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At CPAC 2020, Pete Hegseth, a Fox News Channel contributor and one of the weekend morning show hosts, gave a short presentation.
In the process of introducing his reasons for writing books he was promoting, he made some comments that struck me as completely noteworthy:
I’ll make a confession this morning to this small group of friends. My name is Pete Hegseth, and I was almost a Never Trumper.
Oh, you weren’t? Get out of here! Some people saw it right away. God bless you for seeing that. But a lot of us – a lot of people – didn’t. And didn’t understand the existential moment we were in. We were used to the cozy Republican think tanks and the conservative talking points and we were good at losing. We were very good at losing and feeling good about it.
And then we looked around – we looked at the bull-in-the-china-shop that was (President) Donald Trump, the “Break Glass in Case of War” president – okay? – and we realize this is not a debate about marginal tax rates, should they be a little higher or a little bit lower. This is not a debate about “Do we tinker here or tinker there about policies?”
We are in a battle for the soul of America. This is: Do you love America or not? Do you believe in borders, or do you want them open? Do you support your cops or not? Do you support the military or not? Are you for tax-paying citizens or are you for illegals? Are you for capitalism, or do you want socialism? We are defending the soul of America.
And that’s what Donald Trump woke so many of us up to. If you want to know who’s really ‘woke,’ it’s those of us that woke up out of our slumber and realized that America was facing doom.
Many people might immediately identify with Pete Hegseth’s ‘Never Trumper’ confession. It was certainly true about me.
Most people would hone right in on the sound bite “We are in a battle for the soul of America.” I would agree that it is a true and great commentary on where we were during Election 2016, and arguably where we still find ourselves, here and now, in America.
But neither of those parts of Pete Hegseth’s statement is what struck me to the heart.
What struck me was this: “…and we were good at losing. We were very good at losing and feeling good about it.”
It hit a sensitive nerve with me, because I get downright philosophical about concepts of winning and losing. Where politics are concerned, this comment describes me to a “T.” I agree that I was used to losing. For the past 35 years in politics, playing by the rules meant losing at principles, possibly losing a little integrity.
For me, casting a vote for John McCain and Mitt Romney (and President Trump for that matter) made my stomach turn. I regarded none of them as devoted Constitutional Conservatives, and my vote was more “against” the progressive socialists, which the Democrat Party has come to embrace, than it was a vote “for” the Republican candidate.
I was getting far too comfortable with losing, and I had indulged a defeatist’s sort of martyrdom about it, feeling all noble on the inside. In the abstract, I made myself content to think that it is enough to know what’s right even if I could not exercise what’s right. But to be honest, that is not true martyrdom; that is simply giving up.
Living La Vida Republican:
I also confess, for 35 years I have been an engaged voter, watching unscrupulous behaviors of politicians, most being liberal Democrats but certainly enough Republicans to cause me shame. It is a hard devotion, embracing my ideals of constitutional conservatism yet witnessing before me a landscape of corruption. Corporations and lobbyists have various politicians in their back pockets, with legislation being written with an eye toward pleasing special interests rather than the will of We the People.
Election fraud and voter manipulation abound. Deviant activities of candidates we “get to” vote for, sex scandals and nepotism and other power indulgences, are the news hour entertainment topics. Elected officials bending the laws they are supposed to uphold is almost considered normal behavior. Using an also-corrupted judicial system by having it literally rewrite the laws to enforce and support what has become an elected semi-nobility means that voting bad actors out of office has become increasingly difficult. I am sure that pre-November 2016 I was not the only member of the electorate craving someone who would come and up-end this buffet of political shenanigans.
For instance, I was delighted in the past few weeks when President Donald Trump publicly encouraged Republicans to vote for the weakest Democrat candidates in the states with open primaries. Why? Because Democrats have been participating in Republican primaries for decades, and they are a significant reason why we ended up with McCain and Romney as the Republican Candidates Apparent in elections past.
Before President Trump, Republican voters (and most Republican politicians) were largely playing by a set of rules “as they ought to be,” not the rules as they were actually being played by Democrat counterparts. Rules such as: Republicans should only vote on Republican candidates in primaries, and Democrats should only vote for the Democrat candidates. It seems so simple to those of us trying to uphold a legitimate system. Unfortunately, cheating the system has become the norm. By telling rally attendees, “Hey guys, have fun voting for the most ridiculous Democrat candidate,” all Trump did was declare loudly what has been practiced in relative secrecy by liberals for decades, a tactic called “party raiding.”
