Race Relations, Part 1: The Attack on Statues, Monuments

Having lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and having attended both de-facto segregated schools (grades 4, 7-8.5,10-12) and integrated/de-segregted schools (grades 1-3, 5-6,8.5-9), and having worked in environments that included multicultural settings, I’m going to offer my $0.02 on race relations and confederate statues and monuments.

When I was in 3rd grade, we moved from Dayton, Ohio to Albany, Georgia. That May, we did what we had always done: we took Memorial Day off from school. But at that school, they didn’t take that day off.

Other than the accents, that was the first serious difference I noticed about the South. We hadn’t been taught much about the Civil War at that time, but we would get quite the education in the coming years.


In 7th grade, when we moved to Nashville, I attended a private Christian (fundamentalist) school for the first half, and then transitioned to a public school when we moved to nearby Hendersonville. In the former, we learned Tennessee history, and the coverage was fair. We had not, however, reached the coverage of the Civil War. When I moved, we had just covered Andrew Jackson. At the public school–where I finished 7th grade and the first part of 8th grade–nothing was ever addressed. The Civil War was not covered, pro or con.

However, over the years, we traveled between Ohio and Florida. Oftentimes, we would stop in Lookout Mountain. We got to see different perspectives on the Civil War. It was covered fairly.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of memorials and monuments. Each tells a story. Sometimes those memorials can represent unsavory times in our history; sometimes those memorials celebrate great victories; some of them–Vietnam in particular–represent a painful testament to very bad choices by our leaders.


In America, we have a tendency to memorialize our history for both better and worse. Sometimes we over-romanticize the accounts; other times, we tell the sobering truth. But monuments and memorials provide an opportunity for reflection regarding the person, the event, and the outcomes.

This is why, as much as I HATE the KKK, I have no problem with a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, perhaps one of the most enigmatic military figures in American history. Yes, he was a founder of the KKK. But you know what? If you study about him, you will find that, near the end of his life, he provided the following remarks in a speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.
I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don’t believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.
I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.
Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

Does a statue tell me all of that? No. But statues often leave me wondering about individuals, and give me a note to look that person up and check out the balance of his or her life. I often do the same thing regarding monuments to battles.

Monuments and memorials represent a story. Sometimes that story is sordid and bitter, as every great nation in history has had sordid and bitter periods in their histories. Sometimes that story is glorious. But those are about who we were and how they have shaped who we are today.


Almost every year, MrsLarijani and I flock to Dayton for the Air Force Marathon, which is held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB. It was a place I frequented during my grade-school days, it is where I did my first marathon. We always tour the museum the day before.

In that museum are aircraft of all types, going back to attempts at flight before the Wright Brothers. It also includes aircraft of all types throughout every era of aviation, including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, and even the era since the Cold War.

Those aircraft include German WWI aircraft and WWII aircraft, Japanese aircraft from WWII, and even Soviet aircraft from the Cold War era. Among the aircraft on display is a North Korean MiG-15 that was flown by a professor of mine who defected at the end of the Korean War.

The Germans and Japanese–and dare I say the North Koreans in collusion with China and the Soviet Union during the Korean War–killed countless Americans. Ditto for North Vietnamese who flew Soviet aircraft.

I have no problem including those in the museum, as they provide a forum that one may learn (a) the history of flight, (b) the history that drove the development of such aircraft, and (c) the state of flight today, for both better and worse, as a result of those factors.

Perhaps the equitable solution here with respect to statues and monuments is to create museums for their inclusion. But their destruction is counterproductive.

Moreover, this recent fixation on monuments and memorials is a recent thing and is being driven by mostly Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who have nothing in common with the movers and shakers of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

I cannot help but question the SJW fixation on statues and monuments at this time, given that (a) that war has been over for 150 years and (b) not even the iconoclastic movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement had such a fixation. While some could argue that MLK had other irons in the fire at the time, many years have passed between now and then. Race relations had been improving greatly until the push for reparations began circulating in the late 1990s.

The cynic in me suggests that there is a more insidious agenda going on here, and it isn’t simply about race relations, but rather something more totalitarian in nature, with some form of seizure/redistribution of wealth or income (i.e. reparations) as an endgame.

