indirection that America’s founders rejected when they wrote the US Constitution; in their construction, men owed their conscience to God, not to God’s anointed sovereign, the King. It’s no mistake, no accident or coincidence, that America rejected capitalism in favor of a leader who declared with messianic overtones his destiny to rule. In God we no longer trust; instead, we trust in Government. We’ve rejected God from being King over us.

American liberty can be rebuilt, but it must be rebuilt from the ground up. It has to start with the proper education of our children to believe in God, in individual responsibility before God, and in individual achievement as a form of service to God and family. It has to be constructed on a foundation of properly defined morals, and on a world-view that remembers that Man does not serve himself.

I’m not going to retreat from politics; I’m still a citizen of the United States of America, however misguided she may be. My strategy, however, for rebuilding a prosperous, felicitous nation friendly to safe families and appropriate personal achievement is to win converts to Christianity; and not just any Christianity, but a Christianity that encourages sound and sober thinking, that understands man’s place in the universe, that can articulate clearly its purpose for living and its reasons to believe.

We are entering very dark times. America’s economic dominance will end very soon, and her military dominance will not be far behind. Obama plans to make us “good citizens of the world,” meaning that our national choices will become subject to the opinions of tinpot dictators and corrupt, demented representatives from third-world nations. They will plunder us, and we will be stripped bare.

But I know how the story ends, and Christ wins. The rock formed without hands crushes all the mountains, and becomes a mountain that fills the whole earth (Daniel 2). The Son of Man is given dominion, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him, and His dominion is everlasting (Daniel 7). If we proclaim the truth of Christ faithfully, men will experience liberty again. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Spiritual liberty is not unconnected with political liberty; they’re the same thing. One does not exist without the other; and political liberty always results where the Spirit rules.

They have buried us, but we will rise again.

~ joanie

11/06/2008

The Noble Experiment

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And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions. - Joel 2:28

At first glance, he was nothing to look at; just an old man, stoop-shouldered, frail, wizened. Leaning precariously on a metal walker and sucking oxygen through a clear plastic tube, he paused to survey the landscape before embarking on the long walk across the parking lot that he wouldn't have given a second thought to in his younger years. We've all seen him, wherever we live. And usually, we pay him no mind. Let's face it, his time has passed. We know it. He knows it too. One foot in this world, the other tentatively in the next.

I saw him get off the bus. You know, those mini-buses that ferry our aging senior citizens on various sundry excursions? The grocery store, the mall, church, senior centers. These ubiquitous transports have dotted our landscape since the word retirement came front and center into the lexicon of the 20th century vernacular.

On this day, he was descending the steps of the mini-bus with his metal walker in the parking lot of the local Baptist church. He came out to vote.

I noticed how he refused any help. Several of his more able-bodied companions offered to assist him with his walker - which, in fact, proved to be significantly cumbersome. Others offered to help him walk across the parking lot to the polling place. He waved them all off.

I was helping myself to the traditional free doughnuts and coffee that are part and parcel of most churches - particularly the conservative evangelical variety, of which the Baptist church is one - and watched as his fellow seniors brushed past him to get in line to exercise their constitutional ballot-casting right in this latest mini-drama of slick media consultants and savvy political pitchmen.

I was about to follow the crowd as the line was by then growing to considerable proportions, but I couldn't tear myself away from this elderly octogenarian. He made slow and steady progress toward the polling place, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was about this grizzled old man that held my attention. Then it caught my eye. It was his baseball cap.

Emblazoned on the front of this red cap was the eagle, globe and anchor of a United States Marine. And so I made the acquaintance of one Irwin Kunkle, formerly of Gary, Indiana, most recently of Upland, California - a proud veteran of the 28th Marines, and a bona fide member of the greatest generation. He hadn't missed an election since 1946, he told me, and since this one figured to be his last, he wasn't about to miss it either.

We stood in line together, and I noticed that his hands and arms bore the fading scars of what appeared to be significantly severe burns. I realized men of his generation didn't give away much. They held their life experiences close, particularly their wartime service. Believe me, I know it very well. I walked the beaches of Normandy in 2004 with the veterans of that campaign, and while they were forthcoming with their personal accounts, they gave them up grudgingly.