In the past, because of open primaries that make possible “party raiding,” Republican voters were often stuck voting for a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, who just barely reflected conservative values. These were candidates I feared would probably end up capitulating to the opposing party, because their “moderate” values were what I regarded to be dangerously unfaithful to standard Republican values. How many times did McCain boast “I know how to cross the aisle?” How many times did I mutter, “Next time you cross the aisle, just stay there?” He was more aligned with Liberals than he was Conservatives.
For the past 35 years in US politics (up until 2016) the “winning” party has been:
- Able to take over the judicial system.
The ability to pack the courts with judges who take a progressive view of the Constitution allowed an avenue for overruling the legislative branch and watering down the potency of the Constitution.
- Able to take over journalism to control the narrative.
There is no referee in US election politics, and a major protection of the the First Amendment is supposed to be the freedom of civilians – journalists in particular – to hold those with power to account with accurate reporting and forced transparency. But the democrats have been developing journalism as their propaganda arm for the past 50 years. Outlets like MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, and the New York Times no longer even try to hide their bias. They hardly mention the evils committed by Democrats, and they incessantly fault-find with any Republican they deem “dangerous” to their agenda.
- Able to take over the electoral process.Sure, dead people have been voting since before JFK, I am quite sure. But ACORN registering Mickey Mouse in 2008, illegal alien voter fraud in 2018 (and surely still going on right now in the current primaries and the upcoming 2020 election), voter fraud rigs the system to make those who play by the rules lose in political contests.
Don’t Throw the Rulebook Out!
Rules are, in fact, the things that are supposed to transcend the game itself. They are the commandments created to guard the integrity of play and the expectations we are all supposed to live by.
They exist so we can have harmony with each other while playing, so we can all be satisfied that the winner is worthy of the honor of winning. The same goes for rules of politics and governments:
- Games have rulebooks.
- When we break game rules we cheat, diminishing the point of playing the game.
- Our country has the Constitution, criminal and civil laws.
- If we violate them we may be impeached, convicted or adjudicated respectively, for diminishing the order of our society.
- God gave us the Ten Commandments.
- When we violate any of them, we sin, and are guilty of creating disorder in His universe, of which all other orders are subsets.
Now wait a Minute! Why did I have to bring religion into a political discussion?
If you think that I just took a leap farther than I should have, that I should not confuse rules that regard spiritual beliefs with rules that regard the activities of mankind, I submit to you that the parallels are exact, and have everything to do with each other. I will explain:
“He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules”
Usually when this phrase is uttered, it is meant to lament that the person who has the most money, influence, and/or power gets to say how things are going to be done. What is permissible, and what is not. In other words, the person or institution with the money and power wins before the game even gets started.
Yet how many organizations of enduring quality were founded on self-serving rules? In fact, how many great organizations, and even empires, were ultimately ruined when the people who had the gold (power and money) made the rules?
History Lesson: What Happens when a Republic Becomes a Dictatorship
Take the Republic of Rome, for example. It was a glorious thing (from 527 BC to 27 BC) and advanced many aspects of technology and society. Aquaducts. Architecture. Advancements in documenting histories and literature and language. The devising of a representative state of government. But then Rome turned from being a representative Republic, governed by a system of laws, to a Dictatotship, which enjoyed only brief autocratic benevolence. I think it not at all coincidence that the Pax Romana (a conflict-free period which lasted for about 200 years) also began at this juncture that saw a dictatorship take the place of the Republic.
It began with Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, an action that turned a statesmen into autocrat. The Empire was now under the control of a dictatorship meant a greatly weakened representative system (the Senate), unable to check the power. Immediately, that ball started to role in the direction of corruption. Julius Caesar was famously assassinated by Mark Antony, Octavian Augustus took over shortly thereafter.
Then came Tiberius who was killed by his successor, crazy and cruel Caligula, and so on. The Empire continued to endure for a few hundred years after it became dictatorial, years of one insane megalomaniac after another paranoid tyrant. Power takeovers were constant until glorious Rome was split and reduced to a puddle of yuck (yucky especially for its citizens), vulnerable to attack by outside forces.