I have some good friends who are totally on-board with removing Confederate statues; at the same time, from what I see from the SJWs, it won’t stop there. In fact, they’re already aiming for statues of our Founders, including Washington, Jefferson, and–ironically enough–even Lincoln.

To that point, those who ask, “When will it end”, indeed have a legitimate question.

One thing we must remember: SJWs, at their core, are cultural Marxists. The authors of their playbooks include Marx, Mao, and Alinsky, their leanings Communist, and their appeal to the Christian is merely to recruit useful idiots.

And when understanding Communists, we must remember that it is not a political or an economic ideology but rather a militant Atheist religion that seeks to impose itself through political , military, and economic means. They have killed more of their own people in peacetime alone than any system on earth.

Are SJWs seeking to kill you? I doubt it. They do, however, seek to impose their system of law and justice on you. And to do that, they must gaslight you into accepting their narrative about history.

For that to happen, they must make it more difficult for you to identify with the truth.

But remember: even if you are a minority, the SJW is not your friend. You are just a means to his end, just as the laborer was to Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution.

SBC Pastor Robert Jeffress May Have Stepped In It

Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist megachurch pastor and one of President Trump’s “spiritual advisors”, has made a very bold proclamation.

When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary – including war – to stop evil…In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.

He’s either on-par with the best of the prophets and Apostles, or he is on the same footing as Hananiah.

If he turns out to be wrong–as Hananiah was–then it’s a very big deal, as he will have established himself as a false teacher.

I don’t throw that tag–false teacher–around lightly. There are many folks with whom I have disagreements, but I would not hit them with the “false teacher” tag. That carries huge theological implications.

I reserve that tag for teachers, preachers, and other would-be “church leaders” who, among other things, either (a) preach a false gospel, (b) deny essential doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g. the Fall, the Atonement,  the Resurrection), (c) engage in behaviors that are immoral, malevolent, fraudulent, or otherwise disqualifying and then reject discipline when confronted, or (d) make prophecies that do not come to pass. There are other criteria on that list, but I’d say those four cover most of what qualifies one as a “false teacher”.

Examples of such teachers: Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Rob Bell, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Benny Hinn, the late Jack Hyles, the late Harry Emerson Fosdick, John Shelby Spong, Harold Camping, and Jack Schaap. That is not an exhaustive list, but those are examples of teachers/preachers who would fall under my understanding of “false teachers”.

And if Jeffress is wrong here, then he has earned a spot on that list. This is because he has taken an opinion, and–using Scripture–boldly asserted a word from God.

That’s a heck of a truth claim on his end. And while he could be right, he does not seem to carry the gravitas of Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, or Daniel. His exegesis of Romans, quite charitably, leaves some room for concern.

Keep in mind that this is no small matter, as Trump could act on Jeffress’ advice and start a war that quickly goes nuclear and leaves millions dead.

If Jeffress is wrong, that will put the SBC will be in the mother of all dilemmas, as they will be under severe pressure to take decisive action against a popular pastor.

Don’t get me wrong: I will cry no tears for Kim Jong-Un. If things go south, it will be the end for the Kim dynasty. Having been good friends with the son of one who escaped that regime, I will drink Guinness…Extra Stout…to the death of Ding Dong IIIKim Jong-Un.

Still, it’s a very bad idea to claim to have some special word from God on these matters. Unless, of course, you actually have such a word.

Having said that, as a recovering Baptist, I’m a tad and a half skeptical of Mr. Jeffress’ truth claim.

Kentucky Senate Might Get Shakeup

If this story has traction–and since there is an audiotape of the exchange, it appears to have legs–there could be a major shakeup of the Kentucky political apparatus.

Julian Carroll (D), a former Governor, has enjoyed a very secure position in the Kentucky Senate. His level of influence in the Democratic Party in Kentucky is not far-removed from that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for Kentucky Republicans.

If this were simply about Carroll’s offenses, that would be bad enough.

But the larger issue here is the political apparatus that has swept offenses like these under the rug.

Trump Bodyslams CNN, Mika, Scarborough

Previous Republican Presidents, from Nixon to Bush II, with few exceptions, have coddled the MSM, rarely calling them on their BS. When Dan Rather ran the fictitious story about George W. Bush, a story that was later exposed as fraudulent not by other media outlets but rather by the blogosphere (Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs), Dubya didn’t launch into attacks on CBS, although he had plenty good reason.