Still, I had to ask. And Mr. Irwin Kunkle enriched me with the short version of the exploits of Lance Corporal Irwin Kunkle, USMC in the sulfurous interior of an island in the Pacific called Iwo Jima.

He led an impromptu charge with a flame thrower - a piece of equipment he was neither familiar with, nor trained to use - against a Japanese pillbox that was pouring fire on a platoon of Marines trapped in a series of shallow shell holes. He simply stripped the gear off the dead Marine whose task it was to man the burn unit, strapped the fuel tanks on to his back, pointed the nozzle in the direction of the pillbox and charged.

The problem was, when igniting the flame units of that time, the operator had to be prepared for the kick. The nozzle bucked back at him when he ignited it on full burn, and while he incinerated the pillbox, some of the fuel also splashed back on his hands and arms, inflicting first and second degree burns. He effectively turned the Jap flank and prevented a platoon of Marines from being gutted by automatic weapons fire. He wasn't even written up for a Purple Heart, let alone any decoration for valor.

It was that kind of time. Pain, suffering and sacrifice simply went with the territory.

Standing next to him, I realized Irwin Kunkle was about 5' 7. Not an imposing figure by any standard. The greatest generation didn't grow to great size. They suffered from varying degrees of malnutrition as children in the Great Depression. But looking in those blazing blue eyes, I beheld the heart of a lion and the soul of a warrior.

So we chatted about various things as we waited in a line that never seemed to move. We both enjoyed the summer-like weather that only California seemed to be blessed with this late in the season. He told me he'd gone to UCLA (oh well, nobody's perfect) on the G.I. Bill after the war. And since his wife died, he'd taken up residence in an assisted living facility in nearby Claremont. We did not discuss the election, or for whom we were planning to cast our respective ballots.

Throughout our conversation, I sensed, in the tenor of his voice, and his proud but frail demeanor, a realization that the suffering he endured and the sacrifices he made were all for nothing. He truly has lived too long, and in that moment, I believe he finally realized it. This was no longer his country.

This is that kind of time. Brimming over with arrogance and contempt, for the Irwin Kunkles of this world, from people who despise the country and everything it stands for. And they do it with impunity.

And so ends the noble experiment.

What began in the conference halls of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Williamsburg Virginia and Boston Massachusetts died last Tuesday. What was paid for on the bridge at Concord, during the freezing night at Trenton and on the Yorktown peninsula, long ailing, has expired.

I suppose it was fatuous to expect the democracy of which we are all a part to be immune from the vagaries of history. Such governments have come and gone during the centuries since Eve ate the forbidden fruit and mankind was cursed. And once lost, there is no restoration.

The enlightened Greek democracy disappeared into the dust bin of history, never to return. The radical egalitarian experiment of the 18th century vanished in a sea of blood that was the French Revolution. The rational liberalism of 19th century Europe exploded in the catastrophe of the First World War. Europe was plunged into half a century of barbarism, never to return to its glory of the previous century. And now it stands on the threshold of being absorbed by a flood tide of radical Islam.

How could we be so arrogant to think America would be immune?

And so the secular media hails Barack Obama as did Yahoo! News today - "Finally, A Global President." And why not? When a country loses its identity, it loses its soul. The president-elect is simply a reflection of the culture that produced him. Subtle, sophisticated, a man of the world, at home all over the world. The liberal media trumpets how respected his is among world leaders. No doubt he is. When values mean nothing, respect comes from having none. When standing up for principles draws the contempt of the world, standing up for nothing merits the world's praise.

I suppose it was inevitable. Freedom requires an eternal vigilance most human beings cannot maintain. All freedom comes due in blood - something the Irwin Kunkles of the world know very well. In the craggy volcanic interior of Iwo Jima, manhood perished not. It took future generations to fail where previous generations carried the burden of leadership and endured.

What will come when the Obama regime seizes power? I have no idea. I refuse to engage in the hysteria that is currently burning up the servers and comm. lines of the Internet. Obama may very well be the avowed socialist he has presented himself to be, bent on redistributing the wealth of the nation, and readjusting its values. He may indeed, fold our tent and bug out of the Middle East. He may abandon Israel, thus setting up the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38. He may even be the Antichrist.