Furthermore, history teaches us that things did not change for Rome until someone came to power that handled that power quite differently from all the previous Caesars.
His name was Constantine I.
The Redemption of Rome, and the Rules of a Higher Power:
If you are not familiar with Roman history and how it hit a major turning point with Constantine, I encourage you to take the time to learn it. Constantine took a novel approach to his opportunity to rule Rome: he embraced Christianity and recognized a God higher than himself to instruct him on how to wield his authority.
Previous Caesars regarded themselves as the highest god. Whether or not a particular Caesar worshipped Jupiter or Mars in his private devotions was beside the point (although it is instructive to note that Augustus worshipped the spirit of Julius Caesar), the Empire, and all the people therein, were to regard their chief government administrator, their Caesar, as the utmost god, supreme rule-maker and life-taker.
Of course, that kind of power would go to anyone’s head.
As a consequence, many Christians were fed to lions or burned at stakes over the course of the Roman Empire because they refused to bow to Caesar as supreme god. (To learn more, the burning at the stake of 2nd Century Christian Polycarp was well documented by his contemporaries. His writings also still exist.)
Constantine came to power in early 4th Century (he reigned 306-337 AD). He chose to take on the religion of what had long been regarded the odd religion of the (mostly) undesirable segments of society. Why he chose it is also a fascinating story (“By this symbol you will conquer” is a noteworthy story). The major point of it, however, is this: Suddenly Rome had an emperor who regarded his position as one of service, accountable to a power higher than himself. He sought to establish the empire according to the virtues demanded of the Christian faith. Constantine committed many controversial acts that would hardly seem to comply with the Christian virtues he supported. Regardless, his contributions to Christianity and his support of Christians was transformational to the history of Europe and how the religion would spread.
The final sacking of Rome by the barbarians in 410 put a final end to the ancient Roman Empire, but what Constantine set into motion would lead to a new incarnation of the Roman Empire. It was the beginning of the Christian civilizing of all of Europe, and it brought about a whole new epoch of what a civilization looks like. The Roman Empire was transformed over the centuries into the Holy Roman Empire.
Certainly, I do not suggest that the development of European Christendom was not without a host of hardships and abuses. There is much to criticize. None the less, the advancements to humanity, and the elevation of the common man over the course of it, cannot be denied, and it is thanks to the juxtaposition of Christian virtues with Republican approaches to governance that helped continue to promote the ideas of the autonomy of all men. It led to the Magna Carta, for instance, a document which demanded a republican view of individual rights over a tyrant-king. Likewise, the Christian urge to “proclaim the gospel to all nations,” was normalized in the European nobility and in the society at large, which led to exploring the world and exchanging products and ideas. England sent missionaries to India and China. India and China helped the English develop a strong habit of consuming large quantities of tea. It was a social as well as a cultural revolution that led to global conversations.
The next major epoch change would not be until 1789, by a brand new Republic, not accidentally modeled largely from the original Republic.
We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident:
The establishment of that new Republic would start with a challenge in 1776, the Declaration of Independence. Then it would be actively pursued with the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America in 1789. I highly recommend you read a very profound book on the subject, The 5,000 Year Leap . It does an incredible job providing a brief-but-complete explanation about how Cicero influenced our Founding Fathers.
It explains how our country, as our framers designed it, is made to be a culmination of the best parts of governance as Rome originally developed it before its fall to dictatorship, and the best parts of Christendom before it succumbed to the problems of an overly-powerful royal class and the devastation of religious in-fighting.
Republican governance, coupled with Judeo-Christian values, exercised with religious freedom as understood by an ecumenical notion called “Natural Law,” provided for an attempt to make sure that the people entrusted to govern the United States should never have too much of that corrupting thing called power, and people could still live according to their own conscious. This is what made America special then, and continues to make America special now.
Therefore, the power that is truly golden is power held by something higher than men, left in the hands of God, allowing civilians to worship however they deem appropriate, as protected by the 1st Amendment, and living freely.