President Trump, OTOH, has been fighting them head-on from day one.

When Megyn Kelly tried to accuse him of being anti-woman, he went after her in no uncertain terms. I thought he self-destructed: no other candidate could have attacked a female reporter like that and survived the fallout.

Trump’s numbers only surged.

As President, he has had an ongoing feud with MSM. In one of his first press conferences, he refused to take a question from CNN, denouncing them as “Fake News”.

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and his fiancee, Mika Brezinski, have engaged in personal attacks against Trump, to the point of questioning his mental health.

Meanwhile, CNN, ran a story–determined to be fraudulent–linking Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s transition team, to the FBI investigation of the Russia probe. In the aftermath, three CNN employees were forced to resign.

Last week, Trump, via his Twitter account, attacked Mika, describing an encounter with her that had her bleeding from a facelift. Mika responded by attacking his “small hands”. Meanwhile, Mika and Joe attacked Trump as “un-presidential”, with several Republicans following suit.

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted a funny video of his bodyslamming CNN, denouncing them as Fraud News Network, over their fraudulent Russia story.

And of course, the MSM is denouncing Trump for being “unpresidential”.

(Warning: blunt language in the following paragraph)

This makes me wonder what they think is Presidential? Ejaculating on interns (Clinton did this as President)? Forcing 18-year-old interns to perform blowjobs on friends of the President (JFK did this with Mimi Alford)? Getting a blowjob from an intern while you’re having a phone conference with members of Congress, as Clinton did? Using a cigar as a sex toy on an intern, as Clinton did? Abandoning our embassy staff in Benghazi–leaving four Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador and two retired Navy SEALs, to die–as Obama did?

Quite frankly, I’m glad someone has finally decided to punch MSM in the mouth and call them on their BS.

I remember when Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), from the Senate floor, accused then-Vice President Dick Cheney of corruption. Cheney, the President of the Senate, told Leahy to do something anatomically impossible when Leahy attempted to act friendly with him at their subsequent meeting.

Some said they lost respect for Cheney over that; quite frankly, while I am not a fan of Cheney, I’m glad someone stood up to the leftard and called his BS. Don’t call me a crook and then act like you’re my friend later.

As for Mika and Joe, what did you expect? Did you seriously think he would take your attacks lying down? Given that you two lovebirds started this by engaging in personal attacks on Trump, maybe you might reconsider doing this in the future, given that Trump has shown that he will take you punch for punch.

These skirmishes will not hurt Trump, and they only make you look like pathetic crybabies when you whine about it. You seem to have an inflated sense of your own relevance.

What this entire cycle should remind us is that the MSM is part of the leftist brigade, and that there is no compromising with them.

Vox Day recommends never talking to the media; he’s probably correct. Anything you say can and will be edited and spun against you.

Even recording the interview does you little good. This is because, while you may be able to expose their creative editing, it is possible that your exposing of that will do little to undo their damage.

Unless you’re Trump, you are going to take a hit.

But make no mistake, MSM is in a full-on war on America.

If you lean even slightly to the right, I’ll say this much: Trump may not be your favorite person–and I’ll not begrudge anyone who dislikes the man–but I’ll give him props for fighting this necessary fight.

The MSM is not the entire enemy, but they are the propaganda machine for the enemy.

Don’t ever forget that.

No Room for Compromise With the Left

To put it simply, I agree with Daniel Greenfield. There may have been a time when you could make a deal with folks on the left, but, given what we clearly know to be true now, there is no room for compromise.

President George W. Bush should have figured that out when he had Chappaquiddick Teddy author No Child Left Alone Behind.

The left has been waging war on America since the dawn of the Progressive Era, their ranks have included Democrats and Republicans alike, and their aim is nothing short of Totalitarian control over every man, woman, and child, from the womb to the tomb.

Do I think Trump is all that and a pound of bourbon-cured honey bacon? No, but I’ll tell you what: i wake up every morning thankful to God that Hillary Clinton is not our President.

Trump, to his credit, has not sought to stack the apparatus of government with SJWs and other Totalitarian-minded assclowns.

During the Obama regime, Christians in government faced a very hostile landscape, and right-leaning organizations were major targets for harassment by government.