I've heard it all, and it is yet to be revealed. What is certain is that what emerges in the wake of the Obama leadership will not resemble the republic that has graced these shores for the last 232 years. That government is dead and the soul of its citizens along with it.

It died because men are weak, self-indulgent, expedient and mean. It was betrayed for lack of interest, lack of commitment, lack of dedication. Irwin Kunkle knows full well the evil inherent in the human heart. He's seen it up close and personal. He knows it is not an aberration. His character was forged at a time when life was understood to be hard, cruel and short. We live in an epoch that assumes life is a fair, just and right, and we expect to be fulfilled with a sense of gilt-edged entitlement.

So the events of last Tuesday make sense, given the underlying assumptions of life in the 21st century. If we sell our souls for what we believe we are entitled to, Barack Obama is the inevitable result.

I cast my ballot in the late afternoon. I voted for Alan Keyes, whom I was surprised to find on the California ballot. I'm through supporting the lesser of two evils. That's what brought us to the point we now find ourselves in. I don't care what comes in the wake of that decision.

    And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world, as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. - Matthew 24:12-14
America or no America, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached. Who knows, maybe we should have turned in the direction the Bible indicates in the first place, instead of now, when all is lost. The road ahead will now be infinitely more difficult and the cost significantly more painful.

But there is no mention of America in the eschatology of the Bible. Maybe we're beginning to see why that is so. The country has been long down the road to becoming just like everyplace else in the world. Call it a consequence of cultural as well as economic globalism. The process cannot be reversed, regardless of who occupies the White House.

    He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus." - Revelation 22:20
Amen. Amen. And Amen.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

Euro-American Scum can be reached at eascum@yahoo.com

11/04/2008

Pray for America

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When I was a very young child, maybe two or three years old, my Dad hung the painting pictured above on the wall at the head of my bed. Through the years as I grew, I decorated my room with many photos, pennants, pictures, and the like, but that small painting always remained in place.

Many years later, for our tenth anniversary, my husband, Rick, had it re-framed for me (the frame had come to know its share of bumps and bruises over the years), and now, thirty-one years hence, it still hangs on the wall at the head of our bed.

My Dad passed away seven years ago last month. I miss him terribly, but I am thankful that he has not had to witness the devastation of his beloved country that has occurred since his passing. His heart would be heavy with grief and mourning.

Somehow, despite its long nearly sixty-year history, and the loving memories that history rekindles, the message that my Dad's painting portrays -- of the power of prayer, and the need to turn to His Word for guidance and direction -- has intensified in significance for us over the past few months.

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Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways ... Prov 2:12-15

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.
Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they decieve the minds of naive people ... Rom 16:17-18

... For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? ... 1 Cor: 10:29

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery ... Gal 5:1

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil; live as servants of God ... 1 Pet: 2:16

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Heavenly Father, forgive us for what we have done.

You have prospered our nation for more than two centuries. You have strengthened us when we were weak, provided for us when we were without provision, directed us when we were willing to follow your guidance, blessed us when we were undeserving of blessings.

We have walked far from the path you laid out for us. We have betrayed those who sacrificed so dearly for our benefit. We have become lazy, allowing ourselves to be easily ensnared by carefully-crafted words and empty promises, delivered by men who worship self, who seek to oppress and control their fellow man, and who place no value in truth and goodness.

We have transformed prosperity into decadence; allegiance and duty into indulgence and complacency.

We have taken the gifts that only you can bestow (Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you ... 2 Tim 1:14) and placed them in the hands of men whose will is arbitrary and whose agenda is tyranny. The road ahead is dark, and steep, and fraught with danger –- made intentionally so by those who intend to ‘lead’ us, deceptively, through the fog they have created, and over the minefields they have laid.

Help us to continue to have faith in our own individualism, to insulate ourselves from the cacophony that surrounds us, and to listen for your gentle whispers. For we know that it is in heeding those whispers that our future security lies.

We cling to the knowledge that you work in miracles, when it is your will to do so. We pray that, if it not be praying against that will, you would help us to acknowledge what we have lost, muster the courage to reclaim it, and look to you once again in that endeavor for the strength, wisdom, and guidance and that only you can provide.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home.

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Amen.
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