The Struggle for the Soul of America:
Yet our country is in a perpetual struggle. Perpetual, because Hegseth’s identification of our current struggle is merely the recent struggle in a long string of struggles. In fact, our country has been in a constant state of conflict between what is right (godly) and what is expedient (self-satisfying) since the ink was drying on the Bill of Rights. It seems to be an inherent problem in the human race to have this struggle with morality, and in American history it has manifested itself over and over again:
- We have confronted ourselves regarding the treatment of Native Americans.
Mid-19th Century, our temptation was to mistreat and marginalize American Indians in the name of Manifest Destiny. I think it is fair to say that we were destined to develop our nation, yet we did it with mistreatment and marginalization of people in the process. Our country has had to face our demons on that score.
We have confronted ourselves regarding our position on slavery.
We endured a bloody Civil War in this struggle. The idea that people could be held as property defies the commitment that people are made in the image of God. All humans have a divine right to be free, and our country has had to repent for refusing this divine right to African Americans.
- We have struggled with isolationism, and an unwillingness to use our strengths to help fellow nations.
Our decision to finally rise up and take part in both WWI and WWII meant denying our isolationism tendencies.
- Now we are struggling with the opposite problem, being the ubiquitous police force of the world.
Maybe we need to extricate ourselves from the affairs of the world? We were once at one extreme, now we are on the other.
- Freedom or socialism?
We are struggling now with whether we even want to stay true to our Republic structure, or whether we will give our country over to a Socialism standard. Will we trade freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, which limits the powers of our leadership? Or, in the same spirit that Rome gave the power over to Octavian Augustus, are we going to give our leadership that same corrupting power in order to have guaranteed healthcare (think: rationed) ?
…I could go on for pages, but you get the point. It would appear that our system is flawed because we are in a continuous state of debate, struggle, self-awareness, however you want to term it. It is as if those Framers did not find all the ultimate answers to all the ultimate questions. To which the Framers would say, “You got that right!” It is the reason why they gave us the ability to make those Amendments. How clever they were!
Concepts of Winning and Losing:
In the middle of the political ground game, it is easy to perceive this struggle for winning through the lens of Republican team players versus Democrat team players. Whether Democrats will win the house. Whether Republicans will win the Senate. Who will win the presidency? Is one team trying to cheat? The Mainstream Media certainly has thought that it could play kingmakers in the ground game, but then something happened that changed the game completely.
Playing Fair with Trump Cards:
While some of us (like me) could not see it at first, Trump has been the Great Score Settler when it comes to bringing equity to the game of politics, returning a sense of fairness to the sport:
- He calls foul on unfairness. He counterpunches the unfair moves of the Left by showing no tolerance and circumventing the obstacles they cause. For example: Is the Mainstream Media promoting propaganda against him? Trump tweets his message to the public directly. No sweat.
- He upholds the Rule of Law as established by the Constitution.
How has he done this? Why, by adding nearly 200 Constitutionally Conservative judges (originalists) to benches across the country in just three years, that’s how! I have to imagine the Powers That Be in the DNC are fuming about how Obama handed Trump this insanely awesome opportunity. Of course, the honor was meant to go to Hillary. Thankfully, by Divine Providence…
- God gave us Trump Wow, did I just type that out loud? I did. But please do not misunderstand me: I am not trying to say that Trump is the Second Coming of Christ. He is a flawed man. But in a very important respect, it is his flaws that make him so awesome and strong. Pete Hegseth was right to call Trump a veritable “bull in a china shop.” It takes that kind of personality to break the false constructs the Progressive Left has been shrewdly fabricating for the past 50 years, intent on taking away our unalienable rights, granted to us by God, with these socialist notions of a Big Brother state that “takes care” of society (along with Orwellian Identity Politics of the modern Thought Police).
- These false constructs must be broken while they are still fragile. It is a miraculous thing that Trump came along when he did. I actually thought it might have already been too late when Trump was elected: Obamacare had been passed in 2014. I thought the massive Healthcare Takeover was already too ingrained into our system to be extricated, and therefore no longer fragile. Thank you, Trump, for breaking its hold on the American people by removing the Individual Mandate, which had demanded every citizen buy health insurance or face financial penalty. It loosened its tick-like grip that syphoned the dollars out of every tax paying American’s pocket. That is exactly the kind of oppression – economic enslavement – that makes the public lose freedom of choice. When citizens loose this true freedom of choice, we lose as a nation.