As far as I know, that is not the case with Trump so far. In fact, he has rolled back a large portion of the regulatory apparatus that has been hostile to small businesses.

And given the angst of Hollywood against Trump, I’d say he’s doing something right.

Is America Heading for Civil War?

I hope the answer is no. I hope David French of National Review is correct in his assessment. OTOH, I do not share his optimism.

If the two sides each had a “live and let live” mentality and didn’t mind the “Red” and “Blue” regions breaking up, this would have a peaceable resolution.

Having said that, I don’t see the Totalitarian Left–which dominates the Deep State–tolerating any breakup. Governor Moonbeam is going to want “Red” America to bail out California. And as businesses bail from Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and New England, those regions are not going to be thrilled at the prospect of funding their socialist scams without the support of the “Red” states.

Nor do I see a Beltway apparatus being amenable to an amicable split. They’ll fight it, and probably with real artillery.

I don’t like the prospect of war. I have blogged against that on these pages: Christians, as far as it depends on them, cannot afford to pick that fight with government.

People who want that war have not thought this through.

(1) The day you so much as aim a firearm–or any other piece of weaponry–at a government agent, your life as you know it is over. That means your family–from your children to your relatives–will not be safe. If you’re lucky, you will be in hiding for the rest of your life.

(2) Go ahead and gush about 1776, and how we kicked King George’s ass. That is not the general outcome of these wars. That our Revolution produced the most free and prosperous nation in world history is no guarantee that any such revolt will provide a similar outcome. More often than not, a civil war generally ends poorly.

What David French has provided is a best-case scenario, and I hope he is correct.

The cynic in me says we are heading for Civil War II. And it will make the first one look benign.

I say that because there are simply too many trigger-happy morons on each side.

Assessing Team Trump

In the first three weeks of his Presidency, President Trump has doused gasoline on the system and lit the match. For both better and worse.

(a) His first press conference included a dismissal of CNN as “fake news”. (It was deserved on their end.)

(b) His Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, stepped in it by making inaccuate claims about the crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration. Part of his comments were correct, but he made false statements while trying to bolster his point. Kellyanne Conway, sadly, doubled down, handing the mainstream media with quite the sound bite: “alternative facts”.

(c) Trump’s Executive Order restricting immigration from seven countries–the same list that Obama used in a similar EO in 2011–sent his opposition into frenzies. They went court-shopping, and successfully shot his EO down in the Ninth Circus. Trump won’t appeal, because–due to the fact that SCOTUS will come down with a 4-4 split, thus upholding the Ninth Circus–it will be futile.

(d) Trump, keeping a campaign promise, nominated a hard conservative–Neil Gorsuch–to fill the spot vacated by the late Antonin Scalia.

(e) Trump, in an effort to revisit prior refugee deals made by the Obama Administration, had some contentious meetings with allies, particularly Australia.

(f) His first authorized military operation–an intelligence raid on an Al Qaeda outpost in Yemen–resulted in civilian casualties and the death of a Navy SEAL.

(g) His key cabinet appointees were narrowly-approved. Tillerson is in at SecState; Carson is in at HUD; Price is in at HHS; Sessions is in at DoJ; and–in a major upset–DeVos is in at Education.

(h) Kellyanne Conway misstepped by suggesting that people can still buy Ivanka Trump’s product line that was dropped by Nordstom’s. Conway, failing to remember that she now works for the PUBLIC sector, ran afoul of ethics rules. While I think that was an honest mistake, Team Trump did well to slap her on the wrist and tell her to go and sin no more.

(i) Kellyanne Conway got her wires crossed when defending Trump’s Executive Order, referencing the refugees from Iraq who gave us the non-existent “Bowling Green Massacre”. While it is true that two refugees from Iraq were arrested in Bowling Green for attempting to commit terrorist attacks–this is what led to Obama’s 2011 travel ban–there was no “Bowling Green Massacre”.

(She may have conflated that with the Islamist who shot up the military recruiting posts in Chattanooga.)

It was quite the gaffe; I found it entertaining. The quick-witted Conway needs to take this month as a lesson in thinking before speaking. Sometimes she is too quick-witted for her own good.

But what can Trump take away from this?

(1) He now has a better idea where the enemy is. There’s an old saying: bureaucracies live forever. Much of his fight is not about liberal versus conservative; there is no small amount of institutional pressure to keep the existing infrastructure, because many high money people are profiting off that structure.

