Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why not Ron Paul?

(Photo credit: Associated Press)
So I kept meaning to write a post on Newt Gingrich, but couldn’t find the time. Law school finals and papers kept interrupting.

But now that that’s behind me, at least for a few weeks, I can turn my attention back to politics.

And lo and behold, Ron Paul is rising in the polls. How did that happen? And why am I not thrilled? After all, he’s the limited government pro-constitution candidate.

Paul’s legion of followers have long complained that he is not taken seriously by the media. That is changing. Many recent articles have examined Paul’s association with conspiracy theorists and pandering to the political fringes, his liberal foreign policy, his tendency to resort to personal attacks, his naive promises, and his paranoia. A particularly interesting article written by a former staffer explores Paul’s  initial opposition to the  invasion of Afghanistan, as well as his theory that we should have stayed out of WWII.

PHC professor Gene Veith recently asked whether Paul could be the person to unite the left and right. If he means the fringes of each party--that part where the two become indistinguishable--he’s certainly correct. There’s a utopian streak running through many of his followers that is easy to place at either fringe.

Personally, I have my own list of reasons for opposing Paul. He sounds good because he runs on the “constitution” - but his understanding of that document is more akin to the anti-federalists and Confederates than Madison or Hamilton. Or, to use a more familiar analogy, his “constitutionalism” excites conservatives the same way Obama’s “change” excited liberals - it sounds good and allows the listener to project whatever he wants onto the candidate’s platform.

Furthermore, as the racist newsletter and association with conspiracy theorists indicates, Paul is a very poor judge of others. Dare I say he’s too trusting. Even if you like some of his ideas, it difficult to trust him to make good cabinet and  judicial appointments. And then, as with the newsletters, could a president Paul explain away an embarrassing press releases or legislation with “I didn’t read it and disavow it?” Is this interview what Presidential press conferences will look like?

And then there’s his foreign policy. He advocates just getting along with everyone. But as Jonah Goldberg at the National Review pointed out, he wasn’t particularly successful at that as a legislator:

Paul has been in Congress, off and on, for nearly 30 years. In that time, he will rightly tell you, Congress has spent money with reckless abandon, expanded the state’s police powers, launched numerous wars without a declaration of war, and further embraced fiat money (he got into politics when Richard Nixon took us fully off the gold standard). During all of that, he took to the floor and delivered passionate speeches in protest convincing . . . nobody. He authored precious little legislation of any consequence.

Paul’s supporters love to talk about how he was a lone voice of dissent. They never explain why he was alone in his dissent. Why couldn’t he convince even his ideologically sympathetic colleagues? Why is there no Ron Paul caucus?

Why not indeed. While in congress Paul sponsored 620 bills, 4 of which were voted on and one of which was signed into law. That one involved the sale of a customs house in Texas. Rather, Paul managed to get himself kicked off of the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom. He was voted worst follower by Congressional staff in 2006. He also was one of the very few dissenters from his party in a cause he is apparently passionate about . . . earmark spending (which he justifies asking for because he was going to vote against the bill anyway). In short, Paul’s weakness is his ideological inability to compromise or seek agreement.

Yet in foreign policy that is exactly what he condemns the United States for--believing it is the world’s only hope. He wants to solve problems by negotiating, but his record in congress indicates he is incapable of that--whether across the aisle or with his own party. And if he could not come to agreement with his own party leadership, why should we expect anything different from his talks with Ahmadinejad (despite their common belief that Israel should not exist)?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Joy of Giving

This is truly an exciting time of year. People all around the world follow God's example and give gifts to each other on the day we celebrate the gift of Jesus. 

Matthew, my cousin, is a great example of this. He is still at the age where all of his gifts come from the dollar store, but he is a great example of gift giving. He LOVES it! He can't wait. All he can think about is how much you will love his gift. 

He begged and begged his mother to take him shopping. He wouldn't let her forget. But that is not the best part. Once the shopping was done he could not wait! He HAD to give the gifts out. He would ask his mom if he could give the gifts now... she said no, not yet. 10 minutes later he was asking again. 

