One More Quick Thought About This Nightmare Election

Permit me to tack one additional point onto the book-length dissertation below.

In a scenario in which there are no great options at the top of the ticket, it’s important to consider who the vice-presidential candidates are. This is especially so this time around because I believe there is a much greater than normal chance that, whichever candidate wins, he or she will not serve a full term.

Both Mrs. Clinton’s mysteriously volatile health and long-standing habit of ignoring the law mean her term could easily be cut short. I also find it easy to imagine Mr. Trump quickly getting fed up with the suffocating constraints and crushing burdens of occupying the Oval Office and simply walking away, claiming that he’d proved that he could win.

In either case, the running mate becomes President. The good news for those pondering a vote for Trump is that his running mate, Mike Pence, is a exemplary human being and would make a fine president.

An Open Letter to Young Believers Casting Their First Presidential Votes


Dear young Christian,

First of all, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry the two major-party choices before us in the presidential election are the worst in living memory . . . perhaps the worst in our nation’s history. Oh, how I wish we had better options. Sadly, we do not.

In contrast, back in 1980 having just turned 21, I had the privilege of casting my first vote for a president for Ronald Reagan. I never had cause to regret it. History Note: Voters back in 1800 (slightly before my time) got to choose between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson for president.

You, young Christian, are being asked to choose between, on one hand, a power-hungry, deeply corrupt, profoundly unpleasant individual who amassed enormous wealth in shady ways while treating little people like dirt,  . . . and on the other hand, Donald Trump. (It’s a joke!)(sort of)

This is, in ancient Star Trek terms, a Kobayashi Maru, that is, a no-win scenario that both tests and reveals your character.



You may think you cannot vote for Mr. Trump. I get it. I really do. But for future reference, it’s important that you know that he is in no way representative of Republicans or conservatives. He is a lifelong Democrat and a frequent donor to Democrat causes and candidates through the years, including numerous donations to the Clintons.

In fact, recently leaked emails of Democrat insiders and powerbrokers reveal that they conspired with powerful members of the media to make sure Trump got the nomination precisely because he was they one they wanted to run against.

Indeed, Trump was probably the only major Republican candidate whom Hillary had any hope of defeating. He was hand-picked by the liberal establishment to be her opponent.

Nevertheless, as I said, I get it. What I don’t get are the indications I’ve seen that you and many other young voters who sincerely love God and follow Christ are considering voting for Hillary Clinton.

Before you walk into the voting booth, perhaps for the very first time, please allow me to share a few thoughts about that.

You’re Voting for a Person, Not a Narrative

In this Postmodern era, idealistic young people tend to be suckers for a good narrative. “First woman President” is a certainlly a compelling storyline. Because . . .

Girl Power!

Girl Power!

Here’s the problem with that. Your romantic narrative won’t be serving as president. A flawed, twisted, broken human being will.

Eight years ago millions who really should have known better couldn’t resist the romance of being “a part of history” and therefore voted for a narrative: “America’s first black president!”

And the last eight years have been an unmitigated catastrophe . . . not just for our nation but for the world. (The true magnitude of the Obama disaster will not become fully evident to all for several more years.)

There are countless lame reasons for voting for a candidate. But none is lamer than “because she is a she.”

Furthermore, if you vote for Hillary . . . 

1. You’re Voting Against the Interests of the Unborn

Hillary Clinton is a long-time BFF of the abortion industrial complex and she has repeatedly voiced her support for very-late-term abortion and partial birth abortion. Read this.

  • Question: Which killed more Americans last year. (A) Guns (B) Later Term Abortion {20+ weeks of gestation}.
  • Answer: Abortions . . . the kind of abortions your Hillary vote will help protect, promote and fund.

You can try to rationalize this reality away if you want but it won’t change a thing. Your Hillary vote is a vote for perpetuating the horrors of the abortion industry.

2. You’re Voting Against the Interests of the Working Poor

Copies of her speeches to giant, multinational banking groups exposed by Wikileaks reveal that Mrs. Clinton favors an “open borders” approach for the U.S.. This means the flood of illegal immigrants that have been pouring into the nation for the last few years will only increase after she’s elected.

Few Christians seem to understand who this policy hurts and helps. It helps the big businesses looking for cheap labor. It hurts the working poor by driving down wages. There’s a reason that both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (representing giant corporations) and the Wall Street Journal (advocating for the same) both favor the same open borders policies Mrs. Clinton advocates. It’s what the fatcats want.


#LetThemIn Because I want to keep my labor costs super low!

Yes, the immigrants seeking a better life here merit our compassion as Christians. But voting for open borders is nothing more than being generous with someone else’s money.

It’s a mighty cheap form of compassion that helps one poor person at the expense of another poor person while costing you little or nothing.

3. You’re voting against the interests of Christians and other non-Muslims in the Middle East.

The rolling horror, rape, death, and sex slavery show called the Islamic State (formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq) could only have arisen in the vacuum created by Mr. Obama’s rapid and ill-advised withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq—endorsed by then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

They have rivers of blood on their hands.

This is on you, Obama voters.

This is on you, Obama voters.

Mrs. Clinton’s entire tenure as Secretary State is littered with awful decisions and preventable disasters in the Middle East (See: Libya, Benghazi).

4. You’re voting against the freedom-of-conscience interests of churches, Christian organizations, and individual believers. 

Across this land, Christian mom-and-pop business owners increasingly face a terrible choice. They must either lay aside their biblical convictions about marriage and morality or face being driven out of business by threats, harassment, litigation, or prosecution.


So is this.

The election of Hillary Clinton can only accelerate this trend. Vote for her and you’re complicit.

5. You’re voting against the the rule of law and the health of our increasingly fragile democracy.

Trump is certainly an unsavory character. I’ve written hundreds of words on this blog criticizing him. (See here and here, for example.) But Hillary Clinton is something far worse than a rich buffoon. She is a rich, cold, calculating criminal. She is at the center of the sleaziest, most corruption-riddled, amoral, political machine this country has seen in more than 100 years.

She brazenly used her tenure as Secretary of State to shake down wanna-be political appointees and foreign nations for enormous contributions to the bogus Clinton Foundation—little more than a giant slush fund for bribery, graft and corruption.

In a fairer, more just society Hillary Clinton would have been indicted months ago. This was self-evident even before the recent flood of incrimination and embarrassment from Wikileaks. Her emails, which she went to great lengths to hide from federal investigators, reveal even greater depths of criminality. You’ll find a good overview of the ugliness exposed by Wikileaks here.

Your little contribution to a Clinton victory will make you a part of the demise of the rule of law.

6. Finally, you’re voting against your own interests.

The last eight years of Mr. Obama have made the future problematic enough. Regardless of any B.S. you’ve heard about student loan forgiveness (sorry, that’s not happening), the coming Clinton Administration will do nothing but damage your prospects for the future even further.

What Really Matters Here

Once again, I’m sorry your options aren’t any prettier here. And the mathematical realities of the electoral college mean that the results of the election are going be what they’re going to be—no matter how you or I vote.

Barring some huge, unforseen development, Hillary is going to win.



That means all you can do at the presidential level is make sure your conscience is clear for the next four-to-eight years.

But the answer is not to simply stay home on election day. There will be dozens of other races on your ballot in which you can have an impact for the unborn, for freedom, and for opportunity. Vote for life and liberty.

Please think about it. More importantly . . . pray about it. The wonderful thing about the private ballot is no one but you and God have to know how you voted.

* * * * *

Full Disclosure: As for me, for all the reasons cited above and dozens of others, I will be holding my nose with one hand and voting for Mr. Trump with the other. (It won’t be the first time I’ve had to vote in this manner and I’m sure it won’t be the last.)

There She Goes . . . Again

OffAgain Every child is different. No matter how many offspring you have, it seems each one springs from the womb with a unique, heaven-crafted bent. For example, our middle daughter emerged with an innate impulse for adventure with a strong streak of self-sufficiency. new doc 14_1 new doc 10_1

As a toddler she preferred crawling around to cuddling on our laps. At four or five she revealed she’d taught herself to tie her own shoes. At seven she called us outside to demonstrate that she’d just mastered riding a bike without training wheels.

Crawling. Shoes. Wheels. A theme emerges. This one was wired to wander. new doc 7_1 I’m convinced that the temperament, gifts, and even the seeming quirks that each child is born with are directly connected to the call God envisioned for her or him before He even began the process of construction. Her’s includes a call to the nations. There has always been a resilient, fierce, tenaciousness in her. She’s tough as nails, this one. Although when out with an older bald man, she could effect a startling impression of a delicate princess. Formal At seventeen, as high school graduation approached, she let us know she wanted to delay college for a semester or two and instead go work at an orphanage in Kenya. A “gap year,” as it’s known in the UK.  Getting approval for this plan required some epic salesmanship to overcome the worries of an understandably cautious mother.

This challenge, too, was met and mastered. Grayson 2 Once “out of Africa,” she completed a four-year linguistics degree in three-and-a-half years. In that span there was a semester of study in Argentina and a summer in Costa Rica, once again, at an orphanage. Another theme emerges.

As a college graduation gift, we sent her to Australia to visit her younger sister. She stayed for two years, working multiple jobs to pay her own way. It seems we have spent a good part of the last seven years seeing her off or communicating through dicey internet connections across some vast distance. GandJ

I should mention that while in Australia, she met a young man. A good man—Jesus-loving and with a ministry call upon his life as well.  We instantly liked him and quickly came to love him. We know that capturing her heart was no easy task. Her standards are high and her emotional defenses formidable. But he won her, and to us that spoke volumes.

Thankfully, he is of Miami not Melbourne. And about six months ago he—adorably nervous—asked me for permission to ask for her hand.

It was an easy “yes.” Her mother and I had clearly seen God’s invisible hand of providential grace on this relationship. From half a world away, we caught the unmistakable fragrance of His presence in their courtship.

Four short weeks from today, in a small, intimate gathering in Miami, I will walk her down an aisle and place her hand in his—to have and to hold from that day forward. But for now . . . for just a little while longer . . .  she is still mine. Even so, a few days ago, the young man flew to Dallas to help load her up and drive her to a new apartment in Miami so she can begin a job search. We filled every cubic inch of her car with all her belongings.

The accumulated things that had always comfortingly remained behind with us—even while she jetted off with a couple of suitcases to Kenya or Argentina or  Costa Rica or Sydney—all these were boxed or bagged, and stuffed into the little Ford.

Yes, this goodbye was different. But it’s all good. It is all the way it should be. The way it must be.

There she goes. Again. This time, in a forever sort of way. GoodBye

On Lion Ted

Lion Ted

What follows is the inevitable violation of my pledge not to speak of Donald Trump again prior to the election. (You called it, reader Ted.)  I’m about to do so only in the context of responding to some requests I’ve received to share my thoughts about Sen. Cruz’s non-endorsement speech at the Republican Convention last week.

But first, as is often the case with me, a little historical context . . .

In February of 1988, two candidates were locked in a heated battle to be the Republican nominee for President. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole  mounted a serious challenge to Vice-President George H. W. Bush’s plans to succeed Ronald Reagan in the White House.

Dole had massive momentum coming out of a strong win in the Iowa caucuses and heading into the New Hampshire primaries. Bush, the sitting vice-president and consensus favorite, had come in a distant third in Iowa. (Do you recall who finished second? Pat Robertson!)

Suddenly, New Hampshire became a must-win for for the stumbling Bush campaign. Not surprisingly, Bush went negative—attacking some of Dole’s past Senate votes throughout the New Hampshire primary. When the votes were tallied on February 16, 1988 Bush won New Hampshire by nine points.

In an inteview with NBC News later that night, Tom Brokaw asked a clearly dissappointed Dole if there was any thing he’d like to say to Bush.

Cranky Bob

Stop lying about me. And get off my lawn.

Dole groused, “Tell him to stop lying about my record.”

{Cue the sounds of a record needle being dragged across a record; men gasping in horror; women fainting; and the media shifting into high dudgeon mode.}

Dole’s testy use of the word “lying” became an instant scandal. Political historians widely view this as the moment Dole lost his chance to become president.

For days afterward, media headlines and office watercooler chatter revovled around the question of whether Dole’s cranky use of the “L” word revealed that he didn’t have the temperament or character to be President of the United States.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Only seven presidential elections ago, simply saying your opponent was lying disqualified you for the White House in this nation because you were clearly some sort of loose cannon.

That was then. Now . . .

The new Democrat nominee just narrowly avoided a federal indictment in the middle of the primary but instead was only declared to have been “extremely careless” bordering on “gross negligence” with national security secrets.

And, as I noted here, the Republicans just nominated a man who uses boasts and insults as a substitute for arguments and schoolyard taunts in place of reasoned rebuttals.

In response to critiques of his policy positions, he reflexively resorts to crass mockery of his oppenent’s appearance or name. A few examples from the primaries:

  • Lyin’ Ted; “liar, crazy, or very dishonest” (Ted Cruz)
  • Little Marco; “this little guy”; “total joke artist” (Marco Rubio)
  • “this low energy guy”; “a loser”; “a pathetic figure”  (Jeb Bush)
  • “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” (Carly Fiorina)
  • “ran him out of the race like a little boy” (Lindsay Graham)
  • “a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain” (Rand Paul)
  • “should be forced to take an IQ test” (Rick Perry)
  • “pathological”; “a sick puppy”; “incapable of understanding foriegn policy” (Ben Carson)

Winning. You can’t spell Triumph without Trump.

In other words, “lying” may the most gracious, temperate thing Mr. Trump said about any of his opponents in the primaries. And it worked. Running as Triumph: The Insult Comic Dog cost him nothing. Two weeks ago the Republian party made him their standard bearer.

Keep in mind, Mr. Trump has shown little interest in wooing or reassuring the sizable portion of the Republican base that supported Ted Cruz.

On the contrary, three weeks before the convention, Trump was still dragging out the “Lyin’ Ted” smear in front of the microphones out on the campaign trail.

That’s right. With the nomination already sown up and Cruz out of the race, Trump was still using precious media minutes—not to criticize Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama—but rather to jab a stubby thumb in the eyes of Cruz’ voters one more time.

I was flabbergasted when I saw it. I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This has to be some old footage, I hoped. Nope.

In a moment in which a rational candidate should be seeking to reassure and woo and the supporters of his most successful rival, Trump was going out of his way to rub salt in their wounds.

Hand to heaven, the thought passed through my mind that Trump doesn’t really want to win. That his fragile, insatiable ego is enjoying the attention but doesn’t want the headaches, responsibilities, or constraints of actually governing. (And that was before I saw this!)

“The Speech”

Which brings us to Ted Cruz and his now infamous speech before the Republican National Convention. As you probably know, Cruz’s decision not to endorse Trump, and to close his address with the words, “Vote your conscience,” enraged many, disappointed others, and bewildered the rest.

Cruz was booed off the stage and instantly vilifed for being “self-serving” and “selfish.” He “betrayed” his party. He was “cowardly.” It was a cold “political calculation” designed to advance his own personal interests rather the interests of the party and the nation.

Every word of this is nonsense on stilts—but that last bit most of all.

Cruz was most likely setting fire to any future national aspirations with that speech, and he knew it.

No, the move most in alignment with Cruz’s self-interest and future political prospects was to bow to party pressure, hold his nose, and endorse the bloviating, know-nothing gas-bag clearly troubled individual. The next-best, next-least-career-damaging option for Cruz was simply to stay home, as Ohio governor John Kasich did.

Cruz took neither of these path-of-least-resistance options. In my view, he took the path of honor. Allow me to explain.

Keep in mind that the RNC, with Team Trump’s approval, invited Cruz to speak in a prime time slot. Keep in mind that all were given copies of his speech in advance.

Also keep in mind that during the primary campaign, Mr. Trump saved his nastiest and lowest smears for Cruz. (Yes, I know all political campaigns turn ugly and run negative ads. I’m not naive. But Trump’s attacks on Cruz were orders of magnitude beyond the pale.)

They are legion. But two of the most egregious of these were Mr. Trump’s repeated references to a nutball conspiracy theory that Ted Cruz’s father, a devout evangelical Christian, played some role in the assassination of JFK.

Even worse was Mr. Trump’s approving retweet of a rabid Trump fan’s side-by-side comparison of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, with Melania Trump, a former model, featuring a particularly unflattering shot of Mrs. Cruz:

Trump-TweetBy the way, for the record, here’s a couple of more-representative samples of Heidi Cruz’s grotesque visage. Brace yourself:

heidi-cruz 2

Heidi Cruz

I warned you.

Yes, we’ve come a long way since 1988. Today, being the kind of candidate willing to say, “my wife is so much hotter, so vote for me” actually works with a large swath of the American electorate.

What a time to be alive.

My point is that Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement speech at the RNC had absolutely nothing to do with selfishness or self-promotion, and everything to do with family honor.

That’s right. Honor. An old-fashioned and nearly extinct concept in our postmodern era.

In other words, I believe Cruz chose to walk into a no-win situation simply because being a loyal husband and son means more to him than being a successful politican. Isn’t this at the heart of the explanation he offered in a meeting with the Texas delegation the very next day?:

“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. That pledge [to support the Republican nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.”–Sen. Ted Cruz

Why not take him at his word? It’s just too simple for many to grasp. Most in our dying culture are too jaded and cynical to believe a politician can choose principle over self-promotion. But there it is. And it is perfectly consistent with the way Cruz has handled himself since entering the Senate.

Before announcing his candidacy for president, Cruz was already one of the most unpopular figures in Washington precisely because he stubbornly refuses to play the game. Former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was like this, but Cruz is Coburn on steriods.

It is clear to me that Ted Cruz is constitutionally incapable of compromising his principles to advance his own interests—of “going along to get along.”

Frankly, I’m really not interested in hearing complaints about Cruz from any person who has ever whined about how all politicians abandon their values once they get to Washington, and put career advancement above their principles.

Here is one who didn’t, and it seems to be wildly unpopular.

Running to the Left

As I write here in the days immediately following the Democrat’s convention, Mr. Trump displays much more interest in wooing Bernie Sanders voters than courting skeptical conservatives like me. This speaks volumes about Trump’s ideology (or lack thereof.)

It actually makes some political sense because Trump is running to Hillary’s left on a number of issues—among them national defense, trade, and a couple of other issues. In other words, a number of Trump positions are more in line with the left-wing Bernie voters than than conservative Cruz fans.

Me? I’m with Lion Ted.

I plan to vote my conscience. I’ll try to explain what that looks like in an upcoming post. (Just as soon as I figure it out.)

It is Clear to Me . . .

. . . that Mankind’s oldest and bitterest enemy is keenly interested in dividing people along racial (tribal) lines. It’s his oldest, tiredest, and yet still most effective trick.

Cain Kills Abel

Cain killing Abel.

Tribalism has been the spawning ground of murderous hate ever since the very first farmer grew resentful of the very first rancher back in the Garden.

In a 100-day period back in 1994, somewhere between 500,000 and a million Tutsis were killed by Hutus—most of them hacked to death with machetes—because . . . tribes. Us and Them.

Here in America, tribalism now goes by the more sophisticated name of identity politics. We call our tribes “communities.” The enemy of our souls doesn’t really care who you hate, just as long as you pick a side and let the news and social media fuel your tribal fire.

The devil is a sadistic, twisted kid nudging two hungry dogs toward each in hopes they’ll fight to the death over a scrap of food. I’ll pass.

As a citizen of a kingdom in which race and sex are meaningless concepts (Gal. 3:28), I have only one side to take. The side of love.

Some Random Strung-Together Independence Day Thoughts

1861 Flag Sky

Captive people long to be free.

After several generations of freedom, free people start longing to be taken care of:

  • To be insulated from risk.
  • To be immune from the consequences of their own bad choices.
  • To have somone else look after their neighbor so they don’t have to.
  • To be generous with other peoples’ money instead of their own.

A people can never be both free and taken care of.

Free people gradually trade their freedom for false promises of security and comfort.

The impulse to craft a governmental solution to every human ill is a religious impulse. It’s messianic at the root.

Big government is a false messiah. It promises utopia, heaven on earth, but can never deliver on those promises.

Freedom means equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.

Real freedom means freedom to fail, pick yourself up, and start again.