This is why DeVos faced such hard opposition. Nothing for which DeVos stands will cause a disaster in education–in fact, children and parents will see their choices and quality materially improve–but she is a threat to two of the biggest rackets in the public sector: The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. DeVos is a champion for a new economy education model, in the midst of an establishment that is vested in the old, antiquated education model.

(2) No matter what he does, he will get the full-court press from the opposition. His immigration Executive Order showed the face of his opposition. Never mind that his EO was very similar to Obama’s EO in 2011.

What he should do: (a) rescind his EO, and (b) re-issue the exact EO that Obama issued in 2011, verbatim. It won’t be everything he wants, but the left will have no room to complain. And if any terrorists attack as a result of looser refugee policies, he will have the mother of all sticks with which to beat his opposition.

(3) He needs to tighten the quality control. While he is correct about mainstream media, his team has done him no favors with their missteps. Spicer has stepped in it; Conway has had three big gaffes, one of those coming while trying to defend Spicer. Trump needs to demand that they do their homework and ensure that they are better-prepared before speaking in public forums.

Rather than invent new sound bytes–“alternative facts”–Conway can simply speak to the larger issue rather than defend an obvious blunder by someone from Trump’s team. Conway should ensure that she understands the point about which she is going to speak before she actually speaks it: she was right about the two Iraqis captured in Kentucky, but there was no “Bowling Green Massacre”.

(4) He needs to learn the lesson of Joshua and the Gibeonites. In the Scriptures, Joshua and the Israelites were conquering lands decisively: Jericho and Ai. No survivors. Jericho was burned to the ground.

A nearby tribe of folks–Gibeonites–decided they did not want to fight the Israelites, because they actually feared what God would do to them. They dressed like a bunch of poor nomads and approached the Israelites, pledging to make peace with them. The Israelites–who were not supposed to make covenants with the people of the land–did not consult God and instead hastily struck a covenant deal with the Gibeonites.

When the truth came out, the Israelites were furious. They wanted to go in and punish the Gibeonites for what they did to them. But, at the end of the day, they realized that a bad covenant is still a covenant. As a result, they were still bound to the terms of that covenant.

Trump needs to accept this reality with respect to refugee deals made by Obama with other countries, particularly Australia. Don’t blame Australia for Obama making a bad deal. Trump didn’t sign that deal, but he inherited it. He needs to abide by it, even if it was not his deal.

(5) Tread carefully with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is a shady figure in the international scene. A former KGB Colonel, he has shown himself to be intelligent, shrewd, and even dirty. If reports are correct, then he likely has blood on his hands, directly ordering the murder of former KGB Colonel Alexander Litvinenko as well as several media figures in Russia. At the same time, he has been a partner with the United States in fighting Islamists, as he has his own Islamist problem in Chechnya and Dagestan.

Trump’s seemingly-cozy relationship with Putin is a potential plus and a potential minus.

On the plus side: if Trump is seeking to “keep our friends close and our enemies closer”, his overtures toward Putin can be very good.

On the downside: if Trump is not careful, he could end up giving up too much in that relationship. In that case, Putin would be their Reagan while Trump played like Gorbachev.

But Trump is no dummy. He wasn’t born yesterday, and his enemies have, at every turn, understimated him.

As his Republican opponents–and Hillary Clinton–found out the hard way: dismissing Trump is something one does at one’s own peril.

Reynolds Nails It

I’ve long had a theory about Donald Trump and his use of Twitter: he uses it as a smokescreen. The left, particularly MSM, complains of his reactions to issues via Twitter, and Hillary Clinton, in her campaign, suggested that his temperament is not up to the office, given that he “can be baited by a Tweet”.

I’ve often observed that yes, there is baiting going on between Trump and his opposition. The real issue, however is, who is baiting whom?

Personally, I think Trump’s use of Twitter–and the fracas over his Press Secretary’s statements about inaugural crowd sizes–is an orchestrated deflection away from the debate over Trump’s cabinet confirmations. By creating such diversions, his most controversial picks–like Betsy DeVos (Education) and Ben Carson (HUD) and Rick Perry (Energy)–will likely get confirmed with minimal fight.

At the same time, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has an appropriate take on Trump’s larger relationship with the media.