What it Means to be Winning:
And this is why Hegseth’s commentary embodies not just concepts of winning versus losing particular elections. It ultimately concerns the battle for the soul of America. Do we get to have societal solutions that embody the individual’s right to self-determination, in the spirit of a true Republic? Or do we have a government that foists its decisions on people – people who are regarded much the same as cattle, that cannot self-determine to make competent decisions and must learn to make do with what the government provides?
Is our country spiritually aligned with overarching notions of the sanctity of humanity, or with the subjugation of humanity? How we physically engage our community, our state, our country, and our world has great spiritual ramifications. To me, we are winning if we are able to maintain a government that is truly “of the people, for the people, and by the people” (as said by that great Republican, President Abraham Lincoln). We are losing if we allow our government to abolish private property (yes, that includes the suggested removal of our AK-47s and AR-15s ) and run our lives for us. That is the enslavement of socialism, and that is losing.
Under socialism, everybody loses. But thankfully, the Trump Paradigm provides us a new outlook:
When it comes to the sanctity of human life,
Before Trump, we were struggling to for leadership willing to stand up against abortion. With Trump, we have a president who supports life, and we are winning.
When it comes to the freedom of speech,
Before Trump, we were losing because we had no voice. With Trump, we have a voice and we are winning.
When it comes to the right to bear arms,
Before Trump, we were losing on many fronts of our Second Amendment freedoms. With Trump, we are fighting for this right and winning.
When it comes to American’s confidence in the strength of our Republic,
and the strength of the US Constitution to guard it,
Before Trump, we were losing to DC swamp takeover and we were losing the courts to Progressivism. With Trump the swamp is circling the drain, Trump’s originalist bench appointments are happening at a staggering rate, and we are winning back the libertie
s that these institutions are supposed to enforce.
Here again, I could go on with many more instances about how we are winning. But I think more than any of these, I appreciate the fact that Before Trump, conservatives were resigned to losing the soul of America. I am guilty of succumbing to accepting “Loser” status, and I felt the palpable sting of it. And by “soul” I am quite religious in my interpretation. Losing our country’s moral compass to, for instance, abortion on demand, now to the point of killing babies born alive, is soulless. For those of us up on our Bible literacy, we know what happened to Baal worshippers, so depraved as to sacrifice their own children. It is not over-zealous fancy to recognize that the God who created us in His image will show wrath against those of us who destroy His innocent and beautiful creations.
Losing America’s soul to selfish, Godless depravity is losing indeed. Winning our soul back is to again recognize that we only win if we are one unified nation, under God, promoting the virtues of God, and fighting for it!
Judging from the size of President Trump’s rallies, I believe it is proof positive that our country has awakened to an awareness of our deviation from the higher, moral path, and is motivated to a kind of repentance. We are turning away from the sin of abandoning constitutionally conservative and Judeo-Christian foundations for policy and governance of our great country.
Now we can see clearly our path to winning back the United States of America to the glorious heights that our Founding Fathers intended. We win with Trump leading the charge, and we win because We the People are running with him. If ever there was a time when this is immediately observable, it is now, as the nation puts all hands on deck to combat an invisible killer, the Chinese Virus, also known as COVID-19.
Trump wins when our healthcare industry comes together, when our representatives in congress act in a bipartisan effort for the benefit of all people, when citizens look out for the best interest of one another, businesses donating money and products and services to the cause … this is the strength and success of America. This is winning.
We are truly winning, not just because President Trump is the leader, but because We the People are the powerhouse behind the leader. Now let’s make sure Trump wins again on November 3rd. Four more years of advancing the charge sounds mighty good to me.
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In pursuit of truth, and truly yours,
3 thoughts on “To Tell The Truth About Winning!”
Drink of fresh clear thinking for anybody navel gazing having the Lockdown/HunkerDown/Quarantine blues. Well written and apt for our times.
Thank you for the kind compliment, QNeill! So grateful to know that my thoughts resonated with you!
A truly well reached article dating back to nearly the dawn of civilization about Winning and what it inherently means to cordial individuals of all political flavors.
The tragic thing in our times is that a vocal minority chose to demonstrate disrespect for the Office of The President of the United States in general, and specifically the fabulous President, Donald Trump who has done everything to help all Citizens of the United States.
Thank you for an outstanding feature article.
Kenn of #RockwaterReports
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