He didn't need to give a Wii to be happy. (He gave me a quarter of a bag of candy.) But the look on his face when he gave it had more joy than all the Santa's you've ever seen! He was a cheerful giver. He gave out of what he had. He is an example to me of not only how to give in this season, but always. 

A few years ago I was spending time with a friend from college and he was talking about the verses in Proverbs that talk about how God blesses the generous. That conversation along with Matthew's example inspire me to remember that I do not need to pinch my pennies and withhold generosity. One of the reasons that I am careful with my money is so I can be generous. So that in the moment I can offer to pay for a friend's lunch, buy someone a train ticket, or drive them 50 miles. 

God gives us money as a tool. Something that we can use to bless others. Thrift is good, but not if it makes us forget to spend money freely when the opportunity comes. 

That is what God did when He took on flesh and came among us. He needed to be the all powerful Glorious Creator of all and Judge of the World before He limit Himself and become a part of the creation of that world. He spend what He had and gave Himself as a gift to us that first Christmas. 

Let us follow His example and remember Matthew's joy of giving today and tomorrow. 

by Jeremiah Lorrig

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nutcracker Review!

I enjoy writing reviews, and while we are on the topic, you should check out my War Horse review that went viral two weeks ago. The movie comes out next week, so if you want to check it out click here.

The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas story and it is one of the best known ballets of all time. Last night I had the joy of watching the Colorado Youth Ballet's performance at the Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Every year this is one of the most enjoyable productions of the ballet that appeals to both experienced and inexperienced ballet watchers.

In addition to the dancers, they also sport an impressive cast that includes  professional actors and magicians who wow the audience throughout the show. Tchaikovsky is played by an excellent actor David Sckolnik who guides the viewers through the story. Drosselmeyer is always portrayed as magical, but Director Patty Hoffman makes the most of the character's magic to impress and confound the audience.

Have you ever seen someone engage a crowd and think to yourself, "He should be on stage"? I had one of those moments last night but it quickly became awkward when I realized that I was already watching him on stage. This character was the brother, Fritz, he connected with the crowd and drew everyone into the opening scene. Although traditionally his role is very limited, Hoffman wisely allowed him more time in the limelight. I don't know what is in Franklin Bennett's future, but he is very comfortable on stage.

Another character I want to point out was the Arabian male dancer. When he first strutted onto stage I wanted to look him straight in the eye and say “Just because you have a cool Arabian costume does not make you are ALL THAT.” After a few scenes of cute little children enjoying the antics of performance, the mysterious Arabian music swelled to fill the room, the problem was that the room was also being filled with the ego of one of the dancers: the Arabian. All of my criticism died, however, when I realized that he was indeed ALL THAT. He stole the show. He was a very physical dancer with a flare for the dramatic. The entire hall was astounded and showed appreciation with the strongest applause of the night.

At one point Tchaikosky was explaining the ballet, and I had a terrifying realization that my hearing aid was cutting out. Then I remembered with great joy that I don't have a hearing aid! I concluded that it was the sound system or mic. Never was I so happy over someone's technical difficulties.

The other sad problem was the fact that one of the most signature dances of the Nutcracker was cut leaving the audience with a Waltz of the Flowers shaped hole in their experience. The Snow Queen dance almost made up for it with it's flowing and beautiful choreography and breathtaking performance.

All told, I highly recommend adding the Nutcracker to your Christmas traditions (esp if you have a younger sister playing a Party Girl!)

What is your favorite Christmas show? It's a Wonderful Life? The Nutcracker? Wonderland? The Fourth Wiseman?

Posted by Jeremiah Lorrig

Backstage Photo Credit: 
 Ted Mehl ©2011 A Better Image Photography

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reflections on Newt's Rise

This is the next part of our presidential election series. We already have profiled Romney, Cain, and Paul, now it is time for Newt!

Newt is known. His multiple affairs and marriages have come and gone. His strong arm political tactics are legend, and stories about them legion. He doesn't hide his disagreements with conventional conservative doctrine. He is Newt, hear him roar!

My two thoughts on the Rise of Newt:

1. Is there anyone who worked with him when he was in power willing to endorse him? Why are all the ones I talk with so emphatic that he should not be president? What does that tell an informed voter?

2. Now that we have a president of a new/younger generation, would America go back? I think what George W. Bush said in his recent biography, Decision Points, is very insightful. He said:

By the spring of 1992, it was clear who that nominee would be, Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas. Clinton was twenty-two years younger than Dad--and six weeks younger than me. The campaign marked the beginning of a generational shift in American politics. Up to that point, every president since Franklin Roosevelt had served during World War II, either in the military or as commander in chief. By 1992, Baby Boomers and those younger made up a huge portion of the electorate. They were naturally drawn to support someone of their own generation. Clinton was smart enough to steer away from Dad's strengths in foreign policy. He recognized the economic anxiety in the country and ran on a disciplined message: "It's the economy, stupid."
If he is right and American's don't go backward in generations, does that mean that Newt doesn't have a chance?

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Too Far

WARNING THE WORLD IS ENDING! …at least according to the internet.

According to reports S. 1867 will end freedom in the United States by allowing for “permanent detention” of United States citizens.

The problem can best be summed up by my favorite Abraham Lincoln quote: “The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine.

The fact is that rumors of our demise have been exaggerated. People on the left have been trying to take on the Department of Defense for awhile now, and they decided that S. 1867 was the way to do it. The real problem is that they have duped people on the right into joining them. 

Even conservative stalwart Senator Rand Paul gave a speech on the topic. 
But the fact is that this bill does not end civil rights in America. In fact, this bill doesn’t do what they say at all.

On page 426 of the bill there is a clause that allows the Armed Forces to detain covered persons from “subsection b”. The good news for people like me who hate federal law because it is so complicated is that subsection b is right there! It says that subsection b only includes those who were involved in the September 11 attacks, al-Qaeda, or the Taliban. 

This part of the law doesn’t change anything from the status quo. I know people who have corresponded with Senator DeMint, likely the most outspoken conservative in the US Senate, and they agree that the text itself does not do what they claim.

The moral of the story is this: don’t believe everything you see online. Even this post misquotes Lincoln! Check out what you hear. Don’t panic. Learn the facts.

-Posted by Jeremiah Lorrig 

Friday, December 2, 2011

War Horse Movie Review

Last night I saw a prerelease screening of Steven Spielberg’s latest film, War Horse that hits theaters on December 25th. 

War Horse wrestles with the theme of bravery. It asks “What does it mean to be brave?” and “What is a good example of bravery?”

Unlike many movies that just ask questions, this movie actually helps the audience find answers.

Bravery is not just the cavalier charge of the noble horse soldiers. It is also an old man refusing to be proud. It is an energetic youth risking the machine gun fire to help save the lives of his friends. It is a wife standing by her husband in hard times. It is a little girl keeping her head when threatened by greedy soldiers. It is a grandfather staying above the foray, focusing on the task before him. Bravery is not one of these things, it is all of them.

There are great moments in the film like when an English soldier exclaims to a German, “You speak English good!” and the German responds, “I speak English well.”

The most astonishing scene, however, is when the Joey, the War Horse, goes running through, over, and between the dark trenches and soldiers. That scene is nothing short of breathtaking and spectacular. Over all, Spielberg fills the film with epic shots of the English countryside, cavalry charges through flowery meadows, and sunsets.

Although some complain that the film is an emotional roller coaster, I believe that it is a story about bravery, sacrifice, and the joy that life can bring from unexpected places.

For the parents who are worried about the PG-13 rating (for implied war violence and thematic elements), I have a few words: War Horse does show the brutality of WWI, but without blood and guts. They made it for kids. You see that the war was hard, but the violence level is less than the violence in the classic Gary Cooper film, Sergeant York.

In fact, this is the first movie I have ever seen that feels like an old movie done today. It has the family friendly elements of a classic black and white film, but the creative stunning visuals from Spielberg, a powerful John Williams soundtrack, and the dazzling precision of modern effects.

For you horse lovers out there, I would say that the movie is a cross between King of the Wind and Sergeant York. It is a classic horse story that deserves a place beside Misty, Black Beauty, and The Black Stallion.

All told, I believe this to be the most inspiring family movie this year.

By Jeremiah Lorrig

Note: Special thanks to Emily for her input on